When I lead a writing workshop, I often begin by reading aloud “Essential Affirmations” that capture the philosophy of the Amherst Writers and Artists. Pat Schneider includes these in her book, Writing Alone and with Others. Starting in this way never fails to set a good tone for creating and self-acceptance.
The first two affirmations are:
1. Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
2. Everyone is born with creative genius.
Are these statements too good to be true? While it is easy enough to accept that our genes and experiences result in distinctness, we may sense the presence of gnawing questions like does our uniqueness matter? Does my art matter? Yes. I believe our creative expressions are both personally and relationally significant. Learning to embrace this uniqueness is part of taking an accepting stance toward our self, our life, our value. This is a kind of self-love that helps us be happier and see others with more generosity.
Strangely, expressing our uniqueness enables us to connect with others because our most authentic expressions of our true self allow some one if not many to identify with us. They see themselves or their dreams or restorative beauty in our work and as a consequence they feel less alone, lifted, and inspired. I experience this in the presence of creativity from beginners as well as professionals. Honoring and cultivating our unique style or voice is important if not sacred work. Spirited women bless the world then they nurture and express their uniqueness.
Now about this idea of genius…the more cynical are likely to raise eyebrows, but I persist it is true. Our dreams have layers upon layers of meaning floating up from our subconscious making evident our creativity. If we could capture those nuances and layers of metaphor in our art, they would be masterpieces! That deep pool of creative genius dwells in each and every one of us. Run to anything that leads you to draw from that pool.
One of the writers joked that we should build a float for a local summer parade and shout these affirmations over a megaphone as we roll down the route. We had a good laugh and I was glad no one took it seriously. Even so, these affirmations are as sweet as the candy thrown to the children watching the parade.
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