Ancient Zen Story About Re-framing Failure Applies To Grant Applications

When thinking about grant writing, it helps to first consider this story that tells about luck. In it, a farmer’s horse runs away and all his neighbors come by to say what bad luck this is. The farmer replies “maybe.” His horse returns and with it brings wild horses. The neighbors all say what good luck this is to which the farmer says, “maybe.” The farmer’s son, attempting to tame one of the wild horses, is thrown and breaks a leg. Bad luck, say the neighbors, “maybe” says the farmer. At last the army comes to town gathering up all the able bodied young men to go off to war. Seeing the farmer’s son with his broken leg they pass on by.

The story ends here, but it shows that things are often connected in ways we can’t possibly predict. A Lebanese saying reaches toward the very same point, “Don’t curse your bad luck because it may turn out to be your good luck.” Again the message here is that you can’t possibly know whether a single event is truly good or bad.

Failure can and should be viewed through the lens of stories and phrases like these. When we stumble, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking of this one moment as some sort of endgame. On the contrary, every so-called failure is nothing more than the next step in your journey.

Failure feels personal. When you have worked hard on something, poured your very soul into it, only to have things not come to fruition, it can feel like the universe is pointing a finger directly at your forehead. Putting things into some context is one way to start seeing the bigger picture.

Shakey Graves- Roll the Bones. Bandcamp.

Grant applications are quite probably one of the best examples of this. There is so much riding on any given application, whether it is for a specific project or an artist’s general practice. Grants are one of the ways in which working artists stay afloat and they are not only time-consuming, they can feel extremely personal.

Not receiving a grant can set off a cycle of emotions. Everything from wondering what is wrong with your work or your application, to convincing yourself that this is the last chance and there’s no point trying again. Let’s unpack these very common reactions and shed some light on the reality of the situation.

For any given grant you may apply to, there are countless others also spending long hours writing up their own applications. Grants range all over the place in size and popularity, so to speak. Even smaller scale grants (say, those offered by lesser known organizations or tightly specified to certain disciplines) will often attract many applicants.

While there are certain strategies when it comes to writing a good grant application, there is no single, objective way to ensure that yours will be the one chosen. When it comes down to final decision time, there is a level of subjectivity built into the process. Art for example, is not a quantitative subject and nor are grants being awarded via algorithm. Rather, they are being decided by panels of human beings with a range of subjective emotions about a field that is as unscientific as it gets.

For the reasons above, when you do not receive a grant, think of it in terms of the many, many other applications rather than simply in terms of what you personally did wrong. Do not ignore this as a learning experience and do reach out the grant organization for feedback whenever possible, but do not let “no” from one or even a string of grant organizations stop you in your tracks.

Instead, recall the story and expression above. Think of every grant, in fact, every action, as nothing more than a single ripple on the surface of the vast river that is your journey. When you do not get into a gallery, carry on and find others. Down the line when you look back, you will have the clarity to see the progression of events. When you are passed over for a residency, apply to three more. If a project doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, evaluate what happened, learn from the experience, and move on down the road.

Brainard Carey. image: elmcityexpress.blogspot

No one is claiming that this is easy. This isn’t about somehow detaching from your feelings and letting rejection slide like water off a duck’s back. Of course not. Rejection hurts. No matter how impersonal it might actually be when we are told no it isn’t a good feeling.

But remembering that every moment is just that, a single blip on the screen rather than a career breaking catastrophe can help you heal and recharge sooner after you’ve had a misstep. Carry the simple answer of the farmer with you at all times, “maybe.”

For the Silo, Brainard Carey.

Brainard  is currently giving free webinars on how to write a better Artist bio and statement and how to get a show in a gallery – you can register for that live webinar and ask questions live by clicking here.

Textile Artist Stéphanie Lobry Spins Wool Into Metaphors

Raw material: Wool. Operating mode: the hook. Nice, France textile artist Stéphanie Lobry frantically fashions her art with an unexpected yet satisfyingly fitting leitmotiv: feminism.

A Teacher when she’s not at the loft, where she created and exhibited her works, Stéphanie Lobry is busy hanging a crochet. Entitled 1.8 cubic meter, “parce c’est la taille qu’il fait”, lies in the piece, in the middle of a crowd of scattered bodies which share this small space with balls of yarn and needles.

If we pay attention to all red wires that surround and hang throughout her living room, we realize that they are, in fact, a gun. “I wanted to divert the everyday objects. And to do so with needles and wool. No, no to knitting scarves for her daughters in some kind of ‘good housewife’ role, but rather to rediscover the woman inside, and then to discover humans in general.

Why crochet? Rolled cigarette in mouth, she passes a nonchalant hand into blond spiky hair. She thinks… “This practice is also ancestral, but has potential for feminist messages and aesthetics when it is diverted from its original use and put towards the service of art. I’ve always been very creative and a little hyper active yet the only compliment I could expect from that was to be commended for being a good mother…”. I got fed up.”  Reduced once too often to the status of “the good historical female”, Stéphanie Lobry “lost it”and held her first exhibition.

Our compulsive crocheter remembers having hesitated….stalled somewhere between a choice of direction. Between science and art: “When I started my studies in molecular biology, my mother asked me if I was sure didn’t want to make fine art instead.” Would an academic focus on science bind her passions?  In her artistic process, she discovered that there was in fact a synthesis manifested through the act of the creation, which after all, begins with the cells inside the brain. Fittingly, her art work began with a small croqueted skull which “immediately went to Gallery’. The creative process then dissected and took over other parts of the body.

An Ariane of modern times

Sweeping my gaze around her workshop, it stops suddenly on the croqueted heart, “it was a participatory project I created shortly after Charlie.” Surely a way to re – unite people, to reconnect, “everyone needed it.” The artist put out a call using social media, letting all participants know that their name would be displayed at the bottom of the finished work. In a few weeks, she received 763 balls of wool, from more than 120 donors, scattered to the four corners of the world, from Paris to Noumea, the Chile, the Belgium and the Greece.


A Runaway success requires a lot of hard work.
It takes almost a month to sort the fabrics and create a ball that weighs more than 40 kg. As for the hook… 45 days are necessary for the realization of a typical piece of finished work: “the ball weighed a ton! I couldn’t do more than five knots without being exhausted.” It is a technique so grueling and time-consuming, but I feel like I’m really at the beginning, I still have a lot to say.” She seems to have found her way alright and is brimming with ideas to express her commitment. Worried perhaps about her peers who see their emancipation sometimes as endangered, this knitter doesn’t fail to hang onto a hint of conviction to her works. I remember especially this sort of determined representation that she had given at the Théâtre National de Nice, last May, dressed in a full suit. Knitted of course. Delivering metaphors spun into all of her creations.  For the Silo, Marine de Rocquigny originally for Art and Facts www.artandfacts.fr 

*photos by Florian Lévy

Stéphanie Lobry accroche l’œil au crochet avec son cœur. Ledit, intitulé 1,8 mètre cube, « parce c’est la taille qu’il fait », gît dans la pièce, au milieu d’une foule d’organes éparpillés, partageant ce petit espace avec les pelotes de laine et les aiguilles.
Pourquoi le crochet ? Cigarette roulée au bec, elle passe une main nonchalante dans ses blonds cheveux en bataille. Elle songe… « Cette pratique aussi ancestrale soit-elle, prend des allures féministes quand elle est détournée de son utilisation pour se mettre au service de l’art. » Car c’est bien avec une volonté libératrice et féministe qu’elle s’est lancée il y a maintenant sept ans : « J’ai toujours été très créative et un peu hyper active pourtant le seul compliment que je pouvais espérer c’était d’être une bonne mère de famille… J’en ai eu marre. » Réduite une fois de trop au statut de BMF, Stéphanie Lobry « pète les plombs » et organise une première exposition.
Alors que les curieux s’aventurent dans ses appartements, elle les reçoit en nuisette, repassant chemise après chemise, la main collée à son fer. Et si l’on prête attention à l’ensemble de fils rouges qui l’entourent et parcourent son salon, on s’aperçoit qu’ils forment, en fait, un pistolet. « J’ai voulu détourner les objets du quotidien. » Elle se munie dès lors d’aiguilles et de laines. Non, pas pour tricoter des écharpes à ses filles en bonne femme d’intérieur, mais plutôt pour redécouvrir l’intérieur de la femme, puis de l’humain en général.
Rencontre logique. La crocheteuse compulsive se souvient avoir longtemps hésité entre la science et l’art : « Quand j’ai commencé mes études en biologie moléculaire, ma mère m’a demandé si j’étais sûre de ne pas vouloir plutôt faire les Beaux-Arts. » Alors autant entreprendre une reconversion qui pourrait lier ses passions et ses connaissances. Dans sa démarche artistique, elle revient donc à la genèse de la création, qui commence avec des cellules. Elle commence avec un petit crâne « tout de suite parti en galerie », puis dissèque et reprend toutes les parties du corps. Du neurone au pied. Du sexe aux poumons.


Une Ariane des temps modernes
En balayant du regard son atelier, elle s’arrête sur le cœur, « c’était un projet participatif que j’ai crée peu après Charlie. » Surement une façon de re-fédérer les gens, de renouer les liens, « tout le monde en avait besoin. » L’artiste lance alors un appel sur les réseaux sociaux, tous les participants verront leur nom affiché au bas de l’oeuvre. En quelques semaines, elle reçoit 763 pelotes de laines, provenant de plus de 120 donneurs, dispersés au quatre coins du monde, de Paris à Nouméa, en passant par le Chili, la Belgique ou la Grèce. Succès fulgurant. Travail titanesque en perspective. Il lui faut près d’un mois pour trier les tissus et constituer une pelote de plus de 40 kilos. Quant au crochet… 45 jours nécessaires à la réalisation de l’organe démesuré. « Les aiguilles étaient énormes et la pelote pesait une tonne ! Je ne pouvais pas faire plus de cinq nœuds sans être épuisée.
Une technique épuisante donc et laborieuse que la « quinqua » ne compte pas abandonner de si tôt: « J’ai l’impression que je ne suis vraiment qu’au tout début, j’ai encore beaucoup de choses à dire. » Sorte d’Ariane des temps modernes. Elle semble avoir trouvé sa voie grâce au fil et regorge d’idées pour exprimer son engagement. Inquiète au sujet de ses consœurs qui voient leur émancipation parfois en péril, cette tricoteuse ne manque pas d’accrocher un soupçon de conviction à ses œuvres. On se souvient notamment de cette représentation qu’elle avait donnée au Théâtre National de Nice, en mai dernier, enfermée dans une combinaison intégrale tricotée comme dans sa condition féminine, attendant qu’on tire sur les fils pendants pour la délivrer. Une cause qui lui tient à cœur, une métaphore filée sur l’ensemble de ses créations.
Marine de Rocquigny pour Art and Facts www.artandfacts.fr

Fans Of 1960s TV Star Trek Should Be Aware of Star Trek Continues

When the next episode of STAR TREK CONTINUES is revealed, science fiction fans will see a familiar face in a guest star role.  The new episode, titled Still Treads the Shadow, features guest star Rekha Sharma, perhaps best known to science fiction fans for her role in more than 30 episodes of Battlestar Galactica.   While details of Sharma’s character in STAR TREK CONTINUES are being kept under wraps until April, she says the offer for a role came after meeting Vic “Kirk” Mignogna at FedCon Germany last year during the 50th Anniversary of STAR TREK event.

“Vic and I kept in touch after FedCon, and then he asked if I’d be interested in coming aboard STAR TREK CONTINUES.  He told me about a script that was in development and the character he had in mind.  I’m so delighted that it worked with my schedule,” Sharma says.   Sharma’s first introduction to the original STAR TREK series came from her big brother.   “All my friends were watching Full House or something.  I’m not sure! And there I was, coming home after school and watching the original STAR TREK and old Perry Mason reruns!  I remember my brother told me that there were people opening and closing the doors, which I thought it was so cool and cheesy. And it very much appealed to my dreams of utopia — especially as a young colored girl growing up in very white neighborhoods,” says Sharma.   Rekha’s character of Tory Foster in the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, which began in 2004, developed after several auditions.   “From the very first audition, I was immediately struck by the intelligence, artistry and kind-heartedness of the directors and producers. I thought, I’d really like to work with these people! First I went in for the role of a Viper pilot, then a captain, and then the role of Tory came along.  Oh yeah, I thought, this is a perfect part for me.” Galactica’s producers apparently agreed.   “Working on Battlestar Galactica was a dream come true.  From my previous experience, I honestly didn’t think I could be creatively satisfied working in TV. But Battlestar Galactica changed that. Not only was it creatively satisfying, but we also had such a great team of people.  We are all like family to this day,” Sharma explains

 star trek continues bridge

What does it mean to be a STAR TREK CONTINUES guest star?   “It means I have fulfilled a dream, in a way, and that I’ve come full circle. I loved those stories. They had a wonderful morality and vision for humanity that made my heart sing. And then I got to step onto those sets and step into my childhood and be a part of telling that kind of story.   Not only that, but that world was so fun! I loved those neat-o futuristic gadgets when I was a kid. And now, as an adult, I got to play with them. I got to sit on the bridge.  There weren’t any trailers, so when I needed to rest between scenes, I took naps in sickbay on board the Enterprise.   And I got beamed in the transporter!  I can’t wait to see that,” she says enthusiastically.   The experience of working on the STAR TREK CONTINUES set “was so refreshing,” Sharma says.  “Everyone is there for love, not money. It felt like Battlestar Galactica that way. Although it’s a fan run project, the STAR TREK CONTINUES sets were surprisingly professional and very impressive. It was a mix of TV veterans and total newbies, and that made for an awesome atmosphere to work in. It was the best of both worlds, really.”   Sharma likes to compare the character she’s playing in Episode 8 to be much like aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.  “She is smart as a whip, very technically inclined, and brave. I thought of her as a bright light of goodness and intelligence with a big heart.”   She admits to being very surprised at what the cast and crew have created with STAR TREK CONTINUES.   “You know, Vic told me that I’d become part of the family, but I had no idea what he meant. They have chosen a team who are all friendly, diligent, thoughtful and good-hearted people. I felt so welcomed and incredibly lucky. It makes sense that they’re shooting in the south – they’re so hospitable!  And those sets! Again, Vic told me what they built, but until you’re there you just can’t conceive of it. It’s really impressive. I know I’m not the only one who was moved to tears,” Sharma says.   Fans will be able to see Rekha Sharma at future conventions and events.   “It’s funny. At first it felt so strange to do conventions, but as time has gone on I’ve really come to appreciate them.  It’s special to have the opportunity to meet the fans and discuss the themes of these shows. You get to connect with people that you’d never get to meet otherwise. And sci-fi fans are awesome because, generally speaking, they still have dreams. They’re not jaded. They believe in possibility. And without that, nothing would ever change for the better. We’ve got to hold on to our dreams and keep being warriors in this world – to truly go where no man has gone before.”   “Still Treads the Shadow” will premiere at Fan Expo Dallas on April 1 at the Dallas Convention Center.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about remaining episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES 

How are you getting around the guidelines for fan films?   As CBS/Paramount has made clear, the guidelines are not laws; they are general parameters applied on a case-by-case basis. Since the implementation of the guidelines, we have stopped all crowdfunding activities and have focused strictly on completing the four episodes which had already been funded as of that time by fans’ donations to our 501(c)(3) non-profit. STAR TREK CONTINUES has always followed any and all instructions given to us by CBS regarding our production, and will continue to do so.   Does STAR TREK CONTINUES have any type of special and/or official arrangement with CBS/Paramount?   No.

How long are the episodes?   They will be exactly the same format as our previous episodes   Why are you ending the series?   Recent developments necessitated our finishing up sooner than we intended, but it was always our goal to bring The Original Series to a conclusion. With our final four episodes, we will have done that. It’s been an amazing five years creating this series, and we will miss making it.  But all good things… Weren’t you going to make 13 episodes? Did CBS make you stop?   CBS is not responsible for the decision to end the series. We are doing 11 episodes instead of 13 because another fan group took advantage of the good graces of the copyright holders forcing them to protect their property and the interests of their license holders. In deference and gratitude to CBS, we are wrapping up earlier than planned. We always have stood, and continue to stand, with CBS.   Can we get DVDs/Blu-ray discs of the final episodes?   As we do not own STAR TREK, we cannot sell DVDs or Blu-ray discs. In the past, we’ve made a limited number of discs available as crowdfunding perks. However, since we are no longer crowdfunding, providing episodes to the public on DVD and/or Blu-ray discs is not currently feasible for us.   What will happen to the studio/sets? Will set visits/tours be available?   We don’t have a definitive answer on this right now, but we’re considering all our options.

How to Engage In Or Avoid A Political Conversation

The first Presidential debate is tonight, (Live streaming coverage begins at 9PM EST) and if you think the political conversation has been heated up until now, just wait until the candidates go head-to-head on national television. So how do you respond when someone brings you into the conversation?  How do you answer when they ask you for your opinion or who you’re going to vote for?

You could always just doodle on a receipt like this one from J. Barker :)
You could always just doodle on a receipt like this one from J. Barker 🙂

Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert, author and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, says you have options.

Has politics become a reality TV show? Tonight's debate is being called the "Lisa Simpson versus Bart Simpson" debate.
Has politics become a reality TV show? Tonight’s debate is being called the “Lisa Simpson versus Bart Simpson” debate.
  1. You don’t want to respond

Keeping your opinion to yourself can be difficult; however, it is possible. Say something like, “In the midst of such a contentious political season, I feel it’s best to keep my opinion to myself. I do appreciate your interest and wish you the best in your political decisions.”

 

By acknowledging and thanking them for their genuine interest, you are able to get out of sticky political conversations but retain your well-mannered and ever sophisticated demeanor.

 

  1. If they push again

If they keep pushing for a response, you can play the undecided card and change the subject. 

 

“I’m still evaluating the candidates and the issues and haven’t made up my mind yet.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”  

 

To get them off the topic for good, ask them about something meaningful to them that they will want to talk about.  “I hear your son got accepted to Ohio State. Congratulations!”  “Great job on closing that account.  How did you do it?”  “Tell me about your trip to the mountains a few weeks ago. I hear it is beautiful this time of year.”  

  1. You want to respond

If you would like to express your beliefs, the best way to do so is to cite research and concrete reasons why your views align a certain way, as this will encourage more of an intellectual conversation than a possible war of opinions.  Just as you want to express your beliefs, be courteous and let the person you are speaking to express his or her beliefs, even if you disagree.  

 

  1. If you disagree

It’s inevitable that disagreements will arise, but when they do, handle them with grace, dignity and respect. Say something like, “That’s an interesting way to look at it and you bring up some valid points; however, I feel that…” Never raise your voice, show anger, abruptly walk away or make it personal.  

 

  1. Either way

Whether you decide to respond or not, be tactful, polite, and remember that educated responses will help you either to cordially engage, or graciously decline whenever these inevitable conversations cross your path. For the Silo, Alex Smith.

Break Up Jewelry Helps Embark Your New Life

Break ups aren’t so bad when you treat yourself to a nice pair of diamond earrings. CP

 

There’s a reason Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” became a pop classic – because it’s true! But breakups can also be a time to reflect and embark on a new chapter in your life, says Jay Ryan.

“Many people have been through a romantic heartbreak, which  can be among life’s biggest challenges. But being single after a committed relationship can also be a good time to rejuvenate yourself,” says Ryan, co-founder of www.breakupgems.com, an online retailer specializing in breakup and divorce jewelry that “celebrates new beginnings.”

“We cater to the growing number of people looking for meaningful ways to bring closure to their past and move forward with confidence,” he says.

For those who’ve recently experienced a split, Ryan shares several ways to turn your breakup into a makeover — a “breakover.”

 

Man, we feel for this dude!
Man, we feel for this dude!

 

• Empower yourself with the gift of health. It’s almost a cliché that ‘exes’ lose weight after splitting up; some lose their appetite due to melancholy and some are motivated to look and feel better with exercise and dieting. Don’t punish yourself with spartan regimens, Ryan advises. Eat nutritious foods and train sensibly.

• Treat yourself to a new wardrobe. Clothing can be the bearers of painful reminders, like the sweater he or she got you last year. Consider freshening up your style with new clothes – hey, you’ll probably need them anyway with all that exercise. A new wardrobe can serve as a healthy reminder of the new you.

• Be proactive with your reading. There are many genres of self-help literature, from spiritual to academic. But don’t limit yourself to nonfiction; classic literature not only gives you a great education, it also helps readers increase empathy and better understand emotional complexity.

• Consider a healthy reminder of the new you. It’s a tradition in our society to commemorate a romantic union or celebration with jewelry. Your breakup may likewise be a blessing that allows you to grow as an individual. Consider a ring or other piece of jewelry that will not only mark this milestone but be a personal reminder of your transformation and new beginning.

• Travel adds perspective on a new journey. Whether or not you realize it, a breakup is the beginning of a new life trajectory. Travel – whether it’s time for a change of domestic scenery or a vacation – perfectly symbolizes a new journey. Overcoming a painful separation requires an outside perspective, which is often gained through travel.

• Invite friends over for a dinner party. The depression that is liable to ensue after a breakup often leads to isolation, but that is when you most need your friends! Why not host a breakup party? Rather than blowing it out with a large group of people, which may include strangers, keep it simple with intimate friends you can trust. GG

Jay Ryan is the co-founder of www.BreakupGems.com, an online retailer that specializes in fine breakup and divorce jewelry. Each piece in the collection conveys an empowering message of freedom and renewal with designs that are both stylish and meaningful for anyone overcoming a recent breakup or simply celebrating happy singlehood.

Mr. Neil Sedaka back when T.V. was a warm, fuzzy black and white glow........
Mr. Neil Sedaka back when T.V. was a warm, fuzzy black and white glow……..

How To Figure Out Enjoying Retirement Is A Myth

donkeyandcarrotWe work our asses off to buy stuff that we can’t enjoy because we are working our asses off to pay for the stuff we buy while diligently saving (or attempting to save) for our retirement which we keep pushing back because we keep working our asses off  to buy yet more stuff to enjoy  that we have to work our asses off to pay for, and there is always something else that we want or need or think we need (but really want) that we have to work our asses off to pay for and…

 A generation ago somebody coined the phrase “rat race” to describe this phenomenon of modern consumerism, and the term stuck.

It’s wrong. 

 

It ain’t a race.

 

You can win a race.

 

Modern consumerist  life is a strictly no-win proposition, friends…

…  and none of us gets out of here alive.

 

I began to think about this a few years ago, when I received a matched set of stainless steel rechargeable electric salt and pepper grinders as a gift.

 

Think about that:  Electric salt and pepper grinders.

 I am pretty sure this is an answer to a question nobody asked.

 

This gift made me ponder, and I came to some conclusions:

  1. I must be one of those “hard-to-shop-for” people.
  2. I’d rather have an LCBO gift card.
  3. Grinding pepper over your mashed potatoes is apparently much more strenuous than I ever thought., that somebody decided the world needed this.
  4. A gadget that doesn’t really save any appreciable time or effort and provides little entertainment required somebody to work to earn the money to purchase it.
  5. Enough is enough.

 

 

Is mortal- consumerism (yep we just coined that CP) keeping society asleep?
Is mortal- consumerism (yep we just coined that CP) keeping society asleep?

 

 

 At the time, I was working a gig that required me to work 12 hour days 6-7 days a week,  put in 40 000 km a year behind the wheel of a car traveling to meet prospects,  75% of whom either don’t want or can’t afford what I am selling, so that  I can afford the next toy/vacation/orthodontist payment/thing with the 50% of my income that the tax man has allowed me to keep.  I was alienated from, and alienating, my kids, my wife, because of my absence from home life, and I became an overcompensating asshole for the same reason which increased the tension and…

 

…any of you out there who have climbed out of the wreckage of a crashed marriage know exactly where I’m coming from.

 

Actually, scratch that vacation part.  At the time I hadn’t taken more than a long weekend off in over a decade.

 

  And I thought I was successful.

 

  I began to question where I was going, what I was doing, and why. 

 

   Frankly, I figured enjoying retirement is a myth.

  

 

That whole “Freedom 55” thing?  Bullshit.

 

 First, you gotta get there.  With my diet, hours, stress level and number of miles driven every year, the odds were good I wasn’t gonna make it. 

Second, you gotta pay for it.  You need to keep squirreling away the cash, tending your investments, watching your nest egg grow, deferring and sacrificing today for the dream of a better tomorrow…

 

….As long as the market doesn’t tank, your health holds up, property values don’t plummet, or your kids don’t move back in, with their kids.

 

    Money may not buy happiness, but always feeling like you don’t have enough will make you bitchy as hell.

 

[….turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…. Tomorrow Never Knows…The Beatles CP]

 

I was sitting in the cockpit of our old, small, paid-for sailboat one morning, enjoying a cup of coffee when it hit me:

  As a society we are conditioned to approach life like a big twin-engine cabin cruiser- heavy consumption, lots of noise, lots of flash, throwing a big wake.  Unless you are getting noticed, you’re not succeeding.

 

   I finally figured out that there is a lot to be said for living a NO wake lifestyle. 

 

 

 

 

   But how?

 

  With a bit of soul searching we realized we had to quit confusing our wants with our needs.

 

  My wife and I realized that we were perfectly content spending time on our old, small, paid-off  boat in our low-cost slip on our no-frills dock. We didn’t need a bigger boat on a fancier dock.

 

  And we didn’t need new cars.  As long as the old cars keep running , it is always gonna be cheaper to fix ‘em than replace ‘em.  If I need a new whip to impress you, you’re likely not worth impressing.

    Besides, there’s something real liberating about parking wherever you damn well please, because dings and scratches just don’t matter.

 

   And we didn’t need a $20 000 kitchen reno or a $10 000 bathroom makeover.  Or a bigger house.  Or a bigger garage. 

Or a bigger mortgage.

For a longer time.

 With fatter payments.

 

   We didn’t need to stand in line to be grilled by a soul-patch sporting “barista” first thing in the morning just to get a simple cup of coffee which costs as much as a Happy Meal, when we had a perfectly good underused coffee maker on the kitchen counter.

 

  

We needed to live life NOW, on OUR terms.

 

 

   A funny thing happened. By deciding what we could live without, we could now afford to live.

 

With less financial stress, I didn’t need to be on the road, living out of a car and fueling up on fast food three meals a day.  My wife and I discovered that cooking dinner together was a great way to re-connect at the end of the workday.  Chopping, sautéing, stirring with a glass of wine while recapping our respective days beats the hell out of eating a Whopper an hour from home.

 

  We didn’t have to save dining at restaurants with tablecloths for a special occasion to fit the budget.

 

  We could afford to drink the bottles of wine we could only read about before.

 

   We could take vacation days without figuring out what we had to sacrifice to make up for the lost wages.

 

   Hell, we could take whole damn vacations, for that matter!

 

    The sunsets look just as pretty from a small, paid-off sailboat as it does from the bridge of a six-figure cabin cruiser.

    The rum goes down just as well.

    And I can enjoy it instead of working to afford it.

    And so can you.

For the Silo, Brian Jones.