Bloom: Creative Ways to Use Your Spiritual Gifts

by Rebecca A. Watson on January 19, 2015

in Art, life, writing

This weekend Sante and I finally got around to watching Ray, the biopic piece on Ray Charles’ life, or a portion of it anyway. After the movie, (which is worth watching — Jamie Foxx is brilliant) Sante said, “Those musician movies are all the same.”

I agreed, and added, “Honestly, all the stories about drug and alcohol use are the same. They always stop after the person gets clean. It’s like the only thing people want to see is the shitty stuff that happens before that.”

Sante shrugged and said, “That’s because bad stuff makes good stories.”

This is true. I’ve written about this before, albeit about good memories. And it dawned on me that for the longest time I’ve been trying to shift that somehow, as if I alone could change how people’s minds work. But what really needed to shift was my mind.

One of Sante’s friends recently told him that I had fortitude. In case you’re thinking, I need to look that up (I did), here’s the definition:

Strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage

When I first heard this I thought it was a giant compliment. It made me feel really good. As I look back through my past, I have made it through some tough stuff and I am proud of the woman I am today. Fortitude is one of my spiritual gifts.

Another gift? Childlike joy in amusement parks.

Another gift? Childlike joy in amusement parks.

What was the second thing I thought? Well shit. I don’t have much danger, pain or adversity these days. I guess that gift will just go to waste unless 

Yeah, for a second I entertained the thought that perhaps I should go out and find some drama so I could continue to use my amazing ability. Cause that makes sense.

I’m not saying that my life is perfect or that I don’t have any problems. I’m simply saying that I’m pretty sure the worst of times (knock on wood) are behind me.

So if that’s the case, what does one do with a rare gift like fortitude?

How does one use a spiritual gift when it would appear the only way it can manifest is through suffering? 

I’m sure there were many martyrs who asked this question; I’ve never wanted to be a saint, so I needed a creative solution.

rebeccaawatson dark angel

This is the closest I’d like to come to having angel wings, thank you.

I puzzled over this for a day or two when suddenly it hit me: Fortitude is absolutely necessary for making good art. And fortitude is one of the most brilliant qualities in characters across literature. Frodo had it. Hell, Harry Potter had it.

I read a quote awhile back that said something like, Artists must have mellow lives in order for chaos to thrive within their art.* There is no need to restart crisis and craziness in my life just to prove I’m capable of rising above it.

The lack of drama in my life makes it easier to create pain, tolerate adversity and thrive in the dangerous atmospheres in which I write. Tomorrow I’ll be going to my first fiction writing workshop, so I figure this realization came just in the nick of time.

I encourage you: Look at the parts of your personality you’re most proud of. Are they being used for your highest good? Or are you tempted to use them to solve the same old problems over and over, stuck forever in an old version of you?

In 2015 I’ve skipped New Year’s Resolutions and am going for a word: Bloom. I’ve rotated the soil of my life, fertilizing it with plenty of good lesson. And now I’ve set down some roots here in Freiburg.

piano in freiburg

I’d say a 270 kilo piano qualifies as grounding, wouldn’t you?

2015 is my time and I’m ready. I’ll be sharing more of my new writing, my new art, my spiritual gift of thriving in (fictional) chaos with you. Maybe 2015 is your cue to move onward and upward to a new form of expression. Whether you’re observing, creating or both, I hope you enjoy the ride.

*If you know the quote I’m talking about, please help me out and leave it in the comments. I can’t find it anywhere!

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