Category Archives: Prosperity

Making Peace With Where You Are

'Wisdom' and Other Words To Live By From a Wet-Behind-The Ears Oracle

One of my favorite quotes is from psychologist Carl Rogers, who said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.” 

That statement has always had a sort of zen quality to me.  It also continues to be a piece of the puzzle in my mind relating to things I hear or read about making peace with where I am.    A while back someone wrote to me, wondering if I really buy into this business about the best way to improve a bad situation being to let go of needing things to be different in order to feel better

Always a sucker for a good paradox, I asked the Shower Team for neither the first nor likely the last time, “How do we let go of needing a bad situation to get better? How are we supposed to make peace with where we are when where we are sucks?”

Making peace with where you are doesn’t mean what you often assume that it means.  You hear that and you interpret it to mean that you’re just supposed to be resigned to whatever fate you feel is being thrust upon you or that you are just supposed to grin like an idiot and babble affirmations no matter how miserable you are.  A much better way to say it is, “Make peace with YOU—wherever you are.”  Because the point is, that YOU are truly fine . . .  truly okay . . . truly blessed . . .  truly loved and supported . . . no matter where you are.  No matter what you’ve created.  No matter what kind of mess you feel you or someone else has made.  No matter how long or hard you’ve been struggling.  No matter how beaten up or abandoned you feel.  No matter how worthless or stupid or inept or foolish you feel—or believe others feel that you are.

Too often what most of you try to do is to improve how you feel from the outside in.  You observe the conditions or circumstances that you are experiencing and your knee jerk reaction is to say, “I’ll feel better when that’s different.”  Or “I’ll feel better when this is no longer the case.”  So you change your hair style or your wardrobe. You go on a diet. You buy a new house.  You quit your job. You leave your mate. You try to extract what you think is the source of your discomfort.  You move to another neighborhood or city or state or country.  Some of you would head for another planet if you could—always trusting in the same illusion:  that it’s where you are that makes the difference.  “If I can just be over there, not here—everything will be fine.  I’LL be fine as soon as I’m over there.”

It is very hard for you to hear us say, “It doesn’t matter where you are” and understand it much less believe it.  You hear words like “wherever you go, there are you are,” and you laugh and you recognize some truth in it but then you go right back to shopping for your new clothes or your new partner or your new career or a better doctor or accountant . . .    What we want so much for you to understand is that, while these externals may distract you from how bad you feel or in some cases, even allow you to take the much longer route to feeling better about yourself—there is a much simpler, swifter way for you to get your bearings and to feel the power that you always have to feel better no matter what’s going on in your life.

The simple truth that you have such a hard time hearing and believing is that YOU are never really a mess.  YOU never need a makeover.  YOU never need to be anything other than who YOU really are.  And until you allow yourself to be at peace with YOU—apart from any circumstance or condition or situation . . .  until you understand that YOU are blessed and adored and supported and perfect as YOU are,  then you will be constantly striving for some other way to be.  You will be constantly trying to remodel your life based on the mistaken belief that how your house looks to passers by has anything to do with how it feels as a home.  You can create a showplace that anyone looking at from the outside in will admire and applaud.  And it will still feel like an empty, hollow, cold, lonely space until you understand that YOU are the life in it.  You are the warmth in it.  You are the spirit that inhabits your life and makes it livable.
What you must understand is that YOU are your home, that peace is a choice you make . . . . . it is a recognition that what matters is how you feel in your skin and in your heart . . .  and that everything you really want is right there where you are. 

We understand that peace is typically not the first prayer you pray when you are in pain.  You want relief.  You want improvement.  You want to feel better.  What we keep trying to help you see is that you can begin to feel better from the inside out.  A step as simple as deciding that you’re going to focus on feeling better rather than on how bad you feel is a powerful step in that direction.  In the midst of your dissatisfaction or distress, take a minute.  Take a breath, or two, or three . . .   And let yourself feel the subtle but distinct shift in how you feel when you even slightly move your attention from how bad you’re feeling to how much better you’d like to feel . . .  when you change the object of your attention from the source of your stress to the desire for relief.

When you understand that you don’t need anything to change in order to be at peace, that there are no renovations needed, no permits to apply for, no sins to confess and atone for, no sentences to serve or fines to pay, then you are free to change anything you want, simply because you enjoy the changing of it.  It becomes a game you’re free to play because it’s fun to play it . . . not an act of desperation or a deception that anything going on around you in any way determines who you really are or a driving need to match your life to something you’ve seen in a catalog or a movie or an infomercial or a sacred text or a self-help book–or for that matter, a blog.  Make peace with YOU, wherever you are because if you don’t, you’ll have no real peace, no matter where you are.

I’ve certainly learned the long and hard way that I can’t move far enough away from anything that’s holding me back from feeling the way I want to feel about my life.  It doesn’t prevent occasional speculation about how much happiness money might buy or the difference any number of improved conditions might make in my overall outlook.  But regardless, it seems worth the effort to see how much I can like the me in the middle of whatever it is I’m not liking.

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Musings On Inspiration: Artist Cher Odum

An idea is salvation by imagination.
—Frank Lloyd Wright 

SHead_Olympus_Pristina

'Wisdom' and Other Words To Live By From a Wet-Behind-The Ears Oracle

Writers and other artists are often asked about the inspiration for their work.  Some of us—myself included—can find it a difficult topic to address in any way that makes much sense.  Some of us don’t even really put all that much stock in the notion, believing instead that it’s ‘perspiration not inspiration’ that carries the day, or at least, reliably fills the page or the canvas.
 
Nonetheless it’s a topic that continues to inspire inquiry and so I am going to be inviting those who are finding their own successful mix of effort and inspiration to share their unique perspective on the subject with The Shower Channel in the coming weeks.  The purpose of these interviews is to dialogue either seriously or humorously about the mystery and magic of inspiration—and to offer any insights that would be useful to others trying to find or better employ their own muse or shift into a more productive creative space.

I’m including visual artists and musicians as well as writers in this invitation, so if you or anyone you know might be interested, please contact me at dan@dansville.net and I will provide details. Each guest writer/artist/musician will also be invited to plug his or her published or pending work. 

Cher PicFirst up is my dear friend and creative partner, artist Cher Odum, whose beautifully inspired and playfully innocent images inspire me to co-create with her our exclusive, original line of greeting card art–and with whom I am currently creating an illustrated children’s book, a set of affirmations cards, and who knows what else! 

TSC. How do you define ‘inspiration’ for yourself?
 
CO: Inspiration is an idea, a vision, a communication from my Higher Self or my spririt guides.  Sometimes it comes to me after I’ve specifically asked.  Other times it comes as if out of the blue, through a dream or during conversation with a friend.  Inspiration is a thought that comes to mind, followed by an urgency to paint it.  I know it’s inspired when I can flow with the idea, and there are no struggles to create.
 
TSC:  What do you think first inspired you to become an artist?  Can you identify a moment or experience or influence that turned you in that direction?
 
CO: I can’t remember a time I didn’t think of myself as an artist.  When I was four years old I spent hours finger painting what I considered the most glorious creations.  Of course, I was encouraged by my grandparents, who lead me to believe that they also thought my creations were glorious and worthy of gracing the walls of their home, and the front of the refridgerator.  I felt that any blank surface should have been adorned with my colorful artwork, and I spent many hours doing chalk drawings on neighbors’  driveways and sidewalks, and with crayon on the lovely white walls in the home of my grandparents.  I never understood why I needed to wash them away.
 
TSC: Describe the ‘inspired’ you.  What does he/she look or feel like?
 
Your Own WorthCO: My inspired self glows with joy and contentment.  She feels alive and happy, and very content and complete.  She dances and sings.  She is as free as the wind.
 
TSC: What is your most ‘inspired’ work?  Why?
 
CO: I’d have to say my most inspired work would be the illustrations for a children’s book Dan and I have spent the past year working on together.  I’ve never attempted anything like it, and had no clue where to start or how I was going to bring Dan’s delightful characters to life.  There were times I was a little overwhelmed by how I was going to create a certain character, and almost convinced myself I just couldn’t do it.  Just as I was ready to throw in the towel an idea would just pop into my mind while I was driving, taking a shower or in a dream.  When I followed through and painted the images I was given, it just so happened to be on the same line as what Dan was thinking of for that character.  
 
TSC:  Who or what or where is your muse?  How do you invoke your muse?  Rituals?
 
CO: I always call on my spirit guides or my Higher Self.  I light candles, burn incense and ask my guides to assist me . . . to guide my hand as I paint.  Other times an idea was offered to me in a dream and I head right to my art table and begin drawing first thing in the morning.  Other times I go for a walk in the woods, or a drive to the coast.  Some of my best ideas have come to me during a long drive through the countryside. 
 
TSC What is your take on the notion that any creative work is more about perspiration than inspiration?
 
CO: I sometimes make things harder than they need to be, and put a lot of pressure on myself.  When I’m not going Take Shelter In Your Own Answerswith the flow of my inspired creativity, and trying too hard, I make a lot of work for myself, and end up throwing it away and starting over.  I’ve learned it’s so much easier when I wait for the inspiration and not try to force anything.  After a creative surge I always slip into a lull, which I often refer to as a ‘funk.’  I’ve learned that the funk is just a period of rest, to prepare me for the next inspired creative surge forward.
 
TSC  What do you think is the most common—or problematic—myth or misconception about inspiration?
 
CO: That it’s easy to come by, or once inspired, always inspired.  Some people don’t understand how you can be flowing with inspiration one minute, and wondering where it went the next.  In fact, I sometimes wonder about that myself.
 
TSC  What is the most ‘inspired’ work you’ve come across so far?
 
CO: The most ‘inspired’ work I’ve personally come across so far is the delightful children’s book Dan is writing.  I have Lukah_SQno doubt that when it’s published everyone who reads it will feel the inspired energy that went into the creation of all the colorful characters in the book, and the unfolding story of the main character.
 
TSC  List a few tools or practices or methods that work reliably for you to get you in the mood to create.  How do you shift into your ‘zone’?
 
CO: Dancing or Yoga, both to free my blocked energy.  Playing with my grandchildren, and oberving the ease with which children creatively flow, and how easily they’re able to shift gears.  I need to remind myself to not be so serious, but to be almost childlike in my creative process, and enjoy the flow with more feeling and less thinking, like children do. 
 
TSC  What are you currently feeling inspired to do?
 
CO: Currently I’m waiting to feel inspired again.  I just finished a series of paintings and the illustrations for Dan’s children’s book, leaving me in that funkish state . . . or a lull, the rest period before the next inspired and creative surge forward.  I’m hoping the inspiration isn’t long in coming!

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