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August 17th - Own It

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"To live fully,
outwardly and inwardly,
not to ignore external reality 
for the sake of the inner life,
or the reverse 
- that's quite a task."



Today Sarah tells us about her first book that was published,
and it's all about Mrs. Sharp


Start Quote
To my way of thinking, 
Mrs. Sharp was everything I CLEARLY was not:

serene, incurably optimistic, and deeply spiritual.


Her life was harmonious
because she successfully managed the 
delicate balance of living in the world 
yet remaining apart from it.

with a deep appreciation of the past
an enriched sense of the present
and a joyous anticipation of the future. 

reflecting in its beauty, order, comfortand good taste 
her authentic style. 

She was a compassionate confidante and true friend,
 who empathized, encouraged, and inspired. 


I absolutely ADORED Mrs. Sharp...






How could I claim to be 
this extraordinary woman's alter ego?...




By distancing myself from the creation of the book, 
I became unable to bask in the accomplishment 
of bringing it into the world...

I accepted compliments, praise, 
even gratitude for having written it...

Having achieved a long-sought goal, 
I wondered why I felt so empty, unfulfilled, and confused...





[My sister] said gently but firmly...
"Stop referring to Mrs. Sharp as if she's a separate person.

You're Mrs. Sharp, even if you don't believe it.

She is who you are deep within.

You have got to start owning your talent
or you'll lose it."



[She] believed the source of my discontent was that 
I was refusing to accept responsibility for my talent. 


I wouldn't "own" my talent, as in "claim it."

Nor would I "own up," as in "admit to," 
the truth that I was an artist...



I had bludgeoned my true identiy as an artist 
with the blunt instrument of disbelief, 
then buried my authentic self with denial. 




But WHY didn't I own my talent?...




Perhaps it was because IF I failed
I would have to own any failure as much as any success, 
and I didn't want to "fail better" anymore. 

I wanted to live a creative life 
and I thought my creativity could only be owned 
if the world acknowledged that I possessed it...


Having accepted the Great Creator's assignment and run with it, 
I had both the right and obligation to own
- and to share -
the work that resulted.
End Quote








It has taken me a long time to own my talents.

Goodness knows I've worked hard enough to develop them.

To say "Thank You" 
and mean it.

To be happy with what I've done, 
with God...




Go on, own it. 
You know you want to.










***
Gratitude Journal
***

1) Good books. 

2) The dentist was over with quickly. And I just got to sit there and stare at the sun rising for awhile, that was pretty awesome.

3) Robbie brought home dinner because I had such a bad day I didn't want to cook.

4) Robbie was treated very poorly at work today, and he handled it brilliantly. Fighting meanness and rudeness with kindness and bluntness and professionalism. He's awesome. 

5) Helping others. 

August 16th - Original vs Authentic

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In high school we had a Musicianship class every year.

One year, I don't remember which, 
we had to compose a song in the style 
of the musical period we were studying.

I remember loving mine, 
I thought it was the greatest thing ever.
I think it was the first thing I had ever composed.

And everyone said it sounded like 


Well, I didn't think so...


That's when I learned that
it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

And I'll probably have to keep relearning that lesson
until the day I die.
But don't we all?

I also learned that I was really good
at taking other people's ideas
and making them into my own.

And that's okay.

Because it's me.



Start Quote
One of the reasons many of us have trouble 
getting our Work out into the world
is that unconsciously we're 
competing instead of creating,
which always short-circuits the flow of inspiration...


Why do we make ourselves sick competing against strangers?

I believe it's just another sophisticated,
seditious form of self-sabotage.


If we don't measure up, why even try?



The fault line of comparison runs so deep
 in the lives of many of us
it's heartbreaking. 




I know women who quake at the thought of school bake sales 
because their brownies don't sell as fast as those of another mother, 
and the psychic phobia over Halloween costumes 
is the last frontier in feminine psychology.




Five years ago when I published my first book,
which updated Victorian family traditions,
there were few popular books on the Victorian era available.

But the late nineteenth century was just about to be rediscovered, 
and within two years there were so many books in the stores the market was completely saturated...

This doesn't mean if you are writing 
[a book about the Victorian era] 
that you should stop.




The cycle of creation is cyclical.
There's a reason the past is a prologue.



Sometimes you're ahead of your time.
Mozart was known to qualify his genius 
by declaring he was composing for future generations. 





There are literally millions of aspiring and working artists...


Don't panic.

It is impossible for you to be an original.

But you can be authentic...


Once you accept an artistic assignment from the Great Creator
it's yours.

Nobody can take it away from you, 
unless, of course, 
you relinquish it.

Nobody can duplicate your work 
because there's no one in the world like you.

They can imitate, but they can't duplicate.

Your work is born of your 
sensibilities, temperament, experience, emotion, passion, 
perseverance, attention to detail, idiosyncrasies, and eccentricities.

When you're authentic, so is your art.
End Quote 













***
Gratitude Journal
***

1) The Zoo. We have a great zoo, only 20 minutes away! If you don't have a membership, you should. Watching the animals, and watching the kids watch the animals, is so cool.

2) Ideas. I think you guys know that I've been working on Danny Boy, it's been so helpful in my grieving process. I keep having this idea every time I listen to it that I want to make a music video. I have this mini movie running through my head every time I listen to it, and I hope I can turn it into real life. But even if it never comes true, I'm at least glad I had the idea. The video is beautiful, I hope one day you'll get to see it.

3) Robbie and his dad worked on my piano keys! By the end of the week my piano should be put back together! I'm so excited!!!

4) Robbie's parents do a lot of thrifting, and so we often get to reap the benefits of their treasure finds. Tonight was a backpack for Jacob. Thank you Grandma and Papa! 

5) I hate the dentist. I really don't want to go tomorrow. But I'm very grateful that I only have one cavity...last time I had 4 and had to make two trips. I can handle one trip and one cavity.

August 15th - Ignorance And Failure

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.


But only sometimes, and for very good reasons.



Sarah shares some great stuff today.

"Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities."


Start Quote
Trust me,
you don't want to know.

Ignorance is a protective blessing...

[Do you really want to know all the bad things 
that are going to happen to your art? 
Do you really want to know all the people 
that aren't going to like it and what they'll say?]

I don't think so.

"Ever tried?
Ever failed?
No matter...

Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better."


[Would you change your art if you knew?]
If you knew that failure always precedes success?




Failure is a crucial part of the creative process.

Authentic success arrives only after 
we have mastered failing better.






Other things we don't need to know:
just how much we've taken on 
when we accepted the artistic assignment.


"I must frankly own, that if I had known, beforehand,
that this book would have cost me the labour which it has,
I should never have been courageous enough to commence it,"
Isabella Beeton confessed about her 
Book of Household Managementwritten in 1861 
- a book that has yet to go out of print.



There's a reason Isabella Beeton was kept in the dark, 
as we all are when creating.

If we ever had an inkling of 
the intense labor required 
to bring the Work into the world, 
we'd be out of here...




We're not supposed to see too far ahead.
We're not supposed to know...

All we need to know is that the Spirit knows what we don't. 

If we get out of the way, we'll be shown the next step...
End Quote





It's funny how things just kind of come together in this life. 

Last night in therapy we talked about failure.
She quoted an ancient philosopher, 
I can't remember his name or if this is the exact quote,
but it goes a little something like this.

"You'll only fail if you breathe."

In other words, we are always going to fail.

As Shelby said, 
"Life is not so much what happens to us
but how we deal with what happens to us."

Failure is a part of life.

Accept it, appreciate it, learn from it, and move on.

Grow from it.
Don't let it consume you.





***
Gratitude Journal
***

1) A lazy day. After a very busy day yesterday, it was nice to relax, watch movies, play with the kids, stay home...Nothing pressing, nothing having to be done, except to be.

2) Good movies. There's a lot of crap out there, but there is also a lot of good stuff too. Like Star Wars.

3) Every day brings me closer to Jacob going to school, and potty training the twins. It's all happening on Monday, I'm so excited and so nervous. One day down, five to go.

4) Cool days and nights. The AC didn't turn on at all today. Yes, 90 something degrees is cool to me. I love it. And the whole house fan is broken :( so I'm especially grateful that it's so cool outside.

5) Cooking dinner. That's like 4 nights in a row, it's very exciting. Also, I'm grateful for power, and appliances, like the stove and the refrigerator. Whoever invented them, and then made them affordable, thank you.

6) The dragonfly that came and landed on my green onion patch while I did the dishes, stayed awhile like we were having a conversation. So beautiful.


August 14th - Courage To Create

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sarah's got some really good stuff today.

Here goes. 




Start Quote
Perhaps one of the reasons we fear 
excavating our authentic selves
or encountering the inner artist 
is because creativity seems too risky.

 

We hear the word
"artist"
and we associate the calling with 
dramatic, self-inflicted doom...

[Smash anyone? Marilyn Monroe?]

The number of suffering souls 
sacrificed on the altar of art by self-abasement
goes a long way toward explaining why many women,
especially with children,
hesitate to call themselves artists.

It's safer to dabble...

Creating costs too much
especially if you believe creating 
only comes by the crucifixion technique.




Why should this be so?...




"Write the truest sentence you know," 
Ernest Hemingway encourages the writer in you.
Paint the truest image you can render.
Wait all day with camera poised to capture 
the five-second sliver of light.
Express the rage and range of raw emotion through your dialogue.
Convey passion's power with the curve of your dancer's body
 honed through discipline and denial.
Set the angel free when you carve.
Make the heavens weep when you compose.



But in order to be true to a creative work,
the artist must journey to the center of the self. 



Past the conscious sentries in the brain,
beyond the barbed wire barricades of the heart, 
into the trenches of "truth or dare."


You can't write a true sentence 
or live authentically
if you don't trust yourself. 

You can't trust yourself without courage...




"How...do you prepare yourself,
all alone,
to enter an extraordinary state 
on an ordinary morning?"...
-Annie Dillard




Day in, day out.

By not judging how it's going.

If it's going at all, 
that's enough.

You can't afford to think about 
how the work will be received when you're finished.

That's not your job...

Our job, then, is just to do it. 

It can't be published, produced, performed, 
or purchased if it doesn't exist.





Consider this: 
what if the woman who wrestles with God 
but doesn't live to tell the tale 
is the one who refuses to create 
- a work of art, an authentic life? 

What if the fatal wound, 
the one from which we never recover, 
is regret?





Today...dare yourself to believe in your creativity, 
wherever it may lead you. 

Trust that where it leads is exactly where you're supposed to be. 

The word courage comes from the 
French word for the heart, coeur. 

Your authentic self knows where you're headed. 

Don't wrestle with Spirit. 
Collaborate with It. 
End Quote 







Have courage.








***
Gratitude Journal
***

1) Therapy. Listen to this, this is awesome.

2) The sunset was gorgeous.

3) Being heck of productive. So productive, that we pass out on the couch before dinner.


4) Being able to go to Costco by myself because my friend took the kids for an hour. So awesome.

5) Feeling and looking fabulous, just because, and documenting it. 








August 13th - Tune In

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Today Sarah quotes Julia Cameron
who wrote a book called 





"Become willing to see the hand of God
and accept it as a friend's offer to help you
with what you are doing...


[Please don't be mistaken...
God doesn't work like a genie
 who grants you magic wishes...]



Many of us wish we were more creative.

Many of us sense we are creative, 
but [are] unable to effectively tap that creativity.

Our dreams elude us.

Our lives feel somehow flat.

Often, we have great ideas, wonderful dreams, 
but are unable to actualize them for ourselves...

We hunger for what might be called creative living
- an expanded sense of creativity in our business lives, 
in sharing with our children, our spouse, our friends."
-Julia Cameron





Start Quote
Many of us have unconsciously erected 
seemingly insurmountable barriers 
to protect ourselves from failing or succeeding. 


We may think we're protecting ourselves 
by ignoring or denying our creative impulses, 
but really all we're doing is burying our authentic selves alive.



As you slowly learn to remove the rubble 
of the opinions and judgments of others 
(including your own internal censor) 


and exchange a limiting, toxic interpretation 
of a miserly, mean-spirited God 


for what Julia calls the 'good, orderly direction" 
of a loving and supportive Great Creator


not only will you encounter the inner artist, 
but you'll come to respect your art 
as a personal form of worship.





"Once you accept that it is natural to create,
you can begin to accept a second idea
- that the Creator will hand you whatever you need for the project...

The minute you are willing to accept the help of this collaborator,
you will see useful bits of help everywhere in your life.

Be alert..."
-Julia Cameron




[What should we be alert for?]

Spirit speaks to you constantly throughout the day.
You may experience a hunch, 
perk up at the suggestion of a friend, 
or follow an urge to try something new on a whim.

Train your heart to listen.

Today, adjust your spiritual satellite. 

Tune in...
End Quote



For example.

I wanted to do this blog. 
I had no idea where I was going to find the time to do it, 
but gosh darn it I wanted to do it,
so I did.

And what do you know,
I've made the time.
And the world hasn't ended.
If anything, the world is better,
even if the house is a little dirtier. 

All because I had this great idea
that sounded absolutely crazy,
and absolutely wonderful...
and I'm doing it.







***
Gratitude Journal
***

1) We have a Sunday morning tradition, at least this year since church isn't until 1pm...6 o'clock comes mighty early, so I put a movie on and give them cheerios and milk on the couch while Robbie sleeps in. This morning we cuddled. I laid on the fluffy carpet to spoon Indy, then she moved and Jacob took her place. He laid right next to me, so close I was breathing in the scent of his hair. Chase laid beside him, and so my arm laid on Jacob so I could hold Chase's hand. Riley came and laid on my legs, and Indy came and laid back to back with me. It was so special, and wonderful...I never want to forget that moment. 

2) Being okay. I took a nap before church, and I woke up way too late. I needed to shower and get ready, the kids still needed to get ready, we all still needed to eat etc etc. We ended up missing the Sacrament and arrived about half way through the meeting. But it was okay. I didn't freak out, I didn't have any negative thoughts, I just accepted the reality that I put myself in this situation (I didn't take a shower the night before, and I took a nap without setting an alarm) and it was going to be okay. I'll try to be more organized about getting to church on time next week. 

3) Hoarders. I love this show. Every time I watch it I start throwing things away!

4) Incentives. 

5) Spending time with the kids. After dinner we just played. We built a tunnel out of mega blocks, raced cars down a race track, threw a ball around, and wrestled with dad. It's good stuff, playing with kids. 

*Here's a funny...I walked into Riley's room to get something, and Chase is laying on the ground, Riley is holding his head, and Jacob is standing above him with a spear made out of mega blocks about ready to skewer him...and they all just look at me and stare as I walk in, like what they were doing was totally normal. The funny things that happen through a day with toddlers.

 
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