I'm not writing... because I'm too busy writing (great excuses of our time #372)

I haven’t written much for this blog lately, mainly as I’ve been so busy writing other things.

Among my new projects: The Canberra Times newspaper is trying me out as a weekly columnist. They even took a new head shot of me, so that everyone knows what I look like when they reading my (hopefully) sparkling prose.

(For the uninitiated, columns are what they had in newspapers in the days before blogs. OK, it sounds like I’m being funny – but I’ve actually had to correct someone who thought I was just writing a blog, and couldn't understand why a newspaper would ask me to do that.)

So rather than inflict my strange view of the world on the blog, I’ve been writing a few things for the next few weeks of newspaper columns.

Next few weeks? Yes, because soon I’ll be heading to New York until the end of April. I’m at least getting a few drafts ready for when I’m away. It’s very strange to go right now – it seems like only a few weeks since I was last overseas visiting Sri Chinmoy… mainly because it IS only a few weeks!

When I return, the main project in the Sri Chinmoy Centre over here will be one of my favourites: meditation classes. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon driving to the shops in the outer suburbs of Canberra, to see if I could leave flyers on their counters for the next series of classes. Not as glamorous or exciting as, say, fighting off enemy spies on a clock tower (a job I haven’t been given as yet), but as far as volunteer jobs go, this is one of the most rewarding and worthwhile.

It’s not all fun and games, however. Occasionally, people aren’t very helpful. So it was with some trepidation that I went flyering (for the first time in months) in the quiet suburb of Lyons. The first shop, a mini-mart, was happy to display my “Learn Meditation” flyers on their counter. I was so happy that I thought, “I have a 100% success rate so far today. Why spoil it?”

Nonetheless, I kept going, doing a few more places – a take-away food store, a newsagent, a hairdresser, a pharmacy. Still 100%! I was on fire!!! (Not literally, of course. This is a nice story, not a terribly exciting one.)

In fact, it took me five shopping centres before someone finally said “No thank you” – and yes, they were that polite. (Most of Canberra’s suburban shops are fairly small, similar to what Americans would call “strip malls”.) When you go out with a smile and something good to offer, people are more than happy to help.