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Archive for the ‘Messages from the Universe’ Category

So much beautiful *unbelievable* synchronicity, generosity, and expansion is happening in my life right now.  I am inspired by my mentors, so very blessed by the love from connections both old and new, and am eternally grateful for this ground breaking time in my life of which I can barely keep up with, but your bet your sweet butt I am.  I hope to write more later this week when I get a bit of a breather.  Until then, here is a recent inspiration.

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I know a lot of what I’ve been sharing on this blog lately have been quotes and excerpts from books that I’m reading which strongly resonate with me.  They’ve been hitting such strong chords and creating such shifts of consciousness, and often validation, that I am putting them out there as a sort of map/log of my Internal Journey.

The three excerpts below are also from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (who also wrote the Legend of Bagger Vance).  I finished this book in less than 24 hours and will bringing it with me on my trip to Arizona next week to read it again.  It contains similarities of ideas in Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way, but perhaps with a more aggressive, poignant, and less delicate approach.  One of biggest changes in my consciousness regarding acting and art that has occurred during the past year+ is how I think about the work and what is of utmost importance to me in its approach.  The internal conflict that I’ve had with this change has been one of my biggest causes of Resistance.    This book is so in alignment with those changes, it’s as if the Angels above dropped this book directly into my hands and gave me a big “thumbs up, you’re actually right on the money.”  The Art of War then took this understanding of mine and with lifeblood, expanded it into something far greater than I was expecting.  Without getting too much into the exact details of my own personal internal evolution, I will just say that it has helped me to understand my own Resistance, why it is there, what it is doing, and what, without question, must be done about it.

 

 

So without further ado:

 

 

Resistance and Being a Star

Grandiose fantasies are a symptom or Resistance.  They’re the sign of an amateur.  The professional has learned that success, like happiness, come as a by-product of work.  The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.

 

 

For the Love of the Game

To clarify a point about professionalism:  The professional, though he accepts money, does his work out of love.  He has to love it.  Otherwise he wouldn’t devote his life to it of his own free will.

The professional has learned, however, that too much love can be a bad thing.  Too much love can make him choke.  The seeming detachment of the professional, the cold-blooded character to his demeanor, is a compensating device to keep him from loving the game so much that he freezes in action.  Playing for money, or adopting the attitude of one who plays for money, lowers the fever.

Remember what we said about fear, love, and Resistance.  The more you love your art/calling/enterprise, the more important its accomplishment is to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.  The payoff of playing-the-game-for-money is not the money (which you may never see anyway, even after you turn pro).  The payoff is that playing the game for money produces the proper professional attitude.  It inculcates the lunch-pail mentality, the hard-core, hard-head, hard-hat state of mind that shows up for work despite rain or snow or dark of night and slugs it out day after day.

The writer is an infantryman.  He knows that progress is measured in yards of dirt extracted from the enemy one day, one hour, one minute at a time and paid for in blood.  The artist wears combat boots.  He looks in the mirror and sees GI Joe.  Remember, the Muse favors working stiffs.  She hates prima donnas.  To the gods the supreme sin is not rape or murder, but pride.  To think of yourself as a mercenary, a gun for hire, implants the proper humility.  It purges pride and preciousness.

Resistance loves pride and preciousness.  Resistance says, “Show me a writer who’s too good to take Job X or Assignment Y and I’ll show you a guy I can crack like a walnut.”

Technically, the professional takes money.  Technically, the pro plays for pay.  But in the end, he does it for love.

 

 

A Professional is Patient

Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book:  It uses his own enthusiasm against him.  Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion.  It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity.  We will hit the wall.  We will crash.

The professional, on the other hand, understands delayed gratification.  He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare.  Have you heard of the legend of Sylvester Stallone staying up three nights straight to churn out the screenplay for Rocky?  I don’t know, it may even be true.  But it’s the most pernicious species of myth to set before the awakening writer, because it seduces him into believing he can pull of the big score without the pain and without persistence. 

The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work.  He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much.  He accepts that.  He recognizes it as reality.

The professional steels himself at the start of a project, reminding himself it is the Iditarod, not the sixty-yard dash.  He conserves his energy.  He prepares his mind for the long haul.  He sustains himself with the knowledge that if he can just keep those huskies mushing, sooner or later the sled will pull in to the Nome.

 

 

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( the following in quotes  is from my latest reading obsession, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, unless otherwise noted)











“Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy, and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.  A writer writes with his Genius;  an artist paints wither hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.  It’s our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.”





(Elizabeth Gilbert‘s TED talk and her thoughts on the ancient Roman’s idea of “the Genius”)






“Every sun casts a shadow, and genius’s shadow is Resistance.”






“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work.  It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.  Resistance is protean.  It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.  It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.  Resistance has no conscience.  it will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned.  If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get.  Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”









“Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North–meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.

We can use this.  We can use it as a compass.  We can navigate Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.

Rule of Thumb:  The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”






The enemy is a very good teacher.–The Dalai Lama







“Resistance has no strength of its own.  Ever ounce of juice it possesses comes from us.  We feed it with power by our fear of it.

Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”




(feed your white dog.)






“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.  We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our death bed.

Never forget:  This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.  This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.

This second, we can sit down and do our work.”






Boogie Chillen’ :

Well my mama she didn’t ‘low me, just to stay out all night long, oh Lord
Well my mama didn’t ‘low me, just to stay out all night long
I didn’t care what she didn’t ‘low, I would boogie-woogie anyhow

When I first came to town people, I was walkin’ down Hastings Street
Everybody was talkin’ about, the Henry Swing Club
I decided I drop in there that night
When I got there, I say, “Yes, people”
They was really havin’ a ball!
Yes, I know
Boogie Chillen’!

One night I was layin’ down,
I heard mama ‘n papa talkin’
I heard papa tell mama, let that boy boogie-woogie,
It’s in him, and it got to come out
And I felt so good,
Went on boogie’n just the same

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“Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.”

“Truth and love will overcome lies and hatred.”
Vaclav Havel

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
John Newton

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Albert Einstein

 

“I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone, even at the cost of your life.”

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”

“God has no religion.”

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

 

“A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability. That is the only true courage.”

“Sometimes you have to lose your mind before you come to your senses.”
Dan Millman

 

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
Eleanora Duse

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I basically read any interview with Michelle Williams I come across because her work to me is the epitome of what I want to strive for.  She was utterly brilliant in Brokeback Mountain, but Blue Valentine is what really sealed the deal.  There are two movies that I have seen thus far in my lifetime where, at the end of the film, I was left sitting in the theater feeling as if my entire soul, heart and being had been completely stripped naked and  left exposed for all to see.  Blue Valentine was one of these movies.   (The other was Into The Wild).  The acting in BV was so pure and truthful and generous, it is impossible for me to understand anyone not seeing  or experiencing what I did.  Soooo…to cut to the chase,  I think she’s pretty swell, and I love her interviews because she brings that same pureness and truthfulness to them as well.

 

Recently I read this article where Williams is interviewed in GQ Magazine.  It’s a beautiful and intense interview that goes in and out of a lot of places over the course of 3 days.  In it  the conversation steers towards some of the books that stand out for her, one being A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit.  I had read this in the past,  as she apparently was given the book to  read during the year after Heath Ledger passed and it because significant to her during the grieving and healing process.  As I hadn’t gotten around yet to reading it  and  had just (finally!!) discovered  my neighborhood library, I wrote it down as a reminder to soon read in the near future.

 

It, along with a few other books, arrived via my library request list this past Monday, and so I enjoyed an extra long and refreshing walk to pick them up.  Tonight I finally started reading it during my subway ride into  Manhattan and back to see Primary StagesRx at  59E59 Theaters.  Already it is clear why this book arrived to me when it did, and the synchronicity in timing with my upcoming departure of Facebook (and the likes) is heard loud and clear and not at all lost on me.   I won’t give too much away for those who have not yet read it, but I do wish to share a few quotes  and excerpts below that have already resonated strongly with me.

 

 

How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you? (–Meno, pre-Socratic philosopher)

 

Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark.  That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.

 

Certainly for artists of all stripes, the unknown, the idea or the form or the tale that has not yet arrived, is what must be found.  It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own.  Scientists too, as J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked,  “live always at the ‘edge of mystery’–the boundary of the unknown.”  But they transform the unknown into the known, haul it in like fishermen; artists get you out into that dark sea.

 

That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.

 

 

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My intense artistic/spiritual (same thing) January practice has already begun to shine in some light, and with that the Universe also continues to deliver inspiration to keep the motor running. Today’s inspiration,  I AM (directed by Tom Shadyac), is so timely to me regarding the current world events, where I am (with myself) at this point in my life, what empassions  me, and what calls me as far as what to do about it all, and how.

 

I find this movie so synchronistically timely with the recent events of the world: the economy, global warming, Occupy Wall Street, poverty, health care (access and lack there of), educational systems, wars, and the list goes on an on and on and on.  What struck a chord with me while watching this movie was how Shadyac says we should approach the 1% (he doesn’t use that terminology, but when you see the movie, you will understand that he means the same thing); we must act to evoke the change we want in the world with compassion and the understanding that those that are wrecking havoc, abusing the system, the people, and the planet, are in fact mentally ill.  We, through compassionate understanding of this fact and the allowing and use of Love, can help them, which it turn helps and heals the collective all.  And the first person we must start with:  ourselves.

 

I use capital “L” love intentionally, as I do not mean the mushy, sweet, sappy, polite, I-dont-want-to-hurt-your-feelings kind of love.  I mean love in the way that Gandhi meant it when enacting Satyagraha: Soul Force, or Soul Love; Truth.  For any real GOOD change to be born and have lasting effect and growth, it must start  and end from this place.  Which means, then, that the responsibility falls upon us, individually and collectively, to open up to this change within ourselves that needs to happen in order for this to occur.  This is where our real Power is.  To open up and allow what is already there to emerge and be what moves and breathes and acts and interacts in our world.

 

(Side note:  Towards the beginning of the movie, Shadyac briefly mentions once hearing about how talking to plants can effect their growth.  I actually did this as a science project experiment when I was in the 5th grade.  I had two sets of plants.  Group A I said loving things to, played them classical music, and “sent” them loving energy.  Group B I yelled at and insulted and neglected other than the basic needs of sunlight and water.  The sunlight and water provided for both groups were identical.  By the end of my experiment ( 6 weeks), Group A plants were strong, bright,  green and flourishing.  Group B had fewer leaves, several yellow or blackening on the tips, and  much weaker structures. TRUE STORY.)

 

I just cannot recommend this movie enough.  Just see it.  Just see it.  Just see it.  It is already available on Netflix (although I believe there is a long wait…and I do currently have one of the copies:)  and Amazon.  Yes there are spiritual undertones and possible interpretations, but if this tends to not be your cup of tea, know that it is not a religious or woo-woo film.   It is about humanity and life and who and what we really are and what we are really capable of being and creating in our world.  In the words of my late and great friend and ASL instructor, Geoff Mathay:

I believe.  I have hope.”

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