I felt at a bit of a loss how best to support my twin girls when they auditioned, and both got accepted to a high school for the arts (majoring in musical theatre) this year. I just hoped it would be an environment that allowed them to develop their creativity.
At one time, I would not have considered an arts school for my children.
I grew up with a strong belief that sciences were more important than the arts. My parents are both medical doctors. The arts was considered impractical, and a hobby only, not a career. I could see why.
My bigger fear – what if only one of them gets accepted?
We read the first email together. “Congratulations Leah…” I held my breath before opening the second email praying for the same words for Makayla. It’s what they both wanted.
Suddenly, they were jumping up, and down, hugging, screaming, and crying. I was still in shock. Competition was fierce with a 20% acceptance rate, and part of me wondered “is this best for them?”
Now I no longer knew the way. I could help with reading and math, but the Arts? I recalled a highly recommended classic – “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron that was sitting on my shelf for years waiting to be cracked open. I still thought of ‘artists’ in the traditional sense – painting, writing, music, dance etc. I assumed this book was about discovering that kind of inner artist, which felt unfamiliar to me – or was it?
I took a closer read of the front cover: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, and almost fell off my chair. I’d been teaching my children spirituality ever since I became a life coach in 2009. Now I knew how they got in with barely any experience in the “triple threat” of musical theatre: dancing, singing, and drama.
Our conversations over the years had changed from me telling them what to do, to me becoming a better listener, getting them to follow their passions, and sharing more authentically. I slowed down, and got curious about where they were coming from when they over-reacted or wouldn’t listen. I gave them a new space to show up being who they are, and they rose up to meet me.
They remind me to please stop what I’m doing: “mom – you are not looking at me face to face!” They make sure I’m present when they want to talk to me. Ugh.. : )
I’d been encouraging one thing: connect with what resonates with you, and follow it. Give everything your best effort. Don’t bother comparing or looking at the odds. Take some risks if it’s something you want, and even if you feel disappointed – what you will have gained just trying will be well worth it.
“The Artist’s Way” is a 12 step program of discovering your creative self. Each chapter includes insightful exercises with a commitment to 2 key practices:
- a regular ‘Artist’s date’ with yourself where you spend time alone doing something you love
- journalling every morning to ‘dump out’ any critical, judgmental, or negative thoughts and clear the way for your soul to express itself
For millions around the world, these 2 practices have transformed people’s ability to tap into their own creativity. To get unstuck, and trust their intuition. It’s been a resource I’ve been following with a group of friends to help unblock me as a writer. I have lots to share, but getting it out on paper the way it’s in my heart is a struggle!
Here are some of Julia’s fundamental principles:
1. “Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.”
2. “There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.”
3. “When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.”
4. “Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.”
5. “Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.”
Creativity (being an Artist), and spirituality turns out to be one, and the same.
At their new school, one daughter will whip up a video for an English presentation adding in movable graphics, and fun headlines. She’ll listen to songs & visualize the dance numbers on her commute. To prepare for tests, she creates ‘dry erase’ cue cards by adding clear tape across the front underneath questions with the answers on the back.
She joined the meditation, wellness, and yoga clubs because she’s a more ‘left-brainer’ analytical type, and can get stressed trying to control everything. She’s right-handed.
Her twin sister tends to fly by the seat of her pants. She’ll whip up her own dishes with ingredients most teens won’t touch (think oysters, goat cheese, and spinach), and have them plated beautifully in no time. She’ll compose songs on her guitar, and paint complex designs on her nails. On lunch break she’s on the piano playing “Holding Out for a Hero” she’s figured out by ear, while she and her girlfriends blast out the melody.
She’s more of a ‘right-brainer’ heart on her sleeve type, and can get stressed because she tends to avoid the discipline of practice in favour of just ‘going with the flow’. She’s left-handed.
The quality one daughter needs to practice letting go of (control) is the strength the other one needs. Their way of being clashes regularly. One gets up early, the other sleeps in. One is tidy, and organized; the other not so much.
I find myself in huge talks with one about the other, and make them face each other’s opposing edges where they can accept, and respect their differences so they don’t take each other personally. They laugh, cry, and get frustrated with each other often, but at the end of the day I can only describe their connection as spiritual: they have each other’s back.
For their recent birthday, one spent the past several months creating a video called “My Favourite Memories with My Sister”. It was filled with experiences over the past year like their recent trip to NY, the camp they attend annually, seeing Taylor Swift in concert, family cottage moments, and countless photographed dishes her sister had made for her. It was creative gratitude. I was choked up watching…
Sir Ken Robinson says: “The Element is the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion…doing what you love because it feels like your most authentic self, and you cannot imagine doing anything else.” He speaks against the ‘one size fits all model’ in our education system, and is a huge advocate for fostering creativity, and innovation in the minds of our children.
It seems in our world today, there is a desperate need for more people to connect to their own Divine creativity. To help solve the world’s problems from the inside out encompassing a more balanced approach between the Arts, and Sciences that’s founded in ONE Universal principle that connects us all: love. For who you are, what you love, and how you treat one another.
When you allow that spark in you for what illuminates your soul, you’ll be tapping into your creativity. It’s how you will find your calling, along with all you desire, and you’ll have no other choice, but to go for it.