You get a purpose! You get a purpose..!

It’s been almost a year since I last wrote, as I haven’t been struck by anything in particular that inspired me. Then yesterday I was at Starbucks minding my own business, when I was assaulted by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is now selling her own branded tea, which includes putting her inspirational quotes on the insulating sleeve around my Americano. “Follow your passion,” she writes. “It will lead you to your purpose.” There’s nothing better than being reminded by a TV celebrity that you have a purpose in the universe, which is only knowable by following your passion, so that you too may someday become as successful as she is.  Continue reading

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Being there

Almost weekly, I will be mistaken by someone who swears that they know me. This has been going on for many years, and I’ve become used to it. I enjoy the surprised look on people’s faces, and then joking with them, “Well, there are a lot of short bald white guys around.” For those who have never seen me in person, I’m unremarkable looking, though once an elderly group of Japanese tourists thought I might be Bruce Willis. People are always more receptive to what’s familiar, and in those wonderful moments when I forget that I am separate and different from everyone else, the world reminds me that I may be on to something. Continue reading

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Loafing toward salvation

The unbounded life is perfectly content is its pointlessness. It’s not a formula for any kind of traditional measure of success, nor intended to achieve any specific purpose. It’s defined by a spirit of infinite and cheerful uselessness that is found in all forms of play, and born from a desire to avoid the evils of work. When we embrace our laziness, we feel less guilty about the pursuit of leisure. We allow ourselves the time to dream and create versus being consumed by daily practical concerns. The leisurely life is an artful life, one that expresses the curiosity, humor and waywardness of our essential humanity. Continue reading

Starve the beast

As someone who writes about the meaning of personal freedom, I’ve so far stayed clear of political issues, preferring to focus on the power of conscious living. Despite living in Thailand most of the year and enjoying progressive Seattle in the summers, because I remain a U.S. citizen, I am still in servitude to a federal government that is in the pocket of huge corporations and can’t be trusted to act in the average citizen’s interest. I believe in the fundamental good that the U.S. is capable of, but because our influence is so powerful in geopolitics and finance, its corrupt and hypocritical policies shape the world that I’m determined to make better for my daughter. Continue reading

Slowly and all at once

It’s a rare kind of person that knows early on who they want to be, and commits to becoming it with a singular, persistent focus. For the rest of us, we slouch through life, wondering what our purpose is while resigning ourselves to making a living. When we talk about purpose, we’re really talking about intention. Purpose is a way we describe our intent toward a course of action. When we’re unclear about our course of action, we say that we lack purpose, but really we lack intention; a determination or resolve. There’s really never a time when any of us lacks purpose, because our purpose is all the same: to express our creative selves. Continue reading

Solve for X

If attention is the currency of the internet, then anxiety is the currency of modern society. We are part of a massive, finely tuned anxiety machine that offers us the promise of freedom while churning out a dizzying array of choices that overloads our decision-making bandwidth, and distracts us from what really matters. More choice does not equal more freedom. 200 kinds of toothpaste do not make us free. When we are free, we recognize the difference between purposeful, self-owned choice and simply selecting from options presented to us. Freedom isn’t given, it’s taken, and extraordinary results come from managing the anxiety of freedom that is key to transformational change.
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Life 2.0

ALONG in his 40s, the American male often plunges into strange fits of black depression. He wakes in a sweat at 4 a.m. He stares at the dim ceiling. His once bright ambitions creep past like beaten soldiers. Face it: he will never run the company, write the novel, make the million. He feels fat and futile; his kids are taller than he is.

Second Acts in American Lives, Time Magazine Essay, March 3, 1968

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