Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Nuances of Tic-Tac-Toe

This is how it began.  Three enormous boxes.  

Four million pieces of wood.

We set out with belief in our hearts.  

We did not possess great skill.  But we were unified in our purpose and determined to reach our goal.

Along the way, some of us got distracted.

The manual said it would take a minimum of six hours.

Bob Villa leading the entire legion of professionals from the DIY Network could not have finished in six hours.

We quickly realized it would take more than a day, and discouraged, we had to take a step back.   

Some of us needed a hug.


But the following weekend, we returned to our task.

Again, we did not finish.  

We took time out for family.

We completed great works of art.

And then one day, the slide went up.  A few days later, the swings followed.

Then in a flurry, the telescope went up, the flags appeared, the rock wall was assembled, and tic-tac-toe was screwed into our ship's cedar hull.

Not everyone grasped the nuances of tic-tac-toe.

But it didn't matter, because we had started with a vision, and though we encountered improperly pre-drilled holes, various design flaws, and snapped carriage bolts of irregular sizes, we brought our dream to fruition.

So as you start this week after the long three-day weekend in which we celebrated the intrepid voyage of the explorer Christopher Columbus, I hope you will feel emboldened to set off once more on your own various journeys, trusting that with faith and determination, you will see your project--whether it be the Great American Short Story or becoming a master of tic-tac-toe--through to completion.

And please, as you encounter the limits of your abilities and patience, try to remember that the ups and downs are part of it and that we must learn to enjoy the ride.  Because if we are always worried about reaching some destination or trying to stay in a state of safety or comfort, the present moment will constantly elude us, and we will fail to recognize its eternal face.  We will fail to feel its flow and see its simple, direct beauty.

Don't believe me?  Just ask Cubs manager, Joe Maddon.
"I'm always about fans worrying; go ahead and worry as much as you'd like. From our perspective, we have to just go out and play the game like we always do. I'm here to tell you, man, I just can't live that way. The line I've used is, I don't vibrate at that frequency... The process is fearless. If you want to always live your life just based on the outcome, you're going to be fearful a lot. And when you're doing that, you're really not living in a particular moment. 
If you take care of the seconds, the minutes, the hours in a day take care of themselves. So for our fans back home, please go ahead and be worried. That’s OK. But understand that from our perspective in the clubhouse, we're more worried about the process than the outcome.”
Thanks to my brother-in-law for sharing that quote from the Chicago Tribune with me, and thanks to you, brothers and sisters, for stopping by.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Rapping with the Old Courage Teacher

One of the reasons blog platforms make it so easy to publish a new post is that the posts are supposed to be somewhat disposable.  This is has not been easy for me to master.  Apparently I have been thoroughly indoctrinated by the old-school approach where one must pass through the juggernaut of supposedly impersonal taste makers who apply objective standards in order to determine which content should be shared with the public.  If I didn't feel this way I'd be like these crazy kids who just write it down and put it up there.  Walt Whitman help me.  Is it too late to learn?

It can't be too late to learn, but still, I want to say that there must be some concern for quality.  What is the point of flinging up every few lines I write if they aren't going to make a solid connection with somebody, anybody, at least one person who might come across them?  Then again, maybe it's okay to put out something unpolished as long as it contains one bright gem.  I dunno.  I suppose the fact that I'm at least working for the moment in this blog window as opposed to in a Word document signifies my desire to find a new way out there.  Maybe I won't publish this today, but if I do it again tomorrow and the next day and then maybe one day I take a chance and click the orange button up above which will make it available to all of creation.  Walt Whitman, are you with me?

G is sick today.  Her coughing kept her up for a good portion of the night, and we were up with her as well.  For me it was the proverbial straw after a hectic beginning to the week, and I didn't wake up in time this morning to do my meditation or Yoga asana practice.  Now she is home from school with Yiayia after hanging with me all morning.  I feel very out of sorts.  Even the table I'm working on at the coffee shop is slanted.  It reminds me of the commercials where people roam the earth tilting to one side because they didn't have their V-8.

No doubt I'd rather be home working on my big screen with my height-adjustable desk and my incense and the light coming through the window just so, but there is no way to keep an almost-three-year-old out of the studio, especially if she knows you are easily suckered into hanging out when you are supposed to be writing, and hey, how lucky I am to be able to leave my sick child in the hands of her grandmother and slip away for a few hours to enjoy a decent espresso and dive down the rabbit hole of the story I've been working on?  I have everything I need here in my little travel writing kit.  My laptop screen lights up nice and bright and my earplug/headphone combo block out everything but the giant Mazzer grinding up coffee beans each time someone steps up to the counter.  It's also nice for a change to see people coming and going, to look up every once in awhile and see others going about their days, taking care of their business, trying to do their best as they worry about their sick kids, their jobs, their health, their goals, the responsibilities they feel they've been neglecting, and the things they need to hurry up and do as we all sail along into the future.   We're all in this together people!  I'm feeling it.  Let's each high five the next person we see.

Now showing at the Art Institute.  Om Shanti.
Thanks for stopping by.