Monday, June 25, 2012


Seems to me there's a lot of cool stuff out there in the "personal growth" world.

But also a lot of annoying crap as well.  How to sort through it all and find strategies and practices that deliver greater peace and happiness?

Hell if I know! But I'm hitting a stage in my life where I'm suddenly more curious.

I thought it might be a good idea to write a thoughtful first post explaining where I'm coming from, what I've explored so far, what my goals are, and how I'd like to use the blog... but whoa.  That sounds way too hard.

Too much to say!  Too much confusion! Too many half-formed opinions!  Where to even start?

I suspect an introductory blog post of 145,732 words might put some readers off.  Hmm... is there perhaps some person out there who can help me?  Someone experienced in this sort of thing?

Ah yes! Lightbulb moment!  (The first of many, let's hope):

 Welcome, Crabby, I Can't Wait to Hear About Your Blog!!!!

Why thank you Oprah, I could really use your help!

So here are some excerpts Oprah and I just finished recording and transcribing over at the Cranky Enlightenment studios.  I even changed outfits a few times to mix things up--took me hours by the way, to get all spiffed up, but hell, it's Oprah, right, so you gotta make an effort.

Anyway here goes:

Oprah:  So Crabby,  I hear you have a new blog called Creative Enlightenment...

CrabbyCreative Enlightenment? No, it's actually...

Oprah: ...and as you know, I'm a huge fan of creativity and enlightenment.  So this is very exciting! Tell me, will you be encouraging and awakening millions the way I have by sharing inspirational stories?

Crabby: Um, not really.  I can't think of any offhand.  Funny, no matter how many freakin' blueberries I eat, I can't seem to remember a thing since I hit middle age.

Oprah: Well then, will you be reaching deep within yourself to share your darkest moments in a way your audience can't help but relate to?

Crabby:  Hmm.. that's an idea.  But I haven't had a whole lot of dark moments.

Oh wait, Oprah, yes I have!  There was the time the electricity went off for 12 hours and it did get really dark.  Plus we'd just made a huge Costco run and so we had to scarf up carton after carton of fancy greek yogurt before it spoiled. That was really a really challenging time.

Oprah:  Oh dear.  Well perhaps you'll be sharing a wealth of psychological, neurological, and sociological research on what makes people feel happy and at peace?  You have a PhD, don't you in... what was it...

Crabby:  Slacking?  That's my only PhD.  But I am really interested in all that stuff.  And I like to Google!

Oprah:  So, you're not a research expert... Ah, so it must be that your going to share what you've learned over decades of spiritual searching and striving to be a better person, is that it?  I imagine you've studied ancient texts, made arduous pilgrimages, and spent hours and hours every day meditating!

Crabby: Er...

Oprah:  Oooh, yes, I can sense you've traveled far and wide to hear the wise words of enlightened priests and sages from all different spiritual traditions. Have you chatted yet with the Dali Lama yet?  He's a real kick in the pants, isn't he?

Crabby:  I'd love to say "hello, Dali" but I haven't gotten a chance yet.  And to tell you the truth, I get all that Eastern religion stuff confused.  Buddhist? Taoist? Hinduism? And what is a Lama, anyway? I think the furry kind are pretty cute, but the Dali doesn't have fur so I'm thinking I'm mixed up about something?  Anyway, I just call all that stuff "Zen" and find it a bit intimidating.  I think you have to sit up straight for long periods of time and that sounds mighty uncomfortable.

Oprah:  So then you're more drawn to Western spiritual traditions?

Crabby:  You mean like churches and sins and miracles and some God dude who sits up in a cloud and periodically gets pissed off and sends down natural disasters to punish people?  Afraid I'm not a big fan.

Oprah:  Oh my. So do I have this right?  You're not a research expert, and you haven't done any spiritual searching AT ALL. Yet you're trying to start a blog about enlightenment? I have to be honest here, Crabby, you have to be the most unqualified entrant into the personal growth field ever!

Crabby:  I'm number one at something?  Awesome!!

Oprah:  (note: the recording is a bit garbled here... it sounds like Oprah said: "What a bucking widget!" But that doesn't make any sense, does it!?)  So Crabby, if you aren't on a spiritual quest, what made you want to start this blog?

Crabby:   Well, first off, I have a lot of questions, and I love the way readers at my other blog help me out when there are things I don't know... which is most of the time.

Oprah:  You have another blog?

Crabby: Yep, I have a health and fitness blog that attempts to motivate people by emphasizing what a pain in the ass exercise is and complaining about how trying to eat healthy sucks.

Oprah: You motivate people by... wait, what?

Crabby:  And I was a psychotherapist for years, and I still have an active Marriage and Family Therapy license.  But I'm now a life and wellness coach and I thought...

Oprah: I'm sorry... You?  A psychotherapist and a coach? With actual human clients?

Crabby:  That's right, human! Too bad I've never learned to speak feline though, that would be cool. Although cats don't need life coaches, do they?  They've got it pretty well figured out already.

But yeah, even with a shrinky professional background, I've always been a bit of a worrywart.  And a whiner.  And I futz around a lot and never seem to get much done.  And so when I happened on Rick Hanson's book, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, I was intrigued... he offered up a bunch of tips on how you can rewire your brain and actually change the structure of it and how it works so you can be happier.  That sort of started the whole ball rolling.

Oprah:  Ah, Rick Hanson, he's a great resource. So you appreciated the way he blended ancient spiritual traditions with modern neuroscience and provided practical tips for tranquility and happiness?

Crabby:  Yeah! Plus I got to review a course of his called The Enlightened Brain, and really liked it. So then I started reading checking out other folks who integrate neuroscience and self-help, like David Rock who wrote "Your Brain at Work." And then people kept recommending your pal Eckhardt Tolle--though I gotta say Oprah, Eckhardt sometimes snorts when he laughs, ever notice that?

Oprah: Crabby, I hardly think...

Crabby: And I'm checking out other self-help books and cd's and downloads as well, but like I said, I have so many questions as I try find shortcuts to rewiring my brain so I can be in a perpetual state of bliss!

Oprah: Perpetual bliss? Is that really a realistic goal?  Actually my understanding of enlightenment is that clinging to transitory states of...

Crabby:  Well, whatever.  Perpetual bliss may take awhile.  But I'd settle for really freakin' happy most of the time, with a bunch of blissful interludes interspersed to keep things interesting. I'm looking for more research and practical tips that don't take a whole lot of effort.

Oprah:  But speaking of research, haven't you found that with advances in brain imaging and other technology, science is actually starting to validate some of the age-old spiritual teachings that you've spurned all these years?

Crabby:  Sucks, doesn't it?  It was all a little simpler when I could just say "screw it" to anything that sounded religious or woo-woo.  But unfortunately, it looks like science and spirituality have been conspiring together.  Turns out that some of that high-minded stuff like mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, and transcending ego can actually change the way your brain works, and even give you a buzz! Just like cabernet and cupcakes and dancing to Lady Gaga songs.  It's been making me rethink some things.  

Oprah:  Really? So... does that mean you're finally ready to give up your hedonistic, ego-indentified, lazy, short-sighted, judgmental, pessimistic ways and embrace the Oneness of All Things?  Crabby that's fantastic! I knew you could do it.

Oprah:  Pardon us, audience, we're having a moment here.  I'm just so moved by this story of personal awakening and transformation. It reminds me...

Crabby:  Um, Oprah?

Oprah:  What Crabby?

Crabby:  I'm not giving any of that stuff up yet.  I'm trying to figure out how to have all of it! Ego gratification, bliss, cupcakes, a sense of Oneness, skepticism, gratitude, freedom from pain, some of that lovingkindness stuff, and did I mention cupcakes?

Oprah:  Oh Crabby...  I'm not quite sure what to say.  That's... well... lets just say good luck with that?

Crabby:  Thanks Oprah! 

Oprah:  I need to be heading off, there are Kardashians waiting...But since you've got a world renowned personal growth celebrity in your studio with decades of experience behind her, is there anything you wanted to ask me before I go?

Crabby:  Oh yes I almost forgot! It would be such a waste to have an incredible visionary with all these amazing talents and resources here and not ask the most important question of all. Though wow, it's a little harder than I thought.  Deep breath!  Oprah, it's just...

Oprah:  Yes Crabby, I'm here for you!  Please ask me anything!

Crabby:  Um, can I have a car?

Anybody out there yet? It would be totally lovely if you had a question, thought, complaint, or just stopped by to say hi!

Monk Photo: HKD ; Cat from somewhere off; photos of Oprah stolen from around the web and messed with by The Lobster. 


    and us :-)


    1. OK, I'm not sure how you managed to get here so fast, but Carla, you're a Role Model in the whole fitness/personal growth/humor constellation!

      Oops, I'm not logged in as Crabby, must go tweak some settings...

  2. Crabby, I am so looking forward to your posts. It's always good to be exposed to new things or even old things with a new twist. This is going to be so cool.

    1. Thanks Leah! And heck, maybe some day I'll talk you into a guest post or an interview... I know you've got some great stuff like hypnosis etc in your background and lots of insight into happy living!

  3. I'm sorry, I just can't get past the pictures. LOL!

  4. Alls I know is when I seek enlightenment my path is always illuminated with a dim bulb.

    What you did not catch there in that pic of Oprah and the DL is that they are arm wrestling.

    I will wander the narrow path towards enlightenment with you Cranky.

    1. Your dim bulb beats my matchstick so glad to have you along on the dark and narrow path!

  5. I always liked the Dan Fogelberg song, Part of the Plan, and the line:

    But all of the answers you seek
    Can be found
    In the dreams that you dream
    On the way.

  6. I have all sorts of deep meaningful comments...but I will keep them to myself.

    Love your post...very funny...excellent pictures!

    1. Thanks so much! Really appreciate the Few and Brave who made it over from the other blog.

  7. This is friggin' awesome! The pics of you with Oprah are hilarious! I cannot wait to see what you post here!

    1. Thanks so much Yoga Pants Girl! And really appreciate you makin' the trip.

  8. Ha! This was so much fun to read...I agree, have it ALL.

    1. Thanks QD!!

      Soon, I hope there will be some actual content and not just Good Intentions. Quick, more coffee...

  9. Mary Anne in KentuckyJuly 2, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Crabby, I think you're missing a possibility here: the cats are supposed to be doing the life coaching, not receiving it; you just supervise. Match the client with the right cat.

    1. OMG, you are totally on to something here! Cats have it all figured out, and they're inscrutable enough to seem very, very wise.

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