‘Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.’
~ Brenda Ueland

    A friend of mine recently called me a ‘creativity junky,’ which suggests an addiction to being creative. On the contrary, I believe that using my creativity grants me a reprieve from my addictions, and gives me the opportunity to find innovative and inspirational responses to life. Instead of running from chaos, I use my creativity as a compass to help me navigate its storms. Being creative connects me both to my innate creative power – my Self – and to my higher power, my Creator. For me, creativity is a spiritual practice. It is one of the most important aspects of my existence.

    Of course, at times I resist my practice and the resulting torment is inevitable. I deny myself the time and space to plunge into my passions, or I hide behind obsessive and impossible demands for perfection. I tell myself my art is ego-driven, indulgent. I procrastinate and create drama around my projects. This resistance to the creative process is the addiction I must fight by taking action. In his book, The Creative Spirit, Paul Kaufman says that, ‘Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity,’ adding, ‘it is the recognition of the fear and the willingness to engage it that matters.’

    I always find great joy in surrendering my ego and my will to the creative process, when I engage my heart, soul, brain and Higher Power to help me meet my challenge. I feel connected and useful to Humanity when I take the time to explore an idea that insists on translation into form. I get to give a part of myself and I feel whole.

Advertisement

    At the same time, I am also frightened of the intimacy of sharing the products of my creativity. Again, I have to act, or I will stay stuck. Praying for my ego to be removed is extremely helpful. I also find courage by reading meditations and inspirational quotes from other artists. One of my favorites is ‘Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.’

    In his book, Creativity; Where the Divine and the Human Meet, theologian Matthew Fox says, ‘Creativity is intimate because it is us most truly, spontaneously, and totally. It is also intimate because it is Spirit working through us in so profound a way that thirteenth century mystic Meister Eckhart says God ‘becomes the space where’ we want to act. Creativity is not a noun or even a verb – it is a place, a space, a gathering, a union, a where – wherein the Divine powers of creativity and the human power of imagination join forces. Where the two come together is where beauty and grace happen and, indeed, explode. Creativity constitutes the ultimate in intimacy, for it is the place where the Divine and the human are most destined to interact.’

    Kaufman calls it ‘flow: the white moment.’ I call it ‘God’s time.’ There is nowhere I would rather be.

    One of the most beneficial things I have ever done was recovering my creative self through a process called ‘The Artist’s Way; A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.’ Writer, director, filmmaker, and composer Julia Cameron teaches a 12-week program to help us break through the obstacles that keep us from our natural creativity. Using two basic tools, a daily writing practice or ‘brain drain,’ and a weekly artist date, I was able to uncover long-lost dreams, take creative risks, and grow into the person I am supposed to be. I am a writer and an artist living a miraculous life because I went into creative recovery. And there is no end to the process: I get to keep growing on this path.

    You don’t have to write operas, paint like Picasso, or build like Frank Gehry to call yourself a creative being. Our ultimate act of creativity is giving birth to who we are. Taking a fresh approach to something is creativity in action; wearing a colorful scarf with a suit, adding unexpected fruit to a salad, taking an alternate route to work, or finding a different way to interact with your mother-in-law are all creative acts that can wake us up and shake us out of our apathy. In our consumer society we allow others to dictate what our lives should look like: what we should wear, which professions are the most ‘lucrative,’ where we should go on vacation, which activities are ‘cool.’ We sacrifice ourselves by giving up our dreams; but we can begin to reclaim them by taking baby steps or leaps of faith. Turn off the T.V. and watch the clouds, strum a few bars on your dusty ukulele, write a poem about your goldfish. Play with your kids. Let them remind you how to use your rusty imagination, be curious, enthusiastic, and expressive. Life is amazing when we live fully.

    Make a list of ten things you really love to do. Don’t censor yourself. If you have fun making Jell-O molds, put it on the list. If you enjoyed crocheting with your grandmother when you were young, put it on the list. If you love to restore muscle cars, write it down. Post the list where you can see it often. Take steps to do those activities. You don’t have to go out and buy a Porsche to begin to reclaim your dream. Browse in your local auto parts store or go to a car show. See what happens. See how you feel.

    If you find yourself resisting, ask yourself why you’re not doing the things that make you happy. I know, time, money, talent, exhaustion…pardon me, but those are lame excuses. I’ve made them. ‘Passion energizes and creates more space and time,’ said local Life Coach, Lorna Tirman, who has also taught The Artist’s Way. ‘People forget to ask themselves what they want. It’s about aligning your value system with life.’

    Life is unimaginably rewarding when we take the time and space to live it creatively.

    If you are interested in reclaiming your creative self through The Artist’s Way, I will be facilitating a group on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m., beginning June 19. Contact me at mountainlife@moonshine ink.com for more information.

Author

Advertisement
Previous articleLake Tahoe’s Scream Siren
Next articleMagic at Sand Harbor