gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Tuesday, August 31, 2004 Did I dream, or did I wake? There are going to be good times and there are going to be bad times; don't get used to either one.
Today was amazing. After a meeting BigBigBoss (B2) said to me, "go ahead and order the equipment and I'll get (B3) to approve it by tomorrow." Then, NewBoss (NB) says, "everyone seems to want you to have three new people, so we'll get going on that too." I thought I was dreaming... or this some cruel joke; or at least, some empty promises.
Unfortunately,(very very unfortunately) I had grown to expect bad things. Watching others succeed through dirty politics, while I lost and struggled without "resources" became my norm. I resolved myself that this was "fate." Oh, I knew my attitude was still playing a major role; but I also grew afraid to try because I had "failed" so many times in the past.
If you've read past posts, you'd see that I kept clinging onto each little hope; and kept believing that things would get better. It's just that I got used to the negative.
That's what surprised me so much about the positive. I like it... a lot.
If I promise not to get used to it, can I please have some more?
Monday, August 30, 2004 Political Party They don't call it a political party because they're enjoying themselves; it's a party because everyone is playing a game...
Now I'm not usually one to talk about politics here, it just seemed to be the running theme for the day.
The news, of course, is filled with stories about the Republic National Convention. So much nitpicking and fact-twisting, by all sides. It's easy to see why there's so much confusion and conflict. On that note, I'm just hoping that people take the time to get all the facts and use their right to vote. Without that, you lose your power to make a difference; or at least lose your right to complain.
The afternoon brought a political surprise that was actually a pleasant surprise. A blog entry of mine became a news article over at The World Star Gazette, under the "politics" banner. Me, politics... gee...
Well, maybe... at least in my own little world.
Just before going home, I met the NewBoss, who started today. He's from the "outside"... without any of the baggage we've all packed over the years. Making small talk, the last four years came flooding over me. All the vicious games people played. It's too much too soon. He needs to get situated, find his own way; form his own opinions. So many of those players are gone now. Is it worth sailing the water under the bridge? Shouldn't we set our sights on the horizon instead?
I have hope and nothing but good wishes for him. Some people have already voiced their opinion that the politics will get to him. I'm just wishfully thinking he'll play a different game here.
Sunday, August 29, 2004 Don't disappoint... Expectations are not the only things that can lead to disappointment, so can compromise and conflict; so be on the lookout before it finds you.
A number of people made promises to each other today that conflicted with one another. I thought I had come up with the best solution; where everyone would be together, then split off into little groups as need be and come back together again. Unfortunately all it took was one selfish person who didn't want to play it that way (the old his-way-or-no-way sort of thing) so the whole deal fell apart.
I stuck with my original plan. I didn't want to let some other people's drama spoil my show. So while the others cancelled and sulked, I was able to finish up my articles AND newsletter AND have lunch with a friend AND finish up the mockups for the cover of her new CD. All in time for dinner.
I would've been able to accomplish all this and everyone else's plans too, if they were willing... but oh well. Today was a winning day, for those that stayed in the game.
Saturday, August 28, 2004 Mind the piles If you don't pay attention to the maintenance, eventually you pay more...
Despite a perfect sunny day, I just couldn't ignore the chores any longer. Sometimes there's "living your life" and other times there's "cleaning up your life." Laundry... dust bunnies... piles and piles of unwanted junk mail that didn't get tossed the first time.
It took up a majority of the day, mostly because I let it go too long... but it was worth it. It's all about rejuvenation... and although it feels a lot more like exhaustion right now, I'm sure tomorrow I'll know (and appreciate) the difference.
Thursday, August 26, 2004 Creative Juices Let Creativity be and it will Become...
A couple of coworkers and I were testing out a new software for making quick videos.
Towards the end of the day, they start giggling like school kids. They were writing
a little 'skit' to send back to the rest of the team.
For something 'quick and dirty' it was very good. Even the acting had some very
funny moments, for only having five minutes to practice. What impressed me most
though was here was something being created without committee, without policies and
project plans. It was just collaboration in creativity. It was free... and that made
Tuesday, August 24, 2004 A bunch of prayers... There are bad apples in the world, but we mustn't let them spoil the whole bunch... if we're ever to have true goodness in Life, we must remain good apples.
The news is filled with a suffering all too familiar to the people who lived through 9/11. Today, two Russian airlines crashed shortly after takeoff; and terrorism is suspect.
Wanting so much to maintain my optimism, this sort of news is saddening.
But I will continue to hope... and pray... for a better life.
For the victims, I pray for serenity. May you truly know peace now.
For the families, I pray for solace. May your pain be eased soon.
For the Russians, I pray for security. May your airports and homes be safe from future harm.
For the Terrorists, I pray for sanity. May you change your minds, and see that violence is not the only way; that winning can be achieved without loss.
For the Rest of Us, I pray for solidarity. May we never let these events separate us into "us" and "them" and may we never forget that peace will always be possible; if we want it bad enough.
The cops directing traffic refused to let us into Parking Lot 1 because we didn't have a parking pass, even though we explained that we were on a list and was told to tell them that when we got to the gate. They sent us into the long-line of Parking Lot 2. At Parking Lot 2, after explaining again about the List, they told us to drive to the side while they checked. Once confirmed, they sent us back over to Parking Lot 1. "Whoo hoo, we're in!" or so we thought.
We go up to the top of the hill, behind the myriad of busses letting off the hoards of people and their luggage size lunch buckets. We finally get up to the List Lady, who cheerfully hands us out parking pass. "Where do we go?" we ask, all smiles.
"You're going to exit here and go to Parking Lot 2..."
Fortunately, for us, the Jazz was a lot smoother...
Saturday, August 21, 2004 Act as if it matters... because it just might. Do everything with love, even the most mundane things. Maybe they don't seem so important to you, but they may mean the world to somebody else.
The grass was brown, like straw; the only greenery being weeds. You'd think it was a lost cause, but I wasn't about to give up. A promise, after all, is a promise.
I'm still tending to the house of my friends in Orange County. It's obvious that once a week watering is not enough, but whatever little I can give does make a difference. If only to keep the weeds healthy.
They return in a couple of days... to a well trimmed, less brown lawn. It ain't much, but it's home... and they're welcome to it.
Friday, August 20, 2004 Don't speed around the learning curve On the learning curve of life, take your time... you don't want to miss anything, or fly off the bend...
I was on the phone explaining how to enter data in our website at work, patiently waiting for this senior manager to "get it." He apologized for being "slow" when I told him "Don't speed around the learning curve!"
As I hung up, I thought "hey, I think I have the title for my next article!"
But I let it sink in a bit, while I toiled through the remaining three hours fourteen minutes and nineteen seconds left to the day.
Down the hill, in another building, is the only Mac in the company that I know of... and it has all my video stuff on it for this long overdue project. Despite the fact that I only get use of it a few hours a week,I've also had to contend with my unfamiliarity of Final Cut Pro. Looking back on the frustrations that added to this whole thing, my little "lesson" for the manager was really just a lesson for myself.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 Get up and win! If it ain't over when you fall over, get up! You can't win lying down.
The look on Paul Hamm's face after his fall was full of disappointment, despair and disbelief. Everyone was in a state of shock at a mistake that they were sure cost him the Gold medal in Gymnastics. "how can he finish the rest of the events after all?" they all speculated. Well, he got up, composed himself and finished...
Against all the odds, we went on to do the best routines he had ever done; while the others made similar mistakes. It was with just the right mix of luck and fate, combined with pure skill and spirit, that brought him back on top.
If ever there's a lesson to be learned about getting back up, this is it.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 Hit the 'pause'... Life has residue that piled up, like dirty dishes in a sink... every once in a while, stop pushing... pause... clean up... get ready to go again.
I really debated about going into work today. So much needed to get done around the house; and things just weren't progressing at work... but then again, so much needed to get straightened up at work too. Choices, choices.
"Go to work" I heard in the back of my head.
Let me check my calendar... No meetings, all the bosses will be away at that conference, I can't get to use that equipment til tomorrow...
"Go to work."
I'm meeting someone for dinner right after work, I can go to the gym in the afternoon.
"Go to work!"
Go to work.
I'm glad I did.
I opened two boxes of 'stuff' under my desk, which sat there since my move to the new cubicles last year. I just piled it high on top of my desk and worked through it all by the end of the day.
I needed that.
With a new boss coming by in about a month, I need to have everything together; be more organized. He's going to be new, completely fresh... so all these tired, old ideas stuffed into worn out folders aren't going to seem so old to him. He won't be tied into past problems and current politics. He might just give these ideas another chance.
There was more than just junk in those boxes; there's hope.
Monday, August 16, 2004 Sanctify... Life is magical... inside and out...
As I leaned closer to look inside the chest cavity, I wondered what it was that I was looking for... capillaries and veins? some residue of plastic from the preservation process? or some sign of humanity? perhaps I was trying to find my own.
I wanted to attend Body Worlds for some time and now I was standing in front of displays of actual people, preserved by a special technique known as Plastination, where the water is removed and replaced with plastic.
It was shocking and fascinating; reverent and irreverent at the same time. It was so clinical that it was spiritual. So humbling and inspiring. So many words... yet I spent so much time in silence.
There is so much to the human body... whether it's a product of creation or evolution; there's no question that it is nothing short of miraculous.
It's something that has to be experienced... that's all I have to say.
Sunday, August 15, 2004 If it's easy, do it... Life is a struggle when you do things that aren't right for you. When you do something that's easy, that's a sign that you're on the right track.
Enough talk about the difficulties of the past few days; they've just been tests of my patience. The weekend is here and I'm entrenched in what I love. I usually start thinking about writing another article Wednesday or Thursday when it occurs to me, "hey, isn't Friday coming up soon?"
Articles basically write themselves. The cycle pretty much goes like this:
Monday - Friday: I live a life like most people; happy moments, sad moments, a few annoyances here and there; and a lot of reflection during an hour long drive home each day. Some philosophical discussion with coworkers during the week somehow soaks into my brain and sticks.
On Thursday, or (oops) on the drive home Friday: I just open my mind up to some interesting title. Once I've got that the opening paragraph just starts flooding down and I do a mad rush to email the whole bunch to myself before it's gone.
After that, it's all in the details. The not-so-easy part is trying to make time between the writing and the posting. If I hit the ground running on Friday night with other stuff, the posting has to get done in bits and bytes; stolen moments in the early morning and late night. I've gotten better at the process of updating each page, in just the right order of copy-paste; but it sometimes takes longer to get online than it does to write it.
It's been such a busy time for me that this post, which started on Friday evening, is now coming to a close on Sunday morning.
Guess this entry wasn't as easy as the title implied.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 Gentle... Success needs effort, but not too much. When you're pushing harder than you're moving, it's time to ease off.
By the end of the day, a certain sadness sunk in... not depression; more just a lighter shade of blue. The end of the day came so quickly, with so few results, that I felt empty by it all. I don't know what I was expecting to happen today, but it must've been something; or else I wouldn't have ended up disappointed.
My daily environment isn't designed to actually get work done. It's too big, too disjointed. For every report, there's three more just like it, only in three different systems. Just as soon as you rush off one report that's due NOW, you get hit with an email saying DUE TOMORROW.
Add to that a sea of low cubicles. It's designed to "build teamwork and enhance communication." It succeeds in giving you a clear view of the fight down the row and encourages the Idle to come over for chit chat. Being next to the printer and the jar of candy doesn't help. Even the simplest of how-are-ya's can break the intense concentration I need to splice together a badly fragmented video project.
Yet applying more pressure isn't the answer here. Working harder isn't working smarter. It's kind of link those Chinese Finger Traps, where the more you pull, the harder it is to get out. Success isn't going to come by pulling, or pushing, or wanting or wishing. What I need to do next is step back and find to ease out of the trap and into getting stuff done. I have ideas, but I'm not going to give my secrets away just yet.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004 This too shall pass... Whether you have a good day or a bad one, remember, "this too shall pass."
Today was Hello Hot! That I-Can't-Believe-I'm-Not-On-Fire Hot. This evening at the gym, I saw the greatest weather report on TV. The caption read "Winter is Coming." It was the perfect way to "break the ice" (or is that "break the heat"?). It just got me thinking about the parable of Solomon's ring and the important message that everything passes, the good, the bad... and the totally annoying.
Today's progress was much like yesterday's... slow, painful at time, but still forward. So I just kept reminding myself of the day's lesson.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 What is progress? Progress is "the act of moving forward toward a goal"... however slow or small your steps... no matter how totally annoying it can be at times.
Today's progress was painful; nothing seemed to work right, and everyone offered up advice that may have sounded good on the surface, but only added more trouble to the mix. "Stop, stop, stop" someone actually told me... then spent the next half hour leading me down the wrong path. That road ended with "sorry" and a quick dash away.
I found some "solutions" that people told me not to do. I stared blankly at a lot of people telling me how it should be done, and why it must be failing; and then pushed on anyway.
According to my original plan, I didn't make much progress at all... but based on the breakthroughs I made against so many obstacles, today was miraculous.
Sunday, August 08, 2004 Dreams and Nightmares... You can have pleasant dreams, or frightening nightmares; it all depends on what you let in.
My first morning after the new bed's arrival... ahhhhh. I feel like I'm living in a fancy hotel right now. It's so comfortable and NEW. I put it off for quite a while, procrastinator that I am. I'm sorry I did that... but I'll get over the regret after a few night's rest.
Although the movie I saw tonight isn't going to help. Open Water, an independent film about a couple who go scuba diving, only to be stranded in the middle of the ocean when a confused crew leaves them behind. It's a scary enough premise; made worse by the fact that it's based on an actual event.
They make up for the lower quality of film by focusing on the performances and LACK of special effects. They really did film in open water; and those really are sharks swimming around them.
It's not just what they show, but what they DON'T show that makes it so compelling. The midnight scene, told with quick flashes of lightning and lots of voiceovers is seat-gripping. As one character puts it, "I don't know which is worse, seeing them; or not seeing them." It was very reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's casket scene in Kill Bill 2, but with a stronger sense of reality.
If you're not old enough to remember the days of Jaws, this might be your turn to "never go back into the water again." Open Water plays on some of our deepest fears, perhaps even more so than Jaws ever did. Jaws relied on a shark becoming a monster in order to generate its fear. Open Water just let the story tell itself.
It'll make you think and maybe even remind you to appreciate those little moments you call "mundane."
It makes me appreciate my new bed all the more... even if it won't help me sleep.
Saturday, August 07, 2004 Ready to lie in it... You've made your bed, now lie in it.
Well, actually I didn't make the bed today, the guy who delivered it did... but still, I'm more that happy to lie on it. (Is it, lie IN bed, or lie ON bed? Hmmm).
Anyway, I'm forced into this, not that I'm complaining mind you. I'm just tired of unexplained numbness and pain and am on a mission to remove the usualsuspects. Until I replace the sofa, I'm not sitting on it at all. I have a high backed chair and small table for when I compute around the house. For sleep, it's gonna be dial-up-and-doze-off from now on.
Friday, August 06, 2004 Don't it turn my blue eyes green... Sometimes jealousy or envy can creep up on you when you least expect it. Don't beat yourself up when that happens; just recognize it and let it go.
Ideally, we're not supposed to look at material things and get into that wanting mode... but sometimes it happens to the best of us. For me, I'm not really that impressed with fancy cars and big homes. Oh, I enjoy the occasional "nice thing" mind you, but I don't find myself driven to have-it-all at all costs.
So I surprised myself tonight.
A friend of mine has been "sharing custody," if you will, of some video equipment. He borrows my camera for some length of time, and I borrow his microphone and lights when I need them. It's been a very symbiotic relationship and a great excuse to visit one another.
Due to bad timing, he asked me to drop off the equipment at his new house. After I spend a few minutes with his lovely wife and beautiful daughter, he pulled up in his Thunderbird convertible. Then, after the customary happy-hugs-and-how-are-yous, he showed me around. Beautiful two story, Americana-style home, with master bath and bay windows that look out over a two-horse barn that they're planning on selling (since they don't own horses and want the space).
His success is showing.
He wanted me to be a part of his company when it was just starting, but at the time I couldn't afford to do it. He stuck with it, and it's really been blooming. I can't tell you how totally proud and happy I am for him.
As we stood outside with the goodbye-we-must-get-together-soon conversation, a little tinge of sadness came over me. I didn't expect it.
I have a good life. I know that. It may not be exactly the way I asked for it, but I've basically gotten what I've asked for. It's just that at that moment, I saw that I don't have it in-that-way; and so the "green-eyed monster" reared its ugly head.
So now I'm going to sit with those thoughts, let the green eyed monster go back to sleep, and start planning on ways to make my life more the way I'd like it to be.
Thursday, August 05, 2004 Do two rights make a wrong? Two wrongs don't make a right, but do two rights make a wrong?
Or... do two rights turn you around in the opposite direction?
Had one of those days of "promises" ... both very positive, but potentially conflicting. After YEARS of attempting to get video into my department, there's actual serious talk all the way up to BigBigBigBoss (B4) of making that happen. It probably has to do with the fact that some other department has been getting a lot of attention with their stuff, all the way up to, like, B7 ("you sunk my Battleship!"... sorry, flashback).
So now it's all, "add that to the budget" this and "just go ahead and order that now" that... so I'm just a teeny-itsy-bitsy-don't-get-your-hopes-up-too-high-but-just-maybe encouraged by it all.
Add to that a meeting with my ex-boss (XB, not to be confused with X-Box) who has a lot of work for my team and I; and spent much of the morning telling me how much she wishes I could work for her full time. That job would be much-much-much closer to my home (giving me back five hours of drive-time a week, at least) and it would be like running a full-time TV studio, only for the web. It would be, well, just like everything I tried to do with my own company back in the pre-bubble-burst internet days.
Both have the potential to be really-really-really good (ok, maybe just really-really good... or maybe even just good.... but just-good is better than its been in the past).
It's too early to tell how this will play out, but I've got my game face on, and I'm ready to get in there and win.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004 Sometimes you don't... Like the ocean and its waves, Life just goes on. Sometimes you get to ride the waves, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you get thrown against the rocks; sometimes you don't.
Still, Life goes on.
I spoke with a friend on the phone tonight. He seemed down from the get-go. We talked for about an hour, swapping war stories. He'd tell me about an unexpected bill in the mail, and I'd give him my list of recent arrivals. He'd talk about letting someone get the best of him and I'd recant my story about the broken key in the lock.
It wasn't that I was trying to top him. Rather I wanted to show him that bad things happen to good people all the time. It's just what we decide to focus on that makes the difference. If you have four good things and one bad thing in a day, why let the one bad thing spoil the whole day?
In baseball, if you happen to hit the ball three out of ten times you can make millions of dollars; and if you get four, well, you become legendary. So if 70% failure is considered success, why should 80% success be considered failure?
Tuesday, August 03, 2004 The price of beauty Beauty comes with a price; sometimes it's worth the payment, sometimes it isn't.
The sunset going home was amazing; the sky was ablaze with red. It was like that because of the smoke in the air. the sky wasn't the only thing ablaze. Somewhere, off in the distance there was a fire burning. Judging from the blanket of brown, I could tell that it was big, wherever it was.
So for the price of this beautiful evening for me, something else is being lost.
Monday, August 02, 2004 Change of pace... When you change your pace, the world won't change; but your view of it sure will.
I was just not in the mood to go to the gym tonight... nor did I want to just go home and veg out. On the way home, I got the idea to do something different... ride my bike around town. It was just the right mix of something physical without that same-ole-same-ole-stinky-gym.
Things didn't start off so well after I got home. Despite having a key break off in the lock and a tire needing air, I was determined not to let this night be spoiled. It was well worth getting past the little annoyances.
Yesterday's discussion about living has got me being all contemplative. The cold night air, the little bumps in the road, all seems so much more tactile; more real.