Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Arting Around With God - Part 1 Review

This is the first part review of my experience with the Arting Around with God class (in which I participated) at First Congo.  This will be details about the class and what others were sharing and some of the participation I had in the classes and what we did in them.  Part 2 Review will be more of the discussion about myself when I told my story.  Let's begin now:

At First Congo, which I attend, we had some classes set up by members Sharon Pavelda and Randall Mullins called Arting Around with God.  (Of course, Muley would have added an "F" to the front of that just because he could.)  So, what was Arting Around with God about?  Sharon shared, "Our hope is that we will find encouragement and delight in the way that our innate creativity enriches our connection to ourselves, to each other, and to the Creator."

Photo by Julia Hicks
But, the classes were really fun an intriguing.  We were all sitting in a circle in the First Congo Conference Center and introduced ourselves either in a song or dance, and then we all stretched and reached out to one another.  It was movement to get us a chance to know one another and to feel our bodies in motion, sort of becoming one with the moment and each other.
Our class schedule was 5:30 - 7:00 pm the first three Wednesdays of September.  Sharon and Randall reminded us that the classes are to discuss "the ways you have discovered the creative flow in your life, how it might have directed you and/or changed you over the years, and how you experience the presence of God or a Higher Power, if you do, in your creativity."  Something even you, the reader, could reflect on about your own life and career.

Sept. 3rd - Pamela Macfarland and Arnie Ellison

Pamela, who does the artwork on the Order of Worship published each Sunday, discussed her graphic design history, and Arnie talked about his work with furniture and design.  One of the things I noticed in their stories is the same with all artist stories which is sort of that in our youth we are a bit ignored or our art is not appreciated, so we struggle with that.
I was reminded that I tried through my whole life to get folks to understand exactly what goes on with an artist who isn't allowed to create.  I would tell them to imagine that you are in a box that is made to fit around your body, tightly.  You can't move.  Your nose itches and you can't scratch it.  You're hungry and can't eat.  You're tired and can't sit or lay down.  Also, it is hot in that box, and there is no air flowing in or out, so you can't breathe. If you can imagine that experience, that is what it is like to not be able to create!
As with most artists, they broke free of those artistic restraints and moved forward in life now working successfully at their jobs!  The question which followed was when are we most free?  We all shared in that discussion, and I thought about it and shared, "I'm not sure when I feel most free.  I surround myself with artistic people who are positive and that makes me feel good.  I wake up each day looking forward to the day ahead of me, thankful for yesterday, excited about tomorrow.  I seek happiness and find it, and feel that those I love share a love back to me.  I feel like I'm free almost all the time!"

And it's true:  If I know you, I love you.

Sept. 10th - Jonathan Devin, Sue Westmoreland and Tom Carlson

Jonathan discussed his life working with words, writing articles and stories and trying to work as a writer until finally it paid off.  He's now working with enough writing that he was able to quit his job and work solely as a wordsmith!  I am inspired by people who take something they love and turn it into a lucrative career.  He read an excerpt of his book and we were invited to share a word with him that explained how we felt after the reading of his story.
Sue and Tom, a married couple, have worked with making beautiful books and teaching the art of writing for many years now.  The book below was made by Sue.  

Book designed and made by Sue Westmoreland
Her part of the course discussed how she took moments of her life to create books of art and story telling her experiences and sharing her emotions.  She asked us to take the hand opposite our strong hand (I'm right-handed, so my left hand is my weak hand), and draw our portraits in the book. 

Tom had some course-work for us.  He brought in envelopes with an ink pen in it and a page ripped from a book or a magazine, and the project was that we should look through the pages and take words from it, in the order they appear on the page, and create a poem.  You can see where I underlined words that stuck out to me as I realized what I would end up writing about.

As I started looking through my page I saw words that told a story of me and my mule: 

See the poem below for the translation of this chicken scratch.

Very much the felt
Under the chin, round the back of the head
Possession of some animal with the hair
Two factions in reign, ceded to that power
The end to these factions speak the language of one

I'm going to share some more of my "poetry" in the Part 2 Review.

In the September 18, 2014, church newsletter, the Congo Beat, Pastor Cheryl Cornish wrote a summation of the previous two classes:  "It's been an absolute delight to share in the "Art-ing Around with God" classes this past month.  Why?  Not only did I learn some things about myself, but I really LOVED learning more about the stories of some of our church friends.  I got to hear Jon Devin share part of a wonderful book he's written; I got to learn more of how Pamela McFarland creates the art for our Orders of Worship each week.

Faith, you could say, is an interplay of stories.  We hear God's story in our being and lives; we listen to that story told through thousands of years and thousands of lives.  Each day, we decide how we will tell the story of the Gospel in our own lives - and determine what kind of story will be told from what we do and say."

Sept. 17th - Joel Chapman, Larken, and Kevin Williams

Discussion began again with one of my favorite singers in the world who has done many fund-raising concerts on behalf of First Congo, and sings in the choir now.  Joel Chapman discussed his training in the musical arts and more.  I'm sure he can diagnose this post since that's his profession, but his crisp vocalizations of lyrics found on the pages of written musical dialogue will always find its way into your heart and soul, and it moves you.  Not in a "chicky chicky bow bowm" movement, but in an emotional movement.

Larken (whose name I know I'm spelling wrong because I don't know her well yet) discussed her life of music and learning all the instruments she could, even piano.  (That was when I admitted to being a pecker--I peck the piano keys with my finger and pick out tunes.)  She discussed how music has been a spiritual empowerment for her.  Music really does bring out something different in us all, doesn't it? 

Part two will discuss my story which followed hers, but after I spoke Larken brought out her musical instrument which she plays in the church sanctuary while members walk the labyrinth in reflection and meditation.  We were in the conference center, and so wandered around in reflection and meditation there, and I reflected on my story and what I have done with my work and those who I've met along the way and how they inspired me.  But, I'll share that in a post later.

I believe in God.  I believe that God blesses us in ways we'll never even realize.  I'm thankful for those blessings I get and for the talents that have been bestowed upon me and those around me, and am thankful for the chance to experience their work.  Those three days of classes were wonderful for me.  I felt closer to those who talked as I shared their stories and realized that I experienced some of what they had, and at the end of the classes I was worked up and inspired, ready to get home to my studio and work!  Thanks Sharon and Randall for pulling this together, and thanks to the participants for being so inspirational.

And thanks, God, for putting all these folks in my life; including those reading this text.

Stay tuned for Part 2 Review: The Legend of Kevin


No comments:

Post a Comment