That’s thing about life, it doesn’t move in a linear fashion (ok well time does, maybe) but our life’s plan sure as heck doesn’t. It’s full of peaks and troughs and sometimes the peaks are really high and the troughs are really low. But I believe it all balances out in the end.

Pic from: A Compass for Life

I woke up this morning thinking it’s time for me to reconnect the dots because my life, at the moment, is all over the place. My mind is anyway. Maybe I need to practice some courageous stillness as Danielle Laporte wrote about in her blog recently:

Our society is addicted to productivity.
We think productivity increases our value as a human.
And we want to be valued and loved.
So…we become addicted to productivity.

Which means…

being still is an act of courage.

On one level, I know this, on another level, I can’t help but keep busy doing stuff because there is soooo much to do and soooo little time to do it (i.e. I have a limited shelf life on this planet and i’m trying to get as much done as I can before I go).

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” these words of Annie Dillard are worth reflecting on.

And Kierkegaard had this to say about being busy: 

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.”

Today I will pause, and work on getting my dots reconnected.

Here are a few more links on busy:

Being perpetually busy is a kind of laziness, says ‘4-Hour Workweek’ author Tim Ferriss

150 years ago, a world-famous philosopher called busyness the sign of an unhappy person

EPISODE 42: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BUSY?

Being Careful About Your Time


Playlist of the Day

I have in mind to evolve, to break out of habits that bind me, that confine me, that leave my soul a stagnate pool of green slime. My habits are vicious little gnomes that enslave my behaviors, perceptions, emotions, and thoughts and limit my range of possibilities in a limitless world. I think it is time to fight and win back some of the freedom I’ve given up, whatever the cost.

I’m curious to know where I am going next.  Several timely quotes have presented themselves to me at a time when I am feeling transient.  The first is from Steve Jobs:

“Remembering I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already dead.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

It is the fear of losing “it” that makes most people hold on to tight, play a cautious game.  In his essay, “Our Feelings Reach Out Beyond Us,” Montaigne says it is fear, desire and hope that “project us toward the future and steal from us the feeling and consideration of what is.”   These feelings of fear, desire, and hope trap us into spending to much of thoughts on what we imagine will be.

Plato’s remedy for this is to “do thy job and know thyself.”  And as Montaigne says “he who would do his job would see that his first lesson is to know what he is and what is proper for him.”  And once you know yourself, you will know longer spend time on irrelevant busy-ness and refuse “superfluous occupations and useless thoughts and projects.”

Love and cultivate yourself before anything else as Montaigne reminds us to do.

In times of reflection I sometimes turn to the Tao Te Ching (the book of The Way), written by Lao-Tzu, for guidance. Over these past several days my thinking has taken several synchronistic turns and I realize that the path I chose to walk several years ago is still the path I am on. It seems though that over the past 10 months I haven’t been walking the path, that I had rejected that which I had once embraced. But this morning I realized that I have just been taking a break, that I had only momentarily set my backpack aside to rest for a moment on the trail. And now I feel ready to continue on with a clearer sense of purpose and thought.

I opened the book of The Way and the passage I settled on was this:

He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.

And even as I reflect on these words I can feel the weight of my pack settle on my shoulders, hips and back, and it feels good and right.

(This translation of the Tao Te Ching was taken from Stephen Mitchell.)

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’ve never really considered the word ‘ambition,’ especially not as a way of describing myself as in ambitious or full of ambition.  But yesterday, when I came across a definition of ambition and tried it on, I suddenly felt a surge of power.  I felt compelled to act towards obtaining that which I most want to accomplish in this life.

Ambition: an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction as power, honor, fame, or wealth and the willingness to strive for it’s attainment.

Goal seem weak in comparison to Ambition.

Ambition seethes with power…a power to propel, whereas a goal seems more elegant and lofty.

I’ve always had goals, but I’ve never thought of myself as being ambitious.  And now when I think of my goals as helping me to achieve my ambition, I feel compelled to act to achieve those goals as stepping stones toward my ambition.

Picked up the new macbook today.  I’ve had my eye on upgrading for a while, although I couldn’t decided whether to go with the MacBook Air or the MacBook.  In the end price and lack of a decent sized hard drive drove me away from the air, whose most endearing feature is it’s thinness.  Time Machine made it a breeze to move my old MacBook files over to the new MacBook and amazingly fast as well.  Of course all the things I had planned to do today have pretty much gone out the window as I have been playing with my new mac and wiping down the old one so I can pass it on clean.

I woke up this morning feeling the time to make a decision is now.  There are so many competing forces for my time, focus, and energy.  To try to do everything means to do nothing.  I have to choose a path on faith and intent.  But it’s so hard to know what is the right choice to make.  What will I miss if I go down one road as oppose to another?  And that is the crux of my problem, I want to go down all the roads, travel all the paths.  I hate the thought of being contained to one path.  Like this past weekend when we were hiking across the moorlands, it would have been easier to stay on the marked path, the one well trodden by others.  Instead, we chose to make our own path.  We ran into more obstacles/challenges this way, but that is what made the walk exciting.  The marked paths were teeming with people.  Off the beaten track, we saw only two other people and they were off in the distance, probably a pair of souls like our own, wanting to go the way less travelled.

But what are the risks when you go your own way?  What if the bold choices we make don’t pan out, then what do you do?  Is it better to play it safe, be on an even keel as it where?  The two sides of myself sit on either shoulder; one is whispering in my ear to live in the here and now and throw caution to the wind, the other sitting on my opposite shoulder is whispering, be sensible think about the future.  The thing about the future is there are too many what if’s and unknowns, and the ultimate destination is the end of all things.

I have made my choice.  Now can I live with the consequences?  Will I have the discipline and the tenacity to stay the course?

thinking through this past weekend and i realized that i have either been very present or very dreamy… on the drive down south this morning, i started remember all the moving pieces of my life at the moment – things i should be doing, events coming up that i haven’t planned for, places to go etc… i devoted like zero time to those things over weekend, which then made me think, well what did i spend time on… mainly reading the catcher in the rye and researching how to hack my netbbook…that is after spending 2 hours deciding on which netbook to buy…

i thought about what my passion(s) are…my passion i concluded for the millionth time is literature – words, ideas, writing, reading, thinking… those are my passions… i get distracted by other things…is it because words, ideas, reading, writing require great tracks of time in solitude?  I don’t know, but am determined just to pursue my passion against the grain if i have to and to hell with all the other bullshit…

An old family friend was visiting us.  She looked at Ruth and said to me:  “She looks good.  She doesn’t look haggard, which means you are being good to her.”

“What about me?’” I asked.  “Do I look haggard?”  The old lady placed her hands on my cheeks and inspected my face in the light.  “No,” She said.  “You look good too.  You two are good for each other.”