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the daily thoughts of an every day guru 
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Sunday, February 29, 2004
Leap back on track 
Today is a day the country uses to get its calendar back on track. Odd rules, but a great idea. Every once in a while we all need that single "jolt" to put things back into place.

I could use another couple of days of jolts, but this weekend was good to get my articles and newsletters up to date.

So in honor of that jolt, I'll make this my Guru Word of Wisdom:
de·fib·ril·late tr.v. de·fib·ril·lat·ed, de·fib·ril·lat·ing, de·fib·ril·lates
To stop the fibrillation of (a heart) and restore normal contractions through the use of drugs or an electric shock.

11:10 PM

Saturday, February 28, 2004

re·clu·sive ( P ) adj.
Seeking or preferring seclusion or isolation.
To counterbalance those days where everything seems to bombard you, every moment, sometimes you need to get away from it all. To do "nothing" so you can actually get stuff done.

Yesterday had a lot of "stuff" ... meeting after meeting, then a mad rush to go off to birthday celebration (Happy 4-0, Scooter!). Today was a complete contrast. It's been quiet and reflective... and recharging.


Speaking of isolation, at the gym I did extremely slow reps with relatively light weights. It takes away the advantage of momentum and just pushes each muscle to the limit.

Being isolated is definitely one way to get your act together.

9:50 PM

Thursday, February 26, 2004
The words of change 

I feel like I'm a word behind... after setting fortitude as the word of the day, I also heard "vicissitude"
vi·cis·si·tud n.
A change or variation.
The quality of being changeable; mutability.
One of the sudden or unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one's life, activities, or surroundings.
Great word, wrong day. Today was much more about change than yesterday.

Today I got a very exciting, albeit challenging, assignment to make a video for a Managing Director. The M.D. in my "upline" if you will has cancelled any chance of making videos by rejecting the budget for equipment. This other M.D. however already has equipment, as well as the enthusiasm and support needed to make this happen. It's truly a great opportunity, a make-it-or-break-it project that can change my life if I succeed. It's worth the risk.

Now why do I say I'm one word behind? Because while waiting to go into chiropractorr's office, the word "parallax" entered my mind. I had NO IDEA what that meant, so I sent a text message to myself to check it out when I got home. Here's what I found...
par·al·lax n.
An apparent change in the direction of an object, caused by a change in observational position that provides a new line of sight.

The words and winds of change are here. Sail on!

10:30 PM

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Guru Word - Fortitude 

for·ti·tude n.
Strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage.

This stream of high scoring scrabble words keep jumping into my mind; like they've just been waiting for a chance to get out.

So many of them have to do with overcoming pain, and being persistent and courageous. Are there some underlying issues that I've yet to resolve? Is my heart full of pain, or my head just full of garbage (or perhaps some other big word).

Whatever the case, fortitude is an excellent word... and an excellent idea. Strength of mind...

I'll have to think about that for a while.

10:02 PM

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Coming out of the dust of sleep, among the din of "lunar landing" and "sassafras" came the word "tenacity." It seemed like a good word to keep in mind for the day, being that it basically means "stubborn commitment to your goals."

I needed it.

In the morning, I was asked to make sure that everyone signed the birthday card for the Managing Director. Simple request, except when you consider the 400 people who counted as "everyone" it threatened to become a losing proposition. Just pass it off and take the blame when it gets left on someone's desk... or stand around 400 desks, passing out pens, and not getting anything else done.

As I went to lunch, with 90% of the signatures crammed onto the card, feeling this small another word popped into my head... "hubris." I love words I have to look up myself, it adds to the mystery.

Well, "hubris" means "excessive pride" ... and it was a timely message. Was I being too proud? Did I think I was "better" than the act of getting signatures. Wasn't the generosity of the act worth the effort?

I guess we'll see when it comes time to enter my time...

"Cantankerous" might come back in vogue that day.

10:26 PM

Monday, February 23, 2004
Today word that came to mind this morning was "cantankerous"
can·tan·ker·ous adj.
Ill-tempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable: Difficult to handle

It's also a mood that can creep in when you're in the office, and the meeting is new but the message is old. I don't know why this one was different than past ones, it just sounded like all the other and I just wanted something new for a change... like getting some work done before sundown.

9:52 PM

Sunday, February 22, 2004
To do to do... 
This was a weekend to do a number of to do's, but the biggest to do was the to do list itself. Having that list makes all the difference in my life. Lately I've been in "coast" mode, doing my articles, newsletters and cartoons but not really mapping it all out the way I had done when I first built the site. Since these last several days have been about dusting off the old ideas to make them new again, I did it with my list as well.

It's really quite simple, yet so powerful. I make a spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel. I separate the tasks into types, such as writing and site maintenance; then list each task underneath. Next, I rank them by priority ("A" being must have, "B" meaning "have soon" and "C" being wish list items). The most important thing goes in the next column... the date it needs to be done by. Without a date, it's all "C's" and will never get done. The date is your contract with yourself. Next to that I have a column to check it off when it's done.

I also like to color code it for more meaning. Green tells me that it's "on target" for that date. Yellow means "warning, something could push this date" and Red means "something is seriously wrong." Blue (my favorite color) means that something is "done."

At the end of the month, I just duplicate the spreadsheet, removing the tasks that are done. I also remove the priorities and dates, so that I can start over. It's best to do that in case priorities have shifted since last month.

When done, it looks something like this...

Task Priority Due X
Article - Become a Star A 2-15-04 x
Article - Lost and Foundation A 2-22-04 -
Newsletter - Passion to Purpose A 2-29-04  
Guru Who? Installment B 3-1-04  
External article to magazine B 3-1-04  
Site Maintenance      
Add "previous articles" to bottom of each article B 3-1-04 -
eCards B 3-1-04  

It got me to this point, watch this space closely to see if it works :-)

11:12 PM

Friday, February 20, 2004
When going back is going forward... 
There are times in your life when you slip and lose your footing... other times things move so slow that it seems like it "just ain't gonna happen." Somehow the future just seems farther away than it did yesterday.

In times like that I like to think I was just ahead of my time, back in the past... and the future just needs to catch up to me.

The past is not invaluable... the baggage we carry isn't always bad stuff... or things best left forgotten. Sometimes, dusting off the old ideas actually helps you get to your goals quicker now. Why? Cause its time is now. It wasn't time then... now it is. So don't be afraid to use "old" stuff. Presenting it again makes it all seem so new.


Such was my work today. I found myself going through a bunch of old notes and old designs, looking for "fresh" ideas. Instead of restocking them back to the dustbin, with that "oh what's the use" smirk I sometimes wear, I simply put them back out there for one more round. Hey maybe this time, it'll stick.


Speaking of getting back up after a slip, I'm finally back up to the first page of google for "words of wisdom." Their last set of search features sent me off to never-never land and I felt the punch. I even went to use a pay-per-click service that certainly brought a ton of people; but didn't increase sales, newsletter subscriptions or guestbook signings over being on page one. Not that this site exists for google, mind you... but it does exist for the people who want to find what it offers.


The past is back, and that's a present...

10:34 PM

Thursday, February 19, 2004
Mea Culpa 
Many times a word or two will just pop into my head in the morning... kind of my own "word of the day"... sometimes it's mundane; other times I actually have to look it up myself (if only to make sure I heard it right). So when "mea culpa" came to mind, I was like "huh?" I wrote it down, and when I confirmed that it meant "my fault" in Latin, I thought, "oh no, it's going to be one of THOSE days."

Well, I'm sure I could fill a long list of things that blamed on me at work... rightly or wrongly; but nothing of much significance stood out there.

Then came lunchtime.

Today was the second attempt to meet someone for lunch, after she had to cancel on Tuesday (had she not it really would've been my "culpa" because I didn't notice the clock until 12:09 and I would've been very late). Today, she was simply a no-show. It wasn't her "culpa" because I had left a message with someone else when I rescheduled, who never gave the message to her.

No real harm done. I thought about making lemons from lemonade for lunch. I hobnobbed with a Managing Director and Executive Vice President who were having lunch (both of whom thanked me for previous work I had done for them). Plus I took the time to write one article, the beginning of my next newsletter and sketched out a new cartoon.

So other "words for the day..."
  • Good things come to those who wait (alone at restaurants)

  • Make lemonade (it's good with a tri-tip salad)

  • No harm, no foul (though the bbq fowl is good too)

11:19 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
The Kindness of Strangers 
James Christian, a homeless blogger in NYC, suddenly stopped writing last week. He has a tagboard and people from all over have been writing in. Rumors have surfaced that he's been arrested and at Riker's Island this whole time. Some people, who claim to know him, want him to suffer; others use it to joke. Still others, total strangers - who know nothing about him except from what he writes - want to band together to help him.

Are they fools going on another con ride? Or kind-hearted angels who are going to make a difference in a desperate man's life? I guess only time, and James, will tell.

As for me, I've been searching out information that the group has needed. Based on fragments of old blogs I've pieced together some stuff that they might find useful. I believe in lending a hand, not giving a hand out.

I don't believe in giving up... especially on people. You help them up and urge them to fly. If they fall, it's not for lack of your trying. I've helped friends out before, and have seen success... so yes, I still believe it can be done.

James may have slipped very far this time. His climb's gonna be harder next time... but if he still wants to reach the top, I've got a map here. He just has to reach up and grab it.

10:06 PM

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Yes is More... 
For some time now, I have been writing about how Less is More and that No is a Positive thing, because it helps to free up your time. I was mostly writing from my experience because I was notorious for taking on too much. It wasn't until I started to take on the advice myself that I actually started making more progress in the things I love. It started feeling good to say "no."

Yet there are times you can say "no" too much and end up having less of the life that you want.

When I went to a get together with an actor group I had joined some years back, I ran into a friend who asked if I would read a script at a workshop for the Filmmakers Alliance. This time I said "yes." Why? Not because I wanted to rekindle my acting career, or felt like hobnobbing with directors and producers. I said yes because I wanted to have some fun. Period.

It was the only expectation that I brought with me tonight... to have fun. Oh, I know one should go in there with NO expectations, but this was more like a command to my subconscious, more than a real expectation. Other than that though, I just wanted to meet new people, be free to enjoy reading a character, maybe catch a little crudite at the buffet, then go home.

I was not disappointed. I really had a great time, filled with good conversation and laughter and free of talk about agents and extra work.

The Filmmakers Alliance is a great group, by the way. They're a bunch of proactive PDWA (Producer/Director/Writer/Actors) who aren't waiting for Hollywood to tell them they're good enough. They go about making films.

(As my character tonight would say...) I like 'em... yes, yes I do.

11:02 PM

Monday, February 16, 2004
If it's important to a loved one, it's important... 
I've spoken to a number of people this weekend about their selfish (spouse/date/parent/partner). It seems that even on a weekend that includes Valentine's Day, people still think primarily of themselves and miss a very key point about relationships.

What their "other" failed to realize is this:
If it's important to a loved one, it's important.
It doesn't matter if you think it's silly or boring or you just don't get it. If someone you care about cares about something, the least you can do is take it seriously. Give it the time and space it needs. Let your "other" experience what is important to them; otherwise, you'll break the bond between you, and what is important to you may just become less important to them.

9:39 PM

Saturday, February 14, 2004
A Day of Love... 
Today, honoring St. Valentine, is all about Love... sharing it, showing it, selling it. For some people it's the "excuse" they need to move their relationships to the next level. For some that means marriage... for others, divorce. In either case, it's a move.

Even those people without love, think about it. However sad that might seem, at least the focus is still on Love and not Hate.

And that's a good start.

10:26 PM

Thursday, February 12, 2004
There's no place like home... 
I read another success story today. Jonathon, from Homeless and Disabled in Alabama had changed first changed his mind and then changed his life. By calling himself "displaced" instead of "homeless" he started on the road home. I just found out today that he's going to finally has a home to stay at. A single phone call, a miraculous change of heart and a true triumph. I'm really proud of him. Even though he still had many challenges ahead for him, it proves the power of will.

Will power doesn't guarantee success, but it does reduce your chances of failure. Keeping your eye on the goal puts you in the right direction.

Jonathan thanked me in today's entry, for sending him encouraging words and helping rebuild his blog after a mishap (See Jan 25). I'm glad I could be a part of that. It made today a good one.


Follow up: (Friday 2/13) Now that Jonathon is no longer homeless, he is making other changes in his life. One of which is the choice to close down his blog. I didn't know him personally, but I felt we shared a bit of the road together. It was a road worth traveling; and I'm better for it. I hope he is too. Happy journeys, Jonathon. May the best things still he waiting for you up ahead!

11:13 PM

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
It's not a phenomenon... 
I can't vouch for the ladies locker room, but this invariably happens in the men's locker room of the gym. Someone will be standing at their locker getting changed, when someone else comes in and discovers their locker is right next door. One or the other one always says,
"It never fails, the gym can be empty and your locker is always next to each other (ha ha ha)"
As if they've discovered some secret phenomenon.
They haven't.
What most of these people seem to miss are all the times their lockers have been apart; or when no one else came in at all. Then, their minds are on something else, and the non-event just passes them by.

What the real issue is the uncomfortable closeness that two adjacent lockers present. It's too close for comfort, and it must be laughed off as something beyond their control.

In life there are real events, with real deep meanings, and then there are empty events that we fill in.

Life is like an empty locker... it's what you bring with you and put into it that counts.


Muse for the day:
You ever see those pages that say "This page intentional left blank." They're wrong. They should say "This page intentionally only has one sentence on it."

10:31 PM

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Cold Symptoms 
Today was a good day to have a cold. Everyone saw me sniffling at work and just figured my grumpy mood was from that. Actually several things have been weighing on me at work and wearing me down slowly. I wouldn't be surprised if the cold is the result, not the reason.

The body listens to us, even when we refuse to listen to our bodies.

The thing that has been getting to me are the yearly reviews. I don't mind writing them really. They give me a chance to summarize (and legalize) a year-long effort. My team doesn't get the recognition they deserve, so I do see it as an opportunity. The only difficulty comes when it gets rewritten, and rewritten, and rewritten. Each time it gets reviewed by someone else, something invariably has to change... and their agenda is different than mine. So eventually, the wording is no longer mine either.

I like to say what I mean and mean what I say. My words are a part of my power to influence. When it becomes "I mean what THEY say" that power is taken away.

I lose my voice.
And that's not a cold.
That's just a shame.

10:58 PM

Sunday, February 08, 2004
A Measure of Time... 
When you're close to your everyday life, you don't always catch a glimpse of your progress. It isn't until some time has passed, and you compare it against where you used to be, that you can see just how far you've come.

Today was like a class reunion for me. Seven years ago I got an email in my AOL mailbox that changed my life. It was about a group of actors in LA who wanted to share information. It lead to a start up of a dormant acting career, an agent, some web work... and a group of friends who have enriched my life beyond words. Even now, that the web site is gone, my acting career is back to sleep, the closeness to those people remain.

We've all let some time slip between us...

...but that made it good to catch up.

The first thing everyone remarked was how fit I've become. I know I've been busy at the gym all this time, but its nice to know it's been paying off.

The other accomplishment, of course, has been this web site. A year ago, it was a few choice articles, a menu and a free guestbook. Today there's over 50 articles, about 30 newsletters, 20 cartoons and a whole slew of other stuff.

It's been some time, well worn and well spent... and well worth it.

10:17 PM

Saturday, February 07, 2004
The power of priorities... 
Setting priorities have an amazing power on achieving our goals. It separates out the most important things from the stuff that might be holding us back. It gives us a chance to break a big confusing blob into management chunks, then set dates to them. It gives us a sense of urgency and purpose... and focus.

But choices DO have to be made, often difficult ones. No matter how important something is, there can only be ONE #1 priority... and our #2 priority can't be done before our #1 priority (If your #2 has to be done first, then just reverse them!!).

When setting priorities, keep these in mind:
  • Is there a set deadline that this MUST be done by?
  • Is this priority dependent on something happening before it?
  • Do I need someone else to do something for me first?
  • Is someone else requesting the priority and how important are they to me?
  • Can someone else do this for me?
  • Does it really need to be done at all?
We exist in time, and as long as time is all we have to get our stuff done in, we can't do them at the same time (even multitasking is just a form of going back and forth between priorities).

And if someone else gives us conflicting priorities, like two #1's or whatever, we have to make the choices for ourselves; or go back and force them to choose... otherwise we all lose.

11:28 PM

Thursday, February 05, 2004
A Change of Scenery 
Many times when you stay in the same place for a long time you can become complacent. Good and bad memories linger with you every morning as you see the same-ole-same-ole. There's no real need to change your habits. So every once in a while it's a good idea to mix things up a bit.

My team is moving to the other side of the building tomorrow. My little corner cubicle has been a coveted spot for years and finally someone else has laid claim to it; they're using this as a good excuse to move my team closer to the latest manager that we report to.

Packing up is like saying "goodbye" to all those times. I'm using it as a chance to finally let go of some of the issues that have hurt in the past; hopefully I didn't pack any in those boxes to take with me. It'll also be good to come in next week and see a new group there... a new generation bringing life to that corner. The greatest joy for me will be to see what they're doing with the "evil doctor's" cubicle (he was someone who came and tore apart my original team, then broke their spirit and their projects and then left). They're tearing his cubicle down to put up two smaller ones. It's like watching sand castles return to the sea.

And tomorrow, we will put our own stamp on the new place... new people around us, a new direction to walk when we enter the door... and, hopefully, a whole new road to travel.

10:32 PM

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Turning around on the cycle of life... 
According to the theory of biorhythm, everything in life has a cycle with its high and low points - Emotions cycle every 28 days, Intellect every 33 and Physical every 23 days. According to mine, this has a really bad time for me physically. You really just had to ask my eyes, nose and lungs that; they coulda told me that!

Fortunately, as with every cycle, when you get past the bad parts, things start to look up. So we'll see what tomorrow brings.

I believe things WILL get better (maybe because the last few days have been some of the worst in recent history). Feedback is starting to come in from people who have been using and appreciating what I've built at work. It's been a pleasant contrast from the very negative feedback I got a few days ago from a distanced upper management who does not understand. I'm determined to keep at it, because I believe in the work and the people who made it happen, I'm just hoping that the "powers that be" doesn't make rash decisions based on things they do not know.

If the cycles are any indication, and this really is a better time I'm heading into... maybe there's a chance to turn things around.

11:14 PM

Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Rant vs Vent 
They look pretty similar to an outside observer, but it's really important to know the difference between ranting and venting, when it comes to the art of complaining...

Dictionary.com describes them as such...

\Rant\,To rave in violent, high-sounding, or extravagant language, without dignity of thought; to be noisy, boisterous, and bombastic in talk or declamation.
\Vent\, To suffer to escape from confinement; to let out; to utter; to pour forth; as, to vent passion or complaint.
Basically, they both express anger and outrage, but ranting actually builds and feeds off your anger, while venting releases it.


It helps to have sympathetic friends around you when it happens.

10:28 PM

Monday, February 02, 2004
Fighting fatigue 
A little stress is good for you. It helps to challenge you and in the end you grow.

Try this... take a big book (not too heavy, but not too light either) and just hold it out in front of you at arm's length. Easy, right? Now hold it for a while... and hold it... and hold it.

You'll find it starts to feel very heavy after a while as you start to wear down.

Prolonged stress is bad. So it's important to remember to take a break every now and again, or else you run the risk of fatigue.

If you reach fatigue, you need to make sure you're in a safe place, so that you have a chance to recharge your energy. Otherwise you can become vulnerable.


This is a common practice in some work places... to wear you down so that you can't fight the politics. Then they add more books, stand on your feet and try to knock out your knees.

Those times are the most challenging... and you either have to show greater resolve to figure out ways to use those books to protect your knees or drop everything and move on.

You just remind yourself that you are better than your exhaustion, and with refueling you can prove it.


So how as your day?

11:15 PM

Sunday, February 01, 2004
Choice Choices... 
There is only so much time during the day. You may want to get EVERYTHING done, but most times that just ain't gonna happen... so you have to make choices.

Today, instead of the usual cycle of errands, gym, etc. I stayed in to clean up my place. It was in desperate need of it, and had been staring at me for quite some time.... but before walking out the door, one "simple thing" lead to another... and another... and another.

The results were worth it, because the living space is now "livable."

It is always best to make choices that give the highest return on your investment. This was a good return.

It's true what they say in Feng Shui about clutter... it clutters the mind as well as the space. I can't breath too well right now, because too much dust got into my already-sensitive lungs, but I can think better... and that's a start.

10:47 PM


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