Archive for the ‘creative writing’ Category

How To Bring More Love to Our World

Guest Blog from Suzanne Murray, author, writing coach, EFT & Creative Coach
October 14th, 2017


I don’t think any of us will question that these are tough times that can leave us feeling a bit helpless to have a positive, creative impact in our lives and the world. If we view the world solely from our rational mind, we limit our understanding to what has happened in the past or what we think might happen in the future. We limit our connection to the grace available in each moment and to the potential for miracles. We limit our capacity to love our world.

Science now shows us, based on a study of the earth’s magnetic fields done by NASA, that what we hold in our hearts radiates out to the whole world. It turns out that our hearts have a magnetic field five thousand times more powerful that the one generated by our brain and it is in communication with the magnetic field of the earth.

This means holding love and appreciation in our hearts and feeling it going out to people and places in need actually has an impact. We can do this for people on the other side of the world from us, people in the midst of natural disasters, those in front of us in the line in the grocery store as well as to the earth herself.

I have a great fondness for tree squirrels and sometimes hold my affection for them in my heart and send that love to people and places in need. Recently I was doing this while sitting in my car in the park. I notice a gray squirrel loping in my direction and watched him come right up under my window, sit up and stare straight at me, as if to say, yes! So find what works for you. Play with it. I was delightfully surprised by what felt like squirrel love.

Our heart’s connection to a larger field of awareness may explain how we know things beyond our mind’s ability to understand how we know. We just know. We feel it in our gut, in our bones. This voice of our intuition or inner knowing that doesn’t make sense to our mind.

We tend to let our minds talk us out of the guidance that comes from that kind of knowing because it takes us out of our comfort zone into the unknown. Yet now more than ever we need to tap these expanded capacities for creative problem solving and innovation to be the change for our own lives and the world. We can to bring our heart felt love into our own energy field and the field of the world.

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The symbol of the turtle. Turtles take their homes with them wherever they go. Turtles remind us to remember our roots while still welcoming new places and phases in life.

Turtles remind us to appreciate our simple, true necessities; shelter, food, drink and most importantly,  faith.


The turtle’s slow gait requires the animal to have faith that it will eventually get where it is going and that its needs will be satisfied along the way.

I have been doing some process art study with Cat Caracelo over the past year, including Quest Journeying with image and art mediums and turtle has come over and over again to me.

Turtle once visited our labyrinth in our backyard, a very large land turtle.

Turtles are on my mind.


I wonder how the turtles fared during Hurricane Irma.


One of the most beautiful beaches in the world was hit hard by hurricane force. This is a beach we have had the pleasure of being on several times when visited my parents.


St. Johns Virgin Island



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I haven’t been able to post new photographs here, so son-in-law Carl, looked into it and seems my seven years of blogging has cramped the space and a new enhancement is needed. I have done that and am now on experimentation ground.

Well, my first photo surely uploaded quickly. Off to a new start.

I have been having some fun playing with art lately. I was so happy to travel to artisan village Berea and take two classes in Asian art that I will follow up on with small group meetings with others who find this type of art appealing and serene.  In the tradition of the Japanese, copying from the Masters is the way of perfection.

Then I also jumped into a week-long kids art class from Carla Sonheim on-line and this has been so joyful. One project a day and so many creations are put up on the Class Facebook page. I would take the class just to be able to see the other paintings (like me, there are some “little-big” kids in the class.)

We have played with Blobs, and blob creatures, rabbits, a Chagall Merry-go-Round with horses and a Picasso cat. How fun, how fun, how fun.

Selections from the class:




One more project left for tomorrow but I think the blobs shall never stop appearing to me and needing to be made into animate objects.

Next week, I return to regular scheduled and steady writing on my book. During the lapse of writing, much has come to me that is going into the writing, so I am grateful for that. I am pretty sure the cover image is changing to the second of my two choices AND I have a top talented graphic artist who will work with my cover design for me which will be M A G N I F I C E N T.

I continue to get great response to the title of the book, as I talk about it more frequently than I have in the past:

“Being Faithful To The Quiet”
Finding the Peace that Frees Your Soul

I don’t know where to find my new tools. I will have to explore some more. But the photos are working nicely again.



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Good Morning! I will believe in Good Morning. My body is still achy, numb, tired, and compassionate for my friends and their families who have suffered a sudden and traumatic and violent loss of their loved one.


A mother has lost her beloved daughter. A husband suffers the solitary loss of his soulmate wife who together created a life of good in their home, their work, and their play. Two young adult college age daughters have lost their earthly bond to their mother. Brother and sisters are minus one in their family – minus two, as they lost their father in his passing two years ago. Cousins, young, lively, playful, and filled with family outing memories, like the one they were returning from when disaster on the highway struck, suffer a hole too big to replace in the family fabric.  Friends and companion teachers stand present, yet walled in by the daily absence of Judy’s presence in their lives.  Students, present and past, have lost a friend, mentor and extraordinary woman.


I will believe in Good Morning….


Judy was a bright light and she shone brightest in two areas of her life – her family and her middle school classroom.  There is no light switch that can remedy the darkness in these spaces. A dimmer dims the spots she occupied and for now, it looks very dark and it hurts.


I will believe in Good Morning…


For awhile, our personal and world compass is turned upside down. South is the new North. Each of us must find new paths – paths we never intended or suspected we would have to take. Paths we don’t want to take. We look for an escape route and it is not there. We are stuck with  “what is.”  And we surely don’t like what is.  We are tired, beyond what we know, and each day comes, asking of us to take one step forward.  We don’t want to.


I will believe in Good Morning…


Husband, daughters, sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, mother…..we want to be there for you in our own little daily world. It can look like, after the initial liturgies and visitations are performed, we go about our lives, as usual.  But it is not true.


You, dear ones, are the ones most deeply touched by unspeakable grief. But, as your friends on the outside, we too are changed forever. We will never, ever be the same within our families or our world, as we were before this loss befell you. It is in us as well and it will never leave us. Our composition is altered. We will all find new light eventually. We will all suffer the “new life” that will be lived. We will all feel the hole that only faith, hope and love can heal. We will all look at life with “new eyes” – eyes that cannot understand –eyes that want to see differently – eyes that look toward an earthly horizon and into the heart of the beloved one who has gone home.


I will believe in Good Morning…with a heart of hurting love.

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Displaying IMG_20170503_144600425.jpg

I am warming up for my own words, so I will start with a few of the things getting me to them. I did my water color practice this morning and many other students finished up with well-represented fruit images of even impossible things like artichokes, but me, no I am still on apples and bananas. And I will revisit this to play with the smudgy shadow and add other colors into it and lift what I don’t like and a few other things and stay at it.

Two things keep me motivated. The young male instructor lives his passion for art by teaching all the art classes offered at the senior center, including drawing, mosaic, pottery, and more that I don’t know about. And the other thing is he said we are doing nudes in the final class next week.  I’m on board. But I don’t think he was serious.

Also, I am going to write another person’s words here and then just get on with my business of writing.

Writing Advice from Lydia Millet


Lydia Millet was a Pulitzer finalist for her book Love in Infant Monkeys, and Publisher’s Weekly called her novel Mermaids in Paradise “a thrilling piece of fabulist fiction.

These tips are aimed at bucking the limits imposed by time as well as mental space.   (I will fill in #5 and just list the others.

  1. Quantity before quality. Today is the day for production.  Put words on paper. Later, clarity can be achieved.

2.  Bore not thyself. That rain of sludge may not be your finest hour. Yes, you need to put words on the page, but to qualify for the page those words must always interest you.  Delete-delete-delete, all the way back to the very line where last you cared.

3. Suffer the fools gladly. And by fools, I just mean other people.

4. Prefer the new.  I try to write the story I wish to read. I am most inspired when I suspect that what precisely I have in mind to make does not already exist and this is the sole reason for the bother of its present creation. Your hand should be a hand that trembles to make the new.

5. Seek to be licked by holy fire. Of course, I use the terms “holy” and “fire” fairly loosely. One man’s holy is another woman’s sublime. If you’re doing creative work, that work should never feel trivial.  If you’re going to do a thing, do it fully, so that no writing you give the world misrepresents you — so that nothing you put out there is like a sad regift you couldn’t throw away and had to find a place for.

(and here’s the part I REALLY like!)

I advise, if you’re stymied by a passage or paragraph or plot point — whether it’s for an assignment from the outside world or one that comes only from within – get up from wherever you’re sitting, walk outdoors, and do nothing but look at the sky for five minutes. Just stare at that thing. Then execute a small bow and go back in.

You’re welcome from Napkinwriter.

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“It may not look like it, but I am writing now,” I said to Tom as I was folding a new batch of clean, fresh towels just taken from the dryer and still snuggly warm. He was watching me from his lounge chair as I completed the task on the top of our new spring bedspread.

I was heading for my writing room as soon as I completed this household task, something writers often do — put other “stuff” in front of creative time. Yet starting points were bubbling up within me for writer’s warm up, so that’s why I count it as writing.

The next part of my writing was sitting a spell with words by Michele Weldon, author of Writing to Save Your Life, about the quality of quiet in a writer’s life. Something that really attracts me, since I am writing a book titled, Being Faithful to the Quiet,  (subtitle, Finding the Silence that Soothes Your Soul). My book is a mix between memoir and mystery, a long-lived mystery that encircled my life like the ripples formed when a pebble is thrown into the water. And that pebble was thrown at my birth.  It is about the grace of the quiet and the pain lived out in  being silenced.

I relate to much of what she says in one very small section of a great book. Did you know that the genre of books on writing is only topped in numbers sold by the Christian Bible. So many writers write about writing!  Anyway, this is not a diversion, my reading about writing, is is part of my warmup practice to get into the quiet myself and begin writing. Hence, before I begin on searching my words and rhythm for my drafts of my book, I continue warm up with a short contribution to Napkinwriter. I am grateful to  the writing and readership of my five year Napkinwriter blog to keep me practiced in writing. It has spawned poems and memories I either did not know was there or thought I had forgotten. That’s the magic of the written word. So many creative journeys open up.

Weldon quotes Sarah Orne Jewett in a 1908 letter she wrote to Willa Cather,

“You must find your own quiet center of life and write from that to the world.” And she says these words hold true almost a century later. They do, for me. And from that quiet center of life, I also resolved mysteries and dilemmas in my life.  That is what I write about in my book because I continued to find practices of prayer and movement and contemplation, different types all through my life. They were gifts of grace to me. Saving grace, I would even say. And not all grace and prayer look like prayer, just like my folding towels didn’t look like writing.






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I got as far as the letter B, before I lapsed into a time away from Napkinwriter. Many things afoot prevented my best intentions to get back to this post and write about the letter C.

Then what happens is so many C’s caught my imagination and begged for a showing….

choice,   courage,    Consciousness,    curiosity,    companions and more.  Oh my, to choose just one, I think not so I will give several a go.

zentangle-cI have chosen Zentangle art for fun.

CHOICE,  such a short word, such large CONSEQUENCES.  Ones we like or ones with which we suffer. Life is a conglomeration of choices. We have more than we think many times. We have choices between good and more good. We have choices that pan out about the same as in win-win situations.  We have choices made in a split second that are choices between good and very much not so good, harmful in fact.  We are always making choices and the choices we make at any given time are our total responsibility.  I am responsible, not for others, but totally for myself; the choices I make toward healthy being, spiritual being, intelligent and educated being, family and friend being, financial being, and the being I am as I relate to my world and environment.  We cannot know the full outcomes of our choices, they will come in time. We cannot control (ah, another C word) the results of our choices, but we do have to live with them. Choices, sometimes, are made on intuition –that often takes the next word…..

COURAGE — fire-c

Sometimes, we are tested by the fire. I don’t know many people who have not been. Courage is needed in life for the big things and small things.  We often take on responsibilities that require so much courage, that we wonder how we didn’t back down for them.  I believe there is a spirit of courage within us and scripture confirms “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but one of courage!!”   In me, I have always recognized a bit of the Wizard of Oz’  lion.  He was not aware of his own powerful roar, and he could always see the things he, perhaps, should have been afraid of, and whimper about them, but a deeper call forced him to recognize the fears and do what he had to do anyway.  I have done a lot of that in my life.  And I am still here to tell about it. I believe that fiery spirit within is the Holy Spirit and it helps us overcome the fears with the sweet gifts and fruits of the Spirit….love, mercy, kindness, patience, fortitude…. It is the same Spirit that runs through the Spirit of the Universe and holds us on evolutionary course, the course we must cooperate with.

c-practice-printingI always enjoyed the time we spent in elementary school with printing and cursive writing.


I want to learn Japanese kanji writing and Calligraphy. Both of those would take lots of new practice but I love the flow and peaceful appearance they both give. I have the rice paper and some ink supplies in my bookcase supplies and I hope I will get  ’roundto-it.  In elementary school, practicing printing and cursive writing was one of my favourite times. I loved seeing the cursive letters posted at the front of each classroom. Now, with the advent of all the electronic gadgets, I hear cursive is going by the wayside.  Who has not been surprised and gratifies by the arrival of an unexpected hand-written note, on no special occasion, that some loved one has written to them — and even better yet one that comes from a stranger to convey a thanks for some way that you helped them which you barely recognized. No computer board, typewriter nor word processor can produce the heart-felt sincerity of the writer, nor the gracious reception of it by the addressee.  It’s true, the elder generation is the keeper of notes and handwritten letters, until at long last they are put away by family after one’s passing; yet they held their value and vibration over long spans of time.  Texts disappear in an instant.


The C word I initially thought would have solitary spotlight for this post was CONSCIOUSNESS.


But Consciousness is too large a topic to write about here.  Yet, I can CONNECT it to two other words: choice and courage.   We learn, we grow.  “If I had known then, what I know now…..”  What? Everyone has a story that follows that thought. But that is what life is……”if I had known better, I would have done better”.  If I know better NOW, I must do better. Consciousness is alive and it moves in us.  We continually see things in a new and expanding way. We must use judgment and discernment throughout life, without being too judgmental about “how I used to be.”  A growing Consciousness begins to illuminate the individual relationship to the group relationships of the world.”  We are never alone, and yet we are all One.  Growing Consciousness leads us to thoughts and actions of love and never sees self or other as “less than.”  Growing Consciousness is filled with  “aha” moments and a better ability to listen actively and quietly to self and others.  It dispels the myth that for me to win, others must lose.  Actions to alleviate injustices to others, social and otherwise, are based not in the desire to hurt and discredit others, but in efforts, both humane and purposeful, to obtain healthy and orderly outcomes. There are people working toward these ends now, with these base purposes and you don’t hear much about them. Riots and protests are the candy of the media. The people, held out of the spotlight, are amazingly called “light workers.” I am one of them.

My COUNTRY  ’tis of thee
sweet land of liberty…


On this January 18, 2017, the eve of the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, we, as a people, are far, far from the spirit of the songs that point to the glory and spirit of our country. Indeed, the blessings of this country, founded in democracy.  People want different things.  People want to blame. People want to hate. People do NOT WANT to have discourse nor dialogue. They want to argue. They want to accuse. They want to be RIGHT and want you to be WRONG.

There is danger on all sides because of the way we are. It is not a Democratic danger nor a Republican danger. It is a type of danger that has crossed the line….some line…..and we are not sure even WHAT that line is. The danger is power-based and reason-deficient. We don’t look like America anymore because we cannot allow dissent to exist peaceable within our democracy. We are allowing dissent to become corrupt smearing of people and issues.

Coming out of the post office today, a older gentleman held the door for Tom (with his walking stick and me plodding up the stairs!). We said thank you to him. He smiled and asked, “Well, do you think the man tomorrow will fix some of the problems he says he will?”  We said we hope there will be progress in problem solving and changes for good, but afraid there is a large element working toward his demise.”   He said, yes, even though the vote didn’t go his way, he too, hoped that good could be achieved.

I thought that is the America I know.  A voter wanted someone else to win the election, but now was prepared to accept who he didn’t want to win and hope we would do some good.

I believe in the good in people. I know my country is MORE than a good country. I am greatly blessed to be its citizen. America is beautiful, in its people, its lands, its giving to less fortunate countries and peoples. I bless these good things and understand there is room for more goodness to happen.  I wish we could bless each other and go into the new political arena with a watchful eye and a willing heart to be a united states of America. There are enough checks and balances in place to respond to any of the envisioned tragedies  drummed up in people’s minds before the fact.


“America, America! God shed His grace on thee.
And crown thy good with BROTHERHOOD.
From sea to shining sea.

America! America!
God mend thy every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control
thy liberty in law.


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