Monday, July 14, 2008


Integrating creativity and every day madness

Lisa A. Riley

RX: Daily Dose of Creativity

At the beginning of a day or week, when one sits down
to practice the common ritual of creating a “To Do”
list, are there items that can be categorized as
“Have-Tos” and “Want-Tos?” Or does the list only
include the “Have-Tos?” The items that we aspire to do
usually contain the very things in which we express
our creative selves, such as painting a sunset,
writing a poem, journaling, arranging flowers picked
from the garden, trying a new recipe, daydreaming.
These morsels of creative nourishment often take a
back seat in our lives as we regularly place them at
the bottom of the list or leave them for those extra
free hours we hope to have at the end of the day.

The other night I watched a movie titled, “Pollock”
which showed the turmoil and successful life of artist
Jackson Pollock. In one scene they depicted a day in
his life. Every morning he would roll out of bed, grab
a cigarette, a cup of coffee and first thing, head out
to the studio to paint. Doing his art was as essential
as having breakfast in the morning. Although he
struggled with Bipolar Disorder and alcohol abuse, he
appeared most at peace when he spent his time painting
or laying in the grass on his 1.5 acre property,
watching the clouds drift over head.

Our lives may not always accommodate the same luxury,
but perhaps adopting some of those similar practices
on a daily bases might enrich our lives with deeper
meaning. It isn’t always necessary to dedicate an
entire day to doing art or quit our day job and become
a starving artist. Even an hour or two a day can be
enough to keep the creativity alive and well while
still attending to the “Have-Tos” list.

Making time to nourish the creative aspects of
ourselves should become as equally important as
the time we take to eat, take our supplements, go to
doctor appointments, exercise. Yet we often leave our
time for art on the back burner. Creativity is not
only an essential part of being human, but can also
sustain our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Honoring pockets of our creative expression can
prevent irritability, bouts of discontent, apathy and
boredom. If we starve our soul, does our soul begin to
scream out in the form of neurosis? Whether it be over
eating, drinking, spacing out in front of the TV or

A life supplied with regular doses of imagination,
inspiration and even good common daydreaming is an
essential part of being a whole person. Not only do we
honor our gifts and aspirations, we also validate the
authentic part of us; the part of us that calls us to
“come out and play,” to draw doodles in the sand or
mold clay with our hands.

Next time you sit down to draw up your “To-Do” list
consider placing the act of doing your art and
expressing yourself creatively near the top,
Therefore, making these nurturing morsels a priority
and a required supplement to living a balance artful


Lisa Riley is a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern,
painter and writer. She has spent the last 25 years
integrating various forms of self-expression as a way
of life and an avenue towards healing. Lisa has her
own private practice in Southern California. She feels
a strong connection with the creative person and can
understand the unique challenges that accompany being
creative. In the last 5 years she has had the pleasure
of working with artists, writers, actors and musicians
in helping them gain self-awareness, healing and a
deeper understanding of themselves as artists.
For more information feel free to visit her site at or if you wish to reach her, you can
email her at

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