Reflections

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Art-Making as Spiritual Practice

So much of the work I do is making a safe space for folks to remember the delights of creative expression and to explore and play with paint, markers, collage, poetry, movement, words, and sound. I always introduce the practice of art-making in the context of prayer, hoping to convince others that God can really be found in the playful and experimental places of our lives. I often need to remind people that in the Judeo-Christian tradition we actually believe we were created in the image of a Creator God. This molding of humans as creative beings imparts a profound

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Be a Blessing

I tend to listen to music while I am driving.  When I am at home I cherish silence and stillness, so I find car trips especially good times to explore new music.  It was a treat to listen to Trish Bruxvoort Colligan’s CD Splash! Bathtime and Bedtime Music for Grown-Up Girls (don’t you just love the title?)  Reading Trish’s blog Story Midwife (definitely worth a visit) I know I have found a kindred spirit and her singing voice is so lovely.  As often happens while listening to a new CD, I find a song that captivates me and I start

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Seattle Sunset

I couldn’t resist sharing this photo I just took. Today we hit record temps of 95 degrees (and no one has air conditioning in the Northwest because normal summer temps are 75)! So despite my sweltering, when I took my pooch out I had to revel for a few moments in the beauty of this sunset. Truly an icon for me. If you are in Seattle or another heat-wave stricken place, what do you do to stay cool? I find my creative energy positively wilts in this weather (except, I guess, for photography!).  -Christine Valters Paintner

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Into the Forest

        Lost Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you. If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The

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Nature as Icon Space

Sunrise over Georgia Strait, Sunshine Coast, BC I am up in British Columbia for a couple of days on the Sunshine Coast with a dear friend of mine. As I sit on the deck looking out over Georgia Strait to evergreen covered islands I am aware that nature is a holy text for me, an icon, a window to the divine presence at work in the world. Much as we might spend time gazing upon an icon or our beloved, so too is my gaze drawn to this most holy and splendid of sights. I can spend hours meditating with ocean

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Spontaneity and Limitations

Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter – like the river banks – forcing the spontaneity into various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.   – Rollo May The creative life requires this gentle tension between freedom and structure, or spontaneity and limitations as May says.  This is where a Rule of Life can be helpful, providing a gentle trellis of structure for our lives.  When approached with freedom and playfulness, boundaries can really help spark our creativity.  I find in my teaching, I need to introduce participants gently and slowly

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Creating Personal Altars

  I have an altar space in my prayer corner in our living room. It is set on top of a beautiful old secretary desk that is from my father’s family and so in the last century and a half has traveled from Latvia to Vienna to New York to Sacramento to San Francisco to Berkeley to Seattle (those last four just in the last ten years).  There is a secret compartment inside and when I first lifted it open I discovered a shipping document that had the seal of the Third Reich on it, quite a history it has.  Inside

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Give Birth Slowly

A New Moon teaches gradualness  and deliberation and how one gives birth  to oneself slowly. Patience with small details  makes perfect a large work, like the universe.  What nine months of attention does for an embryo  forty early mornings will do  for your gradually growing wholeness.  -Rumi Imagine if we allowed the moon to teach us the wisdom of patience.  Or pregnancy to teach us the wisdom of slowness.  What in your daily life might you take the time to observe to be reminded of the beauty and necessity of the slow unfolding of our souls?

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BLOG Subscription Option

I have received some email requests from folks asking about how to subscribe to this blog.  I have discovered Feedblitz, a simple website that does this well.  Your email is used only to send you blog updates and is a separate process from being on the Creating Space mailing list.  Here are the instructions: REGISTER for the service by clicking here.  A new window will open and all you give is a valid email address and a password. An email is sent to you to confirm your registration. CLICK on the LINK provided to CONFIRM Log on! CLICK ON “New Subscription” from the menu on the right.

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Trust In the Slow Work of God

To follow up on my last post, some wonderful and wise words from the great mystic Chardin: Above all, trust the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new, and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stage of instability – and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you. Your ideas mature gradually

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