This is where things get really interesting, my friends. If we are serious about our creativity, we must learn to dance with it, knowing when to push, when to be pulled. Which means first, we must listen. Before we get out on the dance floor and cut loose, we must feel the rhythm, pulse with the beat, listen to the MUSE–ic.
In fact, Julia points out that the creative process itself is completely dependent on our ability to listen. This means that we cultivate a receptive, listening attitude. She writes, “If we are trying to think something up, we are straining to reach for something that’s just beyond our grasp, ‘up there, in the stratosphere, where art lives on high…’”
Instead, though, “When we get something down,” Julia suggests, “there is no strain. We’re not doing, we’re getting. Someone or something else is doing the doing. Instead of reaching for inventions, we are engaged in listening.”
Indeed, we learn to align ourselves in harmony with the waves of creative ideas and inspirations that are, in fact, the oceans we fish are swimming in. Just like the oceans of vast, lush abundance that we’ve been discovering, that, in fact, we also have been floating in all along.
Michelangelo famously expressed this when he said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Painters may start with a plan or a carefully rendered sketch, but as any artist will tell you, once in the actual production, the work often takes on a life of its own, and “the brush takes the next stroke.”
This is also true for writers, photographers, and potters. Even actors and musicians, who often are working from a precisely written script, aspire to perform with fresh, spontaneous energy, stepping into a creative flow that may range from new interpretations to all-out improvisation.
Once we learn to tune in, we realize we are being constantly showered with ideas, visions, imagination unleashed. The trick is not to think things up; but how to get things down – how to manifest it. Our art is the expression of the guidance and direction of the Artist within.
So how do we do this? Oh, you know I can’t resist saying it — Stay tuned!