July 15 – Creativity: Step Eleven

Step Eleven in the Twelve Step program is where we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God. These require quiet and solitude, yes, but do they not also require a bit of creativity, too? Creativity is one of the ways we communicate with and channel our higher power. It is through creativity that we slow down and become fully immersed in the moment. We lose our sense of past and future; only the present remains. Creativity, prayer, and meditation all share this in common, and it is through them that we consciously contact God.  

photo of person standing on rocks

On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“It sounds so simple for creativity to find its way. 

We need quiet—the word sounds familiar. We can dimly remember times of quiet. Or was it when we were sleeping?

And we need time—just for ourselves with no agenda, no deadlines, no needs of others impinging upon us. 

We long for quiet and time for our themes to emerge. Recovery is not possible without both. Contact with our Higher Power is not possible without both.”

It is in that gentle balance of flow, when we are fully immersed in the task at hand with a focused energy and enjoyment, that we get in touch with our higher power. Flow and creativity are intertwined, and both have a place in the spiritual. Both require quiet and periods of time alone to become absorbed in what we’re doing to the point that we lose sense of all that surrounds us. Of course, quiet and time are not easily come by. We must fight to carve out time for them in our day. It is necessary to allow ourselves to space for creativity, prayer, and meditation. Through these activities, we find not just healing, but ourselves. We get closer to ourselves spiritually and mentally. We tap into our higher power, so we can begin to realize our full potential. As Anne says, no one will arrange quiet time for us. 

I love the quote that opens today’s meditation, in which Madame Benoit says,  “I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.” She perfectly captures the spirit and heart of creativity, as there are no rules. You can’t follow a prescribed set of steps to achieve creativity; it’s chaos! The quote reminds me of how my husband completely changed the way I view recipes. Before, I had always thought of cooking as more science than art, with recipes being a set of strict instructions you must follow exactly. Like chemistry, cooking combines different elements and flavors with heat to incite certain reactions, all to achieve a particular dish. Once we master the basic cooking techniques though, recipes really are more of a set of guidelines or suggestions than hard and fast rules. We can add variation and experiment, tasting as we go, to make a dish suit our individual tastes. It’s important that we make room for creativity and fun in our lives, and that requires going off book sometimes. It is in pursuing creative efforts that we discover who we are, and in so doing, we become closer to God. Even something as seemingly small as preparing  a meal can be a chance to get to know ourselves and our spirituality better. 

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