Monday, April 21, 2008

Donuts and "The War of Art"

Steven Pressfield's book, "The War of Art" is about the power of resistance.

Pressfield says, "Most of us have lived two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance."

Can you relate? You may have a book you've wanted to write, a painting you've wanted to put on canvas, a non-profit foundation you've wanted to create, etc. You've given considerable time to developing the idea in your mind, yet there is no action.

The author goes on to say, "If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius."

"The professional keeps his eye on the doughnut and not on the hole. He reminds himself it's better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot."*

Is it time for you to turn pro?

*Pressfield, Steven, The War of Art, Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY, 2002.
Illustration: Copyright: Cheryl Graham/

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Miss Rose

I was a shy 2nd grader. It was one of those years every child has when they don't connect well with a particular teacher. Mrs. Bowman was big, scary, and past retirement age. She had a reputation for being what children refer to as "really mean." Even at the end of the school year, she was still calling me an assortment of girls' names which start with "S." Shelly, Shirley, whatever. She didn't know my name or didn't remember it. My self-esteem registered at zero. Mid-year a student teacher was assigned to our class.

Enter Miss Rose. When Miss Rose was there, Mrs. Bowman didn't yell and her demeanor changed. And Miss Rose, well, she was wonderful! When Miss Rose came into my life, I stood on a level playing field again with the rest of the world. She would look into my eyes, smile at me, and always had a positive word about my accomplishments.

One day it ended. Miss Rose was leaving, her student teaching duties complete. She also announced she was getting married, and soon an engagement notice appeared in the newspaper with her picture. I cut it out, put it in a drawer, and kept it until it was tattered. While walking home from school after giving her a goodbye hug on her last day, the tears came forcefully. How would I ever go on without Miss Rose? But I did....the grief passed, and the faded newspaper clipping disappeared with the passage of time. I still recall so vividly what a gift her kindness was to a young girl who felt quite insignificant.

Kindness has a remarkable effect on people. It's more than the opposite of "mean." It's an intentional act that can be life-changing.