To find the inner wild woman (or man)... Fall in love.

I met a beautiful new friend yesterday who shared that she's been struggling with the desire to achieve perfection in the art she desperately wants to create. She said that when she was young, she would adorn her body and clothes with painted flowers but now is consumed with achieving academic perfection in her art. "If only I could find my 'inner wild woman' I could create again."

Christianne, it's no coincidence that we met. This morning I came across something beautiful of which I needed to be reminded and that you may find helpful. In her book, "If You Want to Write" author Brenda Ueland shares this profound little story...

"If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something—the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them. And that was all there was to it.

When Van Gogh was a young man in his early twenties, he was in London studying to be a clergyman. He had no thought of being an artist at all. He sat in his cheap little room writing a letter to his younger brother in Holland, whom he loved very much. He looked out his window at a watery twilight, a thin lampost, a star, and he said in his letter something like this: “It is so beautiful I must show you how it looks.” And then on his cheap ruled note paper, he made the most beautiful, tender, little drawing of it.

When I read this letter of Van Gogh’s it comforted me very much and seemed to throw clear light on the whole road of Art. Before, I had thought that to produce a work of painting or literature, you scowled and thought long and ponderously and weighed everything solemnly and learned everything that all artists had ever done aforetime, and what their influences and schools were, and you were extremely careful about design and balance and getting interesting planes into your painting, and avoided, with the most stringent severity, showing the faintest academical tendency, and were strictly modern. And so on and on.

But the moment I read Van Gogh’s letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others, by drawing it."

So, Christianne, here's the secret...
1. Discover something beautiful.
2. Share it with someone you love.


  1. i love what you wrote. beautifully said and inspiring. thank you!

  2. Stephen, I am reading this everyday and I thought I would post it on my FB page as i know many others would benefit from your brilliance!
    Could you please remind me of the book which you so generously lent to me after our first meeting? I didn't think it was Ms Ueland's but I could very well be mistaken.

    I am filled with gratitude that we get to share our beloved city with YOU and that you truly SEE her.
    She will bless you, ya know.


  3. Christianne, thank you my friend. And, she already is :)
    The first blessing was/is named "Madeleine"
    and the book to which you are referring is "Steven Pressfields, 'Do the Work"