Creativity As A Spiritual Response – Stories from the Heart

July = Story

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We have come to the end of the month of July, as well as our current focus on stories.

However, I will continue through this blog to tell stories, and to reflect upon stories, although with a slightly different focus.  Tomorrow, I will announce the topic for August.

As we move forward, I encourage you to continue to use your journals to listen and record the stories around you, especially the stories in your heart.  The heart is one place in which creativity, spirituality and service as response come together.  From this particular heart meeting, story always emerges.

Some prompts for further reflection on the topic of stories:

Are you a story-teller, or a story-listener?  Which do you choose? And, when?

What are your favorite stories?

What means of expression, or combinations of expression, best tell your own unique story:

  • words as verbal expression
  • words as written expression
  • creative arts
  • music
  • dance
  • photography
  • signing
  • gardening
  • cooking
  • being a care-giver
  • being the “bread winner”
  • other?

How does your story connect with other stories, both past and present?


Where is the Holy One in your story?









Creativity as a Spiritual Response – Stories of Service Challenge.

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July = Story

The stories that most draw me in emotionally are stories of service.  How about you? The stories are seldom told by the person or persons doing the service.  Rather, they are conveyed by the recipient (s)  or the observer (s) of the action.  This creativity of service chooses to meet ordinary human, animal, environmental etc. need, and to make a difference.  These stories inspire me.

Our news broadcasts and posts most often report tragedy.  It is easy to think that tragedy is the story that drives our imagination.  And yet, over and over again, people reach out and do more than than they themselves think is possible.  These inspirational stories receive less press, but are no less real.

As I write this post, I am aware of huge fires up and down the state of California.  I know that men and women are putting their lives in danger, responding to the fires, and to people, animals, and the environment and in the aftermath of the fires, some of these people won’t stop after the fires are out.  This is just one example.

Twice a week, I work at a residential facility for elders.  I am able to witness the actions of care staff as they go about their duties.  So often, I am able to witness actions that go beyond duty, to genuine service as one individual with another – and that service is reciprocated as fragile elders receive, and also give from who they are.  I am always touched at the depth of these graced exchanges.   This is another example.

There are many other examples.  I know you have your own.

I am encouraging you to as a recipient, or an observer, please share your stories of service in 99 words or less.  Please add them to the comments section, or provide a link from your own blog.  Lets talk about story – stories of service.




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?

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.