Creativity for the Rest of Us
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These Times, They are Uncertain

It’s a popular phrase – “these times of uncertainty.” Implicit in this phrase, at least for me, has been an unconscious belief/wish/hope/expectation that at some point the times will become more certain. When I look around at my life and the world from the vantage point of my sixth decade, I realize I’ve been engaged in magical thinking in waiting for the arrival of this illusive moment. There are times when we...

The Longing

Pilgrimage is an ancient term for journey. Often associated with spiritual journeys, many of us set out without knowing that’s what we’re doing. Catching a game at all the major league baseball parks, walking the Inca trail, standing in the ancient home of our ancestors, or visiting the birthplace of an organization like the famous Hewlett Packard garage, are all forms of pilgrimage. It can either be a casual and...

Slow Work

The Slow Food movement began in Italy in 1986 as a protest against McDonalds moving into Rome. Slow Food emphasizes local production and sourcing of ingredients, mindfulness in preparation, and community sharing in the fruits of the labor. It now has over 100,000 members in 150 countries. Under the umbrella of the Slow Movement, Slow Food has  spawned everything from Slow Cities to Slow Ageing, Cinema, Fashion,...

Coming Out of Hiding

In high school I was so afraid to speak in front of people that I badgered Sister Petronella into letting me drop public speaking (a required course) and take an elective instead. I withdrew from theater appreciation class in college when I read on the syllabus that our course work required performing a scene in front of the class. In my first real office job, I called in sick the day my boss asked me to present a...

What’s Workin’ Ya?

Angeles Arrien often opened a reflective exercise with these questions: “What’s workin’ ya? What’s learnin’ ya?” From her life-long study of cross cultural wisdom practices, Angeles possessed a wealth of tools and resources to draw on, and a story to go with each. This one came from Appalachia. It is the greeting when you would meet someone on the trail: “What’s workin’ ya? What’s learnin’ ya?” I was asked the...

Tune Out the Barking Dog

I’m currently in uncomfortable territory in a couple areas of my life. Experimenting with a new medium in my artwork and developing two public talks have me feeling anxious and out of my comfort zone. (That commotion you hear is my mentors cheering in the background.) Learning doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. Our words and what we give voice to have power. I have to be mindful not to get sloppy with my...

In Praise of Integration

In my last post, Release, Receive, Return, I wrote about the experience of initiation. A pivotal stage of initiation is the process of integration that comes when we have moved through the experience but haven’t yet made sense of it for ourselves. Integration is the ability to incorporate the learning from an experience and demonstrate it through a new way of being for the benefit of ourselves and our...

Surrender, Mary

I struggled this week with writing a post. I call it struggling as it has some familiar qualities to other times I’ve struggled. The words aren’t coming. I don’t have a good topic. I can’t get into the flow. Yada yada yada. As I sit here in the dark, not even dawn yet (thanks to daylight savings time), the truth comes out. I’m not struggling, I’m avoiding. The irony that I’ve been working with surrender this month...

Me first. You second. With love.

In a talk I heard recently, the speaker referenced the often-used biblical quote: Love your neighbor as yourself. It struck me in a way it hadn’t before that this principle starts with the fundamental assumption that you love yourself. From my observation, we have work to do. Many of us are quick to rush in to advise, fix, and rescue our neighbors (partners, friends, children) all in the name of loving them. We...

Sharing Beauty

  Walking into the park in the early morning I came upon three Japanese visitors on their way out. Beaming smiles they kept repeating in heavily accented English: “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful” while pointing over toward a long row of tall bushes. Looking closer in the direction they were pointing I saw three deer munching their breakfast – two young bucks and a fawn. The visitors were giddy they were so...

What Do You Give Your Voice To?

Radiation treatment left my throat raw and excruciatingly painful – as though I had swallowed hot lava. Eventually it became too painful to speak and I succumbed to communicating with nods and gestures. I spent months virtually silent. As I slowly began to heal and reassemble my post cancer life, every area was up for review, including how I use my voice. It felt as though my house burned to the ground and I  got...

Make More Art

In the darkest days when I was going through the grueling regimen of radiation treatment for throat cancer, I kept hearing a phrase in my mind: “Make more art. Make more art.” Even when I was feeling at my lowest, it kept repeating. As I, ever so slowly, began the trek back into the land of the living, it was still there: “Make more art. Make more art.” An invitation from the Mystery that became a mantra. As much...

3 Practices for Compassionate Self Care

The past year and a half has been a healing journey for me. Last spring I was diagnosed with throat cancer. After the initial shock of the news — which despite my extensive experience of working with change and uncertainty, there is no way to prepare for — I moved into my default response. Planning. I had plans within plans based on the proposed six-week course of treatment: how long my recovery would...

Loving Good Enough

I am a recovering list maker. Once upon a time I took great pleasure in making lengthy lists. I drew cute little boxes next to each item. There was always something else to do so the list never reached completion. It continually morphed into a new iteration. I was always busy. I am also a recovering perfectionist.   Not only were my days filled with completing tasks, I had strict standards to live up to. My self...

Welcome it All

Many of us have a conditional relationship with ourselves. We focus on what we don’t like and want to change toward some view of being a better person, having a better body or achieving more success in all its many forms.  I’m all for self improvement but toward what end? When we have a feeling or reaction that makes us uncomfortable in any way we rationalize, blame, deny or judge those feelings....
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