gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Back to the start When you slide down a mountain, don't mourn the loss of the climb; just reach up and begin again.
I have had tremendous climbs in my life, followed by some traumatic falls. I have had to pick myself up and dust myself off so many times that I forgot where I started exactly.
Today represent a turning point for me, because I feel like I'm back to the beginning.
A single line from a Beatles Song kept playing over and over in my head
Get back... get back... get back to where you once belonged
Three months ago, I was knocked down big time at work. Because I didn't take much credit for the work I did, it was perceived that I didn't really do all that much.
It hurt not just in my morale, but in the pocketbook as well. All the perks that came with the job would be denied. All the stigma that comes with a bad label, would be granted.
It sent me into a tailspin of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). I wanted to retreat into my Cancerian shell, to hide behind the sofa of my childhood, but I knew that taking that attitude would insure my demise. I fought against every urge to quit and run away, and took each step... each painful... mud-filled... heavy-hearted step... towards recovery. I changed my responsibilities, my attitude and worked on changing my reputation. I sided with the "enemy" to change their darkness into light. I documented everything. I worked in secret on things I knew that no one else could... and distinctly made my mark that no one else could share or take away.
It paid off.
Today I had lunch with my boss to discuss my "progress." She wrote remarks on my status report, much like my teachers used to do. Fortunately, they were all positive... and her words sounded much like they did when I first arrived at the job.
So now I'm back to square one. The journey didn't kill me, so I must be stronger.
This evening marks another long journey back to the beginning.
The extension on the escrow runs out at midnight. The place that I fell in love with, that stayed just beyond my reach, is starting to slip away. Tomorrow it starts all over, with the appointments and the walk-throughs, and the offers and the FUD that comes with a HUD.
I can't say that I've enjoyed this journey, but I'm glad it gave me the opportunity to test my character, and build my resolve for a better future.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 Take a moment Everything takes time, so make sure you take a moment to do something.
Today was a mixed bag of rushing around to do errands and simply "do nothing" moments. In some of the quieter moments I started to think about the stuff I wanted to get done, but wasn't really in the mood to do. I knew that meant they'll have to wait... or maybe they're never going to happen. I wasn't even in the mood to think about that.
So I started to think of other things.
I started to think of some of my friends... there's the one who's last conversation sounds like the first one years ago -- about all the stuff he wants, all the things he's gonna do... and my responses echo in my head about "you have to actually DO SOMETHING." Then I think about my other friend who doesn't talk all that much about what he wants, because he's so busy getting it.
Then a commercial comes on to try and get me to think of something else.
So I do...
It was one of those "are you an inventor?" commercials. The ones that say "come to us with your ideas so we can get rich and you can have a garage full of widgets" ... no, wait, THEY don't say that; maybe someone like John Stossel might say that, but anyway...
I started to daydream about inventing something... nothing too earth shattering... just something that sells well on QVC and turns me into a multimillion dollar philanthropist in my spare time, who paints and writes more while vacationing in Europe. But I'm not a widget maker, nor do I really want to be, so I have to find another way.
I do admire wigeters though, because of their tenacity... because they know to get something, they have to do something.
Which brought me back full circle, sitting on my couch after my mind trip, thinking about me and "what am I gonna do?"
And so I was off again, with thoughts about all my book ideas and stories that would make great movies... so I got up off the sofa and made some soup, because I had a very late lunch... which I thought was really something, but not the something I was just thinking about. So I thought "well, I ought to do something about all this thinking"... then I thought...
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 Make a Difference Start each day with "Today I will make a difference" and you will.
I don't know if was because I'm getting tired of the same-ole-same-ole, or I've caught myself in tiny moments of negativity, but I was determined to have a fresher attitude this morning. Instead of a morning filled with sighs and yawns, I said outloud "today I'm going to make a difference."
And I think I did make a difference... not a big one, but one none the less.
A project was about to roll out and it just wasn't that good. They came and asked me to fix it up as much as possible, as quickly as I could. Although it did take the rest of the day, by the end it turned out, well, better.
What matters most is not that I did something earth shattering; I just made one little thing better. Over time, that makes a big difference.
Monday, May 23, 2005 Fun, sun and a limited run... Life is a smorgeshboard... take in a little of everything!
Had a nice mix of life stuff over the last several days. I went to see a friend in a play. I'm not buttering her up by saying she was the best thing in the show. Being that she was in Neil Simon's "Fools" it might not be a compliment to say how convincing she was. It's just that out of all the mixed performances, her's was innocent and sweet and believable. Some of the others either tried too hard, or not enough. The actors playing her father and mother were also excellent, so I guess it ran in the family. Overall, it was a very enjoyable evening.
The remainder of the weekend was spent avoiding our first heat wave of the year. It's not even the summer and temps are above 100. I traveled to the OC to avoid the heat, but not the sun. I used SPF70 to avoid the sun. I survived with only a light toasting on both sides.
Plus I got to know some people a bit better this weekend, and new friendships are always good to have.
It made a nice contrast to being stood up for breakfast on Sunday. Speaking of Fools, I believed "E" would show up for breakfast, being that she said "see you at 11" only the night before. Yeah, I know she didn't show up at the last breakfast for "S's" birthday... but maybe this time...
Well, I swallowed my melon, cottage cheese and my pride... and by noon decided to go back home to do something productive. The non-apologetic voicemail came the next day, and I can't quite remember all that it said; pretty much what always gets said.
Maybe I need someone like Leon Tolchinsky to wake me up from my ignorance... or maybe I just need to get out more. Where's my sunblock?
Thursday, May 19, 2005 Hard to break... It's very easy to get back into old habits. If you want something different to happen in your life, changing those is the place to start.
After my trip to Vegas, I fell right back into my same-ole-same-ole. It was familiar, if not always comfortable. My days were filled drudging through some projects and my evenings crammed with gym-dinner-read blogs-write stuff-go to bed too late. I know I'd like to mix it up a bit, do something different, take my life to new directions filled with adventure and grandeur, but I'm not quite sure what needs changing. There's a lot "right" with my life, so I'm not so eager to upset the apple cart in search of oranges. You know what I mean? Perhaps I need to ponder some more...
I spoke with a friend yesterday who doesn't think ANYTHING is right with his life. The phone conversation sounded much like it has for the last five years. I told him that he already knows what I'd say... and that he knows he knows what he wants, and that he knows he knows what to do. He still wants the results, but he just doesn't want the work that comes with it. Old habits.
He knows he needs to change his every day actions in order to get different results. He's taken all the seminars... and when he's put those principles into action, he has seen great progress. But then there are those old habits.
He's unsure of himself... and he's tired... and that only makes it worse. He's not selfish by any means, but he is very self absorbed. It'd be one thing if he enjoyed that time, but he uses it to torture himself. He's very cruel to himself. As if the world isn't unkind all by itself, does he really need to be the main offender? A really bad old habit.
I think that conversation is what's got me thinking about my old habits, more than the fact that I was off doing something else on vacation. I get tired too. I sometimes second guess myself as well. I catch the little mental phrases of negativity float through my brain. That happens when you have bad habits.
So I change my mind and think happy thoughts... and I write about it to solidify the lesson and share it with all the others who battle their own old habits.
My friend says that all he wants is a 'break'... the first thing to break, I say, are those old habits.
My parents talk up a storm when they're with other people, recanting the old days; my dad telling Joke #17 to the new people in the crowd; my mom telling someone else what they SHOULD do. Then we're alone, and hardly a word is spoken. I ask questions and instead of getting a buffet of stories like their friends get, I can only snack on a few words here and there. I try, but sometimes it feels like they're saving their material for the second show.
My father sits staring at his food, or lovingly at the slot machines. My mother is watching everyone so that she can shake her head at the pants that are too low or the butt that is too big. I tell her that her life would be so much freer if she didn't judge people so much. She remarks how her life would be freer if they would just wear something decent.
Her biggest target is my father, who can't seem to do anything right in her eyes. She finishes off the whipped cream of her dessert before complaining to him "do you really need to eat that?" She's convinced that everything he eats is going to kill him, even though he's made it to 80 so far. I explain that all this aggravation will probably get to her first, before that cake gets to him. She's not convinced.
Speaking of gold, their 50th wedding anniversary is coming up this year. They wear it like a battle scar, instead of some badge of honor. I'd like to think they stayed together for love, but I'm not even sure they like each other. Throughout my childhood I think I've only seen one fight. They don't fight, they bicker... never-endingly, like a small flame that's refusing to burn out. They never raise their voices to one another; they lower them. They choose the least amount of words to do the deepest damage. I think the best gift to give them this year would be separate vacations.
It has to make you wonder why two people stay together for so long, while remaining so angry at each other. It doesn't matter if other people think that 50 years is such a blessing, if the two people haven't been enjoying it all this time. I suppose they stay because they need each other, but I believe that wanting each other would be so much sweeter.
Like the slot machines that surround me all day, I hope they realize that one day their number is going to come up. Will they consider themselves winners then? I certainly hope so.
Saturday, May 14, 2005 The show goes on... Life is a parade; enjoy it before it passes you by.
This morning I slept late and nearly missed the 100 year Helldorado parade being held down the street from the hotel. I grabbed some shorts, a clean-enough shirt and my camera and ran down the street. Highly disoriented, I don't think I actually woke up until an hour into the parade. Didn't really matter though, because the part of the parade I saw was daring me to fall asleep through it. With so much money thrown around this town, I kind of expected something really glitzy; especially for a big celebration such as the 100th birthday party. Well, there was another lesson in not setting expectations. With each picture I took, of the hand-painted signs and baby carriages with plastic flags on it, I realized that this parade could easily take place in any small town. This was not the Vegas of night time glitz and glamour. This reeked of the morning after.
I left to seek out the shelter of an internet cafe. So, okay, I **DO** have an addiction, but I don't have to check my email, really, I can quit any time I like? no really, what, you don't believe me? Just give me your email address and I'll attach some proof.
I got through 500 junk emails rather quickly and prided myself that at $12/hour I was actually saving money over sitting at a $100/hour slot machine. I then winded my way through noisy smoked-filled casinos and chintz-filled souvenir shops back to the comfort of my tiny hotel room.
The quiet was short-lived though. My parents and their friends don't like to drive much, which designates me chauffeur du jour for just about everything. So I've seen every corner of this city and way more buffets than I need in a year. I listened quietly at my parents' friends laughing politely at the only three jokes my father can remember. And eyeing a Wendy's in the distance I mouth along with him, 'hey, let's stop at Wendy's for some finger food!' (hardy har har... not funny the first few times).
It's the cheapest show in town, and dinner is often included... so I guess I get what I paid for.
Friday, May 13, 2005 Sunny side up... With lights flashing all around you, it's still important to look on the bright side.
To use the word "excess" when describing Las Vegas would be an understatement. No matter how much money this city rakes in every year, there's a desperation that pervades every light bulb. Everything wants your attention. Everyone is trying to be everything to you that they end up meaning nothing.
Because I don't smoke, don't drink and don't like losing my hard earned money to a machine, I find Vegas exceedingly boring. If I want excitement I'd much rather go to the real volcanoes of Hawaii, than a fake one outside the casino.
Of course I'm here and not there, so I have every intention of enjoying myself none the less. I love watching others cheer as the dice roll the right number; and strolling along Fremont Street, under the brightly lit canopy, listening to bands celebrate the upcoming 100 year birthday of this city. I marvel at my luck of being here on this day, even when I scowl at the lack of luck I've had at the few machines I've fed.
I'm also determined to enjoy the littlest of moments that others would just ignore. As I stood under the weak lukewarm water of the shower this morning, I inventoried all the things that seemed 'wrong' with the place... the room's too small, the wallpaper is pealing, the shower head is falling off... I thought about the homeless men I saw last night. One had fallen back on the grass drunk, while another turned to me and laughed. I smiled back and gave them the thumbs up sign, which made the man laugh even more. I thought, "now they wouldn't mind this lukewarm drip at all... in fact, this would be a luxury to them. The too-small-room would be a castle; the bed far more welcoming than that grass." I spent the rest of the shower enjoying the fine milled soap and clean warm water over my body.
It isn't the excess that gets my attention. It's the little things. Now those things are grand.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005 Midway... You can lead a horse to water; then switch it in midstream.
The last several days have been filled with playing catch-up. It didn't have to be like this, but I listened to too many other opinions when this all began, and acted on it. Or rather, didn't act.
The program we use for all our video productions has a lot of limitations. I knew that right off the bat, and recommended a number of changes. I didn't have enough proof because I didn't have experience with the program… and because they’d already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on it; they weren't about to abandon it. I went along with it... and slowly built up my case against it.
Now, although we’re not getting rid of it, we're going to hide it basically; relegate it to the back room; leaving the show part to something more worthy... my original idea six month ago. That means a lot of work recreating six months of work. And if you think it was hard enough using this product out in the open, it’s even harder to work around it. Did I mention that it’s a lot of work?
I know it's worth the effort. I knew it then too, but maybe once they'll see it, they'll know it too. I seem to get a lot of that. People think I'm a Dreamer, which I am, but not in the way they understand. They see it as impractical because they don’t understand it. A lot of what I do doesn't come out of charts and carefully mapped out spreadsheets with committee notes. It comes from the deepest part of my creativity… and it only makes sense months after they realize they needed it all along.
It comes with faith, and often times I don’t get it when I need it. So I end up being penalized for taking risks; and the person who replaces me usually gets the rewards. I guess when I started this post about switching horses in mid stream, it wasn't just about the software… it was about me and my career. It was a message from the deepest part of my creativity.
I don't know if other people will get that, but I do… I’m not getting off this pony that easily.
Sunday, May 08, 2005 Miraculous! Life is miraculous, no matter how we got here.
Today is Mother's Day, a time to honor our mothers, or near mothers, or new mothers or people who we call "mother." Some people use it to celebrate Mother Earth. In any case, it's a good time to remind us just how important our moms really are. After all, they're our connection to the world. It was through them that we got here. That, in itself, is no easy task.
My mom is an interesting character. She's not afraid to state her opinion and forwards dirty jokes to her friends and family ("I delete most of them, and don't get half of the others" she says... but still Mom, I can't open them up at work!). She doesn't know how funny she is. That's part of her charm.
One time, when visiting them back east (Joysey, and I'm telling you which exit) we were in Walmart. I picked up a skinny bikini in the Women's department and said (a bit toooo loud) "Hey Mom, they have that thong you wanted!" Not to be outdone, she just quietly turned to the ladies shopping next to her and said "My son still thinks I'm sexy."
OK, so she won that round.
Her birthday is almost always the week before Mom's day, and she never wants a gift for either one of the days (she buried her Mom and a special Aunt on two different birthdays so she doesn't like to celebrate). So I usually get her a card on Mom's Day, but buy her a gift that will last through both events on her birthday. I know she appreciates me ignoring her once. This year was a "cake" made out of flowers.
This week I'm going to see her and my Dad in Las Vegas. Last time we were in Vegas, she grabbed a piece of The Rock at Madame Tussauds, which became a very popular picture at the time. I'm sure I'll have more stories after this trip.
But what will you tell the kids?
In the meantime, Kansas has heated up the argument over where we all came from. They dispute evolution and want to "balance" it out with Intelligent Creationism in schools.
Now I'm not one to talk about big politically debates here, but I find this one interesting. The study of Beliefs is what got me going on the Gurustu path in the first place.
Since I'm not so sure we have it figured out yet, I'm all for opening up the discussion of alternate theories. Why not teach children what other people think? They're going to come up with their own ideas anyway, so let's open up the choices.
That brings up the question about other alternates as well. After all, is it really just Evolution OR Creation? What if we were created as Apes and evolved from there? What if, as some believe, that Life is an Illusion? Or that we create our own reality? Or that we are the only reality for that matter? Or there's really nothing to be concerned about? And then what about the Matrix, you can't forget about that, can you?
What it comes down to is: everyone has an opinion; some are common beliefs, others are a bit off the wall. So how far should our reaching go? Is it right for us to limit our teaching to only a few choices? If we open it up to everything, will our children grow up to believe in none of it?
All I know if Life is miraculous. Maybe it doesn't matter as much how I got here and where I'm going?
Friday, May 06, 2005 Ha! Laughter can take you miles away from your closest problems.
Tonight I went out with a good size group of friends to a night of dinner and comedy at the Ice House... which is close enough to be in the shadow of where I work. Fortunately it was night time, so the shadow was long gone. All that was left was dim lights and bright smiles.
All the comedians were hilarious. Gilbert Esquivel & Rudy Moreno were the headliners for this Cinco de Mayo Special Event. Naturally, the topic was on comparing the Mexican culture with everything else. No one was spared, so it was equal opportunity jabs. It's all about poking fun at ourselves, not each other... and it was a refreshing change from work, where even "your hair looks nice" can be seen as a reason to file a grievance.
I sat next to a friend's coworker whose parent's neighbor is my boss's former peer. It's a lot closer than it sounds... and led to the obligatory "what a small world" comment. We each treaded lightly on that subject after that, not sure how well the other one knows "the whole story."
I actually kept my work talk to a minimum, mostly just the usual "yeah, yeah, great" response to the "how's work?" question. Even though I could see the logo above the other buildings as we talked, it seemed just a part of the backdrop. "The chicken was good" really does the trick when changing subjects.
Aaaanyway, fun times were had by all. It's been a long day and I'm exhausted. Hey, how 'bout that chicken?
Wednesday, May 04, 2005 But it still hurts... Buddha says that Life is full of suffering... yeah, well, it still hurts.
Today was all about pain. Nothing earth-shattering, but still painful nonetheless.
First there's the physical pain. I seemed to have pulled some muscle in my chest a couple of days ago. Felt like a heart attack, but I was able to feel it every time I move my arm in one particular way. So I stopped doing that.
Then there's sympathy pains. I had lunch with the Doubter today, to catch up on how things are going for her. It typically went like this:
She: I didn't see it coming. Me: We talked about it coming. She: But I didn't think they'd do it. ME: You saw it coming and ignored the signs. She: They say everything happens for a reason, I don't believe that. Me: Of course it does... they never said it had to be a GOOD reason. She: ... Me: The soup is good.
I tried not to get too empathetic with her condition. After all, I know what she went through and I'm still going through it myself with the same players. I just gave her as much words of encouragement as I could and tried to stay shielded from what could surely bring me down for the rest of the day.
The last bit of pain for the day happened in the afternoon (well, all day really, but it got to me in the afternoon). The slow torturous pain of a project that's just as thick as mud. I'm trying to make graphics to explain these concepts, but... every... sentence... is... soooo... detailed... and... THICK. I'm just pushing so hard... I guess you can call it "labor pains" :-)
And so I'm going to take it easy the rest of the evening. Transcend my pains with a cup of tea and an hour of HGTV. Oh how times have changed.
Selective hearing... They're your ears, choose what you let in.
The theme of yesterday and this morning (so far) is about deafness. Yesterday, as I waited in line for my Panda Orange Chicken, I watched two deaf friends order their meal. It was enough to write a Lifewatch about them. I didn't mean to easedrop, but because I'm casually studying sign language, it was nice to be able to understand a sign here-and-there (although I'm pretty sure he didn't say "the water is cute").
Anyway, this morning a friend sent me this story. It was covered in little froggies, but you'll get the point anyway. Here it is:
There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.
A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants...
The race began...
No one in crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.
You heard statements such as,
"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"
"They will NEVER make it to the top."
"Not a chance that they will succeed.
The tower is too high!"
The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one...
Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher...
The crowd continued to yell,
"It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"
More tiny frogs got tired and gave up...
But ONE continued higher and higher and higher...
This one wouldn't give up!
At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!
THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?
A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?
It turned out...
That the winner was DEAF!!!!
The wisdom of this story is:
Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart!
Always think of the power words have. Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!
Therefore: ALWAYS be...
And above all:
Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams!
It's the lessons I'm following at work. It's been part of the reason why I've spent a lot of time in the studio, alone; so that I can keep my focus and my positive attitude (that, and work on two computers at the same time).
It's important to only let the positive in, and stay true to my original goals. Only recently have people been noticing how great some work I did three years ago, really is. Back then, I got reprimanded for it, and lost a lot of faith. I'm using the little spark that's left to rekindle the fire within.
I often end my notes with "keep the light on" ... that goes for me too.
Monday, May 02, 2005 Stand Alone... It's great to fit in, but it's important to be able to stand alone.
I was going along smoothly, making great strides on my project. I had visions of completing it early and follow up Friday's success with another one. Suddenly, at the very end; bridge out.
I warned the them about not referring to other projects, because you never know if they're going to be done or not. Sure enough... "please see THIS ONE for more info..." Well, guess what folks, THAT ONE ain't done. All the hands of the chefs are still stirring the pot, and there's no ETA on when it might get done. Last I heard it was As-Fast-As-We-Can. That means that no matter how "Done" this project might seem, it's not "Done-Done"... brought down by a little thing known as a "prerequisite" or a "dependency" or an "I told you so." They didn't heed my lesson in modularity, and so it's time to move on to something else.
It's important to realize how strong you can be if you can stand up on your own. It doesn't really change who you are, or mean you have to isolate yourself. It just means you don't have to stop being yourself simply because something else isn't being itself.
Standing up is a good thing... but being that it's getting late at night right now, so is lying down. Good night!