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CREATING THE INVISIBLE — Who hasn’t, when they were little, lost track of time at least once while immersed in their colouring books? Or been so focused on an arts and crafts project that everything else seemed to disappear, as if the tangible worlds at their fingertips became the only real places?

My mother often told me a story about my childhood, a memory highlighting the differences between my big brother’s creative approach and mine (both of us still navigate the artistic spheres today). When she asked us what we were drawing, my brother usually knew exactly what he wanted to reproduce. Most of the time, he was very disappointed to see that what appeared on the sheet didn’t reflect what he had in mind. The intention was there, but the result rarely lived up to the mental image.

For my part, I often didn’t know what I was doing at all. I decided what I had drawn by looking at the result, after the fact. Let no one dare to ask me what I was depicting before I had put down my pencil! To a few abstract scribbles, I would add some lines, a dot, and voilà! A snail! It was as if the reference were grafted on in hindsight, to sanctify an idea that was only present in the subconscious state. I let myself be guided by the creative act, completely surrendering to what my hands and body wanted to do. Without thinking or hoping, I yielded control to my intuition.

Even though I heard it dozens of times, I never got tired of that simple anecdote. And that may be because it represents an important reminder of that approach, which we should value more in our daily lives: a letting-go, a complete acceptance of what happens, without judgment.

I’m certain that these memories are universal, that these moments of total abandon can be found in the picture box of our childhoods. Do you remember your improvised choreographies, piano lessons, or colouring sessions with wax crayons? In these free creative acts, devoid of any objective, is there not an enormous source of benevolence and room to grow? Do they not represent self-care materialized through moments without expectations? By extracting ourselves from the imperatives of logic and productivity at all costs for a few minutes, we can cultivate this space of infinite possibilities that most of us unfortunately left behind in childhood.

Strom ColoMagSS22 HD 4 web - The Creative Act and Benevolence


It was recently revealed in La Presse that Statistics Canada was launching a study aimed at “better understanding the impact of certain activities, such as arts and cultural activities, on the mental state of the participants.” While we have seen a proliferation of articles and initiatives on this subject in recent years, this study will be one of the first of its kind to emerge in Canada. However, the view that art is good for health is already firmly established in certain sectors of innovation. Since 2018, members of Médecins francophones du Canada can even prescribe a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts1. This initiative, which is the first of its kind in the world, aims to offer a wellness moment that may contribute to the recovery of patients suffering from various physical or psychological health problems.

This really goes to show the extent to which this discourse valuing the benefits of the creative universe is gradually transcending the spheres to be deployed outside the artistic community. Even in business, the development of alternative projects is increasingly being encouraged outside of working hours, or even during them. For example, Google has reportedly established an initiative encouraging employees to use 20% of their paid time to work on creative projects not related to daily work tasks. If the leaders of major innovation companies have understood the effects of this time dedicated to activities related to the imagination, isn’t that proof that there is a rich potential for human development here? While they have been able to combine the search for profits and creativity, we can certainly reclaim this idea to improve our quality of life.


But what, deep down, is so transformative about encountering art and cultivating creativity? About enrolling in a dance or pottery class, maintaining a painting or writing practice, or preferring colouring to watching television?

Researchers have compared the quality of mind encouraged by the inventive act to meditation, a technique that has proven positive effects on the brain. According to multiple studies, the meditative practice may improve physical and psychological health by enabling the transformation and reorganization of the neurons in the brain through a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. These activities require time and concentration. They require special attention, patience, and a certain amount of self-indulgence, especially if you engage in activities that take you out of your comfort zone. They demand vigilance, a benevolent attitude that allows a new energy to be born and a space of freedom to unfold around the usual concerns.

By meticulously directing your focus to these activities devoid of a specific objective, you fall into this liberated state of consciousness that allows you to take a step back from the stress and vagaries of daily life. Like meditation, creativity is something that is practised, but which is accessible to everyone. Although we sometimes forget it, we all have the ability to make beauty emerge.


By practising activities without putting pressure on ourselves and approaching things with inventiveness and an open mind, we cultivate a quality of mind and dispositions that can extend to other areas of our lives. What is born from the creative act ends up having an impact on the rest of our efforts and shining through in our interpersonal relationships or our professional development. So, don’t think too much, and go for it. If the idea of doing an activity that takes you too far out of your comfort zone causes you anxiety, start with something you did when you were a child. It can be as simple as scribbling on paper with a pen!

In truth, the simple act of doing an activity that is at first glance devoid of any logic other than that of doing good for yourself is an act of kindness. And this kindness offers you a space to keep growing, to face uncertainty, to make mistakes, to fall and get back up again—like we did when we were young. Some lessons can still be learned from the wisdom we had when we were five years old.

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