March 10th, 2011
the inside of the lid from a crayon box

still working on the new book. thank you (as always) for all your kind and thoughtful mail! I am grateful for every piece I get (even the hate mail). I am sorry that I cannot write back right now. We are headed back to our home in Troy New York next month and I have made the decision to hire someone to help me with my correspondence as it has become a bit too overwhelming on a daily basis. I am learning as I grow into my career as an author that it is important to delegate all of the things that you are not great at, (and I have always been one to try to “do it all” myself.) But this is no longer working for me.

On another note, I have been playing around with a mini Diana camera and am loving it. (I say that now before I have gotten the prints back). I have realized that using film goes along with everything I have been writing about for years. Jumping into the unknown, taking risks, letting go of outcome, relinquishing control, trying something new. It’s all in there. What a wonderful metaphor for life.

If this kind of method speaks to you, for further research I HIGHLY recommend a recorded talk given by Pema Chodron, called Unconditional Confidence. This is not new age hyperbol, but in your face buddhist teachings. I laughed when I listened to it because everything I have been working on as an artist in the last ten years was summed up in this presentation. The main point being you never really know what is going to happen in life and art, and this feeling of groundlessness is both terrifying and inspiring. But in it is the root of true experimentation, new ideas, and in the long term potential enlightenment (as a buddhist practitioner). I am giving a workshop in another month at AIGA’s Design Ranch on the banks of the Guadelupe River in Austin Texas, and this is the subject I will be talking about in more detail.

I thought it was wonderful to learn that Pema Chodron does not prepare for her talks at all, but instead lets it all happen in the moment. Ultimate trust in your own abilities and trust in the ability to deal with whatever happens in the moment. This is what is beautiful (and terrifying) about doing public speaking. Every audience is different, every space is different, every situation is different. And you cannot prepare for all of the variables. Sometimes you just have to let it all unfold as it wants. And breathe.

Mar 10 2011
7:40 pm
Trece writes:

Welcome back to the Capital Region!! I live in Clifton Park and am thrilled to know you’re coming!!! I’ve heard such wonderful things about Wreck This Journal; I am hoping to get my own copy soon. Just wish I could find the Wabi Sabi article.
Trece

Mar 10 2011
8:09 pm
susan writes:

Wow…I think that sounds really scary not to prepare at all…Definitely true that there are always things that you cannot control in any human interaction…flexibility is so important

Mar 10 2011
11:05 pm
Gayle writes:

I’m going to help Keri out because she sounds overwhelmed. The Wabi Sabi article is here (hope this comes out)–
http://www.kerismith.com/WishJarTales/WishJarTales.htm

I can’t imagine anyone sending you hate mail. That’s why I’m having so much trouble with loving kindness.
Regards, Gayle

Mar 11 2011
1:19 am
Ramona writes:

well. the fact that you mention Pema makes me a bigger fan.

Mar 11 2011
3:41 am
Norlin writes:

Thanks for this post Keri. It really speaks to me. I am not an artist I wish that I am. And if I were and artist I’d like to be as talented and as expressive as you.

I used to find not knowing what’s gonnna happen, terrifying. But since unschooling my two kids I’ve learned to let go of outcome, relinquish control and trust more.

I am still working on having complete trust in my own abilities though.

You are very inspiring.

Mar 11 2011
4:15 am
Menachem writes:

I’m a rabbi and I don’t write sermons/drashes. I usually look at the text for the week and maybe have a few talking points or a sense of what I’m going to say. Then when the time comes I just start talking. We have great discussions and I make connections I wouldn’t likely have come up with otherwise.
Thanks for your work. It continues to enrich me.

shalom v’ahava,
Menachem

Mar 11 2011
8:15 am
Camilla writes:

What new book is it? I used to have one of your books but I let my writing teacher look at it a year ago but he hasn’t given it back.

Mar 11 2011
2:07 pm
francesca dileo writes:

my word for the year is risks, and you have summed up beautifully what my intentions for the year are, “jumping into the unknown, letting go of outcome, relinquishing control, trying something new’. love it.

and this is why i love visiting your blog. no need to reply, just wanted to say hi!! lol.

keep on keeping on.. you’re awesome.

Mar 11 2011
2:10 pm
Zann writes:

Letting go of outcome makes my whole body feel better, but especially in the breathing spaces. Thanks for the Pema link!

Mar 11 2011
8:21 pm
sarah writes:

I’m taking a meditation and mindfulness course right now, and last week we learned about trusting emergence, which this ties into wonderfully! thanks for the post!

Mar 12 2011
2:37 pm
Tracy writes:

I find “choice” moments resolve in such beneficial ways if I maintain a conviction that the Universe is benevolent and always has been. We create so much struggle with fiction about something that’s not yet happened or attachment to something that has already happened.
Given that we really can’t ultimately control outcome regardless of what we do, what’s the worst than can happen if we “allow” the current of the Universe?

Mar 12 2011
8:36 pm
Emma writes:

I’m happy to see a new post from you. What a wonderful job it would be to handle your correspondence! :)

I’m going to check out this talk by Pema Chodron. Thanks!

Mar 13 2011
10:52 am
Selene writes:

Buddhism really is fascinating.
I love the unexpected information I come across on your blog/in your books – I can never second guess it, which is why I recommend you to people. I’m always sent off on a crazy research journey!
The bonus is that many comments I read here are also insightful & interesting – something that doesn’t happen on many blogs!

Mar 14 2011
4:11 pm
Heather Bleasdell writes:

Thanks Keri, Pema’s Unconditional Confidence talk is amazing and affirming.

Mar 22 2011
7:47 pm
Rachel writes:

hi i like wreck this journal, but are you actually supposed to wreck it? i feel bad hurting a book!

Apr 10 2011
7:52 pm
julia writes:

who would ever send you hate mail? they must be awfully trapped in a life lacking creativity and fun.

Apr 27 2011
12:33 am
I'm an Ashlee writes:

Hello Smith. My name is Ashlee. ‘Started reading your blog today. Really enjoying it. I wanted to comment on this post because I started listening to Pema Chodron a few years ago with much enthusiasm/appreciation for her. I’m always glad to hear that someone in the world enjoys listening to her as much as I do.

I started with her Getting Unstuck disk set and moved on to From Fear to Fearlessness. Each compilation is kept close to my heart. I can’t wait to listen to Unconditional confidence as you have recommended. Thanks for pointing it out.

-Ash

 
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