Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 6: Converted

I think it was in Week 3 that I decided that I love the Artist's Way and that I want to continue with morning pages and Artist Dates after I finish reading the book.

In Week 4 I "happened" to have some existential conversations with friends and family. We talked about our religious upbringing and the all-important "What happens when you die?" question.  I heard myself describing my beliefs and understanding of my existence in the terms that I had read in Deepak Chopra and Julia Cameron. Other people were talking about Heaven and Absolute Nothingness and I was talking about my consciousness being dispersed into the infinitely creative universe.

In Week 5, it struck me that if I want to practice this whatever-it-is every day, if it connects me to the metaphysical plane and explains for me what exists beyond what we see and what happens when we die, that maybe this is a religion, and maybe it's my religion. It just doesn't have a name or any particular organization. Maybe that's OK? But what do I call it? What do I call myself? And will I ever have a community of like-minded people to celebrate with?

In Week 6, I was invited by a friend to go to an event at World Music Nashville where Beth Nielson Chapman was performing, talking and teaching. It was free and they were giving away food and wine and prizes like guitars, why not? She played some really great songs, gave some helpful feedback to the people chosen at random to play for her, and spoke so eloquently about the creative process. It was right in line with everything I had been reading and discovering.

And then she talked about how creativity is God and it confirmed for me all the things I had been thinking. And I realized that I was at church. And I was with like-minded people. It was a Wednesday night retail marketing event and I was holding a plastic cup full of cheap Chardonnay and a chicken quesadilla, but I was surrounded by my people. We are searching for fame and fortune and hit songs, but also for truth and the joy and satisfaction of creating something new and beautiful. And we come together in all sorts of unexpected times and places.

And now I don't think my religion needs to be organized in any kind of obvious way. It's flexible and surprising and doesn't need a power structure or rules about who's in and who's out. I like that I can have a spiritual experience hanging out with friends and playing songs, or walking by myself through the woods, or watching kids or seniors perform their hearts out. But I still want a name for it. "Creativity" doesn't seem right. Better keep looking. Or maybe just live for a while with no name. Seems like a lot of trouble has come from naming religions.

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