Embracing Community

It was a dilapidated old room, with a worn wood floor and yellow walls antiqued by the years. A slight damp odor greeted us as we canvased the room, tossing out possibilities for how to setup for tonight's show. Ryan has a knack for this sort of thing and within 15 minutes we were busy moving tables, setting up lamps, and bringing in band equipment. The initial push finished, I sat down to work on a new poem that started in my mind during the drive up. I felt compelled to write a new piece for tonight's performance. I had been on and off tour with The Cobalt Season for the last month and they had set out a couple new tracks during that time. Seeing that creativity expressed I was inspired to put something new out; besides I was tired of doing the same material - it was time for something new.
As I sat in my chair to write I jotted down a few possible starting stanzas. Pen in my mouth, I read them back and let them rest on my soul. As they laid there I reflected on why I was writing, what was the impetus on this particular occasion that was compelling me? My eyes began wondering around the room as I watched the band setup. Ryan unraveling cords, Holly chasing their son Paxton around the room, Jared bringing in a few last pieces of equipment. These dear friends of mine were the reason I was writing - the relationship we shared, the adventures we had been on, the atmosphere of creativity they provided. All of these things created a safe, encouraging environment to express those words that were already weaved into my body.
As my gaze returned to my paper, the first line of my new poem immediately resonated in my eyes. Turning my notebook over, I re-wrote that line and with a peaceful flow the words and pattern of the poem simply illuminated in my mind. All I needed to do was transcribe them on the paper before me. This was one of those moments where the divine life living inside of me surged with life and could not be contained - it had to be released.
Looking back on this experience, the reason for such creative expression is as a bright as the winter sun on a clear morning - community. Had it not been for my relationships with the people in the room that evening that poem would never have been written. They provided not only the inspiration, but also the space for it's emergence. In our creative lives community plays a vital role. Our long term ability to live artfully is directly related to the relationships we have in our lives. We all need the encouragement and safety of close relationships. Our tribes will inevitably pull things out of use we never knew existed. They have a way of awakening the voice within us that we simply cannot do on our own. As we bring this particular experience to a close, think about how the relationships even in this environment affected your creative voice. What did you learn through other people? What did they awaken within you? Do you have some relationships in your life that will help you continue this creative journey? What steps can you take to deepen those relationships? We all need a community around us to help us discover and refine our voice.

10 February 2009