Creativity is a natural state. It's non creativity that we learn.
This is me through a smudged lens. And Killiney Bay on a calm Summer's day. Rising up behind it, there’s a hill with a park and panoramic views over the city and across the Irish Sea towards Wales, with the Sugarloaf mountain punctuating the Wicklow skyline to the South. The Bay is a storm beach that changes with the weather and it's populated with seals, porpoise and cormorants, and the curlew who makes my favourite seaside sound...this incredibly beautiful spot is where I call home.
One of my favourite seasonal activities is swimming, and now the warmer weather is here the sea is magic and it's my go-to full immersion nature experience. I know plenty of brave souls who do it all year long but I’m not one of them, there’s still a sharp nip getting in! But I warm up quickly and this week the water's been silky smooth and briny and delicious.
I’m never on bad form after a sea swim. It's like medicine, I always feel great. And even when it's not swimming season, I always find that just getting out and connecting with nature connects me with myself again: I’m just more me from being in it.
And what struck me forcibly yesterday as I dug in against the prevailing current - was how incredibly blessed I am, being surrounded by nature like this.
It’s when I engage with it and I’m in the moment that ideas and my intuition start to flow, and solutions to problems present themselves. And nothing feels insurmountable except perhaps the prevailing current, so then I need to focus and get into a rhythm, and use my strength to swim hard. And when I emerge breathless on the beach, I feel spent and calm and still, but deeply energised: it’s like I’ve been plugged into the main power source and it’s super-charged my batteries.
This creative source is primal, and I believe it’s in and it’s there for all of us. It’s one of my core values and you don't have to be a sea swimmer to enjoy its timeless benefits.
It always amazes me when I meet someone who says, 'oh I don't have a creative bone in my body' (lots of people think this!) And you can try and convince me all you like, but I’ll argue vehemently every time that actually, yes you do.
You’re part of the natural world and the cycle of life. You were born this way and you only have to go for a walk in nature and really pay attention to feel it. And the more you connect with it, the more you connect with yourself and your own power source.
Non Creativity is a learned behaviour and 50 years ago, a scientist called George Land proved it. He tested creativity in astronauts and used the same test to follow children from the age of 5 through to adulthood. At the beginning of the study, 97% of the children believed and showed they were creative, but by the time they reached adulthood, 95% believed and showed they were not.
You can recover your creativity and it doesn’t have to be hard or take ages. In fact, it’s naturally joyful and fun and it happens quickly, and in my experience there's no better teacher than Mother Nature...
Drying off after my swim and watching the children play on the beach yesterday, I was thinking about this connection between my creativity and the creativity of the natural world. It’s part of who I am, and on a bigger scale, it’s what I’m a part of. It's an endless, timeless power source.
And that’s a rich and extraordinary thing.