Creativity Quotes & Poetry
For more than forty years, we’ve been collecting quotes and poetry that support the practice of process art. We’re happy to have this space to share some of our favorites with you.
Intuition is a simple, indivisible experience of sympathy
through which one is moved into the inner being of an object
to grasp what is unique and ineffable within it.
Even before there are life stories, lives display themselves as images.
They ask first to be seen.
Even if each image is indeed pregnant with meanings and subject to dissecting analysis,
should we jump to the meaning without appreciating the image,
we have lost a pleasure that cannot be recovered by the very best of interpretations.
James Hillman, The Soul’s Code
The idea of talent can be divisive –
some have it and some not.
In my view, the important ‘talent’
we all possess
is the talent of being ourselves.
It is because the world is so full of suffering,
that your happiness is a gift.
It is because the world is so full of poverty,
that your wealth is a gift.
It is because the world is so unfriendly,
that your smile is a gift.
It is because the world is so full of war,
that your peace of mind is a gift.
It is because the world is in such despair,
that your hope and optimism is a gift.
It is because the world is so afraid,
that your love is a gift.
On December 15, 1933, Jung responded to a woman who had asked his guidance on, quite simply, how to live.
Dear Frau V.,
Your questions are unanswerable because you want to know how one ought to live. One lives as one can. There is no single, definite way for the individual which is prescribed for him or would be the proper one. If that’s what you want you had best join the Catholic Church, where they tell you what’s what. Moreover this way fits in with the average way of mankind in general.
But if you want to go your individual way, it is the way you make for yourself, which is never prescribed, which you do not know in advance, and which simply comes into being of itself when you put one foot in front of the other. If you always do the next thing that needs to be done, you will go most safely and sure-footedly along the path prescribed by your unconscious. Then it is naturally no help at all to speculate about how you ought to live. And then you know, too, that you cannot know it, but quietly do the next and most necessary thing.
So long as you think you don’t yet know what this is, you still have too much money to spend in useless speculation. But if you do with conviction the next and most necessary thing, you are always doing something meaningful and intended by fate.
With kind regards and wishes,
The best teachers are those who show you where to look,
but don’t tell you what to see.
of my heart
is the work of the world’s heart.
There is no other art.
Alison Luterman, from “Invisible Work”
The object of painting a picture is not to make a picture—
however unreasonable this may sound.
The picture, if a picture results, is a by-product
and may be useful, valuable, interesting as a sign of what has passed.
The object, which is back of every true work of art,
is the attainment of a state of being,
a high state of functioning,
a more than ordinary moment of existence.
We have to deepen our understanding,
make ourselves more equal to circumstances,
more easy with what we have been given or not given.
We must drink deep from the well of things as they are.
Rest completely assured that what you don’t know about something is also a form of knowledge, though much harder to understand. In many ways, making art is like blindly trying to see the shape of what you do not yet know. Whenever you catch a glimpse of that blind spot, of your ignorance, of your vulnerability, of that unknown, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to stare at it. Instead, try to relish in its profound mystery…you simply need to break it open to see what’s inside. Those pivotal lessons in our lives continue to work on us in subtle, subterranean ways.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;
wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
e e cummings
There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.
David Whyte, from “All the True Vows”
I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves—like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. The point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
How can we learn to participate in the mystery without destroying its sacred quality?
It seems to respond in depth only when we listen and join, without any objectifying motive.
It’s not something we can offhandedly learn and apply as a technique for transcendence.
We must be willing to leap into the fire and be tested to the limits of our faith to discover that we can truly trust our letting go.
And for each of us that’s a journey of a lifetime.
My hands already exist in the next world.
I know this because I saw them in a dream.
So they have a job to do.
Reach over and grab my head, my eyes, tongue
And touch my heart
With their new wisdom.
To love is not the pretension that life
should correspond to our imagination.
Rather, it means to choose in complete freedom
to take responsibility for life as it comes.
“Give it a try”,
whispered the heart.
Your conflicts, all the difficult things, the problematic situations in your life are not chance or haphazard. They are actually yours. They are specifically yours, designed specifically for you by a part of you that loves you more than anything else. The part of you that loves you more than anything else has created roadblocks to lead you to yourself. You are not going to go in the right direction unless there is something pricking you in the side, you, “Look here! This way!” That part of you loves you so much that it doesn’t want you to lose the chance. It will go to extreme measures to wake you up, it will make you suffer greatly if you don’t listen. What else can it do? That is its purpose.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.