Friday Arts Day with Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I often get asked, can anyone be creative?

Or told – ‘Sorry, but I’m not creative’.

I believe that everyone is born creative but it gets knocked out of us.  Education, Institutions, Religions and some Career choices want us to conform and the ability or the need to be creative gets suppressed or abandoned.

Sir Ken Robinson educator and author looks at human creativity and education.   His most recent book is  The Element (Viking Adult, 2009). He is also the author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative (Capstone Publishing Limited, 2001).

Sir Robinson talks about the misconceptions of Creativity:

  • “One is that it’s about special people—that only a few people are really creative. Everybody has tremendous creative capacities. A policy for creativity in education needs to be about everybody, not just a few.
  • The second misconception is that creativity is about special activities. People associate creativity with the arts only. I’m a great advocate of the arts, but creativity is really a function of everything we do. So education for creativity is about the whole curriculum, not just part of it.
  • The third misconception is that creativity is just about letting yourself go, kind of running around the room and going a bit crazy. Really, creativity is a disciplined process that requires skill, knowledge, and control. Obviously, it also requires imagination and inspiration. But it’s not simply a question of venting: It’s a disciplined path of daily education. If you look at some of the people we most respect for their creative achievements, it’s because of the extraordinary insights, breakthroughs, and discipline they have brought to their work”.

Creatives are generally non conformists.  They don’t do boxes.  I remember sitting in a class once when someone said, “you need to think outside the box”, creatives go “Theres a box?”

child is dressed in an astronaut costume

Creative people are good at interpreting the world around us.  They are not restricted to conformist ways of looking at the world.  They feel, they see, they move, they use color, they work in the realm of impossible, of the imagination. Whilst some people may retell an incident or event in black and white, a creative soul will describe the exact same incident but it will be in technicolor with embellishments.

“Blessed are the weird people – poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours – for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.” – Jacob Norby

  • To be creative means to look at things differently to the normal way of doing things.
  • Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.
  • Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways,

Floating islands with trees

To understand how to connect with God we need to understand that He is the most creative being/presence in the universe.  Connecting with God is similar to the ways that we connect to each other.

What are some of the ways that we relate to each other?

  • Spend time
  • Go on a date, coffee, lunch, breakfast
  • Talk, chat, communicate verbally
  • Listen to each other
  • Write letters, emails, texts
    • Through these things find out what they are like
  • Find out who they are, What  they believe
  • What is their character like
  • Give gifts – please them
  • Make them happy
  • Hang out

God desires a relationship with us so we should treat him the same way.?  Do we put regular time aside to hang out with God?  To listen to him to talk to him to write to him?

If we are to look at Different and Creative ways of Connecting to God then we need to understand God the creator, who he is and how he speaks to us.

Genesis sums it up really:  In the beginning God Created…….

How is the Character of God reflected?

We know someone by knowing their characteristics – it is how we identify them, what is unique to them.

How do we find out who God is and what He likes? –

1:  We look to creation  – Romans 1:20

“For what can be known about God is perfectly plain, for God has made it plain. Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity is there for the mind to see in all the things that God has created”.

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Psalm 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voiceb goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,

like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

It rises at one end of the heavens

and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is deprived of its warmth.

  • God is saying – “Hey look at me, look at what I’ve created” – “I love color, I love beauty, I love simplicity and outrageous, incredibleness”.
  • God likes to create wonder
    • A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
  • He LOVES color – have you seen an orchid, a sunset, a flamingo?

God is an amazing creative, He is a visual God and yet our primary way of connecting to him is cognitive and verbal. We are trying to connect with him and we are more concerned about getting through the day.  Look up, look out people…I’m here in that sunset, in that shooting star,  I made that wild flower just for you……clap, sing, dance.  Hooray

Creation is the first bible and the written bible the second.

“The natural world is the first and primary Bible. We have not honored it, so how could we, or would we know how to honor and properly use the second Bible, when it was written.

“We mangled the written word of God for our own group purposes, instead of bringing to it reverence, silence and surrender, which the natural world “naturally” teaches us and also demands of us. Nature is our first and final cathedral. Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing. The world is no “contest” any more, but as Mary Oliver says, “the doorway into thanks.” Rohr

Today we mostly connect to God through the written word and by listening to the spoken word.  Both cognitive, static left brain functions.

THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

****We all started reading books rather broadly once the printing press was invented (almost 600 years ago), and since then

we have largely substituted ideas and words for observation and participation in life itself. 

Today power and success are measured  through words and intellect.  Our whole education system is based on left brain function. It’s cognitive and it’s verbal but this is not the THE ONLY way that we can connect with God.

You probably know something or have heard teaching on the left and right sides of the brain.  Words, verbosity, intellect are all dominant phases of the left side of the brain.

Left and Right Brain

According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Additionally, people are said to prefer one type of thinking over the other. For example, a person who is “left-brained” is often said to be more logical, analytical, and objective.

The Left Brain

The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language, and analytical thinking. The left-brain is described as being better at:

  • Language
  • Logic
  • Critical thinking
  • Numbers
  • Reasoning

According to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. A person who is “right-brained” is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.

Some of the abilities popularly associated with the right side of the brain include:

  • Recognizing faces
  • Expressing emotions
  • Music
  • Reading emotions
  • Color
  • Images
  • Intuition
  • Creativity

Its very important that we develop and engage both sides of the brain..

“When the ‘weaker’ of the two brains (right and left) is stimulated and encouraged to work in cooperation with the stronger side, the end result is a great increase in overall ability and … often five to ten times more effectiveness.”

— Professor Robert Ornstein, University of California

As a Director and script writer I would get my cast to engage the left and the right side of the brain when memorising blocking or dialogue.

I would instruct them to write out the dialogue and directors notes in different colours or put pictures next to the words. This engages both sides of the brain, words – left and colors – right, this gives better results.  Singers use both sides of the bain because lyrics are on the left and music is on the right.  Thats why vocalists often can remember songs decades later.  While words on their own are so hard to remember.

What are some different ways that YOU can engage with God?

  • Art
  • Through Nature
  • Observation
  • Listen – listen to the ways that God is speaking to you, who is he using to talk to you?  What is He trying to say to you?
    • We often do a lot of talking, requesting, beseeching.  Listening?  Not so much.
  • Solitude – just sit in Hs presence.
  • Using color as much as you can
    • Allocate a color to a particular word or phrase or prayer, song or scripture.
  • Pictures – reflect, look, meditate on a picture.
  • Writing – write a letter to God.
  • Write a letter to yourself from God.  Listen – what would he say to you?
  • Art Journalling combines words and color, pictures, drawing, doodling.  Mix up the medium as much as you can to exercise both sides of the brain.

Painting with Music – In our ordinary workaday selves we may long for something to take us into our creative passion. Moving from mundane states of consciousness of dissipation, boredom and negativity into inspiration and creative expansion sometimes requires music.

Creative Exercise to Connect with God.

Left and Right handed Doodle is a good exercise to engage both sides of the brain and is a very easy artisic exercise without needing any artistic ability.

  • You will need a large piece of paper
  • 30 min without interruption
  • Colouring in pencils
  • Two bright textas

Put one coloured texta in one hand and another color in the other.

Start with the dominant hand – the one you naturally use all the time.

Put on some music, layering the creative fact helps.

Draw with the dominant hand for about 30 seconds – free flow without thinking about it.

Turn the page over and now draw with the other hand and other color for 30

Stop

Swap colors

Then with the second color draw for about 15 seconds over the top of the first page.

THEN:  Stop.  Close your eyes for a few seconds and concentrate on the character of God

What is it about Him that you love?

What character trait do you admire or need more of?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness, Meekness, Even Temperemnet, Faith, Creativity, Wisdom etc…….

Open your eyes and now begin to color in an area of the page with this thought in mind.

Assign a color to the character trait and accentuate that throughout the doodling/coloring.

Bibliography

Mark McGuinness    http://lateralaction.com/articles/is-everyone-creative/

“Nature and the Soul” by Richard Rohr, OFM, copyright © Richard Rohr 2011, Radical Grace, Summer 2011, Vol. 24, No. 3. Used with permission.

Left and Right side brain function:  http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/a/left-brain-right-brain.htm

2 Comments on “Think Outside the Box: Creative Ways to Connect with God

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