Those at EAN I will recall my workshop on the power of self-acknowledgment. There’s a twist on that for me in Austin.
This city occurs for me as a landscape of empowering landmarks (pun intended), when I choose to get present to it and explore it in my mind’s eye, when I drop into the frame of “what mark HAVE I MADE on this life and this world?”
Psychogeography becomes grimoire, and a journal written in places morphs into a vibrant breath of life just waiting to creep into my lungs and remind me of what I’ve done, who I am, and what I’m capable of.
My friend Frank did this on a call around 1:30am: “Don’t ‘look for parking.’ You’re magical, man. Just manifest a parking spot close by to where you want to be.” With the reminder, I did exactly that.
This city itself stands defiant in the face of my every disempowering thought or pattern, a similar reminder to his rejoinder. Just being here is a testament to an ongoing victory, and everywhere I look, I’m reminded of that power.
Making it on my own – I see this in the five separate places I’ve lived throughout the city (Enfield Ave, Emerald Forest, Hycreek, Manchaca, and Stassney), climaxing in my present one bedroom apartment.
Connections and adventures abound, things that weren’t going to happen anyway, things that required my choice and action and persistence: West Norris, Swallow Drive, Forest Wood…
Eight ALE/EAN events – found in echoes at 1310 S 1st Street, Casa de Luz, Guan Yin Tea House, Soma Vida, and that lovely home just off of Riverside.
BrainJuice still abounds at all five of the Whole Foods stores and so many others. Certain signage stands proud outside and inside of prominent Austin businesses.
Heck, even the car that drives me on the tour that shows me all this is a victory.
Finally, I look around my home through blue-blocking glasses at a sanctuary of supplements and practices built to vanquish the epic insomnia that plagued me last year…I lay my head down to rest, knowing that I can handle whatever is coming, and sleep in light.
And if I can do it, so can you. ALL OF IT. Whatever you want.
Recipe for bliss: turn your environment into a testament to your own ability to overcome, littered with reminders of victories. Then, your new listening of yourself can’t HELP but seep in and crowd out whatever negativity might still crop up. Bathe in the bliss of your wins.
My mission crystallizes yet again from another angle: to take actions, share stories, and communicate in a way that inspires, uplifts, and empowers.
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. The evidence is found in the moments of novelty, the creations that bubble up effortlessly.
Where there was a fire of creativity, now there are eight long bits of poetry.
Where there was an injustice, my cleverness and gently calibrated force warded off bullies who threatened us on the dance floor.
Where there was dissipation and constant frenzied fractionation between the past and the future, all of me has dropped into the present with appreciation and gratitude.
I’m learning more what I already know –
now and here is where to go.
Follow your feelings,
into the flow.
What a night!
There’s a moment when I open up, in solitude. When I’m freed. When enough distance and time from society and others and habits and routines and schedules is achieved that my Self is liberated unto a certain kind of unique joy.
True solitude, I have found, is a delectable solipsism that must be attained only after great effort.
I’m sure others have found it in Nature. Thoreau, probably. Where the mind, with a novel depth, curves in upon itself and begins to appreciate both the world at large as well as it’s own activity…reflection surmounts slavish reaction, expression advances above utility, and the speaking function, the word production, becomes free to dance amidst the many collected vicissitudes of curve and association hidden in the interstices of the mind. (As here!)
Amidst this golden freedom, I’ve found only one diamond tonight:
Solitude itself is necessary for flourishing, in certain souls. Not every, and not always, but definitely for some. It must be nourished, watered, cultivated, and grasped like a rainstorm that visits only fleetingly but which feeds the succulents that hunger silently throughout the year for their rare waterings.
Recipe for bliss: recover aloneness, and rediscover the joys there.
I still watch TV. It’s something that I go back and forth on. I don’t even have a TV in my house; I use my laptop.
The potentially negative neurological and social impacts, but also how it fits into my flow and makes me feel, how it engages my mind and makes me curious and analytical…all of these feed into the ongoing maybe-yes-maybe-no of it.
Star Trek has been my primary fare for several years now, with the commitment to watch every episode or movie in the in-fictional-universe order.
So why do I still watch? And why specifically this one show?
There’s always a moment of compassion, when the care, concern, friendship, or straight up love of one of the characters for another is on full and resonant display…when my heart creeps open and I can feel them. Whether it’s Spock excited to see the best friend Kirk he thought had died, or Odo inviting Garak to breakfast even though he doesn’t eat, there’s always a moment when the tears well up in my eyes.
These moments re-presence me to my mission here on this planet: to love others through their suffering into their full power and expression.
In this, it is as powerful as soul gazing. And any practice which opens your heart, to any degree, is definitely worth continuing.
A lot has shifted, and I find that it has inspired laser-focus. Distractions have faded away as singular hope for and attention on and action towards my results and outcome are what drive me from the first moment of awakening until restful sleep.
When forced to confront your fears, you learn what’s possible, what you’re made out of, and what kinds of actions there really are to take.
Sometimes a house must be burned down before the one you truly want can be built.
For example, if you take feng shui seriously – which was the first and most major accomplishment of my year, finishing the feng shui for my home and car – then be prepared to receive shifts aligned with your intentions and highest good. Even if those shifts are profoundly uncomfortable.
What’s next? EAN III – Empowering Austin Now‘s second workshop series was a massive success, so the momentum forward continues. And for me personally, a return to New Orleans this weekend for this event, triumphant and present.
Recipe for Bliss 77: Keep building. Keep working. Keep moving. Consistent steps along your path will inevitably bring you success.
Sometimes we sabotage ourselves. Plain and simple. We start a diet that we know is healthy and we choose to go outside of it. We have some amazing accomplishment, like a massively successful event we produced, and our identity is so resistant to the new shape of our sense of self that we are immediately seduced into the most wasteful and narcissistic squandering of energy and time, like porn. We make a lot of extra income and spend it without care.
We fall. We falter. We fail.
We are human.
The key, I have discovered, is how quickly we can notice that we are disempowered or acting outside of our commitment… And powerfully choose to recommit in word and action. For me, it often means a cold shower or a call to a colleague to clear up my space of whatever story or blocked emotion has me triggered or disempowered.
The key is to climb back up as quickly as possible, to do whatever it takes to Rempower Yourself.
So looking back on 2017, I see that this was the lesson of the second half of the year. The first half contained this lengthy aligned, focused, clear plateau of upward momentum and continuity. The second contained a lot of zigzags, seesaws, two steps forward and three steps back. But I kept going, stayed in the game, and restore myself. I climbed back up.
Often for me the reason the climb back up was my next workshop, the fact that more was at stake than my own feeling good in the moment… which leaves me with the question: what cause is bigger enough then you, who in your life are you committed to so strongly, that your highest expression and choice in the moment impacts them dramatically enough to spur you to make it, NOW?
Coaching – any coaching, all coaching – is what you make of it. Your coach isn’t you, so they can never guarantee you results. Only you can. Through “making something of it, something fine.” Through doing the right things long enough consistently. Through holding on to hope and faith in possibility.
Through taking action over and over and over and never giving up.
Coaching is like life, this way.
Stranger Things…a heartwrenching, heart-opening, well-written, well-acted, extraordinary take on science fiction horror, nostalgia, childhood, family, friendship, and love, wrapped in a 17-episode escape-binge unto bliss. Five stars out of four.
Crowley spoke in Book Four of the mystical state of dhyana as “You will completely forget who you are, what you are, and what you are doing.” Clearly I’m not in the physiological state of that, with the pleasure in interruption of thought and engagingly interested interrogation of experience…but metaphorically, yes and indeed. We are born for bliss, and sometimes certain artworks are designed for…nay, deserve consumption in a speedy way, like a hungry man laps up food after a lengthy and unintentional fast. The blurring of the edges between subject and object takes place in states of brilliant flow where creation and consumption occur concordant.
This has been my first legitimate binge-watch. No, I didn’t go without sleep…but the addictive quality of compulsion did quickly override every other desire and plan after my morning routine was complete each day.
Luckily, I’m in the top 1% of income levels globally – yes, in case you were unaware, the exquisite privilege of wealth isn’t merely in the hands of the super-rich billionaires, but rather (when seen from a cosmopolitan view) in that of those who make more than $36,000/year and above – and so I have the luxury to spend a few days focusing only on rest, sleep, and bingeing.
The philosopher in me has interesting questions, like could the demand that art makes on one ever surmount the demand of the ethical? How does one choose from the panoply of options available for consumption of this or that artwork? A meta-ethical/aesthetic criterion? Could it really be an “addiction” if at the end you run out of both the substance you’re consuming…disproportionately and with only a frayed hold on intentionality…and if the desire itself to consume dies as well?
The dream builder in me has more questions…standing in the future fulfilled, my ideal life involves connection, creation, and…consumption? “You have to feed the mind every day,” goes KT. However, what gets chosen is the ethical/pragmatic question…and the impact it has on performance is the next question.
There appear to be good reasons to binge watch.
But then again, perhaps the artwork is only ever equal to the mind experiencing it, created in the experience itself.
One major gift of insomnia is that, rather than sacrificing one’s earliest and best energy, intention, and memory of the day to the vapid gods of global capitalism with its imperious colonizing of the best “working hours,” 9-5…you get to spend your time in pursuit of intention, desire, creation, expression.
Or so have I discovered.
This year has been a study in sleep, a research in insomnia.
Faced with failure and with the possibility that things might not work out how you want them to…how you work so very hard for them to…how you strive and struggle and strain and long for them to…
How do you choose?
Is it more empowering to believe that there’s some meaning to all this, or not?
I’m reminded of John Sheridan…
Capt. John Sheridan: You know, it’s funny, I was thinking about what you said, that the preeminent truth of our age is that you cannot fight the system. But if, as you say, the truth is fluid, that the truth is subjective, then maybe you can fight the system. As long as just one person refuses to be broken, refuses to bow down.
Interrogator: But can you win?
Capt. John Sheridan: Every time I say “no.”
I say no to nihilism. Over and over, as a practice. There must be something to hope for, something we can achieve, something we can do. And if we stay in the game, keep trying, keep moving…eventually we will get there.