For a number of years after my father died, a lovely and beautifully spirited woman from our church would invite me to her house to spend the afternoons. She wore beautiful jewelry and dressed impeccably. I loved going to her house. We would have drink and cookies on special plates (good china I know it to be now!) and talk about things I liked that I somehow couldn’t talk about in other circles of my life. She was an artist – a ceramic artist and painter. She must have noticed something about me because she would offer me beautiful ceramic pieces to paint. She once gave me this wonderful life-size Persian ceramic cat to paint. Here I took my time and didn’t rush to get done. I learned to paint with gentle and soft strokes. She would quietly and attentively listen to my stories and what ‘wisdom’ I knew. I loved taking these art pieces home and I took care of them for years, making sure they were dusted and never broken. Thankfully, she never met my school teachers!
Years later, she still would invite me to lunch – the presentation of the food was always colourful and delightful to the eye. She made me feel so special. She noticed my creativity in the gift of speaking and honoured it. Because of her generosity and love of authentic creative expression, I learned to express my heart. I found a piece of my creativity. Looking back, she was one of my grandmothers, beautiful and generous and sensitively warm. Somehow I knew instinctively she was someone NEVER to disrespect – all the children seemed to know it.
This grandmother taught me that creativity is nurtured within relationships of generosity, attentiveness and mutual respect. She was generous with affirmation, generous with her gift of teaching and sharing resources (ceramic pieces, kiln, etc) and generous with her respect for me as a child. She treated and engaged with me like I really mattered to her.
Though she has passed many years already, I still hear her whisper, ‘tell your stories. I like listening to them.’ And whenever I doubt the power of my creative spirit to help facilitate transformation, I hear my grandmothers lovingly remind me, “tell your stories Shirley Lynn, they will listen.”
Who is the grandparent figure in your life that mentored, or witnessed, or encouraged your creative thinking and dreaming beyond what others saw? Last week I invited your 7yr old to write to your ‘grandparent self’ about what your heart desires to create. This week invite your grandparent self (yes you can imagine that! Be creative!) to write back to your 7r old self. It’s a wonderful gift that surprises and heals.