Many years ago Roy and I led a marriage workshop for the church where he was a pastor. We decided to show a scene from a movie that portrayed intense forgiveness as we tried (emphasis on tried, because we were barely beginning to explore this ourselves) to teach how intimacy flowed through relationship.
It was from the 1993 movie Indecent Proposal. Perhaps you've seen it. IMDB's summary is "A billionaire offers $1,000,000 to a young married couple for one night with the wife." Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson play the young couple who navigate the aftermath of their choice. One that they made together which eventually split them apart.
The scene we showed was the end, where they sat on a deserted beach on opposite sides of a bench with a tall wall. One of them reached up over the wall and waited until....finally, the other hand came up and touched.
We had no idea what would happen and we certainly didn't anticipate what DID happen. The energy level in the room shifted so profoundly that we had to take a break. Women cried. Men fidgeted uncomfortably in their seats. We tried to ask a question, but nobody spoke. People were just stunned by the emotion.
So we took a break, a very long break, and talked about how we were going to help people navigate this unexpected raw experience.
What Roy and I stumbled into was actually creativity in action. I have stumbled into it so many many times in my life and all too frequently been embarrassed or shamed by the emotion I have (inadvertently) evoked.
Until I just stopped doing it.
Not coincidentally, I suppose, part of the weekend was a brief teaching I did on creativity. I had come to the epiphany that creativity is a survival instinct that we all have. So many times I hear people say "oh, I'm not really very creative" and I say, "Did you get dressed this morning? The very act of choosing what to wear, how you want to look on a given day is a creative act! You may not be doing it consciously, but you are doing it."
At the break, an engineer in the group approached me and said "do you work in marketing?" I said I did. "I thought so," he said, and walked away. Hmmmmm.
So my journey into creativity taught me a few limiting lessons that weekend that I want to shed. I was shut down by fear. Other people's fear of intimacy, my fear of intimacy, and my fear about how my ideas and expressions made people very very uncomfortable.
Fast forward 14 years to reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic. And in it she says..."Creativity is the hallmark of our species."
YES! YES! I said. And then I thought, hey, I said that years ago. That's what it took for my truth to find validity. It took someone else saying it. Someone on the best-seller list.
Damn, I thought. I have to start listening to myself.