Feelings can be unhelpful and deceptive but not always

I have been at a Creative Arts Retreat Movement (CARM) consultation this week…. Or in other words at the AGM and a day of doing some creative things. In the morning we played with clay. We first listened to the first few verses of Genesis – creation – and then were to imagine what we might create. I enjoyed the feel of it and prodded it and rolled it. I almost made a plait out of 3 sausages, but they went back into the lump. I had absolutely NIL inspiration of what to make with it. We then had to change places and continue on someone else’s creation, which of course meant leaving our creation at the hands of another. I poked some holes and made a pattern in a piece of clay someone had left on one side, having flattened it out. I was satisfied at the end of that, although I did have to fight back feelings of inadequacy. I noticed that nobody took on doing more to my 3 lumps that I’d left on the board.

Creating with Clay – mine is the middle on the right.

After coffee we came back to an exercise involving colours and intuition. I fared better with this but made the mistake of looking at what the others were doing and comparing their work with mine. There are some very talented people here. However, on reflecting upon my work, with the help of the lady who led us, I can see that I have produced some art and that it is good. It is my creation. It is an expression of me.


I have entitled this piece Energy. Despite having a cold and feeling tired and lack lustre, or maybe because of feeling under the weather, I chose red card and oil pastels in yellows, orange and white. I doodled and filled the space with swirls and little suns. There isn’t a top or bottom and it can be viewed any way up.

The next piece wasn’t finished…. or is it?

I used felt pens on yellow paper (a brighter colour than the photo below). It grew without any plan. I didn’t know where it was going and we had to stop to go for lunch. I thought it wasn’t finished. It has potential – it is in progress and yet the blank spaces in themselves can speak and be part of the whole. So I am content to leave it as it is. It isn’t ‘unfinished’. It is what it is. It is beautiful. It is my creation.


We are all of equal value in God’s eyes. And after all, it is His opinion that really counts. I had been helped by being able to talk about how I felt with the lady who had led us in this activity. She reminded me that the childhood put downs and comparisons can leave very deep emotions. These feelings can stay with us into adulthood and give us false information. Yes there are some people who have great talent as artists and create beautiful things but we are all able to create and whatever we create it is good. The saying ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is very true.

Mandalas….. draw a circle and fill it with colour!

Our afternoon session was all to do with words. We sat in groups of 3 people and wrote Haiki poems. They comprise 3 lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. We then did some limericks. Great fun was had by all. The poems were collected together and will probably appear in the next CARM magazine.

I was delighted the next morning to be in conversation with someone about the clay activity and she had wondered who had done the flat piece with holes. She had taken a photo of it as she really liked it. It reminded her of an amoeba. Just goes to show one person’s ‘rubbish’ is another person’s work of art that speaks to them. Having no idea of what an amoeba looks like I googled it and include an image for others like me with very little biology knowledge.

My clay thing

I was also delighted to learn over breakfast that I will be sharing the leading of a CARM retreat next May. Do visit their website for more information. www.carmretreats.org. I recommend them for anyone interested in time time away in a retreat house with space and time for dabbling in various arts. No need to be good at the art/craft or particularly holy or religious.

I left the consultation feeling good. I had made some new friends and am looking forward to developing the links between spirituality and art. On the way to join Terry in Wales for the rest of my week of holiday I had the joy of seeing the Welsh mountains appear before me. My heart was lifted. It was good to see them in their glorious autumn colours and some snow and a waterfall. I started to play with words…..

Copper, bronze and gold
trees glisten in autumn sun
In beautiful Wales