Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Joy Less Fat

They say that on December 21, 2012, the world will end.

That means when we all wake up on December 22, we will be in a new world, a new life, a rebirth of sorts.  

It's like people who have a major car wreck or health crisis where their life hangs in the balance.  When they survive the crisis, they realize they've been given a life extension … they are now living on borrowed time.  The general reaction to this experience seems to be a sense of awe at life, a re-dedication to living with meaning and purpose.

Perhaps that's what will happen to us collectively on the morning of December 22nd.  At least, it's a choice we could make, individually as well as collectively.  In that rebirth moment, each of us gets to choose what life we will live, who we will be, what purpose we will follow.  

The past month has been a transition period as I let go of some things and explored a myriad of possibilities … some outlandish, some hangovers from the past, some pale possibilities that did not excite me,  The word that kept coming back to me ... the maypole of this dance ... was:  JOY.  I know I want to live joy, collect joy, share joy, increase joy in the world.

Circling around this small word gave structure to my exploration and eventually led me back to myself and my life-long dance with Fat, which has been at once my master teacher and also a continuing joy drainer.  I am ultimately grateful for this issue that introduced itself to me in the first grade and has been my constant companion.  It may not be a very attractive Guide, but it is the one I was given and it has been a great teacher.  It prodded me into learning about health and nutrition at an early age.  It introduced a lonely, bookish child to the joys of her physical being ... running, walking, yoga, dance, hiking, kayaking, swimming and, of course, sex.  It led me into the hallowed halls of spirituality and psychology.  It prompted dozens of personal development experiences that gradually helped me understand who I am. 

I have wanted to write about this master teacher for many years.  Finally, it seems to be time.  Not only have I studied with this Master my entire life, I have also maintained a major weight loss for the past five years …years that simultaneously introduced me to a new master: Joy … which brought its own lessons.  I have gained deep life insight into both Fat and Joy and suddenly realized that if I could create "More Joy; Less Fat" in my own life, it could help others who also struggle with these issues. 

Just as Joy has many different meanings, Fat can be interpreted in many ways. It can be generalized to mean anything you need to make life healthy and worthwhile but too much of which can be damaging.  Too much Fat of any type can weigh you down, clog the arteries of your life, drain your energy, and interfere with movement.  We understand the role of Fat in our bodies, but sometimes we overlook the excess Fat that may show up as too much material stuff which can demand our constant attention, excess memories that keep us anchored to the past, excess judgments and opinions which block new ideas, or excess fears which narrow our comfort zone and prevent us from having new experiences.  When we  begin to focus on creating more Joy, we automatically begin to release excess Fat in all its many varieties.

The holidays are here and, for some of us, this time of the year is a mixed blessing.  We love the bright, shiny parts but the over-abundance of food and drink fills us with a sense of dread and powerlessness over the scale-creep that almost always happens during this period.  

If you believe that you will indeed wake up on December 22nd ... and, perhaps, be in a new world and want "More Joy; Less Fat" in your new life, send an email to  I'll let you know when the launch begins for this new, fun, creative, empowering approach to an old issue that some of us have carried around (literally) for way too long.

May your holiday season be pure joy,


About this image:  "A New Way of Seeing"

Perhaps if we had more eyes, we would see more clearly.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Question: What Do I Want?

This morning, art mentor Ariane Goodwin, asked the question I've been asking myself intensely over the past several weeks: What do I want?  

What do I want to do?  What life do I want to lead?  What is still undone?  Who do I want to serve?  Where do my talents and skills intersect with the world's needs and ills?

My art has been on hold, my life has been in suspended animation, my decision making has been put on sabbatical till I come up with an answer.  

Actually, I'm looking for more than "an" answer since I already have large sheets of Post-it paper hanging all over my hallway filled with answers.  I want an answer that makes me say "Eureka! That's it."  I want an answer that connects all the disparate parts of myself into a beacon of energy, imagination, purpose, and service.  I want an answer that lights up like the flood light that swept the night sky in front of our local theater as it scored the coup of being the first to show the movie "Lincoln" in our area.

And, then, there it was.  Sitting right in front of me as if it had been waiting for me to clear the fog so I could see it.

Years ago … so many years ago that it feels like a different life … I started a small newsletter called, "MindPlay."  Two forces intersected to bring this newsletter into being.  I was tired of having my writing proposals rejected … and, part of my job involved marketing a group of physicians.  I talked the group into buying a desktop publishing software package, which I used in my off hours to produce an 8-page newsletter where I could write about anything that interested me with no qualms about rejection letters.  Sort of an early, hard-copy blog as a matter of fact … one that went on for almost 8 years and took me places I'd never imagined.

Anyway, one of the early things I wrote about was an idea that came from someone else … the idea box.  The process was a way to evaluate ideas by putting them in a box (literally or figuratively) and to forget them for a time.  When you came back and opened the box and the idea was bigger and brighter, it was a keeper.  I've been doing this for years and generally find that when I open the box, most ideas have shriveled to dust.  But, this morning when I opened the box, one sprang out like a jack-in-the-box and shouted, "I've been in this box for 30 years … stop pushing me back down!"

OK.  OK.  I get it.  So, a "new/old" idea is now on my planning sheet.  It's not ready for prime time but I'm going to put it through its paces to see if it can hold up to the roller-coaster of implementation.

In the meantime I'm going to explore some of the questions Ariane poses in her message this morning.  If you don't have a great answer to the question:  "What do I want?", I highly recommend that you check out her post.

About this image:  "Pink Lizard"

Recently I met a new friend and, through a series of conversations, discovered that she has an amazing collection of gems and minerals.  She invited me to come photograph some and make art from them.  This carved piece is the first in a series.  It reminds me of how much I want interesting conversations with fascinating people.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Question at the Bottom of the Rabbit Hole

For the past several days, I've been exploring next steps … whether to go this way or that, while sitting in my comfortable home enjoying my comfortable life.

This morning I read about a life not so comfortable … a land where the per capita income is $4000 per year, where life expectancy for men is 48 and for women 52, where infant mortality is 300% higher than the US average, where unemployment is 85%, where only 30% of students graduate from high school and the teen suicide rate is 150 times greater than the US average.

And which third-world country is this?  

The heart-breaking fact is that it's a neglected corner of our own country and probably not the only place where poverty, disease and hopelessness run rampant in this golden land of opportunity.  In this time when we are spending six BILLION dollars trying to decide who will lead arguably the world's most powerful country, we seem powerless to help our least fortunate.

Every year, energy, ideas and venture capital flow like a river toward new products and services, new video games, new technologies … and what a beautiful, productive river it is as it irrigates the fields of commerce that provide us with the stuff we need (and want), jobs and ever new opportunities.  

The question is … how might we use this powerful cycle of commerce to bring new life, new energy, new hope to the places within our own borders that have become life destroying deserts of poverty?  

I know that we are a generous, caring people.  If there were a hungry child sitting on our front porch, almost any of us would take that child in and comfort and feed it.  The problem is that we don't actually see the hungry children, and when we hear about them, in spite of our best intentions, we don't know what to do.  The problems seem too overwhelming to be solved.

Maybe this is where creativity comes in, and maybe the question should be: "What am I willing to do?"