Today I had the good fortune to spend some time with Dijon Bowden, Bay Area storyteller and creator of the street photography project Souls of Society. Dijon took my photo on Divisadero Street in 2011 when the project was in its nascent stage and going by the name Souls of San Francisco. I was on my way to read Tarot for an event and was dressed up in steampunk clothing complete with top hat and cloak. Dijon’s photograph remains a loving snapshot from another time, capturing a vulnerability and presence that still surprises and impresses me. Continue reading
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Our mindset can shape the objective world around us,” writes Shawn Achor in his bestselling book The Happiness Advantage. He writes,
We can cultivate a positive mindset–and capitalize on this positivity to move ever upward. We want to push the limits of possibility as far as they can go, not limit them in the way too many discouraging bosses, parents, teachers, or media stories tell us they should be limited.
Many of us have been conditioned to scan for the things that are wrong in our environments at work, home and in the world at large. Doing this all the time reduces our ability to create, increases anxiety, and diminishes our ambitions and energy. However, instead of constructing a mental process that looks for negatives and obstructs success, we can train our brains to search for possibilities and concepts that foster success. It Continue reading
Today I attended a Writing for Comics class taught by the amazing writer Devin Grayson. The class was offered by The Isotope Comic Book Lounge as part of its Isotope University project which offers curriculum that “focuses on practical, real world comics industry knowledge to equip students for success in creating and selling comics.” Grayson’s work includes writing for titles such as Gotham Knights, Catwoman, The Titans, and Black Widow. Her five year run on Nightwing is especially well regarded and is often credited for creating the fan base for the popular character. She is also a novelist, video game scripter, short story and essay writer. Continue reading
“Some days it’s your turn to ask. Some days it’s your turn to be asked.” ~Amanda Palmer
I spotted musician singer-songwriter Amanda Conner on the cover of her new book last week. She was nude with the title painted on her upper chest. I was intrigued but I couldn’t justify spending $27.00 on someone I wasn’t sure I liked. I didn’t get the book.
When I got home, I was haunted by Amanda Palmer’s wide-eyed face. I weighed my nostalgia for her old band The Dresden Dolls versus articles I’d read about her online. I knew Neil Gaiman thought the world of her and I thought the world of him. Shouldn’t I at least investigate her side of things? I capitulated and ordered the book from the library.
In The Art of Asking: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, Amanda Palmer’s voice is raw, direct, and unabashed. She alternates between stubborn and fragile, fearless and vulnerable, yet finds the spaces between. My judgments slid away with each confessional chapter. I read the book in one sitting. Continue reading
Today I took a Mastering Crowdfunding class by comic creator and Kickstarter wizard Alex Woolfson. The event was part of The Isotope Comic Book Lounge’s Isotope University, which offers curriculum that “focuses on practical, real world comics industry knowledge to equip students for success in creating and selling comics. Today’s guest instructor was the author of the yaoi science fiction graphic novel Artifice and the queer superhero series The Young Protectors. Continue reading
“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” ~William James
I’m excited to share a fantastic book with you by psychologist Shawn Achor about changing our approach to success and happiness. In the appropriately titled The Happiness Advantage, Achor explores how “conventional wisdom” states that if we work hard, we will succeed and then find happiness. If I can just get that promotion, find the perfect mate, gain the muscle mass, then I will be happy. Achor says, no, it’s the other away around. This principle reminds me of an anonymous quote I was told recently, “Be happy as you await happiness.” The message is that we must accept where we are, and find enjoyment in the process as we work toward the desired goal. The means must be as rewarding as the result because “happiness is the center around which success orbits” (61).
For over a decade, Achor researched and taught positive psychology techniques to maximize happiness and improve potential. His focus is primarily about how we can raise our effectiveness at work in a corporate setting, but his concepts are applicable to all aspects of our lives. In this passage, he explains we have a choice about how we look at the world: Continue reading
“As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that…That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.” ~Anthony de Mello
“Good government obtains, when those who are near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted.” ~Confucius
This morning a wonderful friend texted me, wishing me “lots of happiness on this International Day of Happiness” and I totally rolled my eyes into the back of my head. I was like, “Really? That’s a thing? We get just one day to focus on happiness? What’s that about?” Well, I did a little research and it just so happens that the International Day of Happiness is kind of a big deal (and originates from a place where the residents refer to themselves as “Dragon people”). Continue reading