Saturday, September 6, 2014

Right Here Right Now

Right Here Right Now

It's this moment that counts. This moment when nothing else exists but you and I and ... this. We are taught to live in the present. To manifest and explore the future, to use the past's building blocks to create our foundation, but not to live in either the Past or the Future, to truly live in the Present.  Tougher than you think, to fully appreciate when you are; to fully embrace this moment. Maybe it's because this moment is fleeting. The river of our future rushes through us in this moment to become the calm waters of our past; but this moment is fleeting. You almost can't catch it. You have to decide to just experience it, not think about it, not color it with the wetness of  what will be or what has been otherwise ... poof ... you'll miss it.

You literally can't be thinking about this moment and experience this moment at the same time. Right Now is like so much gossamer, constantly being born and evaporating in the same instant. But we constantly distract ourselves from this moment by reminiscing the past or exploring the future. We need to do both those things, dream of yesterday and manifest tomorrow. It's the living in yesterday or tomorrow that's the problem.
Maybe it's about taking a step away from the present moment and just watching ourselves from a far. Maybe the only way to experience Right Here, Right Now is by disconnecting ourselves to Needing to Experience Right Here, Right Now, and just watch ourselves dip our toes into the river of our lives.
Van Halen had an old song "Right Now" that had some great lyrics:

"Right now, C'mon,it's everything
Right now, Catch a magic moment, do it
Right here and now, It means everything"

Right here, right now does mean everything. But right now is that gossamer package of yesterday, tomorrow and this moment all wrapped up.

So here's my question: "How can you get more Right Now Moments into your life without letting go of the astonishing river of your past and the excitement of the rapids of your future?" I've been struggling with this lately. Maybe the answer is just intention. Intentionally stepping away from the thinking of Right Now and just experiencing it on purpose. Stepping into the joys of the past when you want, intentionally being curious about where you will go next.

And never forget Right here and now, It means everything.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Brilliant Dash

 It’s not the day we are born. It’s not the day we are finally laid to rest. Neither of those days are THE most important day of our lives. It isn’t the day we graduate from college, or the day we land the big job, or the day we get married, or have our children. There is no single most important day of our lives. It is ALL the days we live an Astonishing Brilliance in the dash between birth and death.

Have you ever had a day that was an astonishing brilliance? You know where the magic of the world woke up to you: A day when the colors were brighter, the tastes richer, the scents more intoxicating. Something got you there. Something got you to pay attention to the astonishing brilliance of the day. And then that paying attention moved you so that you started to shimmer in your own way: You became more brilliant as well.

What was it that got you there? Was it an experience? A taste? A someone? What was it that finally calmed the storm between your ears and let you connect with something deeper?

If the astonishing brilliance of our dash is THE thing that matters then the more shimmering moments we have the more brilliant our brief time here becomes.

This became abundantly clear to me today. Today is the day my mother died. And although I grieved her loss in the morning, by the afternoon I was remembering the light of her dash: The dash where she was strong, and funny, and loving. The dash that made me want to fill my life with more astonishing brilliance so at the end I can relish in the light that was my dash.

Sometimes it takes losing something for us to wake up to brilliance, sometimes it takes finding something so bright it dazzles us to wake up to brilliance, and sometimes it just takes quieting down and listening to yourself to wake up to brilliance.

So here’s my question: “What would it take for you to have a more brilliant dash?” What would you have to lose (nothing I hope)? What could you have to find? How could you wake up and craft a more brilliant dash? A dash filled with astonishing memories that are so indelibly burned into you that you can’t help but feel grateful for the chance to explore your shimmer. Find some thing, some place, some one that makes you shimmer and you’ll be astonished at your own brilliant dash.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Friday, October 25, 2013

The River

(ok guys … this is a long one … be warned … but it’s worth squeezing every drop out of every moment)

I’ve grown weary raging against the sea. At first I thought I was railing against forces much bigger than I; stronger than I; more powerful than I. But I’m good at playing the underdog; at picking up the role of David and taking up arms against Goliath in a battle of disproportionate worlds.

Inner FightBut this battle feels different. This battle is not a solid battle of worlds. It is not even a battle of ideas or ideologies. I felt this as I railed against the sea. I felt it deep inside my core. My battle is neither with the sea nor any other tangible or ephemeral thing. My battle rages within. The forces of the sea are not real, they don’t exist. The forces pushing and pulling at me sit dead center in my core. These tidal waves of pressure are an illusion. A phantom conjured up by my monkey mind. And once I realized that, once I became one with the sea, my raging vanished like so much gossamer.

So, for a moment, I thought, I have Serenity, Peacefulness. I thought by letting go of my thirst for adventure, excellence, excitement, I had attained something.

Nope, nope, nope. As soon as I wanted nothing, I realized that want, the want of nothing, had me raging against myself again. Raging to let go of excellence. Raging to let go of expanding myself, expanding those around me, expanding everything I touch.

So for the past few days I’ve been vacillating between trying to be a serene empty vessel and trying to pull my world forward.  Two Trying’s … two wants that are exactly at opposite ends.

The Trying of Serenity forces me to relinquish all cravings for excellence. All wants for the next best thing
The Trying of Achievement forces me to relinquish all cravings for peacefulness and to continue to fight the good fight at all costs

You can have Serenity or Achievement but not both. And suddenly I’m raging against the machine … again.


And there it was. My answer … for today at least. Staring me right in the face. It is the Tyranny of the Or. We don’t have to pick, to choose. It is the choice that is causing the rift in time and space. The need to pick one child over the other.

When I replaced the Tyranny of the Or with the Freedom of the And, my perspective shifted.
For my soul to grow and my spirit to remain centered I need to pursue Serene Excellence.

What is Serene Excellence? It is our ability to pull the human race forward without the hard edge of ego. It comes from being the sea. Being the River. Being Water.

I know we’ve all heard this before, but hearing it and having it flow through you are two different things.
In order to be water, to pursue Serene Excellence, you have to let go of outcome. Stop worrying about where the river is taking you and become the river. At times soft and supple, and at times hard, forceful, caring out Grand Canyons through time. The river never worries about where it is going to end up. It just is the river.
So take your course, the journey matters, not winning the battle. Inching your way one drop at a time. Exploring each moment fully (or as Eckhart Tolle says experiencing the Power of Now).  If you become the river, let go of outcome, be present for the journey, you can experience Serene Excellence, if only for a moment.

So here’s my question: “What battle rages inside you?” “What expectation are you holding on to so tightly that it stops you from flowing?” Could you let go of outcome just once today but keep flowing? If you can, you may experience Serene Excellence if only for a moment.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Sea

It’s night and before me stretches a great expanse of the Mediterranean sea. It’s openness and vastness casts a shadow over me and forces me to realize I am still struggling against a sea of calm.

It’s this sea of calm that I am fighting against that brings me to the edge of the ocean at this moment in time. Have you ever felt it? Ever wondered why we fight with the flow of events? Why we become so aligned with a single purpose that we fight an entire ocean?

It is here that I am standing desperately trying to let go of my iron grip on things that are not only beyond my control, but to let go of my iron grip on things that do not wish to be controlled, nay cannot be controlled either by forces inside themselves or by my meager grip.

This is the most difficult path I have come upon. To let go of things I cannot change. It is not my nature to let go. It is my nature to fight. It is my nature to win. And I am good at that. I am good at bending the world to my whim and winning. I am also good at losing, at struggling so hard for acceptance that I remain in battle too long, that I remain enchanted too long, that I remain engaged in a fight that cannot be won, a fight that has no winner or loser, but in a fight that only burns through energy and time and space.

So here is my question … to myself this time: “How can I recognize when to let go and when to fight and how to know which is which”

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale


It’s 2 am and everything is quiet. At the bar in a tiny little town, with nothing but the sound of the keys on the computer as I type away. Here is where the ghosts lay down and the moments of the day stir around me. Here is where my dreams explode into a Technicolor display of fire and ice.  Here is where I finally let go enough to realize I am desperately thirsty.

You’ve been here too. Our own personal 2am when everything is quiet and your mind finally sleeps enough that the real you has a chance to break through the clutter.

You’ve been here too; when you thirst for something: Something to quell that desperate longing for a hot fire. That thirst for something more than the tangible daily routine. That thirst for to taste the astonishing. That thirst outside yourself where you can truly expand your humanity and be something more than who the daily routine demands of you.

I know you’ve felt it. You’re as parched as me for the indescribable wine of life. And at 2 am you can’t take it , the desire has built up, and you’re finally ready to crush some grapes and make the wine of your life.

Do it. The universe demands you to do it. To be bigger than you have been in your past: To dare to take the first step: To live, to love, to excite, to risk, to challenge yourself to be something more than you’ve become.

So here’s my question: “What can you do to keep that thirst alive?” Not just a 2 am whim to explore the unexplored, but a way to stay parched and salivating for the next part of your life.  Can you? Every day try for 30 seconds to remember your 2 am thirst.  If you can, maybe you’ll wake up at the bar one day so far from where you where that you don’t know how you got here, drinking from life’s cup.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Real Fantasy

You’ve wanted it for so long. You didn’t even know you wanted it, but then suddenly you’re there, it’s there, and the fantasy begins. And it changes you. It ignites something in you that you thought was lost, or worse, dead and gone. It ignites something in you that changes you, moves you, won’t let you go back to that old world.  The fantasy has been given life and you shudder when you touch it.

The fantasy can be a person, a place, an idea. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, but when it lights up, you become alive, more alive than you thought possible.

What is it about a fantasy? Why does it taste so good? Is it the desire piece? Is it what I spoke about in my “Wanting is better than Having” post? Is it that the fantasy is always unobtainable so we’re constantly in the chase?

And what happens when we come face-to-face with reality? What does

The Reality of Fantasy
The Fantasy of Reality
look like?

When fantasy and reality collide what happens to the thirst for the fantasy. I guess I’m really asking “Are fantasies fleeting”? When the harsh light of day illuminates the fantasy can you still maintain that same thirst you had in the first place?

I’ve been pushing on this question quite a bit lately. Maybe all fantasies ARE fleeting … but does that matter?  When the daylight of time, distance, distraction, work, money, exhaustion dulls our fantasy senses, can we be present enough to recognize it and spin the desire to still want the fantasy?

So here’s my question: “When the reality collides with the fantasy, what can you do to ignite the fantasy again?” It doesn’t have to really bring the fantasy back to its original light, but it does need to let us actually appreciate the reality of the fantasy.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Your Story

It’s all about the tale to be told: About the stories of your life.

Do you know your story? If you sat down right now and had to write out where you’ve been, what you’ve seen, who you’ve touched … would you be satisfied?

Maybe it’s enough: Your story up to this point. But if you have spent any time reading this blog I intuit that you’re up for more. That the story of your life may have had some ups and downs, but you are not even close to finished with your rock-and-roll ride.

We don’t usually think about our life’s story until it ends, until we’re near the end and we look back, sometimes soulfully, sometimes regretfully, at the circumstances that accidentally crossed our doorstep. But what if there was another way: A way not to accidentally allow your story to unfold, but a way to consciously curate your next chapters.

What if you could live a designed life, a consciously curated life, a life so full of wonder that it takes even your own breath away? Would you? Could you?

I recently had the chance to spend an evening with a few rambunctious college students. And you know what, this group has no boundaries. They don’t understand the word no, or live within the confines of their predecessor's societal norms. They are brilliant in their ability to desperately need to handcraft their own stories.

Along with my rambunctious college kids I was wondering the streets of NYC and had the chance to see stories unfold through the restaurant windows, the displays of shops, and the bustle and hum of New York. And you know what, it turned a spring in me, a hunger to consciously write my next chapter. The city can do that to do … make you hungry.

So here’s my question: “What would it take for you to shed your current writing style and re-write your world?” I know it’s scary, and nerve wracking, and … and … thrilling.  Tell me … what’s your next chapter about.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale


Exploring with curiosity and seeing the world through new eyes creates a passion that is hard to compare. Getting completely lost within someone, something, some place losing yourself is the passion we all crave.

Have you ever dissolved into a new experience? Become lost, consumed, overwhelmed with a new … something?  It’s that out-of-body experience I’m exploring. Not necessarily the new age definition of an out-of-body experience, but something more about the coupling of an experience, a person, place or thing that let’s your mind quiet down, and for a moment you are not the same "you" that awoke this morning.

We chase this experience by playing with drugs, getting drunk, having that one sexual union that opens up the universe, running until we’re high. All of us want to lose our mind every once in a while in a safe place and truly connect with something outside ourselves.

Some of you might think I’m talking about religion, but if you know me at all, that is definitely not what I’m referring to. What I’m talking about is becoming a witness to your own spinning mind, stepping outside, and asking yourself what your are really passionate about. If you can let go of your mind then you can explore your passions and you’ll be amazed at what a little walk down Curiosity Avenue can reveal.

So here’s my question: “What, who, where, can you be passionate about for a moment.” And remember passion means you’re willing to let go of yourself and dissolve completely into someone, someplace or something else. You’re willing to become so curious that your passion burns white hot and you explore something beyond yourself.

So do it. Let go to your inner passion for a second and see what you find. Might be more interesting, and more than just a little terrifying, than you initially thought.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Windmills of my Mind

So I’m off on an adventure, traveling the globe with a specific destination in mind: Africa: The plains of Kenya and Tanzania and the mountain jungles of Uganda. But I’m not really exploring the terrain and creatures living in the jungle and on the plains, although I will definitely encounter and engage with many different species, both human and otherwise.

What I’m really exploring when I travel is inside my mind. I’m exploring the regions of my mind that keep my feet in the same spot they have been for a while. I’m trying to let the gears of my mind roam free and dislodge the muck and mire of my own and other’s notions. I’m desperately trying for a moment to be free of the maps I’ve drawn in my mind that shut me down. I’m trying to free myself from my mind and be completely alive.

What does it mean to be alive? It means to be open: Open to new ideas. Open to new thoughts, new conventions, to let go of what you think is all the answers. Letting go of my assumptions of what is right, what is possible, what is accepted, what I should be doing. To let go of the daily cacophony of noise that fills my room and keeps me moving in the same old direction. And it’s simple things that make an impact. For example, did you know that getting an Ice Tea in the Heathrow airport in London is virtually impossible? What I was so sure was a simple request has suddenly become a major challenge. What I thought was part of the maps of my life (that Ice Tea would always be there simply within my reach) evaporated with a simple plane ride.

Staying in the same spot for too long will dull your senses. It will provide you the illusion that all the answers you have come up with are the right answers. I’ve said it many times: “A better question is more important than the right answer. Because it is usually and right answer to the wrong question.” So the question is not “how can I get the Ice Tea I’m used to”, the better question is “what are the drinks in this place now.”

Find and surround yourself with people who have better questions. Surround yourself with people who don’t carry prejudice (they haven’t pre-judged people, places, or things). Prejudice freezes your ability to live. It is the opposite of alive. We are not born with prejudices, we are open and free. We are taught pre-judgment by the tastes of others given to us. Better questions force you to burn the maps in your mind and explore the forbidden, the unknown, the taboo. The questioning forces you to be intelligent, to explore with curiosity and go wrong many many times until the truth starts to reveal itself. Not because you became and explorer and found it, but because you let go of your old world and became awash in a new one.

So here is my question: “What old world beliefs create the maps and windmills of your mind?” What if you didn’t have access to the Ice Tea of your day, how would things change? What if suddenly your professional career evaporated? What if your family didn’t know you? What if you couldn’t get your Ice Tea? Would you be better? Would you change? Would you suddenly explore a new terrain and map of your mind? Do it. Let go of something. Something simple but something that you cling to, and see where you end up on the African plains of your life.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it. True color. Visual vibrations so bright that everything shifts. Blues so brilliant they shimmer off the water. Rambunctious Reds; Golds that make your breath hitch; and Chocolate Browns so deep they melt into puddles on your tongue. I’m not talking about colors you can see.

I’m talking about the colors of your life. The colors of your expression; The colors of experience. 

Recently I’ve had the chance to experience grey. You know that grey: The grey of an anesthetized life. It’s kind of a corporate color, almost a uniform of modern society. A drab mixture of duty, social constructs, should’s and would’s with just a pinch of gotta make it happens. It’s a grey we’re all used to. It colors our world from the inside out. Makes everything look less … appetizing.

But then a shift happened: Partially conscious, partially driven by the winds of fate, partially

a desperate hunger in myself to start tasting the passion in life again.

And the conscious piece was less about a drive towards color and more of an awareness of how I refuse to live life without dipping it in color. An awareness of a moment when I understood how to really bite into the tomato of life and have it drip red ripe color down my chin.

So here’s my question: “Are you living in Technicolor?” If so enjoy it. Embrace it. Taste it. Get your tongue wet with it. When did you start tasting in color? Do you remember the moment? Don’t let that moment go.

And if you’re still in black, white and grey, here’s the challenge: What would you have to do to let your world explode in color? Who would you have to meet, where would you have to go, what would you have to do? Close your eyes and imagine for a moment … then let yourself go there and take a …

Big bright colorful bite out of life.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fascinating and Enchanting

Fascinating Woman

Fascinating and Enchanting

What enticing words ... Fascinating ... Enchanting.

They drip with excitement, promise, edge. They entice with wonder, discovery, taboo, hypnotism. That moment when you find yourself holding your breath and you're not exactly sure why. That rush of adrenaline you get when the outcome is uncertain. When you are Fascinated ... Enchanted.

And you know it when you see it, when you feel it, when you encounter it. You know deep in your core when that moment of fascination, of enchantment, ignites and you can no longer contain your curiosity and you're pulled in that direction.

I live for these moments. I suspect we all do. We all desperately crave those moments when up becomes down, when the Noise In Your Head (definitely listen to the song in this post while you're reading this one and The Noise In My Head post) simply won't quiet down and you are forced down a new path. A new way of thinking. A new idea, a new relationship, a new moment in time when beyond this nothing will be the same. Everything from now on has the possibility of being fascinating and enchanting.

What are the ingredients of Fascination? What is the recipe for Enchantment? In the TED talk, The Secret to Desire, Esther says the ingredients of desire are imagination, playfulness, novelty, curiosity, mystery. That sounds like the same shopping list for enchantment and fascination. Maybe the main flavors of fascination and enchantment are the same flavors of desire. The desire to feel alive, awake, passionate, engaged.

So here's my question: "When was the last time you were fascinated and enchanted?" With an idea. With a person. With a place. Do you remember? Can you taste it? Feel it? Smell it? Can you bring that moment to life at will?

Could you, if you really wanted, fascinate and enchant yourself? Could you build a life that fascinates and enchants not just you but everyone around you?

I bet if you are curious enough, you could. You could write a narrative that explodes on to the pages of your world and lights the words on fire. If you let go of all the taboos, the should's, the I don't know's ... if you got out of your own way and explored the world, both inside your core and outside the tip of your tongue, you could create ... well ... I don't know ... isn't that the whole Raison d'être.

At least that's my challenge to you. Find fascination, explore enchantment, create wonder, mischief and desire.

See you on the wire

 -- Steven Cardinale

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Magic of Couples

Heart on Fire

The Magic of Couples

Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

Who hasn't heard that quote from Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. It's one of the most famous couplets of all time. Couplets got me thinking. Poetic couplets are "two lines forming a complete thought". Human couplets are two people forming one complete thought. Professional couplets are two individuals forming a strong union.

Custom crafting our couplets, our pair bonds, our connections is what it is all about.  Building amazing partnerships with people, places and things let's us open up, be vulnerable, be strong, be more than we are alone. And when it comes down to it, that's what we all crave: connection and community. There is a great TED Talk about vulnerability, by Brene Brown. She says "... connection is why we're here. It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives" (3:20).

Couplets, pairs, companions, mates ... they all take a big leap of faith ... they all require our letting go and getting vulnerable ... they all require nurturing, giving, putting someone or something first, ahead of ourselves. That step of trust, that leap of faith, that letting go of your own needs and giving totally to something outside of you is what ignites the bond. And what makes that couplet so much more magical than any individual.

You can couple with a person, a romantic partner, an idea, a place, a group of people, a place. Couplets don't have to be just with a person. We make couplets all the time with all sorts of things: jobs, companies, music, ideas.

So here's my question: "When was the last time you truly made a couplet?" When was the last time that you let go and fully committed to a pair? A pair in anything. A place, a group, an idea, a person. And did you do it with your eyes open?

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Sunday, December 16, 2012

One Single Moment

A Momentary Lapse of ReasonThat's all it takes. One Single Moment. That's all it takes to change the course of history. To change YOUR course of history. To change THE path.

Pink Floyd, Yet Another Movie, has some of the most poignant lines about One Moment, One Single Moment (one sound, one single sound) where your choice all lined up and made a difference. Do you remember the last moment that happened? Were you conscious? Did you make your choice with your eyes wide open? Were you awake when you made that choice and would you do it again? Did you curate your path, your point of inflection from then on, or did you let your unconscious addictions drive you?

This concept of a new path once past the point of no return has captivated me lately. We all make choices that push us past a point of no return. The question is did you do it with intention, or was is just an accident of fate? Can you remember, really remember, those vital points when you finally made THE choice?
  • The new job
  • The new baby
  • The new partner
  • The new love
  • The turning away from a chance
  • The exploration of the unknown
  • The leaving behind of a way of thinking
Were you fully committed, fully awake, fully engaged when you made that choice? Or did you let the winds of time push you down another path?

So here's my question: "Can you engage yourself and curate your next step?" Next time can you consciously curate who are with, who you want to be, where you want to go and not let your old baggage entice you to meander?

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Maybe.  What a wonderful word.  A word full of surprises and hope and dreams. Maybe we'll find each other soon. Maybe this time, I'll be lucky. Maybe a chance of a lifetime, a love of a lifetime, an idea of a lifetime is just around the corner.

Why do I love maybe so? Maybe it's because it lives at the edge of certainty. Maybe doesn't have the bitter taste of No, or Never, or Goodbye.  And Maybe doesn't have the certainty inside of Of Course, Absolutely, or Why Not. Maybe is at the edge. It's the moment before you land the job, win the award, or kiss the girl. Maybe's linger in the air and provide that rush of adrenaline that you get when the outcome is uncertain.

But Maybe can't be taken for granted. You shouldn't say maybe when you really mean no but just can't get the words out. You shouldn't say maybe when you desperately want to say yes, but you're embarrassed, afraid, or too shy. You should save your Maybe's for that moment in time when you really aren't sure if yes or no is the best path. Save your maybe's for when life's little wonders are at the edge of your tongue or the tip of your mind.

So here's my question: "What could you say maybe to tomorrow, next week, next year?" What person, place, thing, love, passion, idea, needs a maybe right now? How would your life change if you let a maybe drift into your world when you've been saying no, or take a breather and instead of committing because you're scared, think a moment and say maybe?  How could a simple maybe, a simple moment at the edge, change everything?

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Friday, November 23, 2012


Baker Beach At TwilightIt's 6 AM. The sun will rise in just a bit. It's quiet and I finally have room for my thoughts. You know that time: Twilight. That moment when darkness is being pressed out of existence by the light. That moment when the edge of sleep gives way to the moment of awakening. The promise of a new day. The promise of a moment of wakefulness, enlightenment. A chance to seize the moment and wake up and start anew.

It was just such a moment for me today. Early, when nothing was rushing me to beat the clock, to squeeze another to-do item from my list, but just a moment to awaken, breathe, open my eyes and look around to see what the world is like without the unending pressures of the day. And oh what wonders did I see.

At first it's difficult, scary even, to try and look at yourself and your world through eyes that are not pressed to the back of your skull with the emergencies of the day. But as you breathe and allow yourself the space to open up to the wonders of a new day, things hit you. You begin to see where you are, really, not where everyone else wants you to be, but where you are at this moment. What dream state you've been living in. And how another night sleepwalking through life is such a waste of time.

I realized that I'm sleepwalking through most of my day. Just kind of meandering around without purpose. So, this morning, I woke up ... a little (yes I know one morning alone is not enough, you need a lifetime, but stick with me on this). This morning I decided to take conscious control of my relationships. In other words: to alpha-up in my life.
  • To be the leader of my own narrative.
  • To decide how I will be treated.
  • To decide who I will curate into and out of my life.
  • To consciously devote my most precious resource, my time, to a world of importance and not urgency.
So here's my question: "How do you want to wake up?" What things can you do today so that you don't find yourself dreaming the same monotonous dream a year from now? What steps every day do you need to take to keep shaking yourself awake? What people do you need to curate into or out of your life? What circumstance do you need to transcend? How will you open your eyes and keep them open, day-after-sleep-day?

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What do I deserve? And Am I Worthy?

Do I Deserve It?

Do I Deserve ???

Do you ever ask yourself that question? "Do I deserve ???"

Have you ever wondered "Am I really worth it?" "Am I really worth her or him?", "Do I really deserve the raise?", "Should I be getting all this attention?"

If you know me at all you know I'm not a big believer in the word "deserve". I don't think it exists. I think it is a human construction that contains so many connotations that it doesn't deserve to be part of a serious discussion. (that was a joke).

I do believe in earning something and being worthy of some thing, some one, some ...

And yes at some level, I think we all have earned something and are worthy of someone.

So why is it so hard to let go and be accepted? I get that every day. That feeling that it would be so amazing to just let some one, some idea, some place fully and truly accept me. And just as I get to the edge of that moment ... bang, pow, whew ... my gremlins kick in and tell me I'm not worthy, not deserving, not ... well you know.

And they're sneaky. They come up in so many different ways. They tell me I shouldn't be doing this or that. Or that I'm not as good as I think I am. Or a thousand other crazy words that swirl around in my head.

But maybe, just maybe, it is in those times of vulnerability that our ability to accept that we ARE worthy, that we DO deserve, really can shine through. Maybe it's in our moments of questioning that we really ARE worthy, and when you find some one, some place, some group  who really accepts you in your most vulnerable moment that you become strong, that you shine through, that you are finally grounded and shine.

So here's my question: "When was the last time you felt unworthy, undeserving, vulnerable, and did you touch it, name it, feel it, and let it make you stronger?" Do you know what I mean? If you can do that. If you can dodge your inner gremlins, touch the void and then realize that by being vulnerable you are more deserving than ever, then maybe you are worth it.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A True Heart

You know that moment in time.  That one instant that touched you, that immediately changed you, that made you gaze at amazement at how perfectly flawless it could all be.  A connection so effortless that you curled up on the couch, let everything drip out of your mind and just embrace the true heart of the other.  Maybe it's your soulmate, maybe it's a child ... or a parent ... or a love ... or your true companion that takes the form of a pet ... No matter who it is, they don't judge, they accept, they adore you moment to moment so effortlessly that it can take your breath away.  They have a true heart for you that is so touching that it changes you and you're never the same.

We've experienced it, a true heart, a gentle spirit, that makes everything else effortless.  And you know when you've found them, you don't have to think about it or ask questions, you open yourself up to the experience, let your mind go, and become a true heart as well.

So here's my question: "If we desperately search and need a true heart from another, why can't we give it to ourselves?"  Most of us don't.  Most of us are good at judging ourselves, or perpetuate personal lies and self delusion, or beat ourselves so hard that we are unrecognizable in the mirror.

So here's the challenge: "Next time you look in the mirror, stop, take a breath, take a moment's break, and wonder out loud what it would be like if you were your own true heart.  Ask yourself out loud what the world would be like if you could adore yourself as effortlessly as your other true heart does."  And see if that makes a difference at the way you look at the world, the way the world looks back at you, and the way you look back at yourself.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chasing Amy

Chasing Amy
I was talking with my daughter about the movie "Chasing Amy" the other day. And we were talking about the great scene where Silent Bob (what a wonderful name for a character) tells Holden about "chasing Amy" (full speech at the end of this post):

"I was afraid ... like I'd never be enough ... by the time I figured this all out, it was too late ... all I had to show for it was some foolish pride, which then gave way to regret ... So I've spent every day since then chasing Amy"

There's a great quote from Zachary Scott that says:

"As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do."

And that's really all that Silent Bob is saying. He regrets letting Amy go and not chasing Amy.  He regrets the thing that he didn't do. He knows it now, but it's too late.

When you look up regret in Google you find all sorts of interesting ways to live your life.  To not let regret end up being the one thing that gets you when it is all over. It's easy to let things slip by.  To let the daily grind interfere with a truly amazing experience.  Or to let fear, your gremlins, your internal critic, stop you by telling you how you're never enough or you'll never do it. Getting past that is what it's all about.

Of course you are going to fail.  Of course you are going to screw up.  Of course you won't get it right.  That's the whole point: Fail, Forward, Fast.  But start that business, go on that trip, chase that love, do something unthinkable and see where it lands you.  Don't spend your life chasing Amy.  Even if you crash and burn you'll be much happier with the experience than if you spend the rest of your life wondering "what if?"

So here's the question is:

"How are you chasing Amy?"  What person, place or thing will you regret not chasing at the end of your life?

Are you still ...
  • Chasing a dream?
  • Chasing that love?
  • Chasing the idea?
What have you let go of in your life that you'll still be chasing years from now?  Who, What, Where is your chasing Amy?

If you can really answer that question, and make a change, and chase what's worth chasing you'll find a sweeter taste at the end of each day: Even the tough ones.

So here's my challenge:

Write down three things you'd love to chase.: Three nouns: A Person, A Place, A Thing.  Nouns you want to chase and are worth chasing in 2012.  Then write down what it means to catch them by 12/31/12.  On New Years Eve this year, what would you have to do to feel that you've at least gotten close to catching them.  And paste this on your wall, on your mirror, on your door.  And look at them once a week.  If you can do this, you'll be closer every week to catching Amy and not just chasing Amy.

See you on the wire.

-- Steven Cardinale

----- Full Chasing Amy Speech -----

Holden: What? What did you say?

Silent Bob: You're Chasing Amy.

Jay: What do you look so shocked for, man, fat bastard does this all the time. He thinks just cause he doesn't say anything, it'll have this huge impact when he does open his fuckin' mouth...

Silent Bob[to Jay] Jesus Christ, why don't you shut up? You're always yap-yap-yappin' all the time, you're givin' me a fuckin' headache. [to Holden] I went through something like what you're talkin' 'bout, 'couple years ago, this chick named Amy.

Jay: When?

Silent Bob[annoyed] A couple of years ago? [to Holden] So there's me an' Amy, and we're all inseparable, right? Just big time in love. And then about four months down the road, the idiot gear kicks in, and I ask about the ex-boyfriend, which, as we all know, is a really dumb move, but you know how it is - you don't really want to know, but you just have to know, right? Stupid guy bullshit. Anyway she starts telling me all about him - how they fell in love, and how they went out for a couple of years, how they lived together, her mother likes me better, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah - and I'm okay. But then she drops the bomb on me, and the bomb is this: it seems that a couple of times, while they were going out, he'd brought some people to bed with them - ménage a trois, I believe it's called. Now this just blows my mind, right? I mean, I am not used to that sort of thing. I was raised Catholic, for God's sakes.

Jay: Saint Shithead.[Silent Bob elbows him. Jay raises his fist as if to strike]

Silent Bob[to Jay] Do something. [to Holden] So I'm totally weirded out by this right? And I just start blasting her - like I don't know how to deal with what I'm feeling, so I figure the best way is by calling her "slut", and tell her she was used - I mean, I'm out for blood. I really want to hurt this girl. And I'm like "What the fuck is your problem?" and she's just all calmly trying to tell me, like, it was that time, it was that place, and she doesn't think she should apologize because she doesn't feel that she's done anything wrong. And I'm like, "Oh, really?" That's when I look her straight in the eye and tell her it's over. I walk.

Jay: Fuckin' A.

Silent Bob: No, idiot. It was a mistake. I wasn't disgusted with her, I was afraid. At that moment, I felt small - I'd lacked experience, like I'd never be on her level, like I'd never be enough for her or something like that, you know what I'm sayin'? But what I did not get - she didn't care. She wasn't looking for that guy anymore. She was...she was looking for me, for - for the Bob. But, uh, by the time I figured this all out, it was too late, you know. She'd moved on, and all I had to show for it was some foolish pride, which then gave way to regret. She was the girl, I know that now. But I pushed her away. So I've spent every day since then chasing to speak.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Let Go

Let GoSo lately the universe has been screaming at me:

"Let Go"

I scream back

"Let go of what?"

And of course, I don't get any good answers back.  I guess the answer is to let go of all the things in your past.  Maybe it means to let go of what I found in 2011.  Maybe since Chinese New Year started January 23, 2012, and it's the year of the Dragon (my Chinese animal sign is Dragon as well), I need to let go of everything before the Chinese New Year.

I get it.  I get that I hold on to things too long.  That I hold on when I should be releasing.  Ok, maybe I like the control.  Maybe I need the control.  Maybe I need to lose the control.  After all holding on is really an illusion.  You really can't hold on to things; either they stay around without your control or they don't. Letting go of everything is really the only way to keep what's important.

But sometimes it's hard to let go of the past. To let go of the people, places and things of the past: Your grammatical history.
  • The past nouns that helped define your roles.
  • The past verbs that specify what you've done and what you do
  • The past adjectives that give the color to who you are
Your grammatical history are merely words.  Merely labels and names we give ourselves (see the "What's In a Name" post) to help fill the void.  Letting go of those words is tough.  I don't know if I'm ready to let go of certain parts of the people, places, and things that defined who I am but may not define who I'm going to be.  It's scary.

Joseph Campbell's quote is a good signpost since it gives us a glimpse at how to move forward.
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us" - Joseph Campbell
So how do you when it is time to walk away? Time to let go.  Sugar Ray Leonard said that it's time to let go when a man "doesn't have the same passion and commitment" that he used to.  That's when it's not just a rough spot, not just a dip, but time to let go.  I think he's right.  I say "when the story no longer rings true" then it's time to let go, lose control, and see what's around the corner.

So here's the question -

"What are you willing to let go of?" and is it time to "let the past go, so the future can reveal itself?"

The answer to that question appeared to me before I finished typing those words.  Now I know what I need to let go of ... do you?

So here's the challenge -

Can you ask yourself a better question?  Not the question of "Who am I?" (which is based on "who was I"), but the better question of "Who am I willing to become?"

We always have a good answer to the question of who we are or who we were, but it's the wrong question.  A better question is where all the juice is.  A better question requires a better answer.  The better question of who will we be from now on.  Stop answering tired, old, used up questions and new answers will make themselves known.

So do the work of letting go, scream back at the universe that you have

Let go

Then be quiet, really quiet, feel the space, and listen to what comes back.  You might be surprised at what you hear.

See you on the wire

-- Steven Cardinale

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Everything Changes

Sometimes things change.  Sometimes it’s different.  Sometimes something is lost.  I’ve always been good with change; with being comfortable being uncomfortable.  But sometimes going from where you are to where you’re going to be can be … spikey.

I was having this talk with a friend of mine: The talk about change.  The talk about how since everything changes around us, but we really can only affect ourselves; what is change really about (see my post on risking everything)?
I’ve been listening to the song “Everything Changes” ( from the band Staind .

There is a great phrase in the song:

If you just walked away
What could I really say?
Would it matter anyway?
Would it change how you feel?”

So maybe change is not about them, but more about us, since it’s only us that can change.  Maybe it’s about changing our point of view. About adapting to new circumstances.  About thinking anew.

I’m not big on just accepting the status quo, the current circumstances, or accepting something less than amazing, less than memorable.  I tend to fight changes that I don’t think are spectacular.

Change is not about accepting a tomorrow that’s not spectacular, and it’s certainly not about accepting a today that could be so much more effortless (see my entry on being effortless). Maybe change is about moving from where you are today to a tomorrow you’re in control of: your new POV. A new tomorrow that can and will be spectacular.

No questions today – kinda not in the mood - It’s been a spikey few days.

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