Gratitude and Creativity

Before my illness arrived I had some creative pursuits that I tried to commit time to daily. I wrote poetry. I walked around with a point-and-shoot camera and/or my iPhone all the time to make certain I never missed capturing a beautiful moment – flowers, sunsets, the movements of the city – then I used the images I captured to create graphic art. I painted – not very well – but my creations pleased me and the few friends who saw beauty in them.

Now I struggle to do any of those things. I am unable to do any of them with the same frequency, or at all. The constant weight of pain medications on my brain has reduced writing creatively to a slow trickle, which means I haven’t written many poems recently. Because of the pain I can’t go for walks when I want to take pictures of the active world and changing seasons outside my apartment. I have been trying to replace these creative things with activities I can do within the walls of my apartment without too much cerebral or physical effort.

Recently, while clicking through boards on Pinterest I found a creative project – art journaling. It does not require much effort and I decided to add my own twist. I’m combining creativity with gratitude. Each day I write about something for which I am grateful. Then – if I’m alert enough or not feeling too much pain – I sketch shapes or practice Zentangle doodles. I use coloured pencils and markers to draw and fill in the shapes I sketch, or I can paint the pages with water-colour paints. I’ve even written a few poems.

I have found a way to re-ignite my creativity while focusing on positive things. And, I am putting all of these things in one place where I can flip through the pages any time I need remind myself of about the good things that are in my life.



14 thoughts on “Gratitude and Creativity

  1. Oh Zentangle, yes, it’s fantastic for when you’re low on creativity. I did it for at least a year. Another thing I did when I could do nothing else on pain meds was origami. I did it obsessively to keep my mind occupied.


  2. I can empathise. I was always out and about on weekends with my camera taking photos (landscapes, mainly) before I got unable to travel very far. Like you say, it’s important to find creative activities that can be done at home, whether that means finding entirely new activities or adapting old ones. For example, I can still enjoy photography to some extent by playing around with photos I’ve taken in the past using editing software to make new ones. Or by changing my subject matter from landscapes to still life in the house or flowers/birds in the garden.


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