I stepped out of my comfort zone this month to lead a class at our local arts center on Building Your Creative Writing Muscle. I compared writing to training for a marathon — both require putting in miles, changing our lifestyles, having a plan, and celebrating our successes.
The class has been fun, with a wonderful group of folks who have stretched their creative muscles and come up with interesting nuggets to share. I love seeing them get excited about putting their thoughts and ideas down on paper. Feeling like a writer is exhilarating for all of us!
This class has been a motivator for me, since I always get more out of a class than anyone else when I teach. As I have encouraged the class members to give themselves permission to daydream and to listen for the figurative language all around them, a part of me that has been fallow for the past year has been peeled back. I feel more alive.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert sums up the creative life well:
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”Elizabeth Gilbert
Experiencing this more amplified life goes hand in hand with clarity in my spiritual life. When I feel closest to God, my creative muse is awakened and vice versa. Paul describes it as having a veil removed from our eyes.
Even today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But whenever someone turns back to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom.
18 All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.2nd Corinthians 3:15-18
Just like training for a race, I’m learning that I must be intentional about finding my way to this unveiled state of freedom. God may not reveal Himself in bolts of lightning, but when my mind and heart are aware and listening, I hear Him in unexpected ways and places. Like Dorothy landing in Oz, the grass is greener, the birdsong is brighter, the air is crisper.
Here is a poem I wrote as I have flexed my creative muscle:
Zinnias at the End of Summer
They lift their faces to the
brightness of the sun,
Their leggy stems threaten to
pull them down with the
weight of former glory.
Trailing their past along the ground
they leave it behind to bloom again.
My zinnias give me hope.
What is holding you back today from reaching toward the sun like my zinnias?