The Art and the Science of Infinite Possibilities

“I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping . . .”

— George Harrison

guitarI was taking my morning walk in the crisp Texas air on Sunday and listening to the “random shuffle” on my smart phone. As indicated with crystal clarity here, there are no accidents ― a pattern to the randomness usually emerges. And George’s message in “My Guitar Gently Weeps” impacted me on a profound, new level. Admittedly, we all have our favorite Beatles’ songs, and this is definitely in my top five.

“I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping 
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps.”

In sync with this moment, I was attending a dazzling event over the weekend called #DreambuildersLIVE, and I thank Unity Church Dallas for offering special access to the experience.  This was the Mary Morrissey show, and she is certainly a magnetic maestro of meaning ― orchestrating mesmerizing messages in “a container” of multimedia magic.

One of her fundamental life-coaching principles is “notice what you are noticing.” This reinforces and supports my current journey ― as I find it requires vigilant practice. I think of it as “uber awareness” or “turbo mindfulness.”  And it’s essential, because our dreams all start in our own hearts and minds ― an inside job. Deftly unfolding this concept, Mary polished many glistening enlightenment nuggets in her approachable, warm style. “You can’t get TO your dream ― you must come FROM it,” says Mary. Letting that idea seep into every molecule is potemt as I envision and feel my future joy in the now ― the present moment. Be the change. Live the dream. (Need more practice.)

In this iconic song, George is definitely noticing what he is noticing. And though that darn floor is filthy and his guitar is gloomy, he chooses to see the “love there that’s sleeping.” I have read he wrote the song at his mother’s house in Warrington, England as he contemplated “I Ching, The Book of Changes.” It’s regarded one of the most important texts of Chinese wisdom and philosophy ever scribed, and it was a foundational source for Confucius and others.

I believe one of the notions George is referencing is the ethereal mystery of relationships and the interconnectedness of all things and beings in the universe.  Our oneness with all ― and one for all time. Just beginning to embrace these ideas based on ancient philosophies, twenty-first century science is now studying the hidden, untapped power of the brain and its relationship to the quantum field. In fact, “Make it MATTER” is another great Mary-ism ― linking meaning with quantum change and infinite possibilities.

Yes, Mary is vibrating at a higher frequency ― and creating a surge in the process. You could feel it in the room of more than 750 people from across the globe gathered here in Texas for a nexus of relationship and intention to generate something wonderful and good.  So refreshing as we notice . . . our “political floor may need some sweeping.” But . . .

“With every mistake we must surely be learning.”

Angels

angels2It’s Christmas, again.  So, what have we done?  Seems the years are barreling by more rapidly than ever. Hyperspeed.  With the death of my father this year, the passing of my mother two years ago,  my youngest turning 18, and other major personal epiphanies this year, the reality of time has been a central theme.

That’s why I  bought myself a special gift this year — Mary Oliver’s new book of poems — “Blue Horses.” It’s exquisite.  I find the purity and simplicity of Oliver’s intimate observations of nature and everyday wonder so profoundly moving. Perfect for a day like today — which celebrates our core, spiritual connection to the Divine or Source  — no matter what our definition of faith.

It’s all about authentic connection — whether to self or others, right? So, a gift for you . . .

ANGELS

You might see an angel anytime

and anywhere. Of course you have

to open your eyes to a kind of

second level, but it’s not really

hard. The whole business of

what’s reality and what isn’t has

never been solved and probably

never will be. So I don’t care to

be too definite about anything.

I have a lot of edges called Perhaps

and almost nothing you can call

Certainty. For myself, but not

for other people. That’s a place

you just can’t get into, not

entirely anyway, other people’s

heads.

I’ll just leave you with this.

I don’t care how many angels can

dance on the head of a pin. It’s

enough to know that for some people

they exist, and they dance.

-Mary Oliver

Happy Christmas and 2015!

Updated: Due to Ice Storm: Holiday Customer Art Show at Stoney’s Wine Lounge | Dec. 13 | 5:00 –7:00

Sommelier Necklace
Sommelier Necklace

Join us next week when we thaw. . .

I am excited and honored to participate in a Holiday Customer Art Show at Stoney’s Wine Lounge.  It’s a festive way to sip luscious wines from around the globe, shop for one-of-a-kind gifts crafted by eclectic and surprising artists from around the corner — and savor delicious jazz with friends in a cozy neighborhood atmosphere. What could be better?

I will be including some of my favorite jewelry creations. Here are a few examples—incorporating copper, abalone, quartz amethyst, brass, silver plate, gold wire, and other semi-precious gemstones. Prices range from $35 – $150.

SaxophoneElaineGantzWright Jewelry

Artists’ Reception
Friday, Dec. 13
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Stoney’s  Wine Lounge
6038 Oram St.

Dallas, TX 75206

And here’s a little back story.

Ms. Dill
Ms. Dill

Diana, Stoney and I have an interesting history. Our paths have continued to cross since I first met Diana when she was as my seventh grade French teacher at Hockaday.

Mademoiselle Dill at the time, she may have been one the absolute “coolest” teachers on the planet.  She and Patty Edwards, my speech and debate coach in high school, would both hold that title.  “Ms. Dill” would weave in French pop-culture references and even sing to us – Francoise Hardy’s Tous les Garcons. Formidable!

And there’s more . . . Stoney and I both landed at the Dallas Museum of Art simultaneously in the late 1980s. I was arranging fabulous fetes for the Associates and President Circle-level members and his band played at those receptions. Then, when I happened to be planning my own wedding at the time, I asked Stone to play. So, there you have it . . . some saucy synchronicity—since single, however.

So, stop by on Friday or Saturday at Stoney’s. Shop, saunter or sip.  Cheers. xo

CONTACT ME ANY TIME!

Remembering Ann Cushing Gantz

Ann Cushing GantzIt’s difficult to believe my mom left this earth one year ago today–after a long struggle with the aftermath of devastating stroke. No matter how difficult the journey, life is never really the same after your mother has left your world. Remembering you today, Mom. Once again, here is the poem you asked that we read at your funeral . . . and another from me.  Love, e.

When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted
By Rudyard Kipling

When Earth’s last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
‘Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They’ll sit in a golden chair
They’ll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet’s hair
They’ll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They’ll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!

Glitter Light ShineSpinning Rhythms of Delight Fantastic
By Elaine

 

Transition comes always in motion.
Summer and fall down again.
The cycle repeating so certain,
Who am I less the chagrin?

Fractured yet still—unbroken.
So this is together as one,
For it is all not forgotten.
I go forward in faith alone.

The newness of year’s end beckons
To lead my discoveries of soul.
Joy finally—that  place so vulnerable
Peace on purpose—so whole.

I’m not sure how to rest anymore.
In this place of where I prepare
What I see is now just a wisp
Of a memory on gossamer air.

I will follow the lead of my truest heart
Unfold what is next without fear.
Not a nod to the doubts of others.
Only for what is genuine and clear.

He was a mirror to my deepest ache.
Unconscious, I acquiesced.
Releasing all that, myself I cherish.
Through salted tears, I am blessed.

Remembering . . . there is time to heal.
Now, here I am—flawed and free.
Truth – such the journey uncommon.
Facing lesson’s ubiquity.

Steer no more. Press, push or pull.
In heart-fragile release Divine.
Spinning rhythms of delight fantastic.
Let  that glitter starlight shine.

Finding Myself in the Pickle: The Intersection of Art, Spirituality and Nature

ElaineGantzWright Jewelry

You’ve heard the familiar adage, “the devil is in the details.” Well, last week, I experienced quite the opposite—the yin to that yang—as so often occurs with such idioms. Truth is, I discovered the Divine in the details. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Art @ Mo—a rejuvenating week combining spirituality and fellowship with a healthy helping of creative nourishment—all served up in the midst of the most idyllic scenery Texas has to offer. It was a confluence beyond compare. How fortunate I was to spend five days of serenity and regeneration in the cradle of the majestic Texas Hill Country outside of San Antonio.

I have been to Mo Ranch more times than I can count— with and without my boys, but this year was a completely different experience. I allowed myself to focus completely and unapologetically on the art of jewelry-making, and I’m not just talking about stringing some purple beads and tying a knot (which I have been known to do and to enjoy). This was the real deal, the artisan craft, and I never knew how liberating and captivating such a pursuit could be.

It involved intense study of the painstaking steps and discipline required to make metal jewelry from concept to creation—using fine materials, such as copper, agate, abalone, amethyst, and the like. In addition to producing some wonderful pieces under the tutelage of master jeweler Jean Cofer, I learned some lessons that have given me insight and even a sense of peace and enlightenment in my life as a whole. This brings me to—the pickle.

Pickle is the solution used during jewelry construction to clean away the oxides, imperfections, and discolorations that occur during the prep and soldering process. (I will describe this in greater detail in a moment.) It’s kind of a noxious brew of hydrochloric acid and water heated in crock pot or “cauldron.” It’ll take your skin right off, but damn, it makes gorgeous jewelry!!

As neophytes, needless to say, we mostly treated the pickle with great respect. Even using the wrong implement, such as aluminum tweezers, could cause a chemical reaction and contaminate it instantly. We were careful to use wooden dowels or copper tweezers. One brazen classmate threw an old door knob or something in the pickle one day, and the cloud of foul, sulfur-smelling gas that enveloped the room required our immediate evacuation. Jewelry-making is not for the timid! Of course, sometimes you may decide you want the earthy patina that only contaminated pickle can deliver. Then, it’s more about the art than the science.

ElaineGantzWright Jewelry Design

Soldering: The Beauty of the Dark Side

I’ve always wanted to learn to solder — the process of joining metal using an alloy designed to melt at a temperature lower than the metal base. Both pieces must be heated simultaneously until the solder melts. Upon cooling, the solder solidifies to form a firm, lasting joint. The levels of solder are termed extra easy, easy, medium. and hard—depending on their melting points. Typically, they are used in reverse progression on a given piece. It gets pretty complicated.

Then, you actually use a gas blowtorch that you ignite with a bang and flourish on top of a brick. (That’s pretty fun.) You can use a small piece of screen perched atop a six-inch-tall, three-legged stand to perform what’s called a “sweat” solder. And boy, it’s hot. I find soldering truly a mystical, hypnotic process as you wave the glowing torch in back and fort and in a rotating motion over your work — waiting for the glisten of the shiny silver alloy to “pop” and ooze. Thinking of that Scottish play, “Bubble, bubble toil and trouble . . . ” kind of an everyday alchemy.

You heat your carefully wrought jewel one step at a time—avoiding over-heating and/or complete incineration but cajoling and coaxing in carefully and gingerly to “flow.” Jean, our wonderful teacher, demonstrated how to almost caress the piece of jewelry with the flame and “fluff it” just enough to achieve the desired response at the appropriate moment. The irony is that the pendant, ring or bracelet turns the blackest black, literally soot-encrusted and then seems to almost undulate with rainbow waves of color rolling and rippling across the once-shiny surface. Magic.

In addition to the mesmerizing beauty of it all, the process struck me as such a basic metaphor for life’s challenges—the reality of going through the most intense heat, pain and darkness to transform into a beautiful, bright work of art. Even the terms to describe the different types of solder fit the analogy – sometimes it’s “easy,” even “extra easy” to stay “in flow,” and sometimes it’s pretty “hard,” and we get stuck. So, we start all over again.

The key learning for me was that every step is essential. No skipping this or that to speed up the process for us impatient, big-picture types. Trust the process. Hmmm . . . Seems I’ve heard that one before. This was the spiritual gateway for me –where I was able to leave behind all the “recent character-building” experiences of my Dallas life and find a renewed sense of feeling centered and at peace. The Zen of soldering, indeed. Each step is a piece of the puzzle.

Like “flux” – the substance you must always use in soldering to facilitate the flow and the bond. Now, that is poetry right there. It’s all about the steps and sequencing. Very instructive stuff on my latest enlightenment journey.

Plus, I walked away with treasures I am proud to own and wear—along with memories of laughter and song. Win-win-win.

Next up: Annealing and Praying . . . don’t you love it?

Dazzle Your Audience with the 4 Cs

Remembering the  4Cs  can help you frame a content marketing strategy that helps you cut through the communications clutter.  Consider:

Content – Share only the highest quality content. Whether email, website, blog, whitepaper or app, make it sizzle. Consider experimenting with video on your website.  Use your iPhone. You do not need to be Steven Spielberg. Try mobile apps, webinars, or even a luscious, visual feast on Pinterest. Feature video testimonials from customers, employees, partners, or even vendors. Fundamentally, social media is about telling stories—those tantalizing tidbits of truth that trigger action.  But the real challenge is this: “The medium is (still) the message,” as Marshall McLuhan said more than a half century ago.   How we interact with content can be just as (if not more) meaningful than the content itself.  That is why we need to me crystal clear about who we are, what we stand for, and what we are communicating to our audiences.

Community – Social media gives you the power to spread information quickly. But the irony here is that you have to let go. “Let it be,” as a wise dude once said. You don’t have to vet and control ever single word or comment.  Granted, issuing calls to action online on social media platforms can spark viral campaigns rapidly, economically, and effectively– but it’s often serendipity.  And, how cool is that? As NYU new media professor Clay Shirky observes, “Now, many can talk to many, as opposed to one talking to one — or one talking to many.” The chain reaction that results can be potent and powerful. We need only pay attention.

Culture – Just as everyone in a healthy organization is a salesperson, everyone in your enterprise should exercise a social media voice.  Weave the behavior into the communications fabric and expectation of your operation. It’s all part of outrageously good customer service, anyway. Make engaging on Facebook about your products the norm –rather than the exception. Make promotions and projecting personality a priority – in your store, via text, online and everywhere.  Make it part of your customer banter and all your in-person relationships. Work from the inside out. Hey, put the social in social media, and watch the referrals flow. Coach your staff to manage your business’ presence in an authentic and personal way online. Employees are built-in ambassadors. Give them guidelines. Train them–and deploy them first!

Character – Finally, social media is your opportunity to put a face on your organization and to humanize your brand.  Optimize your own, unique corporate back story. Transparency is a powerful differentiator, my friend—in addition to being highly seductive in our post-modern, reality-TV-obsessed world.   Think about ways to make the private public. This is the new “intimacy of commerce” that will effectively distract, attract and embrace your audience. As Constantin Stanislavski, the great acting coach once said, “If you know your character’s thoughts, the proper vocal and bodily expressions will naturally follow.”

Ready for your close-up?

Time Traveled

Notes from a social media Cyrano.

Time. A noun. Verb. Adjective.
We don’t have time. Oh, we’ll make the time.
We spend time, save time, buy time.
Are we living on borrowed time? People give us their time. Really?
But we took the time. Will I be on time? Well, at least, we made good time.
What time is it? In real time. Oh, time’s up. Is it all a waste of time?

All in good time.
But time waits for no one. Time marches on.
What’s time does it start?

Time’s ticking away. Time flies.
Time sensitive, stamp, warp– crunch.
Is it good timing or bad?
Oh, there’ll come a time.
It’s just a matter of time. Time after time. Any time at all.
Somewhere in time. They didn’t get there in time.
Is time on our side? Is there enough time?
If you could just save time in a bottle. . .
Time isn’t holding us; time isn’t after us.
But, we’re running out of time.

Does anybody really know what time it is? Is time an illusion?That’s exactly what I hear all the time.  

Time is on my mind—can you tell? It’s front and center as I face the half-century mark in a matter of weeks, in fact. Somehow 50 years on this earth is poignant and powerful—especially since events of the past couple of years have completely taxed my resilience, heart, faith and very existence. I keep thinking there is something on the other side this personal and professional chaos— a sort of rebirth or even anagnorisis, as the protagonist might have in ancient Greek tragedy. You know that frightening feeling when you get swept away in a wave at the beach—and for those few harrowing moments in time, seemingly suspended, you have no idea which way is up, nor if you will find your way to the surface?

Age 50 would be a more than poetic time to find my way to the surface, don’t you think? Gandhi discovered at 50 his real mission in nonviolent resistance, and Cervantes was older than that when he began his career as a novelist. As Nietzsche said, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”

Speaking of time, it’s been a long time since I wrote my own blog. Funny how it works—when you develop an expertise, especially a non-traditional one, you often end up doing it for someone else. I write for others now. I guess you could say I’m a ghost blogger – a sort of social media Cyrano. It’s an interesting role to play—creating the authentic voice of another—in particular a business—a bit like acting. The goal is to humanize the corporate persona in a social media stratosphere. Gotta admit that it’s a challenge managing the tightrope of “corporate transparency”—kind of an oxymoron–and the real time attention required in the brave new world of instant gratification.

In the early days of advertising, businesses traded money for exposure, and today, in the new media world, we trade money for time. Real time.  Some tasks are automated, but it’s difficult to automate authenticity.

In fact, so many of my clients say, “I just don’t have the time for this.” And they are right. It’s like living a double life—the online persona and the business pro.
But with more than 600 million Facebook users,  somebody has time!

So really, it’s not about time.
It’s about the value of the experience–and the joy. It’s about connection and the fun.  A recent poll by Priority Management, Inc. had an answer.  In a lifetime, the average American will spend:

• 6 months sitting at stoplights
• 1 year looking for misplaced objects
• 2 years unsuccessfully returning phone calls
• 7 years waiting in line

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that a sense of belonging is just above safety and security. And, the irony is – we can’t self- actualize alone. So, enter social media. Even if it’s electronic, it’s human connection and the ability to feel part of something. It’s a new kind of relationship reality. So, I guess time is not as important as choice.

It’s about choices we make. Personal choices. So many choices, and just where does the time go?

TEDx-traordinary in Chicago

Am loving the first day of moderating a TEDx independent corporate event — a cultural juggernaut for one of our nation’s most formidable brands — nestled just outside the Windy City. From the fusion of black holes on the frontiers of deep space, to social media-facilitated upheaval of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, TEDx packs a wallop.

I’m savoring the opportunity to orchestrate the live and in-person talks as this conservative, yet thirsty, corporate employee audience drinks in the the intoxicating elixir of ideas worth sharing. Now, back to the stage. . . .

Have you experienced TED or TEDx? would love to know what you think.

Freedom of Tweet?

Elaine

Elaine Gantz Wright is a social media coach and consultant — providing the practical tools and action plans you need to survive and thrive in the brave new media world. She is a listener, writer, blogger, speaker, actor, and mom. Contact her ellagantz@sbcglobal.net.

I was just listening to the Diane Rehm Show on NPR and KERA/90.1. The discussion was a recap of the State of the Union Speech – #SOTU on Twitter. I embraced much of what President Obama said last night – particularly his statement about celebrating the winners of the Science Fair, as well as the winners of the Super Bowl.

I just did a quick search to confirm that the discussion is still chirping around the speech, and indeed, it is. There are tweets from Obama, the White House, elected officials, listeners from all over the world, news publications—and the list goes on. Communication and dialogue are the lifeblood of a healthy democracy, and I am heartened to see the banter.

The panel on Diane Rehm was discussing some of ostensibly incendiary tweets that flew during the actual speech. Rehm posited, “Should tweeting be banned during the State of the Union Speech?” I love Diane, but I truly believe she was showing her generational bias.   Conversation ensued that questioned the appropriateness of speaking out in real time. Hmm?  The question took me aback.  Rehm was concerned about the respect level of these Representatives (no matter where they were sitting) in deciding to “tweet the speech.”  Is tweeting during a speech disrespectful? Or is it actually the sincerest form of engagement?  It’s participation without yelling out disruptively, which the infamous elected official did not so long ago.

This is where the mobile rubber meets the road. It’s the clearest indication that new media is redefining the practice of communication from almost every perspective — not just the medium, not just the message, but the mores.  Just what is acceptable behavior? How must our behavior and associated social tolerance shift in conjunction with our morphing media modus operandi? Diane, I think this IS the new political dialogue.

Here’s the rub—our media revolution touches every aspect of our lives. If we are to reverently honor freedom of speech, shouldn’t we preserve the slightly  irreverent “freedom of tweet”? What do you think?

“The moment we are living right now, this generation, represents the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.” – Clay Shirky, NYU

Search for Serendipity, Synchronicity and Spirituality

Mo Ranch

“Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.'”

–Anne Lamott

A writer, editor, actor, mom and social catalyst, I am essentially a communicator. In DISC profile terms, I am a “high I,” relating to social situations and communication. People with high “I” scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. In Myers-Briggs terms, I am a solid ENFP. As an ENFP (extroverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving), my primary mode of living is focused externally, where I take things in primarily via your intuition. My secondary mode is internal, where I deal with things according to how I feel about them, or how they fit in with my personal value system.

They say ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. So, even with all of this self-awareness, I still have so much to learn.

I thrive on the creative process, finding connections and igniting possibilities. I relish any opportunity involving creation, the arts, music, theater, laughter, service, dining, joy, serendipity, synchronicity and spirituality. Lately, my world has been defined by a larger proportion of bittersweet blessings. Thus, I am moved to branch off from the “mother blog”  on social media musings and take on more personal issues.

Please visit Amplifying Now. Let me know what you think, and join this seasoned, sometimes satirical,  single mom’s journey of refinement, revival and revelation.

Peace and light,

Elaine