Author Archives: PatSullivan

Spiritual Tips for Stressful Days

Too many tasks, too little time. Stress that exhausts you so much you can’t sleep well or think well. Burnout.

Every work situation is filled with hard challenges like these– challenges that require much more than stress management or time management programs.

Fortunately, your spiritual self is a natural genius at stress release.

With practice, it can help you harness other resources like creativity and intuition to turn chaos into order, tension into relaxed focus. Continue reading

Workplace Altars

WORKPLACE OASIS drawing by Susan Szecsi

In 1976, I accidentally discovered that many workers keep spiritual items in their desks. While seeking correction fluid at one job, I found a book on Buddhism and a Bible.  At another desk, an inspiring quote fell from an expense file.  During hushed conversations, co-workers shared how they integrate spirit and work.

Today, many workers bring a variety of devotional items to work with such care that they create altars. Continue reading

Marketing and PR: How They Can Be a Spiritual Practice and Act of Faith

The spirituality at work movement promotes the belief that all work ought to be done with integrity and purpose.  How can that apply to marketing and public relations, when so many believe that marketing and PR are all about hype, manipulation, bragging and/or lies?

How easy it is to forget that each of us is endowed each of us with many talents and the drive to use these talents purposefully.  We are called to use our talents, not bury them. We are also called to share good news, not hide our light under a bushel.

Because marketing and PR are necessary so people can see the products and services we offer, it’s time to give marketing and PR the same kind of loving attention we give our crafts and our most cherished clients.  Or as our Hindu friends might say, do all work as it were being done for our beloved.

Continue reading

Need a Compelling Vision? Start with the Anti-Vision

hospital bed, shutterstock

Your creative, visionary self thrives on juicy details, but if you are like most people over the age of five, it’s practically impossible to specify a vision of what you want to create. Yet it’s easy to be very clear about what you don’t want.

My husband and I built on this principle when we named our fears before trying to write an advance health care directive so the best possible people know what we want and can speak for us when we can’t speak for ourselves. The creativity that emerged from detailing our fears led to a powerful support system that helps us thrive in sickness and in health.

What we learned can be applied to any dream or challenge, whatever your age. Continue reading

Lost Your Genius? If So, What Have You Lost?

Art by Andrea, see source below

Art by Andrea, see source below

You probably have lost access to much of the brilliance you had when you were a child. Numerous tests show that 90-98% of children register genius level abilities to think of many possibilities. Only 2% of adults are so smart.

I’ve not found statistics on the loss of access to curiosity, intuition, instincts, sensory awareness, awe, playfulness and other gifts so potent I call them elements of genius. But hundreds of interviews with adults have shown that even if we can’t remember enjoying these gifts or know how to use them now, we can see them in young children. Continue reading

For a Breakthrough Vision, Get Naked

The number one place where visionary geniuses get their best ideas is in the bathroom.  Einstein said he had some of his best ideas while shaving, but for most of us, it’s the shower that does it.

Think of it:  there you are, divested of your usual social masks, so you’re not worrying so much about what others think.  You’re just focused on coming clean. Continue reading

If Congress and our President Were the Visionaries We Need Them To Be

Without vision, we perish, or at least we get stuck with plans and agreements that negatively impact many but benefit only a few. That’s never been more true than it is in today’s political climate.

Rather than focus on all the things that are wrong and who’s to blame, let’s consider how we as an electorate inhibit our clarity about what matters and our visions of how to build a world that works for all of us. Today, it’s ever more critical that our vision of a great American is grounded in a vision of being one great nation among other great nations, equally called to heal our hurting planet and all who dwell upon it.  Continue reading

Without vision, we perish

Without vision, we perish or at least waste a lot of time and energy.  Guided by vision, we flourish and help others do so.

Want Economic Turnaround?  Create It!  Wall Street is too untrustworthy.  Government is too partisan, and media are too obsessed with who’s sleeping with whom to envision an economy that works for all.  Fortunately, fellow citizens are creating a variety of breakthrough ways to create a better economy.  Continue reading

The Mockingbird Solution to Blocked Creativity

Are you imagination challenged?  Do you want new ways to look at a pressing problem?

Look no further for inspiration and guidance than this video of a mockingbird singing.  Notice how easily this rather ordinary looking bird with white wingtips can shift tunes at the rate of about eight a minute.

With Its Ever-changing Repertoire, the Mockingbird Is a Great Role Model for Human Creativity

Some mockingbird tunes are imitations of other birdsongs, or riffs and variations on them.  Mockingbirds typically mix these usually pleasant tunes with imitations of less pleasant neighborhood events, like cat fights or ambulance sirens. Some tunes seem to be each mockingbird’s own inventions, for the sheer joy of it.

Mockingbirds have been known to sing for hours.  Many bounce up and down as they sing from the highest local treetop or TV antenna, thus projecting their music throughout the neighborhood.  Their ability to sing so continuously once royally bothered Thomas Jefferson, who thanks to a lousy mattress and a really great mockingbird outside his window throughout a night, slept little one night.

Unlike Mockingbirds, Most Of Us Have Learned To Repress Our Creativity, Not Use It

Though humans are born with the potential to be far more creative than mockingbirds, the high creativity that bubbles in us as five-year-olds is mostly repressed by the end of second grade.  One of the easiest ways to recover that creativity and develop it is to imitate the mockingbird:

1.      Temporarily suspend all judgment, premature practicality and other human habits that kill imagination.

2.      Dare to try something new at least once a day.

3.      Get around and notice what others are doing.  Then comment to yourself through writing, dance, art, etc.

4.      When you like something, copy it shamelessly unless it is copyright or patented.

5.      Feel free to mix, match and alter what you learn from others.

6.      Give your imagination time to play without focus, so it is free to generate possibilities for your consideration.

7.      Learn to tolerate dissonance and ambiguity, to weave harsh challenges into sweet thoughts to create a rich and satisfying symphony.

8.      Express yourself with exuberance and joy … forever.

Imagination is Just One of Many Creative and Visionary Potentials.

 

Whatever you imagine as a possibility will need to be fully fleshed out so it can become a true vision.  It will need grounding in reality and a lot of careful research before you can discern whether a new idea is likely to work or not.

In coming posts, we’ll explore other visionary potentials and how you can engage them.  In the meantime, have fun imitating the mockingbird’s prolific creativity!

As always, many blessings for your life and work, Pat McHenry Sullivan

Note:  this post was originally written as “The Mockingbird Solution To Almost Any Problem” in 1994 by Pat McHenry Sullivan.   Your comments are welcome below!

copyright 2011 by Pat McHenry Sullivan, t/a Visionary Resources