Inspiration: Fight the Good Fight

There were twelve thousand people at the conference I attended. Here you see a random shot of the crowd. Today’s message is short and sweet. In a sea of people what makes you stand out? Among so many, what makes you different? I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from E.E. Cumming:

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

I encourage you today to fight the good fight…your life is worth it. 

Inspiration: Content in All Things

Take a close look at the lower right hand corner of this parking lot. Can you see the cute brown bunny? We were walking through downtown Denver and one of my colleagues noticed this little guy and suggested I take a picture. He sat very still as I drew closer, and was not in any way startled by the cars or traffic or city noises. It struck me as both odd and amazing at the same time. 

Once I took the picture and walked away, I thought about the life of this bunny. Where does he live? What does he eat? How long has he been in this area? How did he get here? So many questions around this strange pairing of this bunny with a parking lot. And it hit me that he doesn’t think it is strange at all…this is where he lives. A parking lot is a strange palce for a bunny to be eating, and yet this is his world. HE doens’t know any different and has made the best of the world he was given. 

What about you? Do you ever feel like a bunny in a parking lot…like you are in the wrong place? As if the world you live in is not where you should be? And then I thought about those who make the best of the cards they have been dealt by life, and they make it work. This bunny didn’t run or hide or act out of fear, he just ate the weeds and enjoyed the sun.

Maybe that is my advice to you today. No matter what life has dealt you, make it work. Be content, eat your vegetables and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Good advice for bunnies and people all over. 

Inspiration: What is Art?

I saw this piece of art in a restaurant and thought it was colorful and bright. It also made me think about ‘what is art?’ This piece uses color and letters to illustrate the word ‘art’…and that turns out to be art. As I looked at this piece hanging on the wall – instead of listening to the conversation at my table – I also thought that not everyone would see this as art, and not everyone would like it. 

Art is subjective. What is art to one person may not be art to another person. There is art in tattoos, graffiti, words, shapes, colors, natural forms, lines, clouds, trees, streets, on canvas, in furniture and art can be present in found objects. And yet not everyone can see the beauty or wants to see the beauty in all those things. Some people think furniture is just furniture. Some people think words are just words, not art. And others can find art no matter where they or what they are experiencing. Great artists had critics, and those critics didn’t like their art.

Art is very cultural. Many countries, cultures, genders, or generations appreciate different art. They like different shapes or angles and they love color. Some cultures appreciate more the absence of color and shape. Some families go to art museums, others do not. Some parents want their children to be artistically creative, some parents do not value that. Some countries invest and want the arts to thrive…while some countries stifle their artists by controlling what they are allowed to produce. 

Art can be cheap, art can be expensive. Many artists ‘starve’ while they are alive then their work becomes more valued upon their death. Other artists make lots of money creating and selling their art while they are alive, and market it very well across the globe. Some people see art as an investment and others see it as something to cover their walls…and still others see it as a way to inspire themselves each and every day. Some people do not have money to spend on art, so they make it themselves. Others have money and want to be part of the process while others make art for them. 

When I tell people I like art, I get a variety of reactions. Some want to know ‘who’ I like, and others want to know what ‘genre’ I like. Some people tell me what they like and ask if I like that as well. Some people want to talk art, and others don’t like it at all. Art can bring out some interesting conversations and reactions, blank stares and enthusiastic responses. 

All in all, art is what YOU think it is. Art is what you appreciate and what you want to see. Like so many things in life, art is what you make of it…if you like it, then it’s art. If you don’t like it, then someone else might. If you take the judgement out of all this and allow people to appreciate and contribute in the best way they know how, you will be amazed at what art can teach you!