I’ve come to far on my journey to slip back into old ways and travel familiar paths. Time to set my eyes on new horizons and follow new paths. I am more of a wanderer than a traveller…being a traveler implies reaching a destination, a wanderer has no destination. And “not all those who wander are lost.”

Hey! Another birthday has sneaked up on me.  And once again, I am on the road, which has seemed to be the pattern over the past six or seven birthdays, bar one or two.  This time I am in Bolton, which is a long long way away from Newark, New Jersey, where I was born.  I am sitting here in my sparse room at the Premier Inn in Bolton trying to think of some great commentary to share.  I cast my mind over the preceding 40 years expecting to find some great revelation.  And you know what,  all that I can find at this moment is that I have no great revelation other than I am a happy man.

I’ve been recently reading Judy Reese’s blog.  I met Julie a couple of years back, first online and then face to face during a presentation I was giving on using Mandalas as a coaching tool.  She was, up until a few months ago, co-director of the Clean Change Company, a post she held for 10 years.  A couple of things intrigued me:  What made her decide to leave what seemed like a thriving business?  And second, I was interested to find out how an expert in transformational change handled change.

I haven’t had the chance to ask Judy about her decision to leave yet.  But from her blog I have been able to follow her thoughts and emotions as she wrestles with personal change.  What I have learnt is that even us change professionals suffer.  I guess we can never really see past the limits of our own boundaries, however enlightened we may be, without the help or guidance of someone external to us.

Anyway, Judy had a link to a website called mind movies, which she mentioned as being a project she is interested in pursing.  I clicked on the link.  It took me to a site I vaguely remembered seeing before.  Basically, in my opinion, it’s just two more people bullshitting people into believing that they (the owners of the site) have unlocked the secret to some miracle change formula.  What a mind movie basically amounts to is a slideshow of inspirational images and words set to music – something anyone can do with iPhoto or Windows Movie Maker.  But these folks are charging $49 for what they are calling the Mind Movie Creation Kit.  Give me a break!  While I am a fan of visualization as a success tool, I am against folks who take a simple and beautiful concept like visualization, dress it up in a fancy package, and then slap a price tag on it.

All is not negative.  In searching through the hundreds of mind movies on YouTube, I came across an interview of Will Smith in which he talks about the virtues of visualization.  What he does that I haven’t seen the Mind Movie folks do, is tell the truth.  And that truth is that visualization is a great tool, but it is nothing without the focus and determination to work harder than the next person in order achieve the success you want.  Whereas the disciples of the mind movie product say things like:  “In terms of money. When I made this video I was earning pretty much nothing. Now I have multiple streams of income…” It is as if all you have to do is watch the video 300 times, as this person claims to have done, and things just magically fall into place.

Give me good old fashioned focus, determination, and hard work any day.

Crashed into the world, a product of two teenagers playing house. Inner city, big city, watched a man get shot, nearly lost my eye. Dragged to the suburbs to make a better life. Life sucked. Too boring and tame. Thought I’d make a name, jumping out of planes and blowing stuff up. Met a girl as you do and the world changed. Marriage, married, kids and all, domesticated primate at 40. Life reset to zero, so they say. New song, same old song, chasing words and literary glory. Probably will die in obscurity, but what can you do, except smile!

I’m back in the UK after a week of pure R&R in Spain.  We literally did nothing except hang out by the pool, hang out by the beach, eat, read, play PSP, and sleep.

OK, one day we did go on a little trip to find the famous salt lake whose mud supposedly contains powerful healing powers.  I personally didn’t partake in covering myself in mud, but the rest of the crew did.

My holiday reading list included the second half of John Updike’s Couples, Jay McInerney’s, Bright Lights, Big City and also his new short story collection, The Last Bachelor.

I found Updike’s Couples to be a fascinating exploration of the interpersonal dynamics of marital relationships, infidelity and the conditions that lead couples to stray into the tumultuous world of adultery, wife swapping, and boredom within a committed relationship like marriage.  I love his description of adultery as “a way of giving yourself adventures…of getting out in the world and seeking knowledge.”

I found McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City an easy and fascinating read in the second person.  Like Updike, McInerney’s favorite subjects are sex and adultery.  McInerney aslo adds in a lot of drugs and dying of cancer in his subject matter.  Bright Lights, Big City paints a portrait of living in New York City in the 80’s, full of cocaine and all night parties and trying to get laid.  The Last Bachelor covers much the same territory only this time it’s post 9/11 New York City and somewhere in Tennessee of all places.  The fact that McInerney lives in both New York City and Tennessee probably give a clue as to why.  I like McInerney’s writing style and look forward to catching up and reading more of his work.

And now we are settling back into life as normal – laundry, dishes, housework, getting ready for work, and work proper.