I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Laura Musick Wright’s reflection, “My Rule of Life – A Daily Prayer.”
“Dearest monks and artists, it has been such a privilege and honor to take this journey with you. It brings me such deep and profound joy to support others in integrating the contemplative and creative paths of life.”
—Christine Valters Paintner, The Artist’s Rule – A twelve-week journey.
Allow me, dear Christine, to thank you! My participation in your 12-week creative journey, The Artist’s Rule, has brought forth such deep and profound joy. Through the guided exploration of monastic wisdom for nurturing my creative soul, you taught me many jewels of desert, Celtic and Benedictine spirituality. This focused contemplative and creative exercise has birthed a profound self-expression, to more clearly establish and identify with my personal, Rule of Life.
The accompanying graphic is the culmination of my creative process – my final exercise for Week Twelve – Creating an Artist’s Rule of Life. Before I take a deeper dive into the meaning of the design I would like to share a bit of background on how I arrived at my Rule of Life.
I have always felt a deep spiritual connection to our collective creative genius – our God. It revealed itself throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. But did I always pay attention to God’s creation within my own experience?
I was born in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and raised during my early childhood in the beautiful New England community of Hanover, New Hampshire. I grew up through my adolescence in picturesque Ithaca, New York. Marriage and my husband’s career as a Forester brought me back to the Rocky Mountains of Vail, Colorado and later the Green Mountains of Vermont. I have been fortunate to have a ready connection to nature in my neighborhood throughout my entire life.
As a child, I spent many hours creating fairy houses along a hillside stream next to my house. I would make a playdate with myself and my dolls to explore mystery and romance. From furniture made of sticks and stones to the fabrics of pine needles and acorns, I was nature’s interior designer.
The stream would flow in and around this dwelling and offer me palpable peace and tranquility. I was especially joyful with the springtime snow melt or a fresh rainstorm, giving the stream a more powerful presence in the story. Each episode of the streamside series was joyful and rejuvenating.
During Week Nine of The Artist’s Rule, I was literally grounded in the heaven of my childhood when I found myself creating a natural Mandala by a stream. My Inner Monk said through my heart, “This is your individual expression of God’s creative genius.” And what a feeling it was as I left the mandala by the streamside and returned to my home. I was certainly paying attention to God’s Creation within myself.
When I began the 12-week journey I was searching for a deeper, more present connection to God through personal creative expression. After years of creating for others (my clients) as a graphic designer, I had often yearned for the time and energy to create for myself – my “God-self.” Typically, there was always something to distract me during my personal hours with life’s “uncreative” tasks or serving others before myself. I was consistently denying myself the opportunity to let my heart speak.
During Week Two, my Inner Artist spoke to me through it’s own Wisdom Card saying, “Can you come to the knowing that there is no other time in which to express yourself but NOW?” And my Inner Monk chimed in, “Why do you deny me the opportunity to go deep into your heart…to seek the truest meaning in each moment?” Wow! I was ready to pay attention and make it happen! Week by week I found fulfillment in the exercises outlined in The Artist’s Rule.
The final exercise came about as the culmination of twelve weeks of creative contemplation and creativity. What consistently came to me was the bold message, “Let the prayer be a journey of discovery!” And so I decided to create “My Rule of Life – A Daily Prayer. The graphic shown here is my daily prayer.
This prayer consists of six segments to guide my prayerful journey in a more structured manner. Each step serves a purpose to initiate a deep presence with God, for me as a human being, and to more closely align myself with the tasks at hand throughout my day. The segments are illustrated with a visual image – icons – which help me to make an immediate connection to my inner truth. Throughout the day I may not remember the exact words of the prayer, but the memory of the visual icons gives me an immediate link back to my purpose. Each segment brings me closer to the all of all – the unified expression of Love within myself. And so it goes…
My Rule of Life – A Daily Prayer
With reverence, I gather with you as one to express my true nature. I focus on self-alignment with my inner beauty — my God-Self — my deep abiding Love of All.
For today, moment by moment and step by step, I ground myself in Love by centering in your Truth. I feel my feet on the earth as if my toes are sinking into the sand.
[honoring the body]
I take every breath with the intention to grow, learn, and love. Daily, I nurture my mind, body, and spirit through sleep, meditation, prayer, nutrition, exercise, and creative expression.
[opening to spirit]
I dedicate time to receive your inspiration through Love. I listen for your guidance and wisdom to instruct my purpose. I trust that what I need to be of service is here for me.
I create for your glory without constraints. I go deep into the process, losing time to find eternity. I stay within the beauty of the unfolding, enjoying the immersion, expressing Something Pertaining to God.
[embracing the divine within]
I embody my Rule of Life — to authentically be and share Love. I am in your heart expressing Joy. Glory be to me, you, and all! Amen
Borrowing from Christine’s eloquent closing message at the end of the 12 week journey, I offer you my prayer…
Dearest monks and artists, it has been such a privilege and honor to share this journey with you. It brings me such deep and profound joy to exchange with others in integrating the contemplative and creative paths of life. Blessings to our Inner Monks and Artists! May we journey together in daily prayer. Thank you!
Laura (Laurie) Musick Wright, has a life-long connection to the natural expression of God’s creative genius. A career graphic designer, she has explored a divergent yet inclusive spiritual path, beginning at her childhood United Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, and along the way through Catholicism, Buddhism, A Course in Miracles, and the teachings of Joel Goldsmith. She loves to share love with a smattering of posts found at “Laura’s Love Notes.” She is a master healing arts practitioner of Reiki and the hands-on modality, “Bioenergetic-shen treatment®” founded in Parma, Italy. This treatment aligns the body, mind, and spirit through the energy of the heart. She focuses her healing life force energy on a person’s unique inner beauty to bring about their own self-healing resulting in a more vital life condition. She longs to more deeply explore her ancestral roots in Scotland and England. She lives in Latham, New York.