gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Monday, January 31, 2005 The Game of Life... Life only seems unfair when you're losing.
I kept staring at the clock yesterday morning, wondering what my sister-in-law was going through at the moment. Around noon I didn't want to listen to Thomas telling me that 1:20 pm would be the time. I wanted to remain skeptical... perhaps even a little naive. This wasn't the school bus we were talking about, this was a moment I wanted to just go away.
But I felt it.
At 1:15 pm, I just "knew" that her grandmother had come to her bedside and that friends who had gone before were preparing her welcome. She didn't want to go, but she wasn't afraid either. She simply was ready to go.
At 1:20, I looked at the clock and just said "goodbye."
It wasn't until I talked to my brother this morning that he mentioned 4:20 pm eastern time as her last moment.
There wasn't much else I could say besides "I'll be there" and "love you."
Sunday, January 30, 2005 Love it... Don't ever wait to love Life...
As I carried the garbage out and planned the rest of my mundane activities for the day, I stopped to stare at the beautiful blue sky. I just had to take a moment to soak it all in, and for only a moment, breath in Life.
My thoughts are filled with my sister-in-law today, who's losing her battle with Multiple Myeloma. The call came this morning with news that her time is short. Today, perhaps tomorrow, but the time to say goodbye has come. A very quiet voice, filled with tiredness and tears, from my brother told me that she wishes to be cremated and have her cremains brought to Hawaii. An all too familiar task these days, and this one way too soon.
I left a message saying that I was on standby to go and do anything that is needed.
As I stared at the sky, I wondered why someone would want to leave on such a beautiful day. But of course her world is different. She's back East, in a darkened room, surrounded by wires and tubes and pain. Maybe she wants to be free.
Suddenly in the distance something small and blue caught my eye. A balloon... heading into the open air.
My words of yesterday came back to me...
A balloon flies higher when you let it go...
Safe journey, Barbara... you will be truly missed.
Friday, January 28, 2005 Higher A balloon flies higher when you let it go...
Some people would be disappointed to be told that a once dear project is being put on the "back burner." I wasn't. In fact, I was a little relieved.
That pesky project that I mentioned before has effectively been given the equivalent of a death sentence; the dreaded "low priority." Of course, those are the kinds that magically resurrect themselves and are due the next day... but in the meantime... buh-bye!
Thursday, January 27, 2005 A lone lesson... When times are hectic, you learn more about your circumstance. When times are quiet, you learn more about yourself.
Things have really slowed down at work. Not that I don't enjoy the contrast from last week's hectic pace, but it's so vastly different, it's nearly shocking.
As I sat with no pressing deadline down my neck, it was interesting to just reflect on my choices. Some things felt like procrastination, because there was nothing to panic over. Other things just felt like slow and steady progress.
I spent the day getting ready for my own production and assembling some new furniture for the studio. It makes it all better for the long term, but since the Powers-That-Be are so used to seeing rush-rush-scream-rush-blame, I'm hoping they don't look at all this as real procrastination.
I'm doing today what I plan to have for tomorrow. The question is, will they see that? And will it matter to them like it does to me?
What choices will they make when they have the time?
Monday, January 24, 2005 Bliss less... Following your bliss is a delight... not following it is a drag...
This day could not have ended any sooner. It just dragged on and on and on...
At first I couldn't figure out what it was... the fact that a lot of people were out sick? or that we just had such a hectic time last week?
It was because I was working on a project that has lost its passion.
It started out as something that grabbed me by the heart and sucked me in. But over time it got downscaled until it became just a small fragment of what it was; a shadow that would never see the real light of day.
So as I did my best to put something into it, I just felt frustrated. I know it'll turn out fine no matter what it is, but "fine" isn't good. "Great" needs excitement, passion... heart. Just because its lost its heart doesn't mean I shouldn't give it mine.
It's just beating a lot slower.
Have you ever worked on a project with passion?
or one without?
Friday, January 21, 2005 Take a harder look... Many things are harder than they look... so look harder. It won't make them any easier, but at least you'll understand.
My boss was finally IN one of my productions... and every other moment was "I don't know how you make this look so easy" and "I have new found respect for what you guys do." That seemed encouraging, since she has a tendency to just throw new projects in at a moments notice; and maybe this means she'll at least consider all this hard work before she does it again (hey, a guy can dream, can't he?)
But that was the morning. In the afternoon, she got a chance to see herself on camera. The rest of the day was spent listening to heavy self-criticism and discussions of reshooting... of what was wrong with the teleprompter and all the procedures we need to insure the talent knows to look into the camera.
I listened patiently and took notes... and smiled a lot. I didn't want to seem on the defensive and point out that indeed, that little round thing I pointed out during the "talent prep session" was in fact the camera. That wiping motion I made across the teleprompter was not cleaning it; and that "blah-blah-blah" translates to "try to read the words in this area as it scrolls."
I already have two nicely framed checklists in the studio now for before and after the shoot. It's not a bad idea to have something for the talent as well. So the only "real" note I took was "make another list."
I'm going to remain optimistic and believe this experience has changed her. Oh, she'll throw in last minute projects (I'm not THAT naive) but perhaps she won't be so quick to judge us as not doing our jobs effectively. See, she has this tendency to create strong impressions and then act upon those; even when reality gets in the way. Several people have expressed frustration at having to focus more on her perceptions than on the job at hand; and I'm right there with them.
So maybe this is a baby step in the right direction. If not, hopefully we can fix it in post :-)
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 It'll cost ya... The price of support? $49.99. The price of no support? Everything.
I was reminded again why I love my job. Talking to my old team about their trials and tribulations screamed all the reasons why I left.
They asked for simple software and got ignored. So you know what I did? I wrote to our purchasing department and ordered one copy for me and one for each of them. Half an hour later, I get a confirmation that they're on their way.
It's not that expensive and they're going to used for my projects, so it's not like I'm being frivolous here. It's very practical, if you look at it in a supportive way. Of course, the old management wouldn't see it that way.
It's just one more example of the power of support. When I was there and got no support, eventually I just gave up. "Why bother?" replaced "Why not?" I just stopped caring.
Now, I feel support all around me. Now, I not only want to work harder, I want to give back more than I'm being given. Now it's as if I'm giving to my new team four years of bottled up hopes and dreams. All because I can just ask and I will receive.
So now I'm spreading a little of that support back to the people I know need it the most. I know it's little... but I also know it's something big.
Monday, January 17, 2005 Dream on... I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963
Dr. King knew what world he stood in. He knew the price to pay; and indeed he paid that price. Yet he didn't focus on the terrible times that he was in, or even the difficult trials that lay ahead. He focused beyond that, to something that seemed impossible until he said it.
Suddenly that vision seemed real... like it really could happen, provided everyone took responsibility to make it happen.
So why do we, in our much smaller worlds, make it seem impossible to reach our goals? Getting a good job, finding a house, sharing love with another... they're important, for sure, but compare them to equality for all? Hmmm, makes you think.
The important lesson here is that it starts with the dream. You don't look around and see what you can make with what you have... that's too narrow in focus and in mind. You have to go beyond that... to the ultimate in what you want to achieve. In Dr. King's speech, he specifically outlined some of the details that dream would take. Do you know why? So that it can be visualized... so it can be applicable... so that it can have personal meaning and importance to you, on the inside. That's the only way it's going to happen. If it becomes so real on the inside, that it's just a matter of time before it becomes real on the outside.
No one said it's going to be easy, but no one has to say it's impossible either.
Sunday, January 16, 2005 Celebrate song Music is the celebration of Life, so celebrate song!
The day was busy getting ready for this evening. I had to quickly get my friend's website up, before she performed tonight. She's releasing a single today and is raising money to finish the album. We went to a Dress-to-Impress event at the Level One Club in LA.
There was a mix up with my dinner reservations, and the news of my party expanding to five didn't reach the people managing the tables; so we ended up with a table for three. Fortunately (I suppose) one of the guests couldn't make it, and the four of us weren't as scrunched as the five of us would've been.
The event turned out very well, and good times were had by all.
After that, the four of us went off to a little noisy bar 10 miles away to watch one of their coworkers in his band. As I listened to the wailing blues guitar and watched the very intoxicated lady flaildance around, I thought "what a difference a bar makes."
Different worlds, just celebrating life from different angles.
Friday, January 14, 2005 Look first Before you look at others in judgment, take an even deeper look within.
After talking with coworkers about the Bleep movie we saw, one woman (who hadn't seen the movie) put up a hand made sign on her monitor that she was going to put her headset on and that the noise was too much. This didn't quiet down the situation as much as it internalized it. The rest of the day was filled with sneers and whispered conversations. I preferred to spend the rest of my day behind the closed door of the studio and just stay out of it.
It's not that this woman was unjustified. The noise level was a bit disturbing. It was the way she went about it... plus the fact that when she makes her personal phone calls, she's so loud that everyone in the office knows her business.
"Discretion" is the word of the day. It prevents other words from being said, like "hypocrisy" and some choice words that go well with "bleep."
Thursday, January 13, 2005 Fear Not When others around you are afraid, it's important to take note; but equally important not to join in.
I had a glitch on one of the video projects I was working on the other day. It was with a "VIP", who had been very quick to judge the project as "stupid", yet gave me great material to work with. The glitch? He inadvertently turned off his mic at the start of the shoot. Because I was rushing to get out of there, I only used the gauges on the camera, and they were still registering sound. Yes, Virginia, a very loud hiss is still considered sound.
When I mentioned this little faux pas to other people, their eyes got wide and they exclaimed, "you didn't tell HIM that did you?" Well, of course not. I may not be afraid of him, but I'm not stupid. I plan to return to him later with the request for "additional material" that I hadn't gotten from the other people I interview.
I don't really know him very well, and I wouldn't judge him anyway. I just hope he isn't the type of person who likes to use fear as a way of staying in control. It works for a while, but eventually the sword swings back.
I'm hoping that he isn't as fearful as they make him out to be, and that one day they'll see that... or at least hear it, anyway.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005 Magical Mystery Life is more vast and more mysterious than we can imagine. The more we try to understand it, the more mysterious it seems to become. So sit back and enjoy the exploration.
I went to see "What the bleep do we know" tonight with a group from work. It's definitely a movie for people who like to think. For those who haven't heard of the movie, it's a documentary about the mysteries of Quantum Physics. What is so fascinating about it is that the deeper you get into physics, the more spiritual everything seems to be. When you get to the level where matter is so small, you lose where a person ends and a table begins. Everything truly becomes unified.
I didn't have any "a-ha" moments like some of my coworkers... but mostly because I've learned this stuff before... not through a study of quantum physics, but through a childhood of spiritual teachers and night times of training.
When I got home tonight I went through some of my old journals and found my notes on the Nature of the Atom. In it I wrote how the atom straddles multiple dimensions and like a miniature blackhole, sucks energy into its center in order to recycle it through time. The way the physicists were talking, it sounds like that may not be so far from the truth.
I'd have to say what I liked most about the film was the message that we create our own realities... that we have a thought, and it triggers all these reactions to shape our experiences. It shows that we're much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.
So what the bleep do I know? I know I liked the movie and my reality... on whatever level it's at.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005 Unlock success Success is like a lock. It opens up to you if you have the right combination.
I sat a very popular Greek restaurant for lunch. The line grew longer and longer.
With each person served, three more came in. It got me thiking about success and how
this place seems to have found it.
Here's what I observed...
Serves a need One of the biggest keys to success is finding a need and filling it. Everyone's gotta eat... again and again... so this place has got that covered.
Accessable For a restaurant, it's important to get in and out quickly... but it's the same with everything else. You need to be easy to get to, by the people who need to reach you.
Good quality Quality is the foundation that success is built upon. If it ain't good, it ain't worth it.
Good price This is often referred to as "price tolerance" because it's that fine line where you're making a profit, but you're not so expensive that no one wants to pay. That's why the restaurant is so successful... the food is good, and reasonably priced.
Good timing Time is money too. So you might also call this "time tolerance." People don't like to wait too long, even when they know it takes some time. Whatever you do, make sure it's not so long that the peak moment has passed.
Good word of mouth Lines are inviting. When people see groups collecting, they trust it to mean something. If you have a waiting list for you, then you must be successful. Collect a fan club.
Because you're worth it Your reputation is the open door to success, Make sure you have a good reputation by being worthy of a good reputation.
Now as with any combination, these things are good by themselves, but must be used together to actual work.
Sunday, January 09, 2005 9 Lives and 15 minutes... Some cats have more than nine lives... some have additional 15 minutes of fame...
My cat, Teddy, made it to TV tonight. It wasn't exactly 15 minutes of fame... more like 15 seconds... but hey, it's a start.
The new show, Life is Great on E! Entertainment TV, covered celebrities and their pets. Now, I'd like to think I'm a celebrity, but as it turns out Jay Leno puts his cat in the same Cat Hotel as Teddy. When they came to interview the owner this Thanksgiving, Teddy was the only cat mellow enough to be carried.
From what the owner told me, I gather most of the good stuff ended up on the cutting room floor.
No matter, Teddy's incorrigible now. Hollywood's in his blood now.
Friday, January 07, 2005 Ninety Percent Success is 90% preparation... failure is 89% and below.
Okay, where do I start? Do I admit that I've been spoiled up until now or do I go right into the rant of "It's been one of those days..."?
I knew when the clock struck 9:45 am and I was told "they're editing the material again" that we were in trouble. 10 am came and went... then they rush in half an hour later to say "let's go!!"
"Has it been approved?" I ask. "We don't have time for that!" they shout back.
What I think: "de de deeeeee"
What I show: :-)
What I say: "I've got all day... please go get the approval."
Scramble, scramble, scramble.
Them: "He's in a meeting!"
Them: "We can get approval after we shoot!"
Them: "He said 'approved' ... we heard him say approved!"
Me: "Did he even see it?"
Them: (turns to someone else) "Didn't you hear him say approved?"
Other: "I heard him"
Fast forward to the middle of the taping. The guy "in charge," who's hosting this thing, stops dead...
Guy: "Um, that's not right..."
Writer: "Um, I can swear we changed that already..."
Grumble, grumble, grumble...
Guy: "Um, that's not right..."
Writer: "We're missing a slide..."
[Editor's note: three hours of blah-blah-blah-yadda-yadda-yadda cut for time sake]
Evening, me, sitting on my sofa, close up.
Me: "Aaaaanyway... where do I start?"
It's not like they're bad people... they're good... really. It's just somewhere along the way they didn't prep enough. They waited; then they rushed; then they panicked.
I **HAD** all day. They took it away.
What I think: There's an article in this somewhere.
What I show: :-)
What I say: Cut!!! Let's deal with this later...
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 Private Party Sometimes your life is so good that you want to shout it from the rooftops; yet the world around you is bad. Never let that bad spoil your good, nor let your joy flaunt on pained ears... just smile softly and embrace the quiet delight.
This is not another post about the suffering in Asia... it's about suffering closer to home.
While my career is going along really well right now, I'm watching several people who are close to me (some in proximity; others in friendship) who are struggling. They're all good people, and most of them are good at what they do, but their worlds are crumbling down around them... and they're at a loss as to how to stop it.
I literally went through what they're going through now... the stalled careers, the loss of a dream... so I know; more than they know I know. That's what makes my current situation so much sweeter; and makes watching them so much more bitter.
I do what I can to support them. I listen, I respond, I pick up the phone and call some people who might help, and I wait along side them. In the end, they're all going to have to do something for themselves. I can't do it for them.
A helping hand is just an outstretched one. It's up to others to pull themselves up.
I hope they can reach.
Addition: I meant to get a whole bunch of these done in time for Christmas, but alas I had delays. Anywho, I took some of the pictures I took in Kauai, added some words of wisdom, and made a few Guru Wallpapers, you can download for free. Please let me know if you use them.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 Like coming home... When you revisit something joyful from your past, be it a place or an activity, it feels strange at first; but quickly becomes comfortable, like an old coat.
It's been a busy start to the new year at work. We've hit the ground running with videos all over the place (and believe me, this is not a complaint). What's been a real joy is that I go off and try something new and they not only like it, they go off and tell other people about it.
I started a video series in a format similar to Entertainment Tonight, with me as the host. It feels so easy, so freeing to be up in front of the camera again... and people have been telling me just how easy it is to watch me too. It really is like coming home.
And the fact that they just keep wanting more... and that every time I pitch an idea they say "yeah, I like it." I feel like Darrin Stephens.
Sunday, January 02, 2005 Dig deep Tragedies don't necessarily change people, as much as it just exposes those deeper parts we keep inside.
All over the news and the blogosphere are discussion of the tsumani tragedy. Even I've had my mentions. The direct experiences (through videos and what not) awe me, but what really fascinates me are the reactions of other people. Events of such intensities bring out the best and worst in people.
I've seen big organizations band together to get immediate help... and I've seen people complaining that it isn't enough.
I've seen people complaining that the U.S. pledged only $35 million and are spending more on the inauguration... yet not mentioning that the U.S. pledged another $350 million and are in the forefront of the relief effort.
I've seen people give contributions and feel it wouldn't make a difference... and I've seen people sit back in indifference.
I've seen those same indifferent people shout how we SHOULD be spending our money... yet do nothing about that either.
I've seen people pray to God for healing... and I've seen people use God's name to hate muslims and gay swedes.
I've seen people hate the people who hate.
I've seen people being people and nature being nature... I've seen Live being Life.
And we'll all just keep looking at it, until we look at something else.