Creativity as a Virtue

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” – Seneca

The last few days I’ve been ill and to my dismay, this has prevented me from writing. Historically, I’ve focused on writing when I have the physical ability as any mental anguish I encounter can generally be remedied with writing. However, I didn’t account for my physical illness to take a toll on my creativity.

Seneca’s quote rings true for me, especially these last few days. The first day of my illness I was so focused on my own experience I could hardly come up with a topic to reflect on. The second and third day I did not leave my bed and writing was far from my thoughts. Today, the fourth day of my illness I’ve written and deleted four different topics that sounded good in theory but failed to produce anything in my creative self.

A trip to CVS to pick up medicine to treat my daughter’s covid infection resulted in a momentary burst of creative thought. And was followed by realization that my creative self was suffering because I had removed myself from any outlet and my imagination had nowhere to go but inwards.

While I don’t feel that I have been particularly anxious the last few days, my heart monitor on my fitness tracker, and my dear husband would suggest otherwise. I feel at peace with my life and my affairs are in order. I can find the gratitude, despite our current circumstances. However, there is something inside me that cannot reconcile our current situation as temporary.

Anytime my mind goes to something we have planned, that we are looking forward to, the next, and sometimes simultaneous thought is someone will be sick, and we will miss it. This is mentally exhausting and self-defeating.  

Part of the beauty of life is that it will continue with or without you. Being sick and even being bedridden is no longer the sentence it once was. I may not have been able to write but I could have painted or crocheted or really anything that served as an outlet for my creative self. To go against my creativity is a risk with increasing consequences as I age. My creativity has become a part of my ethics.

If I could go back in time, I would ask my sick self to paint a picture of what the next family outing would look like and/or write emails to my family members and make plans. For if we plan nothing, nothing will happen.

Today, I will focus on being a part of life in whatever capacity I am able to. I will strive to care for my creativity as I do other virtues required to be fully present in my own life and remember that this too shall pass.  

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