Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Times of Doubt and Drought

Snow storm in April
Creativity is a spiritual issue, and…the creative life features the same spiritual obstacles as any other spiritual path. The phrase “dark night of the soul” has gained common usage, and we think of it as it applies to the harrowing periods of doubt and drought that may come to someone on their spiritual quest.
Spiritual seekers of all stripes endure its painful ravages…artists are spiritual seekers, and we frequently suffer the dark night of the soul regarding our creative calling. Julia Cameron, Page 191, Walking in This World
At times, when artists take up the tools of their creativity they find themselves facing a period of doubt or drought in their ability to produce the next step in their current project.
Writers may be stymied in where their story should go next; oil painters may not be able to decide what colour they should choose for the next stroke of the brush; a wood carver may be unable to get the eye of the blue jay just right.
It feels as if their talent has deserted them—they are unable to interpret the next step on their spiritual path; they are facing their own dark night of the soul.
When this happens the artist can only wait until the time of doubt and drought pass them by. It is no good berating themselves for their inability to take the next step in their creativity. This is a time for the artist to stop and stare at the beauty around them; this is a time to wait upon the Creator to give them their next step; this is the time to contemplate the Creator and Giver of all things—to wait and see what wondrous gift will be given to them when the time of doubt and drought is passed.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spiritual Path of Creativity

When we say that making art is an act of faith and that as we make art we pursue a spiritual path, we are not talking loosely. There is grace in our every artistic encounter. Miracles do happen. We do not plan them. We hope for them and then we are open to the creator’s mentoring hand in improving our suggestions. What looks difficult or impossible to us does not appear difficult or impossible to the Great Creator. … Creative energy is like electricity. It will flow whether we allow it to or not. Julia Cameron Walking in This World Page 154/155
As a writer, sometimes when I read over what I have written, I wonder where the thoughts or ideas for what is written on the page came from. They came, of course, from God.
I begin every day with quiet meditation and part of that time consists of journaling. When I am in the midst of authoring a manuscript for a non-fiction spiritual book this is where the words and ideas are conceived. I meditate on thoughts and words of other spiritual writers, messages given in the Bible, as well as mystical poetry or writings mainly from 14th century mystics.
After prayer for guidance from the Lord of what he would have me say in my upcoming book, I just write in my journal, not stopping to over think anything but just writing down whatever comes into my head. Later these thoughts get transcribed into my book manuscript file on the computer.
This is the same process I use for my monthly meditations  on my website and for my weekly blog Contemplative without a Cloister.
This is where I see the “creator’s mentoring hand” and am totally in awe of the miracles God performs in my creative life.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grace is Always Available

Grace is available to us always, at any stage of the creative journey.…At all levels of creative endeavour, the Great Creator is present and partnering with us.
Blue Heron, Celtic Knotwork, J. Lawrence
[T]he Great Creator always gives us strength enough and support enough and guidance enough to meet the precise creative challenges at hand. We may be overwhelmed but God is not. If we fail at Plan A, God has an endless supply of Plan B's. There is always not only a fall back position but also a net. That net is having the faith to try again. Julia Cameron Walking in This World Page 154
Whether we are creators using a paint brush, a pen, or a cooking pot we will be faced with challenges along the way. Sometimes we will feel overwhelmed by what confronts us and perhaps even think that we can’t go on—we feel it’s more than we can handle.
This is when we become aware of God’s grace given to us in abundance. God gives us strength, support, and guidance when we call out to him. We may think our chance has passed us by but if God has called us to do something there is always a way through to the end.
When I became deathly ill in November of 2010, just a few weeks before my manuscript was due in the publisher’s hands, I thought that there would be no possibility of completing that book. God, however, brought me into a fall back position and, with the cooperation of my publisher, I was able to get to the end of the book and see it published.
Partnered with the Great Creator and helped by friends and my publishing partners the work came to fulfillment. To God all things are possible.
© Judith Lawrence

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gateways to the Divine


Each of us carries an inner capacity for awe. One of us will be wonder-struck by a musical sequence. Another of us is rendered humble and serene by the sight of a butterfly’s wing. Each one of these gateways to the divine is there waiting for us to use it to make contact. There are some things that make us happy, some things that we love. For this reason, we say, “God is in the details.” Each of us experiences the touch of the Great Creator when we allow ourselves to touch upon something that we love. Julia Cameron Walking in This World Page 270/271
Seeing the new spring shoots coming up out of the cold winter ground so recently covered with snow gives us hope of new life, new birth. Warmed by the sun, the first crocuses open their blooms in colours of purple, yellow, and white. This is truly amazing! Though I’ve seen it all before, I cannot help but be amazed by the awesome creation of God, and I give a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving to God.
Coming at a time so close to Easter and our annual reflection on the resurrection of Christ from the dead, these first spring flowers rising through the brown earth give us reassurance of the hope that is ours through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we, too, will rise to a new birth and life in the hereafter.
God gives us so many gateways through which we may glimpse his divinity—the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly; the returning birds building their nests, laying their eggs, nurturing their brood while giving up all thought of their own needs; the seeds of vegetables planted in the garden and providing a hundred-fold of produce for us to eat—all this and much more gives us the knowledge that God is the great provider of sustenance for the earth and all creation.
God’s grace and beauty is everywhere if we open our eyes and hearts to see and believe.
© Judith Lawrence