June 01, 2011
Why I Surrender To Tears on Airplanes & Why You Should Find Your Own…..
I write this after watching a movie on a long American Airlines flight. It’s not the first time I had cried after watching a movie on an airplane. It’s also not the first time I noticed that I cried after watching a movie on an airplane. The first few times I figured it was just the movie choice….that random movie choice, which brought on the tears. After many years of observing that I somehow ended up having a good cry after any movie I watched on an airplane, it started to settle in that the tears were a unique occurrence. Related to airplanes? Or, travel?
During my last cross-country flight, I realized it wasn’t related to airplanes or travel specifically, but it was related to reflection after leaving a place, something I have always had time to do while moving from A to B.
When I’m leaving a place, even if its one I’ve been to dozens of times before, there’s always a reflection point…..a particular conversation, a new way of seeing a friend’s life I hadn’t seen before, the repetition of patterns from a conference I had been to ten times, a speaker I heard say the same thing in the past, and yet it resonated differently on the last round. And on and on and on.
The physical journey mapped with the emotion of someone else’s life journey in a movie, is a reminder of life as it is in that moment. Nothing more, nothing less…..
Alas, we are all growing older, wiser and simpler at the same time on this long life journey which we all share.
Sure, a lot of airline movies tend to be dramas or comedies rather than action flicks, but don’t almost all of them have a love story, even if it’s not one between two humans? A love story with a passion can be just as derailing and challenging, whether it’s Kevin Costner’s battle with choosing between love and baseball or Gweneth Paltrow choosing between music and fame or love and life itself.
When a movie is well written, it brings you into the plot as if you’re in the script yourself. You resonate with a character and if it’s not their personality you connect with, it’s the pain they’re feeling.
A good story always has some pain in it, largely because getting through the pain is what makes us grow into something better, bigger, stronger than we were before. Someone once said, “God only gives us as much pain as we can handle in order to learn the lesson.” Whether it’s a God who dishes the lessons out to us, the universe herself or a mishmash of happenstances and people who fall into our path, showing up as both teachers and students, life (and our journey in it) is definitely not a random accident.
Movies, like really good writing, force me to reflect on all of it as I migrate between two worlds. A movie doesn’t necessarily have to have amazing writing to invoke emotion in the way a good novel does. It does need tons of “human moments” and the ability of the actors to bring you into their world as if you are in the storyline yourself.
Whenever I leave a destination, I start to reflect on what I just left, almost immediately. In New York, it always happens the moment I jump into the cab on my way to the airport, in other cities, it may not hit until I’m on the plane and in others, perhaps not until I’m smack in the middle of a movie. The reflection isn’t just about the drama and pain that is happening in the movie, it’s a reflection on everything I just left and everything I am about to embark on, sometimes for the first time and sometimes, into a world where I’m on autopilot.
What happens if there’s no movie? I reflect anyway, and often I write, but the tears don’t always come like they do after a good airplane movie. A well known CEO friend of mine used to talk to me about “walkabouts,” which is an Australian phrase that refers to going off somewhere to clear your head and get back in touch with your heart. (in so many words).
Years later, I not only understand “walkabouts” but need to take them. The in between state – the airplane – brings me to a reflection point where I begin to contemplate a “walkabout” even if it doesn’t bring me into one.
It’s a way of being present….yes, in the middle of a movie. Unlike anywhere else I watch a good movie, I’m aware of everything around me. I’m aware of the person I’m sitting next to whether or not I started a dialogue with them. (Refer to my blog post: Not Just in Aging......)
In sharing an intimate space with them for anywhere from 2 hours to 12, I feel as I’m now part of one of their life chapters just as they are mine, whether or not they’re aware of it or not.
Maybe I’m over-thinking a simple plane journey, and even if that’s the case, who cares if the experience brings me to reflection points, tears and being present. I want as many experiences and moments in my life which are present and sometimes they come naturally (bring me red rock, Cape Point or any ocean or lake), and sometimes I have to pinch myself or meditate to go there.
Being present with someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give them, even if its with yourself. Being present with yourself btw almost always turns into a gift for someone else because for the time you are truly present, that openness creates a door for someone else to enter, even if its for one beautiful moment.
As for others on your path, I’ve noticed that my exchanges are pretty random and in that randomness, I find that I always talk to exactly who I’m supposed to talk to at the time.
The other two things I’m reminded over and over again is that randomness often creates magic moments worth cherishing and there are no accidents on this long journey we call life.
Sometimes when people see me cry, they assume I’m watching a movie about death or a sad love affair if they’re not watching the same movie as me. Other times, they just glance out of the corner of their eye quietly, perhaps wondering why I might be shedding a tear. Even if I am tearing up over something sad or cruel or painful, it’s always a good shed. The clearing through tearing brings on a birth of new ideas and ways of looking at the world, not unlike a new skin which grows back after the old skin sheds from too many hours in the sun.
My sun is my PC and mobile device, and being tethered to them bring me into the most unpresent part of my life – the Internet. When I’m there, I’m reacting to noise, even if I AM learning something new along the way. OR, meeting someone new in a Twitter exchange. Knowledge and productivity are great things and while they are not separate from being present, I find my brain either has room for one or the other and when my brain is overworking, my heart takes a back seat. (Read Nicholas Carr’s What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains and a blog post I wrote called: Hey Digital Maven, How Okay Are You With Silence?).
Having a cry as a way of reflecting on what I just left and what I’m ‘going to’ isn’t a replacement for a good “walkabout” and frankly I think we should all take them, whatever a “walkabout” is for you.
A “walkabout” isn’t necessarily the kind of activity that puts you into your zone, which may be your passion -- skiing, photography, cooking or whatever. A “walkabout” takes you to a quiet place where you’re not going anything at all but connecting to the earth below your feet and the sky above your head.
Here, you’re in a place of silence where you are not only “being” present but you’re “aware of being present” with who and what you just left and where you’re going. Along the way, you’re grateful -- it’s hard not to be grateful when you’re truly in this state btw – and every motion, every thought, every move you make is free flowing. In other words, there’s no resistance, there’s no struggle, there’s no pain, there’s no head, because heart is driving every step of the way. Heart is ruling thought and Heart is making every decision. (Read Eckhart Tolle).
The airplane movie for me is merely a trigger point in the middle of the noise, in between my “walkabouts,” and in between two very distinct worlds, which remind me I haven’t been grateful enough, I’ve lost perspective or gained some, or I haven’t spent enough quality time with people who matter.
It’s almost never about the movie; it’s about a human connection which is brought to the foreground in the movie and it moves from the screen to my minds eye….and then to my heart.
It’s about the fact that I am in fact in “motion” between two places, two cultures, two ways of thinking, two lifestyles, two memories, sometimes an old life versus one which replaced it, sometimes the other way around. So bring on the tears I say. Bring ‘em on for whatever purpose they serve along that long journey we call life.
After all, isn’t it always when we’re in that in between state when we have the most to give ourselves and others in our path? When we’re in a vulnerable beautiful state where the heart drives, not our heads? (Read Pema Chodron - she’s one of my favorites).
Whenever you find out what your trigger points are, you know, the ones that bring on the tears, purposely plant them in your life if they don’t happen naturally. And, more importantly, interject them with “walkabouts.”
While “walkabouts” don’t have to include nature, it’s a good idea even if nature isn’t a primary “go to” for you. Nature and paying attention to it rewards you in ways words can never describe. It IS where we all began and honoring nature will bring you back to your source, that source which will take you on a rollercoaster ride you’ll never want to get off. Trust me. The world really does surrender to a quiet mind.
May 22, 2011
Not Just in Aging that the World Surrenders to a Silent Mind
It was on a flight from Las Vegas to San Francisco, a flight I had made countless times over the years, when I had a deja vu moment about aging. As I glanced over to the woman to my right, I suddenly remembered all the times I had watched the older women in my life as a child and felt as far removed from them then as I do now from a 15 year old male skateboarder from Detroit.
On that flight, a surreal feeling swept over me...as if I was her or could have been a dear friend of hers in a previous life. The moment was short lived but vibrant and incredibly real, and it made me incessantly aware of aging and this precious thing called human life.
She was probably 70 or so, the woman was a petit, short Asian woman with beautiful silver hair, strands of black scattered throughout as the only remnants left of her middle age life. Her skin was glowing despite her obvious fatigue and you could tell she was once a stunner in that way you can about some people; there's a certainty, a quiet sauciness, and a knowing smile that suggests a life fully lived. She was wearing faded jeans, classy gold earrings with just a touch of ruby red and a Victorian blue button up top with a crocheted back that barely covered her neck, just enough to add a sweet balance of feminine energy to her other otherwise masuline aura despite her small frame.
Her face was weathered, not terribly so, but like her glow, certainty and smile, her face and hands exuded a lifetime of stories, over decades of experiences, far far beyond Las Vegas or San Francisco.
My deja vu moment came moments after a visit to the airplane lou where I observed my own weathered skin from years of sun exposure including the most recent trip in an open convertible where the hot desert sun beat on my skin, adding more aging spots which will someday tell a long story, or a series of them, just like the silver-haired neighbor to my right.
Although I was more than 30 years her junior, I felt as if this woman, whose coiled sleeping body next to me, was a kindred spirit somehow, despite the fact that we had yet to exchange a word.
Part of the desert trip included exploring rock ruins, flora and engravings, the latter of which told some of our ancestor's stories during a time that not only knew no computer, but knew no pen, paper or even a primitive chalkboard. I couldn't get enough of the hot Utah sun largely because the sun had become such a foreign oddity as I had somehow become more accustomised to hanging out with words on a screen as Google's Chrome churns them out tab after tab.
Despite the fact that I had "inked" my face up with pure white zink from Australia, the sun took its toll, not just on my face but on every inch of my body except for the six inches which were covered by scarves and shawls.
In the mirror that afternoon, seeing the weathered results of miles of sun and wind, brought back a memory of my South African host sister and I basking in the African sun as teenagers one hot summer afternoon in Durban. We were coated with baby oil as were our neighbors and their neighbors and so on. My host mother would bring out iced tea (roibos) with mint on the hour to make sure we were hydrated and their rotweiler would bark every time she opened the door. White as snow, she came out glaring through the sun to find us spread out on the grass in her 1950s-style apron with printed pansies in oranges and reds. She would shudder as my grandfather would at the amount of time we spent unprotected under the far too close to the equator sky. Like our neighbors, and their neighbors and so on.
As the memories flooded my head, I looked back at my silver-haired friend, who opened one eye on this occasion, just enough to add a small but tired smile as a way to acknowledge my gaze. At the end of the flight, we exchanged one short sentence as we all queued up like cattle waiting our turn to exit the plane.
I felt so connected to this woman I knew nothing about for some reason and yet......an older short, silver-haired Asian woman with gold earrings next to an American auburn haired, blue eyed woman nearly half her age and yet the almost silent exchange was as if.....as if, we had met before in a far away place, in a previous life, at a time when time had no meaning.
When time has no meaning, aging has no meaning. Later, I read an excerpt called Late Ripeness by Czeslaw Milosz that went something like this:
like ships, together with their sorrow.
And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas
assigned to my brush came closer,
ready now to be described better than they were before.
It made me think of her, the woman whose name I never learned, nor whose origin I will ever know. Yet when time has no meaning and aging has no meaning, I understand how things in an aging mind might just be ready to describe things better than they were before, and as the brush does in fact come closer, we also appreciate the preciousness of the journey we're on, have more gratitude for what we are becoming and who we encounter along the way.
We also become okay with the silence that blesses us along the way. Just when we think the silence is a "negative" as it reminds us that we are in fact getting older, we realize that it is in fact a gift, the biggest gift we'll ever receive in our lifetimes, for when we live our lives from this place, we are more open, more vulnerable, more authentic and more pure. How appropriate to end with one of my favorite quotes: "The whole world surrenders to a quiet mind."
March 08, 2011
Do You Know What's in Your Vibration?
Whatever you are giving your attention to is already vibrating. And when you give your attention to it, if you maintain your focus for as little as 17 seconds, you begin to include its vibration, whatever it is, in your vibration. When you see something you want, and you give it your attention, and you say yes to it, you are including whatever its vibration is in your vibration.
When you see something you do not want, and you shout no at it, you are including whatever its vibration is in your vibration. In this vibrational world, which is everything, you are far more vibrational beings than you are verbal beings. You are communicating with everyone far more on a vibrational basis, than you are on a verbal basis.
February 25, 2011
Shore Slocum: Step Through Me & Your Life Will Transform
Shore Slocum was the final speaker at TEDxBerkeley last weekend. Most known for training, coaching and speaking on personal and professional development, he has worked with some of the world's top thought leaders, such as Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and others. His real gift, however, is his ability to put storytelling, heart and soul into everything he does in a way that not only inspires but transforms people on his path.
Imagine a social network the size of Facebook, but one that is focused on the soul?
That is what Shore and his partners are building with a site called SoulNeeds, that will not only be the most relevant content from the world's top wisdom providers, but an online community and conscious social networking platform that will help people connect, share and grow in their spiritual and personal development.
It was from this place combined with his 20+ years of experience that he spoke of meaning, consciousness and purpose. Shore walked the audience through four stages of spiritual awakening and consciousness:
To Me: This is the first stage and often the 'victim stage,' where you feel that life is happening to you and you cast blame for your current situation on others....and often yourself too. In other words, the world and everything and everyone wrong with it is happening to me.
By Me is the next stage which is where the majority of the personal development world lives. Here, people learn that they change something specific or think about an aspect of their lives differently and get a brand new result, something which brings their life experiences to a more positive place. This is empowering for most but often not sustainable which is one of the reasons why so many people who are in this stage remain here. The 'fixing of problems and issues repeats itself, yielding short term results and rewards.
This is also the phase where 'learning happens and where you can easily get addicted to results by making a change. When you're living your life 'by me,' there's still a lot of effort happening since it centers around achievement and as most of us Type A results-oriented people know, its easy to get burned out in this place.
Through Me is an transformative phase. It's almost as if you become the conduit and you're plugged into another realm. When you find yourself plugged in, you somehow seem to get the message you're supposed to get and all the things in your life suddenly show up.
When you're not planning or willing it to happen, the people you need show up, the things you need show up, the money you need shows up, the talent you need shows up. In this phase, you merely need to trust the 'signal' you receive and step through it and once you do, your life is transformed and not quite ever the same again.
When you get to a point where you think: "this is too good to be true and you stop trusting it," you cut off the flow. Many of us have experienced this at various stages in our lives - there's a voice and a nudge that says Step Through Me is scary which is a scary 'message' because you often don't know what is on the other side.
If you follow that path.....the 'through me' path, you will not end up where you set your goals, or where you envisioned your life to be, but you will end up far better than you ever imagined because you're being led in the direction of your higher purpose, your most awake state. So, when that door opens, step through.
As Me is a magical place to live your life. Living your life 'through me,' still has some ego. When you move into as me, you feel no separation, and suddenly there is no difference between your brother, your sister and everything around you. Everything and everyone is one. We are all connected.
Moving Through the Stages to Get to Higher Levels of Consciousness:
In order to move from To Me to By Me, you clearly need to give up blame.
In order to move from By Me to Through Me, you clearly need to give up control.
So, if you have to give up blame and control to move through the first couple of phases, what do you need to give up to move from Through Me to As Me? Says Shore, "any sense of separation from anyone or anything." In other words, a belief and acceptance that we are all one.
Can you imagine what we can accomplish as a society if we all left our ego states at home behind a closed locked door? Can you imagine what we can do for the world if we all lived into an As Me place, where there was no separation and we were all one. Imagine in a quiet reflective room where thought and doubt have no way to get in?
Shore ended with his favorite line, one from Gandhi:
Become the Change You Wish to See in the World.
I'll end this post with my favorite line of all time:
The World Surrenders to a Silent Mind.
February 24, 2011
Chip Conley: The Most Neglected Fact in Business is That We Are All Human
Most known as the founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Californias largest boutique hotel company which was founded in 1987, he has been focusing on building transformational leadership practices, and an innovative design formula that enables customers to experience an "identity refreshment."
He talked about despair and used examples from his personal life. Within a very short period of time, a few people he knew (men between 46 and 50 years old) committed suicide. Despair, he says is suffering minus meaning. And, happiness he asserts is gratitude over gratification.
He has been studying happiness in Bhutan. The east teaches us that happiness is not about force and control, but about letting go. Happiness is about being happy about what you have not longing for what you don't have; in other words, gratitude and the act of gratitude.
He throws up a slide that reads:
Happiness = Practice + Pursuit
If you read about pursuit in the dictionary, its to chase with hostility. He asks with intention, "do we chase happiness with hostility in this country?" Ya think? All the time baby, especially in Silicon Valley and New York.
He then asks with even more intention and conviction:
What are you Running From ? (the addiction)
What are you Living For? (your purpose)
Up comes another slide. Hmmm, I can't say I didn't resonate with this one.
Anxiety = Certainty x Powerlessness
All of these are wrapped around fear and fear is one of the most contagious forces we face in our lives. When we live in fear, and in a state of anxiety, we focus on what we know and what we can control. Yet, one thing I have most certainly learned is that human consciousness and control don't work very well together.
Ahhh, this one is good since its about innocence and fun.
Curiosity = Wonder + Awe
When we were children, we were always in a state of wonder. When we are in our eighties, we are in a state of awe and in between those two bookends, we lose our curiosity.
Says Chip, "there's a window between 46 and 50 years of age and in that window, people feel like they’re on a freeway and want to escape more than any other time in their lives."
He talked about emotional intelligence and Daniel Golerman's book Emotional intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Two thirds of successful people in business succeed because of emotional intelligence and only one third succeed intelligence.
So, Chip suggests that if two thirds of business leadership success is due to emotional intelligence, maybe two thirds of corporate university training should relate to and get people in touch with our emotions.
Hear hear Chip. People clap. Below is a quote that describes how he looks at leadership:
He also asserts that its time to evaluate performance differently, performance that is perhaps based upon both results and relationships rather than just results. As most of us who have worked in traditional companies know, you tend to get judged based on your results only.
So perhaps we need to retrain MBAs to know that they don’t have to be superhuman to become CEO, which is how he lived his life for awhile, and how most over achievers live their lives in all corners of the world today. "It’s not about being superhuman," he says, "it's really about being a SUPER HUMAN." Chip adds, "the most neglected fact in business is that we are all human."
See his TED 2010 talk here.
February 23, 2011
Google's Gopi Kallayil: Friend Yourself & Listen to the Tweet of your Heartbeat
- 1. Focus on the essential. (today, we seem to think everything is essential)
- Do one thing at a time. (it keeps you focused and more productive.
- Do 1 minute of mindfulness every day and have integrity while you do it. What is the rush? What am I going towards? What am I running from?
- Make appointments for mindfulness in your calendar and make them non-negotiable. Find one anchor in your life that you’ll totally commit to no matter what happens. Gopi says he has three anchors he will not miss, one of which is leading yoga for the Googlers in a class he calls Yoglers.
- Friend yourself. (all of us are proud that we have thousands of followers/friends on Twitter and Facebook, but he asserts, the most important relationship we can have is the one with ourselves.
He says, "how about listening to the tweet of your heartbeart?" You have to unplug from the Internet to plug into the Innernet. How will you do this for yourself?
February 20, 2011
Marti Spiegelman on Consciousness, Awareness & Perception
She has inspiring and humble views about the growth of global consciousness and why its so important to bring together complimentary opposites in order to accelerate that consciousness.
We're at a time when we need to create things to create more consciousness than we've ever even imagined in our lifetime.
I loved how she prepared the audience for her 18 minutes of wisdom. Marti asked the audience to FEEL what we are going to talk about and learn rather than THINK about it. FEEL IT she repeated.
On the path to human consciousness and awakening, she referred to the wisdom she has learned from indigenous elders around the world, starting with Mexico and their view of perception. Their philosophy is that the core of our being is perception and the magic of our being is awareness.
Perception is to be aware of everything around us.
"There's an intelligence that moves those forces, that intelligence is what human beings have only known as consciousness," says Marti. She asserts that if we're intelligent and half awake, it will speak us into BEING.
Her informal and witty style brings you into her dialogue, whether its as an audience partipant watching her from afar or sitting across from her over a cup of tea. Marti is also funny. She says, "I used to think I was like a bug on a hot stove by jumping all around, but now I see that consciousness was forming me so that we could be here today."
She shared with us some of the seeds of what she learned from indigenous elders she studied with as well as from others on her journey. More humor comes out as she pointed to science as a way to make sense of the world. "In science we have an experience, then we try to prove that we had it," she reflects.
Consciousness taught her that we could learn about the speed of light, about all the possibilities in life without one piece of data.
In graphic design or art or in my case, photography, we learn how to make information technology and objects visible. In the world of technology, we can make something beautiful through coding or altering the original object. What's cool in my own personal experience of this is that you code or edit or use a graphics tool and create your own world of beauty, and then someone else can take it, modify it, and add to it.
Then, that piece of beauty you created changes, morphs and becomes a different kind of beauty. In other words, the beauty grows. That's exactly what happens with nature.
Says Marti, "we are just the portal - consciousness speaks through all of us." For those of us who have been a recipient or the portal, you KNOW this to be true. I've been a portal and in that unique beautiful moment when it happens, nothing is more important than being present with where you are and open. Then, whatever is supposed to happen, whatever is supposed to be 'said' just gets said through you without you controlling it. It's almost as if you don't have a choice, because a bigger force outside of yourself takes over.
When you are the recipient, which I have also been, it's an incredibly life-changing experience. If you've gone through this, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There's no force and no control -- you know you're there for 'it' whatever that 'it' is (message, moment, miracle, exchange of love) and you just go with it and absorb. There's an acute awareness when this happens.......the attention is OFF yourself and the other person and ON/IN the creation of beauty, love, peace, harmony and sometimes, the hardest ones: self love and forgiveness.
This my friends is what this magical thing called Global Consciousness is about.
She also addressed consciousness and business, a world she came from and it appeared 80% of the audience (minus the Berkeley students) spend their time in today -- "performing". I chose the word performing because its precisely what life is fixated on when measurement of success is based on performance rather than on 'gifting to the world' through business.
Says Marti, "business is nothing more than the center of exchange of value. The only thing that is valuable is that what supports thriving." The indigeneous elders once said to her, "all that stuff you've been learning is a technology. There is a technology to consciousness."
Here's the other thing about global consciousness. It's limitless and once you've experienced it, you know that it can keep going or rather flowing....only of course, if we don't put a plug in that flow. (i.e., fear does that).
What happens to many of us, (it has certainly happened to me) is that we experience the gift of human consciousness because we evolve into it through an unspoken door of trust and then when things feel too joyful (in other words, do I really deserve ALL of this? ahhh, that muddled complicated word deserve which requires its own blog post), we somehow sabotage the door that leads us to more miracles. Yes, miracles...miracles that come from being consciously aware, miracles that come from walking through the door of consciousness and never turning back.
The bottom line is that we all want to be thriving and deep down when we're living from a place of love, not fear, we all want everything and everyone else to be thriving too. Once fear takes over, survival instict takes over, you know, that lizard brain that Seth Godin talks about in Linchpins, and we remain in the ego state, the one that doesn't serve anyone including ourselves.
Another principle she talked about was repriocity, which is one expression of human consciousness.....a deeper expression. She uses the example of two magnets to demonstrate how we seek sameness and push away difference.
Welcome to the western world is all I could think when she said the world sameness. I'm not suggesting that sameness doesn't show up in the East or other parts of the world, but in living in 11 countries, I'm always shocked by how much sameness we support and embrace in the U.S. compared to other societies in the world.
I would go so far as saying that I think we're killing inspiration, art and creation in humanity because of the growth of sameness, most noticeable in the western world. My mind wandered and spiraled as she said that word because of how many visuals I had of the joy I have experienced over the years whenever diversity showed up, which it did in so many marvelous ways.
I have thought and said this often - how on earth can we create a life full of magic and joy with so much sameness around us? People so often embrace sameness more than they do diversity.
Well done Marti and thanks for throwing that awkward word out there for us to reflect on, perhaps so much so that we can perhaps discard the coward claws of 'sameness', the ones that keep us inside a world of reaction rather than creation. When we live our lives from a place of creation and diversity, we can learn, grow and yes, thrive from that which is not the same as ourselves and our understanding of the world.
Indigeneous people are able to move things because they embrace the differences. Imagine that you could sit in awareness and acknowledge in consciousness that this is just this and nothing else and that is just that and nothing else, rather than try to figure out what this and that is supposed to mean. Forget the meaning for a moment and when you do, you'll find yourself moving into that beautiful state of being.
I remember being on a walk on an island in Fiji many years ago and a quiet man with a very peaceful face emerged from the woods. He asked me before I said a word, "why are you trying to fight with God my child?" By God, I learned that he didn't mean the God we think of in the west, he meant the greater force in the universe (perhaps embraced by purpose)....the one outside ourselves that we can't control nor can we always understand.
It was at a time when I was on a seminar not long after my grandfather died and I was trying to make sense of the whys, the pains and the emotional hardships my own family faced for so many years. Still, without me saying a word, he said, "stop trying to figure it out, stop trying to come up with a solution or analyze it. Stop. Just be with whatever is gripping you and strangling your soul. Just be. Don't control it, just embrace it and be with it."
Then he was gone. I saw him again two more times before I left and twice more, he left me with words of wisdom as if he saw through me, could read me, perhaps for a moment or two, was me. He was the portal and I was the recipient: human consciousness, love and awareness in action.
Imagine if we could experience that every day? Where would the pain go? Wouldn't it be cool if we could stop trying to figure out where it would go or what life would be like if that what was familiar even if painful just disippated into air?
Marti ended with an important reminder: "All of the other principles will fall into place if we focus on the first principle: "Be here now, outside the constraints of time." Thank you for your free flowing "I'm just here and now" presentation, your ongoing seeds of wisdom and commitment to sharing it with the world.
February 19, 2011
TODAY, TEDxBerkeley Brings Leaders Together to Reveal World-Changing Projects that are Engaging the World
Fifteen ground-breaking thinkers and leaders in their fields will discuss issues such as: how to find personal meaning in the business world and how to scale social change in the developing world.
Within the theme of “Engaging the World”, the event will be broken down into three categories: Dream, Pioneer and Connect.
Below is a list of the 2011 TEDxBerkeley speakers. Visit the TEDxBerkeley speaker page for their detailed biographies.
- Bryan Alvarez – Doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, researching brain-based and cognitive mechanisms of a unique form of sensory-blending called synesthesia, which he also experiences.
- Jason Atwood – Ph.D. Candidate, Activist, and Director of Ethiopia ConnectED, an education initiative inspired by TEDster Sugata Mitra’s research on self-organized learning environments.
- Anat Baniel – Founder of the Anat Baniel Method and Director of the ABM Center in Marin County, California, where she and her colleagues teach professional training programs and workshops.
- Lopa Brunjes – Biochar pioneer, passionate sustainability advocate, and Executive VP of Biochar Engineering Corp, a small Colorado company defining the leading edge of the burgeoning biochar industry.
- Chip Conley – Founder and Executive Chairman of Joie de Vivre, California’s largest boutique hotel company, Author and Entrepreneur.
- Sonja Drakulich – Musician and Singer who performs Balkan and Medieval European music, as well as Persian, Turkish, Greek and Arabic; toured nationally with the Mevlevi Dervishes as singer and percussionist and in Indonesia with the Gamelan Theater Group.
- Robert Fuller – Former President of Oberlin College and Author of Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, coined the term “rankism” and is a leader in the worldwide quest for human dignity.
- Erin Ganju – Co-founder and chief executive officer of Room to Read, an organization that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
- Eoin Harrington – Singer, songwriter and guitarist, described as described as reminiscent of Maroon 5's Adam Levine, James Blunt or "a grittier Elton John."
- Walter Hood – Professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Department. His studio, Hood Design, has been engaged in architectural commissions, urban design, art installations, and research since 1992.
- Gopi Kallayil – Group Product Marketing Manager at Google supporting the marketing of the Company’s flagship advertising product, AdWords, in the Americas and Asia Pacific.
- Brad Kava – Award-winning journalist, writer, blues harmonica player and co-owner of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival.
- Noteworthy – UC Berkeley all-male a cappella group unique for writing the majority of their own pieces.
- David Rose – Product Designer, Technology Visionary, Serial Entrepreneur and current chief executive officer of Vitality, a company reinventing medication packaging with wireless technology.
- Moses Sedler – Cellist & Composer of music for dance, film and concert stage, with a background in classical, improvisatory music as well as European folk and Indian music.
- David Silverman – Animator and was involved with the animated TV series The Simpsons from the very beginning, where he animated all of the original Simpsons Tracy Ullman shorts and went on to serve as director of animation for several years.
- Shore Slocum – Co-Founder of SoulNeeds, a social networking platform for the soul, and Speaker/Trainer who conducts Speakers Boot Camps which has inspired tens of thousands annually around the world.
- Marti Spiegelman – Training Professional, Mentor, Speaker, and Founder and Host of Awakening Value: Shamanic Technologies of Consciousness and Success on the VoiceAmerica Web Radio Network.
- Peter Stanley - Record producer, songwriter and guitar player extraordinaire who fronts the blues band Doghouse Riley.
- Matt Venuti – Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and TED veteran who opened the 2004 conference in Monterey with a solo. He will perform on the Pan Art Hang on the TEDxBerkeley stage.
The TEDx Berkeley team includes: Curator Kevin Gong, a translator who has volunteered for the Global Lives Project; co-curator Renee Blodgett, founder of Magic Sauce Media and We Blog the World, co-curator Ross Evans, founder of Worldbike; Director of Marketing, Jennifer Barr, VP/Operations at Northern CA Wharton Business School Club; Director of Logistics Navi Ganancial, serial volunteer and social media marketing guru; Director of Sponsorships Brent Locks, founding COO of GreenLaces.org; Director of Web Strategies Massimo Paolini, founder of MPThree Consulting Inc.; Technical Director Rocky Mullin, production volunteer for EG and TEDMED, musician & producer and Volunteer Manager David Allen, Berkeley student studying Neural Theory of Language.
February 19, 2011 in America The Free, Events, On Being Green, On Innovation, On People & Life, On Science, On Spirituality, On Technology, On the Future, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 12, 2011
Leaving Fear At the Curb So Your Real Life Can Show Up
We all have to dive into something we don't want to do from time-to-time, and one of the emotions that can come up in the process is fear, particularly if its something we don't perceive ourselves to be good at or avoid because the 'act' brings us into an energy we're not necessarily comfortable with.
Fear is a powerful word; when I think of living in fear or going to a place of fear, I think of darkness. In other words, fear is the the opposite of the energy source that gives light, love or connectedness. Its at the base of the very things that create friction in the world, such as war, racism and corruption.
But there's a joy in the process of embracing fear, because once you embrace it, you can unmask it right before its ugly clawing eyes. We can strip it down to such a granular level that we force it back into its rightful place....that nothingness place, where it cannot take ahold of us, it cannot grasp us by the throat, it cannot take control of our minds and our lives. Fear is the drama that we 'think it is,' not the actual situation itself.
I love these words by Leonard Cohen: "Dance me to your beauty....with a burning violin. Dance me through the panic....till I'm gathered safely in. Lift me like an olive branch...and be my homeward dove. Dance me to the end of love."
Then there's Ken Wilbur: "Whenever we split seamless awareness into a subject versus an object, into a self versus an other, then that self feels fear, simply becasue there are now so many 'others' out there that can harm it."
A friend of mine said as she stepped out on stage at a presentation she was giving recently, Let me introduce myselves. We often joke about how many of our selves inside our head there is at any given time and which self decides to show up at any given time. When we decide to surrender control to all of those selves, then the only self that is forced to show up is our 'true self,' the essence of who we really are, the self who operates from a place of love and connectedness, not fear and darkness.
Steve Chandler writes this amusing and touching snippet in a chapter of one of his books called This Insane Posse of Clowns: "there's a spooky imaginary source for much of my fear. It's the fake construct that pretends to be true. It's an unreal thing. And, because its not real, it is impossible to protect it from harm. It is what I call my personality. I'm frightened and defensive because of it. It feels like a costume I'm sewn into. What was once hastily formed in my childhood mind to give me a sense of a safe identity and separation now, in later life, becomes a trap.
Like being imprisoned inside a puppet; or stitched into a clown suit." Later in the same chapter, he says of being fearless, "It's a dropping of personality. It replaces it with the fierce thrill of doing what ought to be done."
Isn't it time you got out of that stitched clown suit, the personality that has you imprisoned inside a puppet and left fear at the curb so your connected life, full of all things possible, can show up?
Photo Credits: Fanpopp & DemocraticUnderground
February 02, 2011
TEDx Berkeley Coming to the Zellerbach Stage on February 19
On February 19, 2011, TEDxBerkeley will gather world-leading thinkers, makers, and doers at UC Berkeley to discuss the theme: “Engaging the World“. The audience will be a diverse yet curated mix of 1,400 students, professors, and thought leaders from Berkeley and beyond, gathering for a stimulating day of presentations, discussions, entertainment and art that will spark new ideas and opportunities for all.
If you're interested in attending, fill out the form and join us. The speaker line-up can be found here, with additional speakers and performers being added in the next few days. Below is just a glimpse - more updates coming next week.
- Jason Atwood - Cal PhD, Computer Lab in Uganda project.
- David Rose - Founder of Vitality.
- Chip Conley - CEO of Joie de Vivre.
- Marti Spiegelman on consciousness.
- Erin Ganju - CEO of Room to Read.
- David Silverman - Producer of The Simpsons.
- Bryan Alvarez - Cal PhD and the Human Atlas Project.
- Lopa Brunjes - co-founder of Biochar.
- Gopi Kallayil - Heads of Product Marketing for Search Advertising at Google.
- Shore Slocum - Author and Speaker on spirituality and the real world.
- Bob Fuller - Author on rankism.
- Walter Hood - Berkeley architecture professor.