Weathering the Storms of Creativity
I know, I wrote a few days ago that I was going to rest. That I needed to rest. Several of you commented that resting is hard for you too. So I'm wondering, how important is rest to your creative process, and how do you do it? My rest this week has consisted of lounging on the couch submersed in my tea and in a pile of books like I haven't been since before my girls were born--but somehow, I've been accomplishing a lot of tangible, practical things too!
I think the key is that my attitude has been one of rest and relaxation--truly enjoying the simple things in my day with no pressure to "get things done." This seems to free me up on the inside and helps me to focus, instead of running around crazy inside my head during the few quiet hours in my day. When I am calm and thoughtful, instead of overwhelmed by everything I need to get done . . . I realize that I actually got some things done! And without feeling like I was doing anything at all!
Creativity can be such a delicate thing, can't it? Powerful and all-consuming at times, like a storm overtaking every thought and breath. But at other times inspiration seems to shimmer like a mist that you can see only if you look at it kind of from the corner of your eyes while squinting. Or like a dream that you can only remember when you stop trying to remember.
Carl King says that Creativity has an "evil twin" called "Destructivity"--the "imagination gone wrong" and "used as a movie theater that plays an endless loop of worthless sounds and images"--those depressing thoughts of never finding success, not feeling like your work is valuable, wondering if you even have anything important to say. (From So, You're a Creative Genius . . . Now what?--a simple, practical, sarcastic, and kick-you-into-gear book that is hilarious and also offers some surprisingly deep, even spiritual wisdom for artists who want to focus their creativity into a career.)
I'm learning this week that the key to avoiding these destructive patterns is REST. I find that my creative heart is so susceptible to frustration and discouragement when I am packing my time full of "chores" and pressuring myself to produce, produce, produce, not giving the Spirit enough room to inspire dreams and experiments and yes, even tangents.
I'm learning that "resting" is really "trusting"--keeping the faith that this creative life is about something bigger than to-do lists and business plans. It's about something bigger than success as it is measured by any amount of sales or money in the bank.
Living this creative life is a fight--a determined fight to find the good even on a bad day, and to give thanks for the beauty that can come out of even some of the most difficult circumstances. It's a fight against those destructive lies that seem especially intent upon plaguing the hearts of those who use their hands to craft artful outpourings of the Love that is written in the stars.
All of us can live the creative life in one form or another, even if we never have our fingers covered in paint or tangled in yarn or picking out chords on ivory keys. Living is creative--simply breathing in and out with determined hope that we can make the world a better place just by seeing it with love in our eyes and by thankfully accepting it as a gift that represents only a fraction of Ultimate Love.
linking with friends at Studio Sneak Peek, Paint Party, and Artists in Blogland...