creating a framework for spontaneity
It's the great paradox. "The harder I work, the luckier I seem to get." No one seems to know who was the first person to say that, but it rings true. Likewise: "The muse is more likely to show up if you sit at your desk ready for her."
Likewise, when you're not depleted and deprived, you're better able to respond to emergencies.
When in tune with the cycles going on around you, and when you create your own cycles, you're laying the groundwork for liftoff. If you know what your goals are, you'll see your way clearer toward achieving them. If you don't know what they are, you'll see clearer toward identifying them.
That's what the 100-day Gong is for. Here are some resources that will help. (Edited once, and likely to be edited more as people suggest to me resources that have worked for them.)
talking back to books, books talk back
As a young person, I bought into the idea that books were unalterable. I remember lying on the grass for hours with an eraser, cleaning up my used copy of Herodotus's Histories, not wanting someone else's notes on his Greek or his content, offended that this previous owner had presumed to write on the book!
But in reality, we've been talking back to books for as long as... well, actually, for as long as farming and economies of scale gave us the free time to do so. The root of "scholar" and "school" means...
redefining "going by the book"
Back when, books were regarded as authoritative and unchangeable. Difference between one copy and another was "corruption," and scholars would quibble endlessly as to which was the true version.
Hence, "going by the book," "the rule book," "handbook" (which you keep close by so that you know exactly how to do something), "the Authorized version." "Bible" simply means "book," and there are still people who take every word of it literally, and who break out in hives at the idea that there are many more texts that could be legitimately included between its covers.
The static book infects all of our thinking.
What about bookmakers? Perhaps that's a Britishism. Digression:...
how the modern-day book scene is more like Homer's
My eleven-year old self assumed as a matter of course that by the time I was a "grown-up" I'd have published several books. In dark times, I've summoned up her spirit to belabor me because that's not the case. Would she have been content with the mere handful of poems, essays, book reviews, one or two academic articles, and hundreds of blog posts published?
I appeal to her mercy: things are different now. She'd never heard of the Internet--makes me sound like a dinosaur, and I'm only in my thirties! Even aside from the book-like nature of a good blog, the world of books has changed.
do more of what you love
Moving out of gratitude... Right before Thanksgiving I completed a 100-day practice of discipline, about which I'll say more soon. Most crucially, it was a vehicle for me to really privilege my sleep and to establish a sine-qua-non morning routine.
I'm preparing to start another on the Solstice, so I'm reflecting on the experience in order to decide what to undertake for those 100 days. One hundred days to build something meaningful! Grand, right? Something meaningful. Exploration of life purpose. Something I've been neglecting and would like to do more of is writing book reviews.
Here's one for this week, and maybe a regular stream of them starting on the Solstice. Let's see how it goes.
--by Hazrat Inayat Khan, and by Robert Greene
Two books, both titled Mastery. One was written recently, by an American author in his 50s. The other (which I can't find anywhere in the format I own) was written by an Indian Sufi who died in 1926, before he even made 50 years old. One would be classed as "personal development." The other would be shelved in the religious section.
One I've never owned but have borrowed from the library both as audio and print books. The other, I've carried around with me my whole adult life, through all the many places I've lived, starting well before the newer "Mastery" was even written.
Two books arrived in my mailbox; three more downloaded to my Kindle. I had listened to a podcast whose message I appreciated and felt moved to send them a comment.
My confidence at getting any of it done was mediocre. But as a junior high kid, I read seven books per week without breaking stride except perhaps to limp slightly as the ungainly lumps of book shifted on my back on the way home.
How is it we adults get to be so overloaded? My thirteen-year-old self offers some answers.