Monthly Archives: July 2012

it’s not out there, it’s in here

Think about the life you want – the career, the lifestyle, the connections, the recognition, the accomplishments. Chances are there’s a superstar aspect to it: you want to be the most (something something) artist, or to revolutionize the field of (something), or to bring about a paradigm shift regarding (something), or wake people up to the obviousness of (something). Whatever it is, if it really happens the way it has the potential to happen, it will change everything — at least everything within a particular set of people or activity.

That’s the trickiness of being visionary. You can look at current circumstances and see future configurations that other people can’t see. What seems and feels obvious to you is veiled behind clouds of (something) to them. And it kills you, because if people could just see what you see and understand what you understand, they’d realize that things–people, LIFE–could be way better after a certain amount of adjustment.

You may have tried to announce your vision to the world in various ways. Maybe there was enthusiasm but then it died out. Maybe only a few people heard you. Chances are you’re sort of depressed because the response you’ve gotten so far feels so meager compared to the magnitude of what you have to offer if you could just figure out how to help people understand.

…and so it goes…

…what can be done?

having pondered this, I think the answer lies in redesigning our spatial-cognitive models. By this, I mean the inner picture we have of what the accomplishment of our grand master plan is supposed to look like. So often we think in terms of large scale, public change, and this is largely out of altrusim: we genuinely want to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. So the video we play in our minds of what the future change looks like is set “out there,” in collective public space–we imagine how people, communities, societies would be different if we could do what we are meant to do.

But I think there’s a secret: not much really happens on large, collective public scales, that’s only a media mirage. The media picks up things happening on small, local scales and balloons them into massive phenomena. The actual thing / event stays local. It’s the reproduction ad infinitum of it thanks to the media that makes it seem huge.

This mirage is tainting our sense of purpose, because we start to think that nothing is worth doing if it can’t be done massively. But that’s just not true.

So the reconfiguration of our spatial-cognitive model means inverting the scale, and finding and “in here” setting in which our activity can take place. Where is the the protected jewel cave of an environment in which to carry out your divine mission? While it might sound elusive, I happen to believe that there are jewel caves everywhere waiting to be discovered: THE perfect place for you to try out whatever it is that you are here to do.

How to find it:

1. Sit for a moment and call the feeling of your purpose and its related activity into your body.

2. Assess the scale of your vision: if it feels anything bigger than a single event in a specific location, bring it in closer until it’s the size of a room (say 20′ x 20′ – can be indoors or outdoors).

3. Within these parameters, imagine the ideal space for what’s happening: if you could manifest your own ideal movie set for this vision, what would it look like?

4. When you’ve called all that up, make some notes: write a description or draw a sketch.

5. Figure out where you can find this space in real-life in your nearby world.

6. Go there.

7. Act out your activity. Bring friends if you can. Be silly but thorough. Then go get tea or drinks and enjoy the rest of your day.

8. Plan the real thing.

9. Do the real thing.


WHY THE SPATIAL PART IS IMPORTANT: it has to do with our brains & nervous systems:

The way the body understands activity is situated, meaning that we can’t really believe anything is possible until we can actually visualize a complete experience of us doing whatever it is. And that experience isn’t just the idea of something, but is the doing of it–the feelings, movements, vocalizations, and sensory impressions of the activity have to be embodied in order for something to move out of the realm of conceptual and into the realm of the imminent. When we can concretely spatialize whatever it is we want to do, then it goes from being a general category of thing or event to a specific manifestation of a thing or event. And that has power. We can sit there and say, “There are so many painting classes in the Bay Area. Who’s going to come to mine if I offer one?” This is category thinking. But when you say, “I’m going to offer a painting class in this beautiful space on this particular day at this time and it’s going to cost this much” then all of a sudden it becomes real.

If you have the perfect environment, in which the activity of your purpose can unfold in the way it was naturally intended, then chances are things will go well. The jewel cave is “in here” — smaller than you think, intimate, not as visible as you probably think you’re supposed to be on the first go-round. But once you find it, everything else has an uncanny way of falling into place.




“Stop being hesitant. It’s time to change the motherfucking world.”

I thought I would take advantage of my horoscope for July 18th, which reads:

Inner excitement
Weak, transient effect: This morning you can assert yourself in a positive manner and stand your ground if necessary. You may feel more courage and confidence than usual, which you express by taking the initiative in making emotional contacts with others. You speak very directly and forcefully, but without being offensive, which others will respect you for. This is a good time to work as a leader with groups of people. You understand what is needed, and you can unify your objectives and theirs, usually by talking them around to your point of view. Whenever you talk with others, you radiate an inner excitement, as if you were ready for immediate action. Under this influence you have the capacity to start projects, although you should keep in mind that this is a short-term influence and its effects will not last long.
The interpretation above is for your transit selected for today:
Moon Trine Mars, , exact at 04:33  
activity period from 17 July 2012 to 18 July 2012

and post something with a little bravado. So here goes:

There is a particular kind of beauty that only you have the capacity to imagine.

If you don’t create that beauty in the world, it will never be known.

Georgia O’Keeffe figured this out, obviously. So did Einstein, and Gregory Colbert, and Blake, and Jimmi Hendrix, Martha Graham. And several other folks.

Here’s how it’s done, in 5 easy steps:

1) Dedicate your life to what you believe in. Really figure out what’s at the core of what you’re about and hold this as the source of everything you do.

2) Slog through the period where you’re relatively unknown, possibly penniless, eating lots of Ramen.

3) Find a way to assemble a body of work and figure out how to get it out to the right audience.

4a) Wait for divine providence to intervene. (that right person / moment / opportunity / etc.) (like when the Board Chairman of Rolex discovered Gregory Colbert’s work and said, “You know the Medici? I’m kind of like that…” (I paraphrase)

or 4b) Let go of the “discovery myth” and just start contacting people. Eventually someone will realize how fantastic you are.

5) Don’t become an asshole once you’re famous. That way you’ll stay open to inspiration.

Important things to remember:

i) You should expect the beginning to be messy and flailing. You will not give birth to iphone-level perfection from day one. Creativity does not work that way.

ii) The only way to really rock at something is through committed practice (cf. Malcom Gladwell & the 10K hour rule — especially the hilarious story about the Beatles)

iii) Consistency helps. Even if you work in different media, having a common source theme will help people understand your body of work. (You become “the person who does xxxxxx…” – like Christo)

iv) related to iii: If what you do starts to become boring, stop doing it the way you’ve been doing it and wait for a crazy idea about a way to do it differently, somehow maintaining consistency.

v) Another suggestion: create your own vocabulary. Especially if what you do has never really been done before, then people will need language to talk about it. If you can provide the language, you become doubly innovative.

vi) It’s OK to go through dry spells, doubt phases, “have I been wasting all this time” melodramas. It’s helpful to have an out-of-the-way place where you can go cry and/or scream to the powers that be: “WTF am I doing? Why did you set me on this path? I could use a little help here… please!” But also know that help has it’s own wacko schedule: it might take a while for the response to organize itself in the material world…

vii) when you’re really stressed, try singing. it helps.




…or, why I prefer small villages to anonymous urbanity

Back in the day when communities were small and operated collectively (and in the present day, in places where they still do) people weren’t anonymous. Everyone knew everyone. Jill was Brian’s mother’s sister. Edward was Aurora’s grandson. Scooter was Nero and Anna’s dog until they realized baby Carson was allergic, so they gave him to Uncle Tim.

And everyone knew what everyone else was good at: when people were having babies, they always called Aurora, until she got too frail to help with deliveries. But luckily she had been training Marilyn, who took over and had such a gentle presence. Carl had a way with plants. Arthur could tell stories. Molly could sing. Nina could play the piano and the violin. Alita somehow always knew when it was going to rain. Riley was hilarious and could get anyone out of a bad mood, even his father. Rich made the best stew. And when Gus spoke–which was rare–everyone made sure to listen.

I’m enamored of the idea that communities can get to this place again, with intention: that we can learn what gifts are available among us and develop a sense of when they can be utilized. There are times when gifts are needed: when people are sad, in pain, or going through a rite of passage, or just feeling like it’s a good time for a celebration. There are people whose presence will make a difference, will allow whatever’s happening to be more open, more full — will help open up the moment to whatever it might be waiting and wanting to become.

Some questions:

  • What are your gifts, and in what kinds of situations might they be most needed?
  • Who do you know that has a particular strength or kind of knowledge?
  • How can you help him or her connect with opportunities where these strengths can be offered?
  • What would happen if we had more and more frequent opportunities to be and do what we’re meant to be and do?
  • What would happen in a community where this was intentionally practiced?

thoughts & responses??



(P.S. The original title for this post was “the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker” but then I read the rest of the rhyme and realized it didn’t really apply. 🙂