These authors have provided valuable experience and insight into this process and its connection with creativity.
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A recurrent theme in much of this literature is the personal transformation that inevitably comes from practicing art as prayer. Capacchione teaches that creativity becomes a spiritual practice when it becomes a way of being and perceiving. She further goes on to explain that the practice of creativity can itself become a spiritual education where we learn to become one with all creation.
Cameron works with the idea that the Creator is the source of all creativity and that as we increase the practice of creativity we should expect to experience personal, artistic and spiritual change. Based on the literature from this review, it appears that there is a growing interest in the theme of creativity and spirituality. It is clear that this topic has the potential to play an invaluable role in the learning, perceiving and creation of art as well as providing a forum for personal, spiritual or artistic transformation. As far as I have been able to uncover there have been no studies or academic research that has looked at the process of creating art as an act of prayer or communicating with the Creator.
Research on this topic could benefit artists, students and educators as an alternative way for art and life to be lived, created, viewed, practiced or taught. She began dancing professionally at the age of 16 and has since travelled and performed throughout the world. She coordinates three educational arts outreach projects for youth between the ages of who use dance and theatre as a means of social healing and who perform extensively throughout the world.
One of the groups has recently been asked by the United Nations to bring this project to several war-healing countries. Leena is a speed-talking, speed-walking, bouncing ball of energy who is always on the go and always has a new project up her sleeve. Despite her numerous accomplishments, she is a true example of leadership with humility. Leena compares her process of creating art to giving birth. Through the painful birthing of beauty we develop one of God's attributes, creativity, and we fulfill part of our purpose in life.
In describing my process of creating art, I try to first come up with a concept or theme. In this process, prayer and mediation are essential. When I say meditation I don't mean sitting there and doing nothing; I receive most of my inspiration when I'm jogging.
I'm running, letting the thoughts roll through my head and sometimes I'll stop and go in the woods and pray. I ask the Creator, what are the needs? What is it that the people need to hear? How can I help to 64 meet those needs in a way that will be effective, touch their hearts and open their minds?
In that process I sometimes get lax in my conversation with God like, Ok, well, You know. You know what we gotta do here. So just help me out. But more than anything I pray that despite my weaknesses and my challenges in my own personal life the Creator will see fit to honour me, regardless of my own shortcomings, with the privilege and the bounty of serving the community in this way. Part of my greatest struggle is feeling my own unworthiness with the privilege of being a part of the creative process.
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I always pray, please don't keep me back by reason of my own inadequacies. Help me to make this a reality. Inevitably that inspiration comes and then I feel that the artist has an obligation. Once you've received that inspiration, it's almost like the seed of a child. You've been impregnated with this idea and now you're the mother of that concept.
Your obligation as a part of that process is to bring it from the realm of inspiration into the realm of creation. I think any artist will tell you that sometimes you spend sleepless nights. It's like when you give birth to a child, there is so much pain and suffering, restlessly watching over for nine months, waiting. Your body contorts, there are sleepless nights, and then it culminates with this anguish, this awful pain that you go through.
But then you hold this child in your arms and life is never the same. It is almost like your heart grows five times of what you thought it was capable and you start to learn the meaning of unconditional love. The creative process is like that; it's like giving birth. Creativity is an innate virtue within each human being and we all have to find our connection with creating, which is essentially the process of birthing beauty into this realm of existence.
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We all need to birth beauty and submit ourselves to the process, as painful as it may be, in order to bring beauty to this world. All the levels of existence birth beauty into the world of existence in their own way,. Each kingdom of God expresses beauty in some way. Sometimes I look at the realm of nature and I think, God is the greatest of artists because I am constantly, almost daily, stunned by the beauty that surrounds me. It's the way that the shadow falls upon a tree and I think, wow! I'm the one experiencing this right now.
This beauty is revealed to me and I'm seeing it in this unique way. A sunset, the way the mist falls over the mountain and all of a sudden, your heart just fills up. Nature outshines us all the time, I have to say. So, in the creative process, the prayer and the inspiration bring you the concept. The concept brings the responsibility of bringing it into this realm of existence.
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Probably the most touching thing for me is when the concept becomes clear. Inspiration happens in a moment, like a twinkling of an eye, it becomes very clear and it's at that time that I feel closest to my Creator. I feel like God's mercy has descended upon me to say, ok, I'll let you do this. It's like a sacred 66 trust and a privilege that I'm given. I feel grateful; a gratitude that I can't describe.
What I find is that when the concept becomes clear in my head, it's like a reality. The vision is complete. Like in the architect's mind when they see the building, it's done. It's in their head. It's just getting the pencil and the paper out, scribbling the ideas down, and getting the work done. For me as a dancer it's creating the steps, which are like the detail of the artist's stroke.
When the inspiration comes and the concept clicks, it's overwhelming. It often makes me cry and I know that the audience will have the same experience. If I'm faithful to the creative process, if I take it from the concept that is clear in my head into the physical realm of creation, then I've fulfilled my obligation as an artist. Nothing will bring you humility like that. At times the process can be almost overwhelming. I can't tell you how many times I walk out because it's too much for me. I've been through the process hundreds of times, but working with young people they haven't.
They give up on the process, argue with it, and don't show up. But when they do stick with something long enough to experience the rewards of hard work, commitment, and discipline, then a light goes on in their head.