A How to Guide…

"Do not seek praise, seek criticism." – Paul Arden

Month: December, 2010

How To Be Alone

“Ordinary men hate solitude.  But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” – Lao Tzu

If you are at first lonely, be patient.

If you’ve not been alone much, or if, when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait.  You’ll find it’s fine to be alone, once you’re embracing it. 

We can start with the acceptable places: the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library.  Where you can stall and read the paper.  Where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there.  Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books; you’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.

There is also the gym.  If you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in.

And there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there’s prayer and meditation, no one will think less if you’re hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple.  Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.

The lunch counter.  Where you will be surrounded by “chow downers”, employees that only have an hour, and their spouses work across town, and so they, like you, will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with “eat lunch and run”, take yourself out for dinner: a restaurant with linen and silverware.  You’re no less intriguing a person when you are eating solo dessert and cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger.  In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies.  Where it is dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then, take yourself out dancing.   To a club where no one knows you.  Stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching, because, they’re probably not.  And, if they are, assume it is with best and human intentions.  The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting.  Dance until you’re sweating.  And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.  Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches, might of never happened had you not been there by yourself.

Society is afraid of alone though.  Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements.  Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.  

But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You can stand swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner.  Look both further and farther in the endless quest for company.

But no one is in your head.  And by the time you translate your thoughts some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.  Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself.  Perhaps all those “sappy slogans” from pre-school over to high school’s groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay.

Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you.  All experiences unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved.  Keeps thing interesting, life’s magic things in reach.  And it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. 

Take silence and respect it.

If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it.  If your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.  

You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.

If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.

There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

By Tanya Davis


The 6 Changes Method

From Leo of Zen Habits.

 It’s simple:

1. Pick 6 habits for 2011.

2. Pick 1 of the 6 habits to start with.

3. Commit as publicly as possible to creating this new habit in 2 months.

4. Break the habit into 8 baby steps, starting with a ridiculously easy step.  Example: if you want to floss, the first step is just to get out a piece of floss at the same time each night.

5. Choose a trigger for your habit – something already in your routine that will immediately precede the habit.  Examples: eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, showering, waking up, arriving at the office, leaving the office, getting home in the evening.

6. Do the 1st, really easy baby step for one week, right after the trigger.  Post your progress publicly. 

7. Each week, move on to a slightly harder step.  You’ll want to progress faster, but don’t.  You’re building a new habit.  Repeat this until you’ve done 8 weeks.

8. You now have a new habit!  Commit to Habit No. 2 and repeat the process.

With the New Year’s resolution season upon us, I thought that this guide would be useful for all of us.

Dream Board Update




It is just a list that says, “fun money, blood money, dirty money, real money, printed money, debt money, working money, active money.”  It was written by Warhol at the same time he was making his seminal dollar-bill series, and he is really working through his ideas.  But what I like about it is that it shows the multivalence of money in Warhol’s mind, and it shows how it can be different things to different people.

What I Learned From Growing A Beard

“Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.” – Peter McWilliams

There are two main reasons why I have never grown a beard before this.  First, because I am significantly less attractive with facial hair.  Second, because it is traditionally not accepted in the corporate world.  However, after thinking about the lessons I could draw from growing a beard, I decided to go for it.  

1.  The In-Between Stage

This is the time when everyone looks at you funny and tells you that you look like an idiot.  The committed beard grower has the end in sight, ignores the critics, and focuses on his goal.

2.  Uncomfortable

One of the biggest things that prevents us from achieving the goals we set for ourselves is because we don’t like to suffer.  When you start growing a beard it is very uncomfortable.  It itches and it gets irritated…but after a while you get used to it.

3.  Patience

For some people, the time it takes to grow a beard is short.  For others, it takes longer.  The important thing is to be patient if it is not coming out how you want it immediately.  Slow and steady wins the race.

4.  Maintenance

There are wild beards and groomed ones.  I prefer to keep my beard tame.  This demands attention to detail and upkeep.

5.  Growth, Maturity, and Recognition

Beards make you look older and wiser.  Growing a beard is like entering a club.  Once you cross over, you begin to notice all the other members.  When we want to present ourselves in a certain way, we have to look the part.  

I don’t think that I will keep this beard for very long, but I did learn a lot from it and felt that I should share this with you.


Add This To Your Lexicon

Egregious [ih-gree-juhs] adjective

1. Extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant.


Not only was it iconoclastic, it was particularly egregious because it ignores the lives of many innocent people who will be put in danger by his cavalier attitude and capricious actions.