Thursday, May 31, 2007

Notes from a late break

From earlier today...
  • Listing to "Out of This World" by John Coltrane. An incredible song; I think this is deeper that "A Love Supreme"
  • It's ok to let go and release. It's never good to hold things in.
  • There's a danger in blogging of repeating myself. One way to fight this is to find new adventures to discuss and explore.
  • Life is right now and every moment is good. There's always something to be gained in moments. Find them and explore.
  • Rediscover that part of me I found in Brussels. It was like I had no cares in the world. I've been struggling to return to that state since coming back.
  • The Secret says (I think) don't worry about the how of getting what you want. That's sometimes hard to accept because I want to know how. Again, do I have to let that go? Yes, maybe.
  • The vacation was the best thing for me. I feel better, cleaned out, good.
  • I should make up a vision board. What is my vision? To write and edit on the web. Find a stable relationship. Manage my finances better. Move (close by? back to Brussels?)
  • That's good for now. Now, I have to be in action.
  • Don't forget your primary foods.
  • It's weird--when I was think of Brussels, I imagine it at my local time, not the time there.
  • I was just in a restaurant that's long since burned down.
  • The flashbacks, I think they give me comfort.


Bad news can trigger a bad response: the longing to wallow and say, "woe is me." Gotta fight through it. The wallowing can take a lot of energy needed to fight through the problem and turn it negative. All the questions about why me, why now can get you lost in a fog of self-loathing. All the problems we face are temporary. "This too shall pass" isn't a cliche for nothing. Inner strength is needed to overcome what is only temporary. Just know it will pass.

The news

Some news I've been wondering about may be coming in. I kind of figured something would happen. It's a test, a bump. The preparations, writing, the journey itself, continue on. Be in action.

Things like this can get you knotted up physically. But I am pretty calm about it. Nothing lasts forever, and you can sometimes make lemonades from lemons. Let's do that.

The greatest journey?

People have climbed mountains, dived deep into the seas and burrowed far into the earth. A handful of people have even left this planet to explore the moon. But is the greatest journey the one to discover who you are? Who you truly are? Are we afraid to take this trip, because we might find out things we may not like? Or because we're scared to do better than what we're doing now? Either way, it's a journey that must be taken.

Movement to contact

It feels good to move forward. Something comes in your mind to do, you act. No hesitation, no hemming or hawing. See it, be it. Why have I been making this harder than it needs to be? I don't know. But I must keep moving forward.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Notes from the atrium

Semi-random thoughts from the middle of a sunny afternoon...

  • An idea from Steve Pavlina: living life in paradox. What does that mean? While you're figuring/designing the life you want, you're still working on your current life. For me, that means blogging about me and the journey that I'm on.
  • No one knows what my thoughts are, but that's ok--I'm still working on opening up. For a shy guy, it's a journey in itself.
  • I'm trying to find my way through.
  • Personal development is not generally something people in my profession tend to delve in deeply. They're pretty skeptical, almost to the point of being cynical about it.
  • The concepts aren't hard to grasp, it's the execution that trips people. Why do people get stumped with that?
  • We take too-big steps, wanting everything now. Taking small, digestible bites seems to be the best way. And taking those small, smart steps often. Building good habits.
  • It's ok to be more than one person, to explore the different sides of yourself.
  • Is there really a catalog of the universe (I think it's mentioned in and around The Secret) If there is, what do I want from it? Peace, love and happiness in my life.
  • The question is then, what are you doing to achieve it?

Bodies in motion

I have a tendency to want to stand still. Maybe it's because I'm quiet, and naturally prefer to watch instead of jumping in. Now, I see that I have to be moving, in action. I can't stand still and allow life to pass on without me. It's hard to keep on the move, but I think I can do this.

Don't cry

I've noticed lately that I'm tearing up more. Not necessarily in sadness, but sometimes when I read or listen to something that touches me, I can feel the tears starting to flow. I think I'm starting to let things that affect me positively reach me. It's a good way of allowing those thoughts and ideas to come inside.

The joy of cooking

For the past couple of months, I've been taking this nutritional program to help me eat smarter. So far, it seems to be working well. Since the middle last year, I've stopped eating bagels. I'm drinking tea instead of coffee at work. My lunch is basically salmon and edamame. I eat fruits instead of bagels and chips. I'm eating breakfast again. I still have a double cheeseburger (or two) occasionally. Overall, I feel better. I sleep better. My mood has improved. Again, building good, sustainable habits. I sometimes wonder if I can keep this up, but I'm moving forward. What other choice is there?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Release the pressure

A exercise I heard and read about from a guy named Hale Dwoskin, who teaches something called the Sedona method. It's about (I think) releasing your anxiety. I'm going to repeat it as a mantra--Could you release the anxiety (whatever it is) you have? Would you? And when? It seems to work, but I need more practice.

Comfort in the wrong places

Safe harbor is a comforting place to be. We can steel away from the cares and concerns of the world, and let the storms pass. Or, we can be like the navy, and ride out of the harbor and into the storm. An aircraft carrier has a better chance of survival on the move instead of moored in the harbor. That's a difficult concept to grasp. Movement is better than stasis. In anything. The movements don't have to be huge, but they have to be constant. Little things, repeated every moment, every day, so that they become natural, automatic. Second nature. This is what I'm aiming for. Little movements, little battles. Constant movement forward. If I can get the little things down and down, the larger things should be easier to handle. Should be.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Giant steps

The headline is the title of a John Coltrane album, one of his most famous. But to change things in your life, small steps are better. Little things to do every day, and continue to do it. That seems to be an integral part of personal development. Small, sustainable steps, taken consciously, every day.

A question for later

How do I maintain and sustain this feeling of lightness that I have now? Should I just relax and allow whatever to come and remain calm?


I go back to work in a couple of hours, and I feel empty. Empty, but good. I sorely needed the time away from the office to recharge and gain perspective. I like what I do, but I don't love it the way I used to. But I didn't focus on that for the past 10 days. I got a lot of the worry and angst out of me. And I feel good about me. No matter what, I have to keep that feeling of lightness, and better understand what is truly important to me. I've had a slight smile on my face at different times lately. the lightness in me feels good.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Here comes the rain again

The picture on the homepage of this blog was taken was my apartment window while I lived in Brussels. Yes, there's snow in the photo. But Brussels is better known for the rain that seemed to fall there every day. I loved there for three years, and I miss it very much. For the first time, I felt like I was free, free to be me, explore and see what comes around the corner. One of the things I miss about the city is that ever-present rain. The sound it made hitting the roof and windows on my duplex, the quiet, soothing way it could calm a mood. Brussels was the perfect place for rain. On a dreary Friday, I could take a book into a cafe or restaurant, order a croque monsieur or a coffee, and lazily read or watch the world pass by huddled under umbrellas. It's nearly dawn in Brussels now. I wish I could be back in that apartment, listening to the raindrops lull me back to sleep. But the raindrops here will have to suffice.

Nature's show

I'm sitting in my living room watching a thunderstorm roll in. It's like hearing and seeing a battle. The bright, vivid flashes of light, the rumbling thunder, the strengthening wind, the smell of rain. When I was a kid, I was terribly scared of storms. Once I was in the bathroom during a storm, and poked my head into the window. Right at that moment, lightening struck very close by, scaring the daylights out of me, and sending me running back into my grandmother's living room. Back then, if a storm was coming, everything stopped. Everything. Baths, dinner, TV-watching. Stopped cold. Now, I'm on the computer, writing, watching the race, and looking out the window, marveling at nature.


A hot, lazy Sunday afternoon. Not much to report. My lightness of being remains, even though my vacation ends tomorrow. The intrusions of life will reappear, and the question become--or, rather, what it's always been--how can I cope with the strains?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The numbers game

If I have one bone to pick with the personal development industry, it's numbers. 7 steps, 14 ways, 21 ideas. Why is this number or that number the perfect set for that particular thought? Is it marketing? Do the writers have a sixth sense, knowing that it's not six or eight, but seven? I see these lists, and my first instinct is to roll my eyes. Then I read down through each point. Then, I pick the ones I can work with most effectively. When I see these, I'm looking for what I can apply to my own life. That's the hardest thing--the execution of the strategy. Lists are easy. The application, ahh, now there's the rub.

Been a long time, been a long time

This has been the best few days I've had in awhile. The disconnect from the office and the stresses has done so much to lift me up. I was driving earlier this evening, and even at speed, I felt so light, so good. Even sitting alone on a Saturday night, listening to jazz, with the night air quiet and still, it feels good to be here.

What does it all mean

We are all looking to get better at something. Usually, it's life in general. We're looking to be better people, to make peace in a world that is hardly peaceful. To carve out a shelter in a storm-tossed sea. That's where I am. I read about zen, trying to find a way to be comfortable with the world, and with me. I look for websites, news, tips that I can use to give me a boost of energy or thought, something I can turn to when I need a lift. What I'm doing, and what I want to, is rebalance myself when I feel wobbly.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New York at Night

Live music has a great effect on me. No matter what's going on in my life, I can sit in a jazz club and be transformed and transfixed by the band. I went to a club on Park Avenue last night, and that's what happened. It was a young-ish quartet, playing for no cover. They had produced a CD, so obviously they had been together for a while. They sounded good, not overwhelming. But to sit in a room, gin & tonic in hand, listening, absorbing the music. Buzzing from the music and the libations, I walked out into the New York night. It was still a little warm, with a slight breeze blowing. I felt like I was walking on air. The combination of the music and Manhattan at night left me in the best spirits I've felt in a good long while. Sometimes to find a place where you can reconnect doesn't take a long trip to another place. You simply have to remember what brings you joy, and call on it when you need it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I want to get away, I want to fly away

Vacations are grand things. If you do them right, they are enjoyable and carefree. The secret: don't do anything. Seriously. Working vacation is an oxymoron. This is a time to reconnect with yourself, find out who you really are as opposed to the facade of a drone you carry off day in and day out. The lack of commitments is a dream, albeit a short one. It's ok not to accomplish anything. All the tasks you left behind will still be there. Now is the time to ponder, contemplate. Wander through your mind and rummage a bit. There's no pressure. I want to go away for a day or two, take the train, stay at a hotel. I need to disconnect from my current surroundings--if only for a while.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

No guarantees

I make no claims to being an expert in anything. I'm professionally skeptical, and naturally curious. One of the things I'm curious about is personal development. Here's an experiment: I've created a tumblelog to track some of the interesting and pertinent articles I've seen on the web. This may be updated more than this blog. Again, anything goes.

The shape of things to come...?

This is the start of a journey that I'm not sure where it will lead. I'm at a critical juncture in my life, and I'm not sure what road to take: the safe one or the dangerous one. Over the next few months, I'll be sorting it out. Or at least try to. This blog is part of that journey. It's an experiment, tracking what and where I am. I may not post everyday. I certainly won't post every detail of my life. A little mystery is fine. I'm not even sure how long this will last. It will probably be a repository for some of the things I'm interested in: jazz, architecture, personal development, some writing. That's an eclectic mix. Where this all goes...