This is the hand of a Man of Passion.  The fingers of a Farmer.  Well, not just any farmer.  Rick Bishop, a/k/a The Soil Whisperer.  I photographed this hand well before I ever met Rick.  I couldn't help myself the first second I spotted this handscape,  I KNEW it was the hand of a major Passionista.  Since I created the word, I'll share with you what it means (to me).  Passionistas are people who are not only doing what they love, they are BEING that.  And, in their fullest embodiment, they are also actually great at what they do.  Their "What" (they are doing) and their "Who" (they are) are working together fluidly.  Seamlessly.  Congruently.  Over the last few years I have been saying to anyone who will listen that I want to meet any person who is involved in a project with me at their intersection of what they love doing AND are great at.  Because that's where the magic comes from, where we are giving openly and fully and generously, excited to be able to give and receive, without keeping score.  The tapestry weaves together more seamlessly when this. happens. And, oh yeah, everybody seems to win when this happens. It's quite something to experience.  The Flow state, individually and collectively.  

It is often said about people like this that "they are doing what they are supposed to do" or "God put them on the planet to do this."  All I know is that they are the lucky ones.  Meeting Rick Bishop several seasons after I first saw his fingers during potato season at the Union Square Greenmarket, and witnessing people lining up before the Market opened on a Saturday morning for his unparalleled strawberries, I came to see that Straberryman was also "my potato guy."  And the more I read about him online, and what moves him - his Why - the more I knew I needed to know him.  I had the good fortune to take Cooper and his BFF up to Rick's farm in them Catskills one Summer day, and witness the real Soul attached to those fingers be completely lost in his life.  His work.  Someone clearly not doing it for the money, while also creating the means to prosper, and share his gifts with others.  I always use Rick as a fave example of someone "doing what he's supposed to be doing."

It truly took me into my 40's to understand that this could be me.  That I could choose.  That I could create a life of intention and, at the very least, TRY to do so, regardless of where the path leads.  For most of my life, my What and Who were disconnected.  Every time I tried to fit in, or was motivated to succeed for external reasons, it consistently was unfulfilling.  Being a lawyer, with the heart and soul of an artist and an empath, is not a great match.  I could DO it, even do it well.  Yet I came to realize that I could never really succeed on my own terms (when I figured out what they actually are!!) unless I am doing what I love (and what I believe I am great at).  It's just true.  I have never been one, nor do I ever expect this to change, who can prosper by doing what I don't like, or love.  Some people can, and that's cool, we are all different.  And that is the key.  To create a match for yourself, to understand what moves you, and go for it.  As soon as we're clear, and honest with ourselves, it's our own path to carve.  No one has power over our choices like that, unless we give it to them.

I sometimes wish that I got all of this sooner, earlier in my life.  And then I come to my senses and realize the deep gratitude for having chosen to blow up some paradigms on a better late than never basis.  When I am periodically acknowledged for having been brave, or courageous for having made some of the choices I did that broke me open, and start from basically;ly scratch, I always say that I didn't do it to BE brave or courageous.  I just did what I had to do, realizing that while I may not have known where I was going, I surely knew where I did not want to be, and could not, any longer.  I had no choice.  I became someone who believed that I am a Passionista, and I don't want to live my life as anything else. M y true self.  And, all I know, my friends, is that if I can do it, struggles and all, you can too.  I am happy to be that mirror, that catalyst for others, if you want, or need, some inspiration.  You know where to find me.  


While writing is so often my balm, my therapy, my means to try and make sense of my head, my heart, my spirit and soul on any given day, in any given moment, I have come to understand that it is also a pathway for me to connect with others, and for them with themselves.  Years ago I had a blog called Man.Kind, that I did not fully nurture and develop as much as I could have.  And, as with so many experiences in life, I learned again that if we allow ourselves to approach explorations with intention and non attachment, to give ourselves permission to try, to grow, to be, to be in the process and not focused on the outcome, we give ourselves an extraordinary opportunity to learn.  About ourself, and those we touch.  When I do that, I am able to get out from the vacuum of myself and learn what others may experience from the other side of the equation.  To see what IS, not what I think it may be.

One of the key byproducts of developing Man.Kind was the consistent feedback that my willingness to expose my emotional self, especially as a man, resonated deeply, with women + men.  Especially with women.  Having never been a "typical" straight guy has provided its challenges and delights ever since I was a teen, everything from often being peppered with the question, "Are you gay?" (not that there's anything wrong with that!) to being called a Lesbian in a Man's Body.  As a male who always embraced my yin, I took all of this actually as compliments.  I was not TRYING to be anything, other than seeking authentic self-expression. For me, and not for others.   As myself, not some externally driven version.  What might the embracing of my full, individual alchemy be if allowed to shine? It's surely an ongoing unfolding and what I have come to realize is that, for me, so much of my expansion over these recent years has come from holding my yang more dearly, allowing it to rise up, and to "be a man" in my own way, from my particular perspective.  And the more I became connected to my deeper vulnerability and truth, the more I received encouragement from others.  To keep unpeeling, and to share openly.  Because we all need inspirers, it seems.  So here I am.

About 8 years ago I had a prominent literary agent (a man) who encouraged me to write a book proposal for Man.Kind.  All I can say is that writing a proposal for a memoir is way harder than writing the book itself, it's an f'in beast.  And after months of grueling effort and having my entire emotional kishkes stirrred-up fully, I handed a first-draft in.  "I don't know what to do with this," my agent said.  my eyes curled, and I looked at him with complete bewilderment.  I asked him what he thought this was going to be.  "A book teaching men about how to be a 'sensitive guy.'"  I wanted to throw-up.  Having read self-help books, and worked with a variety of teachers, I had no desire to be one in this case.

"I want to be a mirror, not a Guru," I said.  "I have no idea what to do with this," was his response.

And, the proposal has sat in the drawer ever since.  And while I have been writing, I haven't known which way to go with my writing, with starting a blog again, just to get in the flow.  My brain goes in a million directions, I can even get hung up and paralyzed on even what to call it.  On where to start. on how to begin.  And then, of course, it became obvious.  That there's no place better than the present.  As Dr. Seuss said, "today is the day..."  On some level I have this whacked out notion that aspects of my life would not even begin until I started actively and consistently writing again.  So here I am.  As a Mirror, not a Guru.  I am committed to exploring the questions, not the answers.  The types of explorations that I hope will inspire people to engage in conversations - with me, with themselves, with those in their lives.  I am not here to tell people what to do, or to follow any rules or guidelines or specific paths to their own fulfillment, or journey.  If "this is how I did it" is a catalyst for someone else's transformation or shift, or it serves as a validation of any sort, I could not be more pleased.  I am writing to write, not for an outcome, for myself or others.  Like what I do with a Bagel, I am Scooping Out, to make room for the good stuff.  Whatever that may be.