Wednesday, May 7


Greetings, dear reader! I know I don't typically talk about deep difficult subjects on this blog...I created it to be an artistic outlet. However, I occasionally find that it's good to be made aware of the cognitive process that eventually CREATES the art. That said, I give you the following post:

I hope you have taken the time to check out the Character Building Assignment mentioned in my last post...just in case, I am going to post it here for your answers will be in lilac... :-)


1. Identify your heroes (at least 10).

Not in any particular order, here are mine: Jesus, St. Francis and Clare of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, Beethoven, Rich Mullins, Martin Luther King, JR. Van Gogh, Black Elk (Lakota Sioux Chief), Henri Nowen, Viktor Frankl.

2. Determine the character trait(s) that each of these have that “speaks” to you in some way.

Jesus: I feel He is the ultimate example of compassion and unconditional love.

St. Francis of Assisi: Because he believed in the dignity of the poor and their right to worship in a way they could understand and appreciate. His love of creation and his desire for peace.

St. Clare of Assisi: Because she wouldn't be denied belonging to the order of her beloved Francis...She was the only woman in the order and was repeatedly kidnapped by her relatives and dragged away from the brothers, only for her to escape and return again. She knew her calling and would not be denied because of the social constraints of the day.

Henry David Thoreau: Because of love of the outdoors, simplicity, and his ability to write about it

Beethoven: He overcame an abusive childhood, deafness, and other obstacles to write profoundly beautiful music.

Mother Teresa: Because of her devotion to God and the outcast and marginalized.

Rich Mullins: Because he could verbalize the paradoxes of his faith in his heart. Because he was a ragamuffin of humble character. Because he was unblinkingly honest.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Because he "had a dream" that people, ALL people, were created by God and color didn't matter. Equality for all.

Van Gogh: Struggled with mental illness, depression, and extreme melancholy, and yet painted such soulful paintings...I feel the heart in his art.

Black Elk: Because He was a philosopher as well as a Native Chief...He had a spiritual understanding of the motivations of people's hearts...he was a deeply spiritual man.

Henri Nowen: An amazing Catholic priest turned author who writes with incredible grace and love. He is a contemporary author with the heart of a contemplative desert father.

Viktor Frankl: Because of his toughness during concentration camps in World War II, and because he took the opportunity to learn about people and "what makes them tick."

3. Envision what each hero would say/do in a difficult circumstance.

After reading the biographies of your heroes, you'll find recurring themes in their character. These are the things that will "speak to you."

4. Write down what you imagine they would say to YOU in such a circumstance.

This is an exercise that requires you to get outside yourself and think about the way someone else's mind might work. It's a truly humbling experience.

5. What do YOU need to do to live as they live? How are (were) their lives different than yours? Do they have anything you don’t have?

For example, one of the things I recognized about my admiration for Rich Mullins (writer of "Awesome God" and many more contemporary Christian songs) was that the more HONEST he was about his personal flaws and foibles, the MORE I held him in high regard. This was revolutionary for ME because I was certain that people's regard for ME was directly related to how much I DID NOT screw things up. NOT true! Once I became able to say, "I did it...I failed. I am flawed. I blew it" I experienced such FREEDOM that suddenly the opinion of others didn't matter so much. Ironically, I discovered their regard for me increased as my honesty and humilty increased. Hmmmmm....

6. Find a picture of each hero and place it either on a wall (inspiration wall) or in a journal (inspiration journal)

Done. I had a layout of all my heroes, but I have yet to find it...I'll rummage through my books and see if I tucked it away somewhere. I DO have photos of my heroes on my "inspiration walls" in my scrapbook room!

7. Put a quote beside each hero. Something they said (or something you IMAGINE they might say) that inspires you.

Also done. A few of my favorites:

Jesus, "Love God, love people."

St. Francis: "Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary."

Mother Teresa: "There are no great things, only small things done in great love."

Viktor Frankl: "The man that finds the why to live, can bear with almost any how."

Black Elk: "Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking."

Martin Luther King, Jr. "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

8. For each hero write a short paragraph of encouragement to yourself

It's amazing how their "voice" becomes part of the voice in your head...

9. Refer to your “heroes” daily. What strength/encouragement can you draw from them TODAY?

See number 10...

10. Spend at least 10 minutes a day (preferably first thing in the morning) reflecting on your heroes and determine how they are going to help you get through the day

I read this book and did this exercise in 1997. I STILL refer to my "wall of fame" and my "heroes" for daily inspiration.

11. As you go through your day, imagine one (or all) of your heroes at your side. How do you feel? How do they help you? What do you hear them saying to you?

I have discovered that when I don't feel ALONE, I have the courage to face my life, come what may, head on.

I hope this little exercise is helpful to you...and I hope you'll give at least passing thought to who might be on your heroes list and how they might encourage you to accomplish your goals and "go for it" in life!

More soon!


1 comment:

Cat said...

That is cool--I love learning more about you :)