Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Freedom to Be...

In the comments on my last post, a discussion began around the use of medications and how they affect creativity. As I stated there, I am not anti-medication by any means. My concern is in seeing any variation on the "norm" as a disease. And in the medicating of children and adults for the sake of conformity.

When you get to the point of wanting to be medicated just to be able to keep up with a job you are not passionate about, just because society says you must be a contributor to the great economic machine, I think it's time to take a step back and re-evaluate. How often do we medicate what our soul is trying to tell us? That is my lament here.

I am reminded of the story Sir Ken Robinson tells in his video "Do Schools Kill Creativity?":



I highly recommend seeing the whole video but I will share this to make my point. In the video, he shares the story below, which has been retold in a brilliant article over at School Band and Orchestra magazine:

"There was a little girl (we will call her Jill) whose teachers suspected she had a learning disability. Jill couldn't sit still. She couldn't concentrate on her work. And she didn't seem to care. There was talk of sending Jill to a special needs school.

So Jill and her worried mother visited a psychologist. The psychologist interviewed the mother, all the while watching the daughter and recognizing some telltale signs. The psychologist asked Jill's mother if they could speak privately. On the way out of his office, the psychologist turned on a radio.

Hidden from view in the hallway, they watched Jill dance around the room with amazing grace and in a state of pure joy.

"Jill isn't sick," said the psychologist. "She's a dancer. Take her to a dance school." And that's where Jill discovered her element and found herself in the company of others who had to move to think.

In this story Jill is actually Gillian Lynne one of the world's most accomplished and acclaimed choreographers (Cats, Phantom of the Opera). She's also worked as a ballerina, dancer, actor, and theatre and TV director."

Robinson, a renowned expert in the field of education, human resources and creativity, has recently released his thoughts in his new book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. He explores the importance of finding ones element, matching ones innate talents and the workings of ones inner world with a passion in the outer world.

In the book, Sir Ken makes the same point I've been attempting to make in my questions and meanderings about medication and creativity. Speaking again of Jill (Dancer Gillian Lynne), Robinson notes:

"Someone looked deep into her eyes – someone who had seen children like her before and knew how to read the signs. Someone else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down. But Gillian wasn't a problem child. She didn't need to go away to a special school. She just needed to be who she really was."

This is all I want. To be who I really am. Whatever that is. To be it fully. I am either going sane or going crazy. But I suspect, it is the former rather than the latter. Yes, my brain is running fast. Yes, my body is running slow. Yes, I am processing all manner of memories, experiences and emotions each moment of each day. And yes, it can be disconcerting. But God, I've never felt more alive. I honestly believe that my whole life is about to shift. Breakdown? Breakthrough? I am so done with labels. All I want is to be free.

tall penguin

1 comment:

The WisdomOfWoof said...

Beautiful post, Tall. The more I read of your blog, the more it makes me question my direction(s) in life. I ask more questions because of you. For that, I thank you. I'm blessed for having met you.