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Category: Artful Dodging

making, mindsets and strategies that foster creativity

BLESSING FROM AN ELDER (Pete Seeger)

BLESSING FROM AN ELDER (Pete Seeger)

There once walked a gentle, funny, and very stubborn man, a musician who believed passionately in the power of people singing together out loud. It was his skill to induce crowds of friends and strangers to join their voices together and create transcendent harmonies that lifted up the people’s hearts and spirits and set the world to shining for a while, cloaked in visions of belonging, of unity, and of peace. With his long-necked five-stringed banjos, his 12-stringed guitars, and…

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CHECK YOUR FILTERS: Roadmaps and Story

CHECK YOUR FILTERS: Roadmaps and Story

The thing about living your life as a poem or a story or any other kind of art is that there’s got to be a theme to the thing.  (It’s one of the rules, according to grade school English and art teachers when it comes to analyzing some bit of self-expression.) This online dictionary I am looking at tells me that a theme is “an idea that recurs or pervades a work of art or literature.”  It’s how you make…

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OTHER VOICES: Grace Iwashita Taylor

OTHER VOICES: Grace Iwashita Taylor

New Zealand’s Grace Iwashita-Taylor is a Shaper and a poet. She lives her life as a single mother, as a loving daughter trying to deal with the realities and challenges of her beloved mother’s decline into dementia and as a youth worker in a place that is one of the most expensive places to live on the planet. She is also an award-winning spoken word and published poet, playwright, and performer. The poet’s upu (words) circle around and around the…

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SMALL TOWN * BIG ART ON THE ISLAND

SMALL TOWN * BIG ART ON THE ISLAND

One time a friend asked one of the old-timers who had lived his whole life on the island of Maui through the decades that made up the beginning of the end of the twentieth century what it was like to live his life in this place.  They were digging holes for pasture fence posts at the time. The island had gone through numerous transitions during that one lifetime.  Henry Burns had seen many of them. The laconic old man stopped…

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LEGACY-SCHMEGACY, KEEP ON WALKING

LEGACY-SCHMEGACY, KEEP ON WALKING

Lately I keep tripping over people who are either “building a legacy” or are trying to convince me that I should be doing one too.  It’s beginning to make me all kinds of grumpy. These strangers are telling me that my life will only have “meaning” if I do stuff that will somehow “impact the future” after I’m long-gone.  That one makes me scratch my head.   It’s even a bit intimidating. Me, I’m still walking towards my dream and I’m…

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LET THERE BE LIGHT (The Power of Small)

LET THERE BE LIGHT (The Power of Small)

Very often it is the little things that make a big difference in lives that are lived on the edge. In poorer parts of a city, where people’s homes often do not have access to reliable electrical service and where windows that let in light might be a bad idea in terms of home security, people either spend a lot of time outside their unlighted homes or use open fires, candles or oil lamps as light sources.  These can be…

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OTHER VOICES: Joy Harjo

OTHER VOICES: Joy Harjo

Poet, artist and musician Joy Harjo is a member of the Mvkoke (Creek) Nation.  (More usually, that word is spelled “Muscogee.”) Harjo became the first Native American to be appointed as a Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the American Library of Congress in 2019 by Librarian Carla Hayden.  In case you didn’t know, the Library is America’s oldest federal cultural institution and is said to be the largest library in the world. As well as other things, national poets…

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REVAMP ROUTINES (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

REVAMP ROUTINES (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

It’s a perennial bit of advice from most of the entrepreneurial advisers and advocates of DIY bootstrapping in the world to get yourself organized by working out routines and systems of routines that will help you get ‘er done and help facilitate your making that run towards your dream. It does work. It has occurred to me more than once that we humans are routine-building fools.  For some of us the whole routine-building thing may even be automatic. We can…

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SHAPING STARTS WITH YOU

SHAPING STARTS WITH YOU

I’ve been circling around this latest concept I’ve stumbled across like I imagine an awestruck fan would do to take in Michelangelo’s Pietà at the Vatican.  My head keeps going, “Wow…wow…wow.”  My heart is drowning in the swelling sound of some Gregorian chant or something.  OOOH! The idea that each human being’s ability to make choices can absolutely affect and shape both the forms their own lives take as well as the world in which they live is a mind-boggle…

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SHAPER CHALLENGE (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

SHAPER CHALLENGE (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

John Milton (an English poet who wrote epic poems in the 17th century) once wrote: “The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.” Milton did call it right.  All of us humans do have one super-power.  Every single one of us can shape our own reality and make up our own world.  It’s why we find everybody else’s stories so fascinating, I suppose. Because we each have our own…

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