Many of us believe that we are not creative, but is this true? To create means simply to make something new, to bring into being something that has not existed before. When we understand this basic definition, we can realize not only that we are all creative, but also that we can learn to express ourselves more creatively by spending time in nature.
The universe itself is inherently creative. Many, many years ago, the universe began as a very hot, dense mass of undifferentiated particles. As these expanded and cooled, they formed the particles and atoms that we know today. And as the aeons passed, these particles shaped themselves into stars, galaxies, planets, and – eventually – life. Life itself is endlessly creative, constantly evolving into new and diverse forms and coming up with new and innovative solutions to environmental problems. These solutions often change the environment in turn, encouraging other species to respond in creative ways.
As humans, we are – like all of life – inherently creative, and we are ourselves creations of the universe, of the earth, and of the countless species who contributed to our evolution. When we express our creativity, we express the inherent creativity of life and the universe, just as we ourselves are expressions of that creativity.
But how do we express ourselves creatively, especially if we are not accustomed to thinking of ourselves as creative? One way is to begin by spending time in nature – whether in a forest, a park, or a backyard. Away from other human beings, electronic devices, and the thoughts and words of others, we can observe nature more closely and also become more aware of our own thoughts and feelings, rather than simply thinking or feeling what we are taught that we should think or feel by our family, our peers, or the media.
As we become more aware of the other beings that share the more-than-human world with us, our human-centred worries and concerns begin to feel less important. We begin to see ourselves as simply one small piece of the whole – one small piece of the creative universe. Yet we also have a unique viewpoint of that whole, because no one else is going to perceive and understand things in the way that we perceive and understand them. When we simply express – in whatever medium we prefer – what we truly think and feel in a genuine way, then we are being truly creative – and allowing the inherent creativity of nature to be expressed through us.