Written by Monica Kovacs
Creativity seems to be one of those things that people assume they either have or don't have, kind of like a genetic trait. I usually hear it in response to the 'What's your background?' question. When I tell people I majored in music, I always get reactions like 'Oh, I'm not artistic' or 'I've never been talented in anything'. It always baffles me because I know, having gone through the program, that it's really not about talent (trust me, it's not). A little talent is great, but it's mostly the love of your art, the desire to create something beautiful and meaningful, that fuels one's passion to succeed.
So this brings us to the topic of creativity. It's so easy in our society to get caught up in the analytical, logical side of things. I personally know I've drifted too far to the other side when I get a profound urge to just immerse myself in a project of creation - whether it's sitting down and writing for 3 hours, or playing the piano, or creating a beautiful gourmet dessert. It helps balance all the organizational and left-brained activities of my life.
Cooking/baking I think is just as satisfying as any other artistic outlet. It allows certain parts of the brain to relax while our senses are pleasantly stimulated - the delicate smells, colors, textures and tastes. Even the sound of a crunchy carrot breaking or a pot of soup bubbling on the stove allow us to drift into another world. And the nice thing about cooking is that it's something we all have to engage in once in a while so its a skill you might as well cultivate.
I like to encourage all my clients to discover their love of cooking and use it as a creative outlet in their lives. While it may initially seem like a chore to come home at the end of a long day and have to prepare something, it's important to look at the sensual side of it. Imagine going to the farmers market and smelling and feeling all your vegetables, trying to find the best ones for your dish. Then imagine finding something new and exciting that you decide might go well with your dish. All day when you're at work you're excited about going home and preparing this amazing meal because you know it's going to be sooo good. Finally, you get home, turn on your favourite music and start chopping and blending and simmering. You get into an almost meditative state as you savour each smell and take in all the beautiful colors - a lot more sexy than throwing a box in the microwave and plunking yourself down in front of the TV.
And maybe that first dish you create isn't going to be as awesome as you had thought. But then again, the greatest musicians and artists weren't that awesome when they started out either. It's all about loving something enough to find the time to cultivate it. It's also about enjoying the process rather than focusing on the end result. Enjoy the sensualness of it. Get excited about your creation. Lose yourself in it. Try to make your presentation beautiful, even if it's just for you. Before you know it, you will be creating masterpieces. Hey, you might even be inspired to journal that night, or take a picture of your food and share it with your friends.