Many years ago (in the Guru encumbered 70’s) I went to a Halloween party dressed as a Guru. Affecting my best Maharishi accent—turban, dohti, blue face paint, forehead streak, beads…I looked right-on but, man, did I have a lousy time! I learned my lesson. Gurus don’t have any fun unless they are in control and control is heavy burden especially, when you want to have fun. Ah! the boundless inequities of the self-righteous. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a meditator for all this time and have nothing but respect for a honed spiritual practice, but brother, please leave me out of the guru biz.
That said, “We all want to change the world…” Lennon/McCartney-Revolution #9). We’ve found that the simplest rules of studio life, the struggle to make art, came into our lives in business, child rearing, environmental projects and on into our general mental health, etc, etc. We call our place Rancho Deluxe (after the eponymous movie by that title and our granddaughter’s middle name is Deluxe). We developed five rules for life here on the Rancho. They are:
1. The ball is always in your court.
2. All situations are neutral.
3. Just do it.
4. Listen to the small voices.
1. The ball is always in your court. It’s your world and even your smallest actions can alter events. You can’t complain about the world, it is what it is until you act and even then the results will be something you may not recognize. Start right where you are and you will be amazed at how effective you can be. Game on!
2. All situations are neutral. You assign meaning. How you handle pain, joy, grief, exhaltation is up to you. Skillful means are required to give meaning. Don’t let your reactive mind shape the dialogue between meaning and results.
3. Just do it. Every day. Do some little thing you love to do. Five minutes is all the Universe asks. Tiny bits add up and definitely amount to more than no bits. There are always “chores” to do, nevertheless make your art, make up your mind, then make your bed.
4. Listen to the small voices. Trust the whispers. Pay attention to what you glimpse out of the corner of your eye. It’s how you know what to do. Your furtive mind will offer many ideas that may become discounted because they are not practical, or remunerative, or, foolish in the eyes of others. Try some ideas out, they may become a signpost or a dead end but you won’t know until you act.
5. Ask. When you need help, comradeship, advice, or just something to eat, there is no shame in asking and you might learn something that you didn’t know.