art

Creativity and Your Vision Quest.

 

Creating your life every day is an art and we are all artists. We are all born creative.

Creating, writing, making art, music and movement creates a ritual space in our lives to restore our connection with the quiet voice of our higher minds and benefit from its wise guidance.

This oasis of the restorative, healing energy of creativity in the midst of our hectic modern existence helps us tune into a life force of universal knowledge that gives our lives meaning.

A vision quest is an ancient process undertaken by medicine people and other deeply religious seekers in the indigenous societies of our world. Those going on their vision quest withdraw from everyday life to a place of solitude. Often, they fast and pray and meditate continually on the spiritual, unseen side of life.

They pray that they may actually see those usually invisible realms and directly experience the powerful forces associated with them. Tradition and experience teach that if they can cope with the rigors of their physical circumstance and, most importantly, if they can persevere in the face of their own fears, they will have a waking vision in answer to their efforts.

This vision often includes a visit from an animal whose qualities are related to the essence of its story.

A vision quest deeply affects those who experience them, often influencing them for the rest of their lives. It is common for the visionary to carry their experience back to their clan as a message for all to hear and learn from.

It is easy to see that your creative process is very much like a vision quest. However, few of us have the time or inclination to withdraw totally from your everyday routine, deprive yourself of comforts, and pray without ceasing to actualize our creative aspirations and fortunately, it is not necessary to do so.

What is necessary is to learn what your personal vision quest entails, to try and remember that you are on one, to use your vision quest to fan your dream into your passion, and to respect yourself as both an artist and a shaman, the name given to those who demonstrate the ability to contact the highest realms and bring back useful information and powers that they share with those ready to experience them.

If you are new to the idea of thinking of yourself as a creative person or artist, then everything is new for you — everything, that is, except your fears and your ability to resist distractions. Fear and problems with focusing and time management are problems for professional artists and businesspeople too.

However, those who are first learning to actualize their creative visions are especially challenged by these things. The lack of experience with confronting the all too human tendencies to procrastinate, to be a perfectionist, to pick apart a creative endeavor when it is at its early stages — these and a hundred other.

{Mixed media collage painting: Amy Zerner}

 

The vision quest is the time that you take for soul-cleansing, when you plunge into deep contact with the mysteries of Life and especially of your life. Creativity is not just about making things, it can also be the act of disassembling and reassembling. The introspection of the first process gives us recognition of the suffering that is sometimes necessary to deepen our awareness of ourselves.

There are shadows to be met and sorrows and slumps to get in touch with. Do not think in terms of conquering or getting over your fears, pain, and other vulnerabilities. They are all fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of your creative ideas. Besides, whoever gets over such things anyway? We learn to live with them and that is enough.

Our vulnerabilities are callings to look within, recirculate the energy, and ground it in form. The vision quest is an effort to go back to the feeling of wholeness by turning inward for power. The search for this inner power is the medicine which the shamans seek. They want that which will heal them and make them whole.

If you never create a thing but learn to listen to your fears, you will be one of the most powerful people in the world. As the ancient Chinese Book of Tao says, “He who conquers others is great. He who conquers himself is greatest.”

You cannot really conquer your fears or yourself, but you can make friends with them both. To some degree or another, your fears will always be with you, doing their best to keep you safe and secure, even if you do not want them to. Like the development of your creativity, your vision quest is a lifetime’s work, but worth it.

Like a story from Greek mythology, the closer you start getting to your goal, that is when the monsters start getting fiercer and more numerous.

Think of your fears as signs that you are getting closer and closer to the core of your creative self. You can be sure that somewhere this very minute, we too are facing our fears as we plunge headfirst into the exhilaration of creation. It is a feeling very similar to stage fright.

Everyone experiences the same basic fears when their creativity is apparently on the line. Successful people use that incredible magic tension to energize their performance. It takes getting used to and a bit of practice, but it’s nothing you cannot do too.

Whether you are trying to write, create visual art, or solve any problem, you are going to be tested by self-doubt, distractions, and other people’s needs. Then there is that incessant voice inside our head, our inner critic, or the voice of a parent, sibling, or anyone who gave you a hard time and made you doubt yourself. Don’t let them win!

This is a game that will go on for the rest of your life and the only way for you to win is to recognize that this is the problem and to notice it every time it manifests itself. There is nothing wrong with admitting one’s fears, in fact, that is the way to creativity and personal power. There is everything wrong with denying them, for that ensures that you will see your every creative effort short-circuited.

{Mixed media collage painting: Amy Zerner}

 

You are most likely accustomed to doing things a certain way. Try doing them differently.

Rearrange your materials and workspace and your home. Use different materials to do your job. Focus on new subject matter in your reading and entertainment habits. Use new and unusual reference materials. Use oracle cards to help you focus your intuition. Listen to different music. Look at art you really do not like or understand and try to see it the way those who like it say they see it.

Try different techniques, especially those you have been reluctant to try in the past. Even try using a different hand, if you are blessed with two. Remember to be thankful for all that you have. It requires you to be aware of all that you have.

The point is to encounter what you fear or resist, even if what you resist is feeling good about yourself and the world, and to understand more about why you do so, and see what you learn from the process.

Use your creative potential to do your best with what you have to make things the way you would like them to be. When you do that, you are no longer a victim, you are, instead, living your life to the full.

{Mixed media collage painting: Amy Zerner}

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Amy Zerner is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist’s Fellowship Grant in the category of Painting. She attended Pratt Institute and makes her home in East Hampton, NY, where she lives with her author husband, Monte Farber. Amy has sold her one-of-a-kind art couture jackets, coats and caftans at Bergdorf Goodman for 21 years, along with her unique jewelry designs. Her mixed-media collages illustrate the bestselling books and tools she has created with Monte, with nearly 3,000,000 copies in print in 18 languages, including: The Enchanted Tarot, Astrology for Wellness, Enchanted Love Tarot, The Creativity Oracle, Mindful Astrology, and her new Wild Goddess Oracle (Sept. 2021) and Enchanted Worlds: The Visionary Collages & Art Couture of Amy Zerner (Aug. 2021). You could contact her via her website.

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