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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Swimming Lessons.

November 6th, 2012 1 comment
Galapagos

Learning.

Hello, Creative Beasts! How have you been? I’m thinking about you, and wishing wonderful things for you all. Today is a big day for us, here in America, as citizens make there ways to the polls to cast their votes to determine who will serve as the president of our nation for the next four years. There is excitement in the air, and also, a good deal of tension, to say the least. But you know what? It’s okay.

Above all else, what I hope that people will remember and hold in their hearts at this time, is that no matter what happens, there is a bigger picture. As human beings at the end of the day, we are all still simply human–whether we are democrats or republicans, Christian or Buddhist or Jewish or Muslim, male or female, gay or straight–we are all humans, living together on this planet we call “Earth.” And when all is said and done, our needs and desires are all pretty similar. We all have our very basic needs of survival, and beyond that, I think it’s very simple: we all hope to experience love and joy at some level.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve thought a great deal about things like fear and anxiety, failure, unrest, anger and conflict–and then conversely–peace, love, joy, harmony, progress, faith–and what it means to be enlightened.
As my faith in greatness has grown, I’ve learned that our fears are mostly unnecessary. That said, I still fall prey to fear on occasion. Yesterday, for example, I felt some anxiety about the upcoming election. It felt like I had a pit in my stomach, a tightness in my chest, and at times, I felt short of breath. I had to work through this. Some of it, I talked through with friends, and at other times, I just dealt with it quietly on my own. Today, I feel much better.
Struggles and Challenges
We all know people who are battling something, and at times in our lives, perhaps we are the ones who are fighting and struggling. To these people, I want to express how much I love you–and care. And I’ll just come right out and say that I know that this might sound like a crock of shit. It’s not. Here’s the thing:  Let’s look for a moment at the various struggles people face–for example; maybe it’s a fear that’s holding you back in your career, or perhaps a relationship with another person, or an unhealthy desire. You may see it as a problem, but it just might be your gift. It most likely means that you care about something very deeply–and that means that you have a soul. So while you might sometimes feel like you’re being eaten alive… take a deep breath. This is a good thing!
The Back Float
I believe I was six years old when I took my first swimming class. We lived in Seattle. I will never forget my instructor, Nancy. I couldn’t pick her out of a crowd, now, but I do remember she had long, brown hair, freckles, and was pretty in a fresh-faced, earthy kind of way. She looked like a swimmer… because she was one. I liked her.
It was a sunny, summer morning in the outdoor municipal pool, and the lesson of the day was one in back floating. As little kids, when we are first learning to swim, we are often facing some exciting moments. We take huge gulps of air, and shut our eyes tightly before we plunge into the water. It’s both exhilarating and a little scary, at times–until we become more familiar and comfortable with what we’re doing. Back floating was a very new experience, and that day, I think I was more scared than I was excited about it. I had to put my trust in Nancy, and truthfully, I was only semi-comfortable with that idea–at that moment.
“Okay, Trish. I need you to lean back, and I’m going to hold you up at first,” Nancy said.
I tried doing what she told me to do, but for some reason, I struggled. Leaning into the water, I could feel the tips of her fingers under my back as I looked up at the sky. I must have turned, when I said, “No, Nancy; I can do it, I can do it.”
I think I said it several times before she grabbed my roughly forty-pound body by the shoulders, and dunked me below the surface. She just as quickly pulled me up, blinking and sputtering; feeling a little shocked and upset. She looked me in the eyes, and said, “Now. Are you going to say ‘No,’ to me again?”
I wanted to start crying, but I tucked my lip in and held back my tears. Looking back apologetically, I said, “No.”
“Okay,” she said with a calm smile. “Let’s try it again.”
That day, after quite a few failed attempts… I learned to float on my back. I was so happy and proud of myself. I couldn’t wait to show my parents.
I wanted to share this story, because it’s an important lesson that has stuck with me all of these years. I believe we will have many moments like this in our lives–and at many different levels… if we are lucky. (And let me add that I really don’t believe in luck.;)) Cherish these lessons. You will learn to swim, back float, and much, much more. Have courage… and have faith, peace, and love, Creative Beasts. And as always, SEIZE THE PREY.
p.s. Thank you, Nancy–wherever you are–from the bottom of my heart.

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Keep Going. There is beauty yet to come.

July 8th, 2009 1 comment


This blog goes out to my very dear friend, whom I will simply refer to as “Super-T,” who moves and grooves with the dexterity of a lizard, and who sometimes forgets, but he is also the most tater-bob dude that ever existed.

A few days ago, I had the privilege to spend time with another dear friend of mine, Adam–a brilliant artist and graphic designer, and a true Creative Beast. Talking with him inspired me and gave me encouragement.

I begin this post by saying that some friendships are real gifts. And I suppose it is ironic, but I now know it to be true that sometimes what can seem to be the toughest, most challenging friendships of our lives are also sometimes some of the deepest and richest ones–in addition to being the ones that teach us the most valuable lessons. It hearkens the saying that it isn’t the destinations that make us who we are, but the journeys that we make to reach them. Certain journeys–and life changing events–can sometimes crush us… and sometimes they can save us.

I love my friends. I don’t always get to tell them how much the things they do and say–whether they are big or small–matter to me. Sometimes simply possessing the ability to make someone laugh or smile… the ability to evoke–can have a tremendously earth shaking effect. I have said this before, but I’ll say it again: Creative Beasts are powerful, brilliant souls. They tend to be very intense, even if it’s in a very quiet sort of way, but they can also be extremely fragile. This knowledge can be heavy. In our creative circles, we all likely know someone, or perhaps even several people whose intensity is at times, a great joy to come into contact with, and at other times, it’s saddening or maddening. For me, it seems like it’s just about everyone I know. Why? Just lucky, I guess (and if you are one of these people, do me a favor–relax. I’m kidding… sort of. Try not to take yourself so seriously). It’s the agony and the ecstasy. Three of my creative friends have committed suicide, all within the last ten years. First was Dave; a brilliant filmmaker/director who taught me that animators are among the most patient people on the planet… usually. Then there was Jen; a great, beautiful, quiet and quick-witted writer whose wonderful sense of humor was matched by her generous and gracious spirit. Just one year later in November of 2008, I lost my friend, Brian, who was an amazingly gifted photographer, a fantastic cook, and just wickedly sharp in countless ways. Each and every one them had an energy–an intensity–that could fill any room. That said, you can imagine how the loss of each person reverberated. I wish there was something I could have done or said that would have kept each one from doing what they did. I think maybe this is what I would have said: “You have truly lived. You have done great things, and you have experienced great things. And you have touched a lot of lives. Do you really believe that this is it? That there is no more beauty yet to come? If so, you are wrong. Stick around a while. Keep at it. See what happens.”

Creativity doesn’t always flow the way we want it to. Sometimes we feel stuck, and it’s frustrating. Roadblocks are common. David Lynch addresses this issue in his book, Catching The Big Fish. He writes, “If you want to catch the little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.” I agree with him. Another factor in the concept of catching these big fish is having creative circles–pools, if you will, in which you may freely express yourself, bounce ideas off of others, and then build on your concepts. No one person is an island, and as it is with anything else, thoughts and expressions that are exchanged freely can exist harmoniously and in a symbiotic manner, like the ebb and flow of the tides. The sharing of ideas allows creativity, itself, to become larger and richer, like a beautiful tapestry. When there is a greater opportunity to draw from a more vibrant lexicon, creative thinkers naturally put that knowledge into everything they do. When we keep things to ourselves out of fear of loss or perhaps rejection, we risk stagnation and even collapse. Even when times are difficult, and perhaps especially when times are difficult, it is better to share and connect with others. We see this example again and again made by successful people throughout history. One example that comes to mind is advertising great, David Ogilvy. He went against the grain and leapt ahead of his competitors by insisting that indeed; you must literally give away your trade secrets to win clients. His peers thought he was crazy, and maybe he was… crazy, like a fox. He was right. His ideas worked, and he made history.

Now David Ogilvy is dead and gone, and some of today’s ad geeks giggle and scoff at his ideas, but I think there isn’t one among them who wouldn’t give their eye teeth to reach the peaks that he did. Genius, as it turns out, is pretty timeless. And it takes bravery–and faith–to be creative. Some people might tell you you’re great, and some might tell you you suck… or that you are crazy. It’s not always easy to push forward, and for whatever reason, it’s sometimes easier to accept defeat or criticism, than it is to accept success and praise. If you have any desire to create, or to see an idea come to fruition, keep going with it. If it’s a passion within you, keep that fire burning. There is a reason for it. You must believe that.

Do you realize that time goes fast?
It’s hard to make the good things last
Do you realize the sun doesn’t go down?
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.

–The Flaming Lips

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