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For months now, I’ve been noticing the connection between healing and creativity. As I pay deep attention, as I find the willingness to step into whatever is happening (in my body, my heart, my mind, my spirit, the world), creative energy becomes available — energy for expression, for insight, for solutions, for presence.

When Mary Linn and I decided to focus on this connection in our classes this week (we’re teaching together on July 4! Do join us at acac albemarle square 11am-1215pm!), we didn’t really know what we were doing.

She mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert…that’s where I found the quote for the art piece above.

Then I read this genius blog post from Lisa Jakub, called Can You Make Art During a Crisis? (Spoiler Alert: YES. Hell YES you can and must and YES please. But read her post since she says it better than I did.)

And then this from Graeme Seabrook came up on my Facebook feed:

All around me I hear artists, writers, musicians, coaches, healers – all kinds of creators – questioning themselves and their work in the world.
Should they stop writing jokes, or painting, or making t-shirts, or candles, or poetry, or, or, or? Shouldn’t they put away these frivolous things and fight?
At the same time I see people all over social media thirsty for good news, for inspiration, for joy. I see my friends and family in my offline community searching for peace, for some comfort.
To the creators, to the makers, to the healers and the coaches, the writers and all the bringers of light I beg you: PLEASE KEEP CREATING.
We need to be reminded of what life can be.
We need to be shown our highest selves.
We need to remember what we are fighting FOR and not only what we are fighting against.
We need hope.
So please keep creating. We need you now more than ever.

And then Mary Linn and I kept finding music that we wanted to create new choreography for and there it was, flowing through me, the energy that is released when I have the courage to heal.

Step into this with us. Dance in it — however you do. What we create out of our healing is what makes all the difference.


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<h4>Coming Soon! Buddha Cat: my first book!</h4>
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I’ve finalized the pages and the cover mechanical is done (doesn’t that sound official and cool? I have no real idea what it means). Please join me in the adventure of the publication of my first book. Go to http://www.susanmcculley.com and sign up to be a Buddha Cat Backer! You’ll get updates, insights, goodies and discounts! Can’t wait to do this together.

choose to be yourSELF

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken – Oscar Wilde

My friend Lisa wrote a book.

you-look-like-that-girl-cover

This, in and of itself, is enough for me to admire her always. But it’s not just a book, it’s a really good book. You Look Like That Girl… is beautifully and entertainingly written — telling stories of Lisa’s life as a child actor and her decision to leave movies for a different life. Lisa writes with honesty and humor and wisdom about her unusual childhood and how, after a time, she made a different choice.

On the surface of it, this is not a book that I would read. I’m not a big fan of blockbuster movies (the only one of Lisa’s films I’ve seen is Rambling Rose and I didn’t remember there was a little girl in it) and celebrity stories don’t hold much interest for me.

Besides, what in the world could her experiences have to do with me? She spent her young life on television and movie sets, meeting Princess Diana at a premier and hanging out with Robert Duvall in a rocking chair. (I won’t even mention Sally Field and Robin Williams. Robin Williams, for pity’s sake!). Hers is a life I know nothing about, right?

Well, yes, right. I was falling off my bike and arguing with my sister and coloring pictures for my mom while she was shaking hands with royalty. BUT, that’s the brilliance of her story. Unexpectedly, what she experienced is what we all experience.

At a reading at the Virginia Festival of the Book last week, Lisa was answering questions in her kind and genuine way and this crazy phrase jumped out of her mouth: I did what we all do. To be honest, I can’t even remember what the question was, exactly, something about how did she make the shift from acting to not-acting, and Lisa smiled and looked at the questioner and said (paraphrase alert), I did what we all do. I got caught in the everyday-ness of life, of the laundry that needs to go in the dryer and whatever is pressing and I forgot that I always have a choice.

Lisa is right, we all do this. We all live our lives and we think, This is the way I do it. Or sadly, more often, This is the way I am expected to do it. We forget that we have a choice. Lisa had the courage, against all cultural pressure, to ask the essential question: Is what I’m doing now is in alignment with me? Lisa came to a point when she was acting that she realized she didn’t feel like herself…or wasn’t even sure who her Self was. So she made a different choice.

Lisa’s story is a fun read, but more than that, it invites us to make choices that feel authentic and true to who we are.

You can read a post about choice (or perhaps more accurately about the illusion of “no choice”) that I wrote a few years ago here but before you do, please read my friend Lisa’s story about choosing to be yourself…and working with Robin Williams.*

* Lisa also has a boffo blog that is the bomb. You can find here.

connection confection camille seaman tornadoIt’s truly uncanny. Every week, as I set the focus for my upcoming classes and begin writing these posts, life dishes up a slew of ways for me both to learn more and to experience what I’m working on.

Funny that.

This week was extraordinary in this regard.  I bumped directly into the power of interconnection so many times that I thought I’d share some of the serendipity that has popped up in just the past few days:

connection confection mandela

• In the middle of writing this post, I heard the news that Nelson Mandela had died. I heard about it not on NPR or on TV, but from reading this moving post by Lisa Jakub. Her beautiful, personal piece reminded me that no matter who you are or where you are, your actions, choices, and thoughts touch the people around you. There is no way around this. Who we are and how we are affects the world. Nelson Mandela was a shining example of how one person’s choices even in the most horrendous of circumstances, made the world better.

connection confection ubuntu

• In the middle of Lisa’s post, I clicked on the term “Ubuntu,” a term that I vaguely recognized as a South African humanist philosophy that roughly translates to “human kindness.” As I read more and watched the video of Mandela talking about it, I realized that Ubuntu is an approach to living that acknowledges that we are all connected and that no one is more or less important than anyone else.

connection confection charles eisenstein

• While working on a project with a friend, she told me about the work of Charles Eisenstein, the author of Sacred Economies. I watched this brilliant 12-minute film about his work that explains the lie of separation that our culture tells and the truth of connection. I was both saddened by what he says and encouraged by the possibility of seeing, living, choosing another way.

connection confection camille seaman

• A while back a friend had sent me a link to a long interview with artist and photographer, Camille Seaman. The interview’s epigraph was a quote from my hero, Seth Godin, which intrigued me so I printed it out to read later. In the middle of writing Connection Confection, I picked it up to read before bed. Seaman, born of an African-American mother and a Native American Shinnecock father, is living a rich, courageous, artistic life. In the interview, she talks about what her father’s father taught her about being still and noticing, and about how deeply human beings are intertwined with Nature. Once he pointed out a cloud in the sky and said, “Do you see that? That’s part of you up there. That’s your water that helps make that cloud.” Much later, she finds herself walking to the edge of the Bering Sea (I know, right? You’ve got to read it.) and she has an epiphany: “One this extreme part of our planet I was realizing that I was a creature of this planet, that I was literally made of the material of this planet – that we all are. And in those moments, I realized the absurdity of tribe, of border, of culture, of language—because at the bottom of it all, we are all made of this material. … there is no separation. There is no distinction.

connection confection world-peace-in-our-hands

Life is connection. Integration is health. Knowing this can change everything.

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