Tag Archives for " creativity "

Jul 11

They laughed at “Hamilton”

By Peggy Haymes | Life well lived

It’s been a big week for lovers of the Broadway show Hamilton. Show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda gave his last Broadway performance as Alexander Hamilton. And on this day in 1804, Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehauken, NJ.

It’s a testimony to the musical’s reach and influence that this day is noted as somehow more than a dusty footnote. It’s a testimony to Miranda’s genius that people just cannot help themselves: they have to quote the musical in response to posts marking the day. (Everything is legal in Jersey.)

Hamilton is a force on Broadway and beyond. It won a Grammy for best cast album and brought home an armload of Tony awards. More than that, through its use of hip-hop and storytelling it’s turned kids on to this figure from long ago American history. One column advised parents how to survive their kids’ Hamilton obsession. This ten dollar founding father has made quite a splash. (See, even I’m doing it.)

But a recent appearance at the White House by the Hamilton cast wasn’t the first Hamilton sighting there. When Miranda was invited to the White House Poetry Jam in 2009 he introduced a new hip-hop concept album he was working on based on….

the life of first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.

Well, they laughed. Including the President and First Lady. They laughed, because what else could you do with such an absurd idea? 

Here’s the temptation of such a moment, to listen to the laughter instead of your dream. The temptation is to let the laughter sidetrack you and make you doubt yourself.

They didn’t get it. Maybe no one will. Maybe I’m just being stupid.

Have you ever let the laughter or criticism or doubts of someone else turn you away from an idea that was so powerful in your soul that it made you get up in the morning and made it hard to go to bed at night? Maybe it was something you wanted to write or to sing or to dance to to paint. Maybe it was something you wanted to do or a business you wanted to start. Maybe it was a need that you saw a way of meeting, even though no one else had.

What do we do when they just laugh?

The fact is, sometimes we are off track. And sometimes we’re just ahead of time.

But sometimes times that dream rumbling around inside is an important gift for someone somewhere. Even if that someone else is us.

Believe in yourself.

Believe in what you have to offer.

Like that ten dollar founding father, be a self starter…

Apr 08

Running with the Selfie Stalker

By Peggy Haymes | Lifestyle , Wellness

Anne LamottI knew she was a stalker.

I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. She wasn’t making life creepy for an ex. She was always stalking people in pursuit of the bucket list selfie.

I knew this because I saw the pictures show up on her Facebook wall every so often… Peter Sagal (host of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, the NPR news quiz), Garrison Keillor (are you sensing a public radio theme?) and Roy Williams, coach of the UNC basketball team (hey, it was her bucket list, not mine.)

So this week some of us went together to hear one of our very favorite authors, Anne Lamott. My friend ambushed Garrison Keillor just a week before in that same auditorium so she had the recon down.

Turns out we didn’t need it. All of a sudden her eyes lit up as she pointed to a group of women gathered in the aisle on the other side. “There she is,” she said. “She’s signing books! We’ve got twenty minutes – let’s go.”

You have to understand, this is not my natural inclination. I can be shy sometimes, and my default setting is to crane my neck to watch the others, wishing I could go, envying the ones who do go. But with my friend, there is no neck craning. Before I could waffle, we were on the move.

As we stood in the aisle I morphed into Ralphie anxiously waiting to see Santa in A Christmas Story, knowing that it was vitally important that I see this person but afraid that the store would close first.

Anne LamottAnne LamottAnd then, this happened. Anne signed my well worn copy of Bird by Bird and my friend got a picture of the two of us together and the bucket list I hadn’t allowed myself to have got a little lighter.

How often do we talk ourselves out of getting out of our seats and going for what we really want? We book the same place for vacation every year because that’s where we always go, ignoring the part of us that wants to explore some place new. We don’t take the pottery class because we might not be any good at it. We don’t say hello to the interesting person we’d like to have as a friend because after all, why would they want to be friends with us?

We proactively disappoint ourselves rather than take a chance on life disappointing us.

In college I was asked to play trumpet in the orchestra. Excited, I said yes at first. And then the shy, not very confident person stepped forward again and I bowed out. I didn’t know if I could do it so I didn’t try.

I have regretted it ever since.

I’ll not lie. It helps to have a stalking selfie queen as a friend. But lacking that, sometimes we have to be that friend to ourselves.

What is that thing you really want to do, that place you really want to go? As long as it will not hurt anyone else nor yourself and you’re not likely to wind up in a North Korean prison, go for it.

The worst that can happen is that life will say no. The best that can happen is that it will say yes.

The Slow Down Diet
Feb 17

Slow Down Diet: Gone to Meddling

By Peggy Haymes | Eating , Lifestyle , Wellness

Better Deeper LifeThere’s a story about the preacher who preached on the evils of a various sins and vices. One of the old deacons encouraged him on, both with hearty Amens during the sermon and words of appreciation after the service. But then the preacher preached on the evils of tobacco and the deacon, a well-known smoker, sat stony faced though the sermon. After worship he had only one thing to say.

“Preacher,” he said, “now you’ve gone to meddling.”

That’s something of what I thought as I read The Slow Down Diet recently.

“I suggest you let go of all coffee for this week.”

Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

The point Marc David is making here is that many of us use caffeine as a way to override our natural energetic rhythm. When we’re in harmony with that rhythm our metabolism works at its best.

I don’t use coffee as a means for keeping myself awake. I realized, however, that I’ve been using that afternoon decaf as a way of nurturing. Holding the warm cup, smelling the aroma, tasting the bite of the beans on my tongue… even the experience of getting out of the office to the coffee shop nurtures my soul. While I’ve not been eating less I’ve been starving my spirit and even the best latte is a poor substitute.

Early on in the book this quote caught my eye was

“The way we do food is the way we do life.”

Over the last few days I’ve realized that the reverse is also true: the way we do life is the way we do food. My life got out of kilter which then became manifest in my eating.

Injury has curtailed my workouts, although if  I’m brutally honest, that’s mostly an excuse. My road bike stays hooked up to the trainer in the guest room.  I could work around the injury. I don’t have to be waylaid by the snow.

I fell into the trap of letting my schedule be my excuse. I looked for reasons not to work out instead of ways to make it happen. I’ve been reminded again that exercise isn’t an option for my life (well, for any of us but that’s for another day.) While it exhausts me it also nurtures me. While it tires me out it brings me energy.

I let my schedule push out the other necessity in my life: creating. While I’ve been busy creating courses and webinars, I haven’t been just plain writing. If I go too long without playing with words my spirit gets stale.

And when these things happen, I don’t eat as well. Exercise connects me to my body. Creativity connects me to my spirit. And connection with both is needed for eating with awareness.

What practices nurture your spirit? 


This blog has migrated to its new home at peggyhaymes.com.

No house-warming presents are necessary.