In previous sensory balance posts we explored celebrating our experience through our outer senses: see, touch, hear, smell and taste. With this installment, we turn our attention to how our inner senses help us imbue our experiences with meaning. Here is part one of two on the first of our four inner senses—creativity.
Inner Senses—I Imbue My Experience with Meaning
Having made real progress by feeding my five outer senses, sixty pounds into my eighty-pound weight loss, I realized something was still missing. Reflecting more deeply on my own experience, I discovered, once again, greater insight and opportunity.
As magical as our five outer senses are in celebrating our world, to achieve genuine comprehensive sensory balance, we expand our perspective to include the four inner senses, with which we imbue our experience with meaning.
Using the terms of the Discovery Framework, as the roof and outer walls of our energetic home, the outer senses are essential but will collapse if not supported by more than just our foundation of core energy. For long-term stability, they require the infrastructure and support of the four inner senses of creativity, vitality, spirituality, and belonging depicted in figure 8 above.
Creativity: I imagine and manifest. I am passionate about new possibilities. I reveal and advance the highest good.
Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way saved my life. My body, mind, and spirit began the journey to wholeness when I began living her teachings. I learned from Cameron that all of us are creative—not just those who call themselves Artists with a capital A. That our creativity is Divinely Sourced—as essential to sustaining life as oxygen, water, and food. Next time you are cranky or restless for no apparent reason, ask yourself the last time you did something that felt creative. If it has been more than twenty-four hours, there is a good chance that is the root of your discomfort.
We don’t need to learn how to be more creative. We are born creative; it is our nature. We need to learn how to recognize and transform the layers of fear and limiting beliefs that block us from freely accessing and expressing all the creativity we already carry within us. We are creating in every moment in every area of our lives. It is a matter of what we choose to create. When I cling to fear and limiting beliefs, I create misery and lack for myself and everyone I encounter with everything I think, say, and do. When I choose to embrace love, with its attributes of respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, everything I say and do creates a sense of generous, effortless, gracious flow filled with faith, hope, prosperity, peace, and joy for every being, encounter, and experience.
As Cameron shares in the February 17 entry of her daily readings book, The Artist’s Way Every Day—A Year of Creative Living,
“People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in the particular, the focused, the well observed or specifically imagined. As we lose our vagueness about our self, our values, our life situation, we become available to the moment. It is there, in the particular, that we contact the creative self. Until we experience the freedom of solitude, we cannot connect authentically. We may be enmeshed, but we are not encountered. Art lies in the moment of encounter: we meet our truth and we meet ourselves; we meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression. We become original because we become something specific: an origin from which work flows (2009).”
To begin the search for my long-lost authentic self, I primed the pump with immersion in a plethora of creative endeavors. I had no master plan. Only a vague recollection of feeling happy just to be alive when I was making art as a child. Art is the language our souls still speak when our brains and mouths can no longer form words to tell our stories. Through our art, we self-disclose without ever planning to, even when we try not to. We can’t stop our hearts and souls from speaking through our creations—whether we sing, garden, write, paint, cook, sew, repair cars, or fix computers. Always, and in all ways, we tell what longs to be told.
I found my authentic self three years into that search, living for the first time without other human beings in my home, and guided by love, respect, curiosity, compassion, and gratitude. Only then could I begin my first real connections with others. As Cameron observes, before that solitude, before that encounter with myself and my values, I was often, maybe always, enmeshed with others, but I never truly encountered them or they me.
Early in my experience as the Universal conduit for my blog posts, I learned the hard way never to force the writing on some arbitrary look-aren’t-I-prolific timetable originated by my ego. Cameron advises repeatedly in her many books on the creative life that our egos should never be allowed to vote on anything we do—not if, what, how, when, how much, and most especially not on how effective we are at doing it.
One of the best ways to get our egos out of the way and relieve the pressure is to stop thinking of ourselves as the authors or originators of anything. We are the broadcast mechanisms for messages and inspiration from the Universe. Whatever our venue—writing, marketing, painting, architecture, quilting, legislature, musical composition, teaching, acting, child rearing, carpentry, singing—we don’t create anything in isolation. We are cocreators with the Divine. Our primary responsibility is to stay tuned to the Universal frequency; be conscious of the inspiration and life lessons we are sent; remain courageous about sharing them; and do it with humility, compassion, a sense of humor, and a dash of rigor. Your life well lived is your greatest work of art. It will feed your soul and the souls of everyone you meet.
I’ve also learned that when the Universe shows up with something important to say, do not ignore it. Do not tell Her you just published yesterday and hadn’t planned to write again today. Do not tell Her you have other priorities on your to-do list for today that you put off yesterday in response to Her call. Instead, respect Her wisdom on timing and topic, thank Her for continuing to consider you a worthy broadcast mechanism, and just do it. Don’t be especially wedded to what you thought She wanted you to communicate. Stay in receptive mode as you go, because She may take you down a bend in the road to a totally different destination than you intended. Trust Her; She knows what She’s doing.
My blog posting experience is a case in point. When I began, I published daily and then drifted to every few days, every few weeks, and finally months went by with no new posts. When I got curious about the decline in my rate of publishing, I realized it had little to do with busyness. Neither was it about having nothing to say or caring less about my readers. If anything, the reminders life had sent me concerning the fragility of our connection to people and things we hold precious had only deepened my compassion for all beings and taught me more that I wanted to share. What I discovered when I took a hard look at my relationship to publishing was that my ego was getting in the way. To address the situation, I decided I would find a way to make writing feel less monumental so that I would write more frequently, because connecting with humanity through my writing is an important way in which I realize my purpose on this earth.
One day, I got the bright idea to launch an additional blog (Love and Curiosity: Gems for the Journey) with the intention of publishing daily on that new site. My initial plan was to use the daily meditations from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way Every Day to create a very brief Deborah-and-Julia experience. I would expound briefly on one of Cameron’s many inspiring thoughts, thereby passing the inspiration on to my readers with the possibility that they might choose to purchase Cameron’s book and read it along with me. My plan was a lovely possibility for deeper connection with all humanity that warmed my soul. Cameron is an amazing writer. With Cameron providing guaranteed structure and inspiration, I would have tons of material to work with. Combined with the intentional brevity of my entries, I would leap gracefully over my writing resistance hurdle, publishing Gems for the Journey every day—no pain, no sweat. After all, I love writing and know I am an excellent writer. The day I found my voice again and began publishing the earliest content for this book online via my blog was a day of great gratitude and rejoicing for me. Now I had another cool idea for an easier and briefer blog. This should only multiply my publishing bliss, right?
In the next sensory balance post, find out how things unfolded as we conclude our exploration of the first inner sense—creativity.