What don’t we have enough of in our day to day lives lately?
We are hyper-connected. Internet, social media, television, radio, smart phones and watches, and even billboards that light up with info. But what’s missing?
We can instantly know what our friends are doing anywhere in the world, even if they live in the house next door. So, again, what’s missing?
When connection takes place at the mental level, where we can only see and hear, but not be truly present, hearing, seeing, and feeling the actual vibrations of a person in real time, with all of our senses engaged, we are missing vital…you guessed it, connection.
When we get together in person there is an element, a powerful piece of the otherwise missing puzzle. When you take an online course versus being directly involved, sitting next to other flesh and blood people, everyone learning and participating together in the process of learning, something is missed: connection to self and others. When you get together in a real yoga class, for example, you are living and breathing next to other people who are living and breathing. You are connected to them even if you never say hello.
We can’t thrive without connection. Actual human connection. And actual human connection is, for some reason, frightening to a lot of people. Why? Because it requires vulnerability. It requires you to be truly available on some level that hiding behind a screen otherwise protects you from.
We have placed far too much value on protection, on our personal security. I’m not talking about our digital security, I’m talking about our sense of self, our identity, the core of whatever or whoever it is we think we are. And as a result we pull away from people–even when we’re standing right in front of them. We withdraw our energy, we become invisible to each other. So what’s missing?
What does it take to regain true connection? It requires a shift in perception, a willingness to be open and present to ourselves and others. Is this an easy thing to accomplish?
No, of course not. Think about your whole life and how, since you became an adult, you’ve been busy learning how to protect and defend yourself…from others. You’ve been busy building anti-connection. Then using a virtual condom (the computer and internet) to reach out to others. A lifetime of that level of dedicated pulling away doesn’t change over night because you decide you want to connect. First you have to convince yourself that you want, and maybe even need
Then you have to keep showing up and being open until those around you also want to open up, or feel safe enough to open up and feel connected to you. It definitely does not need to be physical, or intimate in the sense that you’re going to have to sleep with those around you (let’s hope that’s not your only motivation!) It means sharing more of your mind and heart with others, what you really think, what you really feel, getting honest feedback if you cross a line inadvertently, and growing from that. It’s an art that never gets perfected. We just get better at being ourselves, and in so doing we open more fully to
I was approached at the tail end of last year by a powerful woman in my community about having a conversation on The Divine, so of course I said sure! Chelsea Rose Odhner is the founder of The Common Heart Project.
When she asked if I’d be interested in talking with her about this subject I did say sure right away, but I didn’t know how it would go or what we would end up saying. It was one of the more lovely conversations about this topic I’ve had the privilege of having in a long time. We set a date to get together to talk and record, and then what flowed out between us was something even I never expected. That’s the cool aspect of Grace–you never know how it’s all going to turn out. Click the picture to listen, or click here to get started!
The Common Heart Project is a very powerful new movement as I see it, and really gives a safe space for people to facilitate self-reflection through conversation about the Divine. I encourage you to browse the site, listen to the conversations, get involved, and support this movement if it inspires you to do so.
Change is the beating soul of our world, of our day to day lives, inextricably interwoven into the fabric of our being and consciousness. We rely on change nearly as much as we feel disgruntled, unnerved, and mistrustful of it. Our current political climate is such that change is happening at a more rapid pace, fueled by outright lies (read: alternative facts), smokescreens, gas-lighting, populist views, and skewed partisan rhetoric to deflect from more dubious legislative acts that adversely affect many of us.
Do you remember when the first iPhone came out? That was an enormous change that heralded a new era of how we democratized information while on the go. No one quite knew how things would turn out. At the outset, it seemed like a fad for phones, but then quickly became one of the most indispensable items we can’t imagine our lives without now. I remember people casting weary eyes at this new-fangled technology at first, worried about the GPS chips embedded in such phones, worried that it meant the Government would be able to keep a better eye on us all. Of course that has all come true anyway, and yet we continue to use it, despite how it affects people around the world.
Yet we embrace the changes (iterations) of technology now because we understand its inherent value to our every day lives. Long gone are the mistrustful glances at such technologies. We have a double edged sword though. We want, we need to feel connected to one another (hence Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), yet we also regard our personal privacy as sacrosanct, yet we willingly give too much information away to such media providers. These web-innovations (web 2.0) were also first looked at with suspicion, and some aspersions cast as well, and now we take them for granted (and take them with us on our phones). We want and need to feel protected, but we also want and need to be “out there”, case in point: social media, our own websites, etc. It’s all out there for the taking. And no matter the various security precautions we may take to undermine the efforts of hackers whose primary purpose is to disrupt, cause chaos, and perhaps profit from our misfortunes, there are always ways around it. These are changes we have all had to adapt to.
I work part time as a cashier at a major grocery chain. One of the most interesting things I saw recently was an elderly woman pointing her phone at the credit card terminal (Apple Pay) and successfully going through with the transaction. It *changed my mind and perspective about how I view an aging portion of the population and their own embrace of change. Yet there are some changes that are dangerous to embrace. Normalizing a wannabe demagogue and liar is, as far as I can tell, a mild embrace of dangerous change, a form of willful ignorance, and a lack of a sense of responsibility. Here lies the rub, though: not all changes are easy to spot. Most of the time our internal changes, our thinking process, our decision making (taking actions), our beliefs, and our perspective on the world also change every day. Taking this into consideration, we can’t necessarily fathom all of the complexities that go into a deep change for the individual, and how that impacts the local collective, and spirals out from there.
At the encouragement of my wife, I’ve been reading a book called Sapiens, which is informing (if not somewhat changing) my view on humanity as a whole. Not for worse, and not for better. The changes I find reading this book leave me with more questions than answers, as I’m sure it has done for the author. On the other hand there are some areas where I hold on with all my might and grit in spite of some of the notions proposed by the author. I’m not a religious person, and you could technically call me an ‘atheist’ in that I don’t believe in a personal ‘God’ above and a ‘Devil’ below, or even necessarily in ‘gods and goddesses’ that are ‘divine energies’ or manifestations or characterizations of the “One Supreme Universal God’. This begs the question: do I believe in a power greater than myself? If I didn’t, this would be the true (to my mind) definition of ‘atheist’. The truth is I do believe in a power greater than myself. What exactly that ‘power’ is or where it is I couldn’t say. I’ve felt it. I’ve taught about it in the past, to the best of my understanding at the time, but I admit that whatever that something is, it’s a total mystery to me. And I think that’s a good thing. I don’t know what happens when we die for sure. I know what happened when I died back in 2010, but I don’t know that I’m really qualified to speak about it for a number of reasons, and I never felt comfortable talking about it to begin with anyway. For one thing, that experience happened without a brain death–a new study indicates that the brain continues functioning 10 minutes after a person is declared legally dead. I can easily see how many NDE’s are spoken about with such conviction, but I can’t really say that that is what I truly experienced.
This being said, I’ve had numerous mysterious incidents in my life, including my untimely death and resurrection in 2010 that I can’t explain away or chalk up to the last gasping spasms of a hallucinating brain. I don’t want to make any hard and fast conclusions, or easy breezy and generalized sweeping statements. I think we, as sapiens, human beings, animals, and potentially mystical spirits inhabiting temporary life forms, only have part of the picture and certainly not all of it. One of the arguments of the book is that we are all just animals, no different than the apes and gorillas we originally sprang from, save our ‘Cognitive Revolution’, and that one of our defining characteristics that sets us at number 1 in the animal kingdom is our ability to not only communicate, but to create myths, fictions, which serve to control the masses. We rely on them to safeguard us, and to keep us in an orderly state of cooperation with one another. I had suspected something along these lines for as many years now as I can remember, but having someone come out and say it in such eloquent language, with science and historical fact to back it up has been an eye opener, and has fueled even more change within me. I recommend the book. I don’t think it’s an easy one to wade through for certain reasons, but if you’re like me, you’ll stick to some of your guns (not fact-immune, but just skeptical of any story, no matter how well its told.)
The book also states that for 2 million years we as sapiens lived just like the gorillas and apes around us, foraging, communicating as needed, etc, but with no order or civilization. It wasn’t until after the ‘Cognitive Revolution’ that we began to venture into the territory of mass obedience to a cause, all founded in story (whether true or false, or some mixture of the two, no one knows for sure.) One of MY questions arising when reading about this is: what is the mystery behind this ‘Cognitive Revolution’? Why did it surface when it did? What inspired it? According to the author, it was some kind of chemical rewiring of the brain. My brain tends to think there are reasons why mutations (or iterations, if you prefer) happen in the first place. If cause doesn’t lead to effect, then it renders my questions moot. There’s something happening ever nano-second in the quantum field that we can’t understand, that we can observe and affect as we observe, but that we don’t fully comprehend. There’s should be credit to those thinkers who have gone to a great deal of trouble to try and explain the mysterious something or other in terms we can all somewhat understand, but there also needs to be greater light shed on it. We don’t have all the answers. I’d venture to say this much: we don’t even have one quarter of all the answers. And maybe the point is to always question, to always be a little uncertain. We don’t know for sure anything about our lives or what comes when death arises (talking about CHANGE) unless we willingly ignore facts and embrace stories we’ve heard, stories we’ve told ourselves, things we believed even as we knew we were making it up on the spot.
You might be curious about my Sparkling Aura book. I had those experiences, I believe I had those experiences, and that I still see things that are hard for me to ignore (okay, downright impossible to ignore), but I can’t say that I don’t have some strange chemical phenomena in my brain that allows me to see what I do–or that any of it is ‘reality’. It’s just stuff I see. No proof, no way to know its real. It feels real, but feelings and reality also rarely pair well. I used to be so sure my version of reality was correct. Now I’m not, and that’s part of my enormous change. It’s a different sort of cognitive revolution on a tiny scale in my own self. One that I welcome. I welcome the unknown, the mystery, and yet I will subvert my attempts at certainty to allow room for growth and change whenever I can. It keeps things moving along interestingly.
Change is our asset and our liability, it’s also an ever present aspect of our lives that we must contend with whether we want to or not. We really don’t have a choice in the matter.
Would you be devastated if your whole life you operated under the assumption that you were special, a genius, only to realize you were simply ordinary.
As I drove in to work this morning my eye caught the moon. I began to imagine that the moon had consciousness. It bore witness to all of mankind so far. From genius and truly special to ordinary and absolutely dumb. It also bore witness to people who would never have a hope of being deemed anything but handicapped by the rest of us. The cognitively challenged people of the world. I’m not sure what the PC version is, but I think you know what I mean.
In the end everyone dies anyway, right? The moon doesn’t care. You could also make this leap with Mother Earth and even just the trees–all baring witness to our lives without comment or judgment. We are the only ones judging ourselves. This is not a new insight. Except it always is, because we continually fall into the same delusive traps of the mind. We have an inner urge or need to feel special and genius (not all of us do, I know a guy who hates the notion of being a genius), especially if we are creative type people. This has been true for me most of my life.
The real trick is to embrace being ordinary. To being no one and nothing special. Instead I believe the real power arises when we unleash our special proclivities and talents out in creative fashion. It adds lustre to our otherwise ordinary lives.
I’m curious what you all think.
In a break from my political posts, I’m going to talk a bit about my current projects. There are 3 works in progress (WIPs) I have on my plate right now.
One is the third installment in the Chloe’s Travels Series (Battle of Trygernon). For those of you unfamiliar, each installment is usually very short, about 30 to 50 pages each. Chloe wants to go home, to her universe, to her America. But, being trapped on another planet that is being invaded by war from a feuding race of people may threaten her chances. So she steps up. Because all children have super powers…
The other third installment in the Owen Hunter Series (OHS) is Prevail (and yes, that’s the book cover), is going along in editorial land now. Believe it or not, the process to edit a book of this length, especially having two preceding tomes to search through to make sure there are’t any inconsistencies really takes a long while!
Last, but by no means least, I am nearly halfway through writing a new standalone novel, which may also become a series of standalone novels with the same character. It’s about a modern day High Wizard from another world living in our own world in modern times. He is nearing his 300th birthday (Wizards from his world tend to live to about a thousand in ours.) It’s a mystery novel, and I’m excited because I’ve never written anything quite like this. Magic abounds, and so does good and man made evil. It’s under a code name for now; “Clive” (don’t worry, that’s not the Wizard’s name!).
Hit me up if you’d like to be a beta reader at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is awesome: text your zip code to 520-200-2223 and your list of federal and state representatives will be texted to you, so you can just click on their numbers. I tried it. It works.
Speaker Paul Ryan’s office has re-opened its phone lines.
Dial 202-225-3500; a voice will offer a menu of issues, press #6 to leave him a message. You can talk about ACA, Muslim Ban, Bannon, Cabinet candidates, Trump. Your choice.
YOU HAVE TO SPEAK QUICKLY, because there is a time limit.
Here’s a simple template:
“Hi, my name is XXX, I’m a constituent from NAME PLACE, zip code 000000, I don’t need a response. I am opposed to any ban on Muslims entering the United States and I encourage the Senator to please oppose implementation of any such ban. Thanks for your hard work answering the phones!”
This is the crux of the matter. TALLIES matter, NUMBERS matter. Numbers are votes and that is what will move them.
HOW TO USE YOUR MONEY, TIME AND PRIVILEGE TO BENEFIT THE #RESISTANCE, with a special note for digital entrepreneurs
(feel free to share and tag if you’d like)
Following up on my post on How to Be a Social Media Activist for the Resistance, I’ve had a request to write this post. This one is tougher for me to write, in part because as the CEO of an online business, I have a hell of a lot more flexibility with my time than most do (which is in and of itself a form of privilege).
All that said, here are some guidelines to follow to support us all as we rise and fight back.
For those of you who are able to contribute money right now, these are the places that could use the MOST support.
ACLU Nationwide is on the front lines of every single effort to stop the administration’s efforts in court. If you can only donate to one place, my view is that you should donate to them. They defend the rights of all of us.
National Immigration Law Center is working with the ACLU against the current travel ban. They can absolutely use our support.
Human Rights Campaign is one of our nation’s largest defenders of LGBTQIA rights. I have been a committed supporter of their work for more than 15 years.
Planned Parenthood Action will also need an immense amount of support for the coming battles over women’s healthcare and particularly pro-choice efforts in collaboration with other women’s rights organizations. They have also already had their public funding scaled back dramatically, EVEN THOUGH NO FEDERAL FUNDS are used to fund abortions. This means that poor women nationwide will be deprived of necessary healthcare as a result of the Trump administration unless those funds are made up somewhere.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund is on the front lines of opposing nominations that impact civil rights legislation.
National Council of La Raza is the largest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States, and also battling to defeat the Sessions nominations among other efforts.
Disability Rights Advocates and Disability Rights Legal Center are two options to support legal efforts to defend the rights of differently abled people.
Efforts are also underway to put together a PAC on behalf of the Resistance generally. Stay tuned.
HOW TO SPEND YOUR TIME
I have probably spent way too much time in front of the computer and MSNBC/CNN over the past ten days. All that said, however, I am finding that cycling in and out of presence to current events is necessary to my mental health.
So here’s a few suggestions:
~Start your day as quietly as possible. Meditation is a good idea. At the bare minimum, wash your face, brush your teeth, snuggle your kids/dog/partner, before checking your phone.
~Don’t check your phone or turn on the news until you’re really ready to engage. The pace and instability of current developments will shoot your blood pressure through the roof instantly if you’re anything like me.
~Get up and walk around every hour. (This is good advice for those of you who spend a lot of time sitting generally). Your body and mind will need the break.
~Claire Hayes, my EFT/Matrix practitioner, recommends that if you start to get particularly angry or agitated, you do something physical to burn that off. This can include exercise, putting on some music to dance, or some serious tapping down the meridian lines that run down the outsides of your legs to clear anger. Do this whenever you need to.
~Remember to try to stick to your regular sleep schedules. I know this is hard, but it is really important that we all take time to rest as much as possible. Like many of you, I have been plagued by really awful nightmares lately, but I am trying, really hard, to get as much sleep as I can nonetheless.
~BE PRESENT FOR YOUR KIDS. I put this in caps because even little kids are deeply aware right now that something isn’t right in our nation. My littlest one (3) came home from school one day and announced that “Donald Trump grabs people, but only girls, and doesn’t stop when he’s told to.” Kate Anthony and Carrie Contey are two conscious parenting people who I follow actively and who have some great advice for parenting during this trying time. Regardless, though, turn your phone off and stay away from scary news when you’re with your kids, and tell them that you will keep them safe.
~Protest in any way that you can. This may include physical protest, online protest, calling your Senators and Reps every day, or organizing others. I am doing a combination of these depending on my energy levels on a given day.
A FEW WORDS ON WORK
Like many, I have found it very difficult to focus on work the past few days. However, work can be a welcome relief from current events. Here’s what I am trying to do, in general.
~Do as much as you have to, but not any more than you have to. This is a moment to conserve energy to #resist as much as you can. I am certainly not advocating that you do anything that will cause you to get fired, but I do think we all need to be very mindful of our energy right now. This is likely to be a marathon and not a sprint of #resistance. Conserve. Conserve. Conserve. Delegate and manage your time. Stay focused.
~FOR DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURS: if you are running an online business, I have a few particular words of advice:
1) Turn off your scheduled social media posts. I and many others have complained already that many pre-scheduled posts are reading as extremely tone-deaf right now given current conditions. Things are bad enough without damaging your professional reputation by coming off as non-compassionate or just plain off.
2) Use your platform as a part of the #Resistance. I am doing that just by talking to you here. I am past the point of caring if this will cost me money from pro-Trump people. Principles matter. Integrity matters. Lead by example and galvanize your people, and trust that karma will take care of you. Celia Ward-Wallace is someone who is doing this particularly well right now.
3) Be VERY careful with how you are selling at this time. Again, this is a part of not just avoiding blowback to your business, but also about meeting the needs of your people.
As someone who trains and coaches in the Women’s Leadership arena inside and outside of corporate America, I have an acute professional and personal intersection with the decisions of this administration and EVEN I am being extremely careful with how I sell anything right now. (Don’t ask me how I am going to fill our next digital program. Our entire team is considering this right now, but we are committed to standing in integrity and focusing on the big picture right now).
MOST IMPORTANTLY, do not try to profit off the current state of affairs or the trauma of what people are experiencing right now. Because that’s not just out of integrity– it’s gross.
HOW TO LEVERAGE YOUR PRIVILEGE
First of all, please recognize that being able to use your money and time to support the #resistance is in and of itself a sign of privilege. So start there.
But from that place, a few other actions of note that you should consider taking:
~Open your home to your neighbors who are vulnerable. Here in my neighborhood, this means I have given my snail mail address to several friends who are scared, including several neighbors who are concerned about ICE activity and being deported. I have also reiterated to everyone who seems scared that I am here, and I am listening.
~Actively listen to other folks within the #resistance about their experiences, needs and fears. Not everyone is being impacted in the same ways at the same moments. Our actions need to be targeted to protect and give voice to all, collectively. Listen and learn, and act from that place.
~Be willing to put your body on the line to the extent you are comfortable. Here in NY, that means that I have not only protested, but I have also physically stood between a hijabi woman and someone who was threatening her on the subway, as well as come to the defense of a woman who was begging for money when a man screamed at her that no one wanted to hear from her any more. Trust your instincts, be safe, and also don’t be afraid to stand up to the extent you are comfortable. Create zones of safety physically and energetically for those who need it.
~DO NOT berate people for not doing more. We are all doing our best right now. Some of us have more time, energy, or focus available to us than others. THAT IS OK. Some of us are really uncomfortable with crowds. THAT IS OK TOO.
Also, and most importantly, it should be a given that just because a given action of the administration doesn’t impact you does not mean that it doesn’t hurt others. As I said yesterday, WHEN THEY COME FOR ONE OF US, THEY COME FOR ALL OF US.
Part of the leadership for those of us in positions of privilege is that we MUST do what we can on behalf of those who can’t or aren’t able to do so for themselves. This, in my view, is a fundamental part of what a healthy democracy is based on.
If someone you know is hurting, afraid or unable to use their voice for any reason, BE THAT VOICE.
That’s all for now folks.
WE ARE THE STORM. ONWARD. #RESIST
I’ll keep updating here for those who don’t have/don’t visit facebook. –Scott
My whole life I’ve thought of myself as a free-thinker. I’ve never been especially political until the tail end of last year, when it became clear that a lunatic, misogynist, racist, hate mongering demagogue was attempting to become president of the United States. I think he aims to rule us all, if he can. He talks a lot about all these terrible problems ‘visiting our shores’, but I’m sure many of you reading this will agree with me when you say that every summer vacation you’ve gone to the shore and seen no blood-thirsty gangs or immigrants ready to chop our heads off. Have you? I haven’t, the shore is one of my favorite places to go in the summer for a little R&R.
You may be wondering why my website is so drastically different looking. Even my logo has changed. When the country changed yesterday, I changed with it. I changed my mind and my approach to a lot. Many people have said publicly that this is the first time in their life they’ve ever been so politically active. I’m right there too, as politically active as I ever thought I would be. My website now reflects nature, something I wish to preserve. It reflects calm, and order, which are values and qualities worth reminding ourselves about, and peacefully organizing around maintaining.
Yesterday I had the privilege and honor to march and stand with my wife and almost five million men and women all over the world in peaceful defiance of this man whom I can only call Trumple Thinkskin. (I heard about this from my wife while she was looking at facebook on the way home from the rally in Philly, so I have no idea who coined that awesome phrase first, just know it wasn’t me.) And it wasn’t just defiance. It was a uniting of our voices that women are equal to men in all the ways that count but also superior (in my view) to men because they can make other people, because they can bear pain we can’t even imagine, because they have been compassionate and graceful while the patriarchy has held them down for thousands of years.
My wife and I at the Women’s March in Philly, 01/21/2017
Women everywhere all over the world, and men too, and LGBTQ, are raising their voices and will go unheard no longer. The world changes because people change, because nature changes. No one, not even this new ‘POTUS’ can actually take us backwards in time. Trumple’s words are just the pathetic sounds of a dog’s barking. The People will not resign themselves, nor give up a fight, nor turn a blind eye based on new laws that have been past. No. I submit that people will continually do the right thing to ensure a better planet. That people will risk more with their personal lives and their businesses to make sure people of all walks of life get a fair shake. I see cities uniting against Trumple’s ridiculous changes and forging their own laws and customs, and fighting for what they believe is right. In fact, many cities have already made such promises before Trump swore in to office. I see a mass resistance the likes of which has never been possible before in history.
While it’s true that history often repeats itself, it is also true that at no other time in history have The People been so united and coordinated with technology, with intelligence, with passion, and with so many great purposes to further. I see a world where The People start calling more shots in the absence of a leader who can properly perform the job at hand. I see people who are watching everything Trumple does very carefully, because they’re there with him, right in front of him, and waiting for him to make the wrong moves that threaten their lives and security. I see a world full of people not willing to allow yet another dictator. You may think I’m a dreamer, or a wishful thinker. But no, I am a free thinker. I am thinking about this with logic and with understanding.
It’s not prescience, the words I offer here, it is trajectory and momentum, it is faith in good people, and it is belief that no one person can undo what millions of people are against.
Do you feel like you’d rather read or watch a story? Now that Netflix and Amazon Prime are apps on your phone, you might feel conflicted when waiting at the doctor’s office, at the auto repair shop, or anyplace else you find yourself with time to occupy not doing productive things. And in those rare cases (ha ha) you might be wondering if you should open your Kindle app or one of said streaming services. There’s no right answer here. Stories are stories. You’ll exercise your brain by reading, but you’ll also be entertained and enriched by the hard work of good actors and directors, special effects crews, and evocative camera angles. Your own brain can actually create a good number of these special effects and angles when you read, assuming you do it enough.
A good number of years ago I was talking with someone who told me that when he read books he just saw the words and nothing they really pointed to. Which meant to me that he wasn’t really reading, just acknowledging the words on the page and doing nothing with them. The more we intend to understand what it is that we’re reading, the more we can (potentially) glean from the author’s intention. And the more we end up exercising our brains, our imaginations, and opening up to a world that wasn’t in front of us previously. Some books I’ve read have given me something so panoramic and detailed and enchanting that it can never really be captured on screen. Case in point: Harry Potter series. The movies were decent adaptations to the world created, but they were far less than the reach of my imagination. I’m certain it’s like that for those of you who are readers too.
I chose HP because that is a pretty popular and common pointer. I can certainly use many others. Jurassic Park by the late and great Michael Crichton is another example, but so was his brilliant masterpiece Sphere (I know not everyone agrees about his works). Or how about Orson Scott Card’s inimitable Ender’s Game. I loved the movie, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t reach the depth of articulation brought fully to life by Orson’s use of description and dialogue. Though I admit that some of the special effects in the movie version were really well done, and I enjoyed the acting too!
There’s something else about reading that you don’t get with watching. Time. With watching movies or television series (there are a lot of amazing original series by Netflix, Stranger Things, The O.A. and Travelers spring to mind) you only have a season (or maybe a complete season, like with the unique and totally awesome Fringe) or three available at a time in many cases. You get a lot, but you get so much more from actual books. You, in the words of my astute wife, develop a relationship with the book you’re reading.
Yes, there’s a lot to read out there, and so little time. This comes back to the favor of watching. With watching, when you have limited time to ‘veg’ out, it’s a no brainer. You click on your preferred story and let her rip. Then there’s also something to be said for the acting, those people put forth incredible performances for our viewing joy, and we get to watch it for very little effort. A writer on the other hand must produce all aspects of his or her work and portray faithfully the full range and action of his character crew. Not only that, the writer must be set director, as well as story arch, character arch monitor and creator, and everything else. When it’s done well, it competes very mightily with the viewed world. I also know a good number of people who would rather curl up with a great book any day (even if it is on their kindle and not physically a book in their hand) than watch a TV show or movie on their phone when waiting for _____.
I leave this as an open ended idea for you to play with. What’s better? Which one wins? Well, neither one, or both, and it entirely depends on what you prefer at any given moment, I’m sure. I know that a lot of my fellow indie author friends worry constantly about sales of their books and whether they can possibly compete with streaming media services (oh gosh, I forgot sites like Hulu, oh well) or other well-written books. In my mind there’s room for both activities, and depending on anyone’s given mood it will determine which platform of consumption wins out at any given time.
What do you think is best? Watching a story or reading and using your imagination to go into deeper areas with a story?
There really is an ocean of story. I borrow the term, ‘ocean of story’ from the Indian mythos. If you think about it, we’re usually consumed with what television shows and books we’re reading lately. We ask our friends or acquaintances whether they’ve seen X, or read Y, often. Have you looked on Netflix lately? There are more movies and television shows and original shows by the company than you can shake a stick at, or probably ever hope to watch in a lifetime. And if you hope to…may I suggest getting out once in awhile? You know, breathe fresh air, see the sights? All kidding aside, did you know there are over 5 million books published by independent authors like myself in the US alone every year? This isn’t including other authors from other countries.
I always marvel when people tell me they are bored. In this day and age I find it a relief to be bored for a bit. Because the alternative is over-stimulation. This is one reason (among many) why I meditate every day. To do nothing and to be absolutely bored is the point. Actually the point of meditation for me is to get very familiar with my inner process of attraction and aversion. What compels me, and what repels me. Why am I drawn to one kind of thought and push away from other kinds of thoughts? Watching the background of emotions in this body as I sit with my eyes closed I get a keener understanding of where and what my hangups in life are. This does not mean I need to do something or ‘improve’ myself. It’s the act of watching myself.
Certain thoughts produce a feeling of pain, there’s emotional pain involved just in thinking about certain people, places, or even just ideas about those people and places. That is SO powerful to think about!
There’s an ocean of story just within my own consciousness. I know there is that same ocean of story within you. I actually use that ocean of story when I, you know, write stories down. And I write as much as nearly every single day. It’s amazing to get to know what’s inside yourself. There’s a beautiful therapeutic power just in witnessing the sore places inside, the tender and uncomfortable spots. There’s also a lot of healing when I open up to the strengths and courageous aspects within myself. All this while sitting, not reading or watching television. There are deep worlds of story inside each of us. I’d argue that getting deeply and intimately familiar with them will aide you in your own storytelling.
I don’t believe in ‘ordinary’ people. Every ‘ordinary’ person I’ve ever met is actually extraordinary. No matter how domestic and routine their daily lives appear to be on the outside, there’s inner worlds of magic, wonder, pain, power revolving with everyone you meet. I see it so clearly in others because I can see it in myself.
Of course I meditate for many more reasons than just getting glimpses into myself or other people. It helps the brain according to this article. It’s good for the body in general, and as I’ve said, it reveals insights into the inner world and the ocean of story within each of us. It also underscores the massive potential and truly profound nature we all share.
I’ve met a lot of people who say they’re going to write a book. Someday. I think it should be today. Now, as soon as you’re done reading my 8 reasons to write one. You might be wondering about the glut of books already available. Don’t write a book to make money (that will be a separate post anyway), write a book because of one or all of the following reasons:
For one thing, writing a book seriously exercises your brain. For another thing, writing a book (even if you never publish it) establishes a baseline of your mental and emotional endurance and perseverance. You might wonder how difficult it can possibly be to write a book. Until it’s you trying to lay one word in front of the other and make something that wasn’t there before, you can’t really know. If writing a book has never been on your list of things to do, there’s absolutely no need to go for it. But if you’re someone who’s always wondered what it would be like, if you have a fantasy to see your book in your hand or on Amazon, then you should write one and publish it only for yourself to know what its like.
Maybe you want bragging rights (you’ll always be able to point to it in future discussions). Maybe you think writing a book will impress your friends (that’s really hit or miss, they might be impressed you did it, but less impressed with the actual production due to their own personal tastes conflicting with your own.)
There are more reasons not to write a book than to write a book. I’ll list a few of the truly exceptional reasons to avoid writing a book, to save you time and potential embarrassment.
Writing a book can be a source of enduring pride, but it can also go to your head. There’s no instant celebrity status involved, no fanfare, and few (if any) interested readers most of the time. Should that stop you from writing? It depends on your intentions. If you intend to write books to make a living, it can be done, absolutely, but you have to learn, and work hard for it, just like anything else in life. If you can tell great stories, do it. If you can give excellent and clear instructions for people who need them, then do it. If you want to do it for a little vanity and don’t care about whether or not it succeeds, if it boosts your self-image, then do it.
I’ve had mixed results. And as I’ve told people, I aim to write over a hundred books before I die. I’m not sure as to their success, but I’ll keep writing them and sharing my stories (and ideas) because I love it.
What do you love?
I’ve taken a stand with Standing Rock. Have you? Please scroll below this video for links to Banks that support or fully pay for this unnatural obstruction of our potential clean energy.
A list of banks that are financially supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline and how to get in touch with them, courtesy of Yes Magazine.
CEO Timothy J. Sloan
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe
3 rue d’Antin
75002 Paris, France
787 Seventh Avenue – The Equitable Tower
New York, NY 10019
CEO William H. Rodgers Jr.
303 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
Chief Communications Officer:
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ*
Chairman Nobuyuki Hirano
CEO and President Takashi Oyamada
2-7-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1104
President and CEO Nobuhide Hayashi
1-5-5, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8176, Japan
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
CEO Michael Corbat
388 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 800-285-3000 and 212-793-0710
Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance
P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower
66 Wellington Street W
Investment Banking: 416-307-8500
Equity Research: 416-307-9360
Trading Floor Enquiries: 416-944-6978
31 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019-6101
CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet
12, Place des Etats-Unis
Montrouge, France 92545
1301 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10019
CEO Carlo Messina
Piazza San Carlo, 156
10121 Torino, Italy
Corporate Social Responsibility Unit:
CEO and Executive Board Chairman Ralph A.J.G Hamers
Wholesale Banking, Operations & IT, Sustainability, Corporate Governance:
Carolien van der Giessen
Head of Media Relations:
1102 MG Amsterdam
ING Bank N.V.
P.O. Box 1800
1000 BV Amsterdam
ING Financial Holdings LLC
1325 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
CEO Pierre Servant
Natixis Global Asset Management, S.A.
21 quai d’Austerlitz
75634 Paris Cedex 13, France
Natixis Global Asset Management, L.P.
399 Boylston Street
CEO Johannes-Jorg Riegler
Head of Communications:
Brienner Straße 18
560 Lexington Avenue
New York City, NY 10022
CEO Carlos Torres Villa
Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez
Calle Azul, 4
28050 Madrid, Spain
200 Park Avenue, 31st Floor New York, N.Y. 10166-0396
CEO and Managing Director Jin Chen
20 Gresham Street
London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom
520 Madison Avenue 28th Floor
New York, NY 10022
SMBC Nikko Securities*
President and CEO Yoshihiko Shimizu
3-1, Marunouchi 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8325, Japan
CEO Frederic Oudea
Chiarman of the Board Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
29 boulevard Haussmann 75009
245 Park Avenue
New York City, NY 10167
The following banks are involved in funding for the entire Bakken pipeline:
Royal Bank of Scotland
CEO Ross McEwan
Director of Media Relations:
175 Glasgow Road
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
600 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901
ABN Amro Capital
Chairman of the Board Gerrit Zalm
ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
Gustav Mahlerlaan 10
1082 PP Amsterdam
100 Park Avenue, 17th floor
New York, NY 10017
Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
CEO and President Brian J. Porter
44 King Street W
Canada M5H 1H1
250 Vesey Street,
23rd and 24th floors
New York, NY 10281
Scotia Howard Weil (“Energy Investment Boutique”):
1100 Poydras Street Suite 3500
New Orleans, LA 70163
504-582-2500 and 800-322-3005
Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun
Head of Media Relations:
Consumer Lending, Business Banking, Wealth Management, Corporate:
1 Citizens Plaza
Providence, RI 02903
Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Babb Jr.
Comerica Bank Tower
1717 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75201
Chairman and CEO Richard K. Davis
Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Dana Ripley
Brand, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sponsorships:
U.S. Bancorp Center
800 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
800-685-5065 and 651-466-3000
Chairman, President, and CEO William S. Demchak
Bryan K. Gill
300 Fifth Avenue
The Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Chairman John McFarlane
CEO Jes Staley
Barclays Bank PLC
1 Churchill Place
London E14 5HP, United Kingdom
745 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon
270 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017-2014
Bank of America
President, CEO, and Chairman Brian Moynihan
Executive Relations, Office of the CEO:
100 N Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28255
CEO John Cryan
Deutsche Bank AG
60325 Frankfurt Am Main (for letters and postcards: 60262)
Deutsche Bank AG
60 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
Chairman and CEO Manolo Sanchez
Director of External Communications:
15 S 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35233
CEO Tidjane Thiam
Board Chairman Urs Rohner
Suisse Banking Ombudsman:
P.O. Box 1818
CH 8021 Zurich, Switzerland
P.O. Box 700
CH 8070 Zurich, Switzerland
650 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
CEO Rune Bjerke
Chairwoman of the Board Anne Carine Tanum
Executive Vice President Communications Even Westerveld
Dronning Eufemias Gate 30
0191 Oslo, Norway
Sumitomo Mitsui Bank
President and CEO Takeshi Kunibe
1-1-2, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
277 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10172
Royal Bank of Canada
CEO David I. McKay
CEO and Board Communications:
Corporate Media Relations:
200 Bay Street P.O. Box 1
Royal Bank Plaza
416-974-5151 and 416-842-2000
CEO Sergio Ermotti
Head Group External Communications:
Chief Communication Officer-Americas:
212-713-6151 office and 917-226-4743 cell
Bahnhofstrasse 45, CH-8098
8001 Zurich, Switzerland
1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019
Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein
917-743-0939 and 212-902-0593
Media Contacts Americas:
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
200 West Street
New York, NY 10282
CEO James P. Gorman
New York, NY 10036
Origin Bank (formerly Community Trust)
3921 Elm St.
Choudrant, LA 71227
Chairman Douglas Flint
Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver
8 Canada Square
London E14 5HQ, United Kingdom
425 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Head of Media Relations, HSBC USA:
I don’t know about you, but I’m still in shock over the results of this presidential election. I’m mortified that more than a couple of people in my own family (blood relatives) supported Trump. They didn’t think racism or sexism or misogyny, or bad business practices were major deal breakers. They looked at their own interests. I know we all look at our own interests, but when it is at the expense of people because of the way they look, their gender, their sexual orientation, or even their physiological and mental status, I can’t abide. I can’t get over that. I don’t want to get over that. There is nothing redemptive in condoning people who think it’s fine to vote for a man who openly dismissed, dissed, and ridiculed people who weren’t like him. Hitler did that same kind of thing and rose to power by instigating the imaginations and emotions of millions of people. Hello! My last name is Jewish, my great grandparents were from Hungary, and my ancestors suffered cruelly and helplessly by people who were blinded by hate and divisiveness. To make matters worse, this wasn’t long ago. Not long enough ago by a long shot.
We have a problem in this country and it has to do with perception. I am not going to find a way for Trump’s new reign to ‘be okay’ or ‘make things better’ because I don’t believe it will be. I’m going to do a peaceful protest with some friends of mine in 2017 to give voice to my disapproval and outrage. Here’s the hard part to swallow: maybe things will turn out well overall for people in this country, a very weak ‘maybe’, but I doubt it. For instance he has hired Stephen Bannon as the White House chief strategist which is terrifying all by itself, considering he’s an avowed racist, rightwing nutjob. And is it just my imagination, or does he bear a striking resemblance Plutarch Heavensbee, “the Head Gamemaker” from the Hunger Games? Is there even a coincidence in this? (I don’t believe in coincidences.)
As a writer I try to carefully construct the antagonists to my main characters, sometimes the antagonist is the plot itself, sometimes it’s a person or group of people, and as in the Owen Hunter Series, it is incorporeal entities working with incorporeal people who have yet to move onto other realms. While these are fun to write and tie up in pretty bows at the end, what’s not fun is to see the real villains take a boatload of power right from the people they pretend they’re giving it back to. What’s not fun is that these chapters are ones we have to try and live through, and how it will further cause the breakdown of democracy as time moves onward. We all know Trump lied (he admitted to it gleefully) to get where he is. Which means that most of what he promised to do for the American people he actually won’t be doing. He won’t be getting the middle class richer. He won’t be making our country great again (remind me when that was again…) He won’t be helping anyone but himself and his suspect agendas. Like any other business man he’ll be interested in one thing and one thing only: padding his own pockets, foisting blame on anyone else but himself, throwing two hundred and forty character temper tantrums on Twitter, and abusing his newfound power for god only knows what purposes. And all that’s going to come of it is that we will get the shaft, we will be the ones who suffer, the people in my family will suffer all the more realizing their mistake in having voted for a man this corrupt.
Now, taking a deep breath, I submit that the best we can do is to help each other raise our voices, to . We need clear calm sanity, deliberate strides towards making a difference. There is an enormous need to develop stronger compassion muscles. People are terrified, hurting, and being maligned by the emboldened supporters of hate. Threat of deportation and the unconscionable use of terms like “the illegals” when discussing people who have entered our country without due process only serves to dehumanize them and make them “other”. This kind of talk is not only deplorable but needs to be called out as soon as we hear it being used.
I just need to say this as well: I’m ashamed of all the smug older white men, some of them iconic actors whom I used to look up to, saying, “get over it! Stop being such a wimp. Stop trying to be so politically correct and quit your bitching.” This isn’t bitching about political correctness. You don’t get to say that people should just ‘get over it’. If it were suddenly YOU being targeted because you were different, or YOU who were going to be thrown out of the country, or YOU being told you couldn’t do something to your body because of X or Y newly passed law, you wouldn’t be wining, you’d be just as upset and terrified as the rest of us. You know what, it’s a bad thing to make fun of someone who is physically and mentally challenged. Because if the shoe is on the other foot, you realize how defenseless you are, and yet how human you are too.
So here I am raging away about this. I’m not done raging. I’m not done taking this seriously. Telling me to calm down, to face the music, to just accept it is like telling a brick wall to stop being a brick wall. Not going to happen. I’m going to continue voicing my sense of injustice about this and I’m going to keep looking for ways to help make things better for everyone I know. One last parting gift, that I think will help put some things in perspective, is this BBC documentary called Century of the Self. I think everyone should watch it.