Note: You don’t need a makeover

Truly.

Sometimes that’s all it takes. One simple tweak.

Just make sure it’s fundamental, something that might cause a cascade.

Like exercise

Or going to bed earlier

Or intending to always react with compassion first

Or not eating after 6 p.m.

One change begets a shift, then other elements rearrange themselves and months later you’re looking back feeling…

Spunky

Alert

Compassionate

Lean

One small change I’ve made recently has brought me to near bliss, even during this time of coronavirus lockdown. Even though we’re battling to keep our art gallery alive.

Normally I meditate at night just before sleep. Often throwing in some daydreamy visualization.

Once this crisis hit I realized I needed connection often — with others for sure — but most importantly with a more expansive spirit within myself.

I started connecting three times a day. Upon waking. Sometime in the middle of the day. Then just before nodding off.

These thrice-a-day connections take several forms: Reading something spiritual, reviewing a list of intentions, meditation, appreciation, yoga nidra, praying for someone, and other go-to forms of connection.

The morning and afternoon sessions take 5 to 10 minutes each at most. Hardly schedule upsetting.

It feels so good I’ve found myself taking up to 5 or 6 mini-connection breaks some days!

I feel surprisingly calm and powerful for someone losing thousands of dollars a week.

Because when you connect — often — you know change is a-coming. You know the stream flows in your favor. You know circumstances bend in your direction.

All it takes is one small change–

. . . . .

You don’t need a makeover —
just change one thing —
it will all shift

#NotesForCreators



For insights and stories on the connected creative life, check out these bookitos:

The Creative Morning Challenge

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

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.

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Truth is a thermostat (but we live a thermometer life)

Sometimes someone says something in such a fresh way it shifts your paradigm. Lisa Nicols of The Secret fame did that for me here.

At the bottom you can follow the link over to the full interview. It’s worth it:

Truth is non negotiable. Truth is a thermostat, but we live a thermometer life.

We check our truth based on what’s going on in our life – based on our bank account balance, on the relationship we are in, on our weight.

But the truth says, “Hold on! I didn’t ask you to check your environment. I asked you to adjust the environment to match your truth, not the other way around.”

~ Lisa Nichols in an interview by Katy Koontz for Unity Magazine




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The creation frequency

If, instead of taking, you start giving — be it money, time, work, or simply love, availability, and attention — you may notice a surprising result, that you start filling up.

This is sometimes called “the law of reciprocity,” and I believe it’s as much a part of how our Universe works as the law of gravity.

It simply states that what you freely give, with a loving heart, comes back to you, multiplied.

The Creation Frequency by Mike Murphy

Wayne Dyer was saying something similar in his final decade — his interpretation of what in our era is called The Law of Attraction — that what you create and give and put out will come back to you many times.

Also from The Creation Frequency:

“Give love, give kindness, give a smile, or simply give your attention.”

Once you get on a contribution frequency, you are in creation mode! You are expressing at the highest levels.

At its simplest, the creation frequency is giving.

There’s a palpable echo effect — one that you can feel. And witness unfold in front of you.

Contribution has an element of affection embedded within it. Life becomes a magnificent echo chamber, where what you affectionately put out into the world re-creates in your experience.

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Don’t drag 2019’s sorry-ass projects into 2020

I know it’s an arbitrary designation in space-time — still — I’m using it as a psychological slingshot, the way astrophysicists use the gravitational pull of a moon or planet to propel spacecraft into a new trajectory. With minimal energy and maximal thrust.

You’ve got two days. Today and tomorrow. The rest of this week if you want to consider this upcoming first weekend of 2020 as part of your slingshot effect.

You can use the New Year to transform your environment.

Consider a 2019 Purge: Cleaning up, clearing out, laying waste to small and large projects that have besmirched your work space and living space with their staying power.

I thank my weekly accountability partner Brian Reekers for this idea. A week or so ago when we were contemplating our next year he suggested a purge of the stuff that’s been holding us back.

Why enter 2020 hobbled by the crap you haven’t dealt with?

I’ve already purged a bookcase lining our dining area wall. It’s zen again!

Same with dead and broken paintings, no-longer-useful shelving units, dried-up paint, and years of Ann’s art studio castoffs. Gone, baby, gone —

Today I launch again into that pile of paperwork mocking me from a corner of my home office desk.

2020 — I want to come to you clean and limber and free.

Won’t you join me?

Clutter is a psychic drag. Unfinished projects are a kind of karmic debt sucking up mental resources. Give in to your urge to purge —

Let’s enter the New Year like newborn babes, utterly transfixed with what’s before us, unhampered by what came before.

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Forget finding your calling, follow what’s surfacing

Too many of us crave a mythical calling when all we really need is to pay attention to what is emerging. And get more curious about that….

If you’re frustrated with the idea of finding your calling, follow what is surfacing.

The biggest open secret among connected creatives is not that they necessarily had an epiphany at age eight about what they wanted to do with their lives, it’s that they stepped bit by bit into activities that called to them.

There’s a difference there — a calling, a life mission, only comes to a few. But following where you’re called from where you’re at — that’s available to us all.

When I talk to creative individuals so very few have lived a straight-arrow line to their ideal way of life. Instead, being flexible enough to follow pathways that pique your interest even if you don’t know where they lead — that’s the zesty sauce for fulfillment.

Young Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class. Later this influenced the elegance and design of the Apple interface.

If only he’d also enrolled in a non-abusive communications class.

I bought a computer before anyone I knew had a computer. It had no hard drive. I had to code basic formatting we take for granted today — bold, italics, indents.

I bought it for writing — to this day still the most expensive writing tool I’ve ever invested in. Yet it opened up a wondrous world to me that remained closed for others too long.

I was intrigued by how computers could make things simpler. When I found myself moving into the graphic design world — following an interest in the department next door — I rapidly moved up the ranks because many designers at the time were daunted by computers.

Imagine that.

Today you can’t shake a designer loose from their device. Then, it took an outsider to help ease the way into the digital domain.

I write this because I speak to so many who are horrified they don’t know their calling. From their twenties to their sixties, people of all ages are frozen by this cultural notion that we must follow our calling.

Like computers at their best, it’s simple — you don’t need a calling, just put your energy into what’s surfacing in front of you.

What’s intriguing you?

That’s all you need to know.

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An unexpected answer from the latest Q&A

Each newsletter I send out ends with a question. Sometimes the question is lighthearted — sometimes personal in nature — sometimes meant to spur thought into your creative process — sometimes intended to suss out what is meaningful to you…

This question months ago generated by far the most responses:

Which superhero or animated character would you choose as your Spirit Guide?

Go figure.

But what fun it was chatting back and forth in a flurry of emails with readers about their choices.

Though the answers are meant for personal consideration, I do suggest that anyone who wishes to share their answer with me simply reply to the newsletter.

I’m grateful for all of you who’ve done so!

You are such a thoughtful, diverse and quirky bunch — your responses over time have tickled me to laughter, provoked me to deeper thought on an issue, and in general made me proud to be a small part of your lives.

Last night author Cynthia MacGregor touched me with her unexpected answer to the most recent question. (She’s written more than a 100 books — ! — you can check her out here.)

Here’s the question from the latest eletter, followed by Cynthia’s answer:

Who do you really enjoy hanging out with — and why?

While I could name a number of people I enjoy the company of, I really enjoy hanging out with myself, getting into my own head, creating, planning, creatively daydreaming, and working away at this blessed computer.

I spend more of my time in solitude than not, usually working. Most of the time, my significant other is in the next room, but he is doing his own thing and leaving me to my own devices.

I enjoy my own company, maybe because I have reached the stage in which I have become a person I truly like and admire. It took time, much time, but with thanks to our omnipotent Creator and Source I have gotten there.

By the way, if you have not yet joined the Reader Circle elist, it’s an easy signup. See below….

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Note: Supersize it

Hey — that’s simple enough, right?

You know exactly which way it needs to be enlarged.

You know precisely where exercising more compassion in your life would work wonders.

For someone else.

(And you too, silly.)

. . . . .

Supersize it —
your heart

#NotesForCreators



For insights and stories on the connected creative life, check out these bookitos:

The Creative Morning Challenge

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

.

.

.

Share

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
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An answer to ‘What helps you see in the dark?’

In my latest Reader Circle eletter, I riffed off this Stephen Tobolowski quote:

A philosophy is only useful if it helps you see in the dark.

At the end of the eletter I asked: What helps you see in the dark?

Artist Dorrie Koller sent a reply I have to share with you — with her permission of course:


I have been in places so dark it would make black jealous. The only thing that has ever given me sight is gratitude.

Gratitude has never failed me. It has enabled me to forgive that which is unforgivable. Accept that which is unacceptable. And love that which is unloveable.

Gratitude has let me take myself off the hook and everyone else too! It helps me see how everything in my life, good and what we call bad, has all worked to create this special person that I call me.

It helps me fall in love again and again with my life, past, present, and future. It puts heaven right here and the miracles right in my own hands!

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14. One-minute weights

Is this the easy workout you’ve been pining for?

Ahhh, the One-Minute Workout … where have you been my whole life?

For Week 13 of My Year of Micro Experiments I wanted to get back to micro. Really micro. So small an effort you could stumble through it.

I’m in my fifties — my transcendent fab fifties, thank you very much. Recently I read a summary of a health study causing me to reconsider my decades-long aversion to strength training — and weights in particular.

The study noted that building up musculature before your mid-60s is highly beneficial for older age. Not even just beneficial, damn near mandatory if you want people remarking on your extraordinary septuagenarian vitality.

Translation: Build up now or suffer through your sixties and seventies. And whatever comes after that.

So, essentially getting buff in your middle years helps maintain muscle and bone vitality in your later years. If you start late — as my Dad did, after a life of excess it should be noted — it can be near impossible to build up the muscle mass you want to propel you into your senior years.

Usually I clock between 5 and 7 hours of exercise a week — most often walking with weighted poles, some yoga, yardwork, swimming and biking too depending upon the season.

And loooooooooove. I mention it at the risk of grossing you out cuz it’s heart healthy.

In one of my first weekly micro challenges I tried bonding with my teenage son over strength training. It was a soaring failure — like two dudes going for a high five and missing completely, wiffling air.

In my case it was one dude going for the high five of bonding over weight workouts, but my son was having none of it.

You can read about it here.

Because of this Year of Micro Challenges, I’ve picked up books extolling incremental change. On kaizen (small constant improvements). On trying one thing different.

They all scream the same message — words on the page get loud when they drumbeat the same mantra: Start so small it seems ineffective, laughable even.

The gist of incremental improvement is this: Tackle a thing in such a minute way you can’t say no to it.

In One Small Step Can Change Your Life, Dr. Robert Maurer gives this example. An overweight woman with all kinds of bad health markers — raising three kids by herself — is told to take up an exercise program.

As the nurse is talking to this single working mom, Dr. Maurer spies the despair in her eyes, One more effing thing to do in an already overwhelmed life!

He quickly intervened. His challenge to her:

To stand up for one minute while watching TV.

That was her homework. Just stand up for one minute.

At her next visit he added that she should move her arms and torso a bit.

Then he added another minute. In a few weeks she started marching in front of the TV.

Over weeks and months more minutes were added — until something magical happened.

She started exercising on her own! Quite apart from watching TV.

Weight came off. Cardiovascular metrics improved. Hell, she improved her diet, which kicked the virtuous cycle into high gear.

All because from her initial state of fatigue and overwhelm and obesity she was given the tiniest challenge possible.

Stand for one minute while watching TV.

Something she could win at.

Notching wins for a minute a day lead to 2 minutes a day then 3.

In that spirit, I challenged myself to 1 minute a day weights.

We’d already set up a small gym space for our son. All I had to do was to step in for a minute a day … success!

Or so you’d think.

But I missed the first couple of days.

I forgot Rule Numero Uno for adding in a new habit — tie it to something you already do.

I vacuum virtually every night — two dogs and an active semi-rural household, yech, you’d vacuum nightly too. In fact, you’d probably hire a nightly cleaning crew, clean freak.

As soon as I tethered my one-minute weight workout to the end of my vacuuming, it locked right in.

The rest of the week went well.

When I attempted working out with my son, I’d found a system called Push Pull Legs — one day you do exercises that require pushing — like pushups! The next session you do Pull — like pullups! Followed by leg work.

I adopted this pattern so I didn’t even need to think when I waltzed in for my magic minute.

(There will be no Before and After photos, so don’t pester me for them — there’s not much After to crow about one minute a day.)

Though the final 5 days went well, I sucked in subsequent weeks once my focus shifted to other areas.

Interesting, now that I’m writing about this many weeks later I’m picking up speed again. Not because I’m writing about weights, but only because in weirdly synchronous timing I’d built short-episode strength training back into my evenings recently.

The Takeaway: If you’re having trouble inserting a new regimen into your days, take the easiest path imaginable — start that thing for one minute daily.

(And make sure to tie it to something you already do!)

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