My friend Mary is a painter. Her art is vibrant and colorful. Her work tackles themes of spirituality and the human condition, with abstract shapes and layers upon layers of images that tell a story. Her paintings make you feel something when you look at them. She’s an Artist, yes, with a capital A.
Over lunch one day last week, our conversation steered into the realm of the very nature of creativity. I asked her what it feels like when she paints.
“Is it a transcendent experience?”
I asked this shyly, with a bit of an apology, knowing that if a stranger off the street asked such an esoteric question it might be taken as academic drivel. But we have discussed painting and writing before. She knows, coming from me, the question is sincere.
Her eyes lit up. “Yes!”
We discussed not the craft of painting, nor the work of writing, not the struggle of selling artwork, nor the mechanics of outlining a story. Over the next hour, we discussed what it “feels like” to create something absolutely new, to give birth to a piece of art or combination of written words that has never, ever, existed until you made it with your own hands.
We discussed the process of creativity itself, what it actually feels like when it’s happening. And you know what? We both agreed that when it’s really going well, it’s not really us who are doing it. How it feels to create is to be as a vessel, a conduit for something bigger moving through us.
Deepak Chopra describes this feeling as “bliss.”
Through our conversation, Mary explained, and I agreed, that it’s as if everything else falls away. Time shrinks or expands or altogether stops. There is no thinking, just doing.
I often feel, when I’m writing, that the words move through me, from above my head and out of my fingertips. I’ve tapped into a universal consciousness and the words are coming. I couldn’t stop them if I wanted to. And believe me, I don’t want to. It’s an ecstasy unlike any other.
What we discussed, too, is that one need not be an Artist with a Big A to have this kind of experience. Athletes at the top of their game feel it. Mothers filled with love for the children feel it. Dancers. Ice skaters. Teachers feel it. When the spirit moves us, we are all artists. Our work need not end up on a canvas or printed page to be transcendent. We can all be the artists of our own lives by feeling fully present, absorbed in something worthwhile. This is the true nature, the source of creativity.
So, I challenge you, as you move forward in your daily life, to pay attention to these timeless moments. Take note when you feel moved in the present to create something new in the world, be it a kind gesture or a great work of art. We all have the capacity to make our lives into a masterpiece.
If you’d like to see some of Mary’s work, visit: http://www.marypaints.com
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.