Creation is the holiest activity.
At the heart of every religion is a creation story. Maybe that story is about a singular god who whipped up the world with his great mind, or a sky goddess who mated with her brother earth, or a series of divinities who emerge out of the void in an orgiastic birthing frenzy. In myth, when creation happens it happens all at once, and it’s the most wondrous, exhilarating, awesome thing.
But while we expect this to be the human experience of creation, it isn’t. So many of my clients come to me when their creative juices have dried up, certain that they’re done for. They forget that human creativity is fickle: sometimes an idea comes to us like a flash out of chaos, and sometimes (most of the time) the work of creation is laborious, meticulous, or tedious. Because although we carry the divine spark within, we are flesh and blood and bone and painfully mortal.
Still, we mustn’t forget that when we create something—a book, a business, a baby—we are performing divine work. We are digging within ourselves to find the godstuff and hold onto it as our puny human hands make the effort. When that god particle is lost, the act of creation becomes monotony. It becomes a spiritless act, and more and more often we writhe with those heartbreaking, debilitating questions: Why am I doing this? Am I not good enough? Have I already failed?
But there is something we can do to encourage the creativity to keep flowing, and I believe that’s making the creation process a holy act. I believe that it’s our responsibility as creators to not forget that when we create we are mimicking the gods, we are channeling the divine. We are both within and beyond ourselves, and the line we walk is between humanness and godliness, our inevitable limitation and our great inspiration.
So I want to offer you the four steps I use to sanctifying my creative process. They have helped me both tap into the divine and accept my mortal deficiency, I hope they can do the same for you.
1. Prepare your sacred space.
If your space feels sacred, you are more likely to treat your process that way. Make sure to provide your creative self time in solitude, reflection, or meditation, as well as a physical space that’s calm and supportive.
Before you begin, set the stage for your sacred act of creation. Personally, I tidy my space and light incense. On the busiest days I’ll get up early in the morning, when the world is still quiet, so that I can create in peace. I’m also happiest when I have a steamy cup of coffee and a full stomach, so I make sure to eat well and brew up some joe as well. All these little things make my space feel sacred, so that I am most open to creativity.
2. Ritualize creation.
Holy ritual is an essential part of communing with the gods. While on the one hand ritualizing things can breed a sense of boredom, it also infuses the mundane, normal stuff with a sacred essence. And you can make your ritual into whatever you need. Before I write, I spray my hands with a special tincture blended to encourage creativity, set a silent intention, and take a few cleansing breaths. Before I read for my clients I shuffle my cards in a particular way and recite the same prayer. The more that I’ve infused my creative work with a specific sense of spiritual purpose, the more I feel creatively engaged.
3. Use spiritual tools to confront stuckness.
It’s inevitable. At some point you will get stuck. This is the most human experience there is. But stuckness does not mean helplessness, nor is it an invitation to lose hope. It is actually a call to reach deep, hold true, and be vulnerable. When you are stuck, rather than leaning into despair, try prayer. Or, if that’s not your thing, play with oracle cards, tarot, yoga, or meditation. Explore the countless tools that have been helping humankind through stuckness for millennia. Something will spark a connection, facilitate a breakthrough, and you will eventually make your way back on track. But make sure to view these tools not as ways to cheat stuckness, but pathways toward reconciliation with the divine creative self.
4. Practice gratitude.
How often do we accomplish our great task, only to shrug it off once it’s over? How often do we blatantly undermine our own brilliance because it’s not quite right or doesn’t meet some impossible standard? I once had a client who’d worked her ass off for a job she very much deserved, but booked a desperate reading anyway because she believed there must be something more she should do. I had another who, after bearing an immense project into the world, struggled a bit to maintain it, so she needed a reading to give her insight on how to handle a problem that would inevitably arise months in the future. Both these women skipped over the gratitude for their creative accomplishment and went straight to making is better or doing more. These are familiar nervous responses to success, but we must be careful to replace them (or overshadow them) with responses of appreciation.
When you hit a goal in your creative process, give thanks. Light a candle to the god within on your altar. Take yourself out for a celebratory glass of wine. Bathe in the moonlight and sing to your wondrous heart. Return the blessings back onto yourself, feeding your creative process, and it will continue to show up for you. Do not forget the divine spirit that has led you here.