Make It Up! Why Not? [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

BabyCat Computer copy

What exactly is going on here?

It’s possible that this cat through osmosis is assimilating large amounts of information, data, and e-knowledge by sleeping on a computer.

It’s also possible that this cat has an emotional bond with an inanimate object. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Consider that this cat, like a tree felled in the woods, toppled in exhaustiob and landed belly up in this unlikely position.

It might be the heat of the computer that attracted the cat. It’s uncertain in the photograph if the day is cold. This may be a heat-seeking cat. It’s possible.

This cat may not be sleeping at all. After all, this is a photograph, a moment of stop-action-time. This cat might be blinking or this could be a cat yoga pose. This could be an instance of deep-cat-satisfaction.

It’s hard to glean the truth of this photograph. It’s possible in our day and age that this enormous cat is nowhere near a computer. Photoshop is capable of making us see the unlikely, the absurd, the unimaginable. This cat might never have met this computer.

What, exactly, is going on here? We may never know.

I can tell you that this very-large-cat snores like a drunken sailor, especially when sleeping on or near the computer. It’s uncanny and I understand if you doubt what I’m writing. You have absolutely no reason to believe me.

You will undoubtedly make up your own story about this huge cat-snoring-computer convection. Heat transfer. You will assign your unique belief to this image. It’s what we do. It’s why, without doubt, anything is possible. Even the absurd. Especially the absurd.

What is really going on here?

 

read Kerri’s blog post about THE CAT AND THE COMPUTER

 

squarecat website box copy

 

*this photo is unaltered. This is not two cats or a large black creature engulfing a cat. This shape is what happens when too much cat meets the floor [help].

 

 

 

Learn The DogDog Way [on Merely A Thought Monday

dogga end of day copy

DogDog is an Aussie and takes the job of herding his people very seriously. We are a tough bunch. Two artists (one A.D.D. and the other O.C.D) and a BIG cat are not easily collected or moved in a consistent or singular direction. It is not an understatement to say that DogDog was not given an easy task in this lifetime.

On top of the endless challenge of gathering the un-gatherable, he is a hyper sensitive boy; he knows what we are feeling before we do. He runs all of our emotions through his filters. The Dog Whisperer says that dogs are masters at reading energy and DogDog must have graduated at the top of his pooch class. Anticipating our every move is made more complex by his innate skill in surfing our full palette of turbulent and uninhibited feelings. Were he human, he’d be a nervous wreck.

His days are full, chaotic, and active. And so, at the end of the day, when we at last settle, when the perimeter is safe and we are secure, he collapses. It is almost as if someone disconnected the cable to his battery. He hits the floor. His sleep is immediate and sound (unless, of course, we move).

I realized, in watching his deep and peaceful sleep, the kind of sleep that I rarely experience, that he is teaching me to love the impossible task. In fact, he simply loves the task before him with no regard to its achievement. He engages the impossible with joy and a hearty wag-a-wag. He participates. He delights. He loves. He, therefore, has no need for either the possible or the impossible. Those are abstractions and he deals with the reality of the moment.

Neither does he resent the turbulence we toss in his path. He takes no ownership for how we feel and, so, is not compelled to control what we feel. He simple reads the color of our mood and loves accordingly. He does not deflect or dodge or manipulate. He does not ignore or pretend or deny. He stands without judgment in the daily bedlam of his humans as if there was no better place to be on earth.

I desire the peaceful sleep he experiences. He shows me the way everyday. Admittedly, I am a slow study but he is a patient and generous teacher. “Tomorrow,” I tell myself, “I will love the impossible task.” Or, perhaps, if I really learn the DogDog way, I will give up the notion of possible or impossible altogether and simply attend with joy to the task at hand.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about DogDog Sleeping

 

doggadeck website box copy

Taste It Fully

ice circles on the lake

ice circles on the lake

We heard the angry barking of crows before we saw them. They were haranguing an owl. It flew into a tree only a few yards in front of us. For several moments, through the ruckus of the crows, we stared at the owl and it stared at us. Time stopped. Nothing else existed. The owl’s eyes, our breathing, the crow’s chorus.

For our wedding gift, H and Teru sent several collections of poetry, “Manuals on marriage,” they wrote in the note that came with the poems. Kerri and I are savoring the poems, reading one or two aloud to each other every day. They are a source of warmth and inspiration during these cold dark winter months. A poem cannot be rushed or read merely. It must be slowly tasted. It is meant to be entered like a meadow; to be experienced. Try to make sense of a poem and you will miss it. Just like life.

She said, “inner quiet is low maintenance,” and I laughed. Yes it is. The trick is in getting quiet. It is not something that can be found or achieved. It is not a place or a state-of-being. It is what happens when you stop looking for it. Like the hermit says to Parcival when the Grail Castle suddenly reappears, “Boy, it’s been there all along.”

For years Sam the poet was afraid of his poems. Like all great art, his poems, his art, revealed the artist, and so he kept them locked up, un-tasted. He came alive and supremely dissatisfied when he finally unleashed his poetry. He let himself want more but also refused to let himself experience more; one foot on the gas, one foot on the brakes. To taste fully one must be willing to be tasted.

A snippet of a poem (a koan imbedded in a poem), RELAX by Ellen Bass:

The Buddha tells a story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But, there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice – one white, one black – scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.

Taste your moment. Taste it fully.

I wrote in my black and red notebook a simple recognition. The field of possibilities cuts both ways: in your despair you must remember that anything is possible. In your joy you must remember that anything is possible. Tiger above (the past), tiger below (imagined future). Do not reject your moment or attempt to hold on to it – both are methods of missing the moment. Taste it regardless of the circumstance. Taste it fully.

 

 

 

Aim For The Field

An illustration from my children's book, Play To Play

An illustration from my children’s book, Play To Play

Lately, Saul the Tai Chi master has been much in my thoughts. It is now September and it has been a year since he taught me a lesson that has become the new mantra of my life: orient to your own concern. Actually, he said that I should look beyond my opponent into the field of possibilities and orient to my own concern. “In this way,” he instructed, “you will no longer have an opponent.” He used the word “opponent” loosely. Any limitation or form of internal resistance is the opponent.

Beyond the opponent is a wide-open field of possibilities.

In the intervening year I have learned that I have been both my greatest opponent and the one who can look into the field of possibilities. Isn’t this true of all people? All stories worth telling (and hearing) are ultimately tales of transcending the inner opponent. If you need help identifying your personal mythic journey simply listen to the areas in life in which you say to yourself, “I can’t.” In that place you will find your opponent. You will also be surprised to find that your inner opponent is most often an orientation to other people’s concern; the fear of what others might think is a mighty inner-monster creator.

I’ve also learned that Saul’s lesson has come to me in many forms throughout the course of my life. For instance, many years ago I directed plays and, because I am also a visual artist, I was often in the position of designing the sets as well. With great love and humor, another terrific mentor watched as I struggled with my dual role. He gently showed me that I was orienting my designs according to the budget and construction limitations I perceived. I was working in the wrong order, asking “how” before lingering in the potential.   He told me that I needed to “Live first in the possibilities.” Design/orient according to the potential and not the limitations.

To live first in the possibilities is to walk the imagination without a leash. It is to let the imagination run wild. What is beyond your capacity to imagine? What is possible beyond the boundaries of belief? At one point in my life cell phones were science fiction. Today, they are ordinary.

Look beyond the opponent. Orient to your own concern. Imagine how life might change if instead of asking, “Can we do this?” we began by asking, “What’s possible?” And then aim for the field.

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Ask “What If?”

691. 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 was reminded today that “If” is a very powerful word. It is a magic word that is shorthand for “imagine the possibilities.” When you think that you can’t do something, when you’ve convinced yourself that you will never be able to do…(fill in the blank); ask yourself this magic question: “What if…?” It’s alright, continue to accept that you can’t or will never be able to…; you need not change your disbelief or assault your defenses. In the midst of your wasteland, ask “what if…?” Imagine what you would do if you could? What steps would you take? What is the first step you would take if…?

Take the step. Hold onto your disbelief, invest in your limitation, and take the step anyway. No need to fulfill your dream, accomplish your impossible mission, move your mountain, or realize your potential – those phrases are misleading anyway, new age rhetoric, self-help marketing mantras that imply that your dream, your impossible mission, your mountain and your potential are some other place, things you might achieve, arrival platforms. Hint: they are really verbs, actions, and choices; you are infinitely un-full-fill-able because you are not a container with a limited capacity. You are your dream, your mission, your mountain, and your potential – you are uncontainable. Use upon yourself any ruler you choose, any metrics you think valid and at the end of the day your measurement will be false. Like a photograph you might capture a moment, an aspect, but you will never capture the all of you.

“What if” you started taking small steps without belief? What if you acted “as if” you could? Where might you someday find yourself? Magic and miracles are not dependent upon your belief; they are dependent upon your action. They are dependent on your capacity to realize that you, yourself, are fluid, moving, changing, dynamic,…, a living vital being. “What if” you started stepping in the direction of your “I can’t?”

Do As Lexi Does

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

“We don’t eat sticks, David,” she said to me. And, with a shake of her head added, “Ick!” Her 2 year-old eyes, brown and deep as a well to the center of the earth, looked into me to make sure I got the seriousness of the message. I did, so we went on to the next, “We don’t eat stop signs, David. They are no good!” I shook my head and said, “Ick.” She shook her head with me. “Ick,” we said together and made faces of distaste and disdain.

At two years old, Lexi already has a vocabulary that matches mine. She will soon outpace me and I will need to look down at the 3 year-old version of her and ask, “What does that mean?” She will sigh, choose to have patience with me, and slow down long enough to explain. At dinner the other night I attempted to secure my superior word status and set a trap for her: I used the word “pterodactyl” and she looked at me (again with those eyes that look into my soul), spotted my trap, all but yawned and said perfectly, “pterodactyl.” Then, as if to torture me, she said, “hanguber (hamburger).” It is refreshing to be with a little Buddha that has yet to learn the word “can’t.” Everything is possible and trying is everything. It is infectious; I have seen otherwise constipated adults giggle and scribble outside of the lines in the presence of a 2 year-old. With Lexi, I make faces and outrageous bear sounds (do you know the sound a bear makes when it laughs?); hang out with us and you are certain to hear it.

Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” He is also said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” With two quotes he states the problem for living a good life and solves for it. Problem: how to remain an artist once we grow up. Solution: always do what you cannot do in order that you may learn how to do it. Hint: do as Lexi does and eliminate the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. Try with gusto! Mispronounce everything! Do what you have never done because you have never done it! Turn to the person nearest you and declare with awe and enthusiasm, “I kicked the ball, David!” (keep the “David” part even if the person closest to you is otherwise named; it tickles me to think that I will be the universal recipient of your unbridled enthusiasm. Note: that is not a trap).

Truly Powerful People (445)

445.
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’m given to idealism; I know this is true. And, although I’ve harbored serious attempts to cure myself of my idealism, in the end I always come to this thought, “I do not wish to see the world through the eyes of “realistic.” There are too many dashed dreams in this world. There is too much lost hope. Too many people sit in front of the television and think, “There is nothing I can do.” I’ve tried that, too and it works if you can give up any desire for deeper meaning in your life. Numb is numb through and through.

Once, a client wanted to change the culture of his organization. He sought complicated interventions to cure the pathology of his business. He’d fostered a culture of negation; “Yes, but…,” was the standard reply to any request. All he need do was change one word: “Yes, and….” Building a culture on acceptance instead of negation was, to him, pie in the sky. “It can’t be that easy,” he said. He entertained it when I pulled my systems lingo from my pocket: “Complex systems are not changed through complexity. They are changed through local simplicities.” He entertained it just long enough to realize that he’d have to relinquish control and instead empower his employees. “Yes, and,” is surprisingly powerful. Change one word and the world can change. He wrote it off as too idealistic. Negation is negation through and through.

If you want to weep about the abuse of power (control wears a mask and we call it power) read Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States. There is a nasty little theme lurking beneath the economics of the past 150 years of our history: the sale of weapons drives the health of the economy. War is not only profitable, it is necessary to float the boat and to unite an otherwise economically divided nation; we are not the first generation to recognize that 99% are pieces of a larger game; the 1% play a different game governed by different rules. It’s a national theme, a defining characteristic that when married to another defining characteristic – the easy distraction of the 99% – guarantees that future generations of the 99.9% will awake for a moment and say, “Hey! What about democracy and the ideals chiseled into the walls of our monuments! No fair!” Eisenhower warned us and that was a long time ago.

I am not so idealistic as to think that something other than a profit motive will drive our national action plan. I am, however, willing to entertain the pie in the sky notion that peace can easily be more profitable than war. What if we actually set aside our imperialist shadow side and walked our talk? War as we practice it is akin to digging a hole and filling it in again so we can dig a hole – all to wildly support the makers of shovels. I’m not kidding when I assert that the potency of life is found in what you bring to it, not in what you get from it. What do we bring? Numb is numb and negation is negation. Imagining the impossible (idealism) is at the heart of every innovation. Imagine what might be possible if we woke up!