A few weeks ago I was watching Oprah’s interview with actor Rainn Wilson on Super Soul Sunday. During the interview he discussed the Baha’i religion.
He said that one of the beliefs of the Baha’i is that the making of art is no different from prayer. This more than resonated with my soul. Inwardly, my soul was doing hand stands, cartwheels and back flips as ONLY my soul can….as I physically cannot.
Outwardly, I was sitting as demurely as I could, trying so hard to be in control so that my daughter, Jadzia didn’t think I was nuts and thus the whole message just bounces off of her. You know how it is, if the parents think something is cool than the kids are bound to think it is lame.
Anyway, since then my mind has been returning often to that statement that Rainn Wilson made. I do believe that prayer is much more than making art (and incidentally making petitions) and let’s face it, while it is nice for some who have managed to successfully make a career in the arts where is the rest of us going to find time to be creative? I have had jobs that kept me out of the house for up to 14 hours a day only then to come home shattered with nothing to give.
If someone suggested to me back then to write a blog, draw a picture or work on a craft project I would have bit his head off. Sometimes there can be ways to be creative in your job such as coming up with a creative way to manage your time or working on an event. However, even these can be few and far between.
So why should we even bother to create? To make art? Or to be involved in performing art? The answer I believe is in what Rainn Wilson said during the interview. What does that mean? It means like other forms of prayer, while we are giving in the act of praying, we are also receiving. When we serve or help others, we also receive joy in knowing we are making a difference to other people. When we sit quietly before God in meditative prayer, we gain back more energy. When we create from deep within us, we are giving birth to our souls. Now let’s go one step further…when we give birth to our souls in an act of service to others that joy and energy is multiplied.
Many years ago, someone asked me what gifts did I have from God. Man, I hated that question because I truly believed I had none. Somehow when God was bestowing gifts onto all people, I was left out. So maybe you’re thinking creativity is one act of prayer you cannot be involved in because you have no talent. While I believe talent is not all that important (unless you are one of those who want to go on Britain’s Got Talent and be famous…you kind of need talent for that), I do believe you are wasting your time needlepointing if you really hate working with thread and needles.
The time you give being creative has to come from deep within you. You have to really love it or else its not an act of prayer. It’s not giving birth to yourself. It’s pretty much pointless.
So what do you really love to do? What haven’t you tried but have always wanted to? It can be acting, dancing, woodworking, sewing curtains, creating fashionable accessories, up-cycling furniture, stand-up comedy. It can be anything at all.
Now back to the time issue…We all agree I think that time is very very precious to us. It is not an easy thing to give up. We have…..RESPONSIBILITIES for one. Sometimes, we just need to veg in front of the TV. That’s where the title of this blog comes in. What does it mean? What is a spiritual retreat? Well, in many religions, people often go off alone or in groups sometimes to a conference, sometimes to somewhere remote. They have different terminologies for why there are doing this…to find themselves, to find God, to become more centred or simply to get away from it all and to replenish their energy. Actually, isn’t that what a vacation or a holiday is? Do we make time for that? You bet we do! As often as we can. If we can afford to go away 5 weeks out of the year and we do it that’s great! Sometimes, we simply stay home and enjoy the peace of being in our own abode. This is a good time to put aside some time to be creative. It can be as little or as much as you want. Is it the Christmas or Chanukah season? Maybe we can make someone a gift. My husband has many times come up with creative home made gifts. He’s made a couple of board games, written some wonderful stories and last year made a decision making genie poster. He really puts a lot of his soul into it and the games and poster were full of humour. Last year, I challenged everyone at home to pick a name out of a bowl and that the person we got we had to make a Christmas gift for them. Setting time out for a creative retreat means we can give more time to bigger projects. I have made curtains, a dress for my daughter once (I used a pattern), re-finished furniture, painted the walls of a room etc.
However, not everything needs a lot of time. I have written songs for each of my children. Nope, they are not great songs at all but they are filled with love and my children never get tired hearing them…even my almost 27 year old! I have even been creative in the kitchen and prepared some lovely meals (okay and some not so lovely but it was still fun trying). When I lived in New York, we use to turn on the tv to a martial arts program and leave it on mute while my children and I made up the funny dialogue to go with it.
These are just some of the things we have done creatively that also gave to each other. I am sure my readers can think of more ideas pertinent to them. Just use your imagination 🙂