advice from rob b this week

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The French novelist Flaubert declared that if
you hope to write a book, you should first read 1,500 books. A Roman
author named Petronius believed that the imagination does not work at
its peak power unless it is inundated with reading material. I suggest you
adopt their advice and apply it to your own field, Aquarius. Whatever skill
or subject you want to master, expose yourself lavishly to the efforts of
other people who have already mastered it. Flood yourself with well-
crafted inspiration.

from New Yorker article on SK

Andersen, of course, has always been a global crowd-pleaser, who, as the Danes like to say, writes about “the galoshes of happiness,” while Kierkegaard, who writes about “the place where the shoe hurts,” ….

If your soul has bunions, however, reading Kierkegaard may inflame them: he invented self-doubt in its modern form. “Either/Or,” for example, ought really to be subtitled “Neither.” Kierkegaard, who has often been called the father of existentialism, champions the examined life, and the conscious choice that informs it—yet he mocks choice as futile. “I see it all perfectly,” he wrote. “There are two possible situations—one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it—you will regret both.” (The advice was proffered, originally, to anyone contemplating marriage. In the cartoon supplement, a duck holds forth on the either/or of putting croutons in your salad.)

take up the cause of zoom and boom…

Feel free, too, to take up the cause of zoom and boom as you resist the practitioners of doom and gloom in your own sphere. Demand equal time for news about integrity and joy and beauty and pleasure and renewal and harmony and love. In your personal life, be alert for stories that tend to provide evidence for the fact that all of creation is conspiring to give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

P.S. Part of our task is to hunt down and identify the interesting good news that’s going on now. But we’ve also been charged with the job of creating the good news that’s coming.

how to get off of bottom…

 Follow this checklist one at a time. They are in order. Then you will get out of bottom.

 Trust me.

 1) Acknowledge that you’ve been trying to be chosen by other people or things. Stop that.

 2) Take a shower. You smell like bottom. Scrub hard. Wash your hair.  Shave. Brush your teeth. Oh, go to the bathroom before you shower. Stand  outside the shower naked, wet, take a picture of yourself and post it  on facebook (kidding).

 3) Sleep 8-10 hours. Sleeping is  rejuvenating. You won’t care if you go broke while you sleep. You also  can’t obsess on loneliness while you sleep. In general, sleeping is  pretty good. If you are having trouble sleeping, take some natural  remedy or take some anti-anxiety medicine. Whatever it takes – you need  to sleep. I was addicted to Klonopin for quite some time when I had to  learn to sleep. 

 3) Bed Yoga. For ten minutes before you go to sleep and for ten minutes when you wake up, just be quiet and stretch. 

 Stretch more. Breathe deep. Look for the light that’s peeking out of  the window, listen to the sounds. Stretch some more. Think of the things  you are grateful for, even if they are few. 

 4) Exercise. Take  a walk for ten minutes. That’s it. We’re trying to get off of bottom  here. You don’t need to go to the gym for an hour. When you walk try to  look at the rooftops. Find the prettiest rooftop. Look at the people who  pass you. Each one is absorbed in their world. They are all time  traveling to their regrets or their fears. Just for a little bit you can  walk and you don’t have to time travel.

 5) Protein. Don’t load  up on carbs today. Eat eggs. Then eat fish for a late lunch, early  dinner. No carbs. Just try it. It can’t hurt. I promise you you won’t  starve. People eat well in the United States. And don’t eat a lot. Late  breakfast, early dinner. That’s it.

 6) No alcohol. Alcohol is a  depressant and causes cancer and stomach troubles. Why add that to your  misery? I get it – you lose inhibitions on alcohol and that helps you  to be more courageous. But you don’t need it today. There’s nothing to  be courageous for. 

 7) Don’t talk to people who will put you  down. If you have to be around them ( a boss, a child, a parent, a  spouse, etc) then just don’t engage. Don’t gossip with them. Don’t try  to please them. Don’t call them back. Don’t say to yourself, “well, I  have to call them back.” You don’t. Do you think 100 years from now it  will matter if you call them back today? 100 years from now nobody will  care at all what you did today. 

 8) Read. Read books that will  make you smarter or that will make you laugh. Or books that will make  you feel spiritual. Actually, this morning read all of the above. Every  since I hit bottom I try to read all three categories every day. This is  not to say, “oh, I’m so great, I read these three types of books every  day”. It’s just that if I don’t I can hit bottom again. Gravity works on  the soul. If you don’t keep it up, then gravity drags it down to the  bottom again. I hate that.

 9) Write. I write every day. I’m  writing this. Sometimes I write bad stuff. Sometimes I write ok stuff.  Sometimes I write things I’m happy with. But everything I write  exercises my brain. The brain is constantly forming connections between  neurons. if you don’t use those connections they start to freeze and  then stagnate.

 Repeat 1-9 tomorrow. 

 10) Surrender. If  you do all of the above, then there’s nothing  else you can do. You did  the prep. There’s no excuses. There’s no reason for you to say, “I  can’t enjoy the summer. My bike is broken!” So what? You’ll find other  ways to enjoy it. Take the 10 day excuse diet. You don’t need excuses  anymore. Excuses are for people trying to be chosen by others. They drag  you down.

 If you did #1-9, you did the preparation. You’re  still at bottom. You’re still broke and lonely. People are still not  choosing you. But you are choosing yourself. 

 I’m not psychic. I lied to everyone because I thought it would make people like me. 

 But then I started to choose myself and I came all the way back. For  now. This is off topic but next week I’m going to Miami for ten days.  Yay!


use your mistakes

Try to acquire the weird practice of savouring your mistakes, delighting in uncovering the strange quirks that led you astray.

It is not so much that our brains are bigger or more powerful, or even that we have the knack of reflecting on our own past errors, but that we share the benefits our individual brains have won by their individual histories of trial and error.