Whenever I complained of mysterious bodily aches as a child, the adults would say I was having growing pains. You don’t often hear that expression anymore, nor do I remember it as being something I said to my own children. Lately, however, I’ve unearthed it to address some of the issues of growing older such as when my body resists mightily as I force it to move more than it wants to, even though this is essential in order to keep moving at all.
My mind, on the other hand, seems eager to stretch its limits and keeps sending me off in surprising directions. In this case, I’d have to say that I’m having an invisible growth spurt – something I did very visibly when I was thirteen and grew seven inches in one year.
Recently, a friend asked me to contribute an essay on religion to her blog. The piece I eventually wrote has little to do with religion (I no longer am a member of one) and is more about spiritual growth, a silent endeavor that seems to be having a spurt of its own. In fact, one of the conclusions that I came to in the essay is that as the body declines, the spirit continues to grow. What I didn’t add is that as the spirit grows, so do the creative juices. Unfortunately, our stamina may be such that we can only follow some of the ideas that emerge. But rather them rejecting them all, it is a time to concentrate on those few that may eventually emerge as the capstones of our creative process and artistic output. I choose to think that less can undoubtedly be more in such instances and that one of the messages of the children’s book, “I Am An Artist”, which sparked this blog in the first place, is as valid as ever. Take the time to “sit very still in the woods and listen” or “watch dust turn to glitter” or “cut an apple to see the star inside” and you may feel your spirit growing, too.
(The illustrations for “I Am an Artist” are by Robin Brickman)