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neuroplasticity and creativity

A week or so ago, getting in touch with the world through the BBC world news from the comfort of my woods, came across a short report on Joni Mitchell’s interview with Elton John. Not only I was super surprised to hear she’d be releasing a new album (almost 80 year old genius <3), but I didn’t know about her health troubles and journey to recovery. She suffered a brain aneurism (massive blood vessel bleed in the brain) in 2015, which left her bound to bed and not speaking. Slowly her body started recovering, she got back her speech too. As for her voice - “I couldn’t sing the key, I’ve become an alto, I’m not a soprano anymore,” she commented, when discussing on her appearance at a festival this summer.

In the interview she’s talked about losing her ability to play the guitar, looking at old videos to see where on the strings to put her fingers. The process of relearning basic things like sitting, eating, talking and walking is a humbling experience of how amazingly our bodies are created and what an enormous potential for self-healing there is in each and everyone of us. There are many processes of constant recoveries happening on different levels in our organisms, neuroplasticity (our brain’s own recovery system after a damage) being one of the most inspiring (to me). Forming new connections between our brain cells, neural pathways in a damaged brain areas, means not only getting our old lives back, but relearning new/old habits with a twist, discovering/developing abilities, of which we were unaware, healing from difficult experiences, and so much more. And arts are such an effective facilitator to these processes. Through creating, we stimulate different parts of our brains, create networks, release hormones of happiness and satisfaction, experience different feelings, become more focused in the moment (i.e. mindful). The end result is not what heals us, but the process itself is the healer. Each time when our hand moves and our eyes follow and register a change on a paper, or our ears hear an accord of a new piece of a melody, our neurons fire new connections to new and old neighbours, and make the created ones stronger.

There can be written significantly more on neuroplasticity and art. Perhaps on a later stage I’d do. For now however, would be so great if you decide to try the benefit of being a creator. Check your drawers – both in the cupboards and your minds. Is there some forgotten project, a dream to learn a new skill, perhaps? How about you sit with that for a moment and decide to dare and try. The importance of things lays in (again) persistency – to make time for it at least a few times in a week. As a reminder and a stimulator one could decide to put out of the drawer the long forgotten project materials, and place them on a visible place in their home – an inspiration and a gentle reminder. So, what did you chose?

“We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” – Joni Mitchell

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