The Creative Life

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Greenville UU Fellowship

Covenant Group Session Plan
Welcome, Opening Reading
Chalice Lighting: In this place together, we light this candle for our Unitarian Universalist faith, and to celebrate the light within each of us, the light among us, and the light we bring into the world.
Check In: In what ways have you felt creative (or not) lately?
Questions to prompt and guide discussion:

  • What is creativity?

  • What does your creative process look like?

  • What things inspire you, or get your creative energy going?

  • What things get in the way of your creative work? What do you do when you feel flat or blocked?

  • What have you created that gave you great satisfaction? How did it feel when you got the idea, when you were producing, when you finished?

  • In what way would you like to create that you have never tried?

Words from the Common Bowl: Quotes/Readings
Sharing (Deep listening--no cross talk)
Sitting in Silence: Just breathe together in silence for two minutes.
Open Discussion (Cross talk –open discussion allowed)
Closing reading:

“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”

~Vincent van Gogh

Check Out: How would you like to be held in heart and mind before we meet again?

Readings from the Common Bowl

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. ~Ray Bradbury

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.

~ Steve Jobs

If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

~Vincent Van Gogh

Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.

~ Leo Burnett

You can’t wait for inspiration; you have to go after it with a club,

~ Jack London

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.
~ Albert Einstein
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
~Martha Graham

But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living.”

― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose…

...Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, and then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

What inspires me most is that for the rest of my life I get to be myself.

~David, 3rd grade student after Create Workshop

There is no great genius without a touch of madness. Seneca

When it is working, you completely go into another place; you’re tapping into things that are totally universal, beyond your ego and your own self. That’s what it’s all about.

~Keith Haring

The object isn’t to make art; it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.

~Robert Henri

‎Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

~Steven Pressfield

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


It is good to love many things, for therein lies true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.

~Vincent van Gogh

Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

~William Faulkner

You connect yourself to the viewer by sharing something that is inside of you that connects with something inside of him. All you have as your guide is that you know what moves you.

~Steven Brust

The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. 

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it.  That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.

~Stephen King, Different Seasons

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