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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A New Song? July 20, 2009

Ok, I’m too cheap to bump up to the WordPress level which allows video embedding but take a minute to check out these  two videos and then come back to my blog:

Axis of AwesomeAxis of Awesome 4 chords http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpB_40hYjXU

Pachabel Rant

Rob Paravonian’s Pachebel Rant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM#watch-main-area

 

What could my point possibly be? Should we be discouraged by this? — maddened? — how about Inspired.

If you saw my first, ever blog post you know that 1) I love all things creative, and 2) I whole-heartedly (as opposed to in a patronizing way) believe everyone is their own version of creative. I still do. From the marketplace, I learned that I am only as good as my last big idea…so what does that make God? I’d say really, really, REALLY Good at every idea ever conceived or yet to be conceived! Good on an eternal scale. The Good-est. As it should be…

Having attended two art schools and worked with the creative geniuses pent up in several advertising agencies, I have learned one of the basic creedos of creativity: “There is nothing new under the sun”. Funny that should come from the Bible. Every creative idea is a variation on a theme, a twist on a cosmic truth, a juxtaposition of judgements. Not just in art, not just in music, not just in writing, or business or public speaking — EVERY creative idea. However clever the concept, in a very real way, creativity is the ultimate greening of our culture — it is recycled! This means there is unlimited fodder for us to work with everyday.

In an almost manic way, Ecclesiastes 1 says “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say,  “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time” (verses 9-10).

So, should I give up and open a creative vein? No!

Specifically relevant to musical creativity, the Psalms repeatedly speak of “singing a new song” to God. Interesting that each time these songs come up they give credit where it is due — recounting His victory and glory in the earth. God is the Great Creator — the commanding Strategist, Conservator of earth’s collection, the ultimate Original. On our best days, we just copy His work. He is the One who answers prayers with ideas. And — no — they aren’t new to Him but when we drill down to acknowledge their source, our unique expressions are a “new song” we can humbly lift to highlight His ongoing presence through the creative ages.

That kind of thinking lifts burdens, brings joyful expectation, and calls out the fun of why we are here!

 

Want an adventure? Think back to your last creative idea. What was it? What did it accomplish? Did you think about the Source of your idea? However big or small it was, sing Him a new song of praise for loaning you the creativity. Next time you are looking for a “big idea,” brainstorm with God…and keep singing.

 

Rap challenge June 15, 2009

Missions exist because worship doesn’t.
People don’t worship the God who made them.
We’re ambassadors.
Let’s go!

~ Lecrae, from his song “Send Me!” (If you want to hear the whole challenge, visit this link)

 

start-listening-to-rap-1

(Author’s note: Actually, I think I already look like that…and I’m ok with it).

 

Want an adventure? Listen — really listen — to some Christian rap music. Allow yourself to be challenged by the raw and real of what you discover.

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. ~ Psalm 33:1-4

 

Children May 13, 2009

Filed under: Creative Christian Adventures & Encouragement,Music — Amy Pierson @ 2:14 am

Maybe it’s because we just celebrated Mother’s Day, but I just heard this song by Jill Phillips and the words really resonated. It’s called Children. Something in these lyrics added just enough that I’m understanding even more deeply the desire of My Father for me. And, it stirred the desire I have for my children to know this same Heart.

The old saying that “you will never love your mom/dad the same way they love you,” is so true. I can appreciate my parents’ love, but I’m not sure I can ever reciprocate it… no matter how I may long to do so. Now, I’ve thought about the saying before. I’ve even recognized its deep truth. But I guess I just never “got” the full meaning that this songwriter exposed. Thankfully, God used her to expand my thinking. I pray that someone may catch a glimpse of Him in my eyes. I hate to see my children hurt! And, I would lay down my life for Him (even for family and friends), but can never equate the Life He continues to selflessly give. His Daily Sacrifice. How often do I act as if He is not enough for me? And yet, He is all. End All. Oh, how He loves you and me!

Children

I know you better than anyone
I know that look in your eyes
The one where they say you are just like me
And that comes as little surprise
Cause you’re taking in everything I do
While I second-guess all I thought I knew

Oh, I love you so much
So how great is His love
That we should be called
We should be called
We should be called His children

I want to keep you from crying
I want to save you from pain
I’d lay down my life for your life to go on
But couldn’t let you do the same
So what kind of love would give selflessly
And take such joy in giving you to me

Oh, I love you so much
So how great is His love
That we should be called
We should be called
We should be called His children

I know I’m not enough for you
And you know this at your young age
Even though my love will fail you
The love that He has will not change

Oh, I love you so much
So how great is His love
That we should be called
We should be called
We should be called His children.

 

Want an adventure? Pray: O Lord, teach me to teach mine — both family and friend. Show yourself through the glimmer in my eyes. Let me be so giving of my life  — of my heart — that Yours is on display…without a word. And, even in my short-comings to show Your love that never falls short. Amen.