“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path. – Joseph Campbell
Absolute freedom. A life devoted to creative self-expression.
A life that is fundamentally free is one that is free of certainty. Purpose, passion, goals. . .they do not matter. The only guarantee of success is that every outcome is uncertain. Their is no guarantee. Our purpose is not to be found or “discovered”. Our essence is to be expressed or we may fall into arrested expansion.
To become completely comfortable with uncertainty is total freedom.
To live a life that is full of curiosity, enthusiasm and wonder.
To be free to live open to every situation at one time that we imagined would be difficult or a conflict.
To express the creative capacity of our essence.
This is how our lives become a work of art.
To live in direct contact with the perpetual, dynamic uncertainty that is implicit in the power of life itself. To appreciate the mystery of life.
This is equal to living in the heart of intimate freedom.
When we simply are, we are free.
There is no purpose to be found. Just the creative expression of life itself.
As you stroll along, if you’re awake enough, you will be led by your curiosity and excitement.
The granddaddy of the consciousness movement, George Leonard was a co-founder of the Aikido of Tamalpais dojo in Corte Madera, California. He also developed the Leonard Energy Training (LET) practice for centering the mind, body, and spirit.
Being cautiously optimistic keeps me informed and realistic while remaining hopeful about the outcomes I wish to manifest.
Being too realistic can dry up my soul, but being too optimistic can make me extremely delusional.
If I see only the worst, it destroys my capacity to do something and if I only see the best, I may become blindsided by the bullshit I’m telling myself as things go horribly wrong.
A case for remaining causiously optimistic throughout the day.
1. I remain clear and focused
The optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism) is a cognitive bias that causes a person to believe that they are less at risk of experiencing a negative event compared to others.
Four factors exist that cause a person to be optimistically biased: their desired end state, their cognitive mechanisms, the information they have about themselves versus others, and overall mood.
The optimistic bias is seen in a number of situations. For example: people believing that they are less at risk of being a crime victim, smokers believing that they are less likely to contract lung cancer or disease than other smokers, first-time bungee jumpers believing that they are less at risk of an injury than other jumpers, or traders who think they are less exposed to losses in the markets.
2. My decisions are realistic.
The are based in reality, not in some daydream of how I want reality to be but more focused on how I am designing and producing the outcomes.
3. I carefully weigh the pros and cons
I weigh the pros and cons and stay focused on the results I want – knowing I can achieve them, because I am optimistic that I will get results.
4. Turning worry into work
Cautious optimism has me turn my worry into work while remaining positive about the outcome because I do a combination of what is tried and true while experimenting with fresh new solutions.
5. Impulsive vs Intentional
I am less prone to make impusive and spontaneous decisions – I am more strategic when I am cautiously optimistic.
6. Time is on My Side
I don’t waste or maybe I should say, I waste less time. Grounded and focused in reality and humble and hopeful for the future, I am purposeful. I remain cautiously optimistic.
7. Open to Opportunity & Outcomes
I move forward and do what needs to be done, but I am not holding onto a set outcome – I am open to different visions and versions of what winning looks like for me.
8. Celebrate the Moments
My careful optimism has me recognize the small wins throughout the day. Celebrating the bits of wins throughout the day – acknowledging my small moments and accomplishments.
9. A Reminder to Be Here Now
Caution + optimism has me locked in to being present to what needs to be done now for the future.
10. Correct and Certain
When I am cautious, I correct my mistakes. Having a sense of certainty and understanding and knowing what needs to be corrected in order to continue to make certain that I achieve everything I want to achieve.
11. Awake & Aware
I remain on the look out for problems and I dare to make them opportunities. I ask myself, what’s great about this problem? Does it propose an opportunity to make something better?
12. Hacking Away without Skipping the Essential
I recognize that there are no real short cuts – just smart strategies and in turn I am less delusional while focused on great outcomes.
No skimping – no scamming – just making sure I take each step carefully while remaining hopeful while proceeding with intelligence and faith.
Having faith in the outcome while I am willing to learn, grow and make corrections.
Perhaps stumbling through and failing at life sometimes moves us to lose the deep trust in ourselves that we need to thrive.
That loss of self-trust keeps us down, frozen and afraid to move forward. Perhaps if we raise our “royal minds” and learn again to trust ourselves; no matter how many mistakes we make, as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggests in his essay “Spiritual Laws” we can begin to understand the importance of trusting oneself.
“What a man does, that he has. What has he to do with hope or fear? In himself is his might. Let him regard no good as solid but that which is in his nature and which must grow out of him as long as he exists.”
“What your heart thinks great, is great. The soul’s emphasis is always right.”
Emerson moves me so. If I ever get a dog (which I will one day), I will call him Emerson.
On another random note, after reading Daily Rituals “How Artists Work”, I have added two new rituals to my day – the act of taking an “air bath” – a walk in the cool air to cleanse my mind after a long day as Ben Franklin did every evening and enjoying a “sun downer” – a glass of wine like Carl Jung. So fun.
I have come upon a shift in thinking. It’s the difference between living a life that is unprepared, off-the-cuff and according to the demands and cries of others TO a more deeply connected, intentional and thoughtful life.
A life designed to inspire and ignite others.
It’s a conscious decision to move away from my “ad-libbed” life, towards an artful, improvised life with deliberate purpose and meaning.
“My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.”Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson ReadSelf Reliance
I will no longer live a reactionary life as I move away from ” making it up as I go” TO steering my life with clear intention and genuine vision, headed in the direction of my heart.
Honoring myself and the eternal verities every step of the way.
This choice I have made, to live a responsive and purposeful life. A deliberate and well-designed life sparked by deep inquiry.
I arrange each day in such a way that I am living thoughtfully, mindfully and respectively with the best version of me.
Mastery synthesizes the years of research Robert Greene conducted while writing the international bestsellers The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, and The Art of Seduction and demonstrates that the ultimate form of power is mastery itself.
In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The willful warrior, the worry-free wanderer, the mindful self-mastered and the curious creator . The spontaneous-seeker summoned by synchronicity. The truth teller. May we all live intentional and thoughtful lives.
Most of you will agree that we can read, listen and study for hours upon end on how to enhance ourminds and become 1% better versions of ourselves daily, but the greatest lessons in life are from actual experience.
Mapping Out a Successful Day
I am a professional list maker and note taker. If I don’t write it down, my wild and creative crazy nine year old inner child takes over and the next thing you know I have 20 projects that I have begun but will probably never finish. This is one of the things that I struggle with daily, so I have decided that as I begin to declutter my life and brain, I will become more mindful of my approach and system to tackling the day.
Listening to an interview with one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear I love the way she handles the creative younger sister in her mind, the one who wants to do everything at once. She calms her down by devoting 15 minutes a day to letting her mind run free and capturing those creative thoughts on index cards and in notebooks – to do later on. Listen to her interview with Rob Bell here.
The Morning Journal, Master List and the Top 5 for the Day
As for prioritizing my daily to do list, I have a new approach. I have come to appreciate the wild and creative mind that I have as just an excitable version of me that wants it ALL and that is okay. I love that about me, I just know that I can’t do it ALL right now. So here are my steps/system to making it happen over time.
The Morning Journal
After a five minute gratitude journal moment, I write down my goals and tasks for the day/week/month in Evernote. I love how Evernote is accessible from everywhere – my phone, desktop, tablet and laptop and automatically syncs my lists so they are always updated.
Organizing My Tasks – The Master List
I organize these tasks in three categories: Personal,Work and Creating (writing, photography, making things). I dump everything I want to include in this master list – things like outlining my book, clients I have to call, learning more about social media strategy and tools like Periscope, etc.
My Daily Top Five
I then take a notebook from Muji (love this Japanese store) and write down the Top 5 tasks I will complete for the day – or start for the month. I am sure to include at least one thing from each area of my life to keep it balanced. I prioritize by sense of urgency and importance.
I also use Moleskin note books and Pinterest to help keep track of things that inspiring me throughout the day.
Recording Daily Activities
Try this with me. I am now committed to taking an extra 90 seconds a day and recording not only what I have achieved, but how it feltto accomplish the task. This will include my personal and work achievements because I don’t believe any one of my clients is recording my wins. This job journal will come in handy later on when I decide to raise my fees and move towards more.
If you love journals and notebooks and have developed a system for creating tasks and documenting wins I would love to hear more about what works for you. Be sure to comment in the section below.
I have a mile high list of many, many books I want to read this fall and winter. This is just a few stories up. If you’ve read any of them, let me know why you think they should be on my list (or why I should take a pass). Or better yet, maybe you have another book that I should read first. Do share.
Book 1. Influence by Robert B. Cialdini because I need/want to stockpile my weapons of persuasion and it’s one of Scott Adam’s favorites. Scott is the creator of the comic strip Dilbert above.
As Victor Frankl once said: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.
The Purpose Driven Life is on my list because, I’m always seeking. The question of existence….. Why am I alive? The question of significance…..Does my life matter? The question of purpose……What on earth am I here for?
Book 8.How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Dale shares simple wisdom that really makes you think good and hard about why you’re worrying and if those things are really worth worrying about at all. And God help me do I worry about everything.
The night before the Buddha attained final enlightenment he had a visit from the demon king Mara. Mara represented all the anger, doubt, fear, striving, craving and greed of the world. He came to tempt the Buddha.
Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha calmly acknowledged his presence, staying “I see you, Mara“
He then invited Mara to tea as an honored guest.
It is suggested that we do the same when we are pained with trouble (whether real or imaginary). When we are feeling jealous, fearful, angry, frustrated, we examine these feelings with a compassionate heart, filled with self-love. We invite troubles to tea.
Instead of running from what troubles us, avoiding what is painful to face while only trying to seek happiness, we need to deal with all of life’s struggles head on, or they will continue to haunt us.
Wake up with Matcha or Peppermint; Sleep with Kava or Chamomile; Ward off a cold with Echinacea or White Tea; Digest with Ginger or Lemon; Detox with Dandelion or Nettle; Soothe an upset stomach with Fennel or Ginger; Energize with Mint or Green; De-stress with Lavender or Ginseng.
Learning is an investment in yourself. I am obsessed with learning and discovering new ways to amplify my growth and expansion. Every day I commit some time to listen, watch or read something to expand my mind. For a list of what I am currently reading, etc., click here.
My learning ritual forces me out of my comfort zone, helping me climb to a new more expansive view of reality while I continue to discover true daily disciplines and mindful habits to incorporate into my practice. Remembering this, here is what is resonating with me right now . . .
My purpose is to create extraordinary value and serve others as profoundly as I can.
Frustration is my friend. Like a true friend, frustration has an important message to help me grow. I curiously listen to my frustration so I can learn.
Rejection is just feedback. Understanding this, I am able to review this feedback and correct my mistakes and move forward.
I keep a beginner’s mind. I remember that my growth is a never ending process of improvement and transformation.
Life will pay me exactly what I ask for it and it is okay to ask for more.
My life, relationships and investments in myself and others must be managed and cared for daily. I remain grateful for all that I have right now.
I commit to giving more than I expect to receive. Always.
How about you? I would love for you to share what is resonating with you.
I travel to Manhattan for work each day (some people call it commuting). I intentionally take my travel to New York City each day and I view it as a big adventure. The big apple, right here in my own back yard, a playground that I get to rediscover over and over again. The dreaded 90-minute “commute” has become a part of a mindful and magical journey. Well, sometimes not that “magical”, but you get what you put into it, okay?
Lately I’m very sad about the growing number of homeless men and women I see while I am walking downtown to my office from midtown to Soho. Counting 5, 6, 7 people per block, I thank God I haven’t become numb to this sorrowful situation.
I became angrier and angrier at DiBlasio, at the system, at the crumbling world economy. I thought about creating a video and filming what others may not see. Heroin addicts, veterans, the mentally disabled lying down on the sidewalk with cardboard as their mattress and torn blankets as their cover. But other than devoting time to volunteering at a homeless shelter, what can I do?
Well a dear friend had a wonderful idea that helped me the other day. Bring them lunch. Pack extra lunches to hand out to those who are hungry as I walk to work.
And so I did. I started with one sandwich yesterday. I am thankful to say that it was well received and I made a real connection with someone. A older woman who thanked me. A soulful moment of compassion in a very crazy city.
This act of giving is not a new idea, but for months I was so concerned about the huge homeless problem I didn’t know where to begin. I got caught up in the amount of time, effort and energy it would take to do something, anything. Whenever we are trying to solve a problem that is bothering us this greatly we sometimes tend to get caught up in the enormity of it.
Perhaps you want to lose weight, hit the gym, save money, develop a new skill, invest in the market. My recommendation to you, is to start small, with mini-habits, that when practiced daily and consistently really do work.
Think about it, your goals may be too lofty and setting you up for failure. Yes it’s okay to dream big, but if you are having trouble failing, take this tip and advice from the author of Mini-Habits.
“Vagabonding is an attitude—a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word. Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life—a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time—our only real commodity—and how we choose to use it.” Quote from Vagabonding.
Big Goal: Lose 25 lbs by your 25th birthday.
Small Habit: Start with 1 less teaspoon of sugar in your coffee each day. Start with a 10 minute walk around the block.
Big Goal: Learn how to code your own website.
Small Habit: Start with a 5 minute session of a class each day on Lynda.com, or Udemy.com
Big Goal: 100 pushups a day by halloween.
Small Habit: Do one push up right now. Maybe two tomorrow. Grow slow. Grow slow and steady.
Big Goal: Write the book.
Small Habit: Write one true sentence a day. (a wonderful piece of advice from Ernest Hemingway.)
Break it down. Do it daily. Be consistent.
Looking for inspiration? Check out the author’s Mini-Habit Ideas Mini Habits
I am enthusiastically curious about you. I have a genuine interest in learning more about how you think, how you live, what works for you, floats your boat, inspires and ignites your soul.
Ever since I was a teen, I’ve been absorbed and engrossed in learning about others. I use to draft interview scripts for all of my friends. Yes, I was that annoying girl. Pusher of The Proust Questionnaire.
The purpose of my blog “Undisputed Origin” is to inspire all of us to the magic of this amazing moment right now, our connectivity and the wonders of this world.
My motto – Lighten up, Spark Joy, Create Love.
I would love it if you would respond by answering one of the following questions.