You don’t always have to make a living with your art, you can, however, heal yourself with writing, painting, and creating.
“My most successful songs are about sadness and depression,” says the singer Robbie Willians in a recent interview. “So sometimes I just have to revisit those places to get another hit.”
Having been sober for 20 years now, he admits his music is a constant reminder of both his addiction and his recovery. Although it’s taxing, he says, to revisit those dark times, he admits he does so with the belief that his greatest hits come with vulnerability. His pain, his trauma, and also his recovery provide fuel for this creativity.
He’s a self-proclaimed narcissist and says every lyric he has written is about him in one way or another, “It’s all autobiographical, it’s all narcissistically about me,” he laughs, confessing his latest album is no different.
My mum passed away nearly three weeks ago at the time of writing. I have found great comfort in creativity. The time we had together before she passed is to be cherished forever. Much healing was achieved for us both, and some people have commented that my presence with her in the last two weeks of her life helped her to pass to the next realm peacefully. Happily, we enjoyed some good laughs in her final days.
The last message I received from my mum was a text the day before she died, “I could live forever with you.”
“Sorry about your mum. Amazing that you channelled that into creativity,” people wrote to me.
This was in reference to a post I shared in the Romance Writers NZ New Zealand FB group in which I remarked that I had begun the seeds of a new story, “A September to Remember… conceived two weeks after the death of my mother… Joy Gaisford (nee Fairweather) in memory of her legacy.”
I have written and spoken about the power of creativity many times. I think it was the songwriter Alanis Morissette who said joy and anger are some of the greatest creative forces, but I would add to that sorrow as well. Think about how many wonderful love songs have been created during times of sorrow and which provide great comfort to those who hear the words and listen to the melody. Think about how many artworks have been created—including Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting, The Mona Lisa. Da Vinci’s painting is inspiring a novel I have been working on for the last decade and am now in the final throes of writing.
Love is a wonderful teacher.
“A life without love, is no life at all,” said Leonardo da Vinci. He’s the inspiration for my series, The Art of Success and other books on creativity.
Love is greater than fear, and more powerful than failure. Leonardo pursued his greatest loves – learning, acquiring knowledge and living and working authentically. He used his failures to fuel his success. He wasn’t afraid of trying new things, and he didn’t let setbacks overcome him. In many ways Leonardo da Vinci is just like you and me.
Leonardo channelled much of his suffering, and his joy into his work. Like many of uw, he experienced self-doubt, had family hassles, let abandoned, some of his efforts failed, people jealous of his talent tried to undermine him, and money worries meant that at times he had to suck it up and do work he didn’t enjoy. Often he had to work for bullies and tyrants. But he didn’t let obstacles stop him from doing the work he was born to do—being an artist. Pursuing knowledge born of his own enquiry and experience ultimately led to his success.
Check out this video about the failure behind one of the world’s most visited and revered paintings The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci https://vimeo.com/84022735
Doing what you love, as Leonardo did, is such an important part of success – and persevering in the face of failure.
In my Art of Success survey I loved the question someone said they would have loved to ask Leonardo da Vinci, “What gave you persistence despite the obstacles?”
Setbacks only made Leonardo more determined to succeed. Leonardo once said, “Obstacles cannot crush me; every obstacle yields to stern resolve.”
One of the many things I do to stay sane(?!) and motivated is to create and surround myself with inspiring quotes and memories.
A fabulously passionate bookshop owner took this photo in her magical bookstore in Puglia, Italy. I added the quote today to remind me (when I feel lonely) how it is a luxury to have time, silence and solitude.
Could it be only be eight years ago that I seized the opportunity to follow my passion for photography and combine it with a research trip (yes, research… ) for the novel I am finally bunkering down to complete while my partner is travelling for a month. It’s been a 10-year odyssey—the only failure will be to give up!
My mum and I didn’t always have a positive relationship. Sometimes, she could be quite discouraging and cruel. I recall her posting something on my Facebook page once, calling me a failure. It was awful. But, the truth is like many successful people, I’ve failed many times. I remember when I went to University as a single mother and mature student just before I turned 30. I absolutely flunked my first exam. But my failure rather than defeating me only strengthened my resolve.
I powered up and armed myself with more knowledge about how to study effectively and how to retain knowledge and succeed in exams. I still remember the note I pinned on my wall, “I have failed this time but next time I will succeed. I will score 86%. And my faith and hard work were rewarded. In my next exam, I scored 87% – a vast improvement on a lowly 16%!
What has failure taught you?
What can you let it teach you again?
Tip: Don’t look at setbacks as a negative thing but view them as a reflective tool shining the light on things you may need to improve.
I write more about Leonardo’s strategies for success, and my experiences and how we both can inspire you in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life
I’ve also channelled and transformed some of my hurt into my Transformational Super Kids. These modern-day heroes and heroines tackle modern-day problems with the passion and gusto of warriors. They defeat cruel critics, they slay savage self-esteem demons, and they show people—jealous of their kindness, talent, and beauty—that their biggest superpower is staying true to themselves.
Suitable for ‘kids’ of all ages—aren’t we all still children at heart?
“Cassandra is a shining example of turning every situation, including setbacks, into learning & growing opportunities.“
This is a splendid little book for any person aspiring to reach another level, with such a powerful message. Of never, ever listening to anyone who steals your light. Cassandra is a shining example of turning every situation, including setbacks, into learning & growing opportunities.
As one who has taken advantage of the wisdom, knowledge & ability of Cassandra, to communicate, over a number of years, I would encourage you to read this book thoroughly & think deeply on your own situation.”
~ Kenn Butler, CEO
“Very uplifting and inspiring”
I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration!”
~ Reviewer UK
Sadly one of my photography buddies, John, died suddenly this year- far too young, in his 50s. And as you know, a few weeks ago my mum died too young at 80.
Time is precious..to paraphrase Steve Jobs…don’t waste it living someone else’s life or nursing old wounds. Channel your passion into your creativity!
If you would like to take your creative passions to new dizzy heights, you might like to join me for the 2nd Edition of the Three Day Art Retreat Workshop next Feb 2023. All details here>>
We had such a magical time at the first retreat in Wellington in 2022, and the benefits Carol received from the workshop far exceeded our expectations!
“The course was the best investment in myself I could possibly choose.”
Yes, the course had tutorials about composition, shapes, colour values and themes. Those tutorials change the way you look at the world and paint. But this course is more – it is the way Cassandra seamlessly guides you through how YOUR creative process works – what stops you and how to break through barriers to get into the flow of creativity. That awareness will transform who you are being and everything you do. The course was the best investment in myself I could possibly choose.”
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I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
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