Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Understood

"It's bad enough not to be doing what your passion is...It's twice as painful to be doing something that's within the work of what your passion is. The very work itself demeans what you love."

-Dustin Hoffman, actor
Full LA Times article here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Santa,

I've never been very good at this. Ya know, asking for what I want. Even as a kid, I barely remember asking for a particular toy or the "must-have" item of the year. Granted, I may have the world's worst memory so it's possible that I just don't recall correctly. I do, however, have emotional memories. What I mean is, I remember "feeling" nervous or uncomfortable asking for what I wanted. What if it was too expensive? What if I didn't really like it once I had it? What if it wasn't cool enough? What if it didn't look good on me? What if I'm being selfish? Half the time, I didn't even know what I wanted, perhaps due to that questioning voice in my head.

I envied my sister, she knew exactly what she wanted and never hesitated to ask for it. She was confident in the asking and confident in the receiving. This amazed me and I didn't understand it. How did she know exactly what she wanted and then not think twice about voicing it?

Fastforward to our adulthood, things haven't changed much. Of course, the things we desire are different but my sister still knows what she wants and creates a plan to get it. Having never really learned how to know what I want and own it, I still flounder. I'm not a total lost cause, I can usually pinpoint what I don't want now and on occassion, I can sense what I want and admit it to myself even if I can't or don't express it to others.

Looking at the state of the world and the hunger, poverty, war, and sickness that pervades it, I find it difficult to ask for more. And yet, I recognize that by denying who I am, I miss my opportunity to give the world, perhaps, what I was created to offer it. Reconciling these things is my challenge and I think it's something I will wrestle with forever. But I hope to continue making progress, discovering what I want, taking steps toward those findings and participating in this thing called life.

I know, I never finished my letter to Santa but I'm working on it. May each of us find and display the best of who we are, the desires of our hearts and the dreams of our childhoods sooner rather than later. Peace to you this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Reminder About An Artist

If you are still looking for gifts for the wonderful people in your life, let me remind you that Lynn Russell offers the most beautiful, handmade, letterpress calendars! I do not exaggerate. Well, I do but I'm not right now. I bought her 2008 calendar and intended to give it as a gift but once it arrived and I saw that it was even more beautiful in person, I couldn't do it. So, I kept it...all to myself. (Sorry, mom.) I still LOVE it and I plan to frame some of the designs when I have some extra money so I can continue to enjoy them. Seriously, this is one of my very favorite possessions.

I believe artists have an important role to play in our lives and in our world. If you're an artist, you know you are doing what you have to do. Lynn is one artist trying to make a living and support her family by doing what she loves and making the world a more beautiful place. She's feeling the effects of our current economy, as many are, so she's offering a holiday give-away which you can read about here. (You have until Friday, December 19th to purchase a calendar and enter the drawing.)

I'm obviously a big fan of artists so please, support them! Visit your locally owned shops where local artists may sell their art or check out etsy or buy tickets to a play/music or live music performance. Art changes us. It adds beauty to the everyday and couldn't we all use a little more beauty?

Happy Holidays, everyone.

**Edit: Here's another artist to check out for gifts this holiday season. Photographer, Steven Johnson, has many stunning photographs so please, visit his galleries and consider purchasing a print.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vocation

Two definitions from Dictionary.com:
Vocation
1. a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
2. a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.

Words from others on the topic:
“Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man's entire existence.” -Honore de Balzac

“Vocation is the spine of life.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

“The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart.” -George Sand

“The vocation of every man and woman is to serve other people.” -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

“If each one does their duty as an individual and if each one works in their own proper vocation, it will be right with the whole.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn't, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence." -Honore de Balzac

"To hunger for use and to go unused is the worst hunger of all." -Lyndon B. Johnson

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wandering At The Moment

I literally wandered around LA last night because I couldn't decide where I wanted to go. All I knew was that I didn't want to be home. I started in one direction but decided I didn't want to go there so I turned around walked back to where I started. As I continued to walk and turn and walk and turn, I was thinking "this is my life and it's pathetic." So, I've decided to spend the evening making lists. Not Christmas lists (although, I ought to at least start thinking about shopping) but rather lists of things I want to do/be and possible steps to get there. I know, revolutionary. Most of my processing and evaluating takes place in my head but I do take time to write it down from time to time, in fact, I've probably done this at least once or twice already this year. That's not going to stop me! I mean, it can't hurt to do it again...right? I don't expect to have any epiphanies as a result of this exercise but I do hope it allows my brain to breathe a bit, it's suffocating at the moment.

Evaluating and re-evaluating one's life is exhausting! I'm not sure most people spend this much time pouring over their direction, choices, calling, desires, dreams, etc. I have no way of comparing and it hardly matters. The point is, I want to believe that I have a true calling or purpose, that all of us have specific jobs to do while on earth. Perhaps it's just a romantic notion but I have to believe there is more to life and vocation than trying to pay the bills. Frequently, I hear people say they genuinely love what they do and I desperately want to relate to those words. I know life is about the journey and I don't mean to discount the importance of that piece. However, right now I'm just wandering without any direction, hoping my dream life drops out of the sky. I don't know where to turn and I can't see beyond my fears, doubts, limitations and excuses. I'm in my own way. Isn't that great?

If you are one of those who have already discovered your true vocation, celebrate it.

Okay, I'm off to make my lists.

Not all who wander are lost...(but I sure am.)
~J.R.R. Tolkien (and Me)