A Single Garment of Destiny

“All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image: Asian Art Museum, SF, by Tdukes

By |June 16th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|1 Comment

Leaders as Architects: The Four-Pillar Approach

Deeply seated and entrenched in the daily operation of the city, Mumbai’s dabbawalas operate a business that is noteworthy. Poorly educated, without the use of cell phones or any IT system, this work force is indeed a force to be reckoned with. An article in November, 2012 Harvard Business Review entitled, “Mumbai’s Models of Service Excellence” suggests that the dabbawalas can teach any company a thing or two about service.

The dabbawalas rely on the alignment and mutual support for the success of their Four-Pillar Approach: organization, management, process and culture. In most corporate environments, it is unlikely that management pays specific attention to all four, and in many cases, it is the forth pillar, culture, that is over looked, over shadowed and soon sacrificed. People are expendable, people are replaceable; employees are as easily fired as hired. It takes a skilled leader who can actually “fine-tune” all four pillars, maximizing employee potential to craft an organization that is both reliant and supportive, diverse yet unified. The craftsman or architect builds from the ground up, knowing full well that the cornerstone of any building or corporation has to remain in balance in order to weather even the slightest storm.

The dabbawala service was founded in 1890. It has endured, it has thrived; it remains the backbone of the Mumbai work force. And today, their business model has become an exemplary example for corporations worldwide.

Image: By H. Dukes, India, 2007


Joyful Work

Stress, oxidative stress in particular, seems to increase in direct proportion to our loss of joy. We all know that we need more joy in our lives, but most of us may not know how to find it. Being that many of us spend most of our days on the job, it has become mandatory to try and find joy in our work. So, how do we do that? Change our jobs? Change our situation, our goals, or our expectations?

Just considering any kind of change can bring on more stress. That simple fact is: most of us don’t know how to change and even if we did, the measurable and immeasurable risks surrounding change are simply too great. Most of us just wait… We wait so long that circumstance, life itself, forces change upon us. And, usually, unfortunately, this type of change does not bring joy.

We fear staying where we are and we fear trying to do something about it! We wait for another day or a better idea – with fantasies of help coming to us from afar. Sometimes we just wait with no idea of what we are waiting for. Change will find us and that is certain, but will it be the kind of change we want? Is there something else we can do besides wait?

Maybe there is a simple solution: plan on not changing, accept where you are, and open more fully to that which you already have in this very moment. Will this bring joy? It may be just worth a try.

Image: Sdukes, 2011

By |May 29th, 2014|Categories: Change|0 Comments

Mabel McKay – Weaving the Dream

Although the book Mable McKay: Weaving the Dream was written as a tribute to the late Pomo basket weaver and medicine woman Mabel McKay, it was in the writing and research that Greg Sarris, author, recovered his people.

Narrative Medicine is about the telling of the story, the listening and the empathy that accompanies the witnessing. Greg Sarris’s biography of Mabel McKay (1994) takes the reader into the life of Native Americans, their spirituality and their ways of medicine. Written from his close relationship with Mabel, we, as readers, become privileged participants in the medicinal weavings and spiritual healings of her people. Mabel was the last of her tribe, and the last to know the Lolsel Cache Creek Pomo language and history.

Mabel only asks that we listen; a skill that kept Greg Sarris returning time and again. In her story Greg heard his own, and when he asked Mabel, “Why me? Why did you do it for me?” She simply replied, “Because you kept coming back.”

Listen deeply and keep coming back. The simple lesson of revelation.

By |May 22nd, 2014|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

No Man

There is an old saying, “No man is your enemy, no man is your friend, every man is your teacher.” If it could be possible to remain impartial, to create enough space to distance ourselves from the other by minimizing our projections, just perhaps we could take note of the divinity that runs deeply through each and every one of us.

By saluting the divinity, we make an offering to spirit. We are all a part of the same mystical web, and to dislocate ourselves from another, only keeps us separate from ourselves. Suffering is not necessary to our development. What is necessary is to learn what those in our lives are here to offer. It is in their offering and in our receiving that the true teaching takes root. Freedom comes in loving, and loving comes only when we are truly free. ~ Sdukes

Image: By Paul Zachman, 2012

By |May 15th, 2014|Categories: Xenos|Tags: |0 Comments

The Mystery in Life

When I was a boy, I spent time in a ravine. After school and on weekends, I found solace in the woods. Filtered sunlight illuminating the soft, green moss that couched the sides of forgotten trees, and the pungent smell of composting earth offered me the calm and peacefulness that only nature can provide, a respite from life, home, family. It was here that mysteries were uncovered and language was spoken without the use of words. It was here that I learned to respect and commune with the natural world.

The ravine has come to symbolize the unfolding of life as it should when left to its cyclical nature. Leaves would fall, the earth would harden, my footprints would lay frozen on the ground, and then before too long, as the days began to lengthen, the creek would flow more freely and with this spring came life, renewal. And, just as summer could not grow any sweeter, the leaves would begin to color, the air chill, and as the acorns fell, they were quickly buried for safe keeping.

Life in the ravine taught me to love. It taught me about the sacred and the preciousness of every living thing. It taught me respect for a world that I can only inhabit not control. It taught me, most importantly, to walk gently upon this earth and tread lightly over its surface.

Image: Paul Zachman, 2009

A Wise Man

What does it mean for a man to be wise? Is it the books that he reads or the texts that he studies? Is it the hours that he sits in silent contemplation or the times that he brilliantly thinks the same thought that he shares a million times over?

A man is wise only when he realizes that he is not defined by his many accomplishments. His words must not be built upon a mountain of knowledge but a reservoir of true knowing.

A wise man is a wise man when his eyes hold a flame … that no longer flickers … as the breath of life exhales. ~Sdukes

By |April 29th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

Falseness Dies

Falseness dies; injustice and oppression in the end of everything fade and vanish away. Greed, cruelty, selfishness, and inhumanity are short-lived; the individual suffers but the race goes on. The larger view always and through all shams, all wickedness, discovers the Truth that will, in the end, prevail, and all things, surely, inevitably, resistlessly work together for good. The whole is, in the end, perfect.

From: The Octopus by Frank Norris

By |April 25th, 2014|Categories: Healing|0 Comments

A God of Rock and Roll

It was a cool, spring night and I was sitting alone in a café when a man sat down beside me. At first I judged him; he seemed restless and I felt that my space had been a bit impinged upon, but soon I let those feelings pass and I introduced myself. We began to converse, and over the course of the evening, I came to find that I was sitting next to someone very famous: quietly famous as I had to pry his life story from him sentence by sentence. First, this man was a foreigner, a stranger, and yet, as we engaged, he became a friend.

The Greeks thought strangers could be gods or goddesses in disguise. Traditionally, the Greeks were always kind and respectful to strangers, because if the stranger turned out to be a god, they could be eternally blessed by that god or goddess. Xenos refers to the variety of what a particular individual can be, specifically guest, host, stranger, friend, and foreigner. And, any one of them could be, in turn, a god.

This ambiguity, this reciprocity allows one to be both: guest and host, foreigner and friend. When we look within, we can treat all parts of the self in this same manner. We can welcome those hidden aspects, make friends with our murderous qualities and remain open to our personal evolution and transformation.

My new friend and I have since shared a meal with family, and we have made some future plans to listen to music at his club. Had I not been able to move beyond my judgments and become a good host welcoming him as a guest, I would never have met this God, A God of Rock and Roll.

By |April 20th, 2014|Categories: Xenos|0 Comments