November 26, 2012
by Leslie Zeigler
In this fast-track world we all now live in with iPads, Droids, Twitter, Facebook and
Linked In, we all may fear that if we dare to not have our devices within six inches we will be out of the loop. I know that I have an ambivalent relationship to my own attachment to my now dinosaur Blackberry. Yet this is the new reality we all live in, and in order to survive, succeed and stay in touch, it would be really hard to turn off and tune out for very long. However, I sometimes think that tuning out is just what the metaphorical cultural doctor would prescribe if there were one. My recommendation would be that during moments of high stress (or even medium or low stress) we turn off our devices to allow time to be creative and engage with our imaginations.
Five Minute Break
It could really be as simple as a five-minute break for reflection while walking to your car or subway (or possibly longer if you have the time.) In order to enhance your ability to do this, try to access your inner voice, which requires giving it some space to emerge. I find that those rare, and sometimes not so rare, moments when we can quiet all those various inner messages that try to demand our attention (almost as if our inner life were like a TV with many channels) are truly magic. We are all familiar with our ever-present inner critic, who will try to tell us we don’t know enough, or that we aren’t really going to create something worthy of sharing. Perhaps we also hear our daily to-do list streaming through our minds, vying for our attention, or maybe it is a message you keep hearing related to something your mother told you when you were just four years old.
Finding Inner Calm
It can be a real challenge to find inner calm, to push the mute button on all these messages, and just relax and let go and let your intuition kick in. You will not know where it is coming from, or how, but creative ideas and thoughts may just start to flow and it will be magic. And for extra inspiration just remember the words of Steve Jobs “don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
November 6, 2012
Thank you to everyone who emailed or called to find out how we did, indeed, survive the storm. Both Leslie and are were fortunate to live above 39th Street in Manhattan, and so did not experience flooding or power outages (although I did have one strange moment when it looked like the Hudson might come creeping up past 12th Avenue.) The same cannot be said of many of our friends, who lost power and water, had trees fall on their homes, saw their cars float out to sea, and, in some cases, are still waiting for the lights to come back on.
In the face of this disaster, it feels somewhat selfish to say that I did, indeed, spend a quiet week at home, safe, dry, and in the absence of the usual distractions (like, say, going to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, because the Starbucks in my neighborhood could not open without baristas) and, in fact, wrote a great deal. More importantly, I had free time to think and live with my characters and stories—when I was not listening to the sad news on the TV and radio—and unscheduled time is almost always a gift.
I’m back to work now, along with much, although not all, of Manhattan. Nothing looks quite the same—it’s a little scary to realize that a city that’s stood for 400 years is so essentially fragile. Sometimes we forget we live on an island. We are spending a lot of time sharing our stories, which makes us all feel better. And we are all making plans with much more seriousness for the next natural disaster – I have realized that one flashlight, even with backup batteries, does not cut it.
Just wanted to let you all know we’re fine, and that we’ll have a new post from Leslie later this week.