Potter, poet, philosopher, MC Richards (who took up painting at 70 years of age and confessed, “it’s too late for technique),” knew something about Creativity. Indeed, her book Centering: In Potter, Poetry, and the Person is considered a classic on the subject of the creative process.
Daniel Rhodes, in the Craft Horizons, said this about MC’s iconic book:
This book, in its form and in its content, seems almost without precedent. Its style flows directly from an intensity, an honesty, and a frankness which are rare. It is a poem, a sutra, a tract, a confession, a revelation, a guide to art and life….This is not merely a good book, it is a great book.
I invoke MC in the opening lines of my chapter on “Creativity and Compassion” in my book, A Spirituality Named Compassion when she tells us:
We have to realize that a creative being lives within ourselves, whether we like or not and that we must get of its way, for it will give us no peace until we do.
This one sentence, I propose, challenges our entire culture. It challenges Patriarchy which prefers to sentimentalize motherhood than to recognize how all persons, both women and men, are creative and therefore called to motherhood.
It challenges education: Is creativity a value there, from kindergarten through graduate school?
It challenges our self-understanding: In what way do we recognize the “creative being that lives within ourselves”?
And it challenges us to find peace and to get out of the way of fear and doubt and projections onto others so that creativity and healthy mothering can flow. To learn to let go therefore.
Julian of Norwich is saying something similar when she proposes that “Christ is a mother.”
What are the characteristics of a mother for Julian? Compassion is one such characteristic.
Compassion is a kind and gentle property that belongs to the Motherhood in tender grace.
What is this tender compassion about?
Compassion protects, increases our sensitivity, gives life and heals.
At the root of compassion lies love in action.
The ground of compassion is love and the working of compassion keeps us in love.
Compassion, then, is love at work. It is an action.
Compassion is a sweet gracious working in love, mingled with abundant kindness; for compassion works at taking care of us and makes all things become good.
Compassion is about putting kindness and caring into action. It is our work and it brings goodness into the world.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion, p. 104.
And Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, p. 49.
Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, pp. 236f.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Mothers in Kargi, a remote nomadic settlement in Kenya. It’s been a while since I got to experience a people so constantly happy and full of joy as the people of here”. Photo by Ian Macharia on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
What do you think about MC’s conviction that a creative being resides within us all and the only way to peace is to heed its presence and get out of the way? And Julian’s teaching about the divine motherhood and compassion?
A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice
In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.
One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths
Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.“Reading One River, Many Wells is like entering the rich silence of a masterfully directed retreat. As you read this text, you reflect, you pray, you embrace Divinity. Truly no words can fully express my respect and awe for this magnificent contribution to contemporary spirituality.” –Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit