7 links: Awesome street artists who are not Banksy; Tony Robbins cures a lifetime of stuttering in 7 minutes; 10 meditation benefits, amusingly detailed; more

1. Tony Robbins cures 30 years of stuttering in 7 minutes

I just watched this and have tears streaming down my cheeks — damn allergies!

With appreciation to David Langley for sending this. Made my night. Transformation is possible. And sometimes within minutes.

Thanks David, you  awesome slice of positive pie —

2. 13 awesome street painters (who aren’t Banksy)

3. Pam Grout: Abandon your belief in deprivation

4. Jim Haug: Inmates find Buddhism

5. 10 amazing benefits of meditation

Explained with Tim Brownson’s disarming wit:

“It would be fair to say it’s only really the last decade or two that it’s morphed from a pastime for tofu loving hippies who liked to knit their own yogurt and burn strange smelling plants, to a method scientifically proven to lower stress levels, improve happiness level and overall physical and mental health.”

6. Harvard researcher reveals a fun way to be more successful

Eric Barker on Shawn Achor — and why happiness is the most important metric of all time for success:

“Sounds like those contemporary spiritual advocates of following your bliss are . . . so right that you might want to eject all other kinds of thinking from your self-talk vocabulary.”

7. TED Talk: Your body language shapes who you are

Unfurling from near-fetal, desk slump now . . . 

For you 

Evan Griffith
To enjoy an occasional e-letter from The World Is Freaky Beautifulclick here.


Are you failing because of an undisciplined pursuit of more?

I’m re-reading Greg McKeown’s paradigm-altering book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

In it he argues for less but better in our lives, borrowing a German phrase coined by minimalist designer Dieter Rams:

Weniger, aber besser

McKeown argues not for minimalism but for reducing our activities to the essential few that bring the greatest meaning and result to us.

Every now and then you read a book that feels anticipatory . . . you’re already heading down a certain path and the book not only meets you on that path, the author anticipates fully where that path could lead, were you to travel it more profoundly. 

I’ve only done this once before that I can recall. Read a book and then immediately start over again to take in its full impact.

In this case I’m listening to the audio version, read by McKeown himself. His measured cadence lends power to his vision.

What I have to share with you today struck me mightily the second time around. McKeown writes:

Jim Collins in How The Mighty Fall discovered highly successful companies often fail because of an undisciplined pursuit of more.

(The emphasis is mine.)

I think of my life and the times I’m attempting too much, striving in seven directions, going forward in none. 

This note struck a chord because it’s as true for individuals as it is for companies.

We crash and burn because of the undisciplined pursuit of more. We flail because we refuse to pursue less. And yet it is in pursuing fewer objectives that we gain greater ground quicker.

If you feel overwhelmed, if you feel pulled in too many directions . . . slow down . . . listen to your real needs . . . ask your mighty inner guru what are the essentials in your life . . . what can be tossed to make life richer? . . . Listen to the answers that come burbling up  . . . That self of yours knows . . . .

Say no to the inessential so you can say yes deeply to the things that really matter.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity, spirituality and whee! Once a month, maybe.


One Thing Better: Tim Brownson on deepening his practice

One Thing Better is a weekly series featuring people doing meaningful work, in a one-question interview format.

It’s a simple premise. Each week someone will answer The Question. 

Look at that smilin’ face!

Who says social media is a waste land?

I came across Tim Brownson on Google Plus, and then stalked him back to his website A Daring Adventure. He’s that good.

What keeps you coming back to Tim’s site is his smile-inducing straight talk:

“For almost a decade now, I’ve been a life coach helping people around the world on nearly every continent to get unstuck. (I’ll get you one day, Antarctica!)

Tim delivers science-based, non-fairy-dust solutions that get you unstuck quickly.

With wit and choice language.

The Question:What one thing have you been doing recently that’s making your life better?

Tim Brownson:

It’s actually something that I have been doing a long time (8 years), but have upped the ante since the holidays, and that is meditation. 

I had started to slip and miss some days here and there.

Also I rarely did more than 20 minutes once per day. Since I got back from the UK I have meditated every day and at least 30 minutes, sometimes as long as an hour. 

I can already tell the difference. 

I have a tendency to suffer from anxiety if I don’t keep my guard up, but when I’m putting in the meditation and also working out that melts away a damn site quicker than the snow I encountered ‘back home.’

Often, one thing better you can do for yourself is to tunnel deeper . . . .Check out Tim’s book: 70 Amazing Facts About Your Brain  And Why It Does Weird Things. It’s an inexpensive way to get hooked on the Tim Brownson drug.


For you 
Evan Griffith
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.

If you feel inspired to answer the One Thing Better question, please email me your response to TheWorldIsFreakyBeautiful (at) gmail (dot) com.

BASE jumping version: Finding your church in what you do

Photo by Marko Markovich

Andrew Rossig and two buddies jumped off One World Trade Center on September 30, 2013.
BASE jumpers are so named because instead of jumping out of airplanes the way your average daredevil parachuter does, they dial the danger volume to 11. They jump off structures. 
Building, Antenna, Span, Earth. 


This kind of jumping amps up the lethality. There are only seconds to react.
Here at The World Is Freaky Beautiful we celebrate conscious connection in all its forms. 
Though you may never desire to live out your connection the way Andrew Rossig does — hell, it’s not for me — you who are seeking to infuse greater meaning into everything you do will appreciate this:

But the moment he hit the air, he felt something spiritual, too. 

“For me, ” Andrew says, “it’s just an acknowledgment to the universe that my time is not guaranteed here and I’m going to live it the way I want to live it. And faith is an action, and belief is an action.” 

After hundreds of jumps around the country, he knew religion when he found it.  

“Jumping,” he says, “that’s my church.”

From an article in Maxim, Jul/Aug 2014 by David Kushner: The High Price of BASE Jumping The World Trade Center.

It can’t be said better than that. Faith is an action. Belief is in your actions. Living your beliefs is the highest ideal. Your real church is in what you do and how you live what you do.
I wish all that for you this weekend — and beyond. To infinity and beyond . . . 

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.


Looking for universalists

Hmmmm, not quite the universalist we were looking for . . . 

This past week I was sitting in a bank manager’s office when I noted aloud how few staff  remained.

I’d noticed this same hollowing out effect at other banks we do business with as well. It’s as though the banking industry has undergone a SlimFast diet. And stuck to it.

The bank manager nodded: “Everyone’s expected to do more. We’re only looking for universalists now.

These are individuals who can handle the teller position, handle the drive-through lanes . . . and when called upon, scoot over to the now mainly empty business desks — to process a loan, wire a payment, secure a line of credit.

It turns out we’re doing the same thing at our art gallery. Since the crash and our near-death business experience I’ve been focused on figuring out how to ride the new economics. 

(This is no casual exercise. We survived bankruptcy — barely — 8 out of 10 of our local competitors did not.)

(But don’t cry for us, Argentina, we’re thriving again.)

Where we once used to hire art consultants (sales people in artworld speak) and art installers, we’ve now combined the position. We look for someone capable of slinging artwork who is also capable of singing its praises.

The trend in some industries is for less specialization, more multiple roles. 

Banks are trimming by removing specialists in favor of universalists.

We’re hiring art universalists.

It makes for a never-dull world. You bounce back and forth between roles. Different portions of your brain get activated — and in the case of the gallery there are vastly different demands on your body depending upon the role you’re working.

You know what this means?

The end of boredom. 

For some. For those who can rise to the new standards.

Yes it means fewer jobs in these areas. (As never-existed-before jobs pop up somewhere else. Like these jobs that didn’t exist in 1900: programmer, blogger, roadie, cinematographer, mobile pet groomer, YouTube channel sensation . . . )

It also means more fulfilling work. Jobs that require you to be multi-capable.

If you’re not interested in that there are rote jobs elsewhere. Though I doubt they’ll be there long. The rote jobs are disappearing. The new economy rewards those with the capacity to learn and adapt. 

So congratulations you. You’re here, reading a blog post. Which means you’re a lifelong learner. You’ll be fine. 

For you 

Evan Griffith

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Excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter From A Birmingham Jail

This post was inspired by Seth Godin, who today linked to the full Letter From A Birmingham Jail.

When you were younger you too may have read this entreaty for mass love action now in the face of injustice. 

It is worth reading again. Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses — and flattens — the arguments of those who proposed waiting . . . inaction . . . more talking . . . more letter writing . . . 

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

King clarifies the difference between just laws and unjust laws. He summons St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Socrates, Jesus, Lincoln, Hitler, Jefferson and others to prove his points.

Was not Jesus an extremist for love . . . 

In true visionary fashion he ends on a soaring note:

. . . and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty

. . . . . . . . 

For a personal experience from this summer reflecting on the civil rights movement, read: A convergence in Selma

For you 

Evan Griffith

Click here for a soul spritzer via email, once or twice a month.


Every time I write a check I get a commission

Earlier this week wildlife sculptor Kate VanNoorden related this to me in hushed awe:

“Every time I write a check I get a commission!”

She was speaking of giving charitably. Kate likes to give to those in need locally whenever she can. She’s been helping out a family whose dear young daughter is going through severe health trauma.

She said she’s noticed this — the more she gives the more she receives. 

Kate says it’s eerie, how commissions come her way at just the right pace. More and she’d feel too frenetic. Fewer and she wouldn’t feel fully engaged.

Mike Dooley echoes this sentiment. He says whenever he starts to feel financial fear he immediately sits down and starts writing checks to organizations that inspire him. 

Not only does he get excited by where the money’s going, the process immediately makes him feel part of the great universal flow. 

You know what he’s talking about — the great cosmic circulatory system, those unseen lungs breathing in, breathing out, keeping it all in circulation, the good, the necessary, the wondrous, the surprising.

Our giving stopped almost entirely when the crash walloped us. Through that experience we were forced to learn how to receive.

In recent years as our fortunes turned we’ve been giving again. And damn if the universe doesn’t outgive you at every turn! It will take a lifetime of giving to give as much as we’ve received.

You’ve got the music in you

Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give

You Get What You Give, The New Radicals

For you 

Evan Griffith

Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity, spirituality and whee! Once a month, maybe.


You and the creativity-spirituality continuum


Every instance of creativity is a spiritual act.

What makes this universe so dynamic is its creative ever-evolvingness.And we’ve got the stuff of the universe in us, about us, whirling through us.

Can you feel it? Can you feel the nothingness erupting into somethingness?

It wants to come forth from you too.

All you need do is listen.

What are you impelled to do?

Have you been holding something in?

Let it out.

In the smallest of ways possible.

Are you shy but want to make strangers smile? Smile at them. You need do nothing more! Smiles evoke smiles.

Are you crazy busy and want to start a labor of love just for the hell of it?

You can find 15 minutes somewhere in your day.

Schedule that 15 minutes and do nothing but think about your labor of love. Ideas will pop into your head for what to do in the 15 minutes you allot tomorrow.

Soon you’ll stretch that to 30 minutes. Time always opens for those expressing love energy.

And that may be all you need for the time being. 30 minutes a day expressing love energy in the direction of a dream.

Every creative act is a spiritual offering.

Offer yourself up onto the alter of the divine. Dive in. It won’t be long till you realize that you — you, creator — can offer your creative best all day long, regardless of what it is you’re doing.

I saw it in the woman at the ice cream counter last week. Damn that was a sloppy happy grin while making other people happy.

I see it every day in those doing what they do with warmth. I see it in the artists whose work we represent at the gallery. I see it in Willie, the big-smiling art transporter picking up artwork going to clients up north.

I see it in you, now.

Run to the mirror! You’ll see it too —

For you 

Evan Griffith
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One Thing Better: David Dunbar on creativity

One Thing Better is a weekly series featuring very cool creators I’m impressed with, in a one-question interview format.

It’s a simple premise. Each week someone will answer The Question. 

David Dunbar operates a freewheeling hub of spiritual inquiry at Flower Power Spirituality. Click on this link and read down the page till you get to The Law of Subtraction subtitle. 

Then pause. Take a small moment before reading on.

This short bit made the (remaining) hair on my head curl. It was that insightful. 

Subtraction is where the real power is. Subtracting the negatives from your life. 

Reading it I was simultaneously exhilarated and pissed. Excited by the insight. Ticked off I hadn’t written it myself!

The Question:

What one thing have you been doing recently that’s making your life better?

David Dunbar:

What’s making my life better is expressing creativity. 

What helps me is that I don’t look for an outcome. It’s not about making money, it’s not about people singing your praise; it’s about taking your experience of life and expressing it in some form. 

You write a poem, write a song, or jazz up the landscape around your house. Detaching from the outcome frees you from the fear of expressing yourself. 

There will be people who will be attracted to your creativity … they’ll dig your song …. like your blog post … they will admire your yard. 

Be you, detach from the outcome and people will be drawn to your life force. 

The most fun I had in my life was bumming around for around a year playing music. I lived way below the poverty level, crashed wherever I could, and just played music for the fun of it. 

I just left a 22-year marriage, always dreamed of doing it, so I just started showing up at open mics. 

During that year I was given the opportunity to host my own open mic and was able to sit in with some of the hottest bands in these parts. I wouldn’t trade it for a million dollars. 

See, into my little journey I cut my left index finger … FUBAR style. I lost use of the finger, mercer almost killed me and it took two years for the wound to heal. I was a singer songwriter acoustic artist and was getting ready put out my own album. 

The gig ended, but I gave that teenage kid inside me something he never had a chance to create. I can now die knowing I did it … I stood in a little pub adorned with about 200 folks, was backed up by the hottest bands around, and rocked the crowd. 

Make your life better? 

Create something. 

It’s worth so much more than money. 

Do it, while you have a chance.

. . . . . . . .

Check out David Dunbar’s Prodigal Diaries: Journey to the Exit Door.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for (occasional) notes at the intersection of creativity and spirit. Once a month, maybe.

If you feel inspired to answer the One Thing Better question, please email me your response to TheWorldIsFreakyBeautiful (at) gmail (dot) com.

Why you must be clear on what you really really want

In the aftermath of the 2008 crash our business suffered horribly. We thought we were prepared for a 50% drop in sales.

When the financial system imploded our sales dropped 75% to 90% overnight. Who is thinking of artwork when the world is collapsing.

You know what that’s like? It’s like preparing to fight the Soviet Union . . . but instead being invaded by Alpha Centaurians wielding weapons of such impossible magnitude that you are left crawling for cover like a stepped-on bug.

What did I do? I panicked and reacted badly.

In reality we made some smart moves. Here’s the short version of the smart moves, played out over the course of a couple of years:

  1. We sold our dream home of ten years and bought one at half the value, to dramatically reduce our expenses 
  2. Our staff left or was laid off. All but one part timer. 
  3. We created a secondary stream of income which helped save the business. I went on the road in our big unused Sprinter van, transporting artwork for artists, galleries and clients. Because galleries were disintegrating everywhere, this business had an upswing as artists sought the return of their artwork. I crisscrossed the nation more times in a year than an elderly incontinent gentleman goes to the restroom in a week

My mantra became, “We’re going to survive this even if it’s by hanging on with one last torn fingernail.”

I said this to myself at first. Desperately. Then to others, often to amusement, even laughter. Because I said it with brio.

I said it often. It was the mission statement in my mind. Survive this! Survive this disaster. So that you’re still in business years from now when the economy begins to come back.

And we did. We survived this godawful gut-blow of a thing. Eight out of ten galleries in our area went under, most of them within the first two years.

It sounds savvy, our actions. There’s a thrilling story of survival to it. (And we’re doing fabulously well now by the by.)

But the mantra I used to keep myself going was possibly the worst mission statement I could have come up with. Or maybe the second worst.

The worst would have been to give up. To believe we had no power at all.

What would have been better?

A better vision statement would have been something I truly wanted. I didn’t really want to just survive this thing like a crushed insect lost in the weeds. 

What would have been far better — and what I should have spent time articulating to myself and others — would have been something along these lines:

“We’re going to come out of this in better shape financially.” 

“We’re not just going to survive, we’re going to thrive!”

Even better would have been to carefully craft our vision for where we wanted to be as if this crisis had never happened.

“We’re going to be able to retire comfortably if we want when this is over — just watch.”

Not that there wouldn’t have been pain. Not that we wouldn’t have experienced the devastation. More so that we could influence the outcome in that mucho mejor direction in ways large and small.

Because we’re always influencing outcomes whether we know it or not. In what we think, in what we say, and in what we do.

Be clear, often

You may be comfortable right now. Or your life may be a sweaty hell. I’ve lived both. And I empathize with both situations. When you’re comfortable you can be lulled into thinking, Life’s a warm bath right now, why step out of it into the unknown?

When you’re desperate, my God. There’s nothing that sucks as harshly as that kind of personal desolation. One bad event chases another.

No matter where you’re at right now on the comfort-desperation continuum, I know this. You want to be creatively engaged in your life. You want it to matter. You expect significance. You insist on infusing meaning into all you do.

Your particular form of creative engagement may differ hugely from mine. This earth plane is magnificent in its myriad creative possibilities.

A snowboarder is as creatively involved as a whittler of esoteric ganja pipes. As is a coder in California, a nun in Kolkata, an investor in Dubai.

It’s not the outward manner in which it is expressed that is of importance here. It’s the spirit of that expression.

Getting clear often is necessary, whatever your endeavor.

A clear signal accrues power in its transmission.

We lose power when we transmit chaotically. We want this particular aspect of a good life in our own experience — but we doubt it. We settle for something far lesser. We’ve weakened the signal.

Steve Jobs was famously said to emit a reality distortion field. His signal was that strong. What those highly intelligent people around him thought could not be achieved was swept aside by the Jobs possibility activator beam.

When you enter the space of someone who’s committed you enter a pure place of possibility.

Every time I walk into a committed artist’s studio I feel the same effect. Even for art I’m not drawn to. Suddenly I find myself entranced with what is before me.

It may have happened to you in museums. Or when you walk into a building built by Gaudi — or Gehry. Or stepped into a temple.

What you are experiencing is clarity of vision. Clarity of vision expressed. 

That is what you want for yourself. A vision so clear that you feel the tingle of a unique reality when you think of it . . .

For you 

Evan Griffith

You, Creator

Click here for occasional notes to your inbox on creativity, spirituality and whee! Once a month, maybe.