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Re-oriented

A few years ago I went down to a Women’s Conference at Brigham Young University.  I brought back a photo with me that was a reminder of the things that I learned.  I can’t attach it here for copyright reasons, but you can go see it (and get a copy of your own if you love it as much as I do!) if you click on this link:

https://deseretbook.com/p/humility-3×4-print-simon-dewey-15276?ref=Grid%20%7C%20Simon%20Dewey%20%7C%20Taxon%3A%203301-81&variant_id=92818-3×4-print

I look back on that conference as having a personal theme for me (though it had very little to do with the speakers’ topics and everything about what I was learning through the Holy Ghost).  This was it: “Let Him help you.”  To me, that gorgeous photo represented that message.  I was trying to do too much on my own, and it was stressing me out.  I knew that they way to more peace was relying more on my Savior.

This weekend, I heard a quote at church that goes right along with that idea.  The speaker quoted this article, which you can read if you’d like the full story:

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1984/10/i-have-a-question/can-you-help-me-see-the-significance-of-the-account-of-peter-walking-on-the-water?lang=eng

I’m just going to quote my favorite two paragraphs.  For those of you who are not familiar with the biblical story of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus Christ, here’s a link to the verses that tell that story: Matthew 14:22-33

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/14.32-33?lang=eng#31

“As we learn the gospel and develop our faith, we reach the point where we feel strong enough to leave the boat; we determine to stand free from worldly supports and voluntarily walk by faith through the tempest toward our Savior. Each step for us may be a trial. The waves around us are as real in their way as Peter’s waves were to him. And, like Peter, we may slip! We may feel the awful descent toward destruction and, in confused desperation, consider the safety of the ship.

But wait! Our efforts to meet the trials of our faith—our footsteps over life’s treacherous waters—have somehow re-oriented us, and we reach out for safety, not to the boat, as we would have done in earlier times, but to the outstretched hand of the Savior. Hand grasps hand, and we are pulled to the Master of wind and water. No more is he seen vaguely through the storm; no more is his voice indistinct in the roar of the gale. Now we are home; now the trial is over.

And Jesus calms the storm.”

What a neat idea that in earlier times, our instinct would be to reach for the boat- to go back to what we perceive as “safe territory” and definitely less risky- at least less risky for the moment.  And yet through our experiences of walking by faith, we begin to instinctively reach for the Savior, knowing in a new way that real, lasting safety from the storm is only found by reaching toward the Savior.  Have a wonderful day, friends!

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Beautiful

Stephanie Nielson is a blogger who had a tragic accident several years ago.  Her ability to see the good and parent optomistically even in her very difficult resultant experiences is amazing to me.  Today I looked at her blog and I thought that what she shared was meaningful and I wanted to share it here.  Every morning when her daughter wakes up she tells her to
“Remember that your heart is the most beautiful thing about you and 
if your heart is beautiful, then everything else in your life will follow.”
Though this is relevant to boys and girls alike, I think little girls especially need many messages as they grow that help them anchor to the beauty within.  This strikes me as a really good place to start.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Stephanie Nielson, visit her website at http://www.nieniedialogues.com/
Have a great day!
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Creativity and Territory

kai-oberhauser-309715-unsplash
Photo by Kai Oberhäuser

I love a good book.  I’m usually drawn to non-fiction these days, and few weeks ago I picked up this book just in the nick of time.  The librarian had to go looking for it and told me as she scanned the barcode that they were just about to get rid of it!  Here’s to hoping that means that since it’s overdue, I can go in and tell them I want to keep it.

The book is entitled “The War of Art” and is written by Steven Pressfield.  I found the book really interesting, but one particular idea seems worth sharing here (perhaps your library still has a copy if you want to read more!).  At the end of the book he tells the reader that there are two ways to orient ourselves as artists:  one is hierarchically, which refers to finding support and encouragement through the pecking order, or how we rank in comparison with others.  The other is teritorially, where the creative individual retrieves support and renewal through the creative territory or medium that they invest in.  Here is a little more detail about this idea:

The act of creation is by definition territorial.  As the mother-to-be bears her child within her, so the artist or innovator contains her new life.  No one can help her give it birth.  But neither does she need any help…When the artist works territorially, she reveres heaven.  She aligns herself with the mysterious forces that power the universe and that seek, through her, to bring forth new life.  By doing her work for its own sake, she sets herself at the service of these forces.

How can we tell if our orientation (as an artist) is territorial or hierarchical?  One way is to ask ourselves, If I were feeling really anxious, what would I do?  If we could pick up the phone and call six friends, one after the other, with the aim of hearing their voices and reassuring ourselves that they still love us, we’re operating hierarchically.  We’re seeking the good opinion of others.

What would Arnold Schwarzenegger do on a freaky day?  He wouldn’t phone his buddies; he’d head for the gym.  He wouldn’t care if the place was empty, if we didn’t say a word to a soul.  He knows that working out, all by itself, is enough to bring him back to his center.  His orientation is territorial.

Here’s another test.  Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?  If you’re alone on the planet, a hierarchical orientation makes no sense.  There’s no one to impress.  So, if you’d still pursue that activity, congratulations.  You’re doing it territorially.

Isn’t that interesting?  I like the way he describes this concept.  Earlier in the book he mentions that as humans our default setting seems to be set on hierarchy; who taught you that so-and-so was “cool” in junior high, or that you couldn’t talk to that kid because he was with the “in-crowd”?  It’s something we naturally develop.  For me, it was so refreshing to take a look at what the territorial orientation would feel like.  How liberating would it be if the act of creating itself was all we needed to feel secure in our creations?  It’s our choice, as we have the power to frame our perceptions in the way we choose.

He ends with this paragraph to finish up the book:

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.  It’s a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don’t cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you’ve got.

So there you go.  Something to think about for the weekend.  Happy Friday!

Love,

Laura

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Passion and Purpose

DSC00589If you’ve been on the music section of my website, you’ve seen these two words, passion and purpose, in a quote by a long-time family friend, Joey Reyes Owen: “Isn’t it a joy when your passion and your purpose collide?”  This week I found another quote that ties together these two words:

When the Lord wishes to direct his people,” hymn composer and choir director Evan Stephens reflected, “his favorite mode of procedure seems to be not so much to thunder his commands from the mountains of clouds.” Far more often, in Stephens’s experience, “some quiet, unknown man or woman is unconsciously attuned into a fit instrument for the work.” First, “an intense desire is in some simple, natural way created in the person to accomplish something.” When a person’s individual passions and efforts match the Lord’s purposes, “more and more grows the desire and the joy in the labors of pursuit; more and more dawns upon their vision the possibilities” until “through the fruits of the labors of these inspired persons a people are found to have attained, to a more or less perfect degree, that particular goal and purpose desired by the Lord.”

(Evan Stephens, “M.I.A. in Music,” Improvement Era, vol. 28, no. 8 (June 1925), 730)

When individual passions match the Lord’s purposes- that’s where the magic happens!

TTFN!

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What the world needs

“Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~Quote by Howard Thurman, quoted in the book “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown

This has been on my quote wall for at least a year.  I think this month I just started living it.  And you know what?  It’s way more fun to live this way!