The Heart of the Matter
July 30, 2018
What Have I Accomplished?

Mitch Ditkoff.jpg

As I dive deeper into the eighth decade of my life I find myself at a curious crossroads -- the intersection of WHO and WHAT, one of those strange intersections far out of town where the sagebrush rolls and the GPS signal is just out of range. Sitting in the front seat of my leased 2015 Honda, wondering how I gained the last five pounds, I ask myself a question highly unlikely to make me the life of the party: "Have I done anything of significance these past 70 years?

It's an age-old dilemma, methinks, a classic rite-of-passage -- the time when a man takes stock of himself and realizes his so called "portfolio" of accomplishments doesn't necessarily measure up to what he imagined it would one day be. And though I have always felt a breathtaking magnificence inside me, outwardly much of what I have expressed, in this life, seems to have been lost in translation -- not unlike a child's game of telephone where you whisper something to the person next to you and they, in turn, whisper it to the person next to them and so on and so forth around the circle until the last person blurts what they've heard -- a jumble of words not even remotely close to what it was the started the whole game.

Two months shy of 71, focused more on the butterflies in my stomach than the ones that herald spring, I find myself looking in two directions at once. One is forward, trying to make out what I see with the time I have left. The other is backwards, trying to make sense of the forces that have brought me to this precise moment in time.

What I see, behind me, is my father coming home from a long day's work. He's exhausted, unsettled, my mother greeting him with a martini and the officiousness of a 50's housewife, me tentatively approaching, receiving a quick hug and the all-too-familiar question my father routinely greeted me with: "What have you ACCOMPLISHED today?" -- a kind of Zen Cohen that always left me feeling I hadn't done enough. Yes, I played roof ball and punch ball and kick ball and stick ball. And yes, I played with my dog and read the backs of my baseball cards. But did I accomplish anything? Did I do anything that really mattered?

The older I got, the more my father's accomplishment mantra embedded its way into my psyche, a kind of microscopic parasite a person might pick up on a quick trip to a third world country. And though I couldn't see it, I could feel it -- radiating outwards, driving me to DO, DO, DO -- moving me to create something I considered significant -- something meaningful enough I could sign my name to once and for all.

My friends, I think it is time for me (and maybe, you, too) to answer the question my father used to ask. Ready? IT'S THE WRONG QUESTION! While the intention may be harmless, the act of being ruled by it is not. "The foolish man is always doing," said Lao Tzu, "yet much remains to be done. The wise man does nothing, yet nothing remains undone."

Kapish? In the end, there is nothing to do! Nothing to prove! Zero. Nada. Zilch. Unless we can live fully in this present moment where everything is already perfect, our life will never be more than a programmed/neurotic/obsessive attempt to achieve -- a carrot dangled in front of us by the collective hallucination that we have never really done enough.

Face it. There is absolutely nothing we can do that will ever be enough compared to the outcome we imagine it should be. Maybe that's why Van Gogh cut off his ear. Maybe that's why countless creative souls drink too much and think too much. You see, the obsession with proving our worth is a losing game. First of all, the self does not need to be proven. It is already complete just the way it is. And second of all, there is no second of all.

THIS is the moment. THIS. NOW. HERE. Just the way it is. In the end, what we do is way less important than how we do it. When that recognition dawns, joy replaces struggle, gratitude replaces complaint, and everything comes to us in its own, sweet time.

Excerpted from this book


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2018

Unplug from whatever you're doing, turn up the volume, and enjoy LOVE TODAY, the fourth song on Stuart Hoffman's soon-to-be-released CD, Shine Your Light. Video by the very talented Fernando Garcia. Lyrics by yours truly. Will be available for purchase on September 10th, in Amaroo. Also available as a Bandcamp download. Support the arts! Feed a musician! Celebrate music of the heart!

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July 13, 2018
When Your Enemy Becomes Human

Inspiring story, beautifully told, by a very committed woman with a timeless message for us all. Saddika and I have never met, but have recently become Facebook friends.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:51 AM | Comments (1)

July 09, 2018
A Different Kind of Wall

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A different kind of wall

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2018
The Finger Snap


Two years ago, I traveled from Woodstock to Malibu to work with Prem Rawat, for a few days, on a project he was very passionate about -- the launch of his new enterprise, Rawat Creations. More specifically, he was asking me to write about his approach to photography and the five photos he wanted to feature on his website.

The first of our meetings went well. We spent an hour talking about photography -- his early boyhood fascination for it, the conditions necessary for high level results, and his own nuanced creative process. Later that night, I wrote what I thought was a pretty good description of the ground we covered, and emailed it, fingers crossed, to his secretary.

The next morning she called me to deliver his feedback. "More spices", was the message, the implication being that my writing was too bland.

So I got busy for another few hours and generated version 2.0. This draft, I thought, was far superior to the first -- better organized, more accurate, and with just the right amount of spices. Happy to have accomplished my goal, I submitted my writing to Prem's secretary one more time.

A day passed. I went for a long walk. I reread what I had written at least five times. Then I got another call from his secretary, asking me to meet with him one more time -- an invitation that quickly revealed the two sides of my psyche. The first? "Wow! I get to hang out with my favorite person in the whole world." The second? "Oops! I probably screwed up!"

When Prem walked into the room, none of these thoughts were apparent. He was, as far as I could tell, completely present, happy, radiant, and ready to dive in once again, holding, as he was, a copy of my most recent draft in his hand.

"I'm not going to give you any rules," he explained, scanning my words and suggesting a few approaches to the writing I hadn't yet considered. To me, it felt like some kind of psychic surgery was being performed -- him deftly reaching into my last draft and pointing out what needed to go. After a few minutes of elaboration, he stood, turned, and began to exit the room. As he did, I heard these words come blurting out of my mouth: "So... it looks like I'll be up late tonight working on the third draft".

That's when he turned to me and snapped his fingers.

"You mean," I said, "this is supposed to be easy?"

He snapped his fingers again. Then I snapped mine. Then he snapped his. Four finger snaps. That was it. Then he pivoted and left the room.

Thirty minutes later I sat down to write again, but this time the writing flowed much easier than before and the quality was recognizably higher. While I knew my task mattered, I also knew that the main effort I needed to make was to be in the moment and trust what I knew. As soon as I was finished, I emailed what I had written to Prem.

A few minutes later, I received his reply. "That's it. You got it!"

Two years have passed since that day. My finger snapping moment with Prem continues to uplift and clarify every aspect of my life. In a way, it feels like a sacred seed has been watered in me -- a seed of awareness now growing from the inside out -- a seed that infuses all of my choices -- especially the stuff I assume will be difficult -- with ease, simplicity, and grace.
Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:30 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2018
My New Book is Now on Amazon!


I am thrilled to announce that my new book, Storytelling for the Revolution, is now available on Amazon. If you are a fan of storytelling, insight, wisdom, love, choice, humor, learning, breathing, the human condition, or this blog, there is a good chance you will enjoy my book. Right now, only the paperback version is available. In a few days, the Kindle version will also be available. Click below for testimonials...
Idea Champions
The book on Amazon

"Mitch Ditkoff knows that the real revolution comes from within and then extends outward to action. He writes with rare wisdom, depth, humor, and insight. Each story he shares has the capacity to inspire the rest of us to action that matters." -- Gail Larsen, Author Transformational Speaking: If You Want to Change the World, Tell a Better Story

"This is a powerful and important book. When we have the courage to tell our stories, we form a bond with each other that no one can defeat or overwhelm. Mitch Ditkoff makes an indisputable case for the essential role of storytelling to create change." -- Susan Page, Director, San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival

"What I love about Storytelling for the Revolution is the compelling way it liberates humanity's biggest untapped resource -- our collective wisdom lurking just beneath the surface of our lives." -- Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 best selling author of Triggers

"Mitch taps into the deep well of our collective wisdom and reclaims the collective narrative for the greater good. Storytelling for the Revolution is a rallying cry for people to recognize their deep meaningful connections with others and reminds us that we are not alone. It is a groundbreaking work in its simplicity and profundity. An important, seminal work for our age." -- Michael Frick, CEO,

"Mitch Ditkoff's stories are beautiful and a huge encouragement for the rest of us to share our own stories with each other. This is what's needed these days -- the authentic sharing of what we know to be true, based on our own life experiences and inner wisdom. Not fake news. Real news -- the news of the heart." -- Cassandra Wilson, Grammy Award Winning Jazz and Blues Singer

"Today, I read the first six of the 40 stories in Mitch Ditkoff's Storytelling for the Revolution. Immediately, I felt my heart replace my mind and called out to my new wife that we had something delightful to read together in bed tonight. Big thanks to Mitch for helping me shift gears in the 80th year of my life. Anyone who can quiet themselves enough to pay attention to their own inner wisdom will find great value in this groundbreaking book." -- Tim Gallwey, Author of Inner Game of Tennis and the Inner Game of Work

"Through Mitch Ditkoff's master storytelling we are welcomed under a big tent called humanity with stories that whisper truths, uniting and celebrating us all. His stories rumble deep from within, where cleverness meets humility and tragedy dances with angels. Mitch's stories inspire reflection while the field guide provides the step-by-step guidance needed for readers to mobilize the storyteller within and lead their own personal revolution." -- Doug Stuke, Director, Sales Excellence, The Hartford Insurance Group

"Mitch's stories have the power take us deeper into our own selves, encouraging us to pay closer attention to every aspect of our lives. Storytelling for the Revolution is an inspirational work to say the least. It is a book that has no timeline and will be here forever, changing lives, page by page." -- Sharon Jeffers, Author of Love and Destiny, Discover the Secret Language of Relationships

"Storytelling, like music, is a universal language that evokes shared emotions and connects us to each other. In Mitch Ditkoff's second book of stories, Storytelling for the Revolution, he deftly weaves tales that give vivid insight into our hearts and emotions, helping us interpret and understand our own lives in a very personal way. This book of stories, meditations of the human soul, will positively transform your life." -- Geri Presti, CEO and President, The Cleveland Music Settlement

"Stories are all about gathering personal and collective experience and knowledge. They gain meaning when the storyteller communicates with verve and creativity. In Storytelling for the Revolution, Mitch Ditkoff beautifully fulfills this promise and offers precise prompts for accessing the wisdom tucked inside the tale". -- David Gonzalez, Award winning storyteller, poet, and arts advocate

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2018
Prem Rawat, Amaroo, 9/10/15

M see love 1.jpg

Heroes 2.jpg

Threshold 3.jpg

You 4.jpg

Be with yourself 5.jpg

not mystery 6.jpg

stay human 7.jpg

villages 8.jpg

touch hearts 9.jpg

still learning 10.jpg

quietness 11.jpg

still need you 12.jpg

no assumnptions 13.jpg

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Excerpts from 9/7/15
Excerpts from 9/8/15
Excerpts from 9/9/15
Words of Peace Global
The Prem Rawat Foundation
Rawat Creations

AMAROO PHOTOS: Chris Corbett, #6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:07 PM | Comments (2)

Welcome to Mitch Ditkoff's blog about what's really important in this life: Peace, gratitude, love, joy, clarity, and the effort required to wake up and smell the roses. Enjoy!

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