“Art does not reproduce the visible, rather it makes it visible,” wrote Swiss/German painter Paul Klee.
You are different from everyone who has ever been or will ever be. You are not a reproduction nor are you cast in a mold, and no mold can be made from you.
At birth you are not fully formed. You cannot know what you will become since the self is the product of what is inherited, what is given and what is made of both. In this way we are the partial creators of ourselves.
There are tools you inherit and there is an audience for whom you create. In relation to others and to the world around you, you bring what is uniquely yours: your inherited self that is made visible through acts of your creative self.
Creativity is discovering that which is most important in your surroundings, then coaxing that reality into the visible through finding what is unique in you and in others. Art is in making, in doing, that is, it is in relating. There is music and dance, theater and painting, poetry and prose, cooking and gardening and a thousand other things. Creativity is also found in friendships and in work, in family and in communities-all contributors to the art of living.
All of us are creative; we all have the ability to see things fresh and new. To be creative is to be original and to be original is to find what is truly yours.
Here is a story from the Buddhist tradition: One day while in the country a thief descended upon Buddha. He threatened the teacher with death.
“Will you grant me a dying wish?” the teacher asked. The bandit agreed.
“Cut off a branch from that tree over there.”
With a flash of the sword it was done.
The perplexed thief asked, “What now?”
“Put the branch back on the tree,” Buddha replied.
“No one can do that,” the thief laughed. “You must be crazy.”
Buddha said. “It is you who are crazy to think that you are strong because you can wound and destroy. Children can do that. But it is only the mighty who know how to create and heal.”