That Special Kind of Crazy

If there is one thing I’ve learned as a creative professional, you must always nurture your special kind of crazy.

I deal with business people. A lot. The ones who have been successful have never conformed. They’ve danced outside of the box – and sometimes danced outside of time — to create new things. I get a kick out of tapping into their crazy just as much as I do tapping into my own.

New things can’t come from old things. They can only come from that deepest part of ourselves, like Middle Earth, that is always burbling with energy. If we put a cap on that place, we will never access our fullest potential. And we will be doomed to doing what everybody else does.

That’s like signing your crazy’s death certificate.

A sad thought indeed.

Being a little crazy fosters creativity. Laughter keeps it loose. Being dead serious is a sure-fire way to clamp down on that uniqueness.

Dangle from a limb every once in a while. See what happens. Imagine what life would resemble if everyone lived out their creativity, like a life-long series of Burning Man moments.

Surround yourself with people who spark up your joy, but know that your joy always comes from within. In fact, if you show your inner joy every day, your crazy will shine through too. And it may just set off a new kind of revolution by engaging others in their special kind of crazy too.

I see it. Do you?

 

Taking the Slow Train

Nothing reveals more about human beings than physical discomfort. Trapped in an overcrowded train with no air conditioning as it stood still on the tracks for over an hour, I realized how quickly things can turn sour when things get a little uncomfortable.

Pont d'Arc, Ardèche, France

Pont d’Arc, Ardèche, France

People shouted. The conductors hid in the safety of their locked cabinet, giving us periodic updates that said nothing. A medical emergency ensued. It was chaos for a while until one guy said he’d either call the police or see why the train hadn’t moved in an hour. I went with him. We quickly discovered all the other wagons had air conditioning. We got the conductor to make an announcement for passengers in our wagon to move elsewhere. And we decided we would cheer once the train got moving again. Another thirty minutes passed and the train moved forward. We applauded, laughed and jumped for joy. Until the train stopped again for another defect. At this point, I had already hugged the conductor, who was rather shocked by my response.

After a two hour delay, I made it back to sweet Freiburg to meet my son whose bus, by some miracle, arrived with a similar delay fifteen minutes after I did.

As the train rolled into the central train station, I told a fellow passenger that this experience had changed my perspective on Monday morning. After two weeks frolicking in the South of France, I felt a deep reluctance to return to my work life. But after realizing how good I actually have it — with clients, friends and family I deeply love — I happily returned to my every day life with renewed gratitude for cool spaces, calm surfaces and meaningful work.

Sometimes it takes the slow train to remind us of what we have. I am grateful for the experience and for the goodness of this life.

 

For the Love of Creation

Nature, that juicy piece of the world that teaches us so much.

A tree stands tall through storms and sunshine. A flower unfolds simply for the beauty of itself. A bird sings because it can.

Everything in Nature is precoded. A blade of grass doesn’t ask itself what it is doing here.

It seems only human beings, saddled with consciousness — or a lack thereof — spin in their orbits through it all without really knowing what they are doing at all.

We think we do. At least, some of the time. But how often do we get wrapped up in our own needs, expectations and yearnings without seeing the Big Picture? Time and again we forget what really governs our lives: natural law. We think we are masters of the Universe and yet it is the Universe that holds our existence in the palm of its hand.

Yielding to our own evolution can be scary because our minds are set on certain things. We have an image that is often in direct conflict with that broader universal vision. And we feel bereft, left to our own devices to carry on in the face of what’s really happening.

The woods are a place of solace and great wisdom. They remind us that our virtual world of digital devices is just that — virtual. What we call “the real world” isn’t that real at all.

Data transfer can’t replace real living, which can be most easily found in the thickness of the forest.

Welcome a piece of that creation into your life. It can be so very grounding. Hug a tree. Walk barefoot through the grass. Kiss the sky. And remember: we are all united no matter where we are in the world. The Internet has proven that.

Spending some of your precious time on this Earth outdoors can prove that too.

 

 

The Good Life — Right Where You Are

Owning a restaurant is more than a full-time occupation. It’s a life decision. It consumes every aspect of your schedule, starting with opening hours and ending with unforeseen crises that demand your attention whenever they happen.

I admire restaurateurs for their gumption, their commitment, their love of food, people and good experiences. It takes a special kind of person to run a restaurant and I have had the pleasure of knowing a few.

The other day I chat with someone who owns a favorite place of mine in Freiburg. She smiled that special kind of smile that only someone who loves what she does can do.

“I don’t need an extended vacation,” she glowed. “I’d prefer to live a life that is relaxing instead of running until I drop, then picking up the pieces on the edge of some ocean during a lengthy holiday.”

To me that is as slow as you can get. Don’t run. Walk. Pace yourself. Love what you do. And you will see that your life is simply beautiful.

The last time I had seen her was New Year’s Day. At her restaurant. Wearing that grin while I wore the traces of a very, very fun night the evening before.

The lesson she taught me was to treat your life as the gift that it is. Choose how you spend your time wisely — and with whom. Enjoy what you do and love others while you do it.

Then watch how good life can be — right where you are.