To give is a powerful thing.
I give you these little essays. You give me and others new ideas that these essays generate through you.
It’s not me giving and you receiving. Because the act of receiving can itself be a gift to the giver.
It’s a cycle of giving.
I give so that you can give. And you give so that I can give.
The idea of community is powerful—people who are very different from one another co-exist in ways where one’s strengths compensate for another’s weaknesses. Where no one is lacking, because sharing and trade within the community provide for each of its pieces.
Of course, our communities are a far cry from this ideal.
Instead of being connected, we are disconnected.
We are disconnected from ourselves.
We are disconnected from our neighbors.
We are disconnected from our physical surroundings (i.e. our environment).
And, in my opinion, we are disconnected from God.
What drives our desire to create and share things is not a desire to express ourselves.
It’s a desire to connect. To belong.
Think about why you write or sing or paint or take photos or do the creative things you do.
Is self-expression really your root motive? Or do you seek the creative to feel more whole, more connected…with yourself and things outside yourself?
The root word in “inspiration” is “spir”. It means “to breathe”.
Inspiration is breath.
I breathe the creative into you. And you come alive.
You breathe the creative into me. And I can come alive.
This why we feel inspired after reading a good book. Or watching a great film. Or visiting with a friend. Or listening to music.
This is why I don’t believe the creative begins within us. It moves through us.
The source of the creative is the originating breath.
Without that gift of “spir”—of breath—we cannot inspire one another.
Creativity, it seems, is a life-giving source.
That’s why it’s so powerful.
That’s why we seek it like a drug.
That’s why those who feel uncreative feel disconnected, as if a part of themselves has died.
And it’s a natural part of our lives as creatives, as we experience disconnect from that source of inspiration. We call it creative block. But it’s really disconnect.
Think about the words we use.
When we no longer have a capacity to give, we do what?
We give up (i.e. quit from losing hope). Or we give out (i.e. quit from exhaustion).
We’re either giving or we’re not.
The sacred moment in Caine’s story was the scene when he was alone in his arcade waiting for a customer.
He tweaked and prepared and cleaned and organized for the moment someone might show up.
Caine offers breath. Reconnection.
He wanted others to experience the joy he felt in the presence of an arcade.
He gave so that Nirvan Mullick, the filmmaker, could give.
You and I are thinking and talking about a boy and filmmaker we’ve never met, because one chose to give joy through an arcade. And the other chose to pass that joy onto the world.
Caine gave when no one knew and the few who did, didn’t care.
He was not the one disconnected. In watching his story, we experience our own disconnect. And Caine reconnects us to a piece of ourselves. Which reconnects us with each other.
We give so that others can give.
We create to connect.
Our role, as creatives, is to help reconnect a disconnected world.
One piece—one story—at a time.
(Photo by Rachel/chickpokipsie on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.)