In our last (for now) post onÂ Art + SpiritualityÂ we get to peek inside the life of Shawn Ledington, artful soul, nature lover,Â and “soft”Â Â Unitarian Universalist.Â (I love their creed.) Shawn blogs at Live Laugh Write Â andÂ writes letters to her daughters at Â Between the Lines. Today she steps Behind the Mic and Â is gives us a peek into how ArtÂ + Spirituality intersects in her life. Shawn, step right up!
Q: How does your love for nature, and your practice as Unitarian UniversalistÂ support your artistic self?
I guess, in a little way, this is my coming out. I was nervous to write this post at first because of the still lingering stigma that attaches itself to non-believers. But, after really meditating on it, I realized I am just as spiritual as those who consider themselves religious.
The earth, nature and the amazing energy that flows between human beings when they are connected drives my spirituality. And, thankfully, age has proudly allowed me to sink into this Truth and hold it and nurture it and understand it. As a writer, I especially enjoy writing about that human and nature connection.
In response to the Art + Spirituality lesson in Magpie Speak, I said:Â
Â “The closer I am to nature, the more spiritual I feel â€¦ the more spiritual I feel, the more I create quality, free-flowing ideas. I love letting my mind wander in creation and dreaming up new ideas. Thatâ€™s about as close to God as I can get. Itâ€™s very organic and intimate.”
I love to see my twin daughters, now 4, running in the rain, digging in dirt and just exploring the Earth. I love to see them connect with other people and want to do nice things for them because it feels good. I love seeing them play with kids in their inner city preschool class who do not look like them and who do not live like them. I love that one of my girls asked for her hair to be in braids like her friend Anaya.
This is our truth. It’s rather messy and chaotic and not at all by-the-book but I think it’s pretty awesome.
In 2004, as newlyweds, my husband and I became members of a Unitarian Universalist, proudly. I am more an atheist than a believer though I do not profess to know or have the answers. Iâ€™m a seeker â€” of all things humanity. UU provides me with a vast range of other seekers who share a love of the world the way it is right now — all of its richness in diverse humanity. Plus, it’s loaded with artsy people like me. Sundays involve lots of poetry and earth-based services like walking a Labyrinth, checking out trees or bringing favorite flowers for a special flower ceremony.
Just two weeks ago, our daughters learned in their Sunday religious education class about what it would be like to not have legs, to not be able to smell or to not be able to see or to not have hands to eat their food with. UU has been a very good home for my family for its Universalist approach. I’m a Big Picture Thinker. I get lost and messy in small details but scanning the horizon, watching it’s beauty unfold is energizing for me. I love realizing that my spiritual world includes many who are not like me, who do not worship like me.
I do not for one second take being here on this Earth for granted. I look up at the sky and am amazed. But I have no desire to understand how we got here or where we will go after. I just love being here now. I love seeing it’s flaws and trying to improve upon them. But mostly I love seeing its beauty and relishing in it. It’s so Big. It’s Wondrous! My brain explodes with new ideas after a walk in the deep woods or along a body of water.
If I can give this gift of joy to my daughters, I feel I will consider myself a successfulÂ mother — andÂ a Creative Soul.
Where does Art + Spirituality intersect for you? How does your faith-practice (or lack there of) come into play? We’d love to hear from you. Comment away!
To join us where this discussion began, sign up for my free Eseries, Magpie Speak: a newÂ language for soulcare. To read all the interviewsÂ atÂ Magpie Girl, just click to see who’s been Behind the Mic. And tune in next week when visual artist Lisa Congdon steps right up. See you then!