when I met my muse

Ahhh. “I am your own way of looking at things,” says William Stafford’s muse.

Photo by Rachel K Ivey

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off—they were still singing. They
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled
forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails
up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of
looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you,
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I
took her hand.

– William Stafford

Image credit – Rachel K Ivey

the reach of your compassion is the reach of your art


Today is my birthday:  sixty six wondrous orbits of the sun.  Many people comment that Life seems to turn up the screws around one’s birthday time, and it’s certainly been the case here.

About a month ago wonderingmind studio began being dismantled.  Materials, paints, equipment disappeared into cartons.  Some found their way to the art department of a local school for autistic kids.  Some went to a charity that organizes art and creativity events for city youngsters.

Works-in-progress and completed pieces came down off the walls.  Shelving was flat-packed, books sorted and passed on.

It was like packing up a life – which is exactly what it was.

And what a timely opportunity to take stock!  I was over at Zen Dot Studio recently and found that its author is also in the midst of moving house.  I loved the way she had penned her thoughts and observations about the moving process and all that it reveals, and wished I’d had more energy to blog my own.  But it was all too exhausting at the time.

It’s one thing to move from one home/studio to a new one and quite another to pack up a life without knowing when – or where – it will emerge from the boxes again.  My boxed life has gone into a storage unit.  My unencumbered life is moving on.

It demands to be let loose again; the circumstances that constrained it for the past decade (caring for precious parents) have changed.  There have been long months in that intense and deep place called Griefland, which I have come to understand is really a place of R & R.  And of adjustment – to absence.  It heals.  Allowing the energies to bubble to the surface of the lifestream, embracing them and loving them, has worked wonders.  The stream enters deeper waters, vast, silent, unknown. I know this ‘place’ – I call it the via creativa.  Another chapter begins …

Joseph Campbell wrote that the reach of your compassion is the reach of your art.  I feel that the gift of this past decade – the gift my ancient, beloved Mum and Dad gave me – was the swelling and bursting open of a heart that had become pretty dried up by life’s apparent disappointments.  From a shriveled up pea it has slowly unfurled into a quivering flower.  Its perfume is Compassion.

How will it express itself?  Will there be more art-making?  Perhaps.  Meanwhile, it is reaching out to simply share.  And so, I scribble on this little blog.

finding your passion


Imagine my delight to hear Sir Ken Robinson interviewed by Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report this week.  Sir Ken is described as an ‘education and creativity expert’ and received a knighthood for his contributions in these fields. He has written a book called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

I’ve interviewed a lot of people for the book, and, you know, there was a time when Paul McCartney, so to speak, was not Paul McCartney.  You know, it isn’t that all these people were born as celebrities; they achieved some celebrity because of pursuing their own particular talent and their passion.  And I do think we all have that in us, yeah.  The people achieve their best when they firstly tune into their natural aptitudes – and lots of people I have interviewed aren’t musicians, they’re mathematicians, they’re business leaders, they’re teachers, they’re broadcasters, you know, they’ve found this thing that the completely get.  But the second thing is that they love it.  And if you can find that – a talent and a passion – well that’s to say you never work again.  And it is true, I think, that our current education systems are simply not designed to help people do that.  In fact an awful lot of people go through education and never discover anything they’re good at at all.

… we’re all born with tremendous creative confidence and abilities.  Young children are full of great ideas and possibilities.  But that tends to be suppressed as we get older. And it happens in part through this culture of standardised testing that I think is now a blight on the whole of education.

But the second thing is that we all think and learn differently.  I mean, some people are highly visual;  you know, some think best when they’re moving;  some think best when they’re listening;  some people respond well to words, some people don’t.  And getting the best from kids in schools is about understanding the way they think, as well as what it is they’re supposed to be thinking about.  And I think that’s also why some people get through the whole of their education and don’t discover themselves at all.

… the one thing we have as human beings is this extraordinary power of imagination and creativity and the ability to solve problems as well as to deal with ones that we’ve just created.  So, this isn’t some whimsical idea.

– Sir Ken Robinson

Read the whole interview at www.abc.net.au

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything