Life as a Work of Art
By Linda Naiman
This article originally appeared in Shared Vision Magazine, March, 1995.
Art is an expression of our innate creativity,
which is the language of the soul.
Art is a creative act, a spiritual journey. It is an expression of the soul. Every artist has something within that calls out to be expressed. There are no rules for answering the needs of the soul. The artist transcends convention and the result is always beautiful. Philosopher/artist Eric Gill reminds us that “the artist is not a different kind of person, but every person is a different kind of artist.”
Art is an expression of our innate creativity, which is the language of the soul. The ultimate creativity comes from the energy of love and wisdom, which some of us call God, the Source, the Absolute, the Creator or the Divine. The ancient yogis said that all forms of creation—from energy to gross matter—are composed of one substance called the universal creative energy, or Pakritti. In accordance with the three modes of creation—birth, growth and dissolution—creative energy spontaneously manifests and ultimately dissolves into an unmanifested source, also known as the Absolute. All creation thus comes from the absolute, and returns to it in a never-ending cycle We are all part of the universal creative energy, and the glue that holds it all together is love and wisdom.
The cycle of birth, growth and dissolution applies to every creative endeavour. When I create, consciously or otherwise, I dissolve old forms and old ideas that no longer serve me. I access the sacred place of silence and connect with my heart. I let myself be guided by my heart, not my inner critic. I move beyond thought, from the known to the unknown, and allow the new to unfold.
As I give birth to the new, I play with it, enhancing the idea or the form by combining, integrating or synthesizing various elements. I surrender control of the outcome. At this point the painting paints itself, the writing writes itself or the design designs itself. It becomes an ecstatic experience, and I go with the flow until the process is complete. I then feel relief and gratitude for the creative expression that has flowed through me, and I allow myself a resting period, letting my creativity lie fallow until the next cycle begins.
People often think of creativity only in terms of painting and drawing, but it can manifest itself in many ways. It is easy and natural for us to create, and just because your Grade Two teacher humiliated you for colouring outside the lines, that does not mean you are uncreative. Creativity is simply the act of making something new. As children, we may have received little or no positive reinforcement of our creative powers; as adults, then, we are reluctant to give in to our creative urges when they begin to bubble up from within.
One of the biggest blocks to creativity is fear. Fear of making a mistake; of looking foolish, and fear of the unknown. Here is the secret to liberating your creativity: Let the desire to create come from love —love for what you have to offer the world. When you create out of love, you have room to make mistakes. If you worry about how good you are, you may never begin.
Creativity takes on many forms. It may express itself through gardening, decorating, preparing a meal or business entrepreneurship. Creativity expresses itself through fresh thinking, seeing things in new ways, and acting on new ideas. Expressing your creativity is living your passion, being and artist in all areas of life and making your whole life a work of art—even your work.
Canadian born architect Frank Gehry had a childhood passion for playing with building materials at his uncle’s hardware store. Now recognized worldwide for his work, he has created stunning sculptural effects through innovative uses of chain link, pipes and other hardware fixtures in his architectural designs.
Remember how you played as a child; what absorbed you to the extent that you lost track of time? Your child’s play is the source of your genius, the key to your creativity. It is the clue to your unique gift you have to offer the world, to your mission, to your passion. Allow yourself time to play, relax, imagine envision and dream. Trust your intuition and express yourself. Explore the whispers in your heart of hearts that give life to your dreams. Hear the call. Let your life be a work of art.