Wishing for a Dip in the Creative Pool

“If you think of the universe as a vast electrical sea in which you are immersed and from which you are  formed, opening to your creativity changes you from something bobbing in that sea to a more  fully functioning, more conscious, more cooperative part of that ecosystem.

[. . .]

The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical union; the heart of the mystical union is an experience of creativity.” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way)

Today my wish may seem personal, because of my own dreams of becoming  a published author along with other creative aspirations. However, this wish goes beyond the personal because of some things I believe. I believe that there is energy that joins all life. I believe in a common pool of thoughts, experiences, and ideas–creative sparks–that some are able to access better than others. That pool contains the essence of creation. I believe that everyone has access to that creative pool, but some have cut themselves off and denied their own creative souls. I believe everyone is creative, although creativity takes different forms and is expressed in different ways.

I believe that living a creative life makes life worth living.

This doesn’t mean  that every person needs to be an artist or a writer in a traditional sense. It means that I wish for everyone to be able to access the power from that creative pool in order to enrich their lives. I wish  for everyone to be able to touch their inner child–for children are much closer to this creative energy–or dip into their hidden dreams to embrace their bliss beyond the day-to-day exercise of living.

I wish that everyone had the opportunity to swim in that creative pool, because I also believe that if we can recognize the things that connect us, we can find new answers to the problems that plague us. We will be less afraid of things that are different from us, because we will see  difference is another form of creativity, another expression of meaning drawn from this pool of energy that joins us.

“Why should we all use our creative power . . . ? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” (Brenda Ueland)

Sometimes I ask myself why I keep writing everyday. Why, when it seems like I will never break through to sell an actual book or to have my words read by more than a handful of people, do I keep trying? Why do I have pages and pages of creative writing, of short stories, of novel starts, of poetry, of journal entries, of essays that will never see the light of day?

The answer is  simple, writing is my way of accessing the energy within the pool, energy that connects me with all life.

There have been rare occasions when I so completely lose myself into the pool that I hardly know  the words that come out. Someone, something, some form of energy pours through me to write something that is beyond me,  even though it contains my words and my style. I love when that happens. I love when I lose myself to the flow of energy, of creativity and of words, and never notice the passage of time.

Some of my best work comes out of those moments. Some of my best blog posts have come out of those moments. For example, this piece of fiction entitled The Moon Calls.

Sometimes my dip into the creative pool leads me away from words and into directions I never expect.

The Storyteller

Today I wish that everyone would be able to experience the power of this creative pool and recognize what it really means . . . simply that we are all connected by the power of creation.

Who is ready to jump into the pool and go for a swim?

 

Celebrating Fears Faced

When I was in high school, I was accepted as a Rotary exchange student and was invited to go to Belgium for the year. I let the fears of others rule my decision and I stayed home.

That is one of my biggest regrets in life.

As I matured, I began to realize that letting fear stop you from taking chances means giving up on a lot of dreams and on living. I tried, when faced with fear, to push through it and face the fears. I wasn’t always successful, but I grew stronger and more courageous with each attempt, or so I thought.

Yet, something shifted again after I became a mother. Suddenly fear has control over me again, and more often than not I give into those fears. Fear of trying to publish. Fear of making friends. Fear of taking chances. I think this new hold FEAR has on me has something to do with the fact that my life is not my own–my decisions affect Nathan and Sarah. I can’t just pick up, take off, and take chances.

Yet, as I approach this birthday (Eek! The actual day is tomorrow) I find myself yearning to become the person who does not let fear stop her anymore. After I graduated from college and was on the job hung (following a one year internship at a theatre) I had two interesting options on the table:

  1. The more practical option of working for a Canada based Arts Administration Organization that sent people throughout North America to help arts organizations with reorganization and planning. This would have probably led to a solid career in Arts Administration and or Arts Advocacy (one thing I would still love to do ) and–more often than not in recent years ;)–I’ve thought being Canadian wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
  2. A job teaching at an English conversation school in Okayama, Japan.

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time (or even just the first of the celebratory posts), you know where I ended up.

In Japan in my early 20s.

Yet, the decision to go to Japan was not an easy one. It was a fear-filled one. It took some words of wisdom from one of the actors at the theatre company I was working out to help me make a choice. He said,

“There are no wrong decisions. There are choices that can go badly, but they always lead to the next decision.”

I tried to make those the guiding words of my life. This doesn’t mean we never make mistakes, but if we face those mistakes head on–despite our fears–we will make it through to new opportunities, new decisions, and new moments to face our fears.

So today I celebrate the moments in my life when I faced my fears and moved through them. Among those moments, I celebrate the day I got on a plane, headed for a country I’d never been to a job I never thought of, and cried my way from Boston to California before sitting in sleepless fear from California to Japan.

I hope someday to be that courageous again.

In Search of Fairy Tale Magic

This post was inspired by today’s Tiny Spark, written by Amber over at Tori’s blog. 

To Whom it May Concern:

I have been waiting a long time for an appearance from my Fairy Godmother, or for a man with a long beard to appear with my invitation to join a school of wizardry.  I’ve made hundreds, if not thousands, of wishes upon stars, and clapped until my hands hurt to prove my belief in fairies. I’ve looked for the pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, and I still open every new closet or wardrobe door with the hope that this time I could walk through to another world.  I’ve started building fairy houses on the back hill, hoping to at least hear the tinkle of laughter and music from an all night gathering.

A fairy house in a stump. Perfect neighborhood.

A fairy house in a stump. Perfect neighborhood.

I’ve believed in magic with all my might.

But still, you tease me and refuse to give me my hearts desire. Every time I ask for a little magical assist, or an answer to come in my dreams, you make me find alternative solutions instead.

Enough is enough. I hereby turn in my resignation and will no longer believe in the magic of others.

I plan to create my own magic instead.

Sincerely,

Lisa Kramer, Word-magic Weaver and Prince(ss) Charming

A fairy from my imagination.

A fairy from my imagination.

 

This Post is Brought to You By the Letter “F”

Friends, family, fun, fairies, fair, future possibilities, fantasy, fear of failure, frustration, and foolishness.

The letter F has had a starring role in my life this week.

It began with the Fairies. Monday was a school holiday in Massachusetts (you know the one that celebrates  the callousness of taking over other people’s homes and claiming it as our own).

We chose to celebrate by going on a little family adventure into the fantasy and wonder of fairies. We went to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old  Lyme, CT to see their Wee Fairy Village exhibit.

My favorite fairy house.

It had an uptree balcony where fairies could capture the sun and paint.

Of course, the fairies did not make an appearance in the wake of a hoard of loud, obnoxious, clumsy humans who had the tendency to touch things they shouldn’t, including trampling on some fabulous fairy landscapes and knocking over fences. Seems like the appropriate way to observe Columbus day, doesn’t it?

All sarcasm aside, the exhibit was lovely and some of my favorite fairy homes have inspired my family to build a fairy village in the rock garden behind the house. We haven’t started yet, but it could become a fabulous project. From the day I moved in, I thought it looked like a home for fairies and other wee creatures.

 

Don’t you think fairies would love to live here?

From Fairies we move onto fun with friends. On Wednesday I made another journey into Connecticut to pick up my friend Pam at the train station in Mystic. We had dinner at Mystic Pizza with Kristie, a fabulous college friend of mine. Okay, so Mystic Pizza doesn’t begin with “F” but the food was terrific, and the conversation was fantastic.

On Friday I spent the day at high school college fairs as an alumnae recruiter for Smith College. What an exhausting (although fun) way to spend the day. Kudos to those people who make a living doing that. It’s hard work trying to get overwhelmed college juniors and seniors to do more than give you a passing glance before running away with the look of scared rabbits as they try to avoid making choices about their future. Add to that the fact that I was fueled by caffeine to combat a night filled with insomnia, as well as  representing a women’s college, and the day became a combination of fun, frustrations, and fascinating observations. I did talk to about 8-10 students and meet an interesting woman, so at least it wasn’t an utter failure.

Speaking of failurefear of that has indeed been affecting my week as well (hence the insomnia). Its inevitable when pieces of my past meet (Pam is from one area of my life, Kristie from another) that I begin to reflect on the evil “coulda woulda shoulda’s” of my life, followed by a reflection on where I’ve failed and where the future leads. I’m a freak in this way, because I am very hard on myself, but I guess that goes with the territory of being a person who has always (perhaps foolishly) believed in the fantasy of living a life filled with adventure, good challenges,  fulfillment and fun.

But that leads me to another F that fell into my awareness last night. Have you ever read a job description that just felt like the perfect fit? I don’t want to jinx it, or go into too many details, but this position, which would be in a somewhat new field for me, has opened up my eyes and my dreams to future possibilities. Of course, I may not get it, but the least I can do is try. Failure here would be in not at least pursuing the possibility and seeing where it leads. I simply have to have a little faith in myself.

Today we will be following the fall by driving up to  Maine where we will leave Pam with her family after driving through fabulous fall foliage (I hope).

One of the fairies collected fall foliage for a fabulous artistic display.

I never realized how fantastic the letter F truly is.

May you all have a fabulous fall day full of fantastic, frolicking fun with friends and family, as well as fantabulous flowers, foliage, and future possibilities!

What was the guiding letter of your week?

 

Nothing is Impossible (100WCGU)

This image is Julia’s prompt for the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups this week. Be sure to visit her, and other posts. Maybe you would like to join in the fun?

One’s soul can be found
in far-reaching heights
where the silence of the wind
drowns out
the dream-crushing cry
of “Impossible!”

In loneliness
so sublime it sings
one achieves perfect
perception of what is . . .
indeed . . .
possible.

One step towards
the unknown
brings us one breath closer
to a world
where dreams exist
and everything is possible.

Fear of haphazard gusts
or the fragility
of standing near the edge
doesn’t stop the
reality
of achieving
the impossible.

Each agonized step
forces unused muscles to dream
and ignore
faceless voices that say
“You can’t!”
“You won’t!”
“No!”
The end reveals true
possibility

The Little Writer that Could(n’t)

 

The evil mancreature was bent on destroying each of us, because we were the group with the power to save the world. It sent terrifying robots and magical monsters disguised as friends so that they could get close and then the battle began. By the time we realized what was happening, it was almost too late.

“Run, Lisa!” someone yelled in the struggle for their life. “Only you can run to get us help! Only you can shut these creatures down if you reach the Capital.”

So I ran.  I had the powers of running with fleet feet at impossible speeds. I ran so fast that I was practically invisible. I could run up steep inclines and faster than traffic. I could weave up and down buildings and through alleys without a trip. The creature stalking me, trying to prevent me from saving my friends, lost me as I followed a complex path.  I only ran into difficulty while running up a giant tree that also served as a playground for children. I had to slow my pace then, for fear that I would harm them. I reached the top, only to discover the only way down and forward was a giant water slide. I climb on and start speeding down toward what I hope is safety. Out of nowhere some of the evil creatures hunting for me appear at the bottom of the slide. They have no idea where I am, but I seem to be speeding toward imminent capture.  What am I to do?

I wake up.

As usual, after my adrenaline stops pumping from a dream that lies somewhere between exciting adventure and terrifying nightmare, I lie in bed hoping I will go back to sleep. Sometimes I want to go back and finish the dream, see where the adventure takes me, defeat the monsters. Other times I know that sleep will not return, as my mind starts spinning with interpretations, trying to process and understand the meaning or the message.

This was one of those no-going- back- to-sleep times, but I think I understood.

A few days ago I crafted a post that made me proud. I spent time finessing every word, selecting the appropriate pictures, and trying to make it into a story someone would want to read. I read it out loud about a million times, checking for flow and language flaws. I did all of this for several reasons:

  • I always want my posts to be quality, and I want to start growing as a writer.
  • The post itself was about a labor of love.
  • I knew, because it was part of a Daily Post Challenge, that it would actually be seen by those with the power of selecting Freshly Pressed posts.

My end product, I thought, was one of my best.

If I hadn’t had high hopes, I would have waited to post that post either later today or tomorrow, as I won’t be giving the gift until this evening. I called my mother and asked her not to read my blog until tomorrow, because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise but I also wanted to try for that elusive golden ring.

Meanwhile, I spent the rest of the week working, for the first time in a while, on my new book. Ideas kept pouring out of me. I had found my writing groove, even if I am still unsure what genre of book I am writing. I felt a surge of new hope, even though (since this is for a course) I must now begin the process of figuring out how I might want to get this baby published. That’s the part that terrifies me, because I feel like finding a publisher or an agent is like battling those dream creatures disguised as friends.

It means putting myself out there and waiting to be judged. It means hoping for acceptance and facing rejection again and again and again.

It means the feeling of looking at the Freshly Pressed page and realizing that I was, yet again, not on it.

What am I doing wrong? I ask myself. Is it because I linked to two of my own posts, posts that were specifically related to the whole story I was trying to tell? Is it because I included ONE picture that did not belong to me, even though I linked to the source and cited it? Is it because I included ONE picture that I have used before? Or am I deluding myself into thinking that my writing is good when in reality it could be printed out and used as toilet paper?

I don’t know the answer. But, despite my disappointment, I continued to work on my book yesterday. I woke up from my nightmare and realized that I had to write, even if I am doomed to facing the demons and monsters on a daily basis. So I got out of bed and started writing this. I will continue to fight the demons, run the race, and mix my metaphors.  I will keep chugging away even if I never get over the mountain.

 

Yesterday I Began a Journey (100 WCGU)

This weeks 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups asks us to include …. the line was drawn ….. I have combined that with a little personal journey that I am on, as well as a foray into poetry (as I sometimes do). For those of you only interested in the quick read I offer the poem/challenge first, but am following it up with an explanation for anyone who wants to know more.

Yesterday I Began a Journey

Yesterday I began a journey
where the line was drawn between
who I am and who I want to be.

 My butterfly soul
danced a dance of new beginnings
around the strength found in the turtle and the moon

Lessons from people connected to the earth
tightened the bond between
mother and daughter
butterfly and turtle
creativity and hope.

Yesterday I began a journey
which will involve the beating 
of my heart drum
and the sound of thunder
dancing over the waves.

Yesterday I began a journey
with laughter, adventure, love and joy.
Today, the journey continues in words.

Yesterday I began a journey.

 

 The Explanation

Yesterday Sarah and I went on a spontaneous Girls’ Day adventure with my new friend (and I believe spiritual mentor)  Terry to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Sioux Falls During a Hot Dry Summer

Part of the adventure involved Sarah’s experiencing her first pedicure after watching me get one. It was a silly, fun, mother/daughter bonding experience.

Sarah tried to resist the giggles as her feet got tickled and massaged.

But it was almost impossible to stop laughing.

Especially when your toes are being painted purple while you wear silly shoes.

Lovely mother and daughter feet.

After our feet were fabulous, we went to downtown Sioux Falls to eat lunch. We ended up at Chedd’s, a place for gourmet grilled cheese. Then (once we were able to put real shoes back on) we wandered through some of the fabulous stores on Phillips Street. The first place we wandered into was The Prairie Star Gallery, which has the most beautiful, spiritual and amazing collections of indigenous art I’ve ever seen. The owner shared stories with us of her journey as well as the meaning behind some artifacts. I played and heard the song of a drum so deep and beautiful it still resonates in chest.  She told us about the legends of turtles, who represent (in some traditions) women and birth and the moon . Every turtle shell has 13 sections, which represent the 13 moons of the year. Along the edge of their shell are 28 segments, the time between each moon. Women would use turtle shells to keep track of their menstrual cycles.

I ended up buying a gorgeous children’s book because of the draw of this legend.

I’ve linked the image to the Amazon book description.

As I was thinking about turtles, and the journey, and indigenous legends and everything else, I kept pondering my recent butterfly revelations. I did a little web research and found this lovely legend:

An Indian Butterfly Legend

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must
capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since they make no sound, they can’t tell the wish
to anyone but the Great Spirit.

So by making the wish and releasing the butterfly
it will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

Author Unknown

All of these images and ideas are merging together into possibilities for me. Right now my mind is dancing with possibilities like:

  • an art project which will join these powerful images
  • a theatre production that shares some legends, all surrounding the shell of a turtle
  • perhaps a puppet play
  •  . . .

So you see, yesterday I really began a journey into possibility, spirituality and hope.

Today I Declare

Today is my independence day! I am tired of living up to the rules and perceptions of the world around me and losing myself along the way. I am tired of being “good ole’ reliable” Lisa, there to pick up the pieces, lend a hand, give good advice, solve the problem, and be on duty 24-7, while everyone else does whatever they want to do, regardless of anyone else. I am tired of being introduced only as, “someone who helps us out here” or “the wife of our a Technical Director” or “Sarah’s Mom.” I am tired of not having an identity of my own. So today I declare my personal independence. I hold these truths to be self-evident, that I am created equal, that I too am  endowed . . . with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  What does this mean? It means that from this day forward I will:

  • Give myself permission to write without guilt, even if it means closing my door or escaping to find a place to write on my own.
  • Let my family make their own mistakes without any interference from me.
  • Pursue projects and work that makes me feel fulfilled, even if it means that it cuts into the time I spend with my family.
  • Put myself first for at least one hour each day.
  • Insist that once in a while someone else must make a sacrifice, not just me.

Do I sound selfish? Perhaps, but I cannot continue to live my life feeling like I am only around to help others follow their dreams. I have every right to pursue dreams of my own. I am not doing anyone any favors, least of all my daughter, by allowing myself to be considered as a supporting player in my own life. So today I declare that it is my inalienable right to reach for the stars. If I crash and burn, at least I will look back on my life as one where I tried, I journeyed, and I never gave up on myself.

I intend to make it a life lived to the fullest.  I intend to find joy in every step of the journey. I want to look back and say, “I’m glad I lived the life I lived, and I am proud of who I am.”  If I can do that for myself, I can teach that to my daughter. If I can do that for myself, I will be the person I want to be.

 

 

 

 

Dreaming as an Adult Child

When I was little it was so easy to dream big. I could say “I want to be a ______” and believe that anything was indeed possible.

What did I want to be? My dreams and aspirations changed on a daily basis, sometimes, but there were definite common themes and connections

  • I wanted to be a famous author.  I wanted to save my family with my words, like Jo in Little Women or be invited to read and speak to others like Anne in Anne of Green Gables.
  • I wanted to be a director of plays and musicals.
  • I wanted to be an actress on Broadway or in the movies.
  • I wanted to be a journalist, traveling the world and helping make it a better place.
  • I wanted to be a doctor or some kind of missionary, saving lives in poverty-stricken countries.
  • I wanted to be a psychologist.
  • I wanted to be a geologist.
  • I wanted to be a marine biologist.
  • I wanted to be President of the United States
  • I wanted to be someone invited to teach in universities and colleges around the world.
  • I wanted to be a Smith College Medal Winner.
  • I wanted to be a world traveler, and to have homes all over the world.
  • I wanted to be a singer, either the leader of a rock band or a soloist.

Now, some of those dreams were totally unrealistic. Some of them may have been real at the time, but I have no desire now. I definitely have NO DESIRE to be the President of the United States anymore. As for the science goals, I’m still fascinated but had ran into a brick wall when it came to some of the upper level math and some of the other courses required.

Some of the dreams I’ve achieved, although perhaps not in the way I imagined.  Some of the dreams shifted and changed as I grew older. Some have simply faded away.

A couple of the dreams still live with me, but I find myself afraid to claim them out loud. I don’t know if I have simply become more fearful, or I am more aware of the challenges and difficulties that face the world of a dreamer.  Or maybe I cannot get past the disappointment of lost dreams, to feel the hopes of future dreams.

I don’t want to do that to myself anymore. I want to dream like a child again, and see the world as full of possibilities.  I am determined to dream big, and let those dreams unfold, in whatever form they take. The child in me still lives. The dreamer in me will never go away.

I am a dreamer, and I intend to dream big!

“Come to the edge, he said. They said:
We are afraid. Come to the edge, he
said. They came. He pushed them,
And they flew…”
– Guillaume Apollinaire 

Walking, Writing, and Working the Weight Away

Some of you may remember that many moons ago I declared I was going to “Write Myself Right” meaning that I would use my writing as a tool to help me achieve my personal health and weight-loss goals. As often happens, my good intentions lasted only a short time as I found myself trapped into the vicious cycle which goes something like:

self-doubt–>boredom–>depression–>eating out of boredom,depression and self-doubt–>feeling fat and ugly–>self-doubt–>

It’s really an ugly cycle that just got uglier as my job search lead to dead-ends, my writing felt like it was empty, and my confusions about what I want to do with my life grew. Somehow writing myself right became too hard, and I simply tried to write my way out of the slump I was in, without worrying about what my body did.

Over the past month, however, I faced some brutal realities, and shifted my attitude. It was not an easy month, as I took on the role of single mom, while Nathan went ahead to his other home, a place where I have yet to find my place. The month apart was emotional for many reasons, but I began to realize that I am the only one who can change my destiny, and that I was tired of succumbing to the depression. I took strides to give myself a break. I blogged less, but wrote more. I took myself for walks. I cleaned and reorganized the house. I signed up for webinars to help me clarify my personal career goals. I worked on establishing better boundaries and understanding between myself and my daughter, so that she could see me as an individual as well as her mother—in other words, as a person who is not simply the protective extension of her existence.

It was a month of learning, growing, and crying.

Now we are here in Iowa, at our “summer home” where I am always torn about being here. In some ways I love it, but in others I become frustrated as I have yet to find my place here and end up feeling frustrated and guilty half the time.

In my new favorite movie, Brave, Princess Merida asks the question “If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?” I answered the question for myself this week by taking a few simple steps.

Literally.

Sarah had swim lessons every morning this week. I took the time during her 45 minute lesson to walk on the track, adding some oomph to my workout with the help of wrist weights. On Thursday morning, before her class, I took my first ever Pilades class (and I still feel it in my stomach) so I swam a little and soaked instead of walking. I also walked around the theatre lot all week in search of props and helping out here and there. I tried my best (in a place where eating healthy is sometimes challenging as the food is plentiful and decadent) to eat lightly and right. I also gave myself a break from the emotions, but sleeping, writing, and basically trying to just be in the moment.

This morning I put on some short pants that I bought last week to bring with me to Boji. Pants that I wore last weekend. Pants that were a little snug when I bought them.

Today I feel like I  need a belt.

I don’t know what the scale will say. I don’t know if the weight is just water weight. I don’t know if this is a permanent change or what.

But it really doesn’t matter. I feel like something has shifted inside myself, and something good is about to happen. I still don’t know what it is, but I am excited to face it.

One step at a time.

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