Category Archives: Writing

Postsecret

Frank Warren, the creator of the PostSecret series of books and the postsecret.com website, is speaking tonight in Fort Collins.

I read the first book when it came out in 2005. Entitled “PostSecret“, Warren begins his introduction “In November 2004, I printed 3,000 postcards inviting people to share a secret with me: something that was true, something they had never told anyone.”  He left the postcards in art galleries and library books, and the preaddressed postcards started arriving in his mailbox.

The books are full of secrets.  The response has been and continues to be overwhelming.  Checkout the website and I’ll be back after the presentation to tell more.

Flo

Looking Past Our Windows of Perception

While I was flying to the U.K. tonight, I read around 200 pages of a book where the author was attempting to accurately date the Great Pyramid in Egypt.  There has been much controversy on the true building date of the Giza Pyramid. That’s what struck me as a interesting topic to read but the approach the author took as he outlined the many theories surrounding the Great Pyramid was what got me thinking.

You may or may not have seen Robert M. Schoch’s documentary on the Great Sphinx of Giza in the 1990’s. He is a trained geologist who studied the erosion patterns of this enigmatic sculpture. Mr Schoch determined that two weathering patterns existed; one by wind/sand and the other by flowing water from rain. His controversial scientific opinion was the Sphinx was built many thousands of years before current thinking, during the times when the Sahara was not a desert and had regular rainfall. It was the only sound explanation for the erosion pattern.

In Pyramid Quest, Mr. Schoch trains his attention on the Great Pyramid. He does something quite interesting to me. Mr Schoch explains in detail many of the most famous theories surrounding the date and purpose of the Great Pyramid. In almost every theory, he was able to show how the events of the time were influencing the author’s theory. No one had stepped back to try and view the Great Pyramid in the context of the people who lived when it was built.

It made me wonder how often we miss the true understanding of something because we are seeing it in the context of our own experience. How many times do you put yourself in another’s shoes to gain understanding from their perspective? It’s not very easy to do, but I believe it is vital to gaining a more accurate understanding of a person or thing.

I’m going to work on being more aware of where my opinions, thoughts and beliefs are coming from. My perception may be keeping me from a clear understanding or interpretation of a person or situation.

Michael

Poetry

On a weekly basis Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate prints “American Life in Poetry“.  This week’s poem is by Trish Dugger and here it is below:

Spare Parts

We barge out of the womb
with two of them: eyes, ears,

arms, hands, legs, feet.
Only one heart.  Not a good

plan.  God should know we
need at least a dozen,

a baker’s dozen of hearts.
They break like Easter eggs

hidden in the grass,
stepped on and smashed.

My own heart is patched,
bandaged, taped, barely

the same shape it once was
when it beat fast for you.

 

Enjoy.

Writing a Book

This weekend marks a huge step and beginning for me. Nat and I have started to write our book. I mean seriously write it. We’ve been planning and preparing for several months. We both blocked off this weekend to start the process. Even though writing a book is on my list of things to do before I die, I don’t believe I really ever saw it happening. Apparently, I did. 🙂

What has been so incredible is that the process has been much easier to get going than either of us had imagined. We’ve had quite an amazing day as word after word poured out of us and into to the word processor. The outline/structure brainstorm took less than 90 minutes. It was a wonderful thing.

Our excitement level is quite high because the book is more real now that we have it started. It’s not just an idea anymore, but a real project with tangible results.

I’m honored to work on this writing project with Nat. His ceaseless help in my writing endeavors has been a great inspiration to me. And he has helped me find at least one of my writing voices. Thanks Nat.

Well, back to work. Hmmmm….It doesn’t really feel like work as we are having so much fun. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Have a great day!

Michael

365 Days

Today marks the 365th consecutive post I’ve done on this blog. It’s really hard to believe that it’s been one year since I made that commitment. There were many days that I struggled to get anything written at all. On numerous days, the topic “appeared” to me 5 minutes before I wanted to write. Other days generated 1 or 2 weeks’ worth of posts in an hour or less. I never knew what would happen. It was fascinating.

It’s been a challenging road, but I don’t have any regrets. I’ve grown immensely from this project. I have no idea whether it has helped other people or not. Of course, I hope my introspections, thoughts, random muses, observations and elaborations on my belief system have triggered positive thoughts or changes in others. Ultimately, though, it’s simply about being out there, exposing my inner thoughts and processes while searching for continual happiness

I promised myself on Jan. 1st, 2008 that I would continue writing as the personal benefits are priceless. 2008 is already showing great promise for a variety of things. I’ll be writing about those changes as I experience them.

For all of you that have continued to read this blog, I thank you. How about some comments every now and then? Don’t be shy. 🙂

Have a great day! Here’s to another 365 posts.

Michael

Cloud9000 Vision

Are you happy enough?

That’s the question we asked ourselves when we first started working together. It’s the question at the heart of Cloud9000TM, the venture we have formed to improve your life and change the world. Parents, religions, teachers, entertainers, and therapists have worked to help people be happier. In spite of all this most of us keep searching, because there’s really no such thing as too much happiness.

We have great faith in the power of the Internet to connect you with people, ideas, and activities that can make you happier. Your journey and challenges are unique to you, but others like you have found paths that would guide you. Helping you find these people is the first purpose behind Cloud9000TM. The second is encouraging you to share what you know to help others be happier.

Our mission

We are building a community devoted to sharing and publicizing the best tricks, methods, and ideas everywhere in the world to make you feel great, to be as happy, energetic, and enthusiastic as you’ve ever been.

We would like to help one billion find greater happiness, one out of every six people on earth. That would be enough to change the course of history. Of course, we won’t stop at one billion. Once we have reached one billion, we will reach out to the next billion.

So, how do we get there?

The first step is to start a conversation on the web that answers the question, “What makes you happy?” We’ve recruited a group of bloggers who will scour the news, books, classes, and the web to answer the question as many ways as they possibly can.

The second step is to involve so many readers and writers with this blog, that we build an entire community of happiness seekers. As this community grows, it will discover more and better ways to create happiness, and it will become itself an engine to direct people toward events, ideas, practices, people, items that will make those people happy. Over time, the volume of these personal discoveries will become a source of hope for others who want what we have.

These are the first two steps. We have dozens more planned, but it all starts with these two.

How can you start?

Read our blogs. Share your own ideas about happiness and how to find it. Or your grandmother’s ideas or your favorite author’s. We want to hear from you today.

“Writing the Mind Alive”

Flo’s blog page includes a link to purchase the book Writing the Mind Alive by Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon. I finally bought the book this week and read most of it on the plane today.

I can’t believe I waited so long or that I had never heard of it before Flo put it up. The authors are former literature professors who have been teaching this writing method since 1982. (See www.Proprioceptivewriting.com.) Their method articulates a writing process that emphasizes learning to hear and transcribe your thoughts in your own voice. They cite other writing process teachers Peter Elbow and Natalie Goldberg, but they emphasize the ability of their approach to provide clarity to you about your life.

I can hardly wait to start. One of the interesting suggestions they make is that you play Baroque music while doing Writes, because its slower movements employ a rhythm that closely mirrors the human heart beat. I’ve already tried this today in the Northwest airport club in Memphis where I have been working between flights. It works like a dream, especially with my great Bose noise-cancelling headphones.

The sudden arrival of a 25-year old writing process method in my life the day after I pledged to start back in on regular writing process typifies the kind of serendipity that Michael has taught me to expect. Another element of the method that I like is the authors’ insistance that 30 minutes’ practice in a day is more than enough to feel its full effects over time. That seems like a very little commitment for the possible payoff of clarity in one’s writing, emotional development, and spiritual progress.

Go figure.

The Latest Harry Potter Adventure

Wow! The latest book by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was fantastic. This book has broken all previous records in sales for a first book. The first printing was over 12.5 million. The Harry Potter books have brought reading back to a generation that has been consumed with T.V., video games, movies and other forms of entertainment. Harry Potter has been quite the phenomenon.

I’ve read all the books and I just finished the seventh and final in the series last night on a plane to Germany. The story was so engaging that I read over 300 pages while flying through the night.

J.K. Rowling’s stories are engaging, interesting, full of intrigue, have complex twists and turns, fast paced action and are amazingly vivid in detail. She effectively blends multiple, basic human themes in her writing. This book deals with the hero, the quest, the problems associated with racism, the atrocities of war, fighting for what you believe in, one person sacrificing themselves for all others, the power of love, the enduring mystery of life and many spiritual/religious themes. As they say in the U.K., “Brilliant!”

My only complaint is that this was the last in the series which generates a small empty feeling. But at the same time I have such strong feelings of being enriched by the entire series. Mixed emotions for sure, but I’m happier for reading them.

If you haven’t read the books, I suggest you start now. 🙂

Michael

“Eat Pray Love”

Today I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert‘s “Eat Pray Love” and I’ve decided she is a woman after my own heart.  Not only does she describe herself as eating her way through Italy (similar to my recent experience in Seattle, Washington) but she talks about her meditation struggles in a manner I understand and are quite descriptive of how my mind operates.

“Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call  the “monkey mind” – the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl.  From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined.  This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking.  Happy thoughts make me happy, but – whoop! – how quickly I swing again into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it’s the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again;  and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly.  You are, after all, what you think.  Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”

If you get a chance to read this book, I’d recommend it. 

Yes, more on SARK!

Saturday, I went with a friend to the Boulder Book Store.  The first book I saw when I walked in was SARK‘s new book “FABULOUS FRIENDSHIP FESTIVAL – loving wildly, learning deeply, living fully with our friends”.  You were probably thinking I was done with SARK.  I know I was, however, the cover was so tantilizing, so bright I couldn’t resist buying it and now, sharing it.

As with all of SARK’s books, the writing is creative, colorful and uplifting.  A new addition to this book is actual photographs of SARK and her friends.  The book has three sections:  Celebrations, Challenges, Integration, and 12 chapters, from Self-Friendship to Managing Time and Energy in Friendships (and everything in between!)

Perusing this book will take quite some time and I’ll share insights and thoughts as I go. 

Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it, one cannot be freinds with anyone else in the world” –Eleanor Roosevelt