“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
What’s Spirit got to do with it?
One of the things that participants in my Artist’s Way courses are the most surprised by, and grateful for, is a deepening relationship with their spirituality and a sense of being partnered in their creativity and their lives. Students experience remarkable synchronicities showing up during, and beyond, the course to support them on their heart path.
“I had no idea the process would entail so many blessings, triggers, synchronicities and revelations,” one student who recently completed the course wrote. Another expressed, “I feel more empowered and more connected with my spirituality than I have in a very long time.”
Although the course does not espouse any particular spiritual tradition, the subtitle of The Artist’s Way is “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” So, what’s Spirit got to do with creativity?
In my experience, the most essential and fundamental perspective that creative people need to understand is that your creativity flows through you and not from you. When we engage with a larger field of Life—call it the Tao, God, Goddess, Buddha nature, Source, Awareness, or simply the Life Force—in our art-making and our lives, we discover an infinite source of inspiration, love and support that guides and sustains us on our path.
Connecting to this field of Life enables an ongoing, healthy and miraculous connection to our gifts and our creative fire. Once connected in this way, we need never feel blocked creatively again.
Conversely, without this life-sustaining connection to a field of life larger than our small, seemingly separate selves, we identify our ego with our art. For a while, this can feel wonderful when our creativity is flowing and we are getting praise for what we do. We enjoy taking all the credit for our art then. But what happens when the inspiration dries up, or people stop approving of our creations, or we want to try something new and uncertain?
This ego-attachment to our creativity is short-sighted and short-lived. It is a recipe for suffering, confusion, creative blocks, big highs and bigger lows. We have all seen many train wrecks of famous artists who related to their creativity in this way.
Through the Artist’s Way course, students find themselves gradually discovering and deepening their individual connection to a spiritual source of creativity, a connection that is loving, joyful and beautiful, rather than being fearful, critical and full of self-doubt.
Some Basic Principles
One of the ways we begin to engage this connection is through the “Basic Principles” of the Artist’s Way course. In the book The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron outlines 10 Basic Principles, foundational tenets for the course. Students are asked not to accept these principles at face value, but rather, through a process of ongoing inquiry and dialogue, to come to their own life-sustaining relationship with their creativity, their heart’s dreams and their unique gifts. The process is like the gradual opening of a flower.
I will share with you here a few of these principles, so you can get a flavor for them. As you read them, notice what thoughts, feelings, objections, questions arise in you. Journal about these. All of these are fertile ground for healing, transforming and blossoming in your creativity.
- Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
- There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life—including ourselves.
To me, these first two principles remind me that creativity is not the province of a specialized few, but rather the natural life force moving through all of us, yearning to express itself in myriad ways.
To make art, or be creative in any way, is neither bizarre nor frivolous. It is the very foundation of Life itself. And my creativity is not a small, individualized aspect of me that seems to come and go capriciously, but rather an in-dwelling force that I can draw on at any time. My art, then, is not solely an expression of me, but of that larger force wanting to come into form.
10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.
The final principle of the 10 Basic Principles is one of my favorites. It tells me that the dreams of my heart come from beyond me and were given to me for a reason. They are not ridiculous, impossible nor selfish. They are pointing the way to my coming into the fullness of my Being and sharing my unique brilliance with the world. As I dare to dream and to follow my dreams, I come more fully into my best self.
If these ideas and principles have intrigued you, I invite you to join me for my next Artist’s Way journey or check out my one-on-one Mentoring program. You can find out about both of those here: https://brilliantplayground.com/offerings/
To your blossoming in all that you are,