Category Archives: Liminal Life

ramblings about massive identity shifts, modifying habitual constructs, and generally looking at life through the narrator’s eye

To the planting of culm…

This morning I aspired to greatness, so, smile clad, I hopped out of bed immediately, made a list, executed everything on it, and by 11 AM, I was making $400 / hour having a dramatic impact in people’s lives. By 4 PM I had that all automated, and by staying in the game until about 6 PM, I was able to complete some compelling content that will motivate generations to come.

Should be out in eBook by Thursday.

Said no one, ever.

Not because it can’t be done, but because it can’t be done in a day. Or by Thursday. And isn’t that just the rub? Greatness takes time. Also, I’m thinking maybe greatness is only achieved when the task is truly great.

(There are some things that would feel great but are in reality just really cool. Like me having a walk in closet will feel great but it’s mostly a personal benefit that won’t add substantially to the quality of my life–particularly when a rebuilt vintage Airstream with WiFi and a Sleep Number bed with virtually no closet would be equally cool.)

water the bamboo“When giant bamboo grows, it will rocket up an astonishing 90 feet in only 60 days… Typically, bamboo farmers will tend the plant for at least three years before they see any signs of growth. Do you have that kind of vision, faith, patience, persistence, and focus to achieve what you want?” — Greg Bell (from “Water the Bamboo”)

Greatness lasts beyond us. Greatness involves other people. Greatness is bigger than we are and it is outside of ourselves. Greatness requires massive tending before fruit manifests. There aren’t short cuts. Rain and sun and fertile ground aren’t optional, and you gotta plant a culm for the sucker to grow 90 feet.

To the planting of culm and the passing of one nurturing day after another.



We give up a lot to keep things fair, and I cleaned out the car

…about contextual happiness…

I was in the car with the kids the other day (this was before Chloe and a friend tried to wax their legs with zebra-print duct tape) and the boys were fighting about how much money they had. I’d dispensed it out of sheer kindness and not as a link to any work performed. They had coins — fifty-five cents each, a pretty strong feeling I had based on the fact that I actually cleaned out my car the other day and thought it was kind of cute they’d both made nests for the coins I give them from my spare change.

(How many dirty socks can one person tote around before shame tips the balance? At least a dozen, it turns out.)

Zach thought he needed another quarter to make it equal, so I gave him a quarter. I couldn’t be sure.

(How I capitulate shamelessly to keep from going bat guano nuts in the car with complaining children is NOT the topic of this post.)

Matt thought he needed another nickel. Then Zach was mad because Matt had more nickels even though Zach had more money. It was insane.

Naturally, aside from the fact that I was just flinging bits of change at them in an effort to make them shut up, I was flawlessly adult in my speech.


I had them both stop and count their money which they did mostly because they find my flawless adult speech to be somewhat intimidating. They found they were, indeed uneven. But if you took Zach’s quarter and Matt’s nickel away, they were back to even, where they’d started.

You thought you were the only one, but you’re not. We all do this: compare ourselves with each other. As soon as the little critters perceived unevenness, the squawking began. They hadn’t done anything to earn the money in the first place. They both got more than when they started, but the unevenness made them unhappy and rather than let someone have more than they, they were willing to give up their gain.

We humans need to quit worrying about our neighbors’ flow and focus, instead, on the size of our own hoses. If our neighbors have big flow, how are they doing that and what can we learn? If we want more flow, quit comparing ourselves with our neighbors, and start learning about how to expand our own hoses.

Mastin Kipp on Getting the Dream Lived

Birthday gift to myself: watching this video and spending a day listening to what my soul has to say about where we go from here. Well, today was eating Oreo’s and playing Wii with the kids. Tomorrow is soul day.

While on that topic, this video is amazing. It’s all about framing, purpose, and integration. Twenty-seven minutes of gentle mindset reminders and hellz yeah!

Mastin Kipp on Living a Life of Purpose

The book isn’t quite finished

It’s been a BIG while, really.

And I’d like to make a categorically sweeping statement of insight which will make you sit in your chair and think, “Good God! She’s got it sussed. Rushing over to buy the ebook post haste!”

Who knew you had that British accent? But the book isn’t finished yet. Actually not even started yet either–except for the line about how an authentic look behind the emotional curtains in an unhappy marriage can be a real picnic ender. (I’m at peace with the failed marriage, and the line was really fantastic. I must track that down!!) It will probably wind up being about a middle aged woman who re-writes her life, while making peace with the term middle age. I like to push myself.

The other inspired one was about a lady whose annoying teenage neighbor woke her up as he took a short cut through her yard. She rushed outside to shoo him away just in time to realize that she was butt-ass-naked. “Hey Lady, nice tits!” he says as she growls her way back inside. That lady has to practice the multi-layered coffee drink she orders from the very cute barrista that somehow always gets her off her game. (It was conceived over a decade ago and I think he’d have to turn out gay.) Single tall skinny white chocolate mocha. Single tall skinny white chocolate mocha. Probably to make her really awkward, the Adonis at the coffee bar will be mixed race and make some reference to her order. She’ll undoubtedly snort in such a way that it triggers her nasal congestion untowardly. And take up yoga. Or get a body piercing. At which point the neighbor boy will undoubtedly reappear.

That makes a story about gawkiness (she’d have to grow up at some point) or midlife bildungsroman, (the only term besides complementary schizmogenesis to emerge from  college without coming directly from Cliff’s Notes. It might not be used correctly. Don’t judge me.)

There’s always porn, though I’d have to use a pseudonym. Maybe a How To book on masturbation. Given the recent craze about 50 Shades, it’s pretty clear there’s a market. And it’s not like I lack practice. Reading. I mean I did read them all. So if a tawdry tale of bodaciousness appears written by someone not with my name and I am suddenly wealthy beyond imagining (and I present in a consistently flushed and relaxed state), my dear readers will have the missing piece. (Does one ‘come out’ as it were to promote a book on masturbation? How does one explain that to the children who will eventually scratch their eyes when they finally put the topic and its author together as they figure out how they got through college without loans? You know you’d read it.)

Hey, don’t judge me.


The Tuesdayness of It All

My narrator and I woke up feeling the need to write this morning. Today I can process. But process what?–there’s so much… We’ve got the run-in with the Russian mafia which I apparently invited to my home by means of a Craigslist ad advertising for a roommate; we’ve got the roommate situation which is forcing the employment situation; we’ve got the whole sense of self-worth contribution ELEPHANT which seems to be dominating my subconscience realm and absolutely affects the employment issue; there’s last night’s visit with fellow entrepreneurs which started out as a conversation with new friends and ended up with the workings of a loose business plan. And don’t forget the new coping mechanism: my addiction to Words With Friends, an online and interactive Scrabble derivative and brilliant business model.

In Improv class last week, Seminal Life Guru and Improv Instructor, Brad, talked about Tuesdayness, that point when you find yourself on stage with the action pointed your direction, your skirt is up (metaphorically), and inspiration seems to be taking an extended bathroom break. It must have eaten something disagreeable. What do ya do? The answer: take stock of whatever it is you have around you (the given Tuesdayness), go metaphorical with it and see where that leads you.

Going Metaphorical With Scrabble because My Skirt Is Up

I get seven tiles at a time. All conditions must be perfect to get a complete new hand and THAT bonus, but nothing guarantees the quality of a whole new hand. I really want some good letters. I want the position of these letters to be conducive to placement on double and triple letter scores, and ultimately, double and triple word scores. The rub is: I don’t have control over what my partner is going to place, and I don’t have control over what letters I draw. That ‘R’ & ‘J’ look like a liability until an ‘A’ lines up right next door to triple word for ‘RAJ’. I can try to plot a couple of moves ahead, but the whole game changes with the next word. But I do have a repertoire of words from which to create. I really can play only one hand at a time. As it comes to me. And I can’t move until my partner makes a word. It’s not like you can coast in Scrabble–it turns on a dime.

Does that mean that I don’t try to make the best words I can with the letters in my hand? May it never be! Do I try to figure out ways to leverage the work of my partner to bring me benefit? Absolutely. Adding an ‘S’ to ‘TEAK’ makes ‘STEAK’ after all!

More often than not, I stumble upon these gems of insight and think, ‘Where do these connections come from–they are freaking amazing!’ only to dig a little deeper and find that there are already people teaching the application of game theory to life at the corporate and university levels. I don’t like them much–their head-start is daunting. My heart grows a bit saddish that I haven’t figured these things out until now, but then I’ll never be younger than I am today.

I have had this fantasy that I will stumble upon some niche of brilliance which I will dominate and monetize to fund both my inner gypsy and my eventual lifestyle; I have no doubt this will happen and for the first time in my life, I feel that I am not in this game alone. I see that this is going to be more of a process and less of a stumbling. It will be more fun with other people.

And so it is that I find myself un-alone, on stage with my skirt up. It’s my turn in a play of ‘our’ making. (‘Our’ referring to whomever wants to join me.) Not sure if that is really the moral of the story here, but it does present a compelling visual that makes me laugh just a little–but only because it represents EXACTLY how I feel!

End processing.

SOPA & PIPA, Economics, The Longview

I was writing an opus on SOPA & PIPA and by the time I got to my point, a number of the lawmakers previously in support of the bills had abandoned ship. Yeah, the Republic! The legislation isn’t yet dead, so I may have to crystalize my thoughts after all, but in the meantime, here are some neat AV summaries of thought from which I draw. Applicable topics dance around economic theory, the nature of employment, the tools available to a citizenry to keep its government in check, and the evils of censorship. You’ll have to cut and paste until WordPress disembarks its toilet of protest and lets me make actual links. Happy clicking!

Summary of Bills from Web-gurus’ & Artists’ POV:

Wikipedia:   great overall explanation with a variety of links for further research

WordPress:  halfway down the page, an explanatory video that explains the intention and the likely outcome.

Mashable: Pete Cashmore has an IT blog that keep current on trends and products

Letter from Artists via Mashable: actors who are not in favor of having the internet regulated.

Economics / Entrepreneurship:

The Midas Nation:  Rob Slee got his start by creating a valuation rubric for privately capitalized companies; his evolution into entrepreneurial guru is based on his keen understanding of business models and value drivers (when you pull the page up, click on the blue box to the left of the page titled, ‘Business in the Aggregation Age: Will You Survive?’)

Challenges of Capitalism: the guy is a Marxist, and while I don’t support Marxist economics, his analysis on the inherent limitations of Capitalism are sentient.

Atlas Shrugged: this book by Ayn Rand explores what happens to a society when the Capitalists do decide to take a break–vastly over-simplified synopsis…


The Khan Academy: TED talk by founder Salmon Khan on internet in education

Schools Kill Creativity: Ken Robinson’s compelling argument for recontextualizing the role of education in modern society

Society @ Large:

The Empathic Civilization:  rethinking our relationships near and far in a way that allows for our interconnectedness; can’t we all just get along?


Snakes, Panda Bears, the Damn Ocean, Team Sport

Putting it into practice:

A little backstory. In our neighborhood is crazy lady with the red plastic shoes. She (and her blind husband) swear that there is an exotic man-eating (certainly cat-eating) viper that has been let loose in the pond across from our neighborhood. I spent the better part of Saturday afternoon trying to be convinced to call animal control as though I had witnessed said snake to get them to come and take some action. Her calls appear not to be gaining any traction and she’s drafting for witnesses. I’m a little hesitant to believe her, not because of the red shoes, but because it’s pretty freaking cold outside, the snake grows by a foot a day, and her only other witness is her blind husband; nevertheless, I have stricken the path from the list of available bike rides for the children.Won’t I feel like a boob if someone gets bitten?

Giddy after my first official improv class, I hugged all my new best friends and hummed Kumbayah all the way back to my car. Figured out the fastest way to get back over the bridge, plotted my graduate degree and the ways I will market my eventual steeping in this new playland to parents and partners who want to learn to learn to be present for their special people and build dynamic interpersonal skills and to mid-lifers looking for an internal rehaul. The outline to the ebook is taking shape in my mental parking lot. Called today to see if I can stalk Instructor Brad to pick his brain about his anthropology degree, etc. Set a course for adventure and picked up my kids. It was about 10 by the time I retrieved them from some dear friends’ home. They were also wired.

Chloe has taken up residence on my Droid and is using navigation to find her way to and from school, her dad’s house, the Costco (train them up in the way they should go…).

We’re driving home and Chloe suggests someone write an app that can locate all animals in a known location, specifically poisonous snakes across the field from our house. Yes, and, right? “Hey, if you guys could locate any kind of animal on that thing, what would you look for?” What ensued was an improv session in which we all laughed until tears came down our faces. My tears came down my legs, but then those three humans shot out of there and stretched out the muscles on their ways through. We settled on Panda Bears which naturally took us to China; so it was China to which we drove instead of home. We hit the stop sign which was the ocean. Not even WE could drive across the ocean to China, so we sat there and cried. And lamented. It helped that no one was behind us. Matt said he wasn’t really eager to see a panda. We voted him off the island and began to cry again, this time because he couldn’t understand how desperately we craved the viewing of the panda.

They were flawlessly in character and laughing from the belly as we sat there at the edge of the world looking across the pond at China which remained just beyond our reach and stuffed with panda bears. We were in joy.

Chloe turned to me, “Did you learn that at your class tonight?” Did I learn how to turn the ride home into an pan-Asian zoological quest? I guess maybe I did, but I couldn’t have done it without them.

Masturbating Monkeys and Relationship Lessons from Improv

OMG, I loved my improv class, I loved my improv teacher, my fellow brave soldiers in the fight against the wakeful sleeping, the smell of the theater and its green walls, the sense of intellectual play and social interaction, AND the fact that I found free parking in downtown Portland. Also, the Brody Theater has decent toilet paper! Epic hook!!!

Improv Lessons a la Brad:

  • Learn to become adept at failing–SO all over that! As the plane is falling apart in mid-air, take the pieces you can grab and build a new plane out of them.
  • It’s all about making your partners look good and moving the story forward. Check the need to be amazing and gain recognition at the door. Just come to play.
  • Introducing conflict (v. agreement) makes the story stop until the conflict is resolved. Build rapport. Sometimes you have to agree to lose in order to get past the conflict. So lose already, and keep it moving.
  • Learn to read other people’s body language by attending. Affirm what they are offering you and build on it. Offer them something back and make it specific so they don’t have to do all the hard work. Yes, AND… Yes, I’ll take that Chinese lady dropping that box of delicate teacups in the airport and I’ll add the snarling guard dog that took a crap on the causeway on which she tripped.
  • When something stagnates, give it definitive action.
  • No coasting. After you’ve taken your turn, don’t disengage. The action may come right back to you and you’ll feel like less of an ass if you can incorporate all the nuances and show up as a member of the team.
  • Talk about what happened and why it worked or didn’t. The most content-rich debrief of the night came as a result of a skit that went kinda wonky. Was the penguin on the moon or headed there and WTH was he doing at Nordstrom, really? Root yourself in place and give it some action (again with the action!)
  • The audience is friendly after-all. I was rooting for everyone on the hook–and took joy when what they tried worked and sent them supportive juju for the legless. It’s impossible to maintain definitive judgy eyes from a state of pending vulnerability.
  • On the other side of the heart-stopping terror of failure, ridicule & rejection are other people to whom one can connect authentically. Other people that want to play and are walking the same valley of death. If one can take ego off the table, there’s a pretty good chance to get a clear view of one’s own soul’s demons and angels–an apt metaphor for this sacred ground. This sacred ground is richly textured and provides bounteous room for exploration!
  • Take a little bit of pleasure that the reference to monkeys masturbating resonated with the audience. Snort unabashedly at the notion that the wafting stank from the armpits of an American-flag-wrapped, pantless man climbing the Eiffel Tower could take down an airplane. (Might not have made Brad’s list…)
  • Stay tuned!


Bigger Than I Thought…

Not clear, but getting closer–

“The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul…The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into unchartered waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself. Is he scared? Hell, yes. He’s petrified….if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good thing. It shows you what you have to do.”

–Steven Pressfield, The War of Art.

Dear America,

I have gone off my rocker. I am doing it. I signed up for an improv class.

This doesn’t make sense; it is frivolous beyond remedy; it certainly won’t pay; and I am going to freaking do it.

What has inspired me? Primarily Facebook stalking, but more specifically: 1) This gnawing in the pit of my gizzard that I am a stuck creative and I’ve been fighting that for a very long time. 2) Kraig Ward and my other Mindful Marketing Academy (MMA) friends and cohorts who co-jointly battle Monkey Mind one thought at a time. 3) Josh Pais, an actor / writer whom I ‘met’ through MMA who teaches solely on getting grounded in the present to tap into authentic creativity. 4) Anthony Bottoli,–fellow MMA’er–and following all of his creative pursuits via FB (yoga, drumming, DJ’ing, various theatrical things I don’t get yet–plus pictures of his very clearly connected friends and family). 5) Some cute guy I stalked through Anthony Bottoli’s page. 6) My friend Michele who lives on the other coast and let me tag along to an improv practice she had on a day I was visiting. 7) My amazingly funny and dry nephew Tim who inspires me by practicing the craft and supporting others to do the same in Eugene. He’s the one that made me think about this seriously.

I’ve been searching for some missing petals on my daisy–an absent part in my identity. How will I contribute, what do I enjoy doing? I have always flirted with creativity, enjoyed it, been drawn to people that make me laugh and feel good, smart and quick-witted people. I express it through writing mostly–it is safe here behind my screen. I figured writing a book would be the culmination, and I’ve even been heading that direction with this blog. But it’s shaping up to be bigger than that. I recognize that a lot of the qualities I want in my life aren’t currently extant, and getting them is going to require more audience participation than originally budgeted in the writing-only scheme. Largely passive income business successfully helping swarms of people, being an active part of a group of alive people, rocking life engagement, fluid creative ease.

Brainstorming elements of what charges me up, listing what sucks the life out of me, trying to get to how I want to live… I’ve been a strong #2, and I work well with a strong #1. That was a suitable arrangement when I was married. But going out on my own, I no longer have a #1 to follow, so the question is how do the pieces fit now? Don’t like waiting for someone to bring me flowers. Gotta go plant my own garden and feed its soul. And come to find out, there might be a way other than #1 and #2 thinking to approach this. That’s GREAT news to me personally because I want more than #2 ‘stuff’ and I don’t want #1 load.

Chargers uppers: dynamic groups of smart, fun people working together, self-growth, outside the box living, dwelling in the land of possibilities and potential, words, humor, creativity, problem solving, physical strength and confidence, interactivity with people I like, networking, project-oriented work, independence, autonomy, being liked, the world of conception and ideas, being forward-thinking, making sense out of complex systems and translating them for the masses.

Vortecies of suckage: not being liked, too much supervision (any, really), ridiculous rules meant to make crowd control more attainable, plodding / methodical tasks, situations where using my thinking doesn’t contribute or is stymied, being judged and misunderstood, people that think I should be tamed, when people just disappear or go dark on me. When I show up and it scares people.

I asked myself what I would like to move toward and have more of. Answer: break out of this feeling of stuck, find folks to hang around that are living fully and putting action behind their lives–funny people, be stretched in the area of creativity. And what better way to do all of that than improv? Don’t know where this will lead if anywhere, but this is something I NEED to do, and I am equal parts sincere anticipation and gut-splitting fear just thinking about it. I may have just peed my pants.