unblocking creativity

I have been on a quest to find my inner artist since last fall when a man I barely knew put a canvas in front of me and a paintbrush in my hand and said “you are an artist”.  I have  been changing the story in my head about myself, silencing the voice that said “you can’t”,  and dabbling in painting, drawing, writing. This blog is my latest adventure  in seeking to finding my voice, and I keep running across inspiration to help me in this journey. Today it is an interview with Carole King. She said:

If you are sitting down and you feel that you want to write and nothing is coming, you get up and do something else. Then you come back again and try it again. But you do it in a relaxed manner. Trust that it will be there. If it ever was once and you’ve ever done it once, it will be back. It always comes back and the only thing that is a problem is when you get in your own way worrying about it.

She may have been talking about writing music, but this is applicable to any creative expression.

Here is my first painting, the one I did that day in September:

Sara's first painting Sept 15 2013

 After I quit overthinking  it,  I just chose the primary colors and went to it.  It looks pretty much like a child’s finger painting, on the one hand, but I expressed the emotions I was feeling that day and it was like putting a stake in the ground that said “this is a turning point!”

Soon after, I went on an expedition to an art supply store, with the same man, who I was getting to know quite well, and bought my own paint and canvases. I doodled around with it for a month or so, then expressed myself here:

Sara's second painting Nov 2013

This was something that I had seen in my mind’s eye when I first started meditating, and it represents freedom. The act of mixing the colors and putting the paint on the canvas until I was satisfied was a very raw and sensual experience.

Since then, I have attended a couple of classes, painted a  tree and some mountains as well as playing abstractedly, have all kinds of ideas, but haven’t devoted as much time as I’d really like to this. The thing I am learning, though, whether it is in drawing or painting, or coloring between the lines of a picture someone else drew, or  in writing, or singing, or – you name it – it is not in whether I have extraordinary talent, it is in the expressing, the releasing of what is inside me bursting to get out. Then — to risk ridicule by letting another see what I have done, and get to the place of not caring what others think – this is in itself quite an accomplishment for me.

Someday I hope to “quit my day job” and have much more time for these pursuits. For now, I  simply take each day, each moment, and do the next thing, which at the moment is writing this!

As for the man who handed me the paintbrush — he has become to me so much more than words can say. He delights and encourages me every day, with his own brand of creativity, his ingenuousness, and his unwavering determination.

To be rigidly a…

To be rigidly attached to the idea of arriving at the destination takes away from the joy and spontaneity of the journey. The search for the certainty of timetables and outcomes comes from our limited ego self, not our unlimited self. If we surrender to the wisdom of uncertainty, we remain open to the wonder […]


I am reposting this from another author because this is so much a part of my own journey.


I’m beginning see things in a different light. I’ve realized something: the reason I’ve been so torn lately is because I’ve been attempting to change into something others expected from me instead of focusing on what it is I want to see in myself. I would preach about it all the time but never noticed how badly I needed to follow my own advice.

I was wearing myself out trying to meet the standards of people whose minds worked differently than mine. I couldn’t find a good balance because I was trying to stand on the beliefs of others rather than build my own. Until you have the tools necessary to do so, it’s best to stay afloat to avoid landing on something you think will keep you steady only to get too comfortable on something so fragile.

Uncertainty can be more destructive than you think; a person can drown…

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I shared wine and pizza with my dear friend last night and it was like always – we picked up where we left off, no matter how long it had been since we saw each other. Pattye and I met 10 years ago, coworkers for the same hospice company, she a social worker and I a nurse. We discovered that we had a few other things in common – we had daughters the same age,  we both have December birthdays, and we shared a passion for the work of hospice. I became her boss for a while, but she didn’t let it ruin our friendship! Pattye was one of the first people in my life to show me what it means to be transparent and authentic, talking about her own life difficulties with a sometimes raw candor which at first startled me. Growing up, I was taught the importance of keeping my guard up and looking good to the world, keeping any pain or ugliness hidden inside. I was in a bad marriage, but denied it to myself  and absolutely didn’t want anyone else to know! From Pattye, I learned the value of  the girlfriend, and gradually opened up and have shared things with her that I’ve not mentioned to anyone else. The fact that I was in my 40’s and had not ever had a woman friend who stuck with me through thick and thin makes that a big deal.  I knew pretty quickly that Pattye and I would be friends for life, and when I was unfairly terminated from my management position after nearly 5 years of faithful service, she  immediately resigned her own job. Said she wouldn’t work for those kind of people. THAT is friendship at its best.

Now our daughters are 18, both going away to college. Hers is an only child,  mine the youngest of half a dozen plus one.  We are “older” parents, having birthed these girls in our late 30’s. We laugh and cry and drink wine as we share the emotion of our little birds leaving the nest. They’ve been on the edge for quite a while, now will fly off, as they should, bravely beginning the next chapter of their lives, and leaving us to do the same.  As for us? We continue the forward march, embracing  the uncertainty of aging bodies – lines in our faces and sagging breasts, doing the best we can to be healthy in a toxic world, and living today with the hope that we’ll be able to do all the things that we’ve put off for the joy of parenting. She plans to return to volunteering, and I – well that seems to always be a question mark lately!

I look back at the journey from where I am now, and am quite frankly amazed and very grateful for the women who have come into my life and become my companions and cheerleaders, and I theirs. I love my life, I love my friends, and I raise my glass to all of you.


Facing fear

I chose “embracing uncertainty” as the name of my blog because this has been my life, although until recently, I couldn’t see that. I always liked the illusion of being in control, of making things happen.

Learning the seven spiritual laws has really changed the way I look at life. Detachment simply means not being attached to a particular outcome, or point of view. I get up in the morning and have no idea what the day will bring. I meet someone or have a conversation, and let life flow, as opposed to imposing my views or desires on others, or even GOD.

For three months, since I started meditating regularly, I have asked myself the soul question: Who am I? The idea is to just ask,  then meditate, with no expectations of anything. This is really an effort for me , as I like immediate answers. I recently opened a book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, subtitled A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. The author suggests writing morning pages, three longhand pages of whatever comes to mind. The hope is that whatever is blocked will be released. So I have been doing this for a couple of weeks, and it has basically become a journaling. Yesterday I came across an author who mentors – http://www.joannefedler.com and got  her 21 spoonfed writing tips for finding your writing voice. The first tip is to “spend some time writing about what makes you who you are, what moments in your life have shaped you.” Wow. Same as the soul question.

So I sat to write. And admitted on paper that I resist this exploration. And started writing, not expecting much. But as I wrote, I was able to see that I am a passionate, loving woman, and I give myself wholly to those I choose to love. As I continued to explore events and people who have shaped me and my life, I had what to me was an amazing aha revelation – the facing of fear has shaped me in a major way. And this:

Facing fear is like walking blindfolded through a wall of flame, not knowing how badly I might be burned, or if I will survive the heat, and if I do survive, not knowing what I will find on the other side or if I will be able to handle it.

Accepting the inevitability of change doesn’t mean giving up what I want. I just recognize that I control my choices, but have no idea what the consequences will be. Watching life unfold becomes wonderful instead of fearful.