Ramblings on Art, Faith, and Money
In Julia Cameron’s book The Artist Way, she talks about naming your goals. Over and over again, she assigns exercises where the creative will name his or her goal in a variety of ways. She writes often of synchronicity, when things line up for your creative success. Whether it’s God or the universe or a muse, Cameron writes of seeking encouragement and guidance from a higher power: something outside of oneself. The part of the book that struck me the most with this was the section with the Artist’s Prayer, “We trust that you will lead us.
We trust that it is safe to follow you. We know you created us and that creativity Is your nature and our own.”
Sometimes I think about this when I’m doing my morning pages. Does God care if I have any success at my art? Does God care if I create or not?
I have been struggling with feeling lost in my art. Do I try and pursue a career with my art or is this art stuff just for me? This is something I mull over a lot. What am I suppose to be doing with my art and where am I suppose to be going with it? Long story short: I’m not sure. I know that I love creating and encouraging other creatives. It’s hard to know what to do or where to go with my art. What am I suppose to do with all these things I make? I don’t know. I know that I feel called to continue creating, but I’m not always sure what to do with all this stuff.
So I journal, do morning pages, and pray about it. I pray about it a lot.
In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes extensively about putting your creative desires out into the world. She talks about seeking guidance from friends, the universe, from creative heroes, muses, and from God. I know I love art, and I’d like to support my family with it. So one day, about a week ago, I sat down to do my morning pages. I remember processing how I felt lost and unsure about where to spend time/money. I prayed for guidance and asked for God to provide clarity. If I am supposed to continue to pursue a career in art, I prayed, could I please make some money with my art? Just a little bit of money?
After my morning pages, I started my usual cleaning routine of emptying the dishwasher, doing the dishes, and clearing off the counter tops in the kitchen that somehow get cluttered overnight. I found a stack of mail my husband didn’t sort through the day before. In the stack was a letter to me from an address I didn’t recognize. I opened it, and inside was a letter from an art show I had done a while ago and a check… for $8 (the gallery had taken a commission, and I had collaborated with another artist so half of the profit had gone to the other artist).
How did I feel? The answer to my question had been given exactly like I had wanted. No more, no less. And yet… I still felt unsatisfied. I felt disappointed, like when you go to a cake tasting and only get bites and not a whole slice… but then again I hadn’t asked for a whole slice or even realized I desired a whole one.
In The Artist’s Way, Cameron writes a chapter entitled, Recovering a Sense of Abundance. I’ve been thinking about this piece of the book a lot this week. Cameron asks us to look at our ideas behind money and God and where the two meet. If I’m honest, I struggle with viewing God’s blessing as being given out frugally. Objectively, I lack faith even though time and time again what I’ve prayed and wished for has manifested. Yes, sometimes it has taken a while and not been when or where or how I wanted it, but the answer has, usually been, yes. When it has been no, concerning my art especially, I look back and see how protected I’ve been from toxic environments and mentalities.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve stumbled in and through conversations where the question, “What do you want to do with your art?” comes up over and over again. I’ve struggled through answering it time and time again. The answer is, I am blessed by my art and I’d like to bless others. I want my art to bring relief, joy, catharsis, and so much more to the buyers. This is what it does for me when I craft it. I want to make enough that my family is blessed through my art and we’re able to enjoy life a little more because of it. Go out to eat occasionally. Travel to visit family more often. Bless our neighbors. Improve our home. I want my art to fuel a beautiful life outwardly, as it does inwardly for me now, and so this is my new prayer. It took an $8 check to get me there.