ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

February 12, 2012

The 12 Laws of Karma






  • What you refuse to accept, will continue for you.

  • If what we see is an enemy, or someone with a character trait that we find to be negative…

  • Then we ourselves are not focused on a Higher Level of Existence.








    • If you believe something to be true, then sometime in your life you will be called upon to demonstrate that truth.

    • Here is where we put what we SAY that we have learned into PRACTICE.





    • You get back from something whatever you’ve put into it.

    • The Value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it.

    • Every personal contribution is also a contribution to the Whole.

    • Lackluster Contributions have no impact on the Whole, or work to diminish it.

    • Loving Contributions Lift Up and Inspire the Whole.




    January 1, 2012

    Between being and becoming is an #AttitudeOfGratitude

    In 2011 I resolved to own an attitude of gratitude.

    In 2012 I resolve, again, to adopt an attitude of gratitude.

    But first, let’s review 2011.

    In 2011 I felt a lot of pain. That was hell.

    In 2011 I played outside. That was excellent.

    And, I consumed many bootie mashups.

    In 2011 I continued my obsession with pandas.

    2012 is Year of the Dragon. The Water Dragon.

    That’s right, 2012 will be Panda vs Dragon. 


    Don’t underestimate the things that I will do.

    Forty-Two means living in the exhilarating tension between being and becoming.

    People have asked me where the phrase Between Being and Becoming came from.

    SNL season 15, episode 17, Dana Carvey as George F. Will’s Sports Machine:

    George F. Will: All right, hands on buzzers. [ he hits several buttons on the machine, which spits out a quiz card that George reads ] “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $50, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

    [ the contestants stare cluelessly, as the buzzer sounds ]

    George F. Will: Sorry. The answer is: “The exhilarating tension between being and becoming.” Being and becoming. Next question…

    That phrase has been spinning infinity in my head since I first heard it.

    I believe that life is a precarious balance, a perfect symmetry.

    We have to be who we are, while becoming who we want to be.

    We don’t just want to be hard-working, awake, and accepting of ourselves.

    We want to be a better version of ourselves. To continually improve.

    In 2012 I resolve to…

    1. Be grateful. Wake up every morning with a deep breath and an #AttitudeOfGratitude.

    2. Be here now. Don’t try to live your life in one day.

    3. Be excellent. Excellence is a habit.

    4. Be lucky. Practice openness, intuition, optimism, and resilience to make luck.

    5. Be bold. Fortune favors the bold. TDs only; play to win.

    6. Be creative. Creativity is just connecting the dots.

    7. Be optimistic. Optimism creates luck.

    8. Be who you are, as hard as you can. It’s not about what happens to you; it’s about how you respond to wha
    t happens to you.

    9. Be punctual. On time is 15 minutes late. Early is on time.

    10. Be healthy. Spirituallyemotionally, physically, just dance.

    11. Be happy. Happiness is the way.

    12. Be kind. Only kindness matters in the end.

    Tom Landry said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

    That said, these twelve goals are qualitative, not quantitative. Each day as I wake up I can resolve to be grateful, excellent, lucky, bold, optimistic, creative, punctual, healthy, happy, and kind, but I’m not going to count each act of demonstrating that quality. It doesn’t feel right to count random acts of kindness (#raok).

    Instead I’m going to include these values in my thoughts whenever I can.

    Thoughts become words become actions become habits become character.

    And character is destiny.

    I know how this works. The creative process is tough.

    To summarize: Touchdowns only; no Field Goals. Play to win.

    Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY!

    Now excuse me while I pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space…

    December 9, 2011


    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.

    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… *********




    December 8, 2011

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

    The Internets say that Bob Marley said that everyone’s gonna hurt you but some people are worth it anyway.

    No matter how much I search, I cannot find the context under which he said it or even if he said it…



    “Truth is” is a lesson that repeats until it is learned.

    I speak “truth is”, and “truth is” speaks to me.

    We are feedback loops.

    We are the stories we tell ourselves.

    Life is full of ups and downs. So get up.

    “Truth is” is interconnected through time…
    1. “Be here now.” This began my wondering if Bob Marley even said it.
    2. I’m willing to believe that 6 million Facebook likes can’t be wrong.
    3. So I Facebook’d it too, looking for answers. None came.
    4. And I did it again.
    5. I tumbled for it. And I asked on Quora.
    6. But still no one on the Internets knows when or why Bob Marley said this.
    7. It reminds me that life is pain, highness; anyone who says differently is selling something.

      Fear of pain causes stress.

      Do not fear pain. Let go of fear.

      Maureen Killoran said, “Stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens, and the response is something we can choose.”

      Maybe I will wait forever and never find out if Bob Marley said it.

      The truth about forever is that it is happening right now.

      Maybe I will get lucky.

      Those who open ourselves to pain often find luck. 

      It’s worth taking some time to learn to attract luck:
      1. Create your luck, says Altucher. Luck only takes 4 steps.
      2. There are 4 principles for making luck, says Bakadesuyo.
      3. Make your own luck, says 106 Miles paraphrasing Bakadesuyo.
      4. Happiness affects luck profoundly, says Tumblr. I repeat it.
      5. Invest in a luck factory and make a fortune, says ifindkarma.
      6. What traits do lucky people share? Optimism.
      7. Attitude affects luck, says Wiseman.
      Memo to self: include luck in my incantations to be great.


      I repeat: Don’t try to avoid pain.

      Instead, find someone or something worth suffering for.

      Open yourself to heaven and earth, then trust your natural responses; and everything will
      fall into place

      Step out of your comfort zone.

      That is where the magic happens…

      Postscript, a few days later. Truth is, Bob Marley probably did not say this.

      Thank you, Spyridon Michalakis, in helping my quest for the truth.

      November 23, 2011

      Love more, fear less.

      “There is no future. There is no past. Do you see? Time is simultaneous, an intricately structured jewel that humans insist on viewing one edge at a time, when the whole design is visible in every facet.”
      ~ Watchmen

      “I will do today what you won’t, so tomorrow I can do what you can’t.”
      ~ Anonymous

      “I do not much care for that man… I must get to know him better.”
      Abraham Lincoln

      “If there is no enemy on the inside, the enemy on the outside can do us no harm.”
      ~ African Proverb

      “Our greatest problems often yield our greatest breakthroughs… fierce frustration is a precondition for a tremendous triumph.”
      ~ @CoryBooker


      Recently I added favorites among Convos containing quotes…

      Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. ~ Muhammed Ali

      If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry

      Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. ~ Randy Pausch

      There are no shortcuts. NONE. ~ Mark Cuban

      Do something so hard you become great in the process. ~ xkcd

      Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction. ~ Albert Einstein

      If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough. ~ Mario Andretti

      As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

      One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things. ~ Henry Miller

      Creativity is just connecting things. ~ Steve Jobs

      During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1700 times and walked maybe 1800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball. ~ Mickey Mantle

      I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed. ~ Michael Jordan

      I’ve seen each of these quotes many times in my life, but I keep coming back to them.

      Sometimes it takes me a while to visuali
       what I’m seeing.

      Risk more than others think is safe. 
      Care more than others think is wise. 
      Dream more than others think is practical. 
      Expect more than others think is possible. 
      ~ Claude Bissell via Lili Balfour via John Hagel

      Teach compassion…”If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because they don’t have friends or because they are shy or not as good looking or not dressed in the best clothes PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone’s life! Pass this on and share with your kids!”

      “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
      ~ Gandhi

      Love is where compassion prevails and kindness rules.

      “What is hard is being good every day.”
       ~ Willie Mays 


      Sing with Brian Wilson!!!

      Sing with Stephen Hawking!!!

      ‎”If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”
      ~ Dalai Lama

       “Let your life be a testimony to your truth. Every day be an uncompromisingly true witness to your authentic self. The world needs no more dull carbon copies, folks shrinking from their truth. One stubborn soul, ignited from within, despite the crushing darkness of circumstance, can illuminate the world. We must illuminate the world. We must be brilliant.”
      ~ @CoryBooker (via @LiliBalfour)

      “The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
      ~ Muhammad Ali 

      ~ Steve Jobs 

      August 12, 2011

      Be who you are, as hard as you can.

      Once upon a time, I said, Be here now.

      And then I restedinterconnected.

      And I said, Be excellent.



      And then I read,

      You is kind, you is smart, you is important.

      Somewhere in there, rakeshlobster tweeted

      Great career advice from @sv_troutgirl to @joshelman:
      Be who you are, as hard as you can.

      So I tweeted

      I believe “Be who you are, as hard as you can” originated from @naval.

      And Rocky thanked Naval and so did Josh

      That was the most meaningful advice I’ve had in a long time.

      So I tweeted

      Be who you are, as hard as you can” is so easy to say and so hard to do. It takes courage.

      And Naval reminded me

      Easiest when you are cast out and have no choice.

      The key word in everything I’ve said till now: COURAGE.

      It takes courage to grow up 
      and become who you really are.
            ~ e.e. cummings

      See, there’s always a tension between being and becoming.

      We’re wetware on all fours, searching profoundly for four11‘s.

      Once you are who you are, as hard as you can, you can focus on learning more and continually improve yourself.

      How can you continually improve yourself?

      Bakadesuyo highlights his most interesting research:

      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.

      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.

      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…

      June 12, 2011

      Be excellent.

      I want to be truly great.

      I want to do something great.

      So the question is, how do we become excellent?


      You don’t become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process. ~ xkcd 896


      Interconnectedness takes me from that illustration, to a place that makes me want to watch a Tony Robbins video.

      Tony says being great depends on tiny differences that put a person in a state of certainty, confidence, and flow.


      To be excellent, we train ourselves emotionally. Get rituals.

      Incantations, not affirmations, embody what we want.

      Incantations help us navigate MUSTs vs SHOULDs.


      As we move from within our own minds out to interactions with others, influence is essential.

      Because when two people are having a conversation, the one who is more certain is going to influence the one who is less certain. Always.


      This is why I’ve been thinking a lot about conversations lately.

      And conversations are the foundation of 106 Miles.



      106 Miles recently had a conversation of greatness, which inspired me to find 11 great quotes…

      11) “Greatness doesn’t take two months, or even a year. It takes years of focused practice to achieve even an ounce of it.” ~ Trizle

      10) “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” ~ Albert Einstein

      9) “On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure.” ~ Malcolm Gladwell

      8) “Success is moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Winston Churchill

      7) “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” ~ Will Durant, not Aristotle

      6) “Excellence is not a skill; it is an attitude.” ~ Ralph Marston

      5) “You do not possess a natural gift for a certain job, because targeted natural gifts don’t exist. (Sorry, Warren Buffett.) You are not a born CEO or investor or chess grandmaster. You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.” ~ Geoffrey Colvin

      4) “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

      3) “Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” ~ Swami Sivananda

      2) “It’s not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.” ~ Edward Gardner

      1) “It’s not where you take things from; it’s where you take them to.” ~ Jim Jarmusch

      Now, I am incanting to take excellence to me.




      I want PandaWhale to be excellent.

      I want 106 Miles to be excellent.

      I want my favorite pizza place to be excellent, too. (This will take time. Right now, people hate us on Yelp.)


      And in my state of incantation, I include greatness.

      As if I’m climbing the Ron Swanson pyramid of greatness.


      Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.

      Don’t just be excellent. Be excellent to each other.

      Be excellent. Go beyond a limit.

      This takes my mind to an epic night. A really epic night.


      After a party like that, it’s difficult to focus.

      I want to hear Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory“!!!

      Sing it, Gaga!!!

      I’m on the edge… of glory…
      And I’m hanging on a moment of truth… 

      And I’m dancing like no one’s watching!!!

      Did YouTube invent Lady Gaga or vice versa?

      No worries. Hakuna matata!! Or is that…

      Hasa diga eebowai!!


      Where was I?

      Oh, right, dividing my attention.

      Unlike attention, happiness is something that multiplies when it is divided. (Thank you, @aaker @padmasree @paulocoehlo!)


      Now, where does motivation come from again?

      Tony Robbins says understanding motivation is the key to happiness.


      Daniel Pink says we are happiest and most motivated in our work when we have the opportunity for mastery.

      Now, I’ve been told it takes 10,000 hours to master something.

      That said, being good at something makes us like it more.

      And there is much power in perseverance aka “grit”.

      Thinking about all of this puts my mind into a state of flow.



      Which brings us back to where we started: xkcd 896.

      Repeat after me: Do something so hard that you become great in the process.


      May 12, 2011

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

      I think of Emily Dickinson’s poem as I reflect on the shockingly sudden passing of my dear friend Omar Ahmad, who left this world on May 10, 2011. 

      Omar was a great optimist who made me think about possibility, and he made me want to do something great and live everything

      Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way in to the answer.
      Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Stephen Mitchell (via Kristen Collins)

      The past few years I’ve felt the pain of loss of several close friends.

      It hurts. I miss Omar. A lot. Even as I watch Omar’s memorial.

      I remember from ten life lessons: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

      I do feel like I didn’t spend enough time with Omar.

      And neither did Rohit. Or our little friend. Though we be successful.

      I loved Omar. He was truly a friend who inspired me to be kind.

      I will watch Omar’s TED talk again and again as a reminder to be active.

      I truly miss you, Omar. I truly do. And I still feel connected to you.

      Thank you, Omar. You and Steve Jobs inspire me to do something great — to design something simple that brings great happiness to others with what is left of my life…

      Almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

      It’s worth repeating what Steve Jobs said. “There is no reason not to follow your heart.”


      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.”




      “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?”


      “Are there hunters on that planet?”


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


      “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.




      “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.

      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.


      April 4, 2011

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

      LEARN says Nature Boy. Casey Abrams’ version is 80% mesmerizing:


      A WORD ON STATISTICS, by Wislawa Szymborska

      Out of every hundred people,

      those who always know better:

      Unsure of every step:
      almost all the rest.

      Ready to help,
      if it doesn’t take long:

      Always good,
      because they cannot be otherwise:
      four — well, maybe five.

      Able to admire without envy:

      Led to error
      by youth (which passes):
      sixty, plus or minus.

      Those not to be messed with:

      Living in constant fear
      of someone or something:

      Capable of happiness:
      twenty-some-odd at most.

      Harmless alone,
      turning savage in crowds:
      more than half, for sure.

      when forced by circumstances:
      it’s better not to know,
      not even approximately.

      Wise in hindsight:
      not many more
      than wise in foresight.

      Getting nothing out of life except things:
      (though I would like to be wrong).

      Balled up in pain
      and without a flashlight in the dark:
      eighty-three, sooner or later.

      Those who are just:
      quite a few, thirty-five.

      But if it takes effort to understand:

      Worthy of empathy:

      one hundred out of one hundred –
      a figure that has never varied yet.

      (translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak)



      March 11, 2011

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

      That secret to life I tweeted from Daymond John on Shark Tank.

      It reminded me that 80 percent of success is showing up.

      And that happiness is correlated with success. Additionally…

       True happiness involves the pursuit of worthy goals,” Csikszentmihalyi said. “Without dreams, without risks, only a trivial semblance of living can be achieved.”


      But how does a being discover worthy goals to pursue?

      I have a vision

      Worthy goals come from enlightenment.

      Enlightenment comes from living.

      Life itself is a process of continual improvement.

      In 21 easy pieces. We begin each cycle by waking up.

      1. Wake up.

      2. Breathe.

      3. Let go.

      4. Get up.

      5. Show up.

      6. Position.

      7. Include.

      8. Be here now.

      9. Be excellent.

      10. Dance!

      11. Give.

      12. LOVE.

      13. Reflect.

      14. Empathize.

      15. Encourage.

      16. Be kind.

      17. Connect.

      18. Learn.

      19. Simplify.

      20. Nap.

      21. Iterate.


      At any point, be open to enlightenment


      See also:


      (photo sourceKeira Susan Dazi!)


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