Tag Archives: creativity

The Circle of Life

Standard

Circle of LifeThe phrase “circle of life” seems like a misnomer. I saw The Lion King on Broadway last weekend where to the phrase was transformed into melodic triumph and celebration. The hunter and the hunted stood side by side and recognized their place in the continuity of the savanna and the world.  Although sad in parts, it elevated the passing of life and miracle birth to showstopping grandeur. Yet, circle doesn’t aptly describe the transition.

Last night, I joined my friend and his family at his parent’s house. His dad is dying. Sent home with Hospice a few days ago, the 89 year old laid in a hospital bed in the living room surrounded by his family and friends. His life is truly a celebration of joy and love. That feeling, along with lots of singing and laughter, filled the room. His ultimate passing will no doubt be sad for all of us who knew him. However, he has left so much of himself behind. It’s hard to count the total of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that bear his name, embody his joy for life and will carry his memory in their hearts.

Just as Simba took his place as king of the savanna after the passing of his father, there is the next generation waiting to take their place as the matriarch and patriarch of the Sullivan clan. As Sully passes, there are new Sullivans waiting to be born, too. Still, “circle” doesn’t seem to hit the mark.

Life’s journey is more like a spiral – constantly spinning, imitating the last loop, but never really being the same. Each of us add our own contributions and our own memories to build upon the loop of the past generations. Even if we spin our life in a similar orbit as those that come before us, it is never really the same. What we do and think and say makes a difference to the upward spiral of life.

It’s a shame that it often takes death to remind us what life is all about. Hug your family. Help someone across the street. Write. Create. Share your talents with the world. Surround yourself with people that inspire you and in turn, you inspire others. Celebrate life.

Just Breathe

Standard

With thunder rumbling overhead and rain pouring down, I feel like I’ve received a little gift from Mother Nature.  Games have been cancelled and errands delayed. The rush of spring has been put on hold, if only for a little while.  I guess I’ll  take this moment to breathe.

I’ve noticed that whenever I have taken a moment or stolen a moment, if necessary, the mind-clogging crapola of the day gets flushed out like a mental dose of Milk of Magnesia.  Bathroom metaphors aside, I feel more free to think and create when I take advantage of those few precious moments in the day, or month, to slow down and breathe.

While I’m not into Zen meditation, perhaps I can learn from the practice of stillness.  Of course, 5 minutes is my limit.  I’m in the perpetual state of ants-in-my-pants and I doubt that I could manage if I tried any longer.  Maybe that’s all I need.  Just 5 minutes to block out all the noise, both actual and emotional, that halt the creative process.  Just 5 minutes for a little sanity and clarity.

If you are into apps, there is a free one from Breathing Zone.  It is pretty no frills and for good reason.  Your goal is to concentrate on your breathing for 5 minutes and gradually slow down the rate of your breath.  While not nearly as much fun as Angry Birds, you may be more equipped to handled your children if they start acting like some.

The rain stopped and the thunder rumbled on to the east. My momentary respite is over.  I’m left with a lingering calm and a sink full of dishes.

Now it’s your turn. Breathe.

I’m not dead yet! My world without regret.

Standard

I’m lying in bed beating back a cold I’ve had for days.  Being somewhat of an optimist, I think of the luxury that affords me.  Who is going to ask me to cook dinner or come to work and share all the joy I’m experiencing?  That’s right, no one.

Then it’s just me, alone with my mountain of tissues and gallon of orange juice.  What to do, what to do?

This week, I watched the movies Good Will Hunting and Field of Dreams, both real classics.  Since I never get to the movies, they could have come out last month for all I know.  Combine that with a memory as keen as my grandmother’s and even a movie I’ve seen before premiers each time I click the play button.

Both movies touch on the idea of following your dreams, your passion and not having any regrets.   No regrets.  It’s a worthy ideal.

Along those lines, I read a blog by Tribal Writer, Justine Musk about pushing yourself through to the other side of finding out who you are. Doing stuff you dream about can try a man’s (or woman’s) soul . If you dream about running a marathon but need a rest after walking from the parking lot to the front door of iHop, you may need Oprah and her cadre of trainers to get you there. But, you can get there.  Nobody said having no regrets was going to be easy.  Otherwise you would have done it already, right?

If I die tomorrow, I’ll only have one regret. Fortunately, I just have a cold.  I think I’ll have a few more days to work on that dream.  I’ll forge ahead and when I get there, I’ll let you know.  Until then, I’ll just enjoy the journey.

Speaking of not being dead yet, I’ll leave you with this….maybe it’s the next movie on my list.  At least I won’t regret not having laughed enough.

Where would we be without…

Standard

Last night,  I saw the funk singing, percussion pounding, soulful harmonizing group WAR.  What a show.  My feet were tapping.  My hands were clapping and I was totally at peace with the world.  What a thrill to share that experience with other like minded music lovers.

But, what if there was no music?  Or art?  Or literature?  Or theater?

I guess it sounds far-fetched, but it had me thinking.  With a super long recession for individuals, corporations, and governments, arts groups and publishing industries are teetering on the edge of financial solvency.  Art and music venues struggle to fill the seats. Donations from individuals and companies are down.  With pressure to bring financial sanity back to government, they are forced to choose between providing for our county’s basic needs and supporting the arts.

Arts education in school (with the exception of literature) is threatened by both lack of funding and the determination to make our students competitive in a global economy.  It’s not that I think academics are not important.  It’s more the point that without the arts, we are only part of what we could be.

Without the arts, I have this vision of Russia in January.  Cold, dark, gray.  Maybe that’s my Cold War upbringing.  I don’t want to live in a world with only shades of gray.  I’m more of a multicolored, polka-dotted, swirling flash of joy kind of person.

For those of us who create art, what would it be like if we no longer had a venue?  Would you still create it if you knew no one would see or hear it?

So, what’s a girl to do?  I’m not loaded and can’t save the arts by myself.  But, I can buy a book and download a song. I can see a musical and visit a museum.  And, I can write checks to my favorite arts organizations as I can as surely as I can pay my cable bill.

What have you seen, heard, or experienced that made has inspired you?  How do you support the arts?

Such a serious post from the woman who brought you Milk Out My Nose.  What can I say?  I’ve got lots of different shades of me.

More Than One Way to Tell a Story (Part II)

Standard

In More Than One Way to Tell a Story (Part I), my son was inspired to write a song and make a music video by watching other YouTubers do it.  This time, inspiration came from money.  The lure of the Sirens called to set him on another path to musical storytelling.  His charge was to create an original video with the letters SVH prominently displayed in the video.  He and a friend used it in the title, Sexy Vampire Hunter.

Creativity is King

Standard

Most of us have been stuck sometime on the next chapter, the next line, or we’re just left staring at a blank page.  What am I going to write?  And worse, is anyone going to like it once I write it?

Paralyzing fear can overtake the best of writers.  Even if it isn’t paralyzing, it is surely enough to make you hesitate before you hit that publish button. Julie Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way is one of the best books I’ve found that takes any artist through the dark side into the light.  OK.  That’s a bit dramatic.  Although, even with a long list of publishing and other notable credits, she stills has to talk herself through the self-doubt.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Her gentle yet encouraging tone lured me out of bed every morning for months, ok weeks, to write my morning pages.  Before my first cup of tea or before I dared to be identified by other mortals, I grabbed my pen and my notebook and wrote my 3 pages a day.  Morning pages don’t have to make any sense. They aren’t supposed to be the next great American novel.  She discourages you even from reading them.  Not that I could, given my pre-Kindergarten, left-handed, pinch-in-my-shoulder handwriting.

The point of the morning pages and the other exercises in the book are to move beyond your own insecurities and just create.  Damn the inner editor and let it all hang out.

What I found out about myself is that I am pretty ADD in the morning.  With 3 pages to write, every image of every school teacher I ever had, every item on every long forgotten to-do list, every story idea, every Brady Bunch show I ever watched all invaded my thoughts.  I’m lucky that I don’t have demons to unearth.  They would have reared their ugly heads, too.  The truth is, the several weeks that I committed to writing those morning pages, I felt better. It was Draino for the brain.  Once I got my brain unclogged, I began to feel more creative and produce better writing.  Thanks, Julia.