Monday, February 24, 2014

20 Years of Making a Difference? Really?

20 Years of Making a Difference? Really?

"Are you an artist?"

The questions came to me from a forgotten history.

As I was enjoying an exhibit of abstract art yesterday, I found myself talking to one of the artists, who knew me "way back." She was describing the teaching abilities of my mother who had conducted workshops on abstract art that Kelly had attended a few months prior. This exhibit was the resulting work of her students. Kelly's new abstract pieces were quite good, and she had nothing but great things to say about Mom's workshop.

Kelly was telling me about a moment in the workshop, though, that brought history and the present together in unexpected ways.

As my Mom, Fran Watson, was talking to someone about her son, Larry, who is a  ceramic artist, Kelly made the decades-wide connection.

She announced to Fran, "I know Larry, he conducted a workshop 20 years ago called "The Business of Art." She went on, "The first thing he did was ask, 'How many of you call yourself an artist?' Out of about 30 people, only three raised their hands."

She continued, "Larry said that this was the first thing that would have to change in order to find any success. He said, 'You have to look in the mirror and say "I am an artist." And then you must be clear when you say it to others. Then you will be able to succeed.'"

Kelly went on; "And that's what I learned to do. The first 10 days I tried looking in the mirror and I couldn't say it. I just looked in the mirror and cried. But eventually I was able to say it in the mirror, and then say it out loud to other people. It changed my life."

Wow. So affirming to know that my path to now is not so recent, but a culmination of my life. Making a difference; it's what I live for.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How To Get Younger

Would you like to get younger? It's really quite simple. (But simple does not mean easy!) 

My dog keeps getting younger. But he doesn’t know it.

Last year I read a web site that listed causes and remedies for dog skin rashes and hair loss, which had been a serious, perennial problem for Rudy for several years. The vet was grasping at straws to find a solution. But it seems that the level of protein in a dog’s diet can have an effect on skin health, and in Rudy’s case, it was  a profound effect. Upon a simple change in protein intake, all skin problems were permanently eliminated. 

And there was an added bonus; a regression to a more youthful Rudy! For the first time in years, he began to run, not merely trot. He began searching  out his long-neglected toys, tossing them in the air to tempt me into play. He chased me in the yard, running back and forth, barking, then stopping in smiling content.

But he did not recognize his renewed mobility enough to see if it affected his ability to jump up on the furniture or into the car’s back seat. For the past few years, he would pause at the open car door  and wait for me to assist his caboose into the seat. One day on the way to a walk in the park, Rudy bounded into the seat without any help. Apparently his memory had slipped, and didn’t know that it wasn’t impossible anymore.

 What if you didn’[t know it was impossible? What if you re-calibrated your perception of limits? What if you checked in to see if maybe you were able to do more than you previously found possible, even feasible? 

What if your thoughts about limits were wrong all along? How many times have we found ourselves continuing a tradition without knowing it’s origin or meaning? Sometimes those traditions were habits of dysfunction; belief systems (B.S.) that create imaginary handicaps.

What if you could jump WAAAYY higher than you had previously thought? Sometimes, it takes an outside observer to help us take the leap. That’s one of  the best parts of my job. 

Take a leap into your future. Find out if the old rules just no longer apply. You can live Way Beyond Surviving. Live the Life you Love.