Keeping it real and using science to explain

Being Riders on the Storm

baby doors

Creative power thrills in these words from The Doors:

 Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone…
The world on you depends…
Our life will never end…


The troubled mind of Jim Morrison created that message, with its powerful image of “thrown-ness” or the state of being born (without our consent) and tossed out into this world-“Like a dog without a bone”-to figure it out. Let’s hope.

Riders on the Storm, a psychedelic rock song about human existence, happened to be Morrison’s last recorded song during his lifetime.

Whatever Morrison felt, the writing and performing helped him through – and made him a living.

Living today can be like driving through a storm. We can ride on it, trying to “thrive on stress”, but better to ride out the storm and get to a place of calm by connecting as Morrison did with the creative process.

Whether painting, music, dance, writing, or sculpting – whatever you like to do – creativity can be one of your greatest assets.

Creatives have minds that dream up new ways of doing things, better known as innovation. I like to say that artists can “think outside the box” better than anybody. It’s a valuable skill that’s not only good for business but also helps you to feel happy and connected in your personal life. And that’s a huge benefit to your health.

How can creative activity change us?


Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

— Pablo Picasso

What resonates in the eye of the beholder are Pablo’s words. Whether you look at art, or you engage in art or enjoy listening to other art forms, such as music, ballet or going to the theatre, it can uplift our spirit and our soul.

The arts cleanse us by connecting us to our senses, our mind, and body, to make us feel lively and engaged. They help us to share an experience with others and understand and appreciate the imaginative and creative side of humanity.

Not only does creativity make us, but it provides health benefits on top of a more fulfilling life. It improves us not only mentally, physically, but also enhances many other aspects of life, including the ability to cope with novel or new problems.

I think we’ve all had that experience, at some point, that we could cut loose with our imagination and enjoy the process of discovery through the arts.

The crushing of creativity

But it’s a busy, hectic world out there. Sadly, and too often, our creative talents lay to waste amidst the bustle of daily life. In this loss, we forget what makes the world beautiful, and we overlook a fundamental element of the human condition.

One of the problems is that we’ve become spectators to our lives, viewing ourselves through the cosmos of Facebook and social media, not engaging with life in our communities.

Let me put a marker in the sand…

Our society is crushing our creativity. Back a-ways, schools had the freedom to encourage creativity and the beauty of learning, not just academic results.

People spent more time going to the theatre with family and friends- there were more passion and joy, expressing our inner light.  But I feel our digital culture and social media technologies have made it harder for ingenuity to be embraced within our society.

The evolving economy relies on creativity

We live in a world of constant innovation, with new concepts, ideas, and technology. The creativity to help deliver something never created before – anything from a product to a piece of art – it’s all based on where your mind wants to take you. But many get stuck in a cubicle for a long time, not allowing the mind to venture beyond.

People in today’s world need to realize that even leaders must be creative and become creative problem solvers, for these are the skills of the future. You need to unleash your creativity and understand how important it is to have it flourish throughout your life and career.

As Tony Proctor, a British Emeritus Marketing Professor puts it, “Creativity involves an ability to come up with new and different viewpoints on a subject. It involves breaking down and restructuring our knowledge about the subject to gain new insights into its nature.”

But actual innovation puts this into action: “An invention is an act of creativity that results in a device, process, or technique novel enough to produce a significant change in the application of technology.”


Cultural industries drive social cohesion

Jen Snowball of Rhodes University has been discovering that art and culture contribute more to an economy than growth and jobs. She explains why: “Cultural industries … those whose major outputs have some symbolic value – such as fine arts, film, and craft – also jewelry design, publishing and fashion” generate billions in revenue and create millions of jobs worldwide.  (

But “The industries are also a potentially important contributor to social cohesion and nation-building through the promotion of intercultural dialogue, understanding and collaboration.” The “intrinsic” values and aims of culture, “art for art’s sake,” are things: to entertain, to delight, to challenge, to give meaning, to interpret, to raise awareness, and to stimulate.

Art has the power to change the world, says Icelandic and international artist Olafur Eliasson. “ Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.” Eliasson has used his creativity widely – from Little Sun, a solar energy project and social business, to The Kitchen – his studio’s vegetarian recipe book that “fuses high art and comfort food.”

How does that help us?

Social media connect us to others. But personal creativity and engaging in art and culture are vital for connecting with ourselves.

Here’s what’s important: Often, they (arts) spur us into action. When we are touched by our muse, we think more clearly… and feel encouraged to connect with the bigger picture outsider our own narrow world.

Maybe you’ll reach out to someone and enrich both lives. Maybe you’ll resolve deeper problems in your heart and move on with clarity and strength. Maybe you’ll find a market for your creative output and give pleasure to others while creating wealth.

Stop the spectacle, time to engage

Here’s what I suggest that people do. Nourish your creative side and release that energy. Take time-outs from riding on the (digital) storm!

If you have to stay ahold of your smartphone, why not use it as a camera for creative photography, where you are mindfully producing beautiful thought-provoking images? Why not learn to make visual art with your tablet like David Hockney, now the world’s foremost iPad painter? Why not use creative music apps instead of hooking into the music industry’s sounds?

But better, get tactile with real-world creativity. How about Amy Johnson Maricle’s suggestion of art journaling,, as “a form of creative self-care”?


Pick up your guitar, your paint brush, your camera.
Put on your pointe shoes, your costume, your makeup.
Use your pen, your ingenuity… and your imagination
… to create!


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