Category Archives: Inspiration

Happy New Ears!

Reflecting on “You are an artist of the spirit,” quote from Don Miguel Ruiz, photo by Mary Gow
Whenever I go to East West Books I’m blown away by the number of card decks for personal growth. One in particular I bought several years ago still sits on my bookshelf.

One card in the deck echoes the name of my blog.

It says “You are an artist of the spirit,” written by Don Miguel Ruiz in a deck of cards based on his book by the same name, “The Mastery of Love.”

Ruiz writes further, on the other side of the card:

“Find yourself and express
yourself in your own particular
way. Express your love openly.
Life is nothing but a dream, and
if you create your life with
love, your dream becomes a
masterpiece of art.”

He is also the author of a book that I love to reread as often as possible, “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book).” I cannot recommend it enough for the new year or any year, any day, any moment you need inspiration.

I hope this new year also helps you hear with new ears, if you’re tired of what you’ve been hearing, that is. Wishing you and yours peace, joy and love this year and always.


p.s. The image is a pond with a reflection of a mountain that’s behind it. A flittering of light buds from a tree had blown onto the pond. The rock is resolute, and everything else, elusive.

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A Switch Worth Savoring

"Lakehouse," acrylic on canvas by Mary Gow
“Lakehouse,” acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow

The theme this month at a local art group’s competition was “California.” I found a painting that was sort of between realism and abstraction and I said to myself, “Oh what the heck, I’ll bring a painting and see what happens.”

Just before I left for the meeting, my husband looked at the painting I picked and he said he liked it better upside down. I hadn’t thought of showing it that way, but by golly, it looked like a mountain or a bridge and a whole lot more intriguing than a lake house on the water as I had originally envisioned it.

"Lakehouse," acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow
“Lakehouse,” acrylic on canvas, by Mary Gow
Surprisingly, I tied for Third Place with painter, Deboarh Macias, in the competition that was voted on by all attendees.

I went home to tell my husband he wouldn’t believe what happened. We had a good laugh because I was such a skeptic about even bringing a piece to show since this particular group is so oriented to realism while I lean towards abstraction.

The new way of looking at my own painting showed me that it’s never too late to change the orientation of a painting and see it a different way.

And upside down just might win an award.

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When To Blossom

"In Time, Blossom," Composite Scanogram by Mary Gow
“In Time, Blossom,” Composite Scanogram by Mary Gow
Over the last three years I’ve been writing almost every day. Some days the writing comes easily. Others, it’s a bit more challenging.

It’s gratifying to look at what I wrote a year ago and know that this year, my work reads better.

Last month = 37,217 words.

Two years ago I met up with a writer friend at a party and we agreed to touch base regularly to keep tabs on our progress.

That lasted a few months.

I had no problem being motivated to write each day. But I wasn’t ready to share it.

With anyone.

Over a dozen years ago I wrote a book for my master’s degree project.

I haven’t published it.

But I know I’ll publish several books.

In time.

It may not be the time line suggested in a course I’m taking on how to become a bestselling writer.

It may not be the timeline of notable inspirational writer/coach suggested in a consulation at a writer’s conference.

Even though I’ve had plenty of reasons to publish my essays, I haven’t . . . yet.

Sometimes I feel there must be something wrong because I write so many words each day. But I KNOW I will be publishing my books. I know.

My writing was first appeared in 1980 in the Dallas Morning News. I was working the Features Department and I got to write about upcoming events.

When I was 35 the Austin American-Statesman published a 2,000 word article I wrote for the cover of their Feature section.

Most recently, a few years ago I wrote features about local artists for the New Bernal Journal, then a local paper in San Francisco.

Today I found an essayist whose opinion resonated with me! And experience of being published “later” did too.

I didn’t pitch or publish my first piece online until I was 30 or 31.

I think it’s useful for everyone, no matter what stage of their career they’re at, to know it’s okay to write for yourself first—sometimes only for yourself. There are going to be things that you might need to work out on the page, alone, before you’re ready to share them more widely. I don’t think there’s always a rush. It’s okay to take the longer voyage.

– Nicole Chung

Who’s to say what the “right” time is to put your work out there?

Friends can give you ideas of when.

Coaches can help you stay on course.

Writer’s groups can give you feedback.

But in the end . . .

You know when the time is right.

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