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Monday, March 28, 2016

Leonardo da Vinci — Miracle of Creativity

The ability to create is a miracle that has been given to the human race.  We have the ability to create something that did not exist previously.  From our early days in the caves to the high tech world of digital art, humans have had a need to share their stories and express their emotions.  Whether we sit around the campfire and mesmerize others with our stories or we sit in front of a computer and compose a novel, we are experiencing the miracle of creativity.

Some of us have tossed this miracle away by denying our ability to create.  Some of us have allowed others to destroy this miracle through their words and actions.  And some of us allowed our need for perfection to keep us from expressing ourselves.  The miracle of creativity is a gift that is sacred and we need to honor, respect and give thanks for what we have been given.

If you have lost the miracle of creation, you need to rediscover it.  You need to go deep within yourself and restore the miracle that is your birthright.  If the miracle of creativity has died a slow death within your soul, you need to resurrect it and celebrate the gift of life.

The miracle of creativity is the gift that gives the human race life.  Without creativity, there would be no progress — no growth.  Without creativity, we would not be human. Give thanks this week for the precious gift you have been given.  Celebrate the healing power of creativity.  Draw a picture.  Write a poem.  Tell a story.  Sing a song.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Natalie Goldberg — Listen Deeply

Most of us probably never associate the creative process with listening. We experience writing, painting and singing as active processes. We perceive listening to be a passive process. Actually, listening is very active and engaging. 

As writers and painters we need to be listening to the world around us and to the people within that world. By listening we learn to see the world for what it is. The better we understand our world the stronger artist we become. Those, who are so absorbed in themselves that that they do not listen, ultimately, will lose touch with the world and they will become weak.

Learn to listen with your heart, your body, your soul, your mind and your spirit. Taste the different flavors of the world around you. Explore the dark crevices and the deep roots. Climb the highest trees and tread on the sandiest beaches. Taste the heights of the human spirit and the deepest valleys of the human heart. Listen with every pore in your flesh. Listen with every cell in your body.

Here is Natalie Goldberg discussing the 30-year republication of her famous book, Writing Down the Bones

Monday, March 14, 2016

Milton Berle — Build a Door

Many times we have to make our own opportunities. People often complain that they were not given a chance. They fall into "If Only"thinking: "If only I could have gone to school." "If only my boss would have promoted me." "If only my parents loved me." "If only I had a job." "If only someone would publish my book." If only. . . . If only. . . . If only. . . . 

If you are going to achieve your dreams and accomplish your goals, you must move beyond "If Only" thinking to "Opportunity" thinking. You must build your own doors and knock on them.

What doors can you build today that you can knock on tomorrow? Building the door to opportunity does not just happen by accident. It takes hard work, belief in oneself and persistence.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Joan Miro — Planting Seeds of the Spirit

Growing up in a conservative Mennonite family, I was not exposed to art as a child. My maternal grandfather even forbid photographs and television.  My parents did not buy a TV until after he died. 

The Garden 2
Joan Miro
My first exposure to art came my freshman year in college where in one of my classes we had to choose an artist to study. I chose Joan Miro, a Spanish artist, and his paintings planted in my soul a love of art. I had an opportunity to study art history about 30 years later and fell in love with several painters including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Eastman Johnson, Edvard Munch and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. When you fall in love with a painting, you come back to it again and again for it to refresh your soul. 

A great novel stays with you long after you have read it. My all time favorite novel is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  I first read it college and have read it 3 times since.  

How many times do you listen to the same piece of music over and over. And each time you hear it years later, it brings back waves of emotion. Roberta Flack, Harry Chapin and Kris Kristofferson remain some of my favorite singers more than 40 years after I first heard them.  

Artists, musicians and writers all plant seeds with their works of art. What seeds are you planting with your writing, your painting or your music? How is your art impacting your audience? What seeds have you planted in their souls?