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I SHOULD Write A Thousand Words Today…

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1,000 words

… but I won’t this time because I’m ultra-focussed.

Totally narcissistic. Self-indulgent. Hungry.

Each day I write out a To-Do List. You too?

And then I fail…

Each day I remind myself that focussing on 2 or 3 items is the life-blood to making real headway on the things that are extra important to me, my writing and music… the creative existence.

Each day I listen to a new song on YouTube or Apple Music, seeking a theme song of inspiration for the day… then silently ponder the beauty outside my window, urging calmness like a quiet meditation into my sense of focus. OOOoooooommmmmm…

Each day I begin with this short list of the critical, the important, the passion-filled.

And here’s where I fail. Again and again. No motivational gurus like Tony Robbins or Zig Ziglar or Brian Tracy have come to my rescue.

Despite my best intentions I look down at my sheet of paper squished in the narrow space beneath my computer keyboard and the edge of my desk… and realize that my shortlist of 2 or 3 items has mystically and maniacally expanded to 8 … 10 … even 15 items.

Where is my focus?

Sigh.

I’m a refugee inside my own world… an outcast from the creativity urgings that seek updrafts of warm air.

I look around at people like Stephen King or Paul Simon or Carole King, JK Rowling or Brian Wilson or Joni Mitchell, and marvel at the focus and drive that brought them to a God-kissed magnificence. I drool and desire like a 13 year-old boy with unlimited access to porn!

I lust after their nucleus of theme and priority.

1,000

1,000

Numbers. My blog posts have talked a lot about the power of 10,000 hours in practice…. or even 1,000 hours in practice and preparation.

And each week I write down about 1,000 words in this blog that I’ve been playing with for more than 6 years now. 340 blog posts.

It’s been the chronicler of me – to me – that I share with you because I think we all contribute pieces of ourselves to a common existence and inner understanding. And when I write I magically discover pieces of me that I never knew existed.

I read others’ writing to add to my work of understanding life and history and my place in it.

I hope that sharing my words with you may occasionally give you a tiny nugget of insight into your own motivations and understanding of who you are. Maybe even an occasional smile. Maybe.

Priority

I’ve added some shiny new features to my world since I “retired” 4 years ago. Bartending, tutoring, soup kitchen, grandparenting are all part of the cutting edge in my days. Music has always been there too but – like my new grandson – is growing and expanding and filling me with enthusiasm and excitement that refuses to be contained.

So as part of my journey going forward, I’m looking to carve a small slice of additional time and focus that can be re-allocated to this continually new and hopefully improving me.

OK… I know I’m me.

I suspect the numbers of items on my daily To-Do List may still end up as long, but going forward, I’ll slide a small portion of the hours I spend each week writing these posts over and spend some more quality time on a revised list of priorities.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

Maybe I SHOULD write a thousand words today. BUT, 500 will just have to do.

Instead, I hear a super sexy tune in my head that needs to be captured before it gets lost in a whiteout featherstorm of lost time.

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Wanna Do’s … or … Gotta Do’s

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Q – How are bloody car wrecks and Donald Trump the same?

A – As morbidly terrible as they are, you just can’t look away from the carnage …

Donald Trump 2.jpg

I’m sorry, that isn’t part of this week’s post, I’m just being my normal distracted self.

Let’s see …

Last week I:

  • made bread pudding and banana bread and Chicken Tikka Masala
  • swam 48 laps and went to spin class and 2 boot camp classes
  • wrote a blog post
  • ate popcorn and watched the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (in THAT order!)
  • did a 16 k. run
  • went grocery shopping
  • helped build a Little Free Library (LFL)
  • watched Donald Trump be Donald Trump (we are soooooo screwed!)
  • prepared my tax return
  • went to a local hockey playoff game
  • researched possible investments in Monsanto and Transforce (I didn’t buy shares of either), and lastly,
  • took in the final episode of Downton Abbey (Hallelujah, Lady Edith finally got her man!).

For someone like myself, an undiagnosed mild form of ADHD kind of person, this is the perfect week.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

Yup. The Perfect week.

I’m not trying to boast about all the things I’ve done, because I know many of you do far more than this in any given week.

You have to. It’s called survival.

But if you look a bit more closely at my list, you might notice that all of these things are what I would describe as recreational, my Wanna Do’s.

Yup, even grocery shopping and doing my tax return are fun Wanna Do things for me.

In earlier days, I spent long years where my weekly To-Do list included necessary things like vacuuming the carpets, washing clothes and dishes, doing the grocery shopping, doing the banking, driving the kids to ballet or soccer, making Shepherd’s Pie that my kids hated.

They were much more obligation-oriented Gotta Do’s, than fun, desirable, Wanna Do’s.

All that time I was slowly constructing the base of the chocolate layer cake that would become my life … preparing for the day when the sweet cream-cheese icing was all that was left of that yummy cake.

But my cake was never a single flavour indulgence. I built layers of different flavours to preserve my sanity and to allow my many outlets – passions, if you will – to flourish.

I purposefully placed my life on a teeter-totter, balancing the needs and desires and enjoyment of the moment while looking out on the golden sea horizon, attempting to see the life I wanted to be living in 25 years.

Did I do a perfect job of it? Of course not.

But I did have the good fortune of working with a lot of people in my jobs that I enjoyed being around. And when I didn’t, I made the tough decision to move on.

I never earned a whopping sum of money, so I saved and invested what I had in a reasonably successful way.

Inspirational guru Tony Robbins always talks about “should’ing” all over ourselves.

should

I made sure I didn’t “should” all over myself and bow to the expectations of the societal voices that try to dictate what our lives should look like.

I worked a 3 day work-week for the last 20 years of my lab career. My sanity was preserved, and my energies were able to be expended in directions that made me happy even though I wasn’t climbing the rungs of any corporate ladders.

When I found foul-smelling stool sample testing tiresome (I said to myself, “enough of this SHIT!”), I purposefully became a transformer and slipped on the clean underwear of a laboratory database miner for a number of years.

My sense of achievement and self-esteem was sourced in different life drawers.

I was self-aware enough to know the things that I enjoyed doing rather than the things others thought or suggested I should be doing … competence in the technical aspects of my job wouldn’t naturally lead to me being the good people manager that was often the expectation.

Last week at boot camp class I was talking to Marjana – an energetic Iraqi woman who, forcibly displaced, moved to Canada a couple of decades back.

Years ago, she opened a restaurant in Vancouver, a Middle-eastern bistro with special Arabian Night theme events.

Marjana worked every day, 12, 14, 16 hours a day for 4 years, non-stop, just like my current “boss” Georgios. He owns the Greek Restaurant where I play the role of bartender occasionally.

Both of these folks were/are incredibly dedicated to their work. My brother Gord did the same as the owner of a Mexican restaurant a few years back.

All of these people made a success of their projects by immersing themselves fully and passionately.

I am in total awe of these people.

But I don’t want to be them. Nope.

For all of those who love or need to focus solely on one matter at once, I will tell you how much I admire your ability to do the same.

This is what makes a great entrepreneur – a laser focus on one objective and doing everything everyday that takes you towards that goal.

Frankly, it would drive me crazy to be an entrepreneur. I would lose my zest for life like a grape shrivelling into a raisin under the scorching sun.

Such intense focus never made it onto my Wanna Do list.

I can only focus on one area for an hour or two before losing my enthusiasm and drive.

As Marsha my dedicated, delicate yoga instructor smiles and softly sings, “there are many paths to the same objective.

I’ve spent my life hound-dogging a diverse path leading towards the jelly-bean bowl of Wanna Do’s.

Selfish? Indulgent?

It might appear to you that I’m narcissistic and self-centred.

Perhaps, although I try to balance the scales of self-indulgence with volunteer and charitable Wanna Do’s. But even fruitful charity has the seed of ego at its centre unless you’re Mother Teresa.

I think that a truly perfect week should have the space and freedom to accommodate a cathartic moment of Shakespearean mixed comedy/tragedy.

And that’s why Donald Trump is gonna stay on my Wanna Do list for the foreseeable future.

todo-list

 

 

The Orgasm of Doing … 15 To-Do’s

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Sally Orgasm

Sally’s Orgasm of Doing …

He didn’t spend his life surfing TV channels.

She ran a business. Or built a robot. Or made love in a canoe. Or discovered DNA or walked the edge of the CN Tower.

He or She DID something.

Something that changed lives. Something that changed their own life. Something that inspired others to change their lives. Something that went from inside his or her head out into the real world.

to-do-or-not-to-do2

Shakespeare said, “To Be or Not to Be”

I say, “To Do or Not to Do” …

Are you a consumer or a creator?

Why not be your own god?

Create a life. Create something you’re proud of even if it only impacts yourself or a few lives of those you love and treasure.

I slap myself silly sometimes when I realize how fortunate I am to live on this blue ball in infinite space where I can sample so many wonderful, different things, taste so many amazing foods, experience so many different cultures. And I live this life of a minor king without having to mount a Crusade to defend it all.

I consume. I do. I’ll sit for 3 hours and watch my Hamilton Tiger Cats doing their football He-Man stuff while I lay back and drink light beer and eat popcorn.

But then I do. I read. I write. I sing. I cook. I clean. I build. I run. I grow. I sweat. I live.

It’s important to get outside of yourself and do things that not only make you feel good but have a positive feel-good impact on others too. I’m no saint (although I could be a Hell’s Angel!), but I feel great after I’ve worked a morning shift at my local soup kitchen.

Of course, not everyone can do everything.

And for sure, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer … there are even rumours that my shit stinks. They’re true.

But I’ve made a few good moves in my life like building a financial base of savings in my 20’s and 30’s so that by my investments, I now have self-government in many ways to choose and do the things that interest me.

I don’t have a million dollar house filled with designer furniture but I do have an inordinate freedom to choose what I want to do and when I want to do it.

And because I’m so favoured, I need to take advantage of all these wonders and touch down on a tiny fraction of what’s available. To do less seems to be a phenomenal waste of my tiny droplet of time in an enormous ocean.

drop in the ocean

So … I need to think and plan and be deliberate in living this life.

Otherwise, I’ll be adrift in the breeze, lost without a sail.

For me this means making lists and charting a direction of enthusiastic living.

Today’s list of To-Do’s and Not To-Be’s goes as follows:

15 Things I Still Want To Do Before I Die

  1. Build A Guitar
  2. Make Love on a Beach
  3. Drink a Glass of Dom Perignon
  4. Write A Song That Is So Good It’s a Classic
  5. Save Someone From Drowning – Literally or Figuratively
  6. Jump Out Of An Airplane
  7. Play A Song On Stage at a Summer Music Festival
  8. See All 50 U.S. States and Walk on Every Continent
  9. Attend An Olympics Opening Ceremony
  10. Learn a New Profession Every Year
  11. Reach $2 Million Net Worth from Investing
  12. Run Up the Empire State Building
  13. Learn to Dance Better
  14. Do A Freestyle Road Trip Each Year – No Itinerary
  15. Become A Vegetarian For A Week

You just never know… I might do all of these things or I may not. I might change my mind next week and decide to do a bunch of different things that excite me.

Doesn’t matter. I’ll be experiencing the Orgasm of Doing … for today, this is my course.

What matters is that I feel an life-affirming enthusiasm for something, anything. Otherwise I feel dead inside. Why die prematurely?

I don’t want to be dead until I’m … well … dead – and frankly, I’d rather not have that experience either …

Maybe like Woody Allen says, “I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Woody allen death