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

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I hope something good happens to you today

THAT was on a bumper sticker today.

Not two assault rifles crossed together with an Assault Life tagline.

Not an insult hurled across the political aisle.

Not a statement For or Against.

Simply well wishes. For you. For whomever sidles up behind that bumper.

Refreshing, isn’t it?

…….

Speaking of refreshing, check out this alien dinosaur lizard chillaxing in a tree outside our front door . . .

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The unexpected utterance of the soul

Poetry is the unexpected utterance of the soul

~ Mark Nepo

Makes you want to dash out and read a poem, doesn’t it —

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Both kinds of artists

 

I’m fond of both kinds of artists. The ones who make it, and the ones who don’t.

I’m fed by the scrappy creators who attempt a thing — whether it ends in a whisper or a bang.

There’s only one criteria for me when I size up someone with an idea: Those who try.

 

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Thankful: The rant

I’m thankful for that woman in Alabama who was so wrong for me. Wasn’t it just two months from that night — sobbing without control in front of my brother, his wife and my brother’s friend about how mistaken I’d been — that this wondrous woman entered my life? This woman pictured above . . . my playmate for life.

I’m thankful for tech. All of it. Even when I’m sucked into it. Tech and its advances allow me to whisper to you now from this keyboard. Wherever you are, you and I are joined this moment by tech.

I’m thankful for my forever friends. I’m thankful for the newbies too. (I’m looking at you, G-man). Yassir, I am. I’m thankful for the ephemeral connections I can’t really call friends; they’re more like points of tangency.  Glorious glancings of non-orbiting entities. Who needs riches when interactions are so enriching?

(For example: My Gil friend, who delights in running out the time on my voicemail the way I delight in torturing him with godawful song on his.)

I’m thankful, Mountain Dew, for all those years we had together, you and I. We had a thing. I’d like to think it was special for you too. Anyway, I’m thankful I abandoned you this year. I’m relieved in fact. I thought I couldn’t quit you, but na na na na na, I could!

Yet I’m thankful my Ras friend still calls me Dew . . .

Oh Lordy I’m thankful for my crazy Mom (MomJo!) (Because this generation’s grandparents refuse to be called Grandma or Grandpa . . .) She’s got the energy of a teenager in heat. An elf on the lam. She can pry loose the backstory from the tightest-lipped stranger. And delight in the now like Eckhart Tolle can only dream of.

I’m thankful for lizards in the tropics. Especially the anoles — rhymes with canoli(s) — who summit a rock, a stone, a garden hose and, head high, explode a crisp orange crescent moon of tissue from mid-neck! A mating thing, I’m sure. It fans out translucent. A flaming flag of flesh. Many was the time in my teens I could have used that trick.

I’m thankful for diners. Sweet Jehosophat I’m thankful for diners — and those who staff them. You light up my mornings.

I’m thankful for siblings I don’t quite deserve.

A sister who connects the far flung. I love her curious mind. Also, the way she fakes an interest in whatever my babblement of the moment is. She knew what quoins are without having to look it up. How to pronounce it too. Like coins. Exactly like coins. No kwuh sound at all. Plus — get this — she sends me Charticles — her name is Charlene — articles about the most random subjects — that never fail to draw me in.

And a brother who inspires me to live higher than my highest best. Because he does it like a dancer propels through the air, seemingly effortlessly, expansively, with unforced style.

I’m thankful for my recently dead Dad. Not an easy man to love. But isn’t that what we’re here for, to learn this simple thing? How to love gushingly even when it’s difficult. Even when we’re wounded? We’re all wounded anyway, maybe the prickly ones the most. Recognizing this helps something akin to love surface.

I’m thankful for dirt. Good dirt in particular, I’m keen to see flora thrive.

I’m thankful for my joy boy Zane. Who I traumatize daily by calling by any name that starts with a Z: Zonk, Zebediah, Zekiel (you have to play loose with the rules), Zoolander, Zoooom, Zarathustra, Zabbadabbadoooo, Zinc, Zazoo. Sometimes just Z. I learn more from him than he does from me. Not a bad gig, parenting one such as he.

I’m thankful for the idea of splurge day. Whoever thought up cheat days is genius! The three I just had in a row is not part of the equation I’m guessing, but this week of Thanksgiving I’m living in an alternate universe where that kind of math adds up.

 

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Celebrating OmArtist

Looking for a site that explores “all things spiritual and creative”? You know, besides this one?

: -)

There’s an intriguing new venue in cybertown called OmArtist, featuring interviews with creatives, showcasing artwork with a spiritual dimension.

Interspersed in between are thought bullets from luminaries to nudge you along  your path.

Best of all, there’s an interview with ME.

Guy Hoffman — the creative juice behind this engaging site — has a way of burrowing deep in just a few questions. Check it out, I think you’ll come away inspired.

Do you have favorite creatives you think should be interviewed? There’s a quick Suggest Interview form to spur OmArtist in that direction.

In a world often heavy with the cacophony of discord, OmArtist is a space to renew your spirit — so you can create work that matters. Work that lofts us higher.

Creating with purpose is where it’s at. The world needs it. You need it. You do your best work when you’re attuned. Which is why I’m enthused about OmArtist. Every bright new venture lights the way a little more, a little better for all of us.

That’s worth celebrating with a banana split. (Organic, pasture-raised, free range, and massaged by personal bovine masseuses of course.)

Go forth and have a creatiful day —

 

 

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Amy Schumer: I am an introvert

We creatives are often contemplative — inward looking. In the language of psychology: introverts.

Comedian Amy Schumer addresses what it means to be an introvert in her book The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

Sure she blows air kisses to her fans for the first couple of chapters, to deliver the bawdy goods we expect from her.

(An open letter to her vagina; the tale of her only one-night stand.)(Yep, she’s only had one . . .)

Then she dives into what makes the book so compelling. Real issues, straight talked in her graphic style.

I’m cursing Schumer under my breath late at night . . . I’ve only had the book two nights and I’m losing valuable sleep because I can’t put it down.

Here are a few snippets from Amy Schumer on being an introvert: 

I am an introvert. I know— you’re thinking, What the fuck, Amy? You just told us you hooked up with a stranger in Tampa, and now you’re claiming to be shy? You’re not shy, you’re a loud, boozy animal!

Okay, fair enough. Sometimes that’s true. But I am, without a doubt, a classic textbook introvert. In case you don’t know what that word means, I will fill you in quickly. If you do know what it means, then skip ahead to the chapter about where to find the best gloryholes in Beijing.

Just kidding. I don’t have that info. Also, just fucking read my description of an introvert. Why are you in such a rush to skip ahead, you pervert?

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy. It means you enjoy being alone. Not just enjoy it— you need it.

If you’re a true introvert, other people are basically energy vampires. You don’t hate them; you just have to be strategic about when you expose yourself to them— like the sun. They give you life, sure, but they can also burn you and you will get that wrinkly Long Island cleavage I’ve always been afraid of getting and that I know I now have.

For me, meditation and headphones on the subway have been my sunscreen, protecting me from the hell that is other people.

There’s a National Geographic photo I love of a young brown bear. He’s sitting peacefully against a tree near the border of Finland and Russia. The caption reads something like, “The cubs played feverishly all day, and then one of them left the group for a few minutes to relax on his own and enjoy the quiet.”

This was very meaningful to me because that’s what I do! Except in my case, the bear gets ripped away from his chill spot by the tree, and several people paint his face and curl his fur and put him in a dress so he can be pushed onstage to ride one of those tiny bicycles in the circus.

I’m not saying he doesn’t enjoy making people laugh, but still, it’s hard out there for a fuzzy little introvert.

. . . . .

Even as a child, I had always known something was up. I didn’t like to play for as long as the other kids, and I absolutely always bailed on slumber parties.

. . . . .

Sitting and writing and talking to no one is how I wish I could spend the better part of every day. In fact, it might be surprising for you to learn that most of my days are spent alone, unless I am on set, which is crazy draining for an introvert.

As soon as lunchtime arrives, I skip the food service tables and rush to my trailer or a quiet corner and I meditate.

I need to completely shut off. This time spent silently is like food to me. 

. . . . .

Once, [my boyfriend] Rick took me to his friend’s wedding. After about two hours of small talk and formalities, I went to hide in the bathroom. I had nothing left to give or say, and I felt the unbearable sensation that I was treading water.

It wasn’t until I became best friends with some fellow comics and performers that I realized being an introvert wasn’t a character flaw.

Even when we all go on vacations or on the road together, we take little breaks in our own rooms and then text each other to check in.

This quality is tricky when your job actually requires you to constantly travel and interact with new faces, new towns, and new audiences. You cross paths with lots of people in this line of work, and you feel shitty if you don’t give away some of your energy and conversation to every driver, hotel front-desk clerk, promoter, backstage crew member, member of the audience, waiter, and so on. And I do mean “give away.” Energy is finite between recharges. That shit runs out.

. . . . .

Now that I know I’m an introvert, I can better manage this quality and actually start to see it as a positive.. . .

It’s hard to be in the company of others for very long while being creative. . . . I feel lucky to have a huge group of people who let each other do their own thing . . .

. . . . .

Just because my job requires me to make fun of myself into a microphone and wear my heart on my sleeve for hire doesn’t mean I can’t be an introvert as well.

Believe it or not, I do have a complex inner life just like you, and I enjoy being alone. I need it. And I’ve never been happier than I was when I finally figured this out about myself.

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Universal opulence

When Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations in the 1770s he did so to guide governments to what he termed universal opulence.

Smith articulated a vision where self-interest through a market economy intertwined with government efforts for the common good would bring about a state of abundance for all.

We’re living in that world and we don’t see it.

In Smith’s time the vast populace was uneducated. Laborers worked six and seven days a week, with each workday far longer than what we know today. Child labor was rampant. Humans not at the top of the chain were little more than beasts of burden.

Today we live in Smith’s universal opulence. Most of us are literate to some degree. Our common day contains so many wonders that if Adam Smith were to come back and experience them he’d think it was heaven. He’d be amazed we weren’t dancing in the streets.

TVs, computers, information in seconds, phones to speak to whomever we damn well please no matter where they are, roofs that don’t catch on fire or drop lice on us.

Choice in where we work and live. Choice in religion (or no religion). Choice in fabrics and colors and devices so plentiful we can’t begin to name them all.

Homes with floors. Homes with toilets. Indoors! The ability to conjure our own favorite temperature. Glass windows even for those who are poor.

Transportation more wondrous than fabled magic carpets.

And you could tick off many others. You could get up from this screen you’re reading and within 100 feet you could find 1,000 commonplace items that would be miracles to Adam Smith.

So why don’t we feel it?

What more do we require to feel awe at this existence?

 

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Celebrating word making: Buckminster Fuller’s take on sunrise and sunset

Buckminster Fuller  that American polymath  (an individual of comprehensive learning in several fields)  (which makes me unimathless . . .)  Buckminster Fuller enjoyed coining words to better suit our modern understanding.

For example, he felt that the words sunrise and sunset were impossibly dated. They harked back to when we thought the sun moved around the Earth, rising in the morning and setting in the evening.

Fuller felt these archaic meanings impaired our grasp of how things really worked . . . and so set out to replace them.

What we’re celebrating today is how Buckminster Fuller coined two replacement terms that were not only scientifically accurate but also improbably imbued with poetry.

Sunsight.

Sunclipse.

What E.E. Cummings could do with those words! He could trip the day away between them.

What we could all do with new terminology like this.

There must have been a moonsight and a starclipse too!

Let’s take it upon ourselves to enlighten our minds while speaking new words that speak to new truths.

These two Fullerisms didn’t take of course, or else you’d be uttering them near-daily and there’d be no call for this piece. You’d be ho-humming politely while checking your social media mentions.

But other words have. From other sources:

Equality

Conscious living

Mindfulness

Personal space

Soulmate

Forever friend

Grok

Freethinker

Internet

New words arise, giving us new insights into the world.

Possibilities abound . . .

Eyebright (those alive in the moment)

Hunkerdown (when you need some time alone)

Lipsong (when you speak about what you love)

Your turn. Get jiggy with it.

 
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A thank you to Robert A. Heinlein for one word

Grok.

From Stranger in A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein:

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed — to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—

To grok is to know and love and accept the whole of a thing.The creative-spiritual matrix seems to be empowered by this concept. It’s all about grokking something so thoroughly it enflowers within you.

Today we’re celebrating Robert Heinlein for giving us that word. Other languages may have words to describe knowing something so intuitively well that it’s like knowing it from the inside out, but not ours. Now we do.

Every rare now and then I suddenly grok what a person is about, and the revelation is so momentous it’s like being in on the discovery of fire.

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