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Embracing Creativity and Self-Discovery

Updated: Sep 18

I've spent my entire life struggling to find a way to be myself.

I've often felt trapped in my own mind, caught in a ceaseless cycle of negative thoughts that shape my reality. I've been running away from myself, but why? Was I disconnected from my true self? I lacked awareness; despite reading books on the subject, I didn't truly understand what it meant to 'be aware.'

Then, amidst the darkness, I began practicing meditation in August 2013. Unconsciously, I started to draw. My drawings became a reflection of my darkness, intermingled with irony, life force, freedom, and pain. I wasn't skilled at drawing, but I found freedom in expressing my thoughts on paper. It was a form of art therapy, a way to cease the relentless stream of thoughts.

The Anger, the desire, the body as a cage ©Loredana Denicola
The Anger, the desire, the body as a cage ©Loredana Denicola

I couldn't stop drawing; I was obsessed.

Sleep eluded me as I overthought, creating fictional narratives in my mind that impacted my real life, my relationships, my surroundings, and my mental and physical health. Yet, I remained unaware of the extent of my turmoil.

Desperate for guidance, I turned to my yoga instructor one morning after a yoga class at the gym:"How can I stop thinking?" I asked.

"It's a challenging question," he replied. "I think you should work on your breathing. If you can breathe, you will stop thinking."I returned home and delved into meditation, discovering the Buddhist center on Roman Road in East London. There, I learned two types of meditation: metta bhavana and mindfulness.

Initially, I meditated for one hour each day, striving to grasp the practice.

I began writing nonsensical thoughts, drawing without a clear purpose, and embarking on new photography art projects, all guided by intuition rather than thought. It was a creative outpouring that seemed to flow effortlessly, and I fell in love with my creations.

Finally I vomited you © Loredana Denicola
Finally I vomited you © Loredana Denicola

Time passed, and I felt better.

In the beginning, my mind was chaotic, flooded with incessant thoughts.

But I began to notice changes. I made adjustments to my website, infusing it with more of my personality, making it more animated and reflective of myself. It became a rich tapestry of ideas and creativity, albeit somewhat cluttered. My mind was teeming with thoughts, and the creative floodgates had opened.

A year went by, and I embarked on my project 'I Am Your Mirror.' The door wasn't entirely open yet, but it was there. I was searching for light. In my drawings, I depicted houses and crosses using three colours: white, black, and red. I felt like I was looking for my own house, my true self. I'd found a door, though I hadn't entered it. The house was perched in a tree amid a small city. Creativity was my journey to find myself.

What is creativity, anyway?

Creativity transcends any specific activity; it's not confined to painting, dancing, or poetry. You don't have to be an artist to be creative; you can infuse creativity into anything you do. It's about the quality and attention you bring to your actions, being present, and connected to your reality. Creativity is a form of magic; it's about being present.

But it's not easy.

It's your unique way of perceiving the world and yourself.

When you're truly present, everything around you appears different, more vibrant, and alive. Creativity is inherent in everything you do; it's your personal approach to life. Not everyone can be an artist, and a world full of artists wouldn't be truly creative; we need diversity. Fortunately, we are all artists in our own way.

Once, I made a butternut squash risotto with onions, pears, brown rice, water, and a touch of cloves and flax seeds. While savouring my creation, I realised that using bananas instead of pears might make it even more delicious.

Creativity seeped into my cooking. Try it; it's truly delightful!

Every action must be approached with love and creativity, without expectations, without force.

When I began my photography journey in 2008, taking a basic four-week course, I recall my first day. I arrived late, breathless and knocked on the door. As I entered, still smiling...

"Come in!" the teacher exclaimed. Then he asked, "What's your favorite activity, the one you enjoy the most?"

"I love cooking," I responded spontaneously, without overthinking it.

"Good, photography is like cooking," he said. "You decide how to capture a photograph, what elements to include and exclude, the subjects, the emotions, the aesthetics. You choose."

Love what you do.

Be meditative in your actions, be present, be passionate.

Creativity means loving everything you do and finding joy in life. It's like a love affair. Fame and wealth don't matter; what matters is pouring all your love into your activity. If you believe you're not creative, you'll become uncreative.

We are the creators of ourselves.

I was creating my unhappiness, my unhealthy relationships, my stress, my anxiety with my thoughts. I was also creating art for the first time in my life, and the process of healing began.

Let's look at children; they're all naturally creative.

Then parents, religion, society impose false beliefs, making them more ambitious economically, personally, and politically, laden with taboos. Creativity diminishes. With ambition and false beliefs, creativity vanishes.

Our society's focus is money-oriented, power-oriented, and power is destructive, not creative. To be creative means doing something without expectations, with love, giving to the world without seeking recognition. Creativity can sometimes lead to trouble; you may not become rich in the external world, but you'll feel rich inside.

Being creative requires courage, as Matisse once said, a statement that holds true. Creative individuals possess their own essence. You may not have the world at your feet, but your imagination and creativity will keep you company forever.

So, let's be creative.

by Loredana Denicola

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