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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

 

“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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Change 6 overview

It’s a process! A little at a time. Some of the changes you can see. Some you cannot. Some of the inside changes are hidden away in my computer files, organizing and planning for upcoming projects.  Some inside changes are taking root in my heart and intention to complete long-awaited and dreamed of “children of my mind” before they become “orphans of my soul” as Anne Murray sang in one of her songs which did not make the pop charts.

Those on the outside are designed to create more light, space and inspiration in my room.  Also to rid myself of the papers and images that I can let go of to make room for the new. This is my plan. I already feel I am sitting in more light as I write this.

Change 4

Like the blank page I come to most days in my writing practice, I have cleared a surface for work and clear thinking. Also some “moodling” as Brenda Euland, author and teacher, calls it. That’s like daydreaming, which many of us have been discouraged from doing at an early age in the long-gone-by days.  Opening space for the little, unconnected to purpose thoughts that don’t seem to be on the highway to any “big idea.”

Change 2

Storing, but not putting out of sight my Reiki table, clearing the center space of the room and making it easy for set up when needed. Journals, that need harvesting reside on the bottom shelf, room for Soul Collage essentials on next shelf up, while many more materials are stored away in closet awaiting the next workshop or call to service.

My favorite “go-to” books on writing and spirituality and world evolution have designated positions within the bookcase shelves These are topped off by my $10 garage-sale buy world globe to keep my consciousness open to our world and current conditions. The two turn of the century 1999-2000 memorial white and gold plates refresh my consciousness that, indeed, my gift of life includes living through the time of the 1900’s into the years of 2000.  Fifteen of them so far which with a few more months of grace will include celebrating 50 years of marriage to my true soul-mate and life, service and love to my family of children, their spouses and our grandchildren. It’s been the best life I could ever have thought of.

Change 3

My prayer chair for reflection and my Reiki panels, and a long time framed picture, “He Shall Hear My Voice”, and surely He has over each of these past 72 years!

Change 5

My new altar for Spring, with my grandmother’s embroidered linen as altar cloth, the angels guarding me, St. Francis keeping me fresh to be a channel of peace daily in my life.   My Little Sue doll from Rosann, a treasured and loved gift from “the sister I never had”.

The mandala wall hanging is one I bought at one of the IWWG workshops I attended back in the 1990s, and this year it will serve as a permanent mandala design on which I will create my yearly Intentions Mandala.   My 2015 Intention Mandala is titled,  “I Am Living As Love”…..in my mind, my heart, my hands, my life, my world.

I have been creating these Intention Mandalas since working with Janet Conner. The focus of these mandalas in on the inner conditions we commit to live during the year.  What we hope to manifest gets listed on the circumference of the mandala…..these manifestations, large and small, have regularly showed up in my life since I’ve been making these and living by them and it is truly a huge act of faith and amazement.  I am so grateful to Janet, of Writing Down Your Soul that these mandalas are in my life, as well as my soul writing journals.

Change 7 Intention Mandala

Onward through my light-filtered room.

Change 8 to be dealt with

As I said, it’s a process. There is much left to be done…..a day or step at a time!

And then, there is this!

Change 9 - Behind closed doors

I am graced with Grandma Tanberg’s embroidery of the 1940s. She is the mother of my birth mother, who died within days of my birth. I had the great honor to know Grandma into my high school years.  She was my “huggy” grandma who giggled a lot and played with my brothers and cousin Diane whenever we were together.  She didn’t mind getting us in trouble either!

Change 10 - Grandma's embroidery

And when I approach the unwritten loose leaf page or the blank computer screen to be filled, I only have to remember these screensaver rules and I am off again.

writing rules

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Hard Boiled eggs

I’ve learned the secret to making perfect hard boiled eggs that peel easily and finishing the novel one may have been working on for years.

First, the hard boiled egg. I’ve tried different combinations of making hard boiled eggs over the years. Sometimes, I’m lucky, sometimes not. It seemed more often then not, when it really mattered, as in Easter eggs and deviled eggs when you really want the egg to peel neatly, it didn’t for me.

Another problem was that if I was lucky enough to have the egg peel, the yolk was greenish and unappetizing looking around the edge. The method I am about to share vanishes that problem too.

Recently, I combined two methods. One I found on http://www.cooks.com and the other was in a magazine.  You don’t have to add either salt or baking soda to the water, as other texts call for.

1.  Bring eggs to room temp before using.

2. Place sufficient water to cover the eggs in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil BEFORE placing the eggs in it.

3. Lower the eggs carefully into the water, using a tablespoon. When the water reboils, start timing  and reduce the heat so that the water simmers gently.

(Fast boiling makes the egg white tough and causes the eggs to bang against each other and crack.

4. You should start timing the eggs from the moment the water first boils.

5.  Hard boiled eggs, large size take 10 minutes.

6. Turn off the heat and place the eggs in an ice-water bath and time them to cool for 5 minutes.  The ice water bath will “shock” the membrane in between the egg white and the egg shell, loosening the shell and allowing you to peel it off easily.

7.  Store peeled eggs in the refrigerator.

Clock Creative Tool

Now about that unfinished novel.

The humble kitchen timer is the most important creative tool in your arsenal.  Notice the importance placed on timing in order to get the perfect hard boiled egg.

The same is true in the successful completion of your novel,  Melda Maguire , working on her seventh book,  insists. Here is what she says to do:

“At some point you sit down and set that timer for 30 minutes. Work on your craft or your project without interruption or distraction. It does not have to be major work — just focused work. Don’t get up from your seat until the timer dings. ”

“Then do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day…”
Are you catching onto this?

To look at the financial side of this, she points out you don’t need to quit your job to be an artist or writer. You don’t have to take out a heart-stopping loan in order to get an advanced degree in creativity. You don’t need to move to Paris (but that might be fun).

You don’t need to change anything about your life. You just need to bow down before the humble kitchen timer, every single day.

A little universal truth that applies here is the the world will not clear out a time and a space for your dreams, art and writing. If you wait for things to be perfect before beginning (or continuing) your work (and play), you will die waiting.

Get yourself a kitchen timer and turn it into a creativity timer. What happens next can only be thrilling.

writer

 

Plus, you can always have a perfect deviled egg waiting for you in the refrigerator when your 30 minute timer goes off. Walah!

 

 

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All Connected

Three years ago, I named my Intention Mandala for 2010-2011

My Year of Free-falling into Spirit

and the words of Tom Petty’s refrain verses, Free Falling, have been the backdrop of my life since that time.

And I’m free, free falling
Yeah I’m free, free falling

Now, after my weekend with my WWAM sisters at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs New York,  I am no longer free-falling. (Women Writers and Artist Matrix).

I’ve been shot out of a cannon to the stars and I have not re-entered this atmosphere yet.

I have words and I have no words yet. I will return to Napkinwriter with words and images very soon to explain the unexplainable. Or at the very least, shed light upon the magnificence of the experience.

“What is seen was made from things that are not visible.”
Hebrews 11:3

Meanwhile, you might catch a glimpse of me playing among  the cosmic comets.

ALL is WELL

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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.

Disneyworld

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!

IMG_0605

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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

LETTING GO TO ACCESS YOUR CREATIVITY

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.

INDIVIDUAL & ONLINE>COACHING FOR LIFE, CREATIVITY OR WRITING

& 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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Yesterday, God sang to me. This is exactly how it happened.

I’ve been getting a lot of signs and messages lately to be aware of and increase my joy in daily living. And I have to say, with a rather simple lifestyle, that wondrous quality of joy is, indeed, showing up more as a regular resident of my day. I am quite grateful for that.

To lose one’s sense of joy is quite sad and I have walked days on the Earth with at least a greatly diminished capacity for joy. Being in fear is one of joy’s first evictors.

Here is how one of my signs arrived. I pulled Matthew Fox’s book, “Creativity” off the shelf for some randomly selected reading of his wondrous text. I opened the book to page 169, where I read the heading on the page: “Open Oneself to Joy.” These syncroniscities happen to me all the time as I guide my life more through my intuitive self.

Before I read that page though I had poured myself a fresh cup of coffee and sat out on my deck as the sun was slipping down toward the horizon. Michigan weather, after a dry torrid spell, had recreated itself into a pleasant, blue-sky sunny light breezy environment. I felt joy in the soft sensations on my skin, the sights and sounds of the fair breeze wind in the trees, the white fluff in the richly colored blue sky and the bird flight patterns and happy chirping sounds of their songs in the backyard.

I felt joyful.

Then I joined in the joy and sang a song of raise and praise to the birds. It is a song we sing for special intentions at our Monday night prayer group meetings.  This time I sang: “I praise you birds, I raise you birds, in the name of Love.” I repeated this several times over, letting my voice sift out to the trees at the end of our backyard.

Then I was quiet for several moments of enjoying the goodness of creation.

This quiet was entered into by two birds that flew a straight path from a tree limb onto the wooden deck railing exactly in front of me. They faced me directly. Then they sang a short little duet together, chirping quite exhubertantly.

Then as quickly as they came, they flew off. They didn’t even stop for a snack at the bird feeder. I was amazed….and I thanked them for their visit.

Matthew Fox says, “To know joy, we must know the heart. We must live where the heart lives. There is no other path to real joy. ”

He also believes that learning is one of the most spiritual, ecstatic, mystical and prayerful experiences available to us all. He is interested in learning the new creation story from science and cosmology.  I found out, to my own surprise, that I was too when I studied evolution and spirituality with Barbara Marx Hubbard this summer.

Fox quotes Thomas Aquinas, 13th Century Dominican theologian, that “by dwelling on creatures, the mind is inflamed to love the Divine goodness”…and that we “love and know God in the mirror of God’s creatures.”

So Fox wonders why we tend to ignore the value of creation in our lives.”Divine Wisdom first appears in the creation of things,” says Aquinas. Fox points out then, that creation becomes our doorway (direct) to Divine Wisdom.

He encourages us not to take it for granted. Not to ignore it. He says to begin to inflame the mind again to love the Divine goodness or blessing inherent in all creation.

My heart was filled last night in the experience on the patio. In fact, my heart was quite full in the silent enjoyment of creation around me before the arrival of the birds and their song.

The feeling I have about my life is that I am living from the heart. I am also paying attention to the creatures. Their presence and gift certainly inflamed me past the sense of fullness.

It was an exciting, creative moment in time.

And in return, I received a gift of God  singing through the birds!

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