Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sibling Assignment #119: Enduring Friendships -- It's the Best Way to Use Creative Energy

This is the last of the "Best" assignments handed out by InlandEmpireGirl, asking us siblings to write about the best way to use our creative energy.

InlandEmpireGirl takes a break from out doing Ansel Adams and writes about taking pictures, here and Tony Award shoo-in Silver Valley Girl writes about the theater, here.

I'll begin by saying, if you've never seen Bill Moyers interviewing Coleman Barks about his work as a translator of Rumi and about Rumi's poetry, try to find it. It's called "Love's Confusing Joy". It's a part of a series entitled, The Language of Life.

In that interview, Coleman Barks tries to explain mystical reality, the idea that God/Yahweh/Allah/the divine is not "up there", but that we live in its midst. We are like the frog in the ocean, not the frog in the ditch. It means that we live in the midst of an eternity of creative energy.

In other words, Rumi understood God, no matter what name one uses, to be fundamentally a creative force, the force that brought the world into being and that if we live in God, we live in creativity.

We are always creating.

Using creative energy includes the arts and extends beyond them to how we create friendships, relationships, tension, havoc, peacefulness, messes, reconciliation, and on and on.

I know that I spend a lot of my creative energy trying to help students write better. I try to create an atmosphere of openness, fun, seriousness, inquiry, and courage. I use my creative energy to try and put my students in the best situations possible to succeed, to discover their intelligence, their creative energy, and to experience the spiritual rewards of writing.

I spend a lot of creative energy trying to be good. I don't always succeed, but the creative energy of God (or whatever you call this creative force) is good. It's an energy of healing, bonding, reconciliation, harmony, of oneness. We are most attuned to the creative energy we live in when we act in ways that accentuate commonality, not division. Such goodness comes under fierce criticism, both from those who profess to live God's will as well as from those who do not.

But, I think the best use of our creative energy is to do what we can to foster unity and connectedness rather than create division and separateness.

It's difficult.. The forces of division, whether political, social, theological, or ideological are very strong.

Beyond the sphere of my little world I can't do much tangible in the larger world where conflict and division thrive --where creative energy is frittered away.

This coming weekend a group of friends is coming to Vancouver, WA from North Idaho and Eastern Washington. One friend has already come down to Idaho from Alaska. He's coming to Vancouver on Saturday. I just learned another friend is coming from the Puget Sound area. Maybe another will come from near Centralia, I hope. We are getting together at Diane's house. I know of one Portland area friend joining in. I hope others will, too.

I know that if we based our enjoyment of each other on political or ideological or theological harmony, we couldn't congregate. We couldn't enjoy each other. Our political, theological, and social differences and divisions would fracture us.

It's not what we base our friendships on, though. It's not our focus. We don't think of one another in terms of our differences.

We make the best use of our creative energy and extend love, enjoyment, the pleasure of shared history, and trust toward one another.

That, to me, is living in God. It's not looking for distinctions. It's enjoying the love and goodness that's at the core of each of our being and reveling in it.

It's the best use of our creative energy: we are continuing to create enduring, lifelong friendships.

It's what matters most.

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