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My blog has moved!

Please visit my new home at http://www.asthemoonclimbs.com/blog.php

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Fruits of holiday musings

Two solid weeks of quiet introspection, and here we are back in the real world.  A problem with unconstrained free thinking is that it’s extremely hard to focus.  Without boundaries, we’re fertile ground for any whim or circumstance.  

In the past couple weeks, I’ve read a great deal, and watched an incredibly moving TED lecture, and visited the zoo, and improved my baking skills, and painted.  Painting is an especially effective way to brain dump.  I ran across this amazing quote from Christopher Alexander (thanks to Gretchen Rubin):

” … the more one understands of painting, the more one recognizes that the art of painting is essentially one way, which will always be discovered and rediscovered, over and over again, because it is connected with the very nature of painting, and must be discovered by anybody who takes painting seriously. The idea of style is meaningless: what we see as a style (of a person or of an age) is nothing but another individual effort to penetrate the central secret of painting, which is given by the Tao, but cannot itself be named.”

Sometimes you paint as worship for the beauty of the world; sometimes you paint as a way to bridge consciousness and truth.  When your awareness, hopes, and beliefs seem to get you nowhere in life, using paints is always comforting and affirming.  I’d show you some of what I painted, but I keep painting over the same canvas.  The value is in the action, not the product.

What’s the result of this vision quest?  Well, I’m starting off this new year with great expectations.  I’m more dedicated than ever to the search for my deepest authenticity.  I have renewed energy for the continuous effort to effectively use my gifts for the benefit of others.

And I’m at last going to move this blog to my own website!  I’d originally kept the two separate, to allow for more freedom of expression in the blog.  Now I realize that taking the risk of exposing my personality through my blog is an important part of establishing my business.  It’s a social media basic!  So, as of today, you can find these writings at http://www.asthemoonclimbs.com/blog.php – where you’ll need to re-register the RSS.

I mentally journeyed through many a cosmos over the past two weeks, and wondered at the mysteries and possibilities, and even experienced the despair of overwhelming confusion.  But I’ve emerged calmer and more hopeful; and excited about going ‘from strength to strength’ with you as 2009 unwinds.

Reflection

We’re constantly surrounded by unfathomables, and if you’re tuned in to them, they can enrich your outlook even though characterized by mystery. Reflections, for example. The sky in a puddle, the treetops in a creek, even your own face in a store window. Nature’s silent videography. Zen teaching points out that the birds fly over the lake, and the lake reflects their journey with nary a ripple.

In life and business, reflection must be honored and intentionally cultivated in order to reap its benefits. Our habitual commerce knows nothing of this. But if you wish to reach for the sky, consider how you can attain it by being a reflector.

Habit

“Habit,” says Vladimir in Samual Beckett’s immortal Waiting For Godot, “is the great deadener.” 

We think of habits usually as either good or bad.  We respect good habits, and are ashamed of bad ones.  But almost everything we do either follows or departs from habit.  Your daily routine, for example.  What does it take to get you going in the morning?  Is it not a series of rituals you’ve adopted?  When you arrive at work, is there not an habitual set of motions through which you go as you settle in to the day’s challenges?  When you go home at the end of the day, so you not savor a certain set of habitual actions as you wind down?  All parts of our days are guided by habit.

If you drop the need to label your habits either good or bad, and simply see them all as rote activities, you may be able to manipulate them to your benefit.  Departing from any habit is a huge refresher, a way to open your eyes and appreciate new possibilities.  It’s extremely healthy to ignore a habit or two on a regular basis; you can always go back to it.  Eat ice cream for breakfast, take a new route to work, vary your job routine however you can, lunch alone or not at all, spend the evening with a book instead of the tv.  Providing variety in your personal path will energize other parts of your life and responsibilities as well.

Cultivating helpful habits (like oatmeal, not ice cream for breakfast) is a major part of maturing into wisdom.  Let us not mitigate this truth.  But the higher reality is that any habit in the end is a ‘deadener,’ and at least varying our habits so that we’re not attached inextricably to any one of them is a basic of the creative life.

Allowing First Thoughts

Student in Chris Zydel workshopStudent in Chris Zydel workshopStudent in Chris Zydel workshopStudent in Chris Zydel workshopStudent in Chris Zydel workshopAnother daily creativity practice is that of allowing.  This mostly pertains to allowing your own thoughts and ideas.  Though many may think this is idiotically simple, the fact is that we automatically censor 99% of our impulses.   Why?  Because of learned fears and our desperate need to be accepted. Student in Chris Zydel workshopStudent in Chris Zydel workshop

After decades of what I thought was relatively open-minded living, I encountered a series of classes about ten years ago that revealed to me the heavy chains I regularly applied to my own thoughts.  The secret was in learning a discipline with which I was totally unfamiliar.  In struggling to progress in this new territory, I had to sharpen my awareness, and that meant fostering a new appreciation for ‘first thoughts,” a new willingness to say ‘Yes’ to myself.

There’s more to this, but for the moment I’ll refer the reader to Chris Zydel.  This fabulous woman was recently interviewed at the Creativity Portal, where I was first introduced to her magic.  Chris is an expert in the art of allowing, and has liberated a ton of students who have learned at her workshops how to open the hand of their thought.  This is vitally important work, and I congratulate Chris for her significant contribution to our collective evolution!

The Start

To share thoughts and conclusions, however temporary, with those who happen by here, I offer the beginning of regular writings.  What right has one such as to me to presume to add my words into the swelling cyber stream? 

So much must be perceived from the opposite side to be understood.  Suppose I did not begin this series of writings … would you have missed me?  Of course not. 

It’s no secret that blogging is a public self disciple, a self-serving activity.  So much like teaching, which is often more like being taught. 

Nonetheless, it is a privilege to journey with witnesses, and to hope my harangues will evolve into dialogue …