From ‘outside the box’ to ‘What box?’

dreamstime_xl_9150573 box vert - web.jpgPeople are praised for thinking outside of the box and encouraged to do that as much as they can, and I think I’ve figured out why getting out of the box is so important, but I don’t know if I know how to explain it. Or maybe I already have explained it just fine, or it’s so obvious that people are hearing me explain and saying, “Duh. Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something I need to know.”

But this is important, and we all need to know it: There is no box. Continue reading “From ‘outside the box’ to ‘What box?’”


Dance as long as your Heart can stand the Joy


While rummaging through my writing for a project to be announced later, I came across a line that begged to be expanded:

Dance as long as your heart can stand the joy.


Joy makes you want to move; it’s expressed in dancing of all kinds – from the tapping of your foot to the spreading of arms to reach the sun and jumping.

Joy brings the dance, and the dance brings joy: Dance as long as your heart can stand the joy.

The heart is the conduit: Dance, and your heart will seek the joy. And through the joy, the heart dances.

Cause and effect – which comes first? Which is cause? Which is effect? Both.

One brings the other.

How to get it done

how to get it done

“I don’t have time for all this!”

Yes, you do.

A person is what she thinks about. As a man thinks, his thoughts become him. If she thinks she will fail, she will. If he thinks he can do it, he will find a way. It’s that simple, and it’s that complicated. Because thinking is step one; now comes the doing.

A person does what he thinks about. As she works on the task, her thoughts determine the outcome. If he thinks he’ll miss the deadline, he will. If she thinks she can make it, she will. As Mr. Ford (or whoever) said, whether you think you can do it, or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Break it down so you can see the possibilities. Can I plot out a book in X days? Sure, if I invest Y minutes or Z hours a day. It’s like the person who wants to stop drinking: Can you go without a drink for this minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve gone without drinking for a half-hour, then an hour, then two hours and four hours and eight.

Don’t have time for all this? Can you focus on doing it for one minute? Good. Now, how about this next minute? And the one coming after this? Pretty soon you’ve made the time and it’s done. Try it.

about that box

dreamstime_xl_9150573 box vertThink outside the box, because there is no box. Not really.

The box is the little cube where you store all the ways you have done things as they always have been done, the ways you have done them, and the ways everyone says they’re supposed to be done.

But you know there has to be a better way. And what you may have forgotten is the box is not there. It’s just a mythical construct created to memorialize the routine.

The routine is easy. The routine gets the job done. But is it enough? Does it get you to the goal? More important, does it get you to YOUR goal? Does it fulfill you, or is it just a paycheck? The paycheck is even sweeter when the work fulfills you.

Imagine how it could be done if you weren’t in this box. Because remember, there is no box. It’s a convenient structure you and your colleagues built to get the job done. It you poke your hand at the walls of this box, it will pass right through and you may be on your path to a better way.

So: Imagine what could be done outside the box, because you’re already outside, because there is no box.

A next time sometime past time

a next time sometime past time

The old man sits, head bent, eyes closed, in his familiar comfortable chair, pen poised above paper bound, blank and waiting.

Suddenly his eyes drift open and his hand begins to scrawl across the page: “I remember this – this is how it was – this is why it is the way it is now – this is what I recall and when and where.”

He scrawls, alive, bringing the past and the memories and the what-is-it to life. And scrawls and scrawls.

And just as suddenly, the words have been written and the images and the thoughts are spent. Hand poised over paper, just in case, his eyes flutter and his head sags forward, and he snoozes, waiting for the next burst of energy and thought and yesterday and tomorrow and dreams of a next time sometime past time.

Here comes a living soul, and another, and another, flying past his house on a mission from here to there, thousands a day on millions of missions – and somehow it all comes together.

… This is why I rise before I’m ready: to write on these pages. The words may be nonsense, but it comforts me to extract them from bleary blurs and to ramble across the page – and maybe the nonsense means something after all. If I’d slept another hour, the pages would still be blank, wouldn’t they? And then they would be saying something else entirely.

A field now lost to time

a field now lost to time

The sun was a white burst without shape in the sky, and crickets sang all around, and the green of the plants was pale, and bees and bugs hummed away minding their own business all about. A path led from one street to the church parking lot and to the other street a block away – not an alley or any straight path built by man, just a path worn by child feet meandering from here to there looking for beetles or bottle caps or any other such wonder as might be found.

It was the times when the only agenda was to discover what’s out there, to explore what there was to explore, and if nothing came of today’s exploration, no matter, because there would be more exploration and more discovery tomorrow. No greater good because this was as great as could be. And it WAS good – or not – I don’t recall judgments being made.

The field is gone now. What would you expect? It’s 60 years later. Those who were once 5 years old and exploring have blazed through careers to retirement, and those who were 35 and moms are loving their great-grandchildren or they are gone, and those who were 65 and retiring are long ago at rest, and this generation of bees and bugs is somewhere else.

Somewhere else, then, a little girl or boy runs across a field alive with crickets and buzzing noises and marvels at a butterfly in wonder, and discoveries are made all over again in a circle old as time – although, time never ages, does it? And 60 years from now, will the child’s field be paved over and forgotten? Or will she, sitting with her pen and/or tablet, describe a memory with words that echo through the centuries and touch a heart that sees the pale green field, and a child running, all over again?

My field was alongside a Methodist church, and the town was Little Falls, New Jersey, but the reader sees it with different eyes and recollections, so it could be anywhere that crickets sing and beetles leap and bees hum about, a green oasis from the mad covering we called civilization.

Second quarter + one month report

book shelf

I saw a quote recently that said nothing ever goes as planned – you wind up where you are by accident no matter what your big plans are. It’s a variation of the proverbial John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

And so, as I review my announced plans for 2017 for this month-late update, I don’t feel terribly bad about saying, well, Life happened. Continue reading “Second quarter + one month report”