Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Tag

Spiritual Overdrafts   2 comments

fireworksI am an artist and poet at heart.  I’m not referring to my abilities, but to my perspective and energy.  I have powerful visceral responses to all things creative, whether by God or fellow humans, and my mind bursts into a flurry of thought shooting out in all directions like a fireworks display.  Within minutes, each separate thought has branches and sub-branches like a cauliflower head bursting into bloom in my mind.  It is exciting, invigorating,  delicious.

dusty roadBut when my spirit is tamped down by depression, I stumble along with just enough energy to lift one foot at a time between long halts to rest.  Everything around me is dusted with dullness like the shoulders of a dirt road.  I can see and appreciate beauty, but it does not sink into my heart to awaken life.  As a young man I was so full of energy and purpose and hope, but I spent it all on “virtuous” sacrifices that broke down my spirit rather than building it up.  I did not live out of the spontaneous delight of who I was but out of the driven obligation of who I should be.  I did not live from the joy of God’s love, but from the fear of his frown.  I lived out of the law and not out of the gospel.

Emotional energy is much like a sponge–once dried out, it loses its powers of absorption.  Without some emotional reserve to start, I cannot soak up the encouragements around me.  I see them, but cannot feel them at any deep level.  They do not renew me.  Because it takes time for the good to soften my soul, I need an oasis in which to rest, an environment rich with living waters, but in my experience those spots are rare and brief, and so the desert winds parch away the rain that falls.  I catch and hoard my little cupful, but it does not last long.  Had I lived from the start out of my true self and in the riches of God’s grace, the energy I used for good would have been a renewable resource.  But I feel as though my forest is chopped down, and I must start over, scratching out life from the dust.  I see hopeful saplings of emotional growth, but the full rewards seem still a long way off.

saplings

Posted December 7, 2012 by janathangrace in Personal

Tagged with , , , ,

Do Differences Divide or Unite?   2 comments

WHAT LANE?!

Kimberly has a conjunctive view of life and I a disjunctive, she responds to input by assimilation and I by differentiation, she creates a unified mosaic and I a careful pattern.  We are very different and we are blessed, enlightened, and expanded by that difference, but it often shapes up into an emotional disagreement where we both feel the other is rejecting our viewpoint.  This happened again on Monday when we were reading about Sabbath rest on the seventh day of creation, and I was inspired by the thought that we were called to imitate not only God’s rest, but God’s creativity, to express our true selves to the world as our gift and offering during the first 6 days of the week.  I was excited about that image and wanted to explore its potential.

I heard Kimberly respond that many jobs (such as an assembly line) had no room for creativity.  I sensed she was objecting to my idea and countered with illustrations of how creativity is possible even in dull jobs.  She heard my resistance to her input and needed to defend her own view.  This is a very common conflict between us.  Thankfully, this time I was not too emotionally invested in the topic and we were able to explore the conversational dynamic itself dispassionately.

Berly receives new ideas with openness, assuming they fit into her worldview.  She is inviting, embracing, inclusive.  This not only goes against my personality, but my brain.  I simply cannot understand an idea unless I can differentiate it from other ideas.  As I am faced with new ideas, I evaluate them so that I can determine how they fit into my worldview.  If I cannot fit them in, I reject them.  Kimberly understands her world relationally and I understand mine logically… this does not mean that she is illogical and I am antisocial, but that she is intuitive and I am analytical.  (In fact, I just had to edit that sentence, because I originally wrote “Kimberly organizes her world relationally” which is biased towards my view… you can see our problem!)  I grow constantly by listening to her perspective.

In the case of my creative approach to occupation, Kimberly was feeling the need to support those who had no space for fresh ideas.  Because of a harsh boss, family crisis, emotional distress and the like, many people at work just hang on to their jobs, barely fulfill their duties, and my pushing for creativity would be oppressive, something for which they had no emotional energy.  She suggested that there might be many other ways of improving one’s work situation which would trump creativity as the next important step.  In other words, creativity is always a possible play, but it is only one card in the hand.  I agreed with her.

Kimberly was not challenging my view as wrong.  She was not disagreeing, but supplementing, trying to include those whom my view seemed to ignore.  She works under the assumption that when she proposes a different point from mine, there is room for both views; whereas I am inclined to see incompatibility and competition in something that is different.  Over the last couple days reflecting on this dynamic of ours, I realized how often I create conflict in discussions where there need be none.  Inclusive thinking does not come naturally to me… I lack imagination and motivation for that exercise.  Kimberly’s idea did not restrict mine, but added to mine.  I can still fully explore the possibilities of bringing creativity to my occupation while also exploring other facets of growth and engagement at work.  I realize now how often I fail to learn from those with whom I seemingly disagree and build a block for them against my own view by assuming incompatibility.  Interaction is about understanding one another, not simply understanding ideas.

Posted June 28, 2012 by janathangrace in Personal

Tagged with , , ,

“You’re Weird”   7 comments

Kimberly and I have started reading a book on “Sabbath” each Sunday morning.  It suddenly occurred to me today that we are called to follow not only God’s example of rest, but his example of spending 6 days in creativity, like him expressing who we are to the world (for our gifts are simply an outflow of the unique creation each of us is).  If we could discover and have the courage to be our true selves before the world, offering it what we have rather than what we do not have, the world would be marvelous.  If we could only value each one for who she truly is and what her being means to my life and the life of the world as a whole.  If we could only live in a spirit of curiosity and receptivity for (and therefore blessing from) the uniqueness of each.

D.I.Y FACELIFT

Instead, we live out of who we are not, pushed into acting in ways for which we were not created, living a lie.  We hide our shame with pretenses and cover-ups, unable to encourage others to be themselves (and delighting in it) because of the fear out of which we live.  We find the uniqueness of others to be threatening, confusing, irritating, dividing, and so we push for them to conform to our ways of thinking and doing and being.  It is unsafe for any of us to be himself, since being rejected for our essence is the ultimate disgrace.  Sadly such shame disables and distorts God’s own creation as he designed each to be, with both our limitations and our abilities.  May we all learn to welcome and relish the beauty of differences.

 

Posted June 24, 2012 by janathangrace in thoughts

Tagged with , , , ,

The Beach   1 comment

Kimberly and I (and Mazie, our sweet dog) were able to spend a week at the beach between Christmas and New Year’s thanks to a very cheap hotel and a generous Christmas present from Berly’s dad.  The weather was perfect and it was a wonderful time to relax.  There was a delightful (and free) art museum in town, and when we visited I saw this inspiring drawing by Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy.

Posted January 18, 2012 by janathangrace in Personal, Reading

Tagged with