Creatively Exploring Life’s Big Questions

by Lexi Sproule

This is my final year of my undergraduate degree, and as I have started thinking back on my journey through McMaster, I have found that many of my seminal moments have occurred in the Creativity Circle that Marybeth facilitates.  This surprised me because I spend so little time each week at these meetings.  Here students are welcomed to spend an hour tapping into their reflective or spiritual selves through the creative process.  A large part of the value of Creativity Circle comes from the safe and welcoming environment, something that is especially hard to facilitate when there are frequently new members dropping by.  For me, this space has been a chance to explore life’s big questions and it is a place where I have had many critical insights into my world and myself.  Many of these insights owe much to the questions and themes raised in the activities.  For example, in September we did an activity centered around authenticity.  I had never before considered what authenticity means to me, and the reflection I did on this question has tangibly changed the way I approach my relationships and leadership roles.  I find that the variety in types of creative expression we explore (such as watercolours, acrylics, pastels, sketching, writing, drama, photography, collages and clay) offer a valuable opportunity to see aspects of your internal world reflected in what you create, and to look at it from new angles.  There is a focus on process, rather than product.

It is clear to me that I am not the only one who has found deep meaning in the Open Circle community.  I have frequently heard my peers express similar experiences in Creativity Circle and the other activities.  It is not just Marybeth and Jeff’s ability to create safe, creative and reflective spaces that impact students, but also their role model as curious, compassionate and courageous individuals who are constantly questioning societal narratives.  It is clear from their alternative lifestyle choices that they put these thoughts into action.  It is an inspiring affirmation of the fact that it is always possible to find creative ways to live your values.