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Accepting The Day

Accepting The Day

Daily wins and losses provide opportunities for personal growth.  Even as the new day brings both blessing and hardship, so does the day challenge us to find appropriate responses to success and adversity which fuel that personal growth.  Accepting this daily challenge is what we mean by ‘accepting the day’.  It is accepting responsibility for tipping the scales each day to the positive.

Gratitude and Negative Thinking

Expression of gratitude for what goes well brings peace and contentment.  These feelings in turn tend to attract more good.  A sense of well-being helps us to better confront the adversity which inevitably faces us.  On the other hand, allowing negative thoughts, and especially negative thoughts which are irrational, to go unchecked creates stress in our system and weakens us.  As a result, we are less available and receptive for the good.  We are also less resilient in facing hardship.

With respect to what goes right, our response is too often a brief acknowledgment and a fleeting moment of satisfaction.  No wonder we forget by afternoon the blessings of the morning!  But for some reason we obsessively dwell on what we perceive as negative.  Of course really bad things do happen.  Sometimes, though, the perception of negativity is worse than the reality.  An investment goes down so we feel ‘poorer ‘.  But really our condition has not changed if the investment is sound for the long term.  A friend does not respond to our text.  We think the worst rather than just assuming there is some issue preoccupying our friend.  The reality is that generally friends get back to us eventually and matters resolve. Perhaps we can use some time alone anyway!

Useful Ritual for a Positive Acceptance of the Day

Rituals are structured and periodic behaviors which give tangible expression to beliefs and values.  It is no accident that expressions of gratitude are ritualized in religious liturgy.  If we don’t have a religious bent, we should definitely consider borrowing in this case from the liturgical playbook.  A somewhat more extensive, more inclusive recitation on a regular basis of what is going well helps to reinforce in our minds the existing conditions of goodness and blessing.  When we recount good that has already come our way, we become more open to the possibility, really the likelihood, that more good is coming.  The recitation ritual helps establish a positive tone to our thinking and is a good practice for morning and night.

Expelling the Negative

We can also develop techniques for increasing our awareness of negative thoughts that creep into our heads and for expelling those thoughts.  Expelling negativity can be a helpful bit of daily mental housecleaning that keeps the channels free and clear for a positive flow to our day.  Morning time is great for many people to hear these thoughts most clearly.  It can be helpful to write these thoughts down – thus externalizing them.  A next step can be to rephrase the thoughts in more productive, hopeful ways.

An Overload of Positivity?

It is possible to become overwhelmed by positivity.  In fact this condition in its unhealthiest extreme has a special term: mania.  Generally speaking, when we don’t process the positive flow which we have attracted, we can short-circuit and become debilitated.  If you are having this quite manageable problem then stay tuned for additional posts!  In the meantime, get that positive flow going by accepting the day!

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Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Uncategorized


Perseverance Should Not Be A Yoke Around Your Neck

Perseverance Should Not Be A Yoke Around Your Neck

Yolks and Yokes (but no Jokes)

For those that rightly associate yolks with egg whites, they once also referred to wooden harnesses (yokes) that held oxen in place for ploughing and other farming chores.  As long as those oxen were plodding along on the right path, those yokes were helpful. The oxen were disciplined to persevere in the task at hand and not to stray.

What if, unlike the properly focused oxen, we are persevering on the wrong path? We follow our dreams and we are taught that perseverance against adversity is a necessary ingredient to achieving those dreams. A proper strategy is also critical to making the dream come true. Sticking with a strategy also requires some grit, but holding on to a flawed strategy for the sake of holding in is counterproductive.

How do we know when it is okay to give up on a strategy? Say you are trying to sell art prints online. Your innovation is to promote the art using original music. You invest money into a website platform which presents music and art projects, along with narratives. Your marketing efforts essentially revolve around directing traffic to the website.

It is reasonable to expect that, on a daily basis, you would be driving increasing amounts of traffic to the site, and from the traffic generating increasing numbers of sales. For a while it seems you are building some organic traffic to the site. Then a variety of technical issues cause that traffic to dry up. You do not have the expertise or the time to resolve

technical issues revolving around website management so you must give up on organic traffic. Persevering nonetheless, you focus on direct marketing and social media marketing. You get perhaps 5 – 10 visits to the site per day with this method and no sales. Finally, you resort to paid advertising. You get a lot of clicks to your dedicated landing page, but again, for any number of reasons, this traffic fails to convert either into email subscriptions or visits to the shop. You have perhaps spent 5-7 years trying to make a website strategy work, and you have perhaps invested over $10,000, with virtually no sales to show for your effort.

At this point you can assure yourself that perseverance is not the answer to this lack of success. You can assure yourself that even a flawed website, given that a website was the correct approach, would have generated better results. It is reasonable to consider a new strategy.

Lick The Wounds, Learn The Lessons, Try Something Else

Falling on your face hurts. You get bloodied. Sometimes your nose breaks and will heal a little crooked. While we are healing is a good time to take stock of lessons learned.
Most likely you were doing a few things right, just not in the right context. For example, you may have developed a large social media network. This network may yet prove
valuable. You probably gained technical insight into your product which has elevated your status as a product expert. You probably have a much better idea of the competitive
landscape and a much better idea of who makes sales and how they do it. Sometimes the new strategy is as simple as lopping off the portion of the strategy which was flawed and
redoubling efforts in those aspects which are useful. Perhaps, in this online art sales example, usiing the big social platforms for engagement seems to make the most sense.

Stick with your dreams. Re-evaluate your strategy. Persevere where perseverance is merited.

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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


How Blind Monk Stopped Whoring

Thai consorts outside a Bangko restaurant.

Blind Monk eventually distanced himself from consorts

Blind Monk, as readers of old posts may recall, grew up in the alleys of Bangkok, Thailand.  Of course he was not a monk then, just a poor, abandoned blind kid, pre-occupied with survival.  He became a trusted figure on the street, and found income as a fence.  Mostly he moved watches and jewelry.

The young man’s blindness and social condition precluded him from any sort of “normal” dating.  He took his pleasure as he could, and mostly he paid for it.  This solution became his habit.  He became embroiled in a world of co-dependency.  A confused mix of feelings – love, lust, obligation, resentment, disappointment, frustration, degradation – these characterized his intimate relationships.

Although the young man was rather stuck socially, other aspects of his life improved.  He stopped sourcing his trade from the black market.  He developed a love for writing and music.  His verses even found some following in the coffee houses and bookstores where he would sometimes recite.  His interest in the world of the spirit was deepening.  He wanted to create light.  He wanted to stay in the light.

It was clear to Blind Monk that his unfortunate habit of paying for companionship cast a shadow over the light he increasingly valued.  It was equally clear to our poet that positive growth in other areas of his life suggested that he could break this habit.

The young man’s acknowledgment of a problem, and his belief that the problem could be solved, were the elements of readiness that made change possible.  Armed with this condition of readiness, Blind Monk began modifying his behavior.

We won’t bore you with too many details about Blind Monk’s path to more satisfying social relationships.  The point is that we can reach a condition of readiness for change by staying focused on aspects of our lives which are amenable to growth and development.  We don’t become overwhelmed or debilitated by aspects of our lives which are not yet as susceptible to positive change.  We acknowledge that these are aspects that need to be changed.  Eventually, our success creates sufficient hope in the possibility for change that we are ready for action.

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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


An Interview With LolitaVampiress

An Interview With LolitaVampiress

Lolita Vampiress gives a warm and fangy smile

Lolita Vampiress before the interview

Dan Goldstein, curator and webmaster at AudioSparks Art Sales speaks with Lolita.

D    We are pleased to have in the studio with us today
Lolita Vampiress, blog mistress and staff composer at
AudioSparks Art sales. Thanks so much for joining us,

L    My pleasure, honey.

D    Listen, Lol. I know the audience would love to hear
just a little about your background. I understand you grew
up in a very creative environment.

L    Well, on my Dad’s side. Dad was a painter. He used
to take me with him when he would show at the fairs and so
on. People would ask me questions about the art and over the
years I just became very comfortable talking about painting.

D    That is so neat. And you had musical training as

L    I was a pretty good oboist. Eventually I got sick of
struggling with the reeds and found composition so much more

D    So now you bring your music and art background
together for the AudioSparks blog?

L    Yup, it has really been great. Even though a lot of
music has been written with art in mind or inspired by art,
the music we write for AudioSparks presentations is
specifically for the art, to enhance the viewer’s experience
of the art. I try in the blogging to connect the dots a
little between the music and the art. Of course we use the
narratives to promote the art sales as well. That’s the
business after all.

D    I know a lot of folks have enjoyed your writing over
the years, Lol. I sure have. And since you bring up the
notion of sales promotion, maybe you could share with us the
work the site has been doing recently to promote the acrylics
on vinyl collection of Holly Jackson.

L   Oh, with pleasure! Holly is so cool! And her work is
so fresh! The whole genre of painting with acryllic on old
vinyl records has just taken off in the past 5 years or so.
There are some wonderful artists taking very unique
approaches with the medium, but the common thread is to
feature a musical subject, usually a musician or a musical
instrument. Holly has done a big collection of musical
instruments. She is a ukulele player and there are 3 pieces
featuring uke, not to mention 6 more of acoustic, electric,
and bass guitar. There is a super cute one which I
commissioned myself of an oboe coiling around the record. A
little mouse is nibbling away at the reed. Holly combines a
realistic style with a sense of humor and playfulnes that is
just delightful. These are true collectors items.

D    So you are selling them straight from the site?

L    In this case we are feeding traffic to Holly’s
Shopify site. These are original works.  Holly is asking $30
for each one.  I suspect we will eventually get one or two buyers
that recognize the value here and scoop up the lot.

D    Would you like to share the sales link here, Lol.

L    Sure. That would be great. View Holly’s product

D    I understand that you are currently working on a
collaboration for one of Holly’s instrument paintings – a
bass guitar I believe?

L    Yes – the piece is called “metal bass”. We are
having a blast. Joe Loss laid down an awesome bass guitar
track. Burt Philbrick laid down the guitar. I’ve been
writing the choir and voice effects, and plugging in the drum
loops. It’s coming along pretty nicely. You can have a
listen to that as well next to Holly’s painting at the site.
Here is that link. Check out Holly’s “Metal Bass” with audio at AudioSparks.

D    Yea. I had a listen. Joe’s track is slick.
I know you have been featuring the track in process at
your composer’s sharing site.  It is really great how
you share work in process.  What is your philosophy behind that?

L    Well basically everyone needs feedback. And feedback
of course is more useful when we are in the thick of creating
than when we have more or less finished something. So I just
try to put up decent versions of first takes and sections.
On some level, whatever I post is quality, but I allow for
the warts and blemishes that are unavoidable in early
development projects. It also helps fight off the loneliness
of creative process to be sharing on a regular basis. I
recommend sharing work in process to everyone.

D    Lolita, it is always so nice sitting with you. I wish
you lots of luck with Holly’s promotion and also with your
writing. Thanks so much.

L    You got it, honey!

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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Breaking Up Is Not Hard To Do

For those of us inclined to lifetime learning and personal growth, the notion of relationships waxing and waning, and sometimes ending, is not a shocker. The path we walked, hand in hand, with a special someone, forks out, and we find ourselves once again alone, at least for a while.  And that alone time can be valuable, savored, maximized in ways that make us ready for the return of that someone, or a new someone, or ones!

Lolita happy and relaxed with a girlfriend

Lolita is celebrating a bit of hard-earned freedom and self-esteem

And so it is not remarkable, though certainly noteworthy, that we share news of Lolita’s breakup with Lizard King. After a roller coaster five years, it seems Lolita has finally made the break with her n’er do well lover.  It seems at first thought amazing that she held it together with this dude for so long.  After all, the guy works sporadic odd jobs, showers occasionally, has no sense of time, commitment or obligation, and is just generally a poster child for A.D.D.

But upon reflection, we can understand the draw the Lizard had on our Vampiress.  At the end of the day, Lizard King was nothing if not easy.  He represented for Lolita the permission to cut loose, to shirk for a few hours now and then the creative yoke.  She might of an evening turn down the volume on that voice in her head that hounded her.  “There is work to be done.  No time now for play!”

But there was a price to entering Lizard’s world and joining his revel.  That price was self-negation of the most damaging variety.  Don’t be clever.  He won’t get it.  Don’t share an idea.  It will bore him.  Don’t speak of current events.   He doesn’t follow the news.

Lolita finally understood fully that relationship with Lizard required an extreme self-compression, a sort of self-reduction to the least common denominator.  There was a growing realization that the permission to relax which her boyfriend represented would be best cultivated internally.  When she reached the point where she could rely on herself to turn on and off the work pressure, her relationship time could be available for someone who not only could relax with her, and offer some creature comfort, but could also perhaps offer a creative thought, a bit of stimulating conversation, a shared interest or passion.

It is difficult to say just what prompted our Girl to finally make a clean break with Lizard King.  We know she has been busy over at the website preparing for promotion and sale the expanded collection of Victorian period photos by Carney’s Photo Colourizations of Australia.  The set is a rich portraiture of sweet children, loving couples, distinguished gentlemen.  In fact Lolita began acquiring prints of these pictures for a personal collection.  In retrospect, her process of re-assessing and finally ending the Lizard relationship was reinforced by the positive values conveyed to her in the portrait images.  Her emotional alignment with these traditional old photos was supporting her own re-alignment with important aspects of self which had been too long shelved.

One very sweet old photo of a young married couple, beautifully colorized, has been a favorite of Lolita and she wanted us to share with you here.

View “Young Married Couple” with audio at AudioSparks Art Sales

A young man and woman from Victorian times, apparently married, pose for a portrait in this vintage photograph

An early 1900’s image of domestic bliss

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Posted by on July 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


Deuce’s Avatar Collaboration

A springer spaniel wearing artist beret and holding paint brush in mouth

Deuce has been the beloved Dog-Artist avatar at AudioSparks Art Sales for several years.

Most of us know Deuce as Lolita Vampiress’ beloved Spaniel Muse. On many a night hunt, between their feedings, he has offered reserved and sagacious counsel to our blood-loving blogger and composer. But Deuce has also been part of the executive team for many years at AudioSparks Art Sales (, a valued inner-circle guy contributing to decision making on everything from content, to site architecture, to marketing strategy.

Quite true to his selfless Spaniel nature, he most recently recommended an adjustment in the website’s demographic target. Basically, his thinking is that a somewhat younger crowd will be more inclined to try out art sales on a new platform, and to participate in the community aspects of the site which are intrinsic to the site’s value proposition. Ironically, the natural outgrowth of this well-received counsel was a decision to freshen up tried and true website Avatar personalities, of which one is Deuce himself!

Now a more ego-burdened canine would be somewhat devastated at the prospect of replacement. But not our good boy! Deuce discovers opportunity where others lose themselves in despair. Here the opportunity was a creative one. It was an opportunity to teach, and to pass the torch. With those instinctive realizations tugging at his leash, he volunteered to interview for the new Dog-Artist Avatar.

There were only a handful of qualified dogs who visited our Spaniel’s office, donned the artist’s beret and chomped down on the artist’s brush in hopes of discovery and a gig. Each candidate had unique talents to offer and valuable ideas about the position. Deuce took his time with each of the animals. For him, the interview process was not about finding a perfect reflection of himself and his conception, but about discovering valuable new qualities, talents and ideas that might move the site’s creative and business missions forward in exciting new directions.

A springer spaniel wearing an artist beret and holding an artist paintbrush in his mouth

Candidate number one projects a sense of vision and direction

The selection process boiled down to two remarkable candidates with two rather different approaches for the Avatar personality. The first candidate conveyed a strong value in tradition, in carrying forward the paternal image. To be sure, Deuce has always been about concern for the technical success of artists and composers utilizing the website. He has always been there with fatherly advice for artists and website management alike. And he has always had one eye toward the future. It was this looking forward, this visionary theme, that was most strongly conveyed in the first Avatar personality.

A white dog wearing the artist beret and holding artist brushi in her mouth

The winning Dog-Artist candidate is all about connecting with the customer.

The second candidate, somewhat from a younger set and of a different breed altogether, was all about customer connection. This interviewee did not articulate so clearly an understanding of Deuce’s own legacy contributions. Nor did she convey any particularly profound specifics in the future vision department. But what she did offer was a look straight into the customer’s eye! Her enthusiasm and freshness was fully available and conveyable in the moment. She offered to be the “greeter” at the door. She offered a welcome message to every site visitor, “I’m with you now, and this is gonna be a fun ride!”

Deuce celebrated this potentially powerful enhancement to customer experience on the site. It was not something he had thought much about at all. Even though his own image made eye contact as well, it had lacked the aspect of invitation to something fun. Rather it said, “Dad is here.” And perhaps there was a bit of judgment conveyed also. And certainly that paint brush was all wrong!

Deuce’s approach to the new Dog-Artist Avatar selection process speaks to the value of great collaboration generally. Creative partners always bring unique talents and conceptions to the table. Learning to recognize, to value and to leverage what is unique in your collaborative mate creates powerful creative potential. Maintaining an open mind and flexibility with respect to project direction may lead to a final result slightly different than planned, but nevertheless powerful and satisfying!

Spark on!

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Posted by on June 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Joy of Photographing Animals

The Joy of Photographing Animals.

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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

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