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Publisher Letter

Aug 31, 2021 ● By Peggy Malecki
Headshot of publisher Peggy Malecki

Peggy Malecki

Often, when we’re trying to solve a problem or move ahead with something that has us a bit stalled out, we may get well-meaning advice to “just get creative”! Sure, that’s a great idea ... but how to get started?

The creative process is different for all of us, of course, and can change based on our moods, ideas, level of alertness (or amount of sleep), time pressures and so much more. But I think most of us have ways to access the creative sides of our thought processes and get in the proverbial groove.

I was a journalism major in college, and spent many years in previous corporate and organizational gigs writing daily for a living. Yet, I’m still challenged many months to create my Publisher’s Letter. Typically, though, creative inspiration comes to me when I get away from my desk and go outside to refresh my thoughts in the natural world. 

What provides that spark, that elusive flash of inspiration when everything seems to get into a groove and problem-solving and creative processes can flow?

As I was walking and thinking about this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings Chicago, which focuses on the power of the creative arts in health and healing, I reflected on this very question. Then I saw two adult geese with their youngsters, and listened as they called back and forth to each other. Their goose conversation was a rhythm and the pattern reflected in my mind soon became a song. Yes! That moment was a spark for me, as I quickly remembered the times in high school when I solved a problem and made up tunes that enabled me to memorize Iago’s speech from Othello or lengthy poems for an English class presentation. 

I recognized the process and let it continue to flow. My thoughts soon connected the high school dots to recent events of my alma mater, which is in the final days of the building being demolished to make way for a residential development. A beautiful mosaic adorned the former school’s facade, and as dedicated alums scrambled to beat deadlines to raise funds and find a way to save the artwork, hard work led to creative problem-solving by alum organizers and donors, contractors and others involved to preserve it. That thought quickly wove into other related examples of dynamic problem-solving, and my walk became a creative reflection. 

How can we enter the creative mindset and envision new ways to handle a challenge, solve a problem, ease pains, enable new mental and/or physical movements in our bodies, move to new stages in life and get onto a path of healing? It’s different for all of us, of course. Circumstances, opportunities and much more can affect our abilities to take creative action. But I believe that in many ways, stepping away from the daily distractions, seeking inspiration and reconnecting with both movement and nature (including our own unplugged selves) can be a catalyst. 

We invite you this month to explore the creative healing process by reading several articles that look at healing and overall wellness through the arts and via connecting with the natural world. As we move into September, I hope they serve as a springboard for further developing your own creativity this autumn. Please let us know what inspires you this month by contacting us at [email protected] or connecting on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

As always, I encourage you to step outside of your daily routines whenever possible and observe the subtle changes in color and light as the seasons change. Look for clouds, sunrises and sunsets. Visit a park, forest preserve or natural area such as Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie to see the palette of purples, yellows and bronzes painted on the landscape. Watch for birds as they start their annual migrations. And tune your senses in to the magic of late summer and early fall.

Happy Equinox!