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My Creative Process

Here goes:

  1. Begin with “You are loved, whether you produce anything today or not.”
    Your offering is already acceptable. You have brought yourself to this day.
  2. Surround yourself with the things you enjoy, people you love and the things you love to do.
  3. Begin.
  4. If it flows, continue.
  5. If not, set it aside and begin again.
  6. Toil while it makes sense. Set it aside when it sags.
  7. Revise another day.

On the next day, begin with…

“You are loved, whether you produce anything today or not.”

This, most of all, because the fear of failing to produce acceptable fruit keeps our hands in our pockets and our hearts under wraps. The world needs our hearts and our hands. Love opens both.



What’s your creative process?

I’m on a co-Mission from God

Worth and pay are two very different concepts, especially if you’re in the service industry. In fact “service industry” seems an oxymoron to me. Serving, you do for worth. Industry you do for pay. The two seem mutually exclusive.

I am forced to consider this as a writer and as an entrepreneur. I do what I do for the service I provide, but how do I fund myself? Do I just rely on donations? Do I have a right to ask people to pay? If so, how much? How do you put a price on healthy, whole, fulfilled? This is what I hope to offer you, but these are long-term characteristics. On down the road I hope you will experience all of these. Right now, you just read or practice what I “preach.”  No money changes hands. My payment relies on your generosity.

Out of the goodness of your heart you “like” my blog or you “like” my page or you visit my website. You are an online statistic to me. It’s a way you say “thank you,” perhaps without even knowing it. By clicking, you indicate that this has value for you, that you’re glad you came and you will be back for more.

Not a lot of money in that. Just relationship. But it’s mutual relationship and it’s lasting. That’s worth, but it’s not pay.

This is much like the waitress who’s salary is so much less than minimum wage. She works for tips, so what she makes is totally up to her customers. What I make is totally up to my readers. They visit and may click or even comment and be tallied in the “statistics.”

But this is a business. It has cost as well as benefit. And the business is to make money. That’s what businesses do. This understanding has come the hard way for me, but I’m getting it. If I make money I can spend it to grow the business, perhaps even pay myself a salary, but mostly to reach more people with the long term gains I am selling. I want people to be healthy, whole and fulfilled.

But where does the money come from? If we’re just clicking and liking. Well, it comes from advertisers who hope you’ll see them while you’re reading the content of the blog or the webpage. They want to persuade you to buy their products while you’re surfing the web. Sneaky those companies. Oh, you don’t have to buy. You can escape scot-free, if you’re disciplined and don’t give in.

But most of us aren’t. Or at least we’re very suggestible. The image or slogan remains in our minds and suggests itself again when a purchasing decision comes up.

But what of the writer, the waitress, the server, the servant? The one actually provides the service. They get paid tips based on your generosity. They get paid bonuses based on performance. They are in sales, and salesmen earn a commission. Salary is small, but if they’re successful in selling, they get a reward. That motivates them to sell well, be persuasive, be charming and endearing and helpful. Are you smiling, too?

All good, if they believe that what they’re selling is truly what you need. They’re not just trying to sell you so they can make the commission. You can tell the difference. The good salesman, the one who sells you what you need at the right price, you come back to again and again. You have a relationship of trust. He’ll winnow down the choices for you and you’ll be satisfied with your purchase. That’s a service worth paying for.

So, I look at the “likes,” “click-throughs” and “comments” on the newsire for which I write. They are meager but growing. In this world, that’s what sells. And the editor says, we’ll pay you based on those. Great, I work on commission.

But if I really believe the product I’m selling will help you be more healthy, whole and fulfilled, then it’s worth it even if I don’t rake in any of those proceeds. You get them. After all, I’m in the service industry. I am on commission. You get healthy, whole and fulfilled. Who could possibly pay what those are worth?

God can. It’s what He longs desperately for in our lives, but He doesn’t force them on us. He lets us choose. I’m in the business of selling them. I’m on commission. I work for God. So much more than a salary.

A shoe shine minister lightens a weighty week

I met Moses on Wednesday. He was shining shoes in the JW Marriott. Actually, I heard him before I saw him and it was several days before I introduced myself.

“The 10 commandments, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” he almost sang. “Love your neighbor.” This was conversation that came free of charge when you got your shoes shined. I was amused to watch the faces of the recipients. Some smiled. Some agreed and encouraged him. Some turned their heads the other way, pretending they couldn’t hear. But you couldn’t help but hear him. And I marveled. What an amazing testimony. A ministry of shoe-shining.

Moses shines shoes at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis

Moses shines shoes at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis

On Friday I finally caught Moses without a customer so I stopped and asked him how long he’d been in the ministry. Ten years, he told me. I asked if I could snap a photo and he obliged, although he insisted it was quick because guys were waiting downstairs for him. He was headed to his evening job, hard rock, gospel style. In the band he was “King Moses.”

I’m always amazed by people who integrate their faith and their work (not just their works). Who somehow translate the Good News message into the language of their vocations. Moses’ way was pretty forthright.

But this morning I walked to sessions with a physiotherapist from Canada.  The scientific conference we have been attending is coming to a close. So much research has been presented. So much debating of validity and statistical significance and repeatability and…

“It’s a shame,” she said, “when you know the good you can do but delay and wait for more confirmation.” She liked people who took what was good – and well-designed exercise is always good – and put it into practice to help people.

She laughed when she recalled some students who came to her with “wondrous” faces. They had just helped an amputee walk for the first time. They said, “I suppose this gets old after you’ve done it more times.”

“It never gets old,” she told me. Each time you help someone walk for the first time, it’s wondrous. Just as amazing as the first time.

I imagine that was the look on the faces of the onlookers when Jesus healed the paralytic and told him, “Take up your mat and walk.” And he did just that. They must have had wondrous faces. And for Jesus and the disciples, it never got old.

What a privilege it is to be a translator of science into the practice of life. To take all these studies and stats and protocols and debates and cull out what will be just the thing that might work for the athletes who come my way. There won’t be a lot of fanfare, but when it works, it is wondrous. Every time.

Leave the research to the researchers and let them get it just exactly right. The rules are important and we want to avoid jumping to our own conclusions, but serving in the field is where the rubber meets the road. I figure I’m a translator of sorts.

Like King Moses said, “the 10 commandments … then love you neighbor.” Translating one into the other is a life’s work.

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