Do Interesting Things…

November 22, 2010

“Whatever you dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Goethe

Post written by Leo Babauta

We live in interesting times. We’re blessed that way.

The world is changing rapidly.

The way we work is changing, the way we live has already changed. Entire industries are crumbling, and more are growing on their ruins. People are empowered to express themselves, to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation, in a way that has never existed before.

What will you do with that?

What will your place be in this new, interesting world? Will you have a voice? Will you be a creator, or just a consumer?

Do something.

Do something interesting.

Be a part of the conversation, and say something remarkable. Create something unique, new, beautiful. Build upon the works of others and transform it into your own.

How to do this?

Write a book. Or an ebook. Write poetry and publish it on the web. Create interesting, lovely or funny videos, put them on You Tube. Be passionate. Write a web app that will solve a problem in people’s lives. Become a watchdog to replace the faltering newspapers. Explore the world, and blog about it. Try something you’ve always been afraid to try, and put it on video. Be yourself, loudly. Start a new company, doing only one thing, but doing it very well. Start a business that does a service you’ve always wanted, or that you are frustrated with in other companies because the service sucks. Put your heart into something. Say something that no one else dares to say. Do something others are afraid to do. Help someone no one else cares to help. Make the lives of others better. Make music that makes others want to weep, to laugh, to create. Inspire others by being inspiring. Teach young people to do amazing things. Write a play, get others to act in it, record it. Empower others to do things they’ve never been able to do before. Read, and read, and then write. Love, and love, and then help others to love. Do something good and ask others to pass it on. Be profound. Find focus in a world without it. Become minimalist in a world of dizzying complexity. Reach out to those who are frustrated, depressed, angry, confused, sad, hurt. Be the voice for those without one. Learn, do, then teach. Meet new people, become fast friends. Dare to be wrong. Take lots and lots of pictures. Explore new cultures. Be different. Paint a huge mural. Create a web comic. Be a dork, but do it boldly. Interview people. Observe people. Create new clothes. Take old stuff and make new stuff from it. Read weird stuff. Study the greats, and emulate them. Be interested in others. Surprise people. Start a blog, write at least a little each day. Cook great food, and share it. Be open-minded. Help someone else start a small business. Focus on less but do it better. Help others achieve their dreams. Put a smile on someone’s face, every day. Start an open-source project. Make a podcast. Start a movement. Be brave. Be honest. Be hilarious. Get really, really good at something. Practice a lot. A lot. Start now. Try.

Inspired by the doblog.

For Emo…

June 4, 2010

I’ve never written about her.  I don’t talk about it much.  But today I got overwhelmed with some things I need to tell the world about someone who was my best friend.  Someone who I just clicked with when we met – one of those special someones that you know with absolute certainty will change your life.  I would have done anything for this woman, she was that special.

Emo had Cystic Fibrosis.  I had heard little snippets of whispers about her while growing up.  “She’s the one that’s dying.”  We went to separate high schools, but we still live in a fairly small town, and I knew who she was.  And that she was “dying.”  Knowing more beyond that happened later, when the overlapping of friends brought about getting to know each other.  The first phone call turned into a baring of souls and the beginning of a deep, deep friendship.

Emo was NOT dying.  She was living.  Every minute of every day she experienced.  She was the most genuinely funny person I had ever met.  God, we laughed.  Loudly, obnoxiously and often. There was very little she wasn’t up for, which was intoxicating.  She was also stunningly beautiful, which made her thrill-seeking all the more hilarious.  Nothing like seeing someone who looked like a Vogue model chewing tobacco!!  Or cussing like a trucker.  But somehow it was never tacky or vulgar on her – she was just enchanting and daring and courageous and fun.  She was the best.  She wanted to try it all and experience it all and enjoy it all. 

Emo died on May 18th, 1992 at 31 years of age.  The disease she had had since she was a few months old had finally claimed her.  I will never be the same.  You can’t lose someone like her and ever get over it totally.  She was one of a kind.  But my mom said it best when she told me that most people never get to have a friend like her in their whole life – and I had her for 12 years. And I got to say goodbye and tell her I loved her..again, something a lot of people never get the chance to do.

My daughter is named Emily after her.  I tell my children all the time how much she would have loved them.  She would have adored them because they are unique and special, just like she was.  I wish she was here to experience them, because she would have been such a marvelous inspiration to them.  And they would have loved her, too.  I feel bad that they never got to know her.  I feel bad for anyone who didn’t get to know her.

Two weeks to the day after Emo died I lost my first child to a miscarriage in the 14th week of pregnancy.  After just losing Emo, I didn’t know how I could ever survive.  But I did – my daughter Emily came a year later, and somehow the vision of Emo holding my baby in Heaven healed me.  Emo had desperately wanted a family but was not healthy enough, so it offered great comfort to me that I could give Emo what she had wanted – a child – and I had the comfort of knowing she and the baby we named Jordan would be waiting for me when I got to Heaven.  Two years later I had another late miscarriage and Emo’s family grew as mine grew.  Now we each have two children, which somehow feels right, even though I feel such loss in their daily presence in my life. 

I wish I never lost sight of the perspective I had when she was alive.  When she was alive and for years after she was gone I would constantly run through my head “Emo wouldn’t care about an extra 10 pounds if she had healthy lungs…Emo would survive a broken heart and flourish if she had a healthy body…”  when something went wrong. I lived better then – I lived like I was “dying” also, because I had the gift of her perspective on life to give me perspective on mine.  I really miss that, and it is harder to hold on to now that she’s gone.

I have really felt her absence since my divorce.  She would have helped so much.  She would have cried with me and then kicked my butt around for feeling sorry for myself too long.  She would have dragged me back into life.  She would have eventually made life into a grand adventure again.

Today I started thinking about the story “I Am Third” about Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Gayle Sayers lost his best friend and gave this tearjerking speech about how God was First, Brian Piccolo was Second, and “I Am Third.”   When that came into my mind today, I started to cry because I had never made a speech like that about Emo.  And I’m not famous, with national television cameras pointed at me.  But we do have the Internet now, and I do have this blog.  Today I needed to write about her.  I feel like I want to write more about her – get all the stories down before I forget them and they are gone forever.  I want other people to get to know Emo and for her never to be forgotten.

The girl who was not “dying,” but who was living.

I miss you, Em.  So much.

 

sunset

In these crazy days of my life, when I’m feeling rushed and pulled in a million directions, I need reminders to slow myself down and enjoy life minute by minute.  I really enjoyed these suggestions from Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind on creating space in your life when you’re always in a rush:

Realize that not having everything done is a good thing.         “Blasphemy!” you say. I know, I know. This sounds awfully backwards, but it’s true. Having things in your inbox means that your time is in demand. And that’s a good thing.

You don’t need a two week vacation to create space.  When you pull up in your driveway after work, take a minute or two to just relax and breathe. Turn off the radio, and just sit in silence for a moment. Enjoy the space. Two minutes is all you need. Now don’t tell me you don’t have time.

Look for the gaps. Between your thoughts, there lives little gaps. They may not be huge, but they’re there. Start paying attention to those gaps. Allow them to grow by just letting go of thinking all the time. You might think that you need to think about things in order to work or to live. But the opposite is usually true. Most of the time, thinking is completely unnecessary. Most of the time, you’re just thinking about the same things over and over. That’s called a pattern. Or brooding, whatever label you prefer.

Listen, feel, engage… be there. The reason we’re usually in such a hurry is due to a mind-created obsession with finishing things. So the way out of that is to be where you are. Listen to the ambient sounds you hear, feel your feet on the ground when you walk, feel your hands running through the water while you wash the dishes.

Let go of the need to become. Sure, there will always be things you want to change about your life. There will always be goals, dreams, desires and all manner of wonderful experiences to seek out. Great, seek them. Desire them. But don’t sacrifice the present. Don’t sacrifice the place you’re in right now. There’s too much beauty.

rocks

The following is a blog post from Zen Habits by Leo Babouta that I really enjoyed.  Check him out at http://zenhabits.net

What’s the secret to unleashing your creativity?

I’ll tell you, but it’s not what you think…

As an aspiring artist, I’ve spent a lot of time trying figure out how to be more creative. I’ve explored the traditional paths to creativity; painting, drawing, playing an instrument, creative writing, poetry, etc. I connected with creative souls; artists, and people living off the grid (away from the mainstream).

While I found this sparked my creative spirit, it only went so far. I was hacking at the branches rather than the root.

To truly tap into your creative nature, you only have to realize one thing…

You are already an artist.

You don’t have to create exquisite sculptures or breathtaking sonnets. You’re creating all the time simply by being alive. Every decision you make, every time you move, breathe, or speak you are creating. In fact, you couldn’t not create even if you wanted to. It’s simply impossible.

Just think about it: you’re the main character in your life story. Each day you develop and further the plot of your masterful performance. You interact with other secondary characters in your story that support your role. These are your friends, your lover, family and coworkers. They’re the supporting actors or actresses in your drama, and they also help mold your life’s narrative.

You can change the course of your story at any time by making new choices and walking down new paths. You can drop a secondary character and choose new ones, if they’re not supporting the story you’d like to create (except, perhaps, family members).

You constantly direct the play called your life; and that makes you a magnificent artist.  So if you’re creating your life all the time, wouldn’t it be more empowering to view yourself as an artist, rather than simply a passively living person?

I know you’re thinking, That really doesn’t help when I’m chopping celery or washing the cat… but it does. It makes all the difference.

See, when you know you’re creating artistically, you get more involved in your life. You start to live more deliberately. You wash your cat with love because deep down, you love him even if he smells terrible. You cut celery with joy, because you’re making the choice to put something healthy in your body.

So, enough foreplay; here are some practical ways to embrace your inner artist:

  • Work. Are you making choices to further your deepest desires? Are you moving in the direction of your dreams? Much of our lives are spent working, so it makes sense to be conscious of the career we create. Find a career that pays you for being you. You may have to create one if it doesn’t exist.
  • Money. Take a close look at where your money is going. Are you spending your money unconsciously? Are buying lattes and chasing trends keeping you from those yoga classes you’ve been meaning to take? Reevaluate how you spend to live by your own design.
  • Goals. Are the goals you have ego driven, or heart centered? Are they furthering the life you’d love to create? See where you can simplify and remove the clutter to create room for authentic endeavors.
  • Relationships. Are your relationships assisting you in your desires, or holding you back? Or perhaps YOU are holding yourself back. Be honest with yourself and make the necessary changes to fearlessly go with yourself (instead of against).
  • Information. Are you addicted to info porn? Who’s dictating what you should think, you or the media? Consciously decide the input you accept and discard that which doesn’t serve you.
  • Routine. Most of our days we’d consider normal. A random Tuesday spent watching TV game shows is more eventful than the day your spouse proposed to you. If most of our days are common, it makes sense to make the most out of them. Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing. Be there completely. While doing this, you’ll find that you naturally enjoy those seemingly tedious tasks much more (like washing the dishes). It’s amazing how much non-resistance and presence changes everything.

All life really is, after all, is a collection of stories. But you’re the only one that can create the story of your dreams. It’s your story.

So what do you want to create? A film noir or a fairytale? You can choose a daring adventure or a comedy. It’s up to you as long as you accept that you’re the artist. You’ve got the brush, it’s up to you to put down the colors you like best.

The question is: What will you create?

This article was written by Zen Habits contributor Jonathan Mead of Illuminated Mind. To learn more about how to reclaim your life, grab a subscription to Illuminated MInd

%d bloggers like this: