I think creativity and spirituality are tightly linked in humans. I believe we are all creative beings, each of us with our own talent and abilities. I think creativity brings us closer to our divine selves, our authentic selves, and our Higher Power.
In the years before modern media, every person was expected to cultivate creative talents. Sewing, gardening and music weren’t just hobbies; they were necessary contributions to the family and the community.
Now that it is no longer required, many of us don’t honor our creative selves. We suffer from lack of time, lack of motivation, and, most commonly, lack of confidence. If our offerings are “not as good” as what we can get from the professionals, we question their value. We are afraid we will make mistakes.
Both my mother and I studied theatre in college. Each of us learned the same important lesson from our respective professors. The lesson is that it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake on stage. What matters is how you recover from it.
There are some areas in life where mistakes can be very costly, even deadly. I am certainly not advocating a cavalier attitude in activities like driving, surgery or even tarot reading. But I don’t think anyone ever died from a wrong chord, a forgotten lyric or a missed stitch.
Sometimes mistakes create something better than expected. Years ago I had a small role in a community theatre production of “Diary of Anne Frank.” During an early table read of a scene where Mrs. Frank discusses Anne’s budding romance with Peter, our Anne mispronounced a word. The line was written “Mother, I have some intuition, you know.” The actress instead said “Mother, I have some intu-shun,” leaving out a syllable. Without thinking, our Mrs. Frank quickly corrected her. “It’s intuition, dear.” The director loved the exchange, and it became a permanent part of the scene.
During the 1980’s I saw my favorite band, the Grateful Dead, many times. Like all jam bands, the Dead’s style was loose. A technically perfect performance is not the goal of a jam band. Bobby (Bob Weir, rhythm guitar and vocals, for the uninitiated) often forgot the lyrics, even of songs he had written. One night Bobby forgot the lyrics to the song “Uncle John’s Band,” very early in the song. When he got to the line of the song that says “What I want to know is how does the song go?” he started to laugh. Everyone in the sold-out stadium laughed with him. It remains one of my favorite Grateful Dead moments. Had he not forgotten a few words and found the irony in the following lyrics, that moment would never have existed.
To laugh at ourselves, to think on our feet and find the beauty in our mistakes can be very freeing. When we are free to create without fear and without judgment, we honor our inner child, and we honor our creator. In that moment we are like the Fool card in tarot, fearlessly stepping into the unknown. We are like the Temperance card, mixing different things together to create a perfect blend. In that moment, we are open to the inspiration of the Universe.