We, the people of a grillion ideas, do solemnly declare that as of today, we are officially in service to the world.
No longer will we let our fear, insecurity, procrastination and self-doubt keep us from sharing our work.
Our imagination is at your disposal.
Our innovation is yours to use.
Our stories and jokes and songs and teachings and puzzles and solutions are, as of now, available upon request.
We aren’t going to worry about what you think any more.
You need us too much.
We are going to take our secret passions and multiple areas of expertise and share them without worrying about what our fucking niche is.
We are going to give voice to the truth in our hearts, without feeling concerned that the world won’t get it, because we know the ones who need to hear, will hear.
We are going to haul our inventions, our stories, our screenplays, our paintings, our musings, our poetry, our architectural drawings, our compositions and our “oh, this old thing – that’s just a little hobby” doo-dads and whatnots out of the closet.
And into the world.
Where our work can heal the world in the same way that it has always healed us.
(Look – we were the weird kids. We get that. And maybe we’ve held a bit of a grudge. Now we can see that in this life, everyone gets the same amount of pain. We didn’t have it worse. You didn’t have it easier. We have all struggled to make it to here.)
Now there is no more time for divisiveness. We are here to celebrate that which is best, brightest and most humble about the human spirit.
I pledge my heart and soul to greater good of all concerned.
I offer my brain, my ideas and the work of my hands to the world.
I am willing to charge for my work, or not, and willing to be criticized or celebrated or both.
And whatever happens, I will stay #calmkindandcreative
P.S. Highly Creative People, or "HCP's" as I like to call us, are the most underutilized resource on the planet. Together we can change that because the world needs our unique talents and genius, and there's no time to waste.
Anytime someone cares enough about what I’m doing to take the time to comment, I’m deeply honored.
Whether they love it or hate it or are just “meh” about it is none of my business. People are allowed to think and feel however they like, and it really has nothing to do with me.
Are you having a hard time digesting that?
Think of it this way: you know that none of their other opinions have to do with you, right?
I mean, if someone said, “Oh, I just loathe peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!” you wouldn’t take that personally, would you? You know that their feeling about PB&J isn’t about you, yes? Right. So just because the opinion under discussion happens to be “you” or “your work” does not make it any more or less about you. It’s all about them.
The moment someone starts to talk about likes and dislikes, or about “better” and “best,” they have stopped talking about the thing itself and they have started talking about themselves. (Thanks to Carolyn Bremer for the origin of this pithy phrasing.)
Here’s why I bring this up:
I was getting ready for another drive into LA, which takes about 90 minutes, and I was thinking that maybe instead of listening to a podcast, I might download a new audio book.
While cruising Audible books and reviews, I realized that I had never once looked up my own books to see their reviews.
So I look them up and…
They are just lovely!
People say the most wonderful things about my writing and about my narration and I’m just beaming over here.
And the one negative review cracked me up so much my ego forgot to even wince.
(Laughter almost always defeats ego. Try it.)
Take a look at the screenshots below and you can see for yourself.
And if you’re looking for something nice to listen to, please consider
“Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” or use this aff link: http://amzn.to/2vKEK6s
“Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers and Recovering Perfectionists” or use this aff link: http://amzn.to/2eP4R8x
And for what’s it worth, I think your work is fabulous.
The news has made me weep almost hourly and I am done with feeling outraged, feeling powerless and feeling frightened.
It’s time to reclaim our creative power and become a relentless force for kindness.
And when I say “time” I mean right now. This very minute.
We creatives have been OK with taking a back seat for too long.
The time for change is now. This very minute.
If you want to live in a world in which creativity matters, then you must act like creativity matters.
And then everyone else’s.
If you want to live in a world of compassion and tolerance, then you must behave compassionately and tolerantly.
Starting with yourself.
Then everyone else.
And most of all: no quitting.
You don’t get to call yourself, “lazy” or “a failure” or “not good with money” anymore.
You don’t get to point the finger at the family, the teachers, the economy or the media and blame them for your lack.
You don’t get to stand on the sidelines and pretend like the world economy doesn’t have anything to do with you.
You don’t get to huff around making loud noises about moving to Canada when there is a whole world of people out here who need your art, your stories and your voice more than ever before.
I know it’s hard.
I know it’s hard to not let the state of the world turn your mood dark.
But our weapon is the light.
Our weapon is politeness, good humor, firm resolve without violence and most of all, of creativity.
The time to find unusual solutions and out-of-the-box ideas is now.
We’ve let those other guys be in charge for too long, and it’s time we reclaimed our rightful place as the shamans, jesters, prophets, documentarians, dancers, poets, potters, teachers, healers, music-makers, magic-makers and makers-of-things.
Our work brings people together.
Our work reminds people of our shared humanity.
After all – we all want the same things.
We all want to eat good food and love somebody special.
We all want to feel like our work matters.
We all want to laugh at good jokes and be with our friends, especially when times are especially good or especially hard.
All of us.
Every person of every stripe throughout all time has wanted these things.
So if you want to bring people together, do it around the things that you have in common.
I’ve heard that marriage equality progressed faster than anyone thought it could thanks to “Will and Grace.”
And I know for a fact that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped end slavery.
Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” changed our ideas about masculinity, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now regularly on my old friend Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, making astrophysics cool again.
And wasn’t it teeny-bopper-Tweeter turned pop-culture-goddess-superstar Taylor Swift taking the stand against sexual harassment this week?
So do not allow yourself to sink into despair.
Rather: allow yourself to sink into the work that has been calling your name.
You don’t know how much your novel, your sexual empowerment workshop, your yoga, your paint (or paint-by-numbers) might change the world.
So don’t let anyone (not even the voices in your head) tell you that your work is foolish, is selfish, is unnecessary or should be put off until tomorrow.
It is time to be a relentless force for creativity, kindness and joy. This very minute.
At Crossfit on Saturday, I was really challenged by one of the exercises.
(To be fair, I’m challenged by nearly ALL the exercises at Crossfit. Crossfit is no joke.)
I was sweating and panting and red-faced and getting lapped by everyone else in the group. I felt weak and frustrated and left behind. I felt like a failure. I wanted to cry. I did cry. I was mad and exhausted and my arms and legs were shaking. My only thought was, “Just don’t quit. Just don’t quit. Just don’t quit. You can suck at this, you can go slow, you can hate it but you CANNOT quit.”
All the while, I was seriously considering quitting.
Just then, the instructor came over to me and asked, “Does it hurt? Or is it just hard?”
I looked her in the eye.
“It’s just hard,” I said.
She said, “OK. Good.”
And she walked away.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot: some things are just hard. But as long as no one’s getting hurt, it’s worth it to keep going.
I wrote a longish post on Facebook last night that’s gotten waaaay more likes, comments and shares than anything else I’ve ever written.
Apparently, I hit a nerve.
So I thought I’d share it with you all, too.
NOTE: there is strong language in this.
As you know, depression is a black-hearted fuckshop of a disease – insidious and all-enveloping. After being mostly symptom-free for the past year or so, the last few weeks have been kind of a nightmare. It was a bit shocking to me how swiftly I hit bottom.And because I have “atypical depression” – which despite its name is actually quite common – I can function well in public situations. Atypical depression is not the “can’t get out of bed and crying all day” kind of depression. It’s the “inside a glass box” kind – it looks like everything’s pretty normal, but on the inside you feel utterly alone and completely dissociated. It turns the whole world into a horror show.
I hung in there, though: fought it when I could fight, and laid down quietly when I could fight no more. I prayed, I walked, I did all the stupid things people suggest you do when you’re depressed (take a walk, do something nice for someone else, get a massage, make some art…) all of which are like throwing pebbles at a dinosaur.
Finally – yesterday – the cloud lifted and so far I’ve had 24 hours of non-stop joy.
Here’s what joy looks like: I can taste food. I can breathe. I can feel actual gratitude for my actual life. Nothing fancy. Just the amazing sensation of experiencing energy and desire and being able to think actual thoughts rather than just drown in a sea of self-loathing all day.
Normally I would keep this kind of thing quiet, because it’s private, and in many ways, it’s none of anyone’s fucking business. But I realize that because of what I do and the books I write, people sometimes think that I never have a bad day. Which would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragic.
So, to everyone who is forced to make the choice, every day, to stay on this grassy, ocean-y planet no matter how much it hurts, I salute you. I wish you forgiving friends, loving partners and soft landings. I bless your beautiful sensitivity, your aching heart and the spiritual mastery that you are demonstrating every time you don’t just give the fuck up.
I don’t have any advice, because advice is bullshit. But I will remind you of this: the tragedy of depression is that it convinces you that you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever feel better. And that is a giant fucking lie. You will feel better. Maybe only 1′ better, but still – better. And you matter. You matter to me.