by Craig Grau

There lies a reservoir of strength deep within the soul – one that allows us to hammer this infinitely malleable world into any shape we desire and to stand back, admire the results and use that experience to sustain us on this journey of purifying our souls.

The source of that determination renders the entire world a playground. It lets us shape not only music and other arts but also our bodies, conversation, relationships, food, finances, homes and landscapes. 

Its name is wildly familiar and coyly ever-present: creativity.

That one last corner the world’s trials back us into allows us to farm up solutions to whatever gnaws at our souls. Creativity amounts to a springboard from which to launch our counterattack. This golden resource lets the musician – or anyone – bang out solutions to everything from clunky basslines to cluttered romances.

You just gotta remember it’s there. The realization is ammunition in itself, bolstering one’s confidence that they can strum away at any challenge, letting them stand an inch taller.

Creativity in itself doesn’t solve problems, though. Salvation comes through application; in action, or the lack thereof, perhaps – à la the Taoist tradition of wu wei, or “​non-doing.”​ But doing without planning suggests flailing, or stumbling through the dark. Creativity allows the chance to create a flashlight – as in a plan – to illuminate the way.

Speaking of tools, some of us find no end to the need for a good shovel. We stand seemingly elbow-deep in difficulties that fuel our addictions. The bottle, the straw, the needle – we aimlessly use any of these makeshift spades to excavate ourselves from the mire. 

But there’s always a better way. It just requires a little thought; a bit of creativity, that four-leaf clover.

A cat chooses its path from rooftop to rose garden carefully, slinking from the eaves to railings to the grass with seemingly casual accuracy. It lands where it’s supposed to using the same juju as we do – he just calls it “meow.”

But there’s skill in choosing the safest landing from that dangerous perch. Each step of the cat’s paws is like another clever note in a descending scale. Sometimes that pattern is the only road map we possess to guide us back home.

The same way the universe gives birth to stars from seemingly nowhere, we create our days. We choose, knowingly or unknowingly, to construct a history in reverse fashion. There’s immense power in the decision to just sit and breathe, knowing our cells carry out their functions in the meantime at a furious rate. In a larger view, it’s what brings original artists greater returns than cover bands – the ability to dictate what’s written on the setlist.

Creativity is mankind’s ultimate strength. If we are all just waves breaking against the beach, then our hours are the shoreline. The waves keep breaking. And they break.

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