Sometimes it takes a Little Digging, Stories about the Creative Spirit

Today’s post is inspired by Sidey’s weekend theme, which this week is “things aren’t always what they seem to be.” After Sidey posted her own fascinating entry I wondered what I would post. At first I thought I’d go the creative writing route, but suddenly I realized that I have some real stories to share, that all relate to the hidden truths inside rather than the way things seem.

The Truth Inside the Silence

The first story that popped into mind is not my story to share. It is the story of Christine Grote’s sister Annie, who she writes about so beautifully in the book Dancing in Heaven. I wrote a review of this book on my Hub yesterday. I think I’ve decided to pretty much only use my Hub to help fellow author’s achieve their goals, and this was one book I wanted to share. But this is not about the review, rather its about the secret hidden inside Annie. Annie may not have been able to talk or function on her own, but through the reading of Christine’s amazing story, I began to see that she had an inner life full of richness and joy, that her family instinctively understood. For an example of what I mean, read this excerpt from Dancing in Heaven  on Christine’s blog or better yet, get the book and read the whole story.

Creative Truth Inside Everyone

I spent a little time this week writing a guest post (soon to appear) for Stuart Nager’s Creativity Series over at bornstoryteller, where he asks the question “Why Creativity?” and has reached out to people for the answers. I’m not going to share my response to the series here, but writing it made me think of all the people who I’ve had to push a little harder to make them open to imagination.

So often we put ourselves in a box saying, “I’m not creative,” or “I can’t do that.” Even worse is when society limits people by not being open to the idea that there is more to a person than first assumptions. After all, today’s lesson is “Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Because of my bizarre career path in life, I often get to see incredible transformations as I help people dig a little deeper to discover what’s inside. Here a few examples:

  • There are a few girls in my Saturday acting classes (my only steady job at the moment) who seem reluctant to participate. They like the games, but won’t put much energy into them. They don’t want to let go and let their imaginations take them on a journey.  That all changed, to some extent, last week with a surprise student in my class aka my brother, Steve. I don’t know if it was the fact that an adult male was willing to be goofy, thus making them more comfortable, or perhaps I was more on my game because I myself had an audience (Steve’s never seen me teach before). Suddenly all of the girls participated, and the one I am having the most trouble with left with a smile on her face. We’ll see how things go today, but I got a glimpse inside last week, and that makes me feel great. “Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

    Getting creative with my class. Photo by Steve Kramer

  • Perhaps my favorite example of this came from my experience, early last summer, working with adults with developmental disorders. I’ve written about it in more detail here (one of my favorite posts ever) but one student in particular lives with me in my heart. Jason, when I first met him, would not look me in the eye. He would not raise his head. His “Hello” was barely a whisper, more like a puff of breath reluctantly escaping his lips. By the last presentation, he was volunteering to say lines, and creating art with joyous abandon. My partner in that class started working with them again this week. That is, perhaps, my biggest regret in leaving Kansas, because I won’t be able to continue to help uncover the incredible person inside Jason’s shy demeanor.

He stands right near me to make his version of a Dragon's Roar!

On the last day, he shares his art with the world.

So what have we learned today, kind readers? I’ll say it one more time, just to make it stick:

 “Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Sometimes they are better than you think.

The Search for True Beauty

beau·ty

–noun, plural -ties.

1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).(dictionary.com)
We can find beauty in nature if we keep our eyes open and look. We can hear beauty in music or in nature if we allow ourselves to truly listen. We can sense beauty in the delicate aromas of flowers or the scintillating taste of spices. All of this beauty is available to us if we only open ourselves to the search.

Underwater beauty

 

But true beauty in a human being seems to be a rare commodity.
I’m not talking about the perfection of appearance that can be defined as beautiful depending on “the eye of the beholder.” That form of beauty changes at the whim of a photographer, a culture, a style, or a personality.
True beauty that emanates from the heart and soul is the rarest form of beauty to find. I don’t have it. Deep inside me there is a ball of ugly–a place that holds hate, anger, frustration, jealousy and any other negative emotions that add ugliness to this world. I would like nothing more than to lose that inner ugliness and become a truly beautiful soul.
I have only met a few people who carry that inner beauty with them in such a way that it emanates outwards gracing all the people they touch. Sometimes, or perhaps most of the time, these people don’t even recognize their own beauty. I met one of these people several years ago, and learned of her true beauty as she battled breast cancer while she lost her daughter to another, even more aggressive, form of cancer. The following is a poem I wrote about them and posted on my other (ignored) blog, Life Without Tenure:

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER FACING THE BEAST

(TO CATHIE AND SAM)

Mother strength

Daughter wisdom

Woman/girl

Motherwisdomdaughterstrength.

Facing malignancy

Life mounds attacked

Throat constricted.

Consuming cells, consuming all, but . . .

strength, wisdom

power, purpose

Pain-filled power.

Knowledge-power

Love-power.

Mother strength

Daughter wisdom

Mother/Daughter wisdom/strength.

They are one.

(lak 6/13/07)

Despite the fact that this beauty is so rare, it is possible to find people with true beauty.  I have met them in the strangest places: at a hotel in Bali many years ago, in a Hebrew School classroom as a child, and even through the words of a fellow blogger  over the past through months. I’ve never met Sara or Kathy, but, with every word Kathy writes I recognize two truly beautiful women. (NOTE: I have since had the honor of meeting these two wonderful women, and they are indeed truly beautiful.

Have you ever met someone who is truly beautiful?

This is my response the The Weekend Theme at Viewfromtheinside’s blog.

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