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?