Catalyzers!

2017 has now made good on it’s threat to arrive. This past holiday weekend, I ended this crazy year by seeing two stunningly beautiful movies in the space of three days – a rare treat! As a public service announcement, I recommend them both highly, along with Metacritic and zillions of other people.

The first was “La La Land,” a love letter to LA, old movies, the “mess we make” as artists, lovers, humans. The colors in this movie deserve their own Oscar, especially green, which has never been more brilliant and versatile. And don’t get me started on the dancing, the original songs, or the impeccable timing, comic and otherwise, of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. This movie was just ART. No other way to say it. It was one of those pieces of finely crafted stuff that makes me think I should be working harder, at everything, and inspires me to do just that. The opening scene alone makes a good case for creativity,  and bloated movie budgets, if not highway travel.

The second was “Moana,” which I agreed to see with my daughter after the requisite amount of whining I do about every new animated Disney film she drags me to. Well, hats off to my wise daughter for getting me into that room. “Moana” is pure magic. You could watch it with the sound off and still enjoy the ridiculously beautiful scenery of the most luminous water that’s ever been seen or depicted. Ever. But don’t do that, because you’ll miss the great, hilarious songs written by Lin Manuel-Miranda (apparently he wrote another show called “Hamilton” which has done pretty well on Broadway, I hear). I’m so glad I saw “Moana,” which carried a beautiful message about restoring the earth to health – without being preachy for one minute. How many art directors and artists does it take to create such a gem? Hundreds, I’m sure. Go see it.

Watching these two movies (or maybe I should call them films, as they’re so damn good?), I felt like a puppy rolling in pillow fluff. I literally can’t believe how good these movies were, how good SO many things seem to be these days. Every Wes Anderson film also makes me swoon – every meticulously arranged frame is a painting unto itself. And now there’s actually TV so good, it’s to be avoided at all costs if we want to remain productive. So far, I’ve resisted the charms of “Game of Thrones” and “Sense 8.” But I succumbed with gratitude to “Orange is the New Black” and “Transparent.” Thank you, Netflix, for making TV shows so outstandingly GOOD, and commercial-free. Signed, Fluff Puppy.

And then there are gourmet food trucks, grocery store sushi, and craft beer – oh my! The choices we have amongst fabulously delicious and refined things is endless and overwhelming. How will I live long enough to learn all about IPAs and bulletproof coffee (whatever that is)? And clothing! Finally: everything sparkles, as it should. Fabric has never been more interesting, more affordable, and you can design and print your own!  Wait, what? Why did I go to art school to learn that?

So, I find myself wondering, how can so many things be so excellent, and others be so, um, horrifyingly BAD?

We don’t have to go far to find extreme poverty, extreme violence, fake news, extreme arrogance, extreme fear. And let’s not forget extreme communication, afforded us by our extreme ingenuity, and how that has led us to the fake news thing. Are we human folk getting too smart for our own good? Are we evolving too quickly to be wise, to be good stewards of our own world? Probably.

So, here we are, in the age of extremes. I’m wondering: how can I be extreme this year,? What is my A game and what does it look like? What will it mean to do my very best right now, and what will it take? I haven’t settled on all my answers yet (please…it’s only January 2nd, ok?), but I know this. I want to be extremely kind. I want to be extremely present with my clients, family, and friends. I want to laugh extremely hard, and work extremely late on projects I care extremely about. And, most of all, I want to be extremely brave, to face the extremely scary and unforeseeable future that’s coming at us at top speed. This is a time for extreme attention, extreme awareness, and extreme INTENTION. This is no time for whining, self-pity, or excuses.

What are your intentions this year, and how can you use your extreme talent and intelligence? What’s keeping you stuck? Are you feeling extremely overwhelmed? Procrastinating with extreme efficiency? It’s hard to be your extreme best when you’re feeling extremely held back!

Join me in Tucson this February 4th for an extremely packed workshop called “UNSTUCK.” We will go extreme on your preconceived notions, your limiting beliefs, and whatever it is that’s keeping you from doing the extremely cool things you’re dreaming of. The world needs your extremely good ideas, now!

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