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One of my goals when working through the 64 Arts, beyond exploring some new skill-sets, was to encourage (in myself as well as others) little bits of daily creativity that feed our souls. I truly believe that doing something creative–and that covers a whole host of possibilities–can improve our outlook and our emotional health, with can only help our physical health as well. (That’s what the whole “better living through creativity” tagline is all about, after all.)
While I think my project tutorials do that to an extent, the Arboriculture art got me thinking beyond the basics. Not everyone has a yard they can tend a tree in or even a porch or balcony that gets enough sun, so what other ways can tree inspire us creatively.
Exploring our Roots
Have you ever done a family tree? Maybe as a school assignment long ago or maybe you got bitten by the genealogy bug and spent some time on a site like Ancestry.com or trolling city archives. If you’ve never explored your family’s history, maybe this would be a good time to look into it, find out some stories from the generations that we still have around and then dig a little deeper. Maybe you have someone famous (or infamous!) in your lineage, or maybe you come from salt-of-the-earth hard-workers. Either way, knowing where you come from may help explain some of who you are, today.
Putting Down New Roots
A song I found for one of my old podcasts (man, I really want to get back to making those!) was called “Twisted Family Ties” and boy, oh boy, do I know all about those! Sometimes the people we’re born to make it hard to love them. Sometimes it’s just plain implausible and you might have to–for your own safety or sanity–distance yourself or completed cut ties. In this instance, why not create an imaginary family tree of the family you were “supposed” to be born into. Remember that a person’s flaws are just as important part of their character as the good things. Draw pictures or make collages of your new family portraits and give them interesting backstories.
Reach Out to the Forest
With us living in a very global society, it’s not uncommon to feel closer to someone 3,000 miles away than you do your own kin. Ages ago sociologists started to refer to these created family groups as tribes (urban or otherwise). They may not be part of your family tree (real or imagined), but they are part of your forest. Reach out a branch and write a letter (yes, a real, honest to goodness, paper and pen(cil), put a stamp on it letter) to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Or maybe to your best friend who you talk to every day–I don’t think they’d be any less thrilled to find something other than junk mails and bills in their mailbox, do you? And if you’re feeling a bit more of a lone cactus in the dessert vibe, why not reach out and make a new friend by joining a penpal group. (International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club comes highly recommended, by the way. I’m thinking of signing up for the next round, myself).
So, there you have it. Your creative mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use one of the prompts above and act on it. Add a little creativity into your life and enrich it in some way. Then, come back and share what you did–you never know what might spark an idea in another person.