April 25,2012

Lately, I have been frustrated by the complacency and lazy work of others. To me, it is common sense that the mail deliverer should not just drop mail on my front step and leave without so much as ringing the bell to see if anyone is home to receive it. I am sometimes out of town, and I have returned on more than one occasion to find parcels on the front step … who knows how long they've been there or for that matter how many got stolen? And whatever happened to that little card they used to leave in your mailbox to tell you to go to the post office to pick up your parcel?

Twice now, the mail deliverer has put parcels inside my mailbox at the front gate, but there's no way I can remove them from the box because they are too large to fit through the door to open to get them out. They can only be removed by the postman when he has the whole mailbox compartment open for all the boxes.

Once, I returned from a trip and some realtor had used masking tape to attach his flyer to my front door.

I live in a strata complex and also belong to some volunteer organizations where I have observed decisions being made haphazardly with little or no consideration of the consequences of the decisions. For example, the strata council recently made a decision that if there is dog poop on your grass, they won't cut the grass because you're supposed to pick up after your dog. I guess they didn't think about the fact that dog's don't always poop on their own grass. My next door neighbour has dog poop all over her grass, but she doesn't have a dog. I have a dog and there's dog poop on my grass, too, but my dog didn't do it…..he's always on leash, and I pick up after him. So, I guess they aren't going to cut our grass now, and that will fix us. The grass is common property.

Today, I got my credit card bill and there was a charge on there for a hotel bill for a conference that I will attend in the future. We prepaid the hotel to get a better rate, and the hotel sent an invoice by email. The credit card bill and the invoice were for different amounts, so I called the hotel to find out why. Apparently, the email invoice from the hotel didn't include the hotel tax. Now I have to submit a separate expense report for the hotel tax. I told the hotel representative that I thought it would be a good idea if the invoice that they email out was for the total amount. The tone in her voice reflected that she really didn't' give a rat's ass.

When a decision is made for a group, shouldn't it be made with the best interests of the group as a whole or the majority of the members in mind? All of us make bad decisions or mistakes sometimes, or take an action for which we may have overlooked some consequences, and that is to be expected because we are all human, but to be complacent, lazy or self-serving is inexcusable. When we live and function in a community, we must consider our neighbours and community members. We should always do our best, think about our actions and their consequences. and try to make decisions that are best for all concerned.

What does this have to do with living a creative life? The time I spent calling the post office, the hotel and the property manager took valuable time away from my painting. When we don't do our best work, other people are impacted and it affects their creativity.

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 23,2012
Dark Nights of the Soul

In the last few weeks, I have been working on a challenging project and there have been moments when I've wondered if I'm capable of finishing the task. Those have been tense moments when I questioned my abilities and resolve. However, as I move past that stage and am almost at completion, I am feeling very satisfied and proud of myself for persevering and finding creative solutions to get past the obstacles that have presented themselves.

The other night, I randomly picked up a book from the stack on my bedside table. It turned out to be "Anatomy of the Spirit" by Carolyn Myss. I often do that – I ask the Universe what I need to read today and then I reach for a book and open it somewhere and start reading. Usually, it is just what I need to read for that time. This time was no exception. I began reading at the beginning of a chapter titled," The Seventh Chakra: Our Spiritual Connector." Among other things covered in that chapter, Myss talks about the dark night of the soul.

While I would not liken my current project to anything quite as serious as the dark night of the soul, reading Carolyn Myss reminded me that in order to grow, we must try new things and push past the dark places or obstacles to come out the other side … to the light at the end of the tunnel. On a more serious level, crisis usually serves as a catalyst for change or growth. Myss talks about the dark feelings that occur as we begin to change and move toward that light. What we have known before and come to trust now seems to fall away and become unreal. She writes that not only individuals, but our planet is now in this state of spiritual awakening (Myss, 1996).

Tanis Helliwell wrote an article describing the stages of the soul's growth. In stage one, she says we learn society's rules so we can survive. In stage two, we ask what we want to do with our lives. In this second stage, a person operates at a personality level - inside the box – and is conventional in approaches. At stage three, an individual feels that society's rules are not enough, and questions, "Is this all there is?" The individual may experience depression, meaninglessness, emptiness, or a feeling of the void. The person assesses what they're doing with their life. Could this be the same as the dark night of the soul? Stage four involves taking responsibility for creating a better world by being more conscious of bringing the soul to work and to life. At stage 4, our lives take on new meaning and our motivations change. When we are doing something that is of our own choosing and fulfilling our purpose, we begin to make better use of our unique gifts, we express our passions, and we bring our love to it. (Helliwell, 2001).

According to Myss, "Enduring the "dark night" requires faith, prayer, and if at all possible, a spiritual director (Myss, 1996, p. 278)." She recommends that if you are unable to find a spiritual director, you can read spiritual literature, but finding a person who understands the journey can be a life saver. She also recommends writing a journal, and most importantly, remembering that all dark nights end with "a light illuminating a new path (Myss, 1996, p. 278)."

"Our goal while on this earth is to transcend our illusions and discover the innate power of our spirit. We are responsible for what we create and we must therefore learn to act and think with love and wisdom and to live in service to others and all of life (Myss, 1996, p. 283)."

Once we've past the dark nights of the soul, we can more freely create, as we are unencumbered by negativity and lack of direction. And, if we're going to create, it is best to do it in service to the highest good of the Universe.


Myss, Caroline. (1996). Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, Three Rivers Press, New York.

Helliwell, Tanis. (October/November 2001). "Stages in our Soul's Growth," Synchronicity, The Magazine, Issue 49, Calgary, AB, p. 45.

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 21,2012

I have heard it said that if you want to stimulate your artistic creativity try painting or drawing with the opposite hand or switch mediums. A few years ago, I decided to dabble with acrylic paints, instead of my usual choice of oils. That started me off on an adventurous journey of pouring, layering, dripping, texturing, using mixed media and collage, cutting, tearing … a wide array of activities that were all fun but resulted in very few good paintings that made me proud. Recently, I decided to return to oils. When Mom visited, I had a few unfinished paintings sitting in my studio. As she passed by, she said, "I see the joy has returned to your painting." I saw it too. These paintings somehow have more life and feeling than all of those experimental paintings that I made over the last few years. However, I think that the adventure through these other media was an important part of that process.

I am reminded about the book Built to Last (Porras and Collins, 1997), which described their observations of visionary companies. They observed that these companies "try a lot of stuff and keep what works." Porras and Collins found that the visionary companies that they studied often made some of their best decisions as a result of experimenting or trial and error. "What looks in hindsight like a brilliant strategy was often the residual result of opportunistic experimentation and "purposeful accidents (Collins and Porras, 1997, p. 141)."

The spirit of experimentation and trying new things always opens up our creativity. Like life, the process of making art is a journey and there is no clear destination sometimes. To truly innovate and create, we need to explore other paths … but not all paths will lead to brilliance. Some will lead nowhere; some will take us on an interesting side trip and we'll need to recognize when that side trip is over and change direction or take a new path. As Porras and Collins said, "try a lot of stuff and keep what works (Porras and Collins, 1997)."

In life, business, or art, getting in a rut and walking down the same path, thinking the same thoughts, using the same tools and methods will usually just take us the same places we've been before.

References: Collins, J. and Porras, J. (1994). Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Harper Business, New York, NY

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 17,2012
Letting Go of Fear

For the most part, I have managed to release myself from fear. At one time, I was afraid of everything: snakes, heights, other people, authority figures…just about everything that I encountered could conjure up some kind of fear. Many years ago, while I was travelling around New Zealand, I realized just how afraid of heights that I was, as their roads and bridges were not so surrounded by fences, posts and guards as are ours. I found myself a few times driving on roads with steep drop-offs, walking on bridges with no handrails and looking over vistas with no fences. I realized then that I had a lot of irrational fears that I should maybe work on, and fear of heights seemed like a good place to start. It's funny how the universe presents us with teachers just at the right time. About that time, I had the opportunity to meet Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mt. Everest. I was intrigued by why anyone would place themselves willingly in such dangerous circumstances, so I asked to interview him for some writing that I was doing. When I asked him my questions, he suggested that a good way to find the answers would be to join in on a trip that he was leading in the Kananaskis area of Alberta. I accepted.

On the morning of the trip, I intended to back out, but Laurie didn't let that option arise, so I ended up hanging on the side of 75 foot cliff supported by ropes, as well as in other dangerous and very scary places over the next few days. The point is that I opened myself to working on releasing my fears, and I was presented with a HUGE opportunity to work on them. I had a profound life changing moment on that trip that showed me that I could change if I was open and willing to do so. I won't tell you that I completely cured myself of fear of heights and am now a mountaineer. But, I did get a lot more comfortable driving through the mountains and standing in steep places, and I know that when irrational fears arise, I can let them go.

Some fears are natural and rational responses to a dangerous situation, but many of the fears that we encounter in life are irrational, and we can cope with those. Generally, if we are operating from a place of love, connected to the universe, and living in the present moment, we don't feel those irrational fears. But, every so often, they creep into our lives and we must deal with them.

"Just for today I will not be afraid of anything. If my mind is clouded with nameless dreads, I will track them down and expose their unreality. I will remind myself that God is in charge of me and mine and that I have only to accept HIS protection and guidance. What happened yesterday need not trouble me today.

This is a brand new shining day and I have it in my power to make it a good one just by the way I think about it and what I do with it.

If I live just one day at a time, I will not so readily entertain fears of what might happen tomorrow. If I am concentrating on today's activities, there will be no room in my mind for fretting and worrying. I will fill every minute of this day with something good – seen, heard, accomplished. Then when the day is ended, I can look back on it with satisfaction and serenity (Alanon Family Groups, 1988, p. 328)."

Reference: Alanon Family Groups. (1988). One Day At A Time in Alanon, New York, NY.

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 16,2012
Burnt Toast

Feeling confident in our beliefs and convictions is important and it can take some of us years to get that level of confidence; others seem to just have it naturally. I find that when someone doesn't take me seriously, it shakes my confidence. I feel invalidated and wonder if I am wrong or if my opinion doesn't count. Yesterday morning, I went out to breakfast with my family. The food was terrible. The server called out to us from across the restaurant, "How is everything?" Not wanting to make a scene, I just said, "Okay, but the toast is pretty dry." She didn't acknowledge what I'd said, so I assumed she didn't hear me. A few minutes later, another server stopped at our table to ask how the breakfast was, so again, I said that the toast was dry (again not mentioning that everything on my plate was overcooked). Her response, "Oh, you ordered the pumpernickel. It's always dry." I responded, "I always have the pumpernickel here, and it's never been this dry before," and she walked away without acknowledging my comment. I didn't want to leave a tip, but I was outvoted by my family, and that left me feeling completely invalidated, as my opinion didn't count to either the servers or my family. My mother said that nothing on her plate was satisfactory, but she was still in favor of leaving a tip, and I guess that's her decision. So, after breakfast, I felt completely resentful, as two waitresses and my family had completely ignored everything that I said, yet I know that my food was not good. Had I been able to tell the management of the restaurant about the food or not leave a tip, I might have felt resolved about not having been acknowledged. Instead, I left dissatisfied.

I think that it is important that we take some action to let go of resentments, so that we don't carry them around making us feel disgruntled all day. Since I wasn't able to express myself to the restaurant, and I got no support from my family, I wrote it all down, and then I felt much better. At least I'm not walking around angry about dry pumpernickel, which would be a big waste of my energy.

Whenever we feel resentful or upset about a situation, it's best to acknowledge it and then let it go. That doesn't mean completely losing our cool and behaving badly, but it does mean calmly expressing our feelings to the person that has caused the resentment. Otherwise, we can waste a lot of time being angry about burnt toast when we could be creating something with love.

"If a sharp thorn or a splinter pierces my hand, what do I do? I remove it as quickly as I can. Surely, I wouldn't leave it there, hurting me, until it festered and sent its infection throughout my body.

Yet what do I do with the thorns of resentment and hatred when they pierce my thoughts? Do I leave them there and watch them grow, while I suffer increasingly from the pain?

True, resentment and hatred are more difficult to pull out of our thoughts than the physical thorn from a finger, but so much depends upon it that I will do my best to eliminate them, before their poison can spread (Alanon Family Groups. (1988), p. 235)."

Reference: Alanon Family Groups. (1988). One Day At A Time in Alanon, New York, NY.

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 14,2012
It's An Inside Job

Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. After all, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. What we think and feel manifests itself in our outer world, so how we talk to ourselves and how we feel is critically important to our creative lives. Negative self-talk, stored anger and resentment, harboured feelings of hurt or inadequacy can all hold us back from the creative lives that are available to us. If I'm going to direct my own life story, I want it to be a musical, a comedy or an exciting adventure - no drama or epic for me. I'd like it to be a creative artsy romantic piece with great costumes, characters with depth, passion and love, and a meaningful and interesting plot with some clever humor and a great theme song. And let's set it in the most beautiful places in the world to boot! There can be some interesting travel adventures and spiritual discoveries and a small cast of great people … something like "Midnight in Paris."

What I'm trying to say is that we can create our own journey – and it's best to give some careful thought to what the experience should be. And, we create from the place where we are, so if we've been damaged by our past experiences or are carrying around old baggage, it colours our future journeys, so we need to take care of that first. Forgive and forget. Let go and let God.

"In order to create, we first need to be pardoned. An astonishing number of us have put ourselves on trial, convicted ourselves, and levied the maximum sentence. What were the charges? That we were ordinary. That we didn't have what it took. That other people were less pimply and more graceful. That, as our third grade teacher never let us forget, we were stupid. That we always bumped into things. That we never had a real chance, not with the family fate gave us. That we made the same mistakes not twice but scores and hundreds of times. That we were born inferior and unworthy. Our defense rested early in the trial, and our inner prosecutor really hasn't let up yet (Maisel, E. (2000), p. 35)."

Pardon yourself and create a great life!

© 2012 Carla Weaver

Reference: Maisel, E. (2000), The Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance, Jeremy P. Tarcher, New York, NY.

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April 13,2012
On Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Not that long ago, I would have been too embarrassed to write this BLOG and share my deepest beliefs and thoughts and open daily to writing from my heart. "Too many of us are embarrassed about what others will think of our spiritual journey. We end up sabotaging our own happiness. We are missing out on the great opportunities that will open up once we get comfortable in our own skin (http://blog.spiritdriving.com/articles/getting-comfortable-in-your-own-skin/)."

What does it mean to be comfortable in our own skin? I am sure that there are many different levels of comfort with ourselves, but we need to be confident in who we are and comfortable with who we've become. We're human and we make mistakes; we don't always handle things the best we could. But, it's important to let that go. Most of the time, we probably do the best that we can at the time. We may realize later that we've made a mistake or could have handled a situation in a better or different way. All we can do now is make amends and let it go. There's no point in feeling guilt or regret for something we can't change. Making amends can mean apologizing, changing our behaviors, or praying for guidance. Then, we must forgive ourselves and let go of the past and move on. Just do better next time.

Sometimes, we are judged or criticized by others and that can make us uncomfortable in our own skin, but ultimately feeling comfortable is an inside job … we must be responsible for ourselves. If someone else's judgements or criticism bother us, then we can choose to tell the person or not be around them. And, we don't have to take on the criticism and believe it. We can choose to reject it.

Feeling comfortable with ourselves is about expressing our authentic selves and gifts and, as Wayne Dyer says, "being independent of the good opinions of others."

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 08,2012
And Who Is A Friend?

More than anything in the world, I value my friends and family. In fact, I have done this to my own detriment in the past by sometimes valuing them more than I valued myself by setting aside my own needs, wants and preferences to please others. But now I know that it's important to take care of my own needs first and then honour my friends and family. It was a long learning process for me and a painful one because when you allow others to dictate your actions and then you change, it doesn't always work well for them. But, in the end, I have come out the other side with true friends who love and respect me for who I am. I am sad for the loss of those who have not stayed in my life. I know that I am not perfect, nor is anyone else, and I continue to evaluate my part in relationships that have not worked out. But, as the saying goes, I love my friends and family "warts and all." When people's motives are loving and honest, it is easy to forgive the foibles because they truly mean well.

Today, I am grateful for a circle of loving, honest, well-meaning friends who support each other lovingly, spiritually and emotionally. It's important to be surrounded by good people, so that we can let our light shine and not find ourselves walking on eggshells in an effort to earn others' approval. That unhealthy behavior distracts us from what we're here to do. This is not to say that all friendships are perfect all the time. In fact, some of my closest friendships are relationships that have had their tense moments, and when we can get by those tough times and heal, our friendships become even stronger. A few years ago, I exchanged Christmas gifts with a friend with whom I had experienced some tension. When we opened our gifts together, we had exchanged glass hearts. Her gift to me – a beautiful hand blown turquoise glass paperweight in the shape of a heart. My gift to her – two red glass heart shaped ornaments. We laughed – no coincidence – our friendship moved past a tense time to an even stronger supportive relationship, and the hearts were symbolic.

Someone once told me that some friends are sent to us for a long time and others for a shorter time. I believe that we're all on a spiritual journey and we learn from each other. Some of these teachers move out of our lives. Some stay on to support and teach us for a longer time. I have a few friends that I call soul sisters because we seem somehow connected at a deep level.

And Who Is a Friend?

And who is a friend?
One who loves you as you are
And accepts your faults,
Condemning not how you spend your time, your money, or your skills.

And who is a friend?
One who speaks with kindness
And not with barbs and darts,
Using your vulnerabilities to cause you pain.

And who is a friend?
One who shares in your joys,
And feels your successes
As if they were won for both of you.

And who is a friend?
One who laughs with you,
And cries with you,
And supports you in your times of need.

And who is a friend?
One who is your equal
And not a competitor
Straining to be one up at every turn.

And these, my friend,
Are the traits I look for in a friend
And I ask you to
Expect the same of me
For friendship is a valued gift.
© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 07,2012
The Attitude of Giving

I have been writing about working with passion. Last night, I came across a passage in a book by Eric Butterworth. It says, "Giving does not refer simply to money. It is a process that may involve money, but it also involves your work and the many ways in which you make contact with life. Giving is basically an attitude with which you touch things (Butterworth (2001), p. 163)." I also believe that we must touch what we do with the giving attitude described by Butterworth.

What is this giving attitude? I believe that it is an attitude of love, joy and generosity, which we apply to what we do. It is about giving everything that you can to the task at hand…committing to do it well and complete it, doing it to your best ability, setting priorities to ensure that other important things are not neglected, doing it joyfully, using the best materials to make the work of quality, weighing alternatives to make the best decisions, consulting with advisors or specialists – a more experienced painter or writer – a programmer – someone who can offer guidance or feedback. All of these things contribute to a giving attitude.

There are givers and there are takers.

"The takers are the people who believe that their lives will always be the total of what they can get from the world. They are always thinking get, get, get. They plan and scheme ways to get what they want in money, in love, in happiness, and in all kinds of good. No matter that they may be applying metaphysical techniques, they still may very well be takers. But whatever may be their spiritual ideals or lack of any, no matter what they take, they can never know peace or security or fulfillment.

The givers, on the other hand, are convinced that life is a giving process. Thus their subtle motivation in all their ways is to give themselves away, in love, in service, and in all the many helpful ways they can invest themselves. They are always secure, for they intuitively know that their good flows from within (Butterworth, (2001), p. 167)."

Reference: Butterworth, E. (2001), Spiritual Economics, Unity House, Unity Village, Mo.

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 06,2012
Commitment to Artistic Work

I am proud to know artist, Jill Charuk, who exudes positive energy and passion. She has been in the practice of painting a small original painting each week and then publishing it on her website each Wednesday. I love receiving her email announcements every Wednesday showing her latest little original. Her work is energetic, colorful and joyful and it always gives me a lift when I see it. I ran into Jill on Wednesday night at an art event, and it reminded me that I hadn't received any little original notifications lately. They've stopped! So, I emailed Jill and asked her if she'd stopped painting and publishing them, or if I was no longer on her distribution list. Jill's reply was that she decided to take a break after publishing her 100th little original! She'll be publishing again soon! What an amazing artistic accomplishment! Jill made a commitment to herself and to her work, and then passionately embraced the project. She's earned a break and rewarded herself with some time off before continuing her work. I recommend that you check out her work at www.jillcharuk.com. I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me.

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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April 06,2012
Resistance and Acceptance

If you are a regular reader of my BLOG, thanks for checking back. As you may have noticed, I haven't written for a few days. Sometimes, life becomes a little overwhelming with too many things to do in too little time and our creativity becomes clouded or blocked. That's what happened to me in the last week.

In fact, this morning, I was sitting here with coffee in one hand and pen in the other commanding myself to WRITE, but nothing was coming. I started to review some notes that I took in a recent workshop and I was struck by the following phrase that I had written down:

Resistance to our work stops the flow.

Isn't that true? When we resist something, we create a huge energy block that prevents us from moving forward. I returned from vacation this week and I was resisting getting back into my regular routine, and that resistance made my week very unproductive. What I can normally accomplish in minutes took hours. And, I simply lost my connection to the creative flow of the Universe.

Rather than resisting what needs to be done, we must embrace the work with passion. When we work with passion, it is reflected in our output. The energy and love is evident in whatever we do. But, before embracing and passion is simple acceptance. Accepting what is and what needs to be done is the first step on the road to taking the passionate action of embracing something. Several years ago, I cut out the following prayer by Lise Storgaard from Synchronicity magazine, and I read it often. Today, I share it with you and hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I do:

Daily Prayer of Acceptance

I accept myself completely.
I accept my strengths and my weaknesses, my gifts and my shortcomings.
I accept myself completely as a human being.
I accept that I am here to learn and grow, and
I accept that I am learning and growing.
I accept the personality I've developed, and
I accept my power to heal and change.

I accept myself without condition or reservation.
I accept that the core of my being is goodness and that my
essence is love, and
I accept that I sometimes forget that.

I accept myself completely, and in this acceptance
I find an ever-deepening inner strength.
From this place of strength, I accept my life fully and
I am open to the lessons it offers me each day.

I accept that within my mind are both fear and love, and
I accept my power to choose which I will experience as
I recognize that I experience only the results of my own
I accept the times that I choose fear as part of my learning
and healing process, and
I accept that I have the potential and power in any moment
to choose love instead.

I accept mistakes as a part of growth.
I am willing to forgive myself and give myself another
I accept that my life is the expression of my thought, and
I commit myself to aligning my thoughts more and more
each day with the Thought of Love.
I accept that I am an expression of this Love.
I am Love's hands, voice, and heart on Earth.

I accept my own life as a blessing and a gift.
My heart is open to receive, and I am deeply grateful.
May I always share the gifts that I receive fully, freely, and
I accept all that I was, all that I am, and all that I choose to
(Lise Storgaard)

© 2012 Carla Weaver

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