Share, Listen, Think

Rest is Art

In Art on February 5, 2015 at 9:08 pm
Photo by Tammy Werner

Photo by Tammy Werner

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. – Aristotle

By Heila Rogers

How does creativity fit into life?

Do we need “the arts” as a part of life — or are they a waste of time?

I’m not the only one around lately who has been re-defining (or getting back to the roots of) creative pursuits — as being beyond the usual writing, drawing, acting or dancing — to also include, “household arts,” or “the art of the deal,” for example (that’s something I’d like to explore about!).

Anyway, humans are artists. So whatever we do can be done artistically…

It’s interesting to examine different historical people groups, and the role of traditional artistic pursuits like theatre, painting and music in their culture – and how these things paralleled or were involved with the rise and fall of different civilizations.

I was particularly interested to see what ancient and enduring texts had to say about the subject of creativity so I did a word search in an online Bible for, “creativity” and didn’t come up with much. Then I tried searching for different variations of the word.

In the process of this searching, I’d forgotten about the Creation Story itself, as it’s called.

THE very first words of the whole collection of books begins:

In the beginning, God created…” is Genesis 1:1

And then for several more chapters it’s all about Creation. You remember: the land and the water, the moon and the stars, the animals, the plants… “Let there be Light…etc.”

Somewhat surprisingly, I found rest a part of that first story of creation, too.

On the seventh day of creating, God said, “It is good” and rested. I really thought the seventh day was when the creating was finished. But it turns out the seventh day and the resting were on-going, integral parts of the whole.

It’s not like all the action happens during the physical-making-and-building parts of something. An awful lot happens during the rest periods too.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

— John Lubbock (English Biologist and Politician, 1834-1913)

Photo by Mary Gregory

Photo by Mary Gregory

Artists speak about a kind of resting — which is IN the act of creating:

Painting is a meditation that allows me to process the awe I feel for life and offer some expression of beauty to honor that.Linda Saccoccio

I find working with glass meditative, almost therapeutic, I can leave the world behind and focus… the simplicity of form, the drama of rich, intense colour, the joy of challenge, and the challenge of endurance. The piece, when it’s over, is not what is made, but how it’s made.Andrew Kuntz

It’s well-known that artists, writers, musicians, and well — people, have some of their best ideas when doing tasks like ironing, taking long walks, sitting on a park bench watching birds or children play, or washing dishes.

Some of those things are technically active but while we’re doing them, the mind rests in a certain way (if we let it). When doing those kinds of repetitive motions or tasks, our minds can generate some fantastic ideas; or problems can get figured out.

People still tend to define rest as being physically still, or even as sleeping.

Or people think it means clearing the mind.  Which is partly what happens when we do the above kinds of things — our mind empties out in a certain way.

So ~ physical, mental, spiritual are all connected…

Is rest defined as being free from worry?

In that case it’s got to involve putting that worry somewhere else, or onto someone else.

That’s why we often attempt numbness with TV, Netflix, Facebook, alcohol, social engagements, books, food or exercise. This is not an exhaustive list. We’re seeking rest. A break from our worries or our sense of responsibility.

All of these things can be good of course, but we can misuse them into distractions that steal our time from just Being.

How to do that tricky “just BEING” though?

Meditation or contemplation involves thinking about something to focus our mind.

We can picture a mountain lake, or a field of wildflowers. Or for some people, maybe imagining being underwater in the ocean is soothing and relaxing.

Photo by Tammy Werner African Church

Photo by Tammy Werner
African Church

This resting and ‘just being’ can be so scary though.

If we stop moving, who are we?

If we’re not what we do, who are we?

These quiet, peaceful times are the times though when it’s possible to hear God’s voice saying, “I love you.” When we can sense direction for our lives.

When we can picture ourselves opening our hands and letting go of every anxiety.

We can only do this I think though, when we know and trust Whom we’re giving these burdens to.

Just like a good friend who has been there for us through our most difficult times, if we understand God as our Friend we can rest in the presence of that Friend.

We can rest in the presence of someone who is still our friend and accepts us, even when we do stupid or embarrassing stuff. The kind of friend who might even perhaps laugh at us, but with affection; never harshly, or with mocking or meanness.

A friend is someone I can tell my worries to, someone I allow to hug me close. A friend is someone who knows me well enough to know when I need a hug, and when I need a laugh instead.

I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better. Plutarch

I picture God’s warm lap sometimes too. I imagine God as a loving, caring, nurturing and protective parent.

Why can’t a parent be defined as a friend also?

This concept and awareness can generate a deep and wide rest within.

From there in that safe, warm place I grow and fly ….. and create.

I recently pictured God as a loving, affectionate, fun  Mother & Father  swinging me in between them like a little child. I was holding onto both of their hands.

I rested in being loved.

I felt a sensation of flight.

Photo by Tammy Werner

Photo by Tammy Werner

 At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet. – Plato


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