Month: January 2010

Referral Friday: Virgin America

Referral Friday is an ongoing series inspired by John Jantsch’s Make-a-Referral Week. For more about that, and loads more referrals for everything from cobblers to coaches to gee-tar teachers, start here. Pass it on, baby!

I got a little carried away by my newfound love for Sir Richard Branson’s winged brainchild.

On my second trip in as many weeks, I plugged in the laptop, plunked down $12.50 for some in-flight WiFi and did a little screencast plug for the greatest thing to happen to commercial aviation since the 747 Lounge. Roughly five minutes; if you can’t see it on your screen, you can view it on the YouTube.

xxx
c

Poetry Thursday: The core of tenderness

bare tree in winter casting shadow on snow

An old acting teacher
used to say,
“The root of the thing
is never the thing itself.”

Easy enough to understand
on its surface
with its hints
about what lies beneath,
undulating
or roiling
or pulsing
or cringing,
depending on gender
and other matters
of context.

Harder to remember
in the moment
when the roiling
is on the surface
covering up
the weeping
or vice
versa.

Sometimes I think
pain is just
a sticky note for feelings,
“Remember this
along with the milk
and the life plans
and all that other pokey
you fell into believing
is the Thing Itself.
And don’t forget it next time,
asshole.”

We could remember love
just as readily
just not
as easily.

I promise you this:
from the moment
I woke up
on that hospital bed
I have moved toward the love
and only the love
because in the end,
there is nothing else
worth moving for.

A heart may break
in places you cannot see
behind screens devised
for a thousand types
of modesty

But what pours out
is always love
no matter how hard
the heart may seem.

xxx
c

Image by kelsey_lovefusionphoto via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

December in January: Adding good habits

guy brushing teeth

Just before the end of the past year, I decided to forgo my usual habit of cramming my annual planning into the most riotously busy time of the year. Hence, “December in January,” where I spend the first month of the chronological new year planning my own, to begin in February.

My Nei Kung instructor and I have been talking a lot about the process of change, one of my favorite topics.

And to be clear, when I say “favorite,” I mean something I spend a great deal of time thinking about, not necessarily something that I enjoy engaging in. I hear the change junkies talk about how all-fire fantastic it is, and remain skeptical, unless by “fantastic,” they mean “other worldly and outsize,” in which case I’m in 100% agreement.

Anyway.

I was late to the idea that the most efficient way of eliminating a bad habit is by replacing it with a good one, or at the very least tying it to a positive, values-based motivator. Why? I’m an idiot! Okay, I’m not an idiot, or at least, not completely. But my tendency toward impatience made me move sometimes rather more quickly than I might have prudently, and to act like an idiot. That test in the eighth grade that’s 479 questions long, and whose first command, read all the way through to the end of the test before starting to answer the individual questions, is critical to the successful completion of the test? I failed that test. Leap first, look later. I’m the world’s best im-patient.

Reading and working through Your Best Year Yet several years ago helped start the shift. It’s so dense and chewy, you can’t skip steps, so I didn’t. It took me a full week-ish to slog through it, but by the end, I had a much better handle on myself, and my first taste of what life felt like when you took time to actually look at it.*

Working through the Great Hypnotherapy Project with my friend, Greg, gave me my next taste of swapping out bad for good as methodology rather than just brutalizing the bad out of yourself. The type of hypno that Greg practices involves coming up with lots of positive replacements for the habit you want to let go; before we did the session to help get me back on my Crohn’s diet, we spent a long time going over the requirements of the diet, what was allowed and of that, what I liked best, and where I was getting stuck. While I was listening to the tape regularly, I felt almost no cravings for the stuff that was disallowed.

Jim, my Nei Kung instructor, who is also a licensed therapeutic hypnotherapist, confirmed that the replacement of “bad” with “good” is a straighter route than just dumping the bad. Trying to stop something is much, much harder than replacing it with something else. I think it has something to do with, to paraphrase Marshall Rosenberg in his a-ma-zing book, Nonviolent Communication**, us bucking at having choices removed, even when it’s in our best interest and it’s us doing the removing.

So I’m looking at framing all of my goals as additive (per Greg and Jim), as well as awesome (per Naomi, who oughta know because boy, is she ever!) Full and final list (fingers and toes crossed) next week, in time for Groundhog’s Day, but here’s what we’ve got so far:

  • Read 52 books. No-brainer additive thing. If you were watching a lot of TV and wanted to stop (as I did, a few years ago), you might want to look at this as an additive replacement. I hope to read many more than 52 books, but this is a start.
  • Practice Nei Kung 30 minutes daily. Additive thing to replace “stop being someone who is a brain without a body.” Kidding, but not far off. Nei Kung is gentle but fairly easy for me to do, as I apparently am both built and wired for it. FINALLY. Because that running thing totally didn’t work out, plus who knows when I’ll have good enough health insurance again to replace my knees.
  • Feng shui my place. Additive thing to replace “declutter,” which I love and has helped me, but which is starting to feel a little brutal, especially as we get down to the bone. Okay, closer to it. OKAY, through the first layer of the epidermis. It’s a teensy cheat, since part of feng shui-ing means removing clutter, but it’s way more fun to make it a game with all the doodads of feng shui. Plus, you know, built-in feature for the blog!
  • Eat SCD-compliant six days per week. Additive thing to replace “Get off Crohn’s meds,” plus my way of easing myself into something good for me by leaving myself some wiggle room. I don’t get to go off the meds until I’ve been back on SCD sans flares for a minimum of one year, possibly two. But I’m not going to worry about that now.

I have a few other ideas I’m still working on, some of which will probably remain private, but others that I may be able to share once I survey the full schmear. “Music” is still floating around, and I’d like to do something that has me caring for my friendships a little more consistently than I have in the past. Never know when you’ll need those darned things.

I’m still looking for additive ways to switch up some of my more destructive habits, especially procrastination and web surfery. I have a feeling that the way-in is connecting more deeply to the things I do want to do, which is going to mean yet more of this messy and painful opening-up-and-letting-go stuff.

I am, however, very open to suggestions right now…

xxx
c

*Other than the five months I spent recovering from my Crohn’s onset, but that was less a choice than something thrust upon me.

**In a year of outstanding books, this is the current front-runner. I cannot thank Havi Brooks enough for tipping me over into finally reading it. (THANK YOU, HAVI.) Look for a review soon, but feel free to buy it immediately. If you have to talk to anyone, yourself included, it will make the experience better and might just save your bacon. Oh, and I’ve already read/loved the How to Talk So Kids Will Listen book (thank you, my shrink), so I’m guessing that third one on the page is killer, too.

Image by skippyjon via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Linchpin: An interview with Seth Godin on fear, change and the importance of making art everywhere

author/marketer seth godin speaking

That Seth Godin has a new book coming out is generally a cause for celebration. Seth has a knack for teasing out one big, necessary idea and illuminating it in a way that makes it seem obvious, post-reveal, without ever coming across as obnoxious. That, my friends, is a gift.

So, too, is the way he chooses to share his gifts with the world. Seth regularly throws his weight behind people and ideas worthy of support, and has a special fondness for the Acumen Fund, an innovative, can-do nonprofit with a similarly iconoclastic chief executive, Jacqueline Novogratz. Moreover, he combines his various loves and interests in innovative ways, modeling the very behavior he describes so well in his books about marketing: for his latest book, Linchpin, he offered 3,000 early review copies to his readers willing to donate a minimum of $30 to the Acumen Fund; so eager/loyal are his readers, he hit his mark just 48 hours in, raising over $100K for Acumen.

In a further example of walking the walk, Seth reached out to a group of his regular devotees (or, in my case, an irregular one) to assist with promotion: would we read even earlier, advance portions of his book, and interview him about the material on our blogs, and post them all on one day in a big, glorious, central round-up of semi-anarchic, semi-choreographed promotion?

Uh, yeah. Yeah, we would do that.

So here is my interview with Seth on the themes of his latest book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? The interview questions are based on the advance pages I read; I’ve since read the entire book, and could have a whole other interview based on the chapters about Resistance and “There Is No Map.” Who knows? Maybe I will!

But don’t wait: buy your copy now. Like The Dip and Tribes before it, Linchpin is one of those “must-reads” that, thankfully, doesn’t read like one.

xxx
c

THE INTERVIEW

Colleen Wainwright: It seems like a central theme of your book is that we’ve fallen asleep: as creative beings, as free thinkers, as true individuals. Do you have any practical tips on waking the hell up? Or accurately gauging whether or not you’re asleep?

Seth Godin: We haven’t fallen asleep, we’ve been put to sleep. Actively brainwashed and hypnotized by industrialists in search of compliant factory workers and eager consumers. Of course, our genes were complicit, but please don’t blame yourself.

And we’re all asleep. Some are more awake than others (Spike Lee or Shepard Fairey or the guys who started the Four Seasons). Still, we stick with the status quo way more than there is any reason to. We do this because the system has persuaded us it’s the only way.

As you guessed, the theme of my book is not to tell people what to do, but to identify the hypnosis and give us words and concepts we can use to wake each other up. Either that or we can keep shopping at the mall, driving an SUV and figuring out how to pay for our McMansion while we stress out doing by-the-book work at our by-the-book company that’s getting its ass kicked by some startup with no overhead.

You say flat-out that one doesn’t have to quit one’s job to start effecting meaningful change. My own experience with trying to do that, back in advertising, was akin to banging my head against the proverbial wall. Does it only work for certain industries? For people higher up on the organizational food chain? Isn’t there a point where we have to say, “Nope, not gonna happen here,” cut our losses, and move on?

I think there may very well be times you need to quit, but most people never even get close to that. Most people say “my boss won’t let me” and give up because they’ve bought into two myths: the first is that (as we saw above) the safe thing to do is play it safe, and the second is that your boss is crazy enough to take responsibility for your art. Why would she? You can’t go to her and say, “I feel like doing something remarkable, if it doesn’t work, will you take the blame?” Not the way it works. It turns out that if you start smallish and do remarkable stuff every day… make connections, be human, do the work, focus on things that matter, go the extra mile… then every day you’ll get more chances to make things change.

Sure, it’s possible that your boss will fire you. But if she does, is that the place you wanted to be anyway? Fired for delighting a customer? Fired for making a difference?

Odds are, not only won’t you get fired, you’ll get asked to let others in on your secret.

I love the concept of “emotional labor”: that it’s both mission-critical and wildly difficult. Also–and possibly even more significant–is that emotional labor is the Rodney Dangerfield of efforts, rarely garnering respect. How do we change that? Or does everyone signing onto the program have to get down with being the nutty Van Gogh of their endeavor or organization, only (if ever) appreciated after the fact?

There’s not nuttiness on the table here. I’m proposing that you embrace the fact that the only thing you get paid for (unless you’re a brilliant programmer, chemist or race car driver) is doing emotional labor. Bringing guts and ideas and love to work when you and others don’t feel like it. That’s your job. And the people who do that the best keep getting rewarded for it. Dishwashers don’t get to whine about their chapped fingers, and white collar workers like us shouldn’t whine about how hard it is to be generous and creative and flexible.

Speaking of “emotional labor,” your statement that “Work is nothing but a platform for art and the emotional labor that goes with it” may be my favorite phrase you’ve ever coined (and you’ve coined a lot of good ones). It’s basically saying that *anyone* can create art with what they do, right? But is that true? Can you be a corporate cog–a very small piece of the machinery, with a very unsexy job–and make art? What does that look like?

If you work for a company that truly prizes cog-hood… say you’re an insurance actuary, or someone assembling pacemakers… I’d argue you should get out, now. Why? Because every day you spend there is a day where you give up value and a bit of your life. On the other hand, at just about every other job there’s a chance to lead and make change and connect and create tiny breakthroughs. Which lead to more than tiny ones. I know people at giant famous companies that get to do this all day, every day. How’d they get that job? Because they started, and they continued and they pushed until it was their written role.

So, for example,

  • Laurie Coots at Chiat Day spends most of her time causing trouble, disruptions and the creation of opportunity.
  • When Robyn Waters was at Target, her job was to transform the organization from a K-Mart wannabe to Wal-mart challenger by bringing style and art and color to the inventory and mindset of the company.
  • Donna Sturgess gets to do similar work at GlaxoSmithKline. She finds high bars and encourages people across the organization to jump over them. She makes art and change for a living.
  • And at Starbucks, Aimee Johnson runs the group that developed both the high-end coffee maker they acquired and the new line of Via coffee.

I’ve met similar people at banks (!) and even General Electric.

Okay. Let’s talk about fear, one of my least favorite (and most consuming) topics. If lizard brain, the thing that makes us react in the scared, small, self-preserving way, that just wants “to eat and be safe”, is the source of resistance, it’s pretty important to resist succumbing to it. How does one do that? It’s not like you can sit down and have a heart-to-heart.

My other goal here is to scare you to your toes. To scare you NOT of standing out, but to scare you about fitting in. To scare you about your diminished role if you refuse to do emotional labor. To create a new fear, a fear that’s greater than the fear of being your artistic genius self. Boo.

Giving, “free” and the honored Native American tradition of potlatch are all good, but where does it stop? We may no longer equate dying with the most toys as winning, but a gal’s gotta make a living…right?

The more you give away, the more you get. This is actually a secret plan to have what you want and need and hope for, because the market (bosses, hiring companies, the market) love free stuff, and they’ll stand in line for more… they’ll bid for more… they’ll pay for more… if you’re the one who can deliver it. Be generous, make art, make connections, do work that matters and you don’t have to worry about making a living. The secret of potlatch was that the big chief could give away EVERYTHING and he’d be even richer the next week.

Image by jurvetson via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Yo! Disclosure! Links to the books in the post above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click on them and buy something, I receive an affiliate commission. Which I hope you do: it helps keep me in books to review. More on this disclosure stuff at publisher Michael Hyatt’s excellent blog, from whence I lifted (and smooshed around a little) this boilerplate text.

December in January: Using constraints to free yourself

houdini graphic stenciled on public structure

Just before the end of the past year, I decided to forgo my usual habit of cramming my annual planning into the most riotously busy time of the year. Hence, “December in January,” where I spend the first month of the chronological new year planning my own, to begin in February.

I realize that logically, there must be as many people who excel at true blue-sky thinking as there are people who can only function within very narrow constraints, although I imagine it’s terrifying to run across either.*

Like most people who enjoy thinking of themselves as Very Special Snowflakes, I really fall in the vast, lumpen middle: yes, I’m creative (so are you, whether you like it or not) and no, I don’t do too well when that creativity is not applied to certain tasks.

On the other hand, I flourish within constraints! There are few things I enjoy more than figuring out how to maximize in a box**, whether it’s moving furniture and doodads around a living space to get my feng shui’d (thank you, Karen Rauch Carter) or bending Robert’s Rules of Order right up to the breaking point (a.k.a., how a nutjob-wacko-freak learned to love Toastmasters.) Rules and processes can be very soothing to the scrambled, easily stimulated brain; for the afflicted, the quickest route to making one’s world a little bigger is often to make it a little smaller.

The catch, of course, is getting the mix of free-swim to drills just right, or in the ballpark. I tend towards all or nothing thinking, which is most likely rooted in some early training (and which doubtless saved my ass on more than one occasion), but which, as an adult with true autonomy, is now more of an artifact than a useful modus operandi. To paraphrase a former acting teacher , if the choices are “all” and “nothing,” the answer will most often be “nothing.”***

I’ve written a lot about the structures I’ve adopted to wrangle my chaos into some kind of order so I won’t go over them again here, other than to say they range from simple things like calendaring writing time to multiple sources of accountability (because I yam a slippery devil!) to simply throwing out tons of crap. As I move forward, I’m looking to employ more strategies like these to free up mental and physical energy for what’s feeling more and more like an intense period of creative work around the corner. Here’s what I’m looking at doing:

1. Creating more structure for the blog.

When I first started blogging, I wrote about whatever struck my fancy, and mimicked whomever I was enamored of. Go back and enjoy the schizo qualities of communicatrix, circa late 2004: it will make you feel oh-so-much better about your own chances for success! I can’t tell you the relief I feel these days knowing that Poetry Thursday is right around the corner, or that I have a Referral Friday feature to fall back on. I may never lock myself into a rigid floorplan, but like Gretchen, Havi, Chris and any number of friends who do this regularly, I finally see the value in some kind of publishing “schedule.” They’re just smarter, since they saw it way before I did (even though they all started blogging after I did, which doesn’t make me feel any better about my stubborn face, but there it is.)

2. Pirahnimals.

This is the term Dave Seah, my partner in the Google Wave with Dave™ project, came up with when I said I was considering an adult version of Garanimals to help streamline my wardrobe. For years, I’ve resisted uniforms of any kind, probably because of the eight years (1967 – 1975!) that I chafed in one. My favorite dressing style has been “costumes,” by which I mean dressing for the day’s physical and/or emotional needs, not “gardener” or “slutty nurse.” It was fun for a long, long time because it fed my needs for change and expression, and also my love of rag-picking (i.e., thrift/sale shopping). These days I have plenty of room to express myself via writing and speaking and performing and no end of material, I want to allocate more resources toward the creation of art than the fabrication of frame. Frames are important, L.A. Eyeworks built an iconic ad campaign around this simple, brilliant idea a couple of decades ago, and I’m expending a goodly portion of thought about suitable ones for my needs. More on that as I have it.

3. Streamlining “external” communication.

There are only so many hours in a day, and I’m finally accepting that I need to spend a certain number of them on stuff like eating, sleeping and relaxing if I want to have the life I say I want to have. I’ve already dramatically pulled back on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, I rarely talk on the phone and I try to restrict commenting on other blogs to conversations where I can really add value or situations where it’s appropriate to show appreciation. (There should always be time to be nice, but I’m going to have to learn to be pithier about it.) I’m hoping that creating some structure around the types of things I write about here on the blog will allow me to continue writing here as often as I do (and maintain the newsletter and actors’ column), but I’m (reluctantly) open to the idea that I may need to cut back if I want to write books, too. And yes, I want to write books, and yes, one of them is a collection of poetry. God help us all.

Other things I’m thinking about are:

  • Creating a budget (something I’ve never done in my lifetime!). This is about dragging monsters into the light, to get a good look at them. Hard to start, usually not as awful as I think it’s going to be once I see it.
  • Moving to an even smaller/cheaper place to conserve money (and energy, it takes a long time to clean a 1BR apartment in a filthy town like L.A.).
  • Taking a “real” job. This is the weirdest of all: I haven’t had a job-job since I quit my Stupid Day Job (which was really a great job, and thank you, Uncle Dennis!) back in 1999. I have a lot of pride mixed up in this decision, so it’s hard to see it clearly right now. The more time I spend away from consulting, the happier I am: it’s exhausting work, as I performed it, and not sustainable, and definitely not compatible with my desire to write even more (writing is exhausting, too, but in a very different way). I have no idea if I’m even employable any more, or what for; I’m in the musing stages about this right now.

I’m still in a very open place about all of these things right now, weighing ideas, possibilities and (nice, informed, positively-phrased) suggestions. My multiple nodes of collaboration have also shown me how much stuff there is to me that I can’t see: you are in a position to hold a (kind, helpful, positively-angled) mirror up to me, or pluck a stray hair from my jacket, that I cannot.

I’m specifically curious (yes, again) as to why you read the blog, assuming you read it with any regularity. I threw this question out a couple of years ago and received so many generous, helpful answers it was deeply moving. In the interest of giving something back as I did then, I’ll donate a dollar to the relief efforts going on in Haiti for each reply (up to $500.), via comments or email, that offers some thought, feedback, illumination or idea to move me forward on any of the six areas above.

These could be anything from exercises for “writing shorter” (without adding more work) to great hacks for streamlining process to the best post you read in 2009 about x. It might be better if you shared stuff that’s really helped you rather than guessing at what might help me; experiences related honestly and kindly (and with humor, if one can muster it) are my preferred method of learning. I love biography; I consider “self-help” a necessary evil when there’s not a readily available biography illuminating the topic. But hey, as long as you comment with good intentions, I say “yay!” and Haiti gets another of my rapidly dwindling pool of dollars.

Thank you for providing this tremendous outlet for growth and change, for helping me feel less greedy about it by allowing me to kick in some (more) dough for a worthy cause, and for helping me take it to the next level.

Whatever the hell that is…

xxx
c

*For me, spending time with fully unbridled creative thinkers is exhilarating and exhausting; doing the same with people who have nothing but rules is, well, okay, usually just exhausting, but kind of fascinating, too, like observing an alien species.

**The Chief Atheist has a great phrase for this exercise as applied to excursions which he calls “going to the Museum”: anytime you have to go somewhere you might otherwise find tedious, off-putting or overwhelming, go as an anthropologist collecting data. Guaranteed to turn even the most moribund gathering into a series of excellent adventures, and helps keep you from jumping out of your skin during the occasional stumble down rabbit holes into alien worlds.

***Eight years later, I note there’s no small irony in my having left his tutelage after being presented with exactly those two choices.

Image by Daquella manera via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Poetry Thursday: Change is a bitch, but she’s my bitch

road sign at sunset

You have likely forgotten
how wrenching
that last change you made
truly was

But it was

I have forgotten
a lifetime of changes
I chose for myself
and a second one
of those that were chosen for me.

Each time I woke up
was as jarring as the first

like an alarm you never get used to

or falling off a bicycle
the ground rushing up to greet you
and your unsuspecting elbows
with concrete reality.

Why choose change, then
when that bitch
has brought me nothing
but broken bones
and bandages
and recovery periods as painful as the pain itself?

Because
I have seen what happens
when you hit the snooze button
too many times

I sat at her table
and saw her weep
stoic, Swedish tears
for choices not made
that were no longer hers to make

I sat by his bed
and witnessed him clawing at the air
with what strength he had left:
one last call
one last meeting
one last stab at being
the kind of alive he called living

I sat from a distance
and watched her die
slowly, by degree,
clutching her choices to her chest
to the very end.

My road here
has been paved
with the choices I made
but the wilderness beyond
has been illuminated
by the ones they did not.

Which is why I must
turn off here,
where the pavement stops
and only crazy people
venture forth.

Call me crazy
if you must
wish me luck
if you can
travel alongside
if you will…

xxx
c

Image by Mads Boedker via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

December in January: A goal is something you want to hit

a soccer goal net

Just before the end of the past year, I decided to forgo my usual habit of cramming my annual planning into the most riotously busy time of the year. Hence, “December in January,” where I spend the first month of the chronological new year planning my own, to begin in February.

My friend, Naomi, wrote a post about making unstupid goals whose central thesis has been ringing in my head for the week since I read it:

A goal is something you want to hit.

I’m paraphrasing, as is my wont, but I think it’s a fair translation of Naomi’s philosophy and so let’s work with my version, and do some of that unpacking we spoke of yesterday:

  1. A goal is something YOU want to hit. It’s about the thing you want, not that your mother, the IRS, or your cardiologist wants for you.
  2. A goal is something you WANT to hit. It’s not something you feel obligated to do; you want it, and in the way that makes your heart beat faster with joy and anticipation and promise.

As Naomi admits, there are also things you should do to keep a roof over your kid’s head and yourself out of the emergency room. I’ll add that there are things you might seriously want to think about doing because you will end up alone and despised without them. These are not goals, they’re responsibilities. They fall under the rubric of being a grownup, and to be a grownup, you put on your Big-Girl Pants and TCB.

Jinny Ditzler, author of my beloved and cursed Your Best Year Yet, agrees that goals should be motivating. As she says, when you’re done with the process, the long and often arduous process, of corralling your data and drawing your goals from it, you should look down at that list of 10 things and want to do cartwheels. (I’m paraphrasing again, of course, but I think Jinny would approve.) You should be so fired up about these things that you can’t wait to get started. Doesn’t mean they won’t be every bit as hard to accomplish as the responsibilities are sometimes to bear (or the #@$!( process itself is to get through), but they should be challenging in the good way.

I’d say I didn’t know how I missed that these last two years that I’ve been carving out my goals, but I do: I ignored the obvious. I’m really good at ignoring the obvious, as it turns out; I can do it for two years (and change) and still look like a high-functioning, can-do dynamo of…something-or-other. Like anyone else, I get invested in outcome, attached to comfort and all of a sudden, another two years have gone by and I’m still in the same place.

I am still not 100% sure what My Best Groundhog Year Yet is going to look like exactly. I have a lot of time in airports and on planes and in hotel rooms over the next couple of weeks to think about it. There’s a really good chance that certain things on my dining room table are going to make it onto the final list, though, because I am really excited about them.

I’m excited about reading 52 books. I am loving reading, period, I’d forgotten how much I missed an uninterrupted half-hour or hour daily to read. And while some days I get anxious before picking up my book, thinking about all the things I have to do, and how late I just slept in, and how I could really use that half-hour or hour to do some of them, thus far I’ve been able to gently (for the most part) set that anxiety to the side and just read. (It helps that I’m reading really good books so far!)

I’m excited about continuing to study Nei Kung. It’s only been six weeks so far, but already, I’m so much better at it than any other physical activity I’ve tried. I wanted to be a runner and a bicyclist and a yogini, but I’m just not built for them. Apparently, I’m built like a Chinese martial arts enthusiast. Go figger.

I’m (still) excited about writing on my blog. So you can either rejoice or curse, but I’m not going anywhere. I may change the way I approach the blog, most likely, I will have to, if I want to write anything else, but write, I will.

Other things are more up in the air right now. I have several project ideas starting to shape up; they’ll have to finish baking before I can decide which ones I want to roll with. I also have several concepts I’ve been mulling over, trying to suss out what their corresponding real-world actions are. Is the answer to “piano?” really “piano!” or is is some other manifestation of “music.” I tried and abandoned the 10-minutes-of-guitar-per-day experiment just two months into ’09; while part of me wants to JUST TRY IT AGAIN, another part of me feels that I’m really responding to the cheesy symmetry of 10 in ’10. Once an adhole, always an adhole.

I am curious to hear how other people handle the Exciting Goal vs. Big-Girl-Pants Obligation divide. Which is in each column for you, and how many of each? And how are you carving them up? Part of the reason the 52 books/year jumped to the head of the line was because of Julien’s genius-simple 40pp/day rule. Are there others of these I’m missing?

Whaddya got for me?

xxx
c

Image by ewiemann via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.