W hy ‘Re-Invention’ and not just ‘reinvention?’ Because reinvention is a craft, a gradual process that shapes identity by adding and subtracting all the day to day influences received from family, friends, co-workers, and the media that we consume. But Re-Invention is an Art, because it is a psychological & spiritual process that requires our complete attention and focus on the essential beliefs that drive us; and a commitment to alter any belief that blocks the free flow of our creative expression & will.
“The Art of Re-Invention” is about conscious alignment with our spirit, our psyche, our fellow beings, and our world. It is essential to living a wonderful life, and gives us the precious gift of being at one with ourselves and our environment.”
An Olympics of the Mind
Last night I woke up at 3AM with this Winter Olympic thought skating through my brain: To be a champion in any endeavor requires constant training and an absolute dedication to excellence. Then my subconscious connected the dots by adding: This fact is also the heart of The Art of Re-Invention. Our beliefs shape how we express our unique gifts – how we approach the sport of living – and our personal excellence depends on how deeply we understand the connection between belief and action.
B eliefs are the OS that runs your life program. If your life is full of spinning balls and broken links, it’s a warning sign that your beliefs need serious debugging. You are a born champion, and no matter how badly you’ve been coached in the past, you have the ability to tap your ‘Inner Expert’ to re-invent how you perform. Trust yourself, you’ve got this.
The training part is simpler, just look at what you believe and the actions you take. If the connection is strong and feels right to you, great, you’re headed for the podium. Look at each of your beliefs. Do they ring true? Give you the freedom to soar? Fill you with a feeling of power and purpose? If not, it’s time to ask your Inner Expert for help.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Introducing Your Inner Expert
Since you live in a modern world with it’s swirl of complicated relationships and tech driven bells & whistles, you have acquired a brain full of mad skills that you probably take for granted, and your Inner Expert is one of them. Your Inner Expert is the subconscious driver of all your desires, and the prime mover of your most cherished dreams. It nudges you with intuition, guides you into moments of serendipity, and uses synchronicity to attract energy & resources that power all your creative pursuits.
“Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself… His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and to live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one’s own inwardness.”
― Hermann Hesse
We are the builders of dreams, and every job we do, however simple, is an essential tile in the mosaic of a dream being fulfilled. Step back and look at the big picture of your life. Can you see all the times your Inner Expert lead you toward opportunities by syncing your needs to the needs of others? Now pick out the most powerful connections and remember what you thought and felt at the time. This will show you how your expert communicates with you. Do you see a pattern developing? Good, now ask yourself how you can make the process easier, and tap into all the resources that my Inner Expert has to offer.” And once you do, be prepared to welcome a positive flood of inspirational goodies into your life.
“Nothing comes unannounced, but many can miss the announcement. So it’s very important to actually listen to your own intuition rather than driving through it.”
― Terence McKenna
Embracing the “Scary”
Change can be scary, but that’s only because we fear that by changing ourselves, we’ll lose the many comforts that protect us from “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” To change is to step up and out, to seek the limelight and take center stage in our own lives. Heck, I’m getting butterflies just thinking about it. But hey, butterflies are great, because with each flutter they’re telling you that you’re ideas are taking wing.
“If you are under the impression you have already perfected yourself, you will never rise to the heights you are no doubt capable of.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro,
The Scary can also be thrilling. We love scary movies and stories because they tap into our collective need to face our fears and defeat them. Just look at one of our favorite cultural tropes “Zombies.” They shamble along, shedding humanity with each strip of decayed flesh, and seek brains like a nightmare version of Baum’s ‘Scarecrow’ from “The Wizard of OZ.” But the Zombies can’t get to you if you’re smart & vigilant, they’re too slow. And you’ve already got that certificate from the Wizard that shows how brilliant you are, so stop shuffling and start embracing the Scary.
“If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgement of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.”
― Marcus Aurelius,
The Magic of Re-Invention
The great Magician & Escape Artist Harry Houdini, (Erik Weisz) was born in 1874, the fourth son of Rabbi Mayer Weisz in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. When he was four his family immigrated to the United States, and finally settled in New York City in 1887. Erik Re-Invented himself as a Magician in 1891, re-naming himself “Harry Houdini”: ‘Harry,’ an homage to American Magician, Harry Kellar; and ‘Houdini’ after reading French Magician, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin’s autobiography. Harry struggled with poverty, prejudice and failure – trapped in a prison of circumstance – until his Inner Expert inspired him to become ‘An Escape Artist.’
“My chief task has been to conquer fear. The public sees only the thrill of the accomplished trick; they have no conception of the tortuous preliminary self-training that was necessary to conquer fear, no one except myself can appreciate how I have to work at this job every single day, never letting up for a moment. I always have on my mind the thought that next year I must do something greater, something more wonderful.”
– Harry Houdini
It’s fitting that Houdini would become the most famous Escape Artist of all time. He escaped the anonymity of his humble beginnings by Re-Inventing himself, and electrified the collective imagination by artfully escaping the harsh socio-economic realities that he and his adoring public faced. But Harry Houdini’s greatest achievement, was showing us all what a single man can accomplish thru an imaginative, driven, intuitive desire to change. Look closer at his picture, can you see the ghost of a smile inviting us to join him, I know you do. So if you’re feeling trapped, take a cue from HH and escape into a more powerful Vision of You.
“I am stone and steel of your sleeping numbers;
I remember all you forget.
I will die as many times
as you make me over again.”
― Carl Sandburg,
Mapping your Psyche
I’m going to address my duties as your ‘Virgil’ by giving you a look at the territory of ‘beliefs’ that bind us, so let’s start at the Icy/Hot mindscape of “The Inferno.”
1 • Inferno: No, not a disco inferno, though the late great Donna Summer certainly burns bright above, I am referring to the circular ‘false’ beliefs that cause an infernal ruckus in your psyche. When a false belief is in action your creative power is frozen, and the only way to free it, is to face each one of those beliefs – and un-believe them. I used to believe that I would never be free of the mistakes of my past, but when I chose to un-believe it, the mistakes just became lessons learned.
2 • Purgatorio: Is the space between belief and un-belief. It’s where your conscious mind interferes with putting your positive beliefs in action by sowing the seeds of confusion and doubt. It’s also the place where you vacillate, worry, and fret over imagined outcomes, and “…cough(s) when you would kiss.” as poet W.H. Auden brilliantly put it. You get past the Purgatorio by feeling your feelings, moving past them, and following your intuition into direct, focused, action.
3 • Paradiso: Every time your actions sync with your positive beliefs, you’re in The Paradiso. Every time you consciously choose love & understanding over anger & ignorance, or take a stand to support a belief that makes your world a more enlightened and joyous place, you are creating moments of Paradise. And the more you practice this Paradise building, the bigger your Paradise grows, and the more accomplished your “Art of Re-Invention” becomes – because true Paradise is being fully and completely, yourself!
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
― André Gide
Re-Inventing your Art
Do you need more practical advice? Okay, let’s work from the outside in, and start with a new haircut, or style, that accentuates your vision of the new you, then go shopping or mine your existing wardrobe to create the ‘Look’ you want to project. Image isn’t everything, but it’s powerful none the less. Add a hat, or any accessory that sends a message, then step back and look in a big mirror. Like what you see? Good. Now feel the feelings that are coming up, and pull on those emotional threads until you unravel the mystery of why you feel what you feel. I promise it’s there, waiting in the center of the labyrinth that you’ve carefully constructed to protect it.
“I will come back to you, I swear I will; And you will know me still. I shall be only a little taller than when I went.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay,
The Art of Re-Invention is part past, part present, part presence, and an total act of pure grace. The goal of every artist is to discern and present the truth as they see it. See yourself clearly, keep digging deeper, and celebrate by seeking out your fellow life artists, because the stronger your connections, the more complete your Re-Invention is. Just make sure all your influences align with your vision and keep dancing.
“I suppose I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge upon hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person. But these seemingly fragile people are the strong people really.”
― Tennessee Williams
The Instruments of Artful Re-Invention
When I listen to Neil Young & Bruce Springsteen, two of my favorite Patron Saints of Re-Invention, I’m reminded that everybody has a favorite instrument. What’s yours? It could be your body, mind, or creative spirit, or it could be a guitar, a laptop, a phone, or anything that expresses your truth. If you don’t have one, I urge you to look to your own patron saints for guidance, because influences reveal resonances. Once you find it, just start playing, and let your creativity take you into the great known/unknown. The depth of your expression is the truth you’re seeking.
“Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Stepping Stones of Re-Invention
I see the Art of Re-Invention as a journey that leads us across a stream of consciousness, to reach our better selves. So in that spirit, here are the three stepping stones you’ll need to get there:
1 • Check your Beliefs – Review everything you believe and eliminate any belief that is holding you back, then invent new ones that support your innate power, your creative dynamism, and your extraordinary spirit.
2 • Create a Vision – Build a new & improved vision of who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish, and create a practical step by step vision plan to achieve each goal you create.
3 • Play it to the bone – Practice being the new you 24/7 in every area of your life. Spread the love, inspire others, and allow your Inner Expert to intuitively guide you until your vision blossoms into a fabulous reality.
The more you practice each step, the more Artful your Re-Inventioneering becomes…
“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
― Alan W. Watts
A few ‘Not So Final’ Thoughts
The secret sauce here is understanding that the ‘Re’ in Re-Invention, is ‘Revealing’ your true self in all it’s magnificence; and the ‘Invention’ is the Art of applying that true self to everything you are & do. You may feel uncomfortable as you create your new reality, because replacing comfortable beliefs with new & untried ones will take time to get used to. So remember to be kind and gentle to yourself & others and allow your Inner Expert to imbue you with the courage to sustain the change.