Many years ago a friend confided that he felt inferior and discouraged because he lacked creativity. He could name several people he knew who were creative but he was not one of them. He had not invented anything. He had not written a poem or story. He could not draw or paint. Obviously he was not creative.

In response, I referred to his problem solving skills in the work place. I reminded him of a few instances where his intervention had repaired damaged relationships among friends. I showed him also how he had generated happiness in the lives of a number of people. He had not seen these as being creative. Nor had he seen his imaginative ways of organising his office or dealing with tricky situations. He had not listed these among gifts or abilities he could be proud of.

Creativity is a vital quality. There is a great deal of joy in being creative. There is also considerable frustration when a person’s creativity and self-expression are blocked. In fact in the depression experienced by many people, blocked creativity is a common theme though they do not often see it quite that way.

A narrow definition of creativity prevents many of us from recognising its presence in ourselves. Besides, in the general deadness of a life that is caught up in the mechanical day to day living, most of us are simply out of touch with ourselves. We cannot be creative without having some level of self-awareness and vitality. Creativity is a reflection of our aliveness, a measure of our awareness.