By Chelcee Johns. Photography by Deun Ivory.
“You become more divine as you become more creative… Love what you do. Be meditative while you are doing it – whatsoever it is” - Osho
I’ve always looked at the practice of creativity as a spiritual practice, as a dance with the divine. My beliefs live in a space that says I am created in the image of God and thus I am a reflection of the utmost divine.
However, I think there are times that we forget, that we go after creativity in a very pragmatic way that loses the divine or at least puts in on the back-burner - because deadlines and pressures are real. I wonder if we do ourselves a disservice when we do so? I wonder if, in some ways, we clog our divine creative portals. Are there ways we can make the creative process even more holistic and aligned to our wellness? We’ll be diving into this question and many more in April as we unearth what it means to be a Divine Creative.
I know you’ve heard the saying, give yourself permission to be a beginner again. Maybe, it is also, give yourself permission to harness the anxiety and fears that may often arise in the beginning phase, the birthing phase.
In Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, she makes a conclusion that says just as much as you are birthing a creative work, it is also birthing you. We are both birthing and being born each time we work with our creativity. It is often the most intimidating work because it can be the holiest. And not holy, in this lofty thought. But holy, in the way of clearing out and welcoming in our seraphic self.
Can creativity trust us with what it wants to birth within and through us? What has felt true for me, is that this trust is built the more we listen to our intuition, spiritual development and purpose that is calling us to the creative work.
“The reward for our work is not what we get, but what we become.” - Paulo Coelho
As we journey through creative living, here are seven practices that may help in opening up your divine creative portal. Try on what works and leave what does not, but by all means… keep creating, keep becoming more divine.
Opening Up Our Divine Creative Portal:
1. Invite the Divine Into Practice.
When speaking about her morning creative process, Toni Morrison has stated she rises before dawn and waits to “watch the light come.” She noted that there was something in the exchange with the sun that cued her practice. What does that for you? In what ways might you invite the divine into your practice? Maybe it’s reciting a mantra, meditating or praying.
2. Create Sanctuary.
Is there a place in your home you return to for your creative work? If not, maybe it’s time to set one with your favorite inspirations around. Also, while the cafe may not always be the most sacred space, maybe there’s a song you play before you enter the work or an essential oil you carry, a scent that ignites the mind and spirit (lavender, peppermint and tangerine are amazing).
3. Meditate On Your Why.
It may be time to remember your purpose. Sometimes our portals are clogged simply because we are moving and acting without reverence for what has pulled us into this work in the first place. Spend some time tapping back into your purpose, journal about what has brought you to this call.
4. Tend to Your Spiritual & Physical Garden.
When we take care of our wellness in mind, body and spirit, we tell creativity that we are ready for bloom. As a fiction writer, there are times my characters won’t speak until I’ve tended to myself. It’s almost as if the work is saying, 'you’re not quite ready to birth.' But, when I do the tending and watering, when I excavate and plant I create space for the blooming.
5. Investigate the Dimensions.
We enter different levels of our creativity, from the initial birthing, to being in flow, to completion. And often, each dimension takes a different process or energy. If something feels off or stunted, investigate it. This is often the point we push pause (and pauses are often necessary and sacred) - but, what if we did some investigation? What isn’t working? Why? Have I hit some personal triggers? How could healing manifest here?
6. Try Another Channel of Creativity & Invite In Play.
When I feel stuck writing, I’ll try to pick up another mode of creativity. Not too long ago that looked like a ceramics class. It was a way for my body to remember what it felt like to finish a work as so much of writing is rewriting and can feel like a never finished entity. Taking the ceramics class gave me the boost of confidence of seeing a piece finished and to return to my channel with a renewed sense of determination. Are you a dancer that should write a poem? A poet that should dance? A photographer who decides to tell a story with words? See what happens and what you learn about your creative process in a new channel. Remind yourself to play in the work, let go of the inhibitions of what creativity should look like - even what divinity has to be.
7. Respect Your Creative Process.
When I am finally fully pouring myself into creative work it takes on a form of solitude many are not comfortable with (and may even be offended by). I’ve realized it is a part of my process. I’ve wrestled with being in full integration with the world and the moments of complete cocoon. When we try to force ourselves to take on a creative process that seems to work for others, but is more feign to our soul’s desire our soul will let us know - respect the cues when it does and honor your creative process.
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
We look forward to journeying into deeper divine creativity with you this month. Are you ready to share your process and story? How do you brand with divine creativity in mind? How do you water yourself when the well runs dry? What body practices, beauty routines, foods help get you into peak creativity? Send your story (750 -1110 words) or pitch to email@example.com.
Chelcee Johns is a digital nomad, publishing professional, Detroit native, editor/content strategist and word & world-loving soul. She is based in Harlem and recently called Bali home for a year. Her passion for the power of the written word & highlighting often policed narratives has led her to work in publishing for the past 7 years with organizations such as Moguldom Media Group, Serendipity Literary Agency, the New York Times and writing for the likes of Ebony. In a rupturing political climate and blooming social change, BGIO is the place Chelc is able to create a community of safe space in our collective stories as Publication Editor. She is empowered by the (inner)work! With that said, her self-care go to is journaling, prayer and meditation.