The Bravery of Storytelling

Several years ago, I was meeting with a client I hadn’t seen in a few years. We started with the usual Hi. How are You? I’m Fine. How are You? small talk protocol, but then she saw a reliquary hanging on the wall in my office.

The reliquary — traditionally a container for holy objects — was a mixed-media collage I had created. Within the shadowbox frame was a painting of an angel, decorated panels, pieces of a poem, and symbols: an alpha and omega, a feather, a heart. An artist herself, my client asked about the piece, and I told her the story of lost love and deep sadness that had inspired it.

When I was done, she took my hand and thanked me. Then she told me her story — the disappointment that had shaken everything she thought she knew, her attempts to heal, and how the process changed her.

So there we were, two almost-strangers, pushing through the ordinary to the extra-ordinary moments in our lives. There was no protocol for the rest of our meeting that day, instead we talked about our common experiences, the different paths, the shared emotions.

“If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive,” writes Margaret J. Wheatley in her book Turning to One Another, Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. “When we’re brave enough to risk a conversation, we have the chance to rediscover what it means to be human.”

Ultimately, isn’t that our charge as artists? As writers? To communicate the human experience — to bravely tell our own stories in an effort to share, to teach, to connect with others.

Make no mistake — it takes courage. It takes courage to be honest, to talk about love and loss, about success and disappointment. You have to be brave to talk about your passions and fears — both out loud and in your creative work. Writing, creating art, is not for the faint of heart. No. Writing, creating any kind of art that tells our story, takes big, brave hearts. It is from that place, from that wide open courageous place, that we create what is indeed, holy.


(Image: Divine Inspiration, mixed-media collage, by Jen Payne. Quotes from Wheatley, Margaret J., Turning to One Another, Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. San Francisco: Berrett-Kohler Publishers, 2012.)

Eureka! Creativity Changes Your Brain

Eureka! The guy named Archimedes ran nude out of his bath tub to the town once he found out the idea the amount of water displaced from the tub was equal to the volume of the object immersed. That is an example of an intuitive creativity. Creativity had already been a vital force in science to imagine unthinkable things that revolutionized the perception of universe. One such is the theory of relativity of Einstein which described how the gravity could bend the space-time fabric of cosmos. A man with respect to neuroscience should understand the difference between the intelligence and creativity. Intelligence is correlated with genetic potential as it was found in more correlation with identical twins. This is obviously a skeptical explanation even for me. However, Intelligence is understood in neuroscience as a deductive reasoning which found its answer when worked on ideas and laws of a subject or once the subject has been exposed to whereas creativity used abductive reasoning in which it had to find answers without knowing the ideas and laws of a subject or without having exposure to the subject. Creativity not only subsides to kindergarten and high school compounds in forms of arts and it’s expressions, it is an integral part of study in understanding the extension of subjective experiences of consciousness in neuroscience.

THE NEUROSCIENCE OF CREATIVITY, How creativity changes your brain, Dr. Fahad Basheer

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IMAGE: Man at His Bath, Gustave Caillebotte


The Shop at Guilford Art Center: Support Working Artists

The Shop at Guilford Art Center is one of the most unique shopping destinations on the shoreline, offering a selection of contemporary American crafts and jewelry handmade by artists from across the country. Find works in glass, metal, ceramics, wood, fiber, paper, toys and much more. The Shop also hosts seasonal Designer Circus fashion events and the popular ARTISTRY event during the holidays.

All proceeds from The Shop support independent working artists and Guilford Art Center’s community and its educational programming.

The Shop at Guilford Art Center
411 Church Street
Guilford, CT 06437

Both Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind and LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness can be purchased at the Gallery. Be sure to stop by!