stillness with rick

I am drawn to individuals with clear and distinctive insights and who express them in unique ways. Rick Rubin is a perfect example. One of music industry’s luminaries, he possesses a listening process worth emulating. Through his work with iconic artists such as Adele, Jay-Z, Public Enemy, U2 and Johnny Cash, as well as co-founding Def Jam Records, Rubin advocates for trusting our own experiences, setting intentions, finding stillness and solace through mindful presence, and recognizing the vibrancy of ideas and art. His recent interview with Ezra Klein left a lasting impression on me, particularly his message about belief:

“the beauty of belief is it doesn’t matter whether the thing you believe is true or not. It’s your belief in it that gives it its power. It’s not the truth in it that gives it its power. It’s your belief in it. So belief is a really powerful force in the universe and a great one to have on your side.” 

poem idea

a poem comprised solely of ChatGPT prompts: while the words would remain the same, the prompts would yield different results at a different times.

beyond the unknown

The unknown is not solely a source of fear, but also of beauty. Consider life’s great mysteries & unanswered questions. We must resist the temptation to assume what lies beyond them, and avoid the unwarranted assumption that the outcome will be negative or harmful to us.

Sometimes, we lack the clarity to put things in perspective. We must trust that the very thing that we find so unknown and scary may be the catalyst for transformation that we seek.

seeing the unseen

Can you guess the prompt I used to create this photo? Words that came to my mind, images that came to my mind…and without sense making, I used them to produce these scenes. I wonder if this can be a useful tool to tap into the subconscious?

tonight i’m reminded of the joy of playing with technology without a purpose in mind and the fruits that always follow.

Tonight, I’m pondering a strategy to cope with stress and uncertainty. It involves asking oneself “what decisions need to be made?” and determining the insights required to make those decisions. This approach is similar to a problem-solving framework used in consulting, but I believe it can be applied to various personal situations as well. Issues that don’t fit within this framework may not be solvable through logic, so it may be best to rely on other sources of support, such as community, faith, and experience. While this may be a simplistic view, I’d like to consider it further.

What are your thoughts on this technique? This is also a different way of being than mindfulness which seems to draw the attention to the beauty and fullness of the moment, less solving in the mind, and more living in the body and in the peace available to us through exquisite awareness.

content vs. style

today I’m thinking about content vs. style. what’s said vs. how it is said. the thing about style is it’s more than just the words you used, or the tone of voice: it’s about how you frame the content itself. style can give content new meaning, and that new meaning actually changes the content. style, when it frames and presents a problem differently, can help answer the “why.”

here’s the same content said through a different style:

“Today, I am contemplating the difference between content and style. The content refers to the message being conveyed, whereas the style refers to the way in which the message is delivered. It’s not just about the choice of words or the tone of voice, style encompasses how the content is framed and presented. Style has the power to alter the meaning of the content, as it can change the perspective through which the content is viewed. By framing and presenting information differently, style can provide answers to the question “why.”

lately i’ll write whatever comes to mind and ask AI to rewrite it. The result is greater clarity on what I’m trying to express, even I do don’t see the point at the time of writing it. Paired together, the raw word stream and the sterile AI’s reworking of it, creates an intersection where what I’m really trying to communicate resides.

my stream of conscious reflections. rewrite. rewrite the feeling of exhausting, the feeling of having pushed yourself far out of your comfort zone, of staring fear in the eyes and discovering its power to reveal your cowardice. rewrite the desire to slow time and spend it with those i love. rewrite the want to create something that lasts, less of a legacy and more of a softness for others i love. rewrite the rumination and hours waited on the fear of what if scenarios, the soft footsteps on the surface of the ego of others for fear of harming them in any way. rewrite months that pass and a walk that brings life into stunning clarity in its simplicity. rewrite the moments of connections with people that have become not just a motivation but the thing which calls me from silence and makes me feel alive.

AI’s version of the same content. Revised: The overwhelming sensation of stepping outside one’s comfort zone, facing fear head-on, and recognizing its ability to highlight personal weaknesses. The longing to freeze time and cherish the moments spent with loved ones. The aspiration to create something meaningful, not for the sake of leaving a legacy, but to bring comfort to those close to the heart. The constant thoughts and anxieties about potential outcomes, the tender consideration for the feelings of others, and the avoidance of causing any harm. The passing of time and a simple walk that brings newfound clarity and appreciation for life’s simplicities. The powerful connections made with people that not only drive motivation but also bring a sense of aliveness from the silence.

a story that shines

Every once in a while I’ll find a short story that resonates with me to my core. I use these short stories, I call them “Stories that Shine” as ways to bring people together. They are all beautiful written, but they aren’t complicated. They’re accessible to anyone with life experience. They’re more written for people who pay attention than for people who read literature.

About a week ago, I listened to the author Russell Banks read his short story “The Moor.” I first heard it on This American Life. And It’s one of these special stories. It starts simple enough, and I’m not going to give it away to you.

Suffice to say, the story is about people who remember each others’ essence–and a chance encounter that brings that essence to life. I hope you’ll read or watch this very special work. The story begins about 7 minutes in and you’ll find it here.

the balance

I’m exploring the relationship between two abilities: making careful plans that anticipate future events and enhancing the ability to stay present and respond with flexibility, resilience, and mindfulness to challenges that arise. Finding the right balance between these two approaches is my goal. I’ve found this as applicable both in personal life and in business.

How do you strike your balance?

daily & best

Best work and daily work are vastly different but both have significance. Writing every day, for example, is a habit that reveals patterns through rereading that might not show up in your “best” work. Best work can be either a sudden flash of creativity or a carefully cultivated and polished product, but it may sometimes lack the authenticity found in daily work.

I now have a different appreciation for best work and daily work – the former is a soothing routine that offers gradual insight, while the latter is an act of creation and concentration.