But this day on gorgeous Sintra, I was moved. I saw beautiful scenes, but, raising my camera, felt the daunting near-futility of trying to do justice to them on film. So I applied unfamiliar levels of time and care, refusing to snap the picture until what I was seeing through the camera expressed what I was feeling. Until then, I waited, patiently peering through the lens, micro-adjusting the composition by a millimeter in one direction or another. There were still subtler nano-adjustments, where the shot didn't change but my intention somehow did. Only when I felt an inner swelling of exultation, moved by what I saw, did I push the button.
To my flabbergasted astonishment, the photographs were gallery quality. Everyone who saw them fell in love with Sintra just as I had.
The tasting evoked treasured memories of drinking low-end port in Portugal, and I drew on that as I sat alone, blissfully sipping and furiously scribbling, intent on doing justice to these rare and fantastic wines.
Not being a trained wine taster, I lacked vocabulary. But I funneled my writing skill, my vast admiration for the wines, and my fervid desire to create an evocative account into the task. And the results so impressed the tasting's host (a major wine collector) that he spent the next several years opening the best wines of the century for my enjoyment and education.
I got the job.
Of course, no one did, and these flat, corporate, soulless sites remained empty edifices. I opened Chowhound, and filled it with personality. Every element was chosen with loving care. People arrived and instantly felt at home. We eventually pulled in nearly a million of them with no budget or advertising.
Don't get the wrong idea. My victories have been few; I've failed much more than I've succeeded. I've recounted a few singular high points amid a life mostly spent in a state of rushed, anguished obliviousness, so I can't be smug about any of this! I am, however, confident that I've dumbly stumbled upon the key, even though I only rarely remember to apply it: Love. Care. Fervor. Attention. Intention. Subtlety. Detail. Commitment. "Doing justice to..." Or, as I more succinctly explained in my article explaining the magic of Steve Jobs, it's about "lavishing heart-breaking love and caring generosity and ingenuity into something - so much so that you almost can't stand it."
This is all that's necessary to transcend humanity's needlessly grey, grim, grinding experience. It's the open doorway of the divine. Shakti makes the choice and shakti empowers the result. You only have to give a damn (about what you're doing, rather than about reaching a specific result).