Archive for the ‘self expression’ Tag

Speak out!

It’s fairly common for me to make promises and then find myself shocked that I so boldly put myself out there. Committing, yesterday, to being more entertaining in this blog was a rash move. I’m a normal person, with my share of friends. They see me as a thoughtful and educated individual, but hardly an entertaining one. Back in another life, I was a member of an improvisational theater company, and they put me on the dark side of the footlights because that’s where those who lack the funny gene belong.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to laugh. Humor is a saving grace of awesome magnitude. It’s just that fabricating the amusing story or telling the well-balanced joke is not my forte. It seems to me (from my admittedly biased outlook) that the reason I have any friends, the reason I can attract and keep the loyalty of good people is that I love to ask questions. And people love to answer them.

We get so little opportunity to tell our stories. Oh yes, there are millions of blogs manifesting the daily quirks of individual lives; but how often does anyone look us in the eye and ask about our experiences, or our opinions, beliefs, fears, loves? 99.9% of the time, though we may ache to speak, society prefers that we cork it. We have little interest in the lives of others, unless we can profit from such knowledge. A person who unceasingly talks about himself is universally disliked. And people who are genuinely interested in your individual viewpoint, for its own sake, are just about non-existent.

But the reward in asking questions, for me, is allowing that experience of speaking their lives to the people with whom I come in contact. The relief they feel is palpable, and I assure you it is an immeasurable joy to provide the opportunity. Human nature very badly needs to express, and this – I believe – is THE major challenge of our time. After the de-humanization of industrialism, healing lies in finding ways to know and express our individual truth; and figuring out how to live peaceably on a globe heavily populated with others who have as much right as we to this healing.

Oh brother, here I go getting all deep and serious again. Let it rest. Only let me ask you a question, dear Reader (I think there’s one or two of you out there). This blog generally addresses small business concerns, leadership issues, and how to use creativity in practical ways to bring you better success in life. I would like to know: In what ways are you creative on a daily basis? (This means things you practice all the time, not your Sunday painting or the ad you designed last week.) It’s my interest to give real solutions to real problems, so I can definitely use your help here. Subsequent posts will report your responses, and celebrate and enlarge them.

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Finding your Voice

In my last post, I recommended bringing back to work with you some of the sweetness of the holiday.  Keeping close to the heart the small joys you experience when your time is your own will greatly ease the pressures of work life.  The little treasure I am cherishing today is singing.

Yes, singing.  Do you remember what it is to sing a song?  Some of you practice music daily, but the vast majority most likely never sing.  Maybe you listen to music all the time, but that’s still entirely different from making your own music.  If you go to church, perhaps you sing once a week, which is a whole lot more than most.  

Considering that using vocal chords to produce musical sounds is a human birthright, it’s pretty amazing how rarely we Americans exercise this capability.  Ask almost any adult to sing a ditty and they will refuse for fear of embarrassment.  Singing, it appears, is going the way of poetry – relegated to the refuse heap of all things impractical, profound, and mysterious – the saddest waste of our civilization.

But let me not dwell on this shameful loss; rather I propose a counter-revolution.  Consider dedicating to the rediscovery of your soul’s music.  There are ample opportunities for singing in daily life, and you don’t have to sing loudly.  Start out with a quiet whistling if your vocal chords seem dormant.  Or just hum.  Sing the tune that’s in your head, or the last song on the radio, or anything you just make up note by note.  As you become more used to allowing this expression, you’ll even find it possible to sing out loud in front of others.

And please note: you do not have to have “a nice voice,” or be able to sing on key.  Singing in order to improve your quality of life has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of your voice.  It’s only about using the abilities with which you were born to define and appreciate your ultimate purpose in life.