On The Art of Doing:

Sometimes when I sit down and the words don’t come, it’s important that I force myself to just start writing. The only cure for writer’s block, curiously enough, seems to be actually writing.

Funny how that works.

I don’t worry about mistakes, or if things don’t quite make sense. I just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. It’s called free writing.

Before you know it, the words are flowing through you. You are no longer a writer, or the master of your own words. You’ve become, in many ways, a conduit. You’ve become a hollow conductor by which creativity and creation can direct its magic through.

You’re just a corpse carrying a soul, after all.


 

The more I think about it, the more I think that the mentality behind free writing is applicable to life. Not only is it applicable, its the essential mindset behind having a fulfilled life.

How many of us have that vision of our greater self in our heads, and yet we sit around waiting for that perfect idea or plan to formulate before we take a leap of faith on ourselves?

The idea of the exact right timing, or the perfect storm of situational circumstance is just a form of resistance that we create in order to stay comfortable.

It’s the bubble we blow to keep ourselves safe. Safe but unfulfilled.


 

We would love to film the documentary that would change the world, we just need to find the right camera, or get the funding, or find the right time to get away from the office for long enough to do it.

We would love to start that new business venture, but we’re just not sure our idea is different or trendy enough to really catch on. We’re not sure if we’re ready for such a financial or personal commitment. We’re not sure if we have the expertise to make it work.

We would love to write the next New York Times best selling novel, but we’re not sure if we can find the time between work, school, or the kids to sit down and write. We’re not sure if our storylines are all that new and exciting, or if we even have a storyline to start with. We’re not sure if we’re proficient enough in the rules of writing, or in the language itself.


 

This little stamp could be yours! All yours!

We would love to get out of our line of work and try something new, but we’re just not sure if we’re too old of a dog to learn new tricks. We’re not sure if we have the time and patience to go back to school, or take a training course in the evenings. We’re not sure about the money.

We would love to get married to that man of our dreams, but we’re just not sure if the timing is all that great. We would love to settle down with our fair Juliet, but how do we really know if we’re ready to face the difficulty of a relationship?


 

And yet some of the best documentaries I’ve seen have been filmed on little hand-held camcorders, or used footage that was entirely borrowed from other sources. But they just made it work, piece by piece, little by little.

Walt Disney couldn’t get a job as a newspaper cartoonist, but didn’t stop drawing. He drew and drew and drew. He made cartoons until the source of creation breathed life into them. He had no more entrepreneurial talent than you do, and yet look what his simple idea created. 

Rockefeller wasn’t born a multimillionaire. He wasn’t handed a massive company or inheritance. But he knew he was born to sell. So he sold. He sold candy door to door and did odd jobs wherever he could.

Hemingway didn’t come from a long ling of writers. He didn’t attend a prestigious university and earn an English degree. But he wrote. He also drank a lot, sure, but he wrote. He wrote words and he wrote them often.

So, what made Michelangelo a painter? What made Steve Jobs an entrepreneur? What made Bo Jackson an athlete? What made Hemingway a writer? What made Julia Roberts (or was it Sandra Bullock?) in Pretty Woman a prostitute?


 

 

Definitely Julia Roberts….right?

All of these people made money doing these things, but that wasn’t what made them who they were.

Michelangelo was a painter because he painted. He loved to paint and he did it with all of his waking moments.

Bo Jackson played. He went out every single day and he played. Half the time the sport didn’t even matter to him, he just played it.

Julia Roberts’ character was a hooker because she hooked (hookered?).

Hemingway was a writer because he wrote. He was also a drinker, because he loved to get pants-shitting drunk.


 

 

Doing the things he did, and doing them well.

You get the point.

Do you think Steven Pressfield considered himself a writer only after writing The Legend of Bagger Vance?
Or was he a writer for the nearly two decades of writing he did before his first professional gig?


 

There’s never going to be that perfect moment to do something, or someone, you love.

You’re never going to be fully equipped to do it.

You’ll never be expert enough in your own mind.

But you will always have that little voice that calls you to do the thing that makes you who you are.

And by listening to that calling every single day, you’re already a writer, or a painter, or a hooker.

And you’ll find you’re pretty fucking awesome at it. So do it.

Be good to each other,

~MG

Advertisements

What a Time to be Alive!

What a time to be alive, indeed!

What a time to be alive!

In a time when parents no longer take responsibility for the education of their children.

A time when the children – those who will someday lead us into the future – are subjected to the cruel and inhumane punishment known as public school.

A place where the boring, limited, and inadequate lesson plans leave young scholars uninterested in learning and intellectual growth.

A place where those children who are blessed with strong spirits and who are full of passion are often reprimanded for their inability to sit and learn in such rigid settings.

A place that values the memorization of information over the learning and understanding of it.


getty_rf_photo_of_boy_writing_on_blockboard
[Source: http://www.webmd.com ]

What a time to be alive!

In a time when an infinitesimal portion of the population controls the vast majority of the world’s wealth.

A time when the majority of the population lives below the poverty line.

A time when many are completely reliant on government subsidies to survive, although that welfare rarely covers the expenses of basic necessities.

A time when the middle class is consumed in a cycle of barely keeping their heads above water, being considered too rich for financial aid but barely making enough to pay the bills.

A time when lawsuits are rampant, lawyers are the destroyers of the law, and justice has been twisted into a profit driven business.

A time when alcohol abuse amongst the masses is commonplace, serving as a popular escape from the grey clouds of life.

A time when the self-indulgent elite live for material accumulation and thrive off petty gossip during their elaborately wasteful dinner parties.

A time when breakfast and lunch are eaten on the go, or neglected all together, as the daily grind demands early mornings and busy lunch hours.

Our time is more valuable than our health.


235
[Source: http://www.homeless-oftheworld.com ]

What a time to be alive!

A time when economic factors are driving farmers off of the family farms they’ve worked for generations and into the crowded cities.

A time when those in power are forced to spend wastefully on unneeded construction projects to create low-skilled jobs in order to keep the flawed economic system above its breaking point.

A time when theoretically there is a chance for the upward mobility on the social and economic ladder, but in reality many children will earn less and live worse than their parents.


New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam
“Lunch Atop A Skyscraper” 29 Sep 1932 — Construction workers eat their lunches atop a steel beam 800 feet above ground, at the building site of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

What a time to be alive!

A time when conservatives vilify and berate religions different to their own, and who campaign against sexual orientations different to their own.

A time when the dire economic status of many people pushes them towards religions that promise salvation and riches after their death, in exchange for absolute and radical servitude during their life.

A time when the equal status of women is a hot point of argument between religions.

A time when minorities are granted superficial rights, statuses, and titles but are never truly treated as equals.

A time when the act of marriage is openly mocked, and adultery is so rampant that many people believe that no one can be faithful.

Adultery
[Source: http://www.listland.com ]

What a time to be alive!

No, I’m not talking about today.

I’ve just described the daily life of Romans during the Antonine Dynasty, nearly 2000 years ago (138-193 AD).

Those social, educational, religious, and economic issues led to the collapse of Rome.

The world crumbled into 500 years of darkness.


the-course-of-empire-destruction-thomas-cole-1836
Destruction [1836] by Thomas Cole.

But these issues all seem a little familiar, don’t they?

Of course they do, because they are the very same issues we struggle with today.

Are we really evolving as human beings?

Or is the path we’re walking one we’ve already walked before?


Luckily for us, we are not doomed to repeat our mistakes.

As a few warrior poets close to my heart once wrote:

There’s still time to change the road you’re on.” – Jimmy Page / Robert Plant, Stairway to Heaven.

Maybe it’s time we learn from history, rather than just repeat it.

Be good to each other,

– MG.

On The Things We Want:

Race cars, Barbies, video games, shoes, a new hockey stick, the list goes on. We were shamelessly invested in the fantasy of our birthday.

Another year has gone by, and another birthday arrives to remind me. It’s funny to think how much things have changed since we were children. The world used to stop for our birthday. We were kings and queens for twenty four hours every year. I remember my twin sister and I would start counting down the days as soon as October came around. It was always the most exciting part of the year.

Then, slowly, birthdays became less exciting. The countdowns started later, and the parties became less extravagant. Eventually, we stopped caring. Some of us have started to dread the day we turn another year older.

For me, birthdays have become routine. It always involves a little bit of cake, some close friends, some family, and too many vodka shots. Lately, birthdays have been followed by a day or two of recovery (in bed, with Netflix). For the most part I couldn’t tell you a single thing that has separated one birthday from another. Except for this year.


Something happened that has never happened before; not a single person has asked me what I wanted for my birthday. It was with this realisation that something strange dawned on me. This was the first time in my life I could have answered that question from the bottom of my heart.

Growing up, we used to love the question of what we wanted for our birthday. It gave us a chance to voice all of the superficial and material desires that raced through our little minds. Race cars, Barbies, video games, shoes, a new hockey stick, the list goes on. We were shamelessly invested in the fantasy of our birthday. We were convinced the day was so magical it might actually produce all of these things that we wanted.

But those weren’t the things we truly wanted, were they? Those wants were the result of targeted advertising aimed at the minds of tiny children and young adults. Those desires were what someone else convinced us we wanted and needed. Those wants came from being convinced we weren’t good enough the way we were. Those desires were someone else’s idea of happiness, a happiness of the material kind. Our birthday lists were so long because pursuing material happiness is endless. Material desires will always leave us searching, wanting, and needing more.


Just a couple of kids who have no idea what they actually want in life.
My two sisters and I: just a few kids who had no idea what they actually wanted in life.

Part of my journey to Australia was inspired by the growing resistance against the idea of waking up one day and being sixty years old. I was terrified I’d work for the weekends for my entire young adulthood, scrape by with the money I earned over fifty hour work weeks, and spend it buying things I didn’t love or need in order to pursue somebody else’s idea of happiness.


And that’s not to say I don’t like the idea of the picket fence, walking in the garden with the girl of my dreams, with miniature versions of ourselves running around (hopefully stressing us out less than I did my parents), with a family dog chasing them around the yard.

BUT maybe that picket fence isn’t in the suburbs. Maybe it’s at the end of a long dirt road that twists and bends, with a few large evergreens on either side. Maybe my nearest neighbour is half a day’s walk away. Maybe the food we’re eating is picked from our own garden. Maybe I’m running around all day with the kids and the dog, because I don’t have to put on a suit every day and leave my family before the sun rises and come home after the sun sets. Maybe my kitchen smells like the jasmine, basil, and mint growing in small pots in the sunlight pouring in from the window. Maybe my wife laughs at me when I buy her a necklace, not because its not from Tiffany’s, but because we both know she’ll never wear it. We both know we’ve never measured or demonstrated our love in this manner. Maybe we can lay in the grass together like children, after ours have gone to bed, and look up at the stars without a veil of light pollution obstructing our connection to the heavens. Maybe we’ll fall asleep under those stars because she feels so warm in my arms. Maybe my arm will fall asleep too, but maybe she looks too beautiful to disturb her when she’s sleeping.


This scene from Gladiator gets me every single time.
The picture perfect driveway: this scene from Gladiator gets me every single time.

Maybe I’ll find a way there. Maybe I’ll have my picket fence on a plot of land. Maybe I’ll be the boy of her dreams. Maybe I’ll be the loving father I know is inside of me. Maybe I won’t. Maybe it’s not in the cards for me. Either way, I know which journey I want to take. At least it’s not someone else’s version of happiness. At least it’s not someone else’s vision of the perfect life. At least it’s my own dream that I’m chasing. At least I’m being honest about who I am.


There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.” George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman.


So, even though no one has asked me, I’ll tell you what I want for my birthday:

I want you to strip away all the of the influence society has had on your mind. I want you to search deep inside of your heart. Dive into the very depths of your soul. Find that child inside of you that was never convinced of being anyone other than exactly who you are. I want you to ask yourself – ask that child – what it is that you actually want in life.

And then I want you to go and get it.

Be good to each other,

– MG.

On Motion:

It occurred to me that everything around me was in motion. A fleet of clouds sailed across an ocean of burning suns. Finely manicured blades of grass wiggled playfully like toes in the evening breeze. The flames of the camp fire danced a crimson cha-cha.

The voices of a few people close to me bounced around my ears. Their musical consonance provided a soothing background symphony as I lay in the grass looking up at the night sky. Despite being stranded somewhere in suburbia, the stars had managed to sear through the light pollution and were sparkling brightly in the heavens above me. The crackling of the fire was calming. I was still. I felt at peace.

In my perceived stillness it occurred to me that everything around me was in motion. A fleet of clouds sailed across an ocean of burning suns. Finely manicured blades of grass wiggled playfully like toes in the evening breeze. The flames of the camp fire danced a crimson cha-cha. The Aurai ran their kind hands softly through my hair and down my neck, inspiring goosebumps with every gentle gust they granted me. As still as I was, I couldn’t help but notice my chest expand and collapse with the huffing and puffing of my breathing bellows. I started to run with the idea.


Nothing about us, or the milky way we’re swirling in, is meant to be still. Motion is in our very genetic make-up. From head to toe we are wired with veins, interior aqueducts dispersing and directing the life force that flows down from our mountain heart. The large part of us that is made up of water yearns to ebb and flow with the tides, our distant cousins that crash upon the ocean cliffs. Our legs are powerful propellers designed to run, jump, and swim. Our feet are designed to absorb the impact of that motion, doubling as fins when we flap them underwater.

The music of our heart is a constant drumming, the unique resonating rhythm our body constantly dances to. Our breath is constantly flowing through us, winds that whisper new life into the deepest, darkest depths of us. Our minds are magnificent machines, master of our endless mental motions.

clarity
Everything I could see was in motion.

Nature is no different. Everything around us is revolving in a cycle of motion. The sun and the moon chase each other endlessly. Rivers restlessly flow into lakes that are never truly still and silent. Fields giggle with the gossips of grasshoppers. The swaying trees of the forest shelter the busy bees, beetles, and bugs. Even mountains move ever so slightly, their rocks forming slowly over hundreds of years.

Our nature consists in motion; complete rest is death.” Blaise Pascal, Pensées.

Then I take a look at our society. I reflect on the values and norms we’ve convinced ourselves are correct. I look at all of us, in a constant war with our desire to move, twist, and flow. I see us slouching over computers in blank cubicles that are as small as prison cells. Chained to our desks, our legs bounce with the defiant motion desperate to escape its confinement. I see us slave away in factories, separated from our constantly moving world around us by thick cement walls.

We flip through magazines as we sit for hours in airports before seeking solace in the rigidity of our neck pillows during long-haul flights. I see hyper-active children incapable of sitting still being sent to the principle’s office before doctors recommend a plethora of medications to cure them of their perpetually-moving disease. We’re stuck in libraries for hours sweating over the books we’ll be tested on for finals.

The gluttonous goblins of mindless media – such as Netflix, reality TV, Fox News, and Hollywood productions – share in the spoils of mental warfare as they gobble up entire years of our lives. Even meditation has been misconstrued as something that seeks to silence the mind, rather than allowing ourselves to slowly drift down our river of the thought, observing it without judgement.


The entire journey of life is a constant motion. We are meant to consistently learn, grow, and evolve. And we’re meant to do it together.

I’m tired of being chained to a library desk. I’m tired of seeing the people I love being confined to professional prisons. I’m tired of seeing my fellow humans drowning in socially constructed quicksand. I’m sick of sitting still. I want to use my arms and legs for the propulsion they were designed to provide me. I want to be cured of this sitting sickness. I want us all to remember the freedom and peace we feel when we keep ourselves in motion. I want us all to fly, together.

Be good to each other,

– MG.