In our human lives, we are often impatient, ill-tempered, inappropriate. We find it difficult to treat our intimates with the love we really hold for them. Despite this, they bear with us because of the larger, higher level of family that they honor even in our outbursts. This is their commitment.
I ask to be made beautiful like the trees are beautiful, each growing according to a unique plan. Lop off a limb and and the tree will accommodate it's loss, still growing and still beautiful. It is my hope to be able to flourish in a similar fashion, taking on the shape and dimensions that is intended for me.
We need to bridge our sense of loneliness and disconnection with a sense of community and continuity even if we must manufacture it from our time on the Web and our use of calling cards to connect long distance. We must "log on" somewhere, and if it is only in cyberspace, that is still far better than nowhere at all. (264)
Spirituality can release blocks, lead you to ideas, and make your life artful. Sometimes when we pray for guidance, we're guided in unexpected directions. We may want a lofty answer and we get the intuition to clean our bedroom. It can seem so humble and picky and that you don't necessarily think of it spiritual guidance.
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One of our chief needs as creative beings is support. Unfortunately, this can be hard to come by. Ideally, we would be nurtured and encourages first by our nuclear family and then by ever-widening circles of friends, teachers, well-wishers. As young artists, we need and want to be acknowledged for our attempts and efforts as well as for our achievements and triumphs. Unfortunately, many artists never receive this critical early encouragement. As a result, they may not know they are artists at all.
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There is no fact, no detail of our life too sordid for God's intervention. God has seen murder. God has seen rape. God has seen drug addiction's and alcoholism's utter degradation. God is available to us no matter what our circumstances. God can find us in a crack house. God can find us crumpled in a doorway or cowering on a park bench. We need only reach out to discover that God reaches back. We are led a step at a time even when we feel we are alone. Sometimes God talks to us through people. Sometimes God reaches us through circumstances or coincidence. God has a million ways to reach out to us, and when we are open to it, we begin to sense the touch of God coming to us from all directions.
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Fatigue can make it hard to have faith. Too much busyness can make it hard to have faith. Too much of too little solitude can impact faith. For that matter, so can a bout of hunger or overwork, anything carried to an extreme. Faith thrives on routine. Look at any monastery and you will see that. Faith keeps on keeping on.
If we have plain old ordinary fear then we are within reach of a solution. Fear has been with humankind for millennia and we do know what to do about it-pray about it, talk about it, feel the fear, and do it anyway. "Artistic" fear, on the other hand, sounds somehow nastier and more virulent, like it just might not yield to ordinary solutions-and yet it does, the moment we become humble enough to try ordinary solutions.
Art is an act of the soul, not the intellect. When we are dealing with people's dreams - their visions, really - we are in the realm of the sacred. We are involved with forces and energies larger than our own. We are engaged in a sacred transaction of which we know only a little: the shadow, not the shape.
When we seek daily spiritual guidance, we are guided toward the next step forward for our art. Sometimes the step is very small. Sometimes the step is, "Wait. Not now." Sometimes the step is, "Work on something else for a while." When we are open to Divine Guidance, we will receive it. It will come to us as the hunch, the inkling, the itch. It will come to us as timely conversations with others. It will come to us in many ways-but it will come.
Doing it all the time, whether or not we are in the mood, gives us ownership of our writing ability. It takes it out of the realm of conjuring where we stand on the rock of isolation, begging the winds for inspiration, and it makes it something as do-able as picking up a hammer and pounding a nail. Writing may be an art, but it is certainly a craft. It is a simple and workable thing that can be as steady and reliable as a chore-does that ruin the romance?
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Writing for the sake of writing, writing that draws its credibility from its very existence, is a foreign idea to most Americans. As a culture, we want cash on the barrel head. We want writing to earn dollars and sense so that it makes sense to us. We have a conviction-which is naive and misplaced-that being published has to do with being 'good' while not being published has to do with being 'amateur.'... 'Did you write today?' 'Yes.' 'Then you're a writer today.' It would be lovely if being a writer were a permanent state that we could attain to. It's not, or if it is, the permanence comes posthumously. A page at a time, a day at a time, is the way we must live our writing lives. Credibility lies in the act of writing. That is where the dignity is. That is where the final 'credit' must come from.
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Most of us are not raised to actively encounter our destiny. We may not know that we have one. As children, we are seldom told we have a place in life that is uniquely ours alone. Instead, we are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others, that we will (or should) find our satisfactions as they have found theirs. Rather than being taugh to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others. We are, in effect, trained to listen to others' versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else! When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach. Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if... If we had known who we really were.
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We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance. We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in. We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not.
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We need to bridge our sense of loneliness and disconnection with a sense of community and continuity even if we must manufacture it from our time on the Web and our use of calling cards to connect long distance. We must 'log on' somewhere, and if it is only in cyberspace, that is still far better than nowhere at all. (264)
Basic Principles: 1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy. 2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life - including ourselves. 3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives. 4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves. 5. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God. 6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature. 7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction. 8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected. 9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity. 10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.
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Those who speak in spiritual terms routinely refer to God as creator but seldom see "creator" as the literal term for "artist". I am suggesting you take the term "creator" quite literally. You are seeking to forge a creative alliance, artist-to-artist with the Great Creator. Accepting this concept can greatly expand your creative possibilities.
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Life is a creative endeavor. It is active, not passive. We are the yeast that leavens our lives into rich, fully baked loaves. When we experience our lives as flat and lackluster, it is our consciousness that is at fault. We hold the inner key that turns our lives from thankless to fruitful. That key is "Blessing."
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I honor the wisdom of life. I learn from life in all its forms. The tree teaches me. The sparrow and the wren sing my song. I am open to the lessons Life brings me from the earth. I learn from the wind, from the sun, from the small flowers, and from the stars. I walk without arrogance. I learn from all I encounter. I open my mind and heart to the guidance and love that come to me from the natural world.
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The artist brain is the sensory brain: sight and sound, smell and taste, touch. These are the elements of magic, and magic is the elemental stuff of art. In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do-spiritual sit-ups like reading a dull but recommended critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.
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I am compassionate. I allow my heart and imagination to embrace the difficulties and concerns of others. While maintaining my own balance, I find it within myself to extend sympathy, attention, and support. When they are grieved, I listen with openness and gentle strength. I offer loyalty, friendship, and human understanding. Without undermining or enabling, I aid and assist others to find their strength. I allow the healing power of the Universe to flow through me, soothing the hearts and feelings of those I encounter.
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Balance is the key to my serenity. I attain balance by listening to my inner wisdom and to the wisdom of others. There is no situation in which I cannot find a point of balance. There is no circumstance in which I cannot find inner harmony. As I ask to be led into equilibrium and clarity, I will find that my answers come to me. I am wiser than I know, more capable of right action and attitudes than I yet believe. In every event, I seek the balance point of God's action through me.
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Perfectionism has nothing to do with getting it right. It has nothing to do with fixing things. It has nothing to do with standards. Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move forward. It is a loop-an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole.
The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist. The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all. . . Fear is what blocks an artist. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not finishing. The fear of failure and of success. The fear of beginning at all.