The Recipe

guitars-and-arrowsI’m hungry for my music to connect me to my people and lead me on an artistic adventure of song and service. So, to drive this metaphor into the ground, I need a recipe for a big wonderful meal so I can concentrate on following the directions and stop just snacking on junk food.

What am I talking about? The Plan. The discipline. I summed this up in Sat Morn,

I was sitting on the stump by the stream
Across from where I’ve been
I could see the rut I was in and how well worn
How I sit day after day
Dreamin bout the places I’ll play
Instead of finding ways to get it done…

I know that I need that plan
That details who I am
Defines the discipline to win the war,
To forget about my worst
Put out my best and bust onto the scene
Like the first one to be born.

So instead of optimistically shifting my focus to every shiny strategy that flies in front of me, I need to set my strategy down, get the help, input and feedback I need to correct it and stick to it so I can realize some modest goals.

Maile has started some helpful conversations with me this week employing all the methods that were used on her by her strategic growth consultant for ENGLISH @ WORK. Tomorrow evening we’ll begin to use this method to do for me what was done so well for her org to focus them on a plan. I can’t wait.

The Hunger

I’m hungry. I’m hungry for connection. I’m hungry for my music to get out of my head, around my circle, out into the world where it can make new friends and I can follow its path on an adventure to find my people and share with them what I have. This cartoon came today and it reminded me of that old grumble in my belly. It started as a teenager, wanting to find my place, my people, make my art, my mark.

Now I’ve lived with it so long that I don’t notice when days of suppressing it go by because I’m busy, distracted. But it’s not hard to bring back the old desperation these days, the feeling that I’m going to go crazy if I don’t hurry up and become what I want to be and think I am, if I can just prove it to myself and the world.

I’ve lived with it so long that I know, from thousands of spent cycles, that the hunger is a feeling that aches itself away and is dissipated without being translated into anything more often than not. And as I get older and more disciplined, I see that whatever progress I’ve managed to make, it is often in many different directions.

Instead of having a journey of a thousand miles to show for my hunger, I’ve got a map of a small area, wandered and traversed thousands of  times. Now I know that the hunger is only a drive that must be directed or it will spin me around and around like I’m blindfolded, playing pin the tale on the donkey with my own ass.

Social Animal

When Anais fell asleep in my arms this weekend, there was, luckily, an old New Yorker beside the recliner. I grabbed it with my free hand and greatly enjoyed David Brooks’s article, Social Animal. Here is a long lovely closing passage.

“I guess I used to think of myself as a lone agent, who made certain choices and established certain alliances with colleagues and friends,” he said. “Now, though, I see things differently. I believe we inherit a great river of knowledge, a flow of patterns coming from many sources. The information that comes from deep in the evolutionary past we call genetics. The information passed along from hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family, and the information offered months ago we call education. But it is all information that flows through us. The brain is adapted to the river of knowledge and exists only as a creature in that river. Our thoughts are profoundly molded by this long historic flow, and none of us exists, self-made, in isolation from it.

“And though history has made us self-conscious in order to enhance our survival prospects, we still have deep impulses to erase the skull lines in our head and become immersed directly in the river. I’ve come to think that flourishing consists of putting yourself in situations in which you lose self-consciousness and become fused with other people, experiences, or tasks. It happens sometimes when you are lost in a hard challenge, or when an artist or a craftsman becomes one with the brush or the tool. It happens sometimes while you’re playing sports, or listening to music or lost in a story, or to some people when they feel enveloped by God’s love. And it happens most when we connect with other people. I’ve come to think that happiness isn’t really produced by conscious accomplishments. Happiness is a measure of how thickly the unconscious parts of our minds are intertwined with other people and with activities. Happiness is determined by how much information and affection flows through us covertly every day and year.”