Allen equates the creative energy with Eros, that for some is the erotic, pure sensual pleasure, as well as with another definition as it “the sum of life-preserving instances that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs, impulses to protect and preserve body and mind,” as defined in Webster. She asks why would anyone resist pleasure? Why would anyone resist the seductive act of creating when it brings so much pleasure when one is in the flow of the creative energy. Her belief is that creativity uses this seductive method to enrich human survival systems, and promotes "aesthetic responses to life’s challenges, to learn to see everything as a puzzle to be solved…” Allen shares life is like a scavenger hunt, as one comes across the pieces that connect each other, our images one makes. At times fear of the "what if” presents itself, preventing plenty to engage with the creative process, as one may have experiences that increase their understanding of their own life. Allen’s belief is that creativity is encoded in our DNA. The first stage of creativity is inquiry; just as a new born baby begins to learn about their world through play, so can one within creativity. It’s about play, playing with material and ideas. It’s how one finds themselves. The attitude one brings to inquiry effects the outcome. She suggests one cultivates a mind that resists quick conclusions and judgments - to take an attitude of openness. Otherwise, one misses the opportunity to connect with the creative source. During this phase of inquiry it is best to avoid comments from others, negative or positive. The author also suggests to avoid even naming the inquiry as it becomes part of judgment about one’s abilities. Inquiry is playful, inquisitive, open and aware of the energy, the creative drive to explore with materials, no matter where it leads. Engagement is the next stage. It requires time and intention, as well as a willingness to allow an image to be incomplete for a period of time, until we have the “know” about what is to be created. Another component of engagement is commitment. Learning to trust the creative process even when our mental aches and pains produce the internal struggle. To have the faith of continuing to travel forward no matter the distractions. Self care is critical, and developing self-compassion for this process is also necessary, and seldom encouraged. Celebration is the stage where there is the closure of the art making. It is the space set to honor what has come into existence that never was present before. Allen states “the goal of art as a spiritual path is to live a meaningful life, full of active participation with our own hands, minds, and hearts.”
I encourage you to buy a copy of Art is a Spiritual Path for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.
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These are my daily writings for the 100 day project.