Risk The Adventure [on DR Thursday]

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On Monday, I pulled out the Chicken-Marsala-rough-draft folio. I was searching for a rough concept sketch. It was an early-Chicken idea, a joke mostly, but I thought it would be a good choice, an encapsulation of the melange, for our anniversary week. In it, Chicken Marsala is a nascent angel en route to his very first assignment. He is in full resistance. His mentor angel is pushing him forward. She’s trying to convince him to that this first mission is ideal, a cake-walk, but he knows better. It’s a mess. He’s being assigned to an aging couple. Newlyweds. Two artists. Chicken screams, “But they’re BOTH artists!” The mentor-angel responds, “Get in there, tiger! They’re lucky to have you!”

How many times in life, in your moment of resistance, have you heard, “It’ll be good for you.” Translation: what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. The problem with this bit-of-wisdom is that being killed is one of the options. In the face of hungry tiger, who doesn’t need a push!

I found the sketch of angel-Chicken but got lost looking through the hundreds of drafts and idea sketches in the folio. If you are looking for something to lift your spirits on a cold and bleak winter day, flipping through the Chicken folio is guaranteed to bring some sun and a smile. He became a festival of optimism. He jumps for the joy of jumping.

The  joy of jumping. That is a much better and more accurate encapsulation of the melange. It is not a story of survival or resistance. In fact, at this one year mark, by measures of survival, it makes no sense at all. Our original intention, making a living, has long ago given way to something more essential. We are doing it because we love doing it. We write for the joy of writing. By measures of joy, of vibrant living, nothing else makes sense.

We regularly slip off of rocks and find ourselves sitting in the water. It is the necessary risk for doing what we love. Life rule #1: Have the experience first; make meaning of the experience second. “Risk,” as Chicken has taught us, is just another word for “Play.” Jump. Welcome the adventure. And, see what happens.

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read Kerri’s blog post on RISK & ADVENTURE

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here’s the full panel

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Chase The Butterflies

a detail from my painting, John's Secret

a detail from my painting, John’s Secret

Wisdom butterflies that have recently fluttered across my path:

Soaking up the morning sun and drinking coffee from the deck of Common Grounds, 20 said, “You’ve heard this one, right? There are three sides to every story.”

Standing on the side of the road peering into Judy’s car, she gave us some sage relationship advice. She said, “That’s the secret to life, you know: listen before you talk.”

Kerri was composing a song. I asked her how she starts, how she knows where to start. She said, “I don’t know. Sometimes you just need to put your fingers on the keys and follow the music.”

There is an aging pink post-it note stuck (permanently) to the desk. It reads, “Make The Adventure.”

On a recent phone call, Skip offered wise counsel about how I see my role in a new business, “Find your own metaphor,” he said. ”What is the metaphor that will keep you energized, that taps into your 10,000 hours?”

Sitting behind his drum set, waiting for rehearsal to begin, John said, “Our job is to make the art, not to determine its reception.” And then he said, “What do you think?” and laughed.

Josh took a belly punch from the universe yesterday. He said, “I want to be angry but anger does me no good. I have better things to do with my life than get angry.”

A detail from my painting, An Instrument of Peace

A detail from my painting, An Instrument of Peace

P-Tom weighed in with this: “Faith is scandalous,” he said, “It pushes back against everything we experience.”

Dog-Dog raced across the yard in hot pursuit of a butterfly. I’m wagering that he knew he would never catch it, but the chase was glorious.

Reach Through Time


Reach Through Time


Make Your Own Adventure


make your own adventure


Call Your Name

697. 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 is not lost on me that I’m unable to get back to Seattle. The initial flight delay set off a ripple of stand-by lists with actual guaranteed seats on planes 2 to 3 days from now. I waved the white flag, let go of what I thought was so important, and decided not to spend 3 days in airports. Instead, I went on a road trip. I made a run for Omaha, renting a car and driving seven hours, into and through a white-out-snow-blowing-so-that-I-followed-the-tail-lights of the car ahead of me because I literally could not see the road. I talked with friends on the phone while I drove. I had hours of silence and quiet. I saw a part of America that I don’t often see because I fly over it instead of drive through it.

When I looked at the ticket agent and said, “I’d rather not wait in the airport,” she thought I was nuts. How could I make the decision to walk away? She said, “But, we can’t change and itinerary, we can’t transfer your flight to another city. You’ll have to buy another ticket.”

“That’s exactly right,” I thought. I would rather go off the reservation and drive, not knowing when or where I will find a portal into Seattle. Spending 3 days of my life sitting in an airport waiting for the smallest possibility of a seat on a plane seemed crazier than walking out of the airport and asking, “Well, what’s next?” I’ve spent too much of my life waiting for something to happen. I no longer have it in me. The ticket agent had a rule to follow and I realized that I did not. Rather, I have one rule and my rule is: don’t wait.

I have a mantra new to this year. It wasn’t a resolution; it just seemed to find its way in: Act. Try. Aim. In other words, practice what I preach: step into the unknown as a way of being, not as a once in a while activity. Act. I don’t need to know where I am going before I take a step. If something seems to take life from me, walk the other way. Try. See what happens. And then aim.

I now have a seat on a plane out of Denver on Wednesday. I will have driven or trained halfway to Seattle before getting on a plane. I’m having adventures, spending time with people I love, and not knowing what tomorrow holds. And, I am certainly more alive now than I would have been had I decided to sit and wait for my name to be called. “Isn’t it time.” I thought as I left the airport in my rental car, “that I started calling my own name.”

Die To The Past

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

Today, Diane and I talked at length about dying to our pasts. She shared a potent meditation image – looking from her grave and in death no longer being invested in the limitations and attachments that previously confined her life. Her fears no longer mattered. She let go of her past and in so doing opened the way for growth and a new relationship with her future.

In story cycles, a character must leave behind all that they know in order to step into unknown territories. It is the movement away from the known, the comfortable, and the safe that is the metaphoric threshold to adventure and transformation. Leaving behind what you know is “story language” for dying to your past. Frodo will always return to the Shire but he will be a greatly changed. The Frodo that leaves on the adventure is not the same Frodo that returns. He knows too much about middle earth and himself to resume his former identity.

The caterpillar’s body does heroic battle resisting the cell replication that will eventually bring re-formation to a new way of being called butterfly. The caterpillar’s body reads the sweeping tide of change as cancer and fights back. This classic struggle within the caterpillar’s body of change meeting the conservative impulse ends when the resistance ends; the caterpillar can fight no more and surrenders the struggle. The imperative for change overwhelms the old identity; the caterpillar’s body releases the known and collapses into mush. Only then can the new form materialize and the new form is beyond the caterpillars capacity to imagine.

Diane’s meditation, Frodo’s journey, and the caterpillar’s process of transformation are the same metaphoric image. Each had to die to the past to step into the possible. The lesson over and over again, whether in story cycles, nature or human transformation, is that the new identity will always be greater than our wildest dreams. The only requirement is that we surrender the struggle, leave behind all that we know, experience the little death, and take a step.

Recognize The Adventure

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

The calendar tells me that this is the first day. And isn’t that always true. I have a friend that writes me everyday to report on her adventure of the day. This is a good day to start a good practice: decide and live each day as if it was the first day (because it is) and aim to have an adventure on every first day.

A hint: It will help if you do not resolve to do this because a resolution assumes that it has never previously been true; it assumes a change, something different that you must do. That misses the point entirely. All you need do is open your eyes, release the belief that your life is ordinary, and recognize the adventure. Instead of a New Year’s resolution allow yourself to have a New Year’s recognition.