Creative Spotlight: Lauren

Proud Chinese-Canadian, and general life enthusiast, Lauren Chu (she/her) shares the intricacies of her Mind.On_creativity.


Currently a resident of Toronto, Lauren has spent 26 years soaking up a wonderful life. From engineer to now Director of Operation Groundswell (a social enterprise), Lauren's creative mind seeps into every aspect of her life. Let's dive in!



How does creativity relate to your identity?


I believe that we are all a sum of the experiences we’ve had, and I believe that exploring and expressing our own creativity helps us create deeper, more varied experiences. In that way, I feel that being creative turns us into more awesome versions of who we are and can be. An example of that for me would be recreating places I have been in my travels through art. It’s one thing to go for a hike in the Rockies and take some photos, but going through the creative exercise of painting that landscape and trying to capture its essence gives that experience a whole new meaning and life.


Can you describe your brain “on” creativity? What impact does creativity have on your brain health?

My brain “on” creativity first feels like holding a million big wax crayons of an infinite rainbow of colours between my fingers and scribbling in big sweeping circles, waves, zig-zags and lines. Then, when the ideas start to settle and I get into “the zone” of being creative, all of those lines kind of come together and hum in a low frequency while I work.

Being creative gives my brain energy. Kind of like how moving my body seems to give my body more energy, being creative seems to wake up my brain too. I constantly need to remind and motivate myself to make time for brain exercise in the same way I make time for physical exercise, because I forget how much I get in return!



What are your keys to creativity?


A huge challenge for me (and one that I think extends to our society) is that we need to take productivity out of the equation. We need to shift from creating for the sake of producing and embrace creating for the sake of creating. I mean, Miley really said it best -

Ain't about how fast I get there

Ain't about what's waiting on the other side

It's the climb


This feels so hard, if not impossible to do in the society we live in. I am very guilty of feeling guilty for being creative, which seems so silly! But allowing myself to be completely detached from work or anything traditionally “productive” lets me enter a true and pure state of creativity.


I also feel like the illusion and false hope of “multitasking” throughout the day means that I feel like I am never 100% on one thing, which means I am also never 100% off. This has been intensified with COVID for sure.


One way I’ve tried to break that cycle is by making Saturdays completely blocked off, and by taking my mornings for creative projects too. In short, I don't think I’ve got the keys (and am sure I never truly will) but will keep trying to pick the lock!


Follow Lauren's work at @OperationGroundswell , life at @TheRidgelineReport and journey fostering dogs @Nifty.Dogs .

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