Monday, September 1, 2014

Lost In Translation

... it is not our experiences but how we remember those experiences and even what experiences we choose to remember that have the most profound effect on our happiness. We must never allow ourselves to believe that we are the sum total of our experiences. Though our experiences are real, we are more than those experiences. The moment we define ourself by our experiences, we have lost our way. Be informed by your experiences, but do not be controlled by them.

What has happened to us is not nearly as powerful or as informative as our interpretation of why it happened. Our most destructive emotions, such as bitterness and unforgivingness root deeply into the human soul not because of what happened to us but because we haven't resolved the issues of why.

To engage our lives as a creative act, we must understand that a significant part of the creative process is interpretation. Our interpretation of life determines the material from which we will build the future. The great danger, of course, is that who we are and who we are meant to be can so easily be lost in translation. Interpretation matters.

What is your interpretation of life? What is your idea of you? Who is it that you have decided to become? If your greatest work of art is the life you live and ultimately life is a creative act, what life will you choose to leave behind as your masterpiece?

Every morning, I spend an hour doing both a spiritual and a creative study. I'm always intrigued by the way they work together. I see it as divine direction. The quotes above are from Erwin Raphael McManus' book The Artisan Soul. Their theme is echoed in Julia Cameron's book The Prosperous Heart where she writes - Focusing on the positive, we come to expect further positives. Conversely, if we focus on the negative, we will find ourselves anticipating negativity. The choice is up to us which way we want to view our reality. Our glass can be seen as half full or as half empty. If we choose optimism and see our glass as half full, we will very soon see it brimming over with goodness.

For more years than I can remember, I've taken the first Tuesday after the long weekend in September to reflect on the past year and to set directions for the coming year. This past year has had some interesting (as in not) blips that came right at the beginning and made it very difficult. As I approach this day of reflection, I have been receiving message from several directions about the need to focus on myself - to make this next year the year of me - not in a selfish way, but rather in a healing, forward moving, fuller, broader, more meaningful, and fully creative way.

When I think about what Erwin wrote - Our interpretation of life determines the material from which we will build the future. The great danger, of course, is that who we are and who we are meant to be can so easily be lost in translation. - I have to pause and think about where I may have misinterpreted the experiences of my life and how I could re-interpret both them and future experiences in a way that supports and moves me forward rather than in a way that hinders me. We can so easily become consumed by the negative. Just think about how one hurtful comment in a sea of positive ones so easily becomes the comment we dwell on. I want my focus to be on the sea of positive comments.

On Saturday, a friend and I were talking about this period in our lives when there is more time for ourselves. We talked about what do we want to do and explore and express. Some of my wants have to do with doing and others have to do with being. It's no surprise that some of them include the way I dress - not only the garments but the accessories. I have a longing for incredibly unique, terribly expensive, totally unpractical shoes. Frosting shoes; not cake ones. I want what I wear to project personality, uniqueness, authenticity, positiveness, approachability, independent opinions, creativity, inspiration, encouragement, and so much more although - to be honest - I want that for many areas of my life, not just my clothing. That's some of what I'll be thinking about tomorrow and it's part of what I'm exploring later this month when I study with Diane.

The pictures in this posting are of author and artist Beatrix van Ost. Other than what's to be found in these images and heard in the video above, I know nothing about her and yet virtually every time I see a picture of Beatrix, there is something there I find myself attracted to - authenticity, firm opinions, femininity, grace of movement, confidence, and a comfortable sense of self to name a few.

Typically, when I sit down to work on my yearly plan, it's a matter of putting down what's already been swirling in my brain over the weeks and months before and giving it shape and a way of being. Going forward, I want to translate my experiences in positive ways. I want to actively work on my masterpiece. And I want my masterpiece to be positive.

What direction do you plan to move in over the next year?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the first day of the "new"year

I think most people give up. In some way you should always be in love and never say I can't wear that because of my age. It's all how you feel. 
- Beatrix van Ost


  1. I love that you function on a September start. It always feels so much more like a new beginning than January. My goal for the next year is to savour where I am instead of looking forward or backward. This year has been one of incredible transition in many different arenas, and the result of it all is that I have realized that this moment is the one that is the most important. I can't control what is to come, and I can't change what has already happened. So embracing that is my goal this year. Thanks for writing.

    1. Living in the now has challenges all its own, especially as we do have to be aware on some level that the future is - hopefully - going to happen and we need to prepare for it without forgetting to exist in this moment. The future gives a certain tension to the now that I've noticed can be helpful. Balance again.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.