Building Castles

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Castle in the Clouds by KatieRuckerArtwork

 

  • Work Hard.
  • Do what you love.
  • Leave every place and person better than when you found them.
  • We are all in this life together, moving toward the same end.

These are my values. The four pillars that hold everything else up. I assume I get them in part from my parents although they were just among the few who raised me. Countless teamsters, carpenters, wardrobe supervisors, chorus girls, production assistants, Sandra, and Unca Mark make up some of the village that raised me. The patchwork of ethics, values and morals is very … colorful. I certainly learned that people and life are kaleidoscope early.

A friend of mine always jokes that she will never play poker with me, having been taught by a teamster in Boston, it’s probably wise. There was a wealth of perspectives, values and prejudices to choose from to be sure. The 12 step tenant “Take what you like and leave the rest” has definitely been something I used to full effect. Those pillars above are what the spinner of life seems to have left as the remaining absolute truths by which I guide all my actions and build all my castles.

Working hard is what I do. I work on myself, work on my business, work at my relationships and work to try and make this world a better place. I love working hard.. In fact one of my favorite projects was re-landscaping my father’s property and doing 90% of the labor on my own. That was extremely satisfying. My Grandfather blames our work ethic on being Irish. I’m not sure.. although we are Irish. When everything starts to fall apart, my go to self help mantra is “Get back to work”. It always seems to pull me out of whatever tailspin I was starting.

Seth Godin has a good posting about this : “When you find a trick, a shortcut, a hack that gets you from here to there without a lot of sweat or risk, it’s really quite rewarding. So much so that many successful people are hooked on the trick, always looking for the next one. … There’s a meta-trick that’s far more reliable. One that works over time and doesn’t depend on avoiding being out-tricked: Make great stuff. Satisfy needs. Do the hard work that leads to growth which leads to investment on its own merit. It turns out that the trick-free approach is the best trick of all.” @thisissethsblog (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/09/looking-for-the-trick.html)

Lucky for me I have built a business doing what I love to do. My dad has often said, “Do what you love and hire others to do the same.” I’ve always liked that quote. Some people love book keeping. I Know right?!? But it’s true, so why take that position away from them? “Work” is not a chore for me. This is where some people get caught up.

Work does not need to be a chore, but work is work and sometimes it is not fun. If what you have is a J-O-B and you are not doing what you love or even like then get out. There are literally thousands of options of what to be and do.. So go find it. Working hard at something you love is a gift.

The other two are the intent by which I enter every interaction. I am a populist at heart and believe deeply we have an obligation to do better in every way than our parents and ancestors. My husband and I tease our son that as long as he is talking about different things than we did in therapy, we did our job right. Everyday building on what came before us and moving toward a better world and culture, with big and small actions, is ultimately why we are all here.

  • Work Hard.
  • Do what you love.
  • Leave every place and person better than when you found them.
  • We are all in this life together, moving toward the same end.

What are your pillars? How do they manifest in your life?

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Hospitality

Lessons from the Edge

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Balancing emotional connections and measurable results in your events.

Something that is being lost in the top “whatever” lists, shortcut tips and the motivation to measure every outcome is that we as event professionals are HOSTS. Yes, I said it. We host events above manage, produce or coordinate. Our field of study is in the school of Hospitality after all.

The participants are our guests and it is our primary job to provide them with not only a measurable experience, but as Andrea Driessen (@nomoreboring) says, a meaningful and memorable experience.

The more the event environment is one of inclusiveness and comfort for guests the more they will be able to absorb the purpose and content of the meeting or conference. Your audience has taken time out of their busy lives, away from familiar comforts and family. This is especially true of those meetings that are required of them like sales meetings. Hotels and other venues are often labyrinth like and alien. Coworkers are not usually the preferred “hang-out buddy” and often there are large numbers of strangers. An uneasiness is natural. It has to be our priority to anticipate and have everything in place to help reduce or eliminate this.

Take a page out of the Ritz-Carlton’s Gold Standard as a place to start:

Three Steps Of Service

  1. A warm and sincere greeting.
    1. This is not only a greeter at the door, think bigger than that.
  2. Use the guest’s name. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs.
    1. Personalized materials, noted room preferences, meal requirements etc. go a long way.
  3. Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the guest’s name.
    1. Again, go bigger than just a greeter at the exit.

“They (Ritz Carlton) understand that relationships precede financial results and rely on a robust data set that demonstrates the impact engaged employees and repeat customers have on the bottom line.” – Ryan Estis (@RyanEstis)

For more on the Ritz’s standards – http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/about/gold-standards

Bottom Line:

Guests who leave a meeting feeling cared for, inspired and valued will return next year gladly and tell their friends. That’s something you can measure!

Diagnosis:

10433075_10152527244942049_7538247378482333601_nIt was 1980. I was just turning 8 years old. I could not read, write or do any arithmetic. No, I was not an orphan or growing up in the developing world … It was the Upper West Side of NYC and my parents are creative entertainment professionals – we had a nice middle class life.

My Montessori school teachers, sweet as they were, missed all the cues and I was very creative in my answers. Fooling them was easy. I would even sit in the “Reading Area” for the free periods and mimic all the other kids reading. I was not reading. I was looking at the pictures and gleaning the stories from the adventurous illustrations of Dick and Jane. Lucky for me there weren’t any math quizzes.

Enter 3rd grade.

This meant a new school and books without pictures. I was screwed.

There was a test called the ERB which was the key to a shiny new school, but the test was opaque. There were no pictures, just a mess of black symbols and a pretty pink slip with lots of bubbles on it. We were instructed to fill in the bubbles with our new #2 pencils. The prompter read some of the questions aloud. “Ms. Chapman please stand up. How do you spell People?” I was stunned. Everyone was looking at me. My palms went clammy. What should I say? .. the truth.. “Miss, I don’t know enough people to be able to spell them for you” and I sat down quickly feeling proud of myself until I saw her frowning face. That was not the answer. She thought I was being obstreperous. What she did not know is, I genuinely did not understand her question, I thought she wanted me to explain people to her. It was such a fancy test after all.

The real truth is I could not have spelled out the letters P-E-O-P-L-E with a gun to my head. I had only just learned to spell “Friday” and was still pretty pumped about it. Why couldn’t she have asked me about that?

My new school was torture. I did not understand the other kids and they did not understand me. My classes were opaque, confusing and frustrating. I kept hearing about my potential, intelligence, verbal skills and precociousness .. but I was failing badly. The adults faces would always go grey and sour when talking about my school performance.. I knew something was wrong. I knew something was wrong with me.

What came next was a wash of testing. My memory of this is like a photo montage in a movie.. There were hearing tests, vision tests, physicals, neurological tests and IQ tests with blocks. My parents did not inform me what all the fuss was about, so I went through thinking that maybe all kids got to do this. You know what?  I am not “retarded” or as we would say in today’s terms “On the spectrum”

A brand new diagnosis had emerged in mainstream called Dyslexia.

Here is the official definition:

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

The short of it: trouble reading, writing and learning math. Other symptoms include having no sense of direction or time and trouble learning a foreign language. The upside? Creative out of the box thinking.

I often joke that English is not my first language, Dyslexia is, so learning a third like French, chemistry or math is really too much to ask.

Anyway, since it was so new, getting help was not easy or cheap. I was promptly asked to re-do third grade. A huge blow to my confidence and in my mind rendering anyone who ever commented on how smart I was as a liar and moron. What good was being smart? A cascade of tutors and therapists followed. I think at one time I had tutoring three times and therapy once a week. One of my tutors was in this really bad part of town (Chelsea in 1981 was not pretty) and her house smelled like cats.. Another would act books out with me using Smurfs, that if I completed my reading, I would get to keep. (Remind me to tell you the Othello story) I hated going to them, but without them and their infinite patience I would never had made it through school or found my way into Milan Kundera’s beautiful novels.

Eventually I got the hang of it and went on to Bennington College and The American University in Paris. Turns out doing school is building a series of habits, like everything else. Reading is still slow, math is for calculators and my fabulous book keeper.. writing requires drafts and thank god for Siri for everything else.

The biggest advantages Dyslexia gives you are profound coping mechanisms and solutions for everything in daily life. My son said to me the other day, “Mom, you are really good at this adult stuff.” I credit my Dyslexia, at least in part, for that and I am grateful.
#Dyslexia #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth #BenningtonCollege #Adulting #Education #LearningDisabled #Neurodiversity

Existential Morning

 

Finding your authentic self. That is the key to any happiness. Honoring it and being brave enough to live in that space is the ultimate goal. That could look like anything and if you are in that space then there is no comparison to celebrity or the Joneses that matters.

After the milestones and life’s to do list, what do you have left? The parties, birthdays, successful interviews, deaths, divorces, the 4441155157_3d7449b5c7_o-670x496whirlwind of updates and posts.. What are you left with? Trimmings don’t make the meal.

With infinite possibilities for direction and distraction comes infinite confusion, stress and anxiety. For the inner self the world was easier and a better place when it was small. People knew their futures and where they fit or not. Even if they chose to rebel against it, at least they had a boundary to push against.

This is the modern depression. This is the modern quest for self, true self, not a rented self.. The space that you find deep in your heart where you feel like you did before all the noise started pouring in. The “you have to be pretty”, “you have to be strong”, “you have to be rich”.. All those messages, not just from the world, but from your parents molding you in their own image. The self without labels.

Who am I? This existential quest is more acute now than ever. Couched as “your personal brand” can only come from really understanding who you are and why. Although the marketing lingo sounds trite and frivolous, the heart of it is important. If as a culture and species we are to thrive in this brave new noisy world, finding that inner compass is essential. Ownership of your identity and self is essential.

Every book on business development, marketing, and self help… any book written with an eye towards bettering the person reading it in the last ten years, has at least a chapter in this vein. It is clearly a need that is basic and pervasive. This is only going to increase as Millennials begin their searches after a lifetime of being lorded over by helicopter parenting.

I would have to say that since high school these have been the questions I have asked myself:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I love to do?
  • What is important to me?

Lately I have started ask myself why.

  • Why is producing events so attractive to me?
  • Why do I love production so much?
  • Why is supporting advocacy and equality so important to me?

Unpacking the “Whats” is my current stage of self understanding. I have a pretty good idea of the things I am good at. Some of them are marketable, like my organizational skills, ability to listen and lead a team and some are not like cracking myself up or hanging out.

For a long time I just accepted what is and what was. Maybe it’s a result of being a child of a crazy household, having to just accept the state of things and go from there. It became habit not to look too closely or dig into why things were the way they were because ultimately it did not matter why.

Now, I want to understand how I got here and pull apart the details of why. It’s important to me as my son is getting ready to take flight and I get my life back to understand myself and how I can contribute to the world around me in a meaningful way. Building this new habit and “personal brand” will take some discipline and some courage.

“The authentic self is the soul made visible” Unknown

I am up for it.

 

Related questions that I ponder:

  • Will Millennials ever be able to find themselves having had their helicopter parents in their hair since birth?
  • What are the cultural ramifications of a generation that has no self ownership?
  • What role does religion and God play in the search for self and is the modern absents of those things contribute to the cultural existential crisis?

 

#PersonalBrand #SelfOwnership #Identity

Trust

ArchangleStMichaelTrust  – A big issue for most people.

Personal trust; trusting that you are good at what you do, that you are likable, that people feel about you the way they say they do and that the people you trust will be loyal.

Professional trust, that the person you have hired will do the job they were given, that it will get done well and with care. After all you are paying for that trust.. It’s also, your partner really having your back and advocating for the good of you and the business.

The two are not exclusive but both are necessary to being happy and successful.

I had an instance where a colleague, a partner really, did not come through for me. I know he was having a hard time personally and we had been working together for a while so I cut him some slack. It completely backfired on me. He did not pull it together and a lot of the job was wrong and unusable. He really screwed me. I know it’s business, so feelings need to be somewhat removed but I had known the guy since the 90s and I felt totally betrayed.

The job was headed south from the beginning. Late samples, like the pitch meeting was half over when the materials arrived late, no real bid – ever, just the bill at the end, no proofs – not one and then there were the misprints and material failures. Now, I am slow to being a bitch, it’s to my detriment often and my fault I did not start pitching a fit sooner. It’s not my style and honestly, if I have hired you to do a job, then I expect the job to be done. I am not your mother, why do I have to yell or get pissed off? In the end I think it has saved me future jobs with him with similar outcomes. Needless to say my client never wants to hear the name of that company again… and it makes me a bit sad, but I am very happy to be working with people that for the moment I trust.

Now, the poor fellow who is the replacement is under a microscope. I did warn him I have a bit of PTSD with this project, so he just needs to budget in some “client be crazy” time.. We’ll see this week what that line item looks like.

In the personal arena, my dear talent and kind husband doubts it whenever anyone expresses that they like him. Me included, I think.. It effects his friendship, but most notably with his casual friends or  acquaintances. Most recently his relationships at work. The only thing you have to go on in these cases is what people tell you.. and if they call you in to work. These employers do both, they tell him they really like having him there and they call him all the time. It’s not a world you want to get too comfortable, we get that, but by all accounts, they like him. Learning to trust that is another matter.

Bye for now. Thank you

The Outgoing Introvert:

Have you ever noticed how numbers are then same in almost every western language. I guess in the eastern languages they are different, but in most of the ancient ones they are very similar, even if in sound only, including the Gaelic I have been using. Another clear link to our sameness.

The Outgoing Introvert: An outgoing introvert is able to relate to other people easily, but needs to be alone in order to recharge and feel better.

It’s a term that has been popping up in my sphere for the last week.. I think finally I have found a term that fits me. I have often joked that I would be very happy on a deserted island and my friends all look at me like I am nuts, “No way, you love talking to people, you are so social.” Not really true. I am fascinated by peoples motivations.. not the person themselves necessarily and honestly the quiet life is or me. I have an internal struggle between having a basic mistrust of humanity and on an individual level feeling very comfortable talking to anyone. I know that on a moments notice a crowd of people can and will turn into a murderous mob. While I also trust that a friend will do whatever they can to help, if asked. I know that I need people, that is how we run business, how we do anything in the socialized world and so I try and collect people who are excellent and understand sometimes I need to disappear for a few days.

I had a friend once who could not handle it at all. He would berate me and get incredibly angry with me, “But I needed you!” ..  The need was more to spend endless hours on the phone talking about other people I did not know or care about and bitch about how “hard” life is. Spending hours on the phone is torture. That said I always felt guilty I couldn’t be the friend he wanted me t be. So we parted ways.

The other part that I was relieved to read is some of us have some social awkwardness that I have always felt.. my friends always tell me I am over analyzing it and that we are all awkward. The TED talk on shame really illuminated that at least I am not crazy and that we do all have some issues with social grace.

I know that I am a bit “different” in my approach, but I am learning to embrace it. I decide to be friends with someone and then, maybe slightly aggressively, pursue them. Sometimes it works out. It is not a sexual thing at all, I have a husband that I love. It is more I will meet someone that I actually like genuinely (not that common an occurrence) and I do what I can to bring them into my life. As an adult there are not a lot of places to “make friends”. I just insist on making those shared experiences that are at the foundation of friendship one meal and coffee at a time. It has worked out great in a few cases. In others it became clear that there was a reason our paths don’t cross. I blame my picker on those.. in those cases I didn’t pick people who are good for me to be around in the long run. Those that worked, make the others worth it.

I also deeply believe that people come into our lives to teach us things. When the lesson is complete, those people go.

If you are like me this is a great article: Thought Catalog

This one is my favorite – 8. You’re accused of being flirty with everybody, which is hilarious, because in reality, you can only tolerate like four people.

After years of therapy, I finally realized that my Dad is an introvert and that is why he is so socially adversent, despite being very graceful and why, yes, he drank so much. The shyness is just too much for him and the alcohol was his medicine to get through it. He now lives by himself, gleefully, and spends most of his days alone, very happily. He is a golfer, so he gets to go be among people, but not really need to interact except with those few he chooses to play a round with.

I finally get it and I realized that he and I are even more alike than I thought.

Bye for now. Thank you

Shaking the tree

It’s the people you meet along the way that help keep you going. Sometimes it is someone who you don’t even really know, but you admire that inspires you to keep at it. To keep chipping away and shaking the tree.

Today I am having lunch with an executive who I had the great pleasure of working with a few times and have made a point to saying in touch with. He is exceptionally busy so a social life is not high on is list, and keeping the connection alive has been almost entirely on me. My commitment to maintaining a relationship is almost entirely selfish. I want to absorb his style of professionalism. Having working with hundreds of bosses and executives, this one seems to have found the right proportion of authority, kindness and collaborative spirit that I would like to emulate more of. In the meetings I have been in with him, there is no question as to his alpha-ness and so he then has room to really listen and get consensus. Some of that is title and experience, but it is also his method of management. So, I want to be his friend and learn from him.

Now, maintaining a strictly platonic connection with a man, as a woman, outside of the normal flow of life is tricky. We do not work at the same place, we do not do the same thing, he is a carrier executive, I am a career entrepreneur.. we do not live in the same city – our kids do not go to the same schools. In fact his kids. I am sure, are grown-ups. You see what I mean.

The boundaries are clear, but anytime a woman pushes for a friendship of any kind it is considered flirting. While he is attractive, that is not the intended outcome. Even big A joked last night when my new friend reached out, “Don’t go to his hotel room.” Duh! Not a joke and not funny. Would he have said that to another man?

So a quick lunch before he runs back to airport it is.

In the book I am reading, the author is talking about the peoplConfucius03e who populate your life and influence you. She writes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This really stuck with me. I had always heard the Confucius statement on this, “you are judged by the company you keep”, but that has more to do with the external world.. This new one has more to do with your influencers.. and it caught me. Who are the five people I spend most of my time with? My son, my husband, my friend and GM, … then it trails off pretty quickly. I need more people in my life who are closer to what I do. Some of it is being busy and my friends, who do other things, are busy, doing other things. We txt and occasionally find a moment to get together and catch-up, but to say they are present in my day to day is not really true.

I joined a book club for female entrepreneurs, I reached out to my executive and will take it from there.
You climb a mountain one step at a time.

Bye for now. Thank you

 

5:30am

10418388_10152943895882049_2928323422252169225_n5:30am is in that wonderful pocket of time when the city is still sleeping and all is quiet. There is a lightness to the air and you can almost smell dawn coming. I love this time in the morning. It has been described as the lowest hour, when everything is still and quiet. When I was working in film we would often either be just getting to work now or finishing, depending on the time in the week and I always loved the way the city felt at this time. It made the agony of getting up worth it.

Why am I awake now today? Lists … my mind was on a loop of things that need doing, so I decided just to get up. Even our dog, Edi, is still asleep..

Lists and lists, personal and professional, current and future, short term and long term, they like to start presenting themselves usually about 4:30am and like today sometimes I just give up and get up.

When I get like this I try and steer my mind to a gratitude list. That usually helps. It usually goes something like this:

  • I am grateful for my health.
  • I am grateful for my beautiful, smart and funny son.
  • I am grateful for my accepting and loving husband.
  • I am grateful for my goofy and loyal dog.
  • I am grateful for the support and love of my friends.
  • I am grateful for the roof over my head.
  • I am grateful for the food in my fridge and the money in the bank.
  • I am grateful to do what I love to do and get paid for it.

and so on .. like counting sheep sometimes I can even get back to sleep. Not today though.

Work keeps creeping back in. Emails I need to send, conversations I need to have and/or start.. The short of it is I need an assistant. I think I will start looking for one next week.

Asking for help is still not a strong skill of mine. Being a latchkey only child, fending for myself is what I do. It’s what I have always done. To add, when I was a kid and would ask for help, my mother’s response was often,”figure it out, no one likes a helpless person” and from the other side was a resounding “Yes” and then nothing would happen or they would disappear. I would end up figuring it out on my own anyway. It is not the best way to do anything and the more work we get, the more I would like to delegate. The desire is there.. now to find someone, and then, drum roll please, trust them to get it done.

Holding peoples feet to the fire, as it were, to me is crazy. I am not their mother, if they are getting paid to do a job, then DO the job, do it well and on time. I have been burned pretty badly by a couple of people who were supposed to be supporting me and getting shit done, and they totally did not do what they were supposed to. My piece is I should have been more on them and bitchier, but that’s not fun or what I want either. It’s the part of “manager” that sucks and to be honest a little confusing to me.

I am too understanding and supportive as a boss. Sounds good right? It’s actually a problem. Working should be fun. Fun means working with friends. I am learning that actually, being a boss and being a friend can’t necessarily occupy the same space. Knowing this, and knowing I need to be tougher does not help my anxiety around getting more help.

Not to mention more assistants means actually, more work. It’s just different work than the making of the spreadsheet.. It’s managing the making of the spreadsheet and making sure they produce a spreadsheet everyone will understand, including me… sigh.. round and round

Back to my lists –

  • Email Client #1
  • Email Client #2
  • Laundry
  • Grocery Store
  • Get Demo of Project Management Software
  • Social Media Posting
  • Touch base with partner of that other project
  • Track down payments

Bye for now. Thank you

Pinstripe at the ready

Hello,

Shaking the money tree is not only fun but damn hard work. I am very tired this morning.

I landed an interview/meeting with an agency I have long admired. BKA is a mid to large sized events agency in midtown that has always, to me, seemed like where the cool kids work. After about a year or two of following them on Twitter, Linked-In and other outlets,  I have enjoyed their posts and comments. I also would look at the profiles of their executives on linked-in, one looked back. I saw him on my “Viewer” list and I reached out. He also got his start in life as a film person, so I felt I could mine a connection there.

The irony here, I was not really looking for work (although I am always on the look out for work opportunities. Loving what I do and loving to work, I’m like junky always on hunt for my next hit.) I am always looking for good events people and this person was obviously that, so I instead invited him to send me a resume, but if BKA was ever looking for freelancers, then I would LOVE to “partner” with them. A handful of emails later and POW I am meeting with them on Friday.

Hair appointment made and Pinstripe is at the ready.

After talking yesterday about fear, today’s writing is the result of going for it and being fearless – following your own drum and having faith that people are generally good.

I have the most trouble with the last statement there.. people in my experience run the gamut. Being an outgoing introvert is, umm a challenge. The Manic-depressive feelings it brings are frustrating.. and learning to pace myself with my exposure to people has been key. Like everyone knows that the holidays are going to be gluttonous, I know that a big job is going to require being immersed in people and their personalities. So in the run up, I stay as solitary as possible. Luckily my husband and son don’t factor in as “people”. They are like my batteries, recharging me and my faith. If there is no plan, eventually I kind of overload and have to literally disappear  for a day or two(if you are an introvert, you know what I am talking about).. not good in a freelance, people driven business. Ah, the situations we put ourselves in to teach us to cope. The subconscious and the Universe definitely have a sense of humor.

Have to go for now. Thank you

 

Staying coachable

Morning,

Staying coachable is something you hear a lot in the self help books, talks, conferences and sales meetings. It’s a quality that managers are looking for and it is a good thing to be. It goes way beyond just a specific task or job.

I have often longed for, but never found a mentor. It a seems like that would be a great thing to have. Someone to guide you, help you through without re-inventing the wheel all the time and someone who you could really turn to when things got confusing and hard and say, “Is it me?” and get a straight, hard answer. This is my fantasy of what a mentor relationship would looking like, mostly pieced together from the movies. Big A suggested that some people just are not cut out for mentoring and there for don’t every really find one. Don’t get me wrong, I have great friends who I lean on and get advice from, and they are incredibly helpful on a host of levels. I would be sunk without them, truly. They are involved in my life in a very mixed way. My fantasy mentor is much more objective and in some ways more blunt than a friend could ever be.

There are places you can go to hire mentors and coaches. I am sure that some of them are very good. I wonder though does this become the focus, getting coached, instead of just learning the lessons presented to you.

Life is a great teacher. In the absents of a single mentor I have always tried to stay reflective and analytical about my experiences and then adjust my actions and sometimes even my course. Most things I do, I keep and eye out for what works and what does not. I get feedback from the other people involved. Looking at the big picture and ask, “Is this worth it, am I getting to where I want to be?” Reviewing the smaller momentary interactions, to the actual tasks that needed to get done and done well. I think I “post mortem” just about everything in my life, to a fault sometimes. Every opportunity and action is a learning opportunity, not just intellectually but personally too. This is not to say there are not themes that circle around and come back more often than I would like but, even those are the opportunity of, “Ugh.. got to learn that one better, obviously.”

My discovery has been that if you feel your life is moving in an upward spiral or like a stream, that there is advancement and evolution of any kind, then you are winning. This is not measured against anyone else’s evolution or path, but what you know about yourself without the noise. Heraclitus affirmed that you can never step into the same river twice. It is still a river. It still flows. You are still experiencing it at the same location and vista, but the river has evolved. Be the river.

The great barrier to life is fear. Fear stops everything. All thought, all creativity, all evolution, all feeling and nothing can grow. It is arid and barren.

6bc1855315eb3b59466821caaddd28e1Another quote I like a lot is, “Fear is excitement without breath.” I like this as an idea. This is true when you are talking about walking into a new situation or a job interview, but I am talking about the fear that keeps you from making the changes, seeing the lessons that you need to grow and do to find happiness. I often visualize that I am in a boxing ring with Fear. He has red satin shorts and a Mexican devil mask. Yes, he hits hard and sometimes, even though it’s my visualization.. he knocks me out and sometimes that is just what I need to get me mad enough to snap out of it. Anger is the other side of fear. If you can get there, that is easier to use as motivation. (Some people say sadness is the other side of fear.. I say take your pansy ass back to hippyland and get outa my face.) The idea is to get on with it anyway way you can. Staying in that pool will not lead to anything good.

A dear friend of mine is stuck and in a cycle of fear, shame and doubt. I wish for them something to knock them out of it and start something new or a new way. Something…

Be the river..

ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμβαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ.
Potamoisi toisin autoisin embainousin, hetera kai hetera hudata epirrei
“Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.”

Bye for now. Thank you