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The Life of the Creative

March 21, 2012

I can’t imagine living a life more personally meaningful than the life I currently live. Am I happy? That is difficult to answer. The external world has not been kind, nor is it its job to be, and it has left its mark. An internal war rages within me pretty much always. I try to learn from that war. Sometimes I win a battle or two, sometimes I lose. If I am able to learn a new skill or have a slight change in perspective that helps me manage the conflagration, then it feels like its been a good day.

Many of you are creatives. It’s the only possible explanation for why you keep reading my blog! Any edification provided is purely speculative in nature and must be drawn inward, twirled around in your soul and kept or discarded. Based in experience, yes, but definitely ethereal. We have the dis-ease that comes with the relentless drive of our creative selves, the yearning of our souls.

I could not live any other way and yet being at odds with the world is a daily challenge.  Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the author of  Women Who Run with the Wolves, would likely say that this is as it should be and it is a blessing. She describes the challenge as learning to stand in our “medial nature”, in the space between matters of the heart and matters of the world. They do not blend, they will not conform to one another, but they can communicate. Standing in between the spirit world and the cultural world is no easy feat!

Creatives experience failure on a daily basis when measured by the world’s standards. The work of brilliant writers and artists of all kinds never see the light of day, let alone a paycheck. They are people who live in poverty both monetary and social. How do they keep going? How do we keep going?

I ask myself that question often. And yet, I cannot walk away from my destiny.  I’ve tried and it is a greater misery. If I cannot be connected to the world of the spirit I’d sooner not be breathing. What keeps me going is that I believe it is important…my destiny, my purpose, even as I am not quite certain exactly what it is or why it matters. Your destiny is equally important. It is essential, to you and to the world. It is important to me.

For those of you, who resonate with what I am saying here, carry on. I understand. We’re in this together. There is comfort in that. We have a job to do. A mission to undertake. A purpose to fulfill. You are not alone. And thanks to you, neither am I.

A Prayer
Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
toward heaven
only you.
It is in the middle of misery
that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good
came of this,
is not yet listening.

― Clarissa Pinkola EstésThe Faithful Gardener: A Wise Tale about That Which Can Never Die

I highly recommend Dr. Estes audio Theater of the Imagination

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 2:44 pm

    I would encourage all creatives to carry on. The world would be so grim and boring without those spirits who enlighten us with beautiful works, words, ideas philosophy and brilliance.

    Creative people cannot control the thoughts of those around them. True creativity is a gift of spirit which cannot be contained, but neither is it always understood. So what?

    I had an artist friend many years ago who was so passionate about her art that I sometimes wondered about her sanity. She did not care. She claimed that her art, which was brilliant, was worth everything to her. Although she was required to work at a mere mortal job to pay the bills, she found a way to incorporate her creativity in the dullest of tasks. I learned so much from her and she taught me to see the other side of my brain, which was there all the time but suppressed by many years of Catholic school and philosophy. I will be forever grateful to her for her challenges to my thinking and while I’ll never be an artist of her caliber, I have pursued other types of creativity in my thinking, writing and appreciation of all things!

    I say, when you feel the urge to give up……don’t….just get creative!

    • March 21, 2012 3:35 pm

      Ah the dreaded Catholic school experience! While not having been through it myself I was privy to many friends who were and saw how they managed the results. Public education did plenty to stifle my creativity! I do have to say that exposure to the idea of spirituality, God and sacrament in my life as a child in the Episcopal church did in its own way foster an awareness of the great beyond. I wonder why young people find that today. Thanks Maureen, for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  2. June 6, 2012 3:25 pm

    I can’t imagaine how I would cope with the challenges life forces upon us if I were not creative. The ability to completely immerse myself in some creative task and allow my troubles to fade away for a while is a blessing. We all need a regular dose of creativity and the doses get larger as we age.

    • June 6, 2012 8:21 pm

      I like to think everyone has a creative spirit, a creative part of themselves that can do just as you say…carry us through the difficult times and show us the way.


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