Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The passion of giving

It occurs to me that there are people who don't understand why we artist-types are so passionate about learning, creating and performing whatever we do - sing, write, draw, paint, make films, design fashion, act, play instruments, mime or dance.

Lying in bed last night, watching snow blanket the tall evergreen trees outside my window, I wondered why we who dedicate our lives to a craft (or two or three) are so willing to sacrifice what we must, to do it whether or not we are paid large sums of money (or any at all for that matter!), to put ourselves out there - risking humiliation, "rejection" (I don't believe in rejection, I believe in "redirection"), and even ridicule.

Then I got it.

First, I believe each of us is an artist (or possesses a genius) in some field. So what I say will be true of you if you are a carpenter, tailor, homemaker, dad, mom, partner, kid, student, lawyer, doctor, cop, fire fighter, farmer or gardener.

It's all about using our lives - mind, soul, heart and body - to create from within, using what we know, what we are capable of doing, of learning how to do it better or more effectively, and most importantly, it's about giving it to or doing it for others.

Even if "others" is defined as only putting it out in "the world."

The act of giving makes us happy.

Here's how: happiness is the end result of immense gratitude. When we give, we are infused with gratitude for the opportunity to be generous, to share who we are - to literally give from within.

That's what art is all about.

Studies show that when we give, we emit a hormone that actually produces a "giving high." As it is released, endorphins (feel-good secretions) also fill our system. The combination is emotional exhilaration dynamite! Wow!

Who wouldn't want to feel this keen sense of purpose and self-appreciation?

Mind you, this does NOT include the applause of an audience or any response from others at all, in fact.

People who yearn and work for the approval of others soon find themselves in trouble because we can never count on anyone's reaction to anything we do. Negative and positive responses need to be dealt with almost on the same level - not taken personally, but considered solely to (possibly, only if it's appropriate) improve the quality of your work.

Think of all the great artists whose work was never appreciated until after they died? Yet they continued to draw, paint and create because it gave them such considerable fulfillment and sense of purpose.

If you're unhappy? You might think of how you can start giving to other people - even creating an understanding between you and another person is an unselfish, magnanimous act. Let the walls down, let the giving begin!

Sharing who you are, what you think and feel, is a generous act. I'm always surprised how much people want to hide who they are; as if who they are is somehow not so great, not acceptable, not loveable, not somehow "enough."

Opportunities to create and give abound.

I love to give the *perfect* gift to someone special; sing a great song for an individual or a group; make a film for an audience to (hopefully) enjoy; perform a poem-role-reading; make people laugh (with or at me), share whatever I can to lighten life's load for others and myself.

I love to write my blogs, which I share with you, Gentle Reader, almost daily. I've received well over half a million hits so far this year from readers in 61 countries so *someone* is tuning in!

I love caring for my pets and the people in my life. That is another form of giving - and when I'm aware that I am giving of myself and generously - that I am doing this from a position of loving unconditionally? It feels great. I feel that sense of happiness and purpose.

It also feels terrific to help the people I coach by sharing with them my feedback, ideas, support and insights.

It's just as important to give ourselves the nurturing, support and care we need to have healthy, sharing relationships. I've learned "self nurturing" includes eating and exercising properly as well as continuing to learn about my work, relationships, the world and intests I have.

OK, if it looks like I digressed, I didn't.

The only difference between the person who considers him or herself an artist is that the creative work they show the world involves the arts.

Because in every sense, no matter your occupation, Life is Art.

And the art of giving makes the difference between living it happily or not.


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