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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Pen and Paper Principle

As an old Chinese proverb goes: “The dullest pencil is better than the sharpest memory”. You may not entirely recall your brilliant ideas, but at least you’ll have a better stab at them if they are scrawled somewhere tangible.

Something that has helped me tremendously is just this simple. Keep a pen and paper (Or pencil if you prefer them) handy. A blackberry will do, or whatever you use that you can record your thoughts with easily and quickly. I’ve found that we forget things even epiphanies that we know will be life-altering. “Oh, I’ll remember that! It is perfect!” but lo and behold, you get home, and it has vanished like a humming-bird.

Even better, buy a notebook that is specifically for your ideas. Buy three. Keep one next to your bed (a pencil is best, for sleepy-eyes won’t be able to tell if the pen is actually writing or not!). Keep another in the kitchen, and a third in your car. (or maybe a small tape recorder is better for this. I have ‘voice notes’ on my phone, it seems that most of my good ideas come when I’m driving.)

It often matters far less what you write down, but that you actually write it. Sometimes the mere act of writing it solidifies an idea in your mind, so even if the slip of paper is lost or illegible, it helps.Sometimes, the mere act of having a pen and paper nearby. . . inspires.

Here is to remembering!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


We have GPS, we have paper-maps, we have Google-maps and we have hand-drawn maps.  It seems like everyone has someone who wants to show or tell them where to go, and how to get there.  They can be very useful tools, however it is essential that you take a good look at that map and make certain it is the where you wish to be headed to. 
Sometimes we have our parent’s life-map.  We just go tootling on our way using their mind-set, their rules, their goals for us and their morality and beliefs.  Sometimes we are content doing so, but other times, society’s map, the maps of our political party, our religious persuasion or our friends is called into question. 
Tossing the 'baby out with the bathwater' happens almost as often as following blindly.  Whereas people think that just because they didn't come up with a map themselves, and they are doing some introspection, the ‘old’ map must be faulty.   There is a caution here as well. 

One of the very useful tools is to take inventory.  It takes a good honest sit-down look at where you are and where you hope to be, but it is the first step to arriving there.

1.     Where do you want to arrive?
2.    Is the map you are using, bound to get you there?
3.    Where can you make new turns, explore a quicker way or use new roads?
4.    How far away are you? Do you need some mid-stopping points?
5.    What do you expect to find when you ‘arrive’? 
6.    If you end up somewhere else, how will you make course corrections?
7.    When your course is mapped out, you have a destination in mind; do you feel joyful to be on your journey?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coming UP

For those following this blog, here are some of the up-coming topics I'll be sharing thoughts on in the next weeks:

  • Cultivate ceremonies of personal pleasure
  • Calm the Storm
  • Dancing through the Present
  • Attention Shift
  • Ecstasy in the Moment
  • Irritated by the Rub
  • Pen and Paper Principle
  • Don't push the River

Look forward!  Follow this blog and find me on Facebook

Monday, April 12, 2010


In our society today there is an overload.  There is too much information to be usefully assimilated.  There is too much food, too much waste, too many choices, too much good to do.  That isn’t even looking on the negative side of the scale.   Ever just feel like giving up?  That it is all just too much?  I’ll confess that I have. 

On those days however, somewhere in the mess of to-dos, want-tos and have-tos, seems to be this little voice whispering softly that only a few things really matter.   REALLY matter.  Really MATTER.  You know? 

Like a juggler trying to learn, usually with some practice she can successfully get three objects in the air without dropping them all.  When you add in a fourth however, that is an entirely different set of problems.  So I submit that you pare your list down to three essentials;  Just three.
What are the three very most important ideas, relationships, goals, people, dreams, whatever that you want to daily make certain get some focus? 

JUST three. 

(My secret is that I kept mine broad enough to have some wiggle room, and specific enough to be useful.) 

There, now don’t you feel better?  These are the ONLY things that you must attend to each day.  Everything else can be squeezed in where there is room.   If these have some daily, consistent attention, you’ll feel successful, even if a half-dozen other things do not. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Visiting vs. Packing Up and Moving In

"Stick to the mundane and the exceptional can't help but shine through." ~ Elder Kevin Steed

Sometimes,  I think that we don’t give ourselves enough credit.  There is a huge difference between visiting a place, and packing up and moving in permanently.  In our lives there are moments, sometimes days, when we just can’t seem to move forward.  We allow ourselves to ruminate, dwell in emotionally charged places or wallow in self-pity and back-wards thinking.  Then we sigh and berate ourselves for being so weak, and often give up because we just can’t be positive and progressive all the time. 

I love San Francisco.  I love the people, the electricity in the air, the tourists, the locals and the gorgeous variety.  I grew up near “The City”, but never, not even once in my life. . . have I wanted to live there.  It is a place I visit when I need the memories, the charge, the day’s vacation from normality.  It is not a place I set up camp and settle into.  While I recognize and respect and honor the variety, the excitement and the fun of the place, it isn’t a place for my morality,  my productivity or my success. 

Sometimes we have emotional places like that.  A memory;  An old situation, relationship or past success.  There is not a problem with visiting those places.  Recognizing their place in your past, or wish for the future, but there IS a problem if you pack up your present and move in. . . relinquishing your today to a memory or living in a fantasy that may never occur. 

Honor where you have been from time to time.  Give it an hour, even a day if you must, but then refocus, re-file it where it belongs and come home. . . to the present.