Becoming Magic: the First Step

I’ve wanted to be magic my whole life. 

I’ve wanted the world to be magical.  I’ve wanted a magical God, who did real miracles.  And I wanted to understand the intersection of magic and science, or what I would now call spirituality and science.  Mental telepathy, the energy of crystals, people getting healed through laying on of hands, astrology – all of it have fascinated me since I was a child.

Do you relate?

If I had been born into a culture other than ours, some adult would have probably realized early on that I was called to be a ‘Wayfinder’ – a medicine woman, a priestess, a shaman, a healer.  I would have been schooled in the technologies of magic – given tools to match my curiosity and desire.  But that component of mentoring is missing from our culture, so those of us who are born knowing we’re light workers have to chart our own course through a lot of possibilities.  It’s taken me years, but I’ve gradually found my way toward my own true north.  I’ve found my way to becoming a modern-day Wayfinder.

If you’re resonating with this, I want to help you find YOUR way!

You wanna know when things started getting different (and lots better) for me?  Really different?  When I encountered, over the past few years, various authors and teachers who had delved deeply into that place where magic and science intersect.  And one of the books that has been most transformative has been “Finding Your Way in a Wild New World” by Martha Beck.  As a sociologist, she researched commonalities found among the training and work of ‘Wayfinders’ of many cultures, and discovered that the first step of becoming magic is learning to drop into what she calls, ‘Wordlessness,’ a state where we’re thinking in images, not words.

Wordlessness as a skill is useful on all kinds of levels.  It’s wonderful to live inside a brain/mind that’s not constantly spinning with thoughts.  So you may want to sign up for my free class just to learn this one piece.  But if you have a hunch you might be one of these Wayfinders I’m talking about, learning Wordlessness is essential for all the rest of what you’re called to do.

No, I haven’t managed to manifest everything single thing I ever wanted.  I haven’t yet levitated or walked on coals.  But I have seen a lot of miracles, a lot of answered prayers, a lot of synchronicities.  I have bent a stainless steel spoon, experiencing it become soft and warm in my hands and agreeing to bend for me.  I’ve been out hiking and called coyotes and snakes to show themselves…and seen them.  I’ve experienced energy flowing out of my hands to heal others.

And you?  Have you been longing for magic your whole life?  Even if you’re feeling a little sheepish to admit it?  Or maybe you haven’t quite stepped into your magical self, but you’ve stuck a big toe in and you want more.  Or perhaps you’re well acquainted with the frustration of believing in magic but not seeing results.

It’s time for a growth spurt!  That’s why I’ll be teaching a one-hour FREE class via teleconference.  This training, called “Wordlessness:  Finding the Peaceful Place in Your Brain,” is for you if you know you’re one of those Wayfinders, or you’re a Wayfinder Wannabe — you know you’re called to be a magical being — you want to accept the call — you want to grow!  This class is also for you if you simply are sick of the endlessly whirling thoughts in your head, and you’d just like a little peace and quiet up there.

I hope you’ll join me live on this call:

Date:  Thursday, June 29th, 2017
  • 11:30am Eastern Time
  • 10:30am Central Time,
  • 9:30am Mountain Time
  • 8:30am Pacific Time

The call will be recorded if you can’t make it live, but you gotta sign up to get the recording.

Sign up HERE!

Believing in YOU and your infinite, glorious, magical self,
Cynthia

Doing Manifesting Wrong

I have a great business accountability partner.  We talk each week about what we accomplished in the previous week, what we procrastinated on, what didn’t go so well and what flowed.  We set commitments for ourselves for the coming week.  And we talk about what we want to manifest.

For 4 or 5 weeks, I’ve been trying to manifest the same thing.  And it hasn’t happened.  Finally, rather than just putting it on my list of commitments again, and feeling frustrated again, I asked my partner if she had any insight into why it wasn’t happening for me.

And we figured out that it was because I didn’t have that deep knowing that what I wanted to manifest already WANTED to happen.  What do I mean by that?  Back in my charismatic Christian days, I would have said that I had heard the voice of God about it — God was already speaking the thing into existence.  Martha Beck says that she drops into the Everywhen and discovers something wants to happen.  You might feel it as that gut feeling or that knowing that just dropped into your intuition:  you know that you know that a certain thing is coming your way.

But whatever we call it, it’s the same thing:  you have a knowing in your know that something wants to come into existence.  So then the ‘manifesting’ part becomes simply the faith that you’ve already seen it, and you can trust that it will be.

My problem was that I didn’t have the knowing about what I wanted to manifest these past few weeks.  I hadn’t taken the time to ask the divine what was waiting to be created.  I hadn’t dropped into the Everywhen to see what wanted to happen.  Instead of co-creating something based on a deep knowing, I was trying to force a good idea to happen.

It doesn’t work.

So my commitment for this week is to take the time to — whatever you want to call it —  listen to the voice of God, drop into the Everywhen, check in with your knower — about what wants to happen regarding this particular thing.

I’ll let you know what happens.

Why Affirmations Don’t Actually Work

I was coaching someone last week, a lovely, conscious, self-aware soul, and he said at one point, “I’m pretty good at affirming my way out of things,” referring to negative thought patterns.  Our conversation moved on, but later, I was thinking about something:  affirmations don’t actually work.

Well, they do work, in a way, but not the way we usually think.

What an affirmation?  An affirmation is a statement of a truth we believe in our head or we think we should believe.  It might be something as simple as, “I am loveable,” or “God loves me.”  It is often a statement of something that you WANT to believe is true, but don’t quite.  Some examples might be:

  • My hormones are perfectly balanced.
  • My living space is peaceful and filled with love.
  • My interactions with my boss are helpful to both of us.

In the years since books like The Secret or You Can Heal Your Life have come out, lots of people have tried repeating affirmations.  And they do sometimes bring some comfort or even some change.

But it takes a freakin’ lot of work to keep repeating an affirmation over and over, trying to force your brain to receive it, trying to make it sink into your heart.  Affirmations seem to lose their effectiveness after a while.  Or we desperately say them, while knowing we don’t actually believe them even though we want to or know we should.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that we’re using affirmations all wrong.  Affirmations are like bandages.  They stick to the surface of our bodies, helping keep our blood inside us and infections out.  But bandages don’t actually cause healing.  They just hold space for healing to happen.  Underneath the bandage, the wound still exists.

And in this metaphor, what’s under the bandage?

Lurking inside us, deeper than our good words of affirmation, are all kinds of painful things we ACTUALLY believe.  Things like:

  • I don’t deserve to be loved
  • I’m a bad person
  • If he/she/they really knew me, they wouldn’t like me
  • I’m worthless
  • I’m stupid
  • I’ll never make enough money

…and on and on.  And these are the beliefs that are REALLY controlling your life.  Why?  Because they’re the things you believe in that primal, innermost part of your soul.

So if you’ve been pushing yourself to affirm only the good, to think only positive thoughts, and all the rest of it, what now?

We need to let our real beliefs come to the surface. 

“NOOOOOOOOO,” I hear you scream.  “I don’t want to go into all that negativity.  I don’t want to create a negative reality.”

But those beliefs are there whether you acknowledge them or not.  So wouldn’t it be simpler and take less energy to admit their reality?  Because when we let our worst thoughts come to the surface and we admit that they’re there, we stop fighting with reality.  And when we fight with reality, we only lose 100% of the time.

So I dare you:  the next time you find yourself feeling triggered in your emotions by someone or something, ask yourself what the most immature, selfish, ugly part of yourself is saying right now, and bingo!, you’ll know what you really believe.

Then and only then can you begin to heal the wounds, when you’ve ripped off the bandages and faced the reality of the wound.  And once you heal the wound, the affirmation-bandages magically turn into beautiful banners of truth waving over your life.

In my next email, I’m going to talk about how we can completely dissolve those painful beliefs, but I don’t want to leave you hanging if this email stirred up your emotions.  Please email me if you want to talk.  (cynthia [at] MagicCarpetLifeCoaching dot com).   I offer one-hour free sessions over the phone where we can explore whether I can help you do some thought-dissolving.  And for those of you who’ve already done one of my free sessions and your knower is saying it’s time to work together and heal some of those wounds, let me know!  I’m here for you!

Are You Annoyed?

In my culture of middle-class America, people are nice.

Especially women.

There has been a high cultural value placed on not expressing anger.  But that’s shifting.  Have you heard people saying lately that it seems like people all around us are getting more and more angry?

But I have a hunch this isn’t a surge of NEW anger that’s welling up.  Instead, I think lots of people are suddenly getting in touch with anger that’s been buried inside them for years.  And this could ultimately be really, really good for all of us.

I’ll give you an example of something happened to me recently, when I felt annoyed, was too nice, but didn’t actually know I was angry until afterwards.  While we were under contract to sell our house, one of the things that we needed was a new survey.  I had been told in advance that no one needed to enter the house.  Two men arrived, and the one who seemed to be in charge knocked on the door and introduced himself.  Then they started doing their surveying thing.

A little while later, he knocked again and asked me if he could see our house because it was so cute.  I was completely caught off guard because when a house is for sale, you’re supposed to contact the realtor and have them arrange an appointment for you to see it.  Plus, once a house is under contract, you stop showing it, and he would have known we were under contract, because that’s why we needed the new survey.

But that darn belief that says I’m supposed to be ‘nice’ rose up in me and drowned out the voice that said it felt inappropriate for him to ask.  So I let him in and showed him the ground level, which is basically one open space.  As he looked around, I sort of walked with him, then ended up between him and the stairs.  My whole body language was saying, “Okay, you can look around here, but not the bedrooms.  That’s the end of your tour.”

Then he said, “Can I see the rest?”

I said, “Well, it’s not clean like it was for the showings.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” said he, and just came barging straight towards me.  He didn’t actually touch me, but only because I instinctively stepped out of the way.  I followed him through the rest of the house, feeling completely uncomfortable that I was alone with an unknown man looking at our bedrooms.

But did I tell him?  No, I just chatted pleasantly about how much we’ve loved the house since we bought it.

Why????

Because my training in niceness was so strong.  Even though I felt physically vulnerable, and even though his actions were completely inappropriate and unprofessional, I didn’t protest.  In fact, in that moment, I didn’t even know I was angry.   If someone had asked, I might have noticed I felt ‘annoyed.’

(Just so you know the end of the story before I make my point, I did call the company later and complained to the owner, who agreed that it was not appropriate.)

Feeling annoyed – there have been a few people in my life who always say they are annoyed, never that they are angry.  My mom was one of those.  She was one of the kindest people in my life, and she seldom got visibly angry.  She got annoyed.  I just looked up the root of ‘annoy,’ and it is from a Latin word that means to make odious, i.e., to make hateful.  I have a hunch that when we say we are annoyed, or something is annoying, we often mean it more strongly than we are willing to express – that we are angry.

Why is it good to know we’re angry?

Because anger that isn’t acknowledged doesn’t go away; it just morphs into other unpleasant forms.

Morphed anger can become:

Perfectionism, which is anger that you’ve turned on yourself when you don’t live up to your own standards, even if they’re unreasonable.  You make it impossible to be happy with yourself, or satisfied, or to love yourself, because the standards are too high.  Perfectionism is actually just a code-word for self-hatred.  You probably have a case of perfectionism and self-hatred if, when you make a mistake, you say things to yourself like, “You’re so stupid.  You just did it again.  Why do you always…?  Why can’t you ever…?”

Depression, which is anger that feels powerless to change either yourself or your circumstances.  Our sense of personal power is zapped, and we live in victim mode, allowing life to happen to us and feeling sorry for ourselves.  And depression can make us more prone to illness or addiction.

Volatility, which is anger directed at the wrong target.  Volatility is experiencing more anger at a situation than most people would think is warranted.  Volatility is getting mad at the store clerk when actually you’re angry with your spouse.

The next time you find yourself feeling ‘annoyed,’ but perhaps still acting nice, just ask yourself this question:  am I angry?

And what if you discover you ARE angry?  I have two suggestions.

Suggestion One is forgiveness.  I survived a terrorist attack.  Click on the link below to listen to my story, and how I realized I was angry and learned to forgive.

Suggestion Two is to schedule a one-hour free ‘I’m Annoyed and I Don’t Know What To Do About It’ Breakthrough session with me.  Just email me on cynthia [at] MagicCarpetLifeCoaching dot com, and let me know you’d like to talk, and we’ll get something on the calendar.  I can help you go from feeling annoyed, acting nice, and allowing your anger to morph into something worse, to learning how to process anger in healthy, useful ways.

I’m a Failure (You Ever Say That?)

I’m a failure.

Yep, that’s the first thing I said to myself when I set a challenge for myself and didn’t reach it.

Cynthia, you’re a failure.

You see, I got all excited when I read about a business guru doing a 30-day challenge to post on Facebook Live every day.  I’ve been wanting to create lots of short guided meditations to give away, and FB Live is the perfect tool for that.  So I made a big announcement that I was going to do 30 days in a row.  I did Day 1, a meditation for when you’re tired, stressed and overwhelmed.  I did Day 2, and I was still feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed, so that’s what that day was about.

Then I missed 2 days.  I tried to justify that they were weekend days, and I hadn’t decided if I was going to do weekends or not.  But I was mad at myself about it, because deep inside, I knew I intended to do 30 days straight.  It wasn’t a realistic intention, but that was my intention.

Plus, the video I did on Day 3 got all ‘messed up’ because I was interrupted while I was trying to record it.  It was supposed to be about stillness in the midst of chaos, but the chaos interrupted me as I was record.  So that was a failure.

I wanted to go back and delete that video, but then I thought, no, this could be a great example of overcoming obstacles.  So I tried again to record my stillness in chaos video.  But I found it really hard to enter in to the stillness.  Another failure.

Or was it?

Was any of it a failure???

Or is that just a story I’m telling myself?

Maybe there is another story that is more true.  How about this story:  the videos I’ve created so far are helping people.  It doesn’t matter that I skipped a few days.  Also, I haven’t tried to do something like this before, creating a meditation at the same time every day, so there’s a natural learning curve.  I’m a beginner at doing this 30-day challenge, so it’s not going to be perfect.  I can just start again.

Ah, that feels so much better.

Check out my videos here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXr6cswIBUY0n_ThrsF4vYQ

Free Meditation if You’re Getting Triggered by Recent Events

Wow, it’s been an eventful couple of weeks around the world.  Emotions are running high, as evidenced by protests, the content of our Facebook feeds, the sheer quantity of calls, emails and letters sent to our political representatives, and the family discussions at the dinner table.
Are you getting triggered?
In other words, are your emotions being activated?  Are you feeling angry, powerless, heartbroken, hopeless or fearful, as you read the news?  Are you torn over whether to unfriend that distant cousin because you can’t believe they’re siding with this or that opinion or politician?
Do you long for something you can DO to help the situation?
If you are, this free gift from me might just hit the spot.
I’m calling it my Evening News Meditation.  It’s an audio mp3 file you can listen to online or download.  I just went back and listened to it again, because I recorded it in September 2016 but then got sidetracked by other projects and didn’t send it out.  I discovered it’s even more relevant now than a few months ago.
We can change what’s happening in our world!  We can shift the energy of our country’s culture and the global culture.  We can BE the change we want to see in the world.  And we can do it every day, right in the midst of our normal lives.  Yes, we need to do the exceptional things, the things that call on us for an extra sacrifice of our time and energy, like protesting or contacting our representatives.
But ultimately, our energy of unconditional love, of forgiveness, and of peace, will empower us to make the difference we want to make in our world.
I won’t say ‘Enjoy,’ because this recording is more likely to challenge you.  But I will say, ‘Be empowered to live in a flow of world-changing compassion.’
Please feel free to share this post, the link or the audio itself with anyone you like.  I just want to get this tool out there to as many people as possible.

Confession Time: “I’d Kill Them with My Bare Hands If I Could”

hand-grenade-1188393“You don’t feel angry at first when someone throws a grenade that lands a few feet behind you.  You don’t feel the anger for a long time, in fact.  And since you’re a good Christian who’s supposed to love your enemies and be a reflection of Jesus, you shouldn’t be angry, right?  Besides, it’s disconcerting to acknowledge anger when you have a sinking feeling your group provoked the attack.”

That’s a quote from the opening of my memoir.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was a Christian missionary, there was a terrorist attack against a group of us while we were working in a Muslim area. Two of my dear friends were killed, and I still have shrapnel from the grenade.

I no longer believe there’s only one way to God, and I no longer agree with the proselytizing I was doing, but I’m deeply grateful for all that I gained from twenty-five years of acknowledging hatred and anger, and eventually figuring out how to forgive.

Did you know that we produce some of our best brain waves when we practice forgiveness?  ‘Forgiveness’ isn’t a glamorous topic, but did you know it sets us free from stuff like perfectionism, self-hatred, depression, or beating yourself up?  How’re you doin’ on all that?

NEWSFLASH:  Practicing forgiveness increases our productivity, our health, our capacity to love, our creativity, and a bunch of other awesome things!

Join me for my free training, “Forgiving the Terrorists:  What I Learned about Love from a Grenade Attack.”  I’ll be telling my story, and then you’ll experience one of my tools I created for myself, that I now use on my Paths of Conscious Forgiveness, which will give you exactly what you need to take your next tiny step toward healing and freedom.  You’ll understand that you can live fearlessly in an uncertain world.  And you’ll be challenged to examine who you might despise or have disdain for, even if you don’t realize it, and how, with Conscious Forgiveness, you can free yourself to play your beautiful, needed part in the world.

This no-cost training is for you if:

  • You’ve ever been angry or you have someone to forgive – ha ha, most of us, right?
  • Or perhaps you’re one of the victims of something heinous, whether on an individual scale or on the scale of global conflict, and you are reaching out for hope, for help, and for healing
  • You want to bring good into the world, but you just can’t figure out how
  • The problems of our world seem so huge and overwhelming that you sometimes just want to give up and live selfishly with your head in the sand
  • You feel like our country and culture is in deep trouble
  • You are heartbroken, angry, and/or afraid when you hear about the latest hate crime or terrorist attack, and images of bombs, beheadings, refugees, etc., haunt you, and you just don’t get how the perpetrators could be so evil

Are you ready to leave that stinkin’ anger (and all the depression, perfectionism, self-hatred, disease, bitterness and other junk that suppressed anger morphs into) behind, and try a step or two on the Path of Conscious Forgiveness?  Are you ready to produce some great brain waves that will enhance your well-being?  Are you ready to live fearlessly?

I hope you’ll join me either:

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at:

  • 11:30am Eastern Time
  • 10:30am Central Time,
  • 9:30am Mountain Time
  • 8:30am Pacific Time

Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at:

  • 7:30pm Eastern Time
  • 6:30pm Central Time
  • 5:30pm Mountain Time
  • 4:30pm Pacific Time

And don’t worry, the call will be recorded if you can’t make it live (but you have to sign up to get the recording).  So hop over here TO REGISTER to save your spot on the call!

Save

Donald is a Gift

During this whole political season, I’ve heard so many people say they’re embarrassed, saddened, or ashamed that this ugliness is what we’ve come to. And I totally understand.  It’s sickening.  It’s cringeable.

But I’m starting to think Trump is the best gift our country could have received right now, because I perceive that his over-the-top misogyny is turning into a catalyst for real evolution of our culture.

As I’ve been reading the words of women all over the country who have been speaking out in incredibly brave, vulnerable ways over the past week or so, I, like so many others, have had a whole bunch of memories of serious ick come to the surface.  A lot of them are times when I played nice because ‘nothing really bad’ happened. Some are worse than that.

But yesterday, I suddenly discovered that I’ve made a profound decision:  I’m not going to play nice anymore.  I’m done.  Pity the next man who tries something with me — he’s gonna get 50 years of bottled anger unloaded on him.

So here’s one gift that Donald is bringing all the women of this country:  he has caused us to FEEL our bottled rage.  He has caused us to acknowledge the hundreds of times we’ve made ourselves small because we valued something else more than ourselves:  our job security, being thought of as a nice person not a bitch, or whatever was at stake if we said or did something.  He is opening our collective eyes, female and male, to see the depth of rape culture and entitlement.  He’s helping us see how we as women have colluded in the behavior.  And he’s pushing many of us to the tipping point where we’re discovering that we have the courage and strength to cause change.  Isn’t it crazy to think that Donald Trump is causing me to respect myself more???  But that’s how the Divine works – using whatever tools offer themselves, in order to guide us into more expanded consciousness, if we’re willing.

There’s another gift I see that Donald is giving me and all women:  a chance to learn to be rightfully angry without falling into a prejudice against all men, or feeling that women are superior – that we’re just more sensitive, more loving, etc.  Thankfully, my life is full of beautiful men.  But I have to admit that I’ve made a category in my mind of ‘those kind’ of men, the bad ones.  And whenever we generalize like that, it’s a prejudice.  And when we hold a prejudice, our anger turns to bitterness and damages us.

So I want to start a journey of forgiveness here, because forgiving the individual men who have violated me frees me, strengthens me.  I’m not able yet to forgive them all, but I’ll start with the ones that feel easier.  AP and PH, who as fellow first-graders, schemed to pull my dress up in the lunch line so they could see – what, my underwear? my undeveloped breasts? – I acknowledge my rage toward you.  I don’t excuse you.  You violated me.  You frightened me.  You made me feel dirty.  But there’s a golden space within me, and I choose to breathe in all the suffering you must have experienced to cause you to do that as 6 or 7-year-olds.  I hold your pain for a moment in the divine center of me, letting it dissipate into that loving, healing, warm, all-encompassing energy.  And I also breathe in all the pain and suffering you caused 6-year-old Cynthia, and the bottled rage.  And I allow it all to dissipate in that glowing space of complete love inside me.  AP and PH, I forgive you.  And I breathe out to you all the love of All That Is.

I’m not ready to do that yet for some of the others, but I want to become ready.  And at least for now, I can stop obsessing about what the next horrific thing that Donald will say or do, because I have a tiny speck of gratitude in my belly that the universe put him here in our lives and the collective life of us all, female and male, to bring about healing and growth.

Free Talk Today – Sunday, August 21, 2016

Today is the day! I’m taking yet another step out of my spiritual closet to tell the story of my journey. I’ve called my talk, “Spirituality on Your Terms: How to Escape the Power of Groupthink and Find a Deeper Connection with the Divine.” I’ll be giving the talk via conference call, and there are local phones numbers for countries all over the world, so if you’re outside the US, you can dial in without even paying for an international call.
 
I am giving this talk to help people who are struggling to sort out what they believe versus what their religious group teaches, but I’m aware that some of you who knew me 10 years ago or more, when I was a Christian missionary, are wondering how I arrived where I am today spiritually. I invite you to join me on the call to hear my story.
 
It’s completely free, so just click on the link to register and get the dial-in details. Can’t wait to ‘see’ you on the call!
 

“Art Doesn’t Preach Very Well, and Art that Preaches Is Propaganda” – How Religion and Creativity Get Tangled

According to my mom, I wanted to be a novelist by the time I was seven.  The summer I was sixteen, I wrote my first novel on an old manual typewriter.

Then I went off to college to major in creative writing, and became a Christian my freshman year.  I had a powerful encounter with the Divine, something I’d been longing for my whole life.  In other circumstances, I might have found the Divine in some other spiritual tradition, but Christianity was the door that opened to my hungry heart.  I fell in love with God.

There was so much that was magical in my new-found spirituality, but there was something destructive as well.

I began to think that I was supposed to ‘USE’ my writing, my creativity, to ‘serve God.’

 

Do you relate? 

Maybe you’re an artist and a creative within a religious tradition, and somehow you took on the idea that your work needs to portray your religion:

  • My stories should reveal some aspect of Jesus, right?
  • Your music should be about God, shouldn’t it?
  • Why aren’t you painting the cross or a dove?
  • What purpose does your art serve if it doesn’t teach others something???

Any of those feel familiar?

Throughout four years of college creative writing classes, I wrestled with every story idea that came to me.  Sometimes, I wrote in a way that was free and real, like a kite diving upward into the sky.  Like a hundred thousand flames burning at the hearts of a hundred thousand red flowers along the path in the land of the sunset.

But other times, I took the story ideas I received and tangled them up in a bunch of shoulds.

  • The contrived fairy tale about a girl who has to give up a string of beads to receive a necklace of real pearls…
  • The moralistic stories in the preachy coloring book…
  • The short story about monsters in the basement, written to make a point about how to protect against evil forces…
  • The fantasy novel that’s all about The Book…

After college I went on using art to preach for many years as a missionary.  Everywhere we went, we used skits and dances and stories to tell the world about Jesus.  Every piece was a (usually poorly) disguised allegory for our message.

What’s the problem with doing this?  We were earnestly trying to communicate something that we strongly believed in (myself included at that time).

But we had it all backwards.

We were starting with our message, which we believed was the one and only truth.  And then we shaped the art around the message to give people answers to questions they weren’t even asking.

That’s not art, at least not for me.  Art is starting with a question, and letting the process of creating the work reveal an answer.  Art is starting with my vulnerability or my confusion or my grief, and maybe…or maybe not arriving at understanding or peace.  Art takes the specific, the one rose, and presents its universality, instead of believing that it has universal truth with a capital T and forcing it on individuals.

I knew I didn’t like what we were doing, but for years I didn’t understand why.

Then, a phase I got from a wonderful performing arts instructor, the late Rod Wilson, finally made sense to me.  He said over and over, “Art doesn’t preach very well, and art that preaches is propaganda.”

And he talked about what he called, “useless beauty” – all the zillions of gorgeous flowers high up on mountainsides that no human ever sees, yet the Creator took time to make beauty there.

It took me a long time to free myself from the belief that I was expected to make art that preached.  But finally, back in the spring of 2005, the Divine gave me the idea for a new novel.  But saying it that way doesn’t begin to do justice to what happened.  The entire novel came to me complete – plot, characters, connections between the story lines – while I was out on a walk one lovely evening at sunset in Scotland.  It came as a sacred gift, although I still had to do the work of bringing it into form, one word at a time.

Maybe because receiving this work in such completeness felt like a sacred trust, I didn’t feel the need to impose a message on it.  Maybe it was because, although I didn’t know it yet, I was at the beginning of a decade during which I claimed my truth in every area of my life.  For whatever reason, I just wrote it as it came to me, without trying to impose meaning on it.

And do you know, the wild thing is that when I reread this novel, the things it says are truths and wisdom I didn’t actually know ten years ago, but they’re the very things I’ve been learning now.  My creative work is so much wiser than me.  And I am humbled.

 

 

Spirituality on YOUR Terms - simple square 1

Want to learn more about how religion gets tangled around our spiritual core?  I’m going to be giving my new, FREE teleseminar, Spirituality on YOUR Terms: How to Escape the Power of Groupthink and Find a Deeper Connection with the Divine.  I’ll be sharing more of my story of once believing I had The Truth, and what happened when I started questioning things like the existence of hell.  I’m using conference call technology, so you can dial in from anywhere!  The class is completely free and I’ll be recording it so you can download an audio mp3 file afterwards if you can’t be on the call live — you just need to sign up!  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!