Picasso said that we are all artists when we are 8 years old; we have to be taught not to be artists. Just as we suppress the artist within us, we are indoctrinated to not trust the authentic self within us – the essence of who we are. By trying to meet the expectations of a world that tells us how we “should” be, we lose touch with the authentic desires that live within us. Where can we start to claim back this lost inheritance?
My friend and renowned artist, Murray Phillips, thinks that we start with an understanding of the concept of spirituality. The term “spirituality” is bandied about today and is one of the catch-words of the 21st century. “Spirituality,” writes Murray, “is part of our nature – part of the essence of being human. Spirituality is not an optional add-on. It is not that some people are spiritual and others aren’t; anymore than some people are physical and others aren’t. Some people may be in better physical health than others but they are not more physical. Some people are aware of their spirituality and others may be less aware, but they are no less spiritual. This is an important place to begin. If we are spiritual beings we function best when we are cognizant of that. One of the ways of increasing that awareness is to nurture the artist in you. Make time to deliberately and consistently feed the creative aspects of your being.”
While meditation, prayer, and quietness can foster authentic connection, so too can creativity. Create a sanctuary where you can get away from the expectations of the world to create and reflect. Creativity is the language of our spiritual nature. Find an area of interest (painting, writing, poetry, woodworking, dancing, music) and become involved. Make it a priority, remembering that urgent things always will crowd out important things. Use it as an opportunity to feed your soul.
“If of thy earthly goods thou art bereft
And to thy meager store two loaves alone to thee are left
Sell one and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”