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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

Life Dynamics

What is life but a series of moments strung together? What is life but a collection of situations to learn from? Some moments are ugly, uncomfortable and dripping in flaws. We become unbearably vulnerable and expose all of our edges. It’s dreadful in the moment but needed for our long term evolution. Some moments are bright and carefree. These times rest in between the challenges. It is what keeps us in a relatively sane state while we figure everything else out and wait for the rough waves to pass.

What is life but a long rollercoaster ride? It exposes every emotion we have. Sometimes we holler joyfully, smile big and laugh out loud. Sometimes we scream in terror, grid our teeth in rage, and cry for days. Before we know it we are back riding the highs, looking down on our frustrations with superiority. And then just as we are about to laugh at our bad days, we roll down the spiral of challenging obstacles again.

What is life? Do we really live our lives? Or are we living for someone else? If we are living for someone else, why do we do it?

What is life but to be alive? Shouldn’t we live with everything we have, feeling the wind through our hair and loving every second that our hearts beat? Shouldn’t we find great joy and a sense of purpose that sustains our joy? Is that living?

What is life?

I think each individual must define life for themselves. Each individual must tap into their individuality and embrace it firmly. Their individuality will guide them to answer the tough questions. It’s a matter of choice, heart, and grit. Some chase happiness. Others chase purpose. And others chase passion. Whatever you end up chasing, be sure you don’t stay stuck in times of difficulty. Getting stuck is a sign. It means something isn’t working for you. Don’t run from that. Dig into it. Change it. Chase something else. You can travel in a jagged pattern for a while. That’s okay. Sometimes the journey is full of zigzagging and squiggles before linear moments occur. Just don’t stop chasing good things. Don’t let go of your individuality.

What is life but an on going journey? What is life but a series of moments coupled together to form a person’s world. Take care of it. Take care of yourselves. Keep careful watch over your precious time and take care of each other.

“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”

-John Steinbeck

Pause for a moment. Think. What feelings are coming up for you? Do you need to react on those feelings? Will it make the situation better? Is the answer “no”? Then pause again. Think. How are your feelings? Can you work through them in a productive way? Do you need to respond to the situation at this moment? If yes, then take a breath and speak in an even tone. If you don’t need to respond in this moment. Then move on. Collect yourself. Come back tomorrow.

Take care of yourselves. Secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. Take care of each other. Once your oxygen mask is secure please do assist others. If not, there will be no one to walk through this life with you. And what is life without others? What is life but an opportunity to witness how big love can be? Hate, fear, resentment, shame, blame, guilt, lack of transparency and a lack of being vulnerable, these will suffocate us if we let them. Love must be our oxygen. “For Love alone is Life.” And this includes love of one’s self.

When You Are Stuck

When you’re stuck it can feel hard to get out of the feeling of being stuck. Sometimes it might feel like you are buried in a big hole and there is no way out of the hole, except to crawl out. This will require climbing and getting very dirty.

Perhaps you might have to live with getting dirt under your fingernails, until you have made your way out of the hole. This may be very uncomfortable for some people.

Or perhaps you might have to be okay with getting dirt on your new shoes. This might be very frustrating for some people.

It is crucial that you move away from those discomforts. They are momentary discomforts and they can be fixed after you have made your way out of the hole.

So how do you move out of the hole if climbing out in strides isn’t working? How do you climb out if you keep falling back into the hole?

Baby steps. Baby steps are very important and many people can remind you that you must take baby steps to get out of any situation or feeling that has you stuck. However, it is definitely easier said than done. I have learned that no one can help you with these baby steps. Everyone can tell you want it takes, but no one can do it for you. So, it becomes up to you to design the strategies that work for you to get unstuck. It is incredibly difficult, but it is not impossible.

So, if you are in a hole and you are slipping and getting dirt all over you. Then you strategize. You take one step that makes you feel secure and safe. You trust that it will be stable enough to take you to another small step in front of you. Then you repeat this until you find yourself out of the hole.

There will always be a hole that we get stuck in. The holes are unavoidable, but what matters is how we get out of them. This is what shows others who we are and potentially how evolved we are. If we climb out ourselves that is great! If we ask for help because we have tried all the strategies we could think of. Then that is also great!

Impressive

This blog has been a way to share my thoughts. It has been a tool to practice writing. This blog has allowed me to share my writing, as it is, raw and unfiltered.

However, I find that I filter myself all the time. I find that I want to open my mind and show you what’s inside, but I stop myself. What if it’s not good enough? What if no one wants to read it, hear it, see it, or worse? What if they do read it and they do see it, but it’s not enough? This whole world has been obsessed with “biggering”, expanding, bettering and polishing all that is around them. What if they can’t handle my rough edges, and my unpolished ways? Of course, I want to put out good work. But sometimes what qualifies as “good” isn’t going to be perfect. Often that seems to not be okay with most people.

From a young age, I was always trying to subdue myself. If I was subdued and well-behaved then I wouldn’t make a mistake. Therefore no one would have any criticism for me. Which meant I was acting as expected. Although, as it turns out no matter how quiet, how good, how nice, or how perfect you try to be, someone always has something to say about it. So I was always licking my wounds and dragging myself through life apologizing for breathing, for being. Then when I was alone I would let my anger out. I would look in the mirror and see all the unpolished parts of myself. It seemed that all of me was unpolished and weak. Therefore I was not impressive. Being rough around the edges, exposed, vulnerable was not impressive. Trying to figure yourself out was not impressive. So I spent years wondering why I couldn’t figure myself out and just be impressive already!

I wasted so much time being sad and angry. I held in too much and wasted precious energy. I battled with this idea of being impressive and I begged for inspiration. Inspiration kept me a float every once in a while. However, it did not sustain me. I fell into a dark spiral that lasted too long.

It’s too bad that the world outside us, and our own imaginations, convince us that we are too much, or not enough. They convince us that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not cool enough, not pretty enough, and the list goes on. For the most part it seems we fight with invisible standards. They are high and lofty standards, but they are not always visible.

I don’t remember anyone coming up to me and telling me that I must apologize for being myself. However, when several people, or even one person several times points out something you did wrong with a sense of authority, then it is hard to ignore that. Especially as a young child. While some might be able to ignore the authoritative criticism. Others take that criticism as a sign that they are wrong. They mesh behavior and existence together. They confuse making a mistake with simply existing.

I have decided and come to the gradual conclusion that there is no way my existence can me wrong. Being can’t be wrong. If existence was wrong then trees would die. Flowers would never grow. Nature, as we know it, would have faded a long time ago. So if nature can take up space with such simple beauty than why can’t we? We don’t have to apologize, filter ourselves, or suppress who we are. Now, of course, there is a way to be tactful and nice when in communication with someone. We can be controlled without suppressing ourselves. As the saying goes “there is a time and place” for certain things and certain forms of expression. But our being is impressive. I have realized that I don’t have to try to be impressive. I just have to try every day because I am here. I am being!

This is my place to let my guard down and write the way I have always wanted to write. This is my place to be. The page is my ever-loving canvas. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. But I will always be writing. It allows me to breathe unapologetically. And I love anyone who supports such a beautiful thing as breathing unencumbered.

Frustrated Caterpillars

Sometimes I just want to scream, but instead I cry. Sometimes I want to scream at you, but instead I cry alone.

Sometimes I want to take you by the shoulders and tell you how lucky you are to have the parents that you do. These parents that have tried to keep you safe, fed, clothed, happy and have given you the world. Sometimes I want to tell you that you don’t deserve such parents. You love conditionally and pridefully. You need to get off your high horse and take off your colored glasses that makes you view the world with such hatred, and take a breath for a moment. Take in the world as it really is. Reflect on what has been done for you, instead of what has not been done for you. It’s called being grateful. And you cannot be conditionally grateful. Perhaps you could, but it won’t get you far. Sometimes I wish I could be like that and tell you horrible, unkind things. But lucky for you, I cannot.

Sometimes I think about how I don’t deserve the parents that I have. The parents that want to see me happy and have given me the world. Sometimes I wish I could give them the world. Sometimes saying “Thank you for everything” doesn’t seem like enough. But from a young age, I knew I could not give them everything. I couldn’t be everything for them, or anyone else. I tried. I tried often to be everything for everyone. One day, I found that the little things can mean a lot. So I would clean my dish when I was finished and put it in the dishwasher. If the dishwasher was full of clean dishes then I would empty it. That’s how I was raised. Now, it feels natural to do whatever I can to show that I am glad to have a roof over my head.

Some people don’t have a roof over their head. Did you know that? I’m sure that you’ve seen homeless folks standing outside in the heat, in the rain, in the chill of the night. What do you do? Do you help them? Do you say a prayer for them? Or do you look the other way and get on with your day?

Some people don’t have parents like ours. Some people have one, some have none, and some might feel like they have none because their parents hurt them, or are unwell in some way, or are split apart. Did you know that? Does it change your outlook on life? Does it make you want to be the best person you can and express an overflow of gratitude? Do you feel an ounce of compassion?

Sometimes I feel like we come from different families, you and I. Though we were born and raised in the same family. How can that be? We are polar opposites. You are like a boulder. Hard, rigid, and cold. I am a feather. Soft, gentle, and warm. How can opposites such as these be born into the same family? What was God thinking?

But you know, sister, I’ve thought similar things about myself. Why was I born into this family? Why was I the one to come first? What was God thinking?

As I get older, and I learn to find my footing in this world and among this family, I’ve come to some realizations. First of all, for many years I wanted to be a boulder. I wanted and thought that I had to be hard and rigid to get by in this life. But you don’t. Also, it takes so much energy. I couldn’t keep it up. I found it is better to be soft than to be hard. When you are rigid no one wants to be with you. People respond to those who are gentle. Kindness with yourself and those around you is the warmth that everyone needs. The Wind, God, picks you up and allows your feathery self to float through the world. You can’t float if you’re a boulder. You sink if you’re a boulder, or you get stuck in the river.

I have had my moments of being stuck in the river. I have cursed God and spent so much energy being angry with the world around me. Somehow, though, the love I received was persistent and firm. Some might call it “tough love”. Family, friends, teachers and all those that knew me were honest with me. They told me when I had made a mistake and encouraged me to correct it. Some were very critical with their corrections and loud about how I should change. I took a lot of things personally, but I never yelled at people when they criticized. Sure, I got upset, but I thought hard about what they said. Growing up was far from thrilling for me. I was scared to my very core. I’m still scared. Slowly, over many years, I have embraced the feather inside me and I have trusted The Wind to guide me, and allow me to gently land where I am supposed to be at a given moment.

You know, it’s okay to be scared. It does not make you weak. It might feel that way. Vulnerable feelings, like fear, might feel like some kind of weakness. But it is just the opposite. You are alive. It means you are alive. It means life can be challenging and scary sometimes and you feel it. You’re riding the waves and you don’t know where they will take you. The unknown is like riding on a dark ocean and no end insight.

When we would go to the water park there was tons of slides and fun things to do. It was always so strange to me why people liked, or even thought to create a black circular slide with no other areas of light, except the beginning and the end. I hated those black slides. It was so scary to me when the family wanted to go down those slides. I would sit on the tube at the top of the slide and look down into pitch black darkness. Behind me everyone was smiling and excited. They couldn’t wait for their turn down the slide. I had no problem letting someone else go first. Those black slides are the only ones that make me want to scream. I would scream to get out. I would scream because I felt claustrophobic and I could not see the pool of water at the end. Until I would slam into it like a wall. It was not refreshing. It hurt. Growing up has felt a lot like going down a black circular slide. You cannot see the future until it smacks you in the face. You cannot see what was behind you. All you can do is hold on for dear life and know that you are safe. You will see the light of the future when you get to it.

Since the tunnel is so dark sometimes it is hard to trust that you are safe. Sometimes that intense fear and insecurity we have with ourselves, or simply because of the unknown can be very frustrating. It makes us feel restless and unsettled. We get angry. We become scared and angry that we are scared. We don’t like feeling insecure. Those vulnerable feelings make us frustrated. Perhaps so frustrated that we rather lash out at others, instead of looking inside ourselves and facing the actual problem. Admitting that we are afraid, insecure, feeling vulnerable, makes us feel like we are weak and will never gain control.

Dear sister, we are all frustrated caterpillars. We are all wrestling within our own cocoons. There will always be something that makes us feel out of control. However that does not mean it is okay to lash out at others. It doesn’t mean that you will always be among patient people who will forgive you and allow your behavior to slide by. It does not mean that one can just forgo responsibility for their actions and find a scapegoat for their behavior. It does not make one appear stronger.

The process of becoming a butterfly requires a great deal of patience, particularly with yourself, but you must be aware of your surroundings as you grow. Get in touch with your peripheral vision. You and I have grown up in the same family, but we are different butterflies.

I have grown to appreciate the rainbow. There are many different shades of strong. There are many different shades of beautiful and ways to express one’s self. One must simultaneously embrace themselves and the way of the world, and trust The Wind. Only then will you be able to stop wrestling with your cocoon and instead sink into it. It took many years for me to sink into my cocoon. Within the last few years I feel like I am finally emerging and becoming who I have always wanted to be. But it is a process. Though I am many years older than you, I am still learning how to spread my wings. Becoming a butterfly is an unending process. It takes lots of work and lots of trust.

I know one day you will let yourself sink into your cocoon. I look forward to seeing the butterfly that you become. For now, I’m going to allow myself to get in touch with my own wings. I neglect them. I often tell myself I’m not allowed to fly. I often feel that I must be there for others. I spend all my time, energy, and mental head space being there for others. For you. I’ll always love you and I am here when you need me. But I must take up my own wings and fly with The Wind.

Storms

Storms are often viewed as harsh. They can be dangerous and cause destruction. This can be true and very hard to deal with sometimes.

Storms often involve rain. Rain comes from a parting of clouds. Rain showers the earth and creates growth. Rain allows flowers to bloom, grass to become brighter, and soil to become rich for all the earth. Rain is good because it brings life.

Rain is an expression of life.

So, storms. While storms are harsh and might cause distress, or things to break, or loss, aren’t they part of life too? I think so.

Hard as it may be to grasp sometimes. Storms come and blow through harshly. But then what happens? New life grows and even flourishes. The aftermath of the storms might be very hard for our tender human hearts to take. There may be some rebuilding of our lives and possessions that we must embark on. Some things that were lost in the storm might not come back, but new life grows. Hearts get mended, families come together, trees grow back, and the sun breaks through the dark clouds once more.

All we can do when the storm begins is hold on. We must ride it out, embrace those around us, and know that this too shall pass. The harsh winds and thunder don’t last forever. And when the storm has reached a level of calm, we find some light. It may be faint at first, but nonetheless it is light. We grow, grow together, and become stronger. This is the brightest light that comes through the storm.

Resilience, courage, compassion, love, and emotional stability always make it through the storms. In time, we find each of these for ourselves and these attributes strengthen us for future storms. Storms are unavoidable. Sorry to say. Nature will always have storms, just like our lives do. But like children that imagine they are conquering a great beast, as they play in the rain. We can find this childlike spirit as the storm passes. It is not easy. It will be challenging sometimes, but soon the storms won’t be scary anymore.

Storms force us to evolve and this is an important part of life. So, do your best to embrace the storm. And if you can’t, that’s ok. Just find the people that you can go through the storm with. Soon you’ll be able to go through it on your own.