Monday, October 22, 2012
Who Do You Admire?
Last week I worked through a creative exercise from Julia Cameron's "The Complete Artist's Way." I was to list five people I admired, then five people I secretly admired, then finally to identify the traits these people have which I could cultivate further in myself.
Next, I was to list five people who were dead that I wish I had met and then, five people who are dead whom I'd like to hang out with for a while in eternity. From them, I was to identify traits I could look for in my friends.
This was a fun exercise and gave me a lot to think about it.
I won't give you the names of the people I admire, but I will tell you about some of the traits (in no particular order) that leaped off the list.
Independence. The people I admire the most are independent in what they do, think and how they respond to the world. They have made choices that others would question because those choices are risky and might disrupt the status quo.
Intelligence / Brilliance. I am addicted to brilliant and intelligent people. My life is filled with them. Not only my friends and family, but those whom I admire are absolutely brilliant. They love to be exposed to new and fascinating information and find creative ways to make that into something that is their very own.
Courage. Those independent, brilliant souls whom I admire have the courage to stand up for what they believe, while never crossing the line into negative behavior. They also have courage to step out and try new things, make decisions that will set them apart from others, embrace the different and take on new challenges.
Compassion. One thing that really stood out was how this was so ingrained in the lives of those I admire. There might be independence and courage, but at the same time these people are concerned for those whom they encounter and they actively live so as to ensure others are cared for, whether emotionally, physically, spiritually or mentally.
Transparency. This is a rare trait and one that tends to get most people into a great deal of trouble, because the world simply can't be trusted. Once you expose yourself, you set yourself up in so many ways. I don't trust the world for the most part because people try so hard to find your weakness and then stomp on you. This is a very courageous trait.
Tenacity. One of the things my father taught the three of us was perseverance. He never gave up ... on people, on ideas, on projects, on churches, on anything! Those people I admire have stuck to their beliefs, their ideas, their dreams ... no matter the struggle that faces them.
I learned a little bit about myself and about what it is that I find to be so wonderful in other people.
Now, as for the people I wish I'd met who are dead, my list becomes a little odd. I'm just going to toss it out there with no explanation for now.
Who would I like to hang out with for a while in eternity?
My grandfather, Mac (James McFarlane) and his brother Gene. Together, because they loved being together and were quite entertaining.
Louisa May Alcott
Lawrence of Arabia
Peter, Jesus' disciple
What qualities do I see when I look at that list? I see courage, independence and tenacity. But, I also see immense minds - open to so many possibilities. These people saw beyond the obvious and found ways to live outside the world's expectations. They enjoyed life.
The other thing I saw after I finished my lists was that I love story-tellers. You know ... I grew up with parents who told our stories over and over. I loved hearing them ... it didn't matter how often. My grandfather, Mac, was an extraordinary story teller and I didn't get the chance to experience the best part of who he was. I re-read books all the time. If a story intrigues me, I want to read it again and again, just for the joy of the story.
What would your responses be to these questions?