Greetings, dear friends! In many parts of the country, this is the season we begin to see tiny miracles of creation becoming visible: little tips of green as the early spring bulbs push up through the ground, tender green buds bursting from bare branches of trees . . . and we begin to feel creative stirrings in our souls right along with nature. How do we experience those stirrings? What exactly is creativity? As we go into silence with the questions and feelings we may have, we remember that we are called to be co-creators with the Divine. We don't need to paint a masterpiece, or write a best-seller, though for some that happens. What we do need are ways to express our own, personal, unique creative yearnings. Listen carefully, dear friends: the answers will begin to flow, and we will begin to bloom right along with those spring flowers!
Unless we are creators, we are not fully alive . . . Remember, the root word of humble and human is the same: humus: earth. We are dust. We are created; it is God who made us and not we ourselves. But we were made to be co-creators with our maker.
We are not victims. We are not guests. You and I are colleagues and co-creators with God—living in the midst of ongoing creation and called upon to celebrate everything that is.
Reality is permeated, indeed flooded, with divine creativity, nourishment, and care.
Creativity is a spiritual force. The force that drives the green fuse through the flower, as Dylan Thomas defined his idea of the life force, is the same urge that drives us toward creation. There is a central will to create that is part of our human heritage and potential. Because creation is always an act of faith, and faith is a spiritual issue, so is creativity. As we strive for our highest selves, our spiritual selves, we cannot help but be more aware, more proactive, and more creative.
Just as God speaks to us through the words of scripture, so God speaks to us through the elements of creation. The cosmos is like a living sacred text that we can learn to read and interpret. Just as we prayerfully ponder the words of the Bible in Christian practice, and as other traditions study their sacred texts, so we are invited to listen to the life of creation as an ongoing, living utterance of God.
God is creatively present in everyone in every moment whether we are aware of it or not. But when we are in the state of silent gratefulness, we are aware of God's Presence.
Every artistic creation is an attempt to recover something of the original sense of order, of right proportion. Our capacity for wonder, for awe, our sense of the magical and the sacred, has its source here—in what we can call a state of grace, equilibrium. I suppose that what we refer to as sacred is so because of some primal relation between ourselves and the world. We feel that a part of our being is hallowed or blessed by this, that some acts of ours enhance this feeling, while others violate it.
With the word creative we stand under a mystery. And from time to time that mystery, as if it were a sun, sends down upon one head or another, a sudden shaft of light—by grace, one feels, rather than deserving, for it always is something given, free, unsought, unexpected. It is useless, possibly even profane, to ask for an explanation.
When we grow radishes in a small container in a city apartment, we participate in creation. We sustain the globe. When we sweep the street in front of a house in the dirtiest city in the country, we bring new order to the universe. We tidy the Garden of Eden. We make God's world new again. When we repair what has been broken or paint what is old or give away what we have earned that is above and beyond our own sustenance, we stoop down and scoop up the earth and breathe into it new life again, as God did one morning in time only to watch it unfold, unfold, and unfold through the ages.
The creative process is generation and birth as well as transformation and rebirth. The perpetual self-renewal and the dependence on grace of the person who opens to create are a human parallel to the eternal rebirth of all that is created.
You do not have to be in some setting hallowed by greatness, or in the presence of an artist honored around the world, for art to move you. Art can work its magic any time you are in the presence of a work created by someone who has gone inside the act of creation to become what they are creating. When this takes place, time stands still, and if our hearts are open to this experience, our spirits soar and our imaginations are unfettered.
Creative work, like love, is not an exclusive gift bestowed on only a chosen few. A few now possess sanctity and moral vision, heroism and wisdom, genius and talent. But all that is merely activation of the potential dormant within every soul. A sea of love, an unexhaustible wellspring of creativity, bubbles behind the consciousness of each one of us. . . . All creative work that is done in its own name and for its own sake is divine in nature. Through it, people elevate themselves and fill their own hearts and the hearts of those around them with God.