We’re approaching the last day of Kwanzaa, and I’d first like to thank you for your time and attention during this series – I hope it’s been as helpful for you as it has been for me. I challenged myself to post daily during this time, and found it helped me to apply the principles of Kwanzaa as I was researching and gathering information for the series.
Day 6 of Kwanzaa involves the principle of Kuumba (koo-00m-ba), which means Creativity. The principle specifically addresses using creativity and imagination to make your community better than what you inherited, and the same could be said about your family and yourself.
Part of Loving your Reflection is to also love who and what you originated from. I was raised to respect my elders and ancestors, and sometimes found that challenging when I disagreed with what they had done. What do you do when your elders or ancestors have a less-than-stellar history? Do you simply assume that they were horrible people and try to excise all of their influences from your life, heart and mind? That’s not a healthy way to handle it – realize that whatever your family or your ‘people’ have been through and done, it’s in the past. Exercising your creativity means that you can look at the past and draw inspiration and positive energy from it.
As someone who shares an African-American and American Indian ancestry, both groups of my ancestors went through incredibly hard times. Sometimes the actions they were forced to perform had very negative consequences for them as well as for their families and their community. Dwelling on the negative though, ignores the creativity that I can bring to bear on the past circumstances and drawing inspiration from them.
My ancestors endured difficult circumstances and yet still found a way to thrive and prosper – if they had not, I would not be here to create this entry. From that, I take their strength, their own creativity in making the best of hard times, and know that I too can endure whatever I must to reach the future. What hardships have your ancestors endured and triumphed over? Think about how they creatively kept going – kept their spirits up, raised families and ran businesses, and continued to contribute to the community even through hard times.
Many times we can look back and see that our ancestors triumphed in business with little formal education or training, and with no one to mentor them or show them the way. What that means to you, today, is that you have that same overcoming spirit. No matter what you are faced with, you CAN overcome it. Whether that is a financial challenge, a health challenge or simply finding your way through the ‘danger zone’ of potential overeating during the holidays, you can make it through.
Whatever you are facing, know that you CAN make it through. Creativity is the method you use to take your mind off of your troubles temporarily to gain perspective and rest; Creativity will also help you to find a way through your challenges instead of allowing them to overcome you. When faced with a brick wall, sometimes going AROUND it is preferable to trying to knock it down.
Consultant and Artist Jeffrey Baumgartner has an excellent article: