Death is important to creativity

Let’s talk about death.

We live in a culture where death seems like the worst thing that can happen to you.

And I get it, I don’t want to die. I hurt when those I love die.

But…death is something no one has ever escaped.

The other day I picked up a children’s book that discussed rituals for the dead, not just for the american culture.

It reminded me, again, the stoicism that is revered when it comes to death in our culture: don’t talk too much about it, and when it happens…don’t grieve too long about it.

And. Here we are. Living and dying at the same time. Our every breath is a cycle of life and death. Our seasons show us, time and time again, that death brings abundance and nourishment.

Death is important for the creative process — in embracing death in yourself but also as you create you’re working with death and life.

I saw NC poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Greene give a talk today and it made me weep. For many reasons, the stories she tells about her African American history, as her grandmother’s grandmother was an enslaved person sold away from her family as a child because she learned to read and write (it was illegal for enslaved people to be literate).

She talked about the dreams and people and lives that have to die in order for us to keep living.

I made this video before I saw Ms. Green give her talk. If I could re-record it again, I’d talk more about the ugly parts of life + death that we too have look at + not run away from. Like the history of enslaved people and slave owners in this country, that are at the foundation of many literal and figurative things we know today.

We’ve got a look at that often as we build bridges in our communities, and most of all in ourselves.

There’s no looking away from the destruction that’s necessary in order to create in the way you’re called to create today.

Only look at it and create from that which rises up in you.

I hope I touch on how death is important for us to remember our truth. And that death isn’t the end of something perfect.

Instead, death is a fulfillment of your cyclical destiny: to live, to die, and the make something in between.

Tell me, beautiful one, do you feel like death is important to be comfortable with for the creative process?

If you’re wanting to make something to bring your life back into focus, I invite you to join me for my making + mentoring work. Click here to get the details.

2 Replies to “Death is important to creativity”

  1. Love this reflection. Grieving deeply parts of my self that have died has opened me to my creativity again (very slowly, and with confusion along the way). I hope I can continue to stay with that birth/death/rebirth cycle; it’s easy for me to forget its uses and resist it:)

    1. I hear you Cathleen. Thank you for sharing. It’s so important for us to keep being with what is uncomfortable. That’s where the resiliency comes in. I’m holding your journey in my heart, now and always. Everything changes – trust you’re being held through the process. Always.

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