Course: Gifts of the Spirit: The Spiritual Practice of Creative Writing (2021)
Faculty Mentor: Sandra Hutchison
Editors’ Note: This was Liz Ellis’s first course with the Wilmette Institute. What follows are comments from her Learning Self-Assessment. We wish her all the best as she continues to practice and hone her multiple talents.
I accomplished my goal of beginning an effort in writing using my lived experience to explore the realities of spirituality and life on this earthly plane. These are some of the understandings and insights I have gained:
First, I find that artistic expression can still be distorted by judgements founded in the thinking of White Supremacy. I know this is an awful thing to say, yet our actual practice of the new knowledge from the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh is not yet free from the materialism and standards created by European illusions.
For me, breaking free from seeing artistic expression of mystical realities through flowery words, imagined analogies, and individual pursuit of spiritual fantasies that discount daily life, has led me to an effort to write of lived experience in a spiritual and material world—a world that is the expression of one soul in many bodies as we make this long journey back to God.
My capacity to consider the complexities of my experiences through the lens of the Bahá’í Writings has increased, particularly the reality of Oneness. I am developing skills in writing clearly, and I have learned how to edit out replication, and that communicating and maintaining a central theme is essential.
Going forward, feedback from other students—their impressions, reactions and questions—encourage me to seek collective spaces. As I begin to write more consistently my vision has become clearer. Seeing oneness from the point of view of one soul and with the hope to share useful principles, concepts and qualities with others is becoming a concrete part of my craft. I am also now committed to making my writing useful in promoting the oneness of humanity.
I plan to continue writing using an outline of periods in my life. I will add the Bahá’í Writings, and drawings, as the writing progresses. I have yet to decide how to write about the second part of my journey. The first part is seeking and recognizing the Manifestation for today; the second is my obedience to His Teachings.