It’s always best to start passion projects in the face of doom

I started this blog site last year, around the same time I thought we might be forced out of business . . . within a couple of months . . . .

I even planned a Possibly Going Out of Business Sale, but was talked out of it by a wise one (you, Kelly).

Things looked grimmer than grim several years into the Great Recession.

So what better time than then to begin a blog site celebrating personal and spiritual exploration. It was a refusal to be cowed by the (seemingly) monumental forces arrayed against us.

It was a flick of the finger at one possible fate.

It was also a built-in way to revel in the awe . . . of a magnificent world not often enough noticed.

It was many things entwined in one project — 

a way to remind myself of the good 

a way to chisel into stone for myself what I said I believed and hence to live it 

a way to share with others their own brilliance

— that wit and wisdom I saw displayed by those around me as they too navigated their way through the wreckage of the economy.

We own an art gallery — so I know many small business people and a great number of artists. Both were dealt a body blow in the economic fallout. 

No matter where I turned I was witness to the turmoil. In retrospect there was only one place to turn, to the inner sphere, for clarity, for inspiration, for cussed determination, for uplift.  

So here we are now, still standing, no guarantees we’ll be in business another six months, but we’re here when we shouldn’t have been. 

If a financial news program had reviewed our situation they would have said we were already dead and hadn’t realized it. The morgue would have been alerted. Ambulances called.

But here we are! Still upright. Still breathing. Still doing the lambada — figuratively — as we plot the King of All Comebacks (The lambada: sexy South American dance song, referenced cuz I looove my wife like that, even if I can’t do the moves).

It’s always best to start passion projects in the face of doom (!).



Can you chat with Infinite Spirit — and get answers?

Can someone actually chat with God and get clear responses?

I understand the longing; my son does!

Not long ago Zane and I lay in bed, lights out, at his bed time, which often — imagine this — is when he’s most communicative.

We were talking about concepts he was learning in second grade: The Big Bang, matter hurling outward from an unimaginably tiny point, dark matter, dark energy – how there was nothing before the great explosion and everything after it; no space, no matter, no stars, no planets, no stuff, and then whooom there it all is.

Zane was having a hard time getting his head around it, as I still do.

I confessed as much.

“Sometimes I wish God was a person and he would just come and tell me!” he sighed.

“Me too, Zane, me too.”

Wouldn’t you just love to get your top 100 questions out – and actually get answers? Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations With God series suggest this is possible, for anyone.

Check this out (this is God speaking here):

Mine is always your Highest Thought, your Clearest Word, your Grandest Feeling. Anything less is from another source.*

Now the task of differentiation becomes easy, for it should not be difficult even for the beginning student to identify the Highest, the Clearest, and the Grandest.

Yet will I give you these guidelines:

The Highest Thought is always that thought which contains joy. The Clearest Words are those words which contain truth. The Grandest Feeling is that feeling which you call love.

Joy, truth, love.

These three are interchangeable, and one always leads to the other. It matters not in which order they are placed.

After reading passages like these, there have been times when I’ve run around the house exclaiming to Ann: This is my Bible! 

She looks at me with that bemused, sorry-you’re-a-fool look in her eye.

But it’s true: I say of these books, and so many other works lighting the path, they are my scripture. They speak to me and many others about the next evolution in human God-consciousness.

This conversation back and forth between a seeker and his Source began – as so many freaky beautiful things do – out of desperation.

Walsch was in the habit of writing passionate letters to others on a yellow legal pad, many that were never sent upon later reflection. After failed marriages, a fire that incinerated his possessions, an accident that left his neck broken and in a brace, Walsch descended into homelessness.

Without a job, he wretchedly scratched out a subsistence living from a tent in an Oregon campground, collecting cans, eating from garbage bins. Walsch feared the worst had befallen him, that this was to be his lot, that all possibility had been obliterated.

An upward arc began when Walsch landed a stint on the radio – only to turn down again when the station suddenly closed. It was upon losing this lifeline out of his personal hell that Walsch lashed out at God in writing.

As a torrent of damning questions burned onto the page, he improbably felt answers surging through him . . . and the dialogue began.

This series brings it home that communication with Infinite Spirit is personal . . . and possible!

Multiply this by numerous other testimonies in our time of people receiving profound guidance from their Source, and you can’t help but feel that new neural-spiritual networks are being created in the cosmos – and that we all can find our way easier through these wormholes pioneered by others.

Note: Today’s text is from a book in process and is excerpted here in h
onor of (the thinly disguised) Lavid Dangley and his experience posted earlier this week (Seeker of wonder).

* Emphasis from the text 


Seeker of wonder: Now is the time to go to your God space more than ever

What do you do when life gets rough?

Let me tell you the story of a good friend who recently went through a trying experience with a law suit. We’ll thinly disguise him as Lavid Dangley . . . which somehow fits that over-sexed beast. 

Years after an explosive breakup, Lavid’s ex filed a law suit over a car. It was a bad-bad-bad-Leroy-Brown type of breakup — I’m not saying the ex was the meanest cat in town, the lyrics say that, but it was bad. Yet that was five years behind him now, or so he thought.

The basics on the lawsuit: She claimed he stole a car from her. He knew she’d given it to him as a gift well before their breakup.

This isn’t about who is right or wrong here, but about how Lavid Dangley dealt with a moment of jeopardy. Not only did it feel like an injustice to Lavid after all this time, but the attorney fees racked up when he could ill afford them. 

He sank into despair . . . as in when will the sh*t in my life ever let up?!

Here’s where he went to ground. He went to what grounded him in the highest truth, even though he didn’t feel it for an instant. He only felt nervous and anxious and crappy.

For Lavid, encountering Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God years back had been a turning point in his personal evolution. I was there. He went from cynic to seeker of wonder.

He found his old tapes — yes, it was that long ago — and began listening to them every day, as often as he could — to let the highest, best, grandest Thoughts in the Universe sink in deeply. 

New ideas came forward, seemingly targeted just for his situation. He thought on them. He got lost in contemplation . . . . Over the weeks before the court date he absorbed these highest principles, to the point where he exuded a surreal calm that was magic to behold.

And that is the story! I know you want to know how it ends — it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t the outcome, it was the steeping in the essential that was important. 

So go away with you now, that’s all I’m telling. Don’t keep reading just because you think I may have some big reveal at the end . . . . go and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your day.

Now is the time to go to your God space more than ever.

           ~ Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God 

(OK, he won the court case. Are you happy now that you’ve pried it out of me?)



You know, more or less, and that’s all you need

If you know stocks — or a stock trader as I do — then you know that stock prices frequently flit about in a trading range. This is a tight range in which a stock, or an entire market, will fluctuate in. As soon as the price approaches the high it retreats. When the price hits the bottom of the range, it bounces up.

I’ve gone beyond my normal weight trading range. I know this because of my pants. My pants are telling my girth in clear signals — through increasing discomfort — Get thee off some pounds!

Since I refuse to advance into a new weight trading range by buying larger-waisted pants, I must take other actions. 

Here’s the most excellent thing. I know more or less what to do. I could read and research. I could debate and discuss. But I know the basics and that’s all that is required to begin moving in the right direction. 

In my waist case, the formula has ever been the same. There are only two real factors in body maintenance: Energy expenditure and food consumption. You can nuance it for a lifetime — and there are many who make good livings doing so — but that’s it. 

Exercise and food intake. I’m choosing to work on both sides of the equation, a little more exercise, and a little less of the guilty food products (if I may dare call Mountain Dew and bagels food).

Not that I won’t read and research along the way. Not that I won’t debate and discuss while I’m already moving in the desired direction!

This is true of everything. You know more or less how to start. It matters not where you start, it’s the doing that engages the body-mind. Your engagement turns on the engines of colossal good fortune.

The thing is to start. I know, more or less, what I seek to do. And I know more or less what I need to do to get there.

I write this because I’ve noticed so many people simply don’t start. Starting is easier than you think. You just do something daily, however small, to move you in the direction of your vision.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has said that when he sought to de-clutter a messy life he started at the kitchen sink. And slowly moved outward, keeping the gains (clean areas) as he went.

Begin. Everything will become clearer as you go. All you need you will find. Beginning is simple. It is doing something, daily.

You are the pebble that gathers into a rock slide! You are the drip, drip, drip that becomes a trickle becomes a rivulet becomes a stream becomes a river that can’t be stopped.

You, you, you. You got it, baby. Begin it. 


How do you reconcile America and the Buddha?

Here’s one way:

Desire everything. Need nothing.

       ~ Rhonda Byrne, creator of The Secret

And she’s Australian.

Though I’m sure you sense my jesting . . . I think there’s truth in it. In fact, I think there’s a super being in there, one who can desire and create toward those desires yet be independent of outcomes.

To create and move forward without being thrown by (seeming) failure, indifference or (apparent) lack of result — what an exhilarating freedom.

When Albert Einstein gave up

What is it about this sequence that is so powerful? You engage in an intense focus that is frustrated by the lack of a result, and then in exhaustion, even defeat, you give up . . . . 

. . . and answers come. How is that? Why is that? When a friend gave up recently, I felt the relief for her that I knew would soon be hers.

Here is Albert Einstein’s son-in-law Dmitri Marianoff relating a conversation with Einstein late one night, after the rest of the household had gone off to bed. It begins with Marianoff asking the question of the great physicist. 

“How is it, Albert, that you arrived at your theory?” 

“In a vision,” he answered. 

He said that one night he had gone to bed with a discouragement of such black depths that no argument would pierce it. “When one’s thought falls into despair, nothing serves him any longer, not his hours of work, not his past successes — nothing. All reassurance is gone. It is finished, I told myself, it is useless. There are no results. I must give it up.” 

Then this happened. With infinite precision the universe, with its underlying unity of size, structure, distance, time, space, slowly fell piece by piece, like a monolithic picture puzzle, into place in Albert Einstein’s mind. Suddenly clear, like a giant die that made an indelible impress, a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clarified vision. 

And that is when peace came, and that is when conviction came, and with these things came an almighty calm that nothing could ever shake again . . . .

It was to take Einstein four more years before he codified into formula his great insight into matter and energy.

It gives one hope, doesn’t it — even despair can be a great catapult forward.



What would a creator do?

As I read about creators — not just creative types, but people who create momentum and meaning in their lives — I find commonalities.

Now, if I’m stuck somewhere, I’m asking this: What would a creator do?

One is that creators get seriously playful. Twyla Tharp, the choreographer, makes creative play a serious, unbreakable routine. 

If something sucks, if something feels stuck, I’m asking myself, what would a creator aware of her power do? Just what would a creator do here in this situation?

A creator wouldn’t accept it. Oh, they would accept what is in that philosophical way, but a creator would not accept permanency in the situation.

How would a creator act? What would be a creator’s next move?

Creators get seriously playful . . . so why not start there.



Immobility comes from immobility

I believe in sweat therapy. 

                ~ Russell Harris

Immobility comes from immobility!

This may seem nonsensical, or circular thinking. But I discovered it to be true when I went on the road for a year and a half to help save our business.

You quickly discover when you drive long hours that you acquire instant arthritis — or conditions mirroring the symptoms of arthritis.

You ache, you can’t easily move your joints, it’s as if you’ve aged by decades. This all happens within hours! 

You’ve experienced it too. You didn’t have to go on the road for weeks at a time to confirm this in your own experience. If you’ve driven for one long day you’ve felt this same aging effect. If you’ve driven for several long days then you may have even felt like your grandma upon getting out at a rest stop.

It was only upon witnessing this immobility-leading-to-immobility effect up close that penetrated into real awareness for me. If I want to be flexible for life, I must move and move often. The body is not meant to be constrained. The body is meant to move freely, often.

It’s so simple, for a long, agile life, move. Move often.



The power of the tweak: One man’s loss is a gain for the replacement clothing industry

All you radical transformers out there, avert your eyes from this post.

This is for you incrementalists (like me) who love the elegance of the tweak. Who love the simplicity of the tweak. Who lo-oove the ease of the tweak.

Here’s one celebration of the power of the tweak

Last year I witnessed a friend’s husband lose 30, maybe 40 pounds, in less than six months. When I saw him in his vibrant, slimmed-down body, I was agog.

“What did you do?! What’s your secret?” I asked.

He had an answer so simple there could be a mathematical model constructed in its honor. It’s not something he invented, you’ve heard of it before: portion control.

That’s it. Portion control! He tweaked what he was eating. He just ate a little less, of everything. And the excess melted away.


Note: A year hence he still looks fab, even more fab, he’s tweaked some more and added a little extra exercise into the mix.


Another Note, the mathematical model, if you must:

NP – (10% of NP) = NIP

NP is Normal Portion
NIP is New Improved Portion, or New Improved Person

More, but since we’re practicing portion control, I’m giving you less of More


Even visionaries envision in increments

What a relief! Even visionaries can only see a short distance down the road.

Check out the (seemingly) tiny dream Paul Allen and Bill Gates had when founding their company, Microsoft. From Success Magazine (Second Act by Sally Deneen, Feb 2012):

Allen and Gates were dreaming about an entrepeneurial future. It was the early 70s and Allen was a college dropout who lived in a lousy apartment and drove an oil-burning 1964 Chrysler New Yorker. 

He asked Gates how big the company could be if everything went right. 

“I think we could get it up to 35 programmers,” Gates replied. 

“That sounded really ambitious to me,” Allen recalls thinking.

You know what that means for the rest of us? That it’s OK not to have big, hairy goals. Inspired incrementalism works. And works well.

For me, if I can only see the next 100 yards, fine. It’s not out on the horizon, it’s doable. It’s just a goal post away.