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What if Creativity is Our True Nature?


“Why indeed must ‘god’ be a noun?  Why not a verb…the most active and dynamic of all?” 
~Mary Daly, theologian

How do we do the most with what we have in this life, creating a life of meaning, joy, and connection?  As part of my work and one of my passions, I collect information about teachers who explore this question. It's amazing how many different answers and ideas are out there --  

There are a number of fresh, new voices on the personal growth/optimal living scene and then there are senior teachers:  Martha Beck, Caroline Myss, Krishna Das, Thomas Moore, Sandra Ingerman, Dr. Joe Dispenza and others.

Because of the research I do on these teachers and my work with retreat centers around the country, I know about a lot of different topics and perspectives on personal transformation, though I don’t always dive deeply into the work. 

Recently, I cracked open Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a beloved and highly respected guide for writers, artists, anyone interested in creative expression.  As I read I discovered how intently she views writing, dancing --  any act of creativity -- as acts of a spiritual path. 

I can’t begin to tell you what a jaw-dropper this was for me. 

“How could I not know this??”  I wondered. All these years of knowing about Julia Cameron and her book and it didn’t register. Not only that, for much of the time I’ve worked at various retreat centers I was the person responsible for scheduling her workshops. 

The irony. 

I chalk it up to my tendency to scratch the surface at times.  I also think I had her pigeon-holed as a writer’s writer, a writing coach, despite her subtitle: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Maybe a part of me didn’t want to pay attention. 

If I’d read just the Introduction, I would have come face to face with the truth she offers that we can blend two areas we don't always associate as being closely connected:  creativity and spirituality. That, in fact, it's is our true nature to be creative, creating, and an instrument of the Divine. 

I could open myself up to God/the Holy Spirit/something bigger than you or me and allow it to move through  me and take form as a story, essay, maybe even a book.

To honor my true nature as a creative being. 

I've known this truth on some level, but for some reason, the way Cameron writes about it, without hesitation or any trace of doubt, really hit me over the head.  

And it meant that all the reasons I had in my head about not writing, drawing, singing, etc. didn't hold water.

Ideas of not being good enough.

This is what the “Censor” does to us: that critical voice that tells us we’ll never write well enough to be published much less noticed. That inner critic that questions our ability, our true creative nature. Telling us (me) that what we (I)  create is shallow and less-than. Not of interest to anyone but myself.

Add to that early religious teachings that God is separate from and above, way above, us mere mortals. How dare we imagine we’d have such an intimate experience of God? 

Thankfully that way of thinking is shifting in many religions and where it doesn’t, there are boundless opportunities to explore spirituality and the idea of God moving though us, using us as an instrument of creativity, healing, comfort, agents of change. 

Shamanic work made this idea real to me in a way that even the most progressive, socially-engaged and wonderfully welcoming churches I’ve experienced.  Shamanic work gives me specific practices for connecting to Spirit, opening up to Spirit with the intention of supporting the health and healing of the person I’m working with.  

“Make me the hollow-bone through which Spirit flows” is how I start my work with clients.  

Not all that different from the prayer I learned when I was young, “May the Holy Spirit guide my words, thoughts and actions.”  

Cameron gets this and takes it a step further: 

 “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.” 

Creativity is nothing we need to invent.  Imagine embracing this idea that creativity is our true nature and that blocks to our creative expression 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” as Cameron writes in her Introduction.   

I’ve read that line at least 15 times in the last week and it still blows me away.

I think it amazes me both because of its deep truth and because the sentence is so beautifully, descriptively crafted. I’m also left feeling a level of sadness when I realize how much thwarting I’ve done. How much energy have I spent thwarting creativity in my life?   

So here I am, writing and putting out blog posts because a part of me wants to share my musings and wonderings and sparks of realizations, hoping it touches off sparks for others or at least offers a measure of comfort by knowing others have similar musings and wonderings. 

Trust me when I tell you that the Censor would have me keep these writings to myself for reasons far too numerous to list.  

I’d rather take my chances and line up with a process at once as normal and as miraculous as the blossoming of a flower at the end of a slender green stem. 

How about you? 

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