Tag Archives: monday inspiration

Oh maturity…

…why do you show up now, when I could’ve used your lessons a full decade ago?

(answer: You did. I wasn’t listening. Whoops.)

I don’t have any real bitch about growing wiser and older simultaneously. Heck, I’m one of the lucky ones – someone who makes a living in a field for which I feel a strong attraction & affection. But the field wasn’t my first choice – in fact, my audition was a bit of a Hail Mary pass. How very fortunate I was to have been given an entré! And how hard I’ve worked to stay in, stay relevant, find the niche that most closely reflects my affinities and talents.

I stumbled across this article in Fast Company that resonates with me, about choosing “must” over “should.” When we opt for “should,” the author Elle Luna argues, we choose other’s views of us. When we choose must, we choose our own unique path.

Should is how others want us to show up in the world–how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is different.

Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self.

(Side note: am I the only one whose heart says a little cheer when big business recognizes wisdom from the arts community? Because HOORAY!)

We all have the opportunity to decide how “must” and “should” manifest in our daily life. I’m going to try to listen to that small voice a little more closely this week. Join me.

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Inspiration via a Homework Assignment.

Often I feel like things don’t count unless other people know about it. (Teh Interwebs make it a little too easy to be out there – twitter, instagram, tumblr, foursquare, facebook…all of it.)

But this article reminds me that it’s the act of creating that’s important.

The sharing is ancillary.

Homework that splits the difference:

Make something.

If you’re brave, comment with your initials. (I don’t want to know what you did…just that you did something.)

Let’s make Monday beautiful.Kurt Vonnegut

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From diverse sources.

I’ve recently stumbled across three articles that are swimming around my head in a interesting manner.

This is the first. That’d be a heck of a pie chart! But now, as I look back at the ways in which I’ve spend the approximately 32,000 hours (!) I’ve likely worked, it’s still difficult to characterize much of what I’ve “done.” And, as I let this blog languish and stall on other, non-professional writing projects, I’m reminded that I need to work a few hours a week on the things that make my heart sing.

This is the second. I read it in the print edition, and found it fascinating, mostly because one of the traits they illustrate concerns living in the moment, not projecting…and it sounds a lot like mindfulness, doesn’t it? Here’s a quote:

“I think the problem is that people spend so much time worrying about what might happen, what might go wrong, that they completely lose sight of the present. They completely overlook the fact that, actually, right now, everything’s perfectly fine.

“So the trick, whenever possible, I propose, is to stop your brain from running on ahead of you.”

(Now, if you read that in Yoga Journal? O Magazine? It’d be easy to turn into a mantra of sorts. But the context makes it a bit stickier for me to wrap my head around, somehow.)

This is the third. There’s an clear analogy here for a performing career; the Eagle Scout level of preparedness needed, the brutal slog of little money and an expensive vocation, the uncertainty surrounding each occasion, the crazy desire to fly. The luck that accompanies the right day, the right waft of air, the right conditions for an epic flight.

Happy Monday, all. Hope the week is great.

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I bet Moriarty was a multi-tasker…

Elementary, my dear Watson!I am a new convert to the BBC Series Sherlock. Being able to (correctly – there’s the rub) infer personality traits, circumstances, travels through observing someone? Well, that’s a superpower that I’d like very much to have.

So, when I ran across an article in the New York Times alluding to my guy Sherlock? It immediately caught my attention. The article challenges the concept of multitasking, and focuses on mindfulness. Author Maria Konnikova writes:

More often than not, when a new case is presented, Holmes does nothing more than sit back in his leather chair, close his eyes and put together his long-fingered hands in an attitude that begs silence. He may be the most inactive active detective out there. His approach to thought captures the very thing that cognitive psychologists mean when they say mindfulness.

Ack! The inactivity! Where is the knee-jerk response, the running out of the room, the mad dash to the crime scene? Sherlock slows – nay, stops – the clock and contemplates before he makes a move. (I find the concept thrilling, as it is so foreign to me.)

Ms. Konnikova goes on to talk about mindfulness having similarities to meditation – that its core principle is to drown out distractions and to focus attention. She cites studies that track mood boosts, greater relaxation during timed tasks, and improvement in memory and cognitive function.

My “a-ha!” moment: isn’t that what we were doing in the practice room??

We spent hours of focused attention, ignoring distraction (well, for the most part) to concentrate singularly on our craft. Afterwards, leaving the small space I remember my brain being exhausted, but feeling good about the work that I’d accomplished. (Again, for the most part.)

My job, while in the arts, is an administrative office gig… I am a slave to email and the phone and instant messenger. I need to drop things at a moment’s notice, and so I’ve become more adept with juggling several things shallowly than really digging into one task or problem.

I’m considering a more measured approach to 2013. One that might make me calmer, happier, and even a wee bit smarter. (Heck, I’ll take any help I can get!)

 

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Socrates would totally dig it.

 

I signed up for a daily email from Box of Crayons. Succinct, clean, I find them a great way to focus/aim my efforts for any given day. I kept this one, from a handful of days ago, starred in my inbox:

The most powerful coaching question in the world: “And what else?”

It not only teases out more from the person you’re coaching (the first thing they have to say is never the only thing), but it stops you from jumping in and offering solutions or advice before it’s welcome.

I have become infatuated with questions. I’m no longer so young as to feel that I have all of the answers, or so insecure that I sweat asking the wrong question… and I also no longer feel that need to fix things before I have all the information: I’m likely not the only person who has stepped in to solve a problem that wasn’t actually a problem.

I am delighted by the combination of a thoughtful question, some (direct, but not confrontational) eye contact, and silence. It’s a crucible for honest discussion.

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Three Chances

According to an old Chinese proverb, we’re given three chances to succeed in life. If we use them wisely, we get another three. If not, I’m afraid that’s it. There will be no more.

There’s an interesting article on Fast Company that, while it seems on the surface to be about making crazy career choices, actually seems to be about taking action. The author, Martin Lindstrom, wrote Buyology and Brandwashed, and has this to say about taking action:

As I emptied my desk ready for my new venture down under, a colleague asked, “How do all these interesting opportunities come your way? What do you do?” I didn’t know what to answer then, but I do now. Not only have I always had an eye open to adventure and opportunity, but I have always had a tendency to seize them the moment they occur. Herein lies the problem for many. Too few of us see the opportunities that are presented to us. Even fewer of us dare to meet them head on and run with them.

I’m currently watching a rehearsal of Don Giovanni – it’s my first production of this opera, and it is rocking my world. But the production, as much as I’m enjoying it, is second to the openness of the actors, their willingness to embrace some truly crazy opportunities, and to courageously run with them. I’m simultaneously inspired and humbled.

It’s Monday. You could go back to the grind. Or maybe you could keep your eyes open for that crazy opportunity to say “yes!”Image

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