This past weekend my boyfriend and I attended a date night workshop at the Boulder Pottery Lab to stretch our creative minds and learn how to wheel throw. This is something I have always wanted to do but never made the time.
It is no surprise that we live in a very stressful world where we have grown accustomed to pushing away our creative desires to solve everyday problems. As Osho says in his book Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within, “Everybody is born creative, but very few people remain creative.” What Osho means is that we all are born with the capability to express ourselves creatively but as life goes on many of us disconnect from our creative minds and tend to overuse our analytical minds. Analytical problem solving is a wonderful tool, but when overstimulated can lead to stress and anxiety.
When I was younger I never really loved summer break. While most kids played outside with friends or went to summer camps, I spent most of my days inside by myself. I lived on a street that was mainly boys and my older brother never wanted anything to do with me. I wasn’t much of a tomboy and I could only annoy my brother so much before it got physical. My mom caught on to this problem and started taking me to the craft store each summer so I could pick out some creative projects to keep me occupied. From learning to paint, to learning how to bake and decorate cakes, I started expressing my creativity and loving my summer breaks.
Fast forward years later to college, where I was immersed in the scientific community of research and analysis. Constantly using my analytical brain to uncover theories about how to improve our health via specific nutrients. I had no time to be that creative little girl anymore. Life started to take over and focus on a successful career became my main goal. That is when the stress and anxiety started to kick in.
I tried for years to hold onto those cake decorating and crafting skills, but as more and more responsibilities piled up I began to make excuses as to why I had no time for that stuff. You guessed it, the stress of life started to take its toll.
Research suggests that creative activity is an effective strategy against stress. The focus, emotional expression and perspective that come through creative acts disrupt mental patterns of stress and anguish, and help people lead more fulfilling lives.
Finding time for creative outlets in our busy lives is tough, but it’s necessary! My experience at the Boulder Pottery Lab was like an awe moment for me. I realized that during those hours spent learning to create a piece of pottery, my mind wasn’t focused on analyzing every move I made or wandering into the future worrying about all the things I need to do, it was truly focused on the clay. How the clay felt in my hands, how it moved with each push and pull, and how at peace I was in those moments. I found that creating pottery worked better than any meditation I have ever tried for quieting my mind.
After our time was up, all I wanted to do was stay so I could keep creating pottery and keep feeling at peace. Now, my pottery wasn’t a masterpiece at all. It had plenty of imperfections but I didn’t care because I made it! I even said to my fellow creators, it's the imperfections that make things beautiful. I was channeling my inner Brene Brown ;)
On the drive home, my boyfriend and I were all smiles and were saying how it was one of the best date nights we have had. I was so excited to get home and look up local Denver classes I could sign up for. I didn’t want this feeling to end. I wanted to keep expressing my creativity. It was during that car ride home that I also made a promise to myself to keep being creative. Not to let the busy life I lead keep me from doing what I need to do for me.
Below are some pictures from our experience at Boulder Pottery Lab. What a fun night. I hope you feel inspired to get out and create!
Ashley Tracey, MS RYT
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