40 Days of Rejection Therapy

Getting over short-term failure is key to finding long-term success. It’s on this premise that my friend Caleb Meakins is doing 40 things that will inevitably end in failure and rejection this year.

Find Caleb’s story of 40 Days of Rejection Therapy at My40Days.co.uk, and on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter with @My40Days

If you can see failure through this lens – that failure is not final, it’s just another learning opportunity – I think your failures will scare you less, and you will have more confidence and more daring.

And So She Went: Laura Kay Rudat, Filmmaker

Laura Kay Rudat, filmmaker, is full of surprises and is an incredible story-teller. Her brief yet fascinating filmmaking career has taken her to some of the most unlikely places on earth. In India she filmed the documentary A House for Vasan (below) telling the story of Hands on Houses, which builds houses for widows and the poor. In California she created her thesis film Moriah (bottom of page).

Her upcoming project will be with a team in the Philippines. She is raising money for that here.

A House for Vasan from Laura Kay Rudat on Vimeo.

A bit of her story: I met Laura a few years ago at university near Vancouver, Canada. She was studying International Relations and figuring out what to do next. Over a period of time she was confronted powerfully and mysteriously with the realization that she was supposed to move to San Francisco. She describes the experience with the following words in a post entitled “Dear Reader”:

Many of you are wondering how I got to this point–bags packed, and hours away from moving to San Francisco.

Aware that my student visa was due to expire at the end of August, I began to pray about my next step. I sensed my time in Canada was up, so opted out of extending my stay. In this time of seeking His will, God began speaking to me about San Francisco. The idea was strange to me for several reasons.

To begin with, I was happier than I’d ever been in Langley. Freshly graduated and surrounded by close friends and an amazing church community, I had no reason to leave. Washington would have been the logical option if I were to leave; there I could enjoy the familiarity of home and family. Not only had I never been to San Francisco, but I didn’t really know anyone there (though I later learned two of my cousins have recently moved there).

But God was relentless. Every day, for about a month and a half, San Francisco came up in the most random of ways. Conversations on wholly different topics would suddenly swerve towards San Francisco. Somehow, everything I encountered in my day would subtlety or blatantly (depending on my level of doubt that day) orient my future-focus towards this city. Throughout this time, I began to feel peace about going and I received still more confirmations. Once I decided for sure I was going, whether I knew why or not, the signs virtually stopped. It was as if God said, “Phew. She finally understands.”

I thought that after making this decision, God would reveal more of the plan. But as I get ready to leave today, I know almost nothing. He is requiring me to trust Him more by not taking the matter into my own hands. But I do have promises, which I continue to hope in (Hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes in what he sees?). I have promises of provision, purpose, community, joy, and His best.

It was a year in San Francisco before she had her next big realization: that her hobby-love for filmmaking was not only real, but what she was meant to pursue. Entering film school and subsequently working things out in dead space after graduating was a testing time period for Laura, but things changed shortly for the better. In the last year she has moved north to Redding where her presence at Global Legacy has taken both her love for the nations and her love for filmmaking and married them in a dream come true. She is truly living the dream.

Laura’s fun, quirky, and inspiring blog And So She Went will tell the rest of her exciting and challenging story. In the meantime, find Laura Kay at film festivals and on Vimeo.

Watch This Space: Review of Gungor’s New Book

It is with delight that I announce that I’ve been picked to be a recipient of one of 50 pre-release manuscripts of Michael Gungor’s forthcoming book “The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse”.

This means I get an advanced look at the material and will be publishing a pre-release review of the book. I will be scouring this piece of literature and enjoying, analyzing, and reflecting on what Michael has to say about the arts and all else contained in life (if indeed, there is). I’ll have a review completed for release by October 9 (the official book release date).

For those who are not familiar, Michael Gungor is the lead instrumentalist and vocalist of the musical collective Gungor, an innovative and motley crew of jazz-trained musicians and  friends. Gungor was nominated for a Grammy for their last album, Ghosts Upon The Earth, described as follows:

Produced by the group’s namesake, Michael Gungor, Ghosts Upon the Earth was primarily written by Michael and his wife Lisa who is also a featured vocalist in this musical collective. Recorded in numerous locations, including the Gungor’s home, the album also includes seventeen players, four additional vocalists, a six-person string ensemble and a boy’s choir. Inspiration for the album was orchestrated from Gungor’s weeklong meditation in Assisi where he was inspired by the Saint’s view of the world, as well as from the birth of their daughter last year. (Source: M News)

The book comes out of Michael’s wrestling match with the “Christian music” establishment as a person whose musical was first “too trite” and then “too different” to succeed in that genre category. Michael has a lot to say about faith and the arts and last year gave a Q&A prior to each tour concert.

I will not be releasing any details about the manuscript until I release the review. For more information, visit Gungor’s site.

For my prior posts on Gungor, click these:

Gungor - Ghosts Upon The Earth Tour - Langley

Ghosts Upon The Earth (Album)

Gungor – Beautiful Things Tour – Langley

Beautiful Things (Album) (Published in Options Magazine)

We Make Stuff, Volume 1

Art collective We Make Stuff has released their first volume; it’s a beautiful book.

Volume One showcases artists from the Vancouver area.

You can purchase your copy here.

First Run

I began running again. I wanted to try to capture some of the quirks that went through my mind on the first run of the season.

I begin. The sky burns an intense pink, as if the world were on fire. But I am cold.

Becoming conscious of it, I thank God for breath, and regulate. Nose, mouth, repeat.

Leaves carpeting the ground already? August, you betray me. Summer seems shortest always.

I hop the fence to my alma mater, like a child breaking in to their parents’ house. The greenery of this place is breathtaking and life-giving. The track approaches.

What are you doing? Right ear asks. You’re a fool.

Sprint the straights and slow on the curves.

Take it easy on yourself, right ear says.

You never take it easy on yourself, left ear replies. You’re in training now.

I run, feeling conscious of my limits.

I look up into a sky blueing vividly. A dove hovers above me in the form of a cloud. I will run with angels.

Final lap. I sprint the first straight to exhaustion and decelerate. The slow curve is kind to me. Everything is subdued. Still many steps ahead for recovery time before the very final straight.

I burn. The sky is cold.

Do you really want to run the final straight? Right ear asks.

You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t, left ear chides.

The dove is still there. My legs do slave labour. I finish.

I feel dead; I feel alive.

Man-Made Cycles

Obsolescence (noun)

This is the word you are looking for if you want to describe a very real phenomenon you’ve observed about our world: the tendency for products to break down over a certain, almost determined, period of time.

Obsolescence, you see, is not just a coincidence. It’s intentional- a sly manufacturing policy so common that there is a term for it: planned obsolescence. It means designing a product with a limited useful life. Examples abound, as this trend is clearly visible in today’s manufacturing, whether cars, computers, batteries, or shoes. For industry, planned obsolescence encourages purchasers to buy again and buy sooner if they want to retain a functioning product.

Obsolescence doesn’t stop with actual physical breakdowns. Consumers are further manipulated by schemes run by everyone from Apple to Wal*Mart to Gucci to Ford Motors in which perceived obsolescence (older products being deemed less desirable [uncool] and in need of replacing with newer, cooler ones) rules advertising. Old is taboo, laughable. NEW is required, reasonable. NEW is the hook that draws the fish in. It’s why tens of thousands line up for hours to get the new iPhone on the day it comes out, as if they had been waiting on this moment all their life, desperate to find their long-gone fulfilment, to climb another makeshift step on the social ladder.

If you see through obsolescence it will probably piss you off. If you’ve identified it for what it really is, a grand marketing ploy that manipulates the beliefs and emotions of society to deepen the pockets of manufacturers and sellers, you’re not alone. You may no longer necessarily want to replace everything in your house from your phone to your car to your TV to your fridge. You may think yourself embarrassingly old fashioned to wonder if could just find something that lasts? Something that’s dependable?

Some manufacturers shun obsolescence more than others. One good example is this: It seems so archaic, today, but Moulton Bicycle Company still creates its bicycles by hand. I don’t know what the average life of one of their bicycles is, but the fact that they spend some 30 hours producing an average bicycle hints to me that obsolescence isn’t the name of their game. In true old English fashion, their pride lies in the quality and durability of their product. Some of their employees have been creating and assembling bicycles for decades. Working alongside them would be pretty inspiring, like apprenticing, alongside a master blacksmith, which is the image that came to mind when I watched this film. The film speaks for itself, and demonstrates the pride and love that can go into the creating of something another person is going to use, and for a long time, at that. Does it make a difference to you?

MOULTON BICYCLE COMPANY – MADE IN ENGLAND from WellPlastic Films on Vimeo.

The Blood Donor

What’s the best story on giving that you know? I recently came across a poignant true story centered around a young boy set on helping his little sister, dying of leukemia. Anne Lamott includes this in her colourful, wry and excellent book Bird By Bird, told to her by Jack Kornfield:

An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukemia, and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood. He said sure. So they did and it was a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.

The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood. So they took him to the hopsital where he was put on a gurney beside his six-year-old sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”

Greater love hath no man than this, that he should lay down his life for another.

 

Story excerpted from Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor, 1995. p205.