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Image by me.

“As Jung said often enough, we can go with another only as far as we have gone with ourselves.”

James Hillman

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.” — Helena Bonham Carter

Living a full life as a person of substance is impossible without creativity. Meeting the world as a person of depth means you know yourself and can embrace yourself in a large and profound sense. Art of some kind plays an important role in this process of growing such a soul. I know from experience that making art means digging deep in yourself to overcome frequent failure and disappointment in order to create a beauty the world hasn’t yet seen.

Facing yourself this way confers strength if you keep going in spite of everything. You grow into a more substantial being, a person able to offer the world something of value.

Creating art doesn’t just rest on the talent to make something pretty. It is really a dialogue with Soul. It offers insight, delight, nourishment for the deeper self and helps it flourish. The world can’t do without this kind of creation. We are unfinished beings. We need teachings of all kinds. We are each unique, living at different levels of perception and vision.

Our hearts need to grow and become more intelligent. We need to learn how to be full human beings living in the midst of mystery. We understand so little. We have to learn how to dance with God’s creation instead of destroying it like brutish infants. We have to live up to our potential as humans.

Art saved me from a superficial and meaningless life. It must have despaired more than once, but I clung to its lifeline as I wandered, lost and rootless along my path, narrowly avoiding catastrophe after catastrophe. How I have managed to emerge from the jungle at my advanced age, happily married these thirty five years, still creative and learning, still optimistic, is some kind of miracle. Someone up there must like me.

I’m proof positive that humans can change for the better, thanks to art and creativity.

You don’t know where art will lead you, because when you start you don’t know yourself or what you need. You don’t know what you don’t know. That’s ok. Art making will fill in the gaps if you stick with it. It will hold a mirror up to your soul. Of course you will need to look and take notes. It may not be pleasant. You may see some things you’d rather not. You might be tempted to make excuses or blame others.

Just look. Let your deeper self talk through your art. It has information you need if you are to be whole. Let its voice manifest.

Art can save you from being an imitation human. It can lead you to deeper waters, where the meaning and mission of your existence dawns on you.

I think we could all find a larger role for art in our lives.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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