Awake in the World

Awake in the World

The Humbling Experience of Starting from Zero

How often have you wanted to try something new and then let fear or embarrassment block the way? As part of my New Year’s resolution I decided to start an art class. I’m terrible at drawing and generally use collage for creative expression, so becoming an art student means pretty much starting from zero and putting myself in the equivalent of an artist’s kindergarten class. The teacher asked me to bring an image that I’d like to work with. I brought several and she picked a wall drawing of two beautiful Sri Lankan women.

With a three by four foot blank paper in front of me, the teacher showed me how to roughly draw out a grid on the paper and also on the image of the women. “Go ahead and start,” she said. I sat there for a few moments not knowing where to begin. In that blank space, not knowing and wanting to progress, I picked up the pencil and drew the curve of a shoulder, a line for the forearm, the tilt of the woman’s head.


And I recalled – this is what it’s like to return to zero. It’s humbling. The mind goes blank and has no supports. It simply aspires. I saw what I wanted to draw, but a gap existed between the act of drawing and my imagination of what I wanted to accomplish. Part of life is about learning to create. And creating what we see with the mind’s eye comes into being through practice.

I’m only at the beginning of my art adventure, but I aspire to learn enough to express myself. It may not be easy to break out of the comfort zone and try something new. But putting one’s self in a place of learning is a way to remain fresh and childlike. It opens the door to the child’s mind. Determined, playful, adventurous. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do – belly dance, bunji jump or learn to tango, then take the plunge. A whole new world of expression may open up to you and ignite your creative spirit.


 Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery” (Llewellyn Worldwide, February 2013). A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at and on Facebook at:

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