Feet of clay is an expression we use that points to character flaws found in our humanness. You know. Those times when we are so good we must be found bad. Or so bad we are good enough to raise the eyebrows of those mirthful faultfinders around us. (Inner critics included.) Lets face it. Whether a Hollywood starlet caught in a nose-picking event by paparazzi or the King of Babylon exposed in a dream by prophet Daniel or somewhere in between like the rest of us, having feet of clay ranks low on the bucket list of “I wants” or things to be celebrated. We try to rise above them with store bought miracle grow wings that promise to elevate our consciousness. Or we hop on brooms with “swoop and sweep” features that offer to deflect or hide our questionable character. Or we travel the earthbound distraction route, clicking the heels of our sparkly ruby slippers on the latest offering of a freshly painted yellow brick road in a search for more brains, more heart and more courage ... to what? Escape them? Well, how ‘bout we embrace them?
Feet of Clay While her dance on earth bid her stay, she came to love her feet of clay. Though they crumbled and caved in life’s tidal wave of unknowing, she learned to reshape them and fire them with the glowing golden embers within her heart, the place that remembered where she got her start on wings of angels delivered to birth, royalty not subject to the mirth of fault-finders with cast iron feet bound to the earth, impenetrable and too deep to leap for the stars and catch fireflies in jars on hot summer nights when naked feet find delight in the dance that bid her stay while she came to love her feet of clay.
Bernadette Rose Smith
Don’t wait for clay feet to kick you in the pants on your way out!The first two lines of Feet of Clay haunted me for days – like a mantra by Dr. Seuss – encouraging me to follow the impulses to its completion and start the visual journal page seen here. All during a creativity challenge I agreed to host for The Mused Community – a group on Facebook of which I am a grateful member. This particular challenge wove together chapter 5 from The Artist’s Way – Recovering a Sense of Possibility – and the earth energy medicine found in the dragonfly’s dance from its originating form as dragon. Lively discussion topics about virtue traps, not limiting God and finding the source of the stories we tell pointed to an evolving sense of possibility and recovery for embracing our feet of clay. For years, I tried to rise above mine. My sense of possibility anchored in a belief that I could learn how to be happy and feel safe here only by sustaining flight; lighting down occasionally to share the sights I’d seen from above. (Muses and creatives tend to do this but lack of oxygen in higher realms can make us fuzzy in remembering how to plant our visions here.)
After multiple attempts and crashes, here is my basic guide to arriving – and thriving with clay feet.1. Be the first in line to embrace your mess. (Love yourself.) 2. Get there before the mirth slayers. (Be not afraid.) 3. Perfection is found in imperfection. (So relax.) 4. Strength is found in vulnerability. (So relax some more.) 5. If you claim your feet of clay you won’t miss a leap to live – really live as you. Not someone else’s idea of you. (Be authentic.) 6. Whether you are stomping in the mud or re-firing in the glow of your heart, the edits and rewrites are yours. (So play.)
“No one can awaken from a dream the world is dreaming for him.” A Course in Miracles (text, P. 541)
Don’t be a stand-in in someone else’s dream. While this dance on earth bids you stay, learn to love your feet of clay. It starts with you. That’s all I’ll say.
Claim your feet of clay here!
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Writing Under Fire
Writing under fire saves lives when desperation overflows pretty journals and sends pen in hand drawer-diving for a comp book or some lone sheet of loose-leaf paper.
Even toilet paper writes well at midnight with its multi-tasking talent for anger venting, tear catching, nose blowing, remorse flushing purges.
Dear God letters. Fill-in-the-blank-you-asshole letters. Therapy work. Gasping for breath and rhythm work. Dream logs. Synchronicity logs. Gratitude logs. Spirit dialogs. Ego dialogs. Alternate routes through heart and mind traffic jams.
When angst hits the wall grab a pen. Hit the page. Save a life. Make it yours.
Bernadette Rose Smith
Wish to amp up your life with creativity and delight in Divine Coincidence? Here's 3 things to try. (Hey, they work for me!)
Thing 1: Morning Pages.In the fall of ’93, my then-husband-now-friend gave me a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Struggling with a loss of career direction, artist’s block and mild depression I couldn’t shake, I committed to reading the book and writing the morning pages that Julia prescribed. Some might call it irony. I call it synchronicity – amplified by a Divine Purpose. Then-husband-now-friend gifted me with a book that introduced me to a process of writing my way through pretty much anything. Then he left and gifted me with an opportunity to practice that process in a way that I never could have imagined! What are morning pages? In Julia’s words, “… three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness: ‘Oh, god, another morning. I have NOTHING to say. I need to wash the curtains. Did I get my laundry yesterday? Blah, blah, blah …’ They might also, more ingloriously, be called brain drain, since that is one of their main functions.” She also says, “There is no wrong way to do morning pages … (they) are not meant to be art. Or even writing … not supposed to sound smart … nobody is allowed to read (them) except you … Just write three pages … ” Why write them? Julia jokes, “To get to the other side” but is quick to point to their power when she says they get us to “the other side of our fear, of our negativity…” She identifies a voice she calls the censor. (What I frequently refer to as ego in Bernadette’s Pages.) Writing three pages of chaotic, mundane babble miraculously clears the static that interferes with my ability to quiet my mind and consciously connect. Like a child allowed to run off a sugar high after a birthday party, my ego often settles down by the time I get to page three – after which I find I can be still and receptive to insights that often change my life.
Thing 2. (Maybe 3.) Writing With Your Other Hand.Years ago, a friend introduced me to the power of using my non-dominant hand to tap into the wisdom of the right brain. She guided me through a series of dialogs during which the right hand (my dominant) wrote out the question with a pen and the left hand (my non-dominant) answered with a crayon. The left hand blurts were surprisingly direct and wise. The process captured my attention but did not go beyond a few sessions. This powerful tool reemerged as a lifeline after then-husband-now-friend’s departure and is still something I do in my morning page time. You don’t have to understand how the right brain works to experience its effect. Creative or not, we all intuitively dip into it on an unconscious level. But, if you want to harness its power more consciously, I suggest you read Lucia Capacchione’s, The Power of Your Other Hand as well as the classic, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. These books direct you to a whole new way of seeing and experiencing the world.
Thing 3: (Maybe 2.) Scribing Spirit.Scribing – referred to as “Spirit Dialog” in B’s Pages – was not entirely new to me when I started doing morning pages. I’d had a few ‘scribing outbreaks’ in previous years––outbreaks that I attributed to twelve-step recovery work. (Specifically Step Eleven.) Often, in my practice of Step Eleven (that states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him …”) I would feel a Divine Presence and an urge to write. Sometimes words flowed onto the page that were not my own. No burning bushes – or winning lottery numbers – but always appropriate to where I was and what I was concerned with. Without the established habit (morning ritual) of showing up to the page, I would not have a clear channel nor a comfort zone when Divine Guidance bumps journaling to the next level with whispers of redirects or offers of lifelines. And I would miss the crossroads – the opportunities to change direction – that lead to what I know and love about life today. A Shortcut? These days, my writing evolves to fit life circumstances and time constraints but remains a foundational cornerstone; a primary tool I use to process and move through life’s stuff. Issues that show up on paper often do not have to remain as long, drawn out classroom experiences. And, at crucial times, they act as springboards for some pretty amazing communication with others. (I do not advise that you share your writing casually, however. It is important to have an ear that constructively hears beyond the guilt and fear that often gets dumped onto the pages.) Here’s a Thought. Why wait for pain to motivate you when guidance is “at hand?” Let morning pages prime the pump and other-hand writing set the stage for your own insightful “blurts.” I would LOVE to hear your experiences and thoughts on what your “writing under fire” looks like and how it works in your life. Or your challenges with writing in this way. “Dump” them here ‘cause together we grow!
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“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the 'creative bug' is just a wee voice telling you, 'I'd like my crayons back, please.” – Hugh MacLeodAdmit it. Don't you sometimes wish you could have your first box of crayons back? And all the innocent creativity that came with them? I don’t know about you, but it was love at first sniff for me. Then, it was the magic of choice with a world of color at my fingertips. For the first time in my young life I could choose a color. Blend a color. Shade. Highlight. Even outline a color with another color. My own little kingdom of color invited in newsprint paper, coloring books, tracing paper, connect the dots and my first mural that spanned the length of Aunt Rosemary's hallway. I am told her attempt to correct the self-appointed 4 year old muralist failed when she finished with, “Now, are ever going to do that again young lady?” and I replied, “I will if you want me to.” (Am thinking I must have sniffed a whole box of crayons that day as I don’t remember the “color like no one is watching” incident.) My adults must have recognized that I had a creative spirit that could no longer be contained in a box of 24 as I was entrusted with THE BIG BOX. You know the one. 64 crayons complete with the built-in sharpener. Now, not only could I choose more colors but I could also choose the thickness of my lines! And, if that wasn’t enough to be excited about, it was in this box that I discovered a magical color called periwinkle. When you placed it next to blue it looked purple and when you placed it next to purple it looked blue. That is when the power of choice and observation invited me to open the door to consider other paradoxical and equally enchanting dimensional possibilities that life had to offer. As adults in a techno-society that now underestimates the power packed inside something as sweetly simple as a box of crayons, LETS NOT FORGET! The next time you see a child pick up a crayon consider what you are witness to. All the sensory gears that set into motion with that very personal magical moment of choice. (It might just be their first.) Who knows, you might just want to join them to tap into some of that "in the now" innocence for yourself. We are never too old to play with crayons. Me, I still have my box of 64 ... and yes, I still sniff. What was your favorite magic wand as a child? Is it still? PSST: Were you a "sniffer," too? If you like this post then LIKE it and SHARE it! Together we grow!
a. Give them time. b. Hand them a map or upgrade their GPS. c. Decide close enough is enough. d. Figure you can work with it and/or change them. e. Acquiesce to this one being better than the last one. f. Evacuate. g. All of the above. h. None of the above.
What do you do if you find you are the only one in the city, the only one in your heart?Or are you? Cities have a lot of vacant buildings – urban flight and all that. Did you fall through the cracks of a heart broken by past city dwellers or squatters? Did you take flight and not notice? Are you waiting for someone else to give you permission to move back into the city? Reclaim your heart? Did you get caught on the good enough is close enough loop and is that how they got away with looping the bypass? (Add “for so long” if you are in an old relationship.) Lots of questions, I know. But finding the answers offers a pedestrian view that allows you to occupy – not bypass – your own heart while deciding if you will continue the drive into theirs. If you don’t embrace your city life, with all its traffic jams and conventioneers looking for a good time, who will? And if you are not present to your own heart chances are you’ll dismiss theirs – or miss the exit/entrance ramps that will get you where you really want to go and ultimately reside. I know this because I am well traveled – loops and all. No judgments here, folks. Just some street savvy and a patched up heart in a city with as many streets called Forgiveness as Atlanta has called Peachtree.
Pssst: This heart bypass metaphor can be applied to other relationships you have ... like why a job is or is not working for you or where your creativity is or is not hanging out. There are no limits where the heart is concerned!
So, tell me what routes you've been taking these days!If you like this then LIKE this and share it! Together we grow!
“How much more effective to bring future and past to the present. It’s all happening right here, in this moment … Without the expression of fear based in memory, the future can better take care of itself because it will evolve from a series of inspired present moments ...” Excerpt from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate CrossroadWhat earthshaking losses would you willingly and consciously turn your past into your future for, to relive again and again? Now, what would that earthmover event look like if you invited Love to witness it with you? See, Love is a NOW thing with present day choices that align past, present and future.