One Smile at a Time (that sounds like Once upon a time... good way to start this particular tale)
Read on or listen to it here.
I haven’t written a lot lately. And sometimes it has been said to me that I don’t seem to write that much ‘news’ about my life when I do. This time I will as it’s partially a mission statement.
Emotions are things that happen to us. They arise and either stay or go. I don’t choose to feel love, gratitude, jealousy etc. Either I do or I don’t in just the same way I never chose to like avocado’s more than capers but I do - oh so much. Thankfully one does have some ability to temper our responses to our emotions but we can’t control their occurrence within us.
I have a lot to be grateful for. And while reflecting on my day-to-day life recently, I was struck by the relative scarcity of spontaneous upwellings of the gratitude emotion within it. This bothers me. Why aren’t there more? Am I taking things for granted? Is it a ‘not so subtle’ consequence of an old pattern of always seeing the negative in a situation? Or a more subtle response to me trying to maximize or improve a situation and thereby not accepting the beauty inherent in the moment?
One manifestation of this is my apparent inability to consistently remember to give thanks before ingesting something. To say grace if you will. Such a simple thing to do and such a good reminder of Gratitude but I just forget and forget again while rushing ahead to scoff the wares in front of me.
But when I think of people smiling out there in the world because of something I did then I do feel good and grateful.
So I can conclude that I’d like to positively affect the lives of people - ideally in fairly large numbers. And that means putting a smile on the faces of a lot of people I don’t know.
It is generally easy to make someone smile. Smiles are free so for the most part people are quick to offer them. Yes, there are false smiles and folks smile while confused or upset or just to be polite. All of that is fine. It’s not for me to reason why – I just get a warm fuzzy whenever I do make someone smile.
To succeed in entrepeneurship one has to sell or provide a product to many people one has never met, never will meet and barely have anything in common with. Similarly I want to create the hope in my life that I have added a smile to the dial of many-a-folk I just won’t ever know.
To do this I have to increase my creative output and acquire a broader audience through a product. I have actually met each of you that I mailed this to. Please don’t begrudge a desire to go broader and send missives into the further reaches of wider humanity so that I can believe that I have caused many more smiles than I know about. And as a result feel good myself!
Here is what I am doing. Taking time off from doing VFX on movies in order to write more.
I am in Montauk on the Eastern tip of Long Island, New York State. I have rented a 3-bedroom house with friends Warwick, Patricia, Darren and Deia plus their kids Zoe and Leon. They’re largely there on weekends and I’m largely there all the time. I will be here for most of the summer, ending it by driving across the USA to Burning Man.
My hope is to spend a lot of time writing, some time surfing and a bit of NO-thing.
I’m planning a routine in order to provide some structure so I don’t treat it purely as a holiday. Also life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans. So make lots!
Here's the routine:
* Breach the surface of this world from the Ocean of Slumber
* Write my free-flow, mind clearing, dream-catching Morning Pages
* Stand on my spiky Veda mat to invigorate and aid a rapid awakening
* Meditate purely on my breath and the sensations present in my body
* Do a spot of Neuro-linguistic programming in the form of ‘Recycling’
* Handwrite the acquired set of positive affirmations into my visual diary.
* Sacrifice something to the great Stomach we all live to serve
* Do some exercise.
* Write, write, write
* Then and only then check my email before writing again.
And if I’ve been really good… then I can check the cricket scores.
Those images are 3 consecutive days from my meditation rock - varied!
I’ve mined a lot of experiential ore over the years. Now is the time to smelt it and extract the precious bits so that something of delight and use can be made and shared with the world.
Man has long yearned to turn base metal into gold, so I’m seeking to turn base experience into literature. Drawing it from myself may prove tricky with all the distractions modern and traditional I allow into my life. I hope I do. This is an honest attempt at providing meaning to my existence.
It’s taking aim at it being a book. My working title - the same as my blog - Mountains & Valleys. Doctor Lobster’s Practical Guide to Equilibrium in the Innerverse.
It has a fable part, a theory part and an appendix of fun and challenges. Maybe.
And even if it all ends up the literary equivalent of karaoke at least I will have given myself the opportunity to live life and do more of what I’ve said I wanted to do.
If you’re gonna be a cowboy, ride the waves and cross the states, you gotta have a horse so to aid my quest I’ve joined the dark green sexy car brigade ala David, Jonty and Domenique. Huzzah!