The gift of creativity, in its various forms, is an attribute of the Creator that serves as a sanctuary and salvation for many artists—a conduit of calm, control and clarity that protects and preserves against the toxicity of culture and environment, while also providing a connectivity to the artistic intelligence that informs their talent and ability. This dynamic was highlighted in the recently released documentary, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool—an all-encompassing view into the creative and personal life of jazz master, icon and mentor, Miles Davis.
The film extensively chronicles Miles’ relationship with his creativity—an attribute that simultaneously provided protection from the subtle and overt violence of the dehumanizing, racist culture of his childhood—and its side effects, in the anger he found himself continually strategizing and boxing his way through—even amidst the backdrop of the chaos and domestic violence within his parents’ home.
That same creativity birthed an emotional IQ and transparency that facilitated an immediate connection with audiences: a transparency which served as a platform to the lyricism, truth and beauty of his voice. Miles instinctively centered himself in the eye of the storm of the chaos he encountered within the culture and within himself, further nurturing his creativity through observational study and physical discipline--studying the elements of space and rhythm inside and outside of musical measures. Under the helm of his creativity, Miles became further connected to the artistic intelligence and intuition that informed his creative ability and musical evolution.
When that point of calm was disrupted by racist-fueled violence on that fateful night at Birdland in 1959. Miles continued on, moving forward in creative exploration--sometimes at his own expense—at times at the expense of those closest to him. Years later, after abandoning his horn, which culminated in a 4+ year silence, his return to his craft and creativity allowed a return to himself, further serving towards a self-actualization beyond his art.
The Apostle Paul spoke on the importance of spiritual gifts and attributes and their necessity in the strengthening and protection of the mind, body and spirit: the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Footwear of the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Sword of the Spirit—and the Helmet of Salvation. In parallel, the gift of creativity has and continues to provide a form of salvation for artists and creatives in their protection, preservation and escape from the toxicity of their environments--and their own flaws--while providing a conduit of self-awareness and connectivity to the source and author of their creativity. In times of turbulence and trials, the helmet of creativity can become dislodged or misplaced, but through perseverance and self-awareness, it can be refastened.
Humanity happens. The disruptions of life are largely unavoidable, regardless of circumstance or their origin, but in maintaining or reestablishing the connection with creativity, artists and creatives can weather individual storms, continuing forward in creative growth and evolution.