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What’s your passion?

Tonight I was walking into the corner store and sitting outside was a man smoking cigarettes and asking for change. Usually, I decline them, but tonight something moved me. When the man asked if I could spare any change I said, “Sure. I’ll give you all the change I have if you tell me something.”

He said, “What do you want to know?”

“What’s your passion?”

He looked at me quizzically and said, “What does that mean?”

“What fills your heart? What drives you onward?”

Without hesitation he answered, “Love, brother.”

As I was giving him my change, I asked him one final question. “What have you been doing to pursue that lately?”

He shook his head sadly and looked away. “Hell. I don’t even know anymore, man.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I have a list of passions that fill my heart. But when I ask myself what I’ve been doing to pursue them, I have to admit to myself, “Hell. I don’t even know anymore man.” And why don’t I know? Why have I given up on all these things that add meaning to my life? I suppose for the same reasons most people do. Because we let life get in the way. We tell ourselves, “I’ll start on it tomorrow.” The only problem with that is Tomorrow never comes. It always turns into Today. And it’s always so hard to find the time today; there’s too much to do.

But what is passion? What does it mean?  Ultimately, our passion is what we were put on earth to accomplish. What we individually do to make and leave the world a better place. But that has been distorted and confused. We live in a world where passion has been mistaken for emotional outbursts. Look at reality television. It’s nothing but cheap emotional manipulation saturated with advertisements. The same can be said for social media outlets. Every time I scroll through a feed I go through a range of emotions. This post makes me angry. This post makes me laugh. This post tugs at my heart-strings. This post wants me to buy a new razor. And on and on. These things aren’t passions they are sleazy emotional ploys. We shouldn’t be filling our heart with them. They give our lives no meaning. In fact, they only take from us. By the time I get to the bottom of the feed, I feel empty. I usually slam my computer shut in disgust and tell myself, “Way to go, genius, you just wasted another 20 minutes of your life.” So what’s the alternative? The answer to that is easy: force a change. If you know better, do better.

We let ourselves become convinced that happiness is this false sense of security called the American Dream and we’ve sacrificed our passions on the altar of this great god called Mammon. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to believe that if we do everything according to plan, go to school, get a job, make money, get a house, fill it with shit, then we are supposed to be happy. But that’s not the case. I see more and more people unhappy with their supposed achievements. But this doesn’t necessarily mean more and more people are realizing what they need to be doing is following their passion. Too many of us are immersing ourselves in an ever-expanding myriad of distractions in order to ignore the fact that we’re miserable and unfulfilled. We are all guilty of it. We can’t really blame ourselves too much, I mean, it IS the world we were born into. But it’s not the world that we have to live in. It’s not the world that we have to leave to our children.

Things are how they are because we’ve been fooled into accepting a fiction as reality. We CAN change. We CAN refuse to accept the lie and start living in truth. But in order to do that we have to start TODAY. Are you ready? If so:

What’s your passion?

And what have you done to pursue it lately?

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This Just In: Confessions of a Ken Doll

This is truly breaking news. You may all be aware of Barbie and Ken’s divorce that happened a few years ago. I know, I know. I was shocked and saddened too. I mean, not even pretend marriages last anymore. What does it say about our culture when even our toys can’t make a relationship work? Apparently she left Ken for a younger Australian surfer named “Blaine”. Blaine. That’s the perfect name for a Barbie boo. Or for a Monotrain (for all you Dark Tower fans out there).

TJI caught up with Ken in his Hollywood apartment to discuss the release of his upcoming book, “Confessions of a Ken Doll.”

Ken’s apartment is the picture of any middle age divorcee’s state of mind: A clutter of half-empty take out boxes, empty liquor bottles and dirty laundry covering every available chair back. Ken isn’t looking much better. Shirtless and in a pair of dirty white shorts, he takes turns pulling from a can of beer and a bottle of rum. On his coffee table is an ashtray full of cigarette butts.

TJI: Thanks for seeing us, Ken. Can you tell us what happened with Barbie?

Ken: It’s not her fault. She’s never been able to resist a hard body and plastic smile.

TJI: Are you saying there were problems before the…split up?

Ken: I don’t know if I would call them problems. (He laughs and takes a huge swig of rum) Like I’m the only Ken Doll out there. Please. She messed around with every fool to step off the production line. (He shrugs) It’s just how it was. Not like she was the only Barbie out there, either. And the way that she was always running off chasing different careers…a man gets lonely, you know?

TJI: So what happened then?

Ken: It wasn’t Barbie. It was the corporation. They split us up.

TJI: Why?

Ken: I found out what they’re up to, that’s why.

TJI: And what exactly are THEY up to?

Ken: You ever wonder why Ken Dolls aren’t…anatomically correct?

TJI: I just always assumed it was for the children’s sake.

Ken: (scoffs) The children’s sake? Whatever. If they gave a damn about the children, we would’ve never gotten divorced in the first place. What kind of example does that set for the impressionable youth? Nah. The corporation doesn’t care about kids only their parents’ money. (He crushes and empty can of beer and pops open another) They were using us Kens. Experimenting.

TJI: Experimenting with what?

Ken: New lines of Barbies.

TJI: Wait, you mean that…

Ken: (nods) Yep. Ken Dolls were lab rats for Barbie’s new careers. She wanted to be an astronaut? They’d re-sex one of the Kens to try it out. If it went well, then Barbie would step in like it was her idea all along.

TJI: What do you mean by “re-sex?”

Ken: What do you think I mean? They’d adjust the proportions, add some boobs and voila! A new “Barbie” to try out a new job.

TJI: That’s disturbing. Were there any jobs that Barbie never took?

Ken: A couple. Veterinarian Barbie, for instance. Barb refused to play along with that one. She never like animals. They were too “soft and warm” for her. Plus they smelled. So the corporation started using Ruperts to fill in the shortages. Poor Rupert. I used to have drinks with him every Wednesday… (He burps loudly and says) This interview is over (before passing out).

So there you have it. Corporate conspiracy from the mouths of plastic babes. We at TJI were just as shocked as you to learn about this.

UPDATE: Ken has gone missing. When TJI tried to contact him for a follow up this cryptic message was on his voicemail: “Hey this is Ken. I can’t get to the phone right now because I’m on the roof watching Rome burn…again. Please leave your—What are you doing in here?! What do you want? No! Let go of me! I don’t want to be a WNBA star! Get your hands off me! Get hmphmghghph!” BEEEP!

Daily Wisdom-isms: The Tao Te Ching (27)

One of my favorite passages from the Tao. Enjoy!

“A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
lead him wherever he wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
and keeps his mind open to what is.

Thus the Master is available to all people
and rejects no one.
He is ready to use all situations
and doesn’t waste anything.
This is called embodying the light.

What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher?
What is a bad man but a good man’s job?
If you don’t understand this, you will get lost,
however intelligent you are.
It is the great secret.”—-The Tao Te Ching Ch. 27

What’s My Motivation?

I was talking with a good friend last night. We were discussing the American Dream. Back in the day, the American Dream is what people worked to achieve. The well-paying job they’d never lose, nice house, car, etc. is what motivated Americans to thrive. We became the greatest superpower in modern history because of it. The American Dream inspired and motivated people to create and push ever forward. It is what attracted the best and brightest from around the world. The American Dream was what made America a shining beacon.

But the American Dream was illusory or at best, temporary. Now that the bottom has fallen out from under our old motivation, what’s left? What drives America now? What keeps us inspired and motivated? What instills that need to create and achieve? The need for iThings and big T.V’s? The desire to sign your life over to your choice of corporation or government institution? Maybe our motivation lies in an overwhelming desire to sink into debt?

I’m thinking…..

And thinking….

And thinking….

And the answer is…nothing. There is literally nothing pure left to motivate us.

And that, friends, is why I’m living for a Renaissance.

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