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singing cattle dogI live with three cattle dogs and besides being uniquely delightful individuals there is nothing particularly different about them as dogs. Sometimes they naturally sing. They’ll start by getting worked up about something they see or hear. An easy thing for a group of dogs. They tend to behaviorally ‘feed off’ of each other.

Then off they’ll go on an outstanding vociferous cacophony. Bark. Bark. Barkitty Bark! Then it gets worse. One of the bunch might dial it up to a howl and the others join.cartoon kitty

I can usually set them off with my own horrific rendition of Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now of Never” (which is also “O Sole Mio” in case you’ve not noticed). This is where several things come to light:

  • We’re loud
  • We’re individual
  • and not one of us stays quiet because we think we can’t sing.

Mind you, our singing may lack certain qualities to be sure, but no matter how poorly (and rightfully so) it might be judged — that never stops us from doing it.

  • Jo: OOOOooOooOOooooooo >bark!< >bark!< >bark!< ooOooOOoooooo
  • Ropey: Oof!  Oof!  Oof! Oof!  Oof!  Oof! Oof!  Oof!  Oof!
  • Tingo: Yow  –  wow  –  wow  –  wow  –  bark bark bark bark bark bark


From this we can know that you, too, can sing – which means that you, too, can draw!

Your intentions set the course upon which your soul sails

Your intentions set the course upon which your soul sails. Thus those who proclaim: “I can’t draw!” are always right. Always. No matter how wrong you and I think they might be – if they don’t believe they can, then to them they can not. At least in their own minds. To a degree. Go back far enough in a person’s self assessment and you will discover no child ever willing to say such a thing. Children know better. We’re all born knowing better. What happens is we get taught out of some of our own abilities!

It’s only later in the developing life that people take on judgment about what their drawing produces and decide to absorb and integrate that crippling information about their abilities.

What is frustrating is they are wrong. Of course they can draw! They’re mistaken about that. What they can’t do, perhaps, is draw:

  • up to their expectations or
  • like someone else or
  • easily or
  • naturally or
  • in a way that produces pleasing results for themselves.

So in the end the reality is when someone says “I can’t draw (or sing or dance, etc) what she means is:

  • I won’t draw
  • I don’t like the way I draw
  • My drawings disappoint me
  • or some such.

When one removes expectations of the results from drawing and focuses instead on the actions of drawing what happens is those old thought patterns start loosening up! With enough practice one may discover they can draw up to their expectations and end up loving what they produce or they may find they plain old enjoy the action of drawing and then of burning what they drew. All good stuff.

Animal Assisted Activity

Get some dogs to sing with you.

Extra Credit: See if you can get others to howl with you — dogs, humans, howler monkeys — doesn’t matter, it’s all good.

Creative Consideration

Draw on as large of pieces of paper as you can comfortably afford for ten to twenty minutes every day for a week. That’s ten drawings every day for a week. You’re allowed to spend 1 to 2 minutes per drawing – that’s it. No more. These aren’t meant to be labors of love so much as they’re meant to remind your arm how to move with a drawing implement at the end of it. Draw from your imagination, or just from the feel of it. This isn’t about still lifes – this is about moving pencils! Or pens, or brush with paint (one color) on it.

Sing in the shower during this week too. Karaoke or your own fun playlist of songs. Doesn’t matter as long as you like the music.