“Why run with scissors when you can pray with them?”
After attending a recent SoulCollage® workshop, feeling inspired, a participant hashtagged this question, “Why run with scissors when you can pray with them?”
It’s impossible to be creative or prayerful when either we are running around with scissors in our hands or our head spinning off from the self-destructive-crazy-busy-way-too-many roles we play in life. Our days filled with tasks, whether worthwhile or mundane, are scheduled to the minute. We either count our minutes or count our minutes slipping way. We feel a scarcity of time when we operate in this “chronos” perspective of time. When we function from a place of “not enough” and we don’t invite moments of silence and solitude, we miss the glimpses of grace that could slip through a sliver of unscheduled time.
A slower, purposeful, more respectful way to live our life is in “kairos” time, a time that feels outside of time. We actually lose track of time, we meet the holy, in this sacred and contemplative space. Often people say “Time flies!” when they become engrossed in an activity. They are lost in it. When we give ourselves the opportunity to be creative, we can lose track of time. We meet the Divine in these spontaneous moments of creativity, silence, listening and contemplation.
“The only perfect prayer takes place when we do not know that we are praying.”—St. Anthony
The perfect prayer is when we feel outside of time. If we are to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), why not get creative about it? There is no single, perfect way to pray. Prayer is simply becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings and behavior, and authentically expressing our deepest longings to God. Often our feelings and longings reside beneath the level of consciousness, surfacing only when we are intentional and ask for Divine guidance. Our prayers are the creative expression of our deepest self. Peace comes as we rest in the awareness that the Divine is with us, in us, knows us, hears us; and that we are creating the space and silence to listen.
“In Him we live and move and have our being.” —Acts 17:28
In the ancient prayerful practice of lectio or visio divina, Latin for “divine seeing”, we allow words and images to speak into our hearts. This prayer, recommended by St. Benedict, embraces the universal roles, the archetypes, of Inner Monk and Inner Artist, instead of the worldly roles that we know we can never be fully satisfied from. Planted deep within us are these archetypes that fuel our desire for solitude and prayer, creativity and expression.
“The monk, a universal archetype of the search for the divine, represents everything in you that leans toward the sacred, all that reaches for what is eternal….An artist who hurries has lost his original integrity. A monk who hurries has lost a little of her soul. Both monk and artist are teachers of the contemplative way.” –Macrina Wiederkehr
Intuition and wisdom, creativity and spirituality come together in visio divina, which I liken to the SoulCollage® process. All we need to do is stand in the Light and allow ourselves to be transformed. What is special about SoulCollage creativity is that it is time spent listening to the images, drawing on our intuition, creating and then listening to what our own creations are saying to us. We are co-creating with the Divine. Holding an image in prayer is powerful. It is not just a craft project.
One participant, Kelly Winnik said “I was afraid it might feel like a craft-fest, but it wasn’t anything like that at all. I learned so much about how images affect me, how they move me and how they can be a form of prayer. It was inspiring!”
“I never thought about using my artistic talent to express and discover what it brings out spiritually. And I certainly didn’t think about it as a way to deepen my relationship with God.”—Sandra Renner
We are like an artist, expressing ourselves through our life and our prayers. This is our art.
Prayer is expression,
a longing to move beyond ourselves,
to become our fullest self,
who God created us to be,
to become SoulFully You.
Creativity is an outward sign of your deepest, inner stirrings, the voice of your soul. You cannot be creative unless you are free. This is the power of prayer—to become free of all attachments, to let go of our tendency to control, to surrender the evaluation of self and others, of time as enough or not enough. If we are tied up in outcomes and judgments, we cannot be the creative people God intended us to be.
“The most noble thing one can do in this life is to be silent and let God work in us.”—Meister Eckhart
The inner monk and artist are universal archetypes longing for the Divine through solitude and creativity. We seek an experience of God by embracing mystery, cultivating intuition and trusting our creative instincts.
Consider creating a retreat for your special group of friends.
Awaken your creativity and nurture your spirit through the prayerful, intuitive process of SoulCollage® and the prayerful, rhythm of the day followed by the Benedictine monks of Christ the King Priory. An oasis of peace, St. Benedict Center is in Schuyler, NE, just 80 minutes northwest of Lincoln. Retreats can be coordinated at your own venue as well.
You can tailor your retreat to provide opportunities to express yourself creatively using images, mandalas, journaling and music. Opportunities for group interaction, solitude, prayers with the monks and, of course, listening to the Spirit that is already working within you. You can create a retreat that is one day, an overnight or even two overnights. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in creating a retreat.