Loving Advent

Christmas is coming
but Advent is here.
A time of waiting –

Not for gifts to open
but for our very selves.
Our hearts open slowly.

We must wait and wonder.
Something new will come
out of the darkness.

Let yourself sink
into the unknowing.
Bring a pillow, get comfortable.

Waiting in Advent
is like planting
bulbs for the spring.

-Pamela McCauley

Pam was one of the participants at our Awakening the Creative Spirit program last month and a longtime reader of this blog and poetry contributor.  I love her poem about the waiting of Advent — “Not for gifts to open /but for our very selves.”  What is the gift you are waiting for this season?  I don’t mean the new gadget or book, but the revelation about who you are at your very core.  What are the practices in your life that help you with that waiting, making it an attentive and expectant time? Knowing there is something brilliant and luminous deep within you already, if you only thought to begin looking. Knowing it will take time to blossom the way a flower begins as a tiny seed long before the grand unfolding of her petals.

Yesterday’s art-making exercise didn’t include any of my own photos.  It was a very full day, so I wanted to see what would happen if I gave myself only a half hour at most to create something, working very intuitively.  I don’t like it as much as Sunday’s art, but there is a freedom in being able to create small pieces in short periods of time just to keep the creative juices flowing.  Also, someone gave me one of these Elephant wood panels to use for collage and I like it much better than the canvas, because the canvas stretches in the middle.  So now I have to swing by the art store to pick up a few more to work with.

Art-making is a great practice to become intimate with the landscape of waiting. It gives me a way to tend to the images that are flowering in me. It becomes a container to hold my deepest longings.  It is a path to discovering the things I did not even know I loved or dreamed of.

Speaking of things I love, go visit Bette’s blog to see her latest woodblock carving — doesn’t it make you just want to grab a drum and head out under the night sky?

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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