gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Friday, February 28, 2003 At what price integrity? Flash back to three months ago when an approved promotion for one of my team was "tweaked" by management. The full amount was reduced, in exchange for a higher overall amount in two phases... "x% now and another x% in three months." Well, the first x% came on time and three months is about up now. It seems that there's a different set of rules being played and now "x" has been reduced to "y." Management is claiming a "typo" but no one ever countered the expectations whenever they were mentioned during the last three months. So why "y?"
I don't know... but I know I'm left to pick up the pieces.
The team member is rightfully upset... rightfully betrayed... and the thing is, does management really understand the damage? Hanging over our heads every day are banners (yes, they hang banners from the ceiling... ironically designed by this very same team mate) with words like "Empower," "Grow" and "Integrity." So is this where the budget goes -- to turn morality into soundbites without the principles to back it up?
What of the promises, the expectations, the commitments that are claimed to be important? Are not "guiding principles" meant to be just that?
Since this just happened today, I'm hoping that we can bring these points to the minds and hearts of those who created this situation. Nothing may come of the promotion, but I hope they come to realize that the money they save between "x" and "y" has cost them more than they can ever imagine.
Thursday, February 27, 2003 Here comes the Sun.... The nice thing about the end of a rainy spell is how clear the air is... the clouds are dramatic, truly magnificent to look at; rays of light streaking across the sky. The ground, though soaked, is already showing signs of renewal; dormant seeds starting to show signs of growth. Who knows whether there will be scorching drought or a torrential flood tomorrow... for the moment, all is so boldly hopeful.
It's not just a weather report for my little area of the world. Rather it's a sign of how things are looking around me today. After years of trying to bring my passion of video into the workplace, I finally had meetings to set the shooting dates. Add that to an atmosphere that's been less politically charged for me personally and it feels like a big storm has passed.
The forecast is for more rain in the days ahead, with scattered showers off and on; followed by sunshine.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003 Like footprints in the sand... A friend of mine at work is leaving the company to follow his bliss. It has been a long time in coming, and I frequently encouraged him to do so. He came to the job so hopeful, and showed a lot of promise... but so many office games, so much "politricks" kept trying to erase his work... like footprints in the sand.
I know he made that journey these past couple of years... because I walked those same beaches along side him. I wish he walked in concrete, something that "woulda" and "coulda" made a difference, but alas, it returns to the sea.
Where he goes, he will fly... both literally and spiritually. Those who go with him will be very lucky to learn from him and gain from all he has to offer. I trust the clouds will be kinder than the waves.
So even though he takes to the air and I still tackle the seas, we'll still not lose sight of the stars... and keep aiming high.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003 What color is your nose? My team mate joked today, "you're brown-nosing the wrong guy." That got me thinking, what exactly is the difference between brown-nosing someone and just saying something nice?
I think it comes down to a number of things. One is sincerity. That's a real big one. If you are just trying to flatter someone and you don't really mean it, your nose gets browner. I'm not really into that. I honestly look for the best in people, and so when I compliment someone, I do mean it.
It also comes down to respect. Sincere RESPECT... for other people's authority or expertise or enthusiasm or raw talent. Whatever it is, if you respect someone it might still sound like brown-nosing to the outsiders, but the one hearing your words will be honestly moved by them.
And another big difference is in knowing when to shut up. Brown Nosers don't stop; real sincere admirers know when to...
Monday, February 24, 2003 You'll find what you believe in... Totally separate and isolated events... yet tied together by a common thread. We see what we want to see...
Among the lunch crowd were two people of vastly different viewpoints. One of them just saw Penn & Teller's new show on Showtime, which claims that second hand smoke dangers are a myth; the other one believes that there's plenty of evidence. "You believe PENN and TELLER over scientists?" was followed by "You believe the American Lung Association?" Well, I believe that you pretty much can find someone to support what you already believe.
The other incident revolves around our performance reviews at work. Since I am someone who always looks for the best side of people, I'm pulling out all the kudos to support my view that my people are terrific! A peer of mine doesn't see things that way. He's stricter and almost seems to have it "in" for a few people. He asked me for feedback on some of his people, and when I started to praise the employees, he kept pushing to see if I would bend toward the negative feedback that I read in his review. When I conceded to a few of the points, it seemed to satisfy him.
Thanks to his prodding, I can see that I'm as guilty of seeing what I believe as others. I hope that I can temper my judgment with accurate fairness... but if I bend til I only see the dark side of people, I will break.
Sunday, February 23, 2003 Spare the Wire, Spoil the Child... Well, it took several hours and a long call to the technical support, but I'm finally back into the world of wireless. It's amazing how quickly we grow used to new technology.
I remember when desktop computers started appearing (I know, I'm starting to date myself) and my life just adapted. Then the internet came into my life in 1992, and being connected to the whole world just seemed natural. 14.4 turned into 28.8, 33.6 then 56K... and each time after I got over the initial "ooh, ahh" it just became a part of my everyday life.
I couldn't believe how tethered I felt when I actually had to hook up a WIRE to get to the net!! (I felt the same way when visiting my parents house and had to use a phone with a CORD). Egads, totally slumming it :-)
Alvin Toffler warned us about Future Shock in 1970. He said that the future would change so fast that we won't be able to keep up. Well, so far I'm doing pretty well.. and eager waiting to be spoiled with the next round of goodies.
Saturday, February 22, 2003 Stepping forward into the next Phase... Met up with D. again tonight. We went to the kick off meeting for the San Fernando Valley Family Film Festival. D's one of those people that when she says "jump" I reply "how high?" because I know that it shall change my life. What's different for me this time is that I'm going forward without expectations. All I want to do is be true to myself. I like what I've seen at the meeting and will participate in any way that is beneficial to us all.
After the meeting D & I sat in my car for another hour and a half. Our conversations have inspired ideas for about three more articles. They'll be coming up next...
Friday, February 21, 2003 I'm in a pause... As I prepare for my weekend, with the usual web site updates of articles and who sections, I started to think about what's next. I feel like I'm now in a big pause... between Phase 1 & 2 of my Gurustu days.
Phase 1 was to get the site up. It was well planned out, with check lists and due dates. In fact, by the time Phase 1 came to a close, I had actually done MORE than I thought I would. I had the store up and several awards in my pocket. It was better than I had hope.
Phase 2 hasn't really started. Oh, I have an idea of what's to happen in this phase (namely my books and a content management system) but it's not as clearly defined as I would like.
I imagine the best thing to do is get my list together before venturing out into the next phase.
And so I shall pause, and reflect... and keep with my first steps, until I'm ready to run full steam onto the next path.
Stayed turned for more articles coming this weekend.
Thursday, February 20, 2003 I jumped... Sometimes I'm as guilty as other people when jumping to conclusions. I ordered upgrades to some software and hardware at work yesterday, and today ALL of them were rejected. I concluded that we were not going to get support, or opportunities to grow. I was wrong.
It turns out that the "usual approval route" skipped my manager, and went straight to his boss, She rejects all requests that do not come through her direct reports. It acted as a reminder that no one should react until they have the full story.
Now it's time to wait patiently for the other side of the story, and not judge my own moments... just like I recommend for everyone else.
Wednesday, February 19, 2003 Life in the slow lane So I'm back to the wired world of dial up modems. I'm still able to get stuff done, so I don't mind so much. I just can't stand dealing with computer problems. Everything works well one day, then poof! There goes your weekend. I'll get back to fixing it... but in the meantime, I won't let the slower pace slow me down too much.
After all, I'm used to the culture of my job, where EVERYTHING just takes so long. We missed going to the Photoshop World because it never made it through the approval process, even with two months lead time. I'm still waiting for projects several years in the making to get STARTED... so what's a little 56K modem to my overall progress?
Monday, February 17, 2003 Presidents Day Presidents Day is an odd little holiday. Originally it was to honor George Washington and Abe Lincoln, who had a very big impact on the founding of the United States. It was expanded to include all the presidents, but there doesn’t seem to be much honor in it. So many other holidays have something about them that sets them apart. Without George and Abe, it doesn’t really even have mascots. Easter gets the bunny, Halloween gets the pumpkin and Christmas has that guy in the red suit. Presidents Day gets us a day off and some more loud commercials on TV.
I dunno. Maybe I’m getting sentimental in my old age… but it sure would be nice to have a holiday that MEANS something. In this time where war is lurking around the four corners of the globe, it’d be nice to take a moment to recognize the people who worked hard to make this country special. We’re far from perfect… our leaders have been far from perfect… but they believe in us. And faced with the alternative that some people on this planet have to deal with, I’ll take the rhetoric and the ridicule, the power struggles and the protests… because it’s about freedom… and being free enough to even say that is something worth celebrating.
Sunday, February 16, 2003 Walk the talk... This weekend was the Conscious Living Expo at the Hilton near the Los Angeles airport. I had the catalog for some time and planned to go, but kept debating with myself if I should go in the morning. I had plenty to do, and certainly could have found some excuse not to, but I realized that if I stayed home, I'd only be TALKING about opportunities and not actually pursuing them. I went.
A lot of it was as expected... pyramids and potions; speakers, seekers and spook chasers. I was able to go see Linda Blair speak about Veganism. I spoke with her afterwards, since I was supposed to do her website a couple of years ago, and we just kept playing phone tag. She remembered me, and I gave her my card and a copy of my little book. That might have been the best part of the event.
I also went to see Dr. Turi, a self-proclaimed prophet, who makes a lot of general predictions, then claims the latest events as his own. I remember when he wrote that "a celebrity would die and he/she would be missed." He took credit for Nell Carter in January, though Maurice Gibbs and Richard Crenna will also be missed too... and if the prediction was earlier, we could also miss James Coburn, Richard Harris or Kim Hunter... I could go on, but I don't want you to think I'm psychic or anything...
I listened to Dr. Turi for about five minutes, when he went into a tirade of negativity about our ignorance and how it will destroy us. I moved on to another room, where Lisa Dalton spoke about using gestures to bring about happiness. My prediction is that people felt better after her lecture than his.
I'm not sure how many opportunities I created by going, but it was in line with a lot of the principles I live by, so I'm glad I chose an active day.
Saturday, February 15, 2003 Themeful thoughts of the day... This was a day with three recurring themes -- live in the present, love your life, and be very forgiving. Everything I did today seem to coincide with them.
I went to see The Hours, went to the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Hollywood and then to my usual coffee shop hangout. In each place there was either a book, a greeting card, a poster or just some other reminder of the daily theme. I spent the time with Chris, whom I've had a number of rocky moments with throughout our friendship.
It was as if the whole day was a reminder about how important it is to value the relationship more than the moments.
Friday, February 14, 2003 Smells like irony... Today at lunch I went to the park. After a week of torrential rains, the sun finally came out, and the air was crisp. This weekend is a "triple witching hour" (as they say in the stock market) ... which for me means: daily blog, new article and newsletter. I figured it was a great opportunity to get an early start.
I sat and ate my lunch, watching a man play catch with his black Labrador. It was easy to type up my article, about bringing Bliss into your life. After all, this moment sure felt like it!
The article is going to replace one on Optimism, which starts off like this:
A Pessimist walks into the barn, steps in manure and says "There goes a good pair of boots!"
An Optimist walks into the barn, steps in manure and says "Where's the pony?"
I finished up quickly, threw away from trash, closed up my laptop, and walked to my car, to get back to the office in time.
About a minute into the trip back... sniff, sniff.... did I leave food in the car overnight or something? sniff, sniff... oh no, it couldn't....
Well, I didn't have to ask where the dog was, and I didn't really think my shoes were ruined.... but let's just say I stepped in my own irony.
I thought, "better clean that up before anyone else gets a dose of my irony too."
Thursday, February 13, 2003 Reconnect to something unbroken... I had dinner with my dear, dear friend D. whose life is full of mystery and wonder, and has so many nooks and crannies. She's always full of surprises. She kind of reminds me of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA... there's always more than meets the eye; something hiding behind every corner. She's a real driving force in my life. In fact, it was a dinner I had with her last year that made me commit to gurustu.com.
Over dim sum, we discussed everything and nothing about Life. I came away with a few more ideas for gurustu.com and other stuff too. It's amazing that out of so many ideas we go over, there's only a few choice ones that stand out... mostly because of the dedication I have to gurustu.com. I want it to advance my passion, or I don't want it at all. The focus actually feels pretty good.
I'm really into return on investment these days. I'm interested in percentages, rather than total returned. I rather do things that I can do easily, rather than something bigger... that just involves either more people, more resources, or more time. One unit of energy to return three, rather than two units that returns five... you see? I want to do that which can be done. If I can't do it now, I won't... and I won't stress about it either.
I will find bliss in my every day life, instead of spending my entire life seeking bliss. I spoke about how doing laundry made me happy, and about how one sentence from one person made me happy... that's a return on investment. That's reconnecting to my life. That's reconnecting to my own richness. I have a million things to be unhappy about... and a million other things to be happy about... so all I have to do is pick from the good basket and reap the rewards.
It's never really been broken... but it's nice to feel the connection like it's new again.
Wednesday, February 12, 2003 Compliments and confirmations... I woke up this morning to this comment from a visitor to gurustu.com:
I found your site to be a fun diversion from a long night of work.
It put a smile on my face to carry me through my very long day of work.
Following your passion is one thing... knowing that you're making progress with it is even more sweet.
At work, I had some confirmations of some old suspicions, but they're not worth going into. It's not so sweet to realize those visions... so we'll stay on the lighter side, and call it a wonderful day.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 Words as a tool; words as a weapon Today I saw in action the power that words have... to heal... and to hurt. Two separate instances within an hour of each other.
Kind Words I had heard that one of my team members was feeling a bit left out from the lunches that I go to. It's usually a mix and match, with everyone welcome. I enjoy her company tremendously, so I would never, ever deliberately leave her out. It didn't matter how we got to this place. It was an easy enough thing to get out of. Just before lunch I told her where I was going and told her she was invited. She was so overjoyed! Saying that it meant a lot to her (I think partly as a way to send the message to me that she wasn't being included, but also because she didn't expect it). I told her that she was always welcome to join me for lunch, and to never feel like she's deliberately being left out. I concluded our talk with an open invitation to lunch... so as never to feel like she's intruding or being ignored.
It was a good moment...
And it was probably a good thing that she turned down the offer for lunch this time... because...
Unkind words I went to lunch with two people. A dear sweet woman, who is just a joy to be around... and a man who has very strong opinions about everything; and has this uncanny knack for finding just the right words to cut through the underbelly. I'm not sure if he's trying to be funny, or spiteful at times, but whatever someone's sensitivity happens to be, quickly becomes his topic of ridicule. Whether you're black or white, man or woman, Christian or Jewish, straight or gay, he finds a way to spin it right into a painful pause.
He bases a lot of his opinions on facts, but then his conclusions seem to come from left field. "Christian priests are brain dead by forty" was one of his latest ones. She took it well, even though I could see it bothering her. She lead with "I don't understand" and finished with "I like to talk to you because you always make me laugh."
It seems she also knows the power of words, and her power to turn things around was as refreshing to receive as it was to give earlier on.
Monday, February 10, 2003 It isn't always relative... Had a philosophical discussion at work today -- talking about Life, mundane moments, feeling small, Love... a big jumble of thoughts and emotions. Somehow we got into comparing relationships, which sort of reminded me of how children ask their parents, "who do you love more, them or me?"
I described it like a solar system, calling it a "social system," where you're in the center like the sun; and everyone else in your life revolves around you. Everyone has their own orbit around you. Some may be closer than others, but each one is a special individual relationship.
I believe you can love more than one person deeply... identically, and individually. Loving one person with a full heart does not leave out room for the same deep love for another. Commitments can be different; activities, words and actions don't have to match... but the depth and breadth of love can be there.
If Love is unconditional, it can be unending. Even when the ones you love doesn't see it the way you do; when their love for another negates all reciprocation. Unconditional doesn't care; it isn't relational. Unconditional Love just is.
Sunday, February 09, 2003 Me me me, oh! How much of "me" goes into a "me me" day anyway? Nothing about this day was that different than my other days... slept in, did laundry, went to a park, ate out and went to the coffee shop to type up this site. I do that frequently, and yet today seemed special, because all these seemingly mundane things were done because I wanted to do them. Yes, even laundry.
It doesn't matter how much activities you put into your life; it really matters how much life you put into your activities.
Friday brought to light a lot of changes at work... with tomorrow the start of it all. I'm an Active Optimist (see my article), and I'm ready to take on the new day!
Saturday, February 08, 2003 A Day of Being... Spent the day with my good friend Elaine. We met at work 7 years ago and became forever friends. I produced her first music video, made the cover for her CD (and am making her current one now), plus her website soulfullyinspired.com. She's been singing with Rose Royce, who was famous for Car Wash... plus she's busy putting together her next album. She's my "Star" and I'm her "Guru."
We went to Afloat Sushi, where the food comes around in those little boats, then went off to see Darkness Falls, a rather formulatic, slow scary-ish movie.
It was good just to "BE" ... just to enjoy the company of a good friend and a good meal. It's those little things that make the day so full.
Friday, February 07, 2003 The way it is... Lately, I've been having some on-going conversations with people who know-it-all. They've got the whole ship-is-sinking scenario down pat and feel sorry for me, since I just don't understand the "way it is." One moment I don't know just how much trouble I'm in; the next, I don't know how much trouble they're in because I'm "safe." They don't see the whole picture, so they fill in the details with whatever suits their moment.
What they fail to realize is this:
I have access to more information than they do, often earlier too (I'm at a higher job level)
I've played this game longer, so I know it better than they think I do
I've LOST more than they've even HAD at this place
I've fought harder to make more opportunities for myself and my team than people even give me credit for
I refuse to box myself in by a lack of imagination
Optimism is not naivete, it's a choice
They think they have no choice, and so they don't. They choose to be victimized by the "way it is" and think anyone who can't see that is blind.
Well I'm not blind. In fact, I can see even better... because I'm not blinded by "the way it is."
I keep my focus on the way it ought to be.
The "way it is" is not the end of the road... it is just the beginning.
Thursday, February 06, 2003 Tide rising... A wave has started at work. Seems that a lot of the effort I put in last week is starting to show some results. Five new projects and the real possibility of getting the big project that I made a proposal for two weeks ago. All the struggle I talked about was because I was (and still am) dealing with a system that is tough to contend with.
There's a few lessons to keep in mind:
Keep going even when things don't look so bright.
Don't give up just because the past has been bad. The next time could change all that.
When the wave starts, be ready to catch it, and ride it as far as you can.
Remember that the good times are as fleeting as the bad times, be ready for both.
I'm hoping that this is a good wave coming up. I can use the break.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003 Inspiration not Ignorance, is Bliss A friend read over my entries for the last several days and said "this doesn't sound like the Gurustu I know... you're supposed to be inspirational."
It's got me thinking, just what is inspirational? Is it better to separate yourself from your your life in some attempt to find bliss? Is it just sugar coating your words so they sound politically correct? Or is it more inspirational for someone to work through their circumstance?
I don't believe that bliss needs to be ignorant. I'm willing to take on my life head on. I know I'm playing in traffic and might get run over, but it's my road, and it's got traffic. My work life could be better, sure, but it's not the end of the world. I wrote in my last newsletter how success takes effort, not struggle; and right now I've got some struggles going on. I'm trying to bring my passion into work, and it's often ignored or overlooked, and frequently misunderstood. That doesn't mean I should quit, that doesn't mean I will fail; it doesn't even mean I'll get run over. It's just several more steps than I'd prefer to take.
This is my circumstance. I don't want the pain, but I want the reward more. I think it's worth the risk... and to me that's what inspiration is all about.
Tuesday, February 04, 2003 Everything new is old again... You know that feeling when you're at a bus or train station? You know that every moment going by is closer to the arrival, but nothing has changed. That's what today felt like.
Sure there were new events today, yet they seemed so old the moment they happened. Maybe it's because the same people said it the same way, or because only the names changed, but I have to say that nothing actually "arrived" today.
It's all just another moment waiting patiently for my ride to come in.
Monday, February 03, 2003 Life is like fudge... I met up with some friends tonight. We've done business together in the past, and will probably do a bunch of stuff in the future. Smart guys these two... full of ideas. Interesting thing for me though. They have a lot of terrific plans, to be sure; but since doing gurustu.com, everything else has not seemed as sweet. It's like I've tasted fudge, where even the littlest amount is full of richness. Even as I write this paragraph, I feel the "rightness" flowing down.
It really is about following your passion... it tastes so good... and fortunately for me, this passion isn't fattening.
Sunday, February 02, 2003 Some things change; some things stay the same... I heard pieces of the shuttle made it to eBay yesterday. Doesn't surprise me. It really does take all kinds... and these people just seem a bit more self-serving and opportunistic than they are compassionate. Yesterday unfolded like I expected -- with every one opportunist, there were ten attackers, calling the Opportunist every name they could think of (which doesn't make them look any better than the the people they're accusing).
This morning there were 1,740 Columbia related items for sale... some going for as high as $5,000 (one was reportedly going for $25,000, but the details proved that number to be wrong). Opportunists? Certainly some.
But I was curious. I wanted to see if these really were just people trying to cash in on the disaster. While I'm sure the type of seller changed after the accident, I discovered that there were 1,519 Columbia related items BEFORE the event.
So there are some Opportunists just out there trying to make a living off of the event, not the accident. The biggest change was in the number of bids, the sheer volume of stuff being snapped up, and the height of the price. It seems that the Opportunists weren't really selling yesterday, they were BUYING.
Before we run off to judgment, it helps to know the rest of the story.
Times like this teach us a lot about ourselves... would we sell a piece? or settle for peace? Would we judge the sellers? or the buyers?
... but then again, who are we to judge the judges?
Saturday, February 01, 2003 Second thoughts on today's events I remember back in 1986, when the Challenger disaster occurred, how dazed everyone was. Maybe it's because we've worked through that, plus assassination attempts, and threats of war, and (lest we never forget) September 11th, that today just seemed "different." Different in that it didn't really seem any different. I went around town, running some necessary errands, and if it weren't for all the news on the radio you'd never know that something big had happened this morning.
I wonder if this is what life is like in those war torn countries on the other side of the world. Every day life goes on, interrupted by horrible circumstance.
It's as if we've said "Life Goes On" so many times, that we're getting used to it.
I hope Life does goes on, but I also hope that Life does not get left behind.
Reliving the 80's yet again... I woke up early today, wanting to finish up my site updates. As I started up my internet browser, I saw the new "Space Shuttle Explodes Over Texas." I thought "Is this the anniverary of Challenger? Why are they rerunning the story?" Then I saw the name COLUMBIA... and my heart sunk. It was painful yesterday to relive the 80's... and it's painful to relive 1986 all over again today.
My heart goes out to all the families of the people of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
I may blog more about this later. For now, I'm speechless... so I will give it a moment of silence.