Can I?

The 363 Eyes Monster by Leon age 5

We are meant to create but we are afraid of it, creative energy is in all of us because that is what we are made of. This is how we are when we are born: naturally creative, ready to learn, to have a go at things. The young child explores, looks, experiments.

This is before we start establishing boundaries and rules that, rather than guide and nurture the child’s development, can slowly but surely eventually kill those creative sparks. The young child knows how to explore, how to experience, how to create. Children draw and paint without worrying about the outcome and work on until they are satisfied that they are done.

To watch young children paint is pure joy if you can relax enough and trust both the process and the children themselves.

I remember Aoife, a four year old who after painting her dragon handed me the page because she had finished it. “Where does your dragon live?” I asked. “In a cave” the little girl answered. “Would you like to paint the cave?” I suggested. “No” she said. “What does your dragon eat?” I enquired. “Leaves from a tree” she replied. “Would you like to paint the tree?” “No”. I took her painting and put it on the wall.

The young girl refusal to add a cave or a tree wasn’t due to laziness or a desire to get it done with, she simply had finished a process and for what she was concerned the picture didn’t need anything else and rightly so! She was the creator of her image and therefore in charge of the process. Who was I to suggest that she should continue?

On the other hand Aoife’s sister Rachel, aged 6, called me over to where she was working and asked “Can I paint a flower beside my creature?”.

With that Can I the child was asking my permission to continue her work, she wanted me to dictate what she could or couldn’t paint, in other words she had already handed over her creative freedom to the adult.

Creative energy needs freedom because I believe that it is different than any other type of energies. It’s not harsh or rigid, has no patterns and boundaries. It has a natural flow and it’s un-predictable. That’s its beauty.

Childhood is possibly the most creative time of our life and I believe it is our duty to keep connecting with that pure, pulsating energy that keeps us alive. The need for creative expression, exploration and experience doesn’t die out as we grow up. Sometimes it gets buried beneath other things but it is always there just waiting to be rekindled. It enriches lives, bringing about new learning, sharing and the possibility of healing.

In other words it is pure magic!