Spacecraft

Empty space can be an invitation. Whether space in time or a physical place, emptiness invites creation - a making of something where there was nothing.  There is a creative act in the filling of emptiness; I like to call it Spacecraft.

The past year of my life has been one of fluidity. There is less predictability, schedule, and set expectations, than in other seasons, so that leaves a lot of empty space to be filled and it's up to me to decide how to fill it. Who to be, what to do?  These are big questions.

I keep finding myself saying I want to, "create spaces for people to access their own wisdom."  I just keep saying that and so there must be something Real in it. Surely, I must listen to myself and surely there must be wisdom in something that seems to keep bubbling up from a place deep inside.

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Here are a few of the spaces I've filled or I'm working to fill, all exciting and touching on a purpose I can't quite pinpoint and say, "This right here is who I am and what I do."  All I can really say is, "I'm starting to specialize in Spacecraft."

SPACES IN TIME

  • There is a week in July that a friend and I decided to use to bring people together across continents and across religious divides to form lasting friendships. We meet each week to decide how to best fill this week and we're quite certain it's going to be a special time.  Find out more at The Unity Initiative website.
  • Nonprofit organizations in the region are giving me spaces in their annual staff retreats or within their work days to lead workshops on staff care and soul care. Emotional and spiritual burnout is a common issue for those working to improve the lives of others; we can't give what we do not have and we cannot help when we are cynical and stressed. This has become an issue I love working on and one that needs addressing. I'm also consulting individuals who are taking a personal retreat and need ideas on how to best fill their time to make it meaningful and leave them feeling full again. This is all a lot of fun for me.
  • Last year, I worked with a team to host 200 people from this region and around the world to come together and learn how the teachings of Jesus are not Christian, but radically relevant to us all and a point of unity across the divides in our world. My specialty was in organizing the small groups and craft how people from all different backgrounds would get to know one another deeply within a few days. It was my dream assignment.

PHYSICAL SPACES

  • Last year, we crafted a rooftop jungalow addition to our home. An empty rooftop is now a treasured Space for the Special.
  • There is a piece of land right on the Nile River, only a few kilometers from where this longest river in the world begins its journey. A vision is slowly forming around this family property and we've had the fun privilege to share in its creation.  A beautiful home is nearing completion and we hope to use this space to serve others well for rest, fun, and soul-searching.

DIGITAL SPACE

  • Last year I began The Living School and I'm working to be more consistent in my spiritual practice alongside motherhood.  It launched me into a journey of questioning whether it's possible to be both a mother and a contemplative. After all, there aren't many role models out there who bridge those two worlds. After thinking about this for over year and talking to several other women, I started on online space to expand this conversation.  Do let me know if you're interested in exploring the topic of "Motherhood as Spiritual Practice" with me.

DIY boat bookshelf

Last July, Eric and I drove out to Lake Victoria to pick out an old fishing canoe as our anniversary gift to one another.  We saw an old one with lots of holes, half-sunk and rotting away on the banks of the river, with several pieces of trash floating in its mucky water.  It was the one for us.

This sounds like a strange anniversary gift, I know.  But we had a project in mind, so we got the help of several locals to load the boat on top of the truck, unsure if we could make it home with the huge load.  We were told to have an "African heart" and that it would all work out.  Our carpenter friend rode along with us, calling out the window to everyone along the way who were giving us strange looks, "Da flood is coming! This is Noah!" Despite the excitement, we managed to avoid all traffic police and we took every bump and pothole along the way as slow as we could, and we made it home with our rickety boat in one piece.

It was not in one piece for long.  After unloading our rotting treasure, our carpenter cut the canoe in half and there we left it, sitting in our yard waiting for the wood to dry out.  Several weeks later, the carpenter came back and nailed a few planks into each side of the boat to make shelves.  And viola!  Our anniversary gift to each other - now a unique bookshelf with a story - adorns the corner our dining room and may just be our favorite piece of furniture.

My Creations This Week

I believe that creativity has very little to do with artistic ability and craftiness.  Creativity, pure and simple, is the expression of who we are, no matter how that is expressed.  We are all creating, all the time; we're usually just not conscious of it.  But the more conscious I've become of my own creative acts, the more of them I bring into my life.  And the more I bring creativity into my life, the more I express myself.  And in expressing myself, I find myself.  So creativity, to me, has become a strongly spiritual exercise.

Here are a few things I created this week:

1) This temporary home for my new air plants
...and why am I just finding out about air plants?

2) This baby hat, joining the booties and mittens I knit from leftover yarn after making myself a poncho.

3) A digital copy of this picture - because looking at my grandparents in a water gun fight will always bring a smile to my face. 

4) The decoration and script on these note cards

5) A swaddle for a fake baby in my newborn care class

6) Shadow puppets, made with a small playmate

7) Scribbles in my daily gratitude journal

I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.
— Helena Bonham Carter

18 Simple Ways to Nurture Creativity

The book The Artist's Way lay a foundation for a much longer and deeper inward journey that continues to affect the way I approach each day.  Nurturing my creativity has become an essential part of my life.  In expressing myself, I suppose I find myself, for I cannot express something that I do not know.

I’ve chosen several questions/small tasks from the book and supplemented them with a few of my own in the hope that it will nudge you toward your own inner artist and toward a fuller expression of your Self.

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