I love everything this video reveals about this man, his vision, his spirit, his work in the world… Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr, please take my money!
You will not get a degree
You will not go into extraordinary debt
You will print all day, every day
You will clean type
Wipe up ink
Smell the scent of grinding heavy metal night and day
You will not move back in with your parents
Nor struggle to have a quote/unquote “career”
Tonight I’m thinking about the crystal shop in Paolo Coelho’s book The Alchemist. It’s been over twenty years since I read the copy I “borrowed” from my cousin Matthew (!!!) so I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, but here’s what I remember: the protagonist is on his journey (the Hero’s Journey, the monomyth), and at some point he ends up asking a crystal merchant for a job.
It turns out he’s pretty good at selling crystals. Not only that, but he ends up coming up with all sorts of excellent business ideas, and things are going great.
…except that our hero didn’t set out from home to do a great job selling crystals. If anything, hanging out with the crystal merchant has made him a bit complacent, and the reader wonders if he’s completely lost sight of his goal.
At one point the protagonist is trying to figure out why his boss, who keeps talking about his big dream of going to Mecca, isn’t doing anything that would help him actually get there:
“Well, why don’t you go to Mecca now?” asked the boy. “Because it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that same horrible café. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.”
Of course you want to just shake the guy: “What are you waiting for?! You’re not getting any younger, Mecca isn’t going to come to you!”
You might have seen these books: If the Buddha Dated, If the Buddha Married? I loved the section in If the Buddha Dated on writing a dating profile that might attract an appropriate mate. Author Charlotte Kasl takes the reader through the various versions that you might write, starting with one that’s basically a laundry list of all the qualities you are seeking in your would-be partner. As she continues, the profiles get a little more “enlightened” and more and more interesting, and you start realizing that perhaps describing your values, and asking questions, might be more effective than presenting an impossible checklist of criteria and scenarios that might not ultimately lead to a mutually-fulfilling relationship, anyway.
The final sample profile simply reads,
Who are you? Who am I?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this because it’s now been exactly 27 days since I was asked to write a bio for the Order members of my Buddhist community, or sangha, as Buddhist communities are known.
Now I am nothing if not a writer, and I have no problem writing bios; I’ve written gobs of them. Bios for online dating profiles (at least four different ones I am sure about, and probably more, all partially inspired by Charlotte Kasl, if decidedly more verbose). Bios for speaking gig programs. Bios for job applications, for teaching yoga, for the inside of my book, for websites, for fellowship directories, for high school and grad school alumni journals. 20 word bios. 120 word bios. 250 word bios, one-pagers. The list goes on and on.
So why is this one stumping me?!
The thought process goes something like this: “I’d better do this one properly. Wait, no, I’d better make it seem like I wasn’t worried about it at all, that’s more ‘spiritual.’ Continue reading “If the Buddha wrote a bio”
In addition to calculating how much money we’ve earned over our entire lives, and what we have to show for it (aka our net worth; this is Step 1), we’re instructed to calculate our real hourly wage, a function of our life energy, and track every cent that comes into our goes out of our lives (Step 2). And we get into the habit of tallying up our spending by categories that are relevant to our lives, and we regularly convert those monthly spending totals into hours of life energy (Step 3).
My new workspace arrangement has completely transformed my room from a place I rarely used to a place I can’t wait to come home to / spend all evening / all day getting creative / hanging out in.
Ever since Scott helped me set it up, I’ve had these words from a Jean LeLoup song stuck in my head:
Mon lit est un navire
Un atelier où je vais pour l’éternité
…which roughly translates to, “my bed is a ship / a studio where I’m going for eternity.”
I had been doing a project that required more space than my little desk could accommodate, and had brought a whole pile of books / post-it notes / big sheets of paper / pens / my computer out to the dining room table. Several days later, it was really bugging me to have all that clutter in our living space, but I still wanted everything to be accessible… so I decided to move my big table from the garage and into my room.
After trying out several configurations of furniture, Scott suggested I leave BOTH desks in there, move my wine-box bookshelves (which hold all my writing and painting tools in addition to books) next to the main desk, and move the bed under the windows. And there’s still tons of room for yoga in between.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations —
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost … I am helpless. It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place. But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.