gurustu's muse the daily thoughts of an every day guru
Daily Guru Thoughts
Sunday, April 30, 2006 Celebrate a life Don't just celebrate your own life, celebrate the lives of others as well.
The world might spin around you sometimes, but it doesn't always revolve around you... I know, hard to believe, huh?
Well, sometimes other people just have lives you want to be a part of too... even if it's about them for a change. You still get something by just being in that circle.
Tonight I went out to celebrate a friend's birthday... nice dinner, a club that's left a ringing in my ear... but really fun. It wasn't a birthday party, per se, since I didn't actually know her birthday was in April (I know, what kind of friend is that?) but it turned into a good excuse to just get outside myself and enjoy.
Celebrating an anniversary of Life itself.
And to celebrate a life in a different way... I also found out that a man who had been friends of my parents for 50 years passed away this week. His children used to be my childhood playmates, but drifted off as we got wrapped up in our adult lives. My father had grown really close to him after his wife died**... so my father is really quite down these days.
He was 90 years old, and lived in the house he was born in. He knew the history of the town because he was there. A recent centennial celebration of the local newspaper actually mentioned the birth of his older sister in 1906. I bought a tape recorder for my father to bring along on their drives around town, but he never did bring it. A lot was lost besides their chats this week.
His life will be celebrated at the funeral tomorrow... and I trust through the lives of his children and those that loved him. His wife must be happy to welcome him home.
** Side note: His wife was very close to my mom. In fact, she came over to baby sit my brother while I had my Near-Death Experience on the way to the hospital.
Friday, April 28, 2006 In the middle... Have faith in those around you, but be careful in the middle.
As I sit here, caught between the day and night, between awake and asleep, I look back on a very frantic day... caught between the differing opinions of people with the same agenda.
All day, it went like:
She: It can't be like that. Me: OK, how about this? She: Great!
He: It can't be like this. Me: OK, how about that? He: Great!
She: How come it's not like this? He: How come it's not like that? Me: Discuss it amongst yourself and get back to me.
She/He: It's like This/That.
He: Go back to that. Me: Ahhhhhh!
And to top that, it seems that She used my name in their meeting... A LOT... give everyone else the impression that "This" was MY idea, instead of my suggestion to HER idea. So naturally, when it all blew up, they wanted to know why I was messing with it in the first place.
many hours and emails later
My work is done... and my back is covered. I've been down this road many times before and know the drill. It;s important to keep your head and heart together, have faith in your own ability and those around you to eventually see the truth, as long as you live the truth within yourself.
It might still get hot Monday morning, but I'm cool.
Pit stops You are a pitstop on someone else's journey.
So often we get so caught up in our own lives that all we think about are the people who come into OUR lives... the things that happen to US. We don't always remember that to someone else, we're the ones who step into THEIRS.
I pretty much built my website (this very one you're reading) for the travelers... like an inn keeper who keeps the light on for the cold and weary.
And it's important to remember just how much we can mean to someone else... how something so small from us can change the course of someone else's entire life. We are more powerful than we realize... and with that comes great responsibility (and great humbleness as well.)
Just recently I had an email dialog about experiencing life directly, not by ridding ourselves of ego, but by focusing it like the eye of a camera so that we can see right through it.
Today she thanked me for the stay, and headed back out on her journey. She might be back... or not... no matter... she's as welcome as you all are.
So come on in and look around. I'll leave the light on for ya!
Monday, April 24, 2006 Ask Ask and you might not receive; ask again and you just might.
I was very polite, very proper the first time. It was a simple request, so it shouldn't have been a problem. Uh huh.
I came up with the idea to put a cubicle in one corner of my wide open studio; not because I love cubicles, but because I needed something to mask the sound of my computers that were messing up my audio recording. I even stated it as such. Uh huh.
Well, the 'official' answer was 'nuh-uh.' Seems my space was zoned for studio and not for cubicles. Doesn't matter that they put cubicles in offices all the time, policy is, after all, policy. Hmm hmm.
So this morning, when Mr. Facilities Guy came in to ask me questions about his son's home video project, I just-so-happened to mention this incident to him. He gave me the oddest look...
I got my cubicle by 3 this afternoon. Uh huh!!
And a new small wooden table that the 'officials' have still not yet to consider (guess they're checking to see if the space is zoned for tables.)
Now this isn't to say that one must always go around the officials to get things done (okay, maybe it does a little, but...) it does say that in order to get things done, sometimes the only successful way to get there is the alternate route.
You gotta do whatcha gotta do to get to where you got to get to!
Saturday, April 22, 2006 Earth Day The Earth. If you can't live with it, just try living without it.
Today - Earth Day - is a time for us to take a look at where we live and basically see how we're doing. It's also a reminder of where we have to go.
Some will use it to say how much progress we've made; others will shout how little time we have left. For us, it's a good time to reconnect with our Mother Earth, show some respect and honor the earth by living in harmony.
Today, take a moment to sit quietly and just take it all in. Breathe. Enjoy the sun (if it's out) or the rain (if it isn't). Think of all the amazing things that had to happen in order for you to be here, right now. Was it billions of years of gas collection and colliding atoms... or some miracle of instantaneous Creation? Whatever got us here doesn't matter nearly as much as that we're HERE, right NOW. Just take a moment to take that all in. Wow.
Next, think about how we can honor the planet by living in balance with it. Don't think 'well the government needs to do this' or 'science needs to do that' or 'I can't really do all that much difference.' It's time to take personal responsibility and just do SOMETHING. Reduce the abuse in our own lives; contribute by planting a tree or restoring a run down place to its former glory.
Every clear drop of water makes an ocean of black a little lighter.
We cannot break the laws of nature, no matter how much we think we're doing it. We're not. Split an atom, there's a huge explosion; put garbage in the water, life dies... whole food chains go extinct... eventually we all die. That's nature.
If we don't like that scenario, then we shouldn't live that scenario. If we don't want to turn the world into a deserted planet, then we have to live in such a way as to make it sustainable. That's also nature.
Just because we live ON the Earth, doesn't mean we live ABOVE the Earth. When we get arrogant, we think we can do just about anything and get away with it. We think we're indestructible. Katrina and the Tsunami showed us otherwise.
The Earth, it's not something to be taken for granted, or taken advantage of... The Earth is our partner in Life, that demands in Giving as much as in Taking. There is much Abundance here, all offered to us as a gift.
Thursday, April 20, 2006 One little change "Nope" is just one letter away from "Hope."
It's also one letter away from "dope," "rope," and "Pope" but those would be different posts entirely.
The manager went around today and really wanted to make sure we got the message... she asked me "you know it's NO, right?" and she restated to him, "you know it's NO, right?" She just wanted to make sure...
What is the right answer?
(a) No (b) No (c) A & B (d) All of the Above
She may stop him from spending his work day helping me, but she cannot stop the change that took place.
A seed was planted. Just a slight shift occurred. The future will be different.
I would've been very surprised if the answer was any different. After all, I've worked under these conditions for years. I recognize the leopard spots. I'd appreciate the help, sure, but I don't care.
What I really care about is that I sparked someone's interest. I showed him something that he hadn't seen, and gave him a glimpse into someone that he can become. This may become his new hobby... or take him into a whole new career path. That's not my place to say... but as the gardener, I'll continue to nurture that seed as much as I can. If it should grow, then we can all benefit.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006 A Dash of Hope A little dash of hope can go a long way, or nowhere at all. It all depends on what the dash means.
Shades of yesteryear.
He overheard me talking about our audio problems and lack of resources and got all excited. He waved his hand like a kindergartner itching to use the bathroom. He wanted to help.
I, feeling a little dash of hope, jump at the opportunity. As I am apt to do with my old style of management, I seize onto someone's eagerness and passion and willingness, and give them a chance to venture into something new. I always believe in the potential of people, so I brought him up into the studio, showed him the equipment and let him explore.
He took to it like a fish to tartar sauce :-)
So I wrote to his manager (being that I'm not fortunate enough to have people reporting directly to me anymore)... telling her about his enthusiasm, apparent skill in that area, and how much of a help it would be to have him around.
Not unexpectedly, she said 'no.'
She felt that it would be better if I used these two other resources. You know these people... the overworked, never-available people who work on so many projects at once that yours is somewhere in there... can-you-remind-me-again-what-I-was-supposed-to-do-for-you-last-week sort of deal that I'm all too familiar with.
With a sheepish 'oh well' grin, he handed me back the script he borrowed, shook my hand, and walked off into the sunset.
It's a shame... on more levels than I can explain here.
Hope. It's such a delicate and precious commodity. You never really know the value of it until it's gone.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006 Hats off Sometmes our hats look so much alike that we never notice just how many we wear.
I often don't feel like I make much progress in any given day. With every click of my mouse I'm transported to some other project that needs my attention. Almost like a controlled ADD, I do whatever is in front of me, then move on.
It's not necessarily the best way to work, but it's not the worst either. It's just that if I ever just worked on one thing all day, I'd feel like I'm in the wrong movie.
What usually comes out of this type of life/work style is nothing-nothing-nothing-EVERYTHING... it looks like nothing will ever get done one moment, then you have nothing to work on the next.
If that sounds like you too, it's best to set up little markers along the way... mini-goals so that you can feel some sense of accomplishment along the way; so you can see how far you've come, and how much farther you have to go.
Sometime next week, everything is due to fall into place... until then, I'll keep doing my daily nothing til I get it all done.
Friday, April 14, 2006 High anxiety Anxiousness and eagerness aren't that different, except in outcome.
The air was filled with a lot of angst today. Mostly because of a looming deadline that hung over us like a thunderous cloud. Seems that the biggest boss has a vested interest in this one... so no pressure, no really, just as long as you roll it out today, we'll be just fine.
And of course, our lack of clarity came to light at the last minute. "I thought you meant... what... where did you put that?" After a whole bunch of oh-no-you-dinnit's and what-dah's... we finally got everything where it was supposed to be.
At least good enough was good enough.
It's amazing how many blemishes you can live with when the alternative is much much uglier.
That's not to say we didn't do a really good job... the whole point to today is that 'perfect' isn't perfect... and that doing your best is the best thing to do.
Especially when you don't have the time to do it all.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 Looking back, stepping forward... Sometimes you have to see how far you've come, to see which way you have to go.
Time is such a precious gift. We never seem to have enough of it. It seems to just fly by when we aren't looking... and we oftentimes define who we are by what we do with our time.
So that's why I took some today.
I needed "Me Time" and dedicated my whole day to make sure it was mine.
I set out with four goals (only four? :-/ hmmm)... don't worry, they were small ones. 1) Fix my website, 2) work on my syndication goal, 3) surprise a friend and 3) be entertained in the evening... and it all played out well with my theme of "looking back."
Fixed my website (At least I hope so) I added some really nice features lately - a form to contact me easily and a 'send to friend' that let's my readers send a page link to one of their friends. Very friendly and open... to hackers. Turns out spammers have been using them to send out their trash and I've been getting over 5,000 return-to-sender emails a day!
It's a shame that these selfish 'bad apples' have to ruin it for everyone...
But I look back on how far I've come... and the good that has been borne out of all the other good stuff... and know that the right step was to remove it and move on to better things.
Work on my syndication goal March kind of came and went, with me not spending a lot of time on my yearly goal of newspaper syndication. So I concentrated on the query letter that I had left undone... and basically came up with a good first draft. Next step, moving forward, is to tweak it some more, then send it all off with my previously packaged articles to a marketing company that specializes in getting writers exposure to newspapers.
On a similar note, the book that I'm in is due out on May 17th. It feels like a real step forward :-)
Surprise a friend My previous teammate and forever friend was celebrating her birthday today with many of my old coworkers/friends. I pretty much acted busy and made it seem like there was no way I'd be there. That made the look on her face that much sweeter when she came into the restaurant and saw me standing there.
Talk about looking back... everything that I left behind, hung around them like an old coat. These are an amazing bunch of people (peeps!) who simply have been disrespected into discontent. Amoral people, who have no right in leadership, have demoralized them shamefully... or at least they should be ashamed of themselves for what they've done to their 'resources' but I know they aren't.
So looking into my peeps' eyes, I see back into those years... and those reasons why I left.
With Passover starting now, I wanted to pull a Moses and say, "Let my people go!"
But then the lunch ended and they had to make their way back to the Pharaohs...
And I moved on towards my next goal.
That's entertainment! Well, it's supposed to be anyway. I went to see the 25th anniversary performance of CATS at the Pantages tonight. Honestly, it seemed as old and tired as Grizabella and her song "Memories."
I had the pleasure of seeing it (gulp) when it first came out in London. It was a smaller space and the cats climbed all over the seats and the balconies and were so in-your-face as to make you feel like you were in the alley with them. Then Broadway came and it got glitsy and distant and lost its charm... and ran in 25 countries and won all the Tonys that year... and is still showing up 25 years later.
It's just that the phenomenon is bigger than the show is. It needs that immersion experience.. that intimacy. The distance, the mics, the inarticulate performers who were born after this show opened... all left the audience feeling distant and a bit disappointed. Some performances were good; most looked like "hey, at least I'm working... what town is this again? can I go home now?"
And then I tried to explain the plot to someone and basically went: One cat is going to be chosen for rebirth... is it this cat? this cat? this cat? this cat? I bet it's that cat... intermission... is it this cat? this cat? this cat? this cat? oh, it IS that cat! Goodbye!
And so that was how it played out.
So looking way (way way) back I'm glad to have seen it when it was just KITTENS and, though slightly disappointed, glad I went to see it now that it's OLD CATS. I know for sure, it's definitely time to move on.
So today was a definitely step in the right direction... and I know that for tomorrow, all I have to do is take my foot and plant it firmly into my future.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 Time warp... Time moves whether we do or not.
It started this morning. I noticed it around 7:30... 7:45... 8:00... I was doing everything at my normal pace, but every time I looked up to the clock the minutes seemed to be flying by. It's not like the "oh, can you believe it's xyz o'clock already?" phenomenon that comes from being heads-down busy... rather I literally watched time move faster than I was. Even driving into work... the minutes flew by faster, even though nothing else looked different.
And it hasn't quite stopped yet. It's already the end of the work day, but I feel like I just got here.
Saturday, April 08, 2006 Taxing times... Whether the times are rewarding or taxing, stay true to the course.
There's nothing like Tax Time to get you reflecting on your past year, eh?
April 17th is right around the corner, and for those of us in the U.S. it's a stressful time. We try to hold on to that last bit of money; face up to the fact that we've not kept those receipts or records like we should've; and basically try to get through it unscathed.
Many are pleasantly surprised when they're due a refund, and start to dream of ways to spend it (which is often why the poor stay poor, cause the rich INVEST their refunds).
Unfortunately, I'm not so lucky. I owe... I owe... it's off to work I go.
I expected it, so it doesn't come as a surprise... but it's still not as nice as seeing money flowing IN instead.
However, there's a bright side to all this (the Government can't tax my bright side :-)
I don't have to see this as the government trying to take my money away from me. Instead, I can see this as my investment in my country. These new roads that take me on adventures, the police who protect me along the way... the new programs that help the people who are not as fortunate as I have been. These are the things my taxes are doing.
Yes, yes... there's all this government waste and blah-blah-not-in-my-backyard programs going on... but I also voted to put this government in its place (ok, maybe not THIS government, but you know what I mean)... and I have earned the right to demand things.
I have a voice that can talk back to the government, because my system is giving them their job.
I can complain about their performance if I'm unhappy... because I didn't sit back during the elections and let someone else punch a chad.
I can also choose to look at what money I made.. and what things I bought... and what life I built this past year... and not think about what I OWE... but rather what I OWN.
I have to pay the amount of taxes I do because I lived one heck of an amazing life this past year. So the taxes I pay, and the bills I write checks to... that's what an amazing life costs.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 Getting through Life isn't about getting over anything, it's all about getting through.
I sent this in an email to a dear friend, who's going through a rough time. In fact, I was going to send it to another friend in a similar rough patch... then I thought, hey we're all friends here... so here's what I said...
It's all about 'getting through it' vs 'getting over it.'
First off, it really sucks when someone else tells us to 'get over it.' It's easier said than done, and that statement usually belittles the problem... and the person. Actually getting OVER something takes a lot of energy and a giant leap, and a lot of arm flapping... and that's just damn tiring in and of itself.
It also is above the problem, which robs us of the lessons that we are being offered... and the reward of surviving the difficulties of life.
So the only way 'out' is 'through' ... and that ain't easy either... but at least you can rest along the way.
It's just really important to realize that there are people beside us who are there to help. You may think you have to also hold them up, but when put to the test... when people band together... they can miraculously make it through. So it's not about you helping them, you helping yourself, or them helping you... it's all about getting through it while supporting each other.
And about the little moments in life... they're easier to savor because they're little. They're right there... and they don't require that much energy to enjoy. All you really have to do is let them in.
They're like fudge... too much and they're overwhelming, but little bits are delicious! So don't worry about morning breath, or about the bittersweetness that might come tomorrow... just open up and savor the moment. It'll be gone whether you enjoy it or not... so why not choose to enjoy it?
And rest... you need it for the moments yet to become. That's what rest is all about... rebuilding, reflecting, revitalizing... no need to feel guilty about it. It too is a part of the cycle of life... and more important than we give it credit for.
The wave that you ride is created from the dips as well as the swells. You're in a dip right now... and I know you know how to ride the wave... so get in position... it's coming...
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 Like sprinklers in the rain... Oftentimes we do things simply because we've always done them, not because we need to.
As I walked to the gym this morning, the rain poured down over my umbrella; embracing me in a water bubble. I passed a fine trimmed lawn, with its sprinklers going full blast. Apparently, timers don't care what's going on outside... day, night, rain, shine; when you're on, you're on.
It seemed like a waste, but since it nurtured my thoughts for the rest of the trip, it wasn't lost at all.
It made me think of how we're all a little like those sprinklers. We go on and on about our business, totally unconscious that we're even doing something we don't need to do any more.
With Spring Cleaning right around the corner, it's a good time to reflect on all the STUFF we have and all the STUFF we do... and decide if we really need it. Even if we're enamored with it... if it doesn't really add anything to our lives, do we need to keep it?
Can you give away your habits too? Yes, but that's another story for another day. If you're ready to learn that one, you know where to find me. Otherwise, start with your stuff.
Like the tie I gave away the other day (I gave away another tie yesterday to someone who loved the one I loaned), gifting things away are the best way to be free. Letting go, and letting someone else take it with love, is one of the miracles of life.
Monday, April 03, 2006 The ties that bind... We are as bound by fear as we are by friendship.
Today's theme revolves around ties, both figuratively and literally. I got into the studio early and hadn't seen what was going on around the office. So when I got an instant message from someone on another floor, I was confused.
"What's with all the ties?" he wrote, "did we miss the memo?"
I knew the CEO of the company was due for a visit, but I didn't think we'd be waving our ties around (ties haven't been a part of the dress code for five years, so even the mention of ties seemed out of place). I opened the door like the little boy in Close Encounters (or Dorothy, if you're so inclined) to world full of ties.
Apparently they got the memo.
What was so significant here is not that everyone is trying to show respect... or even trying to get brownie points... but rather they're tied up with fear. They've all heard the legends (urban or otherwise) and express their conformity for fear of confrontation.
Now, I respect the CEO a lot. He started with a little store front business and built an empire. Impressive. The fact that a lot is built on fear, not so much. I just wish we were all basing our choices under more positive circumstances.
I still changed into a dress shirt and tie.
It's good to have a stocked wardrobe close at hand.
I also brought my extra ties around the office, to other non-memo members... just to be on the safe side.
A coworker-turned-friend declared quite publicly that he was going to steal one that he was eyeing... a very bright, very fun, artsy tie that I like a lot.
After he went home empty handed, I put it on his desk, with a note...
"I will not let you steal my ties! That's why this one is my GIFT. Give it a nice home."
I do like the tie, but I think he fell in love with it. After all, a gift means more than an object that passes hands, it leaves behind a tie that binds the hearts.