Bron-Yr-Aur and Creative Spaces

16 10 2012

I am a guitarist.  I took up this amazing instrument in the mid ‘70’s.  I saw a friend of mine play three songs—“Time In A Bottle”, “Dream On” and “Smoke On the Water”–the riff that launched thousands of guitarists in those days.  I freaked.  And fell in love.  The love affair continues thirty-five years later.

I owe a great deal of my early formation as a guitarist to Led Zeppelin in general and Jimmy Page in particular.  I learned a lot of the classic rock Zeppelin tunes in those days.  But I was especially drawn to their acoustic work.  It was just so interesting.  Rare chords.  Alternate tunings.  Mandolins.  J.R.R. Tolkien in the lyrics.  Multiple overdubs creating marvelous sonic textures.  A world of wonder and colorful sounds. A fair amount of Led Zeppelin’s creativity in those days emerged as Jimmy Page and Robert Plant retired to a little cottage in the Welsh countryside.  Bron-Yr-Aur.  It was here that music was inspired and created that endures to the present day.  They even named music after this quaint locale, pictured above.

Where are your creative spaces?  A cottage?  Water?  Forests (my personal favorite)?  Urban life?

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Keys To A Fruitful Environment

7 10 2012

Wise leaders tell us that to be successful in life and meet our goals, it is supremely important that we prepare our environment in a way that maximizes our potential to succeed.  Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  The Bible tells us, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20).   Pretty important, therefore, to choose carefully those who you allow to influence you on a regular basis.

Both positive and negative mindsets tend to be contagious.  I’ve observed that the tendency toward being negative, defeatist and pessimistic is a little more “natural” than the opposite tendency—that is, towards finding the good in life.  This is a by-product of living in a fallen world.  But it does not have to be that way.  It just takes effort.  And it is worth it.

Choose wisely what and whom you associate with.  “Like attracts like.”  This I’ve found to be true.  If I’m angry, sullen, mad at the world and depressed, I tend to attract people just like me—without even trying!  My anger somehow validates them.  And of course such anger usually sounds reasonable, even logical.  Most of the time, it’s simply a cloak hiding some unhealed pain or disappointment.  The anger is just a symptom.  And being angry with the world is a downward spiral and just doesn’t work.  I’ve learned this the hard way.

I’ve found that when my disposition is positive, loving, cheerful and optimistic, I attract people with similar thinking and outlook.

Vineyard owners will tell you that every year or so, they must prune back their vines to ensure a fruitful harvest in the coming season.  This pruning is both painful but necessary.

In our lives and associations we must, at times, prune activities and relationships to be the best we can be.  I don’t mean by this cutting people off but we must be wise about what and whom we give our time to.  Some times we cultivate associations.  Other times we limit them.  It depends on what is ultimately the healthiest thing for both parties.

Newly pruned vines don’t look especially appealing to the eye.   But it is this pruning that brings full, mature and healthy grapes.  And the finest wine.  So it is with us!

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