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The Great Question: Intentional Creativity and Personal Inquiry

Art spans human history, from prelinguistic cave dweller to postmodern city dweller, and stands as witness to an ongoing creative process, an evolution of worldviews, a historic unfolding vision of nature, humanity, cosmos, and consciousness itself.  Every work of art embodies the vision of its creator and self. Every work of art embodies the vision of its creator and reveals a facet of the collective mind. Artists offer the world the pain and beauty of their soul as a gift to open the eyes and heal the collective. (Alex Grey, 1998)

As I continue down the winding path of creative inquiry which is constantly opening doors and provoking lines of questioning all demanding my attention I have a flashback from my master’s program in Women’s Spirituality to courses titled Organic Inquiry taught by Dianne Jenett, Ph.D, and Art as Sacred Practice taught by the Reverend Shiloh McCloud and I can suddenly see that seeds were planted some time ago bringing me to the exact right space at the exact right time. 

The mysteries of creativity and a connection to the earth and all of Her inhabitants, all that deserve reverence and awe, is for me, the foundation of Intentional Creativity and I see that creative inquiry is perhaps one of the many beautiful branches that have flowered in my own process of knowing who I am over time. It resonates in me and feels like a sense of synchronicity. Research, inquiry, learning, and knowing that is actually about wonder, passion, hope and conviviality, and of the sacred is of utmost interest and perhaps these missing components from so many aspects of our lives for so many of us are more remarkable than we can truly understand. 

In the process of engaging in deep inquiry and using art as another way of knowing, it is helpful to recognize the impact of the cycle of life on our creative endeavors.  Alphonso Montuori, a college professor specializing in creativity, discusses the need for an incubation period that may very well be uncomfortable. This reminds me of a similar discussion initiated by the esteemed author and teacher, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes who compares this incubation time with what she calls the time needed for regeneration and that perhaps an author doesn’t really experience “writer’s block” but really is in need of time to recover, regenerate or incubate.  Dr. Estes refers to this cycle as the Abuende – like the cycle of life.  Personally, the synchronicities are attention worthy as I often feel the pressure to ‘get things done’. I have found this incubation period to be absolutely critical and I now make space to let things ‘percolate’ before I come to a plan of action.

Over the years, using the colorful and multi-faceted threads of the sacred, threads of Intentional Creativity, and threads of deep personal and academic inquiry (as if they were different) to weave a tapestry sprinkled with the sparkles of women’s circles and wonderful friends has been deeply gratifying and healing. 

In my experience, the inquiry approach to art making
cultivates intuition by creating a relationship with one’s muse,
one’s inner and true voice,
and helps the artist to acknowledge feelings
that may be difficult to articulate. 

I have found that a relationship with the Divine is nurtured, aside, inside or outside of religious parameters, and the canvas itself become an enchanted gateway with the brush as a magic wand allowing one’s pain  to be transferred so she doesn’t have to bear the weight any longer.

The whirlwind of these experiences are thought provoking, incredibly interesting, and are laying the groundwork for a complete replacement of the current lens in which I am working. The impact on my ability to deal with the incredible stressors of my profession is positive and the opportunity for personal growth is limitless. 

I’m finding my understanding of what it means to be creative has changed so much and I’m focused on putting all pieces into place even though I know it is much more important to access women’s wisdom and let things unfold in due time. Of course, I also know this will never happen as my inquiry about creativity is going to continue to unfold generating more lines of questioning, more subject areas, and many more observations to inquire about. 

Painting: Taliswoman: Symbols of Synchronicity by Jessica Bowman

References

Montuori, A. (2008). The joy of inquiry. Journal of Transformative Education, 6 (1), 8 -27

Montuori, A. (2012). Creative inquiry: Confronting the challenges of scholarship in the 21st century.  Futures, 44 (2012) 64070.

Clements, J., Ettling, D., Jenett, D., Shields, L. (1999) Organic Inquiry: If Research Were Sacred. Self Published.

McCloud, S. ShilohSophiaStudios.com

 ~ ~ ~

Jessica Bowman holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology, a Master’s Degree in Women’s Spirituality and Creative Expression as well as California Single Subject Teaching Credentials in Social Science and English and Administrative Service Credentials.  She is an Associate Superintendent for a rural high school district focusing on support for underrepresented students. Jessica is also an artist, healer, and seeker.  She is a doctoral student at the California Institute of Integral Studies researching Social Justice and the application of Goddess Consciousness as a Women’s Leadership Model. For more information on some of her work please see www.creativityandthedivinefeminine.com and www.magicalapothecary.com


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