"What we imagine, that we are." -- Neville Goddard
Creating what restores body, mind and soul defies "copycatting." But, when in the presence of what moves us, we know it. Suddenly all that was on our mind vanishes. Distraction comes to a halt. Stress flies out the window. We are left in the presence of the mystery, and we behold something that grabs us at an inexplicable level. All we can do is witness the truth: "I AM, therefore, I create." That soulful something seizes us by the spiritual jugulars, and we pay attention if we are smart.
When asked how I reach my own soul's GPS, I took the question to heart. What's my "way in"? It will not be yours. But are there guidelines that might be useful?
For me, it all gets down to the creative act as it lives in its infinite forms. Always fascinated by creative activity, and what flowers from it, I have discovered a few simple steps to get things moving again, all having to do with cultivating an effective resting place to utilize creative imagination in a more constructive way. Here are several:
1. Trust that creative nature mimics physical nature. Let us remember that between the 86,000 heartbeats every day, there are 86,000 resting times for this amazing organ to simply be. Otherwise, "heart central" cannot do its job, going into tetany, resulting in death. Without cultivating resting places, our life will never be an art form that brings beautiful connection with self or others.
2. We do best when we find ways to rest if we wish to live lives of greater creative inspiration. The trick here is to discover just what promotes rest best for you. Make a list.
3. Make space to encounter what amazes. Once, while at the Smithsonian, I passed by a painting by Lila Cabot Perry, an artist with whom I was unfamiliar. That did not matter. The instant I came across one of her portraits, a woman with violets on her sash, I came to a halt. My feet frooze. Those violets were so real, so touched with dew, that it seemed like you could touch the moisture, smell their perfume. Literally, I was seized by the beauty of the thing. I returned several times to take it into my five senses and later drill down to the guidance this had for me.
4. Memorize what moves you! Take your time. You need not know why you are moved. Simply register that you are moved. Savor until what has been hungry in you for expression feels deeply satisfied.
5. Return to your own classics. Ask whether you are wasting this minute or making an investment for the soul. We get to choose whether to squander the moment or invest and imbue it with what brings us alive. When you notice yourself being a spendthrift, rather than an investor, consider turning in the direction of whatever creative work returns you to a deeper way of connecting with life, in ways that inspire your creative imagination. What Goddard said bears repeating: "What we contemplate, that we are." Some works of art do the trick, regardless whether you understand or not. The "why" does not matter as much as the feeling. Trust feeling, which is different from emotion.
6. Notice what moves those you love that leaves an impression. For example, when my mother would get stuck, it was her practice to turn to the piano and play: ''Be Still, My Soul." A stoic Finn, my mother was neither a weeper, religious, nor sentimental. And yet, each time she heard this melody from Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius, it brought her to the brink of tears. "There's something in these sounds which always gets to me," she would say. No sooner than this "something inexplicable" began moving in her, whatever had been stuck in her soul began moving once more, and she went on to create something beautiful in the kitchen, garden, or at her sewing table. When I went to Finland, this music was playing in Karstula, and I was reduced to tears as well. The connection lives on. No doubt, your own ancestry triggers something that moves your soul, too.
7. Go toward what liberates creative flow and gives you peace.
8. Pay attention to what inspires you in others and make connections. One contribution reminded me of a special "aha" that helped me course correct when I was stuck. On that particular moment, I was turning into the parking lot of Montgomery County Community College, where I had enrolled as an audit in an art class. On that first day, as I turned the key off in the ignition, I happen to glance up at the brick building which read simply: Art. The dams burst, as I sat there, stunned at the tears that poured down my cheeks. What had been stuck too long in me could not be held back, and life was never the same. What a joy to meet life on its own terms and say "yes" with all your heart!
I know you do not believe you have time to rest. I know you believe that taking time to rest between all you have to do to simply get by is impossible, a luxury you can ill-afford. But what if you took a chance? What if you did a little experiment? What if you were willing to mess around with the idea that by taking a break, breathing more freely, that answers would come to you that would free you up in the rest of your life? What if?
Know this: I believe in your right to rest. Discovering your own resting places will bring you what you've been looking for now, for a very long time, indeed. I believe you have a right to have the life you want, the beauty that is yours waiting for you in the resting places. What if giving yourself this gift of time, especially when you believe you don't have enough, might draw you closer to what helps you flourish?
Be the Love,
Your turn: What helps you find rest? Inspiration? Liberated self-expression? I'm listening! Thanks for forwarding this to those who want more aliveness.
For those who wish accompaniment: Copies of "The Love Project: Coming Home" are available in second printing. Contact me, below.
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