Creativity: What’s the untapped force that sustains you?
How can we tap into the creative energy within us — whether through music, storytelling or cooking — to sustain ourselves and to connect with others? Many of us may not think of ourselves as creative and we can get stuck in the dominant narratives that define who is an artist and that lead us to silo art in our social and climate justice work. But if we could look inwards and reclaim, embrace and nurture our creativity, what would that open up for us?
Sandie Hanna — a feminist, human rights and anti-imperialist activist — found a safe space and survival technique in art and creativity while growing up in a context of violence in Palestine. Among many roles, she is the founder of Feminist Diaries, a collective of young women and girls that uses art to share stories about their lived realities and the feminist world they want to co-shape.
In our April Leap of Leadership meetup, Sandie spoke about the role that nurturing creativity has played in her life and guided us through a creative visualization exercise that she uses at Feminist Diaries around the concept of “home” — a subject that is very personal, painful and political for her. Together with hosts Archana Deshpande and Purity Kagwiria, we discussed how the more we are at home with ourselves, the more we are able to tap into our creativity to fuel our leadership and activism.
Have art materials ready at hand, listen to the 36-minute audio summary and read on for resources to find out what happens when you take a pause to look inwards and start to tap into your creative energy.
The moments where we feel most numb and disconnected are the moments where we most need to look inwards and counteract these feelings with creativity. In challenging and chaotic contexts, we can easily neglect what is within ourselves. Creativity can help us gain greater self-awareness, build empathy and establish deeper connections with ourselves and with others.
When we talk about creativity, we’re not necessarily talking about mastering oil painting or the violin, but we can infuse everything we do with creativity – the food we cook for our family, the way we decorate the spaces we inhabit, or the gifts we make for our friends. What’s important is giving yourself permission to play and be creative no matter what you end up producing.
Put it into practice
Sandie uses visualization at Feminist Diaries as a creative practice to spark dialogue and questions where there is no easy entry point. It supports people to relax, imagine, and open up to possibilities. Play the above audio summary and follow along as Sandie leads us through a meditation to first ground ourselves and then moves on to a visualization exercise.
But visualization is just one way to process what’s within us. Try the approach that works best for you — whether it’s through body movements or making something with your hands. Taking a few minutes to do a creative activity like this, instead of processing with our minds, can allow something deeper to open up in us and create space for our whole being to be invited and manifest in our work spaces.
- Read: On Connection, a book by Kae Tempest
- Watch: How to recover from activism burnout, a TED talk by Yana Buhrer Tavanier
- Write: The Art of Activism workbook by the Center for Artistic Activism
Leap of Leadership is Spring’s monthly online meetup for social justice changemakers around the world. Each month, we tackle cutting-edge topics through new tools, concrete practices and exchanges with peers. Learn more or sign up to join our monthly drop-in sessions and receive our monthly emails.