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April 2018

Doing The Work

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OK, so let’s start with the punchline, which is simply that I am actively avoiding work while writing this blog post. But I digress …

I’m a member of many groups in Facebook of digital nomads – of which I could have

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“I’m working!” said with the same voice as a 6-year-old would say, “I’m helping!)

been labeled four years ago if such a label even existed – as well as solo traveling females, which, well, hi. These groups are a big mix of men and women, young and old, seasoned and green. The latter often ask questions like, “I’m still in school and I want to be a digital nomad. How do I do that?” Or the slightly less open-ended, “I want to be a professional writer. How do I do that?”


Well, as a professional writer for the last 20 years, I can tell you the answer. If you want to be a professional writer, the first thing you have to do is write. You have to actually sit your ass on a chair and do the work. You can’t be a writer if you do not, in fact, write. Getting paid is the second level of work. In order to get paid to write, you have to hustle. You have to reach out to editors, post your own content (hi again) and get an education that provides you the skills for better writing. You have to read a lot and think about ideas and the way to describe how life unfolds in front of you. You have to actively do everything you can to be a professional writer if, in fact, you would like to be a professional writer.

Usually, that’s not the answer most of those greenies want to hear. Like everyone, they want to take a magic pill and transform magically into whatever you wish to be. But it

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I don’t remember Jack and the Beanstalk being so bad ass, but here you have it. Remember, “magic seeds” are part of a fairy tale.

doesn’t work like that, now does it.


I just started jogging again. I’ve done it pretty regularly for the last two weeks, and I even bought a pair of trainers and running shorts, which I wear for the 30 sweatiest minutes of my day. I’ve done this good habit long enough now that I can write it down. See, I’m a jogger. I can’t just buy a pair of running sneakers and say that I want to be a jogger. Gosh, how can I become a jogger, one of those people who don’t look like they are dying while shuffling their feet down my block? Because no one wants to be these red-faced losers – no, we want to be fit joggers! How ever could you possibly become one of those people? Here’s a hint: Jog.

So, faithful The Lovelight Project readers know that I’m a big believer in the fact that “The Universe Provides.” This, by the way, is different from The Dude Abides. It really does. Here’s an example. This morning, I was making my daily scroll through Facebook as probably everyone (except my Dad and Stephan, who gets his first, requested shout-out in my blog!) who is reading this. My friend Savannah posts a random video about how great jackfruit was. It reminded me that there was a jackfruit tree in the backyard, and it had been raining a lot. In fact, I need to add after my last “I’m so f-ing awesome” post, I ended up trudging 20 very wet minutes in a downpouring rain from the bus so there. Well, anyway, I look outside, and there’s a huge jackfruit on a low-hanging branch.

But – here’s the point. I still had yet to enjoy the Universe’s gift of a jackfruit. I first had to


Me and a jackfruit, which is really heavy, I might add. 

get a stool that I could stand on to reach that branch. I had to walk outside my gate around the corner where the tree was overhanging and position the stool cautiously on the uneven ground (Ha! No Obamacare for me! I’m a functional ex-pat!), climb up and use clippers to cut the thick stem of the jackfruit. I had to make sure it wouldn’t fall to the ground and split, and then I had to brush a gazillion ants off me (jackfruit are SUPER sticky, by the way). I had to go back to the house, retrieve a bucket and fill it to the brim with water. I had to lug the bucket back to the ant-covered fruit and dunk it in the water. I carried it back to the house, washed the ants off, washed my shoes and then the bucket (did I mention jackfruit are really sticky?) and soon, I have to take a knife to the fruit to expose the amazing meat-replacing goodness found inside.

In other words, I had to do the work. I wanted to eat jackfruit. That’s one way to do it. Sure, I could have biked to the market and bought some pre-cut pieces of jackfruit laid out quite nicely on a little plastic tray – but I’d have to pay for it. I bet you can see where I’m going with this.

Look, sometimes a bird will drop a magical holy breadcrumb into your praying hands, you eat it and then suddenly your dreams of having a baby come true when you give birth to Hanuman, the warrior monkey god. But Hanuman’s mom, Anjani, was doing the work. She was praying. She was actively looking deep in herself and living in such a way that the gods would bless her. She wasn’t sitting on a couch eating a bag of potato crisps/chips wishing she could be fit enough to job around her mildly hilly Malaysian neighborhood without dying. She made it happen.

That’s right! It’s not the Universe making it happen. It’s actually you. Maybe it’s God working inside of you, maybe not – you get to figure that part out. In fact, you get to figure everything out. So, what magical thing are you going to make happen next?



This morning just flowed! I slept in – completely ignoring my alarm, which I set only because if I want to work out before the wickedly hot sun crests over the mountains behind my tropical home, I better get up. But it was overcast, so it was no big deal to exercise an hour and a half later.

And boy that work out was awesome! I have this high intensity interval training routine, which I do along with just simply jogging around my minorly hilly neighborhood, and

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Me post-work out. I try to sweat every day … not hard in Malaysia.

there are rounds of jumping jacks, crunches, squats, leg lifts, dips, push-ups and burpees. The goal is to accomplish as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes. I’m around 2.25 rounds, and I’m getting better each time I complete it.

After that, I took a quick shower and called a Grab, which delivered me for $3 on time and with pleasant conversation to my yoga class, which I now get to take for free because I am subbing for a few classes there and teaching a workshop. It was a great class, taught by my new friend Gwen, who is a pro at opening up the side body and got deep in my hips that were screaming at me for doing those squats.

From there, I strolled to the pharmacy – I walked a few blocks with the other woman in class, and I happened to save her not once, but twice from being hit by a car. At the pharmacy: No problem, here’s my prescription for $4. Onward to the copy place to make flyers for my yoga workshop, and I needed an ATM. No problem. One was on the way, and the people at the copy place were really nice and even gave me a discount.

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Come to my workshop! Click here for the Facebook event! 

Back to the yoga studio, I gave them a color copy of my flyer (cost me 39 cents) and then strolled over to the bus stop, where the minute I approached a bus immediately appeared. I had correct change ready as I told the bus driver “Tanjung Bungah” with such a normal tone, it was like I lived there for more than two months. I got a seat and pulled out some candied tamarind, which I had bought en route along with a jasmine tea for a snack. I got off the bus at the correct stop, walked home and as I was unlocking the door, it started raining.

And just like that, I was flowing through my life … without stress, worry, anxiety or anything but a smile on my face.

My friend Mary taught me a specific usage of this term, but in a bit of a sarcastic way. She told me that when she’d misplace her keys or couldn’t feel like she was getting it together, would say, “FLOWING!” This would remind her of divine timing and guidance, and it would relax her. Kinda like, “Serenity NOW!”

Flow is a big part of my life, well before I hooked up with my former bandmates of Intercoastal Swell. The whole vibe of that band was to simply flow with art and the music, that the journey was the destination, that life was better when you simply relaxed into it. Well, here I am, years later, flowing.

I’m currently housesitting in a very peaceful spot in Penang, Malaysia. I’ve been here about two months, and I’ve traveled enough to realize it take about a month to six weeks

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My chill spot with a big yard with interesting and constant birdsongs

to really understand an area. There’s always that phase where I’m pulling out my app and wondering if I’ve headed in the right direction. My sense of direction is not amazing, but my ability to read a map is fierce.

Since that time adds up when you move every few months (or less), I’ve come to enjoy the time when the flow isn’t quite as pronounced as it was this morning. Today, I was whisked away on a white cloud, floating from Point A to Point B without a worry in mind. Everyone I saw (except Gwen!) was a stranger (Oh, I did see the guy who was sweeping the streets from the Grab car window. Yesterday, I let him use my bathroom). And yet I was completely comfortable.

So, what make comfort? I have a particularly low level of anxiety. You may wonder how.

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The KOMTAR government building: The best landmark in Georgetown with the best name

That in itself is something I think about, because the woman whose house and cats I’m caring for has a substantial collection of books about winning at the art of negotiation, getting your way, reducing anxiety and worry and basically winning at life. I had previously read Eckhardt Tolle during a difficult phase after a tough break up, but I’m really good – I’m flowing!

This doesn’t happen by accident! You have to practice flowing. You have to learn to be comfortable rooting in the ever-moving water. You have to set yourself up for success. Maybe that means CBD oil, maybe yoga or breathwork. In the short term, you have to study the maps, look for the landmarks and see the signs to point you in the right direction. You have to find your own divine timing and divine guidance without fear and with love. Your flow is your own.

So … are you ready to flow with me?