Ask And It Is Given

Multi-passionate firestarter with Thoreauvian tendencies seeks poet / lumberjack for flight.

Must have passport, rhythm, & a signature dish.

 

A wise friend once taught me that asking for what you want is the surest way to get it.

Clarity married to intention. Add in a bit of the unconventional and some cheeky humor…and best ~ it’s tweet-able!

Psst. Pass it on 🙂     !

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How Seth Godin Got Me Into Bed

“Is that your husband?” the man standing outside the kayak store asks.

“No.” I reply, eyebrow raised.

“Boyfriend?” he probes.

“Third date.” Hmmm. Is this guy serious?

“Really? You two look so comfortable together. How’d ya meet?”

“He said hello to me in the park.”

“That’s it?! Hello? Just like that? Why can’t I meet anyone that easily?” he says, half-joking, sticking out his hand. “Well, then, hi there!”

At this point, Mr. Third Date’s animal instincts perk up and he immediately sidles up to Mr. Clueless and introduces himself. A bit of kayaking and surfing banter ensues, and territory thus marked, Mr. Third roams back into the life vest racks.

“Sooo… ya got a sister? I just can’t seem to find the right woman – she’s gotta be pretty, a hard core sailor and camper, be independent, have her own money…I don’t have much, y’know, it all goes into the boat…she needs a sense of humor, knows how to cook…blah, blah, blah…” He rattles on, listing all the things he wants, like I’m interviewing him for eHarmony, never once considering what he could do to prepare himself for when she shows up. Suddenly, my inner entrepreneur taps me on the shoulder. I should start a dating service! Write a how-to book! Help a poor guy out…

This is not the first time I’ve encountered the desperate and lonely up here in the Pine Tree State, or even this specific line of questioning. (What’s with men asking lately, in earshot of that evening’s companion, if I’m interested in them?) I think I’ll go home tonight and pen a man-ifesto: The Mainer’s Manual to Meeting Your Mate, and hang my matchmaker sign on the door. I’ll make a mill, I’m tellin’ ya. This is one lonely place – everyone here wants to connect, and no one seems to know how.

Then I realize there already IS a book – and I have it out on loan from my library: Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. (wondering how I was going to work him in here, weren’t you?) I’m immersing myself in wisdom from those living the life of which I dream, and since that method has worked for me before, I’m voraciously soaking up marketing pearls from Godin, Marie Forleo and other b-school geniuses with the intention of joining their ranks. Permission Marketing, while not his latest venture, nevertheless, is full of effective, 21st century steps to turn strangers into friends, and friends into customers.

See, Seth is my guru. And not just in the boardroom. As a budding creative, I am not content in just one arena, and neither is he. A bestselling author, marketer, consultant, entrepreneur, and overall finger-on-the-pulse idea man, he blazes a path for the firestarter in me: as a writer, collaborator, artist, entrepreneur, engaged citizen, and yes – lover. I cannot remain tightly furled in one area, while trying to blossom in another. Uncorking that bottle of Champagne means releasing all the bubbles…and my cup, dear readers, wants to runneth over. I am expanding into a realm near you.

Which means not only am I getting ready to launch new work projects, but yes, I’m also dating again, after a healthy hiatus. I took my demons & damsels-in-distress down to the river and banged stones on them until the waters ran clean and clear and now it’s sheet day, folks! See the bright whiteness hanging on the line, breeze fluttering, just waiting for someone to come along and make up the bed? Well, grab that bottle of Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé, a couple of glasses, and follow us as we turn strangers into friends and friends into lovers.

THE JOY OF SETH

(or How to Cross-Pollinate the Principles of Business & Pleasure)

1. Get Permission First.

Widen your lens. Just because we’re out together, doesn’t mean you’re in. My first passion is people – the whole spectrum. Strangers, acquaintances, friends, confidants, colleagues, associates, partners, even ex-boyfriends. I enjoy the company of them all. It’s only with another that we truly know ourselves – it’s a subjective world, after all. I’ll hold up my mirror, if you hold up yours. So, get permission from me first to pass from platonic to romantic. It’s not assumed nor automatic. Don’t move on to step 2 unless the coast is clear on step 1.

2. Create Anticipation.

Why, oh why, are we so obsessed with instant gratification? You know as well as I do that anticipation is the most powerful aphrodisiac – when you crave something so bad it’s all your mind can focus on. Rush through it? Nah – this is the fun part! Don’t pounce. Don’t whiz past the scenery. Don’t go in for the kiss, just to ‘get it out of the way’ (as someone once did – how unromantic is that?) Build up excitement. Generate every marketer’s dream: have the desire there before you even launch. Seduce me. Give me no option but to incessantly fantasize about getting my hands on you. Make me unable to think about work or sleep or food until I do.

3. Make It Personal

Red roses? Yawn. Chocolate? I know better than you where to get the really good stuff. Teddy bears? What am I? Twelve? (You’d be surprised what a 35 year old man will show up with.) Then there was the guy whose philosophy was to cast a wide net to increase his odds – he’d ask out every woman in the bar. I don’t want to be a stat in your probability experiment. Take time getting to know who I am, because I am the exception to your rules and expectations. Set yourself apart. Be original. Customize the experience, to us. Pinpoint a shared passion – so we may revel together. One size doesn’t fit all. And really, do you want the one that fits all, or who fits you – perfectly?

4. Be Relevant

Grab my attention. Give me yours. I don’t want to watch your football team on TV, I want to run on the field with you. I don’t want to hear about glory days, rather, let’s strap on the climbing gear and trek the Himalayas. Skip the coulda, shoulda, woulda’s; instead, taste, feel, and mold those dreams into sparkling reality. I want possibility & revelation. So go ahead and reveal…I won’t ask for what I’m not prepared to give, and neither should you.

Know what I’m really interested in?  YouYour imagination.  Your spark.  Your essence.

Know what else I’m interested in?  Showing you mine

So, where do we go from here? According to our digital-age mastermind, once permission has been granted, and these steps have been climbed, three outcomes are likely: trust, loyalty, and frequency. What marketer, er…person, could ask for more? Try ’em & let me know how it works out… I’ll be waiting for you.

***********************

I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman. ~ Anais Nin

All she wants to do is dance. ~ Don Henley

The Commodore, a $3,000 Toothbrush, & Why I Love Maine

Sometimes I’m tucked inside and creased, like delicate and fragile origami, waiting for someone to unfold me with great curiosity, to reveal the origins of my fingerprints and implications.

Other times, I’m tensile, possibility like an inflating balloon, while someone blows me into swirly bubbles that lilt along the breeze… up, up, up and away.

From infinite microcosms to infinite macrocosms, and the eons of light-years between, I feel insignificant and almighty at once. When the universe – the one song – dilates, new galaxies and nebulas and amoebae and subatomic particles collaborate and sing me a lullaby of marvellous fortune.

Hibernation. Constriction. Prayer.

Expansion. Exuberance. Love.

But I would never recognize minutiae or immensity without being in relationship.

For tonight, this cool August eve in a wooded nook, kindred spirits wrapped around me like a handknit shawl, I am awash in appreciation for people whose orbits link with mine – however briefly – and plunge me into watery, baptismal depths:

The Brazilian surfer who blesses every meal,

the harpsichordist with a penchant for 17th century music,

the fun-loving Commodore with his antique car collection,

the sturdy sailor who crafted his schooner by hand,

the drumming shaman who sees fairies in stone,

the illustrator who lets me dig in her garden,

the pony-tailed jeweler with the three-thousand dollar toothbrush,

the laid back captain who loves to dance to the blues,

the retired pilot who follows rivers and tides,

the vivacious blonde with her unwavering smile,

the combat artist with his precious newborn,

the unlikely dandy in a teensy, windswept village,

the politico with a theory to bring order in a confusing world,

the pixie-like soprano with her hypnotizing voice,

the motorcyclist who recommends a secret kayaking route,

and the lovely, Shanghai-raised ingenue who wants to change the world.

There are as many twinklers here, on this magical stretch of coast, as appear up in the heavens on a dark, new moon night and each has sprinkled a little stardust on me…

Waterman's Beach sunset, Maine

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Read another “elemental” musing o’ mine: The Periodic Table Of My Dreams

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Once In A Lifetime

I was driving from Warren to Camden the other night when it washed over me: I feel like I’m living inside a David Byrne song: as if some large bird swooped down 10 months ago, lifted me on its back and deposited me squarely in this new life.  Or maybe just the opposite – not in a midlife crisis kind of way, but in a finally! all is well, but how did it happen so effortlessly kind of way?

Who ARE these people? How DID I get here? (and, strangest of all, why does it feel so much like coming home?)

   “You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
     And you may find yourself in another part of the world
     And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
     You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
     You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

Too often, men (never women, make your own conclusions here) ask me: “Soooo, how is it that an attractive woman such as yourself has never been married?” Statistics trumpeting the benefits of marriage to our esteemed male population aside, I’m often stymied as to what they’re really asking. Am I lesbian? A radical feminist? Unlovable? A runaway bride, perhaps? A maneater? Or maybe too choosy or demanding?

I always find this question partly annoying (why am I not asked if I’ve ever run a business, had children, or, even been in a long-term relationship?), and partly amusing (it gives me a chance to don my contrarian outfit, poking around to find out how much they’ve really given the venerable institution serious thought). I guess I’ve just heard one too many stories of someone walking down the aisle like it’s a plank.

Once, I learned a man was asking because he was on the way out of his 8 year marriage, claiming he’d just been riding the wave of … isn’t-this-what-people-do-when-they’re-in-love? … “We met, dated, moved in, and next thing you knew we had a wedding, a mortgage, and … there I was, wondering, My god! How did I get here?” I think he was desperately seeking permission to leave, and that it would all be okay in the end.

     “Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
     Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
     Into the blue again, after the money’s gone
     Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

Looking back on my childhood in the 70’s, there weren’t many successful models of happily ever after around me, so I never idolized some future wedding, frosted with buttercream and white lace. There was nothing I particularly wanted to be when I grew up, either.  Those pressures of today – prepping at preschool for the Ivy League – were absent. Instead, life then was much like it is now, like all good spiraling cycles do, coming back around and placing happiness in the form that we learned it first, at our blessed feet. I learned young to be content and interested and make my own excitements;  the independence that followed led me on grand adventures both far flung and romantically. For that, I am thankful my (divorced) parents left the big picture choices for me to paint, never imposing their successes and failures, but granting me the wherewithal to navigate by pointing out the moon and the stars and the sky above.

    “And you may ask yourself, “How do I work this?”
     And you may ask yourself, “Where is that large automobile?”
     And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house”
     And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife”

When I was eighteen or nineteen, underage at a local bar, I chatted up a guy who’d graduated a few years before me. I had a crush on him in high school, and now that I was all grown up (in my mind), I wanted to impress him with my college sophistication. But right out of the gate, in answer to my eager and bouncy greeting, “How ARE you?” he replied, “Same old, same old.” Regrettably that was not the last time I heard those words. Disappointment crashed like a Ming vase.

     “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was

Perhaps I only entered into relationships that had an expiration date, for fear I’d end up fighting and married, despondent and divorced, or like the sad sacks at the bars I tended. If I wasn’t heading into the mystic, nevertheless, I had love and lust and sweet guys and bad boys and romance both lengthy and fleeting, but I always knew deep down that I wasn’t a keeper.

     “Water dissolving and water removing
      There is water at the bottom of the ocean
      Under the water, carry the water
      Remove the water from the bottom of the ocean
      Water dissolving and water removing

Or was I? Whenever accused of being noncommittal, I resisted the notion. I’ve developed decades-long friendships, deep loyalties to my workplace, and a steadfast curiosity about the world that I indulge with vigor. Yes, I had my Houdini moments; I could bolt with the best of them. But over the years I explored the wheels and dials of my inner timepiece and discovered lasting commitment to truth, freedom and aliveness. Socrates, Jefferson, and Emerson left nourishment and I ate at their examined table. Once I put myself first, deliberately instead of haphazardly, peace reigned.

     “You may ask yourself, “What is that beautiful house?”
     You may ask yourself, “Where does that highway go to?”
     You may ask yourself, “Am I right, am I wrong?”
     You may say to yourself, “My God! What have I done?”

Recently, a charming and itinerant man asked me how I ended up here. Believing he might understand why I’d move somewhere not knowing anyone, I described the complete reliance on intuition and seizing of the right moment. Instead, he pressed me to ‘come clean’ that I was, in fact, running away from some uncloseted demon or such. Are we so accustomed to fight or flight behaviors that we are unable to recognize a step forward, a Constitutionally protected pursuit, an embrace of beauty and destiny? Is drowning that common?

      “Time isn’t holding up, time isn’t after us
       Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
       Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
       Same as it ever was, hey let’s all twist our thumbs
       Here comes the twister”

My oldest friend once said that given my propensity for the obscure destinations I head off to and unexpected life choices I make, that the only thing that would surprise her would be if I were to settle down with a husband and raise a gaggle of rugrats. At the time, we laughed at the absurdity, but wouldn’t that be the kicker, the ultimate rebellious move?

     “Letting the days go by
      Letting the days go by
      Once in a lifetime
      Let the water hold me down
      Letting the days go by”

What is true is that I’m at my best in the company of those I care about, especially when in a loving and mutual relationship. I thrive in the sunshine of security. It may just be that I have always believed in only doing it once. And, watch. That’s what will come pass.

Dismantling Youth

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.  My sin. My soul.  Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.  Lo. Lee. Ta.”

When I was 20, maybe 21, signing up for yet another semester of Humanities at the local community college, adulthood perpetually as imminent as the red button, the Cold War was unknowingly about to end.  In a desperate ploy to hang on to childish things, to look cool in the eyes of others, I graffiti’d a pair of white Vans with titles of Vladimir Nabokov novels in red magic marker.  Save for that  stunning opening paragraph that even now astounds me by its physical lyricism, I hardly knew who Nabokov was, much less Stanley Kubrick or James Mason, who together brought Lolita to the screen.  Smitten as I was with the younger intellectual skateboarding boys on campus – with their long hair and side-parts, lanky surfer bodies and West Coast fantasies – I scrawled ‘Bend Sinister’ across the left shoe and ‘Invitation To A Beheading’ across the right, in true contrarian embrace-the-enemy fashion.  What’s that mean? they’d ask, as we’d hang out in concrete basement bars, pretending we were old enough to be there, but not so grown up to be confused with the proletariat drinking their dollar and a half draughts during dusky happy hours.

God forbid our fraud should slip.

While Michael, boyishly cute and charming and the one I had the maddest crush on, played aloof, I did my wiliest to mirror his nonchalance (therefore showing him how much he really wanted me) and instead tried impressing his friends with arcane Soviet trivia.  When I found them gawking over stacks of nudie magazines one afternoon after class, I casually mentioned Nabokov’s penchant for getting published in Playboy, proving that yes, men really did read it for the articles and they should, too.  Were any of us planning on graduating and growing up at some point?

We never saw that our restless energy was held in check by end-of-the-world-as-we-knew-it propaganda.  What young adult wanted to stake claim in an era of Reagan and Gorbachev and the crisis of missiles?  We did as we were told:  good little Communist-haters, except that we weren’t.  We were too naive, still, to really understand anything, so we played on both sides of the rail, never knowing when the train was going to race down the tracks and split everything in two.

https://i1.wp.com/www.factropolis.com/uploaded_images/ussr-788466.png

Meanwhile, I taught them to play chess, (the Russians were masters, right?) and we’d plot moves until dawn, taking rooks and pawns and they taught me to say “Prost!” as we toasted with cheap vodka;  it wasn’t until I went to Germany years later did I realize that I didn’t have a trademark on affectation.  In time, our attempts to dazzle each other with bluster and bloc fizzled, but as the breezes of destiny blew, it turned out we all just really loved being together.  Especially Michael and I.  Ultimately, we paired off, whirling around in a magical wonderland with passionate abandon, leaving the group behind.  For months, we were intoxicated by the blindness of bliss, closing our eyes and diving deep enough inside to feel lo. lee. ta.  in each other’s mouths.

Eventually, the other boys all said goodbye, scattering off to four-year universities or low-paying jobs in nearby towns.  Michael and I remained, still partly caught in the stickiness of our infatuation, but somehow sensing a shift in the wind.  That fall, with legs entwined, curled up in front of the TV, we watched the Berlin Wall come down, governments toppling like dominos, the only world we ever knew crumbling, and we tried to imagine life without impending nuclear catastrophe and its fear we unwittingly swallowed. The structures that had defined us were no longer.  Where do you go when you can go anywhere?

As we planned our escape to California, as far from New York as we could  imagine, tragedy struck.  There was an accident and his brother died.  All spells broke.  The world had changed;  nothing would ever be the same.

The stranglehold of the eighties loosened and catapulted us into our futures.  The cocoon of youth dissolved.

He left for Hollywood, alone.  I never saw him again.

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