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Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot


"I hope with all my heart that there will be painting in heaven."









French Artist


1796 - 1875


his dying words








Working in health care all these years has taught me that death comes to us all and that we need to be ready for it.  I love this quote because it expresses a deep desire to always be creating.  How terrible a place this world would be if we could not paint, write or sing.  Death for me is not being able to create, not being able to express myself.  When I have stopped writing for periods of time, I felt like I had died.  I ask the same question of God:  "Will I be able to write poetry in heaven?"
You have read this article Artist / Camille Corot / Creative Journey / creativity / Death / French Artists / Health Care / Heart / Heaven / painting / prayer / Singing / Spiritual / Writing with the title September 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://gem-vita.blogspot.com/2010/09/jean-baptist-camille-corot.html. Thanks!

Marc Chagall


"If I create from the heart, nearly everything works, if from the head, almost nothing."









Russian Artist


1889 - 1985








Sometimes the mind gets in the way of creativity.  We are constantly talking to ourselves about our work and usually this self-talk is very negative.  "Oh, I shouldn't say that.  What will my mother say?"   Or "I am no good at painting faces."  One expert says that 75% of what we say to ourselves is negative and this negativity hurts our ability to create.  We need to learn to use positive self-talk, to appreciate the talent we have been given.  Since there are enough negative people in the world who will put us down and criticize our work, we don't need to do it to ourselves.  I challenge you to listen to your self-talk and whenever it is negative, change it and make it positive. 
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George Elliot


"What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?"









English novelist


1819 - 1880








When it comes time to knock on those pearly gates and you look back across your life, what are you going to remember?  For most of us, it will be the people we've known and had some relationship with.  Will you have left this world a better place?  Will you have left the lives of those you love better?  Creative people, whether writers, painters or actors, often are known for their art, not their relationships.  I recently was reminded of this by the Jackson Pollock movie.  In his relationships with people, Pollock was a disaster.  I believe that an artist can be both creative and emotionally stable, but it takes working on relationships as much as we work on perfecting our art.
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Bernard Malamud


"Without heroes, we are all plain people and don't know how far we can go."









American novelist


1914 - 1986








Who are your heroes?  Who are the people who inspire you?  We all need heroes.  Growing up my heroes were baseball players like Bob Gibson and Stan Musial.  In college my political heroes were Eugene McCarthy, Senator, and Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader.  The poets who were my heroes in those college years were T. S. Elliot, Arthur Rimbaud and Theodore Roethke.  When I got into business, my hero was Tom Peters.  I modeled my speaking style after his.  Harry S. Truman, 33rd President, is another of my heroes.  Who are your heroes?  Who has inspired you?  Heroes are important because they role-model what we want to be.  They push us to go farther than we think possible.
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Victor Hugo


"Laughter is the sun that drives the winter from the human face."






French novelist, poet


1802 - 1885








Humor helps to cleanse the spirit — to clean out the cobwebs in our souls.  Are you able to laugh that deep belly laugh?  To give yourself up to the moment?  What makes you laugh?  I don't always laugh at the same things as others.  I don't laugh at many movies that others find funny.  I enjoy humor in the absurd, in the contradictions.  I don't like humor that makes people look stupid.  I don't like humor that makes fun of groups of people.  I can laugh deeply and have laughed so hard that I have tears in my eyes and can hardly breathe.  Have you laughed today?
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Pablo Picasso


"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."





— Pablo Picasso

Spanish Artist


1881 - 1973








We all are born creative, curious and compassionate.  Slowly the world around us grinds these traits down to the bone.  Our challenge is how do we remain creative, curious and compassionate into old age?  How do we hold on to that which is us?  For some of us we express our creativity through art, writing, music and stories.  What are you doing to keep your creativity alive?   
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Georgia O'Keefe


"Imagination makes you see all sorts of things."





Georgia O'Keefe

American Artist


1887 - 1986











Imagination is essential and necessary for the creative leader — writers, artists, poets, storytellers, musicians.  And in my experience we have very little control over it.  It appears when it wants to.  Have you ever struggled with a problem and could not find the answer and suddenly it appeared out of nowhere.  A few weeks ago, I was struggling with a project and during my morning walk at 5 am, the answer popped into my head.  Take good care of your imagination.  Encourage it.  Feed it.  Stretch it.  Trust it.  And believe in it.  Imagination is one of the best gifts that you have been given.





Do you know what it means to feed your imagination?  Give it large doses of information.  The creative mind needs information to be able to connect the dots between the strange and the obscure.  Read books on all kinds of topics.  Listen to people tell their stories.  Observe and study nature.  
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Robert Persig


"The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands."





— Robert Persig

American Writer


1928 - 








This is a lesson I learned many years ago when as a young man I set out to change the world.  To change anything, one must first change one's self.  Are you unhappy with your job?  Begin by changing yourself — improve your skills, educate yourself.  Are you unhappy with your marriage?  Change yourself.  No one is perfect.  What are you doing that makes your spouse mad?  Change it.  Most married people set out to fix their spouse.  You can't change your spouse.  You must first change yourself.  





Another part of change is that only you can change yourself.  No one else can change you.  Not your parents, though they try.  Not your boss, though he may try.  Not your spouse.  Only you can change you.  And you will only change when you are ready.
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Martha Stewart


"I love the challenge of starting at zero every day and seeing how much I can accomplish."






1941 -








In many respects, each day is an opportunity to begin again.  Yesterday is gone and we can not change what we did.  Tomorrow is not here yet.  So we need to focus on what we can do to day to become the person we were meant to be.  It does not matter that we did not paint or write yesterday.  Don't beat yourself up over what is past.  Begin each day anew.  
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J. B. Massieu


"Gratitude is the memory of the heart."





— J. B. Massieu


1743 - 1818








This quote says it all.  Have you expressed appreciation and gratitude to someone today?  We should be thankful for what we have been given.  And give thanks each and every day for our blessings.  Thank someone in your life today.
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Claudia Black


"Trust in yourself.  Your perceptions are often far more accurate than you are willing to believe."












In my experience, your first instinct is probably more accurate than weeks of analysis.  Most of us though don't trust our instincts.  Our subconscious mind is constantly registering data from the world around us that the conscious mind does not even realize is there.  And it is from a subconscious analysis of this data that our instincts arise.  Do you trust yourself to make the right decisions in your art?  Do you follow that gut reaction that you have or do you analyze the painting, the poem or the story to death?
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Mark Vonnegut


"Writing was a spiritual exercise for my father, the only thing he really believed in."





— Mark Vonnegut

American Writer


1947 -








Writing for me is a spiritual exercise.  I did not realize until I read an essay a year ago in which Mark Vonnegut talks about his father, Kurt, one of my favorite authors.  The quote opened for me the door into why I have spent 35 years writing without fame or fortune.  Since I rejected organized religion at age 18, writing became the spiritual road I walked.  Writing gave my soul the strength necessary to face the traumas of this world.  I was called to be a preacher but I could not preach until I first cleansed my soul and made it strong through writing.  The writing is what makes me whole, gives meaning to my life, and keeps me believing even when I feel there is nothing left to live for.  Here is a short poem I wrote a year ago today.








May your heart


be fluent





in the languages


spoken by God





that you


may understand





the healing power of His love.






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Paul Gauguin


"Color!  What a deep and mysterious language, the language of dreams."





— Paul Gauguin

French Artist


1848 - 1903








As a writer, I have lived in a black and white world.  The pages of books are black and white.  The page I write on is black and white.  I have come to color only slowly when I took up the study of art about a decade ago.  The complexity of color is hard to understand.  Since the impressionists, color has been celebrated and let free.  The old Dutch masters were darker, deeper.  What is the color of your life?  Bright?  Sparkling?  Deep?  Dank?  Dark?  Autumn is coming — my favorite season.  A time of reflection.  The colors shift and darken.  The greens fade from the world.  We see yellows, reds and browns.  Then winter will be here and we are back to black and white, waiting for spring to sprout.
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Erica Jong


"Everyone has talent.  What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads."





— Erica Jong

American Writer


1942 - 








What is your talent and have you followed where it will lead you?  As a writer, it has happened to me.  When I get close to revealing the darkness within my spirit, I back away.  My mind finds some reason to get up from the writing table.  And I don't follow my talent into the dark cave of my imagination.  As a speaker and storyteller, there are places I don't go because I know others will be uncomfortable.  It takes courage to follow your muse —  to open yourself up and expose your secrets to a world that might laugh and make fun.  Yes, Erica, everyone has talent.
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Isak Dinesen


"All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them."





— Isak Dinesen

Danish Writer


1885 - 1962








In the last 20 years, the publishing world has sought to give us more and more memoirs —   people sharing their own stories of their sorrow and pain.  They have taken Dinesen's quote to heart.  And there is a lot of truth here.  We all tell our personal story — if not to others, at least to ourselves.  When my wife and I wrote our book on pet loss, we gave voice to the pain that these pet lovers felt.  We allowed them to tell their stories.  What is your story?  What sorrows darken your face?  Have you put it in words?  In pictures?  In music?  Healing comes with the sharing of our stories.
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Rainer Maria Rilke


"This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love; the more they give, the more they possess."






1875 - 1926








The creative journey is about love.  We must be passionate about what we do.  If you don't love painting or writing or playing music, you won't do the work necessary to overcome the obstacles you face.  Painting a picture, writing a novel or composing music requires a lot of solitary time.  You have to love what you do and want to do it more than anything else in the world.  The more you give to your art, the more you will receive in return.
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Salvador Dali


"At the age of six I wanted to be a cook.  At seven I wanted to be Napoleon.  And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since."






1904 - 1989








What did you want to be at age six?  I spent the first eight years of my life on a farm.  My first memory of being interested in a career was when I was in junior high.  I wanted to be an architect.  When I was a sophomore in high school I decided to be a preacher.  And the funny thing is that for the last twenty plus years I have been a professional speaker.  People will come up to me after I have spoken and say that I have missed my calling.  "You should have been a preacher," they say.  I smile and thank them.  I have learned that in some ways I am a preacher.  I am also a farmer and maybe to a certain extent an architect.  I plant seeds of hope in people's hearts.  I build up their self-esteem and help them rebuild their faith in themselves.  What did you want to be growing up?
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George Sheehan


"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be."





— George Sheehan

American Writer


1918 - 1993








People define success in different ways.  Some define it by the size of their bank account or the house they own or the number of cars they drive.  Some people define success by the number of college degrees they have or the places they have traveled or the friends they have.  Artists often define success by the amount of money they receive for a piece of work or the number of paintings they produce.  Writers define success by the fact that a publisher has published their book or that they made it on the Best Sellers list.  I believe Sheehan gets it right in this quote.  Success does not come from what we do, but from what we become.  Are you the person you are meant to be?
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Pam Shaw


"If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you'll find you've done it."








When I graduated from college, I wanted to be a writer.  It took me four years to find employment as a writer.  My first job was writing policy and procedural manuals for a nursing home company.  I was very frustrated in those early years because I could only spend an hour or so every day writing poetry.  I wanted to be a full time writer of novels and poetry.  When I turned fifty, I realized that I had been writing my whole life and that I was a writer.  I may not be rich or famous or able to spend all day writing, but I still had written thousands of poems.  I believe that in the end we all end up doing what we are supposed to do.  At 61 I have spent 35 years working in health care and I know in my heart that is where I am supposed to be.  Yes, I am a writer.  I am a speaker.  And I touch people's lives.  So my advice to others is not to worry if you are not doing what you think you should be doing.  In the end we all do what we should do.  Pam Shaw, the author of the quote, was a school teacher before she became a top salesperson at Mary Kay Cosmetics.  I would change the quote to read:  Whether you are doing what you think you want or not, you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.
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Christina Baldwin


"Story is the mother of us all.  First we wrap our lives in language and then we act on who we say we are.  We proceed from the word into the world and make a world based on our stories."





— Christina Baldwin

American Writer




The world we live in is the world we have created by the stories we tell ourselves individually and collectively.  Both personal, family and community history is made up of remembered stories that we have told ourselves over the years.  We make decisions about our lives based on the stories we believe to be true.  As creative leaders in our society, what stories are you telling in your writing and painting?  The stories that you and I choose to tell help shape the future of our world.
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Danny Kaye


"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can."





— Danny Kaye

American Actor


1913 - 1987








We are in charge of our lives.  We make choices every day that lead us where we want to be.  Life is like a canvas and we are the artists of our lives.  We paint the person we want to be.  Or we paint the person we think we are.  We tell our stories through the art.  Are you painting the life you want?  Have you chosen a large enough canvas?  Are you too stingy with the paint?
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Helen Keller


Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."






1980 - 1968



The first 35 years of my life I was more of a pessimist than an optimist.  I saw the glass as half empty, not half full.  I've had to learn optimism and the need to see the glass as half full.  It is something that I struggle with still today.  Often my first reaction is that something can not be done.  I have learned that I need to believe in myself before I can accomplish anything.  I seek to find hope in a negative world.



It is easy to find all the reasons something can not be done.  It is easy to be a pessimist.  Pessimists believe that they are the realists and that optimists have their heads in the clouds.  The truth is that it is much harder to believe something can be achieved.  It is much harder to be an optimist.  And research shows that optimists actually achieve more than pessimists.



As creative people, we need to have faith that what we create has value.  We need to believe in our ability to create something that can benefit others.
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Live In The Moment - That Is Why It's Called "The Present" !

Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent? Of course !

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.

It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow".


You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR,
ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH,
ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK,
ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR,
ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE,
ask a person who missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND,
ask a person who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND,
ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Treasure every moment that you have ! And treasure it more because you shared it
with someone special, special enough to spend your time. And remember that time waits for no one.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present !

You have read this article Inspirational Stories / Inspirational Words with the title September 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://gem-vita.blogspot.com/2010/09/live-in-moment-that-is-why-it-called.html. Thanks!

Doug Larson


"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk."






1926 -






While talking can sometimes help us understand ourselves, listening helps us understand others.  And by understanding others, we will better understand ourselves.  If we listen to the words of others, they will teach us about life — both what do to and what not to do.  We probably learn more from the failures of others than we do from their successes.  As writers, storytellers and artists, we need to understand other people.  The better we understand people, the more realistic and truthful our art will be.
You have read this article Achievement / art / Don Larson / Failure / Learning / life / Listening / Reflection / Spiritual / Success / Talking / truth / Wisdom with the title September 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://gem-vita.blogspot.com/2010/09/doug-larson.html. Thanks!

Henri Matisse


"One gets into a state of creativity by conscious work."





— Henri Matisse

French Artist


1869 - 1954








I have heard many want-to-be writers and artists say they are waiting for the creative inspiration.  They can only write or draw when they are inspired.  Unfortunately, that is not the real world.  If we wait for our muse to come, she may never arrive.  The key to finding your inspiration and creativity is to work every day.  Maybe it is for a half hour or an hour, but one must work.  And you might feel that what you did was terrible.  But let it sit and come back to it later and you will see it in a different light.  Creativity is a process.  To produce great work, one must produce junk.
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Michelangelo


"Your greatness is measured by your horizons."






1475 - 1564








Our progress is depended on our vision and the goals we set for ourselves.  If my goal is to own a house in the small town where I live, then I may never achieve the greatness I was meant to achieve.  If you want to achieve great things, then you need to set goals that will take you there.  Many of us underestimate our potential.  Set bigger goals for yourself.  See yourself bigger than you are today.  As an artist or writer, don't limit your opportunities.  Stretch yourself.  Shoot for bigger magazines and larger galleries.
You have read this article Achievement / Goals / greatness / imagination / Michelangelo / Potential / Progress / Risk / Vision / Winners with the title September 2010. You can bookmark this page URL http://gem-vita.blogspot.com/2010/09/michelangelo.html. Thanks!

Ralph Waldo Emerson




"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." 





1803 -1882









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Barry Lopez


"The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them.  If stories come to you, care for them and learn to give them away where they are needed.  Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories."





— Barry Lopez

American Writer


1945 -






Do you care for the stories in and about your life?  Stories are the memories of who we are and where we have gone.  Stories remind us of what is important and what we want to remember.  Do you take care of your family stories, those tales that create the collective you?  Each time I share a story I am giving a piece of myself away.





One of those stories that circulated in my family was the time when I was six or seven and lived on a farm. My father was working the second shift at a factory because the farm did not give us enough money to live on.  One summer afternoon after my father had left, the cows meandered out into the cornfield.  Now these can be dangerous for the cows because they don't know when to stop eating and they could kill themselves by eating too much corn.  My mother and I attempted to chase the cows back into the barn but were unsuccessful.  She went into the house to call my father and have him come home from work.  She told me to come in as well and leave the cows alone.  I prayed to God and asked that He helped me drive the cows back to the barn.  And by some miracle, I did.  God answered my prayer.  What I have never understood is why the prayer was answered when the result was I disobeyed my mother.  That story has circulated within my family for years and gave me the impression that I had a special connection to God.  That connection was broken when I was seventeen, but that is a story for another time.
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Joseph Campbell


"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."






1904 - 1987








Sometimes that which we fear the most is what is best for us in our personal and spiritual growth.  Inside the darkness is the opportunity if we have the courage to enter.  What fears haunt you?  Do you have the courage to confront these fears and find the treasure hidden there?
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Jing Si Aphorism - Inspirational Wisdom Quotes by Dharma Master Cheng Yen

Learn to be agreeable,
learn to be humble,
but don’t learn to
resolve matters
with your fists.
In showing gratitude,
we become
a more beautiful person.

***

The more we give,
the more we accomplish.

***

It is more of a blessing
to serve others than to be served.

***


Melt away all barriers and obstacles with love.
With love in our heart, there is nothing we cannot overcome.

***
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Ben Franklin


"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."






1706 - 1790






For many people learning stops after graduating from high school or college.  They stop investing in themselves.  While education will not cure all the world's problems, it will help us understand them and give us the skills to find the answers.  If you read a book a month, you are in the top one percent of the intellectuals in the United States.  When was the last time you learned a new skill?  When was the last time you invested in yourself?
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Henri Matisse


"The character of a face in a drawing depends not upon its various proportions, but upon a spiritual light which it reflects."





— Henri Matisse

French Artists


1869 - 1954






Like an artist or a novelist, we all need to see beyond the surface characteristics of the human face.  We need to see the individual person who lives within.  We have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, yet how many times do we still do it.  Inside every person, beyond the hair and the clothes, is something very special.  Sometimes it takes work to find that person because the person has hid himself behind so many masks that he does not even know who he is.  And the same can be said of ourselves.  How many masks would you have to take off before the light within you would shine through?
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