Friday, February 18, 2011


          I notice that whenever I am at turning points in my Life, I go through a process to get from one end to another.  It could be something that I seek to accomplish for myself, or how I deal with something that has come upon me – into my Life.

     The word process, in and of itself, suggests that it is something that occurs over time.  As such, movement or progress is in increments and not likely to be visible.  Yet, I am being carried along the way from some point to another. 

     Besides prayer, contemplation, and meditation, when faced with difficult times of transition, I also have used physical activity, walks in nature, art, music, dance, and self-expression in some form to assist me in getting through the period. I can remember enrolling in an art class some 20 years ago when I needed to gain clarity for a major decision affecting my Life.  Imagine that…using a small group class in an artist’s studio on Saturday mornings, in the winter, to help me grow through the challenge of making a life altering decision! This was my first art class, so I was not an artist and the course did not bill itself as something in the realm of therapy or problem-solving, either.  It was just an art class, a form of self-expression.

      I am reminded of the days when I was nearing the end of doctoral studies and seeking clarity for creating a research project.  Out of the blue, I began to make bread, week after week.  Every aspect of the process brought me joy – from shopping for the whole grains, to trying recipes in The Tassajara Bread Book, (a gift from a former doctoral student).  I especially liked kneading the bread with my hands.  That was the therapy.  I loved watching the dough rise in the cloth covered bowls on my window sill.  That would put a smile on my face and bring me joy tinged with surprise as my eyes beheld the huge mound that rose under the cloth.  It was like magic and it reminded me of my childhood delight in watching my grandmother uncover the dough for her dinner rolls and bread.  It would be hours of a process for her and we couldn’t bother the dough during that process, but what magic to see it after the yeast made it rise.  The smell of the dough rising and its baking was the best part.

     In all cases, the hobby, creative activity, and physical activity allowed for reflection, contemplation, self-expression and appreciation as a process.  In all cases, I came out on the other side and came out well.

© Drayton-Craig, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


     Every now and then, we get into a period that feels static.  It is not that we are spinning our wheels, but we just don’t feel like we are accomplishing much.   We may not be doing new fun things, but merely existing through a day to day predictable schedule. 

     The seasons may not help the situation because as individuals we may function differently in different seasons.  For example, we may find ourselves functioning best in the icy cold months.  Some people relish rainy, snowy, or bleak days because they offer time to be still, contemplate, and get work done.  Others may prefer the warmth of long sunny days in spring and summer.  Each of us should be aware of the personal ingredients needed for our optimal functioning.  Yet, there may be things that one can do to re-charge one’s battery regardless of the external variables like weather, so that you can get moving and become inspired.  A vacation somewhere might do the trick.  However, there are inexpensive or free ways that can also work:

Read a biography or autobiography from the library of someone, not necessarily of grand stature, but of someone who beat the odds, or started to triumph late in Life; someone who started a second or third career; someone who did not come from wealth, yet, who excelled with prolific creativity.

Read a book from the library about anything other than what you would normally read about.

Pick up your camera and take pictures from your window.  Take pictures of objects in your home.  Print them.  Make a collage of the photos, or glue them into a journal and write about your feelings.

Spend a weekend playing wonderful music throughout the house or apartment and commit to relaxing activities like daydreaming, cloud gazing, and writing cheerful note cards to others.  Put on a slow pot of soup while you are doing this, or bake cookies to eat or give to someone else.  Sit down to a cup of fine coffee or a beautiful place setting for a cup of tea.

Go someplace where you can dance.

Go to a movie in the middle of the day.

Take a bus ride or train ride to another city for the day, by yourself, and walk around; visit shops, have a meal, go to a museum or art gallery; and come back home.  Watch the scenery as you travel.

Do something you have never done.

     We don’t have to have a lot of resources to bring joy, a new perspective, a sense of being “on vacation”, or a sense of being nurtured, in order to put one’s self on a path of renewal.

© Drayton-Craig, 2011