Our good friend Diane McPhail — artist, counselor and spiritual director — tells the story of creativity awakening within single-cell creatures of the sea. Eons ago, this primordial matter at the surface of the oceans of the earth thrived on the light and warmth of the sun. As a by-product of photosynthesis, the atmosphere began to take on oxygen, choking life and incinerating cells in sparks of external fire. Then an amazing thing occurred. Rather than be destroyed, mitochondria emerged independently at the sub-cellular level – inherited from ancient source DNA – and began to “learn” to captivate the oxygen, burning it from within. The result was atmospheric balance, a miracle of evolution and our eventual walk from the waters.
As humans, we have inherited this mitochondria that in a way is not ours, but rather God’s ancient cosmic source matter independent of our own personal make-up. It is passed along from mother to child bonded in our own strands of DNA as God’s energy complementing our personalities. When the Holy Spirit awakens our creativity within, the divine spark feeds off these companion strands within us, breathing and feeding upon the mitochondrial captivation to bring our inner souls to light and life.
This is how art is borne from within. When the artist is stirred to creativity by these divine impulses, God is at work. Whether conscious or not, God tenders the fire of our souls with a white hot poker to awaken our senses. The end result often feels not quite “ours,” as if another source was involved in the imaginative process of turning over to our companion creator the manner of our art. It’s magical, yet not magic. We dance with the God of our souls to bring to divine light and life the working miracles of our own creativity.
Artist Diane McPhail will be appearing alongside other artists and theologian Marcus Borg at GladdeningLight’s Lovefest, February 4-6, 2011 in Winter Park, Florida.