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For The Highly Creative Person

And as you stand there

Mentally re-writing the presentation as it’s being given,

While doodling with geometrical precision,

While speculating on whether psychic communication is real,

While recalling that weird incident that happened to you in the 7th grade,

While considering what lunch options are going to give you the greatest pleasure-to-nutritional-value ratio but knowing you’re just going to go for the tuna salad as usual,

 

It occurs to you that maybe not everyone

 

Wakes up with a new project idea every morning.

Or writes secret biographies for strangers based on the contents of their grocery cart.

Or feels the need to take a contrarian position on the holidays.

 

But then, that seems impossible.

 

Ideas seek you out like bees find flowers.

 

Your imagination is as unbounded as the clear blue sky.

Your intuition is so much a part of your knowledge base that you don’t even notice it.

And your natural ability to find meaning in everything makes for a world that is as emotionally complex as an ecosystem as can be.

 

You defy explanation.

You have moods and whims and absences and

A deep need for solitude.

 

You cannot abide:

Busy Work

Small Talk

Hypocrisy

Cruelty.

 

You have spent so many years not fitting in that you’ve sort of abandoned the whole idea.

Wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me, you say.

 

And you fill your time by going deep into certain subjects: not to become an expert, but just because it’s interesting. Although you are often surprised to learn that other people aren’t nearly as interested in 17th Century Sonata Form, or early silent movie technology, or the minutia of the old black-and-white episodes of Dr. Who, or trilobites or the mechanics of WWII fighter jets or astronomy or the proto-feminism of Alice in Wonderland and the works of Edith Sitwell, or the faulty logic of flat-earthers as you are.

 

You are not afraid of hard work.

 

But the idea of a cubicle gig fills you with dread…

And you’re not great with authority figures…

And you are bored stiff by any repetitive tasks…

And you have been known to doze off in meetings.

And you’re not particularly motivated by money, so…

 

The job thing is a bit of a quandary.

 

So you lean on your magical powers

And your intense charisma

(truly – other people think you are magical)

 

And you create your own world.

 

So when people say, “Oh, she’s off in her world” or “He doesn’t really live in the same world as the rest of us,” you take it as a compliment.

 

You have the ability to

Write stories and poems and songs and sagas

Create art and images and

Design rooms and products and businesses

 

And once you’ve figured it out in your head, you often lose interest.

Or once you’ve done it once, you often lose interest.

Or once you’ve told someone else about it, you often lose interest.

 

You have more half-finished projects than most people have socks.

 

You ask better questions.

You refuse to take no for an answer.

You believe in the fundamental goodness of people.

 

And your perfectionism, lack of any kind of repeatable process, self-doubt, and your self-imposed outsider status are keeping your fortune locked in a treasure chest that you’ve buried in the back of the garage next to that expensive bike you bought when you were convinced that becoming a triathlete was a good idea, but after a respectable performance in your first race, you never touched the thing again.

 

You have untold riches inside your mind.

 

You bring a deep poetic joy to the world.

 

You are special. Just like everyone else.

 

You hold a grudge.

 

You are as sensitive and powerful as an Italian Race Car.

As temperamental as a souffle.

As precise as a minuet.

As lonely as a leaf on the breeze.

 

Which reminds you how trees look like exactly like neural pathways.(Why isn’t that more often a topic of discussion?)

 

Now, we know that you only really get interested when things are hard, so, with that in mind, I present you with the following questions:

 

How do you walk the high-wire as though you were strolling a suburban street?

How do stay 100% engaged in a dull world that rarely deserves your full attention?

 

How do you let people love you?

 

©2018 S.Bennett

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drunk

Do this quick experiment with me:

  1. Place your hand on your heart.
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Call to mind the image of someone, or something or someplace you love.
  4. Imagine that the image has a little message for you right now.

Just let yourself feel that love for a second.

Now –

Notice how you feel.
Do you feel yourself smiling a little?
Did you relax a bit?

Now keep thinking about that love….and the message….really let it permeate this moment completely….sink into the love-feeling…

Excellent.

Now, I have noticed that from this mental and physical space of love, you might:

  • have good ideas
  • feel a little bit more confident
  • be in “flow” state

For the sake of this conversation, I want to call this state of being: SOBER.

When you are calm, relaxed, smiling a little smile, and in touch with the abundant flow of love in the world, you are sober.

Sober people are calm, awake, capable. They are humble to the work. They are willing to be a channel for the divine.

And when you are sober, you can do anything.

Want to know what DRUNK is?

Drunk is self-doubt.

Drunk is second-guessing yourself.

Drunk is vicious self-criticism, hopelessness, fear, paranoia, perfectionism, procrastination and giving up.

And honey….you can’t afford to be drunk anymore.

I see this over and over again – you probably do, too – tell me if this sounds familiar:

You get a great idea and you are all lit up about it. Lots of exciting possibilities.

And then the “who do you think you are?” voice kicks in and everything goes to shit.

It’s like you get a good idea and then you immediately pick up a bottle of rotgut and swig it until all your motivation is gone.

When you are drunk, you say horrible things to yourself. Sneaky, insidious, poisonous things designed to ruin everything. You are full of rage and self-pity.

And if you do this often enough, you start to dwell in the cloudy world of self-abnegation. Your light dims. Bitterness takes over. You sacrifice your whole life to the false comfort of your addiction to fear.

I know.

I lived that way for years.

And it took everything I had to change.

Because getting sober from the bad habit of chronic low self-esteem is just exactly as hard as quitting any other drug or bad habit.

What’s weird is how people seem to think that their self-criticism is “just being realistic” and any optimism is “unrealistic.”

When the opposite is true.

The true nature of the world is love.
The true nature of YOU is creativity.

Love + Creativity = Productive Sobriety

The false nature of the world is ego.
The false nature of you is shame & guilt.
Ego + Shame = Paralyzing Drunk

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Do know how often you have a great idea and then end up in the gutter?

Do you see how your drunkenness drives away the people who could support you?

Are you aware of the hours you have spent wallowing in a drunken stupor, refusing to stop dosing yourself with self-loathing, spiraling down until you no longer have any faith in yourself at all?

I realize this language is harsh.

I am using it on purpose, though, because I want you to be fully aware that your fear and inactivity has a price.

If you want to stay sober, then you have to do what people in recovery do:

– stay focused on your sobriety every day

– get into a supportive community

– find a sponsor, mentor or teacher you can trust

then stick around for the miracle.

 

Because when I say that the world needs your art, I am not speaking abstractly. I am being quite literal.

There is someone in the world who could be saved by your song, your book, your print, your photograph, your joke…

In the same way that YOU have been saved by someone’s song, book, print, photo, joke…

So don’t allow your self-doubt to rob both you and them of that opportunity.

 

Stay connected to the love.
Stay connected to the world of possibilities.
Stay sober.

©2018

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Drop

drop drop drop
drop what you have been holding
drop what you have been holding
drop the idea that you are confused
drop the idea that you are broke
drop the idea that there is any part of you that is unlovable or unnecessary
drop it
set it down
set your burden down
set down your grief
set down your aloneness
set down your your stubbornness
sit down on the side of the road
set your bundles down next to you like cats just sit there
don’t do
don’t rush
don’t have a thought
feel your heartbeat
feel the breath go in and out of you
feel how you are supported in this very moment
there is nothing you need that you don’t have in this very moment
there is nothing that is not possible for you
don’t do
don’t rush
stop thinking
be…
be on the side of the road
set your burdens down
maybe there’s some more that have popped up
take them off of you
you can pick them back up later
just set them down for now
set down your identity
set down your desire to be liked
set down the frantic need to be approved of
set down the idea that there is any lack or absence or shortage of anything anywhere

feel your heart beat feel your breath
feel the air on your skin
feel gravity
become aware again of the net
feel yourself as part an inextricable and critical part of this whole
stop fighting
we love you and you’re doing great
let your hands be loose
stay don’t wander
stay don’t rush to answers
stay in this moment
stay in not knowing
feel the forgiveness for not knowing
it’s like a rain comes down and washes the dust off of you
you are warm and safe
you are needed and loved
you are perfect whole and complete
there is nothing wrong with you
and your ego will fight that
do you see it throwing its little tantrum
you say “I love you ego, you are loved and you’re doing great”
so together we gather in this circle
sitting down by the side of the road
with our burdens and our stories and our excuses
the same 57 negative thoughts
that we have been thinking since we were twelve
we have set aside for now

you seek transformation
you are in the place of transformation
you seek a new life
you are in the place of a new life
you can relax
you’ve made it
congratulations you found it
you can stay like this
this is the real world
this is the real world

©2018

****************************************************

The above is a partial transcript of the spiritual improvisation I did on April 14, 2018. —

Spirit.Marketing.Business.Money.Creativity.Love.
A spiritual improvisation and free teaching with bestselling author Sam Bennett.

—-> go here to enjoy it: https://youtu.be/h6tkqxGruw0

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BEETS

beets photo

BEETS – photo by FOODISM360 on Unsplash


I think it was Jitterbug Perfume that gave me the idea that beets are sort of…magical.

And Ruth Reichl’s beet salad recipe in her FABULOUS cookbook, My Kitchen Year, sealed the deal.

It’s perfect for this time of year, but I’m also excited about making it in the summer, because it won’t wilt in the sunshine during pool parties. #alwaysthinkingahead

Borscht Salad (à la Fergus Henderson)

3 beets
1 green apple
1/2 small red cabbage
1 orange
1 small red onion (I didn’t have a red onion so I threw in some diced radishes – worked fine)
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil
salt
pepper
sour cream (or goat cheese) (optional)

Peel the raw beets and grate them. You may want to use rubber gloves, or your hands will be a lovely shade of magenta for quite a while.

Peel and grate the apple and stir that into the beets.

Slice the cabbage as thinly as you can. Do the same with the red onion. Toss them with the beet/apple mixture.

Squeeze an orange and measure out 2 tbsp. of juice. Mix it with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, then toss with the beets. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon on to 6 plates and top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

(One more note from me: Ruth says to “grate” the beets and apple, but I just cut them finely and it worked just fine.)

Hooray for beets!

Yours,

Sam.

P.S. BTW, you can still enroll in The Get It Done Workshop if you want to – go to www.MonsterGetItDone.com – just $42 gets you started. – S.

By the way, you look really great today.

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Bad Art

WHAT IF THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS BAD ART

Does the fear that someone might describe your work as “bad art” inhibit you?

Consider this… 
What if there is no such thing as bad art?

What if anything that makes a connection between one heart and another is automatically good?

Even if it’s cheap or derivative or commercial or offensive or tacky or silly or glib or boring or has poor technique….

So what?

There are fingerprints on it.

And that’s what makes it beautiful.

P.P.S. Is there a piece of “bad art” that you love? Why not spend 15 minutes making a quick homage? Or maybe whip up some “bad art” of your own right now?

For extra bravery points, you could even post it on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OrgArtCo/ I’d love to see/hear what you’re up to. – S.

Yours,

Sam

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Give The Gift of Books That Change Lives

Give the gift of books that change lives.

My wonderful publisher, New World Library, is offering a special 50% holiday discount (plus free shipping on orders of $20 or more) on every book they publish, including mine! 

Simply enter the code “FRIENDS” at checkout on http://www.newworldlibrary.com by 12/20. 

Enjoy!

P.S. This special offer from New World Library includes books by heroes like Eckhart Tolle, Shakti Gawain, Dan Millman, SARK, Dr. Bernie Siegel, Amy Ahlers, Christine Arylo, Christine Hassler and many, many more. So share this link with a book-loving friend, won’t you? http://www.newworldlibrary.com 

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Everything is Temporary

EverythingIs Temporary

The sky is orange and the air is heavy with smoke.

There is a brush fire burning in Ojai/Ventura – right now – about 20 miles from my home.

Houses burnt to the ground.
Habitats destroyed.
People and animals displaced.

Normally I wouldn’t try and email you in the middle of a crisis.

But we know that “crisis” contains both danger and opportunity.

So I thought we might take the opportunity of this moment to dwell on a deep truth:

Everything Is Temporary.

And it was ever thus.

Everything is always falling away from us as we circle toward something else.

Mostly we hope for things to fall away gently, not be gone in the whoosh of a sudden fireball.

But we don’t always get to pick.

Your emotions, your belongings, your body, your thoughts and fears – in time they will all pass away.

Take a moment right now and imagine that it’s 100 years from now. If you were to return to this spot, what might you see?

Will there be any trace of you?

A book in a library somewhere?
A child with your name or likeness?
A piece of art displayed?
A scrap of music?
A few words of inspiration?

It’s nice to think that the work I do today could ripple through time and still be of consequence a century from now.

And if it were 10 years from now?

What of yours will survive the decade?

What about just one year from now?

What would you like to see in 12 months, as you gaze around the landscape of your life?

What will have been burned away? What will be new?

Will your dreams be still unrealized?

Or will you have created something that lasts?

I know that you are being called to create something that will still be having an impact 1 or 10 or 100 or 1000 years from now.

And I won’t accept any excuses.

You have wonderful ideas and a willing heart – all you need is some structure and support to create a workable plan.

Here’s a BRAND NEW offering:

You’re especially invited to join me for a live, highly interactive (via Zoom) workshop –

Your Clear Year: 2018 
Eliminate Confusion and Overwhelm and Create a Flexible, Do-Able Plan for 2018

Sat. Dec. 9
10am-1pm PT/1pm-4pm ET/6pm-9pm GMT/5am – 8am + 1 day AEDT

—-> just $97 ($497 value) INCLUDES a full year of membership in 365 Club

Can’t be there live? Register anyway and get the recording – no worries.

Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Tuition Cheerfully Refunded.

NOTE: This is NOT your standard “goal-setting” workshop because, as I said, those annoy me.

“You rocked my mind set…you really get how our brain works!!! I was giving up on my dream of writing the 6 books I have titles for. I got my dream back today….Deep Thanks” – A.W.

I have devised a NEW, unusual, and highly-participatory creative process designed to get you to:

  • Dream a Bigger Dream (because it’s never too late for your sweet dreams to come true)
  • Discern Your Right Path (even if you’re not sure right now what your “goal” should be)
  • Declare Your Deep Truth (because it’s time to stand up for your creative wisdom)
  • Determine Your Do-Able Daily Steps(I’m a practical girl – this isn’t just about your vision, it’s about making your vision WORK in your actual life)

This is a live, interactive online event. You will need a good internet connection and an open mind.

—-> check it out here

If you’d like some clarity on what 2018 is going to be about for you AND how to get there, please register now.

Because the reminder that everything is temporary is also the reminder to take action now.

There is no better time than now.

Now is the only time there is.

P.S. In the past few years, I’ve had major surgery, written a few wildly successful books, lived with depression and anxiety, grown my business into the mid-six figures, and still found time to walk on the beach. I know something about how to be productive, even when life is getting in the way. Join me for this all-new live interactive video workshop – in which you will actually be DOING stuff (not just taking notes : ) and let’s have 2018 be the year that makes a difference, OK? – S.

P.P.S. Your Clear Year: 2018 also includes a full year of membership in the 365 Club, featuring a monthly “Ask Sam Anything” call, daily inspirational emails, a private FB page and access to the Library. So this isn’t just a one-off quickie – you’ll get a FULL YEAR of support from me and the team. – S.

P.P.P.S. If you are interested in helping, United Way of Ventura County is accepting donations via text by sending UWVC to 41444, online at www.vcunitedway.org, or by calling 805-485-6288. Also the Humane Society of Ventura County has taken in over 120 refugee animals, and I’m sure they would also welcome any assistance you can give. http://www.hsvc.org/. Thank you. – S.

By The Way, You Look Really Great Today

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Stendhal Syndrome, or, Why I Cry at Art

You have no idea how relieved I was when I found out that Stendhal Syndrome was a thing.

Ever since I was a child, I ‘ve cried at art.

I cried at the symphony. I cried at the museum. I left my own little trail of tears all over Paris.

Art – and when I say “art” I mean any creative work – makes me cry for a bunch of reasons, but the primary one is this:

I am deeply moved by any art that stands the test of time.

I mean, that’s what we all want, right?

To create something that survives after our death?

So, witnessing a creative act that fulfilled the artist’s vision of longevity…eternity, even…?

That just wrecks me.

“We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” – Henry James, The Middle Years

We work in the dark indeed.

We do not know where our work is going. We do not know what will happen to our work or our reputation once we’re gone.

Would Van Gogh’s impoverished life been different if he’d somehow known that he would go on to be one of the world’s bestselling artists of all time?

My grandmother made seriographs and lithographs, and I just heard from someone who bought one of her works 25 years ago. She wrote to tell me how much the piece had meant to her and to her special-needs child all these years.

I cried at that, too.

So my question for you is: what are you creating that will live after you’re gone?

It doesn’t have to be anything big or “important.”

It can be anything.

As long as it comes from your heart.

What ‘s your heartfelt project?

I know that in this frantic world it can feel impossible to find the time to work on the projects that matter most to you.

That’s why I created The Get It Done Workshop that starts next week.

—-> See the info here http://www.monstergetitdone.com

It ‘s six weeks + a year of monthly follow-ups so you can:
– figure out your ideal project
– get clarity and focus
– get it DONE

The commitment is easy.

Just 15 minutes a day.

You can see all the details here:
http://www.monstergetitdone.com/

Even if it makes me cry a little, the world needs your art.

0 comments

Sensitive Guide CoverI wrote an ebook because I wrote an email.

I wrote the email because of an outbreak of violent racism that shocked and shattered me.

I posted a video of me reading the email on Facebook, and it got more clicks and likes and shares than anything else I’ve ever done, I think.

All that attention made it clear to me that sensitive, creative people needed a way to process all the darkness in the world.

Whether that darkness is coming from civil unrest, political corruption, natural disasters or personal heartbreak – we need a road map out of the pain.

So I’ve written out a few of the ideas and simple strategies that have helped me over the years in the sincere hope that they might help you.

Because the world needs you.

The world needs your light, your love and your art.

Now more than ever.

(Here’s the link to the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xdjuwLtr5BQ)

 


By way of introduction, here’s the text of that email:

 

Clearly, this has all gone too far.

The news has made me weep almost hourly and I am done with feeling outraged, feeling powerless and feeling frightened.

It’s time to reclaim our creative power and become a relentless force for kindness.

And when I say “time” I mean right now. This very minute.

We creatives have been OK with taking a back seat for too long.

The time for change is now. This very minute.

 

If you want to live in a world in which creativity matters, then you must act like creativity matters.

Yours first.

And then everyone else’s.

If you want to live in a world of compassion and tolerance, then you must behave compassionately and tolerantly.

 

Starting with yourself.

Then everyone else.

 

This means:

No name-calling.
No blaming.
No eye-rolling.
No over-dramatizing.
And most of all: no quitting.

 

This means:

You don’t get to call yourself, “lazy” or “a failure” or “not good with money” anymore.

You don’t get to point the finger at the family, the teachers, the economy or the media and blame them for your lack.

You don’t get to stand on the sidelines and pretend like the world economy doesn’t have anything to do with you.

You don’t get to huff around making loud noises about moving to Canada when there is a whole world of people out here who need your art, your stories and your voice more than ever before.

 

I know it’s hard.

I know it’s hard to not let the state of the world turn your mood dark.

But our weapon is the light.

Our weapon is politeness, good humor, firm resolve without violence and most of all, of creativity.

The time to find unusual solutions and out-of-the-box ideas is now.

 

We’ve let those other guys be in charge for too long, and it’s time we reclaimed our rightful place as the shamans, jesters, prophets, documentarians, dancers, poets, potters, teachers, healers, music-makers, magic-makers and makers-of-things.

Our work brings people together.

Our work reminds people of our shared humanity.

After all – we all want the same things.

We all want to eat good food and love somebody special.

We all want to feel like our work matters.

We all want to laugh at good jokes and be with our friends, especially when times are especially good or especially hard.

All of us.

Every person of every stripe throughout all time has wanted these things.

 

So if you want to bring people together, do it around the things that you have in common.

 

I’ve heard that marriage equality progressed faster than anyone thought it could thanks to “Will and Grace.”

And I know for a fact that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped end slavery.

Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” changed our ideas about masculinity, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now regularly on my old friend Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, making astrophysics cool again.

And wasn’t it teeny-bopper-Tweeter turned pop-culture-goddess-superstar Taylor Swift taking the stand against sexual harassment this week?

 

Art matters.

Artists matter.

You matter.

 

So do not allow yourself to sink into despair.

Rather: allow yourself to sink into the work that has been calling your name.

 

You don’t know how much your novel, your sexual empowerment workshop, your yoga, your paint (or paint-by-numbers) might change the world.

So don’t let anyone (not even the voices in your head) tell you that your work is foolish, is selfish, is unnecessary or should be put off until tomorrow.

It is time to be a relentless force for creativity, kindness and joy. This very minute.

Pass it on.

 


Heartbreak Is an Invitation to Heal

 

I don’t need to tell you about the problem.

You’re right in the middle of it. Right now.

 

Heartbreak.

 

Heartbreak at the senseless tragedies.

White-hot fury at the cruelty and indifference.

Unending sorrow for the loss.

Disappointment.

Fatigue.

Overwhelm.

 

Whatever the cause or condition, here you are again – on the verge of tears.

Hopeless.

Helpless.

Feeling like you just.can’t.even.

 

This book is designed to help you heal your heart and restore your spirit.

 

Because we need you.

 

I can’t do anything about the natural disasters, human-made disasters or suffering of the world. (Neither can you, really. At least not in your current state.)

 

But I can do something to help you turn your light back on.

 

And once your light is on and you are filled back up with energy and love – then you can go and inspire others. Who can, in turn, inspire others. And so on.

 

Your healing is the opposite of selfish. Your healing can have a domino effect on the whole planet. The time you take now to dive in to your feelings and sort yourself out can start a virtuous cycle (the opposite of a vicious cycle) that will have wide-ranging positive effects.

 

Yours can be the smile that illuminates the world.

 

But first we have to get you smiling again. Not in a fake, “cheer up, honey” kind of way, but sincerely smiling because you are right with yourself.

 

This process of healing your heartbreak needn’t be hard or time-consuming, but it will take some willingness.

 

A willingness to change.

 

And maybe you’re feeling something like, “How come I have to change? They should change! The world should change! I didn’t do anything wrong – they did!” and that’s completely understandable. Unfortunately, they didn’t buy this book (yet) and you did. So we’re going to start with you.

 

If you’re game, go ahead and write out this phrase:

 

I am willing to change.

 

willing to change

You could even make it into a sign and post it somewhere. Decorate it, if you like.

 

That’s it. We’ve begun.

 

Your willingness to change is the first step toward healing, and even if that willingness comes with a boatload of skepticism, cynicism, resentment or exhaustion, you have already begun to heal.

 

Well done you.


 

Why This Will Work

 

Here’s how I know this will work:

 

You are the strongest person I know.

 

You may feel weak or vulnerable or broken or even ashamed right now, but hear me out.

 

Here’s what I know about you and the depth of your strength:

 

You have already survived the unsurvivable.

 

First of all, you survived growing up. If your life has been anything like me, you’re not exactly a member of the Happy Childhood Club, and some parts of your youth were just plain awful.

 

Even if you were born into the most wonderful family in the world, you still experienced feeling different. Weird. Too sensitive, too dreamy, too manic, too ADD, too intense, too emotional. Being a highly creative person, you perceive the world differently, and that can make growing up a very lonely experience.

 

As you’ve matured, I’m going to guess that you have also survived a variety of health crises, financial nightmares, relationship train wrecks and crushing humiliations. And you’ve survived.

 

Not only have you survived – you took the experience and learned from it. You might even feel now as though you are glad that “unsurvivable” thing happened, because of how much you discovered. Plenty of people who survive severe illness, divorce or crisis will say, “It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and I’m so glad it happened. That event woke me up and taught me about life.”

 

LITTLE STEP TOWARD PEACE:

Write down 3-5 “unsurvivable” events from your life. Then write in what quality of yours helped you, and one valuable thing you learned from the experience.

 

EXAMPLE:

 

Unsurvivable Event Quality of Yours That Helped You Valuable Lesson Learned
Parent’s divorce Compassion, Flexibility Self-sufficiency
Car wreck/broken back Optimism Apparently I have a relentless will to live
Near-bankruptcy Deep-rooted Faith How my friends love me no matter what

 

 

Write out some notes about what you notice about this exercise.

 

You are probably not yet at the place where you can observe your current situation as a blessing. But reflecting on how other painful situations have contributed to your growth might serve to remind you that nothing is permanent.

 

You, my darling, are a true survivor.

 


Make Some 5-Minute Art About It

 

As we work through this book together, I want you to take note of anything that feels especially highly charged, and consider making some 5-Minute Art about it.

 

Making some 5-Minute Art is not actually about the art. It’s about giving your feelings some place to be expressed.

 

So you might just grab a piece of typing paper and a pen and make stick figures. Maybe just draw shapes, or colors. You might make up a little song. Or perhaps you feel moved to get up and perform a short, expressive dance, get out your sculpting clay, or whatever medium appeals to you.

 

Don’t intellectualize. Work fast.

 

Work with the firm intention of throwing it away as soon as you’re done.

 

You may or may not actually throw it away, but it’s amazing what happens when you work as though you’re going to.

 

The point is just to get the feelings out of your head – or wherever they’ve been locked away – and give them form.

 

Because feelings just want to be felt.

 

Once a feeling knows it’s been felt, the pent-up energy around it is released.

 

Once a feeling has taken form, you can begin interact with that feeling, and the event that caused it, differently. You may get a whole new perspective. You may just feel some relief at the release.

 

One of the big advantages to being a highly sensitive, highly creative person is this ability to turn the hard parts of life into art. Everybody else just has to live with their memories. We get to turn those memories and feelings into something.

 

You may decide to keep your 5-Minute Art, of course. It may set you off on a whole new artistic adventure.

 

And if you decide to share it with the world, you will be giving the world a mighty and precious gift.

 


A Word About Sharing Your Work

photo by S. Bennett

Your family and friends love you, but chances are good that they are not your ideal client, customer or fan.

 

Do not expect anyone who is not an ideal client to approve of or appreciate your work.

 

If there are people in your life who have the power to discourage you from creating, please do not show those people your work. Don’t even discuss it with them. Do not seek approval or support from people who are incapable of supporting you.

 

Don’t go to the empty cookie jar.

 

Please DO share your work with your best cheerleaders, fans and like-minded colleagues. As soon as possible, OK?

 


Quit Praying The Problem

 

When you are upset, it’s tempting to find a sympathetic ear and tell them all about it. And then to find another sympathetic ear and tell them all about it. And again and again and again. Some people do this for years at a time.

 

This is called “praying the problem.”

 

Praying the problem means you turn your hardship into a litany. You repeat your tale of woe over and over again, never varying. (This particularly gratifying when you feel you are clearly in the right and someone else is clearly W-R-O-N-G. Outrage is so addictive, isn’t it?)

 

Getting support, sympathy and insights from people who love you is wonderful. Remaining deaf to their insights so you can stay stuck makes you, at best, a tedious conversationalist.

 

So let’s get clear on what your problem actually is, and then figure out how to start praying the solution.

 

Because my guess is that the problem you think you have is actually only a symptom of the real problem.

 

Here’s an example of what I mean:

 

You may feel like your problem is that you’re broke because your client isn’t paying you on time. And it’s easy to turn that into a long story about how much work you’ve done for them, and how you’ve bent over backwards for them, and how disrespectful it is of them to delay paying your invoice.

 

It’s easy to feel like someone else’s neglect is a personal attack.

 

Now, while it is true that your client should be paying you on time, the fact is that sometimes people pay late.

 

So your actual problem is that you don’t have enough income to cover the occasional lapsed invoice.

Can you imagine the result if, rather than calling everyone you know to complain, instead you called a few smart, respectful friends and said, “Say, could you help me brainstorm some ways I could create more consistent income?”

 

Taking responsibility for the problems you face is the first step out of victimhood and into true spiritual and emotional maturity.

 

That is praying the solution.

 

LITTLE STEP TOWARD PEACE:

Write down what you think your problem is.

Then write down how that problem makes you feel.

Knowing that the way you are reacting to the problem is the only actual problem that you have the power to solve, write down your new understanding of your problem.

Now, if you’re up for it, write down one possible action you could take.

Keep digging until you feel you have gotten to the truth of the situation.

 

For example:

 

The Problem: my ex is dating someone new

How This Problem Makes Me Feel: lonely & unlovable

So My Actual Problem Is: I need solutions for loneliness. I need to find ways to be reminded that I’m lovable.

One Action I Could Take Is: Start that book club I’ve been talking about forever so I see my friends more often

 


Finding The Courage to Be Kind

 

Cynicism is easy. Sarcasm is cheap. Negativity is as contagious as the flu and twice as virulent.

 

It takes a stout, stubborn heart to maintain a belief in the essential goodness of people.

 

Because gracious – people sure make it hard to love them sometimes, don’t they?

 

All people are loveable. Even when they do horrible, unconscionable, unlovable acts.

 

Meditate on that for a moment: everyone is, at core, worthy of your love.

 

I’m not saying you need to approve of everyone. Or not be mad – furious, even – at them. Or that you should not fight with every ounce of strength in your body against the bullies, dictators, savages, petty bureaucrats, criminals and sociopaths of the world.

 

I am saying that while you fight the actions of those you oppose, you will do yourself a big favor by remembering that they are just people. People who eat dinner, get frustrated, crave understanding and want to protect their children, just like you.

 

The moment you allow your feelings to twist into cruelty, you have become the same as those you despise. The moment you take away their humanity, you lose your own.

 

You cannot end name-calling with name-calling. You cannot cure violence with violence.

 

You can, however, be unmovable in your conviction and tireless in your search for justice. You can be undistractable from your quest for what is right.

 

Uncompromising non-violence is not an easy path.

 

It will get you derided. Mocked. Abused.

 

Crucified.

 

But if we want the world to be different, then we must behave differently.

 

Starting now.

 

LITTLE STEP TOWARD PEACE:

Make a short list of your favorite moments of non-violent heroism. You may include historical incidents, personal memories and even fictional events.

 


Start With You

 

You know all that stuff I was saying about love and non-violence just now?

 

That goes double for you.

 

If you want the world to be a kinder place, you must start with being kind to yourself. Then be kind to everyone else.

 

If you want the world to value creativity, then you must value your own creativity. Then encourage creativity in others.

 

If you want the world to be more generous, forgiving and good-humored, then you must stop the stingy, self-punishing, dour voices in your head.

 

Most of the sensitive, creative people I know rip themselves to shreds on a regular basis. This must end. You are not a perfect person, and you make mistakes. You are not as young as you once were, and your body does not look like the models in the magazines. (To be fair, the models’ bodies themselves don’t even look like that. The deception of Photoshop is everywhere.)

 

Start greeting your shortcomings, failures and missteps with sweetness. Just as you might wish that the adults in your life had been compassionate and understanding when you erred as a child, change your self-critical voice into a voice of uplift, comfort and true learning.

 

From now on, when catching yourself mid-self-punishment, change your tune. Rather than think, “Oh, I am so stupid! I’ll never succeed at this,” try, “I am so looking forward to succeeding at this! I can’t wait until I improve. It’s so exciting to be in process around this!”

 

I found this approach enormously helpful when, following a fairly serious surgery, I neglected to work out for over two years. I was beating myself up constantly for not taking better care of myself. But the berating wasn’t helping. I simply could not make myself swim, dance or do any kind of exercise in any significant way.

 

Finally, I changed my inner dialogue to be, “I wonder what will happen to inspire me to work out again? I can’t wait until that happens! I just know that some moment soon, I’ll get an irresistible urge to work out. That will be so fun!”

 

I allowed myself to dwell in happy anticipation.

 

Any time I caught myself beating myself up, I deliberately altered my thought. Sometimes I even said those encouraging thoughts out loud. It felt a bit silly, but it also felt a lot better than the stinging whip of self-loathing.

 

And sure enough, one day I saw an ad for a $99 trial membership to a fitness studio in my small town. “Hmmm…..” I thought, “Could this be the invitation I’ve been waiting for?” I went, checked it out, and fell in love. I am in love with the caring people at this place, I love the workout and I love the way I feel my body getting stronger every time I go.

 

What changes are you excited to welcome in to your life?

 

LITTLE STEP TOWARD PEACE:

Here are some sample “replacement” thoughts for you to try on for size:

“I can’t wait to feel better about this situation. I’m sure that day will come and all this pain will be a distant memory.”

 

“I wonder what will happen to inspire me to stop this self-destructive habit? My willpower alone isn’t enough, so clearly I’m going to need some extra help. I’m keeping my eyes open for that help!”

 

“I’m so curious to find out what will happen to allow me to have the financial breakthrough I’ve been waiting for. I know that I will recognize the opportunity and take quick action when it comes.”

 

“I dwell in happy anticipation of a better tomorrow. I keep my heart open to transformation.”

 


A High Tolerance for Ambiguity

 

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up

 

 

You love the mystery.

 

Every road you take is the road less traveled.

 

You think so far outside the box you didn’t even know there was a box.

 

While this may drive some people close to you nuts, I think that a high tolerance for ambiguity is one of the most exciting qualities of the highly sensitive, creative person.

 

Your ability to see all the grey area might be a liability when you’re trying to make a decision, but it’s tremendously useful when you’re recovering from heartbreak.

 

Consider leaning on your love of the unknown.

 

Consider that this situation is like getting a graduate degree in being a person.

 

Consider the possibility that whatever you are believing in this moment, the opposite may be true.

 

LITTLE STEP TOWARD PEACE:

Write down three thoughts that trouble or upset you.

Now ask, “What if the opposite is true?” and investigate what comes up, even if it seems absurd.

 


 

A Note About Opposites

 

we seek nuanceI realize that if you write down, “This war is evil and awful,” or, “This natural disaster is causing great suffering,” you are going to find it very difficult to believe that the opposite is true. Because, clearly, it’s not.

 

But I want you to experiment with it anyway.

 

Writing down, “This war is good and a blessing,” might lead you to a thought about how much medical treatments and technologies advance in wartime. And writing “This natural disaster is causing great rejoicing,” might lead you to notice the courage of the first responders, and generosity of those who offer aid.

 

Medical progress does not make war into a good thing. But we’re not trying to make it into a good thing. That’s not the point.

 

The point of this “examination of the opposite” is to add a little bit of light to the shadows.

 

As artists, we seek nuance, subtlety, and, where we can find it, hope.

 


 

There Is No Shortage of Love in the World

 

Do not let the temporary sensation of a love-shortage fool you.

 

Love is the soul’s oxygen.

 

And like oxygen, love is everywhere, sustaining you, no matter what.

 

Like oxygen, love does not wait for permission to give you life.

 

You cannot be separate from oxygen, and you cannot be separate from love.

 

You may feel sometimes like love has gone away from you, but that is a painful illusion.

 

The illusion is perpetuated when you confuse the love you feel with the person you felt it from. But that’s as foolish as believing that just because the faucet in the kitchen is broken, you can’t have any water. You know that you can fill your cup from the faucet in the tub, and it’s the same water. Water doesn’t care which faucet it comes from. And love flows just as indiscriminately.

 

LITTLE STEP TOWARD PEACE:

List 100 evidences of love you have seen today.

 


 

Your Prescription

 

So here is a recap of some of the ideas we’ve covered.

 

Your Heartbreak Is an Invitation to Heal

You are being challenged so that you might grow, and your healing heals the world.

 

You Can Make This Work

You are stronger and more resilient than you know. It takes extreme mental toughness to stare into the abyss, and you’re just the person for the job.

 

You Can Make Some 5-Minute Art About It

Art explains our feelings to us. Putting your feelings into form transforms them, which in turns transforms you. And if you let your art out into the world, perhaps it can transform the world.

 

You Quit Praying The Problem

Be solution-oriented, no matter what.

 

You Have The Courage to Be Kind

Spiritual maturity is not for the faint of heart. Peace takes far more strength than war.

 

You Have A High Tolerance for Ambiguity

Leaning in to your ability to perceive complexity and uncertainty can help you find the tiny pinpricks of light in an otherwise dark time.

 

You Know There Is No Shortage of Love in the World

Like the line in the movie, “love, actually, is all around.”

 

Remember: The World Needs Your Art

I would love to hear about your experience of working through this book.

Please email me at Sam@TheOrganizedArtistCompany.com.

 

P.S. You are exceedingly good and brave.

 


the world needs your art

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Sam Bennett is on a mission to create a world in which all creative people spend at least 15 minutes a day on the projects that matter most to them.

 

Originally from Chicago, Sam Bennett is the author of the bestselling, “Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” (New World Library) which Seth Godin called, “An instant classic, essential reading for anyone who wants to make a ruckus.”

 

Her latest bestseller is, “Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers and Recovering Perfectionists” (New World Library). It has been featured in SELF Magazine, The Daily Word, PsychologyToday.com, ReadersDigest.com and about a grillion podcasts.

 

A creativity/productivity specialist, she is the creator of www.TheOrganizedArtistCompany.com, dedicated to helping creative people get unstuck, especially by helping them focus and move forward on their goals.

 

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0 comments

I love bad reviews

I love good reviews more, of course.

But I love ALL reviews.

Anytime someone cares enough about what I’m doing to take the time to comment, I’m deeply honored.

Whether they love it or hate it or are just “meh” about it is none of my business. People are allowed to think and feel however they like, and it really has nothing to do with me.

Are you having a hard time digesting that?
Think of it this way: you know that none of their other opinions have to do with you, right?
I mean, if someone said, “Oh, I just loathe peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!” you wouldn’t take that personally, would you? You know that their feeling about PB&J isn’t about you, yes? Right. So just because the opinion under discussion happens to be “you” or “your work” does not make it any more or less about you. It’s all about them.
The moment someone starts to talk about likes and dislikes, or about “better” and “best,” they have stopped talking about the thing itself and they have started talking about themselves. (Thanks to Carolyn Bremer for the origin of this pithy phrasing.)
Here’s why I bring this up:

I was getting ready for another drive into LA, which takes about 90 minutes, and I was thinking that maybe instead of listening to a podcast, I might download a new audio book.
While cruising Audible books and reviews, I realized that I had never once looked up my own books to see their reviews.

Durrrrr….

So I look them up and…

They are just lovely!

People say the most wonderful things about my writing and about my narration and I’m just beaming over here.
And the one negative review cracked me up so much my ego forgot to even wince.
(Laughter almost always defeats ego. Try it.)
Take a look at the screenshots below and you can see for yourself.
And if you’re looking for something nice to listen to, please consider

“Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” or use this aff link: http://amzn.to/2vKEK6s

OR

“Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers and Recovering Perfectionists” or use this aff link: http://amzn.to/2eP4R8x

And for what’s it worth, I think your work is fabulous.

I also love PB&J.

Yours,
Sam

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