A look back at historical Creative Edge posts
April 9, 2018
Originally posted in 2007
by Carol Mathew-Rogers

Today is the first day of this new year, 2007. I sit at my desk and ponder my connection to The Creative Edge: The Way of the Arts. As a new board member at large, I have the opportunity to write about anything that catches my attention. I look over my notes from my first board meeting, and one phrase stands out to me now: “Strong inner core, with outside flexibility.” This, then, is where my musings begin…

Images come to my mind as I ponder this phrase: reeds thrashing in wind-whipped meadows as summer storms pound the earth… delicate white birch trees swaying side to side as winter snow swirls angrily. These images remind me of the strength of seemingly fragile living things. Thriving, growing plants hold fast during the tempests of their environments, flexible enough to move without breaking, with inner pith protected and rooted, connected to the juices of life.

I remember time spent in my small backyard garden. The flowers bend under the weight of the water sprinkling from my hose, so delicate that a single snap of my fingers could separate them from the earth, yet they do not break. I can walk away from a whole garden of nodding blooms whose petals have become so saturated that they kiss the earth instead of reaching for the sun, and yet when I return, they stand at attention again, restored to their proud and beautiful poses as if by magic. This isn’t the magic, though, of outward action where pure strength overcomes all odds. The flowers do not win against the water by the force of their actions. No, this is the magic of connection to what flows inside—this is the magic of allowing the life force within to swell up from deep inside to strengthen walls and reinforce channels. This is the magic of a need so strong that exterior conditions have little power against that which dwells within. And I ask myself: where does inner strength with outside flexibility live in my life?

Sitting in silence, the answer comes quietly. Each day I struggle against the waves of busyness that threaten to overwhelm me. There is so much to do! There is so little time to do it all! My storms come not in the guise of thunderous rain clouds or blistering winds, but rather as endless lists of “Things to do.” If I allow it, the repeated battering of obligations, chores and accomplishments would sweep me from my spiritual and creative moorings, leaving me dying under their deadly wash. I must take my lesson from the delicate plants, and allow myself to bend and flex with environmental assaults. My emotional reactions to the pressures of family and job can be fluid and limber, instead of explosive and painful. My strength comes from nourishing that living force inside myself whose roots run deep into my psychological and spiritual nature. For me, creativity and visual art are the tools to keeping this connection flowing. I must be a living expression of strong inner core, with outside flexibility if I am to truly thrive. And with this newly expressed realization, I feel a certain measure of peace blossoming within my heart. I know this year will be a good one.