Sunday, February 20, 2011


The Great Mystery!
I am Hallelujah Truth, member of the ALCHEMIST TRIBE, affectionate lover and gasper of the GREAT MYSTERY, and I believe in the power of CREATIVITY to TRANSFORM! Imagination enlivens, lifting us from the “status quo” which our daily lives insistently press upon us. Even more importantly, CREATIVITY transports us to the selves we are meant to BE!

My Conpanion
Last night, my Chiboogamoo and I danced in the parking lot under the full moon, our 16-year-old cat held between us. The moon, a white paper globed lantern, hung overhead, illuminating our laughter as we spun in a circle one way and then the other. I had returned from an ARTIST CONFERENCE MEETING, and my love was upstairs editing his forthcoming book, “LIFE TRACES OF THE GEORGIA COAST.” We were both tired after long days of teaching. The Georgia winter weather has been spectacularly spring like the past few days, healing and nurturing everyone’s soul—and then PILGRIMS—the February full moon! Why not invite my husband outside from the downward focus of his editing gaze and lift him and our feline to the GREAT MYSTERY above? As our bodies spun, our spirits soared beyond the bare oak-branched alcove. We were no longer touching the parking lot pavement--our feet zoomed skyward. 

Burka Blue...My Mother Wears a Burka

Earlier that morning, long before dancing in my condo parking lot, I had also experienced the power of CREATIVITY to TRANSFORM. Riding MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid public transit, is some times challenging (ho ho ha ha ha). Frequent delays often result in full trains accepting more and more passengers cramming in until the aisles are filled, bodies pressing against one another, knees to hip, elbows to ear, and armpit to breast. And we sit.  On that morning, those of us who had gotten on a 7:30 am train found ourselves sitting at the Five Points Station. Sitting.

Creativity Transforms
Two women in front of me started laughing—an alchemical creative act in the face of our deflating situation. We were indeed sows’ ears being turned into silk purses! Anything one of them said, the other laughed. Pretty soon, the passengers forming the perimeter around the laughing women were mesmerized. When one took her turn to laugh, someone else in the perimeter started laughing, including me. At intervals during the train delay, there were waves of laughter. Ten minutes passed. Then the MARTA train proceeded to Peachtree Station. We were on our way! Then it STOPPED--another delay at Civic Center station. The two women started their laughter again. Even though the tension was building as people glanced at their watches, more people joined in laughing. Everything seemed funny. After five minutes, the train proceeded to North Avenue, my departure point! Everyone surrounding the laughing women cheered the passengers as we left. The man in front of me, thanked the two laughing women for lifting his spirits. This is an example of CREATIVITY to TRANSFORM. (Watch this video by Christine Rabette to see a remarkable video of someone laughing on a train. For an entirely new way of viewing laughter see the Laughter Yoga Website.)

Mother is Watching
I am now in the sixth week of teaching international students creative writing in English at Georgia Tech, and I have seen my class TRANSFORMED by the power of their own CREATIVITY. One student in figuring out a name for his blog went through the following mental processes: “LOST in the BLUR,” to  “PAST PRESENT and MISSING,” to the one he decided to use, “KEEPER of THE BURIED THOUGHTS.” Words matter. The words we choose to represent our current state of being need to speak our truth. This particular student got the importance of  “creating” a specific phrase to describe “who” or “where” he was emotionally and intellectually. The creative act “changed” him in a dramatically meaningful way. Instead of being “lost” or “missing”, he became the possessor of what was unknown or buried within him. That is magic. That is alchemical. That is CREATIVITY!

Another creative writing student who named his blog, PITCH MY GUTS is also in the process of “owning” what is deep within him. I experience sheer joy when I hear this student from Korea say he has been “surprising” himself by what he is writing for his blog.

Hallelujah Truth

For all my creative writing students, as their blog guide, I feel privileged to witness their awakening to themselves! I am so excited about the way creativity is serving my Turkish student who is getting married in the upcoming months. She is experiencing chaotic emotions as she plans a wedding, studies English, and finds an MBA program. How does creativity serve her? Well! We JUMPED right in to the CHAOS!

My Mother Wears a Burka
“Begin with where you are,” I told her, trusting the creative process. “That is good enough!” She has excelled at taking my advice. Calling her blog, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT,” she has gained a voice, speaking about her place of confusion. She is defining it, feeling it, and honoring it by writing litanies, cinquains, and three-lined poems. Writing creatively in this second language, English, is transformative, a departure into the known from the unknown!

My Sister Wears a Burka
As my students write creatively, I see them gaining heft. Volume. They are becoming anchored in themselves and in English through their imaginations. Perhaps they are getting to know themselves in a new way that their language or culture did not or could not provide. I hope they will take this newfound skill with them when they leave my course  and the Language Institute because I believe in the power of CREATIVITY to TRANSFORM.

PILGRIMS, that is Coffee with Hallelujah! Thank you for joining me. SOUL BLOG with me about your belief and experiences in the power of creativity to transform.

I Wear a Burka Too
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: I thank Georgia Tech for inviting its students and employees to participate in submitting their essays to “This I Believe.”  It has been fun engaging my students in the challenge to find and write about their core beliefs. I will continue to write and paint about my beliefs. I thank Lesly Fredman, my creativity coach, who has centered me in my own creative process. I acknowledge my supportive and loving husband, Chiboogamoo, who is brilliant and creative in the life we share together.

After watching a Youtube video of  Burka Blue, 3 Afghan women making music in their Burkas in Kabul, I had to paint them in order to explore my fascination with them. You can see me (Hallelujah Truth)in this painting at their feet. Wandjina is powerfully overhead.


  1. Dear Ruth!!! It is so romantic and creative for you and your husband to dance in the parking lot, along with full moon and lantern.

    When I took bus or subway in my city, sometimes I would observe other people sitting or standing around me. Observe their behavior, gesture and emotion. Everyone is unique, just like anyone else. They used different attitude to treat the same thing. It could get lots of fun.

    I like your belief and I also believe the power of activity, which can change many things and achieve many people's belief.

  2. Jing, you speak your thoughts so clearly. I understand your attentiveness to other people. You are a great observer! I too believe in the power of activity--moving. Just by moving our physical bodies, we alter the way we think. Is that what you mean?

    Most importantly, I really appreciate you taking a look at this blog entry and giving me your heartfelt response. Thank you!