Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creativity and Creation Spirituality

This is a brief excerpt from a paper I wrote in 2004 while completing graduate studies at Marylhurst University. Founded by Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality informs my spiritual path as well as provides a framework for my workshops and retreats.

Creation Spirituality is intrinsically grounded in cosmology and creativity. Its theology is based on a reverence for life and honoring the sacredness in all of creation extending to the universal whole. As we are born of creation—a creative process in itself—we are, therefore, born with an innate desire to create. Creativity imbues the Creation Spirituality tradition in a way that allows us to connect to the Divine, recognize our interconnectivity, and thus act for the welfare of all. Creation Spirituality is the path to awakening, healing, and transformation. It's ecumenical in its inclusivity and draws on the wisdom of the ancient peoples and the Christian mystics of the Middle Ages, specifically Meister Eckhart, the fourteenth century Dominican mystic. The Four Paths of Creation Spirituality include the Via Positiva, Via Negativa, Via Creativa, and the Via Transformativa. "The backbone of the creation spirituality tradition is its naming of the spiritual journey in the Four Paths. It is important to be able to name the journey so that people can share in a common language" (M. Fox, Creation 17). This is a language that honors the awe and wonder of creation (Path 1), the darkness and letting go (Path 2), creativity as giving birth to our Divinity (Path 3), and an awakening to act in service to justice and compassion (Path 4).

Can Creation Spirituality infused with a reverence for life, cosmology, and art transform cultural attitudes towards the living body of earth?

Most often we think of the natural world as an economic resource, or as a place of recreation after a wearisome period of work, or as something of passing interest for its beauty on an autumn day when the radiant colors of the oak and maple leaves give us a moment of joy. All these attitudes are quite legitimate, yet in them all there is what might be called a certain trivializing attitude. If we were truly moved by the beauty of the world about us, we would honor the earth in a profound way. . . . and turn away with a certain horror from all those activities that violate the integrity of the planet. (T. Berry, Dream 10)

During this time in history, we are facing an environmental crisis never before experienced by any other civilization. The geobiological structure of the earth that has taken billions of years to bring into existence is now being threatened by the anthropocentric-driven relationship that humans have with the earth—all in the name of progress and growth. If we don't alter our relationship with the natural world from one of exploitation to one of reverence the future of human life on earth remains questionable. Creation Spirituality is one path to a renewed biocentric relationship with the earth and creativity, and by extension the artist, can contribute to the awakening, healing, and transformation our world; however, the resacralization of nature is a choice that humanity must make for the collective good and for the survival of life on this planet. It is a profound homecoming to our interconnectedness in the web of life and it means a paradigm shift at the deepest level of our humanity that requires the support of our economic, political, religious, and educational institutions. It asks for "the recovery of faith in our creativity and in the artist within each of us and the artists among all of us. . . . It has to do with the rekindling of the spark of hope and vision, of adventure and blessing, that a tired civilization needs" (M. Fox, Blessing 187).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let it Be So

©Amy Livingstone, Mother Mary 2010

We had our womens’ seasonal sweat lodge ceremony at People of the Heart on Saturday night that honored both the light and the dark within and around us. Appropriate for the season and with so much change happening in our world and feeling bombarded with information about the economy, climate change, natural disasters, and unemployment, it’s no wonder we all let out primal howls. Wailing, releasing the heaviness. Many of us, especially hypersensitive people like myself take in this darkness and carry it around inside, so it was cathartic to release the energy that had been storing up in my body. Releasing in order to open to the lightness of being. After prayers of gratitude and healing were spoken, Rev. Jayna Gieber led us in The Beatles, “Let it Be.” It had been a long time since I really listened to the words of the song. I was moved to tears and saw before me my painting of “Mother Mary.” The Divine Feminine and her words of wisdom are speaking to me, to us all, during these evolutionary times. The question is are we listening?

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

And in my hour of darkness

She is standing right in front of me

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people

Living in the world agree,

There will be an answer, let it be.

or though they may be parted there is

Still a chance that they will see

There will be an answer, let it be.

Let it be, let it be. Yeah

There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,

There is still a light that shines on me,

Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.

I wake up to the sound of music

Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be.

There will be an answer, let it be.

Let it be, let it be,

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

I would suggest that we the people are indeed beginning to listen. Where the ecological and political movements of the sixties seemed to emerge largely out of sub-groups within society, the new paradigm movements include all of us and those of every generation--young and old. We can see this in the Occupy movement and the spiritual, evolutionary consciousness that is gaining momentum. The stakes are also higher now. Climate change is real. Some would argue these movements are idealistic in the face of the economic and political forces at work today. Perhaps. According to Webster’s, idealism “is a literary or artistic theory or practice that affirms the preeminent value of imagination.” Again, “the value of our imagination.” I would go so far as to say the Divine Imagination--the very source of our creativity. Yes, The Beatles were idealistic. I’m idealistic. Are you? I believe we are all artists in our own way, tapping the holy well of our imagination, therefore we all have the capacity for being idealistic, right? So “imagine” what we are capable of co-creating if we listen to these words of wisdom from the Divine Feminine? There will be an answer. All of our creativity and idealism is needed now. For the future of this planet and all her creatures. For future generations. “Imagine all the people living life in may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’re join us, and the world will live as one.” (-John Lennon)

Let it

For love of the EARTH,