Thursday, 1 February 2018

Taking a break


“Creativity takes courage.” 
― Henri Matisse


If you follow me on Twitter you'll have seen me say that I'm scaling back on social media. That means I'll no longer post very much to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr (I've not been there a while), Instagram or LinkedIn. I'll still be recording monologues on Podbean but probably only once a week -- I've yet to decide on the day but it's likely to be a Monday. If I write anywhere then it will be limited to Patreon.


In terms of blogging, both here and on my main site, I've decided to stop writing a regular post. To be honest, I should have done this years ago. It's not that I haven't enjoyed the practice (and I hope you've gained something by reading it/them) but, the truth is, it's stopped me from writing to be published -- my ultimate aim.


This isn't an easy decision, but there's no longer a link between the need to write online and what I want to do with my life.


I'm sure in this digiital age there will come a time where I'll have to refresh my online presence and strike up the band, but for now, I'm taking things offline in the hope that I can bring to bear my creative energy in a fundamentally different way.


Henceforth my main focus will be:


poetry
writing
calligraphy


I know that in every area I'll have to go back to basics, not only to understand and learn my craft -- if you can call it that -- but in the hope that I actually discover the depths of what moves me to create. Of course, I need not go this wide and could just as easily stick to writing, but I know that's not where my heart speaks loudest. 


If you're wondering why now I've decided to go all the way with my creative endeavours, I think it comes out of the fact that I've given up or been forced to abandon my wish to build a business. You see, when I look back on the last 8 years, I can see that far from building something which looks remotely like a business, all I've succeeded in doing is thrashing about looking for meaning in my work but moving no further than a few different job descriptions and slightly better work environs.

The truth is -- "my truth, folks" -- I've not sold anything that people want to buy. I mean, come on, if it were otherwise I'd have a business to my name, not a series of self-employed gigs.

Am I comfortable making this announcement? 

Not really.

It sucks. But then again, it's far better that I pull the tiny plug now before it causes me and my family any more angst. Sure, I'll have to hunker down again qua employee -- I've been in that role for at least three years anyway -- but it won't matter because outside of work I'll still have the love of my family and their appreciation for the fact that whatever I do it comes from a place of love and service. 

But I think there's something much bigger in play than all this superficial angst:

True Self.

Cal it God, reality, Buddha or Big Mind but all I'm really doing is being birthed each day to do something that speaks to my soul. 

End of.

Or to put it less prosaically, to answer my calling.

Thank you again for all the support you've shown over these years. It's been very important to me.

Take care.

Blessings,

Julian



Wednesday, 31 January 2018

We're all going to die


You'd think, knowing that, we'd seek something more fulfilling than a life of faux experiences but it's not how we're conditioned to behave.

In fact, it's worse that that.

We want it now.

All of it: money, prestige, fame, love and material stuff.

(On the opposite side of this meme, we've this huge aversion to any form of suffering.)

But just imagine if this day was your last...

What would you do?

I know what you'd do.

Nothing different.

Why should you?

You know it's going to end. Hell yeah!, you might as well live today on maximum pleasure.

What if you stretched it out, and someone told you that you had 12 months left?

Would you try to change the world or crave yet more of the hedonistic stuff?

Who really knows?

I suppose in the end, it's how much you value life that really matters. But, judging by the number of people who abuse their bodies, eat to excess and use alcohol as a prop, my summation is that we're just not very serious people. In fact, the easier we can make life -- with all the deleterious consequences that that entails -- the happier we are.

Sorry, I know sounds crap but what I'm really inviting is a more beautiful question than how can I make myself constantly happy 🙂?

Take care.

Blessings,
Julian

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

You won't change


“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche

When I look at my life, it's replete with periods of change.

Unfortunately, though, it was no different to changing my clothes.

In short, it might have felt that I'd cast off my persona, in favour of something more empowering, but it didn't take long for the sense of lack to return.

Whilst I'm not saying it had to be this way, it was only when I came close to death (and witnessing others in the same place) that everything changed, and I woke from my narcissistic torpor.

There are many ways to see this but your 'angst is your liberation' (see the teachings of Jun Po Denis Kelly).

But what about you?

Do you feel, despite many brave attempts to fundamentally change your life, you're still playing the same song?

Perhaps you've journeyed within but chances are you've done so (only) with the same sense of purpose that gave you this life.

Of course, I can't make you do anything and in a sense neither can you -- at least from a place of ego. 
The truth is until the competitive spirit ceases and you stop making that which is formless (i.e. thoughts) into form, only then will you see the world anew.

I know that what I'm saying doesn't cut it in a world of fear, loss and shame, but just think about those people who love for love's sake, have no desire, and fear nothing. They may look like fools or dilettantes, but are they? 

Are they that deluded?

Perhaps you're the one who needs to take a long, hard look at your conditioned self and understand that in trying to control or suppress your thoughts you'll never make the leap into the unknown, let alone change your life.

On reflection, I don't think it's about changing anything save waking up to who you truly are; namely, True Self.

Take care.

Blessings
Julian


Monday, 29 January 2018

Back in the creative groove


“The receptivity of the artist must never be confused with passivity.” 
― Rollo MayThe Courage to Create


It's been a while since I've felt like this.

Don't ask me why, but I couldn't summon anything more than enough creative juice to produce this blog and a few posts and recordings to Patreon.

I know it's tempting fate to report on my renewed sense of purpose but, right now, I've this overwhelming sense of needing to create:

poetry

brush calligraphy

sketching

photography

and books.

I don't have a modus operandi. 

I show up.

I either write to my computer or I sit at my other desk on the other side of the room which I reserved for the other stuff, 

and wait...

If something happens, it happens.

If it doesn't. 

So what!

I don't know your thing but even if you have to work for 'The Man', never forget that under all those layers of self-doubt and negative thinking lies a creative genius. 

I'm serious.

It's not just my theory but I believe with all my heart that we're all possessed of something beyond the ken of our current understanding.

My advice: don't waste it watching TV, getting drunk and engaging in social media.

Create as if your life depended on it.

Take care.

Blessings and big love,

Julian

Photo by Clark Young

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Mindfulness

A short monologue that I recorded today on mindfulness.

Blessings,

Julian

A new relationship


“It isn't by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.” 
― Ken KeseyKesey's Garage Sale

We're told that to change our lives it requires grit, fortitude and peseverance.

Perhaps it does.

My experience is different.

We need look within and understand three things:
  1. Everything changes;
  2. When we make emptiness form, we suffer; and
  3. When we let go and stop clinging or pushing away, we allow everything to exist in perfect harmony.
There's nothing knew in what I'm saying. Indeed, this is pure Buddhist scripture.

But too many of us never go far enough in our self-enquiry: the reason the world is so angst-ridden is because said humans take seriously what the Gods made for fun, i.e. our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Take care.

Blessings,

Julian

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Podcasting



Just listen.

I don't need say much else.

Take care.

Love you all.

Julian

Friday, 26 January 2018

10 Reasons Why You Should Blog


#1 - Because you can.

#2 - You've something to say.

#3 - It's a way to get closer to the real you.

#4 - To help others.

#5 - To make a difference.

#6 - To build a body of work that, one day, might ignite a bigger spark than you ever dreamed possible.

#7 - Because it's fun.

#8 - To learn from others who are prepared to comment.

#9 - To leave a legacy.

#10 - To connect soul with role.

Of course, there are as many reasons not to blog, but if you've learned anything over the course of your life, it's the power of words to change lives.

Take care.

Blessings,

Julian

PS. The picture is of Charles Bukowski in reflective mood.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Happiness at work


I'd love to say that, over the space of 35 years (and counting), I'd enjoyed blissful periods at work.

Frankly, it's not even worth counting on one hand: I can't remember a time where I wasn't harried by doing too much, coping with a tide of conflicting messages and trying to use my limited energy in a way that made sense to my fragile soul. 

In any other area of my life, I'd have jack-knifed and given it up in pursuit of something more deserving of my time.

But, unfortunately, by dint of the money and my intermittent sense of self-worth, I hung in there, in the forlorn hope of finding happiness.

What about you?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your experience of work?

If you take your cue from the latest information coming out of Gallop, "85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work."

This probably means you've scored yourself around 2 or 3. 

Of course, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know; but the more serious point is that if you know this -- qua employee -- so does your employer.

AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING ABOUT IT?

Very little?

Oh sure, they might be investing in a slew of extrinsic rewards, but as Dan Pink wrote about in his excellent book, "Drive", what's important is how self-motivated you are. In other words, to foster and develop intrinsic motivation you need at least 3 things:

autonomy

purpose

mastery

The trouble is, at every turn, at least one of these, if not more, is thwarted.

But, as I've already said, when talking about 'Wicked Problems', the problem is so impossible to solve that stasis is the order of the day.

However, if you look carefully enough, you'll quickly discover a slew of companies who've decided to do it very differently. Call them rebels if you like but I prefer to look at the situation in a slightly more nuanced way. You see, for whatever reason, they've concluded that to apply old-school thinking will produce old-school results, and rather than wait for the system to completely break or to prop up an ailing and moribund one, the most obvious solution is to let people manage themselves.

Like, you know, erm, treat adults like adults?

When you've been used to lots of rules (upon which lots of jobs depend -- e.g. HR, facilities and Compliance), it's hard to see the problem as anything other than a mild relaxation of said rules. But what if you dropped all rules and let people manage everything? And I mean everything including holidays, how much they're paid and what sort of work they do.

Yes it's scary but no more so than waiting for the system to fall apart in the face of AI, virtual working, zero discretionary effort and trying always to keep your foot on the super-duper-but-only-for-a-few profits pedal.

Perhaps my new world sounds too egalitarian, too whimsical or even stupid but from where I sit and a few well-informed souls, we either evolve to a new, more vibrant stage or we die. 

Take care.

Blessings,

Julian

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Go all the way


But we never do.

We hold back.

We hesitate.

We hide.

Why?

Why is it we're not prepared to go all the way and commit to something all body, mind and spirit?

Name it.

Fear.

Shame.

Guilt.

In my case, I know there have been many times I've started something only to give up because I found something else to pursue. Not necessarily more interesting but it showed up, and grabbed my attention. How pathetic is that?

I can't say now that things are different, but perhaps with the passing of time and the fact that I know I've got less of it to waste, I'm more committed than ever to my Art -- whatever that truly means.

What about you?

What do you need to do to turn your life around?

Take care.

Blessings,

Julian

Note: If you're interested I'd love you to jump across to my Patreon page to check out more of my work.