Full Moon In Capricorn tomorrow

I don’t usually pay too much attention to lunar cycles, but this caught my eye because, 1) I am a Capricorn, and 2) tomorrow is July 1st and I am devoting the entire month to finishing my book.

Initially, I scheduled vacations and weekends off from writing, but I realized that I don’t have the time to take off. It’s going to be a push to get it all written in a month. I want all the writing  done by July 31st, which, crazily enough, will feature yet another full moon. The second full moon in  a month is called a Blue Moon. How auspicious is that, right?

Check out the following elephant journal article about what this full moon means:

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/full-moon-in-capricorn-get-ready-for-fireworks/

Today I was working on the structure of the book and I have always known certain things.

First: It is going to be a short book. Really short.  It is tentatively called Living a Project Driven Life and I am modeling it on Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist. There won’t be the graphical features of Kleon’s book because I’m not graphical like that, but it will be a small book, with the content chunked out in sections rather than chapters.

If you are a writer, you will sympathize with how difficult it is to write  “short,” meaning, with economy and precision.

“I have made this longer than usual because I have not had  time to make it shorter.” ~Blais Pascal

That’s mainly why I resist my work so much.

I have also made the decision to to write my book here , in this blog, in a series of posts over the next 31 days.  I have already written some posts that I have scattered here and there throughout this blog that are sections of this book,  but starting tomorrow, I am going to see if I can chunk out 300 word sections and post them here. Since I already have the daily posting momentum going, it will be easy just to post what I have worked on all morning and not have to think of alternate content every day.

What this means for you as readers of this blog, is that you can avail yourself of my system if you want, and see if it meets any of your needs, or adds value to your life.

Either way your feedback will be invaluable.

Doing it this way will be so good for me because it will give me someone to talk to, an audience who I already know and trust. I feel comfortable talking to you. You are like friends. Talking to you will help me with my tone.

So tomorrow it begins. I hope the Full Moon in Capricorn brings you a month of prosperity and fireworks, too.

Namaste.

 

Name It!

Yesterday on Facebook I posted that now that it is May, it’s time for a new Challenge. Someone commented: “Just name it.”

And I was thinking about this. I think I am being asked to say something like: “Yoga 5 days a week. No excuses!”

Maybe they want me to set up a Facebook accountability tool, like I did for my “Intro to Meditation” class a few months ago. (I challenged that group to meditate for 10 minutes a day for a month and they are still at it, months later.)

Maybe I could issue a dietary challenge: NO SUGAR IN MAY. But that might be too much, not to mention cruel.

Today on my way up to Wegmans I was listening to this Robert Greene interview again.  Greene wrote a great book called Mastery, and he was talking about people who say they don’t know what they want to do with their lives. He said you need to figure out what incentivizes you What do YOU want? And it can’t be about making money.

This is totally in line with my “Amp Your Vibe” process of having people list all the things they love and hate and then picking something off that list (the love list) and creating a streak around it.

For example, maybe you would like to write a novel, or dig a perennial garden, or travel to Bali, or learn the ukelele.

Maybe you want to play a respectable game of golf, or beat someone in chess, or learn to surf.

Maybe you want to do a tremendously difficult hike, like the Appalachian Trail, or grow prize winning roses, or get to your ideal weight.

Maybe a headstand or a handstand is on your list, or understanding the stock market enough to make some wise investments.

Maybe you want to learn to code and build an app, or a website. Maybe you dream of writing a popular blog.

YOU name it. Name your thing, then break it down into a 30 day start, commit, and go.

What could you do in the next 30 days that would bring you closer to your dream?

Here’s what I am going to do in May: I want to win the NaNo Badge on 750words.com. That will entail writing 50K words in a month. I also want to do a handstand some day, ideally by the end of the summer, so to that end I am committed to doing handstand prep poses during the “open practice’ sessions during May at the studio.

I don’t want to “Name it.” I want you to. Then I want to hold you to your highest vision of yourself. I would love to support you in whatever you want to do. If you need an accountability partner, I’ll do it. You want some words of encouragement from time to time, or some information? I’ll do it.

I want you to name it and claim it.

This is your one wild and precious life.

Building an amplified community

Today I spent a lot of time on the phone with a yoga teacher, trying to hash out an accurate description of the class she will teach on Wednesdays in March at MSY.

It was an exciting creative process that I was even aware of as it was happening and I actually pulled out of the convo for a moment to comment on how cool it was that we were having this incredible discussion about Tantra, and prana, and introspection and transcendence. It made me want to meet with her more often just to “talk shop.”

It occurred to me that I am really lucky in the people I know, but also know that I make my own luck much of the time.

If there is one thing that is undeniably true about me it is that I need people around me who share my interests and passions.  So my strategy is to try to rope them into my corral.

“Did you ever consider being a yoga teacher?”

“Have you read this book?”

“Do you know about this podcast, this TED talk, this  food, this meditation technique?”

I do this because I need playmates.  I need people around me who are ENGAGED IN SOMETHING. I need the people around me to be living lives that they are passionately stoked about.

The yoga teacher and I hammered out the conceptual framework for her class for March, then I wrote and sent my newsletter, and then I dashed to my meeting with my test group for the book I am writing, and there again I noticed how much I love the people who are attracted to, and love to talk about the same thingsI love to talk about:

What do you love?

What do you not love?

What are you doing?

What do you stand for?

What is amping your vibe at the moment?

These things really MATTER to me. And incredibly, these things matter to these people, too.

Tonight I had this crazy thought: What if I could revolutionize this town? What if I could be the force that starts to dispel the pervasive toxic cloud of apathy and laziness that hangs over this place?

What if I could enliven a critical mass of people, amplify their vibe, until  there would be a felt energy shift in this ‘hood?

Wouldn’t that be cool?

Spring Decorations

One reason I could never be an elementary school teacher is bulletin boards. All teachers spend a lot of time making their rooms interesting and stimulating environments for their students, but elementary teachers go hog-wild, changing things around based on the curriculum and the seasons.

It’s nice. I approve. But I could never get into it, personally. I’m not “crafty.” I don’t sew or paint or quilt or macrame or cross-stich or, you name it. (I am also not “crafty” in the sly, devious sense either, just so you know.)

But I have to admit that I like it when I see seasonal changes in decor when I go places, and I especially like it in my own house.

G is into “changing things up” for the season in terms of little knick-knacky things around the house. These things make me smile when then just magically “appear.”  Here’s a little glimpse of what showed up this week:

This is what greeted me in the mudroom:

Spring mudroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these spring towels hung from the stove:

Spring kitchen

And on the dining room table, daffys in a blue vase. (Love daffodils in a blue vase!)

Spring table

On the sideboard:

Spring sideboard

And on the mantle, Kwan Yin sports bunny ears:

Spring mantle

It made me smile. G could have done bulletin boards! She would have totally rocked them.

Maybe we should put one up?

October leaves

Today we drove to Corning to buy food and for other assorted stuff. It was cloudy and windy and rainy. As we lugged groceries from car to kitchen, I thought about getting out the crock pot, making stew, getting into my pjs and sipping wine by the fire.

A few days ago, G took this picture in the backyard:

leaves in October

Just goes to show, you never know how long beauty will last, do you?  You can never be sure when you will spy your last golden tree before the rain brings down the leaves.

I was happy when I saw this picture today. It warmed my heart.

To Sit Down, Think Clearly, And Execute Your Ideas

Quote from novelist Ayn Rand.
Image via Wikipedia

Today there was this thing by The Onion called “The Last American Who Knew What The Fuck He Was Doing Dies.”  

Although The Onion is devoted to satire, this little piece wasn’t really satiric. It was supposed to be, I’m sure, but it sounded like hard reality.

What it said that resonated for me was that Jobs was the last American who was able to 1. Sit down. 2. Think clearly and 3. Execute his ideas.

At the beginning of the summer I made this rather ambitious reading list, and wound up reading virtually nothing on it. Instead, for some reason, I decided to read Ayn Rand,. (Even though I was  a Lit major in college, I had never read Rand.)

I started with Atlas Shrugged and then went immediately into The Fountainhead.  Everyone I know was appalled that I was wasting my time reading Rand in the first place, and then doubly appalled that that I was actually enjoying her.

Nobody, and I mean none of my peers approved of Rand. But I loved her. (And I still do.) I know I probably shouldn’t love her, because I am a flaming liberal who doesn’t believe that (gravity notwithstanding), nothing really trickles down from the pockets of the rich.

What I do not understand is how Rand became the darling of the Tea Partiers and all the political groups that I find totally repugnant.  I think a lot of people misinterpret her.

The whole time I was reading Atlas, all I could think of was Steve Jobs as the present day embodiment of the Randian hero.

Steve Jobs is Dagny Taggart, Hank Reardon, John Galt and Howard Roark all wrapped into one. Steve Jobs is to Apple computers what Dagny Taggart was to Taggart Transcontinental, what Hank Reardon was to Reardon Metal, and what Howard Roark was to the whole field of architecture.

What Jobs had in common with all of Rand’s heros is that he was passionate about, and lived and breathed his work. His work was who he was, his identity. He wasn’t in it just for the money (but he made a lot of it). He didn’t give his money away, either, nor did he apologize for making a lot of it (And this is where a lot of liberals part ways with Rand, and where Jobs, too, finds his critics.)

USA Today, in its first piece on Jobs’ death, called him “mercurial” and said he could be merciless on people he didn’t think were doing their jobs, not simply firing them, but railing and ranting at them, cursing them out. My guess is he probably could not bear to see incompetence or laziness in any form.

He worked for what he earned. And his work was pure and noble and innovative. He did it for its own sake. His work and his life were the same thing. That’s what it means to live in integrity: think, feel, say, do–all the same thing.  The creative process drove him. It was his prime motivator. In that, he was just like Dagny Taggart and and Hank Reardon and Howard Roark.

He was clean. He wasn’t a fake or a hack. He earned it.  He wasn’t a second-hander. He wasn’t a parasite.  He never had his hand out, but offered the fruits of his work for the betterment of his consumers.  Without him we would still, to this day, be playing with sticks and abacuses and adjusting the vertical holds on our tv antennas instead of storing our music in the Cloud.

So when I read that Onion piece, it really reminded me of the three things I admire and strive for in my own work.  First, the ability to sit down.  Sitting  down in this context implies clearing the slate for creative work.  Jobs was a Buddhist. He probably knew something about the power of “taking one’s seat” and being quiet, and letting the mind settle into its innate freedom.

He also knew how to “think clearly.”  A unique skill in itself.  A skill that needs to be cultivated and honed over years and decades.  Mostly in silence. Like practicing any art.

And finally, and most importantly for me, he knew how to execute. Or as Seth Godin would say, he knew how to “Ship.”  Unless your ideas can be birthed into the world, they lie stillborn inside you, rotting, and putrifying your system.

I wanted Steve Jobs to live for a long time because I wanted to watch and learn from him.  I wanted to see what kind of rabbit he would pull out of his hat next. It is sad that one of the only true innovators of our time had to die so young.

As another quote I read today said: “Heaven just got a little more sleek, well-designed and profitable.”

Indeed.

RIP, Steve Jobs.  I, and the world, will miss you.

A New Kind of Snarky Optimism (with spittle)

I am giddy with the prospect of September even though I thoroughly HATE September and everything September stands for– except for (maybe) the prospect of “new beginnings” which, to be honest, every month has the potential for, on the first day of its bad self.

But after that first day is over, September is especially nauseating because it signals that we are now on the brink of the murk. (Murk: def. Partial or total darkness; gloom) What we now stand before is a long road of dwindling days heading into total darkness. We are looking down into that deep trough of despond, that murk, and there is no escape.  So today we have this new-pencilly murk of September, which will be soon followed by the moldy-leaf murk of October, then comes the wet, bare-branchy murk of November, and the inevitable fake-twinkly murk of December.

This is followed by the hangover murk of January, and the cloyingly sweet murk of February, which, once we get to the end of that little son-of-a-bitch of a month we can finally heave a big sigh of relief and fire up the snowblower just in time for the 5-foot snow drift dump on the newly-bloomed daffodils in March.  Yah.   Good times.

But today I am NOT going to allow myself to slip into thoughts of the murk. No. No way, Hoe-Zay.  Why? Because I am so into the POSTIVE PSYCHOLOGY movement, yes I am, and I even have the book Learned Optimism sitting right there on the book shelf where I can stare at it every morning first thing, right after I squint into, and turn off the creepy green glow of the Zen alarm clock, and turn off its profoundly annoying mechanical birds.

So where was I? Yeah, the murk, and not going into it. Nope. Not going. Because today is September first. The day of Optimism (!) and new beginnings (!); the day of taking charge of my own happiness and my response to everything, because I can. Yes I can. (insert repetition of this a few times here.)

I am going to get back to all the things I need to get back to, and then talk about them, here (hopefully,minus a lot of today’s snark). Resolutions-ish things. New Project-y things. New Goal-y things.

I have decided to take full and total responsibility for my own:

1. Happiness.

2. Creativity.

3. Inspiration.

4. Health.

I have always “claimed” and “proclaimed” that I was taking responsibility for these things, but deep down? Not so much. If I were to come totally clean here, I would have to confess that I really expected more from the world in meeting those needs.

But “the world”?

People, if you haven’t noticed, it disappoints. It really does. And on pretty much every level. And this forces me into “Spider Mode” in which I am left to spin my own world out of my own spittle, if I have any hope at all of getting up that goddamn waterspout.

So “Job 1” every day is tending the Spittle Factory. And to that end, I am off right now to the gym, to row.

More about that, tomorrow.  Happy September. Or whatever.