Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gratitude and Giving

When the rose bushes look like's good to remember this will come:
My friend Beth's post about living a perfect day inspired me to this post. The new month is starting and it's time to reflect, if briefly, on how to be, now. Because now is the only moment we possess. The more we exist in the moment the more creative and effective that moment is.

So, how to exist in the moment? It's pretty hard to say, okay, okay, I'm in the moment! Okay, now I am again! But there are some things that help.

One is gratitude. When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, exhausted, confused, stressed, anxious and all those other nasty feelings of our overcommitted world, stop and find one thing, no matter how tiny, to be grateful for. For example: it's snowed and snowed where I live. Driving is difficult and time consuming and a little dangerous. Shoveling is no fun. But I am grateful for my roses and know they shall bloom again. Being grateful for anything reminds me of how much more I have to be grateful for. A good car, with good tires, the ability to shovel the snow, and my how beautiful it is. Instead of stress and exhaustion I feel energized, exhilarated even.

And giving has the same effect. Even if it only takes a few minutes, or if it takes a lot of time, giving to others is a great stress releaser. When I help a friend, or a stranger, with anything, even opening a door, for example, I come out of myself and realize that my moments have value.

Every moment is to be grateful for and lived to the fullest. So what are you grateful for? How and when do you give? What happens with you when you're in the moment?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Writers' Strike and Robbie Burns' Birthday

How many poets lived in severe, even harsh surroundings? Did that inspire poems?

There may be a resolution to the Writers' Strike here in the States. I don't watch much TV, I prefer to read, but even for me, it's gotten grim on the tube. And since yesterday was Robert Burns' birthday, what better time to post about what our world would be like without creative people?

What would it be like? No books. No art. No music. Okay, so you don't like to read, you've never understood modern art and you have a tin ear. Who cares? But also: no movies, no tv, no internet. No internet? Of course not. The internet was created by creative people.

So why don't we honor creativity and exalt the great artists of this world? Oh sure, Burns' gets a birthday bash with haggis, but how many even know who he is, even though they sing Auld Lang Syne ever New Year's Eve? Creative people should at least be paid extremely well for all the joy, pleasure and problem solving they bring into the world.

So why isn't this true? Is it because art happens all the time all around us, so we don't realize it's import? Is it because it is so much fun to create and therefore can't be difficult or real work? Or is it something else?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Simplify and Succeed

The scene above provokes several different responses. This is high desert plain country, and for a lot of people, it's too austere, too simple to be beautiful. For others, including myself, the very simplicity is the beauty.

Comments on my last blog entry from FarFetched, Jim, Dave and the Muse and my friend Kathy's latest entry inspired me to this post. Which is about organization for writers and other creative folk, but with a different approach. Instead of thinking about it in terms of organized, tidy or chaotic, don't make any judgments.

Instead, simplify. Huh? Simplify?

Simplify by asking a few questions. What do you want to have in your workspace? What don't you want around while you're creating? And the most important: what in your workspace clutters your mind? What clears the path to creativity? What creates space within?

The answers may be surprising. "Chaos" may be a simple expression of your creativity. Or you may need a "blank" space to clear your mind. Or something in between. Perhaps a beloved object or one that focuses your mind should be in a place of honor. Perhaps pages need to be piled up next to your desk, for comfort and congratulation.

Okay readers, what do you think? Is this way of simplifying straight on or crooked? Can you apply it to your own space, internal and external?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Organization for Writers and other creative folks

Sun after a snowy day, welcome but blinding...

Jim's post about a writer's space led me to this entry. Also, it's that time of the year. Not just the time of the year when the jeans don't fit and we're all broke and there's only sun once in a while, but the time when many people want/need to get organized.

Don't Panic as Douglas Adams would say. First, the three reasons you shouldn't organize:

3. You may never find anything again.
2. You may spend the rest of your life organizing.
and the most important reason:
1. It may impact in a negative way your creativity.

Why? Because as creative people, we come up with ideas in a variety of ways. One of those ways is by having a lot of "head traffic". By that I mean that we are interested in a wide variety of things and a bit of this and a bit of that contribute to our creativity. It does not, however, contribute to being well organized.

So, are you organized to the nth degree? Or your workspace is condemned as a health hazard? Or somewhere in between? Does your work space help or hinder your creative endeavors? Or?

Next post, balancing organization.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Celebrate Successes and Succeed

Snow is an opportunity.

If you celebrate a success-truly celebrate it, not just acknowledge it, but embrace that you have accomplished something, anything, it creates more success. Think about it. When you dwell on what you haven't done and only give a nod to what you have done, what happens to your energy? Your focus? Your determination? Doesn't your energy drain away, your focus disappear and your determination weaken?

So, readers, this week what is a success you can celebrate? It can be as small as "I got out of bed today" or even "I stayed in bed all day so I could rest and rejuvenate" to "I finished my two-year project today" or even bigger. Huge or tiny, celebrate. You've succeeded and will do so again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why resolutions don't work.

Studies show that the huge majority of resolutions made January 1 are broken before January 31. That's of the same year. Why don't resolutions work?

There's a simple answer. Resolutions are overwhelming. A resolution is focused on an end result: I will lose X amount of pounds this year, I will get a better job, I will write the great American Novel. And so, when on January 15, you've gained 2 pounds from leftover cookies, you haven't sent a single resume out and for the last five days haven't written a word--you give up. Who wouldn't? Or--if you've been going to the gym every day for 2 hours, you've sent out 100 resumes and gotten no responses and you spend every morning until 5 a.m. writing, you're so exhausted you have to quit. Who wouldn't.

There's a better way. Break it down.Don't try to lose 50 pounds, work on eating healthier and losing 4--this month. Send out 2 to 5 resumes and choose who you send it to carefully, and plan on writing every day--even if it's only a sentence.

That's doable. Then celebrate your successes. And ignore your failures. Didn't lose any weight? Don't try to lose 8 pounds the next month, just stay with the program. If you do more than you expected, celebrate, but don't increase the goal.

If you have manageable bits, you can be effective and it will happen. For example, I started this entry on January 2 in the morning and am finishing it January 4 in the evening.

But it is finished.