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Telling truth - planting seeds

by Douglas Eby

"Women need to speak their truth from their heart."

Family therapist and author Maureen Murdock [above] also says she hopes "women don't hold themselves back, and put the little germ of wisdom out there. I think one of the things we do as women is plant seeds. ... I don't think women should hide their light under a bushel."

One of the themes that women have brought up in their responses to the Gifted Women Forum [on America Online] is the idea of restraining the expression of their ideas, their truth - holding themselves back so they won't "stand out" too much.

But creative expression is really about revealing. As Gloria Steinem [quoted in the last column] has said, "Creativity is most likely to come from intrinsic interest, not external reward; from a desire to express the true self." 

Murdock has been a teacher in the Human Development Department at Crossroads School [in Santa Monica, CA] and says the program has a "tradition of speaking from the heart and listening from the heart. We use a Council process where a 'talking instrument' is passed. The guidelines are that you speak from your heart, listen with your heart, and speak briefly and to the point."

She finds variations of the technique useful in helping business groups be more honest and meaningful, and notes, "You can use the process internally as well, with your inner voices. In my book The Heroine's Journey, I talk about the parts of ourselves that are either 'the driver' or 'the annihilator' or 'the critic' - and I can give voice to 'the critic' and listen to her or him, then send the 'nurturing mother' in to send 'the critic' on vacation." 

Keeping an unrestricting attitude about creative expression can help make it deeper and more authentic. If you stay an "amateur" you may be less pressured to be 'capital A' Artist, or to live up to the examples of others. 

Role models can inspire a striving for excellence, but as Sharon Stone has commented, "The best is the original. You will never be the best if you try to be like other people."

Relative freedom from ego thinking can encourage fuller, more truthful expression. Acting teacher Jennifer Lehman says "You need to move away from your ego to stay in a creative state. Anytime you're shifting the focus back to yourself, you're shutting down creative potential." 

But she agrees "It's difficult to achieve a consistent openness, letting things flow through you, without your own judgments, your own personal history, or how you think it should be, interfering with that."

She cautions, "A creative experience has many layers all at the same time. If you're trying to juggle a bunch of ideas, it's going to limit your availability to feeling states." 

In her online Art Statement, painter Maria Alejandra Zanetta has commented about Murdock's writing in The Heroine's Journey about women having "a quest at this time in our culture... to fully embrace their feminine nature, learning how to value themselves as women and to heal the deep wound of the feminine."

Zanetta writes, "Through art I embrace this quest. Many of my paintings function as a journal. They tell stories of personal and cultural transformation, of fear and hope. Through the characters of my paintings - all symbolic equivalents of myself - I explore the themes of metamorphosis, growth and change. 

"Along this inner journey, along this nocturnal and solitary wandering, art becomes my guiding light, a light that shows me the path to my true self and to spiritual freedom."

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book: Maureen Murdock: The Heroine's Journey

Art Statement by Maria Alejandra Zanetta

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