Tag Archives: Writing

My Dark Metamorphosis…

17 Oct

Hello again old friends…

It has been two years since I posted anything on this blog. I have been wanting to post something on this blog for such a long time. I had a wealth of ideas marinating in my mind yet I did not end up translating them into action.

What happened to me? I lost my confidence and to some extents my vitality. It seems that the longer you are away from writing or any other creative pursuit, the more you seem to lose your confidence as you criticize and doubt yourself.

Life has put me to the test in a myriad of different ways. I have often felt like the biblical Job who was rigorously tested by God. I felt like the tide had swept me under an abyss and in a way I lost myself. Like Alice in Wonderland, I ended up lost with only my intuition as my compass.

Despite all the spiritual darkness that I have been through, I feel as though my absence from this blog has been a time of tremendous self exploration and spiritual growth. Lately, I finally feel that I am slowly coming out of this darkness and am stronger than I have been.

Many blessings have come out of these dark days. I have had spiritual revelations and life epiphanies. My love of music and exercise has intensified more than ever. I have the deepest respect for both activities. Exercise helps me deal with life and its many challenges. Music is pure soul food and inspiration. The combination of exercising and listening to my music is so healing and relaxing.

I have been listening to so much of my beloved music. I am going to continue to feature it on this blog. I am going to continue to celebrate all of my favourite music, poetry, quotes, artists, films, t.v. shows, ideas, research, people, etcetera on this blog.

I am going to do some stream of consciousness posts because otherwise I will go into analysis paralysis and take too long to write anything. Also, the writing will be natural and organic because it is from the creative flow of my mind and whatever inspires me and haunts me. I am also going to work on all the blog posts saved in the drafts folder.

I have really missed having this blog. It is my passion project and creative outlet. I miss working on blog posts. My inquisitive mind loves doing research as I always learn from it. I love writing and editing. The most rewarding part of having this blog is reading your enlightening comments.

Thank you for still being here if you are. Please let me know if there is anything you would like to read here. I am open to requests.

Namaste, Love & Spiritual Light.

-V.

Best of Me Hannibal

 

 

 

 

 

Stream of Consciousness Reflections…

15 Jul

Aloha.

I have been wanting to do these stream of consciousness posts for quite some time. I had the idea to do them months ago but they have only manifested now. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am going to write them mostly at night because my mind is more lucid. Aside from this, I just adore the night. {I also equally adore the day, the sun and the sunlight}. The moonlight illuminates my soul and all that is hidden in the day is revealed- my heart’s desires. I feel so inspired to write at night. After all, I am of the nocturnal persuasion.

{I simply adore DJ Shadow’s music. This song/the whole entroducing album is a masterpiece}.

I am going to just write what is on my mind at the time without over-thinking or over-analyzing. It is going to be chaos, anarchy and complete freedom. Having a blog means having complete creative license to create the type of blog that you want. This carte blanche enables me to write when the mood strikes since there are no deadlines. I think it will be a fun experiment of sorts. I only hope that you enjoy it.

Peace & Love…

charlize-queen.jpg

I adore this picture of Charlize Theron praying. She is also one of my favourite actresses/people.

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For more information…

Charlize Theron..http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000234/?ref_=nv_sr_1

DJ Shadow…http://djshadow.com/ 

Story For Home by Gabriel Byrne…

1 Nov

Gabriel Byrne is one of my favourite people.

Gabriel Byrne Reflective

Even though I have never had the honor of meeting him, he intrigues me in the most beautiful way.

He is a very soulful person who seems to be deeply compassionate, sensitive, introspective and intelligent.

In this short clip, you can feel Gabriel’s conviction in his words and voice.

{His voice is medicine for my soul}.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eYvTpZTZFU

His suggestion of “imagining Ireland” is a great segue into this post.

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In this short clip, Gabriel discusses his hunger for travel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ-rQcJF6Ns

He says that he always had a desire to travel and move.

In his birthplace of Ireland, Gabriel feels that he is always colliding with his past. 

 He feels defined by his past in Dublin.

Whereas in New York he feels that he has a clean slate- a tabula rasa where he is “free to compose his own present.” 

Gabriel lived in Los Angeles for five years but he decided to leave. He feels that when you live in a place without clearly defined seasons, your sense of time becomes distorted. Time passes almost invisibly yet quickly.

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Gabriel decided to move to New York and he lives there presently.

He compares Los Angeles to New York and he focuses on their restless nature.

“It’s a restless city…Los Angeles even more so than New York is a city where people come to…it has to exist for those people who can’t exist in places outside of it.

It exists for people who become in a way…who outgrow or out-dream or out-fantasize their own places

For Gabriel, Los Angeles is a land of paradox.

It offers new beginnings and freedom yet an ambiance of melancholy haunts it.

He notes, “The sense of freedom and light and being able to re-invent oneself is very strong there…but there’s also a sense of melancholy that pervades the place.”

I found the following observation to be the most intriguing. 

“It is a place where people think that if they get successful enough, they are not going to die.”

In essence, Gabriel is using memento mori to analyze people’s avoidance of death. It is almost as if success was used as a passport out of death.

This incisive observation is very Buddhist as Buddha believe in impermanence {i.e. everything dies}.

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One doesn’t need to have a gypsy soul to want to move or travel.

We’ve all dreamed of moving our proverbial roots to far away magical lands.

I know I have…

I believe the term is called wanderlust.

Wanderlust

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Ireland is definitely one of the countries that I long to visit.

Majestic Ireland…

It is the birth place of two of my favourite actors Jonathan Rhys Meyers and of course Gabriel Byrne. They often speak about Ireland’s sublime beauty.

Ireland’s Majestic Northern Lights…

To be honest there are so many places I would love to visit.

Since I was a child I fell in love with Egyptian history and mythology. 

Ancient Egypt has fascinated me and still fascinates me to this day.

Egypt is one place I would love to visit.

Egypt: A Land of Alchemical Beauty

Iceland also seems like a mystical land full of haunting beauty.

The Magical Northern Lights in Iceland…

I would love to experience the northern lights- aurora borealis.

I would love to experience the beauty of Iceland that resonates in the music of Björk and Sigur Rós.

*Please enjoy Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWoQxk0-f0o   

       

 These days my heart longs to visit the magical lands of Greece.

Greece…A Place of Rich History and Eternal Beauty…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-ZeMwI2pL4

Japan is also another country I definitely want to visit.

I love Japanese culture and I love the humility and resilience of Japanese people.

Other places I would like to visit:

New Zealand…

Waitomo Worm Cave in New Zealand…

Australia…

australia_kangaroo

and Hawaii.

Aloha From Paradise…

I would also love to visit Buddhist temples through-out the world.

buddha

I would really like to explore all the countries of Latin America- especially Cuba.

Che Guevara Grafitti in Habana Cuba

{To be honest, there are too many places I would love to visit but I just mentioned a few to not make this post too long}.

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I think travel enriches one’s life in so many ways.

It open one’s mind and possibly even one’s heart.

Travelling connects us with our shared humanity and our interdependence.

Where would you like to travel to?

Where would you like to move to?

Do you agree with Gabriel?

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For more information…

Gabriel Byrne…http://www.byrneholics.com/ 

Jonathan Rhys Meyers…http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001667/

Björk…http://www.bjork.com

Sigur Róshttp://www.sigur-ros.co.uk 

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travelquote11

Peace & Namaste

Reflection for today…Creativity & Intelligence -Albert Einstein

12 Apr

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

-Albert Einstein

The beautiful marriage of creativity and intelligence…

Do you think that creativity and intelligence are interrelated or do you think that they are separate entities?

Does “creative intelligence” exist?

Do you think that creative expression can heal?

Can creative expression be a spiritual practice?

How do you like to express your creativity and intelligence?

Are there other creative outlets that you would like to try?

Would you rather stay with your favourite forms of creative expression?

{I would like to try many creative outlets…music {being a DJ and learning to play an instrument}, photography, jewellery design, graphic design, interior design, fashion design, teaching {the alchemy of education}, cooking, gardening, cinematography, graffiti artist, painting, sculpting, origami, making art on Etsy and Deviantart, learning photoshop, make-up artistry, typography, calligraphy {the art of beautiful writing}, dancing, yoga, meditation, etc }.

There is so much to choose from in a possible creativity palette.

{Some of these creative possibilities can even be a spiritual practice e.g. Buddhist monks creating mandalas for meditative purposes}.

Tibetan Buddhist monks creating a mandala...

Photo courtesy of: http://www.buffalo.edu/

I would also like to do some writing and research to develop a thesis into a possible book.

Of course, working on and hopefully improving this humble blog is a favourite creative outlet.

*It must be noted that creative consumption is also part of the creativity & intelligence equation.

Your creative diet is vital for your creative expression.

I love to read other blogs in order to inspire, educate and enlighten me.

Thank you for all of your hard work fellow blog lovers!!!

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Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…The Manifesto of Encouragement -Danielle LaPorte

20 Oct

The Manifesto of Encouragement

“Right now:

There are Tibetan Buddhist monks in a temple in the Himalayas endlessly reciting mantras for the cessation of your suffering and for the flourishing of your happiness.

Someone you haven’t met yet is already dreaming of adoring you.

Someone is writing a book that you will read in the next two years that will change how you look at life.

Nuns in the Alps are in endless vigil, praying for the Holy Spirit to alight the hearts of all of God’s children.

A farmer is looking at his organic crops and whispering, “nourish them.”

Someone wants to kiss you, to hold you, to make tea for you.

Someone is willing to lend you money, wants to know what your favourite food is, and treat you to a movie.

Someone in your orbit has something immensely valuable to give you — for free.

Something is being invented this year that will change how your generation lives, communicates, heals and passes on.

The next great song is being rehearsed.

Thousands of people are in yoga classes right now intentionally sending light out from their heart chakras and wrapping it around the earth.

Millions of children are assuming that everything is amazing and will always be that way.

Someone is in profound pain, and a few months from now, they’ll be thriving like never before. They just can’t see it from where they’re at.

Someone who is craving to be partnered, to be acknowledged, to ARRIVE, will get precisely what they want — and even more. And because that gift will be so fantastical in it’s reach and sweetness, it will quite magically alter their memory of angsty longing and render it all “So worth the wait.

Someone has recently cracked open their joyous, genuine nature because they did the hard work of hauling years of oppression off of their psyche — this luminous juju is floating in the ether, and is accessible to you.

Someone just this second wished for world peace, in earnest.

Someone is fighting the fight so that you don’t have to.

Some civil servant is making sure that you get your mail, and your garbage is picked up, that the trains are running on time, and that you are generally safe. Someone is dedicating their days to protecting your civil liberties and clean drinking water.

Someone is regaining their sanity. Someone is coming back from the dead. Someone is genuinely forgiving the seemingly unforgivable. Someone is curing the incurable.

You. Me. Some. One. Now.”

Danielle LaPorte

Copied & Pasted from: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/inspiration-spirituality-articles/the-manifesto-of-encouragement/

“Danielle LaPorte is the creator of WhiteHotTruth.com, which has been called the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.”

Please visit her website for some inspiration and wisdom…She is so brilliant. I just “discovered” her and will most likely be doing more blog posts about her and her writing.

If you want more inspiration and wisdom from Danielle, please go to her website: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/ to sign up for her newsletters.
You can choose to receive via email a “daily truthbomb”, a “somewhat weekly” newsletter and a “monthly digest” newsletter.
I am signed up for all of them and highly recommend them.

Her book The Fire Starter Sessions is at the top of my reading list.

Danielle has generously provided the first chapter of her book for free on her website. You can read it on Scribd or download it in pdf format. Please click on this link: The Fire Starter Sessions Chapter One.

Peace & Namaste Friends…

Photo Courtesy of Anastasia Photography
From their blog at: http://anastasiachomlack.typepad.com/laughter/2009/11/inspired.html

Japan’s Suicide Forest Teaches About Compassion & The Human Need For Real Connection…

18 Sep

Suicide is a very uncomfortable and necessary subject to discuss.

I recently came across a YouTube video that left such an impact on me that I was not able to write a blog post until now {approx. 18 days}.

The vice documentary left such a deep impression on me that I had to reflect for a while before I could decide what to write.

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Japan’s Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) forest also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai) or the Suicide forest is a place where many people go to contemplate suicide.

Sadly, many actually commit suicide.

I feel so much compassion for people who are considering suicide as a way to end their pain.

I strongly believe that people do not actually want to die but to end their pain and they do not see another way to achieve this.

Below is an actual suicide note found in the forest.

I find it heart breaking.

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Many moons ago, I had a friend that was considering suicide.

I pray that he finds the strength to fight against his darkness.

I am still haunted by the fact that he felt this depressed but I could not do anything to heal his pain.

I know that only he can heal his pain.

I did my best to be a loving friend but I know that we cannot truly save anyone.

We can only save ourselves. 

In fact, we always had a friendly argument about saving and being saved.

It revolved around the graphic novel and film Sin City.

Here is the trailer in case you are interested

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFLrTYKIXk

Please click this link for more information on the movie: Sin City.

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Marv was so madly in love with Goldie and he loved her so much that he wanted to go to hell to save her.

My friend fiercely defended his thesis of loving someone so deeply that you go to hell to save them.

Art Made By Nat Wellington at http://boodoyouthinkyouare.blogspot.ca/

Conversely, I went for a different thesis. I said that you can love someone so much that you get out of hell because of your love for them and possibly their love for you. Your love for them is so powerful and/or their love for you is so strong that you pull yourself up with your own strength and get out of hell- your personal hell or the other kind. In essence, you save yourself instead of saving someone else.

No one was right or wrong. It was fun to discuss but I stand by my point of view even though I recognize his had merit. It all depends on how you look at things. It was a healthy discussion nonetheless.

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Can we actually save someone?

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine Photo By Steven Klein

 Azusa Hayano makes me question my beliefs that we cannot save anyone but ourselves.

I do believe we can help someone to save themselves and this is what I think he does so brilliantly and compassionately.

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We meet an extraordinary soul, Azusa Hayano, in this vice documentary.

He is a geologist that does the most important job of suicide patrol in the forest. {I discovered from another video that the police also seem to do suicide patrol}.

Azusa also studies how people co-exist with nature because he says it is part of environmental research.

He still does not know why people kill themselves in such a beautiful forest (18:53) although he does explain that it may be because of a popular book written in the past.

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Azusa patrols the forest looking for people who are contemplating suicide in hopes of convincing them otherwise.

He even finds a man in a yellow tent that appears to have been contemplating suicide. According to the VICE website comments found at http://www.vice.com/vice-news/aokigahara-suicide-forest-v3, the man in the yellow tent had been camping in the forest for one month. He had to be taken out in an ambulance.

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The police even put up signs to try to stop people from committing suicide. They also provide the number for suicide hotlines.

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I found it fascinating that many people leave a trail of tape to find their way back in case they change their mind. This is hopeful because people who are undecided can finally decide to leave the forest.

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With his gentle and compassionate manner, one can see how Azusa could convince someone who is struggling to live.

I was struck by how much this man cares.

He really cares and that is so rare these days.

In a forest where traditional compasses do not work, Azusa uses his compassion and wisdom as his guides.

He also looks for people who have committed suicide.

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Azusa reminds me of the value of a life and how much difference one life can make in the world.

If we could find our purpose and live our potential, then we could make our contribution- our gift to the world.

We need more people like Azusa in this world.

We need more people who really care and have compassion for those who are suffering. I don’t know if he technically “saves” anyone but he does help people to save themselves and this is priceless.

Azusa is actually living the Buddha’s teachings- especially that of compassion.

I am also reminded by how the absence of one life can be a tear in the fabric of existence and humanity. I think about how that person had so much more life to live, love and wisdom to give and receive, experiences to be had and potential to be lived.

I think of the apocalyptic loss for their loved ones.

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Azusa states in the documentary that the internet and technology may be the reason why there is such a disconnection between oneself and others. It is as if a schism is caused between our waking lives and our onscreen lives. Our lack of face-to-face communication has a price. Disconnection, depression, further loneliness and numbness may develop. Azusa discusses the human need for connection in real life- not through the filter of a computer screen.

“Face-to-face communication used to be vital, but now we can live our lives being online all day. However, the truth of the matter is that we still need to see each other’s faces, read their expressions, hear their voices, so we can fully understand their emotions to coexist.”
 -Azusa Hayano

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The essence of what Azusa teaches and lives is filled with compassion and wisdom.

This documentary also reminds me of the urgent need to discuss mental health issues.

I am and continue to be a mental health advocate.

I deeply believe in the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

We can transcend our suffering and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful.

The phoenix always rises from the ashes… 

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To those of you suffering and feeling depressed…I offer you my compassion.

This post is for you.

Please speak to someone who cares- even if they are a stranger.

You will never know what a difference it could make in your life. They might have some life changing wisdom to give you or messages from the universe.

*Please reach out to someone.

I pray that the Buddha’s teachings, wisdom and compassion can alleviate your suffering. 

Conversely, you never know how you can help someone who is suffering and in need.

You never know what impact you can have on someone’s life- even a stranger.

We are all interconnected.

By helping others we are actually helping ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuUhBuSgmik

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Here is the documentary friends.

Please be warned of the graphic subject matter of this video and of some sad and possibly disturbing video footage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8 

Here is part of the transcript:

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

I’ve been living here for more than 30 years. My job is mainly environmental protection, I study volcanic eruptions and the plantation at the foot of Mt. Fuji. 

In the year 864, Mt. Fuji erupted, and the forest that grew over the dried lava was named “Jukai” or “Sea of Trees”. Aokigahara is the actual name of the place, but people started calling it “Jukai”, because the forest as seen from halfway up of Mt. Fuji, is green all year round, and it looks like the ocean. 

We’re entering the forest now. There’s a car that’s been abandoned for a few months, let’s take a look. I’m assuming the owner of the car went in from here and never came out. I guess they went into the forest with troubled thoughts. 

In the old days in Japan, suicide was mainly known as the samarai’s act, as in “Seppuku” (harakari). In other cases poor families would abandon their elders in the mountains. That’s how it was back then, they weren’t killing themselves cause they couldn’t adapt to society. That didn’t happen like it does now, it’s a modern phenomenon.

This is a sign to stop suicidal people.

“Your life is a precious gift from your parents,
Please think about your parents, siblings, and children.
Don’t keep it to yourself. Talk about your troubles.”

Then it says to contact the Suicide Prevention Association. 

Locals don’t commt suicide here. As children they’re told not to come near here, that it’s a scary forest. This path is open for the public, but you can’t follow the trail beyond this point. It says not to enter because you can easily get lost. In the Jukai, I think I’ve found more than… 100 suicide corpses in the last 20 years or so. 

I found something strange, I’ll show you. People who are indecisive about dying, wrap this tape on trees along their way, so they can find their way out. There’s something that looks like a tent. I’m going to see if anyone’s inside, please wait here.” -Azusa Hayano, geologist

The forest is a popular place for suicides, reportedly the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This popularity is often attributed to the 1960 novel Nami no To  by Seicho Matsumoto, which ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest. However, the history of suicide in Aokigahara dates from before the novel’s publication, and the place has long been associated with death: ubasute was allegedly practiced there into the 19th century, and the forest is reputedly haunted by the ghosts of those left to die…”

Copied and pasted from: http://ponury.tumblr.com/post/15293840018/aokigahara-suicide-forest-ive-been-living-here

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Here is a short video about the Aokigahara forest and the plague of suicide in Japan (2:34). There is thought to be one suicide every fifteen minutes in Japan.

An expert postulates that societal pressures and culture is to blame for the high suicide rate in Japan (1:55). He notes that even from a young age weakness is not allowed to be displayed.

“Whether it is within the family, at work or in society, it is very hard to show weakness. From a very young age, from primary school on, dynamic and happy kids are held up as examples to follow. If you don’t live up to that, other people treat you harshly and that’s is why people don’t ask for help.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq1-0FvME8U&feature=player_embedded

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This video offers a different perspective of the Aokiagahara forest (4:57).

It attempts to answer the question of why people come to die there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD2cJlx-caQ&feature=player_embedded#!

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It is intriguing to note that Dante wrote about a suicide forest.

His writing was also translated into art.

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dali’s depiction of the ‘Wood of Suicides’ from ‘Inferno’ 13
©2006 Salvador Dalí, Gala–Salvador Dali Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post.

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Write From Your Passion & Truth -Marianne Williamson

21 Jul

“Only write from your own passion, your own truth.

That’s the only thing you really know about,

and anything else leads you away from the pulse.”

―Marianne Williamson

To learn more about Marianne Wiliamson and her writing,

please click on this link: http://www.marianne.com/

Peace & Namaste…

Interview with Steven Pressfield: Author of the War of Art | Goins, Writer

24 Jan

Interview with Steven Pressfield: Author of the War of Art |By: Jeff Goins.


The War of Art Book
*Here is an interview by a writer named Jeff Goins with the author of The War of Art: Steven Pressfield.

“10 Questions with Steven Pressfield, Author of The War of Art
by Jeff Goins | 43 Comments

If you’re new here, you may want to sign up for free updates. You can also get a copy of my eBook The Writer’s Manifesto.
http://goinswriter.com/steven-pressfield-interview/

Steven Pressfield: Author, Screenwriter, Novelist
Today, I have the privilege of interviewing one of my favorite writers on the creative process.

Steven Pressfield is an author, novelist, and screenwriter. His books include The Legend of Bagger Vance, The War of Art (a must-read for any writer), and most recently, Do the Work.

Steve’s thoughts on the Resistance have been instrumental in my working through and overcoming creative blocks.

The interview is rather lengthy, so we’re going to jump right in. Here goes:

Jeff Goins (JG): Steve, your new book Do the Work just came out through The Domino Project — how does this complement The War of Art?

Should the two be read together, or are they both standalone pieces?

Steven Pressfield (SP): Jeff, the books should probably be read in sequence — War of Art first, just because it’s “the basics” of this particular view of the creative process; then Do The Work, which is much more specific. But both are standalone pieces, as well. At least, I hope so.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
JG: If you don’t mind backtracking a little, what led you to originally write The War of Art? Did you anticipate that it would become such a powerful manifesto for so many writers?

SP: When you’re a working writer, as you know, sooner or later friends and acquaintances will get you alone and confide that they, too, have a book in them.

I always want to help, so I’ve wound up staying up many nights till two in the morning with friends, trying to psych them up to write their book or finish their dissertation.

In these discussions, the concept of Resistance came up, of course, and pretty soon I had the whole idea for the book.

Finally I just said to myself, I’m tired of staying up till two in the morning telling my friends this stuff, I’m just gonna write it all down and then when people ask me, I’ll be able to say, “Here, read this.”

JG: Similarly, was there an inciting incident that led to writing Do the Work?

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
SP: The short answer is Seth Godin asked me. The long version is that I’ve been wanting to do a follow-up to The War of Art for a long time; then one day, I got a “Help!” e-mail from a young screenwriter who had to deliver a draft for school in two weeks and was totally stuck.

Normally I wouldn’t get involved in something like that, but for some reason I decided to try to help. So I wrote back, giving the young writer a few drills and “assignments.” Sure enough, it worked!

He wrote back that he’d got the piece in on time and everybody loved it. So, when Seth asked for a manifesto that was related to The War of Art, I thought, “Ah, here’s a way to do it.”

JG: What are some of your current daily writing disciplines? Do you do anything quirky?

SP: I’m a believer in what my friend Randall Wallace calls “little successes.” I always go to the gym first thing, or run, or do something act that faces Resistance and wins. That psychs me up for actually hitting the page.

I work every day without fail, even if it’s only an hour or two. And I’m superstitious as hell. I have a huge bowl full of pennies that I’ve found on the sidewalk and picked up for luck.

JG: At what point can someone who writes call himself a writer?

SP: When he turns pro in his head. You are a writer when you tell yourself you are. No one else’s opinion matters. Screw them. You are when you say you are.

JG: There seems to be “warrior” language to a lot of your writing. Why is this?

SP: Because I see the internal struggle as a war. Which it is. There’s a quote at the start of Do The Work:

On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon.
You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.

Art is a war — between ourselves and the forces of self-sabotage that would stop us from doing our work. The artist is a warrior.

JG: What led you to get involved with the Domino Project? What has that been like? What kind of pizza did you order for them?

SP: I got ‘em six different kinds: plain, peperoni, veggie, sausage, Hawaiian and one kind I forgot.

I’m a huge fan of Seth’s and a friend, too. I would work with him on anything. When he started describing the Domino project, he got about eight words out before I said, “I’m in.”

And the people Seth works with are as smart and as much fun as he is — Ishita Gupta, Amy, Willie, Michael, it’s an absolute pleasure to work with them. They are total pros, but they also have fun. And they are so far ahead of traditional publishers it’s ridiculous. I want to work with them, just to see how they do it and to learn.

JG: What do you think will be the future of publishing, and how does that affect writers?

SP: I think traditional publishers will still be dominant, and they should be because they really do assure quality. But eBooks, which are huge already, are going to eclipse everything. They will save traditional publishing the way DVDs saved movie studios (for a while) and they’ll greatly expand the number of readers.

Reading is alive and well and will get more alive and more well. Reading on tablets (or whatever the next tech device will be) is the future — and the future is now. Entities like the Domino Project will proliferate.

Amazon will become a serious force. Partly because it has the database of readers (Amazon.com’s computers know who buys my books or your books or John Irving’s books; I don’t know and you don’t know and John Irving doesn’t know.) That’s enormous.

The other thing is that writers themselves will take much greater charge of their own careers. They’re doing it already. There are still a few missing pieces to facilitating this transition on a grand scale (like an independent entity that will print, market and distribute books for writers without taking the giant cut that publishers do and without being so slow), but within five years, I suspect those companies will be in place.

JG: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

SP: Be great. Malcolm Gladwell’s maxim that it takes 10,000 hours of purposeful practice to master any art or craft is understated, in my opinion. Right now with blogs and the flood of internet access, a multitude of aspiring writers think they’re ready for prime time. They’re not.

Be great. Read. Write. Bust your ass. Learn and find your voice. As hard as you think it is, it’s a hundred times harder. Good luck.

JG: To paraphrase (and steal) a line from a popular show: When you die, what do you want to hear God say to you?

SP: “Your tee time is ready, Mister P.”

* * *

You can buy Steven Pressfield’s latest book Do the Work on Amazon as well as the classic The War of Art (affiliate links). For more about this book, read this interview: “How do you really Do the Work?”

If you liked this interview, please feel free to tweet it, share it, etc.

What does it mean for you that the artist is a warrior?

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

23 Jan

This is a book I came across years ago. The War of Art book by Steven Pressfield
Its been on my reading list for years- although I have yet to track it get it.

It is really ironic that I have been sort of procrastinating reading this book because it is about battling procrastination.
Well, I haven’t exactly been procrastinating reading it but I have not made it a priority- even though I really want to read it.

I have been battling the demons of procrastination and self-sabotage all of my life. I am now working on transcending the resistance, procrastination and self-sabotage.

***The only cure is discipline regardless of the creative endeavor.***

This book is a guide for overcoming resistance and tapping into creative potential.
It is a creative manifesto.
Just what I need.

Here is an excerpt from Steven Pressfield himself about what The War Of Art is about from his website:
http://www.stevenpressfield.com/the-war-of-art/#book-top/

The War of Art
A vital gem . . . a kick in the ass.

—Esquire

I’ve never read a self help book that wasn’t fatuous, obvious and unhelpful. Until The War of Art. It’s amazingly cogent and smart on the psychology of creation. If I ever teach a writing course this would be one of the first books I’d assign, along with the letters of Flannery O’Connor.
—Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City and Brightness Falls

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[This excerpt starts at the book’s very beginning and continues through the opening few chapters.]

“1. WHAT I DO

I get up, take a shower, have breakfast. I read the paper, brush my teeth. If I have phone calls to make, I make them. I’ve got my coffee now. I put on my lucky work boots and stitch up the lucky laces that my niece Meredith gave me. I head back to my office, crank up the computer. My lucky hooded sweatshirt is draped over the chair, with the lucky charm I got from a gypsy in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for only eight bucks in francs, and my lucky LARGO name tag that came from a dream I once had. I put it on. On my thesaurus is my lucky cannon that my friend Bob Versandi gave me from Morro Castle, Cuba. I point it toward my chair, so it can fire inspiration into me. I say my prayer, which is the Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, translation by T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, that my dear mate Paul Rink gave me and which sits near my shelf with the cuff links that belonged to my father and my lucky acorn from the battlefield at Thermopylae. It’s about ten-thirty now. I sit down and plunge in. When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired. That’s four hours or so. I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day. Copy whatever I’ve done to disk and stash the disk in the glove compartment of my truck in case there’s a fire and I have to run for it. I power down. It’s three, three-thirty. The office is closed. How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it. All that matters is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got. All that counts is that, for this day, for this session, I have overcome Resistance.

2. WHAT I KNOW

There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t and the secret is this: it’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.

What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.

3. THE UNLIVED LIFE

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever resolved on a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever felt a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.

One night I was layin’ down,
I heard Papa talkin’ to Mama.
I heard Papa say, to let that boy
boogie-woogie. ‘Cause it’s in him
and it’s got to come out.
—John Lee Hooker,
Boogie Chillen’

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.

Every sun casts a shadow, and genius’ shadow is Resistance. As powerful as is our soul’s call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine. We’re not alone if we’ve been mown down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us. And here’s the biggest bitch: we don’t even know what hit us. I never did. From age twenty-four to thirty-two, Resistance kicked my ass from East Coast to West and back again thirteen times and I never even knew it existed. I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.

Have you heard this story: woman learns she has cancer, six months to live. Within days she quits her job, resumes the dream of writing Tex-Mex songs she gave up to raise a family (or starts studying Classical Greek, or moves to the inner city and devotes herself to tending babies with AIDS.) Woman’s friends think she’s crazy; she herself has never been happier. There’s a postscript. Woman’s cancer goes into remission.

Is that what it takes? Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance? Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we awake to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip and compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is telling us to? Resistance defeats us. If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, overnight every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage and dandruff.

Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.

4. RESISTANCE’S GREATEST HITS

The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities, which most commonly elicit Resistance:

1) The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.

2) The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.

3) Any diet or health regimen.

4) Any program of spiritual advancement.

5) Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.

6) Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.

7) Education of every kind.

8) Any act of political, moral or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.

9) The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.

10) Any act which entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.

11) The taking of any principled stand in the face of potential reprisal.

In other words, any act which disdains short-term gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any act of these types will elicit Resistance.

Now: what are the characteristics of Resistance?

5. RESISTANCE IS INVISIBLE

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. It is experienced as a force field emanating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its intention is to shove the creator away, distract him, sap his energy, incapacitate him.

If Resistance wins, the work doesn’t get written.

6. RESISTANCE IS INTERNAL

Resistance seems to come from outside ourselves. We locate it in spouses, jobs, bosses, kids, distractions. “Peripheral opponents,” as Pat Riley used to say when he coached the Los Angeles Lakers.

Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within.

7. RESISTANCE IS INSIDIOUS

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stick-up man. Resistance has no conscience. It understands nothing but power. Resistance cannot be negotiated with. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

8. RESISTANCE IS IMPLACABLE

Resistance is like the Alien or the Terminator or the shark in “Jaws.” It cannot be reasoned with. It is an engine of destruction, programmed from the factory with one object only: to prevent us from doing our work. Resistance is implacable, intractable, indefatigable. Reduce it to a single cell and that cell will continue to attack.

This is Resistance’s nature. It’s all it knows.

9. RESISTANCE IS IMPERSONAL

Resistance is not out to get you personally. It doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care. Resistance is a force of nature. It acts objectively.

Though it feels malevolent, Resistance in fact operates with the indifference of rain and transits the heavens by the same laws as the stars. When we marshal our forces to combat Resistance, we must remember this.”

MORE: Summary | Excerpt | Review Quotes

Soul On Ice…The Genesis

20 Jan

Soul on Ice was the beginning- the genesis.

I was in high school when I read

Soul On Ice by Eldridge Cleaver.

I was so intrigued and impassioned by the civil rights movement after I read

Malcolm X’s autobiography.

I didn’t just see it as a civil rights movement but as a human rights movement.

Reading Soul On Ice left such an impression on me.

I had no idea the seeds that were planted in my mind as a result of reading this book.

Really, I can say that it is the book that has had the most impact on me as a creative person.

Intellectually and creatively, Soul On Ice gave me breath.

Eldridge Cleaver  received no formal training to be a writer.

He just had the gift- the gift to write truth beautifully even when the truth was so ugly.

The whole book is so REVOLUTIONARY and contentious.
It definitely challenges the status quo and subverts the dominant paradigm!

Aside from its political nucleus, it is full of intellectual orgasms and acidic social commentary.

Eldridge was a Black Panther

 and I believe this to be the real reason for locking him up.

Here is a clip of him speaking:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnCaO2ErCFQ&list=PL628AADF36720D0D8&index=2&feature=plpp_video

He was just too “dangerous” according to “the powers that ruled.” 

The most inspiring thing about Eldridge is that he did not allow “the man” any access to his head.

His mind was all his own.

I shall be re-reading Soul On Ice for the undisclosed time and writing about it again.
There is so much to say!!!

I feel I need to revisit it every so often as each time it offers new insights and creative gems.

It is such a shame that in the university that I went to this book would never be studied- let alone read.

There is so much to learn from it…

*

It is as the poet and writer Henry David Thoreau said,
“For a companion, I require one who will make an equal demand on me with my own genius.”
Soul On Ice is this companion for me.
It demands me to look inside and to awaken my potential just as Eldridge did in writing his Magnum Opus/ his great work.

To honour Eldridge Cleaver, Soul On Ice & Revolution, I offer the song Revolution Solution by a favourite artist of mine named Thievery Corporation {featuring Perry Farrell}.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFn5E2PJPh4

*

Ever since reading Soul On Ice, I have been using the nick name “MYSOULSONICE” as in “MY SOUL IS ON ICE.”

The Love Affair Continues…
and so does the Revolution…