Pam Neal
Corsicana, Texas

Pam Neal is a gifted encourager and creative. Her mission is to nurture healing and build community through creativity. She is a therapist, writer, workshop leader, motivational speaker, and stage director. She uses creativity and self-discovery to support people to live fully, by overcoming unhealthy thinking and harmful habits.

Essays

Addicted to Creativity?

on
November 9, 2018

This morning, as I washed my breakfast dishes, I was flooded with a desire. It was more of a whispered voice driving me to something wonderful.  Wonderful and frightening.  I couldn’t tell if it came from inside me, but the message was clear.

If I don’t play the piano, I’ll die.

The directive was simple, yet bizarre.  There is no scientific basis for such a claim.  I’m not even afraid to test it out; try not playing the piano for 24-hours and see if I die.  I don’t like the way that sounds but I am clear, not playing the piano will not kill me.  Billions of people disprove that hypothesis every day.  The message is bizarre, and also very familiar.  It’s the same message I heard when I tried to stop eating addictively.

If I don’t eat Doritos right NOW, I’ll die. 

That too was bizarre and also dead wrong.  The truth, if I kept eating that way, I would die.   But the belief that it was true and the flood of terror that accompanied the ghoulish message, ensured that I would give in and zombie-comply.

So why am I getting the same message about playing the piano, that drove me to wolf down enough food for a small village 10 years ago?

I wondered about it briefly, but I didn’t really want the answer.  What if I have to stop playing the piano? I’ve gotten those messages for singing and writing too.  God, is that you telling me I have to cease and desist all things creative?

I will surly die.

I’m a creative.  I can’t stop doing the very things that bring beauty and meaning into my life.  I needed to know.

***

Creativity is a gift to me from God.  Most days, it is the closest I come to experiencing how He might feel.  It is me being His channel for beauty and love, hope and tears.

I love the clarity of the Bible.  Whether you believe it to be the God-breathed source of truth, or simply a collection of fables, there are glorious stories and lessons to be had.  It says it is a memoir of a son written by a loving father, written to all his other children.

In the Bible, there are very few places where God makes things appear that were never there to begin with.  He usually transforms things.  Sticks into serpents, water into wine, dead people into living people.  Even the creation of the world was forming blobs into order meaning.  To the point of breathing Himself into the first man, causing his awakening.  He melded, molded and then breathed his very essence into his creation.  And it remains a miracle.  People walk around untethered to any visible power source, and we are all free to decide what we will do with our existence.  It’s all mind blowing.

***

One definition of addiction is when you want to stop doing something so badly, but you can’t.  No matter how it affects your health, relationships, bank account, or your self esteem, you can’t stop.  Even if you want to, you can’t stay stopped.

And with that came the chink in the armor of this battle with my freedom to create.  You see, I’m not experiencing negative consequences from creating.  I experience them when I don’t.

It is a bit deceptive.  No doubt, creating is a high.  For some, it is a god.  Fortunately, for me, I see the gift and my need to use it thoughtfully.  But, I have never lost a job over my creativity, or a friend.  I’ve never spent my mortgage money on piano lessons.  Never had friends conduct an intervention to get me to stop writing.  Actually, it’s the opposite.

Pam, when are you going to finish the book?

When are you performing again?

If writing is important, I have to make it my priority.

But before I consider the comments and reflections of friends, I should examine them.  Are my friends people-pleasing codependents.  Are they co-addicts looking for a using buddy like crabs in a barrel?  Are they self-centered psychopaths with lethal motivations.  No, my friends love me.  They know my goals, and support me in achieving them.

So, no.  I’m not addicted to creativity. It’s my passion.  It is where I feel most connected to God.  A gift from Him.  I long to use it, and I think it is time to make it a priority.

Hi.  I’m Pam, and I’m a creative.

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September 10, 2018

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