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mmm"(Mulvihill's Monday musings)
talented Canadian born Dr. Deanna L. Mulvihill seemed an unlikely person
to be writing poetry and inspirational reflections to those working around
her. It came as some surprise to them that she had collected and published
her artistic and poetic reflections over the past twenty years in
musings). On the job, she’s business oriented and her sensitivity is
expressed in her care and concern for the Saudi nurses who she has
dedicated her life to training and developing over the past eight years.
mmm is her first creative publication of both written and artistic
expression. In Ottawa, she
had been recognized for her abstract and non-objective large murals which
she created with the encouragement of Leigh Parrish and later the renowned
Canadian artist James Boyd.
mmm is a journey of
self-discovery that began in the late seventies when her son gave her a
decorative journal as a Mother's Day gift.
Mulvihill had been writing journal entries on loose-leaf paper up
to this point. The beautiful
new journal served as catalyst to encourage her to take her work
seriously, as it was no longer just notations on scrap paper.
Once she accepted that her work was worthy of recording in such an
elegant journal, she gave herself permission to really write with the
intensity and self-assurance that was required.
The act of allowing yourself and valuing yourself enough to create
is a major accomplishment for so many of us.
Mulvihill took on the challenge and dared to express her personal
thoughts and feelings in writing for the first time in her life.
The results are quite remarkable.
Raised in a family where
both her mom and dad were dedicated to serving the community, Mulvihill
learned from childhood that serving and developing communities was of
great importance. Artistic
expression was not encouraged in her family and was to some degree
discouraged as somewhat inappropriate use of valuable time.
Mulvihill stifled her creative spirit for years and didn’t allow
herself to paint until after she was married and bore three children of
her own. As a wife and a
mother she gained confidence in herself and allowed herself to paint and
be creative for the first time in her life.
She had so many feelings and ideas inside herself that drove her to
paint. Once she picked up her
paintbrush and let go she effortlessly produced her original works.
It was all inside her for so long, it must have just gushed out
once she trusted and believed in and loved herself enough to give herself
Demanding perfection from yourself is often a
hindrance in getting started - it certainly was to Mulvihill.
In her opening poem “Less Than” she reminds us that being overly
self-critical is often a barrier to expressing creativity.
She says, “I have stared at this page for hours,…Afraid to begin,
Lest my efforts be less than,…Less than perfect.”
These phrases clearly convey the poet’s inner fears of producing
imperfect work, yet isn’t it true that only God is perfect?
Once she accepted the challenge and had faith in herself she
allowed herself to take her ideas and create.
She goes on to say that 'now I know the fear, ' Never again will
the fear, Be as great, or as strong.'
Mulvihill learned to live with the fear and once she did, the power
of fear in her life was diminished by putting “faith as its companion.'
So much of her creativity was locked inside herself that it took a
great leap of faith
to unlock the door of her own creativity. Teaming her fear up with
faith is how she tackled and overcame her own inhibitions. Perhaps you can
do the same?
In addition to the inspirational poems, her collection
also includes a mixed collection of personal reflections based on her
travels throughout Canada from Ottawa to British Columbia where she was
influenced by First Nation (Canadian Native Indian) spiritualism.
“Sun Bear” is a tribute to the renowned leader of one of the major
tribes in the Northwest. As a
European Canadian white person, she shares in the collective guilt being
historically responsible for “The white man’s ways” which have been
“harmful” to the earth, the Indians, and even the white men themselves
according to Sun Bear and his followers.
She acknowledges the “truth” in his words, yet is uncertain about
how to change. She asks,
“What shall I change? What can I change.”
She resolves her dilemma by deciding to give her ‘love’ to ‘Earth
Mother.” Love is her answer.
Later on in her life she journeyed to Saudi Arabia to develop the
nursing program in King Khalid University Hospital.
Many of her collections reflect her experience in the Kingdom. The
inspiration for “When Time Melts” was a picture of Salvador Dali’s famous
painting of the melting clock displayed in one of the offices at the
hospital. From the image of
the melting clock, Mulvihill ponders over the concept of being as she
states, “Yet here are you and I.”
Being “here” or anywhere in particular when you are an expatriate
is a very intriguing concept.
Many of us live in the past or live for the future when we will
hopefully return to our own countries which is not always a healthy
psychological or spiritual state to be in.
So here again is an opportunity, not missed by Mulvihill, to heal
the spirit of the expatriate soul searching for a sense of place.
As a healer by profession and a spiritual person based on her own faith in
God, she hopes to inspire you to start your own journal musings. Creating
the actual words and images in
mmm have been healing to
Mulvihill and she even experienced some healing in re-reading the
reflections some years later.
Illustrated with her own watercolour and acrylic images of the Arabian and
Canadian landscape, as well as, birds, flowers and other abstract
mmm is most definitely
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