Leaping into Creativity and Love after Swearing Like Sailors with Their Hair on Fire
I am reading Tim Ferriss’s book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. I am taking notes and underlining like a maniac. The process is turning into one big Christmas wish list. This book. This movie.It’s also turning into one big personal training coach: Drop and give me 75. Seventeen times in a row. Do this thing with kettle bells. Eat this. Don’t drink this. Take these twenty supplements.
Every morning I read ten pages and it’s better than any breakfast I could have because it feeds the whole me. (I do have to try not to obsess over the fact that Ferriss loves to talk about what men do and has a habit of reducing the few women he does focus on to a page. I’m talking about you, Cheryl Strayed. Yes, I noticed.)
From this book, I got the habit of writing three things every morning I’m grateful for, three things that could make the day great, and three affirmations, and then in the evening writing three amazing things that happened during the day and what I could have done to make the day better. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and it is a game changer. The mornings are especially sweet. I found I had needed to stretch my ability to both own and create the day of my dreams, and I look forward to both journaling sessions the way I used to look forward to a nice tub of Ben and Jerry’s Super Fudge Chunk. Honest to god. Doing these exercises is so flipping sweet.
This morning I learned a new habit I’m thinking about developing. It came from Eric Weinstein, and it’s for shifting into a deep creative state. He uses coprolalia(the string of obscenities people with Tourette’s involuntarily say). Quoting the book, Weinstein said, “I find that when we use words that are prohibited to us, it tells our brain that we are inhabiting unsafe space. It’s a bit of a sign that you’re going into a different mode…I have my same sequence. It’s like an invariant mantra that I have to say…It probably takes me seven seconds to say it. You [also] have to decamp from normal reality where you start thinking about [things like], ‘Well, how am I negatively going to impact my neighbor?’ No, this is your time. You’re stealing the time. And the act of creation is itself a violent action.”
Weinstein would not tell Ferris his mantra, but I’ll tell you mine: fuckshitpissgoddamnasstinkertotparade.
Why would I want to curse like a sailor before setting down to put my soul and guts on paper? Have you ever run the hurdles or done the high jump? Have you ever jumped over a puddle that’s just a little bigger than you think you can manage while keeping your shoes dry? Have you ever started a conversation that you’ve avoided for months? If I told you that you could fly, would you jump right into the air?
I think you would take at least a moment before each thing just as, if you watch a bird take flight, there’s a second of bend where the bird gets the spring needed to go from standing to air-borne. I think it’s the same for people writing about things that really matter to them. There’s the intake of breath, the pause, the drawing in of energy. And if you’re about to do something that scares you, the pause may be deeper. The pause may extend to the entire day, the week, the rest of your life.
Forward motion, change, a life lived, involves leap. Ask my friend Katie Peuvrelle. She wrote a whole book on it! (https://www.amazon.com/Leap-Excellence-Engage-Business-Sports/dp/1612061397) People love the idea of leaping. Look at Rocky! He leaptinto his dream and went Adrienne on the world. I think, though, that mostly people love to watch other people leap. We watch the Olympics. We watch people do crazy things on reality TV. Have you seen the movie Free Solo? It’s one huge extended leap. Have you gone to Cirque du Soleil? Leap city. I read about and watch other people leaping so I can feel excited about human potential while I hang out on the couch with my bag of potato chips.
Nice and safe.
What dream are you not doing? What dream are you not even having?
What are you afraid of saying?
Who are you afraid of hurting if you show up in the world completely yourself?
Ron Hansen wrote a book I love so much called Mariette in Ecstasy. It’s about a young woman in a convent who, possibly bearing stigmata at the book’s end, has a conversation with God. She asks Him what he wants of her, and he says,Surprise me. (I hope I have this right. It’s been years since I read the book and if I dreamed all of this, I’m sorry, Ron Hansen.)
What if this is what leap is all about, humans pleasing the sacred universe? What if leaping is not about taking risks but about giving ourselves fully to life?
What if it is your duty to leap into what scares you most—that thing deep inside that you believe is your soul’s calling?
Even better, surprise yourself.
The brilliant therapist Pam Cordano and I are offering a retreat on love, creativity, and reconnecting with the stream of our best lives in Davis, California, September 12-15. It’s $750/sliding scale. We’d love to see you there. Contact me for more information. Leap.
Thank you, Tim Ferriss. https://www.amazon.com/Tools-Titans-Billionaires-World-Class-Performers/dp/1328683788