Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World.

I have to laugh...not just at myself but everyone...the end of the world came and went and here we are...all dressed up with no where to go...or at least I am. But seriously, what if the end of the world is today?  Then what?  is that it? The old cliche, "this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper."? I mean really. With all the things going on today those Mayans knew one thing for sure...how to make sure that we didn't forget how important our daily existence is.

Humans.  Sheesh. We really know how to imagine that we actually know anything at all about what the world is going to do or how the universe is going to act or what is actually going to take place.  Come on...really?  You think we really have ANY idea?  Ok yes, the glaciers are melting and there is a meteor out there somewhere passing very close to earth (something like 2 billion miles close) and the new Tsunami warning signs are up everywhere just in case and the ozone is failing, and super storms will ravage us more often than not now, and the internet will take over and the computers will destroy the humans...come on...really?  Oh and the earthquakes...

Humans like to pretend they can predict and control, but haven't we learned that this is just not true?

What we can control is our interaction with each other and our own actions....let's just start there...let's start with getting up in the morning and taking responsibility for how we think, act, speak and play.  Let's take responsibility for our fellow human beings....that we CAN control.

The Mayans were merely the most advanced society at the time who were simply trying to find a way to explain and control the destiny of the world and the people in it....ok...so I know this whole thing wasn't about the world ending, but of course, that is all you hear about. Maybe once again, the product of our media has completely squashed the meaning of life and sensationalized it into a summer movie with big explosions and therefore eclipsed the actual message of the movie...live for today and shift your love and energy and remember to be your most amazing self each day...because trust me, the world will end...some day...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Doing

The Doing...the simple mantra I am living by right now...it is the doing...each day. Things are taking shape because of the doing. I am learning because of the doing. I am seeing because of the doing. I am tired because of the doing. I am excited because of the doing. I am frustrated because of the doing. I am inspired because of the doing. I am confused because of the doing. I am motivated because of the doing. I am empowered because of the doing. I am anxious because of the doing. I am nervous because of the doing. I am proud because of the doing. I am me because of the doing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Run


I haven't actually written something longer than a quote in a while...partly because I was tired...tired of writing. The creative life that we lead has a way of choosing which forms take a rest for while and although i am aware of my actions in being on this blog on a daily basis if possible, the full writing exercise has been asleep and resting for a while. I awake now to write about a journey that i am on. One that has scared me and put me in a place of great emotion and challenge.  For some it may seem trivial, but in this life we lead now of supreme convenience, ease, and loss of identity, purpose and intent, it is a journey that i must take, to live, to survive or maybe to just prove that i still can. That I can do it. That i can take the steps needed to accomplish a crazy goal that only i can accomplish and in doing so prove to myself that i am alive and full of passion and purpose and love.

I am running a marathon. For those of you who know me, you know that running has never been a favorite of mine and i can't without full purpose claim that it is now, but running has grown on me as each day presents a new triumph towards the peak of the mountain. In my life, i don't know if i have ever put forth a goal so specific and for me this is the most important lesson that i am striving to learn...that this goal is about the doing, about the daily journey, the small steps, the difficult moments, and the ultimate end result that drives us forward and, in the end, that result is merely the shining moment of all the work.

It is the analogy i need for my art and for my life to remember that each day is a training day. A day to contemplate and to take it in small strides and to breathe and be filled with an inner strength.

It has been 13 weeks of training.  Halfway through a 26 week training schedule that has me running 4 times a week in small increments.  So far the longest run I have completed is 6.2 miles in my first 10k ever and the run was, for me, something that i have never experienced.  Amidst the 2200 people running around me, it was quiet except for my breathing and the sound of my feet. For runners out there i am sure this is not a new feeling but for me the surprising joy i felt when i ran and crossed the line has been missing in my life for some time as an athlete.

I now find myself thinking and dreaming about the marathon and when i do it is extremely emotional because i know that no one is going to run it for me. No one can train for me. No one can go through the potential suffering that will be endured. I know that each step i take now in the journey is one step closer to that goal, but i must remember that the marathon is not the goal. The goal is the journey, the run, the sweet sound of the ground beneath my feet.

I used to think runners were crazy especially marathon runners, but i am proved wrong and i have found an ultimate respect for the runners out there in every shape and size and I get it.  I get it.

I am training alone. I don't run with a group yet. I run alone. Most have said it is harder to run alone so maybe that is why i do it, but i love it. I can't say that i won't run with others and enjoy it, but the aloneness is part of the journey for me.  No distractions.

I don't want this to sound like i wrote it to brag. I am writing this to share my fear. To share my doubt. To share the terror i actually have of this huge looming day, which i know in the end will only be a day. A day that i will live through and cherish no matter what because the journey is the gift.  To some this may seem petty, and i am aware that there are bigger things in life, but ultimately we all need this journey, however it presents itself in our lives.  We must take the small steps and be happy with them and know that this journey makes us strong and in the end we are the only ones who can take the step.

I don't know why i met the man in the mountains who opened my eyes to the marathon. I don't know if he was an angel or a demon. I don't know if i am running away from them or to them, but i inherently feel that i am running with them.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Heavens

He was standing on the street corner waiting patiently....while the heavens were passing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meditation

Lest we forget that we aren't the only ones who contemplate the world around us...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Faith

"You can work miracles by having faith in others. By choosing to think and believe the best about people, you are able to bring out the best in them."
-Bob Moawad

A challenge we all must face each day without judgement and without ego.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spark

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not at all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours."
-Ayn Rand


Walk the path and cross the bridge out of the forest and into the light...it is waiting there for you with open arms.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Power

"We all have the power to give away love, to love other people.  And if we do so we change the kind of person we are, and we change the kind of world we live in."
-Harold Kushner

Give it away.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Places

"You have to pick the places you don't walk away from."
-Joan Didion

Usually the places you don't walk away from are the difficult ones...walking away is the easy part.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kindness

"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment.  We can start now, start slowly, changing the world.  How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make a contribution toward introducing justice straightaway.  And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!"
-Anne Frank

as of late, this is so important to remember in a city like Los Angeles...a little kindness and consideration goes a long way....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How it works

"If you want trust, trust others. If you want respect, respect others. If you want help, help others. If you want love and peace in your life, give them away. If you want great friends, be one. That's how it works."
-Dan Zadra

its true...for sure...i have the most amazing friends in the world...its an amazing two way street.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Risk

"To enjoy the journey is to leap into people's lives. To enjoy the journey is to give until the stretch is a sacrifice. The question always is: what is it in life that will pull you out of your seat to be brave, risk and serve?
-Janie Jasin

The daily struggle to stand up out of your seat and risk..to be brave...to serve...to live.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Treasure

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
-Thornton Wilder

Wake up and live the day with treasure in mind.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Wonder

I wonder what it's like to be a child and observe everything going on all at once not knowing what it all means but simply taking it in each moment?  

Today is about wonder.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Life

"The life you have led doesn't need to be the only life you have."
-Anna Quindlen


Whew....let's have a bunch.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Songs

".....everything in life responds to the song of the heart."
-Ernest Holmes


Keep singing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big

"Believe in something big. Your life is worth a noble motive."
-Walter Anderson


Waking up to this is sometimes hard to remember, but indeed the daily practice.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grace

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. ...Touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."
-Frederick Buechner

Trusting in our own ability to live a graceful life is the daily practice we must adhere to.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Caring

 "We won't always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications.  what's important is that you do care and you act."
-Charlotte Lunsford

Showing up and shining your light is the simplest way to care about those around you.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Nobody-But-Yourself

"To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself---means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight--and never stop fighting."
-E.E. Cummings

The trenches are deep and muddy and frightening, but the sky is still blue and beautiful...hold your ground.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Darkness

"You do build in darkness if you have faith. When the light returns you have made of yourself a fortress which is impregnable to certain kinds of trouble; you may even find yourself needed and sought by others as a beacon in their dark."
-Olga Rosmanith

Remember that lighthouses come in all shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hope

"The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started."
-Norman Cousins

If i pass this test, i won't care what other judgements anyone makes of me....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bold

"Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid."
-Dorothea Brande

Off we go...into the wild blue yonder.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

To Carry On

"In your life's journey, there will be excitement and fulfillment, boredom and routine, and even the occasional train wreck...But when you have picked a dream that is bigger than you personally, that truly reflects the ideals that you cherish, and that can positively affect  others, then you will always have another reason for carrying on."
-Pamela Melroy

The fear of dreaming big and succeeding is the only thing stopping us....as my friend used to say...go big or go home.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Faithful

"Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself."
-Andre Gide

Why would we deny what is true to ourselves in this life? Embrace it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Opportunity

"Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you."
-Jim Rohn

Stand up and be big.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mystery

"Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here now.  Don't miss it."
-Leo Buscaglia

Keep your eyes, ears and hearts wide open...

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Dark

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don't give up."
-Anne Lamott

It's dark for sure...but the dawn will be sweet.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Possiblities

"When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this:  you haven't."
-Thomas Edison

Keep working towards all possible outcomes...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Calm before the storm

"What is life for?  It is for you."
-Abraham Maslow

That is the best piece of news I've heard all day...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What I do

"What I do, you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.  The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things.  But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful."
-Mother Teresa

The small things I do are what matters...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Key

"The key is to trust your heart to move where your unique talents can flourish.  This old world will really spin when work becomes a joyous expression of the soul."
-Al Sacharov

I have a set of keys...do you?

Monday, October 8, 2012

"People will try to tell you that all the great opportunities have been snapped up.  In reality, the world changes every second, blowing new opportunities in all directions, including yours."


The wind must be blowing my way then...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Being Humble

"The most beautiful paintings and sculptures, the greatest poetry, have not always been born from torment or bitterness. Often they have sprung from contemplation, from joy, from an instinct or wonder toward all things. To create from joy, to create from wonder demands a continual discipline, a great compassion...With time and sincerity, you will discover a way to work and write that does not harm you spiritually, that does not tempt you to vanity, that is the deepest expression of your spirituality. You will find a voice that is not your voice only, but the voice of Reality itself...If you can be empty enough, that voice can speak through you. If you can be humble enough, that voice can inhabit you and use you.

In the end all the suffering and angst and despair must be outweighed by the compassion for oneself as an artist, writer, musician, creator and human being.  Just when we thought art was all of the challenges of life...it is actually the moment in life when you are most alive and light and free....we just don't give ourselves the opportunity to be in that state often enough.  The act of being humble and free is the moment of utmost creativity...we all have it in us...the voice....use it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Illusion

"Despair is the only cure for illusion.  Without despair we cannot transfer our allegiance to reality--it is a kind of mourning period for our fantasies.  Some people do not survive this despair, but no major change within a person can occur without it."

Oh good...I thought I was the only one....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Art and religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy."

I knew taking the left fork was working.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Some People

"Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead."

So I guess I got that going for me....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Honey of the Human Soul

"Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail."

Give me more honey.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Outsiders

"It is only too true that a lot of artists are mentally ill--it's a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider. I'm all right when I completely immerse myself in work, but i'll always remain half crazy."
-Vincent van Gogh

I will remain an outsider...from here on out.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Voices

"Many people  hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called "mad" and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called "writers" and they do pretty much the same thing."
-Meg Chittenden.


I hear voices all the time. Don't you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Barefoot Man

He was walking barefoot down the road on a day that was hot enough to make the tar strips slippery when you rode over them.  I remember passing him thinking, that guy is either nuts or totally hardcore.  Well 10 minutes later I met him.  I had pulled off the road onto an overlook in the dirt and it was easily 94 degrees out.  I had just pulled my camera out to take some photos and there he was, walking towards me with a big smile.  He was and older man, i think Japanese, with a red shirt on and a clean white visor that held a head of black and silver hair.  I was struck immediately by the fact that his skin was smooth and very tan and his appearance was of a young adventurer out for a leisurely stroll..the kind of stroll that John Muir used to take when he walked around Yosemite for miles and miles just exploring and walking.  I couldn't help but look down at his feet thinking I would see a bloody mess but there they were, strong and a bit fat and standing on the hot dirt.  We spoke to each other, at first in a small talk sort of way that included the fact that me on a motorcycle was something he couldn't understand and then as we got more into our discussion time seemed to stand still.  I quickly learned that this man was 71 years old and not only walked every day barefoot to help his balance, but still runs marathons.  It was quiet where we were and the occasional motorcycle would go by, or bike rider and I could here the wind and smell the dust all the time thinking..."how on earth does he walk barefoot all day??"

Tai was his name.  He has lived through 3 wars, is a retired DA/lawyer and thinks religion is a farce.  He believes in the good of man and living for yourself to care for others not believing what everyone else tells you to believe.  He believes that running marathons is the best analogy for life and that if we could all just live in the moment of one foot in front of the other, the world would be a nicer place.

Tai was so real and passionate and full of life and he kept telling me that I should run a marathon, at first I thought, no way...but by the end I actually started to believe that he might be right...that maybe in this life the things we do in the most simplistic way are the things that really matter, like losing track of time in the middle of a day to talk to a person because you know you'll be talking to a Sage...We talked for over an hour in the hot dust and sun and by the end I couldn't wait to get home and start training for a marathon.  I felt like I wanted to do it for him, but I realized he was just voicing my own words in this life...I realized I had met an older version of me, albeit a Japanese one...who has lived his life in a way that made him happy and healthy and real...not worried about money and status and what others think...

In the end I invited him to see a new Greek play I am in because that was what I could offer him and since he majored in philosophy it made sense.  I felt that sharing my own passion with him was the least I could do, and his belief that Marlon Brando was and is the best actor of this century was encouraging since Brando was someone who made his own way...It was only then that we actually introduced ourselves and when he heard my last name he said that the best actors were always Italian.  A fact that I had not been aware of, but probably true.

The last view I had of Tai, was him sitting peacefully on a bench that overlooked the mountains, his bare feet in the dust and his majestic aura invading the scrub brush around him.  As I rode away on the motorcycle I felt I had just met someone who embodied what it was to take one step at a time in life and I was content to know that its always a good idea to stop in the dusty heat and wait to speak with a barefoot man.

Oh and yesterday I ran 3.5 miles and the whole time thought about Tai and marathons.  I don't think I have ever felt so strong and swift while running....

Love and Understanding.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Swimming Upstream

Lately there is a feeling of understanding that i have had and it has to do with swimming upstream.  I don't know much about Salmon but I do know that their lives depend on the action of swimming upstream to live.  It is an action that defies the senses and odds and along the way the obstacles are great and many.  These days there is a fight in my life to maintain the life that I have lived that turns me upstream and at the times when i most need to go in that direction can also be some of the most confusing times, since when i look around, most are going downstream.  I am not saying downstream is a bad thing, but for some it is just not why life is important.  There are certain traits and people and tribes who go against the grain and live a life least expected and often not understood.  There are people who risk it all to find life and to live a little wilder and and a little freer, but to commit to that path is also saying that life as we know it won't be enough.  It won't fulfill us in the way it fulfills the others, content to let the water push them and take them out into the sea.  As I awake today i feel an urge to fight harder than ever before and swim harder than ever before up the stream past the rapids and through the hunting bears and the fisherman and the boulders and the nets...to a place where only a few will finally make it to live and know that it was for a purpose and a reason and that the waters weren't always there to soothe you, they were there to mold you and make you stronger and braver and bigger than ever before.

Love and Understanding

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Pond and Other Musings



So my new job...its located in two large office buildings in a part of town that is fairly busy and bustling and i find that its hard to find a spot that is quiet and relaxing, however there is one which happens to be a very long and large Coy pond located between the two buildings...in it are probably 40 or 50 pretty big Coy and they are really amazing to see.  I find myself walking next to the pond on my way in and any time that I am outside walking just to peak at them.  When you get close they swim up and put there face out (do fish have faces?) and sort of make this big open mouth movement as if to say "hello!"
I called the above fish Flavius and we had a moment...its the moments like that where I feel a little out of place in this world, when everyone else is running by with their phones texting and not noticing the simple beauty. I am not saying i am better than others, I am just saying when i have a quiet reflective moment with Flavius, i am remembering that i beat to a different drum and being in the corporate world again makes it all the more evident that this needs to be fostered and supported.  And so now i make a point to see Flavius and the others each time i come by.  I am reminded to take it slow and notice things as I try and still take pictures of the simple moments around...like below, this was in a little restaurant yesterday and I just loved it...the old scale, the flowers...it was perfectly set and its those moments of secretly knowing that I can still see them that grounds me....especially now that I carry around two phones and wear a watch.  Funny how things work.  Well at least it's Friday and I get to have a weekend....Love and Understanding. J

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Daily Routine

What's next face?  check it out. it's my new look in the mornings...i am adjusting to a new schedule on all fronts...new job, new rehearsals, new workouts, new ideas. it's all part of the plan i suppose, but i make that face alot...it's not really a specific face or expression and can be used for all sorts of expression, such as, "holy crap now what", or "i hope this shit works!",  or "ooohhh, i did not see that one coming." and so forth...funny how things tend to happen like dominoes, one after another and so it is that i am number one domino right now and its kinda fun, and kinda scary and kinda cool all rolled into one.  The challenge is maintaining all things that are important to me along the lines of creative, fun, relationship, and personal time...i guess that is the challenge for most, but these days it's new to me so i am continuing down the road of what's next?  i think i'll make that face at some point today...you should too...

Love and Understanding.
J

Monday, July 16, 2012

Take a Step

Looking up in life has its rewards...stars, sky, clouds, birds, trees, jet streams...seeing the things that exist in a world above us is the metaphor for life that keeps us hopeful i think. I like looking up. I also like looking around and out and down. Try it. Stand in one spot and look in all directions and notice the difference in each direction. It's a bit like that great scene in Castaway with Tom Hanks near the end of the movie when we see him literally standing in the dirt intersection of four roads looking down each road and, although the roads all look similar, we know each are different and the not knowing is the scary part. The risk of seemingly taking the "wrong" road is huge, but there is no wrong road, there is only the road and that road takes you down the path you were meant to be on even though it seems like random chance or specific choice or guessing. The world has presented us yet with another chance to walk down our own road and to do it standing tall and strong and with a knowing that sometimes the roads will be hard and difficult, but in the end that road will teach us something through its twists and turns, and rough pavement, and oil slicks and two ton trucks coming the other way. Not unlike riding a motorcycle down a road with turns that present themselves in a way that is so perfectly planned yet so unknown and if you are in perfect stride and trim and rhythm you adapt to the terrain and the speed and the fear and doubt to get through one turn and onto the next turn with grace and a smile leaving behind a quiet triumph of the spirit and soul and a crowd of love and wonder and awe because you simply did it.  You simply showed up and travelled with the others on the same road for a small moment in time and you did all you could to be good and kind and loving, even on the days you would have killed a kitten or stomped a dove or driven off a cliff...you didn't; and so your road took you up and away into the sky and mountains and trees, all of them caressing your fire and passion for the moment you turned left instead of right, and carried on and on with fierce love for all around you and most importantly for yourself...for your own spirit and sweet essence of life that gets you up in the morning without knowing exactly what the purpose may be or why, and takes you to a place every day of wonder and sadness and hope and despair, and gifts of the soul that may or may never be opened or realized, but they are there stored up in the eternal world of your own mind and heart. So get up and look around and listen to the quiet beat of the heart and then take a step...it doesn't have to be a big step or a step in the "right" direction since we know there is no such thing. The mere act of taking a step is the perfectly designed momentum to move us through anything and that is the perfect design of life.  And that is the perfect moment. And that is the perfect direction. And that is the sweetest step you can take.

Love and Understanding.
J