A couple weeks ago, I loved reading his post, Creativity is Unhurried. I asked Alan if he’d like to be a guest blogger here on Art, Life & Faith and he generously agreed. I hope you find his words as encouraging as I did.
One thing I’ve learned in the course of taking and leading days of unhurried time and space with God is that true creativity cannot be hurried. A while back, Gem stumbled across a book in the library by Brenda Ueland on writing—If You Want to Write. She wrote it in 1938, but her voice is so simple and honest that it still rings true now. She is talking about writing, but what she says works well for all of life. Listen, for example, about what she says about imagination:
“So you see the imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp, staccato ideas, such as: ‘I see where I can make an annual cut of $3.47 in my meat budget.’ But they have no slow, big ideas. And the fewer consoling, noble, shining, free, jovial, magnanimous ideas that come, the more nervously and desperately they rush and run from office to office and up and downstairs, thinking by action at last to make life has some warmth and meaning.” (Brenda Ueland. If You Want to Write. Saint Paul: Greywolf Press, 1938.)
(Obviously saving $3.47 in a year on meat would have been much more exciting in 1938!) In day retreats of open space and unhurried time to be in God’s presence, I have seen participants write songs that were later recorded and write poetry that was later published. Recording and publishing was never the goal, but it was a creative by-product of unhurried time in the presence of a Creator God. I’ve received creative solutions to challenging problems resistant to typical methods. I’ve received compassion to deal with others who have hurt me.
You can buy a copy of If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland on Amazon.
Questions: When is there time in your schedule for “holy moodling”? How might God use such a time to increase your actual, practiced compassion and creative engagement in meeting the real needs of people who God would call neighbor?
Thanks for your comments and reflections. You can can visit Alan at his blog, Notes from My Unhurried Journey. Alan is the Assistant Director of The Leadership Institute. Alan specializes in leadership development, spiritual direction, and retreat leading.