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Archive for October 26th, 2011

Curtiss Ann's front porch chair

Order me one of those! This is author CurtissAnn Matlock’s chair. Curtiss Ann is a lot of things — vibrant woman, mother, grandmother, passionate gardener, but first and foremost, she is a writer — everyday, all days. And surely she is as she puts out book after published book with boatloads of characters, fictionalized towns and settings and puts numerous scenarios into action every day. she doesn’t spend the majority of her time in this chair — but what a luxury!

So her “just sittin'” time is pretty limited, I would guess. But I’d love to be just sittin beside her. When I saw that photo on her blog, my heart just went pitty-pat, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. We’d have only one rule between us. We would share the just sittin’ time in silence and well……….just sit!

All the other times, we are so busy in action or in our head, we don’t allow the just sittin’ experience to grace our life very often. Curtiss Ann describes the challenge, itself, to make ourselves “just sit.” And I share that with you below.

Author Brenda Ueland calls this time “moodling”. My workshop participants loved the concept and loved doing it and took it home with them as a new breast plate — a right they had that they could freely exercise without guilt.

Ueland says she used to imagine inspiration came like a lightening bolt and at once “a rapt flashing of the eyes, tossing of the hair, feverish excitement followed by the poet or artist beginning furiously to write or paint”… and that she didn’t experience anything like that.

She says it comes slowly and quietly. She says it can be dreamy time before you begin to write anything. And to know, you are going to at some time write -tell something on paper. You have to dare to be idle, for the letting in of ideas. You cannot will them in. This quiet looking and thinking is the imagination. Good ideas come from this. Big ideas come from this. Wait for them.

So she says to dare to be idle, not to be pressed and duty-driven all the time. So, here from CurtissAnn’s blog is her take  on this subject. When you connect to her website, you find many more fun and inspiring ideas to tinker with.

http://curtissannmatlock.wordpress.com/page/4/

 Taking Time

“One day last week, by the time the sun had come up over the trees, I had gone through my morning rituals, cleaned the bathroom, started a load of laundry and set off on a bike ride. By the time I returned from the bike ride that I normally enjoy, I realized little joy had been involved. I had done it because I thought I should. I had done all I did because I thought I should, and with little thought but by habit and faint voices of generations in back of me.

Time is the coin of your life.  It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.  ~Carl Sandburg

Yesterday afternoon–by a determined decision to look away from pages that I’d been struggling to write, the messy kitchen, the gardenia bush wanting planting, oh, and all those ragged bushes that need trimming, what would people think!– I made a glass of sweet tea and sat in the porch chair.

Then I found myself looking at email and Twitter on my phone. Purposely, and like some alcoholic with a drink, I sat the phone aside and just looked around me.

Oh, how hard it has become for me to just sit!

Sitting and praying is acceptable, sitting and studying, planning with pen and paper, writing something, reading something–all of that producing something tangible is highly valued because of production. But just sitting? Taking time to really look at the scenery around me, let my body relax, let my true self have a chance to catch her breath and begin to wonder and imagine and speak wisdom. Such a concept was not something practiced in my family growing up. Nor is it valued in today’s fast-paced striving world. Today we want to see produce from every minute.

I learned… that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes into us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.” ~Brenda Ueland

There is value in just sitting. Immense value, and if we really believed this, we would do it. The treasure we seek and need is inside, but it has to have time to come out. To be let out. We have to take time for sitting in idleness, and we have to deliberately take the time, because the world is not going to hand it to us.

Eventually yesterday I did get quiet, and my mind bubbled up with interesting thoughts on a number of things. I saw the chapter I had been working on with new insight. And I ended up later having energy, and time, to plant the gardenia.

Today I mark on my calendar: Take time to sit.”

Blessings,
CurtissAnn

I end Napkinwriter today with a beautiful photo from Brenda Horton taken at their summer home on Mackinac Island where she captured her husband, Ted, looking like he has not one bit of trouble “just sittin” with his dog, Maddie. 

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Buzz Lightyear had it right in Toy Story, the original movie. With total enthusiasm for life, he shot forward into any challenge, shouting the phrase that became a catchword, “To Infinity and Beyond”. 

I don’t know if Irish writer and poet, John O’Donohue, would have seen that movie or not, but I had to chuckle when I read the blog of Suzanne Murray, creator, writer, creativity and inspiration coach, and EFT practitioner, and she revealed what she saw on his gravestone.  Check out her work and her writing on www.creativitygoeswild.com.

I have received personal help from her and always await her next blog topic. As well, I have come to love John O’Donohue’s writings and I’m only in his first book, “Anam Cara”. This is the Gaelic word for soul-friend. That is my current aspiration in life. To be among soul friends. Suzanne is one and O’Donohue’s words touch me as soul-friend.

Here are some sharings from www.creativitygoeswild.com

Irish Burren

“On a recent visit to Ireland, I was staying in Doolin, County Clare when I had the inspiration to catch a ride up to Fanore a village in the extraordinary limestone region known as the Burren where Irish poet, philosopher, former priest had been born and raised. John did much to awaken an modern interest in Celtic Spirituality and I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with him on the Celtic Imagination some years before.

I had seen on the website devoted to his work www.johnodonohue.com that John was buried in Creggagh graveyard, about two miles south of the village along the coast road, just beyond O’Donohue’s pub. I got out in front of the pub and walked down the road warmed by the rare February sunshine. Stepping into the graveyard I scanned the headstones and caught sight of a handmade wooden slab at the head of what looked like a small garden.

It was the only site like that in the cemetery and sensed it must be John’s. On the front of the wooden headstone was a small handmade stone cross and a picture frame with a photo of John and an inscription that read:

John O’Donohue 1954 to 2008. . .and beyond.

I burst out laughing because it so much caught the spirit of John and my sense that his big presence lives on still in his work and in the heart of all those who he touched…Others had obviously visited the leaving letters in plastic bags, rosaries and flowers that had been placed amid the bed of living plants including primroses and a small shrub of camillia I left my gratitude for all the ways John has influenced my life and then walked back to village where I was staying across the gray limestone of the Burren that John loved and worked so hard to preserve”.

Wisdom from Suzanne Murray – Writer, Creator, Creativity Coach, EFT Practitioner, InspirationalIrelandTravel Guide

From Suzanne’s blog at www.creativitygoeswild.com

Writing or Creating in the Middle of Things  – April 4

“In order to show up for our creativity or the work of our life I think it helps to lower our standards on what we can accomplish on a daily basis while still keeping our focus on what we ultimately desire or want to achieve. Develop the practice of showing up everyday and taking some action, however small, toward your goal. If you are a writer be happy that you have drafted a poem or a page. You can start by showing up for 15 minutes rather than thinking you have to find two hours of free time before you begin. If you are moving toward a new career or expanding your work be happy that you have made one phone call to connect with someone you might be able to help you. By taking one small step a day you can cover a lot of ground and it has the added advantage of allowing you to sneak in under the radar of the part of you that is resistant to change. Carve moments out of your day for doing what brings you heart and meaning or gives you a sense of momentum.”

Accessing Creative Inspiration  – May 7

“Matthew Fox, the former Catholic Priest who was censured for espousing the doctrine of original sin, has written a beautiful book titled, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet, where he suggests that when we are creative we become co-creators with creation. I clearly remember the first time in my writing when I got on a roll and knew I was writing something good. I paused and looked around the room, wondering “where is this coming from” because I knew it wasn’t coming from “me”. After a while I began to understand that I was tapping into an expanded state that I could access on a regular basis when I stopped thinking and let what wanted to come through me flow into the work.”

Living Your Creative Potential  – September 4th, 2011    

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
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What if your life where a blank piece of paper or a bare canvas? What new story would you write for yourself, what picture would you paint? What if each small step you take toward what you really desire is like a brush stroke on the canvas where you are creating that life? What life do you want to create for your self? What creation do you want to live into?”

Embracing Your Inner Weirdo – October 2nd, 2011    

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from. – Jody Foster

It is never too late to be who you might have been. – George Eliot

Being creative shakes up the norm. It adds spice, color and joy to the world. I’ve come to feel that that is the job of the artist or those who express their creativity in any way. If each of us is going to bring these unique gifts to the world, we have to be willing to be a little weird. We need to accept and embrace the ways we are different even as we know we are part of the whole. We need to claim our own callings that come as the still small voice within us that may suggest a course of action that our mind and the people around us will think is weird but our spirit knows is the right thing to do.

What if a willingness to be seen as little weird is what is required to be on your destined path. What if weird could be the new normal?”

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