Persevere [on KS Friday]

holdingsteadfast songbox copy

To me, the album cover is like a time capsule. The woman who would become my wife looking through a camera lens into a future unimaginable.  Over twenty years later, I look back, peeking through that triangular keyhole, the impish woman, the near smirk. Does she know the path she will walk, the mountains she will climb? The falls she will take? The sturdy resilient woman she will become?

The impishness remains intact. The brat with the wicked laugh I adore even when – especially when – I am the object of her rascal-nature. The kind of perseverance developed over a lifetime. Clinging to the cliff, against all odds, holding steadfast through the storm. This mettle must have already existed in her blueprint! And, look what life built from that blueprint! A ferocious and very kind soul. An artist.

 

HOLDING STEADFAST from the album BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about HOLDING STEADFAST

 

gate f8 website box copy

 

holding steadfast/blueprint for my soul ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 

Write The Essential [on Merely A Thought Monday]

button to button copy 2

I’m not sure what stacks up around your house. At our house, the stacks are paintings, cartoons, designs, composition notes, manuscripts, folios, notebooks of ideas, scraps of paper jammed into the notebooks of ideas, lyrics a-go-go, and the supplies necessary to make the other stacks possible. Colored pencils, brushes, too many composition books, canvas, tissue paper, paint, sketchbooks, art books, and the stacks-and-stacks of stuff teetering on the piano and bench that somehow resemble a nest.

All of this is to note that we are fantastic generators of content and equally inept marketers of what we generate. Thus, the stacks. It was this realization – and the necessity of making a living – that one year ago gave birth to the melange. Melange means ‘mixture’ or ‘medley.’

The idea was simple: Monday would be dedicated to our cartoon, Chicken Marsala. Tuesday would be dedicated to our Two Artists designs. Wednesday was Flawed Cartoon day. Thursday was for my paintings. Friday was for Kerri’s music. We created a Society6.com store for each day, set about designing 5 product lines a week (oh, god,…more content). Through our blogs we’d write about and publish the day’s selection, he-said/she-said-style. People all over the world would read what we wrote, be captivated by the cartoon, design or composition, and race to the Society6.com store to buy a print or a mug or a laptop sleeve or a greeting card. Content out, income, well…in.

And, it happened. People all over the world read our blogs. And, almost no one raced to the Society6.com stores. We studied a few things, learned a few things, reconfigured, tried a few social-media-marketing variations, bought ad space, waved our hands, jumped up and down, danced silly dances – we pivoted and pivoted again.

More readers. Less-than-no shoppers.

One day, after eight months, we looked at each other and considered pulling the plug and would have pulled the plug except for one small-yet-oh-so-important detail: we love to write together. In the course of a year, the melange managed to boil itself down to its essence. Each day Kerri writes her post. “Don’t look!” she says as I, sitting next to her,  write mine. And then, before posting, we share them. We read to each other. It’s always a surprise (though mine are predictably “heady” and hers are 100% “hearty”).

When I looked back at our first post one year ago I laughed at the irony. Love needs no words. Well, in this case, in our case, love revels in words. There are too many words for the love to contain. And, so, our stacks grow happily higher and higher and higher.

love needs no words jpeg copy

if you'd like to see more CHICKEN... copy

read Kerri’s blog post about A YEAR IN MELANGE

 

chicken and perseverance website box copy

 

chicken marsala ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Catch The Miracle [on Two Artists Tuesday]

 

Walking through Bristol Woods, Kerri stopped, pulled out her phone, stepped off the path and into the trees. I’ve learned that means she’s seeing a little miracle that I’ve missed and is on a mission to photograph it. She walks through life noticing the details while my view is generally at 30,000 feet. I often miss what is right in front of my nose.

marbled orb-weaver copyShe signaled me to join her and I saw it. The aerial acrobatics of a marbled orb-weaver. Bobbing on a single thread that stretched into the sky, climbing back to its egg cocoon. The breeze made the already difficult climb seem impossible.

I was transported back in time. Alaska. Watching salmon struggle up a waterfall. Jumping, exhausted, nearing the end of their quest to return to their source, their spawning ground.  They lay their eggs and then die. I followed them upstream, beyond the waterfall to yet another waterfall and beyond. I came to the place, the spot in the river where their lives began and would now end. I was moved to tears by their struggle.

The salmon. The marbled orb-weaver. This thing called life – nature – is gorgeous and profound.

Watching the spider I whispered to Kerri, “How does it do that?”

“Sisu.” she said.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SPIDER SISU

 

taking pix website box copy

 

spider sisu ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

See Sisu [on Merely A Thought Monday]

sisu box copy

Sisu is a unique Finnish concept. … Sisu is a special strength and persistent determination and resolve to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity…an almost magical quality, a combination of stamina, perseverance, courage, and determination held in reserve for hard times. [definition from The Sisu Group, Inc.]

Until I met Kerri, I’d never heard of Sisu. Her company is named Sisu Music Productions so I asked a lot of questions. What’s Sisu? What does it mean? She has Finnish roots so Sisu runs in her veins. Her family invokes it during difficult times. “Sisu, yes?”

When obstacles arise, Kerri gets this look in her eyes. It’s the same look her momma, Beaky, would get in the face of a challenge. It’s Sisu. I’ve learned it’s best to step aside when the Sisu tide rises. Sometimes I AM the obstacle and, believe me, there is no place to run, there’s no place to hide. No amount of resistance or self-righteousness will win the day. I have the Sisu tracks on my back to prove it. Now days, when I see the look, I simply step aside. Occasionally, self preservation and wisdom look a lot alike!

It is Sisu week at Studio Melange. A celebration of grit and determination. As I started to write this morning I made a list of the people I know who are teeming with Sisu. Chris and Janelle, 20, Horatio, Judy, Skip, Master Miller, Wendy, P-Tom, Jen and Brad, Kirsten, Heather, JimmySue, Craig, Dan,…. the list goes on and on and fills me to the brim with gratitude and awe that I get to walk life with these people.

It’s a good exercise. Focus on the Sisu that surrounds you. And then, consider putting yourself on the list. When have you drawn on your Sisu? In the face of adversity, when have you been surprised by the perseverance-spirit that arose with in you. Courage rarely feels like Hollywood defines it. Can you see it? Sisu, yes?

 

read Kerri’s blog post about SISU

 

moab edges with website copy

 

facebook logo copy 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Back On And Ride

Guess what. I'm doing it.

Guess what? I’m doing it.

It is universally true that we must fail to learn. In fact, as absolutes and paradoxes go, the single universal lesson that we must learn is that there is no such thing as failure. To unlearn is, in fact, also to learn. Everything is a step forward when failure is out of the equation. I fell off my bike more than once before I learned to balance and ride. I made some terrifically ugly colors as I learned to paint. That is the nature of learning.

Over the past decade I’ve tried more than once to produce my play, The Lost Boy. And, like learning to ride a bike, I’ve fallen off with each attempt. The latest tumble came with a failed Kickstarter attempt. Sitting on the curb, my metaphoric bike akimbo, I asked, “What is it about this play?” It will not leave me alone and yet it has been more than difficult to produce. And, as it does, the learning followed the fall. And there is nothing to be done but get back up and ride.

And, as is also true, when you decide that you are going to do something, the way opens (note: that does not mean that there are no challenges). When we didn’t meet our Kickstarter goal, I had the option to let it go forever or, I had to decide that I was going to produce this play with bake sales, lemonade stands, or any other whacky idea that would get me to opening night. This play will not leave me alone and, as I learned in the fall, I will not leave it alone. The decision was already made and I needed the failed campaign to see it.

And the way opened. The University of the Pacific decided to donate the theatre and to help with some marketing through alumni networks. I laughed when, given their generous donation, I made my new budget. The amount I need (bare bones) to get to opening night is almost identical to the amount pledged in the failed campaign. So, taking what I’ve learned, I’ve mounted a new campaign and asked the previous pledgers to pledge again. And, since I adore paradoxes and don’t really believe in absolutes, I’m passing this link out in every way possible. Nothing is for sure – except that I will do this play in February in California.

The lesson, of course, is to ask for help and ask again (something I was not good at doing in the first campaign). The other lesson is this: a play that will not let you go is worth doing and it is worth doing whatever it takes to give it life. So help me give it life. Here’s the new Kickstarter campaign. Please support it if you can by pledging or passing the link out through your networks.

I don’t mind falling off my bike again because now I know that I will simply dust myself off and get back on to ride. Join me in California in February for the world premiere of The Lost Boy.

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

Guess what. I'm doing it.

And, in case you missed it, here’s the link to the new The Lost Boy Kickstarter campaign

Hide The Horse

from my archives. This one is called 'Angels At The Well.'

from my archives. This one is called ‘Angels At The Well.’

I first learned this story prompt from Rick Stone at The Storywork Institute: I come from a people who (fill in the blank), and from them I learned (fill in the blank).

Rick’s story prompt was with me when I awoke this morning because I’ve lately been thinking about my grandma Sue. Kerri and I just started rehearsals on our Back To Center concert series and for some reason Grandma Sue has been present when we rehearse. She passed away several years ago and I adored her. She was small in body but big in spirit. Over the weekend my mother said of her mother, “She took everything in stride and adapted to whatever came her way.” Grandma Sue did not resist her lot in life, she made the most of it. She had fun. She created fun.

I’ve been rolling over and over in my mind a specific story about her that happened before my time on this planet. The shorthand goes like this: the glue factory was coming for an old horse that lived in the pasture next to her house. She knew the truck was coming so she hid the horse in her kitchen.

I grew up playing in her house. I know her kitchen. What makes the story miraculous to me is that 1) her kitchen was teeny and 2) you had to climb some stairs to get from the back door into her kitchen. This tiny woman managed to get an old horse through her back door, make a right hand turn, and climb some very narrow stairs. And then she “hid” it from the owner and the glue factory search team.

I do not doubt the truth of this story for a moment and if you knew my Grandma Sue you would not doubt it either. She was a champion for the underdog, a lover of the small moment, a believer in the extraordinary in the ordinary. She lived from her heart and not her need to make sense. What do you do if the sweet old horse next door is in imminent danger? Anything you can.

This morning, as I awoke, I was again thinking of my Grandma Sue and Rick Stone’s prompt came to me. I smiled because I come from a people who act on what they believe- against all odds. And from them I learned moxie and perseverance.

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

Or, Go here for hard copies.

Shine

656. 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 woke up this morning thinking about lights under a bushel; hiding your light. Now, I’m not really a bible guy. I think there are many paths up the mountain and the higher you go the more distinct and individual is your path – and the more universal are your revelations. The path is yours and the recognition is oneness. So, it always piques my curiosity when I have a distinct image pop into my noggin, especially in this season steeped in metaphor and with the portent of transformation.

A week ago I put out an offer for 10 free coaching sessions and was delighted when over 30 people responded. I decided to try and honor each request. I have been bah-humbug during this holiday, looking for some way to reconnect with the deeper meaning and rituals of this season; I wanted to create a ritual for myself that was truly a gift of giving and receiving. I bumbled into my ritual with these calls. Each was rich and warm and magical. Each call in one way or another was about removing the bushel from the light – these amazing brilliant, beautiful people recognizing and desiring to offer without inhibition their gift to the world. I was more than once moved to tears at the yearning and courage and simple perseverance of their impulse to life. In every case, they wanted to share their light. Think about that for a minute. Isn’t that true of you and every person you pass on the street? The impulse to offer yourself and your gifts without inhibition is at the core of each of us. As Joe once said, “Our impulse is to wholeness.” What would it take for you to remove the bushel and fully share your light? I ask myself that question, too.

I realized that the light-under-the-bushel image was actually my wish – for myself and for you. If you are hiding it is a good bet that you think you will be judged. If you are hiding it is a good bet that you think your light is not worthy. Or, perhaps you have invested in a mistaken idea of humble. In any case, why are you blunting the light? I no longer believe in angry judgmental gods (they seem particularly human to me – gods worth worshiping certainly must live beyond the fields of judgment and selection); these notions live at the heart of separation and the need to hide. My wish for us in this new era is to share our light, without inhibition or editor, to throw away the debate of worth, to know unequivocally that the whole of nature needs what you bring, how you bring it, and masking it robs us all of the magnitude of our collective brilliance. Put down the bushel. Show up for me and I promise I will show up for you.