Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Love Letter 32: Julian to Reno: A rolling retreat

Stopping by Mono Lake on Hwy 395

(We know the day we were born, but most of us do not know the day we will die. This love letter to my life is written on the day I've designated as my death day, the 17th of every month, and reminds me to be grateful for my incredible life.)    

Eleven hours of driving time, with podcast playlist queued: Tim Ferriss talking to Seth Godin, Chip Conley, Josh Waitzkin, Jack Kornfield. Plus a panel discussion with researchers and investors talking about the future of psychedelics and explaining the “default mode network,” where our ideas of self are held, our stories take hold, and our ego holds sway. (See below for short video with author Michael Pollan explaining this.)

Tim Ferriss has become my favorite podcasters with almost 500 long-form podcasts (most of them in the hour-and-a-half to two-hour range) of interviews with successful people from business, sports, and the arts. His stated intention is to deconstruct the habits and processes of world-class performers. He does that and more.

Over the past six-months, my view of Tim has changed dramatically. I originally thought of him as a macho “life-hacker”, someone looking for shortcuts, focused solely on improving measurable performance. After spending many long hours listening to around 30 of his podcasts, I now think of him as one of my teachers, something like an on-call mentor. He is far more complex, interesting, and appealing than I expected and his preparation for each interview is meticulous. He asks questions which create deep conversations and allow his interviewees to shine. Over time, I’ve discovered that, even when I think I’m not interested in the person he is interviewing, I find myself engaged and learning. Tim offers extensive notes and links as well as a transcript of each podcast which facilitates review and integration of each podcast’s content.

So, this long day of driving turned into a personal retreat day with many lessons. Here are the primary take aways:

Chip Conley (#374), boutique hotelier: Make a weekly inventory of what I’ve learned.

Jack Kornfield (#300), spiritual teacher“Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed. This is the ancient and eternal law.” 

Josh Waitzkin (#375), super learning coach: Thinking about your most important question (MIQ) in the evening and then brainstorming it first thing after you wake-up. (Also, heart rate variability)

Tim Ferriss, podcaster: The power of a 3-breath break.

Seth Godin (#138) best-selling author and thinker, introduces himself as: Hi. I’m Seth Godin. I’m a teacher, and I do projects”You have more power than you think you have … act accordingly!”  Blog every day. (Also how to make honey-oatmeal vodka)

Blog every day!

In the vast universe of blogging, I am the microstate of Liechtenstein … or more accurately, a square block in the municipality of Planken, population 473. However, the story of this miniscule blog, conceived eleven years ago during lunch with a friend on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall, isn’t told by the slightly over 400,000 views to date, 1100 posts or the 2700 comments to the posts. It is not a story of numbers. It is the cup that has held the unfolding of a life … my life.

My second blog post was titled: My Cup Is Empty. And, it was. I had lost my husband, my home, two mothers, a dream of happily-ever-after, and my dog Missy. Plus, I was adrift in the snows of Colorado when my spirit was anchored in California sunshine. What I didn’t know when I saw a flyer for a Miksang photography workshop with Michael Wood was that life was about to change. 

Michael happened to live in the same small town outside Boulder and his course attracted Diane Walker from the Seattle area who would become a lasting friend and inspiration. In that long-weekend course, my photography transformed and Diane suggested that my cup was empty and suggested that I needed to feed my spirit. When she showed me her blog, a door popped wide open. I had blogged during my years with the InnovationNetwork but let it fall away when life became too chaotic. Now, it was back, calling me into writing about life.

So this blog has ebbed and flowed over the years, gone off on tangents, followed specific interests, and sometimes just went silent. When Seth Godin advised listeners to blog every day, it was like he was pointing his finger at me. So, I’m going to give it a go.

Tim often asks his guests if they would like to leave the audience with one last thought. Seth Godin’s was, 
"Send someone a thank you note tomorrow.”

That seems like a great place to stop until tomorrow.


Jack Kornfield … podcast

"Heart rate variability: A new way to track well-being,"  by Marcelo Campos, MD, Harvard Health Publishing, November 22, 2017




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