Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

There’s a hat for that: The spirituality of creation

New Year’s Eve at the Broderick-Meyer household always includes a handmade silly hat. Last year, we cracked crab, spilled butter and donned carefully constructed paper crowns. Fathers became goofballs with inverted yellow coronets, while newly regal older sisters ordered their inferiors to fetch bread. Channeling Max from “Where the Wild Things Are,” Jughead Jones from “Archie” comics and Galinda, the good witch from “The Wizard of Oz,” we spent the night around a sputtering candlelit table, tossing stained confetti and lobbing boiled peanuts.

This year, the hours leading up to midnight passed through the folding, stapling, gluing and taping together of white hats. Aunties lamented their lack of creativity while twirling white pipe cleaners and cutting stars out of felt. Lovers opted to craft hats for one another, dissolving into laughter at the sight of their kin sporting traffic cones covered in red paper hearts. One party guest credited “Go Dogs Go” as the inspiration for her masterpiece — the tip of which stretched 5 feet up from the crown of her head and nearly toppled out the window on three separate occasions. The night was young, the year was old and we were only a few glasses deep. Anything was possible.

Creating is a spiritual experience tied to our capacity for expansive and fresh thinking. Rollo May, the influential American existential psychologist and author of the book “Love and Will,” describes creativity as “the process of bringing something new into being.” When you make something, you are bringing that thing into the orbit of the world. By taking on the call of creator, you are harkening back to Prometheus, Michelangelo and Delaunay. The caliber, usefulness and importance of the objects you are constructing are only fragmentally important. What matters more is that from nothing, or from a smattering of a few things, you built something.  

The process of creation is a means of stopping the march of time, if only for an instant. When you piece something together, you are fusing individual materials with a particular moment and a whole host of inspirations. Throughout the process of creation, and then again, when you hold that finished object in between your fingers, you are forging a memory. This memory dangles from your mind’s tree like the matchstick legs of a 10-year-old but also physically exists in the thing you constructed. This memory exists both inside and outside of you.

Those last few days of December can be a time of reflection, while those first few days of January can seem like the opportune moments for renewal. To stand in between these two adjectives, these two states, on Dec. 31 is a most precious time. It is during this time that you can work towards creating the elements of your reality for the coming year. The manifestation of our personal ambitions is tightly wound to our creative spirit — accessible through the simplest of means, by putting something together. Happiest creating to you all!

 

Contact Hannah Broderick at inbloom ‘at’ stanford.edu.