Merry Christmas to you all. Santa had pity on me this year and actually brought me a few presents instead of a lump of coal. Under my tree this morning was:

Better Days – 2Pac
Eddie and the Cruisers Part 1 and 2 DVD
Seinfeld Season 4 DVD
Webcam
Extreme Coffee Press
West Point 200 years Documentary DVD
Various toiletry items
Chocolate Cherries in whiskey

Where do my days go? Do I use my time as wisely as I should? I’m sitting here trying to account for today. What did I do? I went to church service. I read a couple of chapters in my book, The Beginner’s Guide to Reality. I watched the Mummy, and I watched the Matrix Reloaded. I also filled out an application for my MA in Philosophy. It’s now 2130hrs. Apart from the incidentals like eating, checking emails, washing dishes, and wrapping Christmas gift, that is all I have done today. Is this enough?

There are 14 days left in 2005. I will do my normal routine of complete stress free chilling and reflecting to see the old year out and the new one in. I suspect, I will do a ton of reading and hopefully thinking.

The end of the year is near. As with most people, I have begun to think about what I want to do next year. I just had a quick glance at 1 Jan 2005 entry and I saw that my intent for this year again was to be a writer. Well I did write some poems and a draft or two of a short story and some notes for a novel, a few essays, and 75,000 words in my journal, but I never moved beyond that. More specifically, I haven’t published anything commercially.

If I’m honest, I have probably started every New Year for the past 10 years with the idea of being a professional writer. The idea never seems to make it past February. I want 2006 to be different.

I was chatting to Ruth last night and moaning about my life being the same day in day out, year after year. She chuckled and said I’m probably the least person to not change. I’m always changing from one thing to the next. I thought about that for a moment. Yes I do change things. I change things a lot. And then I realized, or thought, perhaps it all seems the same to me because the one thing that hasn’t changed is me. I have changed things, but I don’t feel as though I have changed myself. I haven’t changed on the inside. Maybe it is time for an internal revolution – to radically change the way I think. I’m reminded of a Bruce Springsteen lyric:

But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company

I’ll counter that with: if you want to change the world, you must first change yourself.

and

As Zig Ziglar says give myself a check-up from the neck up and eliminate stinkin’ thinkin’.

Paulo Coelho writes about the idea of a personal legend. A personal legend, as he defines it, is God’s blessing, it is the path God chose for you on Earth. If you are doing something that fills you with enthusiasm, then you are following your personal legend.

Joseph Campbell writes about a similar concept which he calls following your bliss. He describes the concept as:

…namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

The question I have to ask and still ask is how do you know you are following your bliss or your personal legend? If I go with Campbell’s description then I must be following my bliss now as my life is filled with magic. When I relax, when I open myself to be receptive, the things I need appear. When one door closes, another one opens up for me almost immediately. Yet if you were to ask me what my bliss or personal legend is, I couldn’t tell you.

Maybe I’m looking at the situation the wrong way. I’m looking at personal legend to be defined by what a person does, by his or her title. We tend to define people by what they do. Until recently, I used to fight the idea of being labeled by what I do. I feel like I am so much more than what I do for a living. However, try to describe that to people and they look at you with a blank face. When people ask me what I do, I used to try to avoid the answer by saying that I shake hands and kiss babies for a living. This gets a good chuckle, but then they wait around for me to answer, and then I am forced to label myself, to put myself in a neat little box. Ruth was writing the family Christmas newsletter last night. She asked me what my job title is. My latest incarnation of a job title is peak performance training consultant. Is that what you are when you do Ascent, she asked. No, for Ascent I am an adventure coach. Your job title changes all the time, she said. Yes, it changes to suit the situation.

While I haven’t been able to uncover a sure fire way to find my personal legend, I have invented a way to test if something is my personal legend. And that is to simply ask, “Is that what I would want written on my tombstone?” Does peak performance training consultant past the test? NO. Clay Lowe, the peak performance training consultant, died today. That sounds like shit to my ears.

Kierkegaard said: “Once you label me, you negate me.” Yet we have an unquenchable desire to label people. And if I’m honest with myself, then I would say that the source of my search is the desire to find a label – a label to be written on my epitaph.

Work days can be such a blur of nothingness. I’m sitting here trying to recall what I’ve done today and all can I think is, well nothing really out of the ordinary. I spent the day coaching and mentoring a team manager and her team leaders. What I have found with them is that they have allowed themselves to be seduced into a corporate trance. They do what they do to such sameness that they no longer question what it is they do. It’s like everyone is walking around some great big trance and I’m the odd one out trying to snap them from the trance and get them to think and question again.

My wounded eye seems to be getting better. It is not as red and is a little more open then it was this morning. The scratchiness is gone.

On the way home, the motorway was closed, so I had to find my way through the back roads. And of course the day I could use my SatNav, I left my gps receiver home and not only that I didn’t have a map. Mine is in my truck which is still having surgery. Not to worry. I pulled into the nearest petrol station, bought a road atlas and found my way home.

While driving the back streets, I got to thinking about where I am at this point in time in my life. From an outside view everything is in place. Yet inside there is still something missing, something that is causing me to seek. Like the U2 song, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. The question is what am I looking for? And is this urge to seek the underlying cause of my urge to travel and to always be doing something new and different? I flitter from one thing to the next without either rhyme or very little reason. And yet the idea of sitting still is an anathema to me.

I could hear Willie Brown whispering in my ear, “What tune you looking for?” At the end of that same film there’s a part that has stuck with me:

Willie: “After I show you Chicago, you on your own.”

Eugene: “Why? Why can’t I hang with you? We could go to LA.”

Willie: “That ain’t the way the song go. You have to take the music past where you found it. ‘Cause that’s what we did.”

It’s that last bit, to take something past where I found it that has me on edge. I haven’t stood with anything long enough to master it and then take it past where I found it, to add to the body of knowledge. Thus far I’ve been a consumer, a taker of things. I want to give back.

What am I looking for? Have I missed my destiny –my true calling?

C

I have had a bit of space between thoughts moment over the last few weeks. It’s coming up to the end of the year which is normally a time to reflect. I finish my present contract on the 20th of December. After that, I will have the space to do some deep thinking.

I’ve turned my attention to next year and what the focus will be for me. My goal for 2006 is to push the boundaries. I’ve been on mellow outdoor pursuit street this year, doing the odd thing here and there, nothing to crazy. Now I have had my rest, so it’s time to crank it up.

A Crazy week with cars…I went three cars in three days. First, the water pump on my truck froze up causing damage to a number of things, timing belt, valves etc, and looking to cost me over £1,000 to fix. So I borrowed my ruth’s car and low and behold by that evening her starter motor goes defunct. I am now on car number three. So far so good. Fingers crossed this one lasts me until I get my truck back.

I haven’t much in the mood for writing since I’ve been back from my travels. I’ve mainly been very task focused. Can you believe, I haven’t even read a single page of any book? Now that is a rare thing indeed considering of nearly always have my nosed stuck in a book any chance I get. I’m I to infer then, that I haven’t had a chance to read? As I am in a confessional mood, I have also not been doing my morning meditation sessions.

But as I am sitting here now tying this, the pendulum is swinging back the other way.

Ok so I haven’t been the best at keeping the journal up to date. Since I returned from the States a few weeks ago, I’ve been on the go with a number of projects. I started a new contract in Derby. I’ve been slaving away on building claytonlowe.com which is my new front piece site for the training, coaching, and personal development work I do.

I did manage to take a short city break up to Edinburgh for 3.5 days of chill. Actually we crammed a lot into the three days. Some quick highlights:

We went to the Traverse Theatre on Cambridge ST to see what we thought was a play, but seemed to me to be more of an elaborate performance poetry piece. How to Kill (Your Lover), directed by Ed Robson and produced by Theatre Objektiv is an investigation into the poetry of Pablo Neruda and the imagery of Bruce Nauman.

In a darkened house, on a street with three dangerous dogs, a window opens. Behind the orange curtain a couple assemble their relationship (batteries not included) through drunk photographs, half-discarded memories and dileberately disputed stories. Arguments about angels, fights over dreams and lost love. A passionate embrace as each plans a slient murder. When all is said there is only one thing left to try. Or so the brochure read. I don’t feel the play lived up to what it said on the tin, but I did begin to enjoy after the initial beginning. In fact I, I found myself liking the more and more after the show as the poetry got a chance to percolate a little.

**

A visit to the National Galleries of Scotland, saw Ruth scarred for life as she bore witness to a Paulus Moreelse painting of a young lady feeding her imprisoned father with one of her lactating tits.

**

We also took in the underground vaults on a historic tour underneath South Bridge. Even got the chance to talk to the ghost of a shoe maker. We also had a few laughs at a comedy club called the Comedy Stand. A good laugh for a sunday night.

And of course I had to visit my favorite restaraunt in all the U.K which is a chinese restaraunt named Jimmy Chungs