Photo by alicepopkorn
Oh good, you came back! Let's wrap up this informal series on the spirituality of creativity (parts one and two here), because I'm sure you have many wonderfully creative endeavors to attend to.
So we've look at the underlying fundamentals of creativity's connection to spirituality. We've explored the four spiritual gifts that derive from following your creative instincts. But now what? Where do we go/create from here? Here are some of my takeaways:
Item #1: No time like the present!
Fr. Ryan geared his talk to the midlife crowd, with constant references to the second half of life, career changes, and the like. I got the sense from the other attendees -- all over 50 -- that they were living with some regret about just discovering their creative sides now.
As the only twenty-something in the room, and one who recently recommitted to her creative destiny, I had to ask: Doesn't this apply to everyone? (Yes.) And if so, why wait? (Don't.)
Creativity will not come to you fully formed. You have to practice it, nurture it, and live with it to really reap the benefits. So, my thinking is, don't delay. Give yourself as much time as possible to relish that process.
Item #2: Define creativity for yourself, as well as its terms of "art."
In this series, I've tended to use arts such as poetry or writing as examples of creative fruit. And that's all they are -- examples -- shared through the lens of my arts-centric experiences.
Because as Fr. Ryan pointed out multiple times in his talk, creativity knows no boundaries of skill sets, job functions, interests, etc. Your creativity could manifest in an improved process, smoother logistics, fruitful garden, or elegant equations, just as it could in a cello composition or photography.
Remember, creativity is the ability to see new possibilities in set ways of doing things. Do you have the vision?
Item #3: Water the spiritual roots of creativity.
This series was about creativity AND spirituality, after all, so let's leave on a prayerful note.
I'm a pretty major hypocrite on this point, because my prayer life isn't where it could be. But I encountered two things -- one idea, one piece -- that might provide a good starting point for reflecting on creation.
Fr. Ryan suggested the first idea when he brought up examens, the Jesuit tradition of daily examinations of consciousness as a way to prayer.
When you're praying about or over your day, ask God, "Where was I surprised today? Where did I see evidence of Your creativity?" This helps to draw the connection between the Creator, the act of creating, and what's created in your own life.
The second prayer supplement is this prayer -- entitled "The Brooding Spirit" -- from Fr. Ed Hays, blogger and poet for the National Catholic Reporter. Fr. Hays has lots of intriguing poems and reflections on his blog, but I was particularly struck by the last stanza of "The Brooding Spirit":
Then, spill forth from the very center of me
God's wildest dreams and fantasies,
heaven's highest hopes for my day and times,
as you again recreate this old, weary world.
There it is -- the link between God's recreation and our imaginations, the input and output, and the infinite cycle of inspired creativity -- captured in no less than a poem. Fitting, don't you think?
So that's all I have to say (right now) about spirituality and creativity. Now I want to hear from you. How do you experience creativity? How do you foster it? What are your beliefs or perceptions about its spiritual origins or links? Please share in the comments -- and thanks so much for reading!