Earlier this summer we did a book club in the HKC community and read the book The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. But I got busy and didn't finish the book. The other day I picked it up again and what I have been reading has been just what I needed. God knows what we need when we need it!
In chapter five she talks about the artist gaining their creative inspiration from the Holy Spirit. So often it is my time in prayer and in Bible study that sparks creative inspiration in me and much of the time I can connect dry times creatively to having not spent much time with God in His Word and in prayer. I tend to suffer spiritually and creatively when I get too busy. It's a constant theme for me and one I wrestle with often as I try to balance the many demands of life with what is best for my heart, mind and soul. So, for the past week I have been reading abut what Janice Elsheimer calls "breathing exercises". She says that,
"In order to take in, to breathe in, the inspiration God offers us, we have to learn to pay attention tot he world around us."
It's doing things that stimulate our senses and things that give us energy - things that nourish creativity within us. Breathing exercises are "taking time to be alone, to absorb whatever God wants you to take in." It's funny because God tends to speak the same thing to me over and over again to get my attention. I have spoken often on my blog about the battles I have faced with burn-out. As I have studied my Myers-Briggs personality type (INFJ) in attempts to help fight the burn-out tendencies in me, one of the things that came out is the need for me to 'stimulate my senses" in an effort to stem the tide of burn-out. For me, that means getting outside and taking in nature. I've known this, but have been slow to make it a practice. So when I read this chapter in The Creative Call I felt God once again leading me to the same thing, to something He knows will feed my soul and give me energy. In the chapter she really encourages us to simply get out and do whatever it is. Not to talk about doing it but to "just do it". So, on Monday, after getting my work done, I drove over to the park along the river and I took a photo walk. Walking in nature with my camera is relaxing and stimulating, and is even a spiritual experience for me. I planned for an hour and ended up spending two! I took in the water and the birds and the sun. I breathed in the fresh air and listened to the sounds of nature. It was wonderful and I felt my spirits lifting. It was therapeutic. I have vowed to do this for at least one hour per week, to make time for it no matter what is on my schedule or what the weather is like. I went back for an hour on Wednesday afternoon! Here is how I recorded it in my Creative Call journal and some of the pictures I took:
|I saw a Killdeer for the first time!|
|I think this is a Sandpiper but I couldn't get closer.|
|I'm pretty sure this is a Red-cockaded Woodpecker|
|I found a bit of Autumn|
This experience also reminded me of a quote credited to Augustine that resonated with me last year:
"Solvitur Ambulando - It is solved by walking."I really feel so slow in getting the things that God places before me for my good. He just keeps lovingly putting up billboards in my path to help me get the message!
What are your "breathing exercises"?