On days that are cloying, When my ears protest with ringing When my brain has decided to blanket itself with a heavy haze, Blurring my vision And Aching my bones... The Spirit and I agreed We should sit together and watch fish swim. And side by side there, just try to be. She tells me my scattered, anxious thoughts Will entice me To coil up all my energy and release it like a spring; Only to find I become weaker still, Snapped and broken. I tell her: "I'm glad you are ok with weakness. And I'm glad that's where you work best. I'm complex like a fractal, And you knit everything together so well Even when it looks so feeble and fragile." So, she sets aside these little pond days for me, Where we spend some time gazing at the fish, And I'm learning how to just be, I in Spirit and Spirit in me. My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG
Inspiration- a multifaceted word. On first glance it is defined as; “the process of being mentally stimulated, to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” It also means “divine influence”, and “the act of breathing in, an inhalation”.
The Source of Inspiration
But where does inspiration come from? Our brains? Or somewhere deeper? According to Neuroscientist Dr Caroline Leaf, the brain and the mind are separate, in the sense that our brains are a problem-solving organ: The brain thinks just as the heart beats, and the lungs breathe. She explains that our brains and bodies are the way we experience our mind- and our mind is far richer and more complex than our brains and bodies. She says, “The mind is energy and it generates energy” (ref: Podcast 306: How to balance your brainwaves + The difference between the mind & brain). In other words, the mind is the driving force behind our brain. It’s helpful to make the distinction by referring to the mind as the ‘wise self’ or the ‘wise mind’.
Based on this, our inspiration and creative energy comes from a deeper source than just our brains. If you think about the sheer volume of creative expressions in the world- things that have been agonised over, lovingly altered, thought about and experimented with- it’s overwhelmingly immense. It’s like the Earth holds a constant shower of creative things, a rain of ideas and thoughts sinking into the ground and eventually, most likely, lost. I used to find this thought really discouraging. However, the unrelenting urge to create is built into us as humans. It’s is part of our Imago Dei, or who we are as image bearers of God. We create as a true expression of our being. I think the reason we struggle with the thought that our creative endeavours may be unacknowledged or lost is because we live in a world that values productivity and data. It is bent toward rigidity over flexibility, reductionism over possibilities, utility over worth and meaning, judgement over grace, certitude over nonduality and exclusivity over acceptance.
If we view the ‘wise mind’ as the seat of inspiration, and the brain as the vehicle through which we experience it, our perspective is transformed. We are no longer dictated by the the overarching values of culture or society. We become more authentically who we are created to be. Inspiration is not stingy or withholding. It is not the exclusive property of a sacred few. As mentioned above, it is like a constant rain, or a river that flows endlessly, available to all.
Our upside down world….means that to nurture or make room for inspiration requires a commitment to authenticity. Putting our inspiration out into the world comes with a price: we give up control over where it will land. This lies is the hands of the Spirit. The true value of what we create lies not in the thing itself, but the essence of the thing as an expression of our divinity- as co-creators with God.
I’m reminded of a Bible verse in Philippians: “I will rejoice even if my life is poured out like a drink offering”. If we pour out our lives, which includes everything we do or create, it follows that we give up concern over how it is received, since everything we have to offer has first been given to us by a loving and creative God. What we accomplish in our own strength can be so self-conscious and focused on external responses. It’s a temptation to present oneself according to the upside down values of the world- even for short term accolades. We want to appear clever and successful. Part of the antidote to this mind trap for me at least, lies in reminding myself of who I really am: deeply flawed yet deeply loved. Created in the image of God. I have within me the mind-boggling capacity to reflect back a unique one-of-a-kind facet of the nature of God. One with God in union, I am also a particularity. Another antidote is realising that all those around me carry the same spark of divinity, are equally loved, wonderfully unique and therefore communication with others is sacred. We reflect God back to one another.
Art as Communion
We are all an original, and part of something much larger than ourselves, something we cannot fully understand. I need to remind myself of this often.
Back to some thoughts on making art. For me, when I think of my arts practise, and in particular how it produces so much joy and healing in my life, I can see the principle of inspiration – or the wise mind- at work. In painting, drawing, writing poems….I am aware of being pulled away from the endless chatter and problem solving of the brain into a more expansive space of grounding into the life of the Spirit. (I say this with the firm belief that we are all creators in some form or another).
The more I pursue inspiration, this creative force within me, the more I become aware that God is closer than my breath. Creative expression is like a loving dialogue or prayer going back and forth. This is why the definition of inspiration- as respiration or breathing- is so beautiful.
If inspiration was personified it would be accepting, childlike, compassionate. It values process over product. May we all joyfully and with gratitude, breathe it in.
She is untamed chaos Fierce in her protective gaze. An enigma, A paradox, A joyful mystic, A volatile conductress. Surrender to the wild Goose Melt into her terrible embrace. She beckons you to cast off from the shore. Your feeble tin boat bobbing in the wind, the humming splash of water it's keeper. Let it float untethered. Let it drift and wobble. Toss aside your anchor; Abandon it, discard it, into the waiting sea. Surrender to the Wild Goose. 'Till the land becomes a distant haze; And you are given over to the spiralling adventure, the swooping whirlwind Under her Great Wings.
Aboriginal Acrylic paint angels Architecture Art classes artist block Art therapy Art Worksops Cave Art Creative Flow Dark night of the soul Dreams Dreams and artwork Dreams and grief Elements of design fairies Fairytale art Flower art God Grade 4-6 grounding practise Homeschooling https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/AlyssaKanitschArt Inner Child Interpreting dreams iPad art apps Meditation Murals mysticism Mystics Nature Oil paints Painting Plaster poems Recycled Materials Renaissance Shadow work Silhouettes art lesson Singing Tree Spirituality Term 2 2016 Term 3 2016 totem animals Yin and Yang
Deep in the forest amongst leaf, wood and shrub,
There is a place where the light plays tricks.
As if it were a small child finding joy
in hiding things
And creating puppet-shows
in the shadowy patterns of the trees.
So a story unfolds,
where heroes and heroines spring from the most unlikely places.
Like the reassuring orb of the moon
Like the movement of a grey cloud
Like the distant chatter of a bird.
And then, in the space between moments,
you glimpse something in the corner of your eye
Tree spirits, angels, faeries
(It’s only a glimpse).
And a story unfolds still
Because, even amidst the infinite possibilities
of the tale;
There is a presence in the silence.
Enchanted light and stillness,
Weave it’s transformation, til
It is no longer a secret place, but rather a place of communion.
Even so, a Soul can be unaware of the Silent Witness.
Mistaking the loud stillness of the forest, for solitude.
A lonely journey,
A palpable aloneness,
A hopeless isolation.
But it was just an illusion.
The shadows were playing tricks.
If you listen, the air has this sort of hush you can feel
because it is damp with water droplets (and you are thirsty).
And the scent of the earth are a jumble of woody spices,
and leafy aromas,
which join hands with you
In solidarity for each and every breath.
And not a single leaf falls unknown.
And in every shadow there is a song.
And the Child laughs with joy.
The Room of My Soul
In the room of my soul, there are arched windows.
Made of stone, they crumble a bit.
But the windows frame the ever changing landscape.
I keep an eye on the important details.
As the shadows shift
Summer and Winter
Are gloriously displayed in their whirling dance.
I can see the broody sky,
and the sweeping hills below.
My Guardian angel like the breeze
hovers over my life.
Ready at my aid, eager to help.
But for now, just sending blessings on my head saying,
“Rest,rest,rest and be still now”.
Could I be this cherished, precious, valuable?
Though it seems I am only a butterfly with tattered wings.
I find in my doorway a tentative harmony,
A soulful dialogue, a childlike prayer.
Full of hope
Like those Monarch Butterflies
weaving patterns in the air.
Robust little messengers.
The room of my soul,
contains all of the little details of my time here
Woven together, hammered together
Painted and furnished by me
Yet held with miraculous hands.