April 6, 2014

Art is not just in us, it is us

An excellent quote from Sarain Stump, a Shoshone-Cree poet and artist from Wyoming, later co-ordinator of the Indian art program at the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College:

Art is us, with our frustrations and hopes, with all of our good and bad feelings. Through art, we can make ourselves clearly understood beyond the barriers of time and space . . . beyond the inhibitions of language. Our art is us as Indian people and its rebirth will be one of the major forces for our people’s rebirth.

Whether we are of First Nations decent or otherwise, our art is our own unique form of expression. It gives us strength and confidence in who we are. It enables us to explore the roots of our being, our culture, our history, and to share those discoveries with the world. And it provides us with a safe outlet for expressing and releasing long-held emotions and experiences, and therefore serves an important healing function.

For these reasons and more, art deserves a place in our lives.

Your art is an essential part of who you are. Please let it shine.

April 4, 2014

Laugh of the day: A bookworm’s bad dream

Courtesy of Alex Hallatt’s Arctic Circle comic strip on April 2, 2014:

Alex Hallatt's Arctic Circle comic strip, April 2, 2014

 

(Source: http://arcticcirclecartoons.com/comics/april-2-2014/

April 2, 2014

The power of touch runs deep

Following on the theme of yesterday’s post — my April challenge to reach out and touch someone (new) – here are a few quotes that highlight the power of touch in our lives:

‘Tis the human touch in the world that counts — the touch of your hand and mine — which means far more to the sinking heart than shelter or bread or wine. For shelter is gone when the night is o’er, and bread lasts only a day. But the touch of the hand and the sound of the voice live on in the soul always.
(Spencer M. Free)

Yes I am a strong person, but every now and then I also need someone to take my hand and say everything will be OK.
(Anonymous)

Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism
(Leo Buscaglia)

The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are the moments when we touch each other.
(Jack Kornfield)

April 1, 2014

April challenge: Reach out and touch someone (new)

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
(Maya Angelou)

This April, I challenge you to reach out and make physical contact with someone whom you have never touched before. It could be a hand on the arm or the knee, a hug or a high five, a playful pinch in the ribs — whatever suits the moment, your comfort level and your inclination.

Physical contact with other human beings is vital our health and well-being; it is fundamental to our senses of worth and connection and belonging in the world. Yet we often undervalue our tactile senses — or discount them altogether — in our “modern-day” dealings with other people.

This month, make an effort to change that. Bring physical touch back, and see how good it makes you (and others) feel.

March 29, 2014

“I want something more!”

These lyrics from the song “More” by J. Englishman provide some pretty useful criteria against which to measure the activities, relationships and causes we choose to pursue in our lives:

Give me passion, give me feeling
Give me something to believe in.
Give me passion, give me feeling
Give me reasons to be breathing.

If what you’re doing with your life doesn’t light you up inside, then why are you doing it in the first place?

March 28, 2014

Life: Not always easy, but always worth it

Quote of the day, courtesy of writer and businessman Harvey MacKay:

Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right and forget the ones that don’t.
Believe that everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said that it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

March 17, 2014

Make friends with the winds of change

Thought for the day, courtesy of artist and author Mary Ann Radmacher:

Lean forward in your life . . . . Catch the best bits and the finest wind. Just tip your feathers in flight a wee bit and see how dramatically that small lean can change your life.

We are often so afraid of change, so afraid of having good things happen to us. Just for today, lean into the winds of change with a smile, and allow those winds to blow good things directly into your open and deserving arms.

March 15, 2014

Laugh of the day: All-natural breakfast goodness

Courtesy of Alex Hallett’s Arctic Circle comic strip on March 13, 2014:

Alex Hallatt's Arctic Circle comic strip from March 13, 2014

(Source link: http://arcticcirclecartoons.com/comics/march-13-2014/)

March 14, 2014

Lessons from a Russian doctor: Life, too, is only an instant

The following quote is from the poem “Wedding” at the end of Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago:

For life, too, is only an instant,
Only the dissolving of ourselves
In the selves of all others
As if bestowing a gift.

I often comment on the importance of maintaining your sense of individuality in life — of standing up for what you believe in, of honouring and acting on your life dreams and gut instincts above all else. This quote reminds us that it is also important to open ourselves to the people around us, to trust the process of social interaction, to knock down any walls built on fear and embrace the friendships, relationships, attachments waiting on the other side.

And it reminds us that life is indeed short. We are each of us just a moment in time, just a small part of the history of humanity and of the earth. Soon, that moment — your moment — will be gone. So live it while it’s here, and live it fully, as if you were a gift to the world. Because you are a gift to the world.

March 13, 2014

Lessons from a Russian doctor: Let language carry you

Good writing requires a special spark. That’s why I love the following passage from Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago; here, Pasternak describes the elusive flame of artistic inspiration, in which words take on a life of their own, language flexes its formidable muscle, and the (excited) author merely hangs on for the ride.

(Context: Yuri Zhivago, the novel’s protagonist, is working to record the poems that have grown within him for years.) 

After two or three stanzas and several images by which [Yuri] himself was struck, his words took possession of him and he felt the approach of what is called inspiration. At such moments the relation of the forces that determine artistic creation is, as it were, reversed. The dominant thing is no longer the state of mind the artist seeks to express but the language in which he wants to express it. Language, the home and receptacle of beauty and meaning, itself begins to think and speak for man and turns wholly into music, not in terms of sonority but in terms of the impetuousness and power of its inward flow. Then, like the current of a mighty river polishing stones and turning wheels by its very movement, the flow of speech creates in passing, by virtue of its own laws, meter and rhythm and countless other relationships, which are even more important, but which are as yet unexplored, insufficiently recognized, and unnamed.

This is a beautiful description of the magic of artistic creation, and if you are a writer or an artist of any kind, I think you’ll understand what Pasternak is saying. In other words: sometimes the creative energy just flows from within you. You enter “the zone,” and everything inside and outside of you seems to move in synch, to hum along in easy, seamless harmony, allowing you to produce a beautiful piece of art or composition, the final product simply flowing out of you with nary a thought or concern on your part. It’s an extraordinary feeling, when you experience it, but such moments are rare — which is why we artists tend to run with that special momentum when it hits us!

I wish you such inspired artistic energy in whatever field of creation you pursue.

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