creativity

Women Who Run With the Wolves (book 5 of 12)

Women Who Run With the Wolves (book 5 of 12)

June 13, 2020
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Women Who Run With the Wolves.
By Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

In a sense. That’s enough.
You should simply get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.

”Creativity is a shapechanger.”

550 pages of gold. Pure gold.
I would estimate that less than 20% of those pages have escaped my pen, my marginalia is on most every page. And there’s probably at least 100 dog-ears as well, pointing to the absolute gems of the book. The pieces I simply cannot imagine not being able to easily find again.

”As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love. We are evoked in the way creatures are evoked by sun and water. we are made so alive that we in turn give life out; we burst, we bloom, we divide and multiply, we impregnate, incubate, impart, give forth.”

The quotes I’ve chosen are from the chapter named Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life, and this book will forever be intimately linked within me, with The Creative’s Workshop, which I started about the same time I picked up the book. Even more so the weekly Reading Retreats I’ve shared with a few of my fellow workshoppers, which is where I’ve gotten a lot of hours into this book.

”If you are scared, scared to fail, I say begin already, fail if you must, pick yourself up, start again. If you fail again, you fail. So what? Begin again. It is not the failure that holds us back but the reluctance to begin over again that causes us to stagnate. If you’re scared, so what? If you’re afraid something’s going to leap out and bite you, then for heaven’s sake, get it over with already. Let your fear leap out and bite you so you can get it over with and go on. You will get over it. The fear will pass. In this case, it is better if you meet it head-on, feel it, and get it over with, than to keep using it to avoid cleaning up the river.”

As this is one of the twelve English books I’ve chosen to do book reflections on upon finishing them, the simple fact that I’ve written not just one, but two blog posts referring to Women Who Run With the Wolves before the official blog post on it, says a lot.

The fact that I’ve brought it up in threads in The Creative’s Workshop more than ten times, adds even more weight.

And then there’s the realization that this is The Book I would bring with me to a deserted island if ever asked that somewhat cheesy question What book would you bring with you to a deserted island? I imagine I will be rereading it over and over again. Or simply use this book as my daily companion (replacing The Book of Awakening, perchance?), picking it up, flicking to a random page, and reading a stanza or two.

”A powerful way to renew or strengthen one’s intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground. There they become like a wake-up call. Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman’s spirit that causes activity to occur again. The sound of some of one’s many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.”

Now you’ve gotten even more, and yet, only from one chapter. And there’s. So. Much. More.
So. If you weren’t convinced when I wrote this to start with, I write it again:
Get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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I. Have. To. Write. About. It. Now.

May 18, 2020
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One of my 12 English books to read and blog about this year, is Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Normally, I never write about the book until it’s finished, which is when I write my book reflection. However, this book, which I am approximately 60% through, has certainly challenged me, as almost not a page goes by without me making copious notes in the margin and the number of dog ears is just ridiculous! I usually don’t mark pages with dog ears, but the best of the best of this book has me crying out for me to make it easily accessible in years to come, and alas, the book probably has 50 dog ears by now….

Anyway, as I was reading this book during my weekly Monday Reading Retreat, a paragraph jumped out at me, and I simply cannot hold it in anymore. I. Have. To. Write. About. It. Now.

”Creating one thing at a certain point in the river feeds those who come to the river, feeds creatures far downstream, yet others in the deep. Creativity is not a solitary movement. That is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed. That is why beholding someone else’s creative word, image, idea, fills us up, inspires us to our own creative work. A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.”

This.
This is what The Creative’s Workshop is to me.
It feeds me.
There is so much creativity just whizzing and bouncing along in the workshop, it’s almost ridiculous, and it feeds me and my creativity to levels I’ve not experienced for many years.

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Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving (book 3 of 12)

March 16, 2020
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I really did not enjoy reading Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving by Roger E. and Stephen D. Allen.

And in a sense… that makes me happy. Oddly enough.
Bear (haha. Pun not intended, would you believe it?) with me, as I try to explain.

You see.
I have a tendency to enjoy most of what I read.
I love books. I read lots.
And I can as easily down a quick-read from the chick-lit genre as a fact-based non-fiction book on leadership and human development, a Science Fantasy-trilogy as a spiritual deep-dive into the world of Mary Magdalen.
And most everything I do enjoy. I find something in them that attracts me, keeps me reading.
Can be the wit of it, the beauty of the language, a totally engrossing story or facts that makes my mind boggle.

“Remember, good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad judgment.”

But more and more, I can discern (what a wonderful word that one! Discernment.) what I don’t like, what I don’t enjoy, where the language is not alluring, where I cannot get close to the characters (The Neapolitan Novels of Elena Ferrante is a great example), where something, whatever it might be, just seems off for one reason or another.

I had but read a few pages of this book when I knew it was off. For me! Which is an important caveat, as my taste is just that: mine. Noone elses. I borrowed this book from C, and he swears by it. But if I had not assigned this book a slot in my “read these 12 English books in 2020” I would have closed the book, returned it to C and never thought more of it.

But as I had chosen it, I made myself finish it, even though it took me more or less three months, with it laying on my dressing table as a constant reminder…

Perhaps it’s as simple as me not really being a Winnie-the-Pooh fan?
Perhaps the way the Allen’s emulate the way A.A. Milne writes (and is allowed to use excerpts from his books on Winnie-the-Pooh, both the written stories and the illustrations), but without being as great word-smiths as Milne?
Perhaps it was simply the wrong time for me to read it?

I don’t know, and don’t have to delve into it in-depth, but… at the same time, this is where my happiness comes in. You see, I am currently enrolled in The Creative’s Workshop (workshop run for the first time by Seth Godin on akimbo.com), and in several of the prompts (lessons you might say, three per week, over a 100-day-period) we’ve been asked to look at things such as these:
What is good, in my view? Why is it good? Who crafts good stuff (similar to that which I am working on)?
What don’t I think is good, and why? Who crafts “bad” stuff?
Who do I admire? Who do I want to emulate? And who’s the amateur, the professional and the hack in your line-of-work?

So.
Winnie-the-Pooh is helping me discern my responses to questions like these ones.
And that’s really helpful!

“…creativity […] is a way of being, of looking at things without judging them first, and that it can be learned and improved.”


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Everybody-friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, all ages

September 10, 2017
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in Tip
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“Everybody-friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, all ages” – what do you imagine this is the tagline for? If you are anything like me, you would not in a million years believe it is the tagline of a pop-up synagogue, would you? And yet, that is precicely what it is.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie in conversation with Krista Tippett on On Being is a hoot of a show under the title “First-aid for spiritual seekers”. I laugh, and I cry, and I feel such gratitute to people who don’t “take things for granted because it’s how it’s been done forever and ever” but rather dare ask Why? And Amichai most certainly is one who dares.

I mean, read this transcript from the conversation:

worthy of being passed down“… I think the words are the black box that contains so many of the ancestral aspirations and truths — and also baggage that needs to be checked. There is an evolution. Not everything that we’ve inherited is worthy of being passed on, like trauma and like memories and like values that have evolved. Part of the reason why I’m not an Orthodox Jew but a flexidox or polydox and otherwise-Jew, and not just “Jew,” is that I do believe in evolution, not just of our species and the world, but of concepts. And if the Bible and the Jewish values that have sustained my people for thousands of years believe that women were subservient and that sexuality was of a specific type and that types of worship included slaughtering animals, we’ve evolved. That’s not where we are. So we need to read some of those sacred words as metaphor, as bygone models, as invitations for creativity, and for sort of the second meaning and the second naïveté here that still retrieves this text as useful and these narratives as holy, not as literal.

I think that is, of course, the conversation between so many of us of different religions who are struggling with our brothers and sisters who choose to read things literally and speak for a Biblical truth that is unalterable, where we — some of us think that there is room here for creativity, for sacred metaphor and change. And we’re not there yet. We’re not there yet for those days of dignity and equality and radical justice that Heschel and Dr. King and so many of our leaders, then and now, are hoping for. And here we are — oh, my God — again?”

I hear Amichai speak this into the world, and I rejoice. I remember listening to this podcast once this summer (because yes, this is another one of those podcasts that I simply cannot get enough of, I listen, and re-listen, over and over again, and each time (!) I get something new from it) while picking raspberries in the garden, filled with gratitude and amazement that there are people who dare to question their tradition – regardless if it’s religious or simply habitual – in a way that is not condemning, but rather ripe with opportunity.

There’s possibility in it the questioning, I perceive doors opening, rather than shutting. There’s a strong sense of exploration, and I love the expansion possible in that endeavor.

I also experience gratitude for Krista Tippett and On Being, discovering and sharing the wisdom of interesting people, whom I would not in a million years ever stumble upon otherwise. So I dare you – if you’ve yet to listen to an On Being-episode, this is a great one to start with! The edited show is great, but the unedited one is even better; rich, filled with humor and wisdom.

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