78 and counting….a new year awaits us

The giant prayer wheel at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore

December 31st and January 1 are not so different…just 24 little hours apart…unless you are the kind of person who likes to make new beginnings. I am one of those people. I am 78 and counting. I feel a sense of urgency about my days. I want substance and meaning, purpose and progress in the time I have left.

When I have a clear ending to one period of time and the immediate, clearly defined beginning to another – a clean slate – a white canvas – I see it as a challenge and an opportunity. I feel the need for some creative thinking concerning what will be different and new in the coming year. My desire is that the new time period should improve over the previous one. That should be easy in the year 2021, since 2020 sunk to a deep new low in my own personal experience…and I imagine you might agree. We have nowhere to go but forward and higher in our aspirations.

Now we must rise up, pull ourselves up and out of the doldrums and the muck. We must thrive and prosper.

Thirteenth century poet and spiritual guide Rumi says, “But listen to me; for one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”

He writes next:

“Last year, I admired wines. I am wandering inside the red world. Last year I gazed at the fire. This year I am a burnt kabob. Thirst drove me down to the water where I drank the moon’s reflection.

It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue and get into fights. The lover is just as bad. He falls into a hole. But down in that hole he finds something shining, worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street. I took it as a sign to start singing, falling up into the bowl of the sky.

Hard to believe that an Afghan mystic from the thirteenth century can be so relevant today. I have taken these phrases from the book The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, and I have left some lines out to give you the abbreviated essence of what he is saying. I urge you to read more. Every subject you might imagine is covered in splendid stories and ancient rhymes.

You do not need a magnificent prayer wheel, such as the one pictured here, to send your hopes and requests out into the universe. Just sit down and meditate. An enormous collective wish from planet earth will reach the right places if we all hope for the same things. I am wishing for a better year with a better chance for peace, for love, for hope and for an end to the suffering of so many people. Expressing our gratitude for the blessings we do have is always a good place to start…

On January 6th, the Day of Epiphany, a particular favorite of mine, we all have a brand new chance to discover, in a brilliant flash of truth, what it is we would like to accomplish in our privileged days remaining. It is a day of manifestation and revelation. It has the potential for opening a door in your mind that will lead you on a journey of new beginnings.

Let us welcome 2021 with a resounding embrace and a promise to do great things. Listen to your heart and go where it takes you.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott

ART WEBSITES – www.artistjoannbrown-scott.com

Prints of my original art are available at https://fineartamerica.com/art/jo+ann+brown-scott

NOVEL – www.acanaryfliesthecanyon.com

NON-FICTION BOOKS – The Creative Epiphany, gifted minds, grand realizations

and Your Miraculous, Timeless Creativitythe care and feeding of your creative gifts

Books are available on Amazon and Kindle

INSTAGRAM – The Creative Epiphany

All of my previous blogs can be found in my Archives.

The Creative Epiphany – January 6th, The Day of Epiphany

photo 5 (3) photo 4 (3) mantwo manone

Photos courtesy of my recent trip to Singapore and Bangkok, October 2013

This blog was originally written as a broader continuation of my second book, The Creative Epiphany – Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations available on Amazon.com, by Jo Ann Brown-Scott. Since the book was published in 2008 we have had what I am going to say is great success for a first time author and a book that was published through Amazon’s self-publishing division. As I frequently say, the GIFT OF CREATIVITY is AWARDED FREE AT BIRTH –  everyone gets some. Your lifelong challenge is to accept it, locate its best vehicle and venue, then define how you can most effectively use it for yourself and the greater good. Remember that part about “the greater good”  because we do not include clever, creative criminals in the greater good category.

After you read my Introduction, in which you will come to know the lovely, personified creativity as I see her and defines just what a creative epiphany is, then offers suggestions for how you might be able to tap into a life-changing epiphany for yourself as well, you will see that the book is a compilation of personal experiences from 19 creative people including myself, who all had life-changing epiphanies involving their personal gifts of creativity. I selected people for the book based upon recommendations from friends, my own circle of eccentric acquaintances, family members and experts I knew. I interviewed the prospects by phone and in person, the theory being that if that person had an amazing life-altering story and could tell it beautifully in a normal conversation, holding my attention for hours, then that person could write it down and with my editing then release it for the world to read, thus changing lives. I was right – the stories are all told in a conversational style that I was careful to edit without stomping out the character and personality of the teller thus altering the book into a collection of boring, homogenized junk. It is not a perfect, polished example of literature – it is a real, down and dirty book from people living out in the trenches of a creative life, and that is not an easy life. They tell it like it is.

I have heard from many “strangers” who read the book, enjoyed it and gained something from it, including a psychologist who says he uses it as therapy, a highly devout woman doing work in a Buddhist monastery, a person walking down the streets of London who happened to see that the person coming toward her was also carrying a copy of this book. With Amazon you reach the world – with blogs you reach the world. For me, sitting here at my computer or painting in my studio, that is an intoxicating phenomenon. I have so much to say, and thank you profoundly for listening.

(Oh and as a side note – They say the sincerest form of flattery is to copy – and we have had that experience with our book in a publication that did not just borrow our idea but was bold enough to use my exact phrasing from the back cover of the book. If you check the dates of publication it is obvious who is copying who…and so was I flattered? Not so much. Not in the least. Was I angry? Much. What is that old quote? The one that says, “Be Yourself – everyone else is already taken.” Well hell yes, of course.)

The Day of Epiphany, January 6th. approaches I wanted to honor it with this blog. According to Wikipedia, the Day of Epiphany is defined this way:

  • Epiphany (feeling), an experience of sudden and striking realization
  • Epiphany (religion), the appearance of a deity to a human, known as theophany
  • Hierophany, an epiphany or manifestation of the sacred more broadly defined than a theophany
  • Darśana, Hindu term commonly used for “visions of the divine”

I prefer to reference the modern definition of epiphany when I write about it – the “light bulb” effect when a piece of life-changing inspiration or information comes to you in a moment of grand realization. You have had that happen – I know you have. It is both shocking and welcomed – sometimes the “knowing” percolates up through your consciousness over a period of time and gently but powerfully gains your attention – at other times the message might strike you instantaneously like a bolt of lightening. The common thread is that an epiphany brings information – an enlightening message of some variety – that you did not have before. A missing piece in your plans. And you needed it to move forward. It is of great help to you and utmost importance that you pay attention to it.

There are some keys to accommodating the arrival of the coveted epiphany – the best one is to remain open and present, living in the now, aware and alert to all possibilities. Keep a receptive mind, engaged and involved in life. Be hopeful. Have faith.

The creative epiphany – read about it. Listen. Have one.

www.epiphanysfriends.com

This is the Day of Epiphany

blossom

Welcome to Sunday, January 6th, the Day of Epiphany – for the Christian definition of epiphany you can Google or Bing or go to the Bible, but in essence we have come to believe that to have an epiphany is to have a sudden realization of a great truth. Many of my own interpretations of the word appear on my website www.epiphanysfriends.com. It is a subject that fascinates me. I know epiphany well and count her among my most treasured friends.

If you have ever experienced an epiphany, and I am sure you have although you might not have acknowledged it at the time, you will agree that it is indeed a rare and wondrous thing.  Oprah says you are having an “AHA” moment. But it feels so much bigger than that. I like to think of it as that moment when a lightbulb in your consciousness switches on, illuminating the darkness and offering you a solution or an insight that had previously escaped you. Sometimes it happens exactly when you need it the most, but sometimes years go by until you finally have an epiphany about some issue that has seemed unsolvable to you. An epiphany can be as simple and humble as a sudden understanding of a relatively small problem. An epiphany can arrive during chaos or calm, during joy or sorrow, tragedy or even violence. It brings a message that travels in to your consciousness informing you of a truth, and perhaps telling you of an action you must take.

An epiphany is always truth – you can trust it. It comes from so very far within – a soul place where only truth resides, and where there are no agendas other than your well being and safety. Listen to its information carefully when it arrives because to ignore the information it brings might result in calamity and confusion. And the epiphany, unheard and unheeded, will return with greater force and a louder presence. If it is ignored again and again the lesson of the epiphany will slam into you with such force one fine day that you will wonder what hit you. The consequences of not listening to your soul’s voice will be unfortunate. This is precisely why people tell us to be aware and live in the NOW. An epiphany can be life-changing, bringing vivid realization, new purpose and certitude. Take time to listen.