02/15/2013 03:00 pm ET Updated Apr 14, 2013

How We Create the World

Whether or not we consider ourselves artists, we are all in the business of creating our lives. Each of us is here to bring to life that something that's unique to us. None of us is aiming for triteness, in pursuit of the shallow. It's greatness we're after -- and not some hollow applause coming from somewhere beyond us, but the deep down thrill of knowing we went all out, put our soul into something, created a life that sparked something new, had an impact, could be of use. Creativity is our spirituality in running shoes.

Creators are the ones who make the invisible visible, who give words and colors and sounds and shape to the human adventure. They portray it in such a way that we understand more clearly who we are, how we are connected. Italian poet and Nobel Prize-winner Salvatore Quasimodo said that "poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal but which the reader recognizes as his own." Nancy Mairs, in Voice Lessons, writes, "Our stories utter one another... If I do my job, the books I write vanish before your eyes. I invite you into the house of my past, and the threshold you cross leads you into your own."

While artists consciously choose to bring the interior outward, to create these thresholds for others to pass through, we each do this on a daily basis in one way or another. Aware or not, we are co-creating the world we live in -- shedding light or shadow, bringing comfort or pain and adding energy to others, either positive or negative. Our days are the canvas for our creations and we are all artists of a kind, mirroring each other in the offerings we conjure.

The creative journey is a heroic thing. It is a pilgrimage to the center of our lives where transmute tragedies and triumphs into new forms conjured in our private hours and offered to others like food for the soul, a wrap against the chill. It demands our stillness and rapt attention, calls for courage as we pass through the dark on the way to the light.

The answers to the crises we face as a family will not come from beyond, but will surface from below as we quiet our lives, call upon our wisdom, give voice to our soul in all the ways we can. We hunger for creations that feed and sustain us -- for images, music, films and novels that wrestle with the issues and questions of the day, unfold their complexities, enliven our passions, and reawaken our drowsy imaginations.

As shapers of this culture, let us come to the task with the verve and vigor of true creators. Let us embrace each day as an empty canvas, our thoughts and words the brush and palette. Let us mine our lives for the jewels they offer, weaving tales worth telling to the ones to come. And let us remember, in the darkest of times, that you and I are the light of the world -- our voices like candles, our love like the sun.