A New View — Part 1 of 2

If something isn’t working, perhaps there is another way to see it. (No, that’s not a new idea.) But there is one aspect of this idea that makes all the difference.

Never underestimate the power of a baby step in the direction of where you want to be.

To tackle a big subject, start by taking a small step toward what you want.

You can change things!

  1. You can change WHAT you’re looking at.  Move your binoculars up and over a little — and voila! you’ll see a different scene.  Change the information you collect.

    Instead of listening to the “who-died-or-almost-died-and-why” news or “who’s-right-and-who’s-wrong” details of the presidential election, watch “Winged Planet” about the amazing birds in this world.  Instead of dwelling on the disasters or the victims or the troubles of the world, change the channel or get up from the couch. Go do something else.

    Pay more attention to things that are working.  Notice and spread the word about successful events.  Miracles.  Random acts of generosity.  People that are happy.  Creative inventions that change the world.

  2. You can change HOW you’re seeing what you see.  Change the lens through which you interpret what you see.

    If you don’t like what you see (lens of judgment), install a different lens — maybe the lens called “what if there is more to the story than I can see…”  Or the lens called “This issue is really none of my business, and I think I’ll let them work it out.”

    People may tell you that you are seeing the world through rose colored glasses.  Just smile, and say “thank you for noticing.”

  3. You can change WHEN you look. Notice the good stuff and make a big deal about it.  Catch your child being good. Ignore the spilled whatever, and the crabby, yelly, and uncooperative landscape between you and your little ones. Have a party moment when things are going the way you want them to go.  Do a little jig. Put your right foot in, put your right foot out…and shake it all about.

    Thank your partner when s/he is doing something great.  Stop the world to celebrate the moments that make you happy.

  4. You can change WHERE you look from. Your perspective, your general point of view.  Do you see the glass half empty or the glass half full?  Do you have faith in the abilities of others or do you end up doing all the work because only you can do it best?

    Notice your general point of view about yourself.  Is your point of view that “things usually work out well for me?” Or not?  Do you find your way to good solutions?  Do you usually have trusting relationships with others?

    If you are sick, have been sick for a long time — and this is a serious subject for you and yours — see what you can do to lighten things up.  For the next hour or so, don’t be so fascinated with being sick.  Or tired. Or fascinated about the fact that you hate your job.  So what. Be fascinated about something else for a while, just for the heck of it.

    A great sentence to begin to shift things?  “What if….”  What if I enjoyed the people at work?  What if I got well — THEN who would I be or how would I spend my time?  What if I loved going to work in the morning?  What if…

  5. You can change WHY you look.  If you find articles that rail against others, and post them on Facebook so others can join your “fight” against this person you’ve never met and don’t really know, then you might notice that you’re promoting others in a negative way.  Let’s say you might be making others “smaller, lesser, stupid, inept, silly or not as smart as you.”

    Why?  So you can feel smarter, superior, better than? If they are less, you’re more.  I don’t know.  Check it out.

    For a new game that’s usually a little more fun, why not find people you support, and talk about them.  When you look for ways to make yourself or others right, you see more of what’s working, you GET more of what’s working, because you celebrate what’s working.

    The bonus?  You feel better about life.  Your life gets better.  And what could possibly be better than that?!!!?

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BECKONING CREATIVITY

Ever find yourself yearning for a shot of creativity when you need most it, not when it needs you?

Creativity

Oh, wherefore art thou my pen, my brush, my song of songs? C”mon creativity, where did you go?  Where is the “on demand” feature? And, despite the pleading and the begging, your creativity is apparently off to see the wizard.

OH, WE DO LOVE CREATIVITY!

There is a yummy feeling that comes with the energy of inspiration flowing through us.   It is the energy of life moving through our veins, and we know it.  There is nothing like it.  And yes, it keeps us young and happy. In a state of bliss, all seems to go well  — effortlessly!  The big blue sky of creativity opens up, shining happy streaks of sunny love color all over life and we’re sparkling with ideas.

WEST ASHEVILLE COMMUNITY CHOIR

Recently, I went to hear the West Asheville Community Choir.  On that particular day, I was truly muddling along, ready to be uplifted by song.   I had never heard of this choir, but I can tell you that when they sang, the cells in my mind and body woke up.  In less than 30 seconds after they began to sing, I was lifted into “oh, now THAT’S better….”   and within 45 seconds was transported straight to happy.  After a whole minute, I was floating over the moon and the floating lasted for the rest of the hour. Time disappeared.  I was in a state of wonder.  The sounds were beautiful.  I found myself wanting to stand up and shout, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”  It was also meditative.  Gorgeous. Intricate.  Simple.  Moving to my heart.

THE FLOWER OF CREATIVITY

Moonflower Opening -- photo courtesy of Lois Yeager

The 50 member choir sang traditional a cappella songs, from South Africa, the Balkans, Caucus Georgia, as well as American Shape-Note and Gospel songs. Suzannah Park and Nathan Morrison, the directors, also sang a duet together.  I don’t even remember the song really, not because the song was not memorable, but because the emotional experience of hearing them sing together took center stage. I vividly remember the feeling of the song.  It was not your average listening experience, that’s for sure.  I don’t even know what happened to me when they sang, but I know their expression changed me somehow.  When Suzannah and Nathan sang it seemed as if the entire audience expanded to make room in their hearts for whatever it was the two were offering.  The audience opened.  I opened. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………….!!!  Now that’s much better!

THE JOY FACTOR

I don’t know the best way to get anyone’s creative juices flowing, but it sure helps to “get to happy.”  What gives you a boatload of joy?  Do more of that. Suzannah and Nathan are downright darling.  They love each other and make no bones about it, but it’s not syrupy and it’s not an act.  They have known each other since they were 14 years old.  Suzannah, when she is talking, but especially when she’s singing, is like a 1,000 watt light bulb.  You can’t help but catch the rays of her bright love.  She is unabashedly happy when she sings, directs, talks about her husband or how much she loves the choir.  She includes you in her energy field, and yes, it’s HUGE, and pretty soon you are transported to wherever she is singing from if you let yourself go there. And I did. And I’m glad. As of this writing, the experience was 48 hours ago and I’m still flyin’.  Joy is very good medicine.

IS CREATIVITY YOUR LONG LOST FRIEND?

Artist: MacKenzie Joy Crosby

Missing your creativity?  Find what makes you laugh.  Find the young kid in you.  If your pets are funny and help you into a good mood with no effort, spend a little time with them. Play a little.  Jump up and down, dive into a pile of leaves, roll down a hill.  Dance.  Sing.  Play with your kids or grand kids.  You’ll feel better when your life-giving juices begin to flow.  Being able to play —  being able to get into a playful mood at will — is one of the best ways to deliberately create joy.  When you have joy, finding the creativity button is easy. Or, hey — go listen to the West Asheville Community Choir.  Or the music of Suzannah or Nathan.  Bon Jovi.  k.d. lang. The New York Philharmonic.  Leonard Cohen.  The Beatles.  Diana Krall. Do whatever opens the floodgates for YOU, darling, because that makes the world a better place, immediately and forever.

SING OUT, PEOPLE!

It seems to me that most of the world’s problems could be solved by singing.

Try singing an argument

It’s hard to sing and fight, sing and be angry, or sing and be in a bad mood for long. Have you ever tried to sing an argument? No? OK, imagine doing it. My point exactly… See  what I mean?  You can’t stay mad for long. It could work.  World peace could be closer than you think. If you have a story about how the simple act of singing works wonders for you and your creativity, I’d LOVE to hear it. Or when do you find yourself in your highest creative state?  How do you get there?  Do tell! Note:  Moonflower Photo courtesy of Lois Yeager.  For more information on artist MacKenzie Joy Crosby go here. Continue Reading

A Poem For Those Who Were Not Exactly Enamored with School

This is a poem for those of you who could not stomach school growing up.  This is for those who waited patiently for the teacher to stop talking, the bell to ring, the day to be over.  This is for those who got tummy aches so they wouldn’t be shuffled to the dreaded school bus, yet again.  This is for those who couldn’t wait for summer. Clearly, this poem is not for everyone.  Some folks just love school. But alas, this is only for the bunch who couldn’t love school no matter how hard they tried.  And interestingly, this is often the bunch who grew up a little off the record.  And they became successful, integrated, and happy human beings despite the fact that they may have chosen the road less traveled. Hats off and halleluyah, if you know what I mean.  Life works so many different ways, through so many different channels, in so many versions.  It’s good if you can find one that works for you.

Just As The Calendar Began to Say Summer

by Mary Oliver
I went out of the schoolhouse fast
and through the gardens and to the woods,
and spent all summer forgetting what I’d been taught —
 
two times two, and diligence, and so forth,
how to be modest and useful, and how to succeed and so forth,
machines and oil and plastic and money and so forth.
 
By fall I had healed somewhat, but was summoned back
to the chalky rooms and the desks, to sit and remember
 
the way the river kept rolling its pebbles,
the way the wild wrens sang though they hadn’t a penny in the bank,
the way the flowers were dressed in nothing but light.
 
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Part Two: Forget New Year’s Resolutions — Try This!

Part Two:

Forget New Year’s Resolutions — Try This!

Note:  This is the story sample I mentioned in Part One. If you haven’t read Part One, here is the link. This morning as I think about you, I see you awakening leisurely in your bed and basking for a moment in a beautiful golden light bath, which is the morning sun coming in your window to greet you.  As you relish in the thought of the day that will unfold before you, you are awash with gratitude for your life of joyful self-expression and connection with others. For just a moment, you can hardly believe how lucky you are to live this life.  You think to yourself, “This is why I came here….” You reach for the glass of water that is always on your nightstand, drinking the deep deliciousness of the well not far from your window, and you notice how refreshing it is. As you arise, you see that someone has already brought you a French Press of dark coffee, and a bowl of ripe fruit that makes your heart sing.  It is so fragrant and you marvel that it was grown by your good friend who sends you special shipments of his best seasonal fruit. Your thoughts wander to the baker near you who brings you his fresh bread and baked goods in the morning.  The baker adores you and sends one of his helpers over with a basket of fresh scones, croissants or muffins every morning for you and your staff.  You wonder what delectable and scrumptious offerings he will bring you today.  Something with peaches?  Plump blueberries? Figs? Who knew life could be so deliciously easy? This morning, the baker surprises you the usual baskets of baked goods, but also with a pot of hot cereal that he knows you love.  He includes accompanying nuts and berries, a jar of sourwood honey with the honeycomb still in it, a pitcher of raw cream, and a generous chunk of fresh butter churned the old-fashioned way by the farmer’s wife down the road.  Knowing that your body will make perfect use of whatever you offer it, you have a little of everything, and it is so delicious that it fills you with an even deeper gratitude for your life. You are in awe of the constant stream of generosity, support, and love all around you.  You feel blessed beyond measure, and the feeling is one of being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cool day.  Your body is happy as a lark, and you look forward to the musical day ahead. After dressing, you will be ready to open the door to one of your favorite rooms in the whole world.  This beautiful room is the place where you most often express your musicality, your creativity, your essence.  Everything is set up for you here.  You are supported. You stand before the door of this spaciously purposeful room, knowing full well what is inside.  You touch your hand to your heart and give thanks for this opportunity to express who you are.   You experience such freedom in this room, and in this delicious and spirit-filled moment, you can feel that freedom calling to you.  In this space, there is plenty of “room to move.” In this space, you can do anything. You lift the latch on the large door.  The sound of the latch is so crisp and so clear that it signals your heart, your mind, your cells — your entire being – to prepare for the experience before you.  You smile and your heart skips a beat, just like it does every time you open this door. The heavy door swings open easily and just inside and to the right you notice the table with fresh flowers that someone has placed there.  You stop and smell the roses.  You marvel at the deep, rich colors.  As you look up, your eyes scan the perimeter of the room, and you note that today, someone has placed large bouquets of flowers about every twenty feet around the outside edge of the room. Ahhhh…. There must be something special happening today.  You make a mental note to ask your assistant to remind you…. As you walk further into the heavenly space, your eyes and heart are drawn to the large windows, which are already being warmed by the morning sun.  Soft light is filtering into the room.  This is a time of day you love, when everything is just beginning.  Everything is pure potential. You walk to the grand piano and stand for a moment, looking out over the spacious room, and your “blank canvas” day.  “Once again,” you say to yourself, “I can paint this day any way I like.  How fortunate I am…” You sit down.  The bench under you is strong and supportive.  You appreciate this fully and the feeling of strength under you causes you to you sigh with delight as your right hand brushes lightly across the white keys. The sound engineer and his team are already there, ready to assist you.  They have set up a system that allows you record anytime you desire.  While you may not record every day, the team is always there and ready to capture your inspiration.  You are completely relaxed when your sound engineer is present.  He knows everything about your sound, what you like, what you don’t like, and he is there to help you record your heart’s desire — today and any day you choose. This room was designed especially for you, and is acoustically perfect and adjustable for performing and recording.  This makes everything you dream totally and palpably possible. Your personal assistant walks in, gives you a hug, and asks if you need anything.  She checks with you to see if you are ready to hear the flow of the day, and you nod in agreement. She says this morning is yours for playing and recording.  The sound engineer and his team are there to record the final track for your album, should you choose, which will debut in the coming months.  Lunch will be prepared fresh and brought to you, salmon I think, and then you will have a short break before the students arrive. Young music students who will be coming for an hour or so to listen to you work on a new piece.  This is an event that you love and it is one of the ways you give back to your community.  You find great joy in providing this candid session, because young students see how you practice, how you improve, how you explore new things.  It gives them confidence and creative zeal about who they are and where they are going.  The baker often stops by to listen.  You have given him a standing invitation to anything you do, even though you pay him generously for his morning deliveries. After the students depart, you have free time.  This is when you go for walks, go shopping, meditate, nap, take a long bath, dance or do whatever your heart desires.  Dinner tonight is with a man you love, you are enjoying each other’s company, and you will see where it goes.  This makes both of you happy, because you are exploring. After dinner, your assistant tells you that the sound engineer has set up to record another “Performance DVD” for you.  Your eyes light up at this thought!  So that’s what the beautiful flowers are all about! Your engineer has the new and improved placement of overhead lighting perfected, and tells you that all the new cameras are mounted so that the experience of hearing you and being with you can be captured fully.   Your sound and tech teams are really excited about this. There are cameras on you, and many cameras on the audience. Doors will open at 8 pm.   You’ll be playing Chopin. The DVD is automatically purchased by those who attend (it is included in the cost of the ticket) and will be for public sale as well.  You are known for these “Performance DVD’s” and they are best sellers.  One of your most famous DVD’s is one in which you include an intimate talk with the audience afterwards.  It was an impromptu discussion, not planned at all, and you answer questions about music, expression, and your personal story.  It was filmed and edited by a master, and it is inspiring. Clips of another of your “Performance DVD’s” have gone totally viral on youTube.  This is one miracle that could never have been planned!  Here’s how it happened. In the middle of a spectacular performance, you made a “mistake,” got the giggles, and the audience followed you.  Clearly on a roll, you decided to make more mistakes just for the fun of it, and the whole thing was like Victor Borge on giggle steroids, and pretty soon everybody was pretty much on the floor laughing.  It was an unforgettable evening, joy-filled, unexpected, and priceless.  Luckily, your sound and camera team captured the whole thing for eternity. In this one singular session, you reminded the whole world to make light of whatever is “serious,” and that there is no such thing as a mistake.  You showed us that what we think of as perfection is over-rated and joy is really, really all that matters.  Since its debut, this DVD slowly but surely invited countless others who were feeling just a bit shy and slightly (secretly) unworthy into the happier and more rewarding world of “going with the flow”, self-acceptance and love.  Mind-boggingly good! Still another best seller was produced the day you decided to play a silly and comical classical piece and invited groups of young children to dance.   You are amazed at the number of parents, grandmothers and grandfathers, and child care centers who have purchased this DVD to show at home and in schools all over the world. You have changed the lives of millions without really meaning to… So here you are standing – once again — before an evening of pure potential.  You can feel how much you are looking forward to this well-planned, wild-card evening, where you have no idea what will happen, but you are sure to the very core of you that it will be good.  You are prepared, you are ready, you have practiced for hours, days, years – your entire life in fact — and now you bow to the wisdom and sense of humor of your higher Self and those who guide you. You trust the cooperation because you are continually surprised at what works, what brings joy, what brings abundance, and what opens the hearts and minds of others just because you are willing to throw a little caution to the wind.  Your musical journey astounds you daily in ways that you never could have imagined even a year ago. All in all, you have created a unique performance category all your own — and it’s so simple really.  By singing and playing the piano in an intimate and inclusive way, you embody the essence of joy and pleasure.  You embody this expression in a light way, in a way that people can relate to, in a way that they say to themselves, “Maybe I could do that, maybe I could share myself.”  Because you so fully enjoy what you are doing, and you share this, you inspire people of all ages, in all walks of life, and from all cultures. Who could have imagined?  Well, you, obviously! You give thanks for this day and all days. Continue Reading

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Terri Crosby

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