She Who Weeps* (Part 2 of 2)

15 09 2014

weeperConnecting, sharing our authentic selves are gifts we give the world. I’ve been trying to write about “the Process of Creativity” workshop I facilitated this summer, but have been unable to find the words. The creative journey sometimes takes longer than planned and leads us in unexpected directions. It was not until I burst into tears in front of the Rev. Deanna Vandiver that my lessons from this summer’s workshop became clear. You can click here to read Part 1 of this story.

* I’m a big crier and come from a family of criers. Someone once told me my Indian name was, “She Who Weeps”. This story contains tears of joy as well as tears of sadness.

My Creative Journey Continues


I often say that our actions are like tossing a stone into water. We don’t always know where the ripple will land. It is a gift from the universe when we learn of a ripple’s impact.

My workshop on the creative process was fun and interactive. My belief is that if you understand your strengths as well as your obstacles, then you can become better at achieving your goals. Creativity to me is problem solving.

I expanded my 2-hour workshop to an all day event. Two artist-writer educators joined me with hands-on activities. My session brought the intellect and their contributions brought the heart. It was a terrific marriage of right and left brain working together.

And just like my tearful moment with Rev. Vandiver, there were many moments of authentic connections when presenters and audience expose our vulnerable selves to each other.

In my own introduction I talk about dealing with my fears. I tell what my skydiving adventure meant to me. It helped me to move past the fears that were keeping me from my dreams. Here’s a link to that story, Taking the Leap

As one presenter introduced the next, another authentic and powerful story was told. Therese spoke of being desperately lost in a life that didn’t allow her creative spirit to blossom. As she felt her own spirit withering, she heard about a neighbor who was an artist. When she would see this artist walk down the street, Therese saw the life she longed for, yet seemed unobtainable. She saw this artist as a creative vision of possibility. She held on to that vision as she left her old life and began anew. Jacquie was the workshop’s next presenter and had been Therese’s neighbor years ago. Therese told her artist friend Jacquie that story for the first time that day in front of everyone. This was another holy moment that brought tears to my eyes.

Jacquie had no idea that she was someone’s beacon of hope. She was just living her life, but the authenticity that radiated from her allowed someone else to find their way back to their own creative spirit.

So how does this all connect?
After my cry in front of the Reverend (part 1 of this story), our conversation didn’t end. The Red Shoes is another organization that brought the speaker we were both waiting to hear and it is The Red Shoes that housed my Process of Creativity workshop. It was a natural segue to tell Rev. Vandiver about this great organization and that I had just put on a workshop on the creative process there and what a wonderful experience it had been.

She then asked me if I would be interested in coming to New Orleans to put on my workshop. Of course I said yes. Rev. Vandiver is community minister to three congregations and is the Executive Director of The Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal. It is at the Center where I’ll be on October, 4th facilitating my workshop.

It’s always a gift to see where the ripples of our actions land and to learn of our interconnectivity. It’s also important to remember that the ripples continue even if we don’t see the impact. When you are true to your authenticity and know that your actions come from love, know that you are impacting the world. May we all act out of love on our creative journey.

My Process of Creativity workshop would not have been possible with these fabulous women and organizations:

Wendy Hersham of the Red Shoes who shared her wisdom and opened the Red Shoes to my idea. The day would not have happened without you.

Teresa Knowles, a wonderful woman and artist who shared her art and wisdom. Your story of vulnerability still brings me to tears whenever I think of that special day.

Jacquie Parker, your gentle words and art are a beam of light that shines from your creative soul. It is a gift to know you.

 Robin McAndrew and the Community School at the Arts Council of GBR who believed and supported my vision from the beginning and allowed me to grow. You are a real friend and a blessing to my life.


She Who Weeps* (Part 1 of 2)

14 09 2014

weeperReligion, sex and politics are not subjects I write about. This started out as a story about a workshop I gave on creativity. As often happens on my creative journey, the story took a detour. It became two interrelated stories. You can find the link to Part 2 at the end of this post.

* I’m a big crier and come from a family of criers. Someone once told me my Indian name was, “She Who Weeps”. This story contains tears of joy as well as tears of sadness.

Religion, Sex and Politics

Early this summer during a quiet moment of remembrance of loved ones who had passed away, a church in New Orleans was violated by religious terrorists who interrupted the service and began yelling and hollering that the congregation was going to hell.

How did the church respond?
The minister calmly told these violators they were welcome to remain, but if they could not be silent, to please take their protest outside. The congregation fought back with love and started singing.

After these religious zealots left the sanctuary, they went and screamed at the children in the Sunday school classes and pressed horrific images against the windows for the children to see. Those caring for the children moved them to an interior safe room and left a note on the classroom door for the parents to see when they returned after the service to get their babies.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans was targeted as Satanists because Unitarians believe that a woman’s body is her own and any health decision should be between the privacy of a woman and her doctor. Unitarians also welcome everyone regardless of their sexual orientation, which is also seen by the same zealots as evil.

There was a powerful and heartfelt interview on the Rachel Maddow Show with the minister, the Rev. Deanna Vandiver, who was in the pulpit that day. Maddow puts the larger story into today’s political context. Rev. Vandiver talks of how religious freedom is a founding principal of our country. How unfathomable it is for one religious group to violate another’s sacred space. She talks of her pride that her congregation choose to stand on the side of love that day.

I was horrified by this story and equally shocked that other than Maddow it received very little media attention. As a Unitarian Universalist, it was very personal and I know that it could have happened at my own church. It was just a few years ago that another religious terrorist entered a Knoxville UU church and started gunning down the congregation, killing two, while the children were putting on the play “Annie”.

In hearing how the New Orleans congregation responded, the overwhelming emotion I felt was pride. My fellow Unitarians walked the talk, they responded to hate with love. While they had to be frightened, they didn’t act out of fear. They responded to intolerance with tolerance and reason. What a great lesson for us all.

Later this summer, my own Unitarian Church hosted a spiritual speaker, Matthew Fox for a series of lectures.  I was honored to meet Rev. Deanna Vandiver who had traveled the 90 miles to Baton Rouge for the talk. I told her how moved I was by her interview and by her church’s response to the frightening intrusion into their holy space. Then I teared up and chocked out, “You made me so proud to be a Unitarian.”

I wasn’t embarrassed as the tears rolled down my cheeks. I knew by not suppressing the powerful emotion I felt, I was able to have an real spiritual connection…a holy moment. We are all interconnected in this web of life. May we all honor the sacredness of our connection to each other. I pray for love and tolerance for us all.

Click here to read She Who Weeps Part 2.