Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Detail of box drawing...look at that fig tree on the right.  Can you see it?
Being creative is an interesting process.
It has taken a long time for me to see and accept

that creativity is an essential part of 

living as a human.

Creating connects me with the Creator.

Creating opens my heart and lets in the light.
Creating is hard, sweat-inducing work
that leads me down a path with no discernible
light at the end.
I don't know were I'm going when I'm creating.
I just know there will be something new if I go down the path.

I went about 2 decades without being creative.
I told myself that I was too busy
but I realize now that

 I was unable and unwilling to be vulnerable

to the possibility of what could be.

there's a crucial thing that I understand now
that I didn't really get then....
I can't create if I can't be vulnerable.
To try and create without vulnerability is
just manufacturing or treading water.
Creation requires me to open up
to accept the possibility...
the inevitability...
that I will
break open
to bring something new into being.

detail of box planting....tomatoes and basil and eggplants and beans....

In the past few years
my creativity has returned.
At first it was fits and starts.
Some days it is a tidal wave or a tsunami of ideas, acts and attempts.
Some days it's a steady hum in the back of my mind.
I have invited it to live with me
and it comes and goes as it pleases.

Most of my creative outlets are for myself.
I sell some of them locally or online.
I give some of them as gifts.
I like best the creative outputs that I can use 
and incorporate into my day.
Whether it's a painting or a piece of jewelry or
even a meal.
It's part of who I am-a creator.
Just like all humans.

So pretty...Pad Thai I made recently for my growing (and starving son)

I've always been good at creating with plants.
You can see on this blog the posts where I'm comfortable sharing
or teaching about how to have a palette
using plant material.
Until recently...
I've never really tried to create an idea
or an outline for someone 
else to implement.
All of my creations with plants
were for me.
My plans and ideas
were mostly in my head.
The loudest critics
and opinions
were mine and (usually) mine alone.
Recently I've let my spouse into the creative space
when we're creating gardens.
That was hard.
The results of hard work were the church gardens 
that we've worked on and grown over the past year.
(You can read more about them here here and here).
The results of that collaboration were also...
A completely successful collaboration!
Who knew?
It was a new experience for me for sure.
Welcome Bed at House of Hope in the dead of winter is lifting pansy at a time.

Last summer ...a  gardening friend from our church
asked me to visualize a garden
for a hard to use space.

The space is between a parking lot and a private fence.
It is hot and muggy...
it was covered with weeds and some scraggly nandina.
My friend is an excellent gardener-she grows things all the time.
She works with our Simple Gifts Garden
and thought this might be a place to add additional 
vegetable growing potential.
But she wasn't quite sure what to do or how  to use the space best..
so she asked me.
I was so honored and excited.

My initial thoughts were...absolutely!
I know exactly what to do!

And then....
I got nervous.
Because she might not like what I suggested.
Because she might not implement it like I wanted.
Because it might not be good enough.
Because everyone is going to see it.
Because it could be a lot of work.

Expectation is the killer of creativity.

It chokes out beauty like weeds choke out flowers.
I had to sit with that for a good long time.
And then I had to get over myself.

So that I could put down on paper what was calling to me to be created.

I suggested boxes that are raised up 
so they wouldn't get run over by cars
or walked on by unsuspecting church goers.
I suggested trellises to maximize the space.
I suggested some base plantings to anchor the boxes and clear up the scraggly.
I drew a visual and suggesting vegetable rotations...
It didn't really take very long once I got to it.
Just a quick sketch and some coloring.

High level overview with a side view visual of the boxes...

And then I did the hardest thing.

I gave it away.

I very intentionally gave it to her
to do what she wanted 
with zero expectation.
It wasn't mine.
It never had been.
It was a piece of a train for someone else to hook onto.
Like all is
For us ALL.
Very rarely after art is done
is it for just one person.
I'm starting to know this. was hard.
Even though I didn't have time for one more garden.
Even though the building and overseeing of the garden
 would be intense and expensive.
It still felt like MINE.
And I knew it needed to be freed.
I released it.

Not surprisingly...when I did the hardest thing
something magical happened.
Someone else (or in this case several someone's)
could pick up the idea
and make it better.
That little idea
 serves so much more thoroughly now
more than it could have locked away in my sketch pad....
inside my little, tightly controlled sphere of influence.


An eagle scout took the project
and moved it forward.
He raised the money to build the boxes.
You can read about it here.
His troop spent a whole day putting them in.
They improved on the design
and built such beautiful
sturdy structures.

I could not have done this.

Not by myself.
Not with my friends.
Or family.
The work needed to be done here is too big.
Bigger than me.
Bigger than my ideas.
Little seeds need care and watering.
They need all the drops of rain and nutrition they get along the way.
I was a raindrop.
I did my part....and look what happens when we 
show up and do our part?
And then we let go so someone else can do their part?

Spinach and onions popping up

This just confirms for me
that creativity is part of how we connect.
To ourselves.
To each other.
I believe that I have a part to play
and it is an important part.
That I have gifts that are to be of service
but they are also needed in conjunction with other
gifts to evolve the idea
into the creation.
and cherished...
just like everyone else.

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