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Albert Einstein’s Secret To a Creative Life

Do you think of Albert Einstein as a creative? He was.Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921

His left brain was hard at work in the fields of physics and mathematics. His right brain assisted the left in developing his theories.

He was exposed to music early in life and learned to play the violin. He fell in love with Mozart’s Sonatas and is quoted as saying, “Love is a better teacher than a sense of duty.”

A love of art in any form allows creativity to flow in the interpretation of the medium.

Einstein, himself, can explain his secret better via this  summary of a story I read about him.

In 1955, Jerome Weidman, a novelist, screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who died in 1998, met Albert Einstein at a dinner party hosted by a New York philanthropist.

After dinner,  the guests were led to a room lined with gilded chairs and a setup for musicians. Jerome was immediately uncomfortable realizing he was about to be entertained with chamber music.

It wasn’t that Jerome didn’t want to enjoy music; he just couldn’t. He closed his ears from the inside as the music played and turned his thoughts to anything but music.

After a while he realized people were clapping. He decided it was safe to unplug his ears and he joined them in their applause. A voice next to him said, “Are you fond of Bach?”

Jerome turned to his neighbor and looked into this man’s extraordinary eyes.  He knew he couldn’t lie to this man…Albert Einstein. Jerome explained that he had never heard Bach’s music and didn’t know anything about him. Besides, all music sounded like just a lot of arranged noise.

“It isn’t that I don’t want to like Bach, it’s just that I’m tone deaf and I’ve never really heard anybody’s music.”

At that, Einstein’s face took on a look of serious concern. He took Jerome by the arm, led him upstairs to a book-lined study and closed the door.

Einstein began to question Jerome about his feelings toward music.  “Tell me, please, is there any kind of music that you do like?”

“Well, I like songs with words and the kind of music where I can follow the tune. I like almost anything by Bing Crosby”

Einstein smiled and nodded, “Good!”
Einstein went to the phonograph and put on a record of Bing Crosby. After a few phrases, he lifted the needle and said, “Now, will you tell me, please, what you just heard?”

For Jerome the simplest answer was to sing the words back to Einstein. He sang it the best he could and the look on Einstein’s face ‘was like the sunrise’. “You see? You do have an ear!”

Jerome thought that was nonsense. Einstein used an analogy to explain it for Jerome. “Do you remember your first arithmetic lesson in school? Suppose at your very first contact with numbers, your teacher had ordered you to work out a problem in, say, long division or fractions. Could you have done so?”

Jerome answered, “No, of course not.”

“Precisely!” Einstein made a triumphant wave with his arm. “It would have been impossible and you would have reacted in panic. You would have closed your mind to long division and fractions. As a result, your whole life would be devoid of the beauty of long division.”

Einstein continued to explain that a teacher would normally begin with something more elementary and increase the difficulty as the boy gained skills.
He likened the Bing Crosby music to simple addition and told Jerome they would go on to something more complicated.

With each more difficult set of musical phrases, Jerome sang them all back to Einstein. Einstein was thrilled with Jerome’s progress. “Now you are ready for Bach!”

Back in the music room with the other guests, Einstein whispered to Jerome,

“Just allow yourself to listen. That is all.”

When the concert was over, Jerome was genuinely applauding his praise. The hostess came over to chastise Einstein for missing so much of the performance.

Einstein and Jerome jumped to the feet to apologize. Einstein said, “I am sorry. My young friend here and I were engaged in the greatest activity of which man is capable.” Einstein put arm around Jerome’s shoulders and said,

“Opening up yet another fragment of the frontier of beauty.

I guess a far shorter way to say this would have been something my 4th grade Nun used to tell us. “Stop walking around with your eyes and ears closed!” In other words, be open to everything beautiful around you. Don’t be afraid to experience or try new things. Creativity will come.

But I like Albert Einstein’s story better.

Creativity

As writers, painters, singers, quilters, woodworkers, cooks or any other creative you can think of, we often told ourselves untruths when we were novices.

Our inner critics would say, “You’ll never be any good at this. Why keep trying? Look at So-and-so over there and how well she’s doing. You should just give up.”

Some take those lies to heart and do give up. Others press on toward success.

The most important advice I read as I was learning the craft of writing a book was this (I’d love to credit the person who said, but I can’t remember who it was):

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

When just finishing my 1st draft, comparing myself to the likes of James Rollins, Stephen King or Christina Dodd is self-defeating.

My most important goals are to be the best I can be, never stop learning, and always be open to discovering new ideas, noticing the beauty of nature and cheering on others who do the same.

What will you do to open up yet another fragment of the frontier of beauty?

What are your most important goals? What lies have you told yourself?

Come back on Friday when Sonia Medeiros will be here!

And don’t forget that June 29th is the One – Year Anniversary of The Life List Club AND it’s Milestone Party time!! Woohoo! 

We Life Listers would like our readers to answer the same question all of us writers will answer: What goal on your Life List has held the most surprise or invoked the most unforeseen benefits/changes?

Post your answer in the comment section of our Milestone Friday post between June 29th and July 6th. The BIG WINNER will be announced on July 6th.

What sort of prize would mean the most to all of you?

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Our Passionate Lives

My biggest goal in life is to live with passion and to discover new passions along the way.

In the first half of our adult lives, we are constantly defined by our relations to others such as parents, children, spouses, and bosses.

In the second half of our lives, we can choose to design a new identity. We have the time and the options to find and follow an undiscovered path to our passions.

My research and observations tell me that mature women, those 50-something’s, some nicknamed “Cougars”, have truly taken possession of the second half of their adulthood, and I love being part of that group.

We’re bold and passionate, bursting with vitality and, yet, joyfully mellow.

Age brings its own brand of insecurity. Do you ever feel that women over 50 become invisible to some men? Some men over 50 seem to be looking the way of the younger, thinner, blonder type. (Maybe they have the same worries about their passionate lives as we.)

At first, we may think we can no longer attract a man’s attention…even our own man. Some introspection focused on the positives can help that fear fade.

If we look around, we begin to see celebrated women such as, Raquel Welch, Helen Mirren, and Diane Keaton held as the epitome of “middle-age”. This is a giant signal with flashing lights that we need to embrace the perks of being our age.

What are the benefits of our age?

We have what younger women have, and more!

  • We have energy, enthusiasm, wit, passion, drive and wisdom.
  • We have more control of our lives, a deeper confidence, a soul-soothing, inner harmony.
  • We are amazingly imaginative when we need to develop a network of companionship, fun and purpose to sustain us.

Now is the time to intensify our other attractions.

passion propels your dreams, passionate life

If you look inward and find no sense of mastery, no belief in yourself, don’t despair! Passion and mastery can be created. Challenge yourself with a specific action, something new you’ve never done before.

Recruit a support system, including those who love you. The experience of succeeding and the positive feedback from your supporters will be the final step in securing the belief that you can create a new identity, one that will liberate you.

With this reawakening of ourselves, we become fortified for whatever lies ahead. Life throws us curves, illnesses beset us or those around us, beauty fades, age takes our loved ones.

Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never turn his back on life. –Eleanor Roosevelt

Curiosity must never die. When one door closes, another opens. We have to have the courage to walk through the door without looking back.

We can tap into the skills and talents that have lain dormant, unused. We can search for meaningfulness. We deserve lives full with quality — great emotional and physical health, relationships that enhance our being, a purpose that helps us grow.

You don’t have to be over 50 to adopt this way of living, either. Anyone at any age is capable of bringing more passion into their life.

Living with passion should be on everyone’s life list, right? My passions keep me learning something new everyday! That’s most of what makes up my Life List!

How do you live your life with passion? Tell us about something new you’ve tried recently. Is it on your Life List?

Be sure to come back on Friday! The fabulous Sonia Medeiros will be here to enlighten and entertain!

PMS

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

One of the bloggers I follow regularly ran a post recently with a list of things PMS could stand for. Stupidly, I didn’t make a note of which blogger to give the credit to, so I apologize to whoever gave me the idea. I would credit you if I could.

Having made that half-baked attempt at attribution, let me proceed to give my take on a few of the ideas from that post.

PMS could stand for Pass My Shotgun. Actually, I’ve never been with a woman who was violent enough to use a shotgun. However, I’ve been with several who could make you wish they’d just use a shotgun and get it over with.

Psychotic Mood Shift. This one is a definite yes. When this happens, the best thing a husband or boyfriend can do is not have been there. Golf only take four hours or so, which is not nearly long enough. This must be why so many men love to fish. They can stay out an indefinite length of time and return after she’s over the symptoms.

Puffy Mid-Section. Hmmm. If I ever noticed this, I certainly wouldn’t notice it. I’m not saying whether I’ve seen such a phenomenon or not, but I wouldn’t notice it if I did. I’m smarter than that.

Provide Me Sweets. Well, maybe so, but be across the room and run fast to get out of there. (See fishing, above.)

Pardon My Sobbing. Okay, guys, here’s a real test. She DOES NOT want you to fix anything. Just hold her and pet her and say nothing at all. If she asks you a question, don’t answer. It’s a trick, and any answer you give is a reason to start a war. If holding her and petting her doesn’t work, see fishing advice.

Pissy Mood Syndrome. This is actually what the letters stand for. You guys know this is not really limited to the timing of her menstrual cycle. If you can appease her well enough to live that long, you’ll also discover that post-menopausal women can have PMS also.

Potential Murder Suspect. Although Pissy Mood Syndrome is the actual meaning of PMS, this captures the strongly possible result of it. We’re talking serious stuff here.

If you enjoy danger, go play with an anaconda or wrestle a crocodile or some such thing. Maybe attack an armed terrorist with a cap gun. Don’t challenge your woman when she’s exhibiting the signs of PMS. Go fishing instead.

——————————————

clip_image001David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Godly Thoughts and Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.

Contact me at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx

10 Personal Commandments for Living Well

Welcome back to the Life List Club! If this is your first time here, check the archives for some amazing posts. If you missed Sherry Isaac’s post on Wednesday, you can read it HERE.

We all have a set of rules we live by, whether we state them or not. They may reflect our values and morals, our thoughts on how to be the best we can be or simply lists of things we carry in our heads and use everyday – ‘I will do this, I won’t do that’.

I definitely won’t do anything illegal. I won’t deliberately hurt anyone. I will love my family. I will take care of my responsibilities. I will be accountable for my behavior. I won’t lie, cheat or betray.These are a given, for me. Let’s go deeper…let’s give these bones some muscle:


(Bet you couldn’t tell I’m a list-maker…hence the Life List Club. Without a list of goals, plans and to-do’s, I’d lose my way.)

1) Eat – Healthy, that is. No diets, no forbidden foods. Just lots of good-for-you-food. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, eggs, low-sugar-fat-free yogurt, chicken/turkey/fish, olive oil, nuts and a little bit of dark, dark chocolate.

Leslie Sansone, walk at home program

Great walk-at-home program.

2) Move – Reaching for the remote to change the channel does not count as moving. Walking from the couch to the refrigerator and taking a stroll in the park barely counts. What counts most is a brisk walk, a morning run and lifting weights. But you can also count raking leaves, scrubbing floors and digging in the garden. Move enough to break a sweat. Then you’re burning calories and improving your circulation. (Now you can have an extra piece of chocolate.)

3) Love – Love yourself first – love every bulge, gray hair and wacky personality trait. Then love everyone else – your family, your crazy relatives, your nosy next-door neighbor, the bag lady roaming downtown, the grumpy cashier at Wal-Mart, your pet and all the animals outside your  front door…even the raccoon that tips over your garbage can.   

4) Laugh – Giggles are good, but let them grow into roaring belly laughs, the ones that take your breath away, the ones that won’t stop. Those are the healthiest laughs. You’ve probably heard that laughing decreases stress, increases immune cells and releases endorphins. Did you know it also keeps your blood cells healthy and increases blood flow protecting your heart? (You’ve earned another little piece of dark chocolate yumminess.)

5) Live Simply breathing, working, eating and sleeping constitutes one way of living. Another way is to choose to seek out new experiences everyday. A person’s financial circumstances will determine how far afield one can go to challenge yourself and explore, but there’s something valuable to discover even in your own backyard.

6) Learn – Learning new things is one my greatest passions. How about you? There are unlimited resources for learning and unlimited things to learn. How to write, how to fix a faucet and how to take great photographs, historical events, how to use your smartphone and how to grow broccoli. Learning stimulates the brain, fends off diseases of aging, can help you connect with other like-minded people, prevents boredom and encourages creativity. 

7) Give – Helping and supporting others is good for the soul and it comes back to you in unexpected ways. Give money, kindness, love,  time, attention, food or a smile. Send a cheerful card to an elderly person living alone; take a meal to sick friend; babysit for a harried mother; let someone ahead of you in line; send a goody package to a college student or a faraway soldier. We have so much to give, even when you think you have nothing at all anyone would want.

8) Thank – Gratitude is a gift that is always welcome. A simple ‘thank you’ is gracious. Don’t wait long to give your thanks. It will weigh too heavily on your heart.

connecting to each other like a string of paper dolls9) Connect – People need people. Simple as that. People live longer, healthier lives when they have happy relationships with a loved one or a pet. Building a satisfying relationship requires learning, giving, thanking and loving. Reach out…and touch someone – just be careful where you touch. 

10) Teach – In my opinion, we have a responsibility to pass along whatever we have learned through living. Teaching is a form of giving and connecting. All of us has something to teach others…unless you’ve lived in a cave all alone. But even then, you can teach someone the art of living alone and cooking for one.

Okay, now go reward yourself with some dark chocolate for your endless virtuosity.

What’s in your Ten Personal Commandments? Are you a list-maker like me, or are you fortunate to have the power of unlimited recall? Please share. I’d really like to know.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit me anytime at my blog, Sexy. Smart. From The Heart.

New Computer

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Okay, everybody who enjoys getting a new computer and loading all the software onto it stand up and shout. I don’t hear you. How about the joy of building a whole new set of favorites? Hooking up to a home network so your new computer can communicate with your other one or run your printer?

Would you rather do all that once or twice? I thought so.

About five or six weeks ago, I decided to give my wife my desktop computer, since she preferred it to hers anyhow. I bought a new laptop to use both at home and when I’m away, and I gave her old one to a friend who reconditions them and gives them to people who can’t afford to buy new ones.

Since my desktop is several years old and hers was older than that, we both got upgrades out of the deal. And since she’d been using mine 90% of the time anyway, she had no learning curve or new installation or download process to go through. Me—well, that’s a different story.

I loved my new laptop, but I had a lot of work to do. First of all, every new computer comes with a bunch of junk loaded on it that I have no use for, so I had to try to figure out what to delete or disable and what I’d better leave alone—you know, just in case . . .

Then I had to drag out the CDs for all the software I had loaded on my old computer and install them onto the new one. What a crock! How come every time a program gets installed I have to reboot the computer? Oh, well.

When I downloaded Tweetdeck, I got a new version that’s a bunch of cra not as user-friendly as the old one. I fumbled around for a couple of weeks trying to adapt to it before I discovered how to download the old version.

Of course, I had to start saving websites to my favorites so I could get to them once again. Seems like I never find all the ones I want.

I don’t even try to work with my local network. I throw up my hands and call my tech buddy to come deal with it.

After three or four weeks, I finally had the printer working and probably 80% to 90% of what I wanted in place. Then the computer decided it didn’t want to boot up. I called my tech buddy, and he led me through everything he could think of to try to make it work, but nothing did. He finally told me to take it back to Best Buy. He was sure the Geeks could remedy the problem.

One of the Geeks worked on it for maybe ten minutes before deciding it had died and I needed a new one. I was actually one day beyond my thirty-day period for a free exchange, but they were kind enough to give me a new one anyway. As a matter of fact, the price had dropped about $30, so they gave me a credit for the difference. That’s about the only good thing I can find about all this.

Once I got home, I started dragging out all those CDs I’d so recently put up and reloading software. And downloading Twitter and Facebook and all that stuff, along with Yahoo and Google toolbars. Of course, half the stuff I installed came with its own toolbars, some of which installed themselves without asking me if I wanted them.

Then I had to try to find my Tweetdeck 0.38.2 again. I had carefully saved the information for downloading this, but I haven’t been able to figure out where I saved it. After a week or so of not thanking anyone for mentions and RTs, I finally got the right place to download this from. It’s now up and running, and I think I’ve caught up on thanking people. I hope.

Still got a few pieces of software to install, but I getting there. Now if I can just rebuild my favorites. Ack!

Right now, if I want to print something, I have to load it onto my flash drive and take it over to my desktop computer and print from there. I hope I can get my friend over before too long to remedy that, too.

Have you traded computers and had to go through this recently? If so, I hope only once.

Do you feel overwhelmed by your computer and all the programs we have to load and use, or is it just us old farts senior citizens who have trouble with it?

clip_image001David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Godly Thoughts and Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.

Contact me at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx

It’s Spring and I Feel Like…

Today is my first post on our Life List Club blog! It’s all shiny and new.

Oh, just look at that picture of the ocean up there in the header. Don’t you want to be there now? I took that photo on my honeymoon two years ago on Folly Beach, South Carolina.

Every time I look at that ocean, I get tingly and excited! I feel refreshed and ready to begin a new project. Spring has a similar effect on me. I feel the burning desire to clean and organize. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

As I was setting myself up on our new blog, I updated and assessed my Life List. The list is comprised of big goals and small, everyday goals. Creating that sort of list prevents you from ever feeling like a slacker, because there is always some small goal you can achieve easily.

Since I’m feeling springy and refreshed, I decided to begin work on one of those goals, a medium-sized one. Painting chairs.

chair planter similar to one by Marcia Richards

This style chair is similar to the one I painted. Mine was a sage green with tiny flowers painted all over.

Several years ago, I came across the idea to paint chairs for a couple of different uses: 1. painting chairs to be used in your home as a clever accent with color and style, and 2. painting chairs in solid colors or funky patterns to be used in your yard as planters.

I loved the ideas and right away searched yard sales for old, mismatched, or tired chairs that needed some love and care to become a unique addition to someone’s home or yard.

Before rushing home with my treasures, I visited my favorite craft store for paints in dozens of colors (so much fun!) and other tools I’d need. Once home, I started right in on sanding, prepping and painting my chair. I just wish I had taken a picture of it.

I gave the chair, complete with plants, to my closest girlfriend. It was lovingly positioned in her garden near her swimming pool.

I began a second one soon after, however life circumstances changed and I never finished it. That’s how this project made it to my Life List.

Marcia Richards' painted chairs for outdoor planters or home use

Shall I make my almost finished chair an outdoor planter or an inside chair?

Creating A Life List with a variety of goals Is The path to making time for the things you love to do, as well as the things that need to get done.

I’m planning to finish this chair before summer. I also plan to paint a third chair before summer is over.

A Life List serves many positive purposes. This time it served as a reminder to make time for my passions…all of them.

How does your Life List serve you?

To find my previous Life List Club posts, click right here.

Visit me at my Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Blog

Life. List. Club.

It’s cool to be part of a club. Membership means acceptance. Belonging means we’re not the social pariah we feared we were. The common interests that bind members, and often turn members into friends, assures us that we are not weird alone.

International Oddball Awards--Collecting the Prize

Ahem.

Club members may be weird. But being part of a club means we have found kindred weirdos. Kindred weirdos means we’re less likely to get beat up.

While it is true I am nothing if not odd, Life List Club is not.

Life List Club members are are writing professionals with vision. They looked like they were having fun.

So I approached the playground, asked if I could play, too. I even brought my own ball.

Marcia, Jess, Gary, Jenny, Sonia, David and Lara said yes.

(Look right, and links to my club mates’ sites can be found on the sidebar. Scroll up, and you can see their sun-shiny faces and read their profiles.)

As a writer, with a flitty-flighty muse on my shoulder and a fragile ego (yeah, right), acceptance in the Life List Club meant more than a simple yes.

It is hard to establish a reputation as a writer. So many new to the craft feel unjustified. They could be turning out a thousand words per day, but without that coveted publication label, they don’t fully embrace their craft.

I’m aspiring, they say.

I say, PHLPHLPHL!

Published or not, we must provide and proclaim our own validation. We write, therefore we are writers. In doing, we become. In doing, we are.

But there is more than simply doing. We must determine our target, set out a path, mark milestones along the journey. We must set goals, and measure our progress.

And that is where my Life List comes in.

My Life List is recorded, but not written in stone. Heck, it isn’t even written on paper! My Life List can be found here.

*Pause for shameless self-promotion: You can sign up to follow my blog, Wildflower, here.*

I’ve laid out my Life List with care, have committed its contents to this club and to cyberspace, and yet, I know it is fluid. Some goals I will meet, others will take more time. Even now, a month after I set the goal, recent events have made me reconsider workshop presentations. This goal is still worthwhile, but is this the direction I want to take this year?

I’ll let you know next March.

What targets are in your sight this year, or this month? Any milestones to celebrate? Let us know.

Next up in the club, Marcia Richards on Friday, March 6. Don’t miss out!