Anna Deavere Smith

there is an impulse
and there is a transparency about that impulse
towards oneself & others

alignment with that impulse
is incrementally built:
the more you act on them
the more you tune into them

this is especially true in terms of interpersonal engagements

Placing myself in other people’s words, as in placing myself in other people’s shoes, has given me the opportunity to get below the surface — to get “real.”

Some people use language as a mask. And some want to create designed language that appears to reveal them but does not. Yet from time to time we are betrayed by language, if not in the words themselves, in the rhythm with which we deliver our words. Over time, I would learn to listen for those wonderful moments when people spoke a kind of personal music, which left a rhythmic architecture of who they were. I would be much more interested in those rhythmic architectures than in the information they might or might not reveal.

I wanted to get people to talk to me, in a true way. Not true in the sense of spilling their guts. Not true in the sense of the difference between truth and lies. I wanted to hear — well — authentic speech, speech that you could dance to, speech that had the possibility of breaking through the walls of the listener, speech that could get to your heart, and beyond that to someplace else in your consciousness.

variations on a theme

project yourself into the Middle Ages or ancient Rome
into another era, another continent
or another gender, another race
imagine that you are a soldier in a trench in the 1st World War
someone about to be lynched in the southern US at beginning of the 20th century

so many of us
so many lifelines
so many peculiar associations,
personal histories

..and realize
beneath the kaleidoscopic flux of personal histories
all of us share the same consciousness
the one awareness

understand that:
you are not special
Life is not unfolding for you, Life is not about you
you could be anybody
any time

Meaning, happiness
created by


anybody you walk past on the street
you could be them
living their life

witness how you judge others
witness how you distance yourself from others
admit & own it

you think that others are not so openminded as you are
you think that you are more aware and more in tune than others
guess what:
that’s what I also think
that already makes us two lol

we are part of all of us

none of us is special

all of us is specific

living a singular life
in a plural world


my mind is like an antenna
disclosing & warping the real where it tunes into
if i am disturbed by a snoring roommate
my energy funnels there
if i manage to focus on something else
(the sensations in my feet, say)
my attention drifts elsewhere
and i tune into another strata

Bar Magnet showing magnetic field w iron filings. studio.

you get what you give

in essence, giving is letting go
as in “fruits that have some give will have more juice than hard ones”

follow the lead of your fear

whenever your face/ego is squealing
you are on the right track
just feel it ripple through
savor it
do not feed it
simply feel it
as it burns

leverage your fear

the more fears you appropriate inside
the more successful you become outside

do not forcefeed your growth
ease into it

keep stretching without snapping
thrive on exposure
within the hormetic range

Tony Robbins

one of my favourite ideas from Tony:

The truth is, what you get will not make you feel good, but learning how to change your state of mind in a instant will. After all, why do you want what you want? Isn’t it because you believe the ideal mate, children, money, etc., will make you feel better? But when we finally have those things we’re pursuing, who’ll make us feel good? We do it to ourselves. Why wait? Do it now!

reps & sets, till the end

be a winner: be real
give your best shot
every single set
play to win
not in order to impress
but to express
no matter where you happen to be at
no matter how weak or lame
or feeble or awkward
give your best shot
every single set

put yourself on the line
without guilt or anxiety
over expressing your personality freely
without guilt or anxiety
over giving your gift


there is a point beyond which
openness is but an excuse to be lazy

Jim Rohn paired it with thoughtfulness:

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”