by Christine Sine.
As many of you know I am working on a new book on creative spirituality. I have recruited a group of friends to walk with me through this process and add their own creative energy to the project. Last week I sent some beginning ideas to these friends and received this wonderful response from Kim Balke who is an expressive arts therapist in Canada.
From my point of view as one who works with children most of the time, I wanted to add a suggested exercise to help free your soul based on Jesus’ words, “Unless we become as children we cannot enter the kingdom of God “(the most creative dimension I know of!).
Here it is: take some time to enjoy a few picture books for children, some from your earliest childhood memories, some contemporary. They may help foster a heart posture of openness, curiosity and wonder. Here are a few I recommend and that I have in my tool box with children (and really enjoy myself), and I have these so I can lend them to you when you come up this way, too. You could probably get most of them in the public library, I think:
I Dreamt, A book about Hope, by Gabriela Olmos
Always Remember, by Cece Meng (about grief,loss)
After reading a story, respond with a doodle, drawing, poem or even keep a few rhythm instruments handy and discover the sounds that hold something that stood out for you in the story…a page of illustration you are drawn to, perhaps.
Her idea really resonated with me as I prepare for Lent. While we were in Australia I purchased a very special book from my childhood called The Magic Pudding. It was created almost 100 years ago by Norman Lindsay an amazingly creative artist, sculptor and writer. It has wonderful illustrations in it, but to be honest I hardly looked at them. After all I am no longer a child. My adult self valued the book rather than the story.
Kim’s suggestion gave me permission to unleash my inner child, take out the book and enjoy the innovative depiction of Australian animals. Their creation stirred the imaginations of many Australian kids and certainly stirred mine again as I reflected on them.
A couple of days ago I was given another wonderfully enriching children’s book The Harmony Tree by Randy Woodley. This time I needed no prompting to explore and reflect on the beautiful illustrations and story. My inner child responded immediately stirring new places of creativity and imagination within my soul.
Imagination and creativity is at the heart of who God is and who God has created us to be. Returning to that imaginative framework of childhood is one important way to tap into it. So maybe this Lent what we need to let go of is the constrictive and unimaginative views of adulthood and return to the creativity of childhood.
A couple of years ago I wrote several posts about needing to rediscover the creativity of childhood that I thought you might want to revisit as you think about this: Get Creative and Play Games for Lent and 5 Ways to Foster Creativity in Kids During Lent.
What is Your Response?
When was the last time you looked through a children’s book, not to read it to a child but for your own enjoyment? When was the last time you allowed your inner child to emerge?
Grab a children’s book – your child’s, your grandchild’s or one you still have that you treasure from your own childhood. Look at the illustrations. What thoughts are stirred? What images come to mind? What creativity does it ignite within you? Go through the exercise Kim suggests and respond with a doodle, drawing, poem or even keep a few rhythm instruments handy and discover the sounds that hold something that stood out for you in the story.