Posts Tagged ‘Muse’

I am looking back on some notes I had written early on the morning last month when Tom had his surgery. I had waited some time in a rather drab and dreary looking room allotted to those of us awaiting our loved one to complete their surgery. I knew it was going to be several hours for me, so I took a stroll down to the sunlit atrium, knowing I would draw some good energy and joy from the sun streaming in the long corridor sky window.

Water Street Cafe is a vendor of coffees, sweets and sandwiches in that same area so I ordered a hazelnut-flavored black small coffee as their rates are quite high. The original Water Street Cafe is squeezed in between two main downtown Kalamazoo one-way thoroughfares just aside the railroad tracks. It is famous for being a favored writer stop-in. I guess it must be famous, published writers who stop in if they can afford the brew on a regular basis.

But today I handed over the required amount and sat down at a near-by table big enough to spread out my notebook and keep my cell phone handy for upstairs notification. I got one. Surgery was started at 10:01 am after a 6:30 arrival this morning.

When I look straight out into the sun-lit hall, I see the decorative etched glass wall creation that announces the corporate values of the medical center. The word Creativity takes center stage right in front of me. There are other panels with values but I randomly, it seems, chose to sit where this was my focus.

Actually, I don’t really believe it was a random choice. It was a guided move, probably from the angel realm, because it immediately graced me and lifted my being above the reaches of anxiety for the time being.

I had come there to open a notebook and copy my own wildly written notes from a conference call I had been on the night before with Janet Conner, a writer about creativity and the spiritual life, and Margo Mastromarchi, ATP,who is an angel guide reader and experienced and educated person . She certified with Doreen Virtue, who is well published in knowledge and education on the angels and schooled through a PhD. degree in psychology. And I was listening to angel communications on that call.  The subject was about creativity, our life purpose, and how to trust our guidance.

So here I sat the next day with the word Creativity, boldly and beautifully reflected off the etched glass and sunbeams streaming into it to make it a lustrous presence. The smaller words on the panel are: gifts and Spirit.

Creativity — the word that is my work. I create and I create with love.  My creativity is my gift to the world. It is the gift I bring to next week’s angel reading. My creativity has always been a gift and always comes from Spirit.

Creativity and the act of creating always give me joy. Other’s creative works that come from love and Spirit make joy dance within me. Jan Phillips says we are born to create. I know I Am born to create and my creations come from love and from Spirit.

I am thinking about the Angel Reading on the telephone last night. I am thinking about the things that bring me joy, that is how the angels said, you can know you are about the right purpose. What brings me joy are: writing Napkinwriter, sharing healing Reiki, the sound of ocean waves, the breeze of the trees, living as a loving being, the smile on any of my grandchildren’s faces, the happiness my children express, feeling the love and the Presence of God, and being grateful for every day of my life.

To think I am actually hearing communication from an angel through an angel reader requires me feeling free and loose about creativity; for later on my rational mind goes all a dither to back up “star points” my intuitive muse within me dances around and says “Yes, yes, yes, can you hear me now?”

So I think of Scripture that tells me, “for I have given you angels to watch over you, to safeguard you on your way.” And that’s all they claim to be doing — guiding the ones who choose to listen.

The angels say we complicate things in our human existence. That the Will of God is not that hard to understand. It is our choice — not our indecision — to be in the Will of God with what we choose to create — as long as our intention is pure and harmless to others. Then rational “Ruby-mind” comes right up with, “You shall decide upon a thing and it shall be established for you,” and “say either yes or no, anything in between (indecision) is anathema or of the devil and shall be spit right out of my mouth!”

I shall not go into the depth of the call,  nor one more that followed that, but I will say I listened with all that was within me. The very top of the call started off with the angels saying that taking care of one-self is paramount and that at this time on earth the most important thing to know is that “You are One.”  Again, an ancient teaching, but the angels, who carry the roles of guidance and messenger, are saying this is the important message for us “to get” right now, and begin to work with it, come to understand it, and be it.

This is the light, that far surpasses the sunlight shining on the glass-etched word Creativity on the hospital atrium wall. It’s a light that is too bright to look at all at once. So I think we can practice it little by little, by finding the switch within ourselves and shining wherever we can, whenever we can. There is no large or small. All our light counts.

I think this is right because the angels caught up with me two more times during Tom’s hospital stay and it wasn’t on a telephone call! They were there. I know it.

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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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