There was a time when people used to write on paper, with those things of the past called “pens” or “markers” — or even pencils, mind you, long before the virtual dinosaurs arrived.
7 months ago, while going through my prehistoric life archives, I found a little treasure made of post-its and sharpies… (I’ve always loved sharpies — great for temporary moustaches.) But, over time, with all my gadgets, life extensions & devices + only a few hours to breathe a day, I’ve started sacrificing romance for efficiency. I’ve drifted from the way to Mordor, Gandalf… sorry.
And since that lucky day, I began carrying a stack of post-its and some pens & markers with me at all times, waiting for the right idea to reignite my digitalized neurons.
I knew the basics: sticky notes could stick and I could write. But what words would I pour on them and what would I stick them to (other than my own forehead) and how and why and when and for what reason? Guide me oh spirit of the deep, I prayed.
I was also suddenly filled with an urgency to keep stretching my comfort zone every day, to stop waiting for the right time, the right circumstances, the right people and just do. And, around the same time, I happened to stumble upon a restaurant that asked for $6 pay-it-forward donations to help cover the next meal of rice & beans for those who couldn’t afford it…
I once read that kindness is a 3-way revolution: it releases more serotonin (the feel-good hormone) in the brain, in not just the Giver and Receiver but IN WHOEVER IS WATCHING THE EXCHANGE. It did it for me as I was reading about the rice & beans pay-it-forward, even before I decided to pay my $6 forward.
And so is Wisdom just another revolution — a form of Kindness to the Soul. Anything that expands the soul, stretches the mind & recycles the heart is coming from the same source and it has the same 3-win effect: on the giver, receiver and the watcher/s.
But how do you start practicing wisdom?
How do you remind yourself and your fellow creators that you are meant for more, that you must constantly evolve and be all you can be, with every breath you have? That the best things in life are moments — not things, that our better times are now — not yesterday or later, that the right people are us — not someone else, and that a bleeding heart is all we need?
A few days after the rice & beans pay-it-forward and the post-its & markers find — on January 4, 2015 AD, planet Earth, to be more exact — as I was rushing out of my hotel cave, checking out late, as usual, complaining about the time, the weather and all the worries of the world combined within my brow, something higher than me — or rather someone — and she said:
RIGHT NOW. This is your only time. Reverse the situation. Change things. RIGHT HERE. Stressed out, with luggage in your hands, and all the dreaming without doing, the talking without walking, still pending on your soul, pause everything and DO IT NOW.
I almost heard Grandpa Einstein for the fifth time that day, whispering in the back of my mind: “No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it.”
I told myself, if you can manage this skill, if you can throw it all away for just one second of truth, if you can find wisdom in the ordinary and make art with your messy everyday, you can do anything. This, this is the one lesson you must learn right now. Not later. Now.
But how does one crazy woman perform a Random Act of Wisdom in a hotel room all by herself, right in the middle of a checkout operation? Unless this woman just happens to have a stack of post-its in her pocket… and hears the maid ask in shy Spanish if she can come & clean…
So I did what any other homo creative sapiens would: “Un momento, por favor!” I yelled.
Pulled out post-its. Emptied purse. Where are the goddamn sharpies when you need them? Only a pen? Scribbled some love notes in a hurry. Cheesy pep talk, but try it — speed-enlightment is not as easy as it looks.
I wrote the first few things that came to mind. Things that belong on my own mirror. Things I, myself, need to believe again. Deep down we’re more than 99% alike. Deep down I am more you and you are me, than we could ever get ourselves to say out loud.
This is my first Post-It-Forward ever. (Pardon my sleepy face.)
And as I left those notes, something much heavier than post-its and stronger than words left me. Every time you wrap the broken pieces of you into art and send them out into the world, the weight of a thousand undigested demons suddenly drops. You peel off another layer. You make creative revolution and take another evolutionary step forward.
What else are post-it’s, sharpies, mirrors, pain & heart-it’s for?
Being present is not my favorite sport and not by far one I excel at, but it’s the closest I can get to when I used to be a bird, and the only state in which I can accomplish anything worthwhile.
But, why the running?
Well, where’s the fun in staying? “Hi, ummm… oh look, just left you something on the mirror… Fun, huh? Hot…cold, how do you take your coffee? It’s nice to meet you… Should we hug?”
Besides saving you the awkward small talk, posting-and-running adds the extra shot of creative adrenaline.
In a traditional communication model, the communication process wouldn’t be complete until the Receiver gets the Message from the Sender and forms an opinion about it.
However, with the Rise of Virtualia (the Planet of the E-Apes we’re currently stranded on), the past needs new rules to survive. Today the subject mingles with the object, the artist walks in and out of her art, the scientist becomes her own lab rat (all due apologies to rats, who don’t belong in labs). In the fragmented Age of the Impossible, of half-sentences and lost ideas, everything becomes simultaneously possible. Especially us.
Furthermore, keeping these acts anonymous (at least for their first onsite impact) reinforces our love for the doing vs. the talking, and frees us from expectations we may have about the results of our actions — aka, the receiver’s reactions.
They can love it, they can hate it, they can ignore it… I won’t know. And ignorance, in this case, is bliss. It’s changed me to write it, and post it, and run — that’s all I need to know.
Plus, then you go back to Virtualia, and get to hang it on another wall — and in doing this you extend your Random Act of Wisdom to those who will probably never walk into that one toilet that served you as inspiration. A 3-way wisdom revolution.
And why on Mirrors?
Because mirrors and false ideas of self are old friends. Because they are the first place you go to make a one-milisecond impression that usually lasts a lifetime.
Because mirrors have been lying to you for a thousand years, trying to convince you that you are merely what you see.
Because mirrors are wrong. You are more.
And what a better way to undo your old reflection and validate your brand new self, than by using art to state your truth? By laughing in the very face of any illusion that might unconsciously be keeping you prisoner and sabotaging your becoming?
So here’s a 5-step recipe to change the world:
Tip — START WITH YOU
Step 1: Write a Wisdom Note-to-Self — jot down any truth you need to hear right now, wherever you’re at, anything that your higher self is whispering to you. Heal yourself and in the process heal the world.
Step 2: Post it on any public mirror (when all else fails use walls, doors, windows, other people’s backs) — wherever it will be seen by at least one other soul.
Step 3: Take a photo of the post-it you leave behind. You can add you in the photo or leave you out — whatever angle you are comfortable with. But try to capture at least some piece of yourself in the act so you can later share it with the world. Never mind that there are 50 anxious people waiting in line to use the bathroom. Art requires sacrifice.
Step 4: Ruuuuuun! Or, politely sneak out unseen — lest they think you stole something.
Step 5: Share your post on social media. Remember, kindness is a 3-way revolution. It affects the giver (you), it affects the receiver (you AND the person who reads the post-it), and it affects the viewer (the person watching the act of kindness — or seeing a photo of it).
I accidentally walked into the men’s room once. (Who reads the signs anyway? I go by intuition)
That awkward moment when you think you’re just another happy caveman among cavemen, but then you leave your cubicle, and hey, there is some girl holding a phone + soulful post-its on the mirror + glimpses of your selfie on her screen + fifty clicks to follow.
She looks at him with crazy eyes… and then of course, she runs.
Join me! It gets lonely at hotels or elevators or in public restrooms.
I haven’t been doing this long enough to create a ripple and instead of being the one who posts, also become the one who finds the posts. The day I do, it will have come full circle.
Wisdom is one subject we never fully learned in school. And so is Love or Mindful Business 101, or Self-Healing or Art as Way of Life. Instead they taught us wars & politics, kings’ names, scandals & algebra. It’s up to us, as we awake from our lifelong slumber, to teach ourselves (as we inspire others) to live for the first time, again.
Because we’re not here to just survive, we’re here to be abundantly and effervescently alive. To leave a trace of wild and hope on every mirror of the world. Inspiration is the only cosmic force that can effectively plant the seed that will change a life and generations to come.
P.S. You can find most of my Post-It-And-Run collection from the past months in this slider.
Sometimes I get tired of mirrors & just leave them all over. Enough to lay my heart.
Have you ever practiced any Random Acts of Wisdom, Kindness or Wonder?
Let me know in the comments below.
Join me in the game-changing thrill of turning ourselves into art on every mirror of the world.
We can’t do everything. But we can do one-thing, some-thing and, ultimately, any-thing.