In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of my favorite poets is Emily Dickinson, an introspective soul who wrote hundreds upon hundreds of verses about love, death, God and nature. Yet only a handful of her poems were published during her secluded life, and then only anonymously. Her handwritten manuscripts were discovered and published posthumously. Emily Dickinson put pen to paper, processing life’s mysteries in simple words, elegantly expressed. She was motivated by something other than fame—a poetic spirit that moved within her.
Similarly, Vincent van Gogh created some 900 paintings, but was not well-known during his lifetime. He is said to have struggled with depression and epilepsy; perhaps his bold landscapes and still lifes were therapeutic. He is quoted as saying, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Neither Dickinson nor van Gogh fathomed becoming a household name, nor was fame their goal. They created art for the sheer joy of it.
This issue of Unity Magazine is dedicated to the creative spirit in each and every one of us. Think of the unbridled joy we felt as children when we freely explored a palette of crayons or paints. We had not yet been told to “stay within the lines.”
As adults, however, we often tell others, “I’m not very creative.” We may compare ourselves with professionals or denigrate our own abilities because they do not “sell.”
In her cover story, Jenny Hahn writes about “processpainting,” an act of creating for the sheer joy that comes from living from the inside out. “We learn to tune in and trust the natural creative impulses that flow through us at all times but can get stuck when we throw up roadblocks of doubt, judgment and fear,” she writes. “Developing the skills to tune in, trust, and take action from that deep place of inner knowing can have a positive ripple effect in our lives.”
Through this approach, the process of creation takes on more importance than the finished product. The journey is more important than the destination.
Imagine if you approached other aspects of your life the way a child approaches a blank canvas. Unattached to outcomes, you could live each moment in the moment.
Whether you know it or not, you are a creative individual with a world of ideas waiting to be expressed. No more hiding out! It’s time to claim your freedom.
Toni Lapp, Editor