Handan T. Satiroglu, in Addition to Writing Professionally, Has Also Taught Sociology at Northern Virginia Community College, the Second Largest Community College in the United States

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THE ARTS Handan T. Satiroglu, in addition to writing professionally, has also taught Sociology at Northern Virginia Community College, the second largest community college in the United States. Her lectures have largely concentrated on theoretical and empirical discussions encompassing current social, political and cultural debates. She currently splits her time between Alexandria, Virginia and Segovia, Spain. When I was a child, I loved to dance around the brightly colored table in our common room area. For hours on end, I would glide, flash, and twirl effortlessly before a gasping audience of kings and queens. In a mood of high drama, I was the quintessential ballerina, playing the title role in a Greek tragedy. The white fluffy tutu, or the meticulously applied makeup were not the most important aspects of my play-world--it was the act of creating a dream, a fantasy that was vital. But then I earned an education. I studied the masterpieces of Foucault, Rembrandt, Mozart and Dostoevsky. And before long, I realized how frivolous my artistic ambitions were compared to the works of these great artists. So I did what I came naturally--I buried my burgeoning creativity and cast immense doubt on who I was and what I could do creatively. How many of us can relate to this? We've all felt the pangs of inadequacy when it comes to opening the floodgates of creativity. All too often, those of us who set out to be creative stop dead in our tracks by fear, guilt or self-doubt. As Julia Cameron explains in The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, this is because as a culture, "we tend to define creativity too narrowly and to think of it in elitist terms, as something belonging to a small chosen tribe of 'real artists.'" By the time we are adults, we have internalized the myth that creativity is a natural gift bestowed upon those with unusual psychological states or "mad" minds, and "regular" folks lack the capacity to express themselves artistically. But the truth is (as anyone who has watched a child play knows) we can all be creative. While many of us might have become estranged or alienated from it, Cameron assures us that "creativity is part of us--just as blood is part of our physical body--and we each can tap into the greater creative energies of the universe and pull from that vast, powerful wellspring to amplify our own individual creativity." You have all that passion aching to declare itself, moment by moment--it is only a matter of cracking open the mind gates that have kept your creativity in exile. So take heart: the damage is not irreversible! Here are three suggestions to help you transform your world for the better by rekindling the dormant creativity within. All work and no leisure keep the creative life at bay In the rush of our accelerated lives, few people realize that one of the best ways to boost creativity is to immerse ourselves in leisure, or "goof-off" time. It used to be that most Americans had time to socialize at the local bar on weeknights and get away on the weekends. As we go forth into the twenty-first century, however, our high-tech life combined with the frenzied pace and insecurity of the workplace has fostered a culture of workaholics. Ask most Americans how they are doing, and you will hear desperate stories of burnout and frustration. Indeed, according to the latest report by the Census Bureau, the average number of working hours per day for Americans climbed from 8 hours in 1986 to 8.8 hours in 2005. An increase of .8 hours might not sound like much, but it translates into an astronomic 200 extra hours--that is nine additional days of work a year. Leisure time--a simple, intrinsic human need to foster creativity--has been the ultimate casualty in the battleground of work. In our modern world, productivity is a virtue, and idleness or play is a character defect. As work consumes our lives, we fail to relish and live in the moment. Living in the moment would help us to unblock the spirit and welcome the artistic stream of energy available to us. …