My Melody Gardot Playlist

Your Heart is Black

Who Will Comfort Me

Our Love is Easy

Lover Undercover

Quiet Fire

My One and Only Thrill

Same to You

He’s a Tramp

Discipline Takes Creativity

Painted all morning.  Getting closer but the finish line keeps moving.  I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  I need a break.  But I really need to finish.  I can’t take a break.  Big sigh.

Food.  I need food.  I must have food.  My shoulder is screaming.  So, I take a break.  From painting that is.  I’ll take a working lunch.  My website needs updating.  Marketing is a must.  Photos.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  Ugh.  

As I walk to the kitchen, I remember the laundry and a package that needs to be mailed.  Errands.  Another big sigh.  

Discipline.  When you work out of your house, discipline is a necessity.  Most days, I have it.  I have it to spare.  Today is not most days.  

So, today, I leave.  Laptop in tow, to rid myself of distractions.  To eat.  To sit elsewhere.  Amongst people.  Human contact.  Sort of.  The introvert trying to be an extrovert.  

Bourbon salmon.  Rice.  Asparagus.  My favorite.  All prepared by my favorite cook, Brandon 3000.  My stomach takes delight.  My shoulder has quieted.  My blog is finished.  My time has been used wisely.  

Discipline.  Sometimes it, too, takes creativity.  

Fear. Faith. Trust.

Fear.  No one is without it.  Fear.  It’s instinctive.  It keeps us safe but it is also what keeps us stuck.  It’s answering the What If question without hope; without faith; without trust. 

As artists, it’s the fear of rejection.  It’s the fear of criticism.  It’s the fear of exposing ourselves.  It will happen.  Rejection and criticism come with the territory.  And exposing who we are is just part of it.  So, as I said earlier, in order to overcome the fear, you’re going to have to learn to ignore the negative.

In order to ignore and overcome, faith and trust are needed.  Faith that you have what it takes to achieve the success you have defined for yourself, and trust that you can handle the consequences until you do.  It could take time.  

Unfortunately, the timeline to success is not completely within your control.  But you can control, what you do with your time.  Begin to focus on what you do have control over…improving your skills, marketing, networking, finances.

A great technique in gaining faith and trust is the What If test.  Ask yourself what you are afraid of.  Then ask yourself what you would do should that happen?  Then repeat the process until you realize you can handle the outcome, then step out into that fear.

It’s just like anything else.  With each step you take toward that fear, your confidence grows.  Faith grows. Faith in knowing that you know what you’re doing by following your path.  Faith that you will be able to navigate that path.  Faith that you will be ok.  And with faith comes trust.  Faith will trump fear.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. - Nelson Mandela

There's Something There

It’s 3:00am.  A full hour before my alarm is set to go off.  Sirens blare outside.  I am awake.  The coyotes begin to howl.  Not one or two, but a whole pack.  They can’t be but more than 100 feet away.  I crawl out of bed and stumble my way to the open window, hoping to catch a glimpse.

Nothing.  I see nothing.  Pure blackness.  I walk downstairs, make some coffee, and take it outside to the deck.  Still, I see nothing.  The howling has silenced. 

I hear the drip of our fountain down below and smell the night air, but I see nothing; yet, I know something is out there.  Watching me.  Waiting.  

Our raccoon population has dwindled over the past couple of weeks.  Now, I know why.  I grow concerned for our feral cats, Twigs and Flops.  They could be in trouble or in their usual spots, guarding the landing for all I know.  I can’t see the landing.  

My mind drifts.  Something is there.  I begin thinking about today, my future.  Short term.  Long term.  What am I going to write?  What am I going to paint?  I don’t know.  

Yet something is there.  I know it.  I just can't see it on the paper.  I can’t visualize it on the canvas.  I can’t see the landing.  Yet, something is there.  I know it.  I feel it.  I look up.  Day is breaking.  It’s Twigs and Flops.  They are in their usual places, guarding the landing, as if they are two sphinx guarding their pharaoh’s soul.  They were there the whole time, as was my blog.

Now, it’s time to go see what’s on that canvas.  Something’s there.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving.  Recently, I read a story about man who decided to give thanks all day long, listing something new every time.  No repeats.  Since he was a biologist, he was able to give thanks for every bone, artery, muscle, etc.  

Giving Thanks.  Fifteen months ago, a co-worker expressed her gratitude for chemo.  She gave thanks for it as a life saver, praising its benefits, never mentioning a word about its negative side effects.  

November 22, 2018. I’m grateful for this day.  This day to give thanks.  I’m grateful for the ability to give thanks all day, and I’m grateful for the next 364 days to do it again and again.

Let's Here it for the Girls

Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone-Eva Cassidy 

Misty-Sarah Vaughan

Sunday Kinda Love-Etta James

Smooth Operator-Sade

Summertime-Janis Joplin

Feeling Good-Nina Simone

Jolene-Miley Cyrus

Back to Black-Amy Winehouse

Super Duper Love-Joss Stone

Breakdown Mode-Iyeoka

Nah neh nah-Vaya Con Dias

Today, I Play...

How Jr Got HIs Head Put Out-JJ Grey and Mofro

Stripes-Brandy Clark

Two More Bottles of Wine-Delbert McClinton

Valery-Amy Winehouse

Things Have Changed-Dylan

Hippies & Cowboys-Cody Jinks

Bourbon in Your Eyes-Devil Doll

Casanova-Eric Lindell

I Ain’t Drunk-Albert Collins

La Grange-ZZ Top

Some Kind of Ride-Grace Potter

Peace, Love, and Happiness-GL Special Sauce

Girl Next Door-Brandy Clark

Random Thoughts

As I sat to write my next blog, I automatically turned on my favorite Pandora Station and instantly thought to myself, "Why music?"  If you've read my other blogs, you'll know music does move me.  I suspect it moves most in some way or another.  

But why not silence?  Silence is good.  Perhaps tomorrow I will write in silence.  Today, it's Nina Simone and a blog about random thoughts.

My Crazy Playlist

You Man Be Right. I May Be Crazy.-Billy Joel         

Same Kind Of Crazy-Delbert McClinton

Crazy He Calls Me-Billie Holiday

Crazy Ain’t Original-Sheryl Crow

World Gone Crazy-Doobie Brothers

Crazy-Patsy Cline

Miss You Like Crazy-Natalie Cole

Crazy Love-Van Morrison

99 Shades of Crazy-JJ Gray & Mofro

Still Crazy After All These Years-Paul Simon

My Kind of Crazy-Brantley Gilbert

I’ve Always Been Crazy-Waylon Jennings

JJ Grey & Mofro

Here comes the soul of artsouldblog.  Recently, my brother gifted me with a StubHub gift card that I used to see JJ Grey and Mofro.  I’ve listened to his music for some time now but for whatever the reason, never took the time to see him in person.  My mistake.  

Seeing him in person was an experience I find hard to describe.  It was an experience I wasn’t expecting.  And an experience I won't forget.  

As the crowd waited in anticipation, I fumbled through my purse, checked my iphone, laughed at a few dumb jokes my husband was cracking.  The other members of his band lightly began.  I continued fumbling.  That is, until I heard what I can only describe as a train in the distance getting closer and closer.  I looked up to see none other than JJ himself entering from backstage playing his harmonica in the most soul pressing way.  I was hooked.  Snatched up like a hobo for the next hour and a half.  I was on his journey through his swamp and loved every minute of it.  

Concerts will never be the same.  

Click on the links below to buy his music and promo items.

Follow Your Heart

It’s the road less traveled.  The road filled with more pot holes, detours, and hard lessons learned than I ever imagined.  Yet, there’s no other road I would have preferred to go down.  If you chose this road to travel, you better learn to believe in yourSelf.  Self-doubt is going to come and it’s going to be egged on by those pot holes, detours, and sometimes people you’d least expect.  

But hear this.  Know this.  All those obstacles, and naysayers are there to help.  The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can put them to use.  So, take some time to center yourSelf and turn a negative into a positive.  Meditation has been an extremely useful tool to me for doing just that.  Many books on this topic exist.  You can find them in just about everything from Eastern Philosophy to self-help psychology, and don’t forget, even Christ meditated.  

My current book of choice is Aware, by Dan Siegel.  Here’s a little info on it….

“Dan Siegel, who gave us a succinct and clear definition of mind, now explores the awareness that knows that mind. Read this book if you want true freedom and spontaneous creativity.”—Deepak Chopra, MD

About the Author

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, founding codirector of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and executive director of the Mindsight Institute. He is also coauthor of Parenting from the Inside Out, The Whole-Brain Child, and Mindsight and the proud father of two children in their twenties.

Now, dig in; dig deep; and come out fighting with a smile.

Links to the book and meditation incense are below. Both are excellent aids to starting or furthering your mediation practice. Stop trying to figure it out on your own. Make it easy on yourself and buy the book.

Focus. Trust. Peace.

Comments are welcome.