The Art of Doing

Empire State Building photo

Typically 5-day business trips feel long.  Especially when I have to be “on” for 10 more hours a day.  Last week I served as a spokesperson for my company giving demo after demo of our new consumer experiences to over 50 journalists from the world’s biggest media like GQ, Vogue, USA Today, The New York Times, and tastemakers like Apartment Therapy, Techlicious, Daily Candy.  Oh, and I celebrated my birthday by closing down the bar at the NoMad Hotel with my work pals.  Upon returning to Seattle, my husband asked if I was spent, and while a little physically tired, I was surprised to realize how energized I was.  I was carrying a vibration with me from that buzzing city, injected by the electricity of its people.

New York has always been a fun place to visit, and I’ve always admired the creativity and innovation it drives.  Why did this visit feel so different, even tastier and more tantalizing than before?  After pondering this a bit, I think I know why.

In a day in age when it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with all the news surrounding us, and the comments that explode out of stories like 4th of July fireworks in waves of 140 characters x 1 billion, I’ve been pulled toward quiet.  My favorite retreat is meditation, 15 minutes every morning.  Starting my day with a settled mind and a deep sense of peace is luxurious.  I find myself to be more creative, I sense solutions to problems quickly, I can intuit toward harmony and away from discord.  And I can survive more easily the rocks and arrows of the world.  Meditation, even of the kind I can practice while walking down the hall before entering a meeting, is a treasured practice for me.  And in New York, I experienced a new sort.

I’m not trying to say New York is a mecca of peace.  It’s definitely not a blissfully quiet garden of tranquility.  New York is on fire.  It pulses with vibrancy.  New Yorkers walk fast and talk loud.  Taxis tempt fate, like constantly.  And New York is so sublimely inspired, you can feel it on your skin.  New Yorkers don’t put energy toward problem solving, they drive forward every second toward creating.  It’s an idea carnival, this city.  And instead of discussing and debating, the people of the Big Apple are doing.

The energetic flow with which I merge in my morning mediation was exactly the flow I felt in NYC, only this was the louder, brighter and hotter current of the river.  Meditation of creation, you could say.  I couldn’t sense any fear of failure, only a drive to try and learn and refine and do it again.  Old ideas? Those suck.  They want “new,” and somehow do “new” with the confidence of someone’s who’s been there before.  Fearless and cocky, but honest and pure at the same time, centered in the truth of doing.

We’ll see how our species handles the increasing pace of our world, but I do believe it will be those who let go to the flow of it, creating, doing, learning, bending, who will not just survive and thrive – they will drive.

Time to shift habit from stewing to doing.  Thanks New York peeps for the lesson.  Namaste.

**

In the spirit of The Art of Doing, enjoy this fabulous manifesto by Bre Pettis (http://www.brepettis.com/blog/2009/3/3/the-cult-of-done-manifesto.html)

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.
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