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?