The World of Many Paths: Living mobile

Bike living: The guy who owns this hangs out at
the library for long hours, with his tablet plugged
into the network. He’s a fit sixty something . . .
I hope to have an interview for you soon.

Before opening the art gallery — and after my short career on Wall Street — I lived in a van for a few months. It wasn’t out of necessity, it was adventure. 

I was driving around the warmer parts of America, searching for an art area to call home.

Over the years I’ve come across people who’ve lived unconventionally:

A student who lived in the woods of Melbourne, Florida, while attending the Florida Institute of Technology — so he could graduate without debt. (He buried his most prized possessions underground, in the event of robbery. Quite a few people lived out in the woods, he said, though as far as he could tell none of the others were students.) 

A hippy in Santa Fe who lived in a tipi. Two tipis! He had a guest tipi too. I stayed with him a couple of nights while on a bicycle trip. We had to trowel our poop into the hard New Mexican clay. Rain came too infrequently to wash it away. 

Our insurance agent and his wife, who, although they have a home base, live a great deal of their time in their RV. Working and playing from locations around the South.

And many, many more.
I envision a day when it is common to live mobile. Whether for a short duration or indefinitely. More infrastructure and driveway rentals will allow for this cheaper mode of living.
Services like AirBnb makes it easy to rent a driveway. WalMart allows campers to overnight in most of its parking lots. There’s already an informal network of all-night stores and backstreet nooks that people take advantage of to sneak some sleep.
For both the entrepreneurial and the creative lifestylers among us, it’s an exciting new world. You can temporarily rent out your side yard and make some extra money. Or you can slash your housing expenses and take to the road while writing your opus.
(Click here to read about how one such innovative thinker traded his services for living on our land.)
There are always options beyond the obvious. We’re living in the World of Many Paths now.

For you 

Evan Griffith
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Have you tried an unconventional workspace yet?

My workspace early this morning

Here’s a sampling of some unconventional spaces I’ve worked from in recent years:

— By a  mountain stream in Colorado
— In hotel rooms
— At a diner/cafe/restaurant/eatery
— In my van
— Poolside
— In an airplane
— At the library
— On a hammock
— In the lobby of a building
— In friends’ homes
— At the beach
— In an art studio
     (this one’s not really fair; I own an art gallery)
     (and I’m married to an artist; we share a creative studio 🙂
— At roadside rest areas around the nation
— Next to a waterfall
— On a picnic table in a park at the edge of Ojai, California
— On the grounds of a Unity Church in Austin, Texas
— In casual outdoor seating at a local yoga center
— In a food court at the mall
— In the bathtub (best for idea generation)
— In the backyard under sheltering trees

In a recent post Cal Newport describes the power of the outdoor office . . . specifically how a jaunt into the woods with his notebook and a cup of coffee opened up new pathways in his thinking on a vexing problem.

It’s empowering to work and think from a new space. Something about freeing yourself from your normal work confines liberates your mind too.

It’s energizing too.

I think it has as much to do with movement as it does with a novel location. Our bodies love motion. And oh baby, our brains love the biochemicals our bodies pour forth when in action mode.

You’d be surprised how much new and focused energy comes to the fore when you dig in to work elsewhere . . . any elsewhere you choose.

For you 

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


One of the great benefits of wealth

Our fortunes have changed for the much better in the past 3 years. If you’re the type who likes to learn from success you can skip the next two paragraphs.

If you’re the type who likes to know hardship was endured along the way to the win, then this paragraph is for you. We’ve gone through financial turmoil twice in the last 12 years. First in a bad lease situation from which we could not extricate ourselves until the majority of our assets had been sucked dry. The second time in the financial crash, when we fought intergalactic forces with toy guns. 

But we won. We came out the other side. Eventually those intergalactic forces bowed deeply to us. Respect! Honor! They murmured as they left us to prosper in peace.

One of the great benefits of wealth is being able to support others in their dreams. We are by no means wealthy (yet) (though that might happen next week 🙂 . . . but as we gain a more secure financial footing we are able to support others more and more. 

It feels good to support small businesses, buy indie soap, purchase the latest book by a blogger you adore, shop for local organic eggs, hire tradesmen to rehab an area in your home.

We ourselves were supported mightily by family members in a moment of crisis. So all we are doing is paying it forward.

Here’s something I didn’t fully understand while in financial panic: We were wealthy then . . . 

(In fact, you are wealthy now.)

At the worst moments of financial crisis I helped two friends through suicidal impulses. Two friends who didn’t know each other were both thinking life was no longer worth the pain. 

One had already thought it out in great detail . . . I was fortunate to even be speaking with him. The week before he’d made an appointment with himself at his workplace when no one else was around. He had everything laid out he needed to finish himself off. Even a blanket to absorb the mess.

He felt dead already as he prepared his final act. Then a small idea surfaced. Surely this was a soul whisper . . . 

Since he was already dead — since he already felt dead to himself and the world — he could treat each day as an experiment. He could experiment his way forward one day at a time . . . and if nothing changed, he could still make his appointment to end it all.

It was eerily similar to Buckminster Fuller, the visionary who at 32 considered suicide until an intense spiritual experience took hold of him. (To read the details, click on his name above to link to his Wikipedia entry . . . and scan down to the subheading Depression and Epiphany.) Fuller decided to live his life henceforward as an experiment, to see what one man can do to benefit humanity.

. . . . . . .

Back then I had no money. But I had this extraordinary resource at my disposal. Two resources, really: Time and attention.

By lavishing time and attention on my friends I was able to become a small support in their ecosystem, where previously there had felt like none. 

You too have these riches, regardless where you are on wealth scale. The one thing that matters most — connection — is comprised of time and attention.

Sometimes all it takes is a little support to change the trajectory of a life. You can be that support for others. Time and attention are your greatest assets. Splash some around generously.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Add a little creative soul to your life. Click here to join the subscriber list for — you know — the occasional thing in your inbox.


Living up to your dream requires so little

This artist and sculptor can’t stop.
He’s in the pull zone now.

Living up to your dream requires so little at first. Just carving some space out of your day — every day — and taking tiny steps in that direction.

Later your dream will require more. But by then you have momentum on your side.

Then there’s that beautiful point — the inflection point — when your dream pulls you. 

Years ago when we hit our first financial crisis with the art gallery, I stopped exercising. You know, a few days off turned into two years of overwork and under activity. 

Overload turns to overlard, quickly! It was only seeing a photo of me with a hefty friend that snapped me out of it. I could see a few more years on that trajectory and we’d be wearing matching Speedos.

First I started a walking regimen. Then, over time, I added biking and swimming and yoga and kid play and whatnot.

Now you can’t stop me from something physical every day. I am pulled to it. My body gets antsy . . . like a dog nudging you to take it for a stroll . . . and I’m propelled up and out into some form of movement.

This is what I wish for you with your dream. Many of you already have this. That itch to create. That fever to get at your creative work every day.

For those of you who don’t, just start. Carve out a reasonable creative practice time every day. Thirty minutes? One hour? Whatever you can commit to.

At some point it all will flip. It will pull you. It will pull you hard to where you’re going.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Add a little creative soul to your life. Click here to join the subscriber list for — you know — the occasional thing in your inbox.


The life in them

Lucky you!
Here’s a lucky penny for you.

I know a woman who rises in the mid of night when beckoned from her sleep, to pen sensual exaltations about spirit-infused creative living.

Today I was with an artist and sculptor who at 60 goes at his grindingly physical work as though he were merely 20. His studio is in the great Florida outdoors. Assistants half his age don’t last. It takes intensity of purpose to make art from heavy metals in heat, humidity, insects, bouts of sun blast, bursts of rain.
There’s an attorney in my family who lives more creatively in the moment than all my artist friends put together. He’s alive to the crackling now like no one I’ve ever seen . . . he’s going to suck out of each minute all he can get. And he’ll take everyone in the vicinity along for the ride.
(He’s my brother, and he ain’t heavy.)
(He’s light, light of heart.)
You know these people too. Who nimbly surf moment to moment, in tune, on beat, connecting. 
I aspire to be one of these people. I am sometimes. Even often enough times. But to live it 24/7, woah.
As Abraham Hicks says, the only measure of success is joy.

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

It's good to no longer need a book

At the height (depths?) of the crash I bought this book. My forever friend Gil thought it might inspire me through our own financial collapse.

We’ve come so far I no longer need this book. I’m now rabidly on the hunt for stories of creative fulfillment. Stories of reversal have given way to stories of lifelong commitment.

Now I’m forwarding this to the next person who needs it. 

Some day soon a Goodwill browser will come across this on the bookshelves . . . and it will become a companion to someone in need of its message: That defeat is only temporary if you refuse to accept it.

For you 

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


Elizabeth Gilbert: Enter into a contract with your idea

Ideas lose force quickly. 

Joe Vitale is famous for his maxim in The Secret

The Universe loves speed.

Ideas are antsy. They flit from consciousness to consciousness seeking out the best means of expression. If it ain’t you, it’s moving on.

In order to lock that idea of yours in before it slips away, Elizabeth Gilbert says you must demonstrate your commitment. In Big Magic, Gilbert suggests you enter into a contract with your idea.

Specify what you are willing to do to bring that idea to fruition. Honor that commitment. Show it you mean business. Your idea will roll up its sleeves and get to work when you do.

Don’t let the idea that really grabs you hit the road. Because they do. Ideas are free range. 

An idea is fickle. It’s faithful only to the one who will act on it. An idea is on the move, tickling one mind then another . . . until it finds the one who will bring it to life.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Add a little creative soul to your life. Click here to join the subscriber list for — you know — the occasional thing in your inbox.