#37: When is it time to quit?
A Musing on impermanence and what is worth doing
As a writer, I do not want you to quit reading this email until you have made it all the way to the very end.
I can promise you wisdom, entertainment, or knowledge. I can try all sorts of tricks such as cliff hangers to keep you scrolling down. I can tease you and appease you, but ultimately….
You will only continue reading if you are yearning for something, deep inside you, that you believe can be found here.
So what is it in this email that wants to be discovered by you?
Question of the day: What is the last book that you finished till the end? Let me know in the comments, or reply to this email. Please add how long it took you to finish it, and whether it is was audio, kindle or paperback!
🌟 Featured Content from January🌟
An Ode to Heartbreak is live every week. Only some of you seem to love poetry, and so it’s good to come back to writing this newsletter!
Here is the most popular post so far from An Ode to Heartbreak which I released here on Jan 1st. (Check out the reflections and meditation in the audio).
Also last month we launched Season 2 of the Gumpcast with this episode about Nationalism
🍿 Up Next in February 🍿
💔 More poems for this month of Valentine’s from Ode to Heartbreak. We are still in the Pain section. Sex and Healing are to follow, so those of you that stick with it shall be rewarded (or at the very least entertained)!
👂 A new Gumpcast episode about our relationship to Gender will be released this week! Trust me, you do not want to miss this one.
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💡Musing #37 : When is it time to quit?
In the past four years, I have had to call it quits with a job, a country, a bunch of friends, a team, a project, a marriage and a video series. The more I quit things, the more time and fuel I seem to have for my creativity to flow.
Of course, we can’t always afford to quit, and sometimes we need to put our heads down and keep on keepin’ on. But that is not always in our best interest. As someone who has been a doctor, I was taught to bulge through brick walls, and save patients at any cost (including -and not limited to- my sanity).
It seems to pervade our thought like a stale old smell: Do not quit! They tell us. A marriage that is not working, a job that is not aligned, a place that we don’t like being in.
Quitting is still associated with something negative. Others seem to prefer us to suffer like them. It creates bonds.
Life tends to reward me when I quit
Medicine was the first thing I quit, and the space for things to happen in my life because of that one decision, has made my life beautiful in ways I could not even imagine.
Since then, life seems to reward me every time I quit something.
I am currently reading Murakami’s Vocation as a Novelist, and he writes about how there is a ‘mysterious characteristic’ that keeps people writing novels for a very long time. I am also dipping my toes in Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act, and he talks about how creativity is like rain falling from Source to the vessel which is us.
If we are full, then we don’t have time to receive the idea that wants to be created through us.
“some ideas may resonate, others may not.
A few may awaken an inner knowing you forgot you had.
Use what’s helpful.
Let go of the rest.”
Rick Rubin, The Creative Act
Working on the novel, feels like a plant that wants to grow, and it just needs me to give it sun, water and air.
I do not create the plant.
I can not predict how it will grow.
I do not decide what its’ leaves colors are going to be.
All I can do is take care of it, keep maintaining it, and learn/read more about growing plants. That is my current mindset with writing a fiction novel. I water it every morning, and detach from the outcome every evening. That keeps it fun and energizing somehow.
But what if we all quit?
There is a question that is begging to be answered here: What if we then start quitting everything when it gets hard? What if the world quits all of its jobs? What if the farmers stop growing food? What if artists give up on the music and novels that are yet to be written? What if parents quit on their children? What if the doctors stop healing us? What if the teachers stop educating us? Etc.
What if we become a world of quitters. That is not too far fetched with more people quitting their jobs than ever before.
To be frank, I have thought of quitting the novel many times. However, it did not feel energizing for me to quit. As a matter of fact, I am energized the more I work on it. So by putting it to the test of quitting, I realize that it is important not to quit. This gives me gumption for it.
This whole Gumption project seems ridiculous sometimes.
Why am I creating a podcast, writing a novel and publishing poetry? I really have no idea. I just want to do it so bad!
I want to be here with you.
I want to be writing this very word.
I want to put these Gumpcast conversations out.
I realize that it is all worth doing for me. I realize that I really want to work on it. I realize that it really wants me to work on it. In some weird metaphysical way, the story and I, belong to each other.
Do you and your idea belong to each other?
So some doctors, farmers, teachers, musicians, novelists, parents and shamans belong to the profession, and most others don’t. Some tech entrepreneurs find an idea that is very likely to fail, but they have the ‘X factor’, and find the right moment in time to make it succeed. Many others fail.
Instead of yearning, and creating a goal around your next endeavor. I invite you to think about whether you and that project actually belong to each other.
The question is not whether you will be successful.
A better question is: does this thing want to happen through you?
You’ll notice there are at least three factors:
2- The project/creation/relationship/job/song/story…and
3- Everyone else in the world that might belong to that project more than you.
We are taught to yearn for things and optimize for winning. What happens when we optimize for a larger feeling of belonging, and instead of working harder, quit the things that we do not naturally belong to?
What does gumption actually feel like?
If you belong, then you will feel invigorated by the thought itself, amused by its potential, and you will have that feeling in your heart that you are in the right place and at the right time to do it.
That is Gumption.
There is no second guessing in gumption.
/ˈɡʌmp.ʃən/ the ability to decide what is the best thing to do in a particular situation, and to do it with energy and determination
Sometimes, our ‘vessel’ is so full of thoughts, and our calendars so jammed with events, that we do not have the capacity to find that belonging in our work and life.
If that is the case, we need to quit something (small- such as a dinner or big- such as a relationship) in order to find that which we really belong to. It is ok if the job is just about money, it is a utility that helps you belong more. It is ok if a relationship is not good for you, it is teaching you a lesson. But ultimately, we all yearn for belonging, and anything worth doing gets us closer to that feeling.
When we are with things we belong to, we do not doubt our belonging to them. We flow freely with that feeling over the moon and bounce on the clouds. We are in the dream of the creator, and nothing can stop us from being sparkly stars we all are.
And that all happens for a little time, until it is no more.
And that my dear, is what I will leave you with.
Remember that we will quit this life one day
The last thought on my mind today is from the Tibetan book of Living and Dying:
The realization of impermanence is paradoxically the only thing we can hold on to, perhaps our only lasting possession.
In the end we all quit our thoughts,
and our lives.
We stop belonging to this life, and this is the only thing we know for sure.
You and I will both quit living one day.
So while you are still here, what is worth doing and filling your living moments with?
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🙏 Sunday Gratitude 🙏
Today’s gratitude goes out to homeboy and creative genius Omar El Deeb, who continues to nourish my ability to create audio content in many ways. Check out his work in the link. He’s brilliant and he lives in LA for those looking for music composers and producers.
🫀 Stayin’ Alive…Stayin’ Alive 🫀
My habits are back into full throttle after a shaky few months. I am back to morning Qi Gong, Intermittent Fasting, Exercise and writing every morning. The more I do those, the less I want to smoke. I also read a page of the Tibetan book of living and Dying and contemplate death in the morning. It is actually pretty nice to do that. Try it.
This is all giving me energy and time to write. I am excited to let you know that I am close to a finished Draft 2 of the novel. I also have a new name for it that I will announce later.
I am also working on a new brand for this project and will announce it soon.
I have recorded all the Season 2 episodes now. Happy to see the team come together and pull off the second episode, 10 more to go! Trying to make each one slightly better than the previous one.
I still do the morning pages but every few days now, and have not been on an Artist Date for a while. Writing this reminds me to do so.
🚀 Gumption Booster 🚀
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Just kidding, I am here for seven more years as long as I remain breathing and alive.