Get in Touch With Your Creativity

As you get in touch with your creative gifts, you will, as matter of course, get in touch with every facet of your being. A particular poem will call up memories of your past, or a painting will bloom once you engage a fuller range of emotions. A character in your novel or play will finally open up when you delve into that character’s sexual identity or spiritual beliefs-and in delving into those things you will touch your own sexuality and spirituality.

So prepare yourself for full-life engagement. You can embrace this work and never be bored again. Or you can resist it and suffer one of two fates: you yourself will become numb and boring, or you will exist in that nerve-jangling tension of never quite saying yes or no.

 

– from “The Soul Tells a Story: Engaging Creativity with Spirituality in the Writing Life” by Vinita Hampton Wright Loyola Press

 

What is your true purpose?

 

By Sharon M Koenig

Translated and adapted from Los Ciclos del Alma  (7th edition )

 

If we live under the assumption that there is order and wisdom in nature, it won’t be difficult to see that all beings, including humans, come onto this earth with the tools they need to fulfill their purpose. If the purpose of a gardenia is to bring joy through the perfume of its flower, then it must be born with the ability to share its essence. Everything in nature is created in perfect balance; some flowers have a lovely scent while others are blessed with beautiful colors. Sometimes we forget that a garden is a symphony not a competition.

We usually get a glimpse of our gift or talent early in life as young children, even as early as age four or five. It may involve a favorite activity or a craft passed down from a family member. A wise man once told me that children receive a revelation of their true mission in life at age twelve. When Jesus was lost in the temple at this early age, he was found revealing his gift for preaching to the temple scholars, the philosophers of the time. A parent’s job is to be attentive to children’s gifts and provide them with the necessary tools in order to expand their talent. Too often though, parents themselves become the biggest obstacle in their child’s development. Instead of nurturing the child’s natural talents, they pay more attention to their own prejudices and to what society expects from them (or to what they perceive their children won’t be able to achieve). Can you imagine what would have happened if Mozart’s father had neglected his son’s musical abilities?

When I was younger, I loved drawing dresses for my girlfriends. As an adult, I chose to study a career I did not enjoy until I stopped listening to everyone else’s bad advice and flew to New York to focus on fashion design. From that point on, design became my main form of expression and livelihood. It felt as if my mission was to inspire others through beauty. I had a career in fashion buying and later manufacturing until age 36. Once my daughter was born, I decided to stay at home during her early years. I was lucky I was able to do this and will never regret that decision. In that time, I discovered I wanted to help other mothers and began working as a volunteer for UNICEF, yet another channel to express my talent. It doesn’t matter where we are; we can always use our talents.

Our biggest challenges can also become a source of inspiration. While pursuing my career in fashion, I also organized conferences for writers, motivators and teachers; the common thread was a search for happiness. My quest for joy was motivated by a childhood of sorrow. Without a doubt, one of the strongest experiences that marked my life purpose was finding myself running away from a dysfunctional home while still an adolescent. The fear, desperation and frustration I felt guided me to discover my own purpose when I realized that, even after achieving many of my dreams on the physical level, I still had a deep void. Fortune, love, family and apparent safety didn’t quite fill the emptiness within. Losing many of those seemingly valuable things I had acquired also taught me that nothing lasts forever, and that I truly did not have total control over the events occurring in my life.  I needed to find happiness in a more authentic place, not dependent on either success or people or circumstances. I was searching for something more, and when I couldn’t find the words I was looking for, I began to write them.

The key to success is learning to reinvent oneself constantly and to become flexible enough to accept change. To everything there is a season. We live in stages, and each should be completed before passing to the next. You may have different cycles in your life, and therefore, different professions, yet your underlying purpose may continue to be the same.  Some of your gifts may not be given, but earned; for example, our purpose might entail helping others, requiring the gift of empathy, a quality we may learn from a difficult experience. We all have unique encounters in our lives that, much like signposts on a life-size treasure map, will point to a purpose in our lives. These revealing experiences may occur at any time, as a child or in adulthood, thus creating a need to grow, to find answers to our questions, to heal and, at the same time, help others.  A gift or an interest that is carefully honed with patience and persistence will become a talent.

We heal others by sharing our experiences. Instead of asking how much I can get from my gifts, it is better to ask how much I can give with what I have. I found that we are mere instruments of something bigger than ourselves. At the end we are not the sole source of this talent, and we need a higher force to help us apply the gift for the good of all. If we are to be the hands of God on this earth, one prayer that always points me in the right direction is:

“Dear God: How may I serve?”

 

Learn more about Sharon here: http://sharonmkoenig.com/

 

 

The Great Love: How tragedy begot a beautiful, new worldview 

By Carla Garrett www.carlagarrett.ca

As I lay there beside my son’s dying body, my hand pressing gently on his warm bare chest, I feel a flutter of the heartbeat he still has left. I hold my breath as I listen for his next faint shallow breath – until there isn’t one.

It was in those last painfully precious moments with my seven-year-old son that I connected with something greater than the physical. It was through his death that I got to know the Great Love.

I am not talking about that butterflies-in-your-stomach kind of love when you kiss your crush or say your vows, or that instantaneous love when you give birth or even how you love chocolate. No, I am talking about the love that binds us, the love that is us.

The Great Love is an elusive love, not given nor earned, sleeping within all of us yet rarely awakened by human consciousness. Originating from our Creator, this love evades physical death and forever binds heaven and earth. These invisible ties of love form our universe. Unlike other vulnerable forms of love dependent upon external factors, this love can never be severed. It comes as a strangely comforting feeling, a fleeting moment of joyous intensity or a peace that surpasses all understanding. Our brain does not have the capacity to describe the unforgettable, ethereal experience that is the Great Love.

Jesus taught me about love. He showed me the greatest example of self-sacrificial love. He loved us so much he sacrificed his own life to save us. I was raised to: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” — Ephesians 5:1-2
I can’t think of any other moment where I have even come close to “being like Christ” than on the day I watched my son die. It was the ultimate self-sacrifice, a dramatic example of the proverb, “if you love someone, you will let them go.” To not have him, would be torture, but I did anyways. I let Xavier go.

When the time came to say goodbye, I had imagined myself screaming don’t go! Instead, I lovingly whispered in his ear, be free my beautiful boy. In my absolute brokenness, I gave my son the permission he was seeking to die. And that profound act of love awakened the Great Love sleeping deep within my soul.

When my son left this earth he took a piece of my broken heart with him, forever tying me to the celestial love he now is. I was not tied to his flesh and blood. Our connection was anchored somewhere beyond this plane.
These ties of love have transformed how I see the world now, evoking a sensation deep within me whenever I think of my son, see the brilliant pink hues of a summer sunrise or watch how the wind swims between each blade of grass. When you experience the Great Love, you are transported to a kinder, gentler world – perhaps what is heaven on earth – which ultimately changes your life perspective.

However, we often abandoned this love — the love Jesus intended — for the easier to feel superficial and materialistic love. It is easier to feel “love” when you are being held in your husband’s arms in a thankful embrace for the new car he just bought you, or kissing your sweet child goodnight after they happily obeyed your bedtime orders.

But what happens when you have nothing physical to love? What happens when your loved one dies? You are forced, like me, to seek this deeper love. I can no longer look into my son’s beautiful blue eyes so full of life and instantly feel that loving bond between mother and son. Now, I must find the source of all love to connect with my little boy in Heaven. The Great Love is the only way now to truly feel his presence. It’s not impossible, it’s just harder than the physical love we are all so familiar with. It’s a different kind of relationship, one I wish I never had to learn, but I am privileged to have. Had it not been for his death, I likely never would have experienced this depth of surreal love.

Although my first kiss with the Great Love paralleled that of my last kiss to my son, the love had been there all along. My faith was shaken, my heart was broken but it was ties of love that held me – our family – together through the nightmare of childhood cancer. Love was the only consistent thing when our lives were in pieces. It was there when we pleaded with God for more time, and it was there when the doctors said there was nothing more they could do, and it was there when we huddled together on the bed around my son’s lifeless body to sing his favourite song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was always there even if a silent partner to our other, uglier emotions. If we were angry, it was because we were afraid to lose something we love.

Love is what makes us, love is what heals us, love is what motivates us. Love is what binds us together and love is what never dies. Love is with us at birth, it carries us through life, and it endures in death. The well of love knows no depth. A love so deep it floats. I believe in stories of the afterlife where you are pure, unbiased, non-judgemental, unadulterated love. A place where the word love is easily interchangeable with light.

How do you “get” the Great Love?

There are several popular books with great advice related to this topic, and depending on what resonates best with you, this inner essence of the universe can be called consciousness, soul, presence, energy or frequency. All of these descriptions, I believe, are ways to the Great Love. Although pain and brokenness are often associated with a rejuvenated sense of self and purpose, I don’t believe they are necessary to experience the Great Love. It was the crux of my story, but doesn’t have to be yours. Ties of love to a new, more beautiful worldview await you…

Get in touch!