Move! [It’s Two Artists Tuesday]

Some simple encouragement from studio melange on Two Artists Tuesday

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Here’s one of my few guiding principles: knowing “how” to do something always comes after the fact. No one knows how. Truly. If you wait to start until you know ‘how’ you will wait forever. Just start. Make a choice and move. It’s a great gift to make a choice and let your choice be wrong. To make a mistake and adjust according to what you experience. That’s called learning. Sometimes, it’s true, the best choice is to sit still. Sometimes the best choice is to stop trying to figure it out. Try anything. Move.

From studio mélange on this Two Artists Tuesday, give yourself permission to play. That’s also called learning. Experiment. At the end of the day, after all the experiences and adjustments, after all the movement, we’ll ask you how you did it.

MOVE gifts & reminders

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read Kerri’s blog post about MOVE

move/move designs & products ©️ 2016/2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

Answer The Question With A Question

carrying on the tradition (and my heroes): mike and sabrina bartram

carrying on the tradition (and my heroes): mike and sabrina bartram at Changing Faces Theatre Company

Many years ago at the start of my career I bumbled into running a summer theatre company. It would become one of the great gifts of my life. At the time I decided that it would be my laboratory. I’d be able to experiment with directing processes and actor training techniques. What I didn’t realize until much later was that I would also be running an experiment in business and, more importantly, how to create a community mindset of support and empowerment (and, therefore, achievement). I was free to succeed because I gave myself permission to focus on the quality of the process instead of worrying about hard and abstract words like ‘achievement.’ My bottom line was the inner growth of everyone in the company, the inner growth of the community that we served.

When the company was up and running, when it was mature, company members swept the parking lot because they knew it would make the play better (improving the audience experience always impacts the performance). The people running the box office prided themselves on their kind service and efficiency because they knew that it would make the play better. The actors understood that they were in service to the play and not themselves. In fact, everyone in the company was in service to something bigger than themselves. That was the culture of the company. When pushed to articulate the success of what we created together, I’d say, “We’re focusing on the important stuff.”

Yesterday with great intention I sent that phrase (focus on the important stuff) out into the e-stratosphere. I lobbed it in association with the company that Kerri and I are in the process of creating to see what would come back at me. Like the summer theatre company, this new venture is our laboratory. What came back was the question, “What’s the important stuff?”

Sometimes the only way to answer a question is with another question. Take a look around your world. Take a moment to look at the difference between what you say and what you do. What do you see? What do you want to see? Big power comes to people when, like my company members (students) of so long ago, they realize that their “seeing” isn’t passive. The greatest single power any human being has is to choose where they place their focus. The greatest single revelation any human being has is to recognize that what they see impacts everyone around them. No one does this walk alone.

the very first painting in the Yoga series. It was an experiment, a walk of discovery. It's also about being alone

the very first painting in the Yoga series. It was an experiment, a walk of discovery. It’s also about being alone.

It’s easy to place a focus on an obstacle. It’s very easy to fix a gaze on the problems. It’s easy because, left alone, believing we are alone, that’s where most people default. Place yourself in a community that knows there is something bigger, something more important to see and serve, and the field of possibilities becomes easy. My company members of so long ago didn’t know what they couldn’t do so they did everything they imagined. That was only possible because they imagined it together. So, answering a question with a question, to you, what’s the important stuff?


Thank Melissa

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

Avalon disappeared into the mists of time. It is there, or so we are told, but it is out of reach to we mere mortals. In the age of reason the mystery retreated to the other side of the veil. I thought of that as this afternoon we drove through fields shrouded in fog towards a rural elementary school. We were visiting Melissa’s classroom; a place alive with magic and excitement and the vitality that is present wherever true learning is taking place. If magic survives beyond the veil then Melissa’s classroom is a portal to that sacred place.

Tom once told me, “You will know when you are doing important work by the size of the tide that rises against you.” Melissa is doing important work and is standing tall despite the towering wave that crashes over her (and every teacher in the nation) everyday when she asks, “Why are we doing this? What does this test or this shabby curriculum have to do with learning?” She asks and others turn away. She is the voice in the crowd that says, “This emperor has no clothes!” And like the child in the story, the truth-teller is shunned initially, hushed by the adults who are too afraid to say, “We know. We see it, too.”

There are plenty of teachers and administrators and parents and business leaders that see it, too. There are many conversations about fixing things. There are endless strategies and punitive measures to raise standards though no one is certain what standards we are raising (hint: test scores have nothing to do with learning; neither do lists or rankings or any other from of measurement). On the surface we are expert at finger pointing and assigning blame and still the emperor prances naked through the streets.

And beneath it all is Melissa and scores of educators like her that know the system as dictated to them is doing the opposite of what it professes. So, she wades into the muck everyday and ignites imaginations and encourages her students to explore, pursue, experiment and make messes. Her students make choices (they control themselves because she teaches them to be powerful): they are engaged in a quest of discovery. Her students are excited to come to school because what they do is real; unlike most of the adults who should be lobbying for their betterment, they are very clear and vocal about what has merit and what has little or no value.