We've been talking about listening for God's voice a lot lately in our little faith community. At the same time I am realizing that I have been struggling to hear my own creative voice for several years now. I will get creative spurts of ideas and energy and find really "productive" outlets for them. But often I get so caught up in the productive outlet that I forget the creative impulse that got me into it. Then I wonder why I feel overwhelmed or dry spiritually and creatively.
The emphasis on silence and stillness to hear God's voice has started something else for me. It is helping me find the road back to my artistic self as well. Who knew that God and the muse lived in the same neighborhood! :) - Ok, I say that to be funny, but it is really very serious. I don't think it is any accident that spiritual and creative health are linked (along with physical, mental and emotional). I've known in one part of my brain for a long time that all of these things need a great deal of time and attention but for some reason I give more credance to the part that tells me "look like a good girl; a pastor; a smart business woman - produce, produce, produce!"
Of course, there are things that need to be done. Anyone who has started from scratch will say that it takes a lot of time and energy, and I've realized I'm a person who is ok with that. I like it in fact. But, I'm starting to accept the fact that there is a price to be paid for that in energy and it demands stopping for refills.
On Monday (my day off) I took myself to skyline drive. I stopped at little places along the way I found interesting, drove slowly through the mountains and sat on a big rock looking like a goof-ball wrapped up in a red wool blanket and a funny hat and let myself be blown by the wind as I gazed at the valley below and clouds passing by. Part of the magic of this trip was the silence. I didn't listen to the radio much and when I did it was only intrumental music.
This week (chapter 4) of the artists way suggests a week long reading fast. For me, this has become a media fast. Just me, alone with my thoughts for a whole week is a scary thing! But, I keep being pushed back to something I heard somewhere about "asking the question that needs to be asked." I guess meaning the stuff that gets avoided or overlooked or excused because there is so much to distract from it. I've needed about a week of this "noise fast" to get to the point where I'm running out of nit picky things and beating myself up and laundry lists of what I should be doing in my head to get down to a real conversation with myself about "what am I really doing?";"who do I want to spend time with?" and "just where is that creative impulse these days?" and is it really as remote as I make it out to be, or am I just scared to clear away the clutter and make room for it in my life?
I have no idea where the answers will lead, I'm just excited that I'm finally getting to the questions - the ones that "need to be asked." I've decided to continue this media fast through Lent (novel idea - a time of fasting and prayer!). It is so hard for me to not turn on the tv and veg when I get home late at night or listen to talk radio, but I'm learning stuff. I don't know if I'm hearing God's voice just yet, but at least I'm starting to learn to hear my own.