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Jill Allison Bryan : How One Bullet Sparked Creative Chaos

How One Bullet Sparked Creative Chaos

and an Amazing Creative & Spiritual Journey

By Jill Allison Bryan

Story and illustrations by Karen Blessen.

Story and illustrations by Karen Blessen.
Originally published in The Dallas Morning News
on Sunday, August 17, 2003

Recently the Creative Oasis Day Trippers™ (a group I host once a month to share creative experiences in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area) visited the art studio of Karen Blessen. An artist, writer, humanitarian, promoter of peace, spiritual seeker and gracious hostess, Blessen welcomed us into her Deep Ellum space to share the story behind and the future hopes and dreams for her "29 Pieces" project.

The story that she shared was one of the most beautiful examples of "creative chaos" of which I've ever heard. The idea of creative chaos as we share it in Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™ supports the notion that creativity is a non-linear process. While linear thinking goes from A to B to C to D, non-linear thinking, or creative thinking, goes from Q to Venus to Peacock by way of glitter and winds up on your front doorstep at midnight with a bottle of champagne.

Karen Blessen & Jill Allison Bryan

Karen Blessen & Jill Allison Bryan

In Blessen's case, she was on a fabulously successful creative path making a living as a graphic artist and illustrator, having won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. She created the illustrations for the campaign that helped revitalize Times Square in NYC. She felt blessed to have a career using her creative talents for writing and art. Then it happened. One bullet sparked a series of events that would change her life forever.

After a young man was shot and killed in Blessen's front yard she searched for a way to process the unthinkable that had happened. Over the span of three years she interviewed as many people as she could that were affected by the random shooting. The end result is the story "One Bullet" which ran in The Dallas Morning News on Sunday, August 17, 2003.

Even after the somewhat cathartic experience of conducting the interviews and writing, Blessen was still filled with anger, sadness and questions that couldn't be answered. A friend suggested she try Passage Meditation. "I felt like a duck who'd be searching my whole life and finally found the pond," says Blessen of her immediate connection to this type of meditation.

Memorizing and meditating on sacred texts led to the next steps of exploring them on a deeper level in her journals. The wellspring of words and images that this effort produced became the nucleus for her 29 Pieces project.

29 Pieces

I encourage you to visit the 29 Pieces website to learn more about Blessen's incredible vision for this project which includes a permanent public space to house 29 enormous sculptures interwoven with spaces for reflection, fellowship and creative and spiritual practices. I as said, creative chaos at its most beautiful.

Until next time, how will you allow yourself to open to the infinite possibility of creative chaos in your life? •

© 2011 Jill Allison Bryan. All rights reserved.

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6/3/11