We celebrated Epiphany yesterday with the traditional reading of the story of the magi. Symbolically, the magi represent the larger world – they come from afar, they are not Israelites, they know nothing of prophecies, but they have seen in the heavens that something in the world has changed. A new king has been born, but he is a king unlike any that anyone expects. This child shall be for all nations, all people.
(For the full video version, click here.)
An epiphany is an “aha” moment, and in religious language an epiphany is an “aha” moment when we recognize the presence of the Divine. The magi story is an “Aha!” from the world that God has broken into life in a new, creative way.
For the next three weeks, I’d like to explore epiphanies… ways that God breaks into the world that we don’t talk about because they aren’t exactly named in Scripture. We’ll begin with creativity, how each act of creative energy – large or small is an in-breaking of God into our own lives, a channeling of the Divine, a connection to the Source. In the weeks to come, we’ll talk about other tangible ways that the Divine breaks in: art, music and poetry.
So, let’s start with creativity. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron states,
“I have come to believe that creativity is our true nature, that blocks are an unnatural thwarting of a process at once as normal and as miraculous as the blossoming of a flower at the end of a slender green stem… In a sense, your creativity is like your blood. Just as blood is a fact of your physical body and nothing you invented, creativity is a fact of your spiritual body and nothing that you must invent.”
The ways that one can be creative are endless. These are only some of the ways we express our creativity that we named yesterday:
- Art, music, poetry
- Gardening, landscaping,
- Home decorating, setting a table (think Martha Stewart)
- Quilting, knitting, scrapbooking, coloring
- What you wear, how you style your hair, do your make up
- Cooking, baking
- Problem-solving and brainstorming
- Interacting with people
- Raising children, teaching
Basically, I think that one can approach just about anything in life creatively. And yet, I don’t know how many times people have said to me, “Oh, I’m not very creative.”
And I’m thinking, “Why not? Are you sure? Says who?”
What if I told you that I truly believe the inability to be creative is hooey? It’s NOT that some people were born creative and others weren’t. We all have creativity within us, it may just not be the same type of creativity. Creativity is part of our spirituality, or our spiritual body, as Cameron says. It is an innate part of every person.
So, consider this… Cameron tells us that learning to live a more creative life is a spiritual quest! Our creative juices will be limited and dry up quickly if we try to create solely drawing from our own personal resources, experience and ideas. To live a more creative life we must open ourselves up to the spiritual energy of the universe. She encourages everyone to connect with what she calls spiritual electricity. She says you don’t have to have a specific name for it (though some use God, Source, Goddess, Universe, Energy), and you don’t have to understand how it works. In the same way you don’t need to understand electricity to use it either. All we need to do is find ways to make the connection and open the doors to the flow.
She has two books of exercises that have been derived from her class notes on connecting with our creativity. The three most effective ways to connect the well of universal creativity she says are:
- Morning pages – every morning hand-write three pages of whatever you want. Follow the writing wherever it wants to go. This is time between you and God. Re-read them occasionally. They will open one to the flow where one will start to see creative changes in one’s life and work.
- Weekly dates with yourself – each week do something with yourself only! Take a long walk on the beach, go bowling, watch an old movie, visit an art gallery or museum or zoo. Fill oneself with sights and sounds and new experiences. The intent is to create intimacy with oneself.
- Filling the well – the world drains us, and being creative can drain us. We need to take time to “fill the well” by replenishing our creative energy. She says, “Think magic, think delight, think mystery. Follow your curiosity, ask questions, be lured into the new of something.” There are other ways to fill the well… listening to music that lifts you up or gets you dancing. Anything with a repetitive movement can be meditative and fill you with energy – chopping vegetables for dinner, taking a shower, swimming, scrubbing, and driving. Walking has been my “go to” tool for filling the well whenever I’m out of ideas and banging my head against the proverbial wall.
I admit that I’m terrible at being disciplined at anything, much less writing daily and having weekly dates. Sorry, Julia. But I can greatly appreciate the principles behind these three points. I use journaling and time alone to help me replenish my creativity. And I’m clear that I’m tapping into Something More when I do them. The creative zone happens when we completely let go of our judgments and fears of failure and consciously invite the Universe into the process.
As a teacher of how to reclaim one’s creative powers, Cameron said the transformation of students is amazing. It is truly an enlightenment, in the literal sense. Students take on a glow as they begin to contact their creative energies.
The Divine works constantly in this world in wildly creative ways, why is it so hard to believe that – created in that image, having the Divine spark in each of us – we too can be wildly creative? Because we are… we need to begin to believe this, and then to put ourselves in the path of that creative flow, open our hearts and minds and time to it. Risk and dream, explore and experiment, let go of inhibitions and fears of failure or foolishness… live our inheritance of creativity.
Love & Light!