Manifest Destiny … The Shadow Knows!

(I haven’t composed any short stories recently so decided to write this one after watching the play of shadows in the afternoon sun. Enjoy!)

The shadow followed him everywhere he went which made sense because after all that’s what shadows do.

Problem being this wasn’t his shadow. It hadn’t properly been his shadow for some time. In fact now that he thought about it he wasn’t exactly sure how long it had been since this current shadow had replaced his own. He just knew it wasn’t his. Especially when it decided to go somewhere other than where he was going and he was forced to go along.

Living in the city, where it seemed there were lights reflecting his shadow everywhere, he had come to have a distinct love of overcast days – no shadow. Of course when evening arrived, shadows came and went so depending on varying light sources he was partial stuck depending on what the shadow wanted to do.

So that’s how things proceeded until finally one day he turned and staring at the shadow on a brightly lit day he confronted it. “Go away and bring my own shadow back.” He said, raising his voice.

To his astonishment although he shouldn’t have been surprised the shadow responded. “No, I like it here, besides, your shadow was happy to trade places with me. He didn’t like you.”

“Well that’s ridiculous, shadows don’t have a say, they just are.” The fellow yelled back at the shadow. The shadow went mute and the man looked around realizing he was attracting attention as the shadow continued to pull him along.

“Where are you taking me?”

If a shadow could grin this one would have, instead its shoulders silently shook indicating laughter. The shadow leaned in close and whispered in his ear.

“Only the Shadow knows.”

*

Hope you liked this little bit of whimsy. Thanks for stopping by,

~ Penny

Criticism – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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The Artisan

The word “artist” here applies to anyone who creates. They may use any format, any medium, any creative talent and will produce something original. Written words, musical sounds, lyrics, paintings, photography, movies, videos, sculpture, crafting, dancing, acting, style, design, digital, chemical, architectural, physical – any inventive application of our imagination.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge … For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein.

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CRITICISM – THE GOOD

To me ”Constructive Criticism” is refined. An effective type of critical feedback. The reader/viewer/listener will tell you what they find ”good” about your creative endeavors and share what “they believe” can be improved upon. So far so good. When you ask a person to “critique” your work pick someone you know to be skilled in the area of your artistry. They will give you an informed perspective with their opinion. Most artistry comes with learning the “tools of the trade”. This is important. The person who is offering critical feedback should be knowledgeable in this manner. If you don’t personally know someone like this, ask a fellow artist who they may know.

CRITICISM – THE BAD

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The Critics

There are many out there in the online world wide web of everything that profess to being “experts”! Many are well qualified but some are not. So do your research! Find out more about those you would ask for advice. Be very careful with those you approach for critical appraisal.

CRITICISM – THE UGLY

The world is in a flux of change. Some of the tried and true “rules” of what and how you should create (in any given medium) is evolving. There is a wellspring of innovative talent from around the world merging with one another right now. This means experimentation with creative new styles and methods.

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You’re the Artist of your work ~ not anyone else.

 

Don’t let “experts” rain on your parade and tell you what’s wrong with your art just because it is perceived as different from the “norm”. Those who are tied to the past sometimes cannot easily see the essence of the future springing from your words, your art, your style of acting, your music, your photography, your videos, your technology, and so on. Be you! Create from the heart.

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“The artist is still a little like the old court jester. He’s supposed to speak his vicious paradoxes with some sense in them, but he isn’t part of whatever the fabric is that makes a nation.” ~ William Faulkner

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Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day and remember to always take care of you.

With affection,

~ Penny

What Is Your Song of Life?

One of my favorite Facebook pages is by Eileen Ní Shuilleabháin, who lives in Galoway, Ireland. Always a joy and a pleasure to read her posts. I’m sharing one today because I found it moving and uplifting. Hoping you will agree with me.

Photography of Himba child, Namibia

There is a tribe in Africa called the Himba tribe, where the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.
And then, when the mother is pregnant, the mother teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the old women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. And then, as the child grows up, the other villagers are taught the child’s song. If the child falls, or hurts its knee, someone picks it up and sings its song to it. Or perhaps the child does something wonderful, or goes through the rites of puberty, then as a way of honoring this person, the people of the village sing his or her song.

In the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.

The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.

And it goes this way through their life. In marriage, the songs are sung, together. And finally, when this child is lying in bed, ready to die, all the villagers know his or her song, and they sing—for the last time—the song to that person.

You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home.

Author Unknown

Thank you Eileen!

The Little Child Inside Of Me

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The little child inside me believes in fairies and dragons

and all manner of wondrous things that fly through the sky.

The little child inside me believes I am as brave as a warrior

and can stand up to the mightiest beast and win.

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The little child inside me believes that all my tomorrows

will be filled with goodness and happiness.

The little child inside me smiles most frequently

And loves most deeply!

The Lens we view from

The little child inside me believes that all the people she meets

will be enchanted with love in their hearts.

The little child inside me believes rainbows are the true colors of our being –

radiant with all shades for all people and living things.

The little child inside me believes in magic.

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The grown-up me occasionally thinks about magic, fairies and dragons

but forgets how real they can be, consigning them to an imaginary place.

The grown-up me wants to keep believing and being brave,

but has found life sometimes so scary she forgets how to be brave.

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The grown-up me worries about tomorrow

and forgets to remember it can be filled with happiness.

The grown-up me has met many people

and sometimes forgets to remind herself that there is love in their hearts too.

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The grown-up me still sees rainbows and stars shining in the skies above, but lately sometimes doesn’t see that all the colors are still beautiful and all the stars still shine as brightly as ever.

The little child inside of me reminds the grown-up me of what she believes in her heart.

The grown-up me hopes she will not forget and will continue to believe

in the little child inside me.

Penny L Howe, 2016

~

Everyday Wisdom Hidden in Plain Sight – About You!

 

How many of you begin your day with self depreciating remarks? Or statements about what’s going to go wrong today. Or all the reasons everything bad seems to happen to you. Or perhaps you say to yourself, “why bother to try? This person or that person is going to ruin my day!”

These type of thoughts and statements become self fulfilling the more you repeat them. You send a signal to your brain that says you can’t win, you can’t overcome and … that you think of yourself or your situation as a losing one.

First rule of being happy much less successful is to believe in yourself. Not because you’re going to go out tomorrow and conquer the world, but because where you are, right this minute is only temporary and you’re a good person who can ‘step by step’ move forward in a positive way, because you know you can. You believe in you.

What really, really helps is to not tell yourself, ahead of time, why you can’t do something. Or blame a situation or a person for problems and circumstances. We all feel insecure and worried, even fearful at times. This is normal but it shouldn’t stop us from accomplishing our goals.

 So today is a good day to start saying those self fulfilling things that support what you want to do. Things like “Today I’m going to get my tasks done regardless of what comes my way.” Or “I’m not going to let another person’s negative attitude or perhaps even rude bullying behavior affect me”. Or “Today I believe in me and someway, somehow I will do those things I’d planned to do.”

You positively reinforce your own mindset (thinking patterns of behavior) when your thoughts, words and action have a “can do” mentality. It will strengthen your resolve as well.

Try it. You’ll discover it really works. And by repeating daily, this can make a significant difference between success and failure. Remember you’ve only failed when you stop! Every other thing that goes wrong is just a temporary disappointment and a part of your ongoing learning experience.

 

Do not ever believe you are incapable or undeserving of the enrichment and fulfillment of happiness, love and creative endeavor. You are. We all are.

Life’s pathways may vary during our adventures in life. But happiness is yours for the having, love is yours for the giving/receiving and creativity “with achievement” are yours for the doing. Yours for the believing that this is so.

Because it’s true. Believe in you, never doubt even on the most negative of days. Always remember – You make it happen because …

#YouGoOn.

Thank you. Have a great weekend ahead and take care of you.

With sincere affection,

~Penny

Far Too Easy

That we exist is a gift. Our life – a most special gift to each of us. We are also a gift to each other. This means all of us – no exceptions.

There are times when it seems, it is far too easy to forget this.

The thing is, in our heart of hearts we know this to be true because in our heart of hearts we do care. The caring part just gets buried sometimes with the noise of living loudly, brashly and might I say perhaps even irrationally until it takes a tragedy or unconscionable behavior for us to come together by reminding us the pureness of love that dwells within our souls.

And it’s always been there. Just waiting for us to remember the worth and value we share as a species. Meaning each and every one of us – no exceptions occur when we stop attempting to judge either ourselves or others.

Wanting to help, correct, repair, improve, change for the better and move forward is not the same as acting from a perspective of judgment. I believe human nature has proven too frequently that our judgemental decisions are often petty acts based on a premise of selfishness, greed, jealousy, fear and/or hate.

A loving heart cannot long support these negative human emotions. The need to be a part of the whole, to care, be involved, make a positive difference is written into the code of our dna.

And thank goodness we do care, we do love, we do conquer hatred and fear. Thank goodness we do overcome adversity of every kind because not only are we better than this but … 

#We Go On

Yes We Do!

Thank you. Have an excellent week. One filled with hope and love.

With great affection,

~ Penny