Living Into Your Creative Vision : Page 2 of 2
Living Into Your Creative Vision
Making a Living as Art Therapist
Many women write me to ask for my opinion as to whether it is practically viable or financially secure to embark on a career in art therapy. I am not an art therapist in my formal training. I chose to become registered as a counsellor because it felt more practical to me. But I say if the urge to be an art therapist is coming from the inside of you, start moving towards it a little bit every day. I think it is possible to take care of your practical needs, and live into an art therapy practice, slowly over time.
My personal experience is that art for healing is not commonly understood, or widely embraced by our mainstream culture yet. This does not mean that we should not begin living into our creative visions. When I started teaching expressive art, I worked on a dining room table, in a group home for clients with brain injuries. It was not the fanciest digs, but I was surprisingly inspired to see how my creative ideas could connect to real life, and not just live in my head and in my journals. There is always some place in the world that needs our vision, our voice, and our contribution. As creators we awaken and enliven a weary world with color, music, connection, love, and faith in something more than just surviving, paying the bills, and marching through each day with a sense of practical duty.
In the past few years I have had the chance to meet many people who are living into their creative visions, and into their own creative aliveness and curiosity. Being creatively alive is always a good way to focus your time and efforts. Even if you are still growing into your vision, and are not yet making good full-time money doing it, you are building, connecting, living into, and embodying your vision in the world. You are in harmony with what wants to be created inside and outside of you. When I meet people living into their creativity, it fills me with inspiration to see such aliveness, such engagement in life, and such vision being implemented into the practical world. For it is the visionaries and the people willing to live into their creativity, that bring change, connection, and the Divine to the culture.
The truth is that everyone is creative in some way, and the world needs to see more people expressing themselves in health care, in government, and in private business and non-profit organizations. Creativity warms, inspires, draws forth, ignites, and unites. Working in health care, I have had care and housekeeping staff coming up to me from all walks of life to tell me they are creative, that they knit, paint, sew, weave, and draw at home in their spare time. When they come to my art table, they are intrigued that there is more to life. To brings something from your rich inner world into practical life brings joy. It heartens and encourages the world. Your creativity is needed in the workaday life that most people exist in.
I have brought my creative visions into the world, not by grand gestures, but by taking small intuitive steps each day. Sometimes the insights that I get are just ordinary, but I do take some steps each and everyday towards my creative vision, even if it is just adding a sentence to my website, or making a small change in an article I am writing.
Sometimes I just get the direction to spend some time living into a new idea, whether it be sitting in silence, and listening for what wants to come through, or gathering materials or doing research. Often I will mentally set a creative schedule for myself, and my Muse will have a different idea. My Muse will know that I need to take a nap, meditate or walk in the woods. After I do, I feel more connected to something larger, and the creative work pours through with much more vibrancy and strength.
The Creative Soul reveals itself when it is relaxed. We have to find places in our life to let our soul relax, so that our creative ideas can imbue our daily living. Getting to know what our soul feels like when it is creatively inspired, is a feeling state we can learn to court, and invite it to become more fully embodied in our lives.
We can spend years learning about ourselves psychologically, and understanding every aspect of our ego system. But this psychological thought structure is not the whole of ourselves. Birthing something creatively through our souls is a co-creative process between the Creative Muse and our personal lives.
How do you invite the Muse or the Creative Spirit into your life? How do you tend to your creativity? Do you invite your creativity to express Itself on a daily basis. What name would your give to your Larger Creative Spirit? Recently one of the radiant, creative elders that I work with in the art studio called me his "Art Mother."
I loved the name "Art Mother" profoundly, and was grateful for his naming of my Opus in the world. It seemed especially poignant as my 17-year-old daughter ventures out into the world to find out who she is. As I contemplate this change from a one-on-one mother, to the larger nurturing of an Art Mother in the world, I feel profoundly moved to the core of myself. I am reminded of how I have become the essence of my grade two teacher who saw where and how I was creative. I am touched at how she nurtured my deeper creativity, and how I now offer this same heartfelt service to others. •
Shelley Klammer is a Registered Professional Counselor and an Expressive Art Facilitator. More »