Adventures AWAKE

A pithy little blog encouraging creative adventures of the Christian spirit

Dance like nobody’s watching August 31, 2009

Gillian Lynne

Recently, I heard creative guru Ken Robinson tell the story of Gillian Lynne. Gillian is choreographer of the Broadway hit Cats, which ran 21 years in London’s West End and 18 years on Broadway. She also directed and choreographed Phantom of the Opera. Impressive. But when she was a little girl, Gillian was a not so impressive — o.k., frankly a horrid — student. Her school thought she had a terrible learning problem and she couldn’t quit fidgeting. So her parents took her to see a specialist; hoping to figure out what could be done. After listening to Gillian’s mother voice her concerns, the man told Gillian that he wanted to speak to her mother alone for a few minutes in the other room. As they left his office, the specialist turned on the radio and — just outside the door — told her mom to turn around and watch. As soon as they left the room the girl was on her feet swaying to the music. The specialist said to Gillian’s mother, “Your daughter’s not sick…she’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.” So she did. And, there the girl met others who, by her account, were just like her: they needed to move to think.

Gillian went on to become a gifted dance soloist, graduate from the Royal Ballet, open her own school and eventually meet Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of the two mega-hit Broadway shows which she collaborated on. All it took was someone looking and really seeing her for who she was — for what was inside trying to wiggle its way out. And once that someone saw, once the people around her believed in her potential —  Gillian’s creative capacity was unleashed. Her future was cast as she entered the dance studio. (I imagine somewhere deep in her creative spirit came a huge sense of “at last!“) But what if the specialist had gone along with the school, labeled her a problem, medicated her and left it at that?

Because it gives others a glimpse at our souls, sharing our creativity is risky. Mark Twain said: “Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like its heaven on earth.”  It was only when Gillian danced — thinking no one was watching — that she was freed to choreograph her future. It must have been heaven.

In Jeremiah 1:1-9, God tells Jeremiah that  He knew him before he was born and has set him apart to do great things. In that way, we are all like Jeremiah. Even he had excuses, but God would hear nothing of them! Like Gillian Lynne, we all have a dance inside us, too. And God has set the stage; our lives are a working production — choreographed to engage our unique combination of abilities. We have to show up, work hard, discipline ourselves to develop into our gifts but no one else can handle your part and you won’t be satisfied until you join in.

Your creativity is important…life-giving! Stop making excuses and enjoy the joy of your God-given talents.

 

Want an adventure?  Think about it: How has your creativity gone unrecognized, misunderstood or resisted (by you or by others)? How have you been labeled — or perhaps, labeled yourself? What excuses have you made? Why? Who do you know who needs to embrace their gifting? How can you encourage both of you to “join in the dance”?

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Creative Resistance August 26, 2009

One night I was layin’ down,palate

I heard Papa talkin’ to Mama.

I heard Papa say, to let that boy boogie-woogie.

Cause it’s in him and it’s got to come out.

~ John Lee Hooker, “Boogie Chillen”

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.

~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

 

Want an adventure?  The Holy Spirit is genius!!! Think about it: How has your spirit been deformed by resistance to God’s endowed gifts in your life and the Spirit’s guidance of that calling? The opposite of resistance is acceptance. Enjoy the freedom and fun of operating from the center of who you were made to be! Take some time to acknowledge your gratitude for the opportunities that this opens up to you.

P.S. To embrace your genius, read Pressfield’s book. A kick in the creative butt for those of us who need it.

 

Look. See? August 22, 2009

Filed under: Creative Christian Adventures & Encouragement,love,Nature — Amy Pierson @ 8:14 am

Yesterday was a banner day in the “I am loved” category…or maybe I should say it was a note in the margin. No big banners, really, just a lot of sweet reminders. Like when I was doing the dishes after sending my kids scrambling out the door for Friday night fun, I look over and right there in the dish soap bubbles was a perfectly formed little heart. I blasted the pot with the sprayer mere seconds before thinking, “I should have taken a picture of that.” Sweet.

A little later, Bill and I took our wanna-be rugged Labrador out for a sunset hike on the bluffs not far from our home. It was a perfect, end-of-summer evening; not too hot, not too cold and the sky was glorious with striking values of  purple mountain-y haze set off by the fiery peach glow of sunset. As we climbed up the back of the ridge, I looked down and just to the side of the trail was a little heart-shaped rock about the size of my palm. For a split second, I thought about picking it up and then pressed past the stone, not even mentioning it.

Sometimes, saying something out loud ruins the moment.

I was pondering the sweet touch from God;  solid symbol of what I walk by daily — too often without noticing.  And in this instant, I remembered the soap bubble too. My heart was full. My eyes were alert. I was present to the fondness of God.

 

heart rock

 

Want an adventure? Look. See? (Ponder).

At times like these, Jesus seems to crack my consciousness — pry open my eyes — just enough that I am able to pay attention to the big message in these little things. How can you be more present to God today? Matthew 9:27-31.

 

A servantless American blogger August 20, 2009

Filed under: Art,Journey — Amy Pierson @ 7:29 am
Tags: , , , ,

I used to blog often. Fairly regularly. It was fun. It was fresh. The ideas seemed to flow. But lately it seems the pressure is a tad overwhelming. To be clever enough to earn someone’s reading time…whew! And, without interaction with readers, it’s tough to tell whether or not I’m hitting the mark. Sending words out into space not really being sure if they’re ever read is like the feeling you get when talking to someone who is terribly distracted. Occasionally, you’ll get a grunt of acknowledgement through a comment or two but generally it’s a one way, unspectacular conversation. It’s a lonely blog world.

If you’ve seen the movie Julie & Julia, the scene where Julie has a meltdown and lies snivelling on the floor with her stuffed chicken wondering if she’s making a difference…that would be me. (OK…I’m not snivelling but I am earnestlywondering). I began this blog on the premise that we are all creative and God speaks to each of us in a uniquely creative voice. I am committed to the message! I want to encourage both of us to pay attention to Him — to hear, see, taste, touch and smell the God who regularly prompts us to engage in the conversation.

In my art and in my writing — any creative endeavor, really — I depend on His voice to breathe life into the process. As I blog, I realize that quite likely I am the “someone who is terribly distracted” when God is speaking. If the ideas are drying up and the motivation appearing to wane, it seems logical that it is precisely because of my inattentiveness and underestimation of my value in the conversation.Julie blogging

 

Want an adventure? Spend some time engaged with the voice of God. Tell me how God has been speaking to you lately. In art? — show me the work. In nature? — send me a snapshot. In literature? — share the title. In film? — give me your review.

 

Not far from the tree August 10, 2009

acornTo be an acorn is to have a taste for being an oak tree

~ Thomas Merton

 

Want an adventure? Think like an acorn. (Yep. That’s a little nutty). What is it you have a taste to become? Ask God to shape your life for the end you are living toward.

 

The Breath and breeze August 6, 2009

I’ve been in the mountains this week, enjoying the annual regatta that my family has participated in for generations. The winds on this crazy lake have confounded sailors the world over — as 5 valleys meet over its unpredictable waters. Some days there is absolutely nothing blowing;  exasperating skippers and boring their crews. Races get cancelled and a lot of preparation ends up being nothing but a tiresome drill. Other days the storms can blow in ferociously and quick — leaving few afloat on the glacially cold waters. This year, however, the winds seem unusually predictable.

fleet%20escowHave you ever had the experience of being a part of something it seemed that God just breathed upon? — every bit of its inception and unfolding seemed favored, free and came with the blessing of ease? I have. Virtually every time, these experiences are enhanced by the creative synergy of like-minded people who share the passion for a vision. They prayerfully follow that vision through to reality. Participating in this kind of thing is both a blessing and a breeze. The level of joy behind these undertakings is so rich. The activity surrounding them — electric! And, the fulfillment transcends anything I can actually put words to.

Then on the other hand, there are times it seems God is holding His breath — just waiting to see if I’ll wait for the wind of His Spirit to move me; realizing that no good thing  happens without the breeze of His breath upon it. Oh, how I wish I were the wind.

But — I frequently remind myself — I am not.

Genesis 1:2 “The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” All of scripture, but especially Genesis, affirms God’s unique ability to create. From the moment he conceived of air and water being separated, His plan was to fill our lungs with His breath of spiritual life. (Genesis1:6-8; 2:7). We have a place in creation, an integral and intimate space in His plan — and yet it is vitally important to remember that it is all about Him. It is for His glory. It is that He be made known across the waters and throughout all the earth. He is artisan-captain-physician-strategist-scientist-organizational genius. And it is His plans that are breathed upon.

So, which way is the wind blowing for you today? As someone once said, “The winds of God are always blowing, but you must set the sails.”

 

Want an adventure? Put a finger up to check the direction of wind of God in your life. Telltales don’t lie. Where is it coming from? — Where is it going? Is anything blocking its path? Prayerfully set your sails and chart a course for victory.

 

Vakayshun August 3, 2009

Filed under: Creative Christian Adventures & Encouragement — Amy Pierson @ 1:46 pm

vaycaeshyn

vaecaichen

VACATION!

 

Want an adventure? Don’t work on vacation…you might have one 🙂