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Dylan has it all figured out. His goal in life is to feel good. Here he is showing me he’s ready for some belly rubs. (Warning: might want to turn your sound down, my voice is pretty high and loud in this).

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

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One of the blogs I follow recently brought up how people often like to say “I don’t need a Hallmark holiday to acknowledge the love in my life,” but then went on to question, “why not?”  This struck me, as not hours before I was in line at my local Rite Aid on 30th Ave waiting to purchase a card for my Jack.  The place was packed with people in the cards and seasonal holiday section aisle, frantically looking for that perfect gift of representation of love for their most dearest.  As I awaited my turn, I looked at the back of the card I had found (which did in fact state perfectly my sentiments, and in all honestly couldn’t have been better) at the $6.99 price tag, and thought “Yep, just like everyone else here, I am getting suckered in to consumerism America.”  But then later, I came home and I read her blog post and thought, “yeah….that’s right…why not?”  So to her, for that sweet thought and perspective, thank you for that.

 

And now, the real reason for the season…to not only pause and acknowledge the love and gratitude you have for another(s), but to recognize and celebrate the most important love of all:  that which is within and of and Is Yourself.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

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and now, ladies and gentlemen, i present to you…

a love story

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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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