Posts Tagged ‘Jan Phillips’


I am in love with the process of SoulCollage(R) and I have my bags packed to visit Catherine Anderson in Charlotte North Carolina to attend her weekend workshop in SoulCollage(R) facilitator training. I hope to begin to bring the joy of this practice to many more people in the Kalamazoo area and beyond.



Catherine explains this as “a gentle, playful and often joyful way of exploring your life and your deep self.  Using images from magazines, individuals create their own unique deck of cards, where each card represents a different aspect of themselves. There is a deeper level of knowing that is accessed through images.  The process combines image, words, intuition, and synchronicity into a unique creative and artistic process that anyone can do.  It requires no special skills, but can often produce images and insights that are surprising and full of depth and meaning.  SoulCollage® works directly with the language of symbols, images and archetypes and is an insightful process of self-discovery.”

Best Health & Fitness“I am One who places high value on Fitness and Health.”

What Catherine says, in a neat little nutshell, is most certainly true. Since I attended her Introduction to SoulCollage(R) workshop last year, I have been gaining in the stack of my SoulCollage(R) cards, which arise spontaneously and intuitively.

And they certainly speak volumes to me. That is the neat thing about SoulCollage(R). No one else interprets your cards. You, alone, listen to and attend the “speakers” in the card. They are incredibly wise, and I get the sense that even though I think I am hearing the message for the first time, some part of me has “always known” their message to be the truth of me.

Committee - Jumps in“I am the One who jumps in and knows I can do this!”

Seena B. Frost planted the seed for SoulCollage(R) some time ago back in the 1980s. Even though these cards and this process can serve on the deepest level of psychotherapy, and do that, she convinced millions that  anyone could do this creative process with a good pair of scissors, pre-cut mat board cards and images you can find anywhere, and glue!

Author of SoulCollage(R) and SoulCollage(R) Evolving, Seena has a world-wide website and a facilitator training process working around the world as this practice expands exponentially.

Seena Frost           Seena Frost

I engaged with Karen Mann, of Australia, in an 8 week fascinating and very instructive course of a combination of SoulCollage(R) and FasterEFT, Emotional Freedom Technique of Tapping. What a way of bringing SoulCollage(R) home and attaching it to body memory! Thank you, Karen.  (And learning to think and speak like an Australian was great fun).

Karen MannKaren Mann

Catherine Anderson is a most gracious woman-artist who has walked her path of creating a life filled with what she loves to do and be…..and that would be creator, artist, photographer, writer, woman leader and inspirer, and author of her award winning book, “The Creative Photographer”.

The Creative Photographer


 Catherine Anderson2Catherine Anderson

(Note: I am amazed! I just saw this on special on Amazon.com for $9.87, which has to be the bargain of the century. The wealth of knowledge, creativity and image in this book is worth much more than ten times that, so be like a phantom and treat yourself to a “steal”)

Catherine has brought SoulCollage(R) facilitator training to South Africa, India and is teaching art inspiration in Italy, being a global ambassador for the wonders wrought through soul with imagination, camera, images, lines, circles and squares. The world provides the sacred canvas for creation.

Long before I knew about SoulCollage(R), I had met and come to love Jan Phillips. I also have had her CD “All the Way to Heaven” for many years. I love every song on that and it’s hard to say I have a favorite, but “The Artist’s Creed” and “The Conversation” are right up there at the top. I play them both for my own enjoyment and contemplation and for many groups I facilitate in spirituality and holistic health.

Jan Phillips is out front of the WomanSpirit wave of life occurring now. Jan calls out loudly, but lovingly, for the Life Artist in us all, to move forward in a new form of activism that invites others to make a difference and create the change we want to be and see.  She is a force for Wisdom and Truth in our lives and in our world. She does not believe in little. She wants us to live our BIG Selves. And we do that, as one of the lyrics of her songs says, “take the hand of everyone you’re walking with!”  She is creator, artist extradinaire, teacher, author, friend and priestess. This summer, she created the first summer symposium on the campus of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs New York, “Women(s) Voices for a Change”.

Jan PhillipsJan Phillips


Jan’s “The Conversation” seems to me now, to be the perfect spokesperson for SoulCollage(R). In it, a person asks some very meaningful questions, and begins to hear back truthful, soul-opening answers to her queries. That is exactly what happens in SoulCollage(R).

COUNCIL Suite - WISE WOMAN“I Am your Wise Woman within. I Am with you always.”

The Conversation: (Jan Phillips)

“You are my spirit and I call on you to help me remember what I know… You are the flame that lights the path I walk, the guide I need that leads me home..”.

Anderson - Sue's Soul Collage Dave“I am Dave, your big brother, on his journey down Alzheimer’s waters.”

(The Conversation continues:)

“I am the one whose hand is in your hand, I will lead you down which ever path you choose…I am your guardian, I’m your deepest friend, I’m your deepest intuition, I’m your muse…..I am the VOICE that calls you to the light, the TRUEST of the voices that you hear.”

“Every time you call on me, I’m there for you.”

CHAKRA - 6th Chakra - Turtle  Third EyeMy 3rd Chakra Third Eye – Far Seeing Totem Animal

Questions and Answers from “The Conversation”  Jan Phillips.

“Do you have the answers that I’m looking for?”
All the answers that you seek, you have inside. “

“How will I know if I have chosen right?
If you’ve chosen out of love, love will abide.”

COUNCIL Suite - Reiki HandsI Am the One with Healing Hands. My gift to you is Peace.

“How am I to know what I am here to do?
Just be who you are , the doing will get done.”

In The Conversation, the answer given to the question posed about knowing “I am of the Light”  is to

“Take the hand of everyone you’re walking with
and the love you feel will spread that light around.”


So I have taken the hands of Catherine, Jan and Seena and Karen and through SoulCollage(R), I will spread the that love and light around.

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Agents of Conscious Evolution Wheel of Co-creation Barbara Marx Hubbard


From the gifts of Jan Phillips

Thoughts and Learnings of Jan Phillips, discussions with Barbara Marx Hubbard and Jean Houston.


Is there something “else” our own life is calling us to?  Let’s listen. Let’s see. Let’s do.

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There’s just something about Jan and a Milkshake!

Well, it is time to check in with Jan Phillips, visionary creator, artist, speaker, and all around beautiful, SOULFUL WOMAN! I’ve been thinking of her since I am taking notes on Barbara Marx Hubbard’s  book, Birth 2012 and Beyond — the notes coming from the interview done by Jan in the first part of the book.

It seems Hubbard got stuck on what she wanted to say — and she has a lot to say — and then a visit from Jan created a SYNERGISTIC explosion which formed the first part of her book.

Well, who would have doubted that would happen, given the pioneering souls of these creative and thoughtful women! Not me.

Here is a note from Jan’s May 1 Museletter:

From Jan Phillips May 1 Museletter

                  It is blasphemous for any of us to say ‘I am not creative.’
All we do is create. We have desires and we create experiences
from our desires. We have experiences and we create stories
about those experiences. We hear the stories of others, and
we are moved to tell our own.

                We wake up every day to an empty canvas of twenty-four
hours and every night we go to bed having created our
masterpiece for the day. We can do this consciously or
unconsciously, but we all do it nevertheless. And the ones
who are conscious of it are the ones most actively engaged
in the work of evolution, of unification, of ongoing cosmic

So not only have I been thinking about Jan, but I got to feeling her presence, as I slipped her All the Way to Heaven CD into my player and gave myself over to the wonderful melodies and even more wondrous words other songs which create a great melodic, lyrical time-out meditation.

I am one who believes every woman should buy herself a Mother’s Day Gift for the very gift of being feminine is the gift of creatively giving birth. You can buy this CD (I’ve had mine for about 20 years now) at Jan’s website:

  http://janphillips.com/cds.html  This CD is available at this website and I heartily recommend it as a gift to yourself.

“All the way to heaven is heaven” said  Catherine of Siena. And all the way through this CD is all the way to heaven says Napkinwriter.

I am going to give you just a short sampling of the words to the songs on the CD. Keep in mind that some of these words she wrote some time ago were not ideas collectively agreed upon as you might find today…….I see them in the evolutionary path of forming our reality, for much of this is being spoken about now.

These words engage our imaginations and our souls and our eternal hope always of the divine moment of NOW, the confidence of something supportive, grander, larger than we see in  our own selves and yet they actually describe the “bigness” and sacredness and divine-ness of our very self that comes into view as we deepen our prayer practices and spirituality.

From the CD, written and recorded by Jan (partial lyrics of several songs):

 “The God that you’re seeking needs not to be sought
you’re already one like the sea and the salt
the Source is within you, the force is at hand
it’s been in your soul since your life began.”

“Each soul I’ve created
contains all the heavens
I am there in your midst
Look around you, you’ll see.”

“You are my spirit and I call on you
to help me remember what I know…
You are the the flame that lights the path I walk
the guide whose hand I need to lead me home.
I am the one whose hand is in your hand
I will lead you down whatever path you choose.
I am your guardian, I’m your dearest friend
I’m your deepest intuition, I’m your muse.”

“Sometimes I feel like a child again,
sometimes I feel so old–
there’s days when doubt gets the best of me,
days when I’m fearless and bold.
but I’m open for the learning
try to keep my candle burning
it’s not as easy or hard as I’ve been told.”

Jan says the reason for making the CD is because “the joy is in the sharing.” Because this is what we do as creators.We shape our thoughts and experiences into forms that can be of use.

And she travels world-wide, and even inspires already inspired leaders and visionaries like Hubbard with her Truth that these creative endeavors are only useful when we put them out into the world.

Jan’s gift to us is that she is always asking for us to put our gift into the world — which is the Shift Barbara Marx Hubbard is looking for to birth Earth 2012 and beyond.

(from Jan:)
“So rejoice, my child, in the gifts that you have–
the light of the world is the torch in your hand
and when you get beyond your fear and your pain,
you’ll see God in the being who goes
by your name.”

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sculpture (not title) by Mary Southard CSJ

                          “I place on the altar of dawn:
                            The quiet loyalty of breath, 
                            The tent of thought where I shelter,
                             Wave of desire I am shore to
                             And all beauty drawn to the eye.”

                                       …..from A Morning Offering
                                                by John O’Donohue
                                      (Irish poet and philosopher)

 Two inspirations for me today; one a sculpturist, found through Jan Phillips’ latest Museletter, and a second from a line in a poem I keep on my writing table. I just love the whole notion of dawn as an altar. So I put it in a visual with Mary Southard CSJ’ creation.

So, Jan Phillips tells us in her Museletter she has discovered in her cross-country travels to her speaking and artistic engagements this summer, the formula for how to stay inspired. Ready? Drumroll….

Here it is:

I discovered a formula for staying inspired. It takes 3 equal parts of the following: immerse yourself in creation, share your creative gifts, and spend time with people who are dedicated to their creative work”

                                     Mary Southard CSJ

Jan says, “Being in communion with people who are actively creating and giving expression to the great mysteries of life is an important part of sustaining your own inspiration. We need that infusion of vital energy, passionate questioning, shared awe. It’s the soul sharing part that matters–the conversations of consequence that lead to deeper, more vivid and robust imaginings.”

These words from Jan’s poetry cannot fail to inspire anyone in love with creating:

“We who are alive today are creating tomorrow
with our thoughts and words.
We are shaping ourselves and our cultures 
by what we do and fail to do.
Justice and mercy are the works of our hands.” 

               The Unfurling Self by Paula Matthew Brown, CSJ

And the next time you’re feeling a bit on the low side, take these words to heart from

Jan Phillips’ poem, “We Who Are Alive Today”  2011

 “We are made of starlight and clay, minerals and meteor dust.
We are the Infinite Wave concentrated into finite particles,
light years compressed into the speck of a lifetime”

We are who we are, photo by Jan Phillips.

Besides becoming inspired, Jan Phillips had another reason for travelling across the country this summer, coast to coast. People wanted her to share what she has revealed in her latest book, “No Ordinary Time, The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creataivity”.

For informative, fascinating and inspiring reading, buy a copy of the book at her website   http://www.janphillips.com/workshopdates.htm .

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It’s time to hear from Jan Phillips again. It is hard to catch up with her these days. She has been on the road constantly with her creativity, message and love across the country.

I was looking for some seed ideas to pour forth into my current creative project and this is one of her phrases that took rest in my heart: …”Me falling into this featherbed of forgetfullness,…” from Jan.

So here is a short section of her poetry and prose I am offering from her latest, best-selling book,  No Ordinary Time, the Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity, pages 74-75.

“To create is to make something whole from the pieces of our lives, and in the process, to become more whole ourselves. It is a healing act, a leave-taking from the chaos as we move from the choppy surface toward the stillness of the center. What was the last thing you created? What pieces were you putting together? Was it healing?”

(Yes, for Sue, it was healing. For in my doing of this one small piece of creation, that very act simply let me know I had not forsaken the completion of the whole project that has had a long standing calling in my soul).

It would not become, as the lyrics of one of Anne Murray’s songs said: …. “before the children of my mind become the orphans of my soul.” This creative child work will be born whole at some future date.  

“Into your hands, I commend my failures,
my rash judgments, my criticisms,
my proneness for separation,
my harsh opinions.
Into the bowl of your cosmic lap
I heave my ten thousand undigested sorrows,
my tempests of thoughtlessness,
my ramblings of misery, chaos, lonliness.

Lies, lies all of them!

Me falling into this featherbed of forgetfullness:
Oh, what a sight!
Remove all mirrors when I flail like this,
when I become a lost one
wandering in the dark.

“Imagine that when we’re born, each one of us comes to earth with the radiance of, say a hundred watt bulb. That’s our natural state — 100 watts. As we go through life, our job is to maintain that brightness, and even improve it if we can. What dims it, we learn through experience, is negativity, anger, resentments, regrets. What brightens it is harmony, balance, joy.”  (Jan Phillips)

I fly on these words of Jan to the upstairs bedroom in the old Wisconsin farmhouse where, as a young grandchild, I enjoyed all the gifts a real featherbed had to give.

And reflecting on Jan’s words,  I think the image of a featherbed of forgetfullness is a great place for my negativity, anger, resentments, regrets to fall…..For my drama to be swallowed up… for my chaos to disappear…for my ramblings to be drown out…for my undigested sorrows to take flight and leave me….for my thoughtlessness to be converted by the softness of the feather quills…. for my lonliness to fall through the depths and width of the feather filling….and for my misery to vanish in the feathery, forgiving down that accepts and molds to my body’s form.

Be gone, all you lies and in the morning I will replace you with a new dawn of harmony, balance and joy.  Let me arise with true love for myself and for others as is the Will of the Divine. Let me think like the 100 watt bulb and experience the radiance of it. Let me speak the words of good I want fulfilled in my life and the good I want to see created in the world.

 I am lucky enough to know, in child-like fashion, the sensual loveliness the feather bed provides. What an open invitation it held for a child at night, weary from the day’s field-roaming adventures. What a playground, it was as though fluffy while Cumulus clouds were my playmates as I sprang about it.

It is nice to think of a feather bed wiping away all the ill-effects and results of forgetting who I truly am — the results of feeling lonely, critical, confused, judgmental, miserable and sorrowful — just as easily as it accepted and comforted me, the small child.

I can lay these defects of character down gently, or even with the celebration of a big leap, landing right in the middle of them, knowing that I can awaken  and remember — in any new moment —  the Truth of who I really am.

That’s putting the pieces together. That’s healing.

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Artist's Creed by Jan Phillips

I am so stuck, I am sharing from another website I just came across (www.wisewoman.com), responses from many others as to what they do when they get stuck.

I am so stuck, I cannot remember my Twitter password, and I don’t put much on Twitter anyway.

Getting back to Napkinwriter, which I dearly want to do is right now like trying to lift my feet out of the tarpaper that cartoon character was in. But I will — get unstuck.

Normal now revolves around being caregiver to my most beloved person in the world. And that’s fine — that’s on purpose — that’s as it should be.

But my creativity room calls. Today, I have almost completed reading the 11,000+ word manuscript I prepared for an interview I held with creator Jan Phillips, who has been on a wondrous country-wide tour with her marvelous workshops and her teaching at Yale for the IWWG – International Womens Writing Guild. She and I are both excited about this.

Getting unstuck will be seeing the final package completed with query letter and mailed off by next week to our proposed destination for publication.

Getting unstuck will be giving some form and substance to more ideas that will be focused on Jan, as well. I feel so strongly her message and actual physical presence is so needed in our world today; if I can be a connecting bridge in any way, it would be a great honor.

Getting unstuck is falling again into a book on my bookshelf, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Getting unstuck will be signing up for and contributing what I now have in savings to a wondrous nine week tele-class “The Intersection for Writers by a magnaminous and loving giver by the name of Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul.

Getting unstuck will be freeing myself and laughing each day.

Getting unstuck will be lots of my own beloved writing as Napkinwriter.  I’ll be seeing you soon!

 So here are the “When I am stuck….” entries  I promised you from the wisewoman website blog, “Dear Me (thoughts from wherever I am at the moment).

Copied from her website:

“Many of you have known me for quite some time. I am Jessica’s alter ego, muse, imaginary friend, inner critic, sometimes outer critic, and all around help mate when I feel like it.

She has known me for a *very* long time – since she wrote a book about me way back in the 70′s. My name is Dear Me! and I am going to help her out with this personal blog.dearmeartsupplies

“Jill Badonsky is a very cool person. I have never met her, but I just know it.

And the reason I am talking about her today is that she wrote another book, called  The Awe-Manac, A Daily Dose of Wonder, that goes on my list of most inspiring creativity books.

Creative people get stuck. It is just the truth and there is no permanent cure. It will recur and usually without warning.

The way the creative brain works (if you have it tuned-up) is that it sees something or thinks something which triggers something else – maybe related to what it saw or thought, maybe not.

So inspiration is critical. If you are stuck, you must go out and expose yourself to new stimuli. You can go to galleries and look at art, you can read good writing, you can smell the flowers, etc. You get the idea. One or more of those encounters will kick-start your creative idea machine and you will be unstuck and on the move again.

Please share a creative prompt with us in a Comment and we will draw a winner on Monday and send a copy of The Awe-Manac, You can tell us in your comment how you get unstuck, or throw a journal page prompt at us, or tell us whatever you think might start the idea machine. We will all benefit, so let the Comments roll . . .”

September 26th, 2009 | Category: Book Reviews

79 comments to The Awe-Manac: A Wonderful Book

  • 51
    Karen S. says:

    When I’m stuck, I like to take a walk and just observe things – the houses and gardens and people and nature, whatever I see. Then I try to take something (or someone) I’ve seen and write a narrative about it, including a lot of description, but also making up some kind of story. A fresh perspective and fresh material often come together to move my work along.

  • 52
    Debbie L says:

    Ok, this post is utterly brilliant! Can we make a book of all these great ideas?

    I have been so stuck like the very first commenter, Susan, for months now. Taking classes and going on art retreats really help keep my juices flowing during the rest of the year. I have re-started keeping an art journal to help keep the flow going.

    Sometimes I just put on music, pick up whatever paint colors speak to me, my journal and just play. Usually doing something helps.

  • 53

    When I am stuck I will do one of several things. Here’s my list: I pick up my camera, pick a place to visit, and go out on a shoot. Sometimes, just shooting photos is enough to “fill in the blank” and I feel like I have done something creative. I buy artists how to books and mull over techniques and ideas. I look at visual journals or use one. A prompt can be as easy as asking myself a question and then using my visual journal to create from the question. Also, I like to extract fragments of my dreams to create something. Or, I will invite a friend over or get together with other creative souls to stimulate my brain. And lastly, I might even take a workshop. There is always a way to get rid of the creative block if you let your imagination just run wild.

  • 54
    Gayle Warner says:

    I joined a small crafting group at a local library. Just being around these other women working on & enjoying their projects seemed to reignite my own creativity!

  • 55
    Kathy K. says:

    When I get stuck, the worst thing I can do is clean something… that is what usually keeps me from my creative endeavors. I find that scribbling on a blank sheet of paper is a beginning. From there I take my favorite form of color and color in some of my shapes. After I do that I begin to decorate some of the shapes (colored or uncolored) with doodle shapes. Then I take a marker and start to outline groups of shapes, like I am looking in the clouds for animals or ‘pictures’. This activity usually frees up my mind from everyday clutter and allows new ideas in.

  • 56
    Milly G says:

    I know I can’t be the only one who never gets stuck…not stuck for ideas and inspiration anyway. I mostly get stuck for time or energy. I have such a back log of ideas- hundreds of them swirling around in my head like shiny butterflies and dragonflies winking and grinning and laughing. Mostly just getting back to my work tables and getting my head immersed in the creativity and my hands busy sends me back to my conversations and journeys with the divine.

  • 57
    Anne L says:

    I just need to go on to my deck and sit in the peace of the bush, listen to the birds – it regenerates the brain! and there is always something new – light on leaves, breeze, sounds, to keep you visualising.

  • 58
    Carol says:

    It’s wonderful when creativity flows, but when one hits that wall – the frustration is mighty. I get stymied; what color combination(s), should I use this medium or that, be neat or go grunge, be elaborate or not? Sometimes I have so many ideas they become a jumble. To kick start the process I think of friends and ridiculously funny moments.

  • 59

    When I am really stuck in a creative rut the only thing that seems to work for me is to either “let it go for another day’ or to simply begin. Begin something, anything; brush to paper, cloth to quilt, wool to felt anything that concretely connects me to start the flow again. Oddly enough, this usually works for me.

    I off er the prompt of “soul”. What does soul mean to you? DO we all have one? Does it continue on? Is it music or art or something more ‘mystical’ than that?

  • 60
    Andee says:

    When I get stuck I do a couple of things, First of all I have this jar, filled with words on scraps of paper, random words to illustrate (like anger, scream, lost or happy) or phrases/ideas that intrigue/amuse me ( like free spirit, dodo bird, flying fish, evil cat, nude beach, bare-naked ladies, grandma’s underwear or dancing waves). These words and phrases are things I see in the paper, or hear people say…things that make me think at the time, hey that would make a great picture, so I jot it down. When I get home it goes into the jar. On days when nothing inspires me, I reach in, and draw, paint or applique whatever I pull out.

    The other thing I do is rather than taking digital pics of things, I take pictures of textures and fragmented images… stone walls, grates, sidewalk patterns, interesting bark… part of a gear, part of a building…. an extreme closeup of a flower. I recreate these things using paint or colored pencil in my art journal on quite days or late at night…they often inspire what winds up on top of them, and have often sent me off in completely new directions artistically. My thinking is anyone can create from a whole, but creating from a partial imagine leaves more directions open, because you have removed the preconceived ideas that go with whole images. A gear does not have to remain a gear, a sidewalk texture can become anything….

  • 61
    Barbara J. says:

    When I need inspiration I go and swing on my swing set. Somehow the repetive motion and soaring up to the trees gets mind off of the everyday things and into the creative realm.If I shut my eyes it is even better!

  • 62
    Barbara J. says:

    Oops, that was supposed to say “repetitive” motion.

  • 63
    helen sanford says:

    this was very interesting to read over what others wrote–many of us do the same things–I do find that when I am really at a stand still–frequently a nap will do what I need. Sometimes I am just tired–but I also clean, sort, read,veg–all of the other things that others have mentioned–isn’t it amazing to see how different we are but how alike at the same time–so I guess my prompt would be “a 20 minute power nap”

  • 64
    Larraine says:

    I know exactly what you mean. I have all kinds of ideas and still get “stuck.” Part of the problem is that, as a result of having double knee replacement surgery in July, I wasn’t going anywhere. That’s changed now that I can walk ok. I love the idea of visiting a museum for inspiration too. This book sounds so wonderful. I really want it. Please pick me!

  • 65
    Glory M says:

    When I get stuck I just get quiet for awhile – shut out everything around calling for attention. Then I will pick up one of my favorite books or magazines and begin to leaf through it – something will call to me – then I apply my favorite two words “what if” and I’m off and running. What if I worked in different colors? What if I changed the structure? What if I used a new material I’m not familiar with – “what if” works every time.

  • 66
    Callie E. says:

    The sure-fire-never-fail “unstickme remedy” is…GIVE A PARTY!!! For sure I can find an idea of SOMETHING I would like to PLAY with. ForInst: I would really like a reason to use that Fondue Pot/Chain Saw/Piece of Fruitcake in my Freezer (VOILA, a party theme!)This results in Frenzied mental fireworks: When (what day of the week works for YOU/ME/MY DOGS?), What color is the tablecloth? Ooooo what shall we eat? The distraction of pontificating all of these glorious possibilities inevitably results in a creatively designed invitation which sets the tone for the ENTIRE Event.

    When I embark on this endeavor it frequently really does result in a fabulous soiree but even if I do not actually send out an invitation so many elements of the creative process have come into play I cannot possibly be blocked another second.PARTY!!!

  • 67
    Jane T says:

    When I need a boost to creativity, I can always turn on some music and just loose myself in the melody and that makes ideas spark for me.

    Write about something that you laughed aloud at when you were all alone.

  • 68
    Barbara Lemme says:

    Getting stuck forces me to look at EVERYTHING: magazines, others’ cards, photos, store displays, books, blogs,friends’ work…on and on until something, even just a simple quote or word, jars my brain. And then the fun begins.

  • 69
    Elizabeth D says:

    I browse through my torn out magazine pages stockpile. I also go to my favorite internet sites and take a peek!!( I am there at the moment) I also set up a schedule that devotes time to my pursuits and limits my time wasting behaviors. When I am stuck I seem to find I need to direct some types of other activities–relax and recharge the brain.

  • 70
    Ernie says:

    When I get stuck I often find that it is because my supplies, etc. have gotten so disorganized and chaotic that it overloads my brain. I’m very visual and total visual disorder isn’t good for me. So I simply do a little straightening and organizing of my supplies. Being able to see my workspace and locate my tools makes it easier to relax and get my groove back.

  • 71
    Carole says:

    I love all the ideas that were given to “unstick” ourselves when that happens. My biggest problem is lack of time and, because of that, I get bogged down with too many ideas flying around in my brain at one time. When I finally get the time to work on a project, I have to force myself to relax and let those ideas stop dancing around in my head and let them flow into the project…not always an easy task.

  • 72
    Penny S says:

    I belong to some yahoo groups that help me at times with some ideas. One site I found was Every Day Matters and the yahoo group is kind of fun because there are tons of different exercises you can try. And doesn’t every day matter? I also call my bestest friend and talk to her and that will usually help me out with getting my creativity rolling…got to love best friends!

  • 73
    Aleeda says:

    I have to say I am rarely “stuck”, and it is simply because I have accidentally surrounded myself (online and off) with people who spark my creativity. They are young, old, creative crafters, non-creative philosophers and convereationalists, who give my artistic soul food for thought. Spending time with them pushes me to explore. This group is one of those “people”. Thanks, folks!

  • 74
    Penny S says:

    Drats! I didn’t win! Ok, I went to Amazon and got one for me and my bestest squirrelfriend! (Long story about that one but funny) Amazon had the best prices for the book…can’t wait to get mine! Woo hoo!

  • 75
    Fiona F says:

    My solution to stuckness is to go play in the garden. There’s real therapy in getting your hands dirty, pulling out weeds, watching the birds, raking leaves or bringing flowers inside. It always short circuits negative inner critic babble! Nature awakens me to wonderful sights, sounds and ideas that i don’t normally get sitting at my art table.

  • 76
    susan says:

    I’m always stuck, unless I am in the shower, very tough to write ideas in soap on the shower door. So they wash away, and I’m stuck all over again.
    I definitely need a huge push in the right direction, this book might be
    my soul saver.

  • 77

    1. i meditate for 20 minutes to a half hour…completely re-sets the brain.
    2. i nap
    3. go to museums
    4. walk alone. if i go with a friend, too much talking!
    5. pull out the pens and markers like most of you…

  • 78

    When I’m stuck, I say, “so what” to all of my self talk, and then I say, ‘take one tiny step”. So, if I want to get to my pottery, but haven’t; I give myself permission to throw just one bowl. Or as a writer, to write just for a few minutes, or as a painter, simply get the paints ready. “Just do it” even in small ways is my mantra to get unstuck. Works for me!
    Cheers to Jill Badonsky’s works – Nine Modern Day Muses and a Bodyguard and the Awe-Manac!
    And wow to all of you for your insights!

  • 79

    I’m ready to give another Awe-manac away.
    Join the Awe-manac fan page on Facebook to be part of a drawing and then, so I know you’re a Wisdom Woman reader click “like” on the current post which is: Music is the art of thinking with sounds.~Jules Combarie http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Awe-manac-Page/139054194785
    If you already have an Awe-manac, I’ll send it to a friend and you’ll get good karma points.


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This Artist’s Creed has been around since 1994 and it is possible that it has inspired more women to stay true to their writing mission than any other singular piece of motivation. It is reprinted here with Jan’s permission.

Then I follow it with a short explanation of how it came to be through Jan. This is a short part of a much longer interview format I am working on for Jan.

                          Artist’s Creed

 I believe I am worth the time it takes to create
          whatever I feel called to create. 

I believe that my work is worthy of its own space
               which is worthy of the name, Sacred.

   I believe that when I enter this space, I have the right
to work in silence, uninterruptedly, for as long as I choose.

 I believe that the moment I open myself to the gifts of the Muse
                 I open myself to the Source of All Creation
          and become One with the Mother of Life Itself.

I believe that my work is joyful, useful and constantly changing,
    flowing through me like a river with no beginning and no end.

                   I believe that what it is I am called to do
              will make itself known when I have made myself ready.

           I believe that the time I spend creating my art
         is as precious as the time I spend giving to others.

      I believe that what truly matters in the making of art
          is not what the final piece looks like or sounds like,
               not what it is worth or not worth, but what
         newness gets added to the universe in the process
                      of the piece itself becoming.

        I believe that I am not alone in my attempts to create,
    and that once I begin the work, settle into the strangeness,
the words will take shape, the form find life, and the spirit take flight.

                          I believe that as the Muse gives to me,
                                 So does she deserve from me:
                      faith, mindfulness and enduring commitment.

                                     ©  1994 Jan Phillips

from my interview:

Tell us about your poem, “The Artist’s Creed”, when you created it, where it led you and what impact it had on your life and what you know of others’ lives. 

JAN:  “The most stunning thing for me when I taught my course at the International Women’s Writing Guild Summer Conference Program at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York was that I went into the room and I was with all these women among four hundred attendees and my thought was that I’m in the midst of all these marvelous women who are writing down their life. But as they raised their hands to my query of what they were writing, they began giving me all different reasons for why they were not writing.

One said, “I don’t have time to write”; the next one, “I don’t have a space to write”…my husband doesn’t support me, my kids are in my hair, I don’t think I have a story worth telling.” They gave me a whole litany of reasons why they were not writing.

 So I thought it would be a good idea for us to explore what each of our obstacles were to commitment and take a non-dualistic approach to it to see if we could spin it around and turn our obstacle into an opportunity. In facilitating this class, which I just whimsically called “Marry Your Muse”, I discovered women were in  deep trouble about their voice and expressing it. So I felt we really did need to have a ceremony and a ritual to put some energy into their newly discovered opportunities and not regress back into their old obstacles when they returned home.

These women now knew they did have time; they could make the tiniest of space work for their writing time; their work was important to them and the world, they could set boundaries for the kids; it didn’t matter if hubby didn’t support her activity; and most important, they were indeed worthy of this activity. 

So we had a commitment ceremony and ritual on the last day of class. I called in a woman, the oldest IWWG member at the conference, Dr. Benji Brooks, a pediatric  surgeon, to be the witness. We blessed water and anointed each other with water and each woman said her vow, based upon how she was reframing her obstacle.  Suddenly you have “I believe my work is worthy of whatever time it takes.”

I believe my work is worthy of its own space, worthy of the word sacred.”

 So actually the Artist’s Creed was a re-write, because I didn’t have anything written down. But I went home and I said, “These are the areas women were stuck, so I said “I think this is pretty close to what you all said and I made that creed into a card which I tried to get back to everyone in the room.

After I had done that from my home in Syracuse, this little voice  in my head said, “You need to say more, you need to write a chapter of every one of these tenants of the creed.” So I did. I wrote a chapter on time. I wrote a chapter on sacred space. I included stories of about twelve women working artists about what keeps them buoyed up and excited and light-filled during the dark times. My book, “Marry Your Muse” is a very good book for people who can’t remember why it is important that we put our creativity into the world.”

The Napkinwriter is one of the ones from that class who keeps remembering that it is important to put my creativity into the world. Do you? 

Sign up for Jan’s newsletter, “The Muse Letter” to find out more about her, visit her giftshop and perhaps discover she has a workshop coming in your area. Jan loves road trips!  http://www.janphillips.com/museletter.html


                                                            Jan Phillips

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When I began this Napkinwriter blog in late December last year, I promised to introduce you to some of the muses who have influenced the creative work I do and actually the life I live — for they are one and the same.

Meet Jan Phillips who walked into my life around 1995 at my first attendance at the IWWG (International Womens Writing Guild) summer conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

It will come as a surprise to Jan, but unaccustomed, to the high energy of the week-long conference, I first heard about her in the chow-down, constant chatter of the lunch break room of 400 overly-charged, excited creative women.

They were saying something about Jan….Jan……Jan….. and being sure they left the lunchroom to be on time for her 1:00 pm Marrying Your Moose Workshop.

Now I had a hard time choosing which of the truly enticing creative workshops to attend, (for there were too many) but I could not reckon what marrying a moose had to do with creativity.

“No, Sue,” said one. “It’s Marry Your Muse.  You know, the creative partner that gives you your ideas.” 

Oh, that Muse.

So I went to her workshop to find out if I, indeed, wanted to marry my Muse. It turns out, it was love at first sight, and wouldn’t you know it, by the end of the week, I was “hitched up” right there in Jan’s classroom, with Jan doing the spiritual officiating.

It was a mass wedding ceremony, for I don’t think there was a single soul left waiting at the altar by their muse.

We all got to know and love our muse through Jan’s teaching and her Artist’s Creed.

We learned that it was:
                       worth the time it takes to create
                              whatever we are called to create;

We learned that:
                        our work was worthy of its own space
                                and worthy of the word, Sacred

We learned that:
                          we had a right to work uninterrupted

We learned to believe:
                          that what it is that we are called to do
                                   will make itself  known
                                       when we have made ourself

That thread of readiness is what I see and hear, almost twenty years later, in the work of Jan Phillips. Her unique expressions of artistry in her books, photographs, videos, and workshops reflect the joy she receives from the gifts of her muse and prompt us into a readiness to think about and offer our own gifts as co-creators who put forth good into our world.

One of the great things about the IWWG conference is that a woman “without a portfolio” is actually welcomed as a writer, artist, creator. We find out there how we frequently belittle or discount our claim, as in…..”Well, I haven’t actually published anything yet”….or “I’ve started several things but never seem to finish”. 

Jan, in her video, “I am a Woman who Writes” gave us loads of credibility as writer. “I am the woman who writes with fire…writes alone…struggles to believe I have anything to say…write letters to grandson so he knows what I loved along the way…write to find myself between the lines.” Words spoken between images from a young child with the joy of kite flying to the images of women in their 80s and 90s — we are “women who write.”

On her CD cover, “All the Way to Heaven“, Jan says that when she is asked “Why am I doing this?” the answer is always the same: because the joy is in the sharing.

She says that if she does this, she believes someone else will find the courange to do theirs. Because “this is what we do as creators — we shape our thoughts and experiences into forms that can be of use. But they are only useful when we put them out into the world.”

So her CD is a gathering of her prayers and thoughts and love songs, lessons she’s learned along the way, produced in 2001, but making use of words she had written over the previous fifteen years. This is so like many of us artists who have many treasures sitting amongst us that are not out in the light of day yet.

Ten years later, her work is all about sharing what she’s learned about how to be in this world as a creator artist, peace-leader, true companion and champion of  personal uniqueness. And yes, in her presence, you feel her as a cheerleader for each of us to find and express our own creation as a light which our world needs – and without us– will go without.

 For Jan, bushel baskets are for gathering apples at harvest, not hiding our light beneath.

Jan wrote that producing her CD back in 2001 was near the top of the leaps of faith she had made in her life to that point. So what is bigger than a leap? Because she’s been mega-leaping in her creative and spiritual life since that time. Her latest published book is evidence of that.

Do you want to be there when Rumi meets Teilhard? Catherine of Siena meets Dorothy Day? I do.

In “No Ordinary Time, The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity”, Jan brings together a tapestry of threads from the arts, sciences, sacred texts, and her own mystical poetry. 

Gloria Steinem describes the book as a lifetime of Aha’s that suddenly give us clarity — about ourselves, about other selves and about our world.

It is a story of one woman’s journey from Catholicism to the new face of global community and co-creation. It is no surprise to me then that she compellingly creates a living illustration of 1)How spiritual practice 2) leads to heightened creativity and 3)expresses itself in inspired evolutionary action.

From the time I’ve known Jan, — from her Artist’s Creed, to I am a Woman Who Writes, through her Marrying the Muse workshop and book, to her stories, songs, and jokes springing forth from her workshops, from her human service mixed into her world travels and communications, to her most recent topics of Original Thinking and Spiritual Intelligence — her artistic expression reveals and calls her own thoughts and images into the world to blend into the sacredness of all. Then, she invites — no actually challenges and dares — others to add their contributions as well to art, thought, imagery, and leadership;  to not hold back; to banish excuses; to lose our littleness and step into the light of day with our own light.

Now those are two long sentences, most likely even grammatically incorrect, but I don’t want to break them up any more The thought is correct and it connects us all to Jan’s work.

Want to know what I think? Here it is:

The writing of this book, “No Ordinary Time”,  is a natural progression of the inspired and compassionate life Jan is living. The reading of this book will lead the readers to try on some new configurations in their own lives that are speaking to them from their own heart.

Find it and many of Jan’s creations at:

Also upcoming workshops in Jan’s Travels:

 April 8-10, 2011  Weber Center, Adrian, Michigan;
Creativity as Sacrament: The Mystery, Power and Grace of Self-Expression. Register by March 25, 2011 For info, http://weber.adriandominicans.org/
Taking registrations through Wed. April 6.

April 15-17 Evolutionary Creativity, Wisdom House, Litchfield, CT
register at jan@janphillips.com or 858-571-1417

 April 29-May 1- Siena Center, Racine, Wisconsin- The Image, the Word, the Story-Tools for Transformation; call Rita Lui, 262-639-4100; http://www.racinedominicans.org/retreats.cfm

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