Look at this photo. A group of women gathered at a Painting with a Twist venue in January 2018. Study the photo then, click here where you will find SONGS written by each one of these women. Songs about combat, suicide, resilience, the pride of being a soldier and sadness of transitioning out, mascara, Read more about One Photo — Beyond Words[…]
What if my friend Margaret hadn’t met Darden Smith at a party in Austin, TX? What if she hadn’t put us in touch with each other after 20+ years so we could discover our shared interest for helping people connect with their creativity? What if I hadn’t traveled across the country to watch him write Read more about Weapons of Mass Creativity – What if?[…]
“The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.”
When veterans attend a SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreat it can be difficult to describe how they feel immediately after writing a song. They have unexpectedly connected with someone they didn’t know and then created something entirely new, together. Something profoundly personal and beautiful—a song, out of some of the worst things they have been through. It’s a big deal.
What we often hear them say are things like, “that’s amazing…I never thought I could do something like this…” and “thank you…” Sometimes their voices are soft and thoughtful, sometimes booming with relief.
What we see is direct eye contact, ease of posture, tears wiped from cheeks and wide smiles.
And then what happens? […]
The other day, as I was walking along the trail behind my house, I thought of the many people who have said to me, “You are always so positive.” Or, “I need Mary time.” I thought of this as my feet and knees were struggling more than usual as I set my pace. I Read more about Hope[…]
Why do we need a specific day to focus on happiness? If you take a look at history, happiness has always ranked pretty high in importance. The Founding Fathers of the United States included “The Pursuit of Happiness” as an inalienable right in their Declaration of Independence. In 2012, The United Nations designated March 20 Read more about Focus on Genuine Happiness[…]
It’s Christmas Eve. A day of dancing between wonder and stress. A few days ago, I promised myself I’d pause on Christmas Eve to “get centered,” to put things in perspective by reflecting on the good — in myself, in others, and all around the world. So, this morning I decided to focus on strengths. Read more about Making a List, Checking it Twice: For Me and For My Hero[…]
Imagine being a child and saying goodbye to your parent who is going off to war? Or being a parent, and saying goodbye to your child before you head off to combat…not knowing for sure when you’ll get home, or if you even will. When SW:S was asked to hold a retreat specifically for military Read more about We Are All Family[…]
“Chasing meaning is better for your health than avoiding discomfort.” – Kelly McGonigal “I never leave my house…” No matter how many times we hear these words from veterans arriving at our SongwritingWith:Soldiers retreats, it is always a jolt. We want to ask why? Why do these exemplars of will and courage get to the Read more about Finding Home[…]
Who are your heroes? How can you emulate them? Today I write in honor of one of my heroes, my favorite author of all time, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I rarely state a favorite of anything, preferring to keep the possibilities for unyielding love wide open. I find it impossible to choose a favorite color when Read more about Ode to My Hero, Gabriel Garcia Marquez[…]
“I am standing here today because of SongwritingWith:Soldiers.” Sgt. Nikki Shaw shared these moving words as she introduced Half-Horse Town at our September SongwritingWith:Soldiers fundraiser, a song she co-wrote at a retreat with Darden Smith and Radney Foster. We want to share this video of Nikki’s speech because, in truth, her tribute belongs to all of Read more about The Power of Support[…]