Making Things

Daring Muse Encounters is a workshop I am leading right now. We use art and writing to invite our muse to enter. Once again, we see how a focus on creative process awakens us.
Creativity connects us to the unfolding Mystery of life. 
Make things!
Make art.  Bake apples. Knit mittens. Write a poem. Make something that connects you to your soul. Keep your soul lit.
I had NO idea how raggedy life could be when I wrote the following blog in 2016.  The message is still true and now more important than ever. 
Here is my message from back then…
Raggedy times, like we are living in now, hold potential. I didn’t always feel this way.  I trust times like these more than repressed times. During those times denial plasters over cultural wounds. Breaking open is what happens in a healing process. It’s the same in our individual lives as in our cultural lives. Until we face what’s hurting, it continues to fester.
I lived through the upheaval of the 1960’s.  Tumultuous times are with us now. Open wounds are nasty looking.  I do my best not to tumble into them.  After practicing countless balance poses in yoga, I see that my focus determines if I fall or not.
Spiritual practices are tested at times like these. Forty-seven years ago fear flooded my thoughts. Me, a young mother, fretted over the world my children would inherit. My worried mind can still stir, but now it often settles with meditation, prayer and yoga. Acts like these keep our souls shining and are not “happy face solutions.” They cultivate steadiness.
A month ago the Dalai Lama said, “Action not prayer will bring about peace.” A powerful statement from an avid meditator and prayer enthusiast.  I am sure he’d say we need both.
Thanks to the League of Women Voters, I was an active member in my twenties, political discourse and action on social issues are important to me. Being a social worker has encouraged sensitivities about the struggles many of us face. Reading about issues, ferreting out information and working for candidates is something I’ve done most of my adult life.
Still the bigger challenge for me is, how do I hold a place of peace when fear boils over?
My focus often turns to making things when my life wobbles.  Making things soothes me. It doesn’t matter what I make. It might be a pan of baked apples, a poem, a quilt, or a meal. Deeply engaging with words, paints, cloth or food taps into a part of us that can lay dormant during busy days. It might be just what we need to do. These acts, no matter how simple, feed our souls.
The creative process teaches us many lessons like these: Acts of creation pull us out of our familiar patterns. They ask us to trust something more than our intellect. We’re schooled in how to move using inner guidance. We learn to act when we don’t know what will happen next.  We practice entering the Mystery that is beyond reason. All of these are invaluable to living in the moment.
Creativity affirms life.
Recently, someone sent me Dr. Estes’ Letter to A Young Activist During Troubled Times. I believe Estes wrote these words over a decade ago. Her powerful lines are as true now as they were then. She says, “Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.”
Her sage advice helps me know what we are called to do.  This is why we do our spiritual practices. They keep us focused on higher good. This is why I pick up a paintbrush, spoon or pen when life looks dark. Something is waiting to come into form. I can help it along by keeping my soul lit.
I will stay informed. I will take action. I will keep making things. This is how I keep my soul lit.
I’d like to know…
How do you keep your soul lit?