Appreciate Yourself

3 08 2013

Then take a moment to let someone else know you care:

 

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Inspiration for Art, Writing, and Life

11 01 2013





Fear of Success

1 08 2011

sailboatInspiration struck today about my business. I realized I’ve been an anchor, keeping things stuck, preventing them from growing because of fear.

Rather than being an anchor, a drag, holding back the ship, I want to be the sail, harnessing the wind energy and directing the craft. We’ll not only go farther faster, but it’ll take a lot less energy.





Think Spring and Goalsetting

7 03 2011

daffodilsThe crocuses (or are they croci?) have popped their colorful heads above ground, the Bradford pears are budding, and the rhododendron are adding a splash of yellow to the side yard. Next will be daffodils. Then I’ll know for sure spring is here.

And with that, I’m looking back over my New Year’s resolutions. Two months have flown by already. I’m still on track for all of my goals, but I’m not progressing as quickly as I’d envisioned. I discovered something along the way, though. I started putting realistic time estimates beside the items on my to-do list each day.

The first time I tried it, the items on my list for that day added up to 46 hours. No wonder I never got through the list. I was exhausted, discouraged, and mentally berating myself for falling short of my goals. So I’ve eased up on myself a bit. Now I only try to squeeze 32 hours of work into a day. Obviously, this is an ongoing project…





Why Do Artists Live Longer than Politicians?

30 11 2010

Recently, I’ve been working on an assignment that requires a series of bios of famous and semi-famous people from around the world throughout history, and I discovered something interesting. Almost invariably, the artists, composers, moviemakers, and writers lived well into their 90s; an amazing number even made it past 100. Many politicians, kings, and government leaders died young.  Of course, coups and assassinations cut some of their lives short, but even those who died of natural causes lived a much shorter time than those who were involved in the arts. Even during eras when living to 40 was considered normal, artists generally outlived their contemporaries by 20-30 years. When artists died young, it was often because they took their own lives, so it’s hard to know how long they would have lived, if they’d given themselves a chance.

So what it is about the arts that leads to longeviety? I’ve pondered this and wonder if it’s because artists approach life differently. Politicians often have driving needs to compete, to be first, to get to the top of the heap. Once there, they have additional stresses heaped on them. Artists spend their time creating more often than competing. That’s not to say there isn’t competition in the arts, but given a choice between winning or creating, most artists choose the latter.

I suspect, too, that artists’ angst and stress often get expressed through creative work, so although many artists struggle to make a living, they transform their problems into something outside themselves. When they lose themselves in their work, many of those stresses disappear, even if only temporarily.

Creativity may also give artists an edge in solving problems; they’re usually willing to think outside the box. And the act of creation is life-giving and energetic, so perhaps artists benefit internally as they share their gifts.  Art renews the mind and the spirit. So every day artists may be renewing themselves as they work.

But I think the real secret is the childlike wonder and unique approach to life that many artists have. Most keep their youthful and innocent eye as they age, so their internal age is much younger and more vibrant than their external age. Have you ever noticed that many artists have an aliveness and a sparkle to their eyes, their features? They think and speak excitedly about their next projects. Perhaps they’re less likely to give up on life because they have another project they’re just dying  to do. (or maybe not…perhaps it’s a project they’re just living to do.)





Shipwrecked Again?

20 10 2010

Well, I promised some pirate lore a while back and got sidetracked. Hmm…am I noticing a theme about me and getting sidetracked. Luckily, some of the most interesting things I’ve learned have happened when I’m sidetracked. So meander down those back alleys and take detours. You never know what exciting new things you might discover.

It wasn’t unusual for young teenage boys to go to sea as deckhands, but one of the youngest pirates known was John King, no more than age 11. John was traveling with his mother aboard a ship in the Caribbean. When pirates boarded, rather than being afraid, young John decided to join Captain Sam Bellamy’s pirate crew.

Several years ago the ship John traveled on, the Whydah, was discovered–a shipwreck under the sea. The wreckage contained a silk stocking, a shoe and a leg bone, all thought to belong to John. The pictures can be seen at that link. John’s life may have been short, but I hope he enjoyed his adventure while it lasted.

Many people dream of adventure, but few follow through. What dreams do you have that you’ve been putting off? Is it better to live a long, safe life, never doing what your heart calls you to do or to take a risk and seize your chance, knowing you might just drown. Then again, maybe you won’t.





Are You a Fence-sitter?

7 05 2010

Photo by Simon Howden

I learned recently that I’m a 9. If you’re not familiar with Enneagrams, this won’t mean anything to you, but what it means to me is that I now have an excuse for why I can see all sides in an argument and agree with all of them. This trait used to frustrate my family, who always wanted to know what I really believed about an issue.

Whether it’s pro-choice/pro-life advocates, Republicans/Democrats/Independents, religious fanatics/atheists, or debaters on any other volatile topics, I nod my agreement to their arguments. And it’s not just lip-service (or, should I say, head-service?). I do support their views. And I totally get where they’re coming from.

So does that make me a fence-sitter? Not really. I have strong opinions of my own, but I also value the ability to get inside everyone else’s skin and see issues from a different POV (point of view, for any non-writers) or even from multiple POVs. I guess that’s one of the perks of being a writer. I can look at life from many angles.

Which leads to a question: Do I do this because I was born a 9 or did being a writer turn me into a 9?