Terry’s task

Yesterday my fabulous friend Terry Mueller49864926_2201556843222091_5875307174057476096_n, back in Chicago (Oak Park), gave me a wonderful assignment:

“I won’t be with you in Asheville tomorrow to go for a walk with you and Pancho, but I want you to walk with me anyway.  Pretend that i am with you and ask me any questions that you want – whatever is on your mind – and listen to what I have to say.  Then report back to me.”

Terry is a real wise-woman – she’s been around the block, she’s suffered, she’s learned deep truths.  She is a teacher and practitioner of Process Painting – inner directed expressive painting (sorry, Terry, if I totally butchered that).  I did some of this stuff back in Chicago, before I moved here 14 years ago, and it’s really good work.  Terry’s total devotion to the creative process certainly shaped the conversation I had with her in my mind’s eye today – what she had to say to me – but I totally trust what came out.

My question for Terry was immediate, obvious, easy.  “Right now, having just come out of the hospital and being the focus of so much loving connection from my friends, I’m having all this fabulous connection with people.  The amazing Karen Vickers,Karen Vickers Facebook friend I’ve been seeing at Jubilee for years but never said hello to, called out of the blue and said ‘Let’s go out to coffee.’ She’s wonderful.  Donna Glee Williams told me about the ‘Fun and Foolishness’ playshop at Jubilee tonight, which sounds like just what the doctor ordered for me right now.  I had amazing phone conversations with Jenn Garrett, Jenn GarrettTom Kilby, Tom KilbyKathy Poling Terry and kathyand my sister-in-law Lesia.Terry family  I had so many wonderful exchanges on Facebook and email.  I scheduled visits with Frank Marshall, Terry Poling, Jenn Garrett, Karen Vickers, Meg Moss, Laura Hunter, and Michelle Baba Raiford.

But my fifteen minutes of fame will pass and isolation – part of the human condition – will start to slip back in.  How do I prevent myself from coming right back to this place of terrifying loneliness and hopelessness?  I asked Terry, “What’s the next step in healing from my isolation?”

Her answer was immediate and clear as a bell.  “Keep doing all that you have started to do in connecting with your friends.  But also – and maybe even more important – you need to connect with Spirit, your essence, your creative spark.”

“How do I do that?”

“You know as well as I that your real pipeline is your writing.  You wrote two pretty good pieces in the hospital – on typewriter paper with that little golf pencil that was the only writing utensil they would give you.  Now you have been out of the hospital for two days and you have all but forgotten those pieces.  But they are your thread – the writing that is on your plate right now.  You will write better things eventually, but right now they are what the Muse has given you.  Honor them.  Word process and edit them.  They will make good blog posts – and good performances at Jubilee, more connection.”

“I have several blogs going – which blog shall I put them in?”

“I think not the blog you were working on before you went in the hospital – ‘Majo’s Last Blog’.  It’s probably a good time to let that puppy go. I have an idea for a new blog that we can talk about tomorrow.  Post this in ‘Write Me a Poem’ – that blog still has a lot of aliveness in it.”

I can hardly wait to see what Terry has to say tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Terry’s task

  1. I’m so grateful that you were able to channel and trust your inner wisdom. Congratulations John. You’re definitely on to something. Creativity heals in ways the mind has trouble grasping.


  2. So you know I don’t do this. I don’t access the blogs that much nor respond, this is my first. I’m sitting here with Joy and she is doing her tax work, I am reading you, I am responding to you. She’s looking at me like she’s wondering what I’m doing. I think the question that you have is very important for you and your situation and for all of us in our situation, although I don’t know that it’s not different for each of us? You know of course that I am dedicated to the path of creativity, for me this means embodiment, but certainly words and I think exchange, I think there is something called intersubjectivity where we each exchange molecules of ideas of spirit, of energy, of intention, of attention, of sensation, of breath, and that maybe this is a way for all of us to stay alive. I was talking to Freedom and one of the things that came up was, “I get by without a little help from my friends, i’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.“
    I think the question you have about what are you going to do after all of the attention fades, the 15 minutes of fame, is essential. Where are you going to place your attention?


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