Category Archives: Creativity

The Old Woman: How Silence Will Save The World

Happy Saturday!  I received this story the week of Thanksgiving 2016 and found it to be one that stuck with me and wanted to share it. I hope you find it useful.

The Old Woman

From Michael Meade’s Why The World Doesn’t End

weaving-sketch

The old people of the tribes would tell of a special cave where knowledge of the wonders and workings of the world could be found. Even now, some of the native people say that the cave of knowledge exists and might be discovered again. They say it is tucked away in the side of a mountain. “Not too far to go,” they say, yet no one seems to find it anymore. Despite all the highways and byways, all the thoroughfares and back roads that crosscut the face of the earth, despite all the maps that detail and try to define each area, no one seems to find that old cave. That’s too bad, they say, because inside the cave can be found genuine knowledge about how to act when the dark times come around again and the balance of the world tips away from order and slips towards chaos.

Inside the cave, there lives an old woman who remains unaffected by the rush of time and the confusion and strife of daily life. She attends to other things; she has a longer sense of time and a deep capacity for vision. She spends most of her time weaving in the cave where light and shadows play. She wants to fashion the most beautiful garment in the whole world. She has been at this weaving project for a long time and has reached the point of making a fringe for the edge of her exquisitely designed cloak.

She wants that fringe to be special; wants it to be meaningful as well as elegant, so she weaves it with porcupine quills. She likes the idea of using something that could poke you as an element of beauty; she likes turning things around and seeing life from odd angles. In order to use the porcupine quills, she must flatten each one with her teeth. After years of biting hard on the quills, her teeth have become worn down to nubs that barely rise above her gums. Still, the old woman keeps biting down and she keeps weaving on.

The only time she interrupts her weaving work is when she goes to stir the soup that simmers in a great cauldron at the back of the cave. The old cauldron hangs over a fire that began a long time ago. The old woman cannot recall anything older than that fire; it just might be the oldest thing there is in this world. Occasionally, she does recall that she must stir the soup that simmers over those flames. For that simmering stew contains all the seeds and roots th.at become the grains and plants and herbs that sprout up all over the surface of the earth. If the old woman fails to stir the ancient stew once in a while, the fire will scorch the ingredients and there is no telling what troubles might result from that.

So the old woman divides her efforts between weaving the exquisite cloak and stirring the elemental soup. In a sense, she is responsible for weaving things together as well as for stirring everything up. She senses when the time has come to let the weaving go and stir things up again. Then, she leaves the weaving on the floor of the cave and turns to the task of stirring the soup. Because she is old and tired from her labors and because of relentless passage of time, she moves slowly and it takes a while for her to amble over to the cauldron.

As the old woman shuffles across the floor and makes her way to the of the ancient cave, a black dog watches her every move. The dog was there all along. Seemingly asleep, it awakens as soon as the old weaver turns her attention from one task to the other. As she begins stirring the soup in order to sustain the seeds, the black dog moves to where the weaving lies on the floor of the cave. The dog picks up a loose thread with its teeth and begins pulling on it. As the black dog pulls on the loose thread, the beautiful garment begins to unravel. Since each thread has been woven to another, pulling upon one begins to undo them all. As the great stew is being stirred up, the elegant garment comes apart and becomes a chaotic mess on the floor.

When the old woman returns to take up her handiwork again, she finds nothing but chaos where there had been a garment of great elegance and beauty. The cloak she has woven with such care has been pulled apart, the fringe all undone; the effort of creation has been turned to naught. The old woman sits and looks silently upon the remnants of her once beautiful design. She ignores the presence of the black dog as she stares intently at the tangle of undone threads and distorted patterns.

After a while, she bends down, picks up a loose thread, and begins to weave the whole thing again. As she pulls thread after thread from the chaotic mess, she begins again to imagine the most beautiful garment in the whole world. As she weaves, new visions and elegant designs appear before her and her old hands begin to knowingly give them vibrant shape. Soon she has forgotten the cloak she was weaving before as she concentrates on capturing the new design and weaving it into the most beautiful garment ever seen in the world.

The excerpt continues here – http://www.boyceco.com/ceremony/TheOldWoman.pdf

#40LifeAfterBirth

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The Art of Silence

silence

Happy New Year Everyone!

How time passes. Seems like the intention continues to be to write once a week and my commitment does not show up in results – it is in the heart. However, the outcome is of great importance as well.

The Art of Silence

When you look up silence it gets associated with suppressing one’s voice. Not wanting someone to exercise their rights and so on. And this does stand in the since of how it has been misused in history and culture! But using it as an Art is serving a greater purpose…

Lately, the ability to be silent keeps showing up as a conversation I am having with others closest to me. What I have experienced about silence is it creates an awkward feeling for most in a room and internally. When I teach, students tend to just not answer, more than likely, they feel out of failure in not getting it right.  But the uneasiness of the silence creates the stares around the room and the hesitation to respond even if the answer is correct, not just obtaining the perfect answer.

The conversations that I have been experiencing stem around the ability to stop the chatter in the head that causes anxiety and literally destroys the patience. The practice of silence for those who are artists, yours included, can lead to “do they like my work”, “it’s not good”, “maybe I need to change somethings” and so on before the response even comes.  Silence doesn’t mean it’s not good.  This continues to be the reason I practice meditation. I am one that can get the chatter in the midst of what seems to be a good nights sleep and be up for 2 hours. The practice of meditation has made me more comfortable with silence for self and the moment of silence from others. Currently, I am taking a Mindful Fundamentals course to further my understanding and practice to help others and hope to share more that I learn here.

Here is an article I found, written almost 4 years ago about The Art of Silence that breaks it’s use and benefits down pretty well.

Prior to that conversation during my residency, I’d only thought about silence as something to be enjoyed in solitude and avoided in the presence of others. Now I think about it as a tool I can use to make myself more effective at my job and more understanding of others, and thereby more compassionate, wiser, and happier.  Just think how the world would be different if we all spent more time listening. At the very least, it would be a whole lot quieter.

#40LifeAfterBirth

highly successful after age 40?

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

I find now that you see this bit of debate between the time frame in which someone can achieve success.  The younger you are, you can make it in certain industries or careers; but as you get older the playing field isn’t balanced or even fair in treatment.  I know that age discrimination is real! But how do or does it get exposed more or even shifted into more of an advantage for those that are aging?

I had a client this week, keep identifying his desire to hire someone who they felt needed to be young with energy. I understand it, as I told him, but seasoned with knowledge and the ability to help him get where he needs to be should be a criteria as well or at least have the same opportunity.  In addition, some people are in career transition and are just as willing to learn, as the young person with impressionable minds or the eagerness to learn…so don’t leave them out.

I found this article which notes #celebrities and #models of all industries that didn’t do what we may consider great things or even just start their career until 40 – #VeraWang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40; Robin Chase cofounded #ZipCar at 42; and this list goes one.

vera-wang

As the article says “It’s Never Too Late!” Read Here

#40LifeAfterBirth

Ten Questions for Meaningful #Career Development

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Eric Maisel in January and he was and is amazing! Hearing him say that 99% of the people he coaches are not leading meaningful careers, let alone lives – I believe that go hand in hand with most – was a lot to process and saddening. He said to me that it’s hard to process, when someone like yourself, is. So when I found this article, I wanted to share it. It’s from someone who took his creativity course, Dr. Katharine Brooks.

Here are 3 of the 10 questions that stood out to me…the rest can be read here.

1. If I am not doing the work I’m intending to do, why am I not doing it?

This first questions hones in on the need for reflection. Why are you in the career you are in? Is it what you wanted or hoped for? If not, what would you prefer to do? Dr. Maisel would encourage you to face the anxiety that this question might produce.

6. Am I doing my own creating?

Whose career are you in? The one you selected or the one that was selected for you? Your college major, decision to go to law school, or going into the family business may have all been your idea—or perhaps you were influenced by someone else. It’s time to take a look at this. Go back to question #1—if your career isn’t working for you, maybe it’s because the reason you went into it isn’t valid for you anymore. Or maybe your career choice is fine, but you’re not doing enough for yourself. You might have taken a job in journalism because you love to write, but now you’re only writing what others want you to write. When/how do you find time to write for yourself?

8. What action will I engage in today in support of my creative life?

This question is fundamental. You can think about your job search or career change all you want. What are you going to do about it? What action (one small step) will you take today that might move you one step forward in the process?

Here’s to a meaningful life!

the world is yours

#40LifeAfterBirth

#WomensHistoryMonth

Happy Sunday!

I find myself celebrating or maybe just paying more attention to Women History Month. Why?  I recognize more that the ability to be bold, stand confident and fearless, isn’t easy but required. The more you are in your head, the harder these words become, to act upon when you are on the right path. So I have to meditate more preparing myself to get up with these words in mind.

I found this video on Twitter that I know is worth sharing that talks on this…Women On Top