As human beings, we’re hardwired to create. Each of us— yes, even those that argue against our creative impulses— are, indeed, creators. Our work, our ideas, our ability to generate new possibility at will is nothing less than hope in the physical form.

And yet, like all great gifts, creativity ignored becomes a curse. A weapon of mass destruction. A means of hurting others so as to avoid the very things that challenge us to grow.

Chances are, if we’re not already using our creative energy to design a life of value and contribution— we’re probably using it to avoid designing a life of value and contribution. We do this most often by crafting destructive narratives about the people who make us feel threatened. Or contaminating the creations of others. Or bolstering our own fragile egos by convincing ourselves that the urge to destroy is just as honorable as the desire to build.

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks wrote: “Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.” Which is to say everything about us (even our own truth) is subject to creative liberty. We simply can’t stop ourselves from designing and building and inventing.

Which means that at all times we’re either creating light or we’re creating darkness.

In every moment, we’re either choosing to step forward in hope or resist out of fear.

And often it’s only through the process of surrendering others, without judgment, to their creative journeys, that we finally awaken to our own.