Bridging the Brain

By Sarah Kelly

We tend to think of creativity is an artistic gift - music, painting, drawing, dancing, writing, etc. Creativity may be most visible in art, but it's so much more than that. By the most basic of definitions, creativity is putting a new 'idea into action. Any new invention or way of thinking can be considered creative. Creativity can be coming up with a new meal, finding a new way to lift a heavy object, coding computer language.

Creativity and creation are derived from the same word - create. A 1960s study by Nobel laureate Roger W Sperry, who was known for his split-brai n research, led to ground breaking discoveries about the differences between the right and left sides of the brain and how people are more likely to use one side than the other. The theory is that right-side dominant people are more qualitative with data, so more likely to be artistic and free thinkers, while left-side thinkers are more quantitative and analytical, and thus more logical.

Studies in the 1990s show that it's more complicated - that creativity is based on the pathways that translate and transfer information and that you can strengthen your ability to be creative by forming new neuro pathways

Creativity in Recovery

One of the most beautiful things about recovery is finding what brings you joy, and for me, that meant taking on a new creative endeavor, testing what I felt was brilliantly inspired idea. I decided to start a card company. As often happens in early recovery, my ideas were grandiose and my ability to pause was still being fostered. I jumped in enthusiastically, buying everything I could imagine I'd possibly need to make really beauliful cards. I fantasiz:ed about selling them at the farmer's market. and unleashing a gift I didn't know I had. I obsessed about. the right materials and the right way to make cards that rivaled Hallmark's.

Tums out, when I finally sat down to create, I quickly realized that my talent wasn't there - I'm pretty sure the only people my cards would seem beautiful to would be 5-year-olds with an affinity for glitter and dinosaurs. What l did learn is that I love cutting things out, gluing and adding glitter. I turned that into a collage habit that makes my heart happy and helps me work out feelings.

Living a sober life is the very essence of creativity. You're learning a new way to live, a new way to function, a new path for yourself. You're creating new neuro pathways in your brain to react differently, and every choice you make is creating a new life! The next step is to find what brings joy. Test the waters. Creativity can come in many forms, and many of us have forgotten (or never known) what truly brings us Joy.

No matter what failures you face in this quest, never doubt your ability to be creative. You have this gift within. Let it shine.

Ways to spark creativity

Be playful.
Turn on the music and dance in your kitchen, sing in the car, color in a coloring book. Let down your walls, and have some fun!

Practice mindfulness.
A mindfulness practice helps with the neuroplasticity of the brain, thereby helping ·with the creation of new pathways.

Try something new.
Get outside your comfort zone. Pick up a paintbrush, sign up for a language class, go kickboxing.

Be in nature.
Surrounding yourself with nature calms the mind and opens the heart.

Keep a notepad handy.
Do you have your best thoughts in the shower or as you're falling
asleep? Jot them down before you forget!