“We all have within ourselves a chispa or ember, a spark of divine creativity. and because of this spark, whether we have never even produced a work, we are still in our essence artists. Clarissa Pinkola Estes suggests that even when that ember is not actively tended, it still remains glowing within us, just waiting for the breath to ignite it and bring it to a leaping, dancing blaze.”
~Christine Valters Paintner~



Did you breathe your spark into a flame today?
Did you treat the world to the warmth from your spark?
What did you create?
What did you want to create but didn’t?
Why didn’t you?
How did it feel to create . . . or not to create?
Tell me about it.
Tell me everything.

More about 365 Altars


  1. Mrsmediocrity

    I wrote one of my favorite poems ever today. So there’s that.
    I keep wanting to join in on your 365 altars, and one day soon when i have something that feels appropriate, I will.

    • whollyjeanne

      sugar, i was thinking about you this afternoon (i do that, you know – know things before they happen, like knowing you would say this before you sent this email – just ask julie daley), thinking how every single thing you create is an altar.
      and now i’m off to read your poem. if it’s one of your favorites ever, it must really be something. i leave it to you to tag in when you’re ready. xoxo

  2. ☆little light☆

    Today I shouted obscenities at a squirrel. I wanted to throw a few things..too.. Does that count as breathing fire?
    I also realized I have unresolved anger. I think I need more alone time…. maybe even some meditation…

    one one needs me…

    • whollyjeanne

      personally, i didn’t know there was any other way to talk to a squirrel, but something tells me you might’ve invented some new obscenities, so yes, this counts, my delightfully funny friend. unresolved anger, eh? need more time alone, eh? add that to the list of things we have in common. i’ve said it before, and i’m saying it again: so glad our paths have crossed. xoxo, she of many names.

  3. d smith kaich jones

    i stood with a camera under dripping trees.  the first part is done, the image ready & waiting for words.  later tonight or in the morning.  (and ps – this is wonderful.)

  4. jo miler

    I love this.  I love you.  I love my spark, that I am learning to tend.  xo  jo

    • whollyjeanne

      oh my jo. how i do love you, and how i do love your park. glad you’re learning to tend it cause honestly, i sometimes worry about you a wee bit. the time and energy and love you breath into our sparks, and yet i don’t know how i can help tend to yours. i sense that your spark is, in part, kept aflame tending to the sparks of others, so just promise you’ll devote time and love and energy tending to your own precious spark, and that you’ll send smoke signals to let us know how best to join you in tending your precious spark. you are so special, jo. so very, very special. xoxo

  5. Julie Daley

    I discovered the wish tree and fell in love with life, again…

    • whollyjeanne

      my heart is smiling and blowing kisses your way.

  6. Roxanne

    I love this. I took a photo walk today. An hour in the brisk, cold air with my camera reminding me to slow down. The biggest treat of them all.

    • whollyjeanne

      yes! that’s what it’s all about, sugar. treating our lives as altars, even in just an extra beat of attention spent on our wild and precious selves. gold star for you, sug. and hey, will we see some photos? (i hope, i hope!)

      • Roxanne

        Such a force of encouragement and support you are… The best kind of creative instigator. Thank you, thank you. I am posting a teaser at and the rest of the photos will come!

        • whollyjeanne

          i took a peek yesterday (an unbelievably busy, chaotic day, leaving me no time to respond), and they are gorgeous, leaving me eager to see more. you go, sugar. is that a link i can share? xoxo

          • Roxanne

            You are such a source of inspiration and kindness. Thank you. And yes, feel free to share as widely as you like.

  7. Jamie Wallace

    I wrote my morning pages … which weren’t terribly creative, but at least they “were.” I took a walk and a few snapshots (for some later fun with instagram), I listened to Jamie Ridler’s interview with Julia Cameron (and longed for time to devour The Artist’s Way, one slow and deliciously savored bite at a time), and then I sacrificed the time I’d set aside to work (creatively) on a new business project all my own so that I could, instead, cater to my clients (and pay my bills). I was feeling kind of bitter and snuffly about that, but now – having responded to your question and realized that I have done some creative stuff today – I feel a little better. 
    SO, thanks. 

    • whollyjeanne

      funny how that happens, isn’t it, sugar? as for morning pages not being terribly creative, i have 2 thoughts about that: a) i’ll bet if you go back and read them a year or two years from today, you’ll surprise yourself and b) morning pages are a container to hold all the stuff that can throw itself down between us and our sacred, creative, most sumptuous selves. so good for you! see, you put something on the altar yesterday, even though you didn’t realize it till later.
      two jamies, two treasures.

  8. Meredith

    My sparks seem to keep flying into the kitchen embers, burning brilliant flames of inspiration and creativity. Several dishes won’t be created today simply because there isn’t enough time to prepare them all, space to store them, and time to eat them all before spoilage sets in. However, dinner is going to be an experiment that may or may not have already been tried before by other kitchen experimenters. Tomorrow, however, I’m getting into that kitchen after work and grocery shopping, and I’m whipping up home-cooked love to provide warmth — literally and figuratively — to my family. A chocolate cake mix frosted with coconut pecan frosting and chocolate frosting for dessert, and a myriad of ideas dance in my head for dinner. Lemon rosemary chicken? Pot roast? Endless possibilities!

    • whollyjeanne

      oh good lord, sugar, i’ve gained 10 pounds just reading this! you and my mother. creativity everywhere . . . including in the kitchen (where it just eludes me). and hey, i want to hear more about your tweet – the one about creative writing posts you’re gonna’ treat us to. xo

      • Meredith

        Here’s an example: It’s called “Nine Lives.”

        P.S. I decided on the lemon rosemary chicken. It’s one of the first recipes I cooked on my own, and I’ve altered the original recipe into my own signature dish. It’s one of my favorites, and it was the perfect way to honor myself and my family today. The love that goes into it, the satisfaction of hand-squeezing the lemons — magical. =)

        • whollyjeanne

          sounds a fine choice to me. and to your family, no doubt. xoxo

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