A Procedural Uncertainty

Last Friday I posted an interview I did with Joel Tauber for an Episode of my Podcast “The Process & The Path“. (Full episode below)

This Wednesday I’ll be posting the video of that interview on my YouTube channel.

As I was listening back through the conversation in making my final edits to the video , I realized just how much we talked about searching, experimenting, exploring, learning, growing, and all the ambiguous uncertainties that come along with being in “the process”.⠀

That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that literally everything I do is wrapped up in the endeavor of “learning” out loud, documenting “the process”, and “practicing” the path.

The “process” is defined as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”. What I think is so interesting about this definition is not so much what it says but, rather what it doesn’t say. What the definition leaves out, what it goes unsaid, speaks volumes.

More often than not, when we set out upon the undertaking of a process we have “a particular end” in mind. We have a particular goal, a desired outcome. There is a specific destination we are striding and striving towards. This end goal guides our steps and actions. It is the catalyst to the initiation of our “process”. It is the propellant that pushes us further into the process. Yet, that “particular end” is not guaranteed. Where we end up may very well be different to where we set out to go. 

In other words, what the definition doesn’t define is whether or not we ever reach that desired end.

Whether its the creative process, whether its the spiritual process, whether its the intermingling of the two, or whether its just any process, I think one of the things that gets missed is that the process is the process because it is laced with ambiguity and uncertainty. If we knew where the process would lead then it wouldn’t be transformative.

The point is that a lot of this is trial and error, creatively and spiritually. A lot of it is experimental.

In the book, Make You Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business With Impactthere’s a line that says “To make great ideas a reality, we must act, experiment, fail, adapt, and learn on a daily basis”.

We have to be willing to go through that process of trial and error, knowing that there is a risk that we might fall, a risk that we might fail.
There is an element of failing with purpose. Its the understanding that failure isn’t what we imagine it to be. Failure isn’t final. Failure isn’t conclusive. It’s simply part of the process.

Here, there is also the recognition that “experimentation” negates failure. It makes failure meaningless. In the light of experimentation “failure” becomes null and devoid of meaning. There is only the testing of a hypothesis and the collection of data. We re-run the numbers. We re-calibrate and we try again.⠀

The process is thrilling and terrifying because we don’t fully know where we’re going, and we don’t fully understand where the process is taking us. Sometimes we don’t even know where we are in the process.

To be in the thick of the process is to be in the midst of something unknown.⠀⠀

And that’s precisely the point…⠀

An All New Monday! Check it Out!

Hey Friends!

Welcome to Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend!

If you’re here, then you’ve probably noticed that I now have a Website! I mean of course you’ve noticed, you’re here, lol. Thanks to my good friend Ben Bridges you now have this great online space to see everything that I’m doing, everything I’m working on, and everything that I’m up to.

I really want to take advantage of this new site, so one of my new goals is to really utilize it as best as I can by making it a high priority to keep it updated with news and content as much as I can.

So, what else is new, you may be asking? I am so glad you asked. On Friday I released a Brand New Episode of the podcast! I had the opportunity to interview artist, filmmaker, and Professor Joel Tauber.

He was an absolute pleasure to speak with! We talked about his projects and his work, as well as a plethora of other topics. It was so great! Check out the full length episode below!

But wait…there’s more new stuff still coming. I’m in the process of finishing up the video of my interview with Joel, and I’m hoping to release it on my YouTube channel, in the next couple of days!

I’m excited to share it. I don’t want you to miss it. So pop over to my channel, subscribe if you haven’t already, and hit that bell icon so you’ll get notified as soon as it goes live!

To recap…NEW Website, a NEW Source to get NEW content, a NEW podcast episode, a NEW video coming this week, and a lot of other NEW things in the works.

Stay Tuned!

Have a great day!

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful!

New YouTube Video!

Hey Friends!!

Recently Jim Martin from The Unusual Buddha was a guest on the podcast, and I was smart enough to film video as well as record audio.

Last week I released the podcast episode, and this week I finally finished editing the video. So I’m really excited to share it with you!

Jim is an awesome guy, a great friend, and I think he really has a lot of insight and value to give. He offers a refreshing approach to meditation, mindfulness, Buddhism, the dharma, and just about everything else. We talk about all of it in this fantastic conversation!

Filming it was definitely an experiment, it came out better than I thought it would but not as well as I envisioned in my head, creator problems right? lol. I’d love to start doing more of these so let me know what you think!

If you’d like to listen to this episode of the podcast you can find it here: https://anchor.fm/duanetoops/episodes…

If you’d like to support what I do and get all kinds of exclusive content in the process then head over to my Patreon Page.

Thanks so much!

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, FAIL BOLDLY, and let’s make something meaningful!

Meditation and Creativity…

Meditation and Creativity

Hey friends!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the influx of recent blog posts. I hope that you’ve been enjoying the slight shift in format. I’ve really been enjoying posting with more frequency. I’m planning to do my very best to keep it up. To do that, I’ve been experimenting a bit with my blogging approach or methodology.

I’ve been writing shorter, more ‘stream of thought’ kind of blogs, a kind of shared or public notebook of random thoughts, that maybe will be further developed in future content creation.

With that being said, one of thing that I’m becoming increasingly interested in is the intersection and overlap of meditation and creativity.

I think that these two activities have much in common, and share many of the same qualities and attributes.

I think that both meditation and creativity require us to be fully present, to be attentively absorbed in the present moment but, this attentive absorption and awareness comes with the realization and recognition that the present moment is rife with possibility and potentiality.

Each endeavor pulls us into the flow of reality, confronting us with ‘what-is’ but also with what is ‘to-come’, with what is ‘not-yet’.

In the latest episode of my podcast we try to talk about creativity.

You can find it here: https://anchor.fm/duanetoops/episodes/Episode-7—Lets-Talk-About-Creativity-e3njmd

Or you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and everywhere you get Podcasts!

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, fail boldly, and let’s make something meaningful!

World Book Day!


Hey Friends!

Happy World Book Day!

Recently I had the chance to collaborate with Stuart Carter from the Simply Mindfulness YouTube channel, talking about…well…Books!
How appropriate right?

In video we cover six books that we think could help you to live a more mindful life.

This was a lot of fun to work on, and I’m excited to share it with you all. It was pleasure working with Stuart, so please show him and his channel some love. Give the video a “like”, leave a comment, and be sure to subscribe.

I look forward to working with Stuart again, we currently discussing some possible dates for having him on my podcast! I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Below you’ll find the transcription of my book recommendations as well as links to the books if you ‘d like to purchase any of them.

My current number 1 book is Sadness, Love, Openness: The Buddhist Path of Joyby Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. I just finished reading it about a month ago and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. I’m really stuck on it right now, and I’m constantly reviewing my notes and highlights. In fact, I made two videos on my channel talking about some of the main ideas in this book (you can find the videos here and here. or if you prefer audio you can find that here and here, and if you’d rather read the transcripts you find them here and here).While the author is a Tibetan Buddhist and while Buddhist thought is a strong feature in the context of his writing, you certainly don’t need to be a Buddhist to get any value out of this book. In many ways you could say that the central theme of the book is that living mindfully means embracing things as they really are which also means embracing sadness, love, and openness. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche suggests that that deep sadness is not to be avoided, nor is it something to be wallowed in. Instead, he says that the experience of grief and sorrow that comes when we are confronted by the impermanent nature of all we hold most dear, can actually help us become more loving and compassionate, and it can allow us to be more open to love, more open to the world, and more open to the reality of the way things are.

Number 2 is What is Zen?: Plain Talk for a Beginner’s Mind by Norman Fischer and Susan Moon. I love this book. I read it last year and I just couldn’t put it down. The book is written in a question and answer format, Susan Moon poses various questions to Norman Fischer, Fischer answers, and often Moon responds and pushes back a bit further. The conversational tone of the book makes it an easy, accessible, and enjoyable read. When you’re reading it, it almost feels more like your having a discussion with friends over coffee. The topics center upon zen thought and practice, so if your interested in zen at all this is a great gateway into the topic. Also because its an q&a format its easy to skip around to the questions that interest you the most or to even use it kind of as a reference book. However, I think the key take away from this book isn’t so much the information specific to the zen tradition, I think its actually Fischer’s approach to zen. For Fischer, zen is most deeply and most centrally concerned with the simplicity of everyday life, being fully present with feeling and experience of simply being alive.

Last but certainly not least is Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. This is the book that launched me into meditation practice. If it wasn’t for this book I would not be doing what I’m doing now. So if you love what I do you have Harris to Thank and well, if you don’t like what I do, blame Harris not me, lol. I don’t consider myself a religious person. I’m a pretty skeptical and secular kind of guy. Sometimes even the word ‘spirituality’ still makes me a bit uncomfortable but, after reading Harris’ book any reluctance or hesitation I had about beginning a meditation practice was gone. i felt that I could begin a ‘spiritual’ practice in a way that was conducive and honest, in a way that made sense to me. In the book Harris outlines the science behind meditation, and in the process weds the wisdom of contemplation with the understanding of modern neuroscience, creating a ‘spiritual’ path and practice that even the most skeptical among us can get on board with.

I really hope you enjoyed this World book day collaboration! If you’d like to support what I do be sure to check out my Patreon page.

Thanks so much!

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, Fail Boldly, and Make Something Meaningful!

Between Art and Archaeology…

Creativity has been heavy on my mind here lately. It started about two weeks ago, I had a couple conversations with two other creators and I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

While I was doing some writing and research for the recent episode of my podcast, I came across this quote the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti.

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it

It really hit home for me.

The suggestion is that every stone, every canvas, every blank page has a secret to tell, a concealed story to reveal, and it’s the artist’s job to find it and bring it to light.

The artist is not necessarily ‘creating’ something but, exposing something.

Maybe we could say that the artist is a kind of archaeologist, in that, it’s the artist’s job to dig deeply, to brush away the dirt, debris, and rock and to uncover and unearth a hidden history.

Obedience to the work…

I’m obsessively fascinated by and with creativity. There’s just something so mysterious about it. I’ve devoted so much time to pondering it and thinking about it and reading about it and practicing it…but I still don’t think I’m any closer to understanding it. And actually…I think that’s what I love the most about it.

I think that being involved in some kind of artistic endeavor, or participating in some form of creative practice means coming to the realization that you are more of a conduit than a ‘creator’.

Creating is never creation ex nihilo, it’s never creation from nothing, it’s never out of nothing. I think there’s always something teeming just below the surface, just out of sight. Even ‘nothingness’ isn’t ‘nothing’. Nothingness isn’t a vacuous void of utter absence. It is empty of essence but it is permeating with presence. Nothingness is an emptiness pregnant with ‘everything’. It is the raw possibility and potentiality percolating within every present moment.

In this regard, I think that ‘creating’ is more about facilitation than it is about fabrication. It’s more about opening a door and stepping out of the way.

In the newest episode of my podcast we try to talk about creativity and the creative process.

You can listen here: https://bit.ly/2Gidun2

Or you can get it on iTunes, Spotify, stitcher, and wherever else you get Podcasts.

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, fail boldly, and let’s make something meaningful!

Filming/Recording in Progress…

So a while ago I received a book to review.

The book is called The Lotus and the Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Christianity. The book is a series of transcribed conversations between Lama Tsomo, an American lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and Matthew Fox, a former Roman Catholic priest.

Lama Tsomo is not only a teacher and author, she is also the co-founder of the Namchak Foundation and the Namchak Retreat Ranch. Matthew Fox, as we stated previously , is a former catholic priest within the Dominican order. He became an Episcopal Priest after being expelled from the Dominican Order for “disobedience”.

Fox seemed to have ruffled a lot of feathers with the Roman Catholic Church because of his theological stances that run counter to the Church’s and because of his refusal accept and promote stances on certain issues advanced by the Church. Thus, Fox was ultimately dismissed. He sounds like my kind of guy.

If you’re kind of a religious studies nerd like I am, then this book will probably spark your interest. I’m currently working on a podcast episode and an accompanying YouTube about this book.

So stay tuned for that!

Keep showing up, keep doing the work, fail boldly, and let’s make something meaningful!

Episode 7 – Let’s Talk About Creativity…

Episode 7 – Let’s Talk About Creativity…

Hey Friends!

Happy Friday!

I feel like everything I’ve posted on this page recently has begun with an apology…

This is will be no exception then, lol.

I haven’t posted here in a bit…I’m sorry…

I’ve had a lot of projects going on right now, and I haven’t done a very good job “documenting the process”.

In fact, that’s something I talked a little bit about in the recent episode of my podcast. I try to dip a toe into explaining what my creative process is like sometimes.

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out you listen here.

I’m actually in the process of recording a new episode of the podcast, I’m going to try my hand at some book reviews. So stay tuned for that!

Keep showing up, Keep doing the work, Fail Boldly, and Make Something Meaningful!