Happiness Is

“Happiness is the joy we feel when striving for our potential.” 
  This is how the ancient Greeks defined happiness.  

Pretty good definition, isn’t it? Where did I stumble upon this ancient wisdom?

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Yep, I watch it.  All the enlightenment you could ever want shoved between commercials selling us mind-numbing drugs. Circle of life….you too can achieve happiness right after this next sponsored announcement.

It has always amazed me that we cannot master the teachings that are 5,000 years old. The answers to most, if not all, of life's problems have been given to us from our ancestors, repeatedly.  Yet we search for new answers to old problems in which the answers have already been given to us.

With deep thoughts I ponder this cosmic question “Why can we not get it right?” Blame God or the Devil or the lack of both; could it be that our only guidance is the two pound muscle that is placed in the dark empty cavern commonly known as our skull. Isn't it weird that the most powerful thing in the universe never even gets to feel the wind or see the sun? A life of blackness floating in goo projecting electrical impulses that creates thoughts that it will never get to see.

This is our guiding light? Two pounds drowning in cerebrospinal fluid trying to forget that it was given all the answers in the first place.  Do you ever think that God purposely forgot that s/he was God just so s/he could ride a roller coaster and experience it for the very first time?

Experience it for the very first time? There must be some wisdom in that sentence

The answer to everything is in experiencing this very moment and surrendering to it.

This sentence came to me after sitting on a meditation cushion for 25 minutes earlier that day. I wish I could say it arose from within my consciousness or that the universe split itself in two and handed me this divine wisdom but, alas, it came from a tribe elder that sat across the room from me drinking coffee and rubbing his bald head.  I asked a question and he gave me the answer from within his own personal experience.

The reason we cannot experience happiness is: because we are used to being told what happiness is instead of discovering our own potential for ourselves.

The tribe elder pontificates: This is the 5,000 year old mistake that we keep making. Somebody somewhere thinks that they have got it right and then they organize their beliefs, then proceed to spread it to the masses. Life is not about being told, it is about doing. Organizing anything and everything, no matter how well intended, will become bastardized over time (simple examples include religion, politics, academics...etc.) They all share cult thinking. Sometimes it maybe good to be in a cult but unfortunately you never get to experience an original thought.

Practice, surrender, sit down and shut up, then repeat…this is the one hand clapping as the other hand slaps your original face.  The face you had before your parents were born, the face you had before the stars were placed in the sky.

Happiness is this moment. Go discover it.

Go manifest a universe.



Current Reading: Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty
Current Music: 4:13 Dream by The Cure
Mood: Stale
Smells: Coffee
Sounds: Nothing
Temperature: 50 degrees
Thoughts: Time Lapse & Meditation, morning project


Get Uncomfortable

I have the greatest portfolio of “almost & what ifs” in the world. Seriously it's the premier collection of missed opportunities. It is the top-ranking accumulation of me thinking “I should go do that.”  It is a testament to daydreaming laziness.

This body-of-non-work, unwritten, never-published creativity is filled up with music, photos, short stories, deep thoughts, impactful films that would have changed the world. Yes, ushering into world peace to the planet, curing of disease, feeding the hungry, and helping him to finally fall in love with you…blissful life for all...only if I created the work.

Deep apologies to all. I did not.

Instead I sat frozen, watching the compositions drift in and out of my opportunity to capture it.

Arts only purpose is to serve. We can do three thing in the image of God: love, forgive and create.  Why is it so damn hard to create something new and share it??

At this exact moment I am forcing myself to write this. Why bother? There is beer in the fridge, 600 channels of tv to watch and an extremely non-motivated human who would rather take a nap.

But I sit at the keyboard typing, backspacing and deleting my way to what your are reading now. As I type I am listening to music by an artist that I am endlessly impressed with the flow of work he puts out. The room that I sit in is filled with photos, guitars, paintings, camera gear, journals, and books. It is a sacred cathedral to the act of creativity and I am sitting on the altar.  This is a good place to insert a false prophet joke…it's been my life's secret ambition to be a self-proclaimed false prophet…just a little FYI about me.

I keep staring at this photo (above). Novice - Expert...and the arrows are pointing in the same direction. This is the lesson I must learn: there is not much that separates the two. You must move in the same direction to create. I ask myself “am I an expert or novice at the act of creating?” Sometimes I think the only difference between novice and expert is the amount of taxes that you pay in a year. Many so-called experts fall back into the world of being a novice; not having the passion to create daily. Many novices sit blissful in the creating process never needing the glory of the outside world's applause. These few are the enlightened ones (yep they get on my nerves to).

About a year ago I stopped referring to myself as a photographer. Composition junkie...that's a better description of what I do.  The label of photographer created conflict in me that I had to live up to. The label meant that my other artistic callings were of lesser importance. I am infinitely curious about creativity and the affect of the creative process on the world. See, I truly believe that I could have brought about world peace only if…..

Last week I created a short film that I am very proud of.  In truth I am proud of the experience of creating it. I faced the resistance of my thoughts. That was the outcome that I love about the film.  It was in the doing, the creating, in confronting the uncomfortable. I am in my car waiting at a red light on the corner and outside the driver's side window are two people singing and asking for money. They look…weathered, authentic...they have a story...I feel it. Immediately I tell myself that this could go in my collection of “almost & what ifs.”

For some mystical reason I drive home and grab my gear and go back to that same intersection, wondering the whole time on the drive back if they already left. I figure out questions in my head to ask them. I was thinking about framing, exposure and music. I pull back into the plaza and they are still there. I park my car and set up my gear. I proceed to walk up to them (big personal achievement for me) and I tell them that I am a photographer and short filmmaker and that I would like to record them for a few minutes. I hand them a twenty dollar bill and they agree to play a couple of songs and answer my questions.

Validated; I faced my fear and talked to strangers. This is big for me. At that moment I created something new that is going into the "real portfolio", which is to say, stuff that people can actually see, actually search in Google for, something that will be achieved on my blog for the foreseeable future.

Next week I will start two new projects. I am moving in a direction of changing myself to be uncomfortable. Why? I need to stretch and go where I have never gone before. Creating is discovery first, repetition second. I have realized that I am good at doing this but as of late I fear that I have been doing the same thing. I am discovering that I am getting too good at repetition. I need to play some bad notes, need to see out of focus, I need to play in traffic.

Get uncomfortable, 1000 failures…this is the conversation that I been having with a good friend of mine.

How do you get better at creating stuff?

Get uncomfortable.


Keepsake ~ Vecere & Craig

Second new tune this week. We go jazzy on this one. Its either cold beer music or early morning hot coffee music, you pick.


White Noise ~ Vecere & Craig

Here is the latest track from the ongoing lifetime pursuit of creating something new.


2 Friends, 4 Years, Vagabonding Across America ~ Short Film

I sit at a red light, on the side on the road are these two people sing the lyrics "work my whole life to save enough money just to by a coffin." I drive home grab my gear and come back and make this film. I have to say this is a much watch.


Therapy or not to Therapy?

There is nothing wrong with me.  I do not need therapy. 

Yes there is and yes you do. 

Everything that you feel is overwhelming and intense. You can't stop thinking about it. You feel disconnected. Your relationships are stressed. You have reoccurring  headaches and other random bodily function meltdowns. Loved ones have told you that they’re concerned about you.

People need therapy. Lots and lots of it. People need long drawn out conversations about what's going on in their minds. Your thoughts are damaging the universe right now. This awful "poor me", "it's not my fault", blame-that-person-over-there-thinking is destroying our world. I am telling Al Gore, Jesus Christ and your Mother on you, unless you are a mother causing those bad demons to seep into the world. Then I am going directly to Jesus. You better hope for reincarnation because your karma needs a second chance at salvation.

Why will you not go to therapy? Why? I know why.

The word "therapy" makes you want to kill yourself (don’t do that, direct path to Hell).

"Therapy" is a bad word word.  People do not like it.

Sorry to all you working therapists out there but it's true.  People don’t like "therapy".

Most people do not like you because you are a therapist (do-gooder, know-it-all). If people did like therapists you would have paid off your student loans by now. C’mon, therapy is nothing more than repeating the same theories and the same whatnots to fresh faces who are seekers of new excuses.

Therapy needs a new name.  Maybe Brain Scrub, Thought Detox, Chakra Cleanse or The-brain-is-body-part-too-dummy-give-it-some-damn-attention-a-hole.

I had a conversation today with a gentleman about a future film project. I asked him how he deals with breaking through the therapy aspect part of his work with clients to get to the real stuff, the future building. His response, “People are not broken, I do not do therapy. This is what I teach people about themselves.” I quickly retort back, “Did you read my article on “Excuse-er?”

I do not know if I agreed with him or not but I sure did like hearing it.

“You are not broken”. People need to hear that more often.  I find that most people will not go to therapy for the simple reason of not wanting to feel like they're broken.

The mind is a two pound muscle that needs to be treated like any other muscle in your body.

Take it our for a walk, let it breathe in some fresh air, do some light stretching, let out the lizard/monkey parts of your brain and have some fun, quit letting the neocortex layer take away the fun.  Give your brain an evolutionary spring cleaning every once in awhile.

We will go to the doctor for the slightest pain in our body.  Takes pills, go to rehab, have stuff injected into our skin, have stuff sucked out by the gob-fulls, but having a conversation about what's going on in our brain….no, nadda, not gonna happen. I am not telling that stranger about my problems.

Socrates ~ “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Maybe so but is that therapy? Get a brain coach, walk in the woods, write in your journal, have truthful conversations with anyone and everyone.

In the end facing ones own demons may be the answer. Taking the time to examine the hows, whats and whys of your life.  Discovering the rights and wrongs that you have done and that may have been done to you.

No matter what you may feel about therapy, I do not think you are broken either.



Current Reading: Integral Buddhism by Ken Wilber
Current Music: Radio by Esperanza Spalding 
Mood: Foggy, been fighting a head cold & losing.
Smells: Coffee
Sound: Running water
Temperature: 56 degrees 
Thoughts: Excuses are as thick as water and as damaging as a flood.