Friday, September 10, 2010


What is creativity coaching? Imagine the Dementers in Harry Potter. Dark cloaked figures arrive flying from the sky’s horizon, materializing out of another dimension, something like the Wicked Witch of the West but without a broomstick.  The atmosphere becomes embroiled with a sad heaviness as they hover over their human targets. Then ALL THAT IS PRECIOUS in LIFE is SUCKED OUT of the frail mortals who are left empty human shells incapable of experiencing joy or thought evermore.

Now IMAGINE the opposite—and you have CREATIVITY COACHING. My creativity coach, Lesly Fredman, is more like Peter Pan’s Tinker Bell with the ferocious intuition and intellect of Lily Tomlin, a whale and Leonard Cohen. Often appearing around Metro Atlanta as a SUNFLOWER in the “Dancing Flowers for Peace,” my CREATIVITY COACH follows the THRILLING LIFE FORCE, much in the same way that the sunflower moves synchronously with the sun’s position throughout the day.

(Lesly posing with old work of mine at a Christmas "Hot Grog" sale at her house in 2008. Before creativity coaching, I only worked on wood or found materials from the street. I used only acrylic and latex paints--generally gathered from the curb on garbage day. Since then, I have experimented with a variety of other media, finding my intense love for watercolor pencils shown in my work here on this blog.)

Okay, what would a mortal do with a CREATIVITY COACH? Let’s start with a simple act of imagination. CREATE a list of ALL that you HUNGER to DO to BE to EXPERIENCE to REALIZE—This is the list of YOUR ESSENCE (the kind that the Harry Potter Dementers want to suck out of you and that often remains IN you like an unlit fire!). With the assistance of the CREATIVITY COACH, you might do any of the following imaginative acts:

 1) DANCE each item on your DREAM list, experiencing and savoring each DREAM, bringing it into your body’s muscles, bones, and breath.

 2) PRETEND you are someone else interviewing the REALIZED YOU and finding out the ways you BECAME the DREAM YOU.

 3) PAINT (especially if you are a visual artist like me) aspects of what BEING in this NEW REALITY looks like.

 4) WRITE an “Exquisite Corpse” poem, teasing out fluid verbal images of YOUNESS.

(You have read earlier blogs about the death of my friend, artist colleague, and fellow pilgrim Sally Wylde. In the days following her death, I honored her in my daily creative meditations. I allowed her to be present in the unknown with DEATH. I trusted that together we would find a new way of being in DEATH.)

(The days following Sally's death, I drew each morning, holding the thought of her pilgrimage in the unknown terrain of death and without flesh. I was happy when I began envisioning her physical body returning to the earth.)

 Well, you get the idea. The CREATIVE ACTIVITIES are as INFINITE as the IMAGINATION. Live in the PRESENT and the thoughts and actions that you have and do become NEW WAYS of BEING. My Creativity Coach calls her business “PRESENCE.” We start a session by my answering the question, “What is going on with you right now?” Asked calmly, this question elicits a sweet hushness. We both lean into me to listen to my heart beat, my breath, to determine who I am now….

(We are readying for Sally's memorial service here in Decatur. Her death is with me. Mourning takes time. Sally will be a part of me in the many transformations of her PILGRIMAGE. This painting with death hovering around me is unfinished.)

This method of BEING PRESENT heals and rejuvenates. We, the CREATIVITY COACH and I, begin with WHO I AM--now. No past narratives and no whining about past periods of inactivity. We “light” the fire of Hallelujah. Even thoughLesly is sitting across the table from me, our meeting has the heightened feeling of ME being a performer on a theatrical stage. Didn’t Shakespeare write that all the world is a stage and we are all actors upon it? How FUN to get to TRY NEW WAYS OF BEING ON like a character in a play! Lesly gently directs ME with the skill of an experienced theater director. In fact, Lesly seems to me a most unique CREATIVITY COACH, having managed and been the artistic director of Theatre on the Prowl for almost 25 years.

 After working with Lesly for three years, I am here to tell you that our IMAGINATIONS CREATE REALITY. In our creative work together, I have started my own business, RuthTruth Art; created a new persona—Hallelujah; generated a blog, “Coffee with Hallelujah,” which integrates my creative process with my visual art; signed the lease for a studio at Sycamore Gallery to do collaborative work with my husband, Tony Martin, a paleontologist; given birth to the “Art Factory,” with Robey Tapp and Sally Wylde (who envisioned this art collective) and together completed a year’s art program with adolescent teenage refugees at Global Village School in Decatur. Believe me, there is much more that our creativity coaching has given birth to.  That is the subject of future blogs!

My journey has been both light and dark, buoyant and treacherous--I have been willing to open all of these doors because I am dedicated to being present to my AUTHENTIC SELF, and because of Lesly (and my Chigoogamoo)--I have not been alone!

 What is CREATIVITY COACHING? For me, it is doing my LIFE’S WORK with the JOYFUL EASE of a cat napping! I am happily experiencing every inch of my BEING! Thank you Lesly Fredman, CREATIVITY COACH EXTRAORDINAIRE!

 Hallelujah wants to hear from YOU, FELLOW PILGRIMS! Tell her about your AUTHENTIC SELF. Soul blog with Hallelujah!

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