Creativity: Living the Mystery

The purpose of all art is to serve as a portal to the sacred.”   -Eckhart Tolle

“Art is something which, although produced by human hands, is not created by these hands alone, but something which wells up from a deeper source in our souls.”     –Vincent Van Gogh

Yes, being in the creative zone originates from AND transcends us to Spirit, to Mystery, to our Essence, the divine spark within us all.  So does prayer, and other forms of spiritual practice.  So does taking in beauty………being in love………receiving grace.    As Rumi says:  “There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”  There are many vehicles that transport us into an experience of the deep if only we are awake.  Our practice (whatever the vehicle) is becoming conscious of our relationship with Mystery.

Mystery is common – it doesn’t go away – we do” ( How the Light Gets In:  Writing as a Spiritual Practice by Pat Schneider)  I loved this book, for I am all about Light.  I believe light is pure Mystery, pure Love, pure Divine….as powerful as lightning.  A practice can be a vehicle, a structure, from which to take in this light.  We cannot contain it in its purity, yet we are drawn to Mystery, invited to greater and greater engagement with it.  Authentic engagement with Mystery is not transmittable – it is only to be experienced.  We are called to reconnect with that Voice within, to return to the deep, to allow the vast expanse to come to us and be held in the Mystery.  As the poet Yeats said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived.”

My work has been an attempt to assist people in becoming conscious of and deepening their relationship with Mystery.  Just as symptoms can be indicators of movement away from Spirit, in contrast, we have experiences of having moved more towards Spirit, such as feeling JOY or LOVE or PEACE.  If you can recall a time when you were overcome with such a shot of Light, then you had an encounter with Mystery. Rumi says it well:  “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you.  A joy.”     I love to witness people opening to a dynamic relationship with Mystery, to return to the deep, to flow in joy of connection with Mystery.   “For the raindrop, joy is entering the river.”     -sufi prophet, ghalib.

In celebration of the great Mystery of life,  JOY to you!!!

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Women’s Life Coaching: On Courage

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  -Nelson Mandela

In memoriam of Nelson Mandela, an icon, a hero, an activist, an inspiration for all….his courage and fierce dignity, his passion for freedom and equality changed the course of history and  transformed South Africa.  He was a leader who did more than advise – he led by example.  Not even years in prison could break him.  He chose love rather than hate….he chose love rather than fear.

We all know fear.  Of course, our fears may be nothing compared to Nelson Mandela, but then maybe they are!  It is so subjective, and anyway, it’s dangerous to compare.  We ALL have our challenges.  And the point Mandela makes is not about how much fear …..we all feel afraid.  It’s about facing those fears.  The moment we decide to take on our fears instead of being enslaved to them……..well, then their intimidation can shrink.  Not that they go away, but more that we are resetting our course, from fighting our fears to moving beyond our fears.  Something is more important than wrestling with our fear.  So the fear becomes smaller as we engage our whole self – our observing self, our mental and physical self – we are more than our emotion.

Our fear keeps us playing small.  I remember how empowering it was the first time I took on my fears about sailing.  I was terrified in my first tumultuous storm, and didn’t get back onboard the next morning to sail to the next island – I took the ferry.  And felt SO much worse for surrendering to the fear.  I wanted to sail more than anything, so I took my fear on!  I chose my LOVE of sailing rather than my fear.  I learned all it had to teach me about safety, trusting the boat and the captain, even learning how to captain my own ship eventually!  Fear became my teacher instead of my foe…….and opened me up to SO much more……I get to play BIG!

What harbor are you lingering in, playing it safe?  Cape Fear?  Set your sites on what calls you beyond……….choose love rather than fear. You are braver than you believe………believe it!

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Wellness: Everyday is Thanksgiving

If the only prayer you said in your whole life is Thank You, that would suffice.     –Meister Eckhart


The single most effective practice you can do to ramp up your happiness and well-being is gratitude.  When your mind is filled with worry about things not going well and things you don’t have, the focus on the glass-half-empty leaks our energy.  The fullness of life balances this view of apparent scarcity with abundance – we just have to shift our viewfinder to recognize all that IS going well, and all we DO have in our life.  Practicing an intentional thank you for all you are and have brings our bodies to a state that is nourishing and relaxing; it opens our experience to the whole truth rather than the limited view that is fear-based.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  Thorton Wilder


Looking for our happiness or fulfillment outside of ourselves is so common.  Yet this seeking perpetuates the feeling of not having enough, scarcity and discontent.  Having an ultimate trust that life takes care of me allows me to trust that there IS nothing lacking……even challenges and hardships are there for my healing and growth, even though I experience pain and discomfort.  Having gratitude for EVERYTHING in my life keeps me in an open and positive state, so that the healing and growth can occur.  In the larger perspective, I can say Thank You in advance for all the good yet to come; this keeps me in a positive state to actually embrace and integrate the good coming my way.


“Fame or integrity: which is more important? Money or happiness: which is more valuable? Success or failure: which is more destructive? If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.“                               – Lao-tzu


So let’s extend this holiday practice of thanksgiving to a daily practice.  Keep the lens wide open so we are grateful for all the treasures available to you.

Be well.

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Women’s Small Business: Little by Little

“No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.”   Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher

Self-mastery is about patience…… well as persistence, which I wrote about in a recent blog.  “Little by little” is a wise phrase that describes the process – taking baby steps, staying with the process consistently, and having patience to bring the process to fruition.

We live in such a fast-paced world; our technology can produce almost instantly for us…….and so we learn to expect the outcome instantly as well.  We forget about honoring the process, and what it takes to have a satisfying outcome, not simply a rapid result.  Think about other things in your experience that take time:  creating a great meal, building a relationship, learning a new skill.  Yes, it takes consistent effort, and persistence to endure through mistakes, and moreover, patience to attain a level of satisfaction with your outcome.  This is wise to remember when you’re growing your business.

Patiently and persistently….patiently and persistently.  This is the approach one has to bring  to any practice, such as meditation or learning a language or creating a piece of art/craft.  Most people are impressed with the successful result that is presented, but most don’t realize the hours of repetitive effort that precede  the “moment”: or outcome of success.  There is the story of the stonecutter, who hits the rock with his hammer, and the stone splits.  At that moment, people can think that the stonecutter is really strong, as he can break the stone with one blow.  The reality is that he’s been hammering away at the rock for a long time; many blows went into the rock before it finally split. So too, when people see someone who has achieved a level of success; they can say “He must be really lucky”.  Just like the stonecutter didn’t break the rock in one blow, so too, no one is lucky enough to achieve success without persistent, consistent effort.

So stay with the process, little by little, having patience to bring your “baby” to success.  It’s a practice that bears fruit in its own time.

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Creativity: Pay attention to when the joy arises


The highest prize we can receive for creative work is the joy of being creative.               –Marianne Williamson

When people tell me that they are not creative, I ask them to tell me what they delight in doing.  I ask them to tell me what they are doing when time seems to disappear.  This is being in the creative zone:  totally immersed in the process, and totally lovin’ it!

My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.  

–John D. MacDonald

If people have not even had this experience, then I ask them to do something that would entertain them, make them smile, bring happiness.  This happens every day for me when I make a wonderful meal, and take pleasure in its presentation; I just have to admire the beauty of it all before I take succulent pleasure in it.  Or it happens when I pick up beautiful leaves or stones or seeds to decorate my space in a seasonal arrangement.  Or when I transform a bushel of apples into rosy-colored applesauce, all lined up in a row on my pantry shelf.  Maybe others notice this creation, maybe not.  What matters is that I’ve tapped into my creativity for my own pleasure.

Our creative spirit is the well-spring from which we transform our lives, deepening and expanding as we unfold into our becoming.  We don’t need to go looking for it; we need to uncover, discover, recover it…from all the conditioning we’ve experienced that has it buried within ourselves.  Listen for the cries of this lost part of yourself.  Pay attention to when the joy arises!

While the hero journeys for external fame, fortune, and power, the heroine tries to regain her lost creative spirit… Once she hears the cries of this lost part of herself needing rescue, her journey truly begins.”

– Valerie Estelle Frankel, From Girl to Goddess

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Women’s Life Coaching: Mastery – One step at a time

“We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a

journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year.

The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he

or she lives.”

~ George Leonard from Mastery


Leonard goes on to say  How do you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself.”


This is true for any skill you are developing, or new habit you are integrating into your life.  Your consistency results from drawing on your grit, your persistence to show up regularly in order to invest your effort in the practice.   This occurred as I gained mastery in qigong; it also happens when I paint consistently. And I experience this “practice” with my morning exercise routine.  I’ve noticed that when my passion wanes, I lose interest and fail to show up.  Or I get distracted with life’s demands.  Then it’s time to re-examine what I really want, and make that a priority once again to “show up”.  The benefits of the practice itself carry me through to mastery.  I enjoy the quiet centeredness of qigong; I’m delighted with the energy I receive from physical workouts; I am rejuvenated from being in the creative zone.  Sure, I would like to perfect my watercolor expression; however, the journey/practice itself is gratifying and energizing.  Staying in the moment, focused on showing up for the practice, in incremental steps, eventually leads me to outcomes of mastery that initially seemed daunting.


What is important to integrate into your life in a consistent practice?  What is it you desire mastery in? Leonard tells us: “Consistency of practice is the mark of the master.”  

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Wellness: What’s in the way is the Way.

This is a phrase I heard recently that helps me let go of resistance and transform obstacles when they occur.  In a broader perspective, our struggles can be embraced as a learning experience instead of a day spoiler.  Letting go of resistance opens our path to the “more” that is waiting for us instead of being mired in details and negative energy.   Rumi spoke of this, I believe, in his poem “The Guest House” which follows:


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks

Rumi is actually speaking of the negative mental energy here, which is an obstacle in and of itself, but of an internal nature rather than an external obstacle.  This perspective of embracing  presumes that our life path has a purpose:  to awaken and grow – we’re all on a journey towards wholeness.  And having an eagle’s perspective  vs.   a limited view of frustrating details allows us to take the higher road, to be open to allow Spirit to enter and expand our possibilities.  Keeping our focus on being mindful, open and present, is a different energy than the constriction of frustration and resistance.  Embracing an obstacle can give you an opportunity to leverage it towards your wholeness rather than see it as your enemy – it can become your guide to wholeness.    Welcome and entertain them all!!     BE WELL!

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Women’s small business: Keep starting

Keep on starting and finishing will take care of itself.     –  Neil Fiore

We underestimate the power of baby steps; simply taking action in a consistent way will take us right up to finishing.  It seems like starting all over again on some days, but truthfully, you never replicate the exact conditions of every start point; you have new information, you continue to integrate and evolve in your life path, and you bring all of that to each start point.  The point is:  keep at it!  This is fueled by your passion and conviction/commitment to put out to the world what can only be your expression, your contribution to the world.  This gives you the energy to keep starting.

So this message is about taking baby steps, it’s about taking consistent steps, and it’s about believing that you have something to offer….so just keep starting.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” ~ Bruce Lee from Striking Thoughts

This quotation beckons us beyond our mental attitude and calls on our fortitude to take action on our ideas and plans.  This is the challenge:  to take action!  This is why self-help books are so popular; people need help, and can get great solutions or strategies in a book.  But actually implementing these action steps to affect the desired change rarely occurs.  Having a structure and accountability supports this change/ integration part of the process.  So establishing this structure and support for yourself to help take the steps you want to grow your business can help you actually make it happen.  This can look like a peer support group, or a class, or a mentor or a life coach – you commit to this structure to keep investing in your growth process, small step by small step.  You build in external support when your inner conviction wanes…so you can keep starting.

And each step leads you further down the road to your desired goal.  Actually taking that step sheds light on the next and the next and the next….you must keep starting to light up the road ahead.

You can only see as far as your headlights let you, but you can make the whole trip that way.  E.L.Doctorow

Start now!

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Creativity: Collaborating with a deeper source

Art is something which, although produced by human hands, is not created by these hands alone, but something which wells up from a deeper source in our souls.    Vincent Van Gogh

In your light, I learn how to love.   In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest where no one sees you,

But sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.            Rumi


I’m weaving this message with different quotations that speak to me about creativity…. and I’m experimenting with the creative process itself in its writing.  Creativity, this innate feature, is an endless well within us, and our living is immersed in its endless expression outside of us; this external inspiration triggers an internal imaginative creation, and, when expressed, becomes our art.  Walking in beauty, and paying attention to its resonance within, sparks one to complete the cycle in creative expression, adding more light and beauty to inspire others.  It’s like our brain:  86 billion neurons, each connecting to 10,000 others!  What a light show all of those sparks are!!!

Mystery is a verb, not a noun.  James Hollis, Ph.D

Living out of a defined role is an example of living as a noun.  We are verbs in experience as we journey through life.  Embracing uncertainty and ambiguity allow us to engage with the Mystery of life, and actively experience the flow of life.  Living in the Mystery entails co-creating in the constant change that is both refreshing and frightening;  we use the paddle to direct our course in the larger, deeper current of life.  Life is a verb – we are alive and engaged with all of creation as we create our journey.

And finally:  Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.
Simone Weil

When I stay connected to Source energy,  when I stay fluid, when I remember to use my paddle, then I complete the infinite cycle of creativity, and live in the Mystery of life…what a ride it is!!!

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Life Coaching for Women: Arete`

I love language and learning new words; this is my most recent discovery.  It is a Greek word that essentially means “excellence” or “living out one’s potential”.  During the Greek games, it referred to young men performing to excellence athletically.  But it was also used more generally to reference good character, virtue, and living up to excellent standards.  It was one of the highest ideals of Greek culture.

Think Arete’ – live with Arete’.

This is what life coaching is all about….supporting you in living in your excellence, in your highest potential.  It’s a call to your higher self, to have courage to take that risk and stretch yourself, simply because you can, because you must…. play BIG.

Fear is a major obstacle with Arete’…it cautions us to play it safe, to stay in hiding, to not rock the boat but rather stay in the comfort zone.  Some of the consequences of not living with Arete’ are boredom, restlessness, guilt, depression, and anxiety.  Living with Arete’ requires us to be awake, to live consciously, and to show up, be fully engaged, no matter what we are doing…to be our best in ALL of our living.  And living with Arete’ has its benefits:  gratification of doing your best, radiance in being fully alive and engaged, inner peace for doing the right thing, increased confidence in expanding your range.

So what is the longing you have, that also has fear accompanying it?  What does it take to find a way through the fear so you can live with Arete’?  I believe our fears are pointing the way to Arete’ in our life path…use them as signs; leverage your fears, for your good, and the good of all.   Think Arete’!!!

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