Archive for March 29th, 2009

Parker Palmer on Creativity and Granddaughters

March 29, 2009

Parker Palmer

In yesterday’s post, Parker Palmer shared his story of a spiritual epiphany, which I included in my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. In the same interview, however, he told me two other insightful stories he told me that you won’t find in the book. I’m happy I can share them here.

My second story of feeling connected to spirit is a recurring one that has to do with my life as a writer. I usually find writing very difficult and demanding, an ordeal of slogging through mud and fog, trying to bring clarity to complicated matters. But every now and then I am caught up in a creative flow of powerful ideas and images in which writing becomes effortless and totally engaging. I had an experience like that a few weeks ago when I found myself writing fifteen hours a day for ten straight days. I was getting less sleep than usual, yet I was feeling more alive, more energized, and more rested than I normally do. In stretches like that, you know you’re connected with something larger than yourself. You’re no longer reaching for it. Now it is reaching for you—holding you and propelling you in the way the ocean supports a swimmer. It’s a remarkable experience—and then it’s back to slogging through the mud! I find evidence of spirit even when I am slogging, if in nothing more than the will to keep putting one foot in front of the other. But those oceanic breakthroughs are overwhelming evidence that—although I have to show up and swim—creativity is not something I do all by myself.

My third story involves being fully present to my granddaughter, Heather, now fourteen, with whom I’ve been very close since the earliest days of her life. Being a grandparent is an extraordinary experience, and the spiritual dimensions of it seem pretty clear to me. For one thing, (more…)