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life

TA P P I N G I N T O C R E AT I V I T Y

Creating Through Gratitude by Barbara Hengstenberg

“Gratitude wells up from your soul, spills out of your heart, fills your eyes with tears and breathes ‘thank you’ from your lips.” - Author Linda Yiannakis Thank you. These are two simple words that I try to say throughout the day. Sometimes they’re mindlessly spoken in response to someone’s kindness. After all, I was taught that the mantra of good manners is to always say please and thank you. When giving thanks becomes more contemplative, however, it embraces me in gratitude. Operating in gratitude mode, the world becomes clearer to me. There is a clarity in thought, leading to my paying closer attention and becoming more present. I notice more and become more reflective when I’m in gratitude mode. Some describe gratitude as a physical sensation, felt between the heart and the gut, and between the heart and the soul. It’s sometimes described as breathtaking, saturating one’s thoughts, vision and feelings, and providing unconditional warmth.

Once we reach this mental, physiological and emotional realm, what better place from which to create? Gratitude nourishes happiness which, in turn, nourishes creativity. According to Kate Harrison’s 2016 Inc.com article, How Gratitude Can Make You More Creative and Innovative, “By using gratitude as a way to relax and reset your mind, you open up the possibility of new creativity and innovation.” In order to capture this spark, I keep a gratitude journal. Others prefer to jot a random list of all for which they are grateful, while my friend Amy Rauber-Patton prefers to keep a gratitude jar. She adds slips of paper into her jar, upon which are written notes of special moments such as, “spending a day with my kids, a rainbow, game night with friends. Sometimes it’s simply finding a parking space near the door.” The benefits of being in gratitude mode are immense. Using a journal, list or jar helps to capture feelings of thankfulness with the added benefit of providing a keeping place for future creative projects. To get started, decide how to best keep track of the things for which you are grateful. I jot mine weekly, sometimes daily, in a journal. (Be cautioned, though, that this doesn’t become a mundane routine task, as can happen with a daily list.) Sometimes I’ll illustrate certain entries with a simple sketch.

Barbara Hengstenberg is an artist, writer and educator who always encourages creativity. She is the founder of WildesArt, an online gathering place for creatives. Barbara can be reached at Barbara@WildesArt.com or by visiting www.WildesArt.com.

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OutreachNC.com | DECEMBER 2018

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