Thursday, June 30, 2011

Passion Party #375 - Thin Slicing

There are times
when you know that you know
in the blink of an eye
you sense
it is the right person
or the wrong investment
or the place you are meant to be.

This ability to "thin slice",
to make a snap decision from very little information
is something I want to develop.

The more freedom we have
the more important it becomes
to trust your instincts.
Like in jazz
when you know your boundaries
and the rules of engagement
it becomes easier to follow those instincts
those split second decisions
that lead to creativity.

I try to live in this place
at least once a day
to develop this thin-slicing muscle
called instinct.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Passion Party #374 - Inner Curmudgeon

Once in a while
I get fed up
with being positive
I get blinded by the bright side
and hanker for some darkness.
A place to complain
about how hard life is
how unfair and random,
how behind every smile
is a wall of hurt and pain.

Sometimes I wish
we could live in honesty
and I could let me inner curmudgeon out to play
not just a bitch session
more a reality check
on how out of control life is.

It feels good
to take a deep breath
and let loose
with a gimlet-eye view of reality
and then get on with the day,
nice or not.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Passion Party #373 - Graduation Night

About 500 of us enter a cruise ship
destination unknown, but it does not matter
We are there for fun and friendship
and to celebrate our accomplishments,
to celebrate our lives.

Inside it is like Sugar Mountain,
a dance party with DJ, lights and video,
a casino with prizes,
a karaoke room, a restaurant,
fortune tellers, arcade games, giant slide,
climbing wall and padded sumo-wrestling outfits
(hard to describe, you really had to be there)

We are there all night
and then, around 4:00 AM
we are led to a large outdoor amphitheater
where a bonfire, suspended over a small pond
has been set up.
The bonfire is lit, and for the next hour it burns,
sparks shooting high, crackling in the air
The ashes and embers falling into the pond with a hissing sound
as the wooden structure is consumed.

I want to stay here
until it burns to the ground.
People start leaving, but I don't want to.
I don't want to leave.
Finally the sky starts to lighten
and I notice that the people left
are all my friends
We hug and cry
The night has passed
The fire dies out as day breaks
Finally I leave
on my own
In the end
we all leave
on our own journey.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Passion Party #372 - My Heart Is Singing

How can I describe the joy
of writing s composition
inspired by my son
working on it for 9 months
trying out ideas with him
studying the great literature for cello
having the composition gradually take shape
writing a cadenza
throwing it out as unplayable
writing another cadenza
having an initial read-through with string quintet

and then, finally,
having it performed
in concert
with a full orchestra
the musicians fully invested
in bringing the music to life
and my son
the featured soloist
ripping through the cadenza,
owning the piece.

My heart singing
with the shimmering beauty
of the last chords.

There is nothing
greater than this moment.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Passion Party #371 - Eudaimonia

Happiness is complicated.
It is not as simple as collecting the most toys.
Aristotle spoke of eudaimonia
not as just a sense of happiness
but a sense of well-being.
Etymologically, it consists of the word "eu" ("good") and "daim┼Źn" ("spirit").
In classical Greek, eudaimonia was used as a term for the highest human good,
and the eudaimon life is one of “virtuous activity in accordance with reason”.

It is that mysterious "purpose"
that so many philosophers and business coaches talk about.
When you find your purpose in life
you are not only happy
but you have a sense of fulfillment
even in the struggle of every day life.

It is not a bad thing to start the day asking,
"How happy are you today?
How is your happiness quotient?"

And what can I do today to increase my well-being
and live in good spirit?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Passion Party #370 - Creating A New Habit

Some forcing
some cajoling
some crying
some whining
some doubting
some just showing up
and then it gets easier
the body clock is reset
and the magic hour
when the world is quiet
becomes too dear
so to not visit it is painful.

The stretches become an old friend
the brief meditation a clearing of the mind
and the blank paper a welcome mat
to a new day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Passion Party #369 - Thank You

For allowing me to see another spring
For giving me time to water my tomatoes
For my plate full of music
Composing, arranging, performing
For filling my life with love.

Thank You
For the closeness of family
For the caring of my workplace
For the blessed health I have been given
For the opportunity to make a living
doing something I am good at and believe in.

My plate is full of
potential and opportunity.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Passion Party #368 - Inspiration is Overrated

I love when I feel inspired:
the spark of creativity
the Great Idea
the light bulb going off
the apple hitting my head
while I nap under the apple tree.

Life is 10% inspiration
and 90% perspiration.
The greatness is not in the idea
but in the execution of the idea
It is easy to keep napping,
even after the apple bonks you on the head.
The real challenge in life
is carrying the inspiration
into the mundane every day
and making the thought into reality.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Passion Party #367 - Feature : Benefit : Belief

One of the first things you learn in sales training
is the distinction between a feature and a benefit.
A feature is a virtue of the product or idea.
A benefit is how it helps you; what the customer gains by using the product or idea.
Its the "what's in it for me" part.

You can spend a whole day
bouncing between features and benefits
but the "A Ha!" moment
comes when you have the conviction and belief
that what you are doing is right
and it is worth having others do it, too.

Whether it is buying versus renting
driving an electric car vs. a gas powered vehicle
Nothing happens
until you move from
Feature to Benefit To Belief.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Passion Party #366 - Happiness is Personal

I used to think
having the Goal of Being Happy
(as in "I want to be happy")
was a waste of time.
Kind of like saying
"I want to be angry"
instead of just getting angry.

I saw happiness as transitory
like a fluffy cloud passing in the sky
not an object to hold onto
or pursue.

Happiness is a being, not a doing
Happiness is a result, not a goal
It comes from inside
from growing tomatoes
or walking the dog
or watching people grow into their lives.

Now I know
happiness is personal.
As someone said,
"My happiness depends on me,
so you're off the hook."