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Robin: Experiencing Freedom Through Creativity

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron calls for the artist/writer to gauge his/her process week by week with questions like:

  • How many of the 7 days in the week did I write/create?
  • How am I feeling about the writing/creating?
  • Do I see any shifts in my approach to writing/creating?

While my writing time is not as frequent as I would like, my feelings about the work and the way I approach the writing have shown improvement. One shift I definitely see is that I have begun writing for the pure joy of the words flowing together. For quite a while my words felt like weapons, nothing more than rants of anger and bitterness about time lost, life stolen, accomplishments robbed.

Freedom. An interesting concept. I thought I was feeling freed up when I ranted on paper. The problem was that I put so much energy into the feelings behind the rant that when I got them out of me, I was left with an empty vessel. Not empty in the sense that I was “free” to think about other things. I found that bitterness so consumed me that getting the words down only gave me enough “space” to sustain me so I was able to fulfill my daily responsibilities. I was in survival mode in a way I did not see until I came out of it.

The financial slavery our family was under for years had me in such mental and emotional bondage I thought there could be no way out; there was no hope for any new dreams. The emotional disappointments in my marriage began to cause me to question the value of creative expression (or expression in general, for that matter). The only expression I seemed to engage in revolved around a vicious cycle of suppress/release.

I realize now that, if in my freedom, I am not experiencing an ability to change or grow, I should challenge my interpretation of freedom. Change and growth does not have to look like a mass exodus from life and the responsibilities that we hold. But the awareness of pain needs to be coupled with the desire to feel redemption or we run the risk of some weird manifestation of pride and self reliance. Freedom is a gift from God; a grace. Freedom means to be released from bondage with the implication that we gain the ability to pursue something (inwardly or otherwise) that is new, edifying, satisfying.

Writing holds something for me today that life experiences snagged from me long ago. The words on the page help me to experience redemption.

How have you experienced freedom through creativity?

[photo credit]

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. alexsondra #

    You hit it spot on! when our words don’t assist our growth, check the words. When our beliefs keep us from being the very best we can, and are expected to be change the beliefs. In hindsight, I realize that I was often willing to change the” BIG STUFF”, like making a move or changing my religion. Now don’t get me wrong, a person has got whatever it takes to know oneself. But in the end, I have found that sitting in a chair or walking gently, allowing my thoughts to float without constraints, are the times that I have experienced great freedom. After all, the more we gain objectivity, allowing our words, like multi-faceted diamonds, be polished until the rainbows glimmer from every face.

    Creativity? WHen I create, I, too experience redemption, grace and mercy. I also experience that we are one in the Soirit.

    Thank you for you inspiring post.

    April 19, 2010
  2. ah, the artist’s way. i still haven’t made it past chapter 7. lol!

    there is a lot to that book, really. and i may be at a point i can begin to apply it again. as soon as the kids aren’t sick.

    i definitely reached a similar place in my life as you illustrate above, robin. and i have been more or less on an upswing since i took better control of my circumstances. some times are better than others, but overall, paying attention to what freedom means i can then persue has made a world of difference, not only in my life, but how i view the world. the small resentments become easier to let go of.

    April 19, 2010
  3. beautiful heartfelt post, robin. i’ve generally been pretty good at letting things go and going with the flow most of my life. however, what i most struggle with it making time to find that freedom through creativity, which can bring about its own sort of grumpiness. so i do understand the importance of doing it. a friend of mine just recently committed to 15 minutes a day of doing something, anything, in her studio. i’m going to try that plan. i can always find 15 minutes!

    April 19, 2010
  4. Alexandra, thank you for giving me a beautiful way to think about words-as diamonds. They truly are in this season of my life and I will coninue to fight to keep it that way. Walking offers that same satisfaction as well and I would also add yoga but I am not as committed to the practice as I would like.

    April 19, 2010
  5. alexsondra! Please FORGIVE ME for spelling your name wrong!!!

    April 19, 2010
  6. Cathy, I know I did not realize how the little resentments piled up until I finally made the connection to what was falling on the page-funny huh?

    And Kathy, I totally can relate to the “grumpiness” I feel if I don’t get to do a little something creative that is my own thing-not simply cooking up a new recipe or playing with the kiddos; it is good for everyone when I get to do that!

    April 19, 2010
  7. Excellent post Robin! I have felt this way for years. I now know as a creative mother I must set aside time for my own creative pursuits or I become empty inside. If I am empty, how can I give to my children? I am filled up by doing what I love to do, what God has blessed me with, the ability to create beautiful artwork and write poetry and stories. When I do these things I am very happy. When mom is happy the children are happy 🙂

    April 20, 2010
  8. Hi Karen, I am reminding myself even today not to let go of that precious creative time. My little one stopped taking naps over the weekend and I feel like I am back at square one. But I KNOW I need it

    April 21, 2010

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