Sunday, March 22, 2009

Becoming an Artist of Life

Today I had some thoughts about this video, put together by and based upon President Uchtdorf's General Relief Society conference talk entitled Happiness, Your Heritage.

The Church has done a beautiful job here, but I like Elder Uchtdorf's original talk even better, partly because it takes me down a pathway I've always loved to travel, one I explored in my second book, Awaken Your Spiritual Power. Nearly an entire chapter is devoted to the topic of creation; and a section of that chapter, entitled Becoming an Artist of Life, can be read at Deseret Book's LDS Living.

Here are three brief excerpts from the chapter in question:

"The ability to give birth to something that begins as an idea or thought is a sacred inheritance. Creating is what our Father in Heaven does, and we are here on the earth to practice and eventually perfect that skill. How and whether we choose to do that is up to us."

"The most visible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself...the ones who express the inexpressible without brush, hammer, clay, or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt—their medium is being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don't have to draw. They are the artists of being alive" (Jane Stone).  I love this.

"Though creative expression through the fine arts is uplifting, energizing, and important, most of us will have our peak creative experiences being artists of life. As children of God, every single one of us is an artist of life."

Of course, those of you who frequent my blog know that I am a big supporter of creating tangible art. Writing happens to be my favorite medium, and I love it. Having said that, I love even more the concept of becoming an artist of life

Elder Bednar touches on this idea in his conference talk about prayer, where he reminds us that we are, in a sense, the creators of each day, just as our Heavenly Father is the creator of this world. He explains how we can use prayer to facilitate that process:

"The patterns used by God in creating the earth are instructive in helping us understand how to make prayer meaningful. In the third chapter of the book of Moses we learn that all things were created spiritually before they were naturally upon the earth."

"And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth' (Moses 3:4–5)."

Elder Bednar goes on to say, "We learn from these verses that the spiritual creation preceded the temporal creation. In a similar way, meaningful morning prayer is an important element in the spiritual creation of each day—and precedes the temporal creation or the actual execution of the day. Just as the temporal creation was linked to and a continuation of the spiritual creation, so meaningful morning and evening prayers are linked to and are a continuation of each other."

In other words, we use our spiritual gifts as artists of life to create each day spiritually first, seeking divine inspiration through prayer...and then temporally, through acting upon the inspiration we receive. At the close of day, we again access the spiritual by using prayer to offer what we have wrought to the Lord, repent where necessary, and receive either His blessing or His forgiveness/suggestions for improvement. The temporal enters the equation as we move forward by acting upon the further guidance and personal revelation we receive from Him. 

Of course, we can apply this creative process to everything we undertake in life, using prayer (in the manner taught by Elder Bednar) as both the power source and the template. If we are able to create (invent, refine, act upon, etc.) specific aspects of our lives in the same way Elder Bednar suggests we create each day, then we will open the doors for God's grace in allowing us to become as He is, creators in every sense of the word, in every arena. Is this not our purpose on earth? No wonder honoring that purpose gives life meaning, for the divine inheritance known as our creative process can be called upon to create whatever is needful: tangible works of art, eternal character traits, loving home environments, joy for ourselves and others...and beauty, in all its forms and presentations. The sky really is the limit here, because the Lord's ability and willingness to bless us knows no limits. 

Quite a concept, isn't it? Becoming an artist of life. And eternal life.

I love it....and the One who makes it possible.

C atch the Vision
R equest the Spirit
E xperiment with ideas (prepare)
A ccept inspiration
T ake courage (trust your gift)
E xpress your divinity

"There are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God" (D&C 46:11).
"Neglect not the gift that is in thee..." (1 Timothy 4:14).

Boyd K. Packer:  "Oh, if I could only convince you that you are a daughter of the Almighty God. You have a righteous, spiritual inheritance you have hardly touched."


K2cole said...

Beautiful Post. I love Elder Bednar, he speaks to me.

Thank you for your insight.


Natalie said...

Okay, this is my new favorite of yours!! I have tears streaming as I write this. Your insight and wisdom combined with that of church leaders and the makes for post perfection!

You just made my day. I appreciate that! :)

em said...

i love the idea of being "creators of each day." isn't the the truth! so far today i am very happy with my creations and it's only 11:15am!!!go me;-)

jen said...

Where do come up with such profound thoughts? Thanks

moana said...

You speak to my soul. Thank you.

Lisa Loo said...

I'm with everyone else--you are amazing!! Such great wisdom-- thanx for putting all the links in there---thanx for sharing!

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