“To be a writer, you must write. To be an artist you must show up at the canvas. - The Artist’s Rule
Ouch! As both a writer and and artist I can say-I’m not showing up!! Are you experiencing that too? Do you have good intentions but never show up to do them? Is your creativity the last thing on your to do list?
I am leading a book club on the book The Artist’s Rule. It’s a book about your inner artist and your inner monk. Without going into too much detail, its a book that applies Benedictine spirituality to our creativity. I am not Catholic but my understanding of Benedictine spirituality is that it emphasizes the idea that everything, even the most mundane task is a holy act if done for and before God. And that every tool we use is a holy vessel. This means that our creativity and even the tools we use to do it are sacred!
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about showing up and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do the book group in the first place. I needed to show up. I think about art constantly. I plan compositions in my head. I gather reference photos for future paintings. I read blogs, follow artists on instagram and watch other artists create in videos, but I have remained dormant! I thought for a long time it was because I had more important work to do while I was caring for my father, which was true, and that I’d get right back to it when I was done. But I didn’t. Now I’m caring for my grandkids and enjoying being a spiritual director and life is full. So I wondered for a hot second if maybe that part of me was over? But then why do I still desire to create? In Ignatian spirituality we understand desire to be God given. So where was the disconnect??
Back to the quote. I was reading along and BAM! It hit me hard. I USED TO SHOW UP. I used to love to show up. When I was a working artist it was easy to prioritize my time and values around creating. So I had to ask myself: whats going on that I’m not showing up now? And honestly its a lot of things. Fear, bad time management, lack of energy because I use it on all the “important” things. I could go on...but then there’s that quote! And I realized as I read on that because I’ve shifted my energies elsewhere I’ve moved my art to the bottom of the priority list. The last thing I do when all my “important” tasks are through. The reward I never get to because I’m so tired! But if I’m truthful it goes deeper, I’m avoiding it...
It’s not just reprioritizing things to “DO” art. Its prioritizing “BEING” an artist. We talk a lot about “being” these days. Being present. Intentional. Mindful. All buzz words that are popular now and really just mean showing up! I believe in the mission statement I lovingly created for Art and Soul Ministries: “to create ways to honor and encourage art as a sacred practice”. And because I believe we are all Imago Dei—image bearers of the Creator—as such I believe we are all imbued with creativity!! It’s in our DNA and our very SOULS! And I believe in my mission statement which is one reason I began Art and Soul Ministries in the first place!
So now I have a problem. I’m going to have to show up! I’m praying about what that looks like and I’m leaning in to the Creator and lover of my soul to guide me into what He has for me in all this. And I’m already finding some shifts in how I’m walking in the world as an artist again. Now I’d like to ask you? How are you showing up to your call as a creative being? And how can I and Art and Soul help you do that? Let’s show up together!