Touch The Chair [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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I am reading books slowly these days. Meditating on words. Sometimes it takes me months to read what I used to blow through in a few days. I am often pleasantly surprised and taken aback by how the words I read on this morning – words written months or years ago – line up exactly with the events of my day. All the time I catch myself thinking, “How did they know I needed to hear that today?”

“There was an altar upon which we could place a photo of someone who had died. Kim chose to put a picture of his “old” self; I found one of him rowing his peapod looking so happy, so strong. Beautiful. We both grieve the loss of that Kim while getting to know and love this new one.” ~ Judy Friesem, Summoned By A Stroke.

Grieve the loss. This is the fourth time in my life that world circumstance/events have drawn a hard line between ‘what was’ and ‘who-knows-what-will-become.’ What was normal and true last week will never again be the same. Social distancing. Pandemic. Disruption is scary and confusing.

I’ve many times heard the story of immigrants, preparing to leave their homes forever for some distant and unknown shore, just before leaving, circle the rooms, touching walls, running their fingers along the arm of a well-loved chair. One last look. This is who I was. Who will I become? It is necessary to mourn what is known before making space for the unknown.

In the midst of spinning change, hanging on too long to the way things-ought-to-be or used-to-be is destructive. More than once I’ve stood with a group in full denial of their new circumstance insisting that “This is the way we’ve always done it!”  Perhaps. What is comfortable today was at one time new and uncomfortable. Someday, what is now new and uncomfortable will be a well worn path. The first step: one last look. This is who we were.

“No person is a finished thing, regardless of how frozen or paralysed their self image might be. Each one of us is in a state of perennial formation. Carried within the flow of time, you are coming to be who you are in every new emergent moment.” ~John O’Donohue, Beauty

Imagination lives in the midst of “It happened to me.” One of our greatest super-powers is the capacity to imagine ourselves different, more expansive. It is what we call dreaming. We “see” ourselves” writing the book or scaling the mountain or being a better parent or working at the soup kitchen or losing the weight or…becoming the more perfect union.

Imagination requires leaving. Leaving requires imagination.

“Fate has a way of handing us what we need in order to become whole…” ~ Judy Friesem, Summoned By A Stroke

 

read Kerri’s blog post about HEALING

 

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When Sled Dogs Dream [It’s Flawed Cartoon Wednesday!]

From studio melange, a giggle to lift you over the hump and share with pals.

sled dogs dream FRAMED PRINT copy

our flawed homage to winter and its passing

Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog dreams. Late at night I hear his paws flicking the floor of his crate, the echo of his dream-bark breaks the surface as a yip. I imagine he is dreaming of chasing squirrels or racing after birds, two of his favorite real-life activities. But what if…. Maybe he dreams of having opposable thumbs, of scooping kibble from the bin whenever he wants to! Maybe he dreams of taking me on walks, and yanking my leash when I pull to greet other humans! “Sit!” he barks. “Look at me!” he commands. Perhaps he dreams of tossing me a cookie when I am good, or making me do tricks to earn my cookie!!!

And so, I imagine that sled dogs must also dream.

WHEN SLED DOGS DREAM reminders/merchandise

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dream RECT PILLOW copy   sled dogs dream SQ PILLOW copy

read kerri’s blog post on WHEN SLED DOGS DREAM

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kerrianddavid.com

 

when sled dogs dream ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Wake Up To Your Dream

a detail of my latest painting

a detail of my latest painting

Oscar said, “I’m way too busy. I have too much to do.” He’s a junk guy, a scrapper and we’d just pulled a piano out of the back of his old truck.

“”That’s better than the reverse problem,” I said. “Too much time and nothing to do.”

Oscar smiled. “My grandfather always told me that sleepers wind up with nothing but dreams.” He added, “I’m trying to teach that to my son.” His son, a strapping young man, rolled his eyes.

It was a nice sentiment, a worthy lesson, and like all sticky-note wisdom, the flip side is usually also relevant. Sleepers wind up with nothing but dreams. People without dreams wind up walking through life asleep.

Once long ago I walked through a house with a realtor named Hans. The place was crammed with piles of stuff, stacks of books and mountains of magazines. I felt claustrophobic and couldn’t wait to get outside. Standing in front yard, having escaped, I said, “I don’t know how people live like that.” Hans replied, “Everyone has their heaven. What looks like hell to you is heaven to them.”

Everyone has their heaven. Everyone has their hell. Isn’t it a good bit of sticky-note wisdom to remember that heaven does not look the same to all people? And, to some people, depending upon how present they are, heaven is here and now. The same sticky-note applies to hell in the here-and-now.

Flipping to the weather channel I found, instead of the weather, an episode of Why Planes Crash (answer: the weather!). A flight attendant who’d survived a crash said, “When the plane is going down, people get religion really fast.” I thought, I bet the opposite sticky-note is also true. Religion is rule bound and usually comes with an in-crowd, a right way, or a chosen people. When the plane is going down I’ll bet all the rules go out the window (so to speak), the divisions become meaningless, and what people get is how precious, unique, and vast is their life – and all of life, for that matter. They don’t get religion, they “get” life. Ric Elias was in the plane that landed on the Hudson River. For him, going down in the plane served as instant clarity. He left the plane knowing without doubt what mattered. He no longer needed to be right. He no longer had time for negative energy. He no longer had time to be too busy. He woke up to his dream.

 

 

Dream It!

a blast from the past. A self portrait of yearning from long ago.

a blast from the past. A self portrait of yearning from long ago.

[continued from Step Into The Dot]

Standing with both feet in your life means you get rid of Plan B – or at least to put Plan A and Plan B in the right sequence. It has been a source of wonder for me why people (including myself at times) pour their energy into the back-up plan before they jump head first into their dream. Dreams rarely seem practical. Plan B always seems practical. In fact, that is the role of Plan B: lower the bar so it is easily cleared.

I’ve mentioned before how often in coaching relationships I hear the story of people diligently building their art studio but never entering it. Or, if they allow themselves to enter the creative space, they sit, frozen, unable to pick up the brush or the camera. It is dangerous to entertain the freedom that comes with dreaming. It’s as if we allow ourselves to pull back the covers, peek at the dream, to get close enough to feel the heat of it, but not close enough to ignite it into possibility. It is a special kind of pain to delay a dream. It satisfies the desire to want it but not pursue it. It affords the soothing notion of, “ I tried,” or the devastating notion of, “It wasn’t realistic.”

Kerri and I are bringing our work together in a new form: Be A Ray!

Kerri and I are bringing our work together in a new form: Be A Ray!

This is why Kerri and I are combining our performance, teaching and storytelling gifts in a palate of offers we’re calling Be A Ray! Dreams deferred cause energetic eddies; they make people swirl, putting time and energy into actions that feel good (like building a studio) but do not move the intention forward. To stop the spin is to see the pattern of deferment. It is to see the story beneath a lifetime of actions that lead everywhere but in the direction of the dream. In our vernacular, to “Ray Up!” is to stop the spin, to look squarely at the dream, and to seize the second chances. It is to claim the dream and pursue it.

Dreams need not be realized. They only need to be pursued. In fact, a proper dream pursuit is never realized just as an artist is never finished. Like every good art process, the dream changes with the pursuit. It grows and morphs until the pursuer and the dream unite. There is never an outcome, only a joining, a blending of dream and dreamer. And, this blending is the reason most people go with Plan B. Dreams can’t be controlled and neither can dreamers once unleashed. In other words, the first step in Raying Up! is to relinquish control. Pick up the brush and throw paint; let go of outcome and live in vital process. Let go of what anyone else thinks of your dream and dream it.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Go here for hard copies.

Bring It

768. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

This afternoon I taught a Business of Theatre class at Cornish College for the Arts. The students were seniors in the final weeks of their degree programs. Their assignment was to make project pitches as if we, the class, were granters or investors. My job was to support them to get better at doing project pitches. Through the several pitches, two themes emerged that became the focus of our conversation.

The first theme: rather than pitch their ideas as great, almost all the students justified or somehow diminished their idea. They defended it prior to an attack.They were unconsciously seeking reinforcement or approval of their idea. Or, to be clear, they sought approval as if I was the keeper of worth for their idea. Had I said, “What a stupid idea,” they might have agreed with me. The need for my approval trumped their personal point of view. My approval was more important than their idea.

Theme number two is related to theme number one: they entered the relationship assuming that the granter (me) had all of the power. As pitch makers they cast themselves in an unbalanced, powerless position. They came as supplicants. They assumed that the grant maker held the golden key to open the door to their project/dream. In this play (a pitch is a play) they cast themselves as impotent.

Both themes were unconscious. Both were based on assumptions of lack.

Every artist, if they are to thrive, must reorient at some point in the arc of their career. They must leave behind orientating according to what they might get from the world and reorient according to what they bring to the world.

Grant makers, foundations, investors and auditors have no power over an artist – unless, of course, the artist is oriented in the relationship according to what they might get from the relationship. At best, a granter can support a route. They might open a pathway to fulfilling an idea. There are hundreds of routes. There is one dreamer. The responsibility for manifesting the dream is the dreamers not the granters.

No one need apologize for his or her dream. No one need justify why it is important. It is a dream. It is an idea. It is a desire. No one else need approve; the approval belongs to the dreamer.

The students and I discussed the power of bringing the dream to the world. We played with the perspective shift that happens when artists own the responsibility for their dreams and refuse to define their role as impotent. Bring the dream. Stop seeking your worth in the responses of others. Bring it. The granter will fund it or not and that should have no impact on whether the dream is pursued or not. Bring your best game. Bring it everyday. If you have a dream, create it. There are many routes. Explore them all and in each case pitch your best game.

Make Space

754. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am cleaning out and clearing space. It is spring and spring-cleaning is normal at this time of year but my impulse to make space is deeper than the cycle of spring. I’m giving stuff away. I just threw away half of my clothes (they needed throwing away) and the other half will soon go to the thrift store.

I’m purging the studio. I installed paintings at Geraldine’s Counter yesterday and Gary, the owner, asked why I had not included prices on the labels. “They are old paintings,” I said, “and I’m in the mood to bargain.” I don’t want the paintings to come back. I need the space for the new creation. I need the space for ideas.

Possibilities require space. Sometimes life stories get over crowded with drama and details. Sometimes our days get too crowded with tasks. Possibilities will never shoulder their way into cramped courters. Why should they? Lack of space is a signal to the universe that you are doing what you want to do. Or, lack of space is a signal to the universe that you are afraid of doing what you want to do; existential hording leaves no room for possibilities to breathe.

Once, I ran a school and I encouraged my students to look out the window. Daydreaming is intensely important for healthy living and a vital creative life. Daydreaming is space creation. I encouraged my students to imagine. I encouraged them to breathe and make space and wander. I encouraged them to explore and discover and uncover. We were constantly cleaning out the building. We were constantly making space for the new. Those lessons are coming home to me again this spring. On my horizon a tsunami of potential is flowing toward me. I know it is coming because I am making space.