Monday, January 28, 2013

i am going to start living like an artist

I thought I would share a few poems this week. Not because they are particularly great poems but because I hope that the creative self-expression I found in writing them will be contagious.

I am currently part of an online class through that brings together monasticism and art. (While the class is in its 4th week now and is closed to new members, anyone interested in exploring how to nurture creativity with monastic wisdom might enjoy reading Christine Valters Paintner's book, The Artist's Rule that outlines much of the content for the class.)

The first line of the poem I am presenting today was given as part of an "assignment" in the class. I tend to feel more than a bit pretentious if I label myself as an "artist" because there are many, many people who deserve this title more than I do. However, in recent years, I have been nurturing and expressing my creative self more and that has been a great blessing, emotionally and spiritually.

I believe that all of us have creative capacity, though we may not know it or have the confidence to use it. I might add that this is very different from "talent" - which we tend to associate with creating a product that people will admire or buy. Creative self expression does not need to meet these criteria and often doesn't. Rather it is process we engage in for express, to heal, to grow.

Sometimes the poems (or paintings or songs or stories) we produce surprise even us, as though there were some other force than our own intention at work. And, of course, I believe there is...that's were the monastic/spiritual part comes in, as well as the healing.

(I will share one poem today and two others on separate days later in the week. Each has such a different rhythm that it seemed best to let each stand alone. I invite you to join me - allow yourself to play with words or colors or sounds or any other medium that you feel ready to engage...)

i am going to start living like an artist,

splashing and splashing in color till drenched

in all of the blue the sky can hold

and dripping pink and purple dusk.

i am going to start fingerpainting my life

on endless rolls of vanilla paper

till it tastes like strawberries

and peaches and pears and plums.

but then i might pause…take a breath

and carefully sketch the feathers

of every bird flitting by me today,

etching each shaft and barb into my soul,

that i too might soar in heavens’ light.

 then i will stoop back to my warm earth,

scooping its muddy softness into my hands

where i will hold it and mold it and shape it

until i see within it my heart alive with joy.

and then – then, i will give it all to you,

laughing my soul into yours in wordless delight.

i am starting to live my life as an artist –

yes, i am starting…