How the best solve . . . everything

Months if not years from now we’ll be comparing notes about what we did during covid.

It will be a variation on How I Spent My Summer Vacation. Only this will be a more somber version, especially for those of us whose livelihoods were threatened, whose lives were put in danger — even for those who wondered, Good God how am I going to survive being pent up with these people!

It will have been more than a year in which the entire world had to decide was worth doing and what wasn’t. We all had to figure out how to worm our way through the new constraints.

Most of our covid projects were private, personal. But some were designed to be shared.

Like this one.

The text was mostly written when covid lockdowns began. In reality it was the editing, revising, tweaking, design and layout stages that were incubated during the pandemic.

But how timely! My own outdoors time shot up threefold.

I’m excited to share this with you — the official debut.

Click on the title to check out my new bookito:

It Is Solved By Walking
How World-Class Creators Solve Life

. . . . . . .

I think you’ll enjoy it, for these reasons:

— It’s short (a bookito : -)

— Stories abound, mine and others, some famous, some not — some of them amusing, all of them intriguing

— As one reviewer pointed out, it takes you to unexpected places. To small art towns, to spiritual sojourns, to where the 20th century really began

— You’ll get to walk with giants: world-class thinkers and doers who’ve had paradigm-shifting epiphanies while out for a walk

— You’ll meet up with everyday people for whom a daily outing is a delightful release valve

— You’ll find out why a simple walk has been the most common method for thousands of years to produce ideas, insights, and solutions to vexing issues

— There’s even a wee section extolling the physical benefits, cuz there’s some fascinating science there

For the creatively adventurous and the spiritually seeking, this bookito is for you.

Most of all, I think you’ll enjoy the read : -)

Here’s the link again so you don’t have to scroll ALL the way back up — check it out:

It Is Solved By Walking
How World-Class Creators Solve Life


Chaos and creativity (Matthew Fox)

“What do we do with chaos?

Creativity has an answer. We are told by those who have studied the processes of nature that creativity happens at the border between chaos and order.

Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and, indeed, to dance with it as we listen to it and attempt some ordering.

Artists wrestle with chaos, take it apart, deconstruct and reconstruct from it.

Accept the challenge to convert chaos into some kind of order, respecting the timing of it all, not pushing beyond what is possible—combining holy patience with holy impatience: That is the role of the artist.

It is each of our roles as we launch the twenty-first century, because we are all called to be artists in our own way.”

From Creativity: Where The Divine And Human Meet by Matthew Fox.



Frederick Douglass shows us something unexpected

“I went, one day, on the wharf of Mr. Waters; and seeing two Irishmen unloading a large scow of stone, or ballast I went on board, unasked, and helped them. When we had finished the work, one of the men came to me, aside, and asked me a number of questions, and among them, if I were a slave.

I told him “I was a slave, and a slave for life.”

The good Irishman gave his shoulders a shrug, and seemed deeply affected by the statement. He said, “it was a pity so fine a little fellow as myself should be a slave for life.”

They both had much to say about the matter, and expressed the deepest sympathy with me, and the most decided hatred of slavery. They went so far as to tell me that I ought to run away, and go to the north; that I should find friends there, and that I would be as free as anybody.

I, however, pretended not to be interested in what they said, for I feared they might be treacherous. White men have been known to encourage slaves to escape, and then—to get the reward—they have kidnapped them, and returned them to their masters. And while I mainly inclined to the notion that these men were honest and meant me no ill, I feared it might be otherwise.

I nevertheless remembered their words and their advice, and looked forward to an escape to the north, as a possible means of gaining the liberty for which my heart panted. It was not my enslavement, at the then present time, that most affected me; the being a slave for life, was the saddest thought.

I was too young to think of running away immediately; besides, I wished to learn how to write, before going, as I might have occasion to write my own pass.

I now not only had the hope of freedom, but a foreshadowing of the means by which I might, some day, gain that inestimable boon. Meanwhile, I resolved to add to my educational attainments the art of writing.”

Excerpted from My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass

There is not a single paragraph in Frederick Douglass’s autobiography that doesn’t have you leaning forward pulled into the intensity of his life as a slave and his quest for freedom.

This passage in particular I felt I needed to share with you. It shows how others can fan the flame of a dream, yes, but most remarkable to me in this short passage is how this young teenage boy immediately set himself the task of learning to read and write to prepare for his undertaking.

Even gaining literacy is fraught with peril in a society bent on keeping slaves in chains. It was a monumental endeavor, one he pulled off in secrecy.

If you’ve not read one of Frederick Douglass’s autobiographies yet — he wrote five — do yourself the favor of a lifetime. Go and grab one and set yourself down in a quiet corner for a transformative ride.

To read from the lips of an escaped slave of his bondage and pains and triumphs will forever put your own obstacles in perspective.

You will feel awed by his experience — and audacity — while also realizing how puny in actuality are the constraints you perceive in your own life.


Thich Nhat Hanh: Walking and your cosmic body

“We have a physical body, which is a wonder. But this physical body will one day disintegrate. That is the truth we have to accept.

On the surface, there is birth and death, being and nonbeing. But if you go more deeply, you recognize that you also have a cosmic body that exists outside of birth and death, being and nonbeing.

A wave on the ocean doesn’t last very long. A wave’s physical body lasts five, ten, or twenty seconds. But the wave has her ocean body, because she comes from the ocean and she will go back to the ocean.

If you walk mindfully, if your concentration and insight are powerful, with every step you can touch your cosmic body and you will lose all your fear and uncertainty.”

How to Walk (Mindfulness Essentials)” by Thich Nhat Hanh


The moment you summon the courage to disappoint nearly everyone in your life

“I found myself at one of life’s crossroads, the “safe” path leading in one direction, uncertainty—and possibility—in the other.

Eventually I came to realize that a calling is just that: a whisper in the distance. Most of us don’t wake up one day and decide we were born to be a horse veterinarian or an opera singer. That’s a story we tell ourselves after the fact, once we’ve found ourselves wherever we happen to end up.

No, a calling is an intuitive hint, a tug we experience when we’re doing something that feels right: This is awesome! I’m going to keep doing this and see where it takes me.

If we keep listening to those hints and letting the tugs guide us, if we heed the call, we soon find that we’re walking our own path. No matter where we’re going, we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be.

So no, I didn’t suddenly realize at the age of twenty-one that I wanted to be an artist, an action sports photographer, or the founder of an online learning platform. I simply decided to listen to my gut. I knew I wanted to take photos, simple as that. As long as I was doing what felt right, I figured, the rest would figure itself out—and it did.

This was the moment I summoned the courage to disappoint nearly everyone in my life. For the second time, I abandoned my plan for the future and took my first, hesitant step on a new path, the path in pursuit of my creative calling.

I’m still on that path today, and I’ve never looked back.”

From Creative Calling: Establish A Daily Practice, Infuse Your World With Meaning, and Succeed In Work + Life by Chase Jarvis


How the Uncertainty Principle liberates you

It’s strange. The most destabilizing concept of the 20th century can also set you free.

I love sharing excerpts from books with you, with the hope they might spur thoughts for your own life.

And — I must emphasize this — I also hope you just might run out and buy one or several of these books for yourself. For really deep dives into the material.

Good writers deserve to be read.

Every excerpt I share as part of the Book love series comes from a book I adored in some way. (See the link in the side column under Categories.)

Some are insanely useful. Some deliver an insight in a way no other has. Some — especially memoirs — share experience so richly I feel I partially lived it too.

Today’s choice deviates from most of the excerpts presented here at Notes For Creators. Instead of one contained segment to give you a sense of the style and thrust, this is a series of excerpted bits to help key you into Mel Schwartz’s premise.

From The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Help You Think, Live, and Love.

Enjoy —

I awakened one weekend morning some twenty years ago feeling quite anxious. Having recently divorced, I was missing my kids, who were with their mom that weekend, and I thought getting out of the house might help.

I headed out for a bike ride, but as I pedaled around the gently rolling hills of my hometown, my angst only continued to heighten.

I realized I was experiencing the start of an anxiety attack—something that had never happened to me before.

Still feeling shaken when I arrived home, I walked into my office and absently pulled a book off the shelf: The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, written by theoretical quantum physicist Fritjof Capra….

. . . . .

I read of a wondrous universe—one that was inseparably whole and thoroughly interpenetrating—in which all notions of separation faded away.

. . . . .

I no longer felt alone, but sensed that I was an integral part of this universe.

. . . . .

As my understanding of reality altered to align with these discoveries, my beliefs changed too. I reflected on how my misinformed beliefs, rooted in fear and the idea that change was onerous, had constrained my life.

This insight ultimately touched virtually every aspect of how I think and live.

The new life that emerged was untethered by many of my old limitations. Rather than feeling unmoored, I marveled at my transformative experience, reflecting that if this worked so well for me, why not for others?

. . . . .

Over time, I developed an accessible approach that applied the quantum worldview to personal growth, showing people how to live more resiliently and fearlessly and how to think, feel, relate, and communicate differently based on this worldview.

. . . . .

A defining moment is a singular burst of insight in which we choose to embark in a new direction.

. . . . .

I’ll demonstrate how our operating worldview creates the landscape we live in and, as a result, is the basis of our experience. Because I’m not a scientist, my descriptions of quantum physics are easy to understand and intended as metaphorical, not literal.

. . . . .

Welcome to your new quantum life.

. . . . .

A worldview is the “meta-picture” of how we think reality operates. What we need to understand is that it’s merely a temporary snapshot of reality.

Over time, new theories and discoveries presage shifts in our worldviews. The paradigm that Earth was the center of the universe prevailed until it was eventually overturned in the early 1600s by Galileo, who suffered persecution for claiming that Earth moved around the sun.

What we think of as reality is actually no more than the current worldview. Yet as each new theory and discovery arises, we re-envision the world and how we come to live in it, and our new vision has profound consequences on most aspects of our lives.

. . . . .

The philosopher and mathematician René Descartes followed the astronomical discoveries of these men—including the heliocentric model of the solar system—and discovered what he believed to be the absolute certainty and truth of scientific knowledge.

Among other things, he described the universe as operating like a giant clock.

Isaac Newton straddled the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and furthered Descartes’s vision by depicting the universe as a giant machine, a worldview known as the mechanistic paradigm.

. . . . .

[M]any of our operating assumptions and beliefs are obsolete, incoherent, and invalid.

. . . . .

The motif of separation isolates us and induces us to compete rather than collaborate and promotes extreme individualism over the common good. Winning replaces compassion. Conflict trumps cooperation.

. . . . .

As the noted eco-philosopher Henryk Skolimowski succinctly put it, “As we read the universe, so we act in it.”

. . . . .

The primary principles from quantum physics show up in three vital conceptions that can enable us to live the lives we choose. 

1. ​Embrace uncertainty.

. . . . .

Think of uncertainty as the wind in our sails, empowering us toward the lives we seek. Uncertainty is where new possibility lies. 

. . . . .

2.​ The universe is in a pure state of potential.

. . . . .

Uncertainty implies potentiality, as all outcomes are possible. It appears that reality looks more like a reality-making process—a perpetual state of flow—than a fixed state of being.

. . . . .

3. ​The universe appears fundamentally inseparable.

. . . . .

This whole new vision of reality created by the discoveries of quantum physics is also known as the participatory worldview.

The revelation of the participatory worldview is that reality appears to be a kind of creative dance in which we all participate—again, more of a reality-making process than a fixed, objective reality.

. . . . .

When we are grounded in wonder and enchanted by the hopefulness of possibility in our lives, we are far less likely to feel depressed, anxious, or listless.

. . . . .

Our fears about the future are often focused on what we call outcomes. But an outcome is nothing more than a momentary snapshot that we take in a particular moment.

This way of looking at life—living in dread of certain outcomes—is rooted in the static picture of Newton’s universe.

From the perspective of a flowing participatory paradigm, no such thing as an outcome exists because reality is always continuing to unfold.

If we are part of that flow, we can choose differently as we wish, but we must be in the flow. Embracing uncertainty frees us from fear of outcomes.

From The Possibility Principle: How Quantum Physics Can Help You Think, Live, and Love by Mel Schwartz

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

“Scientists and members of the general public are about equally likely to have artistic hobbies, but scientists inducted into the highest national academies are much more likely to have avocations outside of their vocation. And those who have won the Nobel Prize are more likely still.

Compared to other scientists, Nobel laureates are at least twenty-two times more likely to partake as an amateur actor, dancer, magician, or other type of performer.

Nationally recognized scientists are much more likely than other scientists to be musicians, sculptors, painters, printmakers, woodworkers, mechanics, electronics tinkerers, glassblowers, poets, or writers, of both fiction and nonfiction.

And, again, Nobel laureates are far more likely still. The most successful experts also belong to the wider world.”

From “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David J. Epstein


The Creator’s dilemma

Here’s an excerpt from an upcoming bookito of mine I think you’re going to enjoy:

The Artist, The Mystic, and The Scientist
Overcome The Creator’s Dilemma —
Create at Your Playful, Soulful, Experimental Best

. . . . . . .

The place we find ourselves in

We creators want to add our note to the cacophony — we want to create something meaningful. We want to disturb the matrix, we want to insert our song into the songbook, we want to play in the pool . . . but not by ourselves.

This bookito is for creators. It’s not for those who are ‘just doing it for themselves.’ That’s a hobby, a pastime, a piffle. This is for creators who want to engage and weave their part in the great human tapestry — you. At the core of this text is the understanding that we want to create because we want to participate.

If you don’t want to participate there are monasteries and the Sunday New York Times for you. Or for some unlucky few, vast inheritances. Monk life can disappear you for a lifetime; the Sunday newspaper for a day; your digital devices, indefinitely.

All creators have an artform.

Or several. It may be actual art — sculpture, video, books, hip hop.

It may be fast-charging thrill-to-thrill adventures.

It may be a chill lifestyle — my dream life — with ample time for unhurried thought and connection.

It may be a home so nurturing even deadened souls want to hang out there — discreetly — in between lifetimes.

It may be genuine service to others at every opportunity (wish I could claim this is me, but really it’s my brother).

It may be an indie biz, a craft, a calling, a mission, a quest.

To live the artful life — however it appears to you in your waking dreams — it helps to do it soulfully.

Soulful doesn’t take away pain when someone cheats on you or the terrible reckoning when you lose the savings you’ve accumulated over many years, but it does make you fluid.

Like water.

When you think soulful, think water. You know you want to splash in the water — you do!

You want to be the water in all its flowy glory. Whether it is pooled or coursing or dripping or evaporating, water takes the easiest path.

Soulful is fluid, flexible and patient.

Soulful is Easeful.









The moment we seek to create something fulfilling chaos envelops us. Before even. Chaos is the condition of a universe without fate, without predetermination. Chaos is a trillion trillion objects energies lifeforms moving on their own trajectories, not yours.

There’s a way to dispel the snarl of chaos . . . the sense of futility inside, the urgency outside.

Bring your soul into it.

If you want to go soulful it helps to have the Artist, the Mystic and the Scientist in your pocket.

. . . . . . .

The Artist is the creator.

The Mystic is the soul source.

The Scientist is the brainpower.

. . . . . . .

[Coming this summer: The Artist, The Mystic and The Scientist]

5. The creative morning lifestyle

This past year I took on a 30-day challenge: To get up freakishly early for 30 days to do The Work. My creative work.

I was getting up 2 to 2.5 hours earlier each day. It was so successful I wrote a 99-cent bookito about it: The Creative Morning Challenge.

I blasted out a bookito in those few weeks plus made serious headway on another.

Afterward I didn’t want it to end. But I also knew I couldn’t continue at that pace, writing for 2 hours before breakfast, before work at the art gallery.

I was the one responsible for getting our teenager to bed at a reasonable time each school night — so going to bed early was not in the cards.

But — getting up only an hour earlier than had been my routine before I began The Creative Morning Challenge was an easy compromise.

So beckoned my transition into the creative morning lifestyle. I could get sufficient sleep — very important to me ever since I left New York City and grew into a mature adult — while still allowing for that creative hour.

(The neo-adult me would skimp on sleep for 2 nights then crash early the 3rd. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. No wonder hair was leaping off my head by 30!)

(Yeah, I know, it’s a genetic thing. Still, it was a no good, very bad routine. So many other pathologies played out of that.)

Then came summer. Our selling season is super intense at the gallery. As soon as it’s over we subside — collapse might be more accurate.

We slash the days a week we’re open.

We shorten our working hours.

We give everyone Euro-style vacations — a month off.

Ann and I and Zane and a bud of his embark on a working vacation lasting between 5 and 6 weeks.

We hop in a camper with a combo garage/bedroom in the back that allows us to transport gobs of artwork to clients and artists while still camping out in cool locales at night.

At this point there’s no need for the creative morning lifestyle because the days are just loose enough that I can accomplish everything in a normal day — creative and gallery work combined.

And finally the new school year arrives — and seemingly so does my amnesia. I struggle to get it all right. My schedule no longer works. Both creative work and gallery work become disjointed.

Until I remember! … That damn creative morning lifestyle that worked so well before.

That was Week 5 of My Year of Micro Experiments. Sliding into the day earlier to crank out an hour of creative work before the hubbub begins.

And my God is it glorious!

My God is it ever refreshing.

It’s as though the planets align, the stars atwinkle, the downloads begin. The material I’d been struggling to push into existence takes an express elevator down from on high — wherever it’s been stored — and comes gushing onto the screen.

My creative output reinvigorates just like that!

Just like last time.

Some micro-experiments are easier than others. They work so well the success whooshes you into a new orbit, a powerful new routine. This was such a case.

Next year I’m calendaring a reminder for summer’s end.

. . . . . . .

If you want to tackle your own Creative Morning Challenge, check out this short and oh-so-cheap bookito. You can go easy, at any speed. It could be as simple as getting up just 15 or 30 minutes earlier.

In The Creative Morning Challenge I detail the 7 Guidelines, how to deal with sleep (cuz I like plenty), how to create fallback options and more.

Plus it’s just plain amusing at times.

And it’s short and to the point.

Enjoy —



The Creation Frequency

You’ll appreciate this. In his early 20s Mike Murphy had troubles with the law and had just separated from his wife and young child because of substance abuse. He was working for someone he hated, making little money.

His car was so bad off he had to drive with his left arm through the open window to hold the door shut. Hot days, rainy  days, it didn’t matter, everywhere he drove his forearm gripped the door tightly to keep it from flying open.

Someone recommended a man who could help him. Though he just wanted to drown it all at the bar, instead he spent his meager free cash for a weekly meeting. This mystery man — as Murphy would later call him because he was unable to remember his name nor locate him for 30 years — taught him step by step how to create the life of his dreams.

It started with getting clear on what he really wanted for his life, for his relationships, for his line of work. And then lodging this fantastical vision into his brain every morning and evening.

Here’s Mike Murphy relating how one of the seemingly impossible goals came to life:

My next intention had been to own my own business. Because I already worked in the restaurant industry, my natural inclination was to open a restaurant, but I didn’t have any money to get started.

Every day, I listened to that intention describing the wonderful business I would own, and I also remembered the mystery man’s advice — listen to the messages the Universe is sending you. Pay attention to your intuition, and be proactive.

One day, out of nowhere, an idea occurred to me. I should put an ad in the paper asking for investors.

So I did. Despite having no cash, no credit, and a negative net worth, I was able to raise enough money to open my own business within a year of setting that intention.

I have owned my own business almost ever since.

From The Creation Frequency by Mike Murphy