Months and months: The slow sure way to build a practice

NOT my usual yoga attire.

That’s how long it took me to lock in a 15-minute yoga practice upon rising. Months and months.

Last winter my back went out — it hadn’t happened in so many years that I’d neglected my core exercises. 

Inspired by my brother’s 7-minute wake-up routine to stretch out his back and get warmed up for the day, I got serious about the short morning yoga practice I’ve long wanted in my life.

Should be easy, right?

Not for me. 

All went well for a couple mornings, maybe even a week . . . then poof. I began missing mornings. 

You know how it goes. You miss one morning and suddenly it’s easy to miss seven. 

Then I read that if you can make something 20 or 30 seconds easier then it’s more likely you’ll do it. I grabbed my yoga mat from the living room and stored it rolled up on my night stand.

Next I created a small drawer in the closet for the yoga wear I’d be donning in the wee hours of the morning. 

Yoga became a bit easier. I had tried starting with 20 or 30 minutes . . . but the day loomed larger than it should have in my mind upon waking. 

My brother’s 7-minute program alerted me to the fact it needed to be dirt simple, and dirt short

I started with 5 minutes. And then eased into 10. And have finally settled upon 15 minutes as my ideal. At least for now during our busy season. 

Winter in Florida is when we do massive business at the art gallery. Summer may allow for more time. 

It’s mental, I know, but I have to go with what I think I can afford.

The surprise

You always hear that you can form a new habit in 21 days. 28 days max. 

That wasn’t true for me. 

I found myself easily backsliding. On late nights the first thing I’d do is jettison the morning yoga practice. 

Then that one missed day would lead to another . . . .

It dawned on me that I can’t miss a day. Even if I backslide back to 5 minutes only, it’s the daily link that is important

Here I am, a year hence, ensconced happily in my morning yoga program. I almost never miss a morning because I’ve made it so damn easy not to miss. 

C’mon, the minimum is only 5 minutes!

It took me months and months of adjusting, months and months of progress and failure, months and months to lock it in.

What helped is this: I try to focus on only one new practice in my life at a time.

My wife and I meet with another couple every 6 weeks to renew our visions and set one simple goal for the next 6 weeks. I kept focusing on the same goal — a short morning yoga program — until it took!

It’s worth the slow process. 

My writing took off when I threw away goals and replaced them with a daily creative practice. 

Now I write more than ever. In a shorter time than ever before. And I have a creative practice for life.

It’s not going away. Because I took the time to figure it out

I took the time to figure out where to link it in my day. 

I took the time to note what triggers caused failure. 

And then ploddingly I worked around those triggers so that now I almost never miss a day of my creative practice.

If you have a big goal, figure out how to make it a practice. And then treat that practice as reverently as you would a spiritual practice. 

If it’s a big goal, then it is spiritual to you. 

There’s a kind of magnificence that settles upon you when you spiritualize something important to you. It makes it easier. You draw upon resources you didn’t know you had. 

Whether it’s a simple thing like a morning yoga program — or something so vital you can’t breathe without it in your life — like your creative quest — make it a practice. 

A daily practice, once locked in, will take you where you want to go. Unerringly.







For you 

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

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“I enjoyed my spiritual moment”

An attractive blonde woman maybe ten years younger than myself blew through the gallery last week — 

“So much creativity out there!” 

She was fairly chirping as she beheld first one piece then another. She reveled out loud as she passed various artists’ work.
We chatted a little about some of the artists, who they were, their processes, their quirks. On she went with her quick tour, cycling back around past the desk.
As she departed she called out:

“Have a great day  I enjoyed my spiritual moment.”

Isn’t that at the core what we’re seeking? The creative spiritual moment. This woman recognized it — and amplified it in her brief time visiting.

Simply engaging in wonder is creative. Simply engaging — freshly, alively, meaningfully, funly, sunnily — what else do you want from a moment? From a life?

For you 

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

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One Thing Better with Christopher Foster, 82-year-old blogger of wisdom and grace

Look at that beautiful face!

One Thing Better is a weekly series featuring some cool creator I’m intrigued with, in a one-question interview format.


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

Ahhhh, man, I admire this week’s One-Question Interviewee immensely. 

I stumbled across Christopher Foster a couple of years back — and it was a revelation. Instead of the rah rah you find on most blog sites — including mine — at The Happy Seeker you feel as if you’ve been plunked into the center of an eternal stream. 

There Chris imparts gentle profundity so languidly you feel nestled in the lap of Buddha. 

I read every post. Often two and three times. They are rich and they are sustaining. Wise and humble. Filled with heart-soul.

I dare you to find anyone blogging today who leaves you feeling equally serene and electrified. 

More than anyone I’ve encountered Chris seems to truly live in the timeless now. Thankfully he reports back to us.

Click here to see a photo of Chris Foster with his child bride. (Oh, and the link will also tell the tale of me meeting Chris in person for the first time while on a cross-country art trek last spring.)


The Question:

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

Christopher Foster:

I’m doing more meditation these days and the more I do it, the more I enjoy doing it and realize how valuable it is for me to take deliberate time, especially in the evenings, to do this. 

I wouldn’t say that what I do is a hi-tech, formal meditation. I employ these ingredients. 

1. I do some serious abdominal breathing, sometimes called therapeutic breathing. 

I started out some time back counting to 10 with my breaths, going back to the beginning if my mind wandered, and now I vary. 

When I feel like it, I go to 100 breaths or more. It is remarkable how belly breathing relaxes me. 

2. The other thing I’m doing is just taking a moment anytime during the day  for instance when I’m at the coffee shop  to focus on something that is very subtle but always present: the feeling of my own spiritual presence, if I could put it that way. 

I realize more and more clearly that my eternal reality, the truth of me, is always present. I’m always ‘here.’ 

I look for the faint feeling of that eternal presence that is the true identity of all of us and the more I look for it the more I “find” it. 

My love to you Evan. You’re one of my best friends, you know?


Check out Christopher Foster’s book (and buy it) (and read it!):

The Secret Promise of Aging: Finding Meaning, Joy and Inner Peace as Years Fly By







For you 

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

Would you like to answer the One Thing Better question? Please do! And email your response to me at this address:

TheWorldIsFreakyBeautiful (at) gmail (dot) com


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Why I don’t look at my phone when you’re calling

I hear it all the time: “You never answer your phone!”

Here are the things I’m crazy about in this life: 

— My woman and my boy (and our dog) 

— My creative practice 

— My relationships. When I’m with someone I want to be with them.  

— My spiritual practice 

— Reading 

— My sense of sanity

The art gallery requires sometimes hard hours. Once I’m freed from that commitment in my day I don’t want to fritter away my remaining time till I’m there again.

I’m easily drawn away from what I’m doing. Toddlers have longer attention spans.

I’ve learned that if I am to truly relish what I’m engaged in I can’t even look at the phone when it’s ringing. That way there’s no temptation to break stride.

That’s what our personal digital butler is for anyway. 

The upper crusty have long had butlers. Though they may be called house managers now. An important function was to intercept those who interrupt. 

And that is what your digital device does for you magnificently. It is the great advancement of this era and we abuse it. If you read details of someone’s life as recently as 40 years ago . . . they had to answer the damn phone . . . Answer machines, voicemail, email, texts, those didn’t exist. 

We live in a time of magic. Except when you are working — and even there you often have discretion — you can control the times you are in contact and the times you are not.

If you want to write that book, turn it off. The messages will be there an hour later. 

If you want to paint that artwork, put it down and keep it down. Guess what, whoever reached out to you will be accessible later.

Your creative practice is more important than interruptions. As are your relationships.

Practice not looking at the phone when it rings. You can do it. Let it ring. Or silence it.

Once you can do that for half an hour, you can do anything.

Really. You can do anything in half-hour or one-hour increments.

Whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do, do it for half an hour. Set a timer. 

Then check back in with your digital butler . . . the world will have hardly skipped a beat.

Especially once you train it well.

Focused time is easier to attain than you think. It’s gratifying to exclude the trivial for true immersion into what is important. Great work can’t happen without it.

The world is the best puppy ever. It’s remarkable how well it behaves once you train it.

For you 

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

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Soul surfers, soul voyagers

#NotesForCreators

Being clear is as important for a short experience as it is for a long-term vision.

I didn’t understand this until recently. In fact, I didn’t understand the need for clarity at all for many years — because I was a soul surfer, man!

I surfed the chop of existence. I surfed whatever waves came my way. And when the waves weren’t coming, I paddled to where I thought they might be.
There’s nothing wrong with this way of life at all. Many fulfilling lifetimes can be had soul surfing the cross currents. In fact, that in itself is a mighty vision: To soul surf whatever is in front of me, with heart, with compassion, with zest, with awe.
But now I’m a soul voyager.
I’m on a soul voyage to a particular destination. It’s a robust creative career I’m seeking. Indeed I’m living it. Once you seek something you must begin to live it too. If you truly want what you say you seek . . . then you must begin living it in some form every day.
Now I cut through waves the way a sailor sets the sail even when the waves and the wind are against her.
Because the cross currents are not as important as the voyage I’m on.
Getting clear is getting sacred.

For you 
Evan Griffith
 
You, Creator
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The secret hidden within your existence

There’s a secret hidden within your existence. Have you found it yet?

Have you been looking?

There are quiet ways to the secret within your existence . . . like taking time in silence daily to acquaint yourself with your inner essence.

There are hard ways too. Live hard enough, fast enough, crash enough, bang up against things often enough and it will come spilling out. 

You inner secret must out itself. 

It’s up to you whether you come to your secret self in pain or in wonder.

This note — your note — will keep you aloft when otherwise you might sink from the punishing weight of sudden loss. 

This note of yours will pry open locked hearts — to let other notes ring out.

Your note has a tone all its own. Even when it sounds just like the note of someone else. A note played on a piano is strikingly different than one from a violin.

Your note is needed. 

Why? Every glorious note is needed. 

There’s a global symphony being played — it’s not loud enough for all to hear yet. It’s the song of humanity elevating itself. 

It’s a laughter song. It’s a ribald song. It’s a free form song of delight sung by billions.

This is what’s trying to be born. This human symphonic evolution. All it needs is enough notes to be struck . . . so that others might hear . . . and free what is buried within them too . . .

There’s a secret hidden within your existence. Have you found it yet?

Have you been looking?

For you 

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

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One Thing Better: Gina Morresi . . . the best singer-songwriter you’ve not yet heard of





One Thing Better is a weekly series featuring some cool creator I’ve stumbled across, in a one-question interview format.


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

Let me introduce you to the best singer-songwriter you’ve not yet heard of. Gina Morresi seems to have inherited the musical-siren mantle from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Shelby Lynne and Sheryl Crow. 

Gina energizes the best elements from the American song tradition of the last several decades. She’s a little alt country, a little throaty, a little bit of the pop temptress. 

Check out the opening song on her website — it is downright soul achy sexy. You’re gonna wish she was singing about you. 

As music critic Patricia Colene puts it:

“Morresi’s strong song writing evokes the spirit of a true Bohemian Rocker Chic. She is the real deal . . . “

One good thing leads to another — listen in on Gina below, discussing how one change leads to more . . . .


The Question:

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

Gina Morresi:

Okay, well this is a two-part answer. 

The first thing I have been doing to make my life better is learning how to control my thoughts and how my outlook directly affects everything I am doing, as well as what manifests in my life. 

This is challenging in itself, and has taken much discipline. But through meditating, attending groups discussing this subject matter, and making an effort to monitor my thoughts . . . it has made me connect to myself in ways I never knew possible. 

By focusing on the positives and removing myself from negative people, toxic situations, and societal constructs, I have been able to learn to love myself in new ways and to connect to Source more easily. 

So, in essence, by owning my life and choosing to focus on positive situations and beliefs that benefit me (regardless of loved ones’ and society’s influence  which can be tough, I know!), I have been able to understand my purpose more so and create a life that I truly enjoy. 

This leads me to the second part of my answer, which is linked to the first part. 

As I let myself journey inward, I was also able to see that I needed certain things to make me happy regardless of what “society” told me I should want. 

When I really thought about what I “needed,” it was far simpler than what I had been brainwashed to think. 

I needed to be creative, in whatever way that fit my mood  writing, playing music, coming up with an interesting idea. It wasn’t just a hobby; it was something my being craved in order to express itself and without it I didn’t feel complete. 

I needed to be outside to connect with nature at least once a day and needed to be alone at times to reflect and connect to Source. 

Lastly, I needed to surround myself with loving, positive people and to participate in new activities that stimulated my growth and thinking. This could be anything from a dance class to dinner with intellectual people or funny friends. 

All of my essentials in life didn’t cost much money, yet each one nourished my soul. I came to realize that I could live rather simply and be truly happy. When you love yourself all other things seem to fall into place. 

I began to see that anything additional  the fancy car, large house, designer clothes  were accessories. Of course, they are nice to have and I do like certain luxuries, but they are not and should not be the goals or mile markers of our lives, so I have learned. 

Our existences are far grander and, ironically enough, simpler, than what we somehow have managed to believe. 

I have come to understand, at least for me, that we should focus more on finding out what we truly need to nourish our souls. Then, we will begin to connect to self and understand the purposes of our lives more so.  

And in doing so, we will learn how to experience peace within our hearts and joy in all we do. 

It is not a simple task for many because this journey may require them to reconstruct everything they have been, taught and have lived. Also, it will require people to look inward and deal with their issues, and finally learn to love themselves instead of painting over the cracks, blaming others, and filling voids with material objects or harmful substances. 

This may also include having to make huge changes in life such as leaving behind old thought systems and scenarios/people/lifestyles that no longer serve their expansion. 

I realize every person’s existence is different and that certain people may seem to have more challenging circumstances than others, but through my journey, I have come to see that this process is necessary and possible for any and all human beings to undergo. 

Once I started this process (yes, there were tears and growing pains, for sure!), I began to deal with what was holding me back. As I did so, I slowly shed my old skin and began to intimately know myself. 

I have a ways to go, no doubt. Choosing to live this way is a daily and life commitment, but it is sooooo worth it! The positive changes I see in my life are indescribable! 

Now, I am stepping into my joy and living an authentic and extraordinary existence, which has made everything in my life better! 

Be Blessed. 

For you 

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

Would you like to answer the One Thing Better question? Please do! And email your response to me at this address:


TheWorldIsFreakyBeautiful (at) gmail (dot) com
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He heard the answer so clearly he woke up and wrote it down

Sculptor and entrepreneur David Langley sent me the below message this morning. 

For those of you who know we’re cosmically connected — in fact, for those of you who feel we fan out in multiple directions across multiple dimensions because ultimate reality is that stupendously phenomenal, you will enjoy David’s experience:

This answer I heard spoken to me while I was sleeping, when I was dreaming about a conversation that was asking 

“Do you think there is a greater power or force in the universe that we are connected to like God or energy or are we just another mortal life form with self-important delusions?” 

“There is so much more that I am already everything of.” 

I heard it so clearly I woke up and wrote it down.

What especially excites me is the sense in the answer that the Creator and the Created are inextricably intertwined. 

The mixed syntax feels necessary to convey the vastness of the soul — and how we are are not only part of everything — but that we extend into everything.

For you 

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

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We are descendants of those who could

We are all descendants of those who could. Those who couldn’t didn’t survive.

You’ve got capability coursing through your veins. 

Capability powers your cells. 

Which means . . . really, this is the best news . . . you are capable.

You are. You really are.

For you 

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

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One Thing Better: Jah-Woman, going where the love is



One Thing Better is a weekly series featuring someone who intrigues me, in one-question interview format.


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

Jeannine Perlman, who’s spirit nickname is Jah-Woman, is a favorite go-to guru here at The World Is Freaky Beautiful

She’s raw and honest and humbly seeking. She’s also never afraid to be transparent when speaking about her spiritual quest.

Jeannine has been the inspiration for a number of posts — here are some to check out:

Jah-Woman: The evolution of a practice 

Jah-Woman: The unshackling 

Jah-Woman: After the challenge, bliss 

How our favorite Jah-Woman dealt with “unkind, punishing” words 

“I’m all about the Divine Feminine these days” 

You exude the avatars you internalize

Damn! Didn’t realize there were so many until I googled it. And I’m probably missing one or two. 

If you don’t have time to read these, read the last one — it will give you a tiny sliver of a sense of who Jeannine is . . . in the darshan she bestows to those in her presence.

The Question:

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

Jeannine Perlman:

My resolution for this year is “to go where the love is.”  

I came to this idea after several disappointments, and feeling as though I was spending a lot of time struggling and “trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.”  

Moving through my day, and making choices, from that ideal of “going where the love is,” has lead to more heart-centered choices that bring me joy and feed my soul. 

I had allowed my egoic mind to tell me what was “right” and “proper,” whether it was with family or friendships, or even with my own health and well being. 

When I realized the adverse effects of what I was doing and thinking, it stunned me!  

I was putting myself and people that I care about through needless suffering.  

Moving forward, “going with my heart,’ and making self-loving choices has created more balance, and more fun, in my life. 

I worry less and I listen less to the task-master ego. 

I am opening my heart and myself to the grace and truth in me, and I am feeling connected to the divine more strongly than ever before.

The right perspective makes all the difference in the world!  

I am grateful for this experience . . . and I am grateful that you have reached out to me and asked this question. It’s a great “reflection” for me. Thank you. 









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.
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