Archive for March, 2013

Disney -dream

This is how Matthew Fox, author of Creativity refers to the Imagination. He calls it a fierce power!

Imagination is a fierce power. It is a playful power. It is a dramatic power. People pay a lot of money to visit Disney’s Theme Parks, awash in imagination.

Imagination lets us step into a space within ourselves that we too often ignore in the daily routines of life. We, even though we are adults and have gone to Disneyland “for the children”,absorb the magic of imagination just for this special time of our visit.


I remember being highly influenced by the word “imagination” during one of our visits to Disney World.  When we visited the cartoon exhibit, they explained that the scholarships they gave to creative apprentices, were aimed at heightening the appreciation of this quality of imagination within others….to raise the value of it….and to increase the potential of the student to learn from their  creative and imaginative powers.

Einstein, himself, has stated that his most profound discoveries have not come from rational thought, but from imagination.  Dreaming was an important activity to him. In fact, Thomas Edison, found it absolutely necessary to take a nap in the afternoon. That was part of his work pattern.

Disney - dream pillow

In Creativity, Fox writes: “In the Kabbalah, the medieval Jewish mystical work, we are instructed that “the firece power of imagination is a gift from God.” To call imagination a “fierce power” is to warn us that we are wrestling with the wild forces when we enter into the arena of creativity. A wresting match not unlike Jacob struggling with an angel can be anticipated.”

Author John O’Donohue points out that in the Celtic way of seeing the world, the soul is the place where the imaginatin lives.

Imagination takes us to the space of “elsewhere.”

I love that phrase – “the space of elsewhere.” O’Donohue continues to describe it as taking us to nothingness, to emptiness, to what is not yet and therefore to what might still be. The space of “elsewhere” invites us to have a living imagination.

We can choose today to be a “space of elsewhere”, where we are busy feeding and nourishing our imagination. We can dance with the rhythms of creativity and not simply sit on the sidelines of life.

Today, I am creating a day with my grandson, celebrating his 14th birthday. We are still in “fluid design” of exactly what the day will bring. But it will bring spontaneity, laughter and fun, I know.

We will view the day as a river of creativity running through all things. We’re going to get wet, jump in, and ride the rapids, wild and sacred as they may be…..even if we only go to a movie and eat chocolate cake together!


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SoulCollage South Africa facilitators

Catherine Anderson’s First Class of SoulCollage Facilitators
in South Africa in 2012.

I am so excited to be taking SoulCollage Facilitator training from marvelous and inspirational artist extraordinaire, Catherine Anderson in Charlotte, NC in early August this year.

I completed my initial training with Catherine last year in a wondrous visit to her charming and spiritually energetic studio, filled to the brim with image and word resources, plus her own abiding Presence.

I look forward to incorporating this SoulCollage practice into my own personal life and into the life of Souljourner at-Large LLC programs and retreats. It is all coming into view and purpose for me.

I say yes to it all.

Anderson - Sue's Soul Collage Dave

This is my soul collage card that “breathes my heart”. I made it in Catherine’s workshop. It tells of the voyage I’ve had with my “big brother,” Dave who is now travelling in the misty paths of Alzheimers.

Dave is on the twilight journey of the canoe paddler, (or perhaps it is the dawning of a new morning experience of life). He is alone but not alone. There is the dandelion whiffs of memory within me of Dave holding his little sister secure in the flower of life, pulling the wagon with little sis in it, establishing a fulfilling brother-sister relationship through personal letter writing.

Toward the top of the card, the message  of the card is”heard and read” by me in the silence of completing the card.

The message I hear internally is that a candle will light his way now and the flame of my love accompanies him. I add a little chocolate for sweetness on the cobblestone path he walks within the disease. There will be peace within each of us as we give way to the path that is before us and that is ours alone to walk. But truly not alone. That is a message I needed to hear. It has shone light upon my path and it acknowledges for me that Dave’s path is blessed.

This soul card has given me great comfort as the distance between us grows and I look for the grace in aging. It is there. I must agree and sit within it. All is well in this world.

Soul Collage  Facilitator Training at Catherine Anderson

SoulCollage Cards from Catherine Anderson’s
Facilitator Training in March 2013 at her Charlotte NC Studio

Seena Frost is the founder of SoulCollage. She puts forth a great question to us:

SoulCollage - Seena Frost founder

Seena Frost, SoulCollage Founder


Most people still have the hierarchical world view that views real change as coming primarily from the top and seldom from down where “we” live; so, we vote, then sit, watch the news, and feel helpless. What if this belief could shift? What if more and more people begin to feel and know themselves as being deeply interconnected with the whole fabric of the planet? …Could doing SoulCollage® help people develop, at a Soul level, this perspective of interconnection?

When we speak from our cards, we often are surprised and excited by the synchronicities and connections that show up. We begin to awaken to the reality that, deep down, we are as interconnected as the millions of cells in a physical body.

~ Seena Frost
Founder of SoulCollage®
(April 2011 Neter Letter)

Do you have a big pile of images you have saved in the closet or under the bed that you have been waiting to figure out what to do with?

Soul Collage - Labyrinth of Messages

Find a Labyrinth of Messages coming forth from your Cards.

I am eager to find ourselves sitting together, creating the images that will touch the deep wisdom within us. It will also give the SoulCollage creator a resource available to them at any time to “go within” and hear how the image speaks to them over and over again.

I will be able to help you do this in a short while. In the meantime, start collecting images that attract you for no apparent reason at all and ones that you just know belong to you. They give you a little jolt inside, they brighten up your attitude, they draw forth awe and respect for you, or they feel happy, joyous and free.

Just begin building the pile.  You will be fascinated how they create your cards “instantaneously” and with deep purpose.

This is just plain fun. And after that, you get the bonus of knowing these cards have always belonged to you.

Thank you, Catherine, for the great introduction of SoulCollage to Napkinwriter, as a glorious new way of writing.

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Write It

being present

Capacity to Receive

dom Miguel Luis

Inhale Love

EARTH - Sacred

and so are you….a Sacred Living Being.

Sue - March 2013

Souljourner at-Large
Holding you in my heart.

souljourner - atLarge front

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Pope Francis I

With the signal of the white smoke coming forth from the chimney of the Vatican, Catholics have a new leader who has named himself to be Pope Francis I.

I am excited to feel the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi alive and blessing the world through this spiritual leader.

May all of God’s people (all of us) know the true joy, faith and love that shone through St. Francis. He did not think spirituality was complicated. He saw humankind as loved so much more than they ever thought they could be by God.

St Francis of Assisi

From: Yahoo news:

“The new leader of the Catholic Church was revealed today to be Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina and he has taken the name of Pope Francis.

He stepped onto the Vatican balcony dressed in white for the first time to address the roaring crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

Bergoglio, 76, is a Jesuit from Buenos Aires and is the first pope from South America.

Pope Francis humbly and calmly asked for the people’s prayers.

“Let’s pray always for each other. Let’s pray for the whole world. May there be a great brotherhood,” the new pope said in Italian.

He wished the the “voyage with the church that we being today” be “successful in spreading the gospel.'”


That’s what St. Francis believed; one only needed the gospel to know how loved one is and how to love others and God in return.

God bless and lead 76 year old Pope Francis on a voyage that is filled with uplifting all peoples of the Earth, and the Earth, itself, which St. Francis so dearly loved.

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It was as far back as the 18th century that European music was becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence and two-term president of the United States referred to the Baroque classical of the 1700s as “a delightful recreation through life” and also “this favorite passion of my soul”.

This weekend I experienced two performances that stirred the passion of my soul. The ripple effects of a theater performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” and a musical meditation given didn’t exactly blow me away……instead it deepened the vibration of the A note in my soul.

Festival of Arts Program

“Remember the A note,” violist Grace Byrd instructed us in the meditation audience. She was guiding us on the path to follow John Beall’s,  Variations on Wondrous Love 1942 composition. Grace united us with the centering effect love has as it ripples out into the world like  the rings created in the water when a pebble is thrown into it.

Follow the music of the strings, and you will see it always comes home to the solitary A note, she said. That is us. That is love. And you cannot love without vibrations and “rings” of it going out into the world, you know not where.

We listened. Sure enough, there was that A note the music returned to. Music sometime quiet and stirring, sometimes fusing into a dramatic fortissimo to where her partner accompanist on the Grand Piano, Joseph Byrd melded into one with the all octaves on the piano keys, and notes on the music sheets flying onto the next page.

I sensed he was only aware of the message of the music and the lead of the violo strings, which indeed, led us all back to the solitary A note of love.

The A note was heard between audience and performers. The grace received. The inspiration from it accompanying us into our week. One does not remain untouched by this beauty. This beauty is of God.

Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Passion overflowed at the Marshall Franke Center adult theater performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. As stated in the program, the play “loosely follows” the gospel accounts of the Passion Week of Jesus Christ, but it was close enough for us in the audience to feel the touchable presence of Christ, his apostles and the perplexed rulers of the day. Just what are we to do with this man-God Jesus?

The story came alive through the spectacular lyrics of the songs.  Under the direction of our daughter Kathleen, the musical compositions etched out the personalities and complexion of the whole story of the Passion.  The actors surrendered totally to the demands and nuances of their historical figures.

The play totally humanized the principle figures of that biblical time and the drama “got behind” the narrative to such an extent that you found yourself saying, “Yes, if I were there…..”

The A note was present throughout the play….Jesus was about love. People couldn’t understand this love, this divinity present in each of us. This was intensified in the character of Judas. They were so afraid of it in themselves, they could not stand to see it in Jesus.

Of course it is about power, but not the power of the land at the time. It was about the power of God’s love manifesting itself as human in the world. That could not be. The music  of love was off-key to the ancient politicians of the day. And so the cross became the answer….they thought.

But, as we know today,  the A note could not be ignored. The crescendo of the cross led to the Resurrection of Christ, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the growth of Christianity throughout the world.

Tribute to Kathleen

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Festival of Arts Header

My first clue that something was “up” showed up when I entered the worship area of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church for the concert and saw the program cover!  It was so close to the logo for my work as Souljourner at-Large that it startled me.

souljourner - atLarge front

My second clue, after the pastor’s welcoming remarks, was the presence of co-presenter Joseph Byrd, who came bounding up the aisle to center front, reincarnated as Francis of Assisi. Well, at least he came to us in the habit of the Third Order of Lutheran Franciscans (I didn’t know existed).

In the year 2000, I was in a group pilgrimage to Francis’ home town, prayed in the cathedral where he is buried, and walked the brick paved roads upon which he and his merry band of buddies paraded, partied and serenaded  before he fell completely in love with Jesus Christ. From then on,  Francis was fully joyous in the love of the Lord and the work of the Lord in all nature that surrounded him and increased that love through the order of Franciscan Friars he founded.

And I have enough of a heart bond with St. Francis to recognize an  exuberant, loving, joyful presence of the saint when I saw one  in this man of our modern day.

Along with his wife Grace (very fittingly named)  accomplished violist, (Violist -in-residence with the Kalamazoo Symphony), they gently, yet dramatically, led us through a musical meditation of Wondrous Love, in the poetry of William Blake (1737-1827)  set to music performed through Grace’s viola and Joseph’s melodic tenor voice and rapturous grand piano playing.

I was in attendance by the  invitation of my friend and sister artist, Jan Christianson, who is a member of this Prince of Peace Lutheran parish. She introduced me to the fine Norwegian art of Rosemaling and she  is teaching me how to do this. My interest in it is a response to my ancestry and also a willingness to pursue artistry through this medium. Jan had several edifying art creations in the exhibit.

That I was there at all was up to powers beyond my own. I had “pushed the river” when I set my first Souljourner Open Circle meeting for the day before, which was just a few days after my husband’s third skin surgery (three weeks in a row). But I yielded to the inner sense that “I had to get started.”

I’d invited two of my fitness classes in: my yoga and my poolates class. Then, I was unable to follow the notices up the week before due to extra caregiver duties. So I worried if anyone would come. I’d also listed the wrong name on our subdivision, so I worried if people would get lost trying to find our home.

Jan was one of the people who made up a lovely small group. Had it been a large group, the subject of Rosemaling would likely not have come up. But it did and Jan told me of the art show and concert being held  the next day and I knew I’d be there.

This morning, the day after the concert, I awoke early with many soul messages that are coming from both the art I viewed and especially the concert I enjoyed. It all sunk into me on several levels.

This is my early morning prayer journal entry for today:

“I am deeply touched by the concert experience I had at the Festival of the Arts at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church yesterday with Jan Christianson.

Especially by the performance and musical ministry of Grace and Joseph Byrd. This honest, grace-filled, passionate performance of viola, piano and tenor voice interpretation of William Blake’s poetry exploded within my soul. His talk of the ‘space’ aligned with my spiritual leading and returned me to my own poetry of ‘Angels in the Doorway’. I Am in that space.

I was sitting (and privileged to be) in a Spiritual-Artistic Setting where the Arts are truly celebrated as a Path Within and To the Divine.

It was no accident I was there, but it was only by a ‘chance’ conversation the day before that I became aware of it.

So very often now, these leadings come from within and from a soul-voice. Not from my Capricornian desire for order and meaning and planning.

I am marching to a different drummer — and I do hear the tune.

I am part of who these artists, musicians, writers, and spiritual leaders are — They are my community at-Large. Just as I Am Monk in the World and I Am Contemplative voice.

I will follow up on this. How Am I to be this? What does All that Is want of me? How Am I follower? How Am I leader? “

Festival of Arts Program

Wondrous Love! Yes, St. Francis of Assisi
knew God’s love pours out abundantly upon us
and we realize only a little of it.

Apparently, so did William Blake.

                          William Blake

To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love,
All pray in their distress,
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
Is God our Father dear;
And Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love,
Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart;
Pity, a human face;
And Love, the human form divine:
And Peace the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine:
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.

The Festival of the Arts celebrates Wondrous Love in Art and Music and celebrates the Creator in Us.

“The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who dwell therein”  Psalm 24.

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Lost an Hour

NOW Clock

Daylight Savings Time begins. We lost an hour last night. But Tom and I made it up immediately this morning by sleeping in way late.

It seems as one gets older, you say quite frequently, “How fast the time went…..”,  “How fast time is going now….”, “How I wish I could slow time down a bit….”, “Just where does the time go!”

Our precious time. This sacred moment. The only time in life we have is now.

What is your favorite way to “lose an hour?”

Here are some of mine.

Holding and rocking my babies instead of returning them to their crib. Star-gazing. Listening to the waves of the ocean crash onto the shore. Hearing the raindrops fall upon the ground. Sitting in deep meditation. Reading a good book. Hearing music that inspires and touches my soul. Writing, writing, writing. Walking in nature. Watching the birds at the bird feeder. Walking a labyrinth. Enjoying an art exhibit. Conversing with an old and faithful friend. Enjoying time alone with my husband. Watching the growth of our grandchildren.  Attending our Monday night Christ Consciousness prayer group. Performing Reiki for myself and others. Following my in-breath and my out-breath. Enjoying the sunset. Feeling the snowflakes on my face.

In all of those things, I, of course, have never really “lost” the hour. I have just serenely surrendered into the beauty and magic of time.

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Velveteen Rabbit

Tom’s skin cancer IS under watchful eyes, skilled hands, and caring nurses’ hearts at the University of Michigan Cancer Center and Mohs surgery clinic.

His last procedure was a little-more time consuming than the first few, so as he sat in the waiting room to return for final stitching, his early morning breakfast fuel ran out. So I dashed a floor above and got him a blueberry doughnut to hold him over, returned the elevator to the wrong floor, regrouped and got back to the original starting point, he had been taken back to the operating room.

After some time, the nurse came out to tell me it would be a little while yet, he was doing fine, but had to wait on the doctor (they were doing numerous procedures on many patients throughout the morning), I asked her to tell him his treat would be awaiting him.

She said, “Oh, I will take that back to him. He can have it now.” Tom was pretty grateful for that.


All the professionals who have treated Tom tell him it is his “early days” in the sun that are responsible for the ongoing challenge he has to keep the skin cancers off him. The times on the baseball field. The times playing outdoors in the hot Michigan summers. Perhaps, the golf course entered into it too, but he wasn’t on the golf course as much as he’d like to be.

That is, until we bought a golf course and tried to make a living from it. Then he was on the golf course a LOT, but not usually with a club. He was busy fixing a plumbing leak, fertilizing the greens, cutting down tree branches in front of one of the ladies’ tees after a sizable feminine insurrection and possible threat to the membership total we needed to hold.

Then there was also that first trip to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and sailboat trips to Virgin Gorda, and times on the beach on St.Croix.  Worst sunburn — best tan in all our lives in that winter of 1970.

Since the advent of sunscreen, however, Tom has been meticulous to be protected by it and use hat and clothing protection and seek the shade when possible.

But the damage had already been done. Now it is up to the best medical care to keep him safe from the spread of this on his skin and in his body. Tom and I are both committed to help stop the growth of this disease.

Ireland from the AirEscapist Waiting Room Literature

The last four weeks have been an aggressive time of diagnosis, treatment and surgery with a two hour travel to the University of Michigan Cancer Specialists who are now in charge of his care. He’s had five spots removed, three of them on his face and side scalp.

He’s been a good patient, and like his father, he always has a little joke or tease for the attending medical personnel.  Plus a word of encouragement to another “first time” patient who seems alarmed at the size of the patch he comes back to the waiting room with.  He assures another woman whose husband has had his first spot removed from his nose, and is sporting a bandaged wound, that he has had several on his nose, and that it is basically all right. She seems comforted. Her husband  just wants to get out of there.


Me, waiting during surgery.

New treatments for skin cancer are appearing and evolving rapidly in recent years. However, one surgical technique has more than stood the test of time. Developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs micrographic surgery has, with a few refinements, come to be embraced over the past decade by an increasing number of surgeons for an ever-widening variety of skin cancers.
Today, Mohs surgery has come to be accepted as the single most effective technique for removing Basil Cell Carcinomas  and Squamous Cell Carcinomas  (BCCs and SCCs), the two most common skin cancers.
It accomplishes the nifty trick of sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue while also most completely expunging cancer cells; cure rates for BCC and SCC are an unparalleled 98 percent or higher with Mohs, significantly better than the rates for standard excision or any other accepted method.
Last week, a woman having the surgery, told me during her waiting period, that Dr. Frederick Mohs came to the University of Michigan to train the technique personally and so that is one of the reasons it is rated so high as a point of preference.


Overheard in the UM Skin Cancer Mohs Surgery Waiting Room today: As Tom and I were seated awaiting his surgery, they wheeled in a patient on a hospital transport bed. The man was asking, “Did you say call the nurse or call the hearse? There’s a big difference you know.” To which someone else waiting surgery said, “I have a hearse outside. I’m prepared for anything.” And then a woman responded, “These things are too important to take seriously.” I felt there was great healing and humor energy present in that room. Tom’s surgery was a little involved but completed successfully and we are home doing the healing part.
IMG_0722Happy to be done, showing good side, other side bandaged.
The reason for the technique’s success is its simple elegance. Mohs differs from other techniques in that microscopic examination of all excised tissues occurs during rather than after the surgery, thereby eliminating the need to “estimate” how far out or deep the roots of the skin cancer go.
This allows the Mohs surgeon to remove all of the cancer cells while sparing as much normal tissue as possible. The procedure entails removing one thin layer of tissue at a time; as each layer is removed, its margins are studied under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. If the margins are cancer-free, the surgery is ended.
If not, more tissue is removed from the margin where the cancer cells were found, and the procedure is repeated until all the margins of the final tissue sample examined are clear of cancer. In this way, Mohs surgery eliminates the guesswork in skin cancer removal, producing the best therapeutic and cosmetic results.
The waiting part in between for all the patients sitting with patches in various places, visible from the head and neck area, reminds me of the short wait time a woman has at her annual mammography exam….hoping the tech comes out announcing, “All set, you can go.”
It seems the surgeon must be as conservative and compassionate as possible, for more people get called back for a second removal before the all clear happy announcement is made.  Tom got two “one-time’s enough” surgeries, but this last one was a “two-timer.”  He was ready to go home.
But first!  A  stop for lunch, once we hit the highway outside of Ann Arbor.
Exit 169 — Zeeb Road, he awaits his treat. After lunch……PIE!
Out of the car in no time!
Hurry up, Sue.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie.
Now relaxing at home with intermittent ice bag periods on the bandage.
Efforts to improve the Mohs surgeon’s ability to identify melanoma cells have led to special stains that highlight these cells, making them much easier to see under the microscope. Thus, more Mohs surgeons are now using this procedure with certain melanomas. With the rates for melanoma and other skin cancers continuing to skyrocket, Mohs will play an ever more important role in the coming decade.

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God and the angels danced the day you were born, Andrew.
I know we did!

Andrew Thomas Warriner.  Born March 4, 1999. 1:18 pm.


Your birth scripture, chosen by me:  “O Lord, our Lord, your greatness is seen in all the world! Your praise reaches up to the heavens; it is sung by children and babies.”

It is sung by us too.

Baptism Cloth

With mom and dad under your baptismal blanket.

I baptize thee

Priest. (Fr. James Barrett). “Andrew Thomas, you have become a new creation and have clothed yourself in Jesus… With your family and friends to help you by word and example, the Church gives you the outward sign of your Christian dignity…may you always live as a member of the Body of Christ, sharing everlasting life.”

Tom & Andrew

with “Go Green” Grandpa

Andrew and Great Buscia

with Great Buscia Frances

Andrew and Me

One of my favorite photos.

Some of the best times of my life are times I’ve spent with you, Andrew. I will always remember the running leaps into my arms that I had to brace myself for as you got bigger and bigger.


And it seems you got bigger, way too fast.

I will always remember your cuddles, so freely given. I remember the lovely sound of your voice as you’d call for Grama or said countless times, “I love you, Grama.”

I remember how you could count on me as your swim buddy, when no one else would go in the pool. Swim time was anytime right after breakfast until…well, until bedtime. Especially in North Carolina.

I remember how the best Christmas present Grandpa and I ever got was the one you and Devon gave us after we’d moved to North Carolina and came back for Christmas. It was a card made by you and Devon for a week vacation, without mom and dad, with grandma and grandpa in North Carolina. What a week that was!

I remember how you came to visit us in NC, even though you didn’t like the long car ride “over the mountains.”


I remember how when you were a toddler in the car seat, you would ask, “Are we going on the highway, grandma?” I’d ask why and you said  because you  always fell asleep on the highway….and you did.

I’ll always remember these things, even when you think I don’t. These times and memories reside in my heart.


We went to Disneyworld!

more fans

We went to Ford Field for Marshall Football Championship!

Andrew and Devon musicians

We went to lots of concerts!

Christmas 2012

We have lots of Christmas’ together!


and birthday parties.


Grama’s special 70th Birthday Party (you all kept a big secret!)

Andrews Acting Roles

and so many special theater productions with starring roles.

Andrew - as Judah

as Judah in Joseph & the Technicolor Coat

Andrew on the board

Jo Jo in Seussical Musical

Grama Jojo & Horton

Grama gets in the picture!

Andrew1 - King

The King, Etcettera, etcettera, etcettera.

Life - create yourself

and Andrew, you are creating yourself magnificently.

Enjoy your last months of Eighth Grade and enter into your high school years this fall in joy and great friendship all around.


Your grama is a Napkinwriter. And that is where this post started this morning. In my prayer heart. On my prayer table, the following words can guide your life.

From my round window glass: “I can do all things through Christ.” Phillipians 4:13

From my meditation book: the title:  “Always We Begin Again.”

And Andrew, that is what we do in life….always, we begin again.

You have many great beginnings.  Happy Birthday, dear grandson.

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West Ireland


I am posting  Suzanne Murray’s blog here as I love to further any notes on the value of “freewriting” and here is a great note with some scientific backup to boot.

I had hoped to travel to Ireland with Suzanne a couple years back, but it didn’t come about. I have an intuition we may meet up someday, either “here” or “there.” We are truly friends that just haven’t happened to meet yet. Well, once I did on Skype and it was a fantastic meeting.

This is from: http://creativitygoeswild.com/west-of-ireland/


I think the best way to perform is when your unconscious is fully available to you, but you’re still a little conscious too. – Yo-Yo Ma

Creativity Goes Wild  by Suzanne Murray


I have taught the creative writing process for more than twenty years working in part with a technique known as “freewriting” where I encourage participants to “just let it rip”. We don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar or whether it is good. We suspend the censor and let our first thoughts spill out onto the page. People new to the class are always nervous about this kind of letting go. Since I write and share my own raw writing with the group I was rather nervous when I first started teaching the classes but found that by maintaining an safe and sacred atmosphere of unconditional acceptance for whatever wanted to come forth it really calmed the fear for everyone.

We learn quite early to fear making mistakes. We all have a well developed censor that confines us within the limiting parameters of being socially acceptable. Neuroscientists have identified a part of the brain, the dorso lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) that is closely associated with impulse control. It keeps us from embarrassing ourselves or saying the wrong thing to our boss or spouse.

Young children create so naturally because their censors don’t yet exist. The DLPFC is the last part of the brain to fully develop. Around 4th grade it engages and children lose interest in making art in the classroom. If we are worried about making a mistake, saying the wrong thing or doing something poorly we often end up doing nothing at all. The censor has us holding back our latent talent.

In a study by a neuroscientist looking at brain activity in jazz musicians engaged in improvisation, research subjects showed increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with self expression, while at the same time the DLPFC appeared to deactivate. At this point there is a surge of raw material coming forth but rather than being random or chaotic it is organized or structured by the rules of the form. In the case of jazz musicians they naturally improvised in the right key and tempo. I noticed this tendency in my freewriting workshops. Students bypass the censor yet they also naturally wrote in the form that seemed to most call or appeal to them. Individuals drawn to poetry and who read a lot of poetry had the raw writing take on a poetic quality. The same was true with fiction, memoir or non-fiction. It’s why I always tell people that reading the kind of writing you want to do is one of the best things you can do to improve your work because when you let go and let the creativity flow, your brain then has a sense of how to organize it. When we let go we have access to the vast storehouse of the unconscious mind.

I really encourage creative play and practice free from the expectation that we have to produce something as a way to opening up to our creative gifts and talents.. Learning to let go and create an atmosphere of inner permission, acceptance and allowance can really help us open more fully to our creativity.


& Spring Retreats to Yosemite & Ireland


THE HEART & SOUL OF IRELANDJourney to the West of Ireland

Dublin, Galway, County Clare, The Aran Islands

May 9 to May 16, 2013

for more info go to http://creativitygoeswild.com/west-of-ireland/
or just email or call me if you have any questions

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