Tag Archives: samurai notebook

Be the Poet of Your Samurai Song: Samurai Mind Notebook

Be the poet of your life’s song.  Laurence Boldt, Zen and the Art of Making a Living

Create Your Own Mix

Making the music of your life is a lot easier with a samurai mind notebook.

When I first started teaching up in the South Bronx, I started to notice that some of my students had notebooks where they worked out their rhymes.   They treated these notebooks with a heck of a lot more care than the work I was giving them, but I respect that.

To create, shape, and save your words means that you get to create your vision, create your own song.   To keep a notebook is to create your samurai sword.   To review it regularly is to polish it with love.

I just hit a patch of inspirational material that has been overdue for a six month review.    At the time I was reading Zen and the Art of Making a Living and copied the best ideas and quotations.   One more time I got to hear William James say,  “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

The Samurai Mind Notebook is a way to do what James is asking.  By taking time to write ideas and inspirations into your little notebook and gently review them, you systematize on-going cultivating.   It’s like you are leaving little treats or positive “bombs” to challenge or steer you in the future.

I’m also coming across little bits of music theory in my notebook.  Lately, I’ve made a conscious decision to give less attention to music, but coming across these snippets in my samurai mind notebook is challenging that decision in a fun way.   I know that the holiday sale at jamplay.com is happening again, and I just might pull out the guitar and the five minutes a day to make it part of my song.

There are no obligations with a samurai mind notebook.   If reviews aren’t interesting to you, you can gloss over them and call it a success.   But every now and then elements and ideas pop up that want to be part of your life’s song.   Review.   Trust your joy.  Play your life’s song.

Samurai in the Cloud: Bookmark Your Life on the eCloud

The "cloud" is just one more tool to bookmark your life.  Stop worrying and let cloud.

The “cloud” is just one more tool to bookmark your life. Stop worrying and let cloud.

I resisted for the longest time but I am finally on the Kindle “cloud.”  It started with a used Kindle that I bought from a friend, and then I became a real convert when I realized that I could stay “in the cloud” through apps on my iPhone, iPad, or even my computer.

What sold me on the whole process was how I could use the cloud to stay conscious of where I am in all my various life projects.   It’s nice to be in the belly of the subway beast and be in the cloud.  Instead of looking at the skin doctor ads, I can scan a page of “What Color is My Parachute” and work towards finding a new career or re-imaging my current career.   Richard Bolles’ book is now a career searchers’ classic that emphasizes how important it is to really have a vision of what you want before you even search for a career.

Being “in the cloud” I can dip in and out of life process books and always have a constant reminder of where I stand.  The cloud is a way of bookmarking my life.

There is a relationship between my Samurai mind notebook and my cloud.   Since I put juicy quotes and ideas from the various books and projects I am working with and review them regularly (Samurai Mind Notebook),  I am regularly reminded to go back to my cloud for on going inspiration.

The Samurai notebook is a great place to get reminded of ideas.   Theoretically, I review any entry on a roughly algorithmic schedule.   This is great but sometimes it can feel a little haphazard.   Lately for ongoing work and “visioning” I’ve realized I need a more permanent place to keep track of where I am.

Though I can brainstorm in my samurai notebook, google docs is a more permanent place to put final results.  "What Color is Your Parachute" is an interesting, at times challenging way to really explore how you want to go forward with your career.

Though I can brainstorm in my samurai notebook, google docs is a more permanent place to put final results. “What Color is Your Parachute” is an interesting, at times challenging way to really explore how you want to go forward with your life and career. I am still flushing out the categories above.

Enter google docs (or whatever cloud space you like to write on).  I used my samurai notebook to brainstorm and work out some of my “Favorite Fields” using “What Color is Your Parachute.”  However, once I prioritized my favorite interests using Bolles’ system, I put it up in the cloud to be able to work at it from any point on earth.  The samurai mind notebook is more like a sketchbook, while the google docs is a more permanent yet cheap canvas.

The real canvas is my life.  All these different tools are just more ways to play, draw, and create.  Though I try to keep my feet firmly planted on the earth, I am also a samurai in the cloud.  Join me.

 

 

Take the Toys and Run!: Samurai Mind Notebook

Screen shot 2013-09-29 at 8.59.50 AM

A samurai notebook is a toy for the mind. It should have fun bits and ideas that you can run with. Play is important.  photo from unprofound.com.

I keep what I like to call a samurai mind notebook.  It is a notebook where I keep project ideas, inspirational quotations, and useful information.  I review the notebooks so that eventually everything is reviewed after 2 days, 4 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, etc.  If the ideas stop being interesting or useful to me, I cross them out.

What happens with a samurai mind notebook is that I start picking up the pieces so I can play with them again.  It’s not just review for review’s sake but also shake up my mind and give it little forgotten cat toys to play with.  When I review my notebooks not only do I review information but I also review inspiration.  I pick  up on ideas and states of mind that made me excited.   These quotations and inspiration all get another  to be “part of the conversation” of my busy life.

Reviewing my samurai mind notebook is not some dreary, rigid, self-flagellating study in obligation.  It is a chance to let inspiration and interesting knowledge become part of my mental DNA.  Steve Chandler, author of Time Warrior and a host of other transformational books wrote,  “Be conscious of your real loves.  Keep self-inquiry alive.  You don’t drop it, you include it, and align it.”   A samurai mind notebook and the scheduled reviews is one way to keep that love alive.

I often miss scheduled reviews, but the notebooks are always there to re-light little fires.  I didn’t haul of my notebooks to Japan  so I’ve recently unearthed a few notebooks and have reviewed while on the train or waiting to get a hair-cut.  Here’s a few of the tidbits I found:

  • fun questions and thoughts and inspirations from Zen and the Art of Making a Living
  • notes from a summer coaching workshop
  • random inspirational quotes
  • great ideas for teaching that I had forgotten
  • ideas for courses I am developing for my students
  • little pieces from The Little Book of Talent
  • fun and useful Japanese sentences from various books

Theoretically I would have reviewed everything on a schedule but I came across entries from six weeks ago that had only received a two week review.   That is okay.  The beautiful thing about the samurai mind notebook process is that eventually everything gets its review and a chance to play in your mind again (or be marked out and “trashed”).

Pick up a notebook.  Pick up the pieces and play.  Take the toys and run.

 

 

Fight for Your Life: Samurai Mind Notebook

Keeping obligation out of your samurai notebook is about keeping your spirit free.  There are other tools for "shoulds" but fly, fight, and love in here.

Keeping obligation out of your samurai notebook is about keeping your spirit free. There are other tools for “shoulds” but fly, fight, and love in here.

But there is Boddhidharma, fierce eyes, teeth showing, intent and determined, a free spirit who [will not accept] the propaganda of mediocrity.  He challenges you to be free enough of society to transform it for the better.   —L. Boldt  Zen and the Art of Making a Living

Nurture your minds with great thoughts.  To believe in the heroic makes heroes.   –“All About The ” Benjamin(z) Disraeli

Sometimes in life you need to battle the “dark forces.”  You need a weapon.  You need a battle strategy.  You need to reexamine your tactics in a world that isn’t necessarily out there to bring out the best in us.  You need a de-programming device that helps you center your mind.   You need to become a beacon to others by becoming a beacon to yourself.  You need your trusty, dusty samurai mind notebook.

As I’ve been playing around with keeping notebooks, I’ve come to rely on them more.   A samurai mind notebook is a place where I keep the thoughts and knowledge that I want to have kicking around in my mind.  It’s the place where I put snippets of knowledge or forward moving quotes that will be there to lift me up and change my climate of thoughts.   They have a longer-lasting impact as I playfully review them on a regular basis.  (You can have notebooks to work out problems, complain, etc and that is awesome but the samurai mind notebook works better when it is positive, silly, useful, and fun.  Get a “working it out notebook” if you need a space for that.)

I don’t necessarily believe you should become a positive thinking machine.   You will have your feelings and you will feel suffering, but what will be out there/in there for you through that and after that?  The television news?  Keeping a notebook allows you to create your own channel of information of skills, thought, jokes (?), whatever you want to move forward in your life.  Read through my different posts about keeping a notebook, but here are some powerful uses for my notebook that I’ve recently discovered:

My notebook is a place where I can re-enjoy the marrow I’ve sucked out of good books and resources. If I buy a $20 book I can multiply the value I get from the book by putting the ideas that make me stop and think into my notebook.  As you review, if the knowledge still makes you “tingle” rewrite it in your latest notebook.  That forward moving thought or inspiration gets reinforced.

My notebook  is a place where I put little mechanical skills that I used to  feel would never become a part of me.
Sometimes there are little blocks of knowledge or skill that can help you create and play.  If you put it in your samurai notebook, in small digestible bits, those bits can become more of you.   For example, I am going through a music theory book for guitarists and wrote down some information on compound meter.  Do I have that concept nailed?  No.  But as I come across it more and more, it becomes part of the conversation.

Random Collection of Notebooks.  Samurai notebooks help keep me inspired, searching, while at the same time keeping me anchored.

Random Collection of Notebooks. Samurai notebooks help keep me inspired, searching, while at the same time keeping me anchored.

Keep in mind that your notebook is not a place for obligation.   Don’t write anything in there that you feel you “have to.”   As you review, you can skip over parts that don’t rock your boat.  Your samurai mind notebook is your weapon, your tool, your de-programming device.   Though it can be physically messy, keep your notebook gleaming and shiny with your love.

Notebooks and Podcasts, Oh My: No Music for The Samurai

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you may know that I dropped my iPhone into the toilet.  I now have a replacement but being the iGenius that I am I still haven’t figured out how to load my music from my aging computer to my iPhone.   Life is rough and whenever I get in front of the computer at home my children claw at me to watch a Japanese cat jump in the box or to add another million hits on Gundam Style.  (My bilingual children seem to be learning Korean.)

Keep hope and information at your fingertips.  I try to fill samurai notebooks only with useful and inspirational information.  Sometimes I run into great quotes or plans that change my trajectory.

Keep hope and information at your fingertips. I try to fill samurai notebooks only with useful and inspirational information. Sometimes I run into great quotes or plans that change my trajectory.

While I’m hunting for the great Snow Leopard that will help me solve my music issues, I am relying more on other tools.   Notebooks and podcasts, oh my!   Since the iPhone drop incident, I’ve started to spend a little bit more time with my samurai notebook.   These are little notebooks that I put interesting and positive ideas and supposedly review on schedule.   (Two days, four days, 1 wk, etc).   I recently just reviewed a notebook that I won’t have to review again until 2015.  The nice thing about real notebooks is that you don’t need to worry about software updates, etc.    What inhabits my latest entries in my notebook:  the number of kanji I am studying (2893), fun snippets from Study Hacks,  notes from a teacher training that were actually useful, and notes from previous notebooks that I want to keep current.

Screenshot of some of the apps that live on my iPhone, including a Japanese/Japanese dictionary.  Without music, my iPhone doesn't have a soul. :( :)

Screenshot of some of the apps that live on my iPhone, including a Japanese/Japanese dictionary. Without music, my iPhone doesn’t have a soul. 🙁 🙂

When I’m walking around I’ve been hitting up Japanese podcasts.  My current favorites are The Lifestyle Museum and 日曜天国 (Monday Paradise).   Add a few Junk podcasts and I am good to go.

However, when I finally get to my laptop or computer, I sigh and turn on the tunes or the youtube music I’ve collected.   Music is so easy to work with.  Music is so much fun.  It’s why my little children are adding Korean to their English and Japanese palettes.  Hopefully, I can upgrade my computer and get my tunes back.  (Note to self:  don’t rely on one device to take your music around.)

Some fun podcasts.  If I don't understand the content, I listen to the tone of the voices and find something to enjoy.  The female voice in 日曜 is like honey.

Some fun podcasts. If I don’t understand the content, I listen to the tone of the voices and find something to enjoy. The female voice in 日曜 is like honey.  AJATT also recommends heading for the honey.

In the meantime, I’m trying to stay flexible like a true samurai, hunting the Snow Leopard, reading notebooks, listening to podcasts, and watching culturally uplifting programs like this.  I will survive.