Saturday, March 22, 2014

Spiritual Practice: Creative Play

When I am feeling anxiety from big decisions, busy schedules, and challenging relationships, the first thing I want to do is pick up my guitar and just make some noise.  Sometimes I will play every song that I know, and sometimes I will just play one chord over and over again in search of something inside me.  If I can connect with a real emotion, I end up producing something totally new - a musical expression that I know is a gift from God.

Music is not the only outlet for this holy creative expression.  People experience this type of creation through art, theatre, dance, speeches, poetry and even creative planning.  Despite all of these outlets, there is something distinct about experiencing this as a spiritual practice.  Creativity becomes a means of expressing your reflections on identity, community, society and God.

A contributor to Totally Radical Muslims wrote a poem reflecting on the personal, communal and religious costs of the war in Iraq.  She is able to portray the desolate and desperate situation juxstaposed with the beautiful fragrance of fresh flowers.  What can this mean?  Is there hope for us in this message?  Is God at work in this creative process?  How do you experience the creative spirit of God in your life?  Is this a spiritual practice for you alone or in community? 

Art is a form of expression that can provide healing by returning to the memories of pain in order to understand those feelings and free you from them.  This is the story of Carolyn who uses art to help women liberate themselves from the traumatic memories of domestic violence.

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