Crazy People Who Speak with Their Eyes Closed

I saw him approaching out of the corner of my eye as I sat on a park bench. The well-shaded grounds of the State Hospital is a spot frequented by local office dwellers escaping for quiet lunches on warm summer days, and that’s what I was doing there. But that’s not what he was doing there. The thirty-something year-old looked around nervously and asked if he could sit down.

praying, prayer, eyes closed

Psychiatric patients at the hospital can receive permission to stroll outside during the day, but they’re not allowed to talk to the public. I knew this, and reluctantly I motioned him to sit.

His story was a bit shocking, but I didn’t flinch. Apparently I was the first person in the park who didn’t walk away from him, especially “after they found out I was gay,” he said.

The Art of Understanding the Artist in All of Us

Novelist James Scott Bell calls writers “The Fellowship of the Weird.” Cecil Murphey, co-author of the popular 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death, shares in his recent newsletter, “Because I like who I am, I like being alone with myself” (after he explains his struggle with loneliness).

Van Gogh Self, We Are All Artists

Run a Google search on “artists are weird” or “artists are misunderstood,” or my favorite, “artists are crazy,” and you’ll get millions of results.

I posed a question on my Facebook page asking, “If you’re an artist, do you feel lonely or misunderstood around non-artists?” The overall answer was yes (mostly the misunderstood part). But where does that leave the non-artist?

3 Virtues Even Non-Trekkies Can Learn from Spock

Many of us were saddened this week at the passing of Leonard Nimoy, an icon (if not the icon) of the Star Trek universe. I guess you could say I’m a trekkie, minus the spock ears. Okay, I did own a pair when I was a kid, but I never wore them in public. Does that still count?

Spock,Leonard Nimoy,Star Trek,Trekkie

As I explored the many highlights of Mr. Nimoy’s life, I asked myself, “What can I learn from Nimoy’s most notable character?”

Even if you don’t have pointy ears, I believe you may become a Spock fan after this. Here are three virtues even non-trekkies can learn from Spock. And if you’re already a fan? These will come as no surprise.

Our Little Golden List

I love movies, and one of my favorite (yet saddest) parts of the Oscars every year is the In Memoriam tribute to those in the film industry who passed away the previous year. What always strikes me are the faces, the slow motion film clips backed by a solemn instrumental, and thinking, Wow, that’s it. A lifetime of accomplishment is over. And now they are but a memory played over and over again on a silver screen.

oscars,trophy,bucket list

And we won’t remember them for all of the trophies they were nominated for, or all of the extravagant homes they owned, or the exotic vacations they went on, or even the demons they dealt with in their private (and sometimes public) lives. We will remember them for their performances, their art, their talents, the stories they played out on a two dimensional screen reeling us to higher dimensions of laughter and tears and thought-provoking subjects, and in some cases, messages so powerful they changed us. Ultimately, it was their gift to the world.

Do the Work,Steven Pressfield,artists,dreamers,starting a business,venture,writing

Do the Work! (The Domino Project, 2011)

Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is Resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do. — Steven Pressfield, Do the Work!

Work is work, and even the work we love to do—though fueled by our passion—still requires effort. Every idea that we spin into motion always encounters resistance. Always.

To some degree, we are all artists. Whatever your passion—be it creating art, music, writing, starting a new business, launching into a ministry, forming a special interest group, or simply doing your best at the job you’re in right now—ultimately is done to better yourself, achieve something (even if only a paycheck), share with others. Usually it’s to find a little more joy. A little more happiness. But always fulfillment of some kind. As Steven Pressfield says in his book Do the Work!, “The last thing we want is to remain as we are.

In Do the Work!, Pressfield takes you from Beginning to End on what you can expect to encounter on your new venture, and the grit it will take to finish. He doesn’t throw any trick punches either.

In this short read, about 100 pages of eye-grabbing fonts, bullet points, and paragraphs filled with high-impact quotes, he’ll hit you square in the nose. And the result? You’ll be ready to fight for your cause.

Two other excellent reads by Pressfield that tie in with Do the Work! are The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, and Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work.

You can read more about Steven Pressfield here at his website, www.stevenpressfield.com.

The Great Digital Commission

Darlene,Kris Camealy,technology,God

At age seven I touched my first computer. By age thirteen, I was connecting multiple computers together over a public telephone network, just for fun. The idea of computers calculating unthinkable amounts of data in mere seconds fascinated my impressionable young mind, but it was the connecting that sent my brain signals leaping over synapses. If computing had a soul, this is what it would be: linking, networking, using all that power to connect not just computers, but  …

…to continue reading “The Great Digital Commission,” part of this month’s “Technology at Work” theme at The High Calling, please click here for the full story at TheHighCalling.org.

Featured Image by: Darlene  Designed by: Kris Camealy

Have You Checked Under the Hood?

So it was one of those mornings. As I approached the first stop sign on my way to work, I hit the brake pedal and my foot went all the way to the floor. A few seconds later, the brake service light came on.

check under the hood,maintenance,check your engine

Fortunately my car was able to stop. I returned home to find a small puddle on the driveway. A closer look showed brake fluid seeping from behind one of the rear tires. Great. I knew this meant the dreaded trip to a mechanic.

I normally prefer to fix things myself instead of having a service manager tell me twenty additional things he’d love to take care of (for quite the exorbitant fee), but free time is a commodity that evades me these days.

Live Better Than Average

Don’t let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you’re crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you’re lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you’re greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn’t understand. — Robert G. Allen

fence, mountains, clouds, sunrise, above average morning

“It’ll get old, trust me,” said the driver, smiling in a crooked sort of way as I stared out the window.

“What will get old?” I asked.

“The mountains,” he said. “Give it a year and you’ll get bored seeing the same thing.” His gaze never wavered from the road.

Murphey-UnleashWriter

Unleash the Writer Within: The Essential Writers’ Companion (Waterford, VA: OakTara, 2012)

You may never fully understand your motives, but it’s still a good question to ask yourself regularly: Why do I write? — Cecil Murphey

Whether you’re writing for publication or putting your life down in a journal, launching a blog or already writing professionally, here’s a book that can help you figure out why you really write, and why it’s important for you to explore the question.

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on a few writing classes taught by Cecil Murphey, co-author of the popular book 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life. Whether speaking or writing, “Cec” embodies a down-to-earth style and “no bull” approach.  In his book for writers, Unleash the Writer Within: The Essential Writers’ Companion, Cec sits at eye-level with you, like the long-time friend who can shoot you straight about your writing, why you write, who you are as a writer, and how to work with your inner critic to improve your writing instead of warring against it.

Cec offers an honest examination of his own life as a writer, his ups, downs, and doubts, and his own experiences in overcoming the challenges most writers face (and aren’t willing to admit). He also asks tough questions, including one that I believe lurks around every budding writer’s psyche—is writing really your gift?

Check out more on Cecil, his books, and his speaking schedule via his website, www.cecilmurphey.com.

Your Million Dollar Question

Years ago, a man I had just met asked me, “Brock, if you had all the money to go where you wanted to go and do what you wanted to do, what would that look like?”

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This was the “find somebody you don’t know and introduce yourself” part of an eight week church men’s group, and the question caught me off guard. My mind scrambled for a proper response.

“You’re thinking too hard,” he said. “Forget about what anyone thinks. What’s in your heart?”