Monthly Archives: August 2017

Scarcity

Leaves copy

I think we’ve all heard at this point about how what drives us are the opposing elements of love and fear.  That we are fight or flight animals that at our core are driven by our survival instincts.  All of this is true.  All of this is fact.  It’s the mere functioning of our primitive brain.  But, one thing that always gets lost is that in the modern world, in our modern brain, most of our fight or flight responses are being translated into what we don’t have and how to get it.

Do you want to know why you are worried about getting enough work?  Lack of resources = financial scarcity.  Lack of good projects to work on = creative scarcity.  Lack of a good partner that shows you the love and support you need = emotional scarcity…  and on and on.

It’s so easy to blame others for all of this.  Dr. Brené Brown states: “Blame is the discharge of pain and discomfort.” Look what’s happening in our country right now.  Nationalism and Populism depend on creating divisions  between people based on finite resources and scarcity.  So, those exploiting that ideology for their own gain begin by blaming the “other.”  Mexicans will take your job. Muslims will take your safety. Transgenders will take your children’s innocence. While none of this is true, the easiest way to manipulate people is through scarcity, and it’s all around us.

Tune into a shopping channel sometime. Always on the screen are the amount of time left on the sale and how many units there are left to buy.  It’s designed to manipulate with the idea of finite resources and to create the anxiety of being left out.

Scarcity is rarely anchored in the moment.  If you are hungry right now and have no food that’s one thing, but I can’t imagine anyone reading this is in that position.  Scarcity as we experience it has a context based on the past or future.  Just take the White Supremacists in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us.”  That’s not a fear based in the moment. To be replaced in the future assumes you are currently holding some position. They’re fearful they’ll be left out someday?  That they’ll somehow be replaced at some point down the road?  It’s idiotic.  No wonder they’re anxious. They are focused on a dark, completely undefined future of scarcity, not what is good right now.  At the very least, in the present they have those groovy white polo shirts and khaki pants uniforms. that’s something, right?

So, what’s the antidote?  What would happen if we stopped listening to the shrill drone of marketers, politicians, reality television and social media?  All of the forces saying:  “you are not getting enough” which is really code for “you are not enough.” The answer is simple: it would force us into the present where, if you look around, you’ll find plenty of abundance and much to be grateful for.

Each of our mind’s create the Universe we live in. Focus your mind on the abundance and love you have right now, not on the ambiguous scarcity you may or may not experience in the future. Or, equally important, don’t dwell on the things you lacked in the past.  There is nothing you can do about that anymore.  If you can bring yourself to the present moment, you’ll feel better and you’ll be able to think more clearly about what really matters.  I promise.

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Transformation

Artists are in the transformation business.  Business is in the transformation business.  Society is in the transformation business. We all seek the same thing.  A better way, a better life, a better world, and as Steve Jobs famously said:  “making a dent in the universe.”

We can choose through our actions to just reflect what has already been present in the world, or we can choose to make our way forward with the spirit of transformation and evolution.  To be truly useful and to lead fulfilling lives, we have no choice but to consciously and constantly engage the world in a transformative way.

But, transformation works both ways. When you engage the world through transformation, you get to choose to evolve or devolve. Evolution is forward thinking, bright and dynamic. Devolution is a dark corridor, full of derivative thought and laggards. The Rainbow flag and the Confederate flag as art and symbol for example.  Which one is transformative in a evolutionary way and which is devolutionary?

With every breath we take in the entire universe.  Everything that has been and everything that will be. That is a mighty responsibility. There’s a simple fact to our biology:  within every human now living  resides some molecules of every human that has ever lived, and our earliest relatives came from stardust. So too, in one thousand years our molecules will reside in others.  Yes, with every breathe we take in the entire universe.

It’s easy to disappear into the problems of every day life and forget that we’re here to create and move forward.  It’s easy to to think that “I’m just one person, what can I possibly do?”

Jobs didn’t do it alone.  Churchill rallied a country but didn’t take on the nazis by himself.  These people had vision yes, but it took many thousands of people to transform that vision into transformative experiences.  Edison didn’t do it alone, nor did Charlie Chaplin, Mary Ellen Mark or George Lucas.  They had friends, family, crews, executives and an audience that wanted to evolve with them.  They together transformed industry, art and society.

Do you want to feel excited about what you do and what you’re leaving to your children?   Commit to evolution and be in the transformation business. Use your creative voice to make a dent in the universe.

Night Sky Small

Wind Direction

Boat bw

Have you checked the wind direction lately?

Where are you going?

Are you still on course?

Did you decide along the way to head in another much more desirable direction than where you first intended to go, but suddenly find you are still headed towards your first destination?

Has a storm risen up, forcing you to set down for a while to wait for better conditions?

Have you followed a tributary inland and now find yourself fighting your way upstream?

Has the sea totally dried up and you find your boat aground?

 

After you choose a destination, it’s easy to not notice what’s happening around you if the first part of the journey goes smoothly.  You think you’re focused, but focused on what? It’s easy to wait until it’s too late to change course.  We have so many distractions, so many things trying to get our attention that it’s no wonder that obvious changes to the environment can take us by surprise.

Any port in a storm is often a mistake.  It’s preferable to sail through the tempest.  You may know you don’t have the skill set to enter the storm, but if you can survive you will have the skills forever after. No storm can then frighten you and you may even welcome them as they put you at your best.

Just be careful not to create storms where they don’t exist. They come from changing your destination from week to week because you can’t see past the horizon. That boat just sails in circles.

Check the wind direction, set the sails, push off and stay the course. But, remember that the only constant is change. Conditions may change to the degree that you abandon your ultimate destination for another.  It’s life, we all need to do that from time to time, just make sure you are not compromising your truth or the desire of your soul.

So, have courage, be adaptable, watch the sea carefully and listen to the breeze as it whispers.  The wind will tell you everything you need to know.