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Sunday Morning Message

Unity Dove

Unity Church of Christianity
Appleton, Wisconsin

Unity Dove

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January 18, 2009

Cherishing Your Creativity

Good Morning! The title of today's talk is "Cherishing Your Creativity". We are going to explore creativity: What is it? Do you have it? Is it worthy of being shared?

I'm guessing that all of you are open to receive others' creativity on a regular basis. For example: Do you read books and poetry? Listen to music? Go to Rick's concerts at Lawrence? Tour art galleries? Appreciate nature? Eat another's gourmet meal? Cherish antique furniture?

Now, how about another set of questions:

Did you take piano lessons or play in the band as a child? Were you in 4-H and did you take cooking or art or woodworking and exhibit at the county fair? Maybe you edited your school's newspaper or wrote feature articles.

When was the last time you penned a poem in your own words or dared to sit at the piano without music in front of you and play from your heart? How many years have passed since you picked up your sketch pad (yes, the one buried in the closet), put pencil to page, and let yourself create?

If you're like many people, your inner critic has just started screaming:
"Sure, I sing karaoke but write and sing my own lyrics? Not me!"
"Enter a cooking contest?"
"No, not ME!"
Yes YOU ... why not? Well, for me, in 1998 when Ginny Stuve said "Jeanne, write songs." My response was: "Not ME! I can't because I'm NOT creative."

Let's step back a minute. What is creativity? Where does it come from? What do we in the New Thought traditions believe? Consider this quotation from The Power of Prayer by Rev. Thomas C. Sannar, co-pastor of One Heart One Mind Religious Science in San Diego:
"... The creative process in the Universal is the same creative process in the individual. The same energy that created the planets is available to us. There is only one creation, and that creation has already occurred. We are simply in the process of revealing it to ourselves."

"...The creative process is a result of individuals consciously choosing to open themselves up to the Universal. As they do so, the Universal becomes individualized in them."
According to Sannar (and he's not the only one), creativity simply is. We are creative - believe it or not. We are the energy of the Universal Creator. Ours is to CHOOSE to own that truth. Jesus put it this way, from John 14:12:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do."
This famous biblical quote has been my personal mantra for many years now. When I took Jesus off the pedestal and truly received this message that I am one with the very same power that in-filled Jesus, I found in myself the power, the creativity, the joy, the willingness to develop my gifts and to let the world see them.

Sannar continues with these three steps:
  1. The first step in this process begins with individual decision. The individual must take the first step.
  2. The second step is the process of the Universal pouring Itself into the individual.
  3. The third step is the automatic manifestation of spiritual power, the process of 'coming alive in Spirit.' We must recognize that we can never create any force or energy: we can only specialize the creative energy of the Universe by opening ourselves up to It and then distributing It."
Using an example from my own life:
  1. "The individual must take the first step."

    One of my personal "first steps" was to hear the message from Maripat Abbott, as life coach: "You should write." Despite my hesitation, she suggested some local magazines. I was still toying with and not fully committed to this idea when Sannar's Step 2 began to happen.

  2. "The second step is the process of the Universal pouring Itself into the individual."

    I was serving on the Unity Board and thinking about advertising opportunities when I picked up a Nature's Pathway (having never seen them before!) at Piggly Wiggly. When I contacted the editor to see if church's ever advertised in the magazine, she suggested that I write an article on Music and Healing.

    Okay, even before I'd said a definitive "yes", the Universe was pouring itself out to me, providing the way to see my dreams materialize.

  3. "The third step is the automatic manifestation of spiritual power. We specialize the creative energy of the Universe by opening ourselves up to It and then distributing It."

    With the encouragement from Maripat and the Nature's Pathway editor, I wrote that first article, Creativity as a Pathway to Healing. That article was featured on the cover of that magazine; 14 more articles have followed plus another 6 with Healthy Thoughts magazine out of Green Bay.

    As to the Universe pouring itself out to me, add these facts:

    • That first article was about creativity and quoted from the book, The Artist's Way
    • That article happened many months before someone said "You should teach The Artist's Way - a course on creativity"!
    • That article, and the process of writing it, began the building of the courage I would need to say YES to teaching the book!
    • And the upcoming January classes on The Artist's Way are the 3rd and 4th classes - I've already greeted two groups of creativity seekers!
Sannar then says:
"There is no particular will of God for you, except that you become more of yourself, release more of your hidden power, and draw more good to yourself without hurting others ..."
Creativity is your birthright. Creative energy is God's gift to you. As Sannar says, however, the first step is yours. Only YOU can decide to acknowledge, develop, and explore your gifts. Step two promises that Universal Energy will flow once we open the gates.

And finally, Sannar's step three says that we "specialize the creative energy of the Universe by opening ourselves up to It and then distributing It." To me, that means: Creativity is our responsibility. What?

Imagine the feeling when a song comes on the radio and it's telling your story. You listen intently and perhaps shed some tears. You've been touched deep down in the core of your being. And that is the gift of music, poetry, or any of the arts. The creator dug deep and made a connection to their inner child, their spirit, and brought forth a truth so clear and powerful that it now cuts through all of your defenses in a cleansing, purging wash of your emotional being. And what a freeing gift that is! We human beings support one another through our creative gifts. This is a responsibility of our existence.

Developing and sharing our personal gifts is a responsibility that we assume as members of the human race. And we have all done this consciously or unconsciously throughout our lives. Especially if you would count yourself among those whose life has at times been more unconscious than conscious, more survive than thrive, imagine this: if another's truth can touch us so deeply, how much more cleansing, healing, and true freedom would you experience if you allowed your own story to emerge - your inner voice to express?

Beyond being a responsibility to the world, creativity is a healing gift we give to ourselves, a responsibility to ourselves that we must fulfill. Personally, when I suppress the impulse to create, either through fear of exposure, embarrassment, or the excuses of "no time" and "must serve you", when I stifle it, I suffocate an energy which cannot be stopped. That life energy in me WILL create - whether I mold it with intentional thought -- or -- I allow it to be guided by unintentional thought and neglect.

God, the Master Creator, can never stop creating.

When creation stops, when the life flow ceases in any living thing, the thing dies. Creativity, the act of creating, IS VITAL to our being-ness.

Are you still afraid to express your personal creativity? You don't need to show or tell anyone. This personal journey is nobody's business - until you are ready. What do you have to fear? Personally, I answered that question with:
"I feared my own inadequacy. Ten years ago, I would routinely walk in here and compare myself to Rick. Guess what? I absolutely never measured up! On top of that, I feared Rick!!!"
Oh my! I remember trying to 'fit in' and actually bought some baroque flute solos so I could perform music for you that Rick would appreciate. Oh how uncomfortable I felt! You see, I was trying to be what I thought someone else wanted me to be - and at that time I had no connection with the sacred, creative, beautiful being that I was -- that I AM.

Author, artist, musician, teacher, Julia Cameron, recommends "Morning Pages" throughout her works, beginning with The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. She describes Morning Pages, sometimes referred to as "brain drain", as "three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing done before the day begins" which serve to "siphon off negativity". Because Morning Pages are never to be shared with anyone and not even reread by you, they are 100% safe and non-threatening. The gifts of the pages, which have been part of my daily experience for over six years, are many: clearing mind chatter, organizing thoughts about the many "to-do's" of the day, identifying fears and worries buried deep or joys and loves long forgotten.

For those of you who, like me, claim "I can't do that! I'm NOT creative!" Morning Pages may be the beginning of the journey toward self-expression. Non-threatening, they allow us to dip our toes into the waters of personal creativity. Practiced daily, as recommended, they become a habit and prove that there really is time for a bit of "healthy selfishness" in our busy lives.

What's more is that each creative experience adds to a belief in your own creativity! You have, within you, wisdom and talent that is worthy of being noticed. What are you waiting for? Today is the only day, now is the only time.

If you would like to begin the spiritual journey into your own creativity in the company of others, consider joining the upcoming class, The Artist's Way. Beginning this Thursday, the class meets weekly for 13 weeks and goes well beyond studying the book of the same name. This class is an investment you make in yourself. It is the gift of exploring your inner landscape, uncovering and releasing old tapes that are preventing you from expressing the depth of who you are. It is a gift you give yourself. The class is being offered in Oshkosh on Tuesday evenings as well. If you would like more information, I'll be available after the service. If Thursdays do not work, the class will also be offered Tuesdays in Oshkosh.

One last thought from John 1:1:
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God; and all things were made by the Word, and without the Word was not anything made that was made."
And I am that Word in expression. I am God expressing as Jeanne. God energy in me will respond to that which gets my attention. As my attention is on that which brings me joy, I experience the higher energy vibrations of joy and movement. The energy that is God in me, as me, moves and circulates. That which circulates creates. That which does not create, stagnates like the Dead Sea.

As I fulfill my responsibility to the Master Creator and gift the world through the gifts that I have been given, as I cherish my creativity and consciously co-create in ways which serve both me and others, I am contributing to life and to beauty abundant. In the flow, I freely create. I expand. I experience health and wholeness and my presence blesses others.

God bless you with the awareness that you are creative and the courage to be wholly and perfectly YOU.

Guest speaker: Jeanne Loehnis

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