Create Together

833. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I came across this morsel of blog-posts-past. This theme of truth continues to show up in my wandering-time:

The difficulty is not in multiple truths, multiple stories; the challenge arises when there is the expectation of one truth. When I believe that your truth must match my truth, that my truth is the right way and yours is inferior, that I must convert you to my truth, then we walk an untenable path.

We step into the dark woods and get lost with idea that there is one truth and it exists outside of us and we must find it out there somewhere. This notion separates us from our capacity for presence; it requires us to doubt our inner truth while spending our days searching for something that is with us all along.

There are many ways. There are many truths. If there is a single story it is something we create together.

See The Poetry

832. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It rained all afternoon so when the breeze jostled the branches, water cascaded down on us. Josh said, “When the wind blows, the tree rains.” I loved the image. It made us see a tree that rains. Poetry!

It reminded me that we are not merely the passive receivers of visual information. We are the interpreters of what we see. We are the givers of meaning to everything we perceive. Everything. We are the givers of meaning to everything that we experience. The meaning is not outside of us waiting to be found, we give it, enjoy it, reject it, run from it, embrace it, dance with the meaning or deny it.

Recently I was reminded (again) that the meaning of every symbol I see and sign that I seek is already within me. I assign the meaning. I am the magic. I can believe that “things were meant to be,” or that the shooting star is a sign that I need to follow my bliss. I want to believe that the universe converses with me, leaves me a trail of breadcrumbs that I can follow to fulfillment or some greater meaning. And all the while I know that the meaning is not outside of me. I create it. In this way I am the universe or at least and expression of it.

I mirror the world and the world mirrors me. Joe once told me that we can only know ourselves by what comes back at us from others. We offer. We share. We project. And a response comes back to us. We interpret the response and adjust our offer, refine what we believe about ourselves and the world.

“The wind jostles the branches and the tree rains.” Josh sees the poetry in this world. I see the first star of the night and make a wish. A snake slithers across my path and then another and I know it is time to act on what I already know. I have a hunch and I follow it. I collect data and interpret it. I form a hypothesis and test it until I think I know. I sit still in awe and am certain that I do not know anything.

Wake Up

831. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

And then came a poem from Rumi came in my email.

After years of numbness and dulled existence it is not uncommon to stand suddenly and shout, “Enough!” The shout is a surprise and you find that you are, for the first time in years, awake. In that moment of self-possession a choice presents itself. Since you do not know who is the target of your shout and are surprised at the vehemence of the shout, you stand there, disoriented and angry at nothing in particular and everything in general. The next moment presents a choice. Go back to sleep – which is comfortable and known. Or you must continue shouting, shake yourself awake, and refuse to go back to sleep – which can be extraordinarily uncomfortable until the blood flows, curiosity takes over, and you orient to a life of full sensation. It takes a while to see and feel and appreciate after being so long asleep.

The poem:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”


It takes awhile to stop shouting and stand still to feel the breeze of dawn on your face and listen to the secrets it tells. It takes a while to know what you really want and learn to ask for it in a voice that knows the range between a whisper and a shout. It takes a while to step out through the door and ask yourself, “I wonder what’s out there?”

Step Down

830. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Megan-the-brilliant sent me a link to a very concise blog post that she wrote a long time ago. She and I recently had a conversation about grounding and centering and in sharing the link she asked what I would add or say differently. Her post was sparked by some event or experience that she cannot recall so the post lives as a universal statement of truth. Here is her post:

To be authentic is to live according to your truth
To be brave is to speak your truth
To be centered is to know your truth
To be grounded is to believe in your truth
To be free is to release the illusion of control over the truths of others.

It is an especially interesting question to me because lately I doubt my truth. To be more specific, the intuition, impulse, and knowing that I have always identified as truth and followed without question (often to my ruin) I now distrust. I wonder if I have inverted the inner guide with the inner used car salesman. I may have the only guide in the history of inner guides that wears a plaid polyester sports coat and sells truth in the guise of a jalopy. I’ve ignored this voice and listened to the very sincere, baritone inner opinion-giver who never panics, never gets excited and tells me it’s okay to sell the farm for a song. It turns out that I am an easy mark!

So, given my doubt of anything that sounds like truth, here are my additions to Megan’s post (for today. These may change according to the jalopy I purchase tomorrow):

To be authentic is to question your truth and live according to the question.
To be brave is to stand solidly in “I don’t know” and refuse to pretend that there is an answer.
To be centered is to step off the pedestal and stand without shame in the muck of life.
To be grounded is recognize that you are ordinary and cease any attempts to be separate from or better than the herd or the animals or the plants or the sky or the stars.
To be free is to realize that the sacred is in the ordinary, the muck, the not-knowing, and the questions. To stand above anything or anyone is an illusion and can only distance you from the sacred because the sacred is always in the direction of unity and never in the direction of distinction.

Kiss The Cosmos

829. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I just wrote the word “cosmos” because I wanted to use it in a cartoon and needed to check the thesaurus for alternative meanings. It turns out the cosmos is pretty much everything. For instance, as I walked across town this morning I heard someone declare, “It’s always a good time for a cookie!” Cookie. Time. Always. Good. A perfect expression of the cosmos in contemporary small talk!

Later in the afternoon as I passed the bus tunnel I was approached by two older men from somewhere in the world that I do no know. They were Sikh and trying to find bus number 150 to Renton. It took us a while to establish that it was a bus that they were seeking. I took them down into the bus tunnel and that was a great revelation to the two men. They were seeking the bus on the street! It never occurred to them that buses run under the street in tunnels. They looked with wide eyes at the tunnel traffic and were at first dubious to get on a bus in a tunnel. In a communication that was more dance than word I helped them see that the tunnel was temporary. We found the 150 bus and before boarding they blessed me. I was an angel sent to them by god. A perfect expression of the cosmos in contemporary urban kindness.

Later Alan called. He’d sent emails that never showed up in my inbox. The emails are lost in space (the cosmos). Mostly, he could feel that I needed a connection so he reached out to find me. I told him that I had become a ghost and was delighted that he found me. We talked for ten minutes or so and our conversation brought me closer to substance. Great friendship is magic that way – it pulls us from the insubstantial ethers and gives us form, shape, and identity. When we ended our call I was more human than ghost. The cosmos is energy that takes many forms and a simple phone call is, too, a perfect expression of the cosmos.

The sun was out today so on my way back to the studio after talking with Alan I found a warm brick wall in the sun, leaned against it, closed my eyes and drank in the heat. I had not a single thought in my head, just immense appreciation for the light that seeped into my body and warmed me to the core. You might say that I was touched by the sun and isn’t that a perfect expression of the cosmos. Everything is everything all at the same time – it only seems to be separate.

Step Into Nonsense

828. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I took a break from work today and turned on the radio. The first words I heard were, “Is the government doing enough to stop intelligence leaks?” It’s an old joke but it got me anyway and I laughed heartily. Governing is hard. However when the same people who got embroiled in the debate about whether or not pizza is a vegetable are the crew with their finger on the scary red button, it is an important question for the public to ask: Is our government doing enough to stop the intelligence leaking from the ears? And, more to the point, is it a slow leak or do we need to pull off the road and change the intellectual tires?

In all fairness, I am drawing cartoons today. On these days everything becomes fair game. I look for the ridiculous in everything, especially myself. I have been on a literal and metaphoric walkabout for months. The more I try to make sense of things the less sense I make. Truly. It is like a mathematical equation. Try to make sense = no sense. Perhaps there is no sense to be made. There are only choices. And when the available choices make no sense it is time to put on the cartoon artists eyes. Or, it is time to stop trying to do anything and sit still. The intelligence has long since leaked from my tire-brain and I am miles from the nearest air pump. I am like a cartoon character that tries to clean the house and ends up making a mess of everything. Dr. Suess would love me. Lately I have Cat In The Hat tendencies.

There is a moment in the Sisyphus story when Death knocks on Sisyphus door and in a grand moment of tricksterism, Sisyphus chains Death to a post. With Death held captive all motion stops and the world begins to suffer because of it. Sisyphus has no idea what to do so he sits. He does nothing and considers his options. He comes to see that his choice is really between two types of death. The first is death by all things known. This is the death that most people choose. It is death by boredom, slow and predicable. It is to hang on for ten years until retirement. It is an imagination killer. The other kind of death is to step into the unknown. It is unpredictable, fiery, and fast. This type of death fuels his imagination. It runs wild. He chooses the unknown, the death that brings life. He releases Death from the chains, unleashes Death on himself.

The metaphor is clear. When transition comes knocking and we choose to hang on to what we know, intellectual and spiritual death will come slowly through boredom and control. Let go, step off the edge, embrace the unknown and the death will come quickly but so too will the transformation. It’s a cycle. Life feeds life. Winter only looks like death when, in fact, it is a necessary part of the cycle of life.

On the surface it makes no sense to unlock Death. It makes even less sense to keep Death chained up and continue the suffering and boredom. None of the choices makes sense because growth is never in the direction of the known. Growth has nothing to do with sense. Growth is always on the path through the unknown.

Scratch The Wall

827. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I am house sitting for Judy this weekend so I have the great pleasure of being cared for by Fuji the cat. This morning before dawn Fuji woke me up by scratching on the wall. It was like finger nails on a chalkboard and made me laugh. Fuji does not couch her intentions in a layer of false modesty or in a set of imposed manners. She is direct and that is refreshing. After scratching the wall she sat on my chest. It was time for some good loving and then food. When she’d had enough of petting she jumped down and led me to her bowl. Later, after she ate, we re-pouched and slept until a more decent waking hour.

Fuji is sage. She is very old and seems thinner every time I see her. She still loves a good scratching and eats like farm hand. She sleeps, eats, and wanders her realm with great self-possession. Fuji does not entertain doubts. She chooses and acts. There is no gap created by inner debate. She does not hesitate and will always take the direct path to her intention while also living a circular life. She knows that wisdom takes time and some questions cannot be rushed; answers will come when enough life has been lived. Fuji is fond of Rilke and knows that we must live the questions.

My favorite thing to do with Fuji is tell her my troubles. I sit with her on the floor and confess my foibles and she listens attentively. I usually ask her to resolve my issues – to tell me what to do – and then act as if she is withholding the answer that I seek. “Fuji!” I exclaim, “I thought you were going to help me out with this one!” She purrs and sits at my feet as if to say, “This one is yours to resolve.” She is a good counselor. She listens with great attention and refuses to provide easy answers. She knows I have all my answers inside me and am usually looking in the wrong place for my resolution. Fuji also knows that all the drama of life is made-up so it is pointless to expend any energy dealing with it.

I strive to be like Fuji and know that I will be old, thinning, and eating soft foods with porcelain teeth before I have enough road behind me to stand with certainty in this question we call life. I look forward to scratching the wall at any hour of the day or night and saying to my human, “Love on me and then let’s eat!”

Want The Sunrise

826. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

This morning I watched the sun rise from the top deck of the ferry. It was a clear calm summer morning, warm even before the sun peaked over the mountains. I was alone on the deck to witness the dawn and wondered why the other passengers weren’t up there with me.

The ferry was packed which was unusual for an early Saturday morning but there was a marathon in the city and most of my fellow commuters were runners and their families. As I boarded I passed groups stretching, others were applying icy hot patches, most were checking their gear and making sure they had what they needed for the run. They were too busy preparing to pay attention to the sun. The main deck was frenetic with carbo-loading and pre-run anticipation!

As chaotic as it was below, the upper deck was equally as quiet. The sky was electric with velvet blues and hot oranges morphing to pink and purple as the sun rolled into view. It made me quiet inside. There was nothing more important to me in that moment than being present for the start of another day. I wanted to know what it is to sing the sun up, to welcome it back, to live within the consciousness that pays attention. It was utterly magical to be on the water, standing at the bow of the ferry, crossing the Sound, the summer morning air rushing through me as the heat of the morning sun reached and washed over me. I drank deeply and knew that this morning would be one of the moments I would remember on that future day when my life flashed before my eyes.

I realized as I left the ferry amidst a throng of runners that I am running a different kind of race. Many years ago I was a runner. I ran to feel alive. I ran to find my limits. I ran to stay ahead of the pain. I ran as a meditation. Now, I am alive and my life is a meditation. I no longer need to find my limits because I’m fairly certain I create them. With great intention and even greater dedication I walk slowly so I can see. I have raced through too much of my life trying to get to starting lines and finish lines. I no longer care about starts or finishes, I want to be in it and not merely move through it. I want the sunrise, the feel of the breeze off the water and the new sun on my face.

Listen And Be Glad

825. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I woke up this morning in a funk. There was no particular reason that I could attach for the cloud of grey that wrapped itself around my mind –except perhaps the cloud of grey that wrapped itself around the city. It was just one of those days.

I worked all morning to change my energy and lift my spirits but the gloom persisted so I finally stopped resisting it and decided to let it settle in. It was a good day to be in a low mood as I spent much of the afternoon in a darkened room watching investor pitches. I didn’t need to relate to anyone or have bright ideas. I stewed in my grey juices and tried hard to stay focused on the pitches.

Early in the evening I walked back across town. The sun came out while I was in the darkened room so I was moving slowly feeling my body soak up the sun. As I passed the train station I saw a woman sitting on the curb. She was huddled into a tight ball with her forehead resting on her knees, her bag of worldly possessions tucked beneath her legs. Something about her made me stop. The voice in my head shouted, “Ask her if she needs help!” I hesitated. I turned to walk away and the voice shouted louder, “Go back and ask that woman if she needs help!” I stopped. Once again I turned away. I was gloomy and didn’t want to be responsible for another person. This time the voice was adamant, “GO NOW!”

I approached the woman slowly and asked, “Are you alright.” She slowly raised her head from her knees and smiled broadly. She was glowing. She didn’t need my help. She turned her face to the sun and said, “Oh yes! I’m so grateful for the sun and just enjoying being alive. Aren’t you?” I nodded my head. She smiled and thanked me and I walked on, dizzy at the disjoint between what I expected and what I found.

My gloom was gone. It was as if she’d reached in to me and diffused the gloom. Instead of needing my help, she helped me. The voice inside my head smirked, “Now, aren’t you glad that you listened?”

See A Sentinel

824. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Each day as I walk across the city I pass many, many homeless people. There are four that have caught my curiosity because I’ve come to believe that they are sentinels for the city. All four are otherworldly, calm and very still. Two are women and two are men. They keep watch. Each has a specific post; they are at their post no matter what time of day or night that I pass by. They are diligent in their guardianship.

To the east (facing west) is a woman. She sits very still beneath the marquee of the Cinerama. She sits upon her worldly possessions, arms wrapped around her knees, a slight smile that I read as contentment on her face. She wears sunglasses day and night. She watches. Occasionally, she rises to clean the sidewalk in front of her. She gathers food scraps and feeds the birds and then returns to her post.

In the south, on the far south side of the bricks of Pioneer Square, a man stands watch. He is directly beneath a tree, inconspicuous, texting. Each time I pass, regardless of the time of day, he is texting. His long graying beard parts in the middle flowing around his hands and phone. His communications are steady. He is not in a hurry. His eyes never rise from his phone. He stands his post sending records of his thought. I do not know what he sends into the world but I hope it is poetry inspired by the world that flows around him.

To the west is a man who sweeps the bridge to the ferry terminal. He sits on a crate next to a shopping cart filled with bags of his possessions. He holds vigil for commuters. I’ve passed him dozens of times and he’s never asked for change. He sits. He watches. When the walkway is littered, he stands, pulls his broom from the cart, and sweeps clean the walkway before returning to his crate. There is ease to his movement and clarity to his task. He holds vigil. He cleans.

To the north is the woman who lives in the covered bus stop. Her possessions occupy one half of the bench and she sits on the other half. She is plugged into music. She holds in both hands an old Walkman. I’ve never seen her without her ear buds in and her music playing. Sometimes she will rise and dance a slow dance of invocation. And then she returns to her bench and sits very still, watching and listening.

The east cares for the birds. The south scribes the flow of life. The west clears the way for the commuters. The north invokes the spirit. Each holds a special vigil unique and precious to the life of a city that considers them invisible. They are stillness in the mad rush of the city. Until I recognized them as sentinels I wanted more for them, whispering prayers of protection for them. Today I realized that they have what most of us lack: they are still. They are clear and carry no illusions about belonging. Their tasks are distinct and self-appointed. I suspect they whisper prayers of protection for us.