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Reclaim Your Creative Spirit
by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
When we first encounter God in the Bible, He is immersed in the act of
creation. It is an act that provides pleasure and self-satisfaction.
"God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good." (Gen
1:31) We who are made in God's image are also meant to create, to
co-create with God. We are His instruments here on Earth. God's ideas
take shape in our ideas and become the work of our hands.
It sometimes seems as though the world is divided into two camps -
those who are "creative" and those who are not. Nothing could be
further from the truth. We are all born with innate creative ability.
Young children automatically create. They do not need to be shown how
to express themselves creatively. They build with blocks, scribble
with crayons, explore with clay and paint, sing and dance with glee,
and they do so with both abandon and determination. It is an act of
joy. While having a definite purpose in mind, they create purely to
create. The results have a freshness and spontaneity to them that many
adults attempt to capture in their own creative endeavors.
At some point, however, we begin to attempt a more realistic approach
to our creative projects. We begin to feel that there is a "right" way
for our pictures to look, our songs to sound, our dance steps to be.
Perhaps some well-meaning adult told us to color in the lines, or we
simply began to observe other adult's creativity at work. Regardless,
we begin to judge our work, and decide it doesn't measure up to our
own or other's expectations. We forget the joy of creating and instead
focus on the outcome.
It is possible, however, to reclaim that lost joy and nurture the
creativity within us. Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way" (G.P.
Putnam's Sons) tells us that "when we open ourselves to our
creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us
and our lives." She goes on to say that we must give ourselves
permission to be bad at our creative endeavors, because the fear of
being bad is often the only thing keeping us from being good. We need
to send our inner judge away for the duration and allow ourselves to
be beginners, to create for the pure joy of creating. Cameron
emphasizes the fact that we alone do not do the creating. God works
through us. As she states in the artist's prayer: "Great Creator, I
will take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality." We must
open ourselves up to the flow that is within us.
Exploring our creativity also gives us another opportunity to get to
know ourselves. In the words of T. Byram Karasu in "The Art of
Serenity", artistic acts "intensify emotions, heighten the sense of
existence, and invite contemplation. One need not be a fine artist.
Woodworking, gardening, writing letters, weaving, or knitting could
serve as a prism." Just as we can come to know much about God through
God's creation, so the works that we create (with God's assistance)
can tell us much about ourselves. The act of creating can also be very
therapeutic in that we can release emotions that might otherwise
remain buried inside.
10 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity
1)Pay attention to the world around you - engage your senses. What are
the sights, smells, and sounds that you encounter each day?
2)Indulge a passion that you have left behind, a hobby or sport that you used to enjoy.
3)Try something that you have always wanted to do.
4)Play a game - allow yourself to have fun.
5)Write a letter to a friend.
6)Take a crayon and some paper and scribble.
7)Encounter nature - work in a garden or go for a walk.
9)Cut out an inspiring quote from a book and stick it to your
10)Don't worry about the outcome - enjoy the process!
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of "The Spiritual Woman
Newsletter" http://www.spiritualwoman.net and author of "Letters to
Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004). She has a Master of Arts
Degree in Applied Theology from Elms College and is married with two
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