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Many believe having material possessions or finding true love brings lasting happiness. I was raised in the acquisitive culture and instilled with the Prince Charming myth. I neither judge the wealthy nor dismiss romance. It just seems there are two forces that are far more joy-inducing: creativity and intuition. Each infuses the other.

Creativity is an infinite well: the more I draw from it, the more it yields. The night my first husband moved out of our cantilevered home in Glen Park, Calif., I felt a kind of numb shock. Love had long since left, following his confession of nine infidelities within 11 years. It wasn’t loss I felt per se. Some voice deep within urged me to discover who I was outside of coupledom. Jamie and his 186 IQ had a penchant for gourmet cooking, Mandelbrot sets, progressive jazz, and Salvador Dali that had been alluring. Yet, I had voluntarily surrendered all that I was in order to satisfy and impress him.

I played music and reflected upon the demise of the marriage. I filled a water glass and set out brushes, paper and watercolors. After pausing fleetingly to assess my emotional landscape, I saturated the brush and dropped water onto porous, textured paper. Splashes of color, the subtle tints of my thoughts, spread out like brooding, prodigious clouds. Shapes formed and gave rise to others. I stopped precisely on the cusp of that defining moment when, were I to go one brushstroke further, the whole composition would turn muddy. I left a painting at the height of its clarity and brilliance –a kind of abstinence game of the heart.

The long, lonely night stretched out like a desert of dunes and flats. I painted one picture, then another, and another. I braced them against the wall to dry and thereafter stacked them. The scenic display before me and the pile to the left grew exponentially. What was I doing? I could not, and did not, wish to stop. On a deep, intuitive level, I knew I would die psychically if I did not continue.

Releasing the happily-ever-after myth brought the realization that intuition fuels creativity. The watercolors were luminous Rorschachs of my soul’s journey back to itself. I followed my intuitive directive to immerse myself in the creative process. This proved so much more elevating and expressive that crying my eyes out over not having been first in someone’s heart.

It was during a second disastrous marriage to a portly powwow dancer from Nebraska that I would learn that the inverse of the equation bodes true: Creativity fuels intuition. Quantum leap back to a homely apartment in Chandler, Ariz. I had left my position as attorney and sole supporter of our household and intuitively purchased easel, canvases, brushes and acrylics. One day, while Mr. D. was safely away, off apprenticing in the electrical trade, I painted a portrait of an eagle atop a thick branch against a beautiful cerulean sky. Not long after that, Mr. D. informed me, “The Spirits told me I should live alone.” I packed all my things and went to Florida to stay with my parents.

Thereafter, I was invited to visit Cedric Red Feather in Memphis, Tenn., and thus began the acceleration of my spiritual journey. Everything that happened in the two months after we got together was magic: sweatlodges, sundances, pipe ceremonies, and powwows. It was a journey into the center of spiritual culture, and into the heart of who I truly am inside. Although this would inevitably lead to my third failed attempt at marriage, Cedric and I remain the best of friends. He has dreams and visions, and a number of us try to carry them out. He has helped me realize my true purpose in life — to sing the Sacred Songs.

So in the end, intuition and creativity live within me moment by moment, helping me lead a balanced life of deep spiritual, poetic and artistic beauty. I’m working on my second book and singing in Lakota, Mandan and Hidatsa in ceremonies. I have relinquished husbands and possessions alike, yet I have come out of this immensely rich in creativity and intuition, my own most precious catalysts and teachers.

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Janet Michele Red Feather
Janet Michele Red Feather, J.D., M.A., has taught literature and composition for 18 years at the university, state, tribal and community college levels. She is currently a tenured English Faculty member at Normandale Community College. Janet enjoys her role as Ceremonial Singer for Native American ceremonies, singing traditional songs in Mandan and Lakota. She made a career shift into teaching after serving nearly eight years as a defense litigator in California. Her life changed significantly after she traveled to North Dakota in 1993 to fast and pray for a way of life. She welcomes correspondence at JanetRedFeather77@gmail.com.

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