Secret Selves

Dialogue of Opposites M Senese

This drawing was made after a warm-up with a creative writing exercise.

The exercise is to establish a dialogue with a “secret” part of yourself.  Give the part an identity and characteristics.  Get to know that part. Let the writing flow without stopping or correcting as you go along.

This kind of exercise may surprise you with a deepening of your self-identity.

My example:

Dialogue with My Soul

Who are you, my Soul?  First I must understand who or what you are! How can I know you when my personality is caught up in daily living and survival?  You don’t seem to care much for that, not in your vocabulary.  You are so “present” that for you there is no “time” or “death”.

Yet I am stuck in a body that I actually love, with eyes that adore beauty, feel the flow of the curve of hills, taste the play of purple and yellow on fields of autumn grain.  The “me”, that I am most familiar with, worries about paying bills, keeping my weight steady, surviving the family dramas and mastering my own emotional weather as volatile as a Norwegian sky.

You by contrast seem to be all light and love, filled with dynamism, joyous to the point of ecstasy, content with things just as they are.  I have touched you, felt you rise up in me, explode into a million particles, disappear in your orb of energy, stable yet vibrating like a galaxy of stars.

You recede and my old perspective returns, filling the narrow confines of my ordinary consciousness.  I call you, invite you back but secretly wonder if you ever were really with me. It must be a parallel reality that touches me when I manage to get the coordinates right and meet you in the zone like a lover’s rendezvous.

Will you speak to me in a secret language that only we know?  Will you teach me to hear your voice amid the jarring clamor of daily life? There is a field where we can meet.  It is the place where I can most be myself, feeling delight and joy in what I do.

Garden of Possibilities

Garden of Possibilities
Garden of Possibilities M Senese

This small sketch was made after a warm-up of creative writing.

The exercise is to use 6-8 of these “asides” in a dramatic monologue about something that really matters to you.  Write only one page,  without stopping or thinking about what you are writing.  Creative writing exercises often reveal fascinating insights into early conflicts or beliefs that you can use further in your self-inquiry.

Choose 3-6 from this  list:

  1. laugh if you like
  2. if you say so
  3. know what I mean
  4. this isn’t the first time
  5. I have problems of my own
  6. You don’t need a PhD to…
  7. In other words
  8. And so forth
  9. For Christ sake
  10. For better or worse
  11. And another thing
  12. Know what I’m saying
  13. Like I always say
  14. Dig
  15. You tell me

My example:

Laugh if you like, but I’m still trying to figure out what I want to “be” when I grow up!  Seems like at 67 I’m again in what I call a “new phase”.  How many new phases can on have in one lifetime!  For Christ sake, I’ve been “trying” to be something, someone, known, published, respected, seen or important as long as I can remember.  And another thing, when I search through old drawers I find remnants of great beginnings.  Piles of sketchbooks, small scraps of writing, poems, practice pieces, stories and loads of plans for projects with high expectations from myself and others.

You can’t tell me I haven’t “tried”. But does trying really count?  You know what I mean! Can you try to get up from a chair? It only gets you caught in the suspension between standing and sitting – or you could pop up and down over and over, like your butt and the chair are magnets with opposite poles!

In other words, I’m fed up.  It’s about time that I move from “trying” to “being”.  Taking each step forward, keeping momentum, blast expectations and fear of rejection to the skies!

Like I always say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”  Actually that was my mother who said that.  What did she know about it.  She gave up when the going got rough.  She never did “get me” anyway, know what I mean!

She found her soul-friend in my sister – they could chat for hours about food and kids. I sense that I was out of her league.  Too big to handle!  You don’t need a PhD in psychology to see that I was the wild strange one – hard to control or manipulate.  For better or worse she never stopped trying!

So enough of this stuff!  Get off your butt and start working!

Why Creative Renewal?


I recently decided that it is time for me to move  into semi-retirement!  With the decision came an inspiration to resurrect this website that I set up in 2004 but consequently stopped using.

I love the name Creative Renewal. All innovation, personal growth and generally life is about the ability to renew and regenerate.  This is the primary creative power of human beings – to find creative ways to meet current challenges and adapt to changing times.

I see this site as both a place where I can expand my development through daring to post my ideas and my own art work.  And a place to encourage and inspire people who may long for deeper contact with themselves and others.

The emphasis here will be on nourishing the soul and the heart. Our hectic lives, filled to bursting with daily tasks, can feel dry and dusty, thirsty for  the quieter elements beneath the surface of things.

With ideas for practicing creative writing, resources, inspirational poems, creative art work, plus the potential for coaching that reaches out to the creative and resourceful essence of self, I hope to contribute joy, wisdom and love in everyday life.

Art heals

La promenade sur la falaise - Monet
La promenade sur la falaise - Monet

I’ve been reading Shaun McNiff’s newest book called “Art Heals: How Creativity Cures the Soul”.

It came into my life just when my soul needed healing! After our vacation was extended by two months because my husband ended up with a quadruple bypass while we were in the States, I returned to Norway rather exhausted.

Funny enough I had begun sketching again after many years – just a few minutes or so when I got a chance. My energy began to return and I found my mind clearing. More than that I felt a sense of nourishment and self-contact that I hadn’t felt for a long time.

Healing is a new word to use in connection with art making and I am curious about it. I begin to wonder if healing happens when a group of people make a drawing together as they often do in the workshops that I run. A lot of energy is certainly released and often laughter with it.

There is a lot of talk in Norway about how to reduce all the sick leave that seems to have taken over business. Could making art have an effect in this area? I have often wondered if the tough business environment we live in today leaves the soul thirsty and tired along with the body. Perhaps art making engages the imagination and brings some right brain bring into a left brain world.

I continue to watch my own process and read more in Art Heals.

originally written in 2004