Archive for February, 2012

~ WARNING ~
Please Be Advised…
Just Ahead
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

(And don’t say I didn’t warn you…)

~~

Ahem…

Who is in charge of your life?

By: Jared B. DiCroce

~

Who is in charge of your life?

Is it you? Is it your wife?

Or is it your job, and your unending strife?

How about your kids? Or your Mom, or your Dad?

Or how about your past, and the loves which you’d had?

Or — is it you…?

But, then again, who’s that?

A husband, a lover, or an aimless gnat?

Are you truly in charge, as you so claim to be?

Or a merely the product of what’s built up to thee?

Is there any true choice in the world today?

Do we decide at all? Or, to say it succinct.

Are we truly distinct?

Or is it all just instinct?

~~

🙂

Now you know I love you, beautiful readers of mine, I’ve written you a poem!

I arf a poet!

(I warned you…)

I am not a poet — for a reference to this fact, please see above — but my own instincts advised me on how to approach today’s topic, and their conclusion was to begin somewhat whimsically. To charm you a bit, as it were. For I understand, full well, that ideas are born and live on nerves, and are thus quite sensitive to prodding.

So tell me, my people… are you sufficiently buttered up?

Excellent!

See, we’d all like to think that WE are the ones in control of our lives. Not the circumscribing forces around us, (though, admittedly, they might be factors in and of themselves), but US! We’d like to believe that WE are the ones that have the final say, when it all comes time to print, at the close of the business day.

(and there I go rhyming again…)

Now, and don’t get me wrong, I fully empathize with the fact that this is a general notion which we ALL intrinsically carry about ourselves. It’s the idea of who we are. It’s the idea that we are the ones who decide how we act in our own lives. Which is precisely why I knew to approach this gently… It is a delicate notion to attempt to disrupt, and one I carry too. For if we aren’t the ones in charge, than who is — and why even bother going on?

To a certain extent, it’s true; we do decide how we behave…

…when presented with all the facts.

However, the full truth is that, by and large, we are ruled mostly by instinct.

It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. ~ Siddhartha Buddha

It’s true. Logically we can all be very smart people.

Instinctually we can be idiots…

But how do we fight this? If we’re talking about corruption from within, from our very own makeup, than what are our options?

A lobotomy?!

Dur....

If it’s who we are that we must be wary of, or some part of our basic makeup, than how can we possibly hope to change that? Wouldn’t any solution we derive be tainted by this same force? What can we possibly do bout all this?

It’s simple.

Know thine enemy.

Know your instincts!

~   ~   ~

So, and without further ado, let’s begin, shall we?

Fight or flight

I can take him, he ain't so ruff!

Under the auspices of Mother Nature, survival was a tough and deadly game…

… And throughout the duration of our long evolution (save for this last millisecond or so), we’ve been beneath the oppressive, weighty backside of this antagonistic wench. So, being that this is where we’ve spent most of our ‘growing up’ as a species, our brain naturally adapted to help us endure the strife.

We developed the infamous, “Fight or Flight” instinct: a hasty assessment of a hostile situation, leading to a severe lateral shift in mind-state to facilitate whichever determined end was, well… determined.

If Fight — “Put up yer dukes, little girl. I dare say it’s time to settle this with pugilistic fisticuffs”.

If Flight — “OMGTTGTFOOH” (Hover mouse for translation).

As options go, these two would be very well suited to any scenario presented within the documentary, “The Land Before Time” (that WAS a documentary, right?), as survival in the wilds of a prehistoric world would lean heavily on this logically ingratiated instinct.

However, in today’s world, neither is well suited to our growing human interconnectedness, or genial relations.

These mindstates are primal; ruled by fear, absent of logic, and a huge hindrance toward efficient resolution (Note: when your life is not in danger). Unfortunately their utility is not relevant to their presence — they are here either way and can be triggered in nearly ANY circumstance — which has led to more broken beer bottles and bar fights than history has pages to write about them.

However, by merely being aware of this perception shift, we are then capable of combating it.

Take a deep breath when that adrenalin shoots up your spine.

Remember that you are not a slave to your instincts.

Watch out for Fight or flight, my good people.

Homeostasis

Homeostasis is a process which exists all throughout the natural world, and always seeks a state of equilibrium.

Let’s say that you’re a Frog (Ribbit…), who’s living in a pond. Well than, for you, the law of Homeostasis would represent the delicate interplay between you (Sir Frogiccus maximus), your food source (The Fly’s at the pond which you eat), and the predators around that eat you (The Birds).

The Birds help to ensure that not to many of you Frogs survive, only the fittest — which makes your species strong. This, in turn, ensures that there are plenty of Fly’s to eat, as there are less of your kind around to exhaust your food source. And this, in turn, in turn, ensures that there are enough Fly’s left around to continue mating — which feeds you, which feeds the birds, and which keeps the whole cycle moving.

This is the equilibrium, this is the balance

There is a consequence to this physical, natural process though, one not often considered in daily life…

For a species living in nature, like the frog, this balancing act works quite well.

By maintaining the status quo, the Frog survives. By surviving, the Frog endures long enough to pass on its DNA. By passing on its DNA, the Frog continues to extend the longevity of it’s very species… and on and on it goes.

And, thusly, Sit down, you’re rocking the boat, became the theme song to all of nature.

The trouble is, us Humans too are a part of nature… The trouble is, the instinct which formed around homeostasis — the instinct to not rock the boat, to not change the status quo, to not try anything new for fear of destroying our very species — maintains… The trouble is, there is actually an instinctual mechanism working within us now to promote, “balance”, which also, inadvertently, works against change.

See, the brain has no concept of what you’re doing with your time — all it knows is that you’re alive, and so something must be working… you must be doing something right. The habits that you’ve forged throughout your life bring comfort to the sodden organ for this reason, as they mimic homeostasis within your environment. However, (and this is the tricky bit), any deviation from these habits, habits which you might very well know to be destructive within your life, represent a threat to homeostasis within the mind, and, also, to it in turn, the very endurance of the human race — and when presented with this threat, the brain FREAKS OUT.

Don't mess with me, body!

The instinct to maintain homeostasis is not as vital as it once was — we’re at the top of the food chain. There are no, “birds” around to make sure that we spend our time wisely. If a bear could burst through your door at any moment and eat you, you might think twice about spending hours in front of the TV, watching a “Matlock” marathon, and falling asleep on the couch — as, you would wind up bear floss.

Though the instinct to seek Homeostasis maintains…

This is why it is so hard to try something new.

This is why it’s so hard to break a bad habit.

This is why when we throw money at the homeless, they will spend it as fast as possible and get back on the street — they have homeostasis there, amazingly it’s become their comfort zone.

This is why being aware of the mechanism of homeostasis is so vital…

Once we are aware that this will happen — that we will likely, “Freak out” when trying something new, when forging a new habit, or when changing our very lives — than we can simply wait it out.

Knowledge is power!

Simply expect it to happen, (and it will), and then, immediately, it becomes easier to overcome. Merely make a logical plan, stick to it — do the work for a number of months while enduring the discomfort — and when the brain begins to get accustom to that new state of being, everything will then become copacetic!

The rest…

… and there are plenty more — so many, many bad instincts left behind from nature — but really, (Hopefully), the two above sufficiently whet your palate and got you thinking, and I can skim over the rest of these.

I had planned on going into further detail, but this post is running long, I now see that the two above seem to dictate the rest, and I have a life to live,

So…

…here we go!

Compartmentalized thinking

Thanks to Homeostasis, there’s comfort in the known. There’s comfort in categories. We feel better when we feel like we can understand something simply. We ask, “what’s your age?”, “where did you go to college?”, “who do you know?” — as if any of this could tell us more about an individual than a simple, honest, and in the moment conversation.

This compartmentalization is based in instinct — and today, more often than not, it blinds us from the truth.

Compartmentalized thinking also keeps us snugged up to the itchy trigger-finger which is the, “fight or flight” primitive mindset. When we have such neat and tidy ideas of what to expect, which are, lets face it, wholly unrealistic within a society of creative and free thinking individuals, we set ourselves up for a shock, which can trigger ‘fight or flight’, when a category’s limiting boundary is crossed.

Thus… just be aware that we have a tendency to categorize people and things — that we have a tendency to judge a book by its cover — and once you are, don’t!

Be aware of why you want to compartmentalize, ignore it, which will effectively negate it, and suddenly you’ll find you’re free to see things in all their natural and unique beauty.

Newly discovered limbless amphibian species -- Beautiful

Mob Mentality

I would venture to say that, “Mob mentality” is easily the most widely known ‘Bad’ instinct, (again, an offshoot of homeostasis), but still, amazingly, it endures as the most disregarded… I think people believe that they are not subject to it, that they are above it somehow.

They are not.

One needs only to reference the recent London riots to cite a source — of which there are millions.

Born of homeostasis, maintained through the “Fight” half, of Fight or Flight, this destructive behavior melds a group of individually intelligible individuals into a chocophonic mess — a single mindless entity.

My advice,

If everyone’s running to the right,

you might want to consider heading left…

(I’m just sayin’, It’s another dangerous instinct to be aware of…)

Reproduction

Men: Part of homeostasis is reproduction. You want to pork everything that moves right? Well that’s just homeostasis trying to ensure your species’ survival?

Be aware of why.

and then…

Stop that!

BAD!

Women: Your half of homeostasis cultured you to look for stability. You’re the child birthers/raisers and, instinctually, you want a safe nest to be provided for you by a man.

However, in modern times this can present a problem, particularly when things get rough for your man due to circumstances beyond his control — such as in tough economic times — as your instinct might press you to go look for another mate. But this is unfair to your partner, who will need you more than ever during this harrowing time…

Be logical,

empathize,

know your instinct and have the choice to reverse it!

~~

PHEW!

~~

In the end…

It’s rather obvious that we all have instincts in the mind — born of history and one-time necessity — which still work, and no longer suit us. This is why we must know what they are! We must know our roots. We must know where we have come from, in order to have any idea on where we’re going. Otherwise, as stated above, why bother going on at all?

If we’re nothing more than instinct, and we have no real choice to begin with, than what’s the point?

There wouldn’t be any, and that’s exactly why we must know.

That’s the reason to be aware of what makes us tick.

So that we can take a scant glance at the gears,

And decide if, possibly, things can turn better.

The only thing in life that we will ever have regret for learning, is nothing.

~J

We live in a curious time…

Complexity abounds. It’s all around us. For some, it’s within us. It’s certainly staring you in the face as you’re reading this, and, chances are, you don’t understand how it works.

Something to do with Ones and Zeroes…

Heck, I would argue that nobody on the face of the planet FULLY understands a computer anymore. Sure some can order parts on the internet and slap one together with relative ease, (hell, even I’m in that group), but who among men could go to a mountain, mine, refine, hone, craft, weld, assemble and create the thing from scratch?

Likely, not a-one of us.

Which seems like such a shame to me. Intriguingly knowing how each part of a system operates endows a person with an unparalleled perspective on how to improve it from within. But these days this all-encompassing comprehension simply isn’t possible — there’s just too much to know. Nobody has the free-time. Nobody has the money. Nobody has the memory…

And so, I can’t help but to wonder, isn’t it high-time we made a visit to the shop for an upgrade?

Homage to M.C. Escher

See, in general, and aside from computers, we live in a time of ever accelerated pacing and knowledge, (and, let me tell ya, that crazy train ain’t slowing down anytime soon), yet there are no more hours in the day than ever before for which to learn these concepts.  If anything, there are less; being that we’re tethered to the innumerous necessary daily distractions which allow us to function within this world at all, I.E. Cell-phones, Computers and the lot. Today, more than ever, we desperately need to comprehend an ever-growing volume of complexity, and yet, today, more than ever, who has the time but yet to skim?

It’s an interesting modern paradox…

We need to be fast, lean and agile to compete — yet also we need to sit still, study, and thoroughly learn what’s going on in order to compete. It would seem that the snowballing concepts of mankind have finally hit a critical mass of sorts within the mind, they’ve seemingly caught up with our potential, and now the memory, attention-span, and longevity limitations of the human mind are all being highlighted — and they’re coming up short.

Today, a lot of fingers get pointed around.

It’s Greece’s fault for what’s happening to the Euro. It’s the 1%’s fault for what’s happening in America. It’s China’s fault for permitting outsourced labor. It’s the cartel’s fault that Mexico can’t truly be free. It’s Monsanto’s fault for causing malnutrition within the masses. It’s yo mamma’s fault for being so damn fat! Sorry — don’t know how that one got in there (Still though, she can use to lose a few). But, seriously, whose fault is it really? Furthermore, does fault even matter?

How about we just find a solution?

That’s the grown-up thing to do, right? It’s just… it’s tough — being that all the involved factors can’t possibly be known to any one individual, let alone be understood by all the rest thereafter, in order to verify said solution… So in truth, in order to find a solution to the world’s ails, we first must find a way to hold all the intrinsic factors in mind at once — which is currently impossible with the brain alone. Thus, in order to even begin brainstorming for answers, we need to first find a workaround.

That’s the real issue at hand here.

Easier said than done, right? Well, not really…  There are at least three solutions which I can think of off the top of my head, and, being of the creative sort (much like you, good reader), likely many more still to be discovered. I’ve realized that the trouble lies not in conjuring solutions, rather, as I see it, the true trouble lies in getting people vested in pursuing these options. And so, here are but a few which we COULD (potentially) rally behind…

Solution #1: Enhance the mind

If the problem we face is an overwhelming amount of data, than a natural solution, from a strictly computational standpoint, would be to improve the hardware.

Sure, people tend to freak out about the thought of attaching circuitry to the mind in order to enhance its thoughts, but what new technology has not done precisely this? Think about it; “The Wheel”, the quintessential inaugural invention of mankind, was, in itself, an enhancement of the mind. It merely extended a thought, namely, “Ug want move faster”, into reality. Modern computers have merely continued this ancient legacy, as they perform myriad concurrent tasks, thousands of times faster than John Henry ever could have dreamed.

Sorry, buddy. They beat you in the end...

So why not just keep using computers?

We’ve been trying. But, like stated earlier, we’re reaching a breaking point. Computers are beginning to outpace us, and all the double-clicks, the bits of typing, and the looking from here to there on the screen are quickly dwarfing the need for the technology’s furthered progression. However, if you look at technology as another part of us — for it is only an extension of what we’ve invented, like the wheel, and thus IS US already — than we need to ensure that we, ourselves, can keep up with the growing speed of our devices. Meaning soon, “Having chips on the brain”, might imply more than simply thinking about that bag of Doritos (TM) in the cupboard.

Enter: the Singularity

The Singularity is a concept indicating a time when we’ll merge with the machines we’ve created. It’s already happening, and, if we wish to continue comprehending our world to the fullest, it might be necessary in maintaining the continuous growth of our culture. Thus far these circuits of the mind would be utilized mostly as a relay point to still existing physical computers, though I would speculate, as quantum computing continues to take strides in progress, that soon the paradigm of a, “physical computer”, will be nothing but a footnote in our history textbooks. That is, if we still have history textbooks.

(We will likely not have history textbooks…)

So, being that the growth of technology is measurable, it is not only likely that soon we will have to enhance our minds to keep up, it is inevitable — and also determinable as to when. All in all, making this option ‘one fine solution’ in addressing the problem of keeping up with the voluminous concepts of our modern world, as it’s certain to happen either way.

“Now, or later”, is our only real choice…

Solution #2: Trust

If the problem cannot be held in one mind alone, than, possibly, it can be shared across multiple expert minds.

Let’s say that you don’t buy into the idea of Doritos (TM) on the mind. Let’s say that you think we can solve all the modern ailments of the world with good old-fashioned elbow grease and honest cooperation. Let’s say, you feel that collaboration, without outside influence or bias, is actually possible as a means to reach resolution for an ever more complex world in the end.

Let’s say you feel we can trust others

Than, let’s say, I agree — conditionally. We’ll surely need a back-up. We’ll need a way of double checking ourselves against the overwhelming complexity we face. We’ll need to ensure that we’ve, including myself, not acted emotionally whatsoever. For this, we’ll need help.

Meet, Eric Berlow

Utilizing an outside system, such as Eric’s TED talk suggests, would be the perfect accompaniment for this type of solution, as it would keep everyone on task and honest within the method’s constraints. We would require varying trusted experts, in all respective fields, to continuously conjure additional factors for which to plug into the model he suggests (it’s only about four minutes if you didn’t watch it — and you should!), and in this way we could invariably find the real buttons for change, and act upon them more prudently, generating in the end, true, long-term and viable solutions to the world’s ever perplexing plot-line.

(I bet the butler did it!)

Solution #3: Forced Evolution

If our current brain isn’t up to task any more, than why not simply engineer a better one?

Genetic modification is what I’m talking about here, my people, and it’s my final, “Off the top of my head”, answer toward resolving the issue of our ever-increasing complexity, and the enduring, growing need for our complete comprehension of it.

In truth, this final solution is actually my favorite — mostly because it freaks people out.

In the eyes of the public, genetic modification is synonymous with maniacally laughing evil scientists, ginormous bolts of lightning slamming into over-sized Tesla coils, and their invariably resulting, freaky Snookiesque monsters,  but that needn’t be the case. Ever since Craig J Venter successfully sequenced the human genome I’ve been dreaming of the day that we could engineer and alter life, and soon that might become a reality.

Two brain hemispheres, puny humans... Why not three? More for the eats!

Precisely, Doctor Zoidberg

Since the late 70’s we’ve been engineering life from the ground up within bacteria, and lately this endeavor has become much more advanced. Recently it’s been branching out into ever more complex species, and soon (were we to make this our goal) it’s speculated that we could alter and improve our very own DNA.

For instance: How about a triple helix? How about an epigenetic code that we could alter at will. How about regenerative tissues, decreased need for oxygen, increased longevity, or even, as the good Doctor mentioned, how about another brain hemisphere?!? If we merely remove our collective biases from the equation, and our inherent assumptions about morality, we might actually be able to engineer a better version of ourselves…

Humanity Mach 2 — Version 1, 2, 3.1, 3.4, 4.2!

To me, as funny as this might sound, this seems like the most prudent and natural solution of them all. Bioengineering would be a way for us to remain organic, and, rather than having two communicating systems within the body, would keep us whole.

Cause I don’t know about you all, but I have plenty of voices talking to me already up in my brain…

We could systematically make improvements to the form and function of humanity, and we could have multiple versions of ourselves to colonize ever more hostile worlds around the universe. I imagine designer people, changed on a generational basis, and all with a fresh perspective on the story of life itself.

In this way we might finally understand life, and what it would take to help everyone thrive, all throughout the Universe!

So, anyway, what do you all think?
Is it time for an upgrade?

~J

This post will likely not make ANY sense.

Heck, it might not even be any good. 

My head is in a cloud.  Really, it’s cat brain, (more on that later), and though plenty topics presently flit through my mind as my deadline approacheth… (Not altogether dissimilar to a hapless flock of butterflies who’ve been sucked into a whirling vacuum, and a really big vacuum too, one which I’m also standing in but yet for some reason I’m not susceptible to the vortex — not like the poor butterflies, who look quite frightened, and rather dizzy… Anyway, I stand with my back against a wall, holding on to a giant strip of fly-paper, and trying direly to catch just one — just one idea-a-fly butterfly to pin-up for the blog — and I do even nab one on occasion, but over-and-over as their dainty little butterfly feet land briefly on the sticky-paper which I hold, the wind then violently tears at their wings and rips them away back into the chaos of the maelstrom, leaving me with the feet, or seed of an idea, but no actual butterfly… The poor things…) …I still can’t seem to choose a topic, and so, I got nothing.

(See, even my analogies are off! Screw it I’m changing the title!)

And now, a butterfly Egg. Why? Because I want to. Because I feel guilty for tearing off their feet. Because they're cool, the eggs. Because sometimes things don't have to make sense. Because... You know what? Don't worry about "the because's" -- I got this!

Think, you stupid brain, Think!” seems to be my only thought — but that won’t get me anywhere and I know it…

God, my head is throbbing… Stupid cats… but I shall write! Why? Because I have to! Because I made a promise to constantly enbetter myself and my skill as a writer by writing every week, despite the foreknowledge that not every week could possibly be my, “all-time-best-post!”. Because I, like so many bloggers before me, concede to the irrefutable fact that I will not always have the best idea, nor will I always stumble across the best inspiration in the world, for… inspiration (nor will I always have the largest variety of words at my disposal, evidently).

So here I am, stuck with only butterfly feet, and thus — this post will not make sense. It’s not meant to. This post is going to be pure bliss. All my wholly undeveloped ideas of the day, soft-boiled, runny, and served up luke-warm on the screen for all of you. You’re welcome?

I’m pretty sure that every blogger gets this way from time to time. All dressed up and no place to go. I generally post on Fridays, and (because that is today) this random agglomeration of tchotchkes and knicknacks will still serve y’all some buffalo wings today, just the same as the restaurant with the same namesake, like it does every week, whether or not it’s on the rag. And so, this post shall be a Non-Post-Post — and my humble homage to the oft’ unheard plight of the blogger — as, try as I might, (and like I said before) I still got nothing!

Though now that I think about it, I wonder if somehow this might be my topic… Perhaps this dervish of half-baked ideas, as a step-rung on the “tall-ass ladder leading toward success”, needs to be highlighted, because otherwise I’m pretty sure it’s completely neglected. Nobody likes to show weakness… Which might be a weird thing to cast in the spotlight, but it’s oddly fitting for me today… So, because of all this, here’s my story (and I’m sticking to it), of all the crackpot ideas I had thrown up on the drawing board, and how they almost came to be — but still just didn’t quite make it in the end.

Here instead is a shot of the drawing board itself, and the story of its inception.

Gee, now I don’t know where to start — Damn cats!

OK, I got it now.

Woh, fine, I default to you, Nelly.

The Grasshopper and the Ant.

This morning I left my house early — far earlier than I’d liked, and long before I’d had a chance to drain my beloved pot of home-brewed coffee. Tomorrow, actually, I’ll be doing the same thing.  Why you ask?  Well, you see… I’m broke.  And not even all the kings horses and men might mend me again unless I get a job.

It’s been a crazy couple months…

In the acting world one must always prepare for the winter, as things basically shut down from early December, pretty much straight on through to the end of February, and so, much like in the story of the grasshopper and the ant, which was one of the posts I was thinking about doing today, I had prepared — like a good little ant always should. I had set aside my three months rent, I was ready to weather the storm and do nothing but sip cocoa and do book edits until march, and I had done all the requisite work in prepping blog topics to be able to claim my Antdom all around — but yet today, as I walked from the subway toward the office which I was destined to interview at for this catering gig, I realized that it wouldn’t work. It would all merely be a lie. It had to be scrapped.

It’s my fault really. I joined my sister Union, “Aftra” late last year, at great expense to me, with the looming promise of making some serious money on a specific show — and I did so even though instinctually it had felt like a bad idea. Well — surprise! — the job fell through (as they often tend to do in this precarious line of work)! No others then presented themselves, and, basically, I wound up paying through the tooth for something that couldn’t possibly now benefit me until, theoretically, the start of March. Hurray! Though, as you might have heard, SAG (of which I am already a member), and Aftra, are now set to merge — after over 30 years of flirting with the idea — meaning that this money sink is now all for naught, as I would have been brought into the new hybrid union de-facto… and likely for free.

I knew I should have gone with my instincts.

Meh, what can you do?

You can’t write about being an Ant — that’s for sure!

I adore animals — I hate them

Dur...

So after leaving my interview, (and scrapping the Grasshopper and Ant Idea), I realized that I was in a neighborhood not to far away from that of a good friend, and so I contacted her, thinking that some good talk and some good coffee might brighten my spirits. Though I had forgotten all about her two cats…

Enter Le’ Darling de duo GATO!

My friend is an awesome person, and she truly did lift my spirits just like I thought she would. We had a lovely, long conversation at her place, about life, liberty, and the pursuit of more money, as we sipped on NY’s finest “Mud” Java, and I, as I adore animals, stroked her cat lovingly, subsequently playing “I Bop You On The Head With This Pen”. That is, all up until I had to get up because I had to sneeze about a bazillion times — which was just as odd as it sounds, but it hadn’t struck me as such at the time (I just figured it worked like an annual internal doctor, and I was just due for a visit from one of those)… So I came back inside, after my breezy retreat to the bathroom, to discover that my friend had taken to a business call — which was all well and good, and, as I had some work to attend to as well, I even joined into the distraction. We then both became busy, for about an hour or so, doing work stuff.

Throughout this time I kept taking breaks to pet and play with her kitties, and I soon began to fantasize about a blog which I might write when I got home having to do with the idea of pure animal love. I do, after all, love all animals, and I could easily chat about how we all could use a dose of their unwavering affections — Ah-Choo! Surely this would make a swell topic of interest — sniffle, sniffle — as I could go on for ages about how amazing they are — Ah-Choo! — and how much fun — Honnnkkk! (Me, blowing my nose) — and this could easialy be the topic of my interests for this friday — Ah-Choo!

Why in the hell do I keep sneezing!?

Turns out I’d caught an allergic reaction, and though I’m not always allergic, today I was suddenly HIGHLY ALLERGIC — so much so to the point that I am currently jotting this blog amidst a visible cloud around my head, and with four squares of toilet paper shoved up into each of my nostrils (that subsequently shoot out across the room like those old school water rockets every time I sneeze — which is often, and not nearly as much fun as the toy).  And so, “I adore Animals” was scrapped…

For if I had written it, it would have been renamed, “I despise all things with fur!”…

Which just wouldn’t be factual… (Speaking of which, I need to shave…)

(I told you, this weeks blog should/might not make sense — you really need to listen;-))

Have A Crappy Day

And so I went home — miserable. I thought about how I was finding it hard to talk through all the intermittent sniffles, and briefly considered a topic on, “The Inefficiency of Language” — But how could I blame this on English? Head throbbing as it was (And still is, Say Thank-Ya), I constantly was reminded of how crappy I’d felt, and realized that without bad days, good ones would a lot less exemplary, and thus I toyed with the idea of, “Have a Crappy day, it’s good for you”, but I really wasn’t having that crappy of a day if I were being honest… It was actually quite random, and filled with events — rather good all around — I would’ve had to have forced it…  I thought about, “I hate my body”, and how I could speak about the various design flaws of the human body (such as the precarious positioning of testicles…), but that just felt complicated and bitter, two things that would have been horrible to write on feeling as I was…

And then I came across this idea…

Why not just talk about this? The process? I mean it wasn’t quite so much an idea, as it was the lack there-of, but, for one reason or another, I fell for it. It seemed crazy, random, and honest — which basically typifies me — and that’s how I knew it was perfect.

As bloggers, or as anybody creative, there is always this pressure to create. We feel exalted when we get to express the refined product resulting from an awesome idea being married to some genuine inspiration, but the process itself, of trying daily — despite the ever-present fear of failure — is oft ignored.

So here you go, my good people.

Here is my process.

I like to think of it like this: What if it’s true, and there are only a finite number of good ideas out there in the world? Well if that’s true, then I invite you all to write a post about nothing, as inevitably you must come across it anyhow as one of the limiting number within your own private cache. Today I looked at it like the “Blank tile” in a game of Scrabble — it’s there for you to use when you’re in a jam, and this week I surely was. But even though in the beginning I thought that it might not make sense, I now beleive that, in the end, it did.

It inspired me for at least a half-dozen more topics to come, and it kept me working through this cat-haze of non-thoughts and butterfly feet.

It also taught me a lesson I’d once known all too well, but forgot long ago;

despite whether or not we are always truly inspired, we should work anyway.

As even by deploying the practice, regardless of the quality, we will, nonetheless, improve.

~J

It’s opening night…

No peeking! It's bad luck 😉

You wait in the wings for the curtain to draw so that you may make your cross and begin the affair. Everything is as it should be. The grips have even tweaked that stage-right couch the meager 15-degrees you’d asked, so now your incredulous look in the third act will read to the audience all the better. You have worked at this for months, throughout all the tweaks, the critiques, the adjustments, the inevitable self loathing and the evenings of crying yourself to sleep — and now all that’s been left in the past for this one true and shining moment.

Here it comes.

You step out, you begin the show — and you’re flat. The show flops. What was the problem?

You didn’t enter the scene full.

In Acting, it’s called “Emotional Preparation”. See, in order to enter the scene full and give a solid performance, the last thing in the world you’d want to be thinking about while standing in the wings on opening night, is all the work that had gotten you to where you are. That type of thinking should be reserved for after the final curtain, at the end of the run — but never before the first!

For entertainers, entering your scene full is essential; it implies that you’re in touch with who your portraying, and, more specifically, where they had been before they’d entered the stage. After all, your character hadn’t just been born out in the wings, swabbed clean and shoved out in front of the audience — they’ve had a whole life leading up to this moment — and, as an actor, you should probably be portraying a starkly different characterization for someone who’d just come from a funeral, as opposed to someone who’d just cashed in a winning lotto ticket — ya dig?

Warriors -- come out to play...

Similarly in the real world, entering your scene full is just as important of a skill, though all too often overlooked.

It’s true. All the way from applying for a job at good ole’ Mickey Dees, right on up to giving a proposal pitch to a room full of top-tier executives — if you enter the situation full and mentally prepared, than you’re far more likely to succeed. Oftentimes with life though, and particularly in these recent more modern times of ubiquitous (and somewhat attention thieving) social media, we can find ourselves so overwhelmed with all the little details that brought us to an idea, that the execution — something of equal, and, if not, than of greater importance —  is drowned out. We forget who we even are. We forget what brought us there. We forget to be full.

We get so caught up preparing the plan, that we neglect to prepare the execution.

You can have the best idea in the world, but present it poorly and no one will notice.

Ask any reputable actor, a good show takes far more than just careful preparation — it takes a masterful execution — and a HUGE part of that execution is birthed of your mind in the wings, and right before you “Enter” the show. You have to know everything you’ve been working on so well, that you can just cast it aside and forget. That’s right, forget everything that had culminated and manifest into the opportunity that you presently see before you, and find a way to just live fully; within your reality, and within the context of the moment. You have to forget your ego, you know, who you think you should be — yea, leave that at the door. You must find a way to just be; realistically, honestly, and within the moment (wherever it takes you).

Know that you’ve prepared, and let it bring you confidence — now toss it away.

Know who it is that you are, and let it bring you pride — now toss it away.

Now, take comfort, as all you have to do is be true and live — so relax.

This totally makes me want a Corona...

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that this is easy…

But it’s worth it.

It’s a philosophy that will make you proud of everything that you do, and will also ensure that you’ve done all you can to make it great. Sure this is a concept born of the acting world, but it’s also one which applies to all other aspects of work and life. You might be a File Clerk making a recommendation for a new folder, you might be an acrobat trying out a new trick, you might be a father teaching his daughter how to ride a bike, heck, you even might be a politician debating whether or not to stamp that new bill, enter your scene full — execute with everything you are, and with everything that’s brought you to this point — and all parties involved leave content.

Live life on purpose: Be full!

And be happy. Being FULL can mean a lot of things, but what it is at it’s heart is knowing yourself, trusting yourself, and being yourself — FULLY — which is precisely what entering your scene full is all about. For it is far better to have lived with purpose and found yourself to be flawed — than it is to have lived without and never know either way… Without the earnest effort involved in the attempt of entering full, you have no real chance at being anything — right, wrong, deranged, enlightened or indifferent.

You simply cease to exist…

Which is the worst fate of all.

~J