“The seed is a simple thing–
miracle that it remains
It is a faith in the harvest
I must find my way back to.”
—Nathan Brown, 2013/2014 Poet Laureate of Oklahoma; from his poem “Foothold“
I’ve been on a journey. A journey inward; one of self-discovery. The seeds were planted a few years ago but had been lying dormant until recently. It is a good journey, one I have come to believe will be an important and life-changing journey.
It will come as no surprise to those who know me well that for most of my life I have not considered myself as a “creative” being. For as long as I can remember I have scored much higher in favor of my ever-so-logical left brain on those right-brain/left-brain quizzes. I’m good at math but struggle to draw a stick figure. I prefer Sudoku every time over crossword puzzles. I’m great at writing very professional business letters but write creatively? No way…
I have sung most of my adult life. A year ago I released a CD in memory of a dear friend as a benefit for an organization in Haiti that was near and dear to his heart. The CD has been well received. And still, I did not consider myself a “musician”. Oh, I was (and still am) a pretty decent vocalist, but a musician? It seemed fraudulent to call myself that when I knew so many incredibly talented singers, songwriters, guitarists…you name it. I wouldn’t dare put myself in their league.
Some months ago I fell in with a bunch of misfit creative types on Facebook and my life started to change. I began to blog; I began to take photographs and something even stranger happened–I began to see myself as one of them. I found that just as I received inspiration from them they too, in turn were inspired by my offerings. My blog began to have actual followers. Not just friends of mine who were trying to be kind but total strangers who seemed to think that I had something to say. My photographs began to be something I felt comfortable putting out there, even though I knew so many who took absolutely stunning images. I got a new camera and started learning in earnest how to use it both technically and creatively.
A few weeks ago, after hearing a friend talk about her experiences, I began to read the book and work the program known as “The Artist’s Way“. The Artist’s Way is a 12-week journey into discovering the link between our spiritual and creative selves. It is an affirmation that we are all born to be creative. The program is an answer to a yearning inside of me that has been growing for some time. I wanted to be creative, I just didn’t know how to go about it. I did not believe that I was wired that way. The creative child within me was buried so deeply and so beaten down by my own internal critic that I didn’t believe she even existed. Until now.
One of the cornerstones of The Artist’s Way is something called Morning Pages. Three pages of long-hand, stream of consciousness writing every morning. The thought terrified me. What in the world was I going to write about? I was told that it didn’t matter. Just write. Even if all you write about is that you can’t think of anything to write about. That was pretty much how it went for the first few days. Seriously? Three pages? Good grief, they seemed to look like a book. Why did the lines on the pages have to be so narrow? How was I going to manage this with my already jammed schedule? What could I possibly find to write about day after day? What was I going to do with Pippin while I was writing? He would surely be pestering me to play.
Something strange began to happen even before the first week was out. I began to look forward to it. I do find things to write about; things about this journey that I am on; conversations with God; arguments with my evil internal critic, who I have named “Fanny”. Turns out Fanny is a liar and she’s actually starting to listen to me when I tell her to go away. I’m actually beginning to believe that she’s been wrong all these years. I AM creative. Do I have work to do? Can I improve on my creative handiwork? Absolutely! But I CAN learn; I have something to say with my art that is meaningful–not just for myself but for others.
One of the things that was an assignment for the first week of The Artist’s Way was to make use of affirmations. The book has some suggestions: “Creativity is the Creator’s will for me.” “Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.” “I am willing to be of service through my creativity.” And this one, that really resonated: “My creativity heals myself and others.”
I had a conversation the other day with a musician friend. Someone who I admire both as a musician and as a human being. We were talking a bit about The Artist’s Way and how it was working in my life. He told me in our conversation that he had always found something healing about hearing me sing. That statement from him further served to affirm this journey that I am on.
This won’t be an easy journey. I visualize it as a journey through an ancient forest. One where the path is not laid out clearly in front of me. There will be times when the trees will close in around me and it will seem that I have lost my way. There will be times when I may travel in circles and the path will become rough and rocky. Nevertheless, I believe that if I remain open and I am willing to trust, I will find places to rest along the way. There will be green meadows in the midst of the forest with fragrant grass on which to lie and clear, cold streams of healing waters to drink from that will provide strength to move on.
I have much to be grateful for on this journey. I am grateful to ALL of those who have encouraged me and have planted the seeds that have now sprouted and are beginning to grow. It is a good and worthy journey and I thank you for joining me–I look forward to the adventure.