fear to create

To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.

I don’t know who wrote those words but they are so true. For most of my life the biggest part of my reluctance to create art or once created keep it hidden was that it (and I) was “wrong” or unacceptable or undefinable or not worthy of notice. It didn’t help when I would show my art – in whatever form it took at the time – to other people and they would say something along the lines of “I don’t get it.” Of course, I have said that about art as well.

What does the statement, “I don’t get it” really mean anyway? Is it necessary for me or anyone else to “get it?” Isn’t the act of creating the art worth something whether it is meaningless to me or not? I don’t know. That really isn’t my focus here because ultimately, art is subjective, or to quote an age old adage, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

My focus rather, is on how my fear of being wrong stifled my creative drive. I have always created art and when I feared it was unacceptable, I created acceptable art. Sometimes I feel as if I wasted half of my life being afraid. It is easy for me to feel that way because of my morose brain.

What helped me get beyond that fear were two things: God and age. As I’ve grown older I slowly began not to care about what other people thought, especially regarding my art. The old dragon still hangs about but I remind myself each day to ignore his snorts of derision and contemptuous laughter. I remind myself that God created me as I am – creative streak and all – and it is my responsibility as a child of God to use the gift He gave me.

Sometimes my work is plain and simple; other times it is a mystery even to me. But those mysterious works of art are expressions of my inner self and I need to honor that self, not ignore her. So, if I stand at my work table or in a museum or gallery and look at the art before me and wonder, “I don’t get it” – maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe the work is understood only by the subconscious me.

Regardless, I need not fear creating art of any kind. It matters not what the world thinks. It only matters what I think and what I think God thinks (after all, who really knows the mind of God?).

reward 2


can you live with the consequences?

One of the greatest gifts God gave man, is the gift of choice.
You have the right to choose to do right or wrong.
But whatever you choose to do you must deal with the outcome.
Therefore, choose to do right.

I recently read the book James Herriot’s Cat Stories and one of the first stories in it was about choice. If you don’t know who James Herriot was he was a vet who worked in England.  PBS has a series about his adventures entitled All Creatures Great and Small, from his book by the same name. Anyway, late one evening a young girl drops off a cat she found in the alley. The cat is emaciated and has multiple deep wounds and gashes and is near death. She brought him by the vet’s so he could be euthanized.

The vet reluctantly agreed to relieve ‘him of his misery’ but his assistant encouraged the doctor to try and save him. After some discussion, and aided by the cat’s purring, the vet chose to try and save his life. It took several hours to clean the poor animal and stitch up his wounds. By this time the vet’s wife came downstairs (they lived in the flat above the office) to see what was going on. The vet was not hopeful the cat would live through the night but the wife agreed to spoon feed him back to health. It took some time but the cat, now named Oscar, came back to life and full of ‘vim and vigor’.

Oscar stayed with them quite some time and one day another knock came on the door and it was Oscar’s original owner plus his 2 young sons. It seemed they had moved some 30 miles away and Tiger/Oscar had gotten lost and tried to find his way back home. The vet and his wife said a tearful goodbye to Oscar but were gladdened that the boys had their beloved pet back.

So I related that story to address the quote for today. That vet had a choice – to try to save the cat or put it out of its misery. That is a tough choice to make and he had to live with the consequences.

Have you ever been heartbroken by a lost pet? I have. I had a cat named Norman and I loved as much as I loved any other cat. One day I came home from work and he wasn’t there waiting for me on the doorstep like he always was. I searched for days and never found him. That was 20 years ago. I still wonder what happened to him and whenever I think about him I am saddened by his loss. I’ve lost cats before – to old age or disease. And while I miss them it isn’t the same thing as not knowing what happened. Someone, somewhere knows what happened to him (he was a people cat and knew no strangers).

My point is this – because the vet chose to try and save Oscar he was rewarded with unconditional love, heartbreak and appreciation. It was hard for him and his wife to give Oscar back to his original keepers; but he saved that family, and especially the 2 young boys, ongoing heartbreak over their missing pet.

We all make choices in our daily lives – some large, most small. The next time you or I have to make a choice, take a beat, think about it for a moment and consider, can you live with the consequences?


who am i to judge?

There is no right or wrong path,
There is only the path that you choose.
Whatever you choose, there will be many opportunities
for you to grow and expand.
-Kuan Yin

Just as there is no right path or wrong path to God, there is no right or wrong path to walk in life – as long as either path does not go against the Divine and Universal Laws of love and light to all fellow creatures, human or not. Who am I to judge the women who choose to serve God in the form of the Goddess? Who am I to judge the people who serve Allah? Or Buddha? Or Jehovah? Or The Great Spirit? Or ????

There are more aspects of God that my simple mind can ever possibly be aware of. Just as I, who was created in God’s image, have more facets than even I am aware of, there are as many ways to serve God. I have never held with the notion of ‘if you don’t serve God as a Christian, you are doomed to hell’ and ‘if you are not born again in the blood of Jesus Christ, you are doomed to hell’. Who am I that I can make such a hefty judgment call? Especially when my day to day life isn’t always in service to God but in service to self?

Who am I to judge? Only God is remotely qualified to make that call. Only God is able to see into the heart of the matter, the heart of the believer. Only the God who created me, created all of the world, can decide if a path is of Him or of self. If I spent the same amount of time loving others as I do judging them, what a different person I would be!

If I am in no place to judge anyone for anything pertaining to God and their paths toward him, then why do I feel compelled to do it? Why must I compare my relationship with God to others in similar or even not so similar relationships with God? Why do I feel so superior to them? What makes me so special that I get to be God’s right-hand woman with the vast wisdom and knowledge to judge?

There is a delicate balance between feeling confident, yet not arrogant; secure in God but not complacent; knowing who I am in God and knowing who I am in the world. These are skills I am still learning. So I try and try and try not to judge others, especially those who serve God. The bigoted grooves in my brain get in the way at times and I have to manually push the needle onto the next track.

My only hope is to continue moving forward with an occasional step sideways or backwards, but always, ultimately, moving forward.