A dear friend gave me a book last week. It’s Cultivate Vol. IV: Creativity Unlocked, a book created by Cageless Birds, designed to do just what it says: unlock creativity.
It certainly does.
(Please note that I am not getting paid to write this. I am simply sharing my life here.)
The book is a kind of devotional. Most entries end with prompts that aim to help unlock creativity in those who dare to take the journey. The first prompt speaks about creativity, ability, and risk, and though my answer quickly turned from the original prompting, I think it valuable to share my answers with you.
Creativity: What is inside yearning to get out. The desire to make. Not to critique, but to make in the first place. To make new. To make aground. To make live.
I later explored that word “aground” because when I reread my words I was unsure that it fit. Below is what came from my exploration.
The word “aground” refers to a ship in shallow water, a ship that is on the ground has “run aground.” This ship is not where one would expect to find it, and likely not where it expected to be found either, but it is where it can be seen fully. If I were a ship run aground, I would be seen fully, and therefore would be in a vulnerable place. Creativity is vulnerable. And it’s not just about painting and so-called artistry either. “To be creative,” as Justina Stevens (author of this first devotional in Cultivate Vol. IV) says so eloquently, “is to problem-solve, to come up with ideas during your day, to find a way to relate to a stranger, to try a new seasoning in your stir-fry. It is a drive to live, to make families, to take risks. … Your calling as a human is to live a creative life.”
Ability: What I am given. What I can do. But more than that, what I am graced for. Ability is uncovered in the process. It is not shown immediately, but allowed to be dug out. [Or, allowed to run aground.]
Risk: Scary, yet exciting. Risk is uncertain, but necessary. Without risk, life is flat. Sometimes an act may seem risky, but if prompted by the Holy Spirit, risk is life-giving and wonderful. If we prompt our own risky situations, they are likely to devastate. With the Holy Spirit, risk will always turn to good, will open our eyes, will raise our faith and give us stories that glorify God. Though in the beginning of any risk, fear may creep in, when we are with God He is with us and in His love He gives wisdom where we may see a void.
Oh, these Cageless Birds have me excited. I know very little about them, but just the words “cageless birds” paired with a drive to unlock creativity. Wow.
Cageless birds are those birds who fly in freedom, who belong to a flock, who peer into clouds and touch the line where heaven and earth meet. They are those birds who are not fed, but find themselves sustained. They are not tied to humans, but are allowed to soar.
“Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description but careless in the care of God. And you count far more to Him than birds.” -Mt. 6:26 MGS
We see birds in the sky as V’s. The birds, wings spread, look just like those pointed lines. They fly in formation, together with others. Caged birds are provided food and scenery, but the universe is a grand gift. Life is unpredictable and risky. Life requires the ability to explore.
Birds are unconcerned with blemishes. They do not wallow in the fact that they are depicted as the twenty-second letter of our alphabet. They just fly on because this is their instinct, nay their calling.