Choose Your Dare

On Tuesday we answered the sprout question about taking your creativity for a swimming lesson. In our conversation we discovered that some of us had specific waters you wanted to swim, others would go to the deep end of the pool and still others would wade knowing that swimming was not for them. Each response is perfect for the individual answering the sprout question. What we must each do is choose our personal dare, and then perfect our creative skills and strengths with integrity, commitment, joy and humour.

For example, I am absolutely fascinated by outcrops of big rocks. I observe their majestic beauty from a distance and up close – even possibly boring you with so many photos of cliff faces and sandstone.


View and purchase full resolution of image here.

And I clamour over their surface as long as I can do it without rock climbing.


The thought of me rock climbing makes me laugh out loud and giggle for a long time. This is just not going to happen. I know it is safe when done properly. I can imagine why others may take on the hours and hours of skill and strength building activities to perfect this skill but… I can’t even watch the young woman in this photo climb.

Josie climbing in Squamish May 15 2010 photo by Sebastian Powell

This close up is almost too unnerving for me to look at.

Shall we get a real close look?

With creativity, as with other things in life, we must know where our strengths and desires meet. Yet we also want to stretch and push the edges just to check to see which challenge is right for us right now. So for now, I will photograph and paint the large boulders and rock faces and Josie, my daughter, will climb them… when I am not looking.

Sprout Question: What personal creative dare are you choosing?

Note: A special thank you to Sebastian Powell, the ACMG (Association of Canadian Mountain Guides) guide of The Boulders Climbing Gym, for this photo of Josie climbing.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

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Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

30 thoughts on “Choose Your Dare

  1. Oh, Terrill! I woudn’t take on the dare of rockclimbing right now either. I did take that dare when I was 19. I needed an elective class during my freshman year of college and I chose rockclimbing! I just couldn’t believe a college would offer that as a PE class. I loved it. I learned “On belay!” and “Off belay!”, and all about ropes and caribiners. Then a girl in my class fell and I never did that activity again. So there are comfort zones and there are danger zones.
    “What personal creative dare are you choosing?” In my creative world, though, I’m quite daring. I’ve taken on the challenge of creating masks from scratch. See my recent blog post to find out more.

    • Jessica your post “Our Various Mask” is a great addition to today’s conversation. Thank you so much for mentioning it.

      As for falling when climbing – it does happen and is a know risk. A person wants to know that who every is on the other end of the rope as your back up knows what they are doing and is paying attention. However, safety is always a calculated risk and it is all part of the choosing.

      In addition readers, one of my new tweet friends Laura Lawson has an outstanding post about her “New Normal” that speaks well to today’s sprout question and human potential (warning the post is not an emotionally easy read even though it is extremely well written and inspiring).

    • Jens, as I said in a comment on your post… I don’t even know what to say. I am still wondering through the streets with you and walking along the great wall with my mouth open. What a fantastic photo essay! Thank you for answering today’s Creative Potager sprout question and leaving us this link. Amazing!

      I look forward to whatever personal dare you set for yourself and I hope you come back and leave a comment and link to share it with us.

  2. Yowza! I’m with you, Terrill. But your daughter Josie sure looks like she’s in heaven, doing what she absolutely loves.

    Sprout Question: What personal creative dare are you choosing?

    As we speak, Len is in Tulsa to visit with his father who is extremely ill. I took him to O’Hare to catch a red-eye flight last evening. In addition to being married, we’re also business partners. As such, I’m “creatively” trying to fill his shoes during his absence. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for not only WHAT he does, but HOW MUCH he does.

    So I’m “daring” to be Laurie AND Len for the next several days — high touch and high tech.

    • Laurie I know a little of what you speak of in needing to do the work of both you and your partner for awhile. You will appreciate Len even more upon his return and I know you always recognize and sing his praises so I am not sure where this new acknowledgment will take you. I’m sure it will be deeply honouring and heart felt because that is who you are. Good luck Laurie with the next few days and my best to Len as he spends this time with his father.

  3. Terrill – When I relooked at the closeup photo of Josie, her right ankle is next to your blog stats and I couldn’t help noticing that you’ve had OVER TEN THOUSAND HITS … that’s fantastic, CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Thank you Laurie, yes even with only posting twice a week (which has had some impact on readership – as should be expected) this little blog still grows and stretches every day and even into the night:)

      There are now 94 posts, 32 subscribed blog readers, 1,379 comments (half of which are mine) and 10,345 views. The Busiest day was 217 on Thursday, March 4, 2010 after Kathy had posted her “How to write a wordpress blog & get a zillion hits” where she had mentioned me and Creative Potager as part of her inspiration.

      I love the Creative Potager community that has been built around each post and sprout question. I am honoured to host these conversations about creativity and the sharing of our creative work and inspiration. You are such a consistent part of this fabric Laurie not only here but on your own blog “Speaking from the Heart” which is doing extremely well with 6,564 hit in just a few short months. I fully expect that in another few months your readership will surpass the hit count of Creative Potager – which will be a huge advantage when your new book comes out.

      But it isn’t really a numbers game – though it is fun to see the count and know people are connecting. For me it is about the quality of community discussion on a particular topic, idea or thread of conversation. And those my friend are the rich gifts that so many who read and respond to our blogs give to us creating a bounty of simple abundance… which reminds me isn’t this the topic of your blog post today? Why yes it is … “Abundance and Prosperity – the difference

  4. Yep, a ladder is bad enough for me, although I am not as hesitant now, as I was when I was younger. Walking on the roof, is another story.

    That’s something about your daughter, and kudos to her for climbing, despite the risks.

    As for creativity, am continuing to work on smaller handmade books, before I even show just one page of the altered art I am working on.

    Hope all is well with you and yours!


    • Coffee Messiah it has been awhile… so good to see you hear and we are all doing great! I can imagine how delightful your smaller handmade books are because of the package you sent to me awhile ago and all the great post on your Coffee Messiah blog.

      As for my daughter she does do wild and wonderful things like rock climbing and white water swimming but always within a safety net of well-trained experts and she takes training herself for specific activities as well as wilderness first aide. It is still dangerous even with these precautions but this is a calculated risk she is willing to take in order to live her life at her fullest potential. So, though I can’t watch, I absolutely respect and support her choices.

  5. Thank you Terrill, I will convey your well-wishes to Len this evening when we touch base. I can well imagine you walking a mile in these shoes when your partner, David, was so very ill. I’m so grateful for the place you’re both at now.

    • Yes Laurie, today is a much different day than those of last fall. As I am typing this, David is down on our shelf leveling the ground in the spot we want to put a large food greenhouse. He has to go all the way down the 81 uneven steps of “the stairway to heaven” and then climb all the way back up again after he is finished for the day. As you know so well with your work, change is constant and each day brings new gifts along with occasional heart-aches.

  6. Terrill – Your stats are amazing to me — Jeez Louise!

    Creative Potager and Lake Superior Spirit ( were my inspiration for starting a WordPress blog. And you both remain guiding lights for how to nod, and/or point to people/places/things of import — thank you both. And thank you for pointing to Speaking from the Heart.

    You are absolutely right in that it’s not about numbers. It’s about inclusion as opposed to exclusion. You are both stellar when it comes to warm welcomes and embraces to visitors. I take my lead from you both.

    Deep bows of appreciation. Namaste’

  7. You sound like a great mom, Terrill. You know your daughter is taking plenty of safety training and respect her choices though you don’t like watching her climb. As Laurie said, I also take my lead from you and my friends here at Creative Potager, whether it is through learning how to connect with an audience or with the world around me.
    Thanks for posting a link to my mask post. My creative dare involves the physical task of having 4-6 papier mache masks at various stages of development at once and trying to finish them by Saturday while also maintaining my house, business and family. Then there is the emotional dare hiding behind the masks. The mask itself stares at me as I paint it and dares me to go within to find a voice that needs to speak.

    • Hum, Jose I don’t seem to remember any enthusiastic uptake to go for a climb with you today but since you asked you never know. Good of you to drop in at what is such a busy time of year for you. See you Sunday:) love mom

      Dear readers, have I told you that this grown up baby girl of mine is getting married July 17th? Her and her husband-to-be have been planning the most fantastic affair to gather both their large families and many friends together for the event. Being a good mom I have only offered sage encouragement from time to time. This weekend is her staggette and bridal shower with many of the girls she went to school with – I will attend the shower part on Sunday. I am really looking forward to it because many of these girls have been friends since elementary school so I have watch them grow into competent and accomplished women.

    • Oh dear! Josie, my daughter Larisa has taken up rock climbing, too, but I’ve never been brave enough to go watch her. She also goes sky diving and invited me to go tandem as a Mother’s Day gift – the first gift I think I’ve ever refused. Was she kidding? I politely asked her to please think of something a bit less terrifying! A little card would have been nice… Now it’s to be a balloon ride, when she can find one. I think I will agree to go unless I hear about balloon ride mishaps between now and then…

      Congratulations on your wedding!

  8. Josie – I applaud your enthusiasm and love for your sport/joy/art. And no … I won’t come climbing with you. My son, Eoghan, (age 26) climbs too. He started climbing on cement silos (we live in farm country, in Illinois). It scared the living daylights out of me. Now he climbs at a facility known as “The NorthWall.” I can breathe a wee bit easier …

    I’m so glad your mother shared your climbing photos with us. They are fantastic!

  9. Josie: It’s a date! I’ll go climbing with you at an REI or playground climbing wall. Perhaps I can get 5 feet up while I watch you ring the bell at the top.

    Oh, maybe someday I’ll find that photo of me at 6 years old ringing the bell at the top of a climbing pole. I’ll post it when I find it.

  10. Terrill,

    I think you photographs and paintings as well as writing about boulders, outcrops of rock is awesome. These object are amazing in themselves yet who knows where they come from, and how long they been part of the planet, their energy is usually wondrously healing and awe inspiring.

    As for rock climbing I will leave that to the younger folk, I have a fear of heights anyway, (Vertigo). So I will enjoy the boulders and rocks from the ground…
    A powerful, frightening, spiritual book about rock climbing (fiction) The Wall, by Jeff Long, is awesome!

    Sprout Question: What personal creative dare are you choosing?
    I few weeks ago I made a statement on my blog that I was going to continue my Morning Pages as part of my blog. It was a personal dare, and commitment I made to myself, as well as the folks reading my blog.

    • Oh my Jeff that is brave to make your morning pages part of your blog. Thank you for the book link as well. I will be sure to pass it on to Josie if she doesn’t drop in here and find your reference herself. I so agree with your amazement about boulders and outcrops or rock… maybe that is part of the reason people climb them… just to be close to them and explore their mystery for a short while. Good to see you:)

  11. I think you already dared me the other day, Terrill! Don’t think I’ve forgotten… will start my little visual art project soon. Will have at least seven pages done by the end of June. (They will be able to be used as cards later, as well.)
    As you said: So this is it Kathy. Sink, swim or eagle dinner, you are in the water – we are right here with you, just like the mom and dad geese, keeping an eye out so that you have the best chance at success. Keep us posted:)

  12. I came a little late to the party.
    If you would like to experience a little of what it is like to be a rock climber I have a climb for you. It is located in Whistler and is called “People of Size”. A couple of years ago, when I my husband and I lived on the mainland, we were rock climbers. Well, I should say he was a rock climber and I was mostly a belayer. It gave me a cool sense of power to know that I was responsible for keeping him safe. And never was a rope watched so closely…let me assure you.
    Personal creative dare?
    This is mine: write, write often, complete what I am writing, send it away, grow from rejections, send the improved piece away again, never lose faith, strive to be published.

    • Keep going Leanne! We are here cheering you on with a first aid kit for scrapped knees and bruised self-esteem…. and you are never a little or even a lot late for a Creative Potager party – comments are welcome 24-7 365 days a year:)

  13. Oh I could never embark on such a mission, and it has more to do with just middle-age physical girth, and a less physical lifestyle (years ago I was quite athletically involved, especially with basketball and baseball) but a fear of heights that has become more pronounced as I get older. In fact, a recent trip last year to the Empire State Building with the family and my site colleague Allan Fish (who lives in the U.K. and was visiting us for the second year in a row) resulting in my chickening out, opting instead to stay down in the car parked in front of a coffee shop on 34th Street, while my British guest had a gas with my wife and kids at the 86th floor observation deck.

    My sprout answer would be of course to get over this fear and take on a similar task head-on, though the price I will pay is “nightmares.” It’s a double-edged sword, this particular sprout question! Ha!

    • Sam, being a person who has regular had nightmares, I don’t believe any activity is worth paying for it with nightmares. Sometimes overcoming a fear takes more than bulling our way through it and “making” ourselves do the dreaded activity. Sam may I be so bold as to suggest that getting over this fear and meeting it head on might be to work with someone skilled in this area so that you can stand on the roof top of the tallest building with comfort AND WITHOUT nightmares? Just a thought. Thank you for dropping in and sharing your personal challenge with heights… I think it is a common and possibly even a sensible fear.

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