month, Dana Reynolds shares her life-transforming
thoughts, ideas, and sacred imagination based around our
"theme of the month." Dana is a visionary Spiritual Midwife, who
devotes herself to helping women birth their creative
gifts into the world.
This month I am called to address an
issue that is tearing a hole in the soul of our country.
That is, the plague affecting an increasing number of
young people. . .a plague that causes young individuals
to shoot their classmates, teachers, and often
Nourishing the Souls of the Children
The tragedy at Columbine High School, two years ago
this month, seems to be spreading like an insidious
virus. The recent increase in school shootings by
students should have all of us realizing that what
occurred in Littleton, Colorado was not an isolated
This column isn’t intended to be a sociological
study regarding teen violence. Rather, it is written in
the hope of inviting you to make a difference in a child’s
life by nourishing his/her spirit and soul. Regardless
of whether one has a child or not, he/she can make a
difference in a child’s life.
It is my belief that the souls of our
children are in desperate need of protection and
sustenance. There are countless ways a child’s mind
and soul are threatened each day. We are all aware of
the pervasive violence, sex, and darkness in the media,
movies, and video games that permeate our culture. When
children’s intake of these materials is unsupervised
it can be likened to being exposed to a dangerous
The removal of art and music programs in our schools
is another germ carrier of the plague of malaise and
malcontent that is infiltrating our society. The sacred
imaginations of our children must be nourished
and fed with healthy, positive, inspirational imagery
Art making, writing, and music are natural creative
outlets for processing life experiences and the events
of a child’s daily happenings. Self-expression through
art and music are ways the soul can speak its truth,
find voice, and nurture the self and others. The same
way that tears, yawning, and laughter, are vehicles to
the physical body’s current state of being; art and
music making and writing are channels of expression for
When the spirit and soul are denied ways to express
what is longing to be acknowledged, either positive or
negative, a blockage to the flow of the life force is
created. Other factors such as environment, genetic
make-up, and traumatic life events play a part in the
most severe actions like the ones in the recent high
school shooting tragedies. Over time if the soul is
repeatedly thwarted in its desire to share its story and
gifts, the river of creativity is dammed and stagnation
occurs. As the years pass this stagnation putrefies and
the person’s angst and creative constipation erupts in
often dangerous and inappropriate ways. Perhaps tattoos
and body piercing are in fact a desperate attempt to
creatively express the pain, rage, and restlessness so
many young people are currently feeling.
Naturally there are varying degrees of behavior in
the population of children and teens today.
Hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder in our
young people seem to be on the rise. Could these
challenges also be related in part from over stimulation
and the lack of creative ways for processing? It is not
the intention of this column to address all of these
issues, but rather to invite you to contemplate how we
as individuals might supplement healthy creative
inspiration in the children in our families and
Several years ago I had the privilege of teaching
children ages eight through ten as part of a summer
creativity program. Each day we climbed on a magic
carpet (a large threadbare rug in the classroom) and
listened to music from different ethnic backgrounds.
With their eyes closed, I led a guided journey to an
African jungle, a deserted island, the moon, or a
prehistoric cave. After the visualization the children
went immediately to their journals to write about and
draw what they had seen. Next each child, using a
variety of art materials, created something he/she had
found while visiting the imaginary place.
Time and time again I was in awe of this process and
the children’s creations. Their imaginations, their
creative souls, delivered what can only be called
"inspired" poems, stories, objects, paintings,
and drawings. I will always remember the joy they
experienced during the creative process and the
enthusiasm they expressed as they shared their creations
with their classmates during show and tell. Self-esteems
blossomed, new ideas were born, and their imaginations
and souls were fed and nurtured by the experience.
I believe we must, as adults, take responsibility for
inspiring and fostering the sacred creative imaginations
of our children. By "our children" I mean our
We all have children in our lives. Whether these are
our own children, nieces or nephews, a friend or
co-worker’s child, or perhaps a grand-child that lives
miles away, each of us knows at least one child whose
life we can touch. Here are a few suggestions for ways
to touch a child’s life with a spark for the sacred
- Read to a child or children. Volunteer to be a
storyteller at a local bookstore or library or choose a
favorite book from your childhood and share it with a
young person you know.
- Create a traveling journal to send back and forth
between a long distance child in your life and yourself.
Decorate a blank sketchbook. Create the first entry with
color, glitter, stickers, and playful inspiration for a
child. Invite the child to create the next entry and
then to return it to you and so on. Include some glitter
crayons, stickers, or rubber-stamps to ignite the sacred
- Organize an art-making project for the children in
your community. Perhaps there is a parking lot wall that
could become a mural, or a plot of soil that could be
planted to become a butterfly garden, or a nursing home
that needs brightening with colorful paper angels
crafted by children.
- Create a compilation tape or CD of music for a
child. Include your favorite classical pieces and a
letter describing what you see when you close your eyes
and listen to the compositions. Invite the young person
to write back and tell you what he/she sees when
listening to your gift.
- Create a tape of stories (your own or read from
books). Create a tape of questions to inspire a child to
write a poem or story of his/her own.
As you offer inspiration through these suggestions or
in other ways, be conscious of allowing the child
creative license, individuality, and self-expression. Be
ready to be inspired yourself by the richness of the
child’s creativity and ingenuity.
There is a miraculous side-effect to nourishing a
child’s soul and imagination. . . your creativity
will also be sparked. Can you imagine our world if each
child’s gift of creativity was tended like a beautiful
garden, if each adult assumed the responsibility to
nurture, weed, and fertilize the sacred imagination of
at least one child? Consider the music, paintings, new
inventions, poetry and writing that could be born
throughout the life of one whose creativity was
fervently nurtured and supported.
The month of April is the harbinger for new life and
the return of light to our hemisphere. I invite you this
month to breathe inspiration into a child’s
imaginative soul then be prepared to be dazzled by the
brilliance you ignite.
invited to submit your story and accompanying
photos to be considered as a feature for the Sacred
Imagination column. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright© 2001 Dana
Dana's Past "Sacred Imagination" Columns:
2001 "Opening the Senses to Beauty"
2001 "The Eyes of Love"
2001 "Patterns of Authenticity"
2000 "Finding Peace in the Fields of Time"
2000 "Cultivating Gratitude: Heart-Hugs and Prayer
2000 "Journey to the Center - The Sacred Mystery of
2000 "The Heart and Craft of Healing"
2000 "Transforming Life’s Challenges into Beauty and Story"
2000 "Sacred Spaces Invite the
Muses of the Soul"
Read Dana's Soulful
Living Feature Articles:
and the Sacred Imagination: The Dance of Co-creation
For ten years, Dana Reynolds has
been facilitating women’s spiritual presentations and
retreats nationwide. Her work as a Spiritual Midwife,
one who assists women as they birth their creative gifts
into the world, is the foundation of all her endeavors.
Her background as a visual artist and writer enriches
her Spiritual Midwifery: Birthing the Feminine Soul
As the creator of an art making
process known as visual prayer, Dana teaches
women how to combine ritual with sacred intention to
create altars, collages, spirit dolls, and other
touchstones. The creation of sacred spaces is also
paramount to the Spiritual Midwifery experience. Her
offers samplings of her visual prayer collages, poetry,
and a workshop catalogue.
Dana is the author of the
whimsical and colorfully illustrated book, Be An
Angel, a co-creation with illustrator and graphic
designer, Karen Blessen, (Simon & Schuster). Her
essay, Visual Prayers is included in the
anthology, Our Turn, Our Time: Women Coming of Age, edited
by Cynthia Black, (Beyond Words Publishing).
A trained labyrinth
facilitator, Dana incorporates the labyrinth and other
spiritual wisdom into her retreats and workshops. She
recently traveled to Chartres and Vezelay Cathedrals in
France to gather information pertaining to ancient
sacred mystical traditions. She currently lectures on
such topics as spiritual midwifery, sacred journal
keeping, feminine spiritual wisdom, and the early
Christian women saints and mystics.
Dana’s life follows the
spiral path from rim to center and back again. She looks
for the sacred in forgotten places and openly embraces
the great Mystery of life. Guiding women to the
discovery of their creative inner gifts is the passion
that fuels her soul.