Hi! Welcome back to my series of articles about The Creative Call written by Janice Elsheimer. Today we will discuss Chapter Five which is titled, “Breathing In”. If you missed any articles in the series you can find links at the end of this article. This week I wrote in my journal every morning, did most of the exercises and took some action to get my inspiration pumped. How about you? Did you read the chapter?
The main focus of this chapter is that the Holy Spirit is our source of inspiration.
In Chapter Five Janice gives us a little historical background showing how even before Christ, there was recognition that creativity sprang from a source outside of and greater than the artist. Artists called on a Muse to inspire them. Now days most Christians believe that inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit. I believe that wholeheartedly. Janice said, ” The Spirit of God is working in us whether or not we are aware of it, but when we consciously choose, with a ‘pure and upright heart,’ to invoke his aid, we can expect that he will ‘illumine….raise and support’ us.”
Knowing that the Holy Spirit is there to inspire us is a great comfort. We can use the gift of inspiration from the Holy Spirit if we remember to breathe the inspiration in. Have you ever forgotten to breathe? Sounds funny, huh? Who would forget to breathe? I found out that I do sometimes when I am doing yoga. The instructor mentions breathing and I realize I’m holding my breath.
Well, we certainly do not want to hold our breath. When I do meditation I concentrate on my breathing. Thinking about the breath going in and out helps you to relax and to clear you mind. Often when I meditate I try to focus on visualizing a white light flowing in from the top of my head and moving all the way down to my toes as I take in a deep breath. I am comforted by the light and I know in my heart that the light is the spirit of God or the Holy Spirit.
So, if we know inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit then why are so many artists blocked? It could be that we are holding our breath. We are not allowing the inspiration to flow through us. Maybe instead of being blocked we are locked. We have locked ourselves away from the Holy Spirit’s help.
Janice makes suggestions to help us make sure we do not lock the Holy Spirit out. The first few exercises in the chapter include writing a prayer to invoke the Holy Spirit, writing a list of things that inspire you, and writing about the “out of the blue” inspiration you may receive. My “out of the blue” place is the shower. I can’t tell you how many times I am enjoying a good scrub when the ideas start flowing. We need to make sure that we listen when those “out of the blue” ideas start rolling in.
This week Janice wants us to pay attention to the world around us and to make time to breathe in the inspiration God offers. I have always felt that artists are more observant than the average person. I think I am pretty observant. I notice things in nature, shapes, light, color, etc. But don’t ask me where I placed my car keys. One way you can stimulate your creativity is to do an activity that will revitalize you. Janice calls the activities “breathing in.” Julia Cameron calls them “the artist date.” The name doesn’t matter. What matter is doing activities that are going to get us moving in our creativity.
Things that have stimulated my inspiration and creativity are going on a trip, to an art gallery, museum, or an art supply store. Even a simple walk down a country road or the beach can recharge my creativity.
The oddest thing happened to me today. I was doing an art chore that I have been dreading. I needed to photograph some of my paintings. The paintings were framed. So in order to get good photos, I had to unframe them because of the glass. Taking paintings out of their frames is a big pain. Can you see why I was dreading it?
Anyway, I decided I wanted to find all the unframed paintings I had first. I searched through several flat file drawers. As I was searching I found a couple of unfinished paintings from years ago. I started looking at them and thinking, “Why did I abandon these?” I pulled the unfinished pieces out and set them where I can look at them tomorrow. Why? Because there was something in the drawing or painting that spoke to me. A simple exercise of looking at old paintings gave me inspiration. This week see if you can discover some activities that will recharge your creativity.
Being alone is another way to receive inspiration from the Holy Spirit. It is so important to take time to be alone, to pray, to meditate, to listen. Doing these things will help you breathe in inspiration. Writing down your insights and inspiration are suggested also. You may have an incredibly creative idea in a dream, so you may want to keep a notebook near your bed to keep track of those ideas that pop into your subconscious.
The last exercise in the chapter is to make a mixed media collage illustrating some of your favorite things. I have not made my collage yet. I would love to see collages made by my readers. So, if you did one, please email a photo of it to me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to put a few collages on my website if I receive any. Don’t be shy!
I want to end this article with the uplifting verse from Romans that Janice ends Chapter Five with.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Here are some other articles you might be interested in: