As some (all?) of you may know, I love art, music, dance, expression, creativity, etc. I would definitely classify myself into the category of "artsy" people, however, I have always denied identifying myself as an "artist." Things are changing for the better.
In October, I started going to counseling. First of all, I think everyone can benefit from an outside objective voice in their lives. Secondly, and more personally, I like/need to talk things out with people, and I find that she is a great support and outlet for me since there aren't an abundance of people around me 24/7 to listen to me process life. Sometimes I feel like she isn't 100% on board with what I am saying since she is a new friend who isn't constantly a part of my life, but it is good for me to practice explaining everything without having expectations that the other person will understand my context. People generally can't read my mind, and sometimes I treat my closest loved ones as though they should be able to... Anyway, she suggested that I start reading/studying this self-help sort of book called The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I have to admit, the book is sometimes a little "broad" spiritually, and it makes me work a lot and think a little, but I have gotten some really valuable things out of studying the book so far.
I am only in my second week of study, but I am now able to declare that I am an artist, despite my lack of training in visual art. I am a writer, even if I have never sold a novel. I am a dancer because I dance (duh). I am a musician-- I write music, and it's actually good. It's not good because I judge it according to specific academic criteria necessarily (although, I definitely have my standards being a trained musician), but it is good because I created it and creating things is good. God created the universe and declared it good-- I believe he was excited not only about the product, but also that he created it himself. We are made in God's image and are meant to see creativity in the same light. Our skills can always improve. Our conceptual frameworks will always morph. Letting go of expectations or standards and letting ourselves create is the big battle, but once we allow ourselves to do so and can see that there is worth in practicing creativity, then we are paving the way for our skills to improve and our creative concepts to form more solidly. We start to feel motivated... inspired, even.
Creating things takes energy, concentration, focus, planning, awareness, practice, and most of all it takes rest. God rested on the seventh day. As cliche as that seems, it is a legitimate model for creative people. Have you ever tried just pushing through a writer's block or cutting and pasting through a crafter's block? Generally the results are things you throw away or things you resent. I must rest when I am feeling unmotivated or inspired. I must recharge and refill. I must change my environment and my routine, sit in Starbucks, read a book, take a drive or walk-- fill my life with new images, new people, new sounds, new smells and tastes, new conversations. My inspiration comes when I am not creating.
I'm sure I will be learning more on my journey of "creative healing," but I wanted to take a moment and celebrate my true personal accomplishment of being able to accept and declare the fact that I am an artist. God created you and me, and we are to create to reflect His image to those around us. Living in fear of that creativity is living against God's intentions and will for his people. Take a risk and explore your creativity this week. Send me a copy of whatever you do so I can enjoy it, too! :)