Creative expression – Discover the transition from ‘age-ing’ to ‘sage-ing’
Community finds joy and health through creative expression
Art – intuitive, imaginative, creative expression – is the language of the heart. heART Fit is a community group in Kelowna BC. They gather weekly to practice ‘spontaneous process painting’. This is a free-flowing experience of joy and relaxation through playful, creative expression. heART Fit believes that, just as physical energy needs to be exercised, so does creative energy.
Each week an intention is set. Painting begins. Members directed their inner uges and colours are applied — brushed, dripped, or smudged onto a surface. Much is revealed through the hand’s gesture. The challenge is to let the unconscious direct, without judgement, the gestures of the hand. Each participant then takes time to reflect on what appears and how they felt during the act of painting. Paintings are hung and celebrated. Through painting, and sometimes writing poetry, wisdom is shared and members sage rather than age.
What is ‘sage-ing’?
Review your past. Create something out of it. Pass your creation on to the future. Celebrate the richness of your life.
The word is new, but its roots are old. In ancient Greece, sages like Plato and Aristotle were revered for the wisdom of their teachings. Their greatest lesson was to “Know Thyself.” Today, we translate that lesson into the verb ‘sage-ing’. It gives new direction for taking action in the pursuit of personal meaning, health, and well being.
In their book From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older, authors Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller invite readers to enter the ‘Silver Times’ with enthusiasm, and a passion to share the wisdom of a lifetime. Sage-ing is a vision for aging that focuses on seeking ways to keep growing in consciousness, to feel greater self appreciation, and to serve others. Exploring one’s creative spirit offers us this opportunity. Creativity opens us to our possibilities.
The link between creativity and aging
In a 2002 study, Harvard doctor Gene D. Cohen showed that those who engaged in the arts late in life had fewer illnesses and injuries and more independence.
In 2003, Vancouver doctor Gabor Maté published When The Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress. Says Dr. Maté, “Everyone has the urge to create. Its expression may flow through many channels: through writing, art or music, through the inventiveness of work or in any number of ways unique to all of us, whether it be cooking, gardening or the art of social discourse. The point is to honour the urge. To do so is healing for ourselves and for others; not to do so deadens our bodies and our spirits.”
Mature creativity becomes a fascinating adventure into our capacity to use and enjoy the trained, rational mind, while at the same time reaching out with playful intuition to explore new possibilities. The idea is not to learn new skills, but rather to learn to trust your intuition and relax into playful experimentation.
According to author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, current research advises an approach to creativity that is: “a profound absorption into the subject of inquiry, accompanied by self-forgetting, timelessness, and the experience of profound joy.” (CREATIVITY: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention)
Sharing in Kelowna
As heART Fit grew, participants wanted to share the stories of how their lives have been enriched by creative engagement. Sage-ing With Creative Spirit, Grace and Gratitude is an on-line quarterly journal, produced by senior volunteers. Each draws from the rich resources of their earlier professions. The journal is a gift to the future from those who have discovered sage-ing. It is an open venue for sharing stories of how honouring creative spirit brings joy, and enhances health and well being.
Visit us to discover mature creativity and health through sage-ing. Contribute your story.
About the Author:
Karen Close is an Advisory Council Member of the Arts Health Network. She has spent 30 years as a Visual Arts and English teacher.
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