Saturday, December 31, 2011
Yesterday we held our 2nd annual Art Paint-in for the neighborhood kids. We converted our kitchen into an art studio and pulled out the art supplies. I showed them some ideas and then let them go wild! There was incredible enthusiasm, and one of the little boys exclaimed, “I really am an ARTIST!
I had tried out some of these project ideas with some of my painter and writer friends a couple of days before. The reactions were remarkably similar from this older group of friends! It makes me smile to realize that all you need to release creativity is offer an open, encouraging environment, provide materials, demonstrate a few ideas, and then the group excitement and activity becomes contagious. My role simply becomes sort of a cheerleader, and much of it is simply staying out of the way. Too much of “me” would not allow enough of each individual to pursue their own experience. A little interaction, a lot of enthusiastic (and genuine) appreciation is all that is needed. Oh, and a little encouragement to bring out the quiet one....and a gentle reminder to the over-enthusiastic to share the materials.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
I was in a classroom, and we had huge exhibits set up in front of us, rather like a museum. We were taking a test, a final of sorts. The questions were in essay form, and they did not seem to fit what we had read and been taught. They were exploring a new level of our knowledge. It seemed the most important thing was to be able to find links, progressions, in the objects in front of us. The test ultimately seemed to be about what we could observe and how we could connect the parts insightfully and creatively. I wrote at great length for the first question, not realizing that there were two more to come. And so of course, I came under time constraints. That seemed to be the next test: Could I stay calm and clear-headed in the face of the brevity of time left to me? There were also questions about the color/tone of the objects (sort of an emotional knowledge or understanding). I was fairly panicked about the time element---trying to figure out if there was a way that I could somehow extend it. Then it started to dawn on me that I could simply walk away because this was just a dream. No consequences to be exacted because I had not completed the test. My life was elsewhere.
I awakened with relief, only to start facing the tests of my day ahead. Could I make sense of the questions posed----they didn’t necessarily relate to my orderly idea of the material I should be tested on. The important part seemed to be what I could observe and how I could insightfully and creatively respond to every situation. Could I help connect the disparate parts in some meaningful way? Also working within time constraints----could I remain calm and clear-headed? Could I understand the emotions of those around me? Could I even ultimately be okay not answering all the needs and questions posed to me, knowing that my fuller life is actually elsewhere?
Dreams within dreams.....how many layers to this great adventure of life?
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
It is December 21 today, Winter Solstice, and we are having our exterior windows cleaned at this very moment. This seems a fitting thing to do, letting as much light in as possible on this darkest of days!
I like this metaphor on several levels. First of all, it is wonderful to recognize that we can receive the help that we need in getting the light through. I am grateful to the man who is making this possible. I also know that we will need to do the cleaning on the interior side--again, a most fitting metaphor as we are responsible for clearing away the dust and debris that clouds our vision from inside ourselves.
And the source! God gives us the light, generously, faithfully.... Sometimes it seems less than we desire, but daily it is replenished, and seasons wax and wane and circle ‘round. People through history have recognized the importance of welcoming the turning back towards the light. Winter solstice has been celebrated with gatherings of song and feasting throughout the ages. How fitting that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus at this time of year----His presence brings light into our darkness and hope for the days to come.
May you all see with brightness and clarity through this season and beyond!