You Man, Be Yin

Human Being – You Man, Be Yin. The unprecedented access to unlimited information in the digital age is full of promise and peril. Podcasts, YouTube, and other forms of media populate our minds with information that may distract us, drive us, or inspire us to creative ideas and action. An inspiration today came from listening to the Rubin Report with guest Eckart Tolle. At one point there was the intended distinction between “Human” and “Being” – that is, we are human (our species) AND we are being (the energy that animates all of the physical and non-physical world and universe). An expansion could be the expression of male and female energy: (Human) You Man, (Being) Be Yin with reference to both male (man) and female (yin – in Chinese philosophy, the passive female principle of the universe, characterized as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold).

This may sound a bit too woo-woo for someone reading this. Eckhart Tolle wrote two major best-selling books: The Power of Now and A New Earth. Both these books are highly recommended. What was striking about this interview was that Eckhart’s language seemed more accessible to modern ears. He was able to talk about such abstract concepts in ways that most would be able to understand.

One of the best questions and answers was when Eckhart was asked what he would tell someone, who is in the midst of stress and chaos or hopelessness, to do right now. Throughout the interview, it was repeated that it is difficult to focus on one’s breath while also carrying on incessant thoughts simultaneously. Therefore, his suggestion, prefaced with the statement that there will be barriers to the simplicity of his response, was to simply breathe and focus on the air going in slowly and out slowly. Just seven or eight seconds total of purely focusing on the breath. Here is a primer for anyone who wants to do this now.

Severe Clear

There is nothing like what is called “bluebird” skies when contrasted with the bright white slopes of mountainous downhill ski terrain. The immaculate deep blue (usually morning) sky is where skiers and riders get the term “bluebird”, as in “it’s an epic bluebird day, dude”, or “perfect bluebird conditions today everyone”. But what was learned today up on the local mountain slopes while riding the quad chair was the term “severe clear”. We were remarking about what a glorious bluebird morning it was when a fellow chairlift rider described.

Meteorologists and pilots sometimes call the deep, brilliant blue sky as severe clear. This aviation term refers to unlimited visibility. The website thevane.gawker.com which describes severe clear as “an atmosphere dominated by a strong high pressure often features nothing but vivid blue, bright sunshine, and a light wind. The weather usually plays a huge role in our lives when it turns sour.” It just so happens that today’s bluebird skies were in fact a sign of a storm rolling in this evening and tomorrow calling for pretty intense rains in this region (Northeast US).

Everyone has probably at one time or another seen or expressed the parallels between moods and the weather, even physical health and the weather. Without going into detail about “seasonal affective disorder” or how barometric pressure affects the physical body, this notion of severe clear may be extended into the realm of physical and mental health. Is it possible that crystal clear skies on a given day or consecutive days signal some kind of storm in our collective consciousness? Does the individual experience of total clarity precede significant changes in a person’s life? Next time extreme clarity occurs within us or those we know, let us observe what changes may follow. We may find another connection between humans, our natural world, the earth, our solar system, and the greater universe. Who knows?

Resistance

The concept of resistance seems to be popping up a lot lately. It is as though there is a “resistance rollercoaster” that seems fun to ride over and over until it starts to dawn that it’s not that fun anymore or even a touch nauseating at times. Playing with and exploring the word ‘resistance’ and the associations with the term or meaning of the term has become a fun game.

A search for the definition of ‘resistance’ yielded the following: a) “the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.” For example: “she put up no resistance to being led away”; and b) “the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely.” For example “some of us have a lower resistance to cold than others”. The first definition sounds super negative, like an active barrier to serenity erected by means of a refusal or non-compliance. The second definition sounds totally positive like being buffered from adversity or a type of veritable unflappability. This makes the two definitions of resistance somehow “resistant” to each other!

Associations with resistance are numerous. In psychotherapy, particularly using “motivational interviewing” skills, we are taught to “roll with resistance”. In psychoanalysis we are told to explore the resistance. In pop psychology the slogan “what one resists, persists.” And finally, in physics we think of resistors as: “A resistor is an electrical component that limits or regulates the flow of electrical current in an electronic circuit. Resistors can also be used to provide a specific voltage for an active device such as a transistor.”

Now, it’s time to lay resistance to bed and get some sleep.

A Friend of Time is a Friend of Mine

Time often seems characterized as an enemy. Life proceeds in an unstoppable way. Mere humans, when compared to other forms of organic matter or the vastness of the cosmos, are simply proceeding along with time from conception to death. There is no apparent way to alter time except in terms of consciousness or changes in perception. Time slows or speeds up according to our subjective experiences resulting in feelings that time is racing or moving frustratingly slow.

When we make a friend of time, we make a friend with ourselves and others. That’s why “a friend of time is a friend of mine”. Yes, this expression pays homage to a popular Grateful Dead song called “Friend of the Devil”. And I certainly don’t wish to malign time by likening it to the devil. If anything, time itself sits above, behind or completely encompasses any dichotomous concept binding us to limits and confinement. A line from this song – “set out running but I’ll take my time” – says it all. Time may be the ultimate paradox.

Which brings up a final point or related concept. In the social media reality that garners so much attention nowadays, there is an entrepreneur and social media activist named Gary Vaynerchuk. The guy has so much content out there. One piece of content that stands out is his statement “Macro Patience, Micro Speed”. This really captures the essence of time as a friend, a paradox, and a natural wonder. We can learn to move instep with time as part of the natural flow of all things. To end with a favorite quote: “Every second is of infinite value.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Under the Wire

What wire? And what does that even mean? “Hey Google…what does Under the Wire mean? According to google’s search process, it means “just in time” or “at the last possible opportunity.” Do you live your life constantly doing things ‘under the wire’? This Day 4 of my 30 day Challenge of writing every day is just such an example of “just in time”. It is 11:36pm on Day 4.

And this reminds me of a saying that “some people act or change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.” Oftentimes, some of us wait until the last possible minute to take action on something. Some may find that having a “back up against a wall”, or facing a crisis, or feeling no choice but to act is a common pattern in their lives. I’ve found myself in these situations. And, if I’m honest, it both sucks and it’s not-so-bad.

It sucks because there’s such a thing as not enough stress, just the right amount, and too much stress. Not enough stress can foster inaction or worse, procrastination. To much stress, well, that just sounds awful. But just the right amount of stress… that’s the alleged sweet spot for most. Many know themselves so well, like a fine-tuned machine, that the range of that sweet spot of the right amount of stress is instinctive, perhaps simply intuitive. However, the line between just enough and too much may be a bit blurry for some of us, tipping us over into too much stress and getting stuff done – Under the Wire. Where do you see yourself in this?

Here are some synonyms for “under the wire”. #nickoftime

Life is a Palindrome

Am I the only one fascinated by #palindromes? Actually, I’m not that fascinated by them but they always seemed intriguing to me.  A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward. From the most simple – DAD – to the more complex – Murder for a jar of red rum – palindromes are simply fun. My go-to palindrome is LEVEL and I don’t really know why.

In a recent psychotherapy session with a patient talking about the process of getting older, the phrase “Life is a palindrome” popped into my head and I even said it out loud. What occurred to me is the phases of life we all travel through should we pass through this life all the way in to senescence ( condition or process of deterioration with age ). The birth, life, and death process is like a palindrome. We are born helpless, needing lots of guidance and assistance in the growth and maturation process. We reach a plateau of “adulthood” (whatever that is). Then we follow a path of returning, in a sense, into needing more and more help and assistance in daily life, followed by complete helplessness until we die.

Life, therefore, is a sort of lived palindrome. We live it the same way forward as we do backward. As a loose association to this fun thought and writing experiment, I’m reminded of George Carlin’s description of aging we go through in life. “Kids and old folks have a lot in common.” Hilarious!

Go Ahead, I’m Listening

A friend sent me a link to a podcast to which I responded: “Thanks! I look forward to listening.” As someone who listens for a living, I know listening is powerful part of the human experience and it can mean so many things. We listen with our ears but also with our hearts, our minds, and our deeper selves. When we don’t truly listen, it can have known and unknown consequences.

There is an awesome quote that I posted several months ago on my Instagram Account that says: “Listen and Silent are spelled with the same letters. Think about it.” Interestingly, I looked up “Listen Anagrammer” and guess what? Listen and Silent are spelled with the same letters as Enlist, Inlets, Elints, and Tinsel. This is fascinating!

When we listen, we “enlist” others to share and we “enlist” ourselves to pay attention with intention. When we listen, there are “inlets” created which become pathways to deeper understanding and even wisdom. When we listen, something magical can happen like “Tinsel” on a Christmas tree (ok, that was a stretch..lol).

But what is this “ELINTS” thing. I had to look that up. And, wow! Here is the definition: “the gathering of military or other intelligence through the monitoring of electronic signals other than voice communications, as satellite transmissions, rocket telemetry, and radar”. Think about. Now, go ahead. I’m listening.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 1

We didn’t get “1st Chair” this morning. We got the “2nd wave” of skiers and riders. Wow! Was that sun and sky and glistening snow glorious. Now this is living! Riding that chairlift with one of my sons was super fun. What made it even better was the spontaneous, very brief, chit-chat about “2nd Place”.

“Dad, you know what’s weird about 2nd Place? Everyone thinks 2nd Place is a bad thing. But, think about it. When you come in 2nd, you beat all the other people who tried getting 1st Place. When you come in 2nd, you are still at the top of the sport, skill, or competition or whatever you’re trying to achieve. That’s awesome.” Ok, he didn’t say it quite like that but that was the gist of it.

This kid sitting next to me loves to ski. He’s been saying “I wanna go skiing so badly” since September. And we raced up to the parking lot of the ski area to get 1st Chair and it didn’t matter to him that we got within the first cycle of chairs taking skiers and riders up the mountain. We were both just so excited to be on the lift, anticipating the excitement of bombing up and down the mountain, carving deep trenches in the freshly groomed trails by pushing hard into our turns and letting our ski edges do all the work. Did I mention he is the second born child? #facts lol

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.