Chicken Marsala Monday

Chicken Marsala thoughts from the melange to help you start your week:

MASTER assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy 2.jpg Almost every spiritual tradition offers a form of this thought: make no assumptions. Sometimes it is called ‘detachment.’ Sometimes it is called ‘the middle way.’ Often, it is referred to as ‘presence.’

It sounds so simple. Be where you are. Be here now. Aspirations always sound easy but are never easy to realize.

In my past life as a consultant/facilitator I regularly issued two “caveats” prior to beginning the work of the day. The first was, “Have the experience first, make meaning of the experience second.” The idea of opening to an experience, that they might actually be capable of stepping out of their roiling story of assumptions, was a revelation to my clients.

And, that’s the point. The revelation, the insight, the heaven-that-you-seek is just on the other side of the story-fog that obscures your experience of life. That is why it shows up so often in all-practices-spiritual. Quiet your mind. Make no assumptions. Open to what is there beyond what you think is there.

However, we are human. That fast running inner monologue, that incessant storying of experiences, pre-and-post occurrence, is what we do. So, a good first step toward the quiet mind, toward the suspension of assumptions, is to make life-giving assumptions. Our runaway minds chug down a track so why not put that train on a generative track: assume awe.

ASSUME AWE merchandise

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assume awe METAL WALL ART copy

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read Kerri’s thoughts about Assuming Awe on Chicken Marsala Monday


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assume awe ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood




Thoughts Babble. Hearts Speak.


Thoughts Babble Hearts Speak

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is cut through the mental chatter, the fear stories and investments in obstacles to hear what your heart already knows: what is right for you…. Cutting through the racket is always a process of growing quiet enough to listen.


What’s The Story

This is a very old watercolor that I called The Inner Monologue

This is a very old watercolor that I called The Inner Monologue

All the ladies were talking about how their bodies have changed with age. My body has changed, too! You’d never know it now but I used to be less than two feet tall with really pudgy knees. Kerri punched me when I offered my perspective on my body change. Apparently there is a statute of limitation for how far back in time you can go on the my-body-has-changed conversation.

When I was studying acting we were taught to write backstories for our characters. The play script was filled with clues but we learned that a character is not 3 dimensional until it has an articulated history. This was always problematic for me. I had no problem creating a backstory – that was easy – and I could justify my imagined story happenings in the script – but I couldn’t see how my imagined story led to more specific actions in the performance. If anything, the backstory got in my way. Like all young actors I got lost in the backstory, trying to “tell” it rather than pursue my clear action. Acting, like life, is about the pursuit of desire. My backstory muddied my ability to act. Acting is an art form of the present moment.

When I was teaching acting I came across the same problem. The young actors would spend hours telling me the details of their backstory which only served to diffuse their present action. They’d try to perform their history instead of pursue their current target.

The backstory was interesting but functionally useless in the present moment.

I’m finding the same challenge off the stage as I found on it. In one form or another I’ve coached a lot of people. I hear a lot of backstories. Our backstories are interesting. They do what they are meant to do: they give us identity. We spend hours and hours telling each other about our past adventures and abuses. People are storytellers, telling the story of their lives all day, everyday. Most of the storytelling concerns the past. What we did or did not do, what was done to us or justifying what we did to others. Most backstories are about limitation. Most backstories have a root in fear that show up as “reasons why I can’t” stories. Do you remember the famous Richard Bach quote? Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours. As interesting and informing as it is, very little of the backstory is functionally useful in the present moment. I don’t want the person I was a decade ago defining the choices I make today.

It’s become something of a mantra for me, something I find myself writing or saying a lot: The actions we need to take are usually very simple. The story we wrap around them make them difficult. What’s the story?

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

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This painting is called Icarus.

This painting is called Icarus.

Intend And Forget

I have many titles for this painting and have used it a few times for posts. It is ultimately about intention and inner guidance.

I have many titles for this painting and have used it more than a few times for posts. It popped up for me again today. It is ultimately about intention and inner guidance.

I just finished writing this post and realized that, in many ways, this is the continuation of yesterday’s thought: clear the mental static and the channel to full expression opens. So, here is part two of my meditation on inner static:

John and I were having a conversation about the passage of time. He told me that he’d recently found some old lists that he’d written of life goals and intentions. The interesting thing about discovering the lists was 1) that he’d forgotten writing them and, 2) that he’d achieved most of what he’d written. He said, “The form of what I created was different than what I’d originally imagined but I was surprised to see that I’d actually created what I intended.” It was as if he had to write the intention in order to activate it. Forgetting the intention was necessary to give it space to manifest and grow. Write and forget.

When I was first training as an actor, late in every rehearsal process, my teachers consistently advised that we let go of everything we’d rehearsed and just show up. “You’ve done your work,” they’d say. “Now, let it go and trust.” Many years later when I was directing plays and teaching actors I gave the same advice. “Let go and trust. You’ve done your work. All that remains is to be present.” From the teacher/director seat, the moment of letting go is palpable; you can literally see and feel the phase in the process when an actor needs to let go of their work to come alive. They need to get out of their own way. They need to get out of their head and give all of their focus to the relationships on the stage. The work moves from the head to the body. It is this last step that transforms their study to a living pursuit. Forgetting the work creates spaciousness and allows the art to happen. Art is always about relationship and great art happens when the relationship is clear and expansive enough for all comers.

One of the most profound lessons I gained from my time in Bali concerned this dynamic connection between setting an intention and letting it go. While I was on the island my internal monologue disappeared; one day I realized that I was completely quiet. Thought was a choice and not a plague or chattering background noise. Silence was simple when no story was necessary, when no interpretation was needed. In the middle of that silence I could set an intention (“This is what I want to do/find today”) and then forget it. Before the day was over I would have found what I intended. The steps came to me; I did not have to seek the steps. Sometimes the intention was simple and sometimes seemed complex but that didn’t matter. If I clearly stated what I wanted and returned to silence the necessary coincidence always found me. I felt as if I could see the pieces on the game board moving on my behalf. There was no internal noise to compromise my intention so there was no external discord confusing my choices. I was conscious of my connection.

Alan calls this co-creating. Work with the energy and cease trying to force things to happen. John told me of his lists and I wondered how many people have had the same experience. We make lists, we try to make the list happen, life gets in the way and we forget. And, in the moment of forgetting, we relax our grip on how we think things need to happen. We forget the form and inadvertently open to possibility. In the forgetting we create the steps necessary for fulfillment: spaciousness, trust, and quiet participation.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Go here for hard copies.

Choose Your Words

677. 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 walls in the bathroom of the Blue Moon are covered in quotes. I’ve spent a fair amount of time passing through that little room over the past four years and I am always pleased to find new quotes. Today this one jumped from the wall:

“One must be leery of words because words turn into cages.” Viola Spolin

I’m working on the chapter about the power of language. I was just writing about how the alteration of a single word can change a person’s perspective. Change one word in your inner monologue and you can change your world. That principle is the point of the classic children’s book, The Little Engine That Could (I think I can, I think I can); how many little engines out there are repeating, “I think I can’t, I think I can’t!”

I meet many people in my travels that tell me they are seeking their purpose. I wonder how their lives would change if, instead of seeking their purpose, they swapped the word “seeking” for “creating;” purpose is not something we find, it is something we fulfill. Purpose is not something that exists separate from us; it is something that exists within us. Imagine how your life might transform if you altered your premise of separation (my purpose is something that I seek) to a premise of generation (my purpose is something that I live). The entire arc of your life might change if you simply altered a single word in your field of expectations. Viola had it half right: words can turn into cages or words can set you free.