Saturday, August 25, 2012

What I Learned this Week: When Kids Go off to College

From the Life Changes Department:

Let's talk about going off to college. There's a sense of being cut loose for the first time. It can get pretty crazy. There's always the chance you'll go a bit wild. That's especially the case if you're someone used to rules and structure, and all the limitations put upon you by other people under the same roof. It's rather . . . unsettling.

(I'm not talking about my daughter here. I'm talking about her mom.)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Wilderness of Creativity

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What is a Fire by Night?

The question came up:

"Why this blog? And what is a fire by night?"

I wanted a place to write about the spiritual side of creativity, or the creative side of spirituality (depending how you look at it!).

I love the metaphor of fire that appears in the deepest darkness. In the Old Testament stories, when the Israelites wandered looking for a home, God appeared to them as a cloud by day - something ethereal and swirling. But in the darkness of the night, he showed up as a pillar of fire, bright and unmistakeable.

In your darkest night, there is a blaze within you.* Even if you've never connected with it before. When wild, free, loving creativity shows up, that too is a pillar of fire.

You can't deny it. You can't explain it. Other folks might say, "That's not God. 'He' or 'she' is supposed to look like this--" (Fill in the blank.)

Yet you know this blaze.

And you follow. Onward into the fire!

*Call it your portal to God. The Divine Presence. Or the Holy Spirit. I'm giving you lots of choices. Notice how you may react differently to different language? This is a cultural thing. Words can either attract or repel you, depending on what language you're used to, and this is the challenge for the spiritual writer who doesn't want to put people off by using the wrong words. More about this here.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Can You Handle Correction? Five Indicators

One thing I love about the creative process is that it teaches me about how to grow as a person. As Kurt Vonnegut said, "Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake."

Just as you must handle criticism for your writing, you've got to learn how to live with it on an everyday basis. You must identify where your ego is in the process, and make sure it's not in your way.

Here are six indicators that you're learning to constructively handle critical feedback or thoughts.

1) You don't take it personally. When you mess up, you know it's not the end of your life. Each day, each moment, is a new beginning and there are endless chances to get things right.

2) You remember who you are, and that your value is separate from your role in the outside world and all of the work you do.

3) You take time to "cool down" from life, remembering what's really important, getting away from the idea that you are your work.

4) You are already working on improving weak areas in your life, so when these are pointed out to you (graciously or not so graciously), you take advantage of the opportunity to grow.

5) When you've been recognized as amazing, you give the credit to your Greater Source, knowing anyone else could have done the same thing. You acknowledge that you are not alone, and you feel grateful rather than boastful.