Winding down the year

“So this is Christmas, and what have you done?” The refrain hangs heavy on my mind. Like a stock•taking superimposed by some divine deity who is counting down the hours in my life left on this earth.

I learned a few home truths this year. I learned that I could write books and stories in my sleep, but without a strong sponsor or benefactor, they were going nowhere, unless I gave them away for free on the Internet (still an option that I am actively considering). I learned that the commercial world had burrowed deep into its foxhole in 2009 and wasn’t taking any chances on “new and enhanced” but sticking merely to “tried and true.” I learned that Social Networking is great to become famous (sure, Google me and see the number of places you can find Shane Joseph, Writer) but not necessarily rich. It takes more than blog articles, tweets, and online postings before customers will buy into your brand. I learned that the tried and true media outlets are still the most influential.

I learned that people, even those closest to me, were fallible, just as I am, and that I cannot always hold them to the high standard I hold for myself. I learned to pursue dreams and accept when they came up short in reality. I have learned that money is only given to us for safekeeping and for deploying wisely; if we fail in that task, it will be taken away. I learned about the circular nature of time – events will take place only when they are meant to; all we can do is prepare for their occurrence. And so, even though I continue to record appointments in my calendar and plan for achieving defined goals within certain time frames, I am fatalistic about their actual outcomes. I have learned that the expression “Shit happens,” really happens!

Therefore I would respond to that old John Lennon song and say that I grew wise, marginally. I grew patient. I became poorer in the pocketbook but richer in my soul. I grew older by a year. I planted a lot of seedlings in this rather fallow year, which I am hoping will bud in 2010. And I have bided my time, waiting for the next chapter to unfold.

To all of you who have been reading my blog posts, I wish you Season’s Greetings and all the very best in 2010!

4 thoughts on “Winding down the year”

  1. Hi Shane,

    The very fact that you have written and published 3 novels is itself rewarding-I’m sure you know this!

    Yes, once a goal of writing 3 novels has been accomplished one tends to think what’s next instead of stopping to chase after one goal after another and say “I will live in the NOW and live in the present and not worry about literary awards”

    As I have been reading books about Zen and getting rid of desires I wonder if this is something which one could live by in our modern times where we are conditioned to pursue our goals.

    I wonder if the mere fact that we plan in the future and look at our past enables us to have a more rewarding life?

    What do you think? Does it make sense to do away with living in the present moment and not pursue goals (looked upon as being no real as its in the future) or do you think that one should think about what’s next in the lines of increasing book sales?

    Hey have you ever taught about going on the Oprah show before she closes to promote your book?

  2. Hi Tae,
    Thanks for your response. I think that goal setting is still important – it supports our drive as humans to move forward and to feel accomplished. However, I have tried to become non-attached to the outcomes of those goals because a lot can happen in between that can produce less than desired results.
    As a child, I wanted to become an astronaut – the most I accomplished was travelling on planes 25+ times a year for over 20 years in the course of my profesional work – I never flew above 39,000 feet, unfortunately. I wanted to be a movie star and the best I managed was to become a radio and stage actor for about 7 years before leaving my native Sri Lanka. I wanted to be a pop star like Elvis Presley and the best I have made out is to sing Elvis’s songs with my dance and concert band “Think Red” doing gigs in Canada over the last 10 years. I wanted to be a writer and I have managed to see 3 books out of the 8 I have written to date come out in print so far. I hope you see the trend line here. There were many other goals that I had that I accomplished with mixed results. And there were some that I just plain failed at, because my heart was never in them, although my brain told me that I needed to accomplish them.
    As for Oprah – I believe one has to pay big money to get on her show. But if you know of a way – let me know.
    All the best in 2010 to you!

  3. Hi Shane,

    Thanks so much for sharing your life experiences-very inspirational.

    I’ve been a Zen student (Soto) for almost a decade and in practice we try to be more in the present and less away from the past and future as it with many other things leads us to suffering.

    I come from a commerce background where you know all too well about future planning using the past as a reference point. I agree that goals supports our drive to accomplish and this is what I’m faced with accomplish
    VS letting go and be in the present and when it’s time to plan I plan and try to limit the chatter.

    Why am I saying this? It seems like you’ve had a very full life of accomplishing and as the ancients say “fame and fortune are pre-determined”
    so do you think that you’ve actually ever lived in the present and fully enjoyed all your great accomplishments?

    I could say that I’ve never been present to enjoy my accomplishment as my mind has always been preoccupied with strategy.

    So, what I’m saying is that you’ve done an amazing job accomplishing and I wish when I get to be your age I could reflect in such depth as you do.

    Now about Oprah-I was watching her show once where it showed how people became an overnight success with her recommendations. What they did was they put in an inquiry about being on her show and then producers called the people involved in the inquiries and bam-success!

    If you feel that you need to take your writing to the next level-this would be it or else one would really have to be contend with getting books published with low book sales. You are so lucky!

    I have a manuscript and I would just jump up and down if I could get it published. I truly wouldn’t care if it didn’t hit the best sellers list-not saying that you do- I dream of just getting published.

    Now it seems like to be “famous” you would also need to be on a reality show.

    I look forward to seeing how things unfold for you and I wish you the very very best of luck!

    You’re doing an awesome job and please continue to succeed!


  4. Thanks again for your kind encouragement. I prefer to journey rather than to arrive, therefore it is harder for me to sit back and revel in my accomplishments, although I do acknowledge them.
    A wise man once told me that “Luck is the product of hard work” and so I continue to employ my shoulder to the wheel, hoping that one day I will be lucky.
    I will take your advice however and mail Oprah & Co. a copy of my latest book – I’ve got nothing to lose, except perhaps the cost of the book and postage.

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