Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sharing the Nature of Words

Last year, I held my first Write from the Soul workshop on the shores of the Bay of Fundy as a trial. I chose the beautiful and tranquil Artists Garden for the location, where artist, Karin Bach allows nature's own creativity and beauty to influence her art and life. It was magical. There, in Karin's peaceful oasis, we discovered how deeply a connection to nature can influence our own art and soul.

The workshop - which paired creative writing practice with yoga techniques - went so incredibly well, that it spurred an avalanche of ideas. I'm now working on a Nature of Words series of creative writing workshops that will lead participants outside the walls of the typical classroom and into creative spaces. Whenever possible, we'll explore the heart of nature where creativity lives and breathes.

Here are the first two in the series!

I believe each of us has a storehouse of creative gifts and the secret to a happy, purposeful life is found in unlocking that storehouse. And I also believe that learning is most effective in an environment that encourages creativity and calmness.

When we find something that makes our heart pound, isn't our first instinct to share it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Finding Space ...

"For words, like nature, half reveal, and half conceal the soul within."
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I've met so many people who say they wish they could write. When I suggest that they give it a try, they just look at me and shake their heads...'But I wouldn't know how to start.' Defeat. I can't sail a boat either, but then again, I've never really tried.

I've written about this in a previous posting. Writing isn't just about being published. It's about believing the stories that live inside you are of value. Whether its through words or art or music, our souls need expression...our stories need a voice.

When I first began writing a decade ago, I didn't know how to start either. But, I finally found the courage to let myself dream of being a writer. And when I made a commitment to take concrete steps toward that dream, somehow, the path opened in front of me.

But I had to take the first steps. I had to show I believed in myself.

Today, I look back on that time of my life and marvel at how, when I gave it the chance, serendipity stepped in and guided me down the most wonderful trail I can imagine. Writing has taken me to places I never would have explored and to people I never would have met. It's led me to a deeper understanding myself and life, allowed me to express and develop my thoughts, given me courage and confidence, helped me notice the exquisite detail of my world.

I believe everyone has a creative side. We need to provide a nurturing space to see what emerges. Do you think a flower can imagine all it will become, while it's still just a seed?

So, this summer, in addition to agonizing over my own book writing project (OK - this is the alter side of creativity!), I've put together a series of creative writing workshops with something for beginners and for seasoned writers.

And where else to hold them than where creation lives and breathes and blooms?

"Nature is the art of God."
Thomas Browne

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


It seems inconceivable that I'm more than half way through the year I've allotted to write my book. I've been so focused on organizing, compiling, interviewing, gathering for this biography - this exploration...this observing and imaginal living of another's life...that sometimes the lines blur between her life and mine.

I've spent literally years dissecting the moments large and small in this life, and now I’m putting it back together again. And after spending so many hours trapped in the fullness and breath of a life tremendously lived, when I do pull away enough to touch myself again, I feel insignificant and insubstantial, like the empty shell left behind when the fledgling flies.

And meanwhile, my own everyday life surrounds my book life, like the white surrounds the yolk, protecting it, feeding it, as it grows into its intended shape and form. Sometimes I wonder, will there be anything of me left at the end of this?

At best, I contemplate with wonder the many ways I've grown and deepened. How my writing and thoughts have stretched. How my interests and views have metamorphosed. I marvel at how I've learned to accept daydreams and mindful meanderings as work.

At worst, I stave off leaden voices of defeat and wonder if I was truly in my right mind to chase a biography for my first foray into book writing. I berate myself for losing focus. I look at what I've written and wonder what imbecile took over my fingers when I wasn't looking.

It's become a tug of war between me and myself. But I'm determined to win.