Friday Dispatch

What I’m reading: The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer. I first read Iyer last year, introduced to his Beginner’s Guide to Japan. He shares his unique voice, travels, and experiences in a very enjoyable tone. I’ve wanted to visit Japan for many years, and in this pandemic, reading about it seems the next, though distant, best thing.

What I’m watching: the stock market. Like everyone, I think. It’s been a much more common conversation over the past twelve months – “what’s the market doing?” And as April is financial literacy month, it’s a good time to pay attention.

Other things that have caught my attention:

  • COVID vaccines
  • Vegetarian cookbook from chef Hari Pulapaka, a Florida restauranteur.
  • And revisiting the Four Agreements.

Being grateful

Gratitude, affirmations, and goal setting are excellent ways to start a day. But gratitude especially frames your perspective for any challenges the day may bring, ensuring you view them as the opportunities they are, rather than roadblocks.

Stay grateful, and keep pushing forward.

New eyes

Robert Frost spoke of two paths diverging in a wood, wherein he took the one least traveled upon. The supposition is that the least traveled road will provide the most discovery. The most insight.

However, with a discerning eye, even the heavily traveled road can be rife with inspiration.

Truer selves

“Everyone wears masks, metaphorically speaking.” – Ben Stein

Early on we’re taught that to get by, it’s best to conform to our surroundings. Join in, and be a part of the group. What we may sacrifice is our own individuality.

It can be hard to reclaim that individuality. Overwhelmingly so. But becoming your true self isn’t impossible.

As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Aim to do more work

It seems that when you’re trying to produce your beat work, that’s when you come up against blockages. Instead of focusing on quality, focus on quantity.

If you stick to your goals of producing anything rather than the thing, you’ll consistently improve your work. You’ll find new methods and creativity will flow from you.

Eventually, you’ll have produced your best work yet, simply by making more and more of the “worst work”. Just keep creating.

Writing prompts

Prompts help you get unstuck if you can’t think of anything to write. Prompts also help to focus your mind.

There are also prompts for your day. Asking yourself “What do I want to accomplish?” or “What am I grateful for?”

These are great questions to start your day.

Reforging the routine

I’ve been living the same way for around size weeks now. Most mornings, it’s up by 4:30. Then working out until 6:30, followed by going to work.

You notice breaks in the routine, once it’s created. Any deviations seems off, and it can unbalance the day.

However, you also have to be prepared to pivot. Being unbending is a sure way to crack under pressure.

Friday Dispatch

Been so long, I forgot what I was calling it. But, some things to share:

What I’m reading: African Samurai, by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard. The story of a sixteenth century slave, stolen from along the Nile. He became a boy soldier, fighting wars in India; then a professional bodyguard, working for Portuguese Jesuits; and finally a samurai under a prominent Japanese warlord. Really an interesting story.

What I’m watching: Star Wars: Clone Wars the animated series. My roommate had a frank discussion with me about Star Wars, and decided I needed to see the show. I haven’t had much time for tv watching, so I think I’ve seen eighteen episodes over two months. But it’s something.

For good sleep, try this position. I’m always trying to tweak my sleep. For several years I’ve focused on sleeping on my back. But, in my current bed setup, it just has t been all that comfortable. So side sleeping has proved to be the best bet.

Something I’m pondering: Show me your original face before you were born. A famous zen koan that pushes the mind towards our authentic self.

Listening to the sounds

Life has a certain tonal quality to it. Cities and rural areas may differ, but it is all the sound of life. Life is the presence of sounds.

An absence of sound would be abnormal. What we know as silence, if we are able to hear, is merely quiet. True silence is something we mostly don’t have the capacity, or willingness, to comprehend.

Admitting you don’t know

The simplest thing to do when faced with a situation you don’t understand is to admit that you don’t understand it. But, it’s difficult too. Maybe you feign knowledge of the subject matter, demurring to a new topic as soon as possible. Maybe it’s worse than that. What seems difficult to do for many is to admit, “I don’t know.”

But it shouldn’t be that hard. We have narrow fields of expertise, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with admitting this is beyond your expertise.