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Archive for the ‘creative writing’ Category

Simple and Sleek

I’ve been practicing drawing simple lines for cats with my granddaughter, Amy. Simple can be deceiving. Simple can look easy. But there is a discipline applied in simple, and one must be precise.

I value a simple life. It is the life I am living now. Yet I find it hard to apply the discipline required to keep it simple! Someone planted “more is better” deeply into my DNA. Simple can so quickly become complicated and messy for me.

I follow a simple call to prayer. A simple prayer life. I am a prayer that expresses gratitude and love and requests upon occasion a benevolent prayer of care and protection for my family and friends.  I like the simple one word prayer of Centering Prayer and I like to find His Word alive in me through the discourse of Lectio Divina, a conversation with God.

Weekly food menus are ones where I do very little cooking; a crockpot entry, a braised porkchop, a meat, veggie, and salad entrée. Yet, even putting that together, when I follow weight loss and management goals requires time and effort in list making and shopping. Getting the right combinations down, and leaving very little to chance.

I plan simple exercise routines for Tom and me to keep the body moving, and the joints oiled; a senior membership at the Y, a benefit of our health plan, gives us the opportunity to continue to practice our Poolates in the pool, minus an instructor here; and some swimming, walking laps twice a week, marked down as an appointment to keep. There are many more offerings we could take part in, but to keep it simple, this is our best effort for now.

Apartment living with a fair size patio gives us the simple pleasures of outdoor living with a view and the breezes of the South, with the songs of the birds. Simple sitting, simple reading, simple enjoyment of the gifts of the day.

It’s best not to complicate these things. I like to take one day at a time. Today is a bit of a sleepy, rainy Sunday. And after a few takes at some simple writing, I believe I will assume the simple lines of the cat above.

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Image by Abbess Christine Vaulters Paintner

 

Today is Ash Wednesday. I will honor this day with much reflection. I am blessed. I am mortal. I am dust and unto dust, I shall return. I am getting older. My bones have a sense of dust. But my spirit burns bright within me.

There is much I still want to do. Sometimes I want to do it in a hurry. Today is one of those days. Last night, I made a list of all the things I want to do today, a day of release from a focused pace of writing. Yet here I sit writing.

There are way to many things on this list; apartment cleaning that has been put off, calligraphy practice I want to do, watercolor play I haven’t taken time for, doing some low carb meal casseroles and snacks to have on hand, reading, praying; tend Tom’s surgery healing and my own sore body from a fall;  sending valentines to my beloveds; there is more. I just think of them right now because I didn’t write them down. They are in my head.

But the thing is, there are too many and I am too slow. I cant’ whisk through them. I must go slow; I must embrace slow. And I received my lesson from Abbess Christine when I opened my email. I have joined her tribe of contemplatives and journey-makers and art lovers many years ago. She lives in Galway, Ireland and it would be a great blessing if I could fulfill a burning desire to visit her there one day. We are bonded together by membership in the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks.

Another tribe I belong to is Cat Carecelo’s Wisdom Gatherers through Collage and Process Art. We journeyed to find the Divine Spark within us. And that spark has led to the writing of a book, I have long yearned to write, with an image guide found within my 2017 art process.

 

Tom and I will spend this rainy day inside today. I will cross each of us on our foreheads with soothing moisture cream and essential oil…meant for the living…and we will live this day, in slowness, reflection and gratitude for the life and partnership given each of us on what has been a grace-filled long road of love and family, and tasks and missions well-done.

To Do List things will get done. This Lent, I will be mindful of embracing a spirituality of slowness and being ok with that.

Guest blog and photo below from Christine Valters Paintner.

 

Dearest monks and artists,
Modern life seems to move at full speed and many of us can hardly catch our breath between the demands of earning a living, nurturing family and friendships, and the hundreds of small daily details like paying our bills, cleaning, grocery shopping. More and more we feel stretched thin by commitments and lament our busyness, but without a clear sense of the alternative.

There is no space left to consider other options and the idea of heading off on a retreat to ponder new possibilities may be beyond our reach. But there are opportunities for breathing spaces within our days. The monastic tradition invites us into the practice of stopping one thing before beginning another. It is the acknowledgment that in the space of transition and threshold is a sacred dimension, a holy pause full of possibility.

What might it be like to allow just a ten-minute window to sit in silence between appointments? Or after finishing a phone call or checking your email to take just five long, slow, deep breaths before pushing on to the next thing?

 

Chi

 

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How To Bring More Love to Our World

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

http://www.creativitygoeswild.com

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

https://booklife.com/create/writing/0/20/2015

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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