Thursday, December 4, 2008
"Words make you think a thought.
Music makes you feel a feeling.
A song makes you feel a thought."
Today I took one of my favorite CDs to yoga class and the response from my fellow classmates reminded me that I wanted to share this music. It is a CD called "All is Forgiven" by Ashana. I love all the music on it, particularly "Loving Kindness".
You can hear extracts of songs from this CD and others at Ashana's website or go to amazon if you can't access them on Ashana's website.
Visit LK's blog for links to other bloggers and their favorite music.
I must also share a recent CD I bought called "Singing for the Soul" by Jan Phillips and the Gnostic Gospel Choir. Jan and a group of women in San Diego meet once a month to sing together and this CD is to encourage us to sing together too. Jan introduced me to the music of Ashana and has a wonderful CD of her music as well which I absolutely love called "All the Way to Heaven."
Jan starts the Singing for the Soul CD with this wonderful prayer:
O Maker of the Universe, Maker of this Earth, Maker of Souls and Maker of Songs,
We thank you for the Spirit that flows among us, through us, around us and in us.
We thank you for this circle that connects us across the distance wherever we are.
We sing out in joy and adoration trusting in the power of these songs to bring light to the darkness and healing to the wounded
Acknowledging our oneness, Grateful for our blessings, Fervent in our purpose
We offer our voices in prayer for the World.
Thank you Jan for bringing more beauty into the world.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Go to LK's blog to find more poems shared:
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"All economics, and all cultures and communities derive from distinctive assertions of value. If the values chosen reflect consumption, greed, and violence, they create a far different world than if those values derive from the sacred. E.F. Schumacher, in his path-breaking "Buddhist Economics" remarked on the characteristic kind of economics which arise from the values of Buddhism - on the role and importance of enriching work, of obtaining the maximum well-being from minimum consumption, and of the importance of non-attachment to wealth. He has shown also its effectiveness in creating successful life, culture, and tools.
Reestablishing a value base to our communities involves discovery of the real meaning of a whole range of sustainable values tied to the sacred. Austerity, for example, is important. It does not, as we might think, exclude richness or enjoyment. What it does do is help us be aware of things which distract us from our real goals in life.
When we understand austerity, we see that affluence has a great hidden cost. Its endless possibilities demand impossible commitments of time and energy. It fails to discriminate between what is wise and useful and what is merely possible. We end up foregoing things necessary for a truly satisfying life to make time and space for trivia. As we relearn the value of austerity, along with stewardship, permanence, responsibility, enoughness, work, and interdependence, we create a new and enduring kind of community."
The shades of green and play of light on this leaf are so beautiful, but often there is too much going on for me to notice things like this when I am in the garden. I am grateful to have a camera that allows me to isolate these spots of beauty and to reflect on them. I think this is the austerity that is referred to by Tom Bender - austerity that focuses us on the wonder and beauty in the simple.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Dewitt Jones is a National Geographic photographer, and his enthusiasm for the beauty around us and the call to look deeper for the meaning in the world was just what I needed as I put together a presentation on my trip to visit organizations dealing with the Aids pandemic in South Africa.
Friday, April 25, 2008
The last week of my trip was spent in an area I was unfamiliar with and it was an intense experience. My surroundings were quite different, and this is where I slept!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Eric, can you tell us what The Van Gogh Blues is about?
To say this more crisply, it seemed to me that the depression that we see in creative people was best conceptualized as existential depression, rather than as biological, psychological, or social depression. This meant that the treatment had to be existential in nature. You could medicate a depressed artist but you probably weren’t really getting at what was bothering him, namely that the meaning had leaked out of his life and that, as a result, he was just going through the motions, paralyzed by his meaning crisis.
Are you saying that whenever a creative person is depressed, we are looking at existential depression? Or might that person be depressed in “some other way”?
When you’re depressed, especially if you are severely depressed, if the depression won’t go away, or if it comes back regularly, you owe it to yourself to get a medical work-up, because the cause might be biological and antidepressants might prove valuable. You also owe it to yourself to do some psychological work (hopefully with a sensible, talented, and effective therapist), as there may be psychological issues at play. But you ALSO owe it to yourself to explore whether the depression might be existential in nature and to see if your “treatment plan” should revolve around some key existential actions like reaffirming that your efforts matter and reinvesting meaning in your art and your life.
So you’re saying that a person who decides, for whatever reason, that she is going to be a “meaning maker,” is more likely to get depressed by virtue of that very decision. In addition to telling herself that she matters and that her creative work matters, what else should she do to “keep meaning afloat” in her life? What else helps?
I think it is a great help just to have a “vocabulary of meaning” and to have language to use so that you know what is going on in your life. If you can’t accurately name a thing, it is very hard to think about that thing. That’s why I present a whole vocabulary of meaning in The Van Gogh Blues and introduce ideas and phrases like “meaning effort,” “meaning drain,” “meaning container,” and many others. When we get a rejection letter, we want to be able to say, “Oh, this is a meaning threat to my life as a novelist” and instantly reinvest meaning in our decision to write novels, because if we don’t think that way and speak that way, it is terribly easy to let that rejection letter precipitate a meaning crisis and get us seriously blue. By reminding ourselves that is our job not only to make meaning but also to maintain meaning when it is threatened, we get in the habit of remembering that we and we alone are in charge of keeping meaning afloat—no one else will do that for us. Having a vocabulary of meaning available to talk about these matters is a crucial part of the process.
This is the paperback version of The Van Gogh Blues, How was the hardback version received?
The reviewer for the Midwest Book Review called The Van Gogh Blues “a mind-blowingly wonderful book.” The reviewer for Library Journal wrote, "Maisel persuasively argues that creative individuals measure their happiness and success by how much meaning they create in their work.” I’ve received countless emails from artists all over the world thanking me for identifying their “brand” of depression and for providing them with a clear and complete program for dealing with that depression. I hope that the paperback version will reach even more creative folks—and the people who care about them.
How does The Van Gogh Blues tie in with other books that you’ve written?
I’m interested in everything that makes a creative person creative and I’m also interested in every challenge that we creative people face. I believe that we have special anxiety issues and I spelled those out in Fearless Creating. I believe that we have a special relationship to addiction (and addictive tendencies) and with Dr. Susan Raeburn, an addiction professional, I’ve just finished a book called Creative Recovery, which spells out the first complete recovery program for creative people. That’ll appear from Shambhala late in 2008. I’m fascinated by our special relationship to obsessions and compulsions and am currently working on a book about that. Everything that we are and do interests me—that’s my “meaning agenda”!
What might a person interested in these issues do to keep abreast of your work?
They might subscribe to my two podcast shows, The Joy of Living Creatively and Your Purpose-Centered Life, both on the Personal Life Media Network. You can find a show list for The Joy of Living Creatively here and one for Your Purpose-Centered Life here. They might also follow this tour, since each host on the tour will be asking his or her own special questions. Here is the complete tour schedule. If they are writers, they might be interested in my new book, A Writer’s Space, which appears this spring and in which I look at many existential issues in the lives of writers. They might also want to subscribe to my free newsletter, in which I preview a lot of the material that ends up in my books (and also keep folks abreast of my workshops and trainings). But of the course the most important thing is that they get their hands on The Van Gogh Blues!—since it is really likely to help them.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
According to the book "Earth, Water, Fire & Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit" by Cait Johnson, "The root of human spirituality is grounded in four elements - earth, water, fire and air .... When we explore and savor and interact with these elements, we are both remembering a primal connection and forging it anew." This book has been like that for me. I am grateful to all the photographers who have contributed their images to make these books and for the carefully chosen quotes which add wisdom to the beautiful images.
The next book our photo art journals group is doing is called "Have a Heart" and is a collection of photographs of hearts we have found in nature or elsewhere. I plan to use the photo I took of the heart in the book pages for the cover of the heart book.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
This beautiful Barred Owl lived in our chimney for about a week. I thought I heard noises in the chimney but wasn't sure if I was imagining things. My husband was away so I wasn't brave enough to stick my head up the chimney. On his return I asked him to check and he saw these two big eyes looking back at him. We called the Carolina Raptor Center and they came and rescued him. He was in great condition considering how long he had been there.
I've been wondering what message he was bringing me?
The magazine will be coming out four times a year, so I need to get my camera out an take more photographs! I will have a wonderful opportunity to do this in March and April as I will be traveling to South Africa to visit three organizations that care for Aids orphans.