You Wabi Sabi wild one — You are gloriously imperfect

Seek always to progress, rather than to perfect. 

. . . .  

In a nutshell, Wabi Sabi is imperfection, or more fully, appreciation of the value and beauty of imperfection. Wabi Sabi celebrates the preciousness of all things imperfect, which is truly all things. 

The way of Wabi Sabi honors the quirks, the oddities, the perfectly imperfect uniqueness of you and me and everything.

From Living Wabi Sabi by Taro Gold

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And you are IT!

When they die and merge with the Great Essence, esteemed renunciates might be confronted with this question: Why did you waste your pulsating existence sitting around seeking to release life’s hold on you?

The Essence comes through as readily and as gushingly to all who are alive in their moment. Regardless of activity — over coffee, driving, dressing, relating, working, cleaning, scribbling, knitting, sweet talking, spelunking, joying, anything as long as you are shamelessly relishing this creation field we’re in. 

The Essence is there in all of it — suffering through self-imposed pains is not necessary. Of course the Essence doesn’t care if you choose self-suffering . . . you get to choose after all.

The Essence is all over you like a puppy, loving you, slathering love-joy on you, for every wholeness you exhibit.

You . . . 

You individuated!

You created!

You came to Earth!

You came to the party!

You, magnificence incarnate. You, unbound spirit, you tunneled into an adventure of the soul.

You chose to live — here.

You live even now in the Essence of it all.

What is the Essence? 

A nothing so potent it big bangs every momentous moment of existence into existence.

(As we say in the kid’s game . . . ) 

And you are IT!

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The old timer who showed me something remarkable about going for what you want

Eighteen years ago, just before Ann and I opened our art gallery, I apprenticed with an older artist. He’d only begun his art career in earnest at 60, when he’d retired from the business world.

Though not a pleasant man to most — I realize now that he was a classic introvert — he came to life in the art milieu.

Every six months or so he and his wife would embark on a road trip, their luggage and gear in the back seat, his paintings in the cavernous trunk of their vehicle. They would meander a week in one direction, seeing family and hitting art towns, and then come back via a different route, going through a different set of art zones on the return.

His method was simple: He would roam the galleries in a given town or city center — as quickly as a man with a prosthetic limb could maneuver. Diabetic, he’d lost the lower portion of his leg when a wound he’d received in France didn’t heal.

(Ironically, he’d been there for an art apprenticeship of his own.) (He liked to joke that he’d gone Van Gogh one better: That Van Gogh had only given up an ear . . . .)

Though his wife often wheelchaired him around in regular life, he preferred walking through the galleries with a cane. With his Papa Hemingway size and bearing, the noticeable limp, spectacles and curlish white hair he knew he cast a distinct impression — that of an old lion of culture.

This artist scanned an art gallery for two things when he entered.

First, the style of painting. Would his be a match for the gallery? Would his work be different enough to occupy its own sub-niche?

Second, the level of success. He wanted the best. He wanted to sell.

After his foray through the area galleries, he would then go back to the first choice and let them know he was in town only for the day.

He was careful to note the gallery in which he was standing was his top choice, and that he would prefer they saw his artwork first before he offered it to a competitor. He would mention his art auction history. And he was ever courteous and discreet if clients were about, to show he was respectful of their business.

If others were milling about in the gallery, he would wait until they’d left. If people walked in while he was engaged with the manager or owner, he would defer to them and fade off to the side. His approach was patterned to get compliance.

Standing there leaning on his cane, looking all the part of an éminence grise who knew his way around the art world, who wouldn’t take a peep at his portfolio.

He was also a persistent cuss.

Not only did he maintain a daily work regimen and a consistent marketing schedule through his periodic gallery forays with his wife . . . he also kept going back to those who said no.

One gallery in Atlanta — one that had turned him down for ten years — finally said yes.

While he was satisfied with the result, I was over the moon about it.

To me there was no greater study in the power of persistence than that example.

First, imagine that at the age of 60 or thereabouts you’ve committed your remaining days to new endeavor – painting. 

And you set out to get representation . . . . Can you imagine walking into a place that has turned you down year after year and asking to be reviewed yet again?

This is what creators do.

Excerpted from the upcoming book, Bohemia in Suburbia.

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One person’s asceticism is another person’s Trump-like living

You may have encountered this same mind-jarring thought: that to a third-world person living on a $1 a day or less, it is impossible to distinguish between an American middle-class lifestyle and an American wealthy lifestyle. 

Both are so beyond opulent to the person living on $1 or less a day the differences we see are not substantial enough to matter. 

That means from the perspective of hundreds of millions of people alive today on the planet — and hundreds of millions who’ve lived on this planet — in lifestyle you are indistinguishable from Oprah. 

Lucky you. 

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What is it about dedication to simplicity that is so powerful?

Could Caesar ever in his lifetime have imagined that he would be eclipsed in importance over the centuries by a raggedly poor shaman-healer with a small band of followers roaming an inconsequential backwater of the empire? 

Yet, two thousand years later that itinerant rabbi Jesus is everywhere. 

You have to look up who built the Taj Mahal and why . . . yet Gandhi in his simplicity and robes is known the world over.

If you want to be effective, be simple about it. 

If you seek the greatest fulfillment for yourself, simplicity is your only sure guide.


A question for the night; a question for the day

Every night end begs this question, What man have I been? 

Every day break — what man will I be?

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The curious relationship between walking and thinking

If you have an issue plaguing you, try this: Take it with you and walk it out. 

See if you don’t feel closer to resolution after a twenty-minute walk.

If ambitious, go for an hour walk . . . do you even have an issue now?

People have remarked on the curious relationship between walking and thinking. The rhythm of the body frees the mind, just as the rhythm of a mother’s walk puts at rest her babe-in-arms. 

Solvitur ambulando, declared the ancients:  

          “It is solved by walking.” 

Wordsworth wrote many of his poems on the move. Nietzsche claimed to have made all his philosophical discoveries while walking, and Kierkegaard wrote that “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.”

~ Colin Thubron in Intelligent Life magazine.

(Go here for 11 creatives who walked . . . . )

Part of the What creators do series.
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Plants will change the direction of a root before it hits an impenetrable object

I just learned this today: Before encountering a large object it cannot penetrate, a root will change directions. The root will grow in a direction more beneficial to the plant.

The science of it is not yet understood, how it receives the information and what spurs the root growth in a new direction. 

Every time you grow, you avoid impacting with something that will do you no good.

How do I know? Look at the things that befell you before you took a quantum leap of character growth. 

Look around at what befalls others who refuse to grow . . . 

Personal growth is like adding a force field around you. The more you grow the more it repulses. Calamities and problems that once would have found you are eased out of your way without you even knowing it. 

How do I know when I especially need to grow? I look at what’s befalling me. 

(Growth is also a joy vortex — that same force field magnetizes everyday wonders — drawing in more that will wrinkle the corners of your eyes because you are expressing so much delight in your days.)



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Last night I finished something big: A story about The Five-Minute Rule

Last night at 11:11 pm I finished something big. I completed the wildly imperfect first draft of a book I’ve been working on for a couple of years:

Bohemia in Suburbia:  Oh the creativity and originality outside of urban centers (one guy found traversing America) (in an old van) (that had problems of its own)

Yup, the subtitle is on the way long side, but sometimes you’ve gotta just let it roll.

What is awe inducing to me is that this over 200-page book started off small. It wasn’t that I started with a word, then a sentence, a paragraph, a page, and onward . . . that all happened . . . it was that when I began this project I imagined it as a bookito (a little book of possibly 50 pages max).

I have a busy life. (Though, ironically, it seems relaxing to me.)

I run a business. I post 4-7 times a week to this site. I respond to all of you who write in. I relish that in fact. In my fantasies I also help run a household, though I know in reality I’m the tag-along assistant to my wife. I’ve got friends and family and exercise and romance (with that woman mentioned earlier in the prior sentence) . . . and a dog and a meditation practice and sleep and requests and an often-ailing father to attend to!

As do you. In your own variations.

So to write on this project for half an hour a day and have this full-fledged book accrue — and far beyond my expectations for it — is to be struck reverent by the simplest thing: 

That inspiration comes from doing it. 

Inspiration comes from repetition. 

Insights are sparked from doing something daily, however small. Progress is too.

I tell you this in case you’ve been wanting to do something you think is too big for you. It’s not. It’s not if you start with 15 minutes a day. Believe me, it will build. It will supersize itself over time.

When I first began Bohemia in Suburbia, I had one simple rule, The Five-Minute Rule: 

No matter how exhausted I had to write for five minutes a day. 

You’d be amazed at the energy that often surfaces in minute four. 

From five minutes it’s an easy segue to fifteen minutes
. So many good and even profound aspects of my life began by first starting in 15-minute increments my wife is pushing me to write a book called Fifteen Minutes to Phenomenal.

If you have a thing you’ve been wanting to start . . . take this experience of mine to heart. Schedule fifteen minutes a day. Schedule five if you think you can’t do fifteen. 

Then honor that schedule. 

Like me, you will be humbled and awed by the cumulative results. Whether it is exercise or learning a language or acquiring a skill or connecting better to the humans around you, it is all possible if you start small. It will accrue.

Seriously, it will accrue. It will metastasize beyond your ability to envision . . . 

Now I write on my book project one hour a day — I’m in the revision phase, baby — while writing half an hour to an hour a day for The World Is Freaky Beautiful, while doing all the other things I have to attend to (that you do too!). 

When I started writing a few years back, it would have stopped me dead cold to think I had to put in an hour and a half or more a day . . . but putting in five minutes . . . I could do that.

So can you.

Part of the What creators do series.
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Your new year’s vision, the steeping method

For those of you who’ve not envisioned the coming year and what you want from it — and yet don’t want to be rushed — you can try the steeping method (invented by Gil Vega):

  • Take this first week of the year to steep in thoughts of your life and how you want to tweak it
  • The holidays are over. The great cacophony of commitments to friends and family has passed. Make this your week.
  • Get silent often. Take notes on what burbles up as you consider where you’ve been and where you’re going
  • Synthesize it into something elegant and simple
  • Then do it
Your rich(er) life awaits you.