Updated: Mar 26
For me, the answer was shockingly YES and a truth that was a total blindside. Ouch!
I thought at the ripe old age of mid 60’s that I’d finally be able to better connect the dots. ---Be the wise sage with a life full of extraordinary experiences behind me. A viewpoint from which I’d draw to dispense the secretes of life to others. Knowing, winking, trustworthy and all crinkly like Yoda. What I discovered, however, was quite the opposite.
While in my 40s, I was fearlessly preaching to the whole country about the healing virtues of personal creativity. I was outrageous in my methods and as passionate as David going up against the Goliath that the entertainment business was in those days.
Luckily, it worked, and as a result, I got to meet the world. It brought me unbelievable experiences, which I took mental pictures of in hopes of one day drawing upon them later in the 'Yoda' days.
However, when “later” happened, the fearless bravado that came from (what seemed) an endless wellspring of inspiration, actually turned into a new kind of fear that I’d not anticipated.
You'd think, at an age when I should finally feel the freedom to risk with greater abandon and no longer care about public perception, knowing that my legacy was well cemented, that I'd be flying high. But instead, it became more about protecting that legacy. Really?
It's sooooo hard to articulate without sounding like the height of narcissism but I know many in show business who never did get their life back or, in desperation (still craving the spotlight) did some really stupid stuff. They made bad choices not realizing that they'd be remembered for the last thing they did, not the great stuff that got them there in the first place. --All very sad and very "Sunset Boulevard." Cringe! But when you think about, it's true about all of us in the last phase of our lives.
Yet, I always thought myself among the lucky who never wanted fame in the first place. It took some doing, and carful planning, but I DID get my life back...or so I thought.
I kept the profile low. I lived in remote places and worked behind the scenes as a director or on projects that kept my hand in the game. I used the internet to stay engaged and connected through my think-tank called Consortium POV. I stayed curious and on the pulse of things with great minds I’d met along the way. With their research and help I began writing my 6th book, RightSIZE UP.
So, you know? I was doing just fine. I’d survived the fame game, the Hollywood system and got back to a real life…so I thought.
I'd shed all the people who, in the past, had taken away all my obstacles.
We need those obstacles to grow. Without them we loose the strength of our faith.
Meanwhile, RightSIZS UP had mushroomed into a startling glimpse into our future. Little did I know that future was close...right now as a matter of fact.
Anyway, the RightSIZE message seemed important and something worth chronicling. But I never saw myself being part of the future it foretold other than writing about it. I'd had my time in my time.
Even so, my Consortium of friends all confirmed what history has always dictated. That really bad stuff has to happen before enough people wake up all at the same time. It’s always a power-in-numbers kinda deal. It’s the only way to pull back the drapes and let the light in, enough to reset our trajectory.
Of course, now it's like we're living in a super hero movie playing out on a huge scale...a black and white fight of good or evil. I guess too much gray can justify anything and everything until eventually the center core crumbles. I continued to write:
"...in the midst of the worst time in American politics, the sun is, in fact starting to rise just as history predicted. More blood to shed and more casualties to fall, but at least in all this divisiveness, clearer lines are beginning to emerge. Love and tolerance or power and wealth? Which side are you on?"
I wrote many an article on the art of personal creativity and the importance of continual reinvention; Tap Tap Tap. On how vital it is not to assume one's accumulated life history is still relevant.
I wrote about how wisdom isn't about knowing stuff, it's about continually asking one's self, "ok, with what I now know, what do I believe...NOW?"
Tap, Tap, Tap....I wrote all about it! AAAAAND "SEND". There, I've done my part! YAY.
"God bless you all and your brave new world," I'd think to myself, comforted that I’d had my “time” in my “time” and now “time” was for the the young.
About a year ago, I stood up straight in my bed with flop sweat—my heart leaping out of my chest.
Wait, WHAT? I’m still alive, and so why aren't I part of it? Had my so-called accumulated wisdom actually atrophied into a kind of fear-based resignation? This, from the young fearless (and evidently, far wiser) dude who preached the art of continual reinvention?
What was I saying? --That it’s too late for new dreams? Even my own?
Do dreams take energy only possessed by the young?
Is wisdom actually waisted on the old(er) because others decide we’re invisible?
Are we resigned to stay quiet because trying to cut through the white noise seems just too invasive?
Needless to say, it was a very long, long day’s journey into night.
What the hell was I waiting for? Damn it, I wasn’t ready to die no matter how much proof that my time here had been meaningful. And because we ARE accountable to the light we receive?..... Crap! This idea of deathbed comfort had now just been blown to high heavens now too. No longer could I use my default phrase when complemented. "Oh thank you. I'm happy I, in some way, inspired you." Nor the line I told my friends, "I'm blessed that I had an early hand in positive change. I can die with a quiet kind of peace now."
L,ongest story EVER, sorry. The upshot is that I realized that any modicum of "wisdom" I might have gained was being wasted, not on the young, but on the complacence of age. Enough of that! I needed to create something!
So I scraped together a few bucks, found a little nondescript shell of a place and headed for Home Depot giving myself a budget, all in, of 10K including the furniture and stock. Just start creating something! Anything!
Over the course of two months, single handedly I started to build "something." Exactly what? Well, I wasn't really sure. No crew, no professionals just me and my own thoughts, NPR blasting in the background and a lot of coffee.
I got my hands dirty.
I sawed and painted and marbleized and planned and started to dream again. I used muscles I forgot were there. Sure...my back kills every damn night I crawl home, but I’m also 10 pounds lighter and my hips don’t hurt any more.
It reminded me of something I almost forgot--that the more I worked the more energy it gave me because that's the amazing power of personal creativity. It's what inner light does. It heals the soul and with it the body too.
This time it wasn't a dream for me. I'd achieved all my earthly ambitions, beyond my wildest dreams. So, this was a place--a vessel-- for other's dreams to incubate with a little help.
In just letting creativity heal me again, slowly but surely, it give me time to piece together just exactly what it is I DO believe now.
I believe that with faith, rekindled through our personal creativity, anything is possible…again. I re-believe that we need it more now than ever… I mean right now.
After all, what good is wisdom if we’re still acting like tired teenagers--still seeking permission from people who don't matter in order to bring quality to our own lives? .
Ironically, just when we should have more than enough life experience to know that ego and fear kills, we then worry about not burning bridges or alienating people we may need as we age. So we don't rock the boat at a time when we should actually be either jumping overboard or grabbing the til.
As I chiseled up decades-old tiles, and climbed up into the rafters to hang lights I began to wonder how many other people were stuck where I just was? I thought about all those years on TV and all those letters we got (and still get) telling us how our show changed lives.
I thought, somewhere there ought to be a laboratory of sorts where lifestyle for the soul is finally taken seriously in the kindest way possible. Where we can demystify...pull back the drapes and let the light it once again. Was that what I was really building here? Not just a creative studio for myself....but a place where people could start their reinvention process a room at a time while rekindling their inherent personal creativity?
Nothing fancy, mind you. Just a place where help is there when needed. Where support rocks and judgments are outlawed and you don't have to hire an expensive designer--just pay by the hour only when you need a vision and a boost and a loving kick in the pants.
--Where personal creativity can be reignited in a safe place where people are learning, and laughing and where judgment vanishes.
Where sisterhood is alive and well.
Where people can gather together away from the crazy.
Where, for a brief moment, fears are quieted and joy rules.
Well, it's still very much a work in progress and all the "pretties" are yet to be put in place. There's still another month's work to go so it's far from finished. But, I said to myself, "why the hell not?" SAY YES!
So, that's the concept behind Lifestyle Lab
Where folks can share in the discovery that living with true authenticity and clarity is the only antidote to fear.
Because…where there is fear, there IS no creativity!
So, I’m staring there on a local level and just see what happens.
As we get up and running maybe we can share our experiences via the internet so everyone can peek in and get involved too.
Wish me (us) luck!