As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”― Martin Luther King Jr.
There are days we can be in our suffering and be in our pain. There are days we can push against it, resist it, and despise it. But when the day comes where we can redefine it, this is the day we can begin to be free of it.
Everyday, moment to moment, we are making choices. Choosing to stay in our suffering or to create a new moment, a new pathway and a new direction.
We can transform our suffering through art, through music and through motion, through the art of cooking, engineering, photography and science. We can transform through writing and sharing our words, through the creative force of kindness and the great power of loving others.
Research shows that being creative can improve well-being by increasing positive emotions and decreasing negative emotions. It shows that creativity can reduce depression, stress and anxiety, and improve our ability to express difficult emotions such as grief and sadness.
I can remember our family car breaking down on the N.Y. Thruway when I was a girl, no cell phones to call for help just a long walk to the next exit for my dad. While the rest of us waited in the car we played an imagination game coming up with stories about the people in cars that passed by, we danced in the field and performed for traffic and made hats out of newspaper. It was one of the best road trips I can remember. Maybe not for my dad but definitely for me!
I think my mother taught me a wonderful lesson about choosing suffering or choosing happiness by being creative. A life lesson that has stayed with me and helped me redirect my stress in everyday situations and also in times of crisis and tragedy. The message is always clear.
When the feelings of helplessness arrive, CREATE. It’s one of the greatest human gifts we have.