gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Tuesday, June 28, 2005 Creativity in a nutshell... It's amazing how creative you can be, when you don't have many other choices.
I went to see a friend in a film that's part of the "48 Hour Film Project." It's a great concept. It's a competition where different teams are given the name of a character, a line of dialogue, a prop and a genre on a Friday then they have the weekend to write it, shoot it, edit it and submit it by Midnight Sunday. Then they get screened in a movie theater, surrounded by family, friends and wannabes-like-me.
There are mixed results, of course, because it's not an easy task to do, and creativity is a fickle monster. Sometimes you have amazing bursts of brilliance; other times you fall flat on your face. What matters though is that you try.
Some of the filmmakers obviously had connections, since one was filmed on a set reminiscent of Alien; which will show up in a much bigger movie I'm sure. My friend's movie was shot at Universal Studios, so I guess her producer had connections too!
With all due respect to her talent and team, my favorite film was "Significant Others" about a temp agent that replaces your significant other while they're away. A very funny bit about a husband who wanted to come home to burnt dinners and being ignored until he falls asleep on the couch.
It was very inspirational to see all these people participating. Many of them still looked tired, but all of them seemed satiated by their mutual creative juices.
It's definitely something I hope to participate in one day. There are festivals in many cities now, so maybe you can to... if only to watch what a difference a weekend and a dream can make.
Sunday, June 26, 2005 Going home again... Just because 'you can never go home again', you can still go back to visit.
The last few days have centered around "home", either what used to be, or what's going to be. Different events, but each tied together in subtle ways.
On Friday, I went to an event in the office where I used to work. I created this event last year and wanted to see what they did with it this year. Actually, I just needed an excuse to go see everybody again.
It was interesting to see how much had changed... and how much nothing had. It had been nine months since I saw a number of them in person. Some of them hadn't even known I was gone. Had I made such an impression that they thought I was still there? Or not enough for them to feel my absence?
No matter, it was just good to see them... and interesting to listen to myself recap the events of these past months. For some it was "everything is great"; for others, it was "oh you know, same-ole-same-ole-everywhere-you-go" and for a few trusted ones, they got an earful. How interesting it is to look back on the good and bad of it all and decide what to encapsulate, and what to leave off in hopes of it washing away like a sandcastle back into the sea.
The event, by the way, went very well. I was very proud to see that something which so few people believed in last year, has started to become an annual icon. At least for one thing I did, they finally 'got it.'
I left there feeling accomplished.
On Saturday, I went to a Home Show to get ready for my big move. So many vendors, with so many choices, that they started to look alike after a while. After all, there are only so many shades of granite, whether you lay it one piece, little pieces or just slap it on top. And everything is $15,000... unless you want to look like something out of HGTV, then it seems like $15,000 per square foot (and takes a lot more than a one hour episode).
Let's just say I'm expecting an awful lot of phone calls this week reminding me of my visit.
When it comes to 'going home'... today was the big day to get the keys to my new home. The seller was still frantically packing when I went over there. Maybe it's because I've waited this long, or because I'm not really moving in until the end of July, but I was very patient and in good spirits. I was able to bring her a plant as a housewarming/farewell gift... and spent some time getting the whole scoop from her gossipy neighbors (who will soon be MY gossipy neighbors). I need to be careful with what I tell them; though it seems they already had my scoop long before I got there.
I met one woman who has been in the building since it was BUILT... that's since 1975!! That's more scoops than a hot fudge sundae!
I finally got the keys by 5 pm, then walked around, measuring and envisioning a future among these empty walls. It doesn't quite seem real yet, but after the calls are done, and the tiles slapped down, I'm sure it'll feel like home.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005 Make way... Luck is the cake that's made from persistence, patience and a little faith.
It's been a tentative, yet very positive few days. The journey to buying my own home was coming to a close, but because I had come so close and lost the place of my dreams twice, I didn't want to take chances with losing it again. Even though I was signing all the official papers, it wasn't real until today.
This afternoon, I got the call (actually several calls from several excited people) to let me know that the funding has been approved... and by tomorrow, the road home leads to a real life door. The place is actually going to be mine.
It's still unreal, but it'll settle in, once I settle in.
It's been so iffy, and I had to make some tough choices along the way, but looking back, I can really see how important it was to remain positive, patient and above all, persistent. I could've given up several times along the way, but didn't. I was down, but not out... and now that it's paid off, I'm richer for the experience (even if it's going to cost me much more).
The same persistence, patience and faith has paid off in other ways as well today. if you've been following my story, I went through a very rough patch at work due to a misperception that damaged my reputation. I was as down as down could be... but again, I was not out. It took systematic calculations, precise moves and a lot of faith that I could build myself back up again.
I had an offsite meeting today with the players of those rough days... yet judging by their reactions everything seems to be back to "normal." I can't say that I feel "out of the woods" quite yet, but I do have faith that what I've done is finally paying off.
Saturday, June 18, 2005 Batman Begins to Teach... Everything is your teacher, if you are willing to learn.
I went to see Batman Begins this evening, and as far as the movie review portion of this post goes, I consider it to be one of the best ones in the franchise, and should finally catapult Christian Bale into the main stream. Now, on to my point…
The movie has many morals, most of them pretty blatant (after all, we are talking about comic book, summer big action blockbuster here); some are a bit subtler. All in all they're told with a lot of style, and enough angst to keep it real.
Here are some of the lessons (and don't worry, they're won't be any spoilers that I know of):
Be at peace with your fears Fear is the one thing that can destroy you the most, because it comes from within. It's the weakness that others can use to manipulate, even destroy, you. By not only facing, but embracing, those fears, you become strong.
You do have choices Here was a kid who watched his parents die (that's not a spoiler. If you didn't know that, you don't know Batman) He had every "right" to become a totally screwed up adult. No one would have blamed him, and being a billionaire, people would have encouraged him to be a royal goof off. However, he didn't play the victim role. He didn't choose to join the dark side like Anakin; he chose to fight for Justice.
You can stay true to your values Previous versions of Bruce Wayne clearly had issues, but I liked the way this one struggled with his values. As a man, and as a symbol, he is constantly challenged as to what the 'right choice' is. What I liked about Batman Begins is that we really got to see this a lot more. Every day we're faced with similar, though not as intense, decisions. As long as we keep our values intact, our decisions (though not easy) can be true.
It isn't neat and easy Another thing I particularly liked about this movie is that it didn't attempt to keep it neat and easy, good vs. evil. Yes, of course, there was plenty of G-v-E scenes, but it wasn't all wrapped in a package that was clearly labeled. There were plenty of actions that if done by the other side, would be seen in a completely different light.
Life is a lot like that.
One person can make a difference Batman certainly has an positive impact on Gotham City. He teaches us that through our actions we can change the world… not the whole world, perhaps, but enough in our little corner, so that the whole world is a better place to live.
It's an on-going process Finally I really liked that the movie didn't wrap everything up in the end (again, not a spoiler. If you think they wrap everything up, then you don't understand the concept of sequels) Life is an on-going process. Even if you did good today, there'll still be something bad around the corner. Even if you're totally sure of yourself at this moment, there are going to be times you question again. As they said in the movie,
"It doesn't really matter what you did with your past, it's what you do with your future that counts"
(ok, maybe that seems like a spoiler, just a little, but I paraphrased so it doesn't really count).
What lessons did you learn from Batman, or any other movie for that matter?
Thursday, June 16, 2005 Trigger Happy We have triggers that set us off into anger, and others into pain... so why not set up triggers to bring us into joy?
The problems from the beginning of the week still linger on, so much so that they seem like they belong there... like chronic pain that just settled into a dull ache. I just trotted on as usual, trying everything I could think of; hoping that THIS TIME would somehow be different, and everything would just fall into place.
It never happened.
Yet after about five hours of the same ole same ole, something did happen. Not a fix, but a solution none the less. Just out of the blue I said to myself
Tuesday, June 14, 2005 Against the wind Sometimes the wind is going to be against you... that's the time to fly.
If anything could go wrong, it'll all happen at the same time.
Every computer system is breaking down these days... from our network, to my system and just about everyone else I talk to lately. I'd blame it on Mercury, but it's not in retrograde. It's just that I'm under a time crunch to get something done... so naturally, the computer disaster sensors go off to make sure it ain't gonna happen.
I've 'lost' several days to troubleshooting. Buying new parts, swamping everything I could think of, reinstalling things that just wanted to be left alone. Turns out that it wasn't any of the computers at all. The video camera's busted. Don't know how... don't really care right now... I just want to get it all working.
I suspected something was up and rushed home to get my personal camera. Sure enough, it confirmed my better-late-than-never suspicions. The only problem now is... the 'cure' of these past two days have made things worse. All the software that was installed refuses to work.... you know the kind, the five-minute-easy-installation right-of-the-box-solution that saps the life out of you.
I'm not letting it get me down... after all, I've been through worse. It's just another one of those 'challenging moments' that we come across in order to test our resolve; to see if we're going to crush orbe crushed.
It's also a lesson in having Plans B through Double-D, because success is the only option, but Plan A is not the only route.
Friday, June 10, 2005 Stay in the game... In the game of life, sometimes you catch the ball, sometimes you drop it, sometimes you throw it back. What matters is that you stay in the game.
When I think back over the last few days, there's seems to be so much going on; and nothing-at-all all at the same time. I've had a lot of moments slip away from me... little problems taking away more time than they deserve... or just waiting for something-else-to-happen before what-you-need-to-happen can happen.
And yet through the nothingness, there's been some real moments of life defining changes going on all around me.
Just hours after making a bid for a new place to live, the first place called to say that everything was a "go." All I had to do was withdraw the offer I just made.
Well, yeah... chirp! Realizing that I already had what I wanted, and knew very little about what I didn't have, I decided to withdraw the offer. There's still a risk I could lose, but that's all part of the game. I'm on third base with the first place... I'm much closer to home.
Another life shaking experience happened to someone I know. I'll protect her identity by just getting to the point.
Her son, just 15 years old, suffered a stroke. They didn't call it a stroke because of his age, but the paralysis, lost speech and something showing up on the tests certainly "acted as if."
Fortunately, he recovered his speech and feeling within a day and was released from the hospital the day after. Being the invincible teen that he is, he wants to get back to his normal life right away. His mom knows better.
It was nice to see how a lot of people pulled together to show them support. It was a very frightening moment for everyone, because we all got some sense of helplessness against the powerful forces of Life.
It was a jolt to remind us just how precious life can be; that anyone, at any time, can be struck down when they least expect it. Every... moment... is... precious.
It's also a reminder to go out and enjoy your life. Yes, it's very important to be there to support those you care about... but it's equally important not to feel so bad yourself that you lose your own enjoyment of life.
Now's the time to do a little more relaxation, a little more play, a little more hugging and saying "I love you."
One day, it won't be happening to "someone you know"... it'll be your turn. Do you really want to have spent your time suffering?
The weekend's coming up... what are you going to do about it?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005 Do your best... Every once in a while do what you do best... if only to remind yourself how easy life can be.
These last two days I've been acting and writing and really enjoying my days. It was a nice reminder of living in the creative zone. I've been spreading myself thin with spreadsheets and struggling with programming strings, that I almost forgot what it felt like to snuggle up with my comfort zone.
Yes, of course I agree that we should do things to stretch ourselves, take risks, learn something new every day... but I also advocate not leaving who we are behind in the process.
I've talked to a number of really talented artists in the past who don't value what they do, because it's "so easy." I try to get them to see that it's that every thing that makes them special. They should do it more often, not less... and if it's how they make a living, they ought to charge MORE for that, not less.
So every once in a while, it's really important for me to sit down and practice what I preach.
I know that it's not as easy as it looks. I've seen others try and struggle through what I do. I've seen those same people breeze through the things that have been bogging me down lately... so I know that's not as easy as it looks either. Ideally, we'd all work together, complementing each other's skills. It's what I look for when I'm leading a group. When I'm in a group I strive to do my best work in what I do best.
Sunday, June 05, 2005 What really matters This comes to me from a lovely woman on the other side of the world... proving that the light shines everywhere at once... Thanks, Jill!
What Will Really Matter
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end. It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when your gone.
What will matter is not your memories , but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Thursday, June 02, 2005 Ready, Mindset, Go! How much you value your time, will dictate what you're going to do with the next moment.
I'm still in the mode of morning reinforcements. Driving into work, I put aside the sighs and rolling eyes and just said outloud,
"I am going to have a great day. I am going to accomplish A LOT today. By the end of the day I will make great progress."
I then repeated it with every sigh that snuck out.
Once I settled in, and before I settled for an ordinary day, I wrote out a list of goals. Nothing elaborate nor overwhelming, just items that would make it a great day if I got a majority of them done.
I got a majority of them done; and scheduled the rest for tomorrow.