It is our unique gift as humans to see visions of beauty and inspiration and give them form. (Tweet this)
In practice, however, I often feel limited by the process. Writing, most often, is my chosen form of expression. I love to write... most of the time. But sometimes bringing the ideas in my head to fruition and giving them palatable words and form feels anything but spiritual. I lumber through the process, frustrated by my own lack of ability. The peaceful, spiritual image I have in my head flies right out the window (along with pages of deleted words).
This week for Lent, however, I was determined to focus on, nurture, and find my creative joy. It occurred to me that just as church is a ceremony to prepare us for worship, I could implement a ritual to open my heart, elevate my spirit, and be more receptive.
1. Lighting a candle. I found a candle with a lovely, soft scent, placed it on my desk, and lit it. As I did so, I said a prayer asking God to light my heart and help me be a soft and gentle light.
2. Read. I took a few minutes to read a text that challenged and elevated my mind. Currently, I'm working through a book called In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, a collection of very well-written and thoughtful essays. Reading others' creative pieces helped set my mind and heart towards my own writing. I could have read poetry or scripture, looked at art on the internet, or watched an inspiring video or TED talk-- anything to feed my heart and inspire me.
3. Music. I need relative quiet when I write. Even music with lyrics can disrupt me. I found a station on Pandora that is strictly instrumental. It plays a lovely mix I find soothing and uplifting.
4. Tea. I don't think there's anything mystical in a hot cup of tea, but the scent, warming liquid, and earthy flavor helped me feel pampered.
4. Turn off the Internet. While I think social media serves a good purpose, I also believe it is the antithesis of creativity. (Tweet this) It is, at least for me, numbing and distracting. I downloaded an alarm clock app and set it. I'll be honest, I felt a bit "twitchy" wanting to check my mail or Facebook (now isn't that telling), but the lack of distraction was wonderful and reminded me that this time was special and sacred.
4. Create. I wrote, not euphorically or without wrestling with my words, but I allowed myself to write, even poorly. Towards the end of my time, one piece I worked on took me to the lake near our house during summer, kayaking on the glass-like surface. My heart soared with the words. I was in the heart of creating, reliving nature, and lost in sharing an experience that brought me peace.
Have you ever tried to make your creation process more an act of worship? What ideas do you have to set the stage and mood for a receptive heart?
And now, the winner!
I admit, when I first thought of giving away crayons and a coloring book, I wondered if it would seem childish. It was an idea born from my own love of coloring. I find it so peaceful! But it was fun to see the eager responses. I'm enjoying giving away a few gifts! The winner of the coloring book and crayons, as selected by the random list generator at Random.org is:
Julia Munroe Martin
Yay! Julia, get in touch with me and give me your mailing address-- I'm so excited you won!