Creativity As A Spiritual Response

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July = Stories

Welcome to the month of July.

In the United States,  July is most often a month in which there are vacations, the weather is generally warm, if not hot, and there are gatherings, small and large ones around tables of food, music and even campfires.  It is a time to tell stories.  However, it would be an overstatement to say that all people in the United States have had, or will have, experiences of tables of food, music and campfires.  However, each of us has a story.

I imagine that for readers in the Southern Hemisphere who may be encountering wintry weather rather than summer heat.  The winter may also be a time to tell stories.  What stories will you tell?

  • What are stories?
  • Why are they important?
  • What stories do you tell?
  • What stories do you carry?
  • What stories were you told as a child?  Who told them?
  • What stories have you had to piece together from fragments of family history?
  • Where are you in the circle of listeners?
  • Where are you in the circle of story tellers?

After the month of June and its focus upon keeping a journal, we now will spend an entire month of looking at stories.  Please use your journal to record any stories that emerge as you reflect on this topic.  I also welcome your comments to any of these posts.

I personally believe that stories are at the core of our expressions of creativity in any form, as well as our spirituality.  They are also at the core of who we are individually as well as culturally.

I also believe that our stories are endangered, and therefore precious. Many of us don’t tell our own stories, and don’t expect to do so.  And, we don’t know well the stories of others.

It is true that I do not know your stories, but I trust that you have them, many of them.  While I can’t hear them all, I can affirm the importance of story, of your story and encourage you to find others who will listen, for you to collect the stories of your family and culture and share them, and for you to write them down.

Let’s explore this important topic together.

Welcome to the circle!

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,


Rootedness as a Spiritual Practice

We have come to the end of the month. Thank you for reflecting on rootedness. If this topic resonates with you, I hope you will continue to reflect on it.

A few posts back, I suggested a process of drawing roots. I don’t know if you still have them. It is alright if you don’t. But, please follow along as I guide you through a final look at rootedness for this month.

This month we have experienced a lunar eclipse, a solar eclipse, racial hatred and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Hurricane Harvey and its devastation, and flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal among other global events. This list does not include more local events. It has been helpful for me to remember my rootedness in the Holy One. I hope it has for you as well.

Once again I am going to ask you to draw or paint roots. Last time, I asked you to label the roots. This time however I just want to look at the root and imagine that as your connection with the Holy One. Is it a strong root, a thin root, a short root. Whatever it is, I ask you not to judge it, only spend some time quietly looking at it.

Then I would like you to draw roots branching off of the main root and traveling horizontally. Where do these roots go? Are there also roots coming to you, healthy roots, strong roots? Where do these roots come from? How do they feel?

In the TedX video that I shared, the roots of the forest not only went down but across, communicating, and responding to the other trees. During stress filled times it may be useful to reflect and pray on that.  Our roots do go down to the Holy One but also horizontally in loving, appropriate responses to those we know and care about.  They go as well to the newest refugee from Hurricane Harvey, or elsewhere. And, in receiving care and support from others as well we go about our daily life.

I have enjoyed reflecting on rootedness this month, but now it it is time for a change. During the month of September I invite you to reflect with me on the Appreciation of Tradition as a Spiritual Practice. Our traditions may differ from one another and that is wonderful. I love to learn from difference. However, in a way perhaps similar to rootedness these differences, if they are that, provide continuity amid change, and awareness of identity. I will write from my own understanding and experience. I invite you to add your comments from yours as we travel together through the month.

Please hold this Ministry in your thoughts and prayers. Please know that you are in mine.



Re-Opening the Door

The month of July was a very exciting one for me.  I hope it was for you as well.  During the month, I re-opened the door to visual art and also writing.  So, how did I do that?  I was an art major as an under-grad.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Studio Art – Ceramic Sculpture).  I was in my 30’s and quickly moved into the job, the studio room became a nursery, and later graduate school education called.  I mostly loved what I was doing, but always felt that I had left something important behind.  In April, I began a new job and opted for only three days a week (19 hours) instead of the 40 – 60 I had been working.  Then in July, I switched my hours to evenings so that I would have mornings to create.  Then, I discovered a free on-line creativity workshop (Woman Unleashed) and returned to my art journal.  In the middle of the month, I participated in a Amherst Writers and Artists Workshop at Pacific School of Religion and began creative writing.  At work, I am leading a dynamic creative writing Group as well as a short story reading group.  I am also preparing an anthology of the work that the writers are reading aloud in the creative writing group. In short, after a long time away from creative work, I am in the thick of it.  I love re-opening the door as a woman in my 60’s, who has done many things and experienced many things.  It is a blessing.  The month of August has been a deepening of the events begun in July.  Love does indeed lead the way, and I am racing to keep up.

As Season’s Change

I have  been on vacation this past week and have a few more days to go.  It has been a time of deeply resting, reading, and visiting local art galleries.  Outside, the weather has begun to be more cool, and still cooler weather is not far behind.  Halloween decorations are up in the neighborhood and excited costumed children will be traveling through the neighborhood early Thursday evening ringing doorbells and calling out “trick or treat”.   Inside me, I find that I am quiet and reflective, attentive to the changes in nature around me, appreciative of the creativity of artists and writers, feeling less tired, and very much at home.

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