ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

January 24, 2012

Be lucky.

Robert X. Cringely’s first tip for would-be entrepreneurs is: 

 “Avoid stupid and unlucky people.

I’m taking his advice because starting a company is hard.

I want to be luckylike the kitten that adopted me last week.

For decades my father has told me that

It’s better to be lucky than to be good.

I don’t just want to be good; I want to be excellent.

My dad says that to be excellent I should surround myself with people who have good luck. He tells me that people with good luck are contagious — as are people with bad luck!

My dad regularly affirms:

Avoid the unlucky, the unethical, and the unhappy.

To find people who are ethical, I have a strategy. My startup co-founder has a sixth sense when it comes to sniffing out ethics; Detective Troutgirl is always on the case.

As for happiness, lessons are repeated until they are learned. There is no way to happiness because happiness is the way; consequently, people reveal true colors in conversation. But what about luck?

I want to find people who are as attracted to luck as cats are attracted to heat.

To create luck, I conjure up some scientistic sleuthing.

If 80% of success is showing up, then

80-90% of luck is an excellent attitude.

Those numbers are corroborated scientistically by business shark Daymond John and psychologist Richard Wiseman:

Daymond John boldly declared on Shark Tank

Life is like business. It’s 20% what happens to you, and 80% how you respond.

Richard Wiseman concurs,

Only about 10% of life is purely random.
The remaining 90% is defined by the way we think.
Our attitudes produce our luck.

I read those sentiments over and over, and think to myself: Still, there’s that remaining 10-20% that is pure luck, and that’s the part we need EVEN if we work hard and make wise choices and are as patient as a crouching kitten.

So… How can we MAKE more luck?

In 2010 I chuckled that with a luck factoryI’d make a fortune.

Since then, I’ve become aware that there are traits that we can practice to increase our ability to make our own luck.

On 106miles.net I summarized Bakadesuyo’s article How can you become more lucky? by noting that lucky people practice four traits: openness, intuition, optimism, and resilience.

Practice every day, as much as possible:

1. Openness to new experiences. Network. Meet new people. Re-engage with people you know.

2. Intuition. Listen to yourself. Meditate to clear your mind regularly.

3. Optimism. The mind is a feedback loop that creates self-fulfilling prophecies, so be positive.

4. Resilience. Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill)

To that I add, don’t try to avoid pain:

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

(mis-attributed to Bob Marley; actual author unknown)

Be open. Be intuitive. Be optimistic. Be resilient. Good luck!

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Get Lucky: The Book.

I’m going to make it a habit to spend time with people who are lucky, and we’ll see what happens when I practice lucky traits.

I will stay interconnected and get enough sleep.

Yes, sleep


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Refer to me as @ifindkarma and I’ll be happy. You can also find this work as a chapter in Eric Ries’s and Hunter Walk’s wonderful Uncensored book for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Photo credits: All four pictures in this post were taken by me using Instagram on iPhone 4s, and are hosted on Flickr. These pictures feature the cats I humbly serve: Beavis, the 18-year-old silver Tabby; Coco, the 18-month-old Tuxedo kitty; and (unnamed), the 9-month-old lucky black cat who adopted me last week at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. Not pictured is Lola, the 9-year-old Oklahoma runaway feline who is camera-shy.

December 9, 2011

#42

Anything that happens, happens.
Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.
       ~ Douglas Adams
.
Most people do not comprehend,
[no matter how] they encounter such things,
nor do they understand what they learn;
they believe only themselves.
       ~ Heraclitus

.
Every thought is a seed.
If you plant crab apple, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.
      ~ Bill Meyer

.
All the lessons of history in four sentences:
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power.
The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.
The bee fertilizes the flower it robs.
When it is dark enough, you can see stars.

       ~ Charles A. Beard


In the spirit of Thirty and Thirty-Five comes the following awesome, beautiful, and creative web of thoughts that occupy my brain.

No matter.

I’m not patient enough to write poetry or prose, so I’ll just count down after Futurama.

Don’t you worry about life, the universe, and everything; let me worry about blank

42. We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

41. Everything is about inclusion.

40. Everything is everythang.

39. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

38. As human beings, our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

37. Let it go. This too shall pass.

36. SIMPLIFY.

35. Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

34. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

33. Reflect on happiness.

32. People are very bad at predicting what will make us happy.

31. There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

30. We are feedback loops. We are the stories we tell ourselves.

29. Love is when you open your heart to pain.

28. To get over grief, be there for someone else’s grief.

27. Kittie heaven is mousie hell.

26. Bird is the word!

25. The ride does not require an explanation. Just occupants.

24. It’s not going to stop till you wise up.

23. Character is destiny.

22. Reflection creates identity.

21.
You can do anything.

20. We can change the world with a pen and paper. We keep waiting, waiting.

19. Starting is hard.

18. We’ll see.

17. Life is… delicious ambiguity.

16. Beware drift. Do what you love!

15. True happiness comes from within.

14. Get yourself a giant panda! (Super kawaii!)

13. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

12. That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

11. It goes to 11. (Be sure to read through to Andy Weir’s story, “The Egg”!)

10. Life is like business. It’s 20 percent what happens to you, and 80 percent how you respond.

9. 80 percent of success is showing up.

8. Our attitudes produce our luck.

7. Love more, fear less.

6. Be grateful for every breath.

5. Be who you are, as hard as you can.

4. Be here now.

3. Be excellent.

2. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

1. Only kindness matters in the end.

********* …enlightenment… *********

 

 

Dont_just_give_up


July 12, 2011

It goes to 11.

Somewhere, something incredible 
is waiting to be known.
      ~ Carl Sagan

Carve out one minute of your day for mindfulness.
Turn off the Internet and turn on the Innernet.
Every night as you fall asleep, plant a seed in your mind.
Every morning when you wake, take a minute to meditate.
It makes a world of difference.
     ~ Lili Balfour


Today I saw that a friend lost a baby unicorn.

And I realized, everybody hurts and everybody struggles sometimes.
Lost_one_baby_unicorn

We’ve been struggling at 106 Miles to create a charity event for the Nerd New Year (11/11/11) as we moved the event from Fox Theatre in Redwood City to the Redwood City Courthouse Square, and now (hopefully) to Broadway in Redwood City between the Caltrain and El Camino Real for a street party. See: NerdNewYear.com

Sometimes I ask myself, why even try do it?

Not because of synchronicity. That seems too far out to me.

And not just because it goes to 11, though that does help.

 


I’ve been excited about 11/11/11 ever since January 11.

Truth is, everywhere I go this year, I see elevens.

11s have no meaning except as a personal wake up call.

A wake up call to do something meaningful.

I hope on 11/11/11 to raise awareness for 11 causes.

In their honor, here’s a list of my favorite eleven lists.

8. Eleven Facts About Pandas (and then some!)

6. Eleven Inspirational Quotes (my favorite is the one from Albert Einstein, “I once thought that if I could ask God one question, I would ask how the universe began, because once I knew that, all the rest is simply equations. But as I got older I became less concerned with how the universe began. Rather, I would want to know why He started the universe. For once I knew that answer, then I would know the purpose of my own life.”)

All of those elevens really do wake me up.

We don’t know what will make us happy, but we think we do.

Life ebbs and flows. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

Life has many chapters, if you allow them to open.

Meaning is not something you stumble across. You have to build meaning into your life… And you build meaning into your life by the commitments that you make.

Commitments beyond yourself.

When we’re young, we search for identity: “Who am I?

Your identity, actually, is what you’ve committed yourself to:

We close with a short story passed to me by Shuqiao, whose song is the Dalai Lamas “My religion is very simple; my religion is kindness” as she shares “The Egg” by Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered, you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point mincing words.

“There was a… A truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

Yo
u looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you God?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died, and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Some vague authority figure. More of a grammar school teacher than the Almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly reliveved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right.”

“All the religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strolled in the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just dont remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic then you can possible imagine.


A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold.
You put a tiny part or yourself into the vessel, and when u bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been a human for the last 34 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for longer, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. And into lots of different lives,” I said. “This time around you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 A.D.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You pondered.

“Oh sure!” I explained. “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there’s others like me. I know you’ll want to know what its like there but you honestly wont understand.”

“Oh.” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, could I have interacted with myself at some point?”

“Sure. Happens all the time. and with both lives only aware of their own timespan you dont even know its happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? Your asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well its a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked in your eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No. just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature, and become a larger and greater intellect.


“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you, and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

All you. Different incarnations of you.

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” you said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “You were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

“Why?” You asked me. “why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa.” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said. “Its just…”

“An egg of sorts.” I answered. “Now its time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way…

April 11, 2011

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

Ashley tweeted, “We make friends by wasting time with them.

So I tweeted it too. Which made me want to dance.

“What does it feel like when you’re dancing?”

“Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going… then I, like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there.”

There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

Which brings us to Oprah.

Oprah opined, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Which surfaced my love for The Little Prince, Chapter 21


It was then that the fox appeared.

“Good morning,” said the fox.

“Good morning,” the little prince responded politely, although when he turned around he saw nothing.

“I am right here,” the voice said, “under the apple tree.”

 

Fox

 

“Who are you?” asked the little prince, and added, “You are very pretty to look at.”

“I am a fox,” the fox said.

“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.”

“I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”

“Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince.

But, after some thought, he added:

“What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“You do not live here,” said the fox. “What is it that you are looking for?”

“I am looking for men,” said the little prince. “What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“Men,” said the fox. “They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?”

“No,” said the little prince. “I am looking for friends. What does that mean–‘tame’?

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”

“‘To establish ties’?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .

“I am beginning to understand,” said the little prince. “There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . .”

“It is possible,” said the fox. “On the Earth one sees all sorts of things.”

“Oh, but this is not on the Earth!” said the little prince.

The fox seemed perplexed, and very curious.

“On another planet?”

“Yes.”

“Are there hunters on that planet?”

“No.”

“Ah, that is interesting! Are there chickens?”

“No.”

“Nothing is perfect,” sighed the fox.

But he came back to his idea.

“My life is very monotonous,” the fox said. “I hunt chickens; men hunt me. All the chickens are just alike, and all the men are just alike. And, in consequence, I am a little bored. But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.

 

Princefox

 

“Please–tame me!” he said.

“I want to, very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . .”

“What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.

“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me–like that–in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . .”

The next day the little prince came back.

“It would have been better to come back at the same hour,” said the fox. “If, for example, you come at four o’clock in the afternoon, then at three o’clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o’clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . .”

“What is a rite?” asked the little prince.

“Those also are actions too often neglected,” said the fox. “They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all.” 

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near–

“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .”

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.” And then he added:

“Go and look again at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret.” 

The little prince went away, to look again at the roses.

“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.

And the roses were very much embarassed.

“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you–the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or ever sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose. “

And he went back to meet the fox.

“Goodbye,” he said.

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

“M
en have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose . . .”

 

“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

 

July 1, 2010

SIMPLIFY.

Slow down.
Imagine doing less.
Make time for loved ones.
Practice patience.
Learn to gently say no.
Increase your quiet time.
Follow your heart.
Yield to life, yield to peace, yield to joy…

(…author unknown…and always be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle…)

 

 

Now is also a good moment along the journey to simplify our way of happiness

How_to_be_happy_simplified

June 23, 2010

Be here now.

Michelle Geromel posted,

“Dear friend,

Not even I know how a dream will come true, until it does.

But if you just keep showing up, they always do.

Big-Love-Hug,
~The Universe” (source: tut.com)

I told her that being present is challenging because life has so many “be here now” distractions. To which she responded…

Whenever she feels scattered, she looks in the mirror and asks herself where she is.

Sometimes she has to ask herself a few times to bring herself back to the present, but it always works:
  1. Breathe.
  2. Let go.
  3. Reflect.

 

Reflection always works

Perhaps that’s why reflection creates identity

To be here now, engage your reflection.

Find joy and peace in this very moment.”

Be grateful for every breath.

Life is… delicious ambiguity.

Character is destiny. Everything will be okay in the end. So…

Whenever you are knocked down, get up.

Simplify.

We close this note with a score of reflections over the last month, reflected in my statuses on Facebook and Twitter…


Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ~ Robert Heinlein (via Ashley Merkut)

Stop thinking about life and start living it.” ~ @PauloCoelho (via @IlzeSuna)

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for” ~ Bob Marley (via me)

The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” (via Teresa Pedraza)

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.” ~ Walt Whitman (via Altaire Gural)

“Life gives answers in three ways… It says Yes and gives you what you want; it says No and gives you something better; it says Wait and gives you the Best!” (via @IlzeSuna)

“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everyt
hing is ready, we shall never begin.” ~ Ivan Turgenev (
via Persia Pele)

“If everything seems under control — you’re just not going fast enough.” ~ Mario Andretti (via Marianne Borenstein)

“I am a professional guitar player. People pay me to stop.” ~ Bob Cleveland (via me)

“Sue Sylvester has hourly flare-ups of burning, itchy, highly contagious talent…” ~ GLEE (via @AmyKeefe)

Twitter is really going through a detox right now, and it’s trying to get some of the toxins out of its system.” ~ Michael Abbott (via the Merc, still doing better than Yahoo)

“Violence is never the answer, unless the question is, ‘What is never the answer?'” ~ Cleveland Brown (via me)

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~ Mother Teresa (via @IlzeSuna)

“It is not difficult to love good people. It is difficult to love people as they are.” ~ Juris Rubenis (via @IlzeSuna)

Death is not sad; the sad thing is that most people don’t really live at all.” ~ Peaceful Warrior (via Amie Valenzuela)

“Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you Until we meet again!” (via @IlzeSuna)

“Even if you work hard and make wise choices, you still need a little luck. Never forget.” (via me)

Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” (via Faith Thomas)

“Find joy and peace in this very moment.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh (via @NikiConnor)

“the yogic breath (in thru the nose, out thru the mouth) in sanskrit is ‘ham sa’ which means ‘that i am‘… beautiful…” (via samantha graham)

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank (via thedogs.com)

“Ancie
nt master says: If you like everything, then you like nothing. But if you love everything, you have the world.” ~ Kurt Thams

Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

 

Panda_on_a_unicorn

June 8, 2010

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

“We are feedback loops; we are the stories we tell ourselves…”
~ Doc Jensen on LOST  

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder…”
~ M.C. Escher

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. We all were one.

And then we said, “Oh haiLet there be light.

Cieling_cat_creates

And then we LOOK closer and more carefully. We could see that there was nothing. Which is a funny thing to say because sometimes words are inadequate, and sometimes words have two meanings.

And then expansion started… Wait!

And we added things. And the universe expanded. And we added more things. And the universe kept expanding to accommodate adding more things. And everything was awesome. Fundamentally.

It might seem like everything was added randomly. And perhaps that is the case. But that’s not what we believe.

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

This idea was kept in the dark for billions of years. Instead, the reigning belief was detachment: “I don’t really want to know how your garden grows, ’cause I just want to fly.” And so, we lived forever…

…and life was but a dream. Edgar Allan Poe waxed poetic, “All that we see or seem… is but a dream within a dream.” (Thanks Ankita!)

And we thought about the words of Rumi…

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your
perception.

They say there is a doorway from heart to heart, but what is the use of a door when there are no walls?

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

And the Primitive Radio Gods whispered quietly in the corner…

Am I alive, or thoughts that drift away?
Does summer come for everyone?
Can humans do what prophets say?
If I die before I learn to speak,
can money pay for all the days
I lived awake but half-asleep?

Suddenly we woke up with a kick. And we were no longer detached when we woke up with the idea. Not to spoil Inception, but merely to praise Inception:

What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.

For our idea, Douglas Adams offered enlightenmentSpecifically, Dirk Gently illuminated us.

I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson. Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs Rawlinson? No, neither do I, Mrs Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs Rawlinson. Goodbye. 
    — Douglas Adams, Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency

And then Tim Berners-Lee — or was it Dan Connolly? — distilled the words to their essence:

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

And then Jamie Zawinski reflected on the Vannevar Bush-influenced words of Ted Nelson:

Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged —
people keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t.

Everything is deeply intertwingled.

And then the Internet developed its own connective tissue. Which itself is unsearchable.

And then I couldn’t believe what happened next. Free association. Say what? We’ll see.

…continuing. LOOKWe didn’t start the fire. America, fuck yeah. Freedom isn’t freeTerrible Disney lessons. The virus of faith2000″ TVYou’re the man now, dawgBlue ball machine. Facebook is a lobster trap, and your friends are the baitTrue happiness comes from within. It comes back to you, you’re gonna get what you deserve… lovin’ is what I got, remember thatThe ride does not require an explanation, just occupants. Imitation of lifeNoah’s photosI’m expressin’ with my full capabilities, now I’m living in correctional facilities. Now let me welcome everybody to the wild wild west… California love… Regulators!!! I want it all: brand new socks and drawers. Why do I live this way? Heeeey, must be the moneyAlright stop, collaborate and listen. How can I find a woman like that? Guitar: impossibleFrench bulldogs. OMG pwnies. Ready, set, bagSpeak with meMeditate. Mediate. Kick. Things that make you go hmmmShow me how to dance. Alejandro. Ra ra ra ah ah ah roma ro ma ma gaga ooh la la. Cameron Diaz dancesStephen Hawking rocks. Time travel is horrifyingOuter space sucksCrumbling cities. Pink housesIconic bras. Mad menAh, l’amourDisney perversionsEpisode 200. And 201. FreedomUnconscious trumps free will. Disney deathsSerial killers. Corporate slogans. At-atCanned unicorn meatWhat if you’re wrong? The purpose of purposeThe empathetic civilizationEmma BatesQualia. Reid HoffmanHegel’s philosophy of history. The unexplainable. Time-traveling brandy thievesLife on Mars. LOST. The Little Prince.

I love The Little Prince. Whi
ch reminds me of some of my favorite words that Robbye Bentley has posted recently

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Life and Jah are one in the same. Jah is the gift of existence. I am in some way eternal, I will never be duplicated. The singularity of every man and woman is Jah’s gift. What we struggle to make of it is our sole gift to Jah. The process of what that struggle becomes, in time, the Truth.” ~ Bob Marley

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” ~ Stephen Covey

Thank you, Robbye. I have some favorites of my own, too.

The words of Rumi echo in eternity, “The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception.”

Which takes me full circle…

Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for” ~ Bob Marley

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

If success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… How would I be? What would I do?” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends. How high can the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know…” ~ Colors of the Wind

And Scott Adams said, “The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.”

So it goes…

 

And then a lot of peoples’ brains exploded. Such is rock n roll.

And then we rested. Or at least, we tried to relax and breathe and reflect

And appreciate that nothing can ever be truly, fully understood. Seriously.

Still, three fundamental questions remain:
  1. If everything is everythang, are being and becoming just limited beings’ perspective of the oneness?
  2. If happiness is part of the oneness, why is it so difficult to be here now and connect to that happiness?
  3. If lessons are repeated until they are learned, is learning just finding the right connection to the oneness?

And are there things we can never learn? We’ll see.

If some connections cannot be made, perhaps there is no spoon at all.

If Internet is the substrate for interconnectedness of all things, perhaps The Architect knows.

And are there things that cannot be taught? Richard Feynman refuses to explain how magnets work. Feynman concludesI really can’t do a good job, any job, of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else you’re more familiar with, because I don’t understand it in terms of anything else you’re more familiar with.

Breathing is neither learned nor taught. It just is. And yet sometimes we must remember to breathe. And to be here now. And to be grateful for every breath.

And then when that gratitude gets us reflecting about the meaning of life, we learn to let it go; this too shall pass

It’s one who won’t be taken, that cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live, sang Bette Midler.

So it goes.

Savor every second; enjoy every sandwich, as the dying Warren Zevon put it.

So it goes.

You need to live before you die, said Steve Jobs…

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have
to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

So it goes…

It is through death, too, that we make a connection with Randy PauschCon te partiro.

In the end, there is no greater job than enabling the childhood dreams of others.

And in the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

And in the end, only kindness matters.

So we dance. And LOOK. And simplify. And reflect. And breathe.

Which takes us back to the beginning.

And then… Bazinga!

June 4, 2010

Everything is everythang.

(Lately I have been regularly reminded that

everything is connected — there are no “separate entities” in our universe, and we are all part of something bigger… 

This in turn reminds me of a scene from The Sopranos which I transcribed years ago and include again below because lessons are repeated until they are learned…)

 

Sometimes I go about in
pity for myself, and all
the while, a great wind
carries me across the sky.
           — Ojibwe Saying


 

(Gathered in a hospital room, watching a boxing match on TV.)

Paulie, watching a boxer get hit: It’s a life of abuse.

John Schwinn: Well, he is a boxer. Heh.

Paulie: It’s the same for everybody. (To Tony:) Look at you, T. You do your uncle a kindness, you get shot for your efforts. You think you got family, but in the end, they fuck you, too.

Tony, to John: He’s grieving. His aunt just died.

Paulie: I tell ya, we each and every one of us are alone in the ring, fighting for our lives. Just like that poor prick. (Points to boxer.)

John: Well, that’s one way to look at it.

Paulie: You got a better one?

John: Don’t get me started. It’s complicated…

Paulie: Think I’m stupid?

John: Well, it… It’s actually an illusion those two boxers are separate entities.

Paulie: What the fuck?

Rapper: Illusion?

John: “The separate entities” is simply the way we choose to perceive them.

Tony: I didn’t choose nothin’…

John: It’s… it’s physics. Schrödinger’s equation. The boxers, you, me… we’re all part of the same quantum field.

Rapper’s girlfriend: You ever substitute teach at Carlton middle school?

Tony: He’s a rocket scientist, fer chissakes. Bell labs. (Boxer beats on other boxer.) You were saying?

John: Well, think of the two boxers as ocean waves or currents of air. Two tornadoes, say. They appear to be two things, right? Two separate things? But they’re not. The tornadoes are just wind, the wind stirred up in different directions. The fact is, nothing is separate. Everything is connected.

Rapper: Everything is everythang. (Raises cup.) I’m down with that.

Tony: Get the fuck outta here!

John: The universe is just a big soup of molecules bumping up against one another. The shapes we see exist only in our own consciousness. (TV picture goes out.)

Paulie: You’re so fuckin’ smart… fix that TV.

John: (Laughs.) Okay…

Tony: So, Mr. Wizard, you were talkin’ about tornadoes. Know what the Indians say about the wind?

John: No.

Tony: They say that sometimes we go around feeling pity for ourselves, but behind our back a great wind is carrying us.

John: We don’t see we’re part of a much bigger reality.

Tony: And then we die.

John: Why are you so interested in all this?

Tony: I was in the coma, and I… look, I don’t remember nothin’. But before I woke up, I felt like I was being pulled towards something. And I don’t wanna go back… Then my wife told me I woke up at one point. I said, Who am I? Where am I going? You know, it makes you wonder. About… heaven… and, uh… hell…

John: That presupposes a duality of good and evil. You know, it gets us ba
ck to the idea of separate, opposing entities. You know where I go with that.

Tony: Well, this Bible guy I know says you’re going to hell.

John: Maybe he’s right. Got my test results back. Laryngial cancer.

Tony: Jesus, I’m sorry.

John: Yeah, I was thinking maybe you could do me a favor, and, uh, you know, what’s the term? “Whack me”? Sorry. Bad joke.

Paulie: All I’m saying, [your mother] Livia with all her faults never abandoned you.

Tony: Fer chrissake, Paulie, you know what your problem is? You go around in pity for yourself! You think you got it bad. You’re not stuck in some hospital with fuckin’ tubes coming out of you. You can eat food like a normal person…

Paulie: T., I never meant to trivialize your situation…

Tony: Well, you gotta get beyond this petty bullshit, Paulie… You… You’re part of something bigger. When you gonna learn that?

— Sopranos episode 69, “Fleshy Part of the Thigh

 

 

 

 

June 2, 2010

You can do anything.

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

So reflect, think carefully, and choose wisely.

The good news is, you don't have to choose alone.

Everybody's all connected, you see…

What her words lack in coherence is more than made up for in enthusiasm. 🙂

June 1, 2010

We’ll see.

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

And all things are neither wonderful nor terrible. They just are.

This is the lesson in the movie Charlie Wilson’s War reflected in this story about a Zen master:

Gust Avrakotos: There’s a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse… and everybody in the village says, “How wonderful. The boy got a horse!” And the Zen master says, “We’ll see.” Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, “How terrible!” And the Zen master says, “We’ll see.” Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight… except the boy can’t ’cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, “How wonderful.” 

Charlie Wilson: Now the Zen master says, “We’ll see.” 

It is tempting to rush to judgment about what’s happening in any given moment, rather than be patient about the uncertainty of the bigger picture’s context. Getting LOST in a particular incident — or series of cause-and-effects — prevents us from letting go and moving on to where we need to go.

This is embodied by the great tension that resides in the uncertainty between being and becoming.

It is long and hard work to see our lives as not a series of isolated incidents, but rather as an interconnected continuum that gradually thoroughly makes us who we are. This is my kung fu.

(Side note: in Chinese, “Kung fu” can be used in contexts completely unrelated to martial arts, and refers colloquially to any individual accomplishment or skill cultivated through long and hard work.)

The Zen master story from Charlie Wilson’s War is about the nature of uncertainties, and how humans are quick to judge an outcome before information is complete. It is based on a story by Max Lucado called “The Old Man and the White Horse” from In the Eye of the Storm (1991):

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village.  Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse.  Even the king coveted his treasure.  A horse like this had never been seen before – such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength. 

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused.  “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them.  “It is a person.  How could you sell a person?  He is a friend, not a possession.  How could you sell a friend.”  The man was poor and the temptation was great.  But he never sold the horse. 

One morning he found that the horse was not in his stable.  All the village came to see him.  “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse.  We warned you that you would be robbed.  You are so poor.  How could you ever protect such a valuable animal?  It would have been better to have sold him.  You could have gotten whatever price you wanted.  No amount would have been to high.  Now the horse is gone and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded,  “Don’t speak too quickly.  Say only that the horse is not in the stable.  That is all we know; the rest is judgment.  If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed.  The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”

The old man spoke again.  “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone.  The rest I don’t know.  Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say.  All we can see is a fragment.  Who can say what will come next?”

The people of the village laughed.  They thought that the man was crazy.  They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money.  But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, and old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it.  He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty.  Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool. 

After fifteen days, the horse returned.  He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest.  Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him.  Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke.  “Old man, you were right and we were wrong.  What we thought was a curse was a blessing.  Please forgive us.”

The man responded, “Once again, you go too far.  Say only that the horse is back.  State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge.  How do you know if this is a blessing or not?  You see only a fragment.  Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge?  You read only one page of a book.  Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase.  Can you understand the entire phrase?”

“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word.  All you have is one fragment!  Don’t say that this is a blessing.  No one knows.  I am content with what I know.  I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”

“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another.  So they said little.  But down deep, they knew he was wrong.  They knew it was a blessing.  Twelve wild horses had returned.  With a little work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money. 

The old man had a son, an only son.  The young man began to break the wild horses.  After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs.  Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments. 

“You were right,” they said.  “You proved you were right.  The dozen horses were not a blessing.  They were a curse.  Your only son has broken both his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you.  Now you are poorer than ever.”

The old man spoke again.  “You people are obsessed with judging.  Don’t go so far.  Say only that my son broke his legs.  Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse?  No one knows.  We only have a fragment.  Life comes in fragments.&rdquo
;

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country.  All the young men of the village were required to join the army.  Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured.  Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken.  There was little chance that they would return.  The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle.  They would never see their sons again.

“You were right, old man,” They wept.  “God knows you were right.  This proves it.  Your son’s accident was a blessing.  His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you.  Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man spoke again.  “It is impossible to talk with you.  You always draw conclusions.  No one knows.  Say only this.  Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not.  No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse.  No one is wise enough to know.  Only God knows.”

Sometimes we celebrate or curse the situation we find ourselves in, not realizing that this is a temporary place we have to go through to get to where we need to go.

Eminem reflects on his hard times in his new single, “I’m Not Afraid“:

Yeah, it’s been a ride,
I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one.

The things that happen to us are neither blessings nor curses. They help shape who we are. Resist the temptation to draw conclusions too quickly. LOOK closer.

We must learn from our past, be patient about our future, and be here now.

As for my current life situation — unemployed and uncertain about the future — we’ll see.

I’m not afraid.


I know why the caged bird sings.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — ifindkarma @ 7:27 pm

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,
When he beats his bars and would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings ???
I know why the caged bird sings …

May 24, 2010

Is all of LOST about letting go and moving on?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 5:07 am

I’m reflecting about The End??of LOST.

Doc Jensen’s??first reactions??and??full writeup??make me??wonder if all of LOST is about reflection, the central concerns of life, and redemption.

The characters are LOST souls, not quite sure about their identities and uncertain about where they’re going.

Through the LOST journey they learn not only who they are but also??how to let go, which is the key to moving on.

These are the themes of my favorite Doc Jensen columns, for “we are feedback loops; we are the stories that we tell ourselves“…
??
Doc Jensen on reflection:??
??
Reflection creates identity.

??
“When I started watching??Lost, I found myself more intrigued by the mysteries than the characters. Over time, though, I have become more moved by the themes and the redemption struggles. In the third season, my engagement with??Lost??changed completely. I???ve previously shared how my wife???s cancer affected the way I processed the show and expressed myself about the show.

I began to see??Lost??not as a mystery to be solved, but an allegory for living in a state of profound, unsettling ambiguity that dealt with the central concerns of life. Why are we here? Why do we suffer? Is there hope? Do we accept our fate or fight it? What happens to us when we die? Will we see our loved ones again after death?

I appreciated that??Lost??ruminated on these questions.”

??
“Jacob seemed to think that the broken people and damaged souls who came to the Island would embrace the opportunity of a fresh start and naturally blossom into the super-Buddha he was looking for. And why not? As Jacob told Richard, the Island is a place where ???the past doesn???t matter.??? But what he realized is that people have a really hard time letting go of the past. I might also argue that people??shouldn???t??let go of the past; at the very least, we can???t let it rule us, but we do need it to learn from it.

??
“Mother, Jacob, and Man-in-Black were contemporaries with Guatama (also Siddhartha) Buddha, who lived from 580-480 BC. The core ideas of Buddhism include the idea of letting go of the things of this world that keep us from recognizing and growing our spiritual nature
and reincarnation and evolution of consciousness through a myriad of lifetimes
.”

Ultimately, we should reflect, but we shouldn’t overthink it. LOST, after all, was created by the man with??the mystery box.

??
P.S. — In an odd??synchronicity, congrats to Bret Michaels for winning Celebrity Apprentice. That just happened to happen simultaneously with the ending of LOST. Life goes on, so enjoy this one-minute re-enactment of??LOST using cats.
??

??
??
Still LOST? Let go. Move on. Be here now.
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