Phenomenal getaway to beautiful (and HOT!!!) Charleston for the week Amazing food, relaxing days on the beaches, and a great opportunity to explore everything that has changed since I lived there in 1995 . We stayed at a great 1800s Greek Rival mansion South of Broad. The owner, Shirley, is the neatest lady who was so generous, hospitable, and fun to get to know. She seemed like an old friend by the end of the week. The trip reminded me again of why I so love that city. It has such a great energy to it…where life is good, food is phenomenal, and the entire city is drop dead gorgeous.
Monthly Archives July 2010
I will be on vacation all of next week so will likely not be posting to the blog until Monday, July 26.
After last night’s discussion with a friend about starting a business, I thought this article from Entrepreneur Magazine had some important insight.
People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.
I’m at Barnes & Noble browsing through one of their copies of Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck and thoroughly enjoying a triple chocolate brownie and iced coffee from Starbucks. Flipping through the pages, I’m being reminded of the essence of the book and why it was so powerful.
The basic premise of North Star is that we all have an essential self and a social self. The essential self is that part of us that yearns to be a photographer. The social self gets you there by buying the right equipment and enrolling in art school. The essential self wants desperately to become a psychotherapist. The social self plods through the reams of text on Freud and Kinsey. The essential self revels in the joy of nature. The social self buys a camper and books a reservation at a state park. The key is to keep them in sync. If you don’t, your essential self will eventually stop you dead in your tracks until you get back on the right path.
That’s why you have to follow your passion…or ELSE!
The essential self is in-born. The social self developed in response to others. ”Your essential self was the part of you that cracked your first baby smile; your social self noticed how much Mommy loved that smile, and later reproduced it at exactly the right moment to convince her to lend you the down payment on a condo.” ”The social self is based on principles that often run contrary to our core desires. Its job is to know when those desires will upset other people, and to help us override natural inclinations that aren’t socially acceptable…” for one reason or another. Our two selves do battle with each other to one degree or another every minute of every single day. Keep in mind, too, that the social self is a necessary, essential part of who we are. It’s not all bad…we just have to keep it from running amok over our essential self. If we completely ignored our social self, we’d end up in jail…or worse. Our social self comes from a lot of input from what Beck calls the Three P’s: parents, peers, and professors.
Here’s a great passage that gets to the whole career thing:
“Fine,” your social self might be saying right now. ”this is all very sweet, this stuff about essences and reconnection and the Force. Thanks for sharing, Yoda, but I have a real life. I have to pay my rent. I have a cat to feed…” I started recommending that people resort to non-action only when I realized that in today’s economic climate, your essential self is a much more reliable moneymaker than your social self.
Non-action. I don’t know that I completely understand what she’s driving at here. Beck refers to ”doing without doing” — from a Chinese proverb, of course. What I think she’s talking about is basically follow your heart…your gut. Believe that your inner self knows what you need and follow its direction — back to the essential self concept. Any way. You’re going to have to read the book to really get all of this. I’m just doing this for myself…if it helps you, it was just a fluke. Or maybe it’s Karma or the grand universe or God or something. I don’t know.
So how can you hear your essential self? When do you know that you can trust that wacko idea and follow it? According to Beck, there are seven “symptoms” that you’re heading towards your North Star:
- Nuclear Energy — If your job (or the thought of a potential new job) wipes you out…leaves you beaten at the end of the day…totally spent, and not in a good way, then you’re not heading toward North. (Is it toward or towards. I’ve always confused that.) If you get loads of energy working on something — doing something that you could keep doing all night without complaint…good sign.
For me…what pops to mind is all of those video editing projects from my old corporate days; pulling together a major event; brainstorming new branding ideas; designing a house remodel.
- Your Health — Sick with migraines, colds, constant aches and pains. Bad sign. Feeling great, energetic and full of life. Good sign.
For me…when I lived in Arizona was one of the times I seemed to take care of myself better than any other. I felt great and enjoyed life. I don’t know what else may have contributed to that other than mere location…but any way. I also had a phenomenal solo vacation to the Pacific Northwest for two weeks. Spiritual, physical, adventurous, fun.
- Memories, Light the Corners of my Mind — Even if you’re like me and can’t remember shit — I mean really, I just wrote in my Morning Pages today that it sometime scares me how bad my memory can be — but even for people like me, there are topics or a specific subject matter that you’re freaking genius on. Hint of North.
For me…it’s cars. I have a ridiculous appetite for automotive design, car reviews, pricing, performance (but not in the 300 hp, 0-60 kind of way…but how do they perform doing what we REALLY need them to do), strategy and positioning of car brands, industry developments…it goes on. If I could, I’d go to a car dealership once a week just to browse through and drive their cars. I’m not talking about awesome cars. Who wouldn’t want to try out a new BMW M5. I’m talking about car cars. I really want to check out the Kia Soul. It’s just a cool looking car. I’ve gone so far as to say that if I ever owned a car dealership, I would want to own a used rather than new car dealership so I could drive different kinds of cars. That…and I really like a good deal on something.
- Time Warp – Is there something you do that you “wake up” later to realize you’ve just spent several hours doing whatever it was you were doing. Good sign.
For me…it’s the video editing thing, research and analysis stuff, car stuff. There are others. I’ll have to keep thinking about it. Writing. When I do it, I really like to write.
- Emotional Intelligence — When things click. When you experience empathy and relaxation. You understand and feel understood. You’re so comfortable that you forget to even think about social convention and interactions…they just flow. Good sign.
- Magnetic Attraction — The “Urge to Merge”. Where something or someone or some place is so attractive, you have trouble thinking of anything else. It’s the philosophical opposite of the fight-or-flight response. Sounds like falling in love…but it’s different. It can be about something large or small. Someone. Some thing. Whatever. The point is to notice these good moods and pursue the activities that produce them.
For me…Dogs. That’s what drew me to volunteer at the Atlanta Humane Society. Oddly, I haven’t been there in several weeks. It may be because I’m getting my fill at home with the three that are there now (we’re babysitting the cutest little guy right now)…or who knows. Car auctions. Photography. This blog in a lot of ways. Creative, new age type stuff and the people who practice them… (yoga, art, performance art, dance). Psychology and counseling. Drum and bugle corps. Ice cream. Excel (I know…what the fuck?!).
- A Natural High — fairly self explanatory.
Enough for now. I’m afraid I’m creasing B&N’s book too much to not feel like I should pay for it. It’s only $15 but times are tough, y’all.
Link to Julia Cameron’s website on The Artist’s Way is below.
Background follows in prior post.
- Morning Pages – 3 pgs of stream of consciousness written long-hand each morning
- Artist Dates – weekly solo outings / adventures that peak your interests
- Walks – solo walks to contemplate life, observe, and reconnect
Link to the author’s official website: http://theartistsway.com/
This is something I’ve tried for the last couple days. I read the book several years ago at the urging of one of my “counselors” (therapists). It’s a little…ok a lot new-agey, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. After just a couple days, I really think there’s something to this “morning pages” thing. I’ll also post a link to her site. You can find her books at Amazon…or the local bookstore if there are any left.