Celebrating: Funouts

Late this afternoon our little pod was playing in the pool. We were throwing a soccer-sized ball around, lofting it as high as we could as we arced it to each other. 

Then we ran around the pool’s edge — still in the water — pulling Zane in a makeshift boat he’s repurposed from the liner of our yard cart. Because it has a couple of drain holes in it he gets heavier as we pull him along as water squirts into the plastic basin from below.

We’ve discovered that if you stride and swim along mightily in one direction just inside the edge of the pool a current develops . . . and that turns into a lazy river effect . . . eventually pushing you along.

There are so many ways to have fun. When we forget the children will remind us. 

[Alert: getting serious . . . ]

Ann used to go to a place called Hard Exercise Works until rhabdo threw her in the hospital.

[Alert: getting unserious . . . ]

As Zane exclaimed one time climbing along the bars connecting the poles shooting up from the corners of our bed: “Fun exercise works!

It does. I can feel it right now as I write this. 

You know what’s better than a workout? A funout.

You’ll feel it just as much but you’ll have had soooo much more fun doing it.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity + spirituality + whee.


Near-death experience: Angry at having to come back (though thank you for doing so)

I was with my angelic friend Brian Reekers today when he talked about meeting two people recently who’d had near-death experiences. One of them was angry for having to come back.

“Woah, who would have thought that,” I said. I’d always read about the transformational effect, how those who’ve had a near-death experience come back beatified, blissed out with life and its origins.

“Yeah. Over the years I’ve met several people who’ve nearly died then came back, and it’s more common than you’d think. To be angry not to be able to stay there.”

On another level I get it. 

When in deep meditation I find myself so utterly freed of the constraints of this world that, well, it’s not as though I don’t want to come back, it’s more that I don’t care if I do. I could remain there indefinitely. So I understand it in that small respect.

Not only is there a relinquishing of all struggle when you’ve died/near died, there also comes a sense of unlimitation. Boundlessness we can’t even guess at. The glories and the mysteries are yours to behold! 

And then you throw in the pervasive loving All Spirit in which you’re ensconced that we hear so much about — the Light! — who wouldn’t be a bit pissed to be told, Uh, hey, it’s not your time, you’ve got to go back, there is more for you to do there . . . .

Thanks for returning though, you who have. We appreciate the notes you bring back.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity + spirituality + whee.


The androgyny of creativity

Confiscated from . . .
Creativity: Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

In all cultures, men are brought up to be ‘masculine’ and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as “feminine,” whereas women are expected to do the opposite. 

Creative individiuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/feminitiy are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys ae more senisitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

This tendency toward androgyny is sometimes understood in purely sexual terms, and therefore it gets confused with homosexuality. But psychological androgyny is a much wider concept, referring to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. 

A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities. It is not surprising that creative individuals are more likely to have not only the strengths of their own gender but those of the other one, too. 

For you —

Evan Griffith
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My new definition of creativity

Traveling around America for the past two months I’ve met art lovers, gallery personnel and artists of such breadth and variety as to make you think the art world is its own special ecosystem.

The clients are appreciators of creativity in all its guises. Be it architecture, culinary cleverness, business acumen or the arts, they are keen on the human creative impulse.

Artists speak for themselves creatively. And the people who people the art galleries have a jones for creative culture that is much heightened from what you might find in the populace at large.

After dozens of conversations centered around things creative I’ve simplified my definition of creativity to this:

Creativity is trying things.

In fact, creativity is trying things as part of your process for living.

It’s as true for the artist as it is for the businessperson. As true for parenting as it is for relationships.

How do you know if you’re not living creatively? If you’ve stopped trying things. If you’ve ceased exploration.

The beauty inherent in this simple construct is that all you have to do to become more creatively engaged in any area of your life is to try something new. It could be tweakage or it could be wreckage of the status quo. But it’s simple. Trying something that inspires you a little or a lot will inevitably lead to other ideas burbling up. 

When you try things you’ve started the flow. You’ve put potential energy into motion and that draws more energy. It’s like cleaning out your sock drawer. Soon the whole dresser is reorganized. Watch out closet!

It’s the same with finding ways to make money. Start anywhere, no matter how small. It could be taking a part time job. Prime that pump and the flow starts. Ideas and opportunities will trickle forth. 

The more you try the more things work. 

I’m not one for laying down laws of life for you — but, hey, it’s The Law. It’s just the way it is. Try something and more somethings to try will find their way to you.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity + spirituality + whee.


Subside then go on (the essentials of my religion)

somewhere in Utah . . . I think

Subside. And go forth. That’s my religion.

In my religion all you must do is subside from whatever is vexing you.

Subside. Listen in stillness. Feel the renewal. It comes in softly at first, then it’s like a tap turned on full power. The feeling of all rightness pervades.

If you linger there long enough you’ll find yourself blissified. It’s the opposite of justified. There’s no justification needed in blissification. Your existence — pure and essential — is all that is required.

Once you’ve subsided and connected, rejuvenation is yours. 

You’ll leave that space and without giving it a thought you’ll blissify others you encounter in your meanderings. You’ll be singing your unique song. You’ll be playing your tune. You’ll be expressifying in ways only you can.



A good question if you’re in a quandary, from Gregg Braden

I thrill to good questions. A question is a focusing agent. Ask a question and you’ll get some answers. Which inevitably leads to further questions until you hone into the rightest answer for you.

What can I give to the world that is emerging?

~ Gregg Braden

When in chaos, he’s saying . . . look at the changing world . . . and ask what you personally can give that will have value in it.


The life I’m missing

It’s been tough on my wife since I’ve been traveling (art trekking!). As we talked she was reviewing her day — and it was a harried one — kid stuff, gallery stuff, home stuff, dog stuff, more kid stuff.

All I could think was, the problems in her day are the life I’m missing.


Losing my religion

Today I was delivering artwork to a client west of Chicago. She was receiving a Dali and two other framed prints.

“My father keeps shipping me religious artwork.” She waved her hand around the living room. “Look.”

Everywhere the eye alighted there was religious iconography. Especially Dali’s angled hanging Christ. Several different versions, even two sculptures based on the Dali painting her father had commissioned.

“It’s ironic. I have no religion.”

“Yet by appearances you look devout.”

She laughed.

I’d lost my religion too once.

I thought, I’m fortunate, I have every religion now.


If visualization isn’t for you, maybe this is (especially if you drive)

I get it. Visualization isn’t for everybody. Daydreaming is. But visualization can feel like it’s too hard. You don’t feel it, you don’t see it, you’re not sure what you’re even doing there with your eyes closed. Your eyes pop open, what was it you were supposed to be doing?

What astounds me is how inoften I visualize, even when I’ve been struck by its effectiveness repeatedly. Like struck in the gut how well things worked out when I took the time to imagine and feel my preferred outcome.

For many I’ve spoken with visualization can feel forced. There’s enough already that feels forced in our lives, why add something else.

Try this alternative and see what you think.

Try speaking it out loud.

I’ve had great fun with this while driving. There’s no one else to hear you. Even if someone glances over at you at a stoplight they’ll be none the wiser. They’ll think you’re talking via some Bluetooth device just out of their visual range.

If you’re heading into some potential trouble, talk it out. Talk out how you’d like it to go. Aloud you can reach out to that hidden soul source in another person and ask for an optimal solution.

I’m always asking myself questions as I go along. Is that what I really want? What might be the best for all concerned . . . in fact I often skip to the endpoint and talk it out from there. I’m leaving the situation the meeting the appointment the whatever and everyone feels great about the result.

Yeah baby.

I may have no clue what we all feel so great about as I talk it out — it doesn’t matter. Hakuna matata! It just doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve talked myself into a reality with a perfect resolution for whatever it is I’m facing.

You’d be surprised how often talking it out in advance propels you into that very place you spoke of.

Talking it out makes it more specific. You can easily amend how you want things to flow as you see your first feeble attempts flail for lack of vision. Talking it out in advance allows me to edit as I speak.

You’ll laugh yourself silly too, by what comes out of your mouth after you get rolling.

I find it easier to speak aloud what I want that is best and amazing for my life. There’s something about the syntax of speech that leads you further in. Where you might get stuck in a nebulous visualization mode, speaking demands continuity. It demands more detail.

And as you speak you gather force. You may start out sheepishly, especially if you’re new at this, but watch as the power and lilt comes into your voice as you continue.

You know what that is? Your very own personal soul source rising to the occasion.

Because you’ve summoned it.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity + spirituality + whee.


Stuart Wilde: You have to declare yourself in

More than thirty years ago I came across a brief poem in a Tom Robbins book. I’ve searched diligently — three minutes, that’s a week in internet time! — and couldn’t locate the original text.

So I’m going to paraphrase Tom Robbins, poorly no doubt:

Your dreams
So private, so private
To make them real
So public, so public

Doesn’t that say it all? In our private moments we harbor heady ambition for ourselves . . . until we think about going public with it. 

And yet it’s the only way toward anything of consequence.

“You have to declare yourself in,” Stuart Wilde says in an audiobook I was listening to on the road today (exiting Nevada, through Utah, into Wyoming).

He was speaking of the metaphysics of distance. Making sure you’re not distancing yourself from what you want. Others would speak of it as demonstrating real commitment. To thrust yourself into the flow. To invite yourself into the conversation.

Wilde was speaking of how you need to put yourself in proximity of your true goals. If you want to be a filmmaker, then LA or New York City is where that energy is gushing forth. If you are a salesperson, then you’ve got to get in front of clients. If you are Snoopy, why then you’ve gotta dance!

I think of this in relation to this site. The audience has been growing steadily . . . and yet I don’t feel I’ve declared myself in. I’ve been letting the internet do the back door work for me. When people ask me what I do, my default is, I own an art gallery with my wife.

That’s true, though only the partial truth. My new default needs to be, . . . and I write about creativity and spirituality. (And whee!) 

I’ve been trying it out on the road. With my van covered in artwork I’m asked everyday what I do.

To declare yourself in — it’s so public. You have to put yourself out there. It’s where failure happens. It’s where things can go awry. It’s where people don’t care. Or worse, where people doubt you. Or find your aspiration to be meaningless. 

You’ll also find people will support you. Some of them. People will help point the way. A few of them. Every now and then someone will push you further than you imagined you’d go.

To declare yourself in — it’s where the adventure begins. I mean this in the age old sense of the word, where your undertaking can go badly wrong. Though not without extraordinariness along the way as well.

To declare yourself in is to propel yourself into full life.