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Reclaim Your Creative Spirit

When we first encounter God in the Bible, He is immersed in the act ofcreation. It is an act that provides pleasure and self-satisfaction."God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good." (Gen1:31) We who are made in God's image are also meant to create, toco-create with God. We are His instruments here on Earth. God's ideastake shape in our ideas and become the work of our hands.

It sometimes seems as though the world is divided into two camps -those who are "creative" and those who are not. Nothing could befurther from the truth. We are all born with innate creative ability.Young children automatically create. They do not need to be shown howto express themselves creatively. They build with blocks, scribblewith crayons, explore with clay and paint, sing and dance with glee,and they do so with both abandon and determination. It is an act ofjoy. While having a definite purpose in mind, they create purely tocreate. The results have a freshness and spontaneity to them that manyadults attempt to capture in their own creative endeavors.

At some point, however, we begin to attempt a more realistic approachto our creative projects. We begin to feel that there is a "right" wayfor our pictures to look, our songs to sound, our dance steps to be.Perhaps some well-meaning adult told us to color in the lines, or wesimply began to observe other adult's creativity at work. Regardless,we begin to judge our work, and decide it doesn't measure up to ourown or other's expectations. We forget the joy of creating and insteadfocus on the outcome.

It is possible, however, to reclaim that lost joy and nurture thecreativity within us. Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way" (G.P.Putnam's Sons) tells us that "when we open ourselves to ourcreativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within usand our lives." She goes on to say that we must give ourselvespermission to be bad at our creative endeavors, because the fear ofbeing bad is often the only thing keeping us from being good. We needto send our inner judge away for the duration and allow ourselves tobe beginners, to create for the pure joy of creating. Cameronemphasizes the fact that we alone do not do the creating. God worksthrough us. As she states in the artist's prayer: "Great Creator, Iwill take care of the quantity. You take care of the quality." We mustopen ourselves up to the flow that is within us.

Exploring our creativity also gives us another opportunity to get toknow ourselves. In the words of T. Byram Karasu in "The Art ofSerenity", artistic acts "intensify emotions, heighten the sense ofexistence, and invite contemplation. One need not be a fine artist.Woodworking, gardening, writing letters, weaving, or knitting couldserve as a prism." Just as we can come to know much about God throughGod's creation, so the works that we create (with God's assistance)can tell us much about ourselves. The act of creating can also be verytherapeutic in that we can release emotions that might otherwiseremain buried inside.

10 Ways to Nurture Your Creativity

1)Pay attention to the world around you - engage your senses. What arethe sights, smells, and sounds that you encounter each day?2)Indulge a passion that you have left behind, a hobby or sport that you used to enjoy.3)Try something that you have always wanted to do.4)Play a game - allow yourself to have fun.5)Write a letter to a friend.6)Take a crayon and some paper and scribble.7)Encounter nature - work in a garden or go for a walk.8)Daydream9)Cut out an inspiring quote from a book and stick it to yourrefrigerator.10)Don't worry about the outcome - enjoy the process!

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of "The Spiritual WomanNewsletter" and author of "Letters toMary from a Young Mother" (iUniverseHealth Fitness Articles, 2004). She has a Master of ArtsDegree in Applied Theology from Elms College and is married with twoyoung sons.

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Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of "The Spiritual Woman Newsletter" and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004). She has a Master of Arts Degree in Applied Theology from Elms College and is married with two young sons.

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