On Saturday morning I went for a walk near home. Crisp blue skies. Sparkling sunshine. Radiant colours. What caught my attention was the leaves. Without a breeze, leaves gently floated from their branches to the ground: two, six, three, ten, one, fourteen. They moved silently like gentle morning snowflakes. Along the way I paused to stand under trees, enjoying the surprise of where the next leaves would fall from, imagining I was floating on one.
This is what change can feel like sometimes, a magical floaty otherworldly moment that goes beyond understanding. It was nice to see change that way, even for a moment. I wondered how to extend this peacefulness beyond this morning walk. If only we could see the beauty during change, the grace of falling when we ache to rise.
The gifts of our regional art gallery include the opportunities for community engagement, the experience of stepping into a transformative space, the immersion of the self into each piece of art, and the escape into the swirling energy of creativity.
The Art Gallery of Northumberland’s collection has grown over time and reminds us that what we see in the art changes as we change. The gallery offers the community a shared experience in our cultural heritage and embraces abundance through its ability to stand still while it continues to grow.
I was thrilled to be invited to write a poem to celebrate the AGN’s 60th Anniversary. What an honour to be included in the exhibit too!
I wanted to stand next to Gereaux Island Lighthouse, my feet on the rock my ancestors stood upon for so many years. I dreamed to see Georgian Bay from their perspective. What did Grandpa notice here growing up as a child? How can I see through his eyes? How can I learn about living on an island?
This summer everything aligned beautifully. We finally docked our boat and took a self-directed tour of Gereaux Island. For over 60 years my ancestors lived on this land, fed from these waters. My Grandfather grew up living here. Today, my parents live about 1 km away.
Vibrant energy. Time disappeared. The sun, breeze, and waves all sang the same song: welcome home. How can a place hold so much?
The island felt bigger on shore than looking at it from the water. It was hot when I thought it would be cool. My feet ached to memorize each step, each crevice in the granite. My eyes squished to gaze through the walls of the house and tower to imagine life inside. Unfortunately, the building was closed. The Coast Guards told us everything has been stripped inside and it’s unsafe for people to enter.
I took home a piece a granite to remember this visit, to hold onto the energy. We will visit again. This island has more lessons and stories for me to learn.
Here are some pictures from the visit:
It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I go out on Georgian Bay. It is different each time. Clouds stole the focus during the August long weekend. It was difficult to choose which pictures to include here!
Conflict is an intensifier in writing and in life. In this lesson we open the door to explore conflict as both danger and opportunity.
When my dad watches a movie or TV show and the conflict intensifies, he puts his arms up over his head. Conflict sparks a physical response. Conflict provides an emotional entry point into a story so the story is no longer over there, we are now immersed in it.
In life, conflict can be tough for everyone from children to adults. Working in schools as an administrator has given me a master class in understanding conflict. Over the years I’ve learned that in any complex situation if we can slow everything down (within us and around us), the conflict can change shape and tone.
Learning can feel like conflict sometimes because learning is change. We can feel discomfort and resistance and anger. There can be a gap between where we are and where we want to be. For example, if I am learning a new language I can feel my walls go up and my mind shut down in similar ways to when I feel like there is an injustice.
Stories help us to understand conflict. They can show us ways into tough situations and ways out of them. Writers entertain, educate, and engage us through a series of events that shift power, expectations, needs, and feelings among opposing forces.
My recent television binge has been the series ‘Billions.’ I was fascinated by how the series explores the shifting power dynamics between Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades. A billionaire from the streets versus an attorney from generations of privilege. A man of commerce vs. a man of civil service. The forces of good and evil are strong within them both. The story is the conflict and how it moves and changes shape. Neither man is entirely good or bad. It is compelling because of this tension. We wonder, who is the better man? Will the better man win? These overarching dramatic questions lead viewers through five seasons.
Watch the video to go deeper into the idea of conflict and how it relates to your writing process and projects.
Are you looking for more creativity in your life and projects? Do you want regular reminders and prompts to invite you to nurture your creativity? Do you want to grow your ideas, light your dreams, and harvest your vision?
I want to help you. Join my FREE Creativity Workshop.
For the last 20 years I’ve actively explored how to find balance with my life, work, and creativity. I want to share what I’ve learned with you. Making an impact on your life is important to me. Helping you to reach your creative potential will help me to realize my potential.
Discovering the 8 Writing Spirals focused and inspired my learning journey. I feel strongly that they could help other people so over the last few years I’ve searched for ways to connect with creative seekers. First, the book The Writing Spiral. Then I used an online teaching platform to develop the first draft of the workshop. Soon I transferred some of this material to blog posts, hoping this might be the right form.
Now, I’ve made it even easier and developed an email series. Start anytime. The workshop will be delivered directly to your inbox! And, it’s FREE!
Plus, you can join a monthly online live chat! Explore each spiral in conversation and on the page to unlock your process and open new ways of noticing in your creative practice. Generate ideas, develop routines, and create!
This morning I sit by my first garden, between the early morning shining sun in the east and the fading moon in the west. My feet in the cool grass. Two cardinals sing in the trees. A gold finch waits by the feeder. Ravens fly from rooftop to rooftop, watching me as I watch them. Since yesterday’s rain the humidity is gone and a breeze rustles the trees, their arms sway against a cerulean sky. It is then I knew my gardener’s soul arrived.
I’ve always loved the book The Secret Garden, a story about the healing power of a garden. Although my garden is for vegetables, the process of bringing it to life and watching it grow is more rewarding than I could have imagined. My only regret is not planting one sooner.