Category Archives: Creativity

Following Your Dreams

When a dream takes hold of you, what can you do? You can run with it, let it run your life, or let it go and think for the rest of your life about what might have been. – Patch Adams

Follow your dreams, for as you dream you shall become. – Anonymous

I’m in New York City this weekend to watch my niece perform in a dance recital. For the third year, she has auditioned and won a place in the summer Joffrey Ballet summer workshop. For the last two weeks she has been dancing many hours a day with around 150 other people to prepare for this afternoon’s performance. I don’t want to talk about how good she is and how well she did in the performance. Instead, I want to highlight a person who is fully following her dream.

My niece has wanted to be a dancer since she could walk. It’s been amazing to watch her grow up and never take her eye off what she loves to do. It seems that her dream of dancing has been with her almost from birth.

As you watch her dance, you can easily tell how much she loves to dance. Every move, every turn and every jump seems effortless. It’s very inspirational to watch.

We should all follow our dreams, our passions and our interests. This is the stuff that makes our lives worth living and extremely fulfilling. We all have this capability. It’s our birthright.

Thanks to my niece for being a great example of following your dream. It makes me smile.

Michael

Amazing Creativity

Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem. – Rollo May

Take a look at this short video that my daughter sent me yesterday. It is quite amazing. You may not understand what is going on at first. Just be patient, continue watching and all will be clear. You may need to turn up your volume at first because it starts off fairly quiet, put every sound is important.

I love examples of creative expression that are unusual or never seen before. Enjoy.

You can view the video here.

Michael

Read for Change

[W]e are changed by what we read. Close that book, and you are not the same person anymore. Because of what you just read, your worldview–your understanding, your compassion for others, your ability to engage intelligently with others–has expanded a little. Books help us grow…. – Pat Williams

Reading is a great way to instigate change within you. As you read, new ideas are presented which can give you new perspectives on old topics.

The simple act of reading can ignite the imagination and take you to places you’ve never been before. I’m talking about places within you. New ideas, opinions, concepts, beliefs and actions can flood your mind. Some of them may upset old habits of thought or introduce completely new twists.

Whether you accept or reject the new ideas isn’t important. What’s important is that your mind is being exposed to the new items. Neurons in your brain are making new connections expanding your ability to think overall. Creative urges will surface seemingly from nowhere. Some you will act on and others you’ll only think about.

Go read. It doesn’t really matter what you choose but be open to new experiences and trains of thought.

Have a great day!

Michael

Harry Potter

I was finally able to see the latest Harry Potter movie with Erica last night. We thoroughly enjoyed it. As this is the sixth in the series, it would be prudent for anyone to either read the books, watch the previous movies or you will probably be lost.

The richness of the stories and the depth of the characters has been the contributing factors for my love of this series of books and movies. J.K. Rowling’s imagination has fueled the minds of millions of people around the world. Her live is an inspiring rags to riches story.

During a very stressful project several years ago, I read the Harry Potter books. The books allowed me to escape my mundane world of project management for a few hours a week. I’m convinced that without them I would not have been as successful with that project. I found them relaxing and great at relieving stress. They gave my mind a break from the grueling days I was experiencing at the time.

But, really I feel their success has come from the real life characters and the vivid stories. The details in the movies are at times overwhelming. (Note: this isn’t a bad thing.) I have to go back and watch them more than once because there is so much going on.

Thanks to J.K. Rowling for helping to keep my imagination alive and kicking.

Michael

A Evening With Sting

Erica and I went to Foxwoods Casino last night in Connecticut to see Sting live in concert. It was an incredible performance from a consummate entertainer, musician and songwriter. Sting had three other musicians (guitarist, drummer and keyboardist) with him, all fantastic in their own right.

For over two hours, which included two encores, Sting and his band performed all of his greatest songs plus a lot of material from The Police. The crowd was a fanatical group of fans who seemed to know every word of every song. Sting was visibly enjoying the over the top enthusiasm in the theater. It was fun to watch.

I was fascinated by watching the band perform. They didn’t appear to make any mistakes. That was amazing because some of these songs have complex beats and rhythms. Most of Sting’s melodies seem to stay with you for a long time.

Live music is always enjoyable to me whether I’m watching or playing. Watching someone like Sting do “his thing” is the best though. We left the theater feeling like we had received our money’s worth.

I hope I get to see him at least one more time. I can’t seem to get enough.

Michael

Newport Flower Show 2009

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

What a great weekend!  The Rhode Island Air Show was yesterday and today we went to the Newport Flower Show. This year’s theme was “Glorious Green: The Natural Path.” There were some very creative arrangements and some amazing examples of flowers. Some, I had never seen before. As a photographer, I was very excited when I saw that the sky was overcast this morning. Cloudy skies are the best light for flower and portrait photography.

A bonus this year was a new photography division which I will enter next year since I didn’t know about it. :-(  Also, there were two butterfly houses on the grounds which were a lot of fun. Erica and I spent a couple of hours touring the grounds and the mansion enjoying all the amazing plants, flowers and arrangements.

Most of the butterflies were monarchs, but that was okay by me. Many had escaped and were flying around the many flower arrangements on the grounds surrounding the mansion. It made for some great photography moments.

I’m always amazed at the designs that people come up with. The endless creativity is both refreshing and inspiring. I think flowers and plants in general have a special ability to make people feel good and improve their level of happiness. There were many enthusiastic people out today.

Overall, a very relaxing weekend full of adventures, great friends, new friends, wonderful food, lots of photography and doing only things that make me happy. That’s what it’s all about.

Michael

Newport International Film Festival 2009

Newport International Film Festival

Every year for the last 12 years, Newport, Rhode Island hosts an international film festival packed with dozens of films over an 8 day period. It includes shorts, documentaries, comedies, dramas and etc. Most of the directors and producers are up and coming. It’s great to see the fresh look of many of the films.

A few of the films make it to the big time and get nationally released. Very cool!

Erica and I watched a comedy last night at the festival called Humpday. Very funny and very different. You can go to the website and read about it.

One of my favorite things to do is to see and experience the creativity of others. It’s endlessly fascinating because you never know what someone will come up with; a new twist on an old idea or a completely new thing.

If you are ever in Newport, RI at this time of year don’t miss this wonderful opportunity.

Michael

Getting Over a Music Hump

Playing scales is like a boxer skipping rope or punching a bag. It’s not the thing in itself; it’s preparatory to the activity – Barney Kessel – Jazz Guitar

Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside of us. – Unknown

When you strum a guitar you have everything – rhythm, bass, lead and melody. – David Gilmore / Pink Floyd

I started taking guitar lessons again with a different person. I think this guy will be able to help me in my goals. He’s already very different than my previous guitar teacher.

He started off by telling me that the place I’m at is common for many musicians. I’m trying to break through old habit patterns and learn new ways of expression. He said it’s just a hump and that he can help me get over it.

Most of the lesson today was about music theory with some application on the actual guitar. The difference with this teacher is that he doesn’t want me to write anything down. So, I must remember everything; both the theory and the new scales. He’s focusing me on hearing more than remembering. It’s definitely a different approach, but in one short lesson, I’m already approaching my music in new ways.

I love to play and would like to expand my musical vocabulary, so this guy might be my ticket. I’m going to give myself a couple of months worth of lessons before deciding if this new teacher can help me reach my musical goals.

It’s exciting and a lot of fun. That’s what it’s all about, right?

Michael

First Live Music Gig

Tonight marked the first live gig for our two person band named “Take 2”. It was for a small private party of seven women. LOL

We played about 14 songs; a mixture of slow and up beat. The crowd seemed to get more and more enthusiastic as the evening wore on. I think it was the wine and beer but I also believe they were enjoying the music.

I was initially a little nervous. But, once we got through the first two or three songs, we settled in to the session and the nervousness never came back. At the end we got a lot (7 total) of compliments on our acoustic sound and how well we  blend and play together. We got a lot of positive comments about one of our originals. That was nice.

This was an important milestone and I think the next time we are playing in front of people, it will be easier. The most important part is that we are having fun playing together. Over the next month, we will work on adding about 10 more songs to our growing playlist. After that we will work on playing for small parties during the summer months.

It’s a good feeling.

Michael

Hello, my name is Flo Holt…

A recent journal writing prompt, “What I let myself yearn for”  lead me in several directions.  What I wondered is “do I really let myself “yearn”?  How would I define it? A longing in my heart?  Any sort of longing, so it could include even clothes I see in catalogs? “Yearn” sounds like something that creates an ache because of its absence, maybe an ache so deep it’s unrecognized as being there at all.

Last week in a class, I told my adoption search story.  It wasn’t a time where everyone was sharing, but I offered to talk of it.  It became personal and not really classroom –focused.  What I mean is, I didn’t try to talk about it and tie it to the information we had just been presented on searching for adoptive parents.  I just sort of laid my story out there, with some of the time-line I’d experienced.  I told how it’s not a “search and reunion story”. It’s just the search.

My birth father lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Since 2000, when I turned 40 and did life-cycle-change things like participate in a triathlon, I’ve been trying to contact him.  In my head, I’ve always, honestly always, known I was adopted by my father, Don Barner.  Following his death in 1998 and my brother’s soon after, I was propelled in so many directions due to my emotional upheaval.  One of those was this “search”.  The thing is, after all this time, my birth father doesn’t reply.  I have decided my next step is family members.

Last week in  class it became very clear to me why the serach weighs heavy on me (1) the sense of rejection that is perpetuated because he has never responded (2) the feeling I carry that I’m the “dirty little family secret” (3) the disconnected feelings of attachment that I carry because of the adoption.  It’s engraved in my small child self – the one who at 3 years of age went excitedly to court when she became a ”Barner”.  There  are so many times I wonder “why” about my feelings about things and honestly, I don’t want to ‘wonder why’ any more.  Instead of analyzing I’d just rather do something – analyzing makes me feel stuck; paralyzed and in the “freeze” part of freeze•fight•flight.

“Buck it up – figure it out – take some action – make a decision”.  Can’t say that’s my higher self talking there, but some very determined part of me.

The plan – write a letter to the family:

“Hello, my name is Flo Holt…”

!

Flo