Is Yours a Peak Experience?

I now know what we are searching for when we make art – peak-experience.

In a recent Painter’s Key newsletter, Sara Genn shared this informative quote by Abraham Maslow that really got me thinking
about the allure, the draw, and the pull of artmaking:

The person in peak-experiences feels himself, more than other times, to be the responsible, active, creating center of his activities and of his perceptions. He feels more like a prime-mover, more self-determined (rather than caused, determined, helpless, dependent, passive, weak, bossed). He feels himself to be his own boss, fully responsible, fully volitional, with more ‘free-will’ than at other times, master of his fate, an agent.

I fell in love with Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs and theory of self-actualization in my 20s. The first time I saw it in my psychology text book, I made up my mind right then and there that I wanted to attain self-actualization. You might call it the first personal goal I set for myself.

I now have much more understanding of Maslow’s theory and life in general. I am still seeking self-actualization but now know it is a life-long process with a moving target. I love how you can read something at one age, and then read it again a decade, a year or even a month later and it takes on a whole new meaning for you.

We are constantly discovering and creating ourselves and peak-moments are the rewards along the way. I may age, but I will never tire of searching for and creating peak experiences, whether through art, family, or my experiences of the natural world.

How often are you creating peak-experiences? Are you an “active, creating center of your activities and expressions”? Do you recognize them when they occur. This is the aim of living and an artful life brings us all the closer. Agree?

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Email me or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and I know you’ve got some good ones.