Creativity as a Spiritual Response

May Musings:

I am pondering the relationship between creativity, our spiritual responses and daily life.

In my own life, I have been focused on participating with an on-line creativity and business group (Momentum: Muse Driven Business facilitated by Jenafer Owen) as well as doing a medicine painting drawing from the deep experiential core of Apothecary (a painting experience facilitated by Shiloh Sophia and Jonathan McCloud.)  The on-line creativity and business group led me to look at my website and business goals through different eyes.  The painting was an opportunity to transform some old wounds.  Both have been transformational.

Recently, professional photographs have been taken for the website.  These small changes will bring a different presence to what has been there previously.  Once they are up, please let me know what you think.

The canvas I am painting will probably be mostly completed by the end of the month.  By the way, it is the first time I have painted with acrylics on a canvas in a very long time.  I believe the last time was around 1980.  I have done a lot of living between.  I am hoping to do more painting and other creative endeavors.  I will announce my studio page, and eventually a quarterly newsletter within the next few months.  These creative explorations have been nestled between other creative activities at work, and daily life.

While I am moving forward with these things and am feeling the call to further engagement in my on-line creative presence, my adult daughter has been experiencing what I imagine to be long-term, life changing, medical issues.  As she is also moving forward into new professional and creative ventures, the timing feels like a potential step backward for her and/or presenting unexpected hindrances when the way forward seemed clear.  The month has been spent holding my breath while awaiting her medical reports.  We have each experienced some anxiety and disruption.

I have learned from experience to not be surprised by this.  Although, I would like the path to be clear for us individually, and together, it often isn’t.  I have learned that I can’t wait until there is a more opportune time.  There is now.  I have also learned to not see creativity as limited to one kind of experience, rather creativity appears in the midst of work, learning, painting, driving the car, dishes, and family crises.  This does not minimize the pain and is not compartmentalizing the issues as a way of avoiding them.  Rather it is a recognition that this is indeed creativity: creation, destruction, change, love, hope and in the midst of it, a deep joy.  It is.  She is.  I am.  Today is her 36th birthday!  Happy Birthday dear one!

In June, I will continue forward and begin my exploration of creativity as a spiritual response.  The topic for the month will be “Journals”.  I also expect to be working on my first e-book, and will continue to update and revise my website.  It will be a full month. If I miss a post or two, it is because I am responding to my daughter’s medical issues or other pressing matters.  I will return.

With deep affection,





Creativity As A Spiritual Response

I am living in the midst of a process of cumulative creativity.  I imagine this to be a possibility most of the time, if I make the effort to follow the chain backwards to the steps before my actions.

At the end of March, I entered into two new things.  The first was an opportunity to receive creative business coaching and support.  The attraction to this particular opportunity was that I would be engaging in creative and visioning process before engaging in the sometimes mundane tasks of running an on-line business.  The initial process was to look at my website through a particular lens.  I did.  This led to my focusing on some initial changes in my website.  Feeling the necessity of having a professional looking photo of myself on the front page, I inquired and received recommendations for good local photographers.

The person that I chose is indeed a fine photographer.  I had the experience of the photo shoot yesterday and in a week or two, and probably with some effort, a new photo of myself will be added to the web page.  Is that creative?  Possibly.

This is just one example.  I could give you many more that are swirling around my consciousness and creative practice at this time.

My point is that the sometimes small actions that we understand as part of a larger creative whole, are generated in community with others:  A person that I know from an on-line creative group invited one kind of movement forward, a group of strangers whom I have never met helped my make a connection that I might not have otherwise, and my own creativity is enhanced because of their creativity and kindness.

What do you become aware of when you look backwards to see the chain of experiences and events that have led you to experience or deepen your own creative practice?

Creativity As A Spiritual Response

The blogs posts for today and the foreseeable future have changed from a monthly topic on spiritual practice to an extended reflection on creativity as a spiritual practice, or more properly, a spiritual response.  As a creative, and as a person reflecting on creativity, I have come to understand creativity to be intrinsic to who I am, and who you are as well.  It also can be a participation with that which I call God, in which the Holy One invites us to be present and to create something new together.  What will it be?

I love this quotation from Christine Valters Paintner from her book, The Artist’s Rule.


Earth Day Musings

April 21, the day before Earth Day, is a beautiful day in Northern California.  It is warm, and mostly clear.  I took a walk and enjoyed the feel of the fresh air, the sound of birds and the distant whine of the BART train. A pleasurable Saturday.

Tomorrow I will be doing activities with elders with dementia who reside at a retirement community.  In the afternoon, in honor of Earth Day, I have planned to do some planting in the small outdoor garden with the residents.  Earlier this week I stopped off at the nursery to pick up some healthy plants, mostly culinary garden herbs.  Once established the plants should thrive in sun and with a potentially haphazard watering schedule.  I have chosen tarragon, sage, Italian oregano, lavender, thyme and marigolds.  These plants will be joining a well established rose at the center of the raised circular planting area as well as an equally well established geranium.  The presence of these established plants gives me some hope that those newly added may in fact thrive and become abundant in their new environment.

My expectation is that the residents will enjoy my presentation of the herbs and will dutifully touch them, or perhaps smell them, when I bring individual plants close to them.  A couple of the residents may choose to assist me with planting these new plants.  What I do know for sure is that many of the residents enjoy being out in the garden, wearing sun hats or sitting under an awning, feeling the breeze and listening to the birds.  It gives them pleasure.  Their pleasure makes me happy.

What are your plans for Earth Day?

Paying Attention As A Spiritual Practice

The first week of February focused on attention as being something that is of the intellect and largely visual.  The second week focused on attention as being an inquiry to one’s heart as well as a way of listening and responding to one’s heart. Both weeks have allowed us to reflect upon attention and spirituality through practice, reflection and action.

This week we are reflecting on paying attention to creativity and the choices that may emerge from that attention.  Please note:

  1. I am interpreting the choice to create as a capacity that most human beings have.  This capacity may also include other creatures as well, but for the purpose of this blog, I am limiting it to human beings.
  2. Praise for creativity is often relegated to those who are involved in such things as fine arts, film, and writing.  However, in my opinion this is a lack of recognition of how often it appears in the ordinary daily life.
  3. Fundamentally, I understand creativity to be both a spiritual expression and practice.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  What is the relationship between attention, creativity and spirituality for you?  Please comment.

With much love,


Paying Attention As A Spiritual Practice

I began this week with a question: when I pay attention to my heart, I choose to_________________________.  I have many thanks to those who risked commenting on this question. I loved reading each of your responses.

The question originated in a desire to move attention from what is often a visual experience toward an experience of listening.  And, not listening to just anything but to what our hearts wish to say to us.  If you are like me, this isn’t something that happens often.  My attention is often visual, often intellectual.  This has its place, but so does heart listening.

We have the privilege of listening or choosing to not listen.  We have the privilege of paying attention or choosing to not pay attention.  We have the option of listening to our heart, listening to a creative source, or shutting it out.  Which do you choose?  Why do you choose it?  How is paying attention with your heart part of your creativity, your spirituality?

I am suggesting two practices today.

In the first, I invite you to simply sit in a quiet space and listen to your heart for five to fifteen minutes.  If you find it helpful during this quiet time, place one hand or both hands on your heart. Invite your heart to speak to you.  What does it say?  What do you imagine it saying?  How does it feel to pay attention in this way?  Please use your journals to write down anything that emerges from this reflection.

In the second, I invite you to find one heart centered action that you can take today.  It may be something that responds to a favorite cause, an individual in need, or whomever your heart sends your way.  The world has always needed heart centered creative action.  What is one thing you can do?

With much love,


Love Leads the Way II

I left this blog in January, with my attention toward moving North.  For awhile, it seemed as if that were exactly the direction I was pointed.  My position working at a retirement residential facility in Emeryville came to a close as my position was eliminated.  As with most people in their 60’s,  I was anxious that I might never be hired again.  I applied to many positions north of the San Francisco Bay Region with no success.  I applied to another retirement residential facility in San Francisco and was hired with a start month of April.  I was offered both full time and part time employment and opted for the part time.  The facility is one that serves primarily Jewish residents, I am Christian.  How would I be received?  Would I be open to receiving them?  Both were questions that I pondered as I prepared to begin working.   I am happy to say that I am delighted with my new position.  I am leading a phenomenal creative writing group, an equally phenomenal short story group, and have recently begun a Mandala group.  The Executive Director asked me how I felt about being working at his facility, I said that I felt honored.  I do.  I also feel deeply privileged to listen to residents, some of whom are Holocaust Survivors.  I am aware that the lens that I see through is a Christian one, but I am immersed a few hours a week in service and in something very creative that augments my perspectives.  I feel deeply blessed.