By Whitney Ferre
I love the quote by Albert Einstein, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” It reminds me that whatever the problem, to find a solution there must first be a shift in our thought process. So when I learned about the documentary “Who Does She Think She Is?” I immediately went to, “where does the shift need to happen?” As the mother of three school age children, a wife, an artist, an author, and an entrepreneur, I have intimate knowledge of the struggles faced by creative women.
Where is the shift here? The guilt has been created by the society outside of ourselves. So, it is within ourselves that we will find the solution. I see two opportunities to create a shift within ourselves. Let me speak to my own experience to illustrate.
First, as hard as it can be, I know that I need to protect my creative time. If I feel “guilty” about taking the time to create, I am by default validating the position that mothers “should” spend extra time devoted to family, or “should” only engage in activity outside the family that produces an income. When I align with the “why I need to create”, then I can explain to my husband and kids that this activity is not optional. Over the years, I have had to work, sculpt, carve, illustrate for my family how important my creative activity is, as well as how important it is for all of us. I can also stand firm and let them know that they do not want to be living with the woman who has not had her time in the studio. As a result, they spend more time creating, drawing, painting, building, imagining. I have been able to create this family culture, but only because I made a shift within that created a shift outside of me.
This illustrates the second shift that is available to us. We get to raise our children to value the artist within each of us. In her post, Melissa Lopata referred to the “primal urge to create”. We each have that primal need. Some have been able to suppress it and others of us simply refuse. My son will never think that his wife should not pursue her art because that is all he knows.
We are teaching our children and our families what to value. When we protect our creative space, even when others challenge its “value”, we are leading the next generations towards an entirely new way of valuing the artist and the creative spirit. As busy as we all are, if something is important enough we can make it happen.
Try adding these to your to-do list:
1. Create time & space for ANY kind of creative activity.
2. Share the art of another woman to help to promote her work.
3. Go to view (listen to) art at a museum, gallery, or performance.
Whitney Ferre’ is a Creativity Coach, an artist, a mother of three, and the author of The Artist Within, A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit and 33 Things to Know About Raising Creative Kids. She helps women embrace and strengthen their creative spirit at CreativelyFit.com and in her workshops and retreats around the country. Her online program, “Meet Your Artist Within”, is a great first step for any woman who wants to amplify her creative life.