Tag Archives: persistence

May Power Word: PADDLE!

1 May

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAImagine yourself in your own personal boat on a long winding river. Like others around you, before you and behind you, you want to move through the waters of your creative project, right?

You could just float on the surface and see what happens. Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you might be carried somewhere downstream, where most people end up. Or you might drift sideways back to the bank not far from where you started. Then you could just stay still out in the middle and wait, hoping that those nearby alligators don’t decide you look like lunch.

But NO! You are not like most people, my friend. You are strong. And you are one of my creative Chicks! That’s why this month I, the Muse, want  you to muster your strength and power ahead.  I want you to PADDLE!

Whether the waters are still where you are now or full of currents trying to pull you backwards, I want you to propel yourself forward.  Only then can you view the dramatic waterfall instead of plunge down it. Stroke by stroke, push your creative muscles. Even when you’re tired and soreespecially thenjust keep paddling!

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The Upside of Falling

18 Jun

There are worse things than falling. Giving up when faced with adversity, for example, and living safely within one’s certain boundaries of success, as another. I recently learned of these through beautiful and tangible illustrations worthy of sharing.

Last weekend, I went to see some friends perform from Delibes’ famously charming ballet, Coppelia. You may recall my friend Caroline and our ballet mistress, Stella, from my past posts about breaking the Guinness World Record. So the first excerpt was a lovely duet with Caroline and another dancer. Next came a male solo by Stella’s young and talented grandson, Lashard.

Then, at about (3:20) in this video, Lashard’s music stopped. For a second, my heart stopped with it. But then something truly remarkable happened: Lashard kept dancing. For what seemed like a frozen eternity but was really only another seventy-five seconds, he kept dancing. Even though the music played only in his head, Lashard orchestrated every leap, jump and turn on beat, causing a stunned and appreciative audience to applause throughout. Their spontaneous clapping punctuated the intimidating silence, during which could only be heard the deft workings of Lashard’s feet, as they landed in their prescribed positions on the vast and empty stage. I was incredibly proud of my young friend and deeply moved by his courageous perseverance.

Next came Caroline’s solo, which was executed gracefully and flawlessly. Finally, the three dancers joined together on the stage. After about four minutes of challenging choreography, however, the unthinkable happened to Caroline. As seen in this video, she fell to the ground. It was only for a second, and she was back up again in her final pose as if it had never happened, but I was devastated for her. An otherwise perfect performance had been ruined at the very end. Or had it?

When I afterwards attempted to console my friend, expecting her to be very upset, she surprised me yet again with her casual, good-humored reaction. She laughed and explained how falling is actually a good thing. While not ideal for a performance, of course, it does help you know that you’re stretching the limits of what you can do. She had gone for the double pirouette, feeling it within her grasp. This time, it didn’t work out, but that was okay. Or to grossly misquote Lord Tennyson: ‘Tis better to have tried and fallen than never to have tried at all.

What’s more, Caroline’s theory means that never falling is actually bad, a sure sign of complacency. Yikes! The metaphorical mandate for my life is clear. I must reprogram my brain accordingly.

FALLING IS NOT FAILING. They are two different things. Trying and then falling is growth, and hence, succeeding. So here is my challenge–and yours, if you want to take it: Let’s see if, the next time things don’t go according to plan in our lives, you and I can embrace falling with more perspective and, yes, with more grace.

The Longest Pregnancy

18 Feb

At 760 days, the African elephant holds the record for longest gestation period among all mammals.  Until now; until I began attempting to write a book.

The Muse was definitely present at conception of the story, using a rainy day on a cruise day at port in “New Providence” to seduce me to a pirate museum.  That was almost five years ago.

The first trimester, consisting mostly of research and idea-storming, lasted at least as long as the elephants’ entire pregnancy.  So here I am, still in the second trimester of writing in earnest.  Three more years and a hundred or so pages later, and my primary heroine still has yet to be born.

Yes, I had another kind of baby in between (the kind that screams for attention far more vocally).  Yes, I’ve been homeschooling my older child as well.  And yes, I have many more valid and convenient excuses for not carving out more time for my “third child,” as I call IT.

Hence have I remained adrift in the very chapter in which the aforementioned character is to be born.  I edit; I ponder; I have lots of fun with Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  And still I linger before childbirth, perhaps paralyzed by the fear of what will happen if she ever does actually come out of the womb.

Yet perhaps this blog is serving its first noble purpose already: to inspire us Chicks to make progress on our creative projects.  Just knowing that my three beloved compeers alone are watching is motivating.  If anyone else happens to stumble upon our humble blog, even more so.  At any rate, I feel now acutely the restless, impatient irritability that means I need to write.

And so, precious Muse, I am going to the page and asking you to please meet me there.  Please vanquish my fear and help deliver this baby.

Inspiration Follows Perspiration

17 Feb

People think I’m capricious, but I’m really not.  I follow effort.  If you work at it with persistence, I will appear.

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