This book helps you discover and define your purpose, along with providing the keys to happiness and success, which are found in the fulfillment of that purpose.
You are your greatest asset, and your life is the material you've been given to work with.
With imagination and love, your talents become your gifts to the world, and the world's riches become your rewards.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.15(d)|
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Artists Are Like Apple Trees
A Guidebook For Success In Music, Art and Theatre
By Jim Gardner
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Jim Gardner
All rights reserved.
Artists and Apple Trees
Artists are like apple trees. An apple tree produces apples in order to keep itself alive. It doesn't care what happens to the apples. They may be eaten by the birds or other animals along the way, a farmer may harvest the apples and take them to market or they may just lie on the ground and rot in the sun. The apple tree doesn't care.
The apple tree produces apples because that's what keeps it alive. Without the apples which grow from the blossoms at the end of the limbs, the apple tree would have no reason to draw the nutrients from the soil all the way up through the trunk, past each branch and leaf along the way to the very tip of the furthest twig where the blossoms bloom and the fruit ripens in the sun. Bearing fruit, doing what is natural for it to do, is what keeps the tree healthy and alive.
An apple tree has no ego. It doesn't compare itself to other trees such as an orange tree, and say such things as "I was born wrong. I should have been an orange tree. People like oranges better than apples. Oranges make more money. People just like orange juice better than apple juice! I just wasn't born right." Apple trees don't do that. They do what they do because that's what they're meant to do. It's a part of their natural make up and it's their gift to the world.
Trees don't have an ego so they don't compare themselves to others. Unhappiness and a lack of confidence comes from comparison. Bearing fruit and being creative is natural, and it is our divine gift as artists to be able to express ourselves in our own chosen way.
If a tree stops producing fruit, the sap no longer goes to the end of the branch and the tree branches become brittle and the tree soon dies, becoming worthless except as kindling wood.
An artist is like an apple tree. The creative soul expresses itself to keep itself alive, creatively and spiritually.
It really doesn't matter who sees the art or buys the art as much as it matters that the artist continually digs deeper into their own heart, mind and soul and they get to know themselves in new and deeper ways, always developing new ideas and techniques and continually learning new things about themselves and their subject of interest.
Professional artists express themselves in a way that gets their message or product into the world where it can be shared and experienced by others.
It's packaging. Commercial success requires you to package your ideas in a form that can be bought and sold. It doesn't matter weather it's a theatre performance being packaged into a one hour program, or a painting packaged into a frame that can be hung on the wall, or it can be a song, packaged as a recording onto the latest technical device so that it can be downloaded with a click on your credit card.
To be a professional artist that makes a living with their art form, you must find a way to package your expression so it can be exchanged for money, either as a tangible item or as a service such as entertainment or education.
To know that you have talent and something to say, but not being able to express it, is to experience frustration at its worst. To silence the voice of the poet, the movement of the dancer or the sound of the singer's voice is a spiritual crime. It robs you of the opportunity to know your self better and to develop your potentials in new and exciting ways, and it robs the world of the unique gifts you have to offer.
On a spiritual level, I believe that we choose to come into human form and participate in this lifetime. We have lessons to learn and we have gifts to work with. If we use our gifts, we learn our lessons. If we do not use our gifts, we miss the whole purpose and meaning of life and we miss the adventure and understanding of what life is about.
Without a conscious awareness that our life has meaning, and that we as individuals have a purpose for being here, we may or may not fulfill our purpose. We have no way of knowing if we are fulfilling our purpose if we don't have a sense of what our purpose is. Life becomes insecure and confusing to a person without a sense of purpose.
To gain an understanding of what your personal purpose is, ask yourself what kinds of things interest you? Make a list. Write them down. What do you want to learn? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing? What is it that you would like to say? How do you want to say it? These are great questions that creative people answer for themselves in one way or another. Some dance, some sing, some write and some paint. Some people build corporations and businesses. There's no limit to the way people can express their creative ideas.
For me, it's the discovery process that's really exciting. Discovering and learning more about the things that interest me, but more importantly, discovering more and more about myself. Who am I really? What am I really capable of? I think the answers to these questions can be found in the quote "By their works shall you know them."
Every creative person is on a self discovery and self expression adventure. A commercial rock band releases its first album and then follows it up with their next album. Each year the band produces a new album of songs, the author produces a new book, the artist produces a new series of paintings and the apple tree produces an new crop of apples.
The artist loves the process of producing. It's the continuing life long journey of self discovery and growth, and expressing those new discoveries in new and exciting ways that keeps the artist alive and creative. It also has the advantage of keeping the marketplace interested in what's new about you.
Being an artist is never living the same day twice. Every day and every new project becomes a new adventure.
As with all things, the artist and the apple tree go through natural cycles of productivity and rest. The tree blossoms and looks beautiful in the spring and then quickly loses its pretty blossoms, only to replace them with interesting baby green apples. As the seasons change, the apples ripen and turn a beautiful color of red. The fruit becomes heavy and it either falls to the ground or it will break the tree's branches if the tree refuses to let go of its fruit.
The tree has no use for its own fruit. It produced the fruit to keep itself alive and in the process of producing, it keeps itself vibrant and its branches pliable and strong. But it has no real use for the fruit beyond the life supporting process of producing it.
The tree's fruit naturally falls to the ground or it gets picked off the branches by the farmer when the fruit is ripe. A short time later, the seasons change again and the frost turns the leaves a lovely fall color and with the autumn season we can all share and enjoy the fruits of the harvest.
And then comes winter. The leaves fall from the branches and the tree stands naked. It is a sad sight to someone who remembers a short while back when the tree was so green and full of fruit. Now it appears to be dead. How sad it must be to the ignorant person who doesn't understand the cycles of winter, spring, summer and fall. To them, the winter appears to be death.
To the farmer, the winter is just a space of time between harvest and planting. The farmer is enlightened to the reality of seasons and cycles. He does not despair at the sight of a naked tree. He knows it's not dead but only resting between the seasons.
And the tree too knows that it is very much alive! It is in touch with its nature and its natural processes at every moment throughout its existence. In fact, we all are! The tree doesn't think about it, but we humans do.
The big difference between the human and the tree is that we humans were given the power of choice or decision making, while the tree was not. Both the tree and the human have the power of life expressing naturally through every cell of its body, but only the human has the power of choice as to what we want to do with that power. It comes along with our sense of being conscious. The tree follows its nature without question and without choice. It has no decision making abilities. The human has been given free will or the ability to make choices. What a great gift and a great responsibility that is!
We all have free will, which is the freedom to choose. We may or may not currently be at liberty to express all of our choices, but since choices are made in the mind, no one can control that but us. We can choose to follow an inner guided path that fulfills us spiritually as well as emotionally, physically and mentally, or we can choose a path that gives us some of that, but perhaps only some and not all of what is available or truly desired by us.
We have a choice. I encourage the road less traveled. It's much more exciting and adventurous. There are no guarantees, but there's an unlimited supply of opportunities.
Since we have been given the ability to choose, we also have to take responsibility for the results we create or bring into our lives because of the choices we make along the way. This of course is a double edged sword. It can empower us to choose wisely and in favor of our spiritual path and inner sense of fulfillment, or it can enslave us to a smaller life, seeking satisfaction in things outside of our selves.
Having a sense of purpose about our lives, or having an inner sense of knowing why we are here at this time and what we are here to do, gives our lives direction and meaning. If we don't have a conscious sense of our purpose, it's important that we develop one. Knowing our purpose is the compass that keeps our lives on course.CHAPTER 2
We've all been given gifts, talents and opportunities in life, and if we have a sense of what our purpose is we will see these opportunities everywhere. Challenges are opportunities to use our gifts. Challenges can bring out the best in us but without a sense of purpose, we would see the challenges as obstacles to our happiness rather than as opportunities and blessings for what they have to offer.
Life has meaning when we fulfill our sense of purpose. Without a sense of purpose, rewards and promotions are good for the ego and nice to receive, but they can be hollow and leave us with a feeling of emptiness, or indifference. When the things we are doing don't serve a purpose, rewards are meaningless. The rewards serve no real purpose because nothing really matters.
So how do we find our sense of purpose? By recognizing what feels good to us and by recognizing those things that give us the deepest sense of satisfaction. What kind of things do we like to do? What types of subjects interest us? Pursue those subjects! Spend time on the things that matter most to us, and do the kind of things that bring inner pleasure and provide a sense of satisfaction. Within that sense of satisfaction lie the keys to recognizing our purpose.
Seeking satisfaction must include all four areas of our being. To not be satisfied in any area leaves us feeling empty, frustrated or dissatisfied and out of balance. Our over all goal is to achieve balance in all four areas of our lives, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A conscious sense of purpose will guide us in making our choices and lead us in finding ways to provide a service that satisfies us while being a benefit to others.
We may not always have a job, but we always have a purpose. There are always things to do that can improve life for ourselves and others and there are always lessons for us to learn in the process of making this world a better place.
Living our life on purpose and having a sense of being on our path gives us a good feeling deep inside. Confidence, courage, imagination, determination, joy, adventure, faith and many other qualities blend together to guide us and keep us on our path. The good feelings are the beacon that we follow when we go through the darkness of despair and we have our moments of doubt.
There is a part of us that feels good when we are doing what we know we are meant to do. Joy and self esteem are the great rewards for finding our purpose and staying on it.CHAPTER 3
The Interaction of Our Four Aspects
As humans, we have four distinct aspects: the physical form of our bodies, the intellectual ability of our intelligence, the emotional feelings we have about things and the spiritual aspect of our existence, which is the invisible power of Life itself that is in me, you and all living things.
The physical form of our body allows us to interact with the physical world around us. We can see things and move things around with our bodies.
Our intellect allows us to analyze things and understand the meaning of words and the intellect enables us to do problem solving. It gives us the ability to make plans for the future and it is responsible for creating wealth. The intellect is the thinking part of our nature.
Our emotional side is responsible for our attitudes and our attitudes express how we feel about things, including ourselves. Everyone has the same emotions available to them, but we express them at different times and for different reasons, making it appear that people are different from one another.
Our spiritual side is the power of Life itself, expressing through our minds and bodies. The power of Life is a spiritual force that is shared by and experienced by all living things, including plants and animals. It's something we all have in common.
No one can see "Life", we can only see the evidence of its existence. We see that evidence when we see grass growing or birds flying, or fish swimming or bacteria multiplying. All of this is evidence that the power of Life is present, but we can't actually see "Life", we just see its effects and know that it's there. The evidence of Life is everywhere. No one can deny that Life exists.
These four distinct qualities are constantly interacting with each other as they work to guide us in our decision making processes. They provide us with feedback in the various forms and degrees of pain and pleasure. When they are working in harmony with each other, they ultimately reward us with positive, tangible results and the emotional satisfaction we experience in life.
We engage all four of these aspects in every transaction or inter-personal encounter we experience. When we first encounter someone physically, we immediately engage our intellectual process of questioning and analyzing the situation. We get an emotional reaction of some sort and quickly make a decision about how we want to react to this person. If we choose to continue the transaction, the cycle completes itself with some sort of connection or exchange being made between the two people.
This experience of connecting with another person and exchanging something that is of value to each other, is a spiritual experience at its core. The same Life Energy that is expressing through you, meets Itself as it is being expressed through the mind and physical actions of another individual. A connection between the two individuals is shared and a common bond or relationship is formed in each of the minds and the lives of the two individuals.
This exchange is really the One Power of Life (which is in every living thing), expressing Itself through two individual forms. Whatever "Life" is, the "Power of Life" is the same in both people. It's the same power of Life that is in all living things and it is everywhere!
That "Power of Life" meets itself whenever two or more individuals come together. Once we understand that, our relationships take on a deeper meaning and this deeper understanding becomes a part of our self expression. It affects the way we treat ourselves and each other, as well as having a positive affect on our ability to sell our services or self expression to others.
Examples of how our four aspects show up in our everyday activities are everywhere. A simple and common example is when the phone rings and we physically react by looking at the caller ID or by reaching for the phone and lifting the receiver.
When we realize who's on the other end of the line, we immediately get an emotional reaction of some sort, depending on who it is. Whether it's a friend, an adversary, a total stranger or a recorded message, we get a specific feeling or an emotional reaction which causes us to make another intellectual decision or choice regarding how we want to respond. Once the emotional reaction sets in, we choose to either proceed with the conversation or ignore it.
If we choose to answer the phone, we make the necessary physical actions to do that because we become intellectually interested about the reason for the call. When some information is shared between us and the person on the other end, we become emotionally affected in some way. It may be subtle, but there's always an emotional affect. Perhaps we become excited by the information or disappointed or upset in some way by what we hear, but regardless of the message, we have some kind of emotional reaction to it.
Excerpted from Artists Are Like Apple Trees by Jim Gardner. Copyright © 2013 Jim Gardner. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Artists and Apple Trees, 1,
Chapter 2 Finding Purpose, 7,
Chapter 3 The Interaction of Our Four Aspects, 9,
Chapter 4 The Key to Happiness and The Key to Success, 17,
Chapter 5 Developing Talent, 21,
Chapter 6 Courage and Confidence, 25,
Chapter 7 Thoughts Are Things, 27,
Chapter 8 The Shopping List, or the Key to Getting What We Want, 31,
Chapter 9 There is No Competition to Being Yourself, 41,
About the Author, 49,