Dancing in Every Direction

When I dance, I take steps forward, sideways, backward.  I follow a rhythm.  I coordinate my movements and rhythm to those of other dancers and the music surrounding me, and I love the creative experience.

When I work, I make a plan for moving forward.  I set a pace and resent interruptions or obstacles that require me to slow down or take sideways or backwards steps.  I want everyone else to match my rhythm and I expect the surrounding circumstances to offer only support for my intention and achievement.  I hate when things don’t go my way; I resent and resist.

The question occurs: Is this why I love to dance and hate to work? Is it just a matter of my expectations?  Is it just that I have a misguided understanding of how work should go? . . . read more

Discovering Agreement vs Negotiating Terms

I’ve just read the article by J. Kim Wright (of CuttingEdgeLaw) about the value and importance of putting business agreements in writing.  I agree with Kim that one of the most valuable things you can do is put the agreements and understandings you have into writing – in words you understand and are fully comfortable with.

The ‘boilerplate’ language that many attorneys and pre-drafted document kits provide is often unintelligible – even to the experts and courts.  This inscrutability makes the documents practically worthless – or worse, harmful – because the people who agree to be bound by them may have no real idea of the potential consequences of those contracts.

. . . read more

Abiding Questions

Every Sunday morning, my dad and I use iChat to have a video-conference.  He calls it ‘having breakfast together.’  (I think of it as our “Jetson Family Moment.”)

Last Sunday, as I sipped my coffee and jiggled the headset connection, Dad said, “I’ve got to figure out what I really want to do.”

It stopped me cold.

My dad is 80 years old; and his question was exactly the question I’ve been asking myself.  In fact, only 5 minutes before the call I had written (with some desperation) in my journal, “What do I want to spend my days doing?”

Apparently, “What do I want to do with my life?” is a question that abides without ever ‘settling to sleep inside an answer.’** This thought might feel hopeless at first – but it is actually freeing if you give it the chance.

Is Planning Happiness Even Possible? . . . read more

Happiness & Possibility

Pursuit of Happiness

During the embattled years of law school, a friend and I clung together in our metaphorical fox-hole, confiding to one another all that was scary, going wrong, or likely to go wrong.  We’d spend hours (over nachos and margueritas) pep-talking one another into persevering.  Then, one day, she and I were together and I realized that I had nothing to talk about.  Just at that moment, nothing was scaring me, there was nothing to complain about – and I was at a loss.  What would I talk about?  I had nothing interesting going on.

“Nothing interesting going on.”  That thought got my ATTENTION.  Did I really believe that if there was nothing going wrong then there was nothing interesting happening? Then I began noticing that most of the conversations I heard revolved around some point of unhappiness; and if I began to talk about being happy (about things going right), the shift seemed to cause discomfort. . . . read more

Willpower and Willingness

My inner nag is pointing out all the things I’ve left undone . . . and my inner resister-of-authority wonders if the ‘not doing’ is about needing a break.  This is always a tricky question.  I am so ready to believe that I’m a slacker who is just looking for an excuse to play hooky. 

 Productivity / Creativity – getting enough of both

Does productivity rely on effort or nurture?  I know that creativity needs nurturing (plenty of inspirational experiences and freedom).  I’ve always assumed that productivity needed a firmer hand, a driving force.  Now I’m wondering if that is necessarily true?

My creativity can dream things up – but bringing a dream from hope to fruition requires discipline, which is, in my experience, a triumph of will over unwillingness (nose to the grindstone; buckle down; straighten up and fly right . . . you get the drift).   

Might it be possible to have robust productivity without tyrannical will-power and the abrasion of facial features?  . . . read more

BTUs & Freedom

One bright morning, as we sat at the breakfast table with our good friends Phil and Rhonni, I looked down at the dreadful rust-colored indoor/outdoor carpeting that former inhabitants had glued to the floor of our cottage’s kitchen. To the table in general, I moaned, “I hate this carpet.  It would be so great to have a wooden floor instead; but I’m afraid it will be nearly impossible to get this dreadful orange stuff up.” And I sighed with despair at the hopelessness of it all.

Without a word and in one smooth, swift movement, Phil put down his spoon, whipped a mat knife from his back pocket, and without rising from his chair, leaned over and laid a long, tearing cut across two feet of the hated flooring.  While I was still drawing breath to shout, Phil re-pocketed the knife and reached down to rip away a large strip of the dreadful carpet along with an underlying layer of decaying linoleum.  Revealed in the gap was a strip of beautiful old heart-wood flooring—a sleeping beauty waiting to be awakened. At the end of that day, the finish on my lovely antique wooden floor was drying to a beautiful luster as we ate our dinner in the garden.

Phil’s “Make A Hole” philosophy of overcoming inertia &
My philosophy of
Freedom-Friendly BTUs

For those who work mainly in building, gardening, or other occupations that involve physically making/changing things – the above described approach is what I have come to call the Phil Perry principal of Make A Hole.  Start in a way that means you must continue.  Burn the bridge leading back  to “Reasons Why It’s Too Hard” and you are compelled beyond the inertia into “Now I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING” action.  Tucked into my day-planner  I have the little fortune cookie proverb from a years-ago meal: “The simplest answer is to act.”  (The lucky numbers on it are: 42, 17, 11, 5, 32, 24 – just  FYI.)

When you work mainly at a table, desk or computer, in order to get things done, you pretty much have to Apply Butt To Chair and spend some time there; hence, BTUs (Butt Time Units); but the imperative of BTUs often feels like a prison sentence.  . . . read more