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“It is this activity of working through disintegration that I consider to be at the core of the creative and therapeutic processes. I call this act “poesis” (following Heidegger’s use of the Greek word for poetry), and consider it to be at the center of human existence.

“It is essential to human being to fall apart, to fragment, disintegrate, and to experience the despair that comes with lack of wholeness. To what can we turn, then, ion this moment of crisis? I believe it is at this critical moment that the possibility of creative living arises. If we can let go of our previous identities and move into the experience of the void, then the possibility arises for new forms of existence to emerge. Poiesis, the creative act, occurs as the death and re-birth of the soul. . . We are called upon constantly to re-form ourselves, to engage in what James Hillman calls ‘soul-making’ . . .

“Poiesis as integrative affirmation emerges always into form. This the connection between soul-making and the arts, ‘poetry’ as a generic term for artistic activity. The soul finds its form in art.” (emphasis mine)

-Stephen K Levine, Poiesis: The Language of Psychology and the Speech of the Soul

I discovered this quote while working this morning on my book about using expressive arts in spiritual direction.  This is exactly why I do the work I do.

Visit this week’s Poetry Party for your own dose of creative living!

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10 Responses

  1. “This is exactly why I do the work I do.” Me, too! the “work” being both what i do for myself personally and also love sharing with others. :-) i’m with thymekeeper, i need to chew on that work “poiesis” for a while too! xoxo

    i can only imagine how the confident stranger in SS will emerge even more after an “awakening” :-)

  2. Great quote Beth.

    SS, like Carolyn I also love the image of the confident stranger living within you.

    Thymekeeper, “Poiesis” is quite a rich word indeed!

    Thanks tinkerbell!

  3. I too resonate with these words, and wrote about something similar, “Not A Luxury.” I especially like the word “poiesis” ~ think I’ll chew on that one a while!

  4. ……Sunrise Sister – I am enchanted by your phrasing: finding a ‘very confident staranger living right in the middle of me…just waiting to be released….’

    And, she’s content!
    Beautiful; thanks for sharing!!

  5. This post is resonating, yet can’t really put my finger on why…….although since I began, within the last year, renewed forms of creativity, writing, painting, I find a very confident stranger has been living right in the middle of me for a very long time just waiting to be released. That stranger now contentedly writes and paints with little worry about what anyone “thinks” of the creations.