Art is the essence of awareness.
~ Louise Nevelson
We cannot draw the door to our bedroom from an abstract idea of door. We end up with a rectangle with a circle in it to represent the door knob. It’s a door, but it’s not the bedroom door with its four panels and wood grain surface to give it texture.
It’s possible to create a rendering of a door based on the doors you have seen and create something more realistic. Your creation would be based on what you had experienced. Your ability to be present with what is right in front of you gives you what you need to create. Creation is an act of awareness and what you create is the essence of awareness as Louise Nevelson says.
The thing is it takes courage to be present with what is. What is isn’t always pleasant or pretty. But it is real. If we pay attention to it, it brings us into the moment and into our bodies. And if these things aren’t working for us right now, we sometimes want to avoid them, ignore them, escape them. By not relating to what is right now just because it’s painful, we become numb and lose our ability to stay present. This is the antithesis of creation.
Avoidance has been a practice of mine. I don’t always have the courage to be with what is. And this practice has made life unmanageable at times. It’s left me bereft in terms of my creativity. Anytime I stepped into the present to write a poem about what I saw, what I didn’t want to face would rise and I would shut down. If I practice avoidance too much, I don’t feel like being creative at all.
In the past couple of years, I’ve made it a practice to face my fears and worries at some point. I don’t always rush in. I breathe and take baby steps. I take my time, but I get there, usually. And this has helped me be more creative.
Creation begins with awareness, whether it is a sky of roiling clouds or a mind of worries that becomes the object of our attention. What is in front of us can be transformed by our creativity, but we need to first bring our awareness to it.
The poem I write may begin with wind rustling the leaves of the tree in my front yard. My awareness allows it to be transformed into a memory of the first time I danced or sparks the idea of being moved by Spirit. Either way, I get there via what is right in front of me. The thing before me becomes a metaphor as I place my attention on it or what I create brings alive my experience of it.
To create is to transform what we see, hear, feel. Anything we don’t like about our lives can become something else. But first we must be aware and living in it fully. This is the only way to tap into the possibilities alive in the situation and in us as we experience it.
Creation begins in awareness, is grounded in the moment and comes to fruition after processing our experience through the heart and subconscious mind. Our lives and art are our greatest work. The ability to create is both a gift and an invitation to connect to others and the Divine.
Go then and make of the world something beautiful, set up a light in the darkness.
~ from Awakening Osiris, The Egyptian Book of the Dead as translated by Normandi Ellis