Creating Ourselves, Creating Joy
This is a guest post from my partner in creativity and
learning and adventure, Cheryl Slover-Linett. Her original blog post can be found here.
Until recently I felt I wasn’t a terribly creative person. Somehow, the message I got as a kid was that being creative was the pinnacle of being human, and it just seemed that I got the short end of the stick. One of my earliest memories is of “cheating” on a 6-year old birthday party activity that involved drawing a rabbit with our eyes closed – I was already stressed out about not being artistic enough! In college, I fell in love with (and later married) a music major, who also is an amazing writer, and I tended to let him be the “creative” side of our partnership.
On a Soul Renewal journey a few years ago, however, one of the participants said something that has made me rethink what creativity is. She said the most creative act any of us can do is to look at something in a new way. It seems basic – almost too simple – but when I really fully change the lens I’m using, it “creates” a new reality, perspective or story. As I’ve put it into practice, it’s become one of the most powerful tools I have when I need to shift something in my life.
Around the same time, I started to actively look for other aspects of creativity. In my mind, creative = artistic, and since I didn’t see that I had much artistic talent (as I defined it, at least), I had never really looked at other sides of it. But what about creating a company…and then recreating it over time? Or creating wilderness journeys? Or creating two children?
And so, I’ve come to think of myself as more creative these days, but I know I’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of exploring what creativity is – and how it can influence our lives. That’s a big part of why Larry Glover and I “created” our spring journey this year, “Inspired by Nature: A Journey into Creativity,” co-hosted with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. It runs from September 9-13 and will be held in landscapes O’Keeffe loved so much. Click here or email me to learn more: email@example.com.
Dwight Coe04/09/2016 at 12:04 am
After reading many of your posts and evaluating how your were treated by your father, a man who related everything he did to being scripturally correct, I have concluded that you were an abused child with an abuser who justified his actions with a psychologically distorted perspective of Scriptures.
Your dad’s view was more like the perspective of a Pharisee who believed he ‘KNEW’ the scriptures and understood them, but couldn’t see reality when it was in front of his face.
Once Benny tried to share your father’s brutality with me when Boyd was explaining the birds and bees, but I didn’t get all the details a punk seventeen year old kid needed to understand the reality of your collective situation.
Like all kids, our home conditions are reality. We all believe that every family was like our family. Thus I assume you equated true religion and everything about God with what your dad presented as truth. As you wrote, your father wanted to “beat the devil out of you!”
But what I see is that Boyd succeeded in beating the ‘LIFE’ out of you; the life of a brilliant son who wanted to learn about the Bible and spirituality on his own, (which is what we’re encouraged to do), but shut his son down and pushed him to becoming a person who to despised and resented the very man who was supposed to guide him into spiritual reality.
I noticed in the Cheryl Slover-Linett introduction that it had it happen to her regarding her creativity. Any shame or doubt cast on us in childhood resides in our innermost being where it distorts who we are and what we are until something or someone intervenes to change our understanding ad perspective.
Despite what your father “knew” or “understood” about the Bible or life, the wounds from Boyd’s childhood transformed his knowledge of what God actually had in mind for his creation. The result is people worshiping the creation rather than the creator.
I have personally broken the bonds with the C of C’s narrow-minded and erroneous interpretation of who God is and the nature of His LOVE for His creation, AND who He considers His people. The imprecise and self-focused, twists they have infused into their doctrine has imprisoned them, making them unable to see complete truth, which is: “For GOD so loved the WORLD that He gave His only son, so that whoever believes in Him would have ETERNAL LIFE!!
Larry, I grieve at what you, and your brothers (even Benny) have been subjected to at the hand of your blinded father. I loved that man and wished I could have spoken LIFE into the little boy that your father became.
I know that your dad loved all of you. He just didn’t know what LOVE looked like in a family setting.
As for me and my house, I worship God and His Son with a group called Kensington Community Church. It’s led by men and women who might not be welcome in our old haunts because they openly reveal the truth of who they were; people who had no clue about God or that they could be free from their sexual, moral, integrity, and relationally impure past, and live to make a difference for children they birthed, and for the people they encountered who knew there had to be something better in life than what they were taught as kids and summarily rejected.
Spiritual honesty doesn’t breed contempt. Spiritual honesty breeds respect and a willingness to serve others.
I don’t know where my monologue will lead, but I hope it holds promise for us. I have thought (and prayed) MORE about you than anyone else in my life since I read your story about your dad and his ‘”plan” to change you. All know is that God loves you as your are, Period! And He has greater plans for your life than I could ever imagine or dream.
So, you decide where our paths are headed.
I love you, Larry. I always will.
Larry Glover04/14/2016 at 11:48 pm
I appreciate your voice here and your taking the time and energy to comment in the depths you have. And I’m honored to have you as a reader; I’ve often wondered what happened to our many friends from the old Church of Christ days, how that religious indoctrination and cultism plays out in their lives. And I welcome reconnecting should you be connected with any of them yet.
As you can guess, as life played out in my search for Truth, I felt abandoned and ostracized, withdrawn from and cast out by family, friends and the church. My commitment to a search for Truth was paid for in part by a deepening of the toxic shame for existence I already felt.
The liberation came as I discovered love as an orienting principle in life; it costs nothing less than my judgments of self and others. And it comes through a baptism of discovering a forgiveness of self that ripples out through all of my life. It is informed by key literacies that transform my living as I cultivate them: of purpose and meaning, of the nature of world views and story, of emotional intelligence, of mindfulness, of spiritual development as transformation and maturation, of a distinction between religion and spirituality, of a recognition of theology as idolatry, of the authoritarian vs. the nurturing mindset, and of course more.
Your comment has a breadth and depth of reflection that deserves and invites at least something equivalent from me. And you are right; it was a home environment in which abuse was delivered in the name of God, as perhaps most evil usually is.
And given the nature of this blog, I’m inclined to shift some of my responses to the blog proper in order that others are more likely to see them.
So please know I am working on that Dwight, and always welcome your voice here. I appreciate the love you express and please know that I hold you in my heart with love and care also.