Making something—actually creating a thing in the world—is one of the most exhilarating experiences on Earth. Some of my most powerful experiences have come from paintings, drawings, or poems that I’ve created. Of course, most parents will say that making children was the most incredible thing they’ve ever done, as well.
It just boggles my mind, though, how people A. say they can’t create, or B. claim they’ve never made anything when they have. If you’ve read Julia Cameron’s works, you are familiar with the idea that all humans are artists—creators—and we were born to make things from our own selves. I subscribe to that idea, too.
Remember in Rent when Mark sings, “The opposite of war isn’t peace—it’s creation!” That line just gives me goose bumps every time (even as I type it)! Imagine what the world would be like if instead of focusing on conflict and killing, we were all creating something. Wow, right?
Not only do I believe that art can heal and stop war, I think it can pretty much do anything else. We know that art therapy helps people who’ve experienced violence or illness get better. Julia Cameron and other artists have even made diets around creating art for weight loss! Making something is a way we can connect to ourselves and our worlds, as well as say, “I was here.”
Do you have something to make on your Living to Do list? It doesn’t have to be big—though it can! Make a giant sculpture if you like. Build a house. Redesign the world’s largest pencil! It can be small, too. I have everything on my list from building a castle from Leggos (check!) to making apple butter and homemade jam. I also have “Write a sonnet on parchment,” just for the fun of it.
If you don’t have something already, add “Make something” to your Living to Do list right now and just leave it like that. Let it simmer in your mind. Maybe over the next couple of days you’ll think of something you want to make—a soufflé, a painting, a pair of shoes—and you can add it to your list when it comes to you.