ED vs. ING

I was working a job last night, until after 11, and I started thinking about what I wanted to do when I got home. Did I want to turn on the tv, and watch some more Grimm? Did I want to continue listening to Something Wicked This Way Comes? Did I want to write, or clean, or some other variation?

And in my notebook as I stood there waiting, I wrote “ED vs. ING”. ED is passive. You are entertained. You are fed. You are pleased. You are relaxed (verb relaxed, not adjective).

ING is active. Creating. Thinking. Hell, even eating. (Oddly, I did a quick Google search and found this article in the LA Times, from 2014.)

And I believe much of our time we waste in passivity. We are entertained by the television. Rather than thinking about what we’re doing, we become the object of someone else’s sentence.

And so I decided to be creating, rather than merely be entertained.

Pulling the trigger

Nonviolently. I believe we’re all blessed with the ability to create ideas. Seth Godin, in his interview with Tim Ferris, said that the way to have good ideas is to have bad ideas. “If you put enough bad ideas into the world, sooner or later your brain will wake up, and good ideas will come.”

So, the thing to do is to put your ideas into action.

I’ve sat on ideas. I’ve seen some come to market from other people. I’ve seen some never materialize. And I’ve even put a few into the world myself – this blog for instance.

This blog isn’t anything revolutionary. It’s just my ideas, flowing out into the world. The way to get the good ideas out is to get all the ideas out. Eventually, the one that is revolutionary will make its way to its audience. And that’s when the change can happen.

Friday lists

What I’m reading: Letting Go. David Hawkins writes about freedom from attachment, and what that might look like in the modern age. “The mind, with its thoughts, is driven by feelings. Each feeling is the cumulative derivative of many thousands of thoughts. Because most people throughout their lives repress, suppress, and try to escape from their feelings, the suppressed energy accumulates and seeks expression through psychosomatic distress, bodily disorders, emotional illnesses, and disordered behavior in interpersonal relationships.”

What I’m watching: A lot of nothing. I’ve flitted from Lost Girl to a few other supernatural tv shows. A bit of NHK network, the Japanese news channel with travel and language programming. I’m gearing up for the Halloween season, and I want to do some research on horror and mythos.

What I’m listening to: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, narrated by Christian Rummel. I’d not read much by Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 is really the only one I remember. I know I owned two short story collections, but I don’t recall what I had read from it. But I had a dream a few nights back – partially induced by sleep aids and Benadryl. It involved a traveling circus, and I was reminded of Something Wicked, so I figured I’d give it a go.

Other things that caught my eye:

 

Combating moments of inertia

When I’m under the weather I tend to retreat into myself. I like solitude and privacy for my recovery. Currently I am under the weather which is why this is coming up.

There are moments when we are addled with inertia. When we cannot seem to find the drive to do anything remotely productive.

First, it’s okay. We can easily become overwhelmed. Don’t beat yourself up.

Then realize that it’s just a matter falling back on routines. The routine you’ve established will be what gets you through. If you developed a routine of writing every day, even in an inert moment you’ll make time to write.

It’s then most important to develop routines when you’re feeling capable, so that in times of doubt you’ll have an easier time maintaining those routines.

What I’ve Read

Time frame…?

Books Bought:

  • Plato: Complete Works – Edited by John M. Cooper
  • NORTH: Finding Place in Alaska – Julie Decker, editor
  • Raven Steals the Light – Bill Reid & Robert Bringhurst
  • Travels in Alaska – John Muir
  • Nature Writing – John Muir (Library of America edition)
  • 100 Tough Questions for Japan – Itasaka Gen

Books Read:

  • Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss (unfinished)
  • Wilderness Essays – John Muir (unfinished)
  • How to Watch a Movie – David Thomson (unfinished)
  • On National Parks – John Muir (unfinished)
  • Lycanthia; or The Children of Wolves  – Tanith Lee (unfinished)
  • The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
  • The Eye Never Sleeps: Striking to the Heart of Zen – Dennis Genpo Merzel
  • Emerson: Essays and Lectures – Ralph Waldo Emerson (unfinished)
  • The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

Well, who knows. It seems like April was the last time I wrote about my book purchases and reading. So… Here’s a list. It is probably incomplete. I look at a lot of books.

During the months of May-July, my work was highly demanding. But not the real work. Just the work for a paycheck. And the pay wasn’t even that good. Sometimes it’s about trying things – picking them up, seeing if you like them. If not, you put it down and walk away.

Highlights – Alaska was the big one. I purchased two books in Alaska: Raven and NORTH. The latter was published by collaboration with the Anchorage Museum and University of Washington Press. It includes works of art in the museum collection and essays about the Last Frontier.

To say that I was moved by Alaska would be an understatement. It was magnificent, and I cannot wait to go back.

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I like to pick up books when I travel. They’re not the lightest souvenir, but I’ve always had a connection with books. In Ireland, I purchased a used copy of On the Road. In Germany, a Lutheran hymnal. While in Prague, I got a handmade notebook.

Raven Steals the Light is a collection of Native myths from the Haida people. The Raven is a trickster, and a spirit, and a god. “The Raven, who of course existed at that time, because he had always existed and always would…” It recounts many native tales of the beginnings of things, and reasons for things.

I had a lot of false starts with books. Oscar Wao, for one. I tried, but couldn’t quite bring myself to read it. Same with Emerson. Same with Lycanthia. With Muir and Thomson. I just could not bring myself to read much.

Partly I think it’s owed to my having a lot on my mind. Hence I’ve been reworking my routines. I have now been reading each night before bed, settling into Name of the Rose for about 30-45 minutes a night. Sometimes less, if I’m really tired. Umberto Eco is interesting. I remember trying to read this book shortly after graduating high school, while sitting in a wing backed cushioned chair at Barnes & Noble. I didn’t get all that far into it.

It throws you Latin, and Italian, and maybe a splattering of French. Monastic terms I’m only vaguely familiar with, and some that I’ve never heard. Under all of that though, there is mystery and intrigue. A young monk has died mysteriously. If suicide, how did the window close behind him? If murder, is the assailant man (and thereby monk?), or something infernal? The Sherlockian monk William of Baskerville will use all his reasoning to get to the bottom of it.

It led me to discover the Italian mini-series, so I’m trying to find somewhere to watch that – with subtitles, preferably.

I added the two Muir books to my collection – I had been reading some essays by him before going to Alaska. I hope to finish at least one collection of his this year. Also the writings of Plato. I found this book used, and the fact that it was edited by Edith Hamilton caught my attention. I had done some myth research two years, reading over Hamilton as well as Joseph Campbell, and I wanted to see what sort of commentary was included in this book. I haven’t gotten around to opening it though.

I did just pop open Tools of Titans. I had picked it up on sale in December, and was just reading about Ferriss’s compulsion to record data.

I’m a compulsive note-taker. To wit, I have recorded nearly every workout since age 18 or so. Roughly 8 feet of shelf space in my home is occupied by spine upon spine of notebook upon notebook. That, mind you, is one subject. It extend to dozens. Some people would call this OCD, and many would consider it a manic wild goose chase. I view it simply: It is the collection of my life’s recipes.

I too take many notes, and have amassed a pile of notebooks. Not like Ferriss – not to that extent – but I’ve been jotting things down since I was in high school, and I’ve got notebooks with varying degrees of use on my shelves, in the garage, and in storage. If I had my way, this is what my house would look like:

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Maybe my next house…

Hustling for fun and profit

When I was first starting out as an actor, I had to hustle. And I did. I was once described as the busiest performer in Central Florida. I don’t know how true it was, but I was always on the go.

That changed following a family tragedy and subsequent illness that left me – for several years – somewhat debilitated. Now that my health has improved (not to where I was, but better than I had been doing after the diagnosis), I find myself much less inclined to hustle.

Self-promoting, especially now in the prevalent culture of social media, could easily eat up all of your time. I know actors who are devoting around a fifth of their time to keeping connected with their followers.

On the one hand, you have to keep a steady stream of communication to maintain engagement. On the other hand, it certainly will lead to burn out.

I don’t like the hustle anymore. In my twenties, maybe I didn’t mind it. I felt like it was going to get me somewhere. Now, instead, I come to the table with a strong work ethic, and motivation. Not as sexy as an Instagram stream, but it keeps me busy, working, and happy. And I think that’s what’s important, at least to me.

More

It seems that we’re constantly in search for more. More money, more time, more freedom, more happiness.

I’m actually looking for my space on my computer, prompting this post.

And I started thinking about all that I already have. And it’s a lot. I think we accumulate a lot of stuff. Would I like more time? Sure, but I could be using the time I have a little better.

More money. Absolutely! But I don’t need to be spending the money I do have on things that aren’t enriching my life.

We often focus so much on the more, we neglect the why. And if you’re not appreciating what you currently have, then do you really need more of it?