ma gumption

Saturday, April 21, 2012

daphne almost at the end of their blooming in the terracotta gardens this early morning

I like the word ‘gumption’ because it’s so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks as if it needs a friend and isn’t likely to reject anyone who comes along. I like it also because it describes exactly what happens to someone who connects with Quality. He gets filled with gumption. 

A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He’s at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes. That’s gumption. 

 If you’re going to repair a motorcycle, create a new masterpiece, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool. If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won’t do you any good. 

Robert Pirsig  - author of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (the Prince's favourite book)

Last night the Prince arrived home (around 4:30pm) to find me (with les entire Gang) stretched out on our bed in the chocolate brown bedroom nursing a glass of wine (I don't drink) & I had taken a teeny 1mg, under the tongue, pill - ativan. Ativan & wine, ahhhh!, a sure badness killer, one I'm not necessarily proud to confess of nor would I feel comfortable recommending it (works like a charm). Probably much more healthy to do some yoga, go race around a block or 2, rake some leaves, houseclean (uh huh !?!) but no - it is my, go-to "break the glass dome", my mind is racing and not in a good way, les emergency ! cure for the big bad yucks.

The Prince grabbed a beer and sat in the chair at the end of the bed to listen to my woes. At the end of it all when I was telling him how all these sad & frightening woes had completely drained my productivity yesterday & rendered me kinda brain dead he said

You just lost your gumption. You fell into a gumption trap (of worry & care, obsessing about bad things that you really can't change much). Care connects with quality by way of gumption. If you've fallen into a gumption trap your enthusiasm is lost (temporarily) and it's very difficult to create any kind of quality & care with no enthusiasm or no gumption. 

Shut ! Up !! I say I lost my gumption --- omg I fell into to a big, black gumption trap

He'd been reading Zen & the Art of Motorcycle maintenance on the plane home (the one and only book he owns, which he takes everywhere he might have to sit & wait). His bookmark, his boarding pass, placed just at the end of the 25 pages discussing gumption & gumption traps. Coincidence ? - I think not.

20 more thrilling moments from the past week in & around 29 Black Street


  1. Man, I wish I had your photography skills!

  2. hey A !! thank you !

    maybe you'd like to take my June photography e-course - details and an outline of the course coming very soon !!

  3. oh, my! good thing the Prince arrived to drop a ladder into the gumption trap! Loving all the pictures, but the one that really struck me this morning is Oliver at your desk... it looks as if you've just interrupted him from reading his favorite book!
    xoxoxo from KB and Gracie!

  4. I love the Daphne photograph's a plant I've never been able to keep alive!

    Gumption can certainly be elusive at times...especially I believe, for the artist who bares her heart and soul for all to see. And even more so for the perfectionist (talking about myself here as a recovering perfectionist!). I love the video by zefrank called "invocation for beginnings". In it he says "perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes but he's a little bit of an asshole and nobody invites him to their pool parties". Love it! here's the link...

  5. Sweet Prince.

    (the three of us are looking forward to your photography course!!)

  6. KB & Gracie I probably did just interrupt Mr. Mr & Kate WOW ! thank you - I will now listen to "invocation for beginnings" myself every day too - not so reformed perfectionist here.

    & not only just sweet & Prince-like (saving me from my worst self) but I think what true partnership is when at it's best. I've fallen down & he's one of the few people that knows exactly how best to pick me up. He has plans to be my garden slave this afternoon. Hooray.

    Looking so forward to the sweeties in my class ;-) xoxo Susan

  7. I love him, just a little, myself, now...

    We are so looking forward to your class!!!!

  8. Hopefully, Susan, you are not feeling guilty about wine and ativan. Wine is a health food. I see your ativan and raise you an oxazepam, my infrequently used, make-it-stop wonder drug.

    Maybe being sensitive is what makes you a true artist but also more susceptible to gumption and other traps. At least you can express what that feels like. Which discussion leads to Kate's zefrank link, posted to YouTube just a couple weeks ago. Thank you Kate!

    And "perfectionist"... don't get me started. What zefrank said about perfectionists is true. I wish I had heard it decades ago.

    So glad you have your Prince and posse.

  9. First merci John !!! how to come through with "I self medicate also" comment. Tres appreciated. I did fret all morning about that confession drug + drink comment - another symptom of that dreaded P sickness that you should be able to just "snap out of it" pull those knee socks up, don't give in to the badness & so on. But sometimes "make-it-stop" medicine is just the ticket - in fact it seems my only ticket in extreme cases of badness, anxiety, worry. Thank you John for reminding me that it's OK.

    & thank you all for such encouraging, kind & thoughtful comments - you have no idea how you pick up & carry me on through my days.

    Just inside after 2 hours of topsoil & mulch layering with my garden slave. Those of you who've been here awhile ... Can you freakin' believe I have a garden slave :-)' Hark I hear the beautiful melody of les chain saw. Snort. Off now to make potato salad & barbecue sauce for tonight's chicken dinner & will tune at 4:30 Atlantic for Brene Brown's life webinar - the Anatomy of Joy - there's still time to sign up.

  10. oops !!correction
    the webinar is 2:30 Eastern 3:30 Atlantic

  11. That Prince is one exceedingly wise fellow! Aren't we glad he came...FINALLY!!! Loved the YouTube piece by zefrank! It is now a favorite! And whatever it takes to stop your world from spinning, you are brave to recognize and act upon!
    Good for you!!!

  12. Sam, do it, GET ON THE BED!

    (Beds....not just for cats.)

  13. Beautiful... each and every one.

  14. Love, love, LOVE, luv, love the photograph with the geraniums in the window and cat behind the curtain. LOVE!


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