Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Breezes

New Year’s Eve. It seems to be able to make a lot of people crazy. It also makes them unrealistic. All this “resolutions” business is for losers and pretenders. Why not just be resolute all the time? Then there is no need for resolutions, which are at best wishes or false claims.

Being resolute is all that is necessary and then to make a decision.

Instead I find this time of year best to just contemplate on beginnings. So many of us have had so many beginnings. Oh when something is new or new again: innocence of youth; experiencing the world through the five senses, but in a way that is clear to who you are, and you carry the sensations with you.

New eras: of your life, and culture in general. Whether we realize it or not we are always part of an era, our own personal one, and the one of geopolitical structure. This time of year, I hearken nostalgically to periods of my life and remember them with smiles and chuckles and personal innuendo. To this day it amazes me how many people choose to haul around emotional baggage as some kind of trophy. To them I say “get over yourself” Life happens to all of us. Like the Clint Eastwood movie, there will always be the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. No one escapes them. And in all matters of these, “this too shall pass” So if you want to haul into the present the bad, and the ugly of what has been your life, have at it. But please, leave me out of it. If you are having pity parties, I RSVP, that I cannot attend. I leave my Bad and Ugly behind me where it belongs. It doesn’t serve me. And I certainly won't burden other people with it either.

Too many people want to bring who they blame and how they were wronged into every conversation like some kind of trophy case. Good for you. You win. But unless you lost everything in something like Katrina, or your life is a tale like David Pelzer (A Child Called It), then please, I’ve heard it all before. And frankly it bores me to death. If you find a need to defend yourself right now at this point, then YES, it’s you I’m talking about, and YOUR STORY bores me to death. Time to move on.

I can’t imagine these same people holding on to their drama and trauma in their 70’s and 80’s. Talk to people at this age, very few recall the very things that people in their 30’s and 40’s are so hell bent on holding on to.

Eras. Going back, going way back, all the way back.

I remember so many beginnings:

So many senses that marked specific times in my life. New Year’s I mark with a self-refuelling of personal nostalgia. And I find the most insignificant events and times seem to bear the most sentiment. I also realize that my life also seemed to mark specific eras of time and experience that so many others can relate to as well.

So before the internet, before Mac’s vs. PC’s, before Playstation vs. Wii, before cell phones, pagers, Blue Rays, DVD’s, CD’s; even before voice mail and email, there was a bygone era of my youth. Not better, not worse, just different. But there are the solid memories of the senses that they hold.

Childhood

The senses fill and flood and bring with them so many memories, personal and cultural. I realize they are now but a breeze that passes by me in recall, and like any breeze brings a refreshing sort of calm: My choice: And in no particular order:

I recall the smell of the first day of school each year: The chalk board, the wooden desks: The smell of my hockey bag the first day of the season. The smell of the rink, the dressing rooms. All of it. And yes, the smell and tastes of each season. The taste of kool-aid meant it was summer. Hot chocolate with a marshmallow meant it was winter. (And by the way, hot chocolate at the rink was much different than hot chocolate at home.) Rolling up a piece of white bread with peanut butter and dunking it in the hot chocolate meant it was Friday night. And speaking of peanut butter; PB and J sandwiches were staples. There was no such thing as “peanut allergies”

Almost everyone went home for lunch anyway. Mom’s were usually always at home for lunch or dinner. This wasn’t something assessed and judged, it just was. Summer meant drinking from the hose. Sometimes the water tasted more like rubber than water. And of course the funniest thing in the world was to cinch the hose as your thirsty buddies tried to get a drink. The most infuriating thing was when they pulled the same trick on you. Simplicity.

Games meant being outside all day. Climbing trees, falling out of trees. Stupid games we would make up on the spot. They made no sense but we still played them all the day long.

Games were real and had real human interaction. Imagine that. They weren’t played out on screens and amassing “kills”. Friday night was Mary Tyler Moore and the Partridge Family. Such shows embedded in me being a sucker for schmaltzy “chick stuff” for the rest of my life. In any half hour or hour situation, all matters were worked through to happy endings by programs end.

Then Saturday morning cartoons. Bugs Bunny, Popeye, wow. Am I really that old now?

Thankfully, yes.

Laughing till we cried. Best friends when best friends meant something. No political correctness. What was funny, was funny: if there was no intent to offend then no offense was ever taken. Jokes didn’t have to be analyzed for appropriateness. There was indeed an age of innocence. Some would call it ignorance, and I suppose there is that side of the coin to consider as well. But I don’t. Too breezy right now in recall.

Playing till exhausted in all kinds of filth.

There was no “overtraining” to consider. You left the house in the morning, and you rode for miles, or walked for miles, only to play football or ball hockey or whatever and then home again.

Remember playing cards in your bicycle spokes. Falling off your buddies handle bars. I still have these scars of youth.

But they represent these so many breezes.

The smell of my dog after a day with me at the river:

Popsicles.

25 cents meant a welcome and exciting choice. I could either have one pop and a bag of chips, or one pop and a chocolate bar. The choice was as simple as did I want sugar or did I want salty. That was grade 7.

Like it or not parenting was done by real people. Real people make mistakes. Parents yelled “Dinner Time” from the door or porch. You did the same with your dog. We all seemed to hear the call.

Allowance: work and chores earned real money for tangible efforts. Shovel the driveway, cut the grass, rake the leaves, take out the garbage, garbage day, wash the dishes.


Race issues were about who went the fastest over some arbitrary distance by arbitrary means. One foot hopping or 10 block bike rides with your winter boots on and of course in the middle of a snow storm.

That was a race issue.

The color of one’s skin didn’t mean a thing till we were told it did. I grew up in a Greek neighbourhood. So I imitated all the Greek by phonetic imitation. So I could “speak Greek” but had no idea what I was saying.

Learning how to whistle.

A foot of snow was a blessing. Bumper jumping.

Terror issues were all about the release of the movie “Jaws” and its theme music.

Fear for your life was associated with “wait till your father gets home.”

And that feeling of the first time your heart raced from being around “that girl.” And the only thing you could possibly catch from any girl was “cooties.” But then you could inoculate yourself with a simple claim of being “super-cootie-proof.” This of course allowed you to enter unchartered 1:1 dialogue or walks home with that girl you claimed you hated; but you couldn’t stop thinking about. And even now you wonder about her. You wish her well. Of course this eventually leads to that first kiss, with eyes open and mouth closed.

And yet it still felt like something no one else could ever understand.

A.M. radio! Songs for almost every year and every era of your life represented in time every time you hear them, even now.

This was just the general nostalgia of childhood. Then there was highschool:

Polyester: bell-bottoms: Platform shoes: Satin shirts. The first Kiss concert. Bruce Springsteen, The Boss: The difference was the difference between musical entertainment and art. High School rivalries: High School dances, and the last dance was always Stairway to Heaven: lame in retrospect, but so cool at the time: High school parties: High School hijinks: The High School Play: High School year books: High school hangovers: Squirt guns that fit in the palm of your hand: Water balloons or water filled condoms were the funniest thing on the earth: Pranks on teachers.

Your first drive in the car alone after you got your licence. Your first ‘cruising’ in the car with your buddies as well.

Beginnings: Many of them: Too many more to go over right here, and right now. But I will continue to do so, in private, after I post this musing of my mind. Socrates said “an unexamined life is not worth living” This is true not only morally and ethically, but in recall of joy as well.

There should always be room for nostalgia.

To embrace again an era of your past. Not because you want to go back there, but recognize from where you came. For my generation, to recall a simpler time.

To recognize that even right now, this period in your life is also an era that will pass as well. Are you going to spend it, lamenting on who wronged you and why? Are you going to carry the bad and the ugly forward? If you do you only create a block to recall in the future. This era of your life belongs to you. No one else. In 10 or 20 years what senses will fill you when you recall this time in your life? I say recall this era as so many more beginnings.

The only constant in all the years of your life, will be YOU.

This era like all the others will surely pass you like so many other previous breezes: breezes that can in the future be recalled for the comfort they give, and then they’re gone.

Happy New Year to you all !!!! I hope you take the time for recollecting “beginnings” and refreshing breezes that have been your life. It’s a great place to start. And New Years is all about beginnings and wonder of what lies ahead.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tot Teaches Tao Lessons: The Kyle Lograsso Phenomenon

Fresh off my latest lecture from the Tao of Scott Abel at my most recent workshop, many people contact me to expand on the concepts. Some of these concepts are difficult to grasp as people cannot seem to “get it” that these are not quests to accomplish or achieve, but rather elements of our own self-hood that merely have to be accepted to be understood. The Tao and spiritual elements of “intention” and “attention” remain confusing to many of my clients and readers; perhaps because of a desire to want to make them complicated. Yet they are anything but. The most powerful constructs available to any of us, merely have to be accepted to be actualized.

Seems simple enough. I get asked all the time what makes me “Scott Abel” or how I became successful? People inquire to me which certifications they should get, or which books they should read, that I have read. And yet I learned some years ago, what separated me from so many others was not my level of “information” but rather my level of “inspiration.”

The world of form, from which we access information is the trap that prevents so many people from the goals they seek. Enter the Kyle Lograsso story.

http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=1197420&=yvmtf

Please view this video all the way through and then come back to my Blog. This is not a blog about drama, or comebacks, or victims or survivors. I think many people miss the point here. It’s not even about child prodigies. No. For me, Kyle’s story screams of real life lessons learned in the Tao, and taught by a tot! This isn’t about genius or cheating death twice. The real lessons lie in between.

First we have the discovery of Kyle’s prowess. How did it unfold? An 18th month old, channel surfing lands on the Golf channel and is instantly mesmerized. He is focused; he is transfixed. Somehow inside of him the visual just “made sense.” He immediately began to mimic what he saw. Not “trying” to do or accomplish anything. He was, at that age, too young to strive after anything like that. Yet the images he saw just made sense to him. It was "a" purpose. So he was given a toy plastic golf club and swung it, “on” purpose. And as I lectured this past week, we see that “what we strive after depletes us, but what we aspire toward completes us.”

There is a Zen expression that “the mind should be like an empty rice bowl. When it is empty the universe can fill it. But when it is full there is no room to receive.” An 18 month’s old boy’s mind was open and receptive to a message; “this is for you.” It made sense to him. It didn’t need any complicated explanation; it just made sense and he followed that inclination. Because he was paying “attention” within himself; he found what would eventually serve his “intention” and his genius. This is what is meant that “genius is an expression, not a creation.”

Mozart wrote his first symphony at the age of 4. He paid attention, and developed his intention. He just sat down at a piano and “it made sense to him:” Much like Kyle with a golf swing. No golf lessons for Kyle. His father didn’t even own golf clubs. No lessons for Mozart. And such are the lessons of the Tao of passion. That attention and intention to a quiet mind reveals itself.

Like Mozart, by way of metaphor, when are we all going to finally realize that our life is a symphony just waiting for us to be its maestro or conduct its music? Instead we get all caught up in false value and start questioning the notes, or the melody of our lives. We start wondering if our music is in the right key, the right octave and all various forms of complicating what is simply there to be actualized and expressed. As I said in my workshop, and Kyle so simply exhibits, virtuosity in life comes from sing out; not necessarily from singing well. We get so caught up in the “skill” that we continually under-estimate and under-value and under-serve, the “will.” Kyle’s and Mozart’s genius expression, began as simple “will” A simple “intention” if you will, to just do “what feels right” and it had nothing to do with being right or striving to achieve.

I knew the same feeling the first time I ever worked out. It wasn’t about getting a bigger arm or bigger leg. It just felt like a “cool” thing to pursue. It made sense to me. It wasn’t till much later that my mind got bogged down with such other nonsense.

Yes, many of us can even get so far as to “see” the music in us. That is, we recognize or are told of our talents and abilities. But how many of us truly “feel” our music inside of us. That is the attention that leads to intention which then flows back and forth each to the other. Mozart didn’t just “know” music was his talent. It was his calling. He felt it before he knew it! Kyle picked up a golf club and never again put it down. His “calling” “just made sense to him.” It is that simple. Perfection lies in excellence, not pursuit. It lies in passion, not performance. It lies there softly, in subtlety, within us, just waiting for its awareness in order to express itself. How simply beautiful is that?

And then complication ensues itself into young Kyle’s life. Cancer takes his eye. But within hours of having his eye removed and barely able to stand, Kyle was up and attempting to swing his golf club again. This is the nature of passion as expression. Set backs are only that. They don’t stand in the way of singing out one’s music; no, they yield the way. Kyle more than likely was too young to understand his set back: And soon after, he cheats death again by overcoming medical poisoning: Yet the passion rules. There he is swinging his golf club. There he is “actualizing” what makes perfect sense to him. It’s synchronicity of attention and intention. His focus was not on his problem; his focus was on his passion. And what we focus on expands! Hence the problem is merely incidental. How many of us can say that? Kyle exemplifies that “it’s not what happens “to” us that matters, but rather what happens “in” us. Or as Jung said “I am not what happens to me, I am what I choose to become.”

In fact I ask you the question:

Are you focused on your set back, or are you focused on your comeback?

What I see in my life is that this is a trick question. People look to this and answer one way or the other without acknowledging their real truth. They aren’t truly focused on their set back or their comeback. What they are really focused on is the drama they worship within either context. At some point they need to learn a lesson that I embraced a long time ago. Your drama only works on an audience! With a real purpose, drama is presupposed by passion. Drama “wants” an audience even if it’s in one’s own mind. Passion just sees drama as “in the way.” (Why? Because it is not “of” The Way”: The Way being Tao) In fact I would go so far as to say drama is merely reflective of “need and want” and is at best an obstacle to “feeling your own music.” It prevents you from ‘singing out’ your real music!

And now young Kyle continues to go about his business, by going beyond swinging a club and actually playing. How many golf pros decided it “was not worth their time” to look at a 5 year old? Such is the limitations of the world of form. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Kyle is far too young and therefore unscathed by his new limitation. In fact he seems to view his prosthetic eye as merely another part of him. He in fact even uses it to amuse himself. (see video clip) Yet I can imagine how many adult golfing enthusiasts who would be challenged with a lost eye would use it as a dramatic event and set back. Their focus, would be on the new limitation, and all the fuel for drama it provides. Again, such is the world of form. By contrast, Inspiration, passion and calling allows and expresses possibilities, not limits.

It is said that the purpose of life, is a life with purpose. It does not have to be anything grand. But it is life changing. What people fail to acknowledge is that it is their own life that begs of change. Changing the world begins there in your own head, heart, and hands. A 5 years old leads the way in lessons of the Tao. Myself, I can only be of value as a teacher when I continue to learn as a student.

I have many steps ahead of me. I am enthralled to take everyone of them to see where they lead.

And we need to stop chasing outside of us, what is already internally abundant. All we need to do is slow down long enough and be still enough to feel our own music. We can after all, only see our reflection in still waters! Once we feel that music, then all we need to do is have the “chutzpah” to conduct it, and sing it out loud. Learn from Kyle. I know I did.


Giving

Kyle also has a website kylelograsso.org where you can read more about his story. And in keeping with acknowledging “gifts” the website is an attempt to give to a worthy cause. I am of the same sentiments no matter how and where they manifest.

I love this time of year. It’s a time for generosity. It’s a time to give without expectation. We get so caught up in the messenger that we fail to feel the message. Christmas is such a time. And what is wrong with a message of spirit? What is wrong with a message of “good will to all men?” Only pride would try to negate such a simple message.

I urge all of you to go out and give something anonymously this holiday season. I don’t care if its old clothes to Goodwill, or money in the Salvation Army Drum. One of my favourites (if you read last year’s December Blog “Why I believe in Santa”) is the practice of “drive through generosity” Just get in to a drive through line and pay for one or two cars behind you and drive off. Its simple, its effortless, its effective, and yet you are the one who benefits. A small act like that, and you will “feel” the intention come back to you. But again, some of you will get it; many of you will not.

It will be interesting indeed to see how Kyle’s life plays out. As for right now, he teaches all of us many simple lessons. Just like he “knew” golf without ever having studied it; he seems to know lessons of the Tao in much the same way. They say that genius is knowing without ever studying. It comes from outside awareness of form.

When we live according to the 5 senses we live only in the world of form. Therefore we are limited to and subject to, solely the influence of in-form-ation. But when we live in the world of spirit, we can trans-form. When we trans-form, then we can also trans-send the limitations of form. When we live in the context of the world of spirit; then we can access in-spirit-ation. Trust me it is a greater source of power. And there is nothing more Yin and Yang, inspiring and at the same time humbling, than being taught these lessons by a “tot.”

Again, some of you will get it, many of you will not!

My best to all of you this Holiday Season. My wish is that you all find your music inside you, and sing it out loud and play it well ! And self-harmony is just that !