Music is a gift. Those who are able to create and share it in a way that connects us to each other is remarkable. I feel sad for those who close their ears and minds to experiencing all music can offer due to ignorance, misinterpretation of lyrics or inability to appreciate different perspectives.
Whether it be live or virtual, I find it inspiring to be a part of an audience united in a common appreciation for excellent, relevant and soul-touching music. Last night was one of those exceptional opportunities. I was one of thousands at the Foo Fighters‘ concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
All I can say is that it was one of the best rock shows I ever experienced . . . ever. The Foo Fighters are no pretenders. They are extraordinary performers who inspire, entertain and connect. Rare and true rock talent such as this is legendary. Dave Grohl and his band mates connected with us — their audience — from the time they took the stage until the conclusion of their performance three hours later.
What sparks your creative energy? My top eight include cleaning, gardening, and walking. Add in some MP3 tunes from Foo Fighters, U2 or Pink Floyd; and the ideas blow my mind. In fact, I’m listening to Pink Floyd’s Blue Sky as I type.
At times it’s challenging to keep up with what my brain produces during these sessions. I use a pen and journal book to record snippets of ideas while I clean or garden. These tools are old-school. But, they are easy to keep nearby for note-taking.
I have also been taking my camera with me everywhere, recently. That way I am ready to snap a shot anytime, anywhere. While my smart phone has a camera, I seem to prefer my husband’s Canon PowerShot. I think it takes better pictures and provides me with more options for enhancing my impromptu photo sessions.
Visual and written references of big-picture thoughts help me remember ideas when I am at my computer creating. Here’s a look at my Top 8 creative energy sparks… What are yours?
1. Cleaning has three distinct benefits. I end up with a clean house and hours of exercise as well as buckets of material for blogs, conflict resolution strategies, date night plans, and play activities to try with my children.
2. Gardening is therapeutic. What could be better? I am outdoors in the warm sunshine helping nature be beautiful around my home. My creative energy surges as I watch things grow and flourish.
3. Mowing the lawn is an activity my husband and I mud wrestle over. I believe he realizes the same benefits as I do from this mindless, thought-invoking chore. He amps Godsmack on his MP3 and away he mows.
4. Walking after my children go to bed is a mini-vacation for me. It’s one hour of downtime to stride along with the bunnies and frogs while thinking about whatever comes to mind. There are no interruptions for snacks, drinks, advice, phone calls or help with finding the remote control.
5. Running or elliptical training unleashes my competitive spirit. If I need a boost before writing a blog post I go for five miles in 30 minutes while watching some light TV or a movie with eye candy.
6. Listening to music moves me in a number of different directions. The direction depends on so many variables such as weather, mood, energy level, motivation, etc.
7. Writing opens my mind to thoughts I may not have considered before. I try to write without editing. But, sometimes, the perfectionist in me trumps the moment; and stifles the process.
8. Praying/meditation enables reflection on ideas I think have more merit than others. During prayer or meditation, my mind is often cleared of clutter. I just think about whatever comes into my brain. After an hour or so, I seem to feel a better sense of direction on what an idea might lead; or if it just a dead-end to be left behind.
What’s in my head today? The question should be what is NOT in my head today. I think about so much all of the time. Some of my thoughts are productive and some are not. Why does my brain fixate on getting out with friends, celebrity happenings, movies, music, etc. when it really should be thinking about my husband, children, outdoor clean-up, 5k training, domestic and global issues impacting my family, health care, summer plans, etc.? I wish I had a remote control for my head. That way I could just click a button and the right channel would come to mind. Just think of how much more productive I would be each day.
However, I think all this junk in my head does have a means to an end. Most of these thoughts lead me to think about my life in the big picture. Where do I want to be in 5, 10, 15 even 20 years? The pictures in my head help plot my future. In 5 years I want to be a well-paid, published writer. Setting this goal in my head and then recording it for you and I to read is a catalyst for taking the next-steps toward achievement.
Another truth is I have a lot to say about what happens around me and I have a lot to say about people who make impressions on my life. Why keep all these thoughts to myself? My brain cannot continue to store them all and it needs room for all the other information that comes at me every day. Besides, maybe someone else – you perhaps – will have better use for it than me.
It happened in my kitchen at 7:00 am, today. My daughter’s school bus would be at the corner in one hour. She needed to eat, get dressed and clean up. My son was losing it because he wanted raisins and wouldn’t get them out of the pantry. Our dog, Buddy, needed out and more water.
Before I could reach for my venti-size coffee, a rare but very audible snarl escaped. What was that? It sounded like a low rumble from a lioness or panther. I looked around. Who did it? Our dog, Buddy, was waiting for someone — anyone — to fill his water dish. While impatient, he hadn’t reached hysterical begging, yet. So, I concluded it must me.
How could this happen? It is a sunny, beautiful Friday. After a quick, self-psycho, analysis, I had my answer…simultaneous, impatient demand for my undivided attention. It is number one on my Top 10 Snarl List. My 10 include people, behaviors, and music that are most likely to elicit a snarl or two from me.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to exchange snarl lists with those we love and with strangers? That way the intensity and number of snarls could be reduced and serve as a catalyst for world peace.
BTW, be sure to see the link below on how to snarl properly.
Within the previous 24 months, I have experienced the death of many family members and friends. I have lost two grandparents, two uncles, an aunt, a long-time family friend and the toddler son of a cousin. The death of so many woke me up. I realized my time on this planet is limited; and the time my family members and friends have is limited, too. During the holidays, one of my aunts included the following with her annual letter …
HOW DO YOU LIVE YOUR DASH?
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of his friend. He referred to the dates on his tombstone from the beginning to the end. He noted that first came his date of birth and spoke the following date with tears. But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For the dash represents all the time he spent alive on earth. And now only those who loved him know what that little line is worth, For it matters not how much we own — the cars, the house, the cash — What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard — are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be arranged. If we could just slow down long enough to consider what’s true and real. And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more. And love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile. Remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’s been read with your life’s actions to rehash. Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?
This reflection resonates with me because I believe its message is a common theme playing in current happenings around our globe.