“I’m not at all creative…I don’t paint, I don’t write songs, I’m not a poet…” Have you ever heard anyone say something like this? Have you said it?
Creativity is usually associated with the arts, and perhaps because the arts are so harshly curated and judged, most of us have a difficult time claiming our creativity. In school, we lined our art projects on the wall alongside those of our classmates, and then waited to see whose would be deemed the best. We have been taught that some of what we create is art, and some is not.
But thankfully, creativity is not limited to artistic expression. Each of us needs creativity just to get through our days…problem solving, dreaming, making choices, trying new things, seeking connections, fixing the broken.
Peggy Taylor said: “Creativity is our ability to dream things up and make them happen.” Conjuring up new ideas and possibilities is what creativity is all about. Using “what is” as the starting place, we imagine the “not yet.” But sometimes, we stop there, find the fun in the dreaming and neglect the part about making those imaginings real.
Making it real can be hard, and it can be scary too. Trying new things requires courage and the willingness to fail. Being our most creative and unique selves might cause others to cheer, but it can also lead to being laughed at or excluded. Yes, there is joy, beauty and play in creativity, but there is also insecurity, loneliness and self-doubt.
Maybe we should also talk about “co-creativity” this month. Where did we get the idea that artists and inventors are isolated, independent geniuses? In fact, new ideas come from the clash of difference. New art emerges only after inspiration from those who’ve gone before. Better forms of community are built by those who stick with the chaos and the struggle.
Simply put, creators need companions. It’s all a way of reminding us that the creative self-expression needs a venue. Those sacred sources of inspiration inside us – our imagination, unique voice and inner muses – want to come out and play, and they need playmates! Creativity asks us to stay connected to each other.
So as we wonder about creativity this month, ask “What do I want to create?” but also ask “Who are my partners?”
The universe is predicated on the open possibilities of newness. With gratitude for all of our sources of creativity – within us and all around us – let us begin.
With you with all my heart,
(I am posting this on Good Friday, the day we held a Celebration of Life for Barb Beck. Here is a link to the words I shared at that service.)
And for April’s theme of Power…(with thanks to Rev. Kirk Loadman-Copeland and Touchstones Consulting.)
Power is a necessary part of life. Power was present in the Big Bang that gave birth to a universe with swirling galaxies and dark holes. Power is clearly evident in the ball of fire we call our sun. The ancient elements of water, wind, fire, and earth have powerfully shaped our home, the Earth, since its birth. And we each need power…fuel…to run our bodies and to get through our days.
Power is evident in every relationship in ways both helpful and brutal. Whether we are being authentic or dishonest, facilitating or controlling, helping or hindering, there is power at work in every interaction we have. And this means that power is transactional; it ebbs and flows in every relationship, family, group, community, organization, society, etc. More often than not, power is unbalanced, and is not evenly distributed.
To understand power, it is important to know how it is being used. Is it power-over, or is it power-with? Is it power-from or is it power-to? Is it power-full, or is it power-less? Is it brutal-force-power, or is it affirming-power?
For example, while power-over could be beneficial, as in the case of a loving parent, power-over is more commonly associated with the relationship of the oppressor to the oppressed, a hurtful power dynamic that is as ancient as humanity. But we could also use power-over to master the self through spiritual discipline, which hopefully leads to an our being able to use power in ways that can enhance the common good.
In my experience, however, power-with is far more powerful than power-over. When power is shared, power is multiplied. Shared power requires that everyone take and use the power that they have, but ironically, there is a tendency for us to act as if we have little or no power at all. As Marianne Williamson writes, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
None of us is completely powerless, although we may find ourselves in situations where we feel that way. The question is, what will we do with the power that we do have for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Welcome to April!
There’s a brand new book out about Old Turtle, called Questions of the Heart. The last question is one that Old Turtle says is asked by each dawn, and whispered by the first morning breeze. The question is, “Who are you, and how will you live this day?” And, says the...
What kind of courage do we have in the face of hatred and evil? How brave might we be when up against powerful forces that would threaten our safety and sense of peace? When are we required to put ourselves on the line? required of us? Each of us must answer those...
I find myself thinking about the concept of “Ubuntu”…a Zulu term that might be translated as “I am what I am because of who we all are” or “I am a person through other persons.” It speaks to me about the almost paradoxical nature of...
June 30, 2017 My friends, This is the time of year when I ‘go to the well.’ I am soon heading off for summer holidays in Minnesota and Wisconsin. There I’ll be spending time with family and friends, visiting old haunts, and lazing time away by...
Mindfulness is something that has gotten great traction in western society over the past few decades. This should perhaps come as no surprise. Given the increasingly bifurcated nature of our lives, mindfulness, as a practice that focuses on the present moment, is a...
There’s a story unfolding. Always. And there is a particular unfolding that is happening here, and within me, and I need to speak to it. This is of particular interest to those who attended the White Supremacy Teach-In last week; I sure wish all of you could have been...