Sybil MacBeth is a dancer, a doodler, and a former community college mathematics professor. When she moved to Memphis in 2004, author Phyllis Tickle nudged Sybil to write about her prayer frustrations and the visual and active prayer practice she developed as the result of them. She now combines her experience in the mathematics classroom with her lifelong love of prayer to offer workshops that engage differing learning styles. As the author of Praying in Color Drawing a New Path to God, she has lead over 100 workshops and retreats.
“I use this prayer involving art as a form of meditation to get still. I write the word ‘God’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ on a piece of paper. I start drawing and it invites my body into the prayer. I like to move and I’ve discovered that I get still by moving … even if it’s just moving my hand along the paper. It helps me get still on the inside because the body is no longer a distraction.” ~Sybil MacBeth
Sybil is also the author of Praying in Color Kids’ Edition. Her latest book is a Praying in Black and White: A Hands-On Practice for Men, a collaborative effort with her Episcopal priest husband, Andy MacBeth. Praying in Color has been translated into Korean, Spanish, and Italian.
She encourages others to embrace their creativity by saying, “Sometimes your boundaries are your freedom. Use the boundary as a starting off point. Choose to only draw circles. Or restrict your doodle to circles and lines and see what happens. That way you don’t have this whole big paper staring at you — those restrictions can allow you to be free.”
Sybil uses the arts as a pathway for building community and deepening her relationship with God. She is a life-long dancer. Sybil studied ballet and modern dance and performed with various regional dance groups. She currently dances with an improv dance group.
She commented, “Sometimes you become an expert by being a chronic novice — always willing to learn and willing to continue to grow.”
Sybil’s experience includes:
- Artist-in-Residence Memphis Theological Seminary 2010-2011.
- Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach from 1991 to 2004.
- Graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a B.S. in Mathematics and College of William and Mary with an. M.S. in Mathematics.
Find out more about Sybil, her books and workshops at www.prayingincolor.com.
Listen each Wednesday at 9am Eastern on Empower Radio to hear another artist’s story. Share your art and your comments on the Art as Worship Facebook page. Namaste!