Celebrating: Spiritual splicing

Picasso’s ‘Bull’s Head’ (1942). 
Reunion des Musees Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

Today we’re in celebration mode.

Our era is marked by conceptual cross pollination. 

All eras are, really, when you look into it. We’re living in our time and it’s difficult to apprehend the cross-cultural mishmash that went on in previous times.

Because of the processor driven, light-speed world wide web connecting across barriers of all kinds . . . this era has ramped up cross fertilization to such a degree future generations might be saddened so much of it has been done by the time they arrive on the scene. 

(In the way some pioneering types mourn that there is so little world left to discover.)

By cross referencing domains of knowledge we gain more understanding.

Into psychology? How much more can you perceive if you delve into evolutionary psychology?

Enjoy art? And also have an inexplicable urge to forage through trash? This era is heaven for you — you can make art with found objects

What once had one purpose is re-purposed. Meaning accrues because of the layering of the original use and the new use.

For example: Picasso’s “Bull’s Head” above (looking more like the head of a deer). It’s more significant to us because of the bicycle seat and handlebars. We layer their original intent into the work of art, and are pleased by the clever reinterpretation.

. . . . .

Christians and Sufis emphasize a personal relationship with the divine.

Daoists and Buddhists — whose philosophies were born at approximately the same time yet sprang from different cultures — align themselves with the unchanging essence at the core of all that changes.

Hindus and Christian Scientists and A Course in Miracles see this existence as illusion. 

Today we’re celebrating spiritual gene splicing. 

Like art, like science, like business innovations, elements from different thought traditions are recombining. New and old are swishing together in the cross currents.

Why not a personal relationship with the impersonal Oneness? 

Why not illusion as a creative soul playground? 

Why not something knowable and unknowable at once? 

Why not this and that?

Every person is a religion of one. I’ve never met two kindred co-religionists who share an identical viewpoint. Even those who profess the same dogma will have disagreements among themselves. 

Today’s spirituality grows itself by gene splicing.

You don’t rest in one understanding, you keep growing. You keep layering. You test what is new in your own experience. You do the same with what came before — you test what has come down from generations past and you choose what works for you.

There is something incredible going on. 

Hindu yoga in every township. 

Buddhist meditation in sports. 

Rastafarian hair on white people. 

Jewish mysticism among pop stars. 

Christian caring everywhere. 

It’s the Tower of Babble in reverse. People are speaking different languages. People are speaking different belief systems. Yet, crucially, people are listening. People are hearing one another. People are absorbing elements from other thought systems and incorporating them into their own. 

I don’t know what you call it, I call it evolutionary transcendence

Not really. I just made that up on the spot. Cuz it felt oh so right.

But I do call it sublime. Magnificent. Inspiring. Awesome even.

The new Oneness is interwoven diversity.

Thus concludes our celebration for today. Booyah!

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What your mind will do for you: Buckminster Fuller and William Burroughs agree on this

Your mind ultimately answers every question you ask it.

~ Buckminster Fuller

One of the great joys in life is to discover how much your mind can be your ally . . . once you begin asking it to do so. 

I — ever the slow learner — didn’t really get this until I went through extreme crisis. Even when my mind supplied answers to serious questions, I didn’t trust it to always come through.

An example of this was in the aftermath of the 2008 crash, when I asked for several days running in the intensest, most urgent mind pain I’d known, How can I make enough money for our gallery to survive the off season? 

(Since we’d lost gobs of money during the season . . . .)

Not only did an answer pop into my head while driving, I felt thrill chills run down my spine.

(The answer was to call an art transporter we loved and offer my services as a transporter, using our large unused gallery van.)

(It worked.) 

(The gallery is alive and thriving today.)

Even then I didn’t make my mind my go-to ally. I would set it to cross purposes by letting it run free with worry . . . when I should have been directing it for the next inspired step.

Listen to William Burroughs and Buckminster Fuller. They are true and right. Your mind can be your most powerful ally, if you ask that of it. 

How do you ask your mind to be your ally?

For me, I find that I must get very clear on what the issue is, and from the purest place possible, ask for a solution to present itself. 

Some will say to ask once or twice and let it go. This has worked for me surprisingly well on matters of little consequence.

If I can in no way find it within myself to make the issue of little consequence . . . then I find asking urgently and repeatedly works.

Repetition is a form of contemplation. And directed contemplative thought signals sincerity. Sincerity elicits solutions.

(And so does frolic — you can’t frolic unless you’ve set your mind free!) 

One other thing

Your mind is tapped into the infinite. That pipeline will shut down from lack of use.

Ideas come to those who use them.  

Your mind is connected to the most powerful plaything in the known and unknown multiverse. Romp with it and it will romp with you.

When answers come, act on them. 

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

~ William S. Burroughs

Part of the What creators do series.

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Not what you’d expect: When an artist sold everything he produced

I spoke with an artist in his sixties. He told me about a gallery owner who bought every piece of artwork he produced over a five-year span.

“I felt joyless. Like I was going through the motions. No matter what I did, he bought it and was able to sell it. It was like there was no challenge.”

Do we need our challenges? Are they what we measure our experience against? 

Or is it that we need some kind of rhythm to know we’re truly alive? 

Selling everything is a weird kind of limbo, because there are no highs and lows. It’s all a high — it’s static. 

We think we’d love to have everything we produce return gold to us always. Yet look at this artist, at a high point in his art career, when every single thing he produced was a guaranteed sale for years on end, the energy went out of it. Worse than that, he felt dead inside.

Tension is a good thing, creatively — the kind of tension that exists when the outcome is unpredictable.

When that five-year peak period came to an end, the artist told me he felt relief . . . he felt alive again in the unknowing.

Part of the What creators do series.

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When Ray Bradbury realized he was right (and everyone else wasn’t)

For some of us this realization might take decades:

I learned that I was right and everyone else was wrong when I was nine. Buck Rogers arrived on scene that year, and it was instant love. I collected the daily strips, and was madness maddened by them. Friends criticized. Friends made fun. I tore up the Buck Rogers strips.  

For a month I walked through my fourth-grade classes, stunned and empty. One day I burst into tears, wondering what devastation had happened to me.  

The answer was: Buck Rogers. He was gone, and life simply wasn’t worth living.  

The next thought was: Those are not my friends, the ones who got me to tear the strips apart and so tear my own life down the middle; they are my enemies. 

I went back to collecting Buck Rogers. My life has been happy ever since. 

Bradbury goes on to note:

For that was the beginning of my writing science fiction. Since then, I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows and gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.

Bradbury speaks of your collective passions and doubts and fears as ‘mulch’ — that it’s the compost of your peculiarities that becomes your driving force in life. 

In his case it was as a science fiction writer. In your case, who knows? But whatever it is, it is likely tied to something you tried to tamp down at first.

Excerpts from Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury.

This is part of the What creators do series, where I look to people who are creating something meaningful in the world for inspiration and tips  and pass them along to you.

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You and the light at the end of the tunnel

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

But you have to move toward it. 

The more you move, the more it moves toward you.

Begin a relationship with that light at the end of the tunnel . . . what is there? What might it look like? What does it feel like? How can it guide you?

It is a future experience, after all. Ask your future to guide you now. Ask your future to merge with your now.

Talk with your future experience, explore it. Be whatever aspects of it you can be now.

If you keep moving you will find the light rushing toward you — and before you know it, you’ll be immersed in it.

Do you want to know how you’ll know when you’ve reached the light? 

You will feel it.

You will feel light. 

You will feel lighter.

You will feel lighthearted.

You will want to be the light for others . . . 

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Nothin’ Time

I love my Nothin’ Time, half an hour to an hour of nothing but sitting around. No electronics, no phone, no TV. Nothing but nothingness yawning out in front of me.

I don’t get enough of it, do you? 

To be more accurate — I don’t take enough of that time for myself. 

(Do you?)

If you are a creator — seeking to create something meaningful in your life — then you need Nothin’ Time. 

One author noted that he would sit on a park bench and people would pass him by. To someone who might return 45 minutes to an hour later and still find him sitting there, it might seem a waste of time. To this writer the richest part of his work was being done there. 

Think about it, when the mind is at play, free associating in a reverie state . . . is when you frequently gain your most powerful insights. This is why napping and showers and post sex and driving and boredom are so good for eliciting transformative ideas. 

It’s also when you do your best recharging. It’s a silly phrase for a serious concept: Renewal.

Nothin’ Time is the genesis of so much that is good in our lives that — were we to keep an accounting of what comes forth from it — we would regimentize it into our days without fail. 

Nothin’ Time would become our most sacred practice. 

Part of the What creators do series.

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Regardless of circumstance (+) Margaret Atwood on happiness

The uncommitted life is draining. Have you noticed that? 

It’s the engaged life that energizes. 

It’s exhausting to lay about and fret all day. I prefer to limit my fretting to as few minutes as possible — and get on with it the rest of the time.

It being my mission.

Joy seeps into everything you do once you’ve settled on your personal vision regardless of circumstance.

That piece is critical.

Once you know who you are and who you are going to be regardless of circumstance, watch your energy unfurl.

Then even setbacks and obstacles become alternate routes for you to explore who you’ve decided to be, regardless of circumstance.

This past month: 

Charlie Rose asked Margaret Atwood

“Are you happy?” 

She said, 

“Of course I’m happy, because happiness is a byproduct of being interested in what you do. It’s not a goal. You don’t go out looking for unadulterated happiness unattached to anything else.”

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When things go awry, remember this: Everything works

I haven’t written about this in awhile, but feel it is central to The World Is Freaky Beautiful message: 

When things go wrong in life, try everything. 


Because everything works.

I began this site when we were destined (it seemed) for bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy never happened. We improvised our way through it.  

Now, just two and a half years hence, ours is a comeback story worthy of trumpets. And ice cream. And a call from Oprah.

In short, we tried everything. Not all at once though sometimes we tried as many things at once as we could. Sometimes we tried the only little thing we could muster that day. Sometimes we were so depleted we left the trying for another day entirely. 

When you seek to connect you are rewarded. 

You are rewarded with soul messages. 

You are rewarded with bursts of energy coming from beyond you. 

You are rewarded with insights that ease you on your way. 

You are rewarded with softness, for yourself and others. Never will you find yourself so compassionate for the plight of others in the world. 

You are rewarded with help from unexpected quarters.

You are rewarded with moments of glory in the midst of the mundane so spectacular that you don’t know how to convey to others what you experienced.

Here’s how I put it to a new friend in an email this past week:

Everything works. 

Prayer, meditation, visualization, helping others, asking silently or aloud for help, loving yourself, loving the situation even if it’s unlovable, mantras and affirmations and declaring your new path out loud, writing down your soul onto the page, writing your desires, writing out your frustrations and then pivoting into ‘what ifs’ . . . it all works. 

Try whatever feels right for you, and you can’t go wrong. Go thrive, you soul surfer you!

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The three worst-best things that happened to sculptor John T. Unger

Confiscated from:
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
By Chris Guillebeau

Almost everyone we’ve met in the book so far has some kind of failure-to-success story. In many cases, the story is about a product launch that fell flat, a partnership gone wrong, or the loss of motivation for the wrong project. “I tried something and it didn’t work out . . . but then I moved on to something else” is a common refrain. 

All these stories are valid and interesting, but I’ve never heard a rise-from-the-ashes story quite as compelling as that of John T. Unger, a sculpture artist from a small town in Michigan. John’s story is a tour de force of failure and fear that turned into resilience and success.

As John tells it, the third best thing that ever happened to him was having the roof of his studio collapse from under him while he was standing on it, frantically trying to shovel snow. 

The building was completely destroyed, and John spent the rest of the Michigan winter alternating between shivering while he worked and warming himself with an illegal unvented kerosene heater. 

It was a nightmare scenario, but then a funny thing happened: The bank came out to assess the damage and gave him a $10,000 commission. John used the commission as a down payment on two buildings he had been trying to purchase for a while. 

“I don’t think the bank would have gone for the deal without the disaster,” he says. “It forced them to take a real look at my business instead of them just thinking of me as another broke artist.”

The second best thing that ever happened to John was losing his last day job as a graphic designer during the dot-com crash of 2000. 

The loss of the job led to the loss of everything else  his income, his girlfriend, his apartment, and even a piece of his thumb in an accident incurred while he was moving out of the apartment. While he was working the day job (seven days a week in 1999, seven days total in 2000), he also was working as much as ten hours a day on his art business.

After both of these experiences 
 losing the building and losing the day job  John was depressed and thought hard about what to do next. His friends advised him to suck it up and find work wherever he could, but in rural Michigan those days, John knew that there wasn’t much work to be found. 

It was now or never, so he stuck with his goal and continued making progress.

The best thing that ever happened to John, as he tells the story, was a late-night disagreement with a crazed cab driver, who pulled him into the back room of a diner and held a gun to his head for a full ten minutes, screaming and threatening to pull the trigger. 

John finally escaped and walked out into another cold Michigan night, sweating, trembling, and glad to be alive. “I get it!” John yelled at the sky as he hobbled away. “I’m so lucky!”

“You don’t really worry about the small things after that,” John says now. “Everything takes on a whole other level of meaning.”

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The Minute of Love (pass it on)

This morning I was catching up with Brian Reekers, my favorite Angel Guy. Admittedly he’s the only angel guy I know . . . but I’m confident even if I knew two or three or thousands, he’d rank highly. He’s just that cool. 

He’s like the Jimmy Buffet of the spiritual world, with a little Burl Ives thrown in (it’s the facial hair). An ex-beachcomber perpetually in shorts and casual shirts, mellow to the core.

At breakfast, he asked:

How can we start a love club?

I wasn’t sure what he was getting at . . . ultimately he fleshed it out like this:

What if millions of people took one minute of their day to think love, wouldn’t that change the world?

What he meant was big, broad expansive love. We all have friends and ideas and spouse and pets love going on — not that I’m lumping those last two together, Bodhi.
If those many millions/billions who desire harmony in the world took one minute at some point in their day to emanate love into the global field . . . woo whoooo.
Brian imagined a rolling love wave as each minute amplified the ones that came before. 
Wouldn’t you want to live in a world where invisible waves of love are cresting all around you? It would become palpable.
(It’s already happening, you know; feel it, exude it, pass it on!)
Note, Brian Reekers latest book  
Angel Whispers: Daily Inspiration From The Angelic Realm
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