Art as Life: Tear a Page. Turn a Corner.

Inspiritus at Lourdes Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith Ever find yourself heading in a particular direction only to hit so many speed bumps, detours, or cul-de-sacs along the way that you start to question whether you should proceed? Maybe you can recall more than one “where is that road again” trip. Perhaps you are in the middle of one right now. Or, maybe there is one right around the corner waiting for you. (You do know you are not reading this by chance, right?) Well, get comfy. While you ponder that, I will tell you a short story about Inspiritus. Why? Because, whatever your journey, it is a story that points to a moment we share – that moment when we hear the whispers and feel the breath of the Divine moving through us. Inspiritus Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith Inspiritus Breath Mixed Media Art by Bernadette Rose Smith I was not in the neighborhood for inspiritus. I was aiming for a project that I hoped would address a livelihood concern. Inspiritus – the altered book pictured throughout this post – was a spirited calling on the carpet. It started with a phrase that kept popping up in my journal and my thoughts. Like a song verse you can’t shake. “The words are the leaves. The deeds are the fruits.” A polite way for the Divine to say, “Talk is cheap. Show me.” Inspiritus Altered Book Cover by Bernadette Rose Smith It was generously reinforced with one dead end after another in my livelihood venture. I have acquired enough wisdom to know when to stop and listen. (You know, that point where you start seeing stars from hitting that brick wall one too many times?) That’s when this poetic collaboration hopped onto a page in my journal one morning, starting with the verse:
So much happens before a leaf is born and from your pages a word is torn...
Inspiritus Altered Book Love by Bernadette Rose Smith “What a delightful thump on the head,” I thought. And with that invitation came the rest.
root upon root. ring upon ring. matters hidden until, in spring, from root to trunk to limb to branch a leaf is born, adorned to dance in sun and breeze and cloud and storm until its partner bud is born. coaxed to blossom. blossom to fruit. how will you harvest what came to root?
Inspiritus Altered Book by Bernadette Rose Smith My life flashed before my eyes. Okay, maybe not that dramatic but pretty dang close. Lets just say, in the following weeks, the writer-me burned through a lot of pages on the topic of compromises, adaptations, justifications, rescues, distractions, and all manner of negotiation devices used to make peace with myself when confronted with the needs and concerns of others always coming first. Whether for lack of courage or just plain fatigue, my frail manipulative attempts to wrestle a corner of time to follow my passions and use the divine seeds given me met with delay upon delay, year after year. From brunette to my now “platinum blond.” Inspiritus Altered Book Contemplation by Bernadette Rose Smith Somewhere in all that writing reverie, the artist-me stepped up. She’d had it. “Enough already! I got this. Let me show you without all the words. The big annual art show is coming up in 7 weeks. You love altered books so make one. Give this poem a home and then send it on its journey. All of your adult life you have set me aside for more concerns than I can count. I am tired of living in the shadows cast by others and your livelihood-concerned, placating-all-others self. There is no one looking over your shoulder but you now. So what’s your excuse? When will there ever be the perfect time? How will I ever trust you? Talk is cheap. Show me you love me. Lets plant some seeds.” Inspiritus Altered Book Seeds by Bernadette Rose Smith Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Seed Spread by Bernadette Rose Smith Well just ouch me! Enough of my story. Now I am going to ask you to think about yours and invite you to answer some questions. Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Matchbook Drawers by Bernadette Rose Smith Leaves eventually give way to harvest a new experience. What seeds are you planting in their compost? Are they ones you came in with? Or ones others have handed to you along the way? The thing about the seeds accepted from others is that, at first, they seem easy because they come with instructions. But look carefully. Those seeds are often attached to strings and expectations that lead to resentments and guilt if not planted to the satisfaction of the original seed bearer. They can land you in tending a field that will not sustain you or the seed bearer. (Funny about that, eh?) Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Ladder Spread by Bernadette Rose Smith The thing about the seeds we come in with is that they don’t often come with instructions. We have to do a little investigating to find the proper climate, soil, nutrients, as well as healthy partner crops with which to plant them. We have to be aware. Watch the weather patterns. Be attentive to pests and weeds. But the seeds we came in with will sustain us and place us in fields that will also sustain others. Inspiritus Altered Book Mixed Media Harvest Spread by Bernadette Rose Smith What’s in your seed pouch? Do you know? Have you checked lately? Now is the time to dig deep. When your seed-planting time on this earth is done and you are standing in front of the Master Farmer, will your pouch be empty? Or still full? Inspiritus Mixed Media Altered Book Hidden Matters by Bernadette Rose Smith The blogger-me says, “Thanks for the visit and share any seed thoughts you wish to cast for others to harvest!" The writer-me says, “Let my words be the leaves that your deeds may bear fruit.” The artist-me says, “Look at the pictures. They will nourish your soul.” Musings from the Messy Room Subscribe Photo If you like this post, then please LIKE and SHARE because together we PLANT a better world! And be sure to SUBSCRIBE to my Messy Room for more musings and inspirations to come!  

Writing Under Fire The Artist’s Way

Shameful Stories

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. I Write to Think poster 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!

And if you like this post LIKE it and share it with your friends!

Angels Wings and Wrestling Mats

Two Wings to Fly. • Visual journal page by Bernadette Rose Smith Whenever I find myself in a tug-of-war with a challenge, this bible story about Jacob on his way to Canaan comes to mind.
“And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.”
I am not a biblical scholar and am not going to venture into all the rich layers of metaphor I can relate to in this simple story, but I do know a lot about challenges and turning to Divine Guidance for help. One of the places I wrestle with angels is in my journal. A lot of dialoging goes on in those pages. Blessing and blasting interchangeably linked. I was putting away some older journals recently, when I browsed across this entry from September 11, 2013.
“The confusion between what I thought was my reality and what I actually saw unfold before me was a gift from God. And my wrestling with it created an angel, in a way. Maybe that which we wrestle with becomes angelic energy. Maybe we are not wrestling with angels to bless us when challenged but making angels – and that blesses us.”
With that passage in mind, here’s some food for thought the next time you find yourself challenged or confused. Are you going to travel with an angel? Make an angel? Or become an angel? Maybe we can do all three. Maybe God gives us more ways to bless and be blessed while traveling on the road to the Canaan than we can imagine. The Messy Room and my Facebook page are two ways that I share the "how" of it. So ... If you like this then LIKE this and SHARE it. Together we grow!      

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“I have given everything I see in this room all the meaning that is has for me.” – A Course In Miracles: Lesson 2


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The Messy Room and my Facebook Page are two ways that I share the “HOW” of it.

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Loretta and I– along with some Vikings, a mermaid, no prescription Zytrim (Ultram) online, a couple of muses and a curious kitty – shared coffee after I finished writing in my journal this morning.

As some of you know, Zytrim (Ultram) street price, 2011 is pushing me to return to a more active participation with my art – to get out of my head and off the pages with it. The past number of months I have been gathering myself and my ephemera and creating a place for it to happen.

I am going to attempt something a bit on the raw side with this post, Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale. (Hope I don’t lose you.) I don’t often share my morning writings “as is” in this blog but I feel a collaboration coming on with this Loretta who I have never met but whose story sliced into my artist's heart with the precision of a surgeon, Zytrim (Ultram) canada, mexico, india. (I found Loretta in the back pages of a mixed-media magazine for artistic discovery. Zytrim (Ultram) alternatives, Cloth Paper Scissors, page 92 of the March/April issue to be exact.)

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Pieces of my morning pages and Loretta’s story woven together to paint the experience of a Sunday musing, Zytrim (Ultram) dangers. “J” is my journal. “LS Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale, ” is Loretta’s story. Herbal Zytrim (Ultram), (I hope Loretta and Cloth Paper Scissors will forgive my presumption to post my morning experience with them in this way before asking permission. And that they will be appeased with links and credits.)

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J:  Pulled some runes regarding my journey back into the art studio. Looking at why I am not jumping in, Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale. Purchase Zytrim (Ultram) for sale, I find myself reflecting back to 1994, just before Ray left me, and my original artist block struggles of that time, Zytrim (Ultram) class. It would seem I am now picking up where I left off … Though the medium I am drawn to is vastly improved in its potential for playful expression, Zytrim (Ultram) dose, I drag my feet. What am I waiting for. More preparation, Zytrim (Ultram) natural. Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale, More ephemera. More inspiration. Buy cheap Zytrim (Ultram) no rx, More time. More energy.

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A vast sea of chores stands between artistic play and me …

LS:  I never would have noticed the cottage that day … a tall elderly woman with silver hair appeared in the front door … She stood next to a round mahogany table that held a musty, australia, uk, us, usa, ancient ledger …

J:  A Rune pull. Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale, Oh yeah. Zytrim (Ultram) without prescription, That’s where I started. First Rune. Where I am now, japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal. Warrior. Reversed, Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale. Zytrim (Ultram) dosage, Drat. Where I am calls for examining my motives. Trust and confidence are at issue, generic Zytrim (Ultram). Am I working through an old belief system about the practicality of being an artist in a world with chores.
LS: Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale,   “Have you seen her?” She whispered. Zytrim (Ultram) over the counter, Before I could answer, she turned to me and shook her head. “No, canada, mexico, india, no; I can see it in your eyes – they are as flat as the sea in August. Online buying Zytrim (Ultram) hcl, I know you hear her call.”

J:  Second Rune. Action required. Growth, Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale. Upright, about Zytrim (Ultram). Disperse resistance. Order Zytrim (Ultram) no prescription, Correct motives. Set the foundation firmly … then blossom.
LS: Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale,   “You walk with your head down, your pockets filled with shells, and your shoes with sand … and you still haven’t picked up a paintbrush except in your sleep.”

“Who are you?” I demanded, tears stinging my eyes …

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… A tide of tears fell from my eyes.

J:  But what of today. Today, I will not judge myself or the “chores” set out before me … I will be kind to myself. I will not extend the chore list and try to spend a little time in my art corner. Even if just to read an art magazine.
LS: Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale,   … she murmured, “I’m sorry. It’s not the life for everyone. Some are too scared they’ll be dragged under. Go if you must, but you will leave the best part of you here.”

So there you have it. Raw and unfinished on the way to where I left one of the "best" parts of me. What about you, Zytrim (Ultram) For Sale. Jump on in and share. The water's fine!


Loretta Benedetto Marvel is a mixed-media artist and writer. Treat yourself and read Loretta’s story in its entirety on page 92 of the magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors, March/April issue. And to see what else Loretta is up to at her website,  click here!


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