Creative Balance

My daughter’s little piano

I was recently at a conference and my attention was drawn to a really beautiful truth and I couldn’t help but expound on it. It was a breakout session on the importance of music on the brain, quite fascinating actually.  Anyway, the the guy doing the breakout session said that most people would say that the primary purpose of art is self-expression, but that he would disagree. In his opinion, the primary purpose of art is to bring the mind of man closer to the mind of God. I absolutely loved this. It makes perfect sense to me…he just stated something my spirit has already been recognizing but has never verbalized in this way.  He went on to point out that one only has to look at nature to see this truth. Nature—a beautiful blend of structure and endless variety…the perfect creative balance.

Creative balance. Structure yet endless creativity. For some reason, this concept has been bouncing around in my brain ever since. It strikes a chord on a deep level…and I’m attempting to explore it more.  I mean, isn’t balance something that we are all trying to attain? Isn’t the blend of structure yet creativity something we need in all areas of our life? With parenting?  In relationships? Oh yes.

Humanity really does tend to extremes, and I always think of that verse in Proverbs that warns against this.  We have to die on a hill to prove that our way of thinking or doing is the “right way,” likely because of the underlying insecurity that perhaps…it’s not?  We see this with parenting styles and views on infant sleeping, diet or eating changes, and in pretty much every area of our lives. And we quickly exhaust ourselves to prove a certain way of being until we finally come face to face with the truth that balance (and moderation) is the only way of surviving. We aren’t going to do any particular method or beneficial change in our lives perfectly all the time. And who would want to? After all, there’s some simple joy to be had from enjoying a huge, rich piece of chocolate cake or bowl of pasta sometimes…without the guilt that you’re blowing everything.  Same with parenting, or another change that needs to happen in our lives…we are organic, we do not grow in a perfectly diagonal fashion, all neatly in a row. We really are a beautiful mess. And often God is the only one that can see the beautiful design in the mess…the overall work He is completing in us.

So how does this “Creative Balance” look in daily life? How can we achieve a blend of structure and wonderful creativity? First, I think it comes out as just that…a beautiful, creative mess that takes on form as we go along. Think about a piece of artwork or sheet of music…it’s a culmination of countless little marks, all coming together to form a masterpiece.  The little mistakes, the glitches, are either lost in the grand scheme of things or often end up contributing to the beauty of the overall work of art.

And what does this mean for us, living in the daily, sometimes feeling like balance is just outside of our reach no matter how hard we try? I think this truth should free us up to breathe a little and extend ourselves some grace. It’s the fact that the brass tacks of cleaning and laundry and cooking and switching out clothing and keeping a house and mediating fights and teaching kindness and sitting through sports or music practice…mixed with little moments of coloring, quiet mornings, walks outside, blowing bubbles, reading a book, family trips, morning snuggles, blowing dandelions, and those days that family time is so sweet that your heart is overwhelmed with love….all of this creates a symphony of sound that makes up a life.

Now I do think that an artist or musician does have a general idea of what they want to create, what they want to accomplish, or at least some components that they want to “show up” in their piece. And it is important for us to think about some “end goal” things we want to instill in our children and/or be apparent in our own lives, and incorporate those things. I know there are certain things in a day that if I do them, I feel content at the end of the day, like the day mattered…and I’ve written those things on a tag in my kitchen to remind me…for me, these things are as follows: Present play with my girls (this doesn’t have to be ton, just that I have had some time with them where I’ve been fully there); reading with the girls (even if it’s just a few books)…and reading myself (even if it’s a little snippet of time); quiet time…where we have restful play or moments of stillness, time to read God’s Word; exercise of some kind (more for stretching out my back…and this one needs some work right now), and carving out some time to write a little each week.

Do these things happen every day? No. They do not. But it certainly helps me to remember to incorporate these “notes” or “brush strokes” more often so that they become apparent in the artwork later.

One more thing I wanted to mention before I cease this ramble….there are beautiful segments of music or parts of an art series where our spirits soar, and our hearts fill up.  These segments will look different depending on how one is wired, what makes one come alive and tangibly experience joy. Listen, we MUST take time for these things…these are the parts of our masterpiece that gives it added beauty and meaning. This could be carving out time with a friend that you connect with on a deep level (even if it means late at night, quiet conversation with coffee or tea while kids are in bed, knowing you will be tired the next day), reading a classic or book by one of the “Greats” (pick up a book by CS Lewis, George MacDonald, or Michael Phillips and your mind will be lifted beyond this world to a Reality that seems more real than our own in a lot of ways), or allowing yourself some time in nature where you are just soaking it up, still, not a in a hurry.  Or maybe for you, it’s being intentional about taking visits to an art museum or to hear an orchestra, or watch a musical.

Take time to gaze at some of the beautiful works of art that are already around us. Let’s just watch our kids sometimes, just with the goal of enjoying them and nothing more. Take in their faces, their expressions, their little hands and arms working on things. Let’s laugh with our spouses more often. Go sit on your deck or stand in your front yard early in the morning and breathe in that air that is unlike any other the rest of the day.

Let’s take time for the art, the beauty around us. At the very least to notice it. And be brought closer to the mind of God.

About Amy Fitzwater

Amy Fitzwater is a child and family counselor who specializes in play therapy. Play Therapy is a revolutionary and highly effective type of counseling that helps a child develop and work through traumatic, life changing and/or overwhelming situations in their lives. Amy believes in the "Power of Play" for kids (and adults) and has seen the benefits of these techniques in a counseling setting, as well as in a home setting with parents. Amy is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with certified training in Play Therapy.

Comments

  1. Beautifully written

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