When to fight and when to rest

I’ve been wondering why my mood has been a bit hum-drum over the past few days and it occurs to me that my motivation is waning.  It then prompted me to ask myself, is this one of those times when I take that waning motivation and push some productive mantra into it until it comes back to life, or one of those times when a pause to reflect is the order of the day?

So then, this is my question: is a lack of motivation to be ‘productive’ actually a form of productivity in and of itself? Hmmm… Perhaps.  Perhaps the times when it seems I have ‘gone off grid’ are the most productive times and the creativity that is seen on a public level is just the result of that time.  Perhaps we are classifying the outcome as the productive part of what we do, when it might be that the ‘dormant‘ part is where the ‘seen‘ part is being developed, matured, seasoned and prepared to become the seen part.

I hope that made sense!  A bit paradoxical but if you take the time to really think that last bit through I believe it does actually make sense 😛

So how do we embrace the season of apparent dormancy and allow that time to really ‘take its own time’ and trust that the best results will ensue?

If you’re anything like me, creativity comes in waves.  I am not likely to spend 320 out of 356 days being productive.  In fact, if I truly set out a graph detailing the days that I churned out some form of creative flow, I may find that perhaps half of the year I am apparently not doing anything with my time!

As you can imagine, and may very well encounter yourself, this can be an alarming thing in a culture where results are the most important thing regardless of the process that had to be nurtured to get there.  As a creative, I can often get overwhelmed by the ‘voice’ of society that speaks loud and clear:  no results, no affirmation.  Which for me translates as ‘no results means Miriam is lazy, unproductive and shallow’.  Not sure why it translates like this but we all have a filtering system that produces a default mindset for these things.  As things stand, I’m still working on developing my new default mindset!

But seriously, as I sit here pummelling my well-worn laptop keys, all the while conscious of the small but noticeable wave of fatigue wafting around my limbs, I am drawn to this notion that some of us are born to think, to process, to ponder and to bring to maturity new perspectives, ideas, concepts and precepts that will eventually shape the culture that surrounds us. I tentatively consider myself to be a part of this group and hope that my thoughts do come to a place of maturity and have a positive flow on effect to those around me 🙂

So I encourage you to take some time out this week to consider what the concept of productivity means for you, how it affects your day-to-day outcomes (because let’s face it, we all love a good result!!) and if there are any areas that need some recalibration!

As you do this, put pen to paper (or fingers to keypad) and embrace what you discover.  Perhaps you are in a season of rest, internal and unseen growth.  If so, take it seriously and watch with great anticipation the distillation of your thoughts.  I think you may be pleasantly surprised 😀

With much love and hope,

Miriam

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What frequency do you resonate with ?

Ok, so slightly obscure title there, but I want to gain your attention! Every now and then I am consumed with the need to create sound that transcends the norm, that goes beyond words and predictable ideas, that takes both myself and the listener into other realms of experience.

My circa 1890’s upright German Thurma piano has a very individual sound that I’ve never been able to replicate in any other instrument. As I’ve been playing it since I could sit up, I suppose there is a natural synergy between us, despite one being human and the other being man-made. It’s like that moment when you sit with someone and you just feel that sense of resonance between you – a knowing that you are so very much on the same page that words are superfluous. I can sit for hours without striking a key, waiting, drawing my spirit deeply into focus and there my piano sits with me, waiting patiently, knowing that any moment my fingers will collide with those old ivory keys and we will begin a dance.

Today has been one of those moments, waiting till the frequency rises from my spirit, waiting for the pitch to hit my senses and then tenderly, gingerly, I touch the keys and the resonating dance begins once again. Sometimes sound escapes from my mouth in harmony withholding nothing. Today my offering to your ears is one such moment in time.

No it’s not super produced. It’s raw. It’s spontaneous. It’s today’s offering. What does it say? I’m not entirely sure. All I know is it’s like that of the writer, who cannot enjoy the day’s sunshine without having the moment to write and express what it feels like.

I hope you enjoy 🙂 Here’s the link to Waiting Still.

Blessings,

Miriam

Is the grass really greener?

I am always intrigued by how easy it is to be sure that something I want in life, is the be all and end all of all desires only to find out once I have access to that desire, or once I begin to achieve that goal, I suddenly realise it’s not actually what I thought it would be.  Or the focus that I thought was so much a ‘God’ thing, just turned out to be a ‘good’ thing 😛

So what do we do with these unexpected crossroads in life?  I suppose at some of them, we readjust the gears, perhaps realign the steering wheel and take a different turn and at some we pause for that moment, check our navigation system and keep pressing in the same direction.  And then there are times when there is a big sign in front of our direction that says ‘no way through’ and we are forced to reassess and change direction.  Sometimes that sign is so small though, that it’s easy to miss. Perhaps it reads ‘not a great idea to go this way’ or ‘perhaps you should reconsider this direction’.

As you can imagine, being a creative person, writing songs, singing, performing, leading people in worship and teaching on living a lifestyle of worship, I have loads of opportunities to take hold of what’s on offer and run with it!  I am regularly presented with ideas, with songs to collaborate on, with performance opportunities and to lead people into a deeper encounter with God.  What I find the hardest, is to work out which opportunities are going to bring God the most glory and bring others into a deeper relationship with Him.  Because when the rubber hits the road, that is the core desire in my heart.  Relationship.

So in everything I do, in everything we do, there needs to be a core belief that drives those activities, thoughts, dreams, focusses.  Without it, I am just floating along, taking on everything that comes my way and not really having a clear understanding of how that all comes together to serve my core desire.

I write this today as I ponder the choices that I have made this year and consider what’s next for me.  I know that the choices I make will carry no condemnation from my Father, because He knows my heart and He has me securely wrapped up in His arms, but I do want to be a good steward of everything put before me and sometimes I think that means that the end result looks different to what may otherwise seem like a perfectly acceptable and wise decision to make.

This is what I do know: the older I get, the more I realise that the success is not so much in the end result, but in how I handle the journey along the way.  Each turn I take brings with it both challenging and inspiring opportunities and how I handle those, I think, is ultimately more important that which spot of green I end up sitting on at the end of the race 😛

So when it comes down to it, I believe the most important thing to do when we come to a crossroads, is to take the time to assess, to respond with as much maturity as our experience allows, to consider closely the potential outcomes before us, and to choose.  There is no harm in choosing and then choosing again.  I consider it not so much a ‘backing out of something’ as a ‘repositioning of my strengths for a greater purpose’.  No failure mentality allowed 😀

I hope and pray your day is filled with success, with satisfaction and with hope.  If like me, you are faced with opportunities that cause you to stop and pause, I bless you with the time to be able to navigate carefully and successfully!

Blessings,

Miriam Miles

Love topics like this 🙂

HeartSphere

“Clocks slay time… Time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; Only when the clock stops does time come to life.” ~ William Faulkner

When did time-keeping begin? How was the 1st day recognized, calculated, agreed upon, written or preserved? We have little to no answers of these questions…

It is no secret that cultures throughout “time” have kept time, and they’ve kept it in their own fashion based on their own view of life cycles. But, what day is it?? Deep within the sphere of conscious thought is where we find the concept(s) of time.

For those of us born into western culture, today is August 17th, 2012. And, interestingly, many of us believe that this date has been calculated and confirmed and is correspondingly observed in unison throughout the world… However, there are at latest count 42 calendars observed across the globe…

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The Big Red Bus, The Tube, The Black Cabs and The Javlin

Transport in London is extraordinary. I’ve never seen so many red buses, black taxis or options for travelling. You can even hire a bicycle for as little as a pound for an hour to ride around the city!

Predominantly we have walked and then caught the Tube, which is a clickety clackety tram-like system that runs underground. I think officially it’s called The Underground but affectionately known as The Tube. And it’s loud. My goodness. Forget deep and meaningful conversations. Forget conversation! It’s like a rocket is about to take off and every time we’ve been on one my ears have popped! It goes so fast.
But then you have the Javlin. Top speed: 140 miles per hour. Yep. Wild stuff. But unlike the Tube, this is quiet, clean, pristine in fact and above ground. You can catch it all over town but the preferred option still seems to be the Tube. Sometimes the carriages are so full that people are literraly pressed up against each other. There seems to be no limit as to how many people can be on board one carriage!!
So far I”ve not had the opportunity to catch a taxi or bus. But everywhere you look they are there, ready to be utilised by hundreds of thousands of Londoners and tourists.
Overall, I think travelling around London is a lot easier than I first thought it would be. Glad to have Andrew to navigate though!

If I was to compare Sydney transport to London transport…hmm, well, to be honest I think London has got it down.  But in all fairness, I’ve not ventured out of the city area so am not sure how good it is for the outlying areas.  But for inner city travel they’ve got all the bases covered.

Just one of the many travel options here in LondonAnd I love it.

Life for Londoners after the Olympics

Ok, so my attempts to write everyday have been sorely thwarted but no fear, I still have plenty to share 🙂

This morning, as I look out the window of the hotel breakfast room, I see a very different picture to what was there every day before hand.  70 thousand volunteers who I would think the Games could not have done without, considering the sea of humanity that swelled over Stratford for the past 2 weeks, have gone, and the wash of pink and blue uniforms that dominated the Olympic park has subsided.

The Olympic Village grounds, the day after

Only yesterday these grounds were teaming with humanity, a steady swell of feet, flags and fabric and today it seems life has gone back to normal, whatever that actually means 🙂

I use the analogy of the sea in this instance because something that was quite obvious was how en mass, human movement looks like a wave.  Quit extraordinary really, that as individuals we don’t create much of a ripple (in this instance) but when you are attempting to navigate a force of 12+ people moving in one line, line after line, after line and all you want to do is get to the other side of that mass, it really feels like you are trying to cross the Red Sea!!!

Something else that I find interesting is how despite the surge of numbers here in Stratford and the greater London area, I still have no real concept of what it would be like to live here.  Busy is one word that comes to mind, but even then, gauging that business is almost impossible when what I have seen and been a part of, is really a product of human intervention on an Olympic scale 🙂  Sorry, had to use that phrase at least once 😀

My main point of interest now, is to see how this great city recovers from the onslaught of people, the huge peaks in sales figures and the sheer volume of noise created by hundreds of thousands of people.  What will it be like here in Stratford, now that the Olympics are over?  The Westfield Mall, that has itself welcomed thousands and thousands of people through its doors every day, will quite possibly feel like a ghost town in comparison over the next few weeks, as people return to their jobs, athletes and their crews return to their countries and record spending is replaced by everyday living expenses and normal pay cheque to pay cheque life is resumed.

My concerns go to the high financial expectations created by such an event like this. I’m not overly concerned about the likes of Marks & Spencer, Top Shop or Selfidges: their capacity to swallow the highs and lows are much bigger due to the sheer size of these companies.  It’s the little guys: the little stores, the old school bakeries, boutiques and coffee shops.  Swells such as these certainly may have already had an impact on these kinds of businesses, with the majority of the temporary population being heavily directed into the monolith of a mall.

Really my thoughts are more of a commentary today than anything really concrete.  I suppose it’s really just a wait and see situation.  My prayer is that London will not only feel the boost in their economy but that this boost will have a positive flow on effect for years to come.  Only time will tell 🙂

In the meantime, there will at least be a gradual drop off as those who are still working in the Olympic Village go about their business.  As for me, I am glad that tomorrow evening Andrew and I will fly home to Sydney and again enjoy the company of our family and return to the somewhat ‘normal’ life that we lead.  It has been more than a joy to be here, especially since I really didn’t expect to be able to come and every day has been full to the brim of treasured moments, new experiences and many more memories to add to my already full and fabulous life.

Off to Olde London Town

Well, I think pinching myself is probably a good idea right now as in a few hours I will be flying over land and sea to the Mother Country!

It’s surreal and yet feels perfectly acceptable to be flying out only 2 days after booking my flights. I can’t really describe what if feels like but all I can say is that I feel loved, secure, cared for and ridiculously spoiled!
So as I can, I’ll be blogging about my little adventures and hopefully come home with lots of fresh ideas and stories to tell!

Singin’ for my suppa ;)

Well, last night I did something that I’ve never done before – I sang in a competition!  It’s never really been something I’ve been drawn to but this one just felt like a good thing to be involved in.  Was a really great night too – I was so impressed with the level of talent that surrounds us and we don’t even realise!

Anyway, a lovely lady was very kind to video my performance for me and I thought it might be fun to pop it on here so you can all see what I do with my time!!

Hope you enjoy 😀

Miriam Miles, Sing for Your Supper Contest Performance

To be pigeon-holed or not to be pigeon-holed?

With so many musical genres around these days, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to create songs that will not only be meaningful, but will also slot into various musical styles, giving the song writer a wider audience.

I think my question, as an indie artist, is whether it’s such a good thing to have to ‘label’ yourself?  I know it’s a very grey area and perhaps there really aren’t any solid answers, but I’m starting to think that the less I categorise myself, the more opportunity my audience has to choose for themselves which songs speak to them the most and perhaps they don’t really need to be told what genre I fit into?

I have found this concept of genres to be particularly hard over the years because I tend to just write songs as they come to me. Usually I feel a vibe of some sort, a rhythm perhaps or a quirky melody line that feels new and picks up my interest.  Often, within a short period of time I have lyrics and possibly even a whole song.  Please don’t hate me 🙂  It’s just how it comes for me 😀  As you can imagine, writing into a genre is usually far from my mind at the time!

Anyway, what I am also finding increasingly difficult, is being able to articulate my style, to define my ‘brand’ (I’ve been told this is important now that I am being more intentional about the success of my creativity!) It’s quite a challenge to trust and embrace the songs that have been my babies for the past 15 years, be content with how they are and merge them into a new season of song writing that in fact is quite different to previous seasons of creativity. Even more challenging is to then create a ‘brand’ or a ‘persona’ that encapsulates them all, marrying the old and the new and creating a seamless flow that represents me honestly and clearly!

I must say, that currently my way of dealing with this issue, is a bit haphazard.  Some days I feel totally fine with my older babies and love their quirky, un-categorisable whimsy and then other days I am hesitant to call them mine.  It’s like I have children from different seasons in my life! I know that sounds quite dramatic, but you have to understand that a songwriter writes from the place of what’s inside and metaphorically it feels like you are birthing and rearing something; an idea, a concept, a truth or a declaration.  It’s very personal and perhaps this is why it’s difficult to pigeon-hole our songs into neat little categories.

I suppose that my thoughts lead me to the conclusion (so far) that perhaps genres are helpful for the masses to easily access a selection of music that suits their personal taste. I don’t think a classical enthusiast would be too pleased to put on a new CD called ‘National Anthems’ and discover it’s a fitness and workout album!!

But are the masses really calling out for these genres?  Some, yes.  Fair enough.  But what about those in the audience who like to be surprised and who are always on the hunt for something unexpected?  That’s the audience I want to reach 🙂

So for now, I remain staunchly uncategorised and determined to write songs as a single unit that reflects the season I am in, my personality and life perspective and the unpredictability that seems to be the only hallmark I can be labelled with 😀

😎