Hawaii’s history begins with the lava. Artwork begins with a mindset that wonders about what can be. While the finished product does have its value, creativity is more about the lava that gives form to the new work than it is about the final product. The dictionary defines creativity as “The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”
The lava of creativity is the conversation going on within myself, a conversation which I have had to learn how to hear. I first got started in artwork in 1989 when an editor wanted something to accompany an article I had written. The first thing I heard within myself was, “But I can’t do professional artwork! I’m not that talented. I haven’t been trained.” Luckily for me all of my monastic training kicked in and new ideas began “Why not? I’ll never know whether or not I can if I don’t try.”
My experience with creativity has been that my first impulse to being creative immediately brought forth an awareness of my fear of failure. I could also see how that fear had given rise to a certain rigidity in my thinking. Monastic life, with its various disciplines aims to enable the individual to grow away from self-captivity. Once I let myself listen to that conversation going on within myself, my monastic training enabled me to say “What the hell… I’ll try it and see what happens!”
Now sometimes people ask me, “Why do you make art?” My response is, “Because I have to!” No matter what cerebral reasons I might give for doing it, at the heart of the matter is that I have to see what can flow out of me if I allow it, to see where the art will lead me. Like the lava, so long as we’re flexible and open to new possibilities, willing to push beyond our routine way of thinking and being, creativity enables us to bring a new earth into being.