creating from the inside…out

Another woman in the series Heart Exposed has been added to the creating… site.  Please visit and meet her!  If you need an “invitation” to view this site, please message me via blog comment and/or FB.

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http://createinsideout.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/heart-exposed-series-walking/

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creating from the inside…out

The inaugural art post has come!  If you haven’t “signed up” to view my companion site, please send me a message either through a comment on the blog or FB.  Enjoy!

http://createinsideout.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/beyond-knowing/

“Heart Exposed…” Series

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Sanctuary

sanctuary—safe haven—refuge—asylum—shelter—harbor—retreat—protection

 I’m visiting one of my “happy places”—Door County, Wisconsin.   I have been coming here since I was an infant with my family; usually camping at the beautiful Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek.  I’m not the most spontaneous person, but a couple weeks ago, I got it in my head that I needed to come up here for a few days.  (Now, some of you may argue that a couple of weeks is not being spontaneous, but for me…well…) 

I wanted just a little, tiny, cabin with a space to make some simple food and enjoy the wonderfulness that is Door County.  I couldn’t find the right spot.  Labor Day weekend in Door County?  The somewhat “last hurrah” for a Northwood’s vacationers paradise? Ummm…not only was it difficult to find a place…rates were through the roof.  I figured that my way impulsive and crazy ideas were just too plain crazy (yeah…going to Door County…sooooo crazy!) for this timing.   No big deal.  I did one more search and came across this website for a “retreat cabin” called Sanctuary.  It looked cute, simple, everything I needed, accessible to all my favorite things…and you wouldn’t believe the price.  Serendipitous! 

I don’t have it in my head that I’m on retreat; that was not really my objective.  However, incorporating some retreatish space comes naturally.  Today, I woke up (after sleeping until 10…thank you Jesus!) and had a curiosity to ponder why I’d be led to Sanctuary and what that might mean for me right now.  I don’t know that I’ve come up with anything (ha ha), but I thought it might be worth writing about…(my stream of consciousness/”not planned out” blog entries always end up interesting to say the least.)

I began reflecting upon that I’ve been pretty lonely these days; especially in my new place since when I moved in May.  The contrast which struck me is how I’m feeling “full” and content here in this place of intentional solitude.  I like quiet.  I like space.  What is it that makes this intentional solitude a place of comfort rather than a place of anxiety/loneliness when I’m at home? 

I don’t know…so if you figure that out please write to me…fast!  Have a nice day; until next time…

Ha!  Just kidding (although part of me would love to leave my readers hanging like that…).  I really don’t do feelings very well…but if someone held me down and my life depended upon naming one, I think I could name loneliness with some accuracy.

I’m just going to put it out there…loneliness sucks.  My image is this dead-like weight that holds you down while you walk around looking like a Neanderthal almost standing upright, but not quite.  It duct tapes you to the pity pot and forces you to think pitiful things.  Loneliness, schmonlieness. 

For me at this point, loneliness feels like the scratch in the record (CD? I guess you can’t scratch an MP3…) that when it hits, the damn song starts over or running on a treadmill that has no emergency shut off cord.  It reminds me of where I’m not (living in community), what I don’t have (community, friends, etc), and what I deeply desire.  When I’m in that rut…all I feel is the same old pain, anger, and frustration.  Icky! Icky!   Enough already…own it, acknowledge, blah blah don’t stuff…but seriously…I’ve had enough.

I’m an optimist by nature (although, if you don’t believe me because of my  latest writings…travel back in time to www.onefunnunslife.blogspot.com and read some of the early writings…it’s true…it’s in me somewhere, still trying to find her!)—when I’m walking like the Neanderthal and duct taped to the pity pot, I get mad and frustrated.  Oh…those are two helpful things in this situation!  NOT.  Mad+frustration+lonely+duct tape does not = optimism or a catapult out of the rut.  Truthfully…I want to focus on where I am…what I do have…what I deeply desire, yes…and see it as possible.   

Maybe this is what Sanctuary is providing me right now.  A refuge and protection from duct tape and scoliosis—reminders that solitude doesn’t mean alone, my crushed dreams and annihilated inner self don’t mean terminal, and that Sanctuary is sometimes serendipitous and exactly what I need to find another starting point.

real.truth.experience.joy

“First Flight”

experience.  arts.  respect.  motivation.  leadership.  self.  risks.  confidence.  diversity.  creativity.  fun.  focus.  passion…

These are just a few of the many words which appear on the base of my uncle, Richard Taylor’s, sculpture: “First Flight”.  His sculpture was commissioned to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the First Stage Children’s Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.  The words were taken from testimonials written by the First Stage alums regarding their experiences of First Stage; some of the inspiration for Richard in the sculpture creation. 

First off…I’m incredibly proud of my uncle–he is a gifted artist really living out (I would say, “call”) his passion and talent to provide others with more beauty, serenity, peacefulness, and reflection all through his aesthetic media.  His art pieces are always accompanied by thoughtful and deep artist statements which allow (at least for me) people to take in the piece of art while inviting he/she to probe themselves to find a deeper meaning. 

Richard describes this piece saying:

…The sculpture soars with confidence, is diversified in its many shapes yet finds strength in their unity.  It proudly assumes a posture of leadership while it upholds values.  It is respectful of its surroundings while it passes on these life experiences to all who have found them…I have sought to compose a sculpture embodying the spirit of achievement and pride inherent in these tributes…”

 I so appreciate my uncle for these invitations. He is a model of humility, thoughtfulness, and passion to me. Way to go, uncle Dickie! 

On my way home from the dedication, a plethora of bloggable thinking invaded my drive home…the title of the piece, the descriptor, the words of inspiration…on and on.  Not only does this piece have special meaning to me because of my uncle and the reflective element of its meaning…it really spoke to me of my journey too.

First flights…what does it take for someone (somethings…i.e. birds?) to prepare for his/her first flight?  What supports does one need?  What unplanned events (yuck!) occur?  Where is the learning?  What are the outcomes?  (For those of you who are now rolling your eyes because I said “learning” and “outcomes” it’s ok…those are just as integrated within me as red blood cells and neurotransmitters)

You know what I came up with? (With a little help of course!)

experience. arts. respect. motivation. leadership. self. risks. confidence. diversity. creativity. fun. focus. passion…

It seems like I’m having first flights more often that I’d like lately.  However, I look at that testimonial list and I am inspired, motivated, joyful…  I don’t feel the sometimes present: stress, fear, dare I say…hurt and anguish which can accompany a flight or transition one does not wish to take.  Nope…no ma’am!  I get excited!  I am ready to jump/fly/swim/jig/…!  Bring it on world!

So how can I cultivate the positivity in reminding myself that there is the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” while still acknowledging and owning the yucky stuff that is very much real, but not meant to stifle? 

I don’t have the answer to that…yet! (Ha!) However, I think it lies somewhere between “soaring with confidence”, allowing yourself to take “shape”, while “finding strength in unity” …throw in a little passion, fun, focus…and allow myself to be a part of the beauty that can be created with flight.  

Thanks, Uncle Dickie, for this thoughtful piece of art and the opportunity to continue to be inspired by and learn from you.

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Companion Site: creating from the inside…out

Hello Readers!

There’s good news and bad news…no that’s not right. There’s AWESOME news and practical news to share today!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve added a companion blog to my blog-riffic adventures. It is called: creating from the inside…out. It will feature my artwork, creative process, and visual/image related posts. Throw in a side of brief reflection…and voila! We have ourselves a companion blog. Woot! Woot! (AWESOME)

(Practical) I have made this companion site “private”; which means you need to be ‘invited’ to access this blog. In order to join me on my aesthetic adventurous side…I’ll need you to write me a comment for this post with your NAME and E-MAIL. Don’t worry…I moderate the comments so none of your e-mail/personal information will be posted on my live site. With that, I’ll be able to send you an invitation to be a creating… reader.

“Why is she doing this?” My blogging is real, it speaks my truth…even on hard subjects. I blog with integrity. I’ve chosen my words, thoughts, ideas, experiences published on this blog to be public for the world to see. Artwork/creative process takes on another demension…art can be expressive of a moment in time, a fleeting thought, an arduous struggle, or a life-long joy. Creative process is also left to the interpretation of the viewer. I believe in order to be free to share some of my more vulnerable images, I need to moderate this section differently.

All are welcome…long time readers, new readers, friends I know and love, and even barista readers! I just ask that you identify yourself to me in order to protect some of my most precious images…from my insides…out.

real.truth.experience.joy

day 5: mission possible

I’m home now…I have to admit I’m tired from the week and I have a lot to process, but I truly had a fantastic time.  I was sad to leave on many levels and yet, excited to be home (mostly to see kitty).  I hesitate writing a day 5 report because I really need to let some stuff slosh around a bit, but I can give some highlights of day 5 and after the sloshing is complete, I may do a cumulative review; we’ll see.

If you missed the other episodes…click here and follow the linkage…

day 5: mission possible (I so wish I could add audio to play when you bring my page up…)

If you’ve followed these days, I’ll bet you know what we talked about on the last day of the conference…ta da!  Of course, the Gospel of John!  Again, I have a confession to make…all this time I’ve been a Mark and sometimes Matt girl.  Luke is too wordy for me and John…well I just didn’t get into the whole ascetic Jesus as much as I like the down-to-earth (no pun intended), historical perspective.  And to sing the praises of Sr. Barbara Reid, OP a little more…my perspecitves on, well, pretty much everything Gospel related, study of Scripture, etc…have been flipped over.  The name of the conference was: Women and the Word: Preaching with the Mind, Eyes, and Heart of a Woman”…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read the Scriptures the same again–all for the better!  Seriously…she is amazing. 

We spent a lot of time on the Samaritan Woman.  You know the story, if not here are some cliff notes:  Women, well, Samaritan.  Jesus, tired, Jew.  Jews and Samaritans no talky talky.  Jesus thirsty, Samaritan woman bucket. They converse back and forth: 

I’m a Samaritan Woman!, J: Drink water of new life!, SW: What in the heck are you talking about?, J: I can’t believe you don’t know who I am…, SW: hmmm, maybe I am starting to get it, J: Uh Oh, my guys are coming; back go tell people, SW: Ok!  [runs to town] I’ll be right back with loads of people!

I’m quite confident that I’m not the only person in the world who thought this passage was about Jesus the “love one another” Jew who throws the law-book to the wind and talks to WOMEN and the OTHERS.  Jesus the model for social justice and humanity…I still believe that.  I never wondered or questioned the role of the Samaritan Woman though.  Isn’t it all about Jesus?  Well…she definately had something to say to us/me!

As in the other “episodes” of this “Katy visits the Dominicans” series, I’m not going to spend much time with the “academic” learning (although I could do that very easily), but attempt to connect the themes to my journey and discernment in these experiences. Sr. Barbara suggested we look at the Samaritan woman as a model of mission for us. Two key points I’ll reframe:  a) the dialog between Jesus and her was a “gradual self-revelation” that was mutual.  A quid pro quo, if you will; however, not in Latin and not with a sociopathic Anthony Hopkins.   b) As a person in mission–she experiences, goes back to the familiar, talks about it with her friends, and brings them back. 

Re-enter discernment, stage right…

Mission…this is important to me.  For me, it’s the “hutzpah” of a congregation (not to be confused with charism, which is a part of mission).  Why do a group of women, come together, choose to commit their lives together, and remain through the good, bad, and ugly for a life time, AND THEN…how does it continue on into the future?  That’s mission.  Each congregation has a mission to which the life, the energy, the membership, the fuel, the ministry…is born, nourished, grown, and moved forward.  If I can’t relate to a group’s mission or see myself entering into the mission with all my heart, then I can’t authentically commit my life to that group.  It’s an integrity/call/authenticity thing.  It’s a very important part of discernment for me…no matter what stage you’re in.  To what/to whom are you willing to commit your energy and passion to?  That’s the question I’m asking now.

Regarding the reinterpreted “model for mission”–this is classic Katy-now (I wish I could claim this process when I was a youngin’ looking at religious life, but alas…this wisdom is all new, uncharted territory) discernment.  It looks a little like this:

Katy looks at websites.  Katy tries to find mission statement on websites and is aware if it is prominent or not.  If Katy likes and can resonate, Katy moves on to experiences.  Katy returns home and will talk about it with people.  If Katy still experiences a nudge, a connection, Katy will return.

Sounds an awful lot like the woman in Samaria.  I know I write in jest often, and I do not  want to belittle the importance of her role as a model for mission–she risked, she entered into a mutual process transforming a relationship from perceived impossibility to friendship, and she returned after proclaiming the good news and brought more people with her. Her mission was to invite people to walk this journey of faith. 

Finally…the mutual conversation.  Dating (women, men, religious communities) is a lot like this conversation between Jesus and Samaritan woman.  It was a gradual process…they didn’t discuss “hot topics” right away.  Jesus wasn’t like, “Hey I’m the Messiah and you’re supposed to be a model for mission, I’m thirsty, give me something to drink and then go bring people back!”  They each gave a little at a time until the reached a comfort level.  The important thing for me was breaking open the mutuality of the conversation.

Dating religious communities can reflect this mutuality…you’re both trying to figure out if each other is a good fit.  Enter into the process with integrity and authenticity…it should work out the way it needs to for both parties.  Subtract that integrity and authenticity…people get hurt and quite frankly, why would you want to commit to something if one of you had a false sense of the other?

I’m not sure this reflection makes a concrete connection, but like I said, I’m still sloshing over the whole experience.  I’ll leave you with a few questions…feel free to comment/begin a dialog!

What kinds of “mission” taps your passion?  What do you look for when making a major commitment?  How do you engage in a risky relationship that still feels compelling enough to pursue?

Ah-ha…there’s my piece that’s floating around…How/Why would I engage in a risky relationship that feels compelling enough to pursue…that’s my discernment question right now.  Now I have to get to work too!

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day 4: mary, mary, quite contrary?

day 4: Mary’s not so sweet lullaby…aka Magnificat

(if you missed day 1, day 1.5, day 2…click on the previous episodes. If you missed day 3, I’m sorry, I wasn’t feeling well…so no day 3 for you.)

I’m learning some wonderful things: spiritual, personal, scriptural, practical… Allow me to share a few:
1. If you look younger than 35, no matter where you are, you become the resident techie and cell phone specialist.
2. I’m not the only one who has had a “biblical icon” crisis. (I’m currently in one with Sarah, Abe’s lady, but I’ve had my fair share of Mary confusion too)
3. Wearing tiaras at birthday parties are essential. (no matter who you are(even the prioress), what you do, or how old you are…you wear them! If you’re lucky, you get feathers!)
4. It’s ok to not participate, especially when you are choosing self-care (some people reading this should be applauding loudly…you know who you are)
5. Dominicans make the best cookies and lemon bars I have ever had. (Seriously, I should join for the life-time of these cookies. In fact one may have had an image of something holy on it and told me to become Dominican, but then I ate it, so I’m not sure. Hahaha)
6. Good preaching starts off with a story…I just so happen to have a few stories for you today! Yippee!

I’ve never been a Mary person. I mean, she’s ok…I’m not anti-Mary or anything. I didn’t get into statues, I had a couple rosaries over the years and didn’t really connect with that way of praying. I got to be the revered 2nd grader…the “chosen one”, if you will…to crown Mary in my communion dress. I didn’t really want to do it because my dress was so ugly (another funny story actually) and I didn’t see what the big deal was. But then girls were crying because they didn’t get chosen, so I thought I better suck it up and do it. Mary…momma of the big J…great!

When I got older I was more than disgusted with these frail, dressed in blue, hands perfectly folded gazing upward images. I decided she must be pretty boring and not much personality. I even went to a nun camp with a Marian order of nuns who love Mary more than anyone I’ve ever known. They even start all their prayers and meals with a Special Mary prayer! I thought I must be missing something.

Then when I became aware of women’s roles, treatment, impacts, etc in society…I perceived Mary as a strong woman and was irritated by those images even more so. I didn’t pay much attention to how she was written about in the scriptures, but I knew she wasn’t one of those “mouthy, renegade” women that we are warned about. I truly admired her faith and her ability to say “ok, angel…that sounds good”…or so I thought…

Then today, a newly inducted member on my “oh my gosh, you’re brilliant and an amazing teacher, and my hero/ine” list: Sr. Barbara Reid, OP gave us some new lenses and ways in which we could view Mary with the eyes, ears, and heart of a woman.

Story #2…I made a silent directed retreat right before I was received into the novitiate. My director gave me the assignment to write my own Magnificat. It was a great assignment! I was so happy…i praised God for EVERYTHING…just like Mary, in her innocent, frail, good girl way. Great…I’ve mastered the Magnificat….WRONG!

Sr. Barbara suggested that we take Mary from the perspective of her singing like a prophet. She helped us break open the Greek translation to come to the understanding that this was no “sweet lullaby” sung by a wimpy, blue veiled, child. Nope…now I’m intrigued and way into this.

Mary’s song could be interpreted as a counter-cultural ideology for her day. She urges, dreams about how life can be different for oppressed women in society. Naming God as “Lord” was sticking her tongue out at the emperor. It’s subversive, a dissent on the Roman Empire and treatment of women. Mary is basically saying “nan an nan an na na…you cant have me, I belong to Go-d, and I’m empowered…”. It’s her dream for new life…which coincidently is then taught to us in a more direct way by her son. As Sr. Barbara said, ” Well, when mom is singing songs like that at home, what political views would you work toward?” Now I’m in. Mary is awesome….and no wimpy Jew either!

So…relating back to my Kumbaya version of the Magnificat 5 years ago, I thought, what would I sing today, knowing this new lens and interpretation? That’s how I spent my afternoon, reflecting and composing my more historically accurate Magnificat.

Recently, someone asked me if I truly listened to God in prayer and in my formation. Um….yeah…that’s kind of a dumb question. She went on to tell me that she didn’t think I did listen or go deep enough because it was clear to her that God was not calling me to live religious life. I was furious! Let me be very clear…NO ONE, has the right to interpret and tell you how God is speaking to you in your heart. A vocation is a personal conversation with God that should be discerned with trusted people, yes, but no one can have the answer except you.

As if you can’t sense some of my passion for religious life…fire is an important symbol in my life. It speaks of me to intense passion and love. It is a God symbol for me. My Magnificat had to include fire. Between my rough spots the last couple years and trying to continue to move forward, frustrations with hierarchical structures, lack of integrity..etc…I, like Mary, stepped out of bounds to address God aflame in me today. Enjoy!

My spirit is ablaze with you, my God. All that I am, all that I will become, sings of the fire of your love in me.

God fires my life with love; Guides me to spread the fire among those who experience darkness, those who need warmth, the hungry. God persists with love beyond those who wish to snuff out my flame; from now on my spirit is ablaze with you, my God.

God loves through this and every moment, how blessed is the love of my God.

The fire of God’s love is a healing flame…sterilizing selfishness and greed, ego and ignorance; God torches misuses of power. Seemingly destructive, but not so, God blazes paths for new life.

God whisks away my abusers, fooled by the smoldering embers. With that same gentle breath, breathes me into a passionate blaze, recognizing the flame that once carried my spirit forward, responding to God’s call in me.

God’s flames envelop me and all those who walk their journeys with integrity. Fueled with this profound message, my flame rises. Today, her embers have transformed into quiet, gentle flickers in the night air. Trust provides her with the promises of blazing new trails again, raised up by those who are likewise impassioned to walk with integrity and passion in their hearts.

Only you, God, can light the fire within me. Fire my life with your love, my God. My fire has been lit and tended to by your love and persistence. My heart’s fire is not determined by ones who lack integrity and justice, nor those who use fire to destroy. Only for you and your people who burn for justice and with joy is this song being sung.

My spirit is ablaze with you, my God. All that I am, all that I will become, sings of the fire of your love in me.

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