I have always been in awe of creative people.  People who can draw, paint, build, play music, sing, you name it.  What I recently discovered is that these are not the only means of creativity.  To think we are not creative is to mislead ourselves.  We all have a creative outlet; a passion.  Something we do that we love that comes to us easily.  We may not do this as a profession, but none-the-less we do it perhaps as a hobby.  And we need these passionate endeavors, although we may not let others see them or acknowledge them. We may not even acknowledge them ourselves as anything special.  Just something we do.

My passion is growing things.  This passion has evolved over time but it seemed inevitable with my mom’s family history of gardening.  They grew things edible and ornamental.  And growing up I loved to play in the dirt, to weed, to watch them garden.  I think it was a kind of challenge I had with myself that I could do this.  Little by little with many failures I have developed this obsession, this passion.

But I did not discover (or accept) that I actually had a gift, was creative, until others starting telling me.  I humbly accepted their compliments but didn’t think much of it.  Chalked it up to people just being nice.  Recently I was told by a casual acquaintance, at the time, that they had just discovered I was the person with the beautiful gardens.  They made weekly trips on their way home to drive slowly by to see the gardens.  I said you must be mistaking me for someone else.  No they are your gardens.  And as she described them, I was suddenly struck by the knowledge that indeed these beautiful gardens were mine.  She asked me to give a talk to folks at an event she was hosting.  No, I could not possibly have anything important to say.  After all I was self taught.  No formal training.  Thank God she would not accept no for an answer. 

It was actually fun sharing my knowledge of plants (I spoke about Native Plants with another gardener who has formal training).  After all as a former teacher, I have always loved to share knowledge, but it never occurred to me that anyone would be interested in what I had to share.  And I learned from others who were speaking about their passion, bees and topiary.

This little talk has sparked something inside me recently.  Something that has needed to have an outlet.  You see I have found if you are creative and passionate in one endeavor, you are probably creative in others.  That is when the idea of writing and sharing things I am learning in this blog hit me.  And if nothing else it has become an outlet.  Another creative way to express myself.  But I was game to explore other areas as well.  I have never felt I could draw or paint.  I shared this with a  friend who is very talented in these areas.  She believes we all can draw through our own mind’s eye; the way we see it.  So she decided to share her gift and get back in touch with her creative core.  We had art lessons every Friday this summer for anyone who wanted to join us.  And although few came, we both had fun and I did learn to draw.  Still developing my talent and still trying to accept my style.

But I discovered something even more important this summer. That you must find your passion and express it.  If you don’t you may find yourself lost, unfulfilled or even depressed without understanding why.  I recently read that depression can stem from not finding your passion and being stuck in a job or life that does not engage your creativity.  Wow did that hit home.  Exactly what had been happening to me for years.  But I had to overcome a fear of failure to break outside my comfort zone.  And I an so thankful to friends and acquaintances that have now become friends for pointing out these gifts to hone and cultivate further.

Now a word of warning because with any passion can come addiction.  But I think it becomes a happy addiction.  You do what you do because you love it.  And you love it the way you do it.  Others can criticize , but be wary and take it with a grain of salt.  Oh and many won’t understand your passion.  But who cares.  It is for you to understand.

And for those who have not found your passion, that creative outlet.  Think about these questions:

1.  What are your interests?

2.  What do you want to learn more about?

3.  What do you love doing?

4.  What do you have expertise in?

Answer these questions truthfully.  Don’t leave the littlest thing out.  Brainstorm until you cannot think of another single thing to add.  Then look it over and see the patterns.  See where you can make the connections to things you love and things you want to learn more about.  Maybe you can share with someone the things you love, and they can share their love of something you are interested in learning more about.  Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to take a chance.  Have fun.  You may discover a hidden passion you have and one you are about to embark on.

“To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.”  Mary Lauretta