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Fostering Creation: An Introduction

Welcome to the Fostering Creation blog!

I’m so excited to have you along.

This blog serves as a space for me to share my writing, my voice with an active audience. This is a workshop space for me to create new stories, share old stories, and perhaps branch out to share other things that inspire me and my writing work.

If my audience is not so active and doesn’t have anything to say that’s okay. We’ll just watch the stories unfold together and see what comes from Fostering Creation.

Thank you in advance for being part of this. I hope you enjoy!

Barbara Foster

The Call of the Soul

For decades I have been searching the corners of my mind and looking through every outside source to figure out how to make all the pieces of my life work in such a way that would be pleasing to the rest of the world. I have tried to do this with myself too. How do I become someone that everyone wants? How can I make my heart beat in such a way that others will understand? How can I make my body move at a pace that is in rhythm with the pace of the world and that looks stunning at the same time? Is there a way to avoid looking clunky, awkward and strange? How can I get all of the important adult tasks done and still allow my soul to breathe? How do I let my soul have it’s time to express itself while so many other things are calling for my attention?

The world gave me an answer to the latter a long time ago. The answer was “It cannot be done.” It is impossible to do all the creative things and practice adulthood at the same time. The world seemed to scream at me, “It’s all or nothing!” So, my soul just burrowed under a pile of unfinished stories, half painted drawings, and many burned hopes. It was dark, cold, and full of ashes. My soul lives there still.

I continue to search and research, and dig to find out how to fit into the lightning speed of the world? How do I make myself operate the way so many have asked me to operate or the way I’ve observed so many operating?

It’s hard to tell if my life is really mine. Is my life mine? Or does my life belong to the world to manipulate it and me forever and always?

The moment you open your mouth to tell me who I should be, how I should be, offer a suggestion, a well-intention piece of advice or any other comment regarding me and my life, I have already thought it through. I have felt all the nuances of the possibilities and felt my way into each situation. I have mentally scoured and researched all the various ways to get the thing I need, create something in an affordable way, make something happen, feel better about myself in the world or what have you. I am living the life I must breathe into and walk through the best I can. And I’m doing it every day. So please, world, either take time to see me or give me space. Dear world, you have to fucking slow down because people’s minds are close to bursting. People’s hearts and bodies are begging for love and attention. And people’s souls are slowly dying.

For decades people’s souls have begged and died for freedom. When will my soul fly free? When will we all get to feel like free souls? Inquiring minds want to know. Exhausted bodies want to be tenderly cared for. Desperate hearts want to feel into themselves and just be.

“But it’s dark down here”, My soul observes, “Alive, alive, alive! I just want to feel alive, rested and well…but here I sit in this cold place. There’s no one to care for me, except myself. The world sends out so many mixed messages that it’s hard to filter through them on your own. It’s hard to let the things people say roll off your back the way water rolls off the back of a duck. It’s hard to release and let yourself be completely in a world that has so many opinions, judgments, and unhealed heartbreaks of their own. Somehow there is not enough time in the day to come together and let each other be. It’s no mystery why many are always apologizing for what they do, and others are going insane. And before you open your mouth to say, “Yeah, that’s tough.” or “Well, that’s life.” or “Welcome to the world.” or “Yeah, well, it’s a cold world out there.” I implore you to just think about it. Sit with yourself. What about yourself needs healing or improvement? What about yourself or in your life do you need help with? Have you ever asked for help? Have you ever asked for help but felt like a burden to the other the whole time they were offering their help? Have you ever wanted to ask for help but felt too embarrassed to ask, so you never did? How many times was that successful? Did you feel good after doing it yourself? Or were you just tired as you thought about how nice it would be to have someone support you in the endeavor? Just think about it…” My soul waits patiently for attention.

Our souls wait on the edge of their cold cages, but healing needs to happen individually first. Sit with it. A little healing for one person brings healing and redemption to mankind.

Quote from Untamed

“When I think about my human experience, what honest people have told me about their human experiences, and the experiences of every historical and contemporary human being I’ve ever studied, we all seem to function in the exact same way:

We hurt people, and we are hurt by people. We feel left out, envious, not good enough, sick, and tired. We have unrealized dreams and deep regrets. We are certain that we were meant for more and that we don’t even deserve what we have. We feel ecstatic and then numb. We wish our parents had done better by us. We wish we could do better by our children. We betray and we are betrayed. We lie and we are lied to. We say good-bye to animals, to places, to people we cannot live without. We are so afraid of dying. Also: of living. We have fallen in love and out of love, and people have fallen in love and out of love with us. We wonder if what happened to us that night will mean we can never be touched again without fear. We live with rage bubbling. We are sweaty, bloated, gassy, oily. We love our children, we long for children, we do not want children. We are at war with our bodies, our minds, our souls. We are at war with one another. We wish we had said all those things while they were still here. They’re still here, and we’re still not saying those things. We know we won’t. We don’t understand ourselves. We don’t understand why we hurt those we love. We want to be forgiven. We cannot forgive. We don’t understand God. We believe. We absolutely do not believe. We are lonely. We want to be left alone. We want to belong. We want to be loved. We want to be loved. We want to be loved.

If this is our shared human experience, where did we get the idea that there is some other, better, more perfect, unbroken way to be human? Where is the human being who is functioning “correctly,“ against whom we are all judging our performances? Who is she? Where is she? What is her life if it is not these things?

I got free the moment I realized that my problem isn’t that I am not a good enough human; my problem is that I’m not a good enough ghost. Since I don’t have to be a ghost, I don’t have a problem.

If you are uncomfortable – in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused – you don’t have a problem, you have a life. Being human is not hard because you’re doing it wrong, it’s hard because you’re doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”

-Glennon Doyle, author of Untamed

In the Process of Being

I am learning to live by myself. I am learning to live by myself for myself. This is hard. This is very hard in a world that is littered with overstimulation. This overstimulated world moves at a pace that is faster than the human heart can beat.

I am learning to breathe. I am learning to breathe by myself. I am learning to breathe by myself for myself. This is hard. This is very hard to do in a world that is littered with overstimulation and moving at a heart bursting pace.

Decades of heart racing social interactions, oxygen sucking schedules, and unrealistic success standards made me fade…very fast. My heart inflated and stayed inflated. It was always  just on the edge of bursting. My lungs cinched themselves shut, and my mind went fuzzy. I felt everything. I felt too much. I forgot how to think for myself, I forgot how to speak for myself and among all the too muchness of the world I held my breath. My body was running on nothing but observation and impulses. Catch and react. My eyes would see a behavior. My ears would hear a tone of voice and the two outside sources would jumpstart a gut impulse. Catch and react. I was always racing, always hoping, always trying to be like what I thought I saw from the outside world, but there was always an intense sting as I fell short every day. Catch, react, and push back.  

I wanted to feel like I was enough.  I wanted to be enough. Although just being seemed to make someone not enough of one thing or another. The world wouldn’t allow one to just be. So I didn’t allow myself to be, either. This forced me to attach myself to something outside of myself and I just tried to be that one thing. So my fuzzy mind picked the character called “Good Girl”. Then for over 20 years every piece of me rehearsed the role of “Good Girl”. Though I felt I was falling short in this role it seemed easier than to fall short being myself. Through all the trying to move at a heart bursting pace in an oxygen sucking world it’s no wonder I fell short trying to be a good girl. I was not myself. I lost myself.

After decades of not breathing or living for myself I am coming to and snapping out of my daze. I am allowing the shock of the world to clear. I am letting old ideas of success fade. Then I can breathe a little easier. Then I can breathe for myself and not for the world. Turns out I have never been able to breathe for the world. That’s too much air for one person to take on. I am only one person. I can only breathe for myself.

As I learn to breathe for myself then I can live for myself. Once I am able to live for myself nothing about me can be cinched, fuzzy, or close to bursting. No more trying to be a good girl. No more forgetting how to be. I’ll just get to be…

I will be enough. For now, I’m in the process of strike. I’ll be under construction for a while. I’m in the school of unlearning. This is very hard, but this is very exciting…

And as I venture through this process, every moment I am learning that I am enough… right now.

To Be a Prophet

I’ve been told that I can be a prophet.

Prophet. The word looks regal and sizzles with purpose on the page. The word carries centuries of history with it. It sounds profound when spoken from one’s mouth. The dictionary and Google define “prophet” as “a person who speaks for God.” There are other definitions that share similar ideas of its meaning.

I am not a prophet. I do not speak for God. I am just one person. I am a person with many judgments, challenges, and human-willed ideas of how things should be. I interpret and therefore misinterpret what others think of me, what they say, and how they feel (both generally and how they feel about me).

I am a person with a stubborn mind and a fragile heart. My mind assumes the worst and over analyzes everything. My heart gets wounded easily and then broods in its woundedness. It licks its wounds like a cat and foolishly attempts to nurse itself back to an unfeeling state. My heart tries to erase what it naturally does. And this is how I trained myself to be a human-doing. I am not a prophet.

But what about my soul? My soul…my soul is the prophet.

When nurtured and carefully cared for my soul lives to tell stories, dance vigorously, and show up with all of its bright brilliant colors.

Although I tried to bury my soul. I tried to hide it and erase all my feelings. My soul is strong. Every day it rises from the dust of dirty self-destructive habits to remind me to breathe, love more, and to wake up. It reminds me of all the reasons why it’s important to stay awake. My soul reminds me why I want to stay sharp and why I must always pay attention. From all the destruction, some days my soul is only as bright as a small ember, but sometimes that’s enough in the moment.

My soul is the prophet. As it rises from the dust and glows warmly I am always surprised by how much wisdom and elegance it shares. I stand back with the rest of the crowd and with the rest of the world at what was just created. The crowd marvels at the glowing, brightly colored, well articulated creation that lays before them and I do too.

This creation was not designed by me, the person. It was crafted by Soul. It was loved into existence like a brand new baby. This work was then protected, held, and educated. Each phase of this creation brought in a new color until this precious creation was full of all it can be and all it will be. Then it was set free to humbly sparkle in front of the crowd and share messages with the world.

I take no credit. There is no ball in my court. I have no authority. I am only one human of many. I am as in awe as you. My soul is the prophet.

Photo credit: Ruby Ackermann

Building

Step one, step two. Piece by piece we put the pieces of our lives together. From the first step the pieces are set in motion. We need each step because each step brings in a new piece to the puzzle of our lives.

Step three, step four. Piece by piece we put the pieces of our lives together. Many of these steps will come with snags or set backs. Some steps may no longer work. So we must pivot to something else. This is why life cannot be easily put together like a puzzle. This is why we are always builders. We are always building our lives.

Life will always be under construction. We, ourselves, will always be under construction. You can try to quit this construction project, and claim that you and your life are perfect. You can say there’s nothing that needs to change. That’s fine. See how far that takes you.

You can even try to walk off the construction site before the job is done. I have tried this many times. I have yelled to the sky and declared I was done. I told my friends on site that I was tired of working to build something that never seemed to be interesting, become different, or more colorful. It just stayed shapeless, and boring. So I declared that I was done and useless.

I even went to my Boss, The Great Architect. I tried to convince her that I was not cut out for this job. I was hopeless and so was the job. This whole construction project called “life” was exhausting, lonely, and I felt I wasn’t needed for it.

“So, I’m walking off this construction site.” I said, “I quit. Forever.”

The Great Architect smiled at me, “Okay. You can go, if you feel you must. However, you will still be my beautiful, creative builder. Whether you are on this construction site or another. Your essence will not change, the work you do will still be work, and your friends will be left with broken hearts.”

This left me with a sinking feeling. I sat with it for a long time, but I still felt useless, hopeless, uninteresting, and very tired. Defiantly I stood in front of The Great Architect and I said, “I’m walking off this construction site! That’s all I’m good for and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Unless you want to make me into a different, more interesting builder?”

Again, She smiled at me and said, “Your essence cannot change. Nor would I want to change who you are.” She took my hands in Hers, “I created you from the deepest love. From that deep love nothing about you can be wrong or uninteresting.”

I looked at The Great Architect with great disappointment. This response felt silly, and flimsy. I felt stuck in my skin, in fear, and on this Earth, but it seemed I had things to do. I had things I wanted to do and things I needed to do. In great dissatisfaction I said, “Fine. I’ll try again.”

Step one, step two. Piece by piece we put the pieces of our lives together. Like Noah and his arc we must build and build. When the building is done we move to the next step of the project. Sometimes the next step will fall into place as we are working on the previous step. It’s all part of the process of construction. And when this construction project starts to feel too big for you, not worth it, or like you’re trudging through molasses remember who it’s for. It’s for you and The Great Architect. That’s it.

“Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days. Let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move. At the impulse of Thy love.” (Christian Science Hymn, 324:1)