"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves."
Existential Intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to engage questions about human existence – how we got here, whether we have a purpose, and whether there is meaning in Life. Existential intelligence embraces the exploration of aesthetics, philosophy, religion and values like beauty, truth, and goodness. A strong existential intelligence allows human beings to see their place in the big picture, be it in the classroom, community, world, or universe.
First proposed by Howard Gardner, existential intelligence is one of nine theorized intelligences and is considered to be amoral – that is, it and the other eight categories of human intelligence can be used either constructively or destructively.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Creativity in the Face of Distress
Eventually the real world intervened. Deadlines to meet, contracts to sign, classes to teach. A daughter with a lead foot and a string of minor car accidents. Cancelled auto insurance. Screw ups at the bank that would have curdled my day a year ago. None of it seemed to matter very much. A shift in perspective, I guess.
But I couldn’t write. I didn’t know what to say. Where does creativity fall on the scale of important life stuff, anyway? It felt rather pointless. Plus my spiritual beliefs were crashing and burning. I know bad things happen to good people, and that disease is never a punishment handed out by a vindictive God. I know love, compassion and forgiveness are the only real keys to a meaningful life. But somehow I couldn’t hold on to my convictions. I couldn’t make this better. I couldn’t fix it. I didn’t know what to do. I felt doubly bad.
I am still sitting with these realities. I want to get a handle on how to be creative when it comes to facing down the crummy stuff you never think will happen to you. Because some of it will. And if not to you personally, for sure to someone you know and love.
Two thoughts guiding me as this unfolds. First, it isn’t doing my sister any good for me to feel helpless, scared and disconnected. If anything, this is the time to be selfless, find the good and funny and beautiful in Life and share it with her. Be happy just because it might help. Stay connected.
And keep creating. It would be easy to sequester myself in the studio in an escapist fashion that would keep me from being available. That’s not the answer. But a centered Jane is a more useful Jane, and spending time in the studio is both solace and therapy. Some of my strength comes from being there. The studio has been calling me and maybe that’s why.
So creating is important after all. Sometimes it’s the glue that holds things together, and sometimes it’s the release valve that blows off steam. Either way, it’s one way to seek balance. I bet I’m not alone in this experience. Your thoughts?