Last week, I was the grateful recipient of a bestselling author’s lavish generosity. A bit of back story is in order: My screenwriting co-author and I have been working on a project for several years now. As part of our research, we contacted a top expert on the life of one of our key characters. “Expert” is an understatement.
He is the leading authority on the subject matter who wrote an international bestseller. His research was meticulous. His travel extensive. His fame worldwide. His storytelling precise and compelling. Nobody knows more about our character than this guy.
You’re probably wondering, “Ok already, who is it?” I won’t mention his name because name-dropping irritates me. I will like you for who you are. Not for who you know. (A simple way for us to be generous to one another.) It’s enough to say this guy is a true professional; a researcher and writer with many book awards. His work speaks for itself…
Leap into your creative fears… the world needs your gift of beauty.
When was the last time you actually leaped into your fears? Like a cliff diver standing on the edge of a cliff with the water far below, when was the last time you really went for it by jumping with abandon?
Today you have the choice to embrace your God-given creativity or allow the fear of failure to paralyze you from fulfilling your creative calling. The world needs your gift of beauty. Don’t allow fear to knock you sideways into that deep ditch of procrastination, regret and self-loathing. You have fear because you’re human. Don’t make fear your enemy. Use it. Leverage it as a force for good. Leap into your creative fears and see what happens. You might be surprised at what you discover…
Cultivating gratitude is a sure path to happiness.
If you’re in search of greater happiness, cultivating gratitude is a sure way to immediately change how you view yourself, your life and your circumstances. In my conversations with artists and people who want to bring greater beauty, meaning and purpose into their lives, a key question I often ask is, “How are you cultivating gratitude in your life?” It’s a question that often turns heads because it’s not what they expect to hear. And that’s just the point.
Cultivating gratitude is so subtle, it’s easily missed. Practicing gratitude is one the most important spiritual practices I can think of to radically transform how you view your immediate circumstances. Cultivating gratitude really works and here’s why…
Are you stumped? You have more options than you think you do.
Yesterday was Labor Day and I exerted my best to put the word ‘labor’ into the day. It was a national holiday, but no picnic in my backyard. After 19 years in the same home, we’re finally making some changes to the backyard. Thanks to the California drought, we’re swapping out half of our dog-destroyed back lawn for decomposed granite and patio stone work. On a small side slope next to my neighbor’s backyard, I’m moving my favorite plumeria trees by taking the larger ones out of terracotta pots and plunking them down on the slope.
But to make room for beauty, I first needed to get rid of a large, ugly tree stump. The thing had been lurking there for years in the corner, hidden by newly-removed bushes. Not causing anyone pain or harm. Yet. Submerged in the dirt, it was an arborist’s nightmare waiting to take out some-overconfident sop like me.
If you want to take a journey to extraordinary, take a moment to watch this inspiring video about the generosity of one person impacting the life of double-amputee Ironman triathlete, Scott Rigsby. The power of generosity and the amazing stories that flow from it can truly lead you on a journey to extraordinary. How? There is something about generosity that causes a seismic shift in people and the difficult circumstances they face. Generosity inspires hope, courage, and perseverance.
Crickets. That’s all you’ve been hearing lately from me. The crickets started cricketing last summer and they’ve been buzzing for quite a few months now. (My last post, Great Power and Beauty Await You, was way, way back in July…cricket season!) For me, it’s been a question of focus. A question of focus with my art, life, faith and creativity. I’ve simply been focused on larger projects requiring greater time, energy, faith and focus than ever before. I know many of you will benefit from them, but since many of you have been long and loyal friends to this Art, Life & Faith blog, I am sorry for my silence. It really has been a question of focus… of where I believe God has uniquely made me to make my best contribution. I’m also learning a lot about my limitations. What I can and can’t do. And the reality that I can’t do it all.
Jeff Walker, a favorite author and market strategist I follow, recently wrote about focus in his book Launch. “Your most scarce resource is focus, ” Walker writes… and here’s why!
Are you a flourishing artist? Or do you feel discouraged and overwhelmed like you’re floundering? Whether you’re flourishing, floundering or somewhere in between, I’d like to invite you to listen to this free webinar, 5 Secrets of Flourishing Artists. As a writer for over twenty years, I’ve certainly gone through seasons where I feel like I’m floundering. There are days when it seems like I can’t get traction for where I want to go. And if it’s not my writing or film projects, it could be my spiritual life. Or key relationships with my family and friends. Can you relate?
Discovering what it means to flourish as an artist can be an elusive journey, but I am convinced it’s not out of our grasp. Jesus did come to give us life and life abundantly in the here and now. As we find our life in Him, I believe there’s great overflow — a flourishing, you might say — that pours into our art, life and faith. So with this is mind, a couple artist friends of mine in our Grove community and I hosted this free webinar through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media. The response we received to our 5 Secrets webinar was overwhelming! Read on…
Last year I wrote a blog post titled, “7 HARD Questions for Every Artist.” The post was designed to help all of us cultivate a more beautiful life. I don’t know about you, but the EASY questions never do much for me. Easy questions keep me in my comfort zones, never pushing or prodding me forward. Easy questions don’t lead to the thriving life I long for…
Since then, this 7 Questions post has become one of my most popular posts, so I decided to turn it into a short ebook as a tool to help artists, creative teams, worship teams and leaders of art retreats. Even if you’re not an artist, I think you will find it helpful. This free PDF workbook has fillable form fields to write your responses to each question. Or you can just print it off to take to your favorite park or lake.
After editing the 7 Questions and adding a bit more content, I hope this ebook helps you cultivate a more beautiful life. If you like it, feel free to share it with your friends. I’m making it available as one of many free resources we provide through The Grove Center for the Arts & Media.
Take some time alone with God or a few friends to talk through these 7 Questions. I’d love to hear what you learn and discover along the way.
Answering these questions my seriously improve the quality of your art and life!
Think of all your mountain-top successes and face-grinding failures. Your valiant victories and deadening defeats. Your golden trophies and locker-room second-guessing. All those wonderful wins and heart-breaking losses.
Before you take too much credit and get swollen with pride or stand on your toes, pointing your finger, blaming everyone in sight, just remember this: For every swig from your victor’s cup, someone, somewhere helped you cross your finish line.
I am honored to count Scott Johnson as a friend. He’s the one with arms raised, celebrating Army Ranger, double-amputee Cedric King’s finish of this year’s 2014 Boston Marathon. After Cedric lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afganistan, he could have called it quits. For good. But even with prosthetic limbs, he didn’t stop walking or running. Yes, that’s Cedric King kissing the finish line after thousands of Boston Strong spectators cheered him the final 500 yards. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
If you’re facing trouble, relationship conflicts, struggles and pain that could deepen your character, let me ask you a simple question: Are you backing down from trouble? Are you afraid to show trouble who you really are? Have you, somehow, bought into the lie that creating a beautiful life would be easy? That you would never be opposed? That conflict would never involve hard work to reach for creative solutions?
A friend of mine recently shared Hello Trouble, a great Gerber knife video with me and as you go into this weekend… (more…)