This holiday weekend I sat by the pool, went fishing and ran in the Magnolia Meltdown 5k with Mollie Ann and Emma. We also made a “commercial” for the Raising the Barr Fitness Five K for the Fatherless. It was Mollie’s idea. I have discovered after about four days without working, creative ideas start coming to me. Part of my artistic outlet is to tell you about it today.
I recently read a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Mary Margaret Harper, our new director of communications for 200 Million Flowers, is reading it now. It was basically about getting yourself (he called it your ego) out of the way to fulfill your creative life calling, whether as a writer, a painter, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist or whatever. The book also contained a little bit of psychology, which I love. I took a bunch of psych classes in college and as a divorce attorney; I have basically been practicing mental health without a license for over a decade. I loved the book, but I only highlighted the following passage:
The artist and the mother are vehicles, not originators. They don’t create the new life, they only bear it. This is why birth is such a humbling experience. The new mom weeps in awe at the little miracle in her arms. She knows it came out of her but not from her, through her but not of her.
So let’s talk about art and babies.
We live in an age of instant gratification. Our lives have become about what makes us comfortable. Good stories are not written about comfortable lives and if a comfortable life is your ambition, it is certainly fine, just may be a little boring. A story, according to author Donald Miller, is always about a person who wants something who overcomes conflict to get it. Note the part that says “conflict.” I was telling this to my friends Jason and Brandy who started a ministry to AIDS orphans in South Africa and they were playfully looking at each other and me and their words and body languages were saying “Yep!”
Pressfield describes your “ego” being the part of you who likes to be comfortable, and the “self”, within which the ego resides, being where dreams and creativity are born. While Pressfield did not exactly say it, I believe that the self is the dimension wherein the Holy Spirit lives. We must have times where we can put the ego aside in a healthy way so we can get to our creative center to make art. Many people try to get to the self through the fast food methodologies of sex, drugs and rock and roll. These things destroy the ego to get to the self. That’s why so many talented artists die young. They destroy their body to get to the creative self. They also leave collateral damage for the people who cross their paths. Divorce is like this.
We are unique beings created on purpose by God who is the Creative Center of the universe. I think the reason that so many birth moms do not make a plan for adoption is because they are using the miracle of the life to satisfy her need to feel comfortable as opposed to overcoming the conflict and grief associated with the loving choice for adoption –living a better story and giving their child a chance to live a better story.
So what does all this mean to you? I have no clue. I am trying to figure it out for myself. The one thing that I know is I want to live a great story, so if that means we are in for some conflict, I guess we are in for some conflict.