On Change and Creativity

I recently experienced the loss of my dear mother-in-law and friend, Olga. She was 101 and 3 months old at the time of her passing. What a life! Even though I could look at her death as expected, (how many of us will ever reach that 100 year mark?) it was still a shock, and still a time of many tears. But it was also a change. A change on a deep level because in having lost a friend, a support system, and a connection to an already dwindling family–she was the official head of that family and had outlived most–I felt cut adrift. Olga was the glue that held us all together. This is the last photo I took of her at age 100.

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On arriving home from the funeral in NYC, I walked around in an almost dream like state. I was still grieving, sitting my version of Shiva, which is an eight day mourning period in the Jewish faith. I wore my mourning ribbon every day, pinned to my lucky writing dress. I often found myself touching it like it was a grounding device, and sometimes the ribbon would brush my bare upper arm…a reminder that she was with me in spirit. Food had lost its taste, work didn’t hold any interest. TV was boring. I couldn’t exercise or write, and the only thing I could do was read. Bless romance authors everywhere. I read so many romance novels. Each day bled into the next, just as the stories I’d read had bled into each other. My dreams were mixed with the events of the prior weeks and those many, many stories ranging from romances with cowboys to romances with dragons. My life had become a mish-mash of reality and fantasy. 

At the end of Shiva, I knew Olga would want me to resume my life. I tried. There was no inspiration. I could barely put two words, two thoughts on paper. It wasn’t happening. My little stories seemed somehow meaningless, and I doubted that I would continue to write. Talking to anyone required huge effort. I knew I had shut down and isolated myself.

In bed that night, I reached for my trusted book by Deepak Chopra. His words on change hit me hard. He advised to watch for change, use it wisely, and that the transient nature of life can be used to our advantage. I dwelled on that. His words on the principle of change, dictated that going with the flow of life brings creativity and forward movement, and by attempting to freeze events, memories, brings stasis. The flow of life is always self-renewing, inspiration is continuous. The more you create the more there is to create.

Chopra said, and I quote: Your task is to reach into the darkness and pluck out the next thing that will be meaningful.

I closed the book and my gaze settled on the oil painting that I’d brought home with me. It always hung on the right side of the dressing table mirror in the bedroom where I slept in Olga’s home. I’d hung it on the right side of the wall in my bedroom. I turned on another lamp and let the light shine over it. I sensed the beginning of another story.



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20 Responses to On Change and Creativity

  1. Janie Emaus says:

    This gave me chills. xoxo

  2. Robena Grant says:

    I know. When I read those words of Chopra’s, I got chills. It’s strange how when we are looking for guidance, if we are truly open to it, we often find words that truly hit home.

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Very moving.
    Beautifully written.
    My sincere sympathies.

  4. What a moving and inspiring post, Robena. Hugs, and all best with that new story.

  5. Marge says:

    Beautiful blog- life is always moving forward and we must go forward with it regardless how difficult. Can’t wait to hear about your newest inspiration. Hugs, Marge

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks, Marge. I’m sure you’ll hear all about it prior to our next bookclub. I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say on Nora Robert’s book. : )

  6. Sam Beck says:

    I haven’t personally known anyone who lived to be over 100. I think if you reach that age, God has whispered a secret in your ear and the rest of us ought to listen closely to what you have to say. Sounds like you listened, and are still listening…and I look forward to reading what you learn.

  7. Beautiful, beautiful blog, Robena, and proof why you must never stop writing.

    Wow, at 100 she’s looked fabulous, though I personally do not wish to live that long.

  8. Robena Grant says:

    Awww, thanks, Lynne. And yeah, I know what you mean, I don’t think I want to see 100 either.

  9. Your blog felt so real to me. In spite of it being six years since my mom passed, five years since my bother passed and three years since dad passed, I still find myself at times wandering aimlessly. Even when I try to do something useful, it is still hard though that is what seems to calm my mind. Those repetitive household chores.

    Thanks for the Deepka Chopra reminder. Life is like a stream and moves on whether or not we do. Sometimes it is just tough to keep up with the flow when the grief is deep and overwhelming–when the family has dwindled, as you say, in my case to one—me. I am the only one left from my family of origin. I often think back on days when they were all alive and so very lively.

    My Gran lived to 86 and seemed to hold that wisdom–those ‘secrets’ of those who have lived long and well. We are fortunate indeed to know such old souls.

    God Bless Robena. Prayers to you and your family.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thank you, Christine. I know how you feel. Ray, my ex, is the last of his original family, and was an only child. I’m from a huge family, and yet this American family was so small to begin with. Thank you for sharing. All we can do is keep moving forward and take with us the wonderful memories.

    • My father died when I was nineteen, and my mother just last November. Still, it’s hard now not to feel like “a grown-up orphan,” as my sister says. Some people are the touchstone in our lives and when they leave that hole cannot be filled. I think Deepak is saying it’s okay to leave it open as long as we aren’t sucked into it as well. So, I try to take what talents my father and mother gave me and put them to good use. It doesn’t make missing them any easier, but it makes the world a better place.

  10. Julie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What an inspiration Olga was!

    And yes, the whole, “we must move along with the stream of life” concept is a challenging one. Don’t you wonder now if she is with you, helping and offering guidance as she always did? I tend to think that she absolutely is.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Yes, Julie. I often sense her spirit, and usually when least expected. By that I mean when I’m deeply focused on something else, and I get this whisper or tiny thread of a memory that inserts itself into my thoughts. I know she’ll always be with me. She’s now one of my angel team…I have four. : )

  11. What a great blogpost. When my dad died, the thing that really got me for quite a while was a sense that a certain presence, energy, essence was no longer in the world; my world anyway. It took a while to adjust to that presence not being there.

    • Robena Grant says:

      I know exactly what you’re saying, Judy. It’s hard to define that emptiness that comes with knowing there will be no further phone calls, visits, hugs. I do have strong and happy memories that will see me through the toughest days and weeks.