Since I began focusing full time on my spiritual direction and healing practice in November, I’ve found myself having more time to create… not just for the business, but for my own healing/prayer/reflection time. I’ve done a few paintings, written a little more, almost finished making curtains (that have been 16 months in the waiting to do pile!), and more. And it’s felt like the beautiful breathing whoosh of the Spirit blowing into my life.
I have discovered, over the years, that for me creativity is an end product of something that inwardly takes place. A painting doesn’t happen unless I have received an image of it from the Spirit, seen my hands using the brush, choosing the colors, imagining the strokes of paint filling the canvas. Likewise a piece doesn’t get written until I have thought and received most of the words that are asking to appear. It’s like the birth of something that has been nurtured and fed and grown in the womb before it is ready to be presented to the world. Mostly it doesn’t turn out exactly the way I had imagined it, but, if I’m faithful to the process, it comes out right. And the only time this has been a problem is when I’m sermon writing and Sunday morning is fast approaching!
But as I walked this morning listening to the swirling of a new painting that is forming in my heart, I realized what a luxury it is to have the time and space, on multiple levels, to be creative. For me, there has to be an inward safety, an openness, a level of energy, time to listen to the Spirit, time to allow the unfolding and imagining of what might come, in addition to more earthly things like physical time, money for paints and canvases and brushes, a place where a painting can sit and be undisturbed while it’s drying. Or money for fabric and a way to sew.
Maybe, not everyone creates in this way, some may begin to paint and then listen to the paints and canvas and see what’s being formed. Some may write or speak or sing and wait for the next phrase to appear once they’ve started. And I do some of this too, but the bulk of the imagination and research and thinking and feeling my way into it happens first. And it’s obvious to me when I’m not in a place where creativity can be conceived.
In addition to the feeling of great gratitude that arose in me for the luxury of this time in my life, I also began to wonder how creativity is a justice issue. If all creative people need this space to imagine, to be, to wait for the Spirit, to allow the movement to grow, how many people are denied it? When long hours are worked in meaningless jobs, or people are fearful about where their next meal or rent check is coming from, when people are living in fear of ridicule and abuse, when children are filled with homework and unreasonable expectations of busy-ness…. How can creativity spring forth? How can feelings be expressed in healthy ways? How can hope find a way to the surface?
As I sit here with my laptop, a new painting beginning to emerge in my consciousness and paints nearby, curtains ready to be finished on Monday when some people at church share their sewing machines and knowledge, how can I forget that it is, indeed, a luxury? And how can I give thanks in such a way that my creativity may, somehow, bless the world? How might my creativity be a step toward justice for all?
And while I struggle with the answers to these questions, I know that, somehow, it is indeed true. That when we listen to the depths of the Spirit, when we bring something new and beautiful into the world, when we trust that what we are seeing and hearing and creating is from the Divine, that somehow, just somehow, the world around us is blessed. I liken it to living into my calling, which, in turn, can help others live into their calling or wholeness.
So may we each, in our own ways, listen to what we are being invited to bring into the world to touch those around us with beauty and hope and truth, and allow it to emerge and be a blessing to all.
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