Creative Connections in Art

 

 

How many people think about “creative connections” when it comes to artwork? If you ask the average person on the street if art is creative, most will say, “Yes.” Some will think the two are synonymous. Personally, I would argue that artwork may or may not be creative; however, artistic works (not just something termed art) are always creative and make use of creative connections.

 

Types of Artwork

 

To better understand this thought, let’s look at various types of artwork.

 

Reproductions

 

If an artist sets out to reproduce another artist’s work exactly, they can show great craftsmanship and talent, but very little creativity will show. If you see creativity in the piece, then the artist has failed at their objective.

 
Crafts

 

Some people consider crafts completely separate from art, but for the purposes of this discussion I will include them.   Crafts where you follow instructions are very much like making a reproduction. The difference is that not as much care is usually taken to exactly reproduce the item. However, other crafts are open to creativity. For instance, a craft where kids (or adults) create a snow globe may be very creative. The entire design other than the concept of a globe is left to the crafter. This is where a craft becomes an art and where creative connections can come into play.

 

Connections can be as simple.  Perhaps you want to add to create in scene in your snow globe. Suddenly, you remember that you saw a small plastic tree in the toy box. You run, get the tree, and add it to your creation.

 

Connections, however, can be quite creative. One example would be is the crafter decided to change  the liquid in the globe to oil so that the “snow” will be suspended in it. Another possibility would be to use hairspray to create a sticky surface so some of the snow would stick to the surface without using glue, which might show on the project.

 

Paper Arts

 

I call the paper artwork that I do paper arts because I am always creating new designs and techniques. Putting two very different stamp sets together to make a card or scrapbook page can be a creative connection. Other examples are using a part of a tall plant to create grass, adding color to emulate leaves to change a winter tree into a summer tree, and wetting paper so that it curls and can be formed into flowers. The creative connections can come in the form of materials used, design, using materials in ways that they were never intended, and even the basic inspiration.

 
Paintings And More

 

When creating paintings, drawings, & sculptures, creative connections can come in terms of techniques, subject matter, and interpretation. The more different an art piece is from the basic fruit bowl, nude, or landscape, the more likely it contains creative connections.

 

Creating new creative connections is the part of art that I like best.

 

The above is an updated version of an article that I originally wrote on 6/29/2012.

 

Defining Success

 

 

I recently read Time Magazine’s article, “I Raised Two CEOs and a Doctor. These Are My Secrets to Parenting Successful Children.” It was an excerpt from Esther Wojcicki’s new book How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results.

 

Two CEOs and a Doctor

 

Esther’s daughter Susan is the CEO of YouTube while Anne is the CEO of 23andMe. Meanwhile Janet is a professor and researcher. Esther and her husband are both educators, having met at UC Berkley. Clearly, the entire family is quite accomplished.

 

Although I haven’t read her book, the article mentions teaching children trust, respect, independence, collaboration, and kindness. I agree that all of these attributes lead to well-adjusted adults and I am sure played a significant part in her daughters’ lives.

 

School Connections

 

The article, however, does not mention other key factors in raising children to become CEOs. It helps greatly when you have the means and connections to attend schools like Stanford, Harvard, and Yale. The education is not the most valuable attribute of these schools; it is the connections. The connections you gain at these schools and the image associated with these schools are what helps you leap to the top of the business world.

 

Opportunity and connection play a huge part in success as described in this article. Personally, I would rather Esther had written a book about how to raise your children to be healthy, well-adjusted adults. To me, that is being successful as a parent.

 

Success?

 

Being a CEO isn’t necessarily being successful. Yes, it is making lots of money and if that is your definition of success, then it is equivalent to success. However, the person isn’t always happy or well-adjusted. On the flip side, thousands of people are very successful in their lives without ever seeing the inside of a corner office.

 

Defining success as being well-adjusted, working hard, and doing your best includes so many more people that CEOs. Stay-at-home moms who raise amazing kids are absolutely as successful as a CEO. The same can be said of millions of men and women in a variety of other jobs.

 

You can be successful no matter your life circumstances. It is all about the person you choose to be, not your occupation.

 

 

 

listening is the first step to being heard

 

Listening Is The First Step To Being Heard

 

I am constantly hearing people saying, yelling, and screaming, “Listen to me!” They don’t always say it using those words, but they are demanding in one way or another that people listen to them. Unfortunately, this isn’t the way to be heard.

 

Conversation Vs. Being Heard

 

The first step, no matter the topic, is to set a goal of having a conversation about the topic rather than to be heard. Having a goal of being heard cannot have a fulfilling outcome. If you are able to speak every word that you desire and the other person listens, then what do you expect to happen? You spoke. They listened. Is that it? It might be in some situations. However, generally people want the other person to support them or take some type of action.

 

Thus, enters the conversation. A conversation is critically important if you want to walk away from the interaction feeling as if you achieved your goal. Without a conversation, you really aren’t connecting with the other person. You are simply dumping ideas, thoughts, or emotions on them.

 

Now, if a person’s goal is to support a narrative that “no one ever listens to them,” the being heard approach is the way to go. However, I would challenge anyone with that narrative to ask themselves, “How much better would life be if I had true conversations?”

 

Listening Is Required

 

Conversations take more effort and they require listening. If a person only wants to demand that others listen to them, a conversation is not possible. Instead, they must approach the topic as a conversation. Each person must be allowed to express their perspective with a polite exchange back and forth.

 

This is one of the challenges that our society now faces. No one listens; however, everyone wants to be heard. The primary reason that people demand to be heard is that no one, themselves included, is listening.

 

Temper Tantrums

 

When a person demands to be heard and no one appears to listen, they become more and more agitated. Both people (or groups of people) continue to get louder and louder. However, no one is listening to the other one.

 

This phenomenon is much like children having a temper tantrum. Neither the parent nor the child (who may not have the skills yet) takes steps to defuse the situation. Instead, the child causes more and more disruption until the situation boils over.

 

In the case with adults, most should be able to defuse the situation, but perhaps that skill is lacking or the person is gaining something by not defusing the situation. With children, they are often trying to breakdown their parents to get something they want. The same is likely true of adults that would rather demand to be heard than have an actual conversation.

 

Two Ears, One Mouth

 

So, how do we improve society? We do so by connecting with others and having true conversations. Start by listening. As it has been said, “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” You might be surprised what you would learn if you really listened to someone with a different perspective.

 

And, you might be surprised that by listening to them, they also listen to you!

 

 

connecting to students

 

 

When I was in high school, I was lucky to have a young math teacher who loved math, loved teaching, and was very dedicated to his job. He was exceptional and it showed in the results at math competitions. We competed at several competitions each year, including one large competition where 60 or more schools competed.

 

The school’s success was reflected in the comments of students and faculty from other schools. On multiple occasions students from other schools made comments, such as, “I was hoping you guys wouldn’t be here” or simply shook their head and said, “Oh, no!” I remember one time when someone asked me how kids from my school were so good at math. I simply pointed to our teacher.

 

After All These Years

 

Years later when several people in my class connected on Facebook, math and this particular teacher came up in discussion. Everyone remembered him well. He wasn’t the easiest teacher. He gave plenty of homework and didn’t let people get away with anything in his class. But, he was remembered and a beloved teacher. I have never heard anyone from my high school speak of any other teacher the same way.

 

Retiring!

 

This month, he is retiring after teaching for 50 years at my high school. He has won many competitions for the school (over 100 first place finishes per fortscott.biz). However, this is a minor contribution to the community compared to his other contributions. Numerous of his students have followed in his footsteps and become math teachers themselves. Other students, like me, majored in math, but went down other career paths. And, others report being successful in college math classes because of their strong math background.

 

Connecting To Students

 

Still, I believe his greatest contribution as a teacher is simply connecting with his students. None of the above accomplishments would have been possible without that connection. It is that connection that has people remembering him so fondly so many years later. Somehow he was able to relate to the students, remain in control, and get kids to understand math – all at the same time.

 

P.S. Happy Retirement, Mr. Shinn!

 

 

intuition told me he was guilty

 

 

 

One day I was called for jury duty. On this particular day, I was one of the “lucky” ones that had to show up to see if we would be selected to serve on a case. After I arrived, the staff gave a group of us questionnaires. One quick look at the questions and it was clear that the case was related to sexual assault.

 

We answered the questions and waited. Some people were dismissed. I am not sure what was cause for dismissal because I know that the group that remained included people who had been sexually assaulted and people who had good friends or family that had been sexually assaulted. The issue I believe is that almost everyone knew someone who had been through this horrific crime.

 

Instant Reaction

 

They ushered those of us in the jury pool into the courtroom. As soon as they brought the defendant in, tears began streaming down my face. It was automatic and completely outside my control. He was clear across the room from me and was a man whose looks would not have raised an eyebrow – clean-shaven, suit, etc. However, the feeling of guilt permeated the entire room.

 

When they said that the charge was “sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust,” the feeling became even stronger. I was sure that he was guilty of everything he was accused of doing and more.

 

The Interview

 

Fortunately, anyone that even knew someone who had been sexually assaulted was interviewed in private. Now, I was only three feet or so from the defendant and I really wanted to leave. The lawyers on the other hand really wanted me on the jury. They asked me about being a manager and about being logical. In any other situation, I would have said, “Absolutely, I can listen to the facts and make a decision.” However, this case was different. It was hard to make those statements.

 

Tears kept coming throughout the questioning. Finally, a lawyer asked if I was going to be like that throughout the trial. I simply said, “I don’t know.” With that, I was dismissed.

 

I sat in my car for several minutes to compose myself enough to drive. Over the next several days, I found myself crying on and off. It took quite some time to get over being in the same space with that man. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to sit through the trial.

 

No Doubt

 

I do not know the outcome of the trial. But, I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was guilty. I had connected to energy that was so strong that it didn’t just give me a feeling of discomfort in my gut as a warning, but shook me to my core. The knowing and gut feel are common for me. However, I am not usually overly emotional. I was feeling a little of his victims’ pain (they never said that there were multiple, but I was sure that this was a pattern of behavior).

 

This occurred many years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I hope to never experience anything like that again. However, I know that if I should encounter a situation like that again that I could use the many energetic tools I have added to my energetic tool bag over the years to help lessen the impact.

 

Don’t forget to listen to your gut feel! And, when you get that feeling, use protective energetic boundaries to keep it under control!

 

meaningful relationships

 

 

Ever feel like you are living a song? I have been hearing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ frequently the last few years. When I began to notice the song, I assumed that my connection to the song was through the song title. I believed that I kept hearing this song as a way to encourage me down the path I’ve been traveling since leaving the corporate world.

 

Assumptions

 

Recently my wife questioned my assumption. She asked if the connection could be with the lyrics or meaning of the song. So, I looked at the lyrics and was surprised to find some interesting correlations with my life.

 

I’m just a city boy, born and raised in Omaha. I’m married to a small town girl. A couple years ago, we rode a midday train going anywhere (actually Georgetown, CO). We’re feeling like we’re living in a lonely world with everyone attached to their electronic devices and ignoring personal contact. And the associations go on, and on, and on. Okay, I’m sure you are now looking on the Internet for the lyrics. And, yes, I took liberties.

 

The point of this song is that we are all looking for meaningful relationships. This song suggests that the purpose in life is trying to fill an emotional void through personal connections. Sometimes we will find someone to fill that void and other times we continue with the search, going through relationship after relationship. This song encourages us to hold on to the feeling of hope that we will find the relationship that we seek.

 

Deeper Meaning

 

If I look beyond the song title, I think there is a deeper meaning for me. I interpret the search for meaningful relationships to be analogous to seeking out people I can help improve their lives. Some of these people are looking for their own meaningful relationships. Meanwhile, others are looking for ways to identify how to improve their lives.

 

On the flip side, some of those people are consciously or unconsciously seeking my assistance. When I am able to help them achieve improved clarity in their life or relief from ailments, I feel emotionally fulfilled. As such, the song both encourages me to continue and reminds me of the benefits of making such a connection.

 

The work I do is one way to help others. We all, however, have the ability to positively affect the lives of others. Sometimes it only takes a smile to establish a connection with someone. From there you never know where it may lead. Who knows, maybe there’s a meaningful relationship just waiting to begin with your next smile.

 

 

 

I have had cats and dogs at different times in my life. Like all cats, mine pretended that they were independent animals, but every so often you would see their true colors. For instance, they really don’t want you to be far away or ignore them. That is why they are always in the middle of anything you are doing. They just like it on their terms.

 

You Are Mine

 

When my sister-in-law and father-in-law were looking for a cat to adopt, they visited the local Humane Society. Many of the cats ignored them or were happy with them for a few minutes and then wandered away. Some of them clearly stated that they weren’t the right cat for them. However, there was one kitten that took up residence on my father-in-law’s lap and would not move. You could say that the kitten chose to adopt my father-in-law. She was making sure that no matter what, he wasn’t leaving the shelter without her. She had already created a bond with him before they got home.

 

Unlike cats, dogs have no restraint in showing their attachment to humans. In many cases, they are excited to meet any and all new people. However, they do bond strongest to particular people.

 

Dog Rules

 

Our dog Jaz is strongly bonded to my wife. When my wife leaves the house, our dog likes to lie by the front door or sit by the front window until she returns, which can be a challenge if she is gone for an extended period. Whether my wife is gone 10 minutes or 10 days, upon her return she is greeted by a very excited dog that demands immediate attention. My wife even has a furry little follower when she goes upstairs. The bond between them is obvious.

 

Jaz likes other family, friends, and clients. In her world, each person has a specific role or connection to her. For instance, she loves walks and any time I try to put my shoes on, she begins hovering over my feet. She is sure that means I will take her for a walk.

 

Similarly, she thinks clients are for petting her. Therefore, when we are getting ready for a client she begins watching at the front window in anticipation of their arrival. She is sad when the client meeting is via video because she doesn’t get the same interaction that she gets when they meet in person.

 

Connections

 

Pets and their humans have both physical and emotional connections. When people lose a pet, they go through grieving just like they would if they lost a family member. When a pet loses their human they also grieve. For example, when we lost my mother-in-law, the family’s dog would lay down and put his chin on the floor. You could see the sadness in his face. Somehow the dog knew my mother-in-law would not be returning home.

 

For some people, their connection to their pet is their strongest and maybe only connection they have with a living being. I’ve witness a few homeless people with their dogs. For these people, their relationship with their pet can be life saving. As their pets give them a reason to live.

 

Life Line!

 

Pets connect to people in ways that other people cannot. They are always there for us and there is no question about their devotion. They bring unconditional love into our lives and that is something very precious!

 

 

 

 

In Part I “Unconnected Healthcare,” we discussed the many disconnections in healthcare today. In this article, we will flip the tables and discuss what the healthcare system would be like if it connected care to the patient at every step.

 

Complete Connection

 

Imagine if you will, a world where healthcare was completely connected to the patient. In this world, the goal would be to provide the  best healthcare at the lowest price possible. This would apply to doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, regulators, and insurance companies.

 

This would greatly change our current system. It would still be a free-enterprise system, but with common goals and a complete twist to the existing priorities. In this world, everyone would all be on the same page trying to address the health of people.

 

Transparency

 

In this system, costs would be transparent.  I recommend a fix-cost system where the cost of the treatment or drug is the same to all people.  For those insured, the insurance plans could be simple. Perhaps the plans could be based on paying a certain percentage or nothing if the item was completely covered. the Those without insurance would simply pay the stated price.  However, a reduce price would apply for certain people with an inability to pay.

 

With information about costs, the doctor and patient could work together to decide on the direction of treatment.  The patient would no longer suddenly being surprised by overwhelming medical bills. Different facilities could charge different amounts, but all the information would be available to everyone. Thus, if a person’s heart surgeon is associated with two hospitals, they could choose the one with the lower cost.

 

Saving Money

 

The insurance company would save money by not attempting to overturn every decision that a doctor made (okay, a bit of an exaggeration). Instead, they would trust the expert who is familiar with the patient’s case to make the best decisions for the patient. The insurance companies would run periodic audits on doctors and healthcare facilities to ensure that they are treating appropriately. This would be a win-win for the doctors and the insurance companies, not to mention the patient.

 

Likewise, hospitals would drive decisions based on doctor’s recommendations for the patient rather than some government goals or regulations. Thus, if the doctor thinks  a woman who has recently given birth needs to stay a couple of extra days, they would make that decision.  No one would need to jump through hoops and hope for approvals to make it happen.

 

Flexibility

 

Additionally, the ability to get medication would be made easier. The total amount available would remain the same, but if you needed medicine two weeks before you ran out, you could get it. The date of the next refill would remain a month or the specified interval after it would have been if you filled it on time. Thus, if the refill is due on the first of the month, it would remain the first of the month for the next refill no matter when you last refilled it. In this case, trust is shown that the patient will use it appropriately. If they do not, they may run out or have other issues, but that is a separate issue that should not be managed by limitations on all patients.

 

Finding Cures

 

Lastly, pharmaceuticals would have incentives to find medicines that cure rather than manage symptoms. They would also be encouraged to look to natural methods and ingredients rather than just focusing on chemical combinations. There would be a focus on limiting side effects.

 

And, companies would not advertise directly to the consumer except in a limited manner for over the counter drugs. This would drastically cut the cost of drugs in two ways. First, the pharmaceuticals would have far smaller advertising budgets. Second, fewer drugs would likely be prescribed since people wouldn’t constantly be told “Ask your doctor if . . . is right for you?”

 

Changing World

 

If all goals were in support of the best quality of care for the patients at the lowest possible cost, many things in the medical world would change. Board of directors would even have a different view on executive salaries. There would no longer be multi-million dollar bonuses to hospital executives that cut cost at the expense of the patients. Instead, patient and staff feedback would drive the business, including bonuses to executives.

 

In a world where all healthcare is connected to the patient, everyone wins!

 

 

 

 

I have been considering what is at the core of the issues that we have with the healthcare industry. One of the issues that comes up over and over again is the lack of connection between patients, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, hospitals, etc.

 

Healthcare roles are complicated and many healthcare workers are overworked. Thus, it is not surprising that many healthcare workers don’t understand a lot about other aspects of healthcare outside their specific role. However, that puts the patient in the position of handling their own healthcare inside a system that is full of flaws.

 

Flaws  In The System

 

The flaws in the system start with the paperwork, where the same information is entered over and over. Then, you talk to a nurse or medical technician, who asks you all the same questions. They may or may not enter it into the computer at that time. Now, enter the doctor who asks at least part of the questions again. (And, they wonder why people have high blood pressure.)

 

It make sense to double check some things or verify things where the answer is unclear. However, it makes a patient wonder why they are filling out the forms. Of course, it is sometimes far easier to ask the patient the question than read their handwriting or find the answer among the general history questions that have nothing to do with the problem at hand.

 

Best Interest In Mind

 

Still, I believe doctors and their staffs generally have the patient’s best interest in mind. They prescribe the treatments, surgery, and medicines that they believe will help the patient. The issue is that they have no idea how much these treatments cost the patient. I would really hate for them to make decisions on treatments based on cost. On the other hand, when there are two viable options, the doctor could choose a less expensive option if they knew the cost.

 

Whose Interest In Mind?

 

Hospitals, on the other hand, appear to be focused solely on making money. Patient care is a statistic to meet a government guideline or rule. They are worried about being penalized and/or meeting requirements that are financially beneficial to them. Often these rules are contradictory and not aligned with providing the best patient case despite that being the supposed goal.

 

The pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies also play a role. The pharmaceutical companies decide what to research and how much to charge for the drugs that they create. Like hospitals, they are about making money, which is not a good thing for the patient. They search for ways to address symptoms rather than cure diseases because they have no incentive to find cures.

 

The pharmacies, along with government regulations, decide when you can get medicine that is prescribed to you. The rules are different for mail pharmacies and local pharmacies. In the case of local pharmacies, often you cannot get your prescription refilled until less than a week before you run out. This is a huge issue for patients when living in rural areas where it is miles to town or when someone travels. It is not uncommon in these situations for the patient to be required to take extraordinary steps to get their medication.

 

Codes, Codes, And More Codes

 

Now, enter the insurance companies whose goal it is to limit expenses. They question everything, but generally speaking the staff questioning the need for treatment has little if any medical training. They know nothing of the patients’ situation outside the “codes” and they don’t trust the expert’s opinion.   Thus, someone completely unconnected to the patient and their situation is attempting to alter or limit the patient’s care.

 

This is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, it means lots of time and dollars are wasted arguing about how much money is going to be spent. The patient, in turn, ends up spending time getting it figured out or making sure that someone is figuring it out. In many situations, the prescribed treatment is approved, but at what cost?

 

In Part II “Connected Healthcare,” we will discuss an alternate healthcare system that connects care to the patient at every step.

 

In the previous article “Don’t Stop Believing”, I wrote about my belief in past lives and experiences that reconfirmed that belief. Having studied the topic extensively, I have learned of even more profound cases where young children knew amazing things that they could not possibly have learned in this lifetime.  

 

This knowledge is interesting and exciting, especially in cases where it can be confirmed. However, it is really secondary to the healing that is available through exploring past lives.

 

Stumbling Into Past Lives

 

Dr. Brian Weiss MD’s work with past lives and healing is probably the most well-known of anyone’s in the world. He was a psychiatrist when he stumbled into past life regression. In the story that he tells about his first encounter with past life regression, his patient regressed when he was trying to use general hypnosis techniques. It wasn’t until she regressed to a previous lifetime that she began showing physical and emotional improvement.

 

The patient appeared to have true healing. Yet, Dr. Weiss was not convinced that past lives were real and was unsure as to what was really happening. . In a later session, the patient was actually able to obtain information about Dr. Weiss that she could not have possibly known. Although this was not about her life, it convinced him that something very real was happening. His experience with this client was the beginning of a journey that has changed his life and the lives of many others.

 

Our Work

 

My wife and I had read about Dr. Weiss’ experience many years ago. Then in 2014, we had the opportunity to attend Dr Weiss’ professional past life regression training where we witnessed such healing first hand. We learned that past life regressions can help heal both physical and emotional issues people are experiencing in their current lifetime.

 

Today, after additional study with others in this line of work, we include past life regression and other similar types of sessions in our service offerings. Our primary focus of regressions are for people who want to resolve issues that they cannot consciously explain. In many situations, the client becoming consciously aware of the situation that initiated the current day problem allows healing to begin.

 

Client Experience

 

Every person is different and every experience is different. Some have immediate understanding and healing. For others, there is a sudden recognition some time later. And, there are others where healing process occurs slowly over time as full understanding occurs.

 

I never expect miracles, but I am almost always surprised by the results. And, I love those e-mails that arrive from clients at a later date with new amazing insights. So, whether you believe in past lives or not, just know that if there is an issue with no apparent origin, your past lives might hold the key.

 

To learn more about Dr. Weiss’ work, check out his website http://www.brianweiss.com/

 

Note: Past Life Regression is not therapy and should not be used in lieu of medical treatment.