Saturday, August 30, 2008

In Pursuit of Bliss

Back in June, I found a woman online who talked about creating Bliss Books. What they are is a type of scrapbook where you put all kinds of things that represent your joys, hopes, wishes, accomplishments, acknowledgements ... in other words ... your Bliss!

More than just a creative expression, these books serve another purpose, as well. At those times when self-esteem gets shakey or your energy is off, you can pull out your Bliss Book and be reminded of just how wonderful you are!

All of a sudden, it dawned on me that without realizing it, I had made several of these kinds of books over the past few years. I just never had a name for them.

For me, they included my writing, drawing and coloring, quotes, photos, collage, keepsakes, and more. When I go back and flip through them (as I did just the other day) a sense of pride and accomplishment comes over me.

So I bought a new scrapbook and began collecting things I want to include. It took until just last Sunday for me to begin designing and pasting - - and I now have about 6 completed pages and 5 or 6 more that are ready to be glued down.

Why not give one a try? There's no doubt in my mind that you'll have a lot of fun creating it and a real sense of satisfaction when it's complete. Keep me posted!

Celebrate Your Magic!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sounds of Silence

Image from  favim.com

I just learned something quite fascinating. In the country of Bali, on the first day of the Hindu new year, no one talks, travels or works. It's a day of silence, prayer and reflection that enables the Balinese to start the New Year with spirits renewed.

And here's something else that's not only fascinating, but mind-boggling. The American eco-activist John Francis spent the years from 1973 to 1990 in incomplete silence. It is said that once he experienced the beauty of keeping his mouth shut, he didn't open it again for 17 years with one exception: to tell his parents how much he loved them.

According to Francis, "silence is not just not talking. It's a void. It's a place where all things come from. All voices, all creation comes out of this silence. So when you're standing on the edge of silence, you hear things you've never heard before, and you hear things in ways you've never heard that before."

The Italian psychiatrist Piero Ferrucci has said, "Our culture is suffering from an overdose of action and a shortage of contemplation. I consider contemplation a basic need--- you even see it in animals." It's their way (and our way) of recharging the batteries. Sadly, for most people, this basic physiological need is completely overlooked, ignored and/or denied.

One might go so far as to say that modern people seem to do whatever they can to chase away the silence. They actually fear it. As French philosopher Blaise Pascal said "Eternal silence of those infinite spaces fills me with dread." An American-born Buddhist monk put it this way: "Silence is confrontational to the unstable mind. It won't allow you to escape from all the voices in your head."

The ultimate byproduct of the unwillingness or inability to become silent, is that one is unable to make contact with their deeper core, higher self, pure soul or what ever you want to call it - - and so become detached from their essence, their truth, their God.

"To hear the voice of God, you must be silent." Why? "Because God whispers."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Success and Failure

Like most words, success and failure carry with them a wildly diverse assortment of meanings. For many, success is only seen as Olympic gold, Best Sellers' Lists or Awards for Outstanding Achievement. In the western world, success is equated with big homes, fancy cars, stock portfolios, etc., ergo, the phrase Status Symbols.

Conversely, failure is most often construed as the antithesis of the former. Not only, does it reflect NOT achieving a goal, but more than likely would also include evidence of lack and limitation. It’s as though you took a 180° shift and simply added the word NOT to the earlier achievements.

When I first came up with the idea for my company CreativeSuccessWorks, several years ago, one of the things that became clear to me was that as far as creativity goes, success or the lack thereof, was a matter of personal viewpoint. Now, I’m broadening my perspective to include the idea of success in any arena.

Think about this for a moment - - What if success were looked at as merely any movement in the direction of a goal and "failure" (if there even in such a thing) were merely a stumble, a wrinkle or a temporary backslide. Paulo Coelho, author of the highly-acclaimed book, The Alchemist, says that "success is falling seven times and getting up eight."




 
This theme also brings to mind Thomas Edison's response when asked what he had to say about his 9999 failed attempts to invent the lightbulb. Edison's reply was something like "Those weren't failures, I just learned 9999 ways NOT to make a lightbulb."

Abraham Lincoln is another great example. Neither bankruptcy, mental illness or numerous failed attempts at achieving public office, thwarted Lincoln. He just kept moving forward. The result, of course, was a certainly an outstanding one.

Like most people, I have had my own fair share of experiences of success and failure. On one occasion, I had a scheduled book signing at Borders on one particular Saturday afternoon. I set up my table, greeted incoming customers and handed out my promotional postcards. Some people smiled and thanked me, some people read the postcards and nodded, but only a handful even came over to the table to look at my books. At the end of the afternoon, I had not sold one book.

Now despite the fact that I had had a huge success only a few weeks earlier, in which I sold 100 books to a local nonprofit organization, this "failure" really knocked me for a loop. Self- doubt and negative thoughts engulfed me and I began a downward spiral into misery and despair.

But the episode drove me to examine these two concepts from the viewpoint of those who have come before me. I began to look up quotations on failure and in every case, I discovered that the ONLY true failure is to never have tried or to have given up. Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, summed it up by saying:

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't that at all. You can be discouraged by failure -- or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that's where you will find success."

Curiously enough, the next thing I knew, my mood had lifted and the blues were gone. What I concluded was that the “success or failure” of our lives is quite simply determined by our point of view.

So, in closing, I'll leave you with my personal recommendation for a life filled with success - - "Fail On!"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Journal Power

I discovered the power of journaling in 1996. With only a few interruptions, I have been journaling daily ever since. Journaling serves many purposes and has numerous beneficial aspects. First and foremost, it provides the opportunity for personal and private self-expression. Whatever is placed upon the page is between the individual and the page. There are no outside opinions or judgements or criticism to have to contend with.

Journaling can be a ‘dumping ground’ for anger, worries, and fears. It can also be a ‘blank slate’ for declaring hopes, wishes and dreams. The simple act of putting thoughts and ideas on paper, in and of itself, provides clarity and a new perspective.

Over time, journaling becomes the conduit between the individual and their Higher Self - - between the self and the Self - - and as such, can be seen as a form of meditation. Creative ideas, answers to questions and inspiration often accompany the process of journaling.

Bottom line, the mere act of getting feelings out of ourselves and onto paper is a healing act. When the notebook or papers are then shut and put aside, we gain a certain distance from those troublesome feelings and their power to negatively impact our lives is minimized.