Wow. Here it is. 365 Days Later. Does that mean zombies will come out of hiding? (Sorry, I never saw the movie 28 Days Later but I think it was about Zombies). Or perhaps a more appropriate relator would be the beginning line of Sgt. Pepper's. "It was a year ago today."
Makes me think… if I started the blog 20 years ago today, I would start with the fact that I was planning my last trip to Aspen before moving here. Wow. Pretty cool, actually. A lot has happened in 20 years.
But let's just look at the past 365 Days, shall we?
The other day I was pondering this question: "What's the difference between Accomplishment and Success?"
Most people would respond that they're the same thing. I'll offer a different perspective (as I am wont to do) and how it relates to me. By all accounts, I would be considered an "accomplished" person. I've written and published 5 novels (one in the past year), two nonfiction books (one in the past 365 days), two children's books and multiple screenplays and scripts. I have co-written a number of songs, including one I wrote all by myself – lyrics and music! (For me, this was a BIG deal! See below if you want to check out the song – still VERY rough). I also have a patent and multiple copyrights and trademarks.
Blah, blah, blah. Does that mean I'm "successful?" Depends on your definition of success. But let's just say that on most people's scales I wouldn't rank. Does that matter? Again, it depends on you and what's important to you.
But I digress. I haven't written here in a long time, mainly because I felt the blog was getting stale and readers (if there were any) were bored. And I have been busy. Writing, mostly.
So let's chronicle my accomplishments from 365 days ago. A year ago, I drove into town with a full car and no promises or commitments beyond a one-year lease. The next day I met a new friend and we subsequently started the Aspen Screenwriting and Playwrights group, which has been a lot of fun and growing. Pretty cool.
As far as screenwriting goes, in the last year I've written one feature film, two short films and a treatment with a few episodes of a TV series. I also wrote the song for the closing credits for one of the short films. (See below).
While I'm talking about writing, I've also released the anthology collaboration "Fifty Shades Deeper." A year ago it wasn't even on my radar. Not bad. I was recently featured in Aspen Magazine (see HERE) and did a talk at Explore Bookstore a couple of weeks ago.
I skied 32 days this year, which wasn't bad. I also hiked up Buttermilk this summer, which is 2000 vertical feet. And I've been up Smuggler's Mountain more times than I can count. (On average 3-4 days a week). The most fun was the winter hikes through 3-4 ft. drifts of snow.
Regarding health and fitness, I spent 4-5 days in the hospital after nearly dying from the altitude. But that was just a blip – and an opportunity to experience Aspen from the inside of a Hospital with extraordinary care. And, yes, my ticker is working just fine. All's well. (Though I did have to cut my thyroid meds in half, which resulted in a counter-productive shift in my weight, which had been going in the right direction and now continues to be a struggle. But you know what? I'm tired of worrying about it. Health and vitality is a more important goal than vanity anyway).
I've done some volunteering, including Aspen Brain Lab and the Ideas Festival (which starts today). More to come, I'm sure.
And to save the best for last (which reminds me of that song, which I love and need to listen to again), I have met some incredible people. A year ago I didn't know a soul in Aspen. Now I'm honored to have some beautiful souls I call friends.
If you're reading this, you might have some questions…
Will I continue to live in Aspen? Yes, at least for the foreseeable future. I've renewed my lease. Could something or someone come along to change that? Perhaps. We'll see. I'm open to following the breadcrumbs the Universe sets out for me.
Will I continue to write in this blog? I'm really not sure. To be honest, it would depend on whether anyone is reading these words I'm writing right now. I do know I have some "before" friends who have asked me to continue. Or I might switch to another message. We'll see. I did like exploring my "who am I today?" questions. (I'm naturally introspective as it is). But I'm not naturally publically expressive. Not a "look at me" kind of person. So I don't know. Ultimately it would depend on the answer to the question, "Who cares?" If I can help people, then every other obstacle takes a back seat. That's just my vibe.
What do I think will happen in the next 365 Days? With my mantra of "I desire to not desire" this is a tricky question. There's only thing I can say that I truly want and crave. The movie "Eat, Pray, Love" had a brilliant quote. Felipe (Javier Bardem) says to Liz (Julia Roberts), "You don't need a man. You need a champion." I would love to have a true champion in my life. If you, dear reader, wants to send out vibes for anything for me to find "the one," (the champion, that is) I'd appreciate it. Otherwise, I don't know. I'll keep "accomplishing," for sure. I am focusing more on my screenwriting than anything right now, and am working toward getting a short film made by the end of the year. As usual, I'll do anything and everything in my power to make that happen. But at some point, it's beyond my control. And who knows? The breadcrumbs might lead me elsewhere. Whatever I can do to combine my interests and passions in order to help people will be worthwhile, I'm sure.
The song I wrote for my short film: The Journal: A Transitus Story. Still VERY rough – needs real musicians and singers…
Of course I have no idea if anyone ever reads this blog or not, so I don't know if it's been missed. But maybe that's the point. You do something and it shouldn't be about the outcome, it should be about the process.
When I was identifying my archetypes, I added one that wasn't in Caroline's arsenal, which was Strategic. I've always been very goal-oriented, which is usually considered a successful trait in a human being. Certainly it's supposed to be the first and pivotal step for success, right?
Well, maybe not. Maybe it is about the journey and not the destination. Maybe it's about appreciating the process; enjoying the ride.
I've experienced some fears lately. I'm not usually a trepid person, so this was especially profound.
Yes, of course, I carry the burden of my prescient nature, seeing the horrors of what I predicted after the election coming true. The further destruction of our planet, from values to the environment to the impending threat of nuclear war.
But other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
Seriously (or perhaps more accurately, Less Seriously), I usually just proceed with the things I need to do, fear or not.
But these two things have been daunting.
The first project has played out my fears. I was right to be concerned. It's been arduous, to say the least. And certainly far from fun. It's the process of getting my books into a distributor – from ISBN numbers to uploading the myriad of complex files and more. Ugh. Exhausting. And with a deadline of the end of April looming, I had to bite the bullet and do it. Add to that my "positive pessimism" mindset and, well, let's say it shouldn't be surprising that (a) I've been busy and (b) I've been down-in-the-dumps.
Enough said about that.
The other fear? I'll table that reveal for a future post. It might be another failure, but here's to hoping it's more fun in the journey.
One of the pleasures of living in Aspen – or any location surrounded by mountains – is the glorious dicotomy.
You can go on a walk in the valley and the weather is warm, spring flowers blooming, trees budding. And then climb up a few hundred feet in elevation and the season is more winter-like. Drifts of pristine snow, bare trees and cooler breezes.
As a typical Gemini who enjoys variety, it's a lovely existence.
This is a good news – bad news post. What do you think the Good News is?
What's the bad?
These photos were taken the other afternoon – on a beautiful, warm spring day in late March.
I've been into dream analysis for most of my life. My dreams often provide insights into my subconscious – and sometimes even offer prophesies for things to come.
The other night I had a dream with a symbol I've seen several times before. I'd always dismissed the message, but this time it stuck with me, forcing me to see things differently.
The dream symbol was a book. Okay, I admit – not that big of a deal for a writer, right? Before I tell you what my Dream Analysis book says, what would you think the symbol of a book would foretell?
The truth is, often a symbol denotes something very different from what you'd expect.
Here's what my go-to book on dream analysis says:
You can anticipate slow but steady progress
and a calm, pleasant life ahead
if books were the main feature of your dream.
When I read this prophecy before, it seemed boring. And certainly not exciting! Who wants slow but steady progress? I want it all and I want it NOW! And even though a calm, pleasant life sounds, well, nice, it also sounds uneventful.
Or is that just me?
I'm reminded of the "Tortoise and the Hare" fairy tale. And then I look at my life. Not sure if I've had that much "progress." Would I have had more if it had been "slow and steady?" I have to admit; yes.
It's just that darned word "slow." Still, there's a lesson in it for me.
Now to the next part. "A calm, pleasant life." I kind of have that now. Yes, I'd like more "progress." Yet one thing I've been contemplating – a lot – are the perils that go along with "exciting."
Then I asked myself: Could I achieve my goals if I had a "calm, pleasant life with slow but steady progress?"
Why not? What if I was able to achieve my dream of getting my script made into a film/TV show? Slow but steady progress would mean that yes, the script gets optioned; yes, the funding is raised; yes, the director and actors signed; yes, the movie/show made. Sounds good to me!
How about the "calm, pleasant" part? Also, why not? What's so wrong with calm? And pleasant? What if it all came together with no drama, but instead with ease?
Oh, what a fool I've been…
(Now let's see what happens).
Here's the "fractured" version…
A favorite lullaby of mine…
Here's another one… though I don't have the answer. At least not yet… What is it?
Here's the answer to yesterday's "Can you guess?" post.
No wonder I'd never seen one before. I hadn't been to Aspen in the Spring.
Today's post is a little quiz…
Can you guess what this is?
When you hear the phrase, "Give up" or Giving up" what comes to your mind?
Is it a good thing? Or a not-so-good thing?
To some, it connotes an image of quitting.
To others, of letting go.
And to a select few, it means "releasing to a higher power."
I've been enjoying some audio books by Caroline Myss as I hike. I hadn't really "read" much of her work until recently, so even though the teachings have been out there (and "out there") for a while, it's still "new" to me.
Most of the concepts are familar to my own belief system, adding reinforcement to my views. Some of her theories I disagree with (to a certain degree), which is also another form of enlightenment. And a lot of it is adding new vernacular in dimensions that are expanding my brain.
Her work on Archetypes has been very helpful, not only for my own self-analysis but also for my writing. I also recently finished her book on Soul Contracts, which I'm sure I'll write more about in a future blog.
Today's post is about "giving up," which I define as "releasing to a higher power." When you've done all you can do, what other choice is there?
As I was hiking the other day, Caroline Myss was talking about the importance – and often impossibility – of "surrender," which, to her, is akin to "releasing to a higher power." She suggests that releasing our will to that of the Divine is the highest goal. It's also the most difficult, she says.
In my own personal journey, it's a part of my daily life. Trying to align my will to the Higher Power. "Let me walk in thy will and delight in thy ways" was ingrained in me in my upbringing as an Episocopalian. Another way to say it is "Let Thy Will and mine be one." Or, as I wrote in my Five Reasons Why book, "Let Divine Will Fill My Heart and Guide My Actions."
I agree with Caroline that most people spend so much time trying to figure out what they want that they rarely ask "is this in my best interest?" And even if the answer is, "yes," they might get frustrated and confused when "Divine Will" isn't so much fun.
Yes, I certainly know that feeling all too well.
But I do know that "life isn't easy, and not always fun." (From my children's book). I also know that "easy is boring, like games always won."
It's so seductive to follow teachers like Abraham or go to psychics who lure us with "The Secret." "If only I do/say/think ____, I'll have a life of ________ (peace, wealth, health, perfection.)" You create your own reality.
Do they realize that "you create your own reality" is in direct conflict with a belief in destiny? And if you don't believe in destiny, then if follows that you don't believe in "purpose." (Think on that for a bit).
I personally believe in the confluence of Fate and Free Will. That what happens to us is a reflection of both our pre-ordained destiny and the decisions/choices we make once we're here.
And I agree with Caroline: the ultimate in achieving our destiny is to "give up" (or surrender) our will. To God. To Destiny. To Purpose.