Tuesday, October 27, 2015


“Marines love to be miserable.  Marines derive a perverse satisfaction in having colder chow, crappier equipment, and higher casualty rates than any outfit of dogfaces, swab jockeys, or flyboys, all of whom they despise.  Why?  Because these candy-asses don’t know how to be miserable.

The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he know it or not.  He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.

The artist must be like that Marine.  He has to know how to be miserable.  He has to love being miserable.  He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey.  Because this is war, baby.  And war is hell.”

Steven Pressfield – The War of Art

My car isn’t working right and I’ve taken it to two different mechanics at least four times.  I ate late and what I got was not very good and I wound up throwing it out.  It feels like I haven’t had time with my Muse in years.  I can’t seem to get my homework done.  I’m not getting enough sleep.  I’m miserable.  And I love it.

Okay.  I don’t love it.  I don’t even like it.  If I did, it wouldn’t be misery.  Pressfield mentioned a “perverse satisfaction” in feeling miserable.  I’m not sure if that’s what I feel either.  What I do feel, however, is the desire to Get Started and Keep Going.  This is hard.  That’s what it is.  That’s all it is.  Sometimes it’s fun, when I’m really enjoying something I’m reading or when I’ve finished an assignment.  But sometimes not even then.  Sometimes I have to read something two or three times before I get something helpful.  Sometimes when I’m done with an assignment, I’m too tired to be satisfied and all I want to do is go to bed. 

I’m definitely feeling that diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.  Maybe not all of those and not all the time, but I can feel any one or more of those at any time.  I’m also feeling fatigue and fear and stress.

So why am I doing this?  Why am I writing a blog when I have so much to do?  Why am I pursuing something that is so difficult and time-consuming?  The answer to both questions is the same:  love.  I love my Muse and I love history.  And so I’m willing for both my future and the past to be miserable because it’s misery with a Purpose.  It’s also misery that’s temporary.  One day I will have my house on the beach.  One day I will have a Master’s Degree in History (that feels great just to write it).  Until then I want to enjoy this process, all of it including the mental blocks, the financial struggles, the fatigue, all of it.  I will never again have a time like this and I want to enjoy it and be grateful and let all of it, including and especially the difficult parts.

I don’t like being miserable, but I don’t hate it anymore either. I’m moving towards my goals and I’m doing something I’ve wanted to do for years.  I’m not miserable.  I’m blessed.

Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry.  Stay foolish.”  I’m both right now and even though I’m miserable, I’ve never been happier.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”

Gautama Buddha

“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

Alan W. Watts

Work. Just work.  Do it.  Don’t worry about the results.  Don’t worry if anyone will like it.  Don’t worry about grades or approvals or “likes” or thumbs-ups or comments or attention or confirmation or affirmation or kind words or unkind words or any words at all.  Don’t worry about loneliness or loss.  Take the pain and do this.  Just keep working until you feel the joy that feeds your soul.  Keep working until you feel the peace that surpasses all understanding.  Even if you think you understand that peace when it inevitably comes and you say it’s because God and my Muse are here and that’s why you feel peaceful (it is) or even if you think that the peace comes from the physical act of doing the work (it is) or even if you think the peace comes because you are creating something like God created the world a or a new baby (it is) or even if you think the peace comes from all of or none of these reasons, it doesn’t matter.  It still surpasses all understanding.  It doesn’t matter.  You don’t have to understand it.  But if you know it comes whenever you do your work, then do your work as much as you can.  Don’t stop feeding your soul.    
Your life is not more than or just as much as or less busier and difficult as everyone else’s.  It doesn’t matter. You aren’t here to compare with someone else. In fact, there is no one else when you are doing your work, except God and your Muse.  They are the only ones you are trying to please and they are already pleased simply because you are living out your Purpose.
You’re here for a reason.  So busyness and stress and sadness and loneliness are all things to keep you from feeding your soul.  Work anyway.  Work wounded.  Work lonely.  Work sad.  Work angry. Work when one of your best friends has died.  Work when you wonder how long you will be alone.  Work when you are broke or hungry or tired.  Work when you are behind on your homework.  Work when you are confused or scared.  Work when you are painfully aware of your failings. Most of all work while you’re waiting for that voice, the Voice of God in the form of love or opportunity or a hope finally fulfilled after years of waiting and the Voice says, “Thank you for working while you were waiting for me.”
Just keep working. Work more than you have been so far.  Work until you’ve lost all sense of time.  Work until the world seems right again.  Work until you’re peaceful and it’s fun and you wonder why you didn’t start sooner and why you don’t do this more often. And then work some more.
What does it mean to work?  Create. Produce.  Exert.  Push. Go. Make. Do.  Most of all…Be. Be the person you were born to be by doing the thing(s) you were born to do.  Work.  Don’t stop.  This is one of the reasons you are here.  Get Started.  Keep Going.


Friday, October 2, 2015

It's All About Me...and the Rest of the World

“I don't want to do anything I'm supposed to do right now!!!!!”

Quote on Facebook

I really understand that sentiment.  I feel the same way.  I’m very close to finishing a rough draft on a 10-12-page paper that is due in two and a half days.  For the first time in a long time, I’m ahead of the curve.  I’m not starting on the day it’s due.  I’m at the top of page 8.  I’m so close.  And yet…and yet…  I find myself procrastinating, feeling disinterested, bored, and resistant.  What is it I am doing here?
Am I trying to create a familiar situation by avoiding my work until I feel stressed and rushed and have to do it at the last minute?
Am I genuinely tired?
Should I just not do it at all?
Should I quit school because it’s really hard and takes up all my time and energy?
What is it I am doing here by not doing my work?
Honestly, I’m not sure, but I have a clue.
Recently I listened to the audiobook version of No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover.  Though I won’t say it described me perfectly, it did point out, very accurately, self-destructive behaviors I have had all my life, such as conflict-avoidance, people pleasing, and worst of all, failing to live up to my full potential.  This last one is extremely unsettling because I’m at an age where (I believe) I should be settled, financially prosperous, and behind me, a stellar list of accomplishments.  None of those things feel true right now.  I’m not saying I haven’t done things, even good things.  I’ve published a book, I have a couple of degrees, I’ve written over 850 blogs, and I’ve done over 300 radio shows.  But I still feel as if I haven’t reached my full potential.  Now I am trying to change that. 
I started writing.
I enrolled in school pursuing a dream I’ve had all my life.
I’m taking control of my life and my finances and my time.
I’m even taking Ritalin so I can, as a friend said, “take the edge off” my ADHD.  (It’s helping.)
I’m closer than I’ve ever been. 
And that’s why I’m fighting so hard to finish this paper.  I am facing the Enemy.
In previous blogs, I have mentioned the Enemy. Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance.  I have referred to it as a spiritual force that is trying to distract and destroy us and keep us from fulfilling our Purpose.  It is.  But it is also something else.  And I forgot this very crucial fact.  It is me.  I am the Enemy.  I am Resistance.  I.  Me.  I am doing this to myself.  I.  Me.
I am the one who wastes time.
I am the one who gives into fear and negativity.
I am the one who intentionally sets unrealistic expectations and then feels discouraged when I don’t meet them.
I am the one who has not clarified his goals for this hour, today, this week, this month, or this year.
I am the one who doesn’t plan ahead.
I am the one who plans ahead but then doesn’t review the plans on a daily basis.
I am the one who allows others decide how I will spend my time, my money, and my life.
I am the one who doesn’t follow through on his commitments.
Me.  Me. Me.  It’s all me.
It’s not my parents or society or the church or my teacher or my boss or the weather or the government or my kids or my friends or my enemies.  It’s me.
Yes, there can be times when life seems to limit or alter my choices.  But those times are far fewer than we think and even then I can choose my attitude and in doing so can create a new course of action.
But I am my Enemy. 
So I can also be my Friend.

I can produce something even if it’s not perfect.  In fact, I’ve just now, at this very moment decided I’m no longer going to worry about if my blogs are good or bad or helpful or pointless.  I’m just going to do them. Recently a teacher said to me, “Just show up.”  Every time I write or work on a paper or do anything, large or small, to get me to my house on the beach, I am showing up.  By showing up I can Get Started and Keep Going…and take care of me. In this way, I also take care of the world and my part in it.