Consecutive Days Riding: 9 Consecutive Days Blogging: 10
Today’s Mileage: 15 Total Trip Mileage: 97
As I ride my bike looking out the window I think back to a walk I took along the river yesterday and to one of poems I wrote.
The azalea bushes
With my attention
Removing dead fallen
oak branches which
weighted them down
But for the thorn bush
good intentions did not matter
It bit me anyway
I think its time to ponder the importance of the feedback we receive from others. I give feedback to my students every time I hand back a test and I receive it every time someone comments on my Blog. If the majority of my students do well I tell myself it was a fair test. If people visit and occasionally leave words of encouragement I tell myself that my Blog has been well received. Blogging reminds me of one of the similarity of all creative efforts, whether a writer, an artist, a poet, a teacher giving lectures, or a minister giving sermons. The most common form of feedback is… no feedback at all!
I remember the first time my artwork was shown in a gallery. I walked around wide eyed with wonderment, thinking: “Wow it really does look like art!” And then I waited, dreaming of accolades, hopeful for at least some praise. People did like my work and over time I even sold a few pieces, but is was clear that it did not “speak” to everyone. I came to realize years later that no piece of artwork or written essay ever speaks to everyone. I now believe that our efforts are best served when we create and then release our creation, like you would release a bird to soar and nest where it chooses. It may return to you time and again, or it may find a new home far away, with another.
I believe that the psychological healthy attitude is to view all feedback as a gift. It is easy to do this when the process of creating and sharing, not necessary others reactions to our product, fuels our motivation. My motivation for creating is deeper than the need for simple accolades, or to be liked and appreciated. It is also important how we view and receive negative feedback. It allows us to know how others perceive our work and to make adjustments to our efforts. But these adjustments can not and should not run counter to our original purpose for creating or change the works meaning.
It is a truth about creating that you can’t weave words and images in an expressive way without at times offending someone. As a therapist I long ago discovered that people’s responses to your statements or actions often say more about their sensitivities and insecurities then about your motives or actions. I’m past the point of worrying about how my work will be received by others. I create because it is an aspect of my spirituality, an attempt to establish a connection with others and the divine. I share my gifts with others because it is an aspect of my spirituality, an attempt to offer encouragement to other pilgrims on their life journey. My goal is to express my ideas or images succinctly and clearly, and to let the reader/viewer decide whether to accept them or not.
This leads up to the following disclaimer:
It is not my intention to anger or offend anyone. I am seeking answers to my questions on my journey. I hope this process might help you on your journey, while you seek answers to your questions. If I offend please know it was not on purpose, and perhaps you should ask yourself, does this say more about me or the pilgrim? Did I assume the posture of the thankful bush when offered gifts by a passing poet, or did I send forth defensive barbs, viewing gifts as an affront, an attack, or just unwanted attention.
A special note: We are only two days away from our first Pilgrimage Site visit. It’s along the coast just up the road and combines nature’s wonders and beauty with a striking statement of faith! Watch for more information in tomorrows Blog.
A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside.