“Picture yourself in a boat on a river …”
I can’t begin to express what it was like to see those oh-so-familiar “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” lyrics in John Lennon’s handwriting, neatly framed at the “Imagine” exhibit in SoHo in a tribute to the artist’s 70th birthday. Yoko Ono and Bag One Arts presented it as “the artwork of John Lennon,” which brought to mind for me visual art such as his sketches and drawings. I was caught off-guard by the writing portion of the program and how it stirred my own inner artist.
It brought to mind how sometimes I have my life coaching clients who are writers buy a screenplay. They sell popular ones on tables on the streets in New York and I find they’re a reality check for people who get discouraged in their creative ventures. Start leafing through the pages of a Sex and the City script and suddenly it feels more tangible, more doable, to create your own. It is, after all, words on paper when you boil it down.
That’s what it felt like to see Lennon’s lyrics in black and white. A man, a poet, a mortal, taking pen to paper. This is why author Julia Cameron requires her students of The Artist’s Way to go on what she calls ‘artist dates’ to fill their own creative wells. Perhaps it’s because I interviewed Cameron last week that I quickly made the leap from seeing an ad for the Lennon tribute in The New York Times Sunday morning to dashing off to SoHo by the afternoon for a truly special artist date.
As I wandered through, happily humming along to “Revolution” and letting it all wash over me, I took in the quintessential Lennon messages of peace, creative expression, and love. There were references to politics, meditation, and numerology. His 1979 piece titled “Nothing is Impossible” was an image of him walking on water and it so resonated with my own ‘glass half-full’ outlook.
Right now, at this time in our nation, we could sure use a dose of John Lennon and his meaningful creative expression. What a welcome diversion his artwork provided from all this election lunacy, the hate-filled behavior towards gay Americans, and the many families spiraling into financial ruin.
Now is the time to pay attention to our passions like never before because for so many nothing else is working. We have nothing to lose by tapping into our dormant gifts/interests, for at the very least they’ll provide much-needed stress relief from the areas of our lives we feel we can’t control. It comes so naturally to some, yet for others it is a last resort to say, “I love to take pictures and I’m going to do it more.” Why?
Feel the joy, people. Feed your soul. This is your shot at life. Live it with some pizzazz and purpose.
“[D]iscovering passion requires a dedication to unstructured exploration,” writes Cal Newport, a guest poster on the ZenHabits.net blog (http://zenhabits.net/cultivating-passion/). “You have to leave large swathes of free time in your schedule … and fill this time with the exploration of things that might be interesting. Of equal importance, when something catches your attention you must leverage your free time to aggressively follow up.”
The other day I stumbled on a television channel called Creative TV. I don’t know how it’s possible that a television hound like me missed that this PBS offering was on cable for five years but, lo and behold, I’ve discovered it now. With a vengeance. My introduction to it was a marathon of Lidia’s Italy and before I knew it I was making mental notes about putting a splash of orange juice in my next white clam sauce.
On Create TV’s Web site, it asks, “What is your passion?” Cooking? Travel? Then it gives you some outlets to indulge in that passion for a while. If watching Lidia doesn’t inspire me enough, I can visit Eataly – which she, son Joseph Bastianich, and Mario Batali created in New York City -- and taste beautifully prepared Italian food or shop for the ingredients to make it myself.
I can take a treasured photo and reconfigure how I frame it. I can go in my closet in this new, crisp fall season and mix and match my clothes and accessories and wear my creativity. One of my clients recently expressed a desire for a complete change in her life and we’re making a point of paying attention to these kinds of places where creativity gets expressed.
“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted,” Lennon said.