Friday, September 11, 2009

How's it goin', eh? Giving up "something's wrong" at the Toronto Film Festival

How's it goin', eh? I'm here in Canada, home of Rush, Loverboy, and Bob and Doug McKenzie, looking out at beautiful Lake Ontario, visiting the Toronto International Film Festival. I've come to this festival many times but it's the first time I've stayed at this hotel, which advertises itself as being "Zen." Apparently that means you can get a $340 massage somewhere in the vicinity of a Buddha statue.

While I'm here, I'm seeing some pretty awesome films; I'm not gonna say much about them, since I have clients in them. But I did see An Education last night. The movie absolutely lives up to its hype, it's really a wonderful piece, and full of compassion for all its characters––every last one. The film is set in the early 60's in London, and is the story of a girl who falls for a much older man. Like I said, I'm not gonna say much, but you walk away from the film with your heart full of understanding of every last person in it; there's no "bad guy." I love that kind of filmmaking.

Tonight is How to Fold a Flag, which I have nothing to do with, and Passenger Side, which I literally got tickets to because it's the name of a Wilco song. Tomorrow are The Vintner's Luck, and Up in the Air. I've already seen the latter and it also lives up to the hype, and it's full of compassion for every character and its audience.

So, briefly, I want to share something that's happened over the past few days. Every few days, I check Google Analytics to see who's looking at the site. It's a great, free application, that gives me a sense of whether the audience for Adventures in Compassion is growing, but also where the traffic is coming from. Some days, there are just a few new readers, others, there are dozens. But then one day, there were zero! Initially, I shrugged it off––maybe that day, people just weren't interested in compassion. But then the next day, zero again! I thought, wow, am I really just shouting out into the void? Is anyone listening?

You might guess where this is going. There were no hits the next day, or the next, and it occurred to me to ask my great friend and supporter Jackson Nash, of Superforest fame, what he thought. Jackson was kind enough to point out that I'd probably done something to screw up my Google Analytics settings, and even though it looked like it was working, it probably wasn't. It took Jackson pointing this out for me to realize that Google Analytics wasn't even counting my own hits, when I view the site to check formatting, and during the period of zero hits, there were comments. Obviously, you can't make a comment unless you look at the page. So there I was, feeling sorry for myself, that I was putting my heart into doing this work and, poor me, no one was paying attention. When, of course, it wasn't so. I'd made it mean that the work wasn't important, or good, or necessary. When none of those things are true. I had made up a fiction, which I was living into. "Something's wrong," I was saying to myself.

And Jackson, angel that he is, pointed out that the universe was telling me something. "What will you do," he said, "if the Universe makes it seem like no one is paying attention? Will you give up?"

And then Jackson reminded me:
"To us bloggers, our analytics can become like Dumbo's magic feather.
They are helpful, but we don't need them to fly."
Thanks, Jackson, for reminding me to get truly present to why I'm doing this, and the impact it can create. And while I'm living in the world of "something's wrong," I have very little power to create anything extraordinary, and make a difference.

Anyway I think I fixed the Analytics settings, but it doesn't really matter, does it?

I am committed to making a difference, and here's how I'm going to do it right now. Watch this video, and try not to smile. Just try.

Who doesn't love counting to four? Let's count some more! Signing out from Toronto, koo roo koo koo koo roo koo koo. Take off, you hosers.

Jon *


  1. "I'm not gonna crash this, eh? This is a beer truck."


    I love this blog. It's a pleasure to help out.


  2. You managed to weave two of my favorite things, Dumbo & Feist, into a cautionary tale about how we focus too much on outcomes rather than the intention and the joy of just being present within the goodness of our own hearts : )

  3. thanks everyone!

    1,2,3,4 chickens just back from the shore...