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Life on the Line

Kauai 071The hiking trail forks and you have to make a decision. You are most comfortable with the path to the right, as you have walked this way before. You actually take solace in the shade of the redwoods and the babble of the creek as it winds its way through the forest undergrowth. Two miles and your car will be waiting, home just in time for dinner. The fork to the left is steep, you would have to man up, chomp down a power bar, and dig deep for the remaining strength that is left after an already arduous hike. What way should you go? What path would you take?

Renowned mythologist-storyteller Michael Meade reminds us that the threads of any new story will be woven not by fear but by imagination and the ancient wisdom that connects “the solid ground of the earth and the unseen realm that sustains it.”

Intuitively, you recognize that the path to the right, although predictable, will leave you unconscious with the car and dinner as your endgame. The trail to the left, as steep as it seems, may afford you new vistas, seascapes, and waterfalls. After all, the day is clear, and the sun is only skirting the horizon.

Living into the imagination breathes life into the moment, allowing reconnection with that piece of yourself that still yearns for the “unseen realm.” -Sdukes

What Are You Really Worth?

CALIFORNIA 004It takes great courage to think differently, to come up against the masses, and to truly believe when the opposition roars. In Moneyball, Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, did just that. He turned a woefully funded team into a legitimate contender sending shock waves through the baseball community. Influenced by the philosophy of Bill James, Beane employed sabermetrics forming new methods of player evaluation.

As the movie opens, the screen is black and in white letters there appears a sentence stating, “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you have been playing all of your life.” Although this relates to the game of baseball, it can certainly take on other meanings as well. As we pass through this lifetime, we learn and concretize certain methods for survival, just as in the game of baseball where players were consistently and historically chosen for their high averages. No questions asked. That is until Beane, with a budget of less than 4 million, needed to “think outside the box,” for any hope of victory against teams with budgets over a hundred million.

With the help of Peter Brand, Beane realized that the teams were not asking the right questions and analyzing the right data. He also knew from personal experience that few scouts are actually able to go inside the mind of a young man and be confident that he will become the next hero on the plate and in the field.

‘We are card counters at the blackjack table,’ declares Beane surrounded by veteran scouts, adding: ‘If we pull this off, we change the game. We change the game for good.’ (Beane in Moneyball)

How many times have you had to stretch to succeed? When all seems futile, have you had the courage to disregard the norm and believe in something so strongly that you actually change history or at least a piece of history as you knew it?

Beane did just that; although, at the time he was so caught up in the count that he did not realize the implications of his actions. Just like Jeremy Brown who hit a home run and didn’t even know it, Beane changed the game. He changed the game of baseball for good.

 

By |March 21st, 2015|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

What makes a man turn to nature?

EasterTim Corcoran, in his book Growing up with a Soul Full of Nature, writes a compelling, meandering tale based upon his experience of taking refuge in nature. At a young age, nature became Tim’s friend and teacher. Having witnessed a horrific mutilation of animals in his neighbor’s garage, Tim turned to the land, the dirt, its plants and animals in an attempt to heal. By opening his heart, Tim was able to feel the unspoken connection between all things – believing, above all else, that the intimate experience of raw nature remains our inherent birthright.

Courage keeps one grounded in the natural world and provides one the strength to maintain a mind open to the many mysteries that present themselves as one peers deeply into the folds of all that is and ever was. As a teenager, by creating his own living “Code of Honor,” Tim has had to fight hard to walk the ridgeline of his life. This being a heartfelt set of beliefs, Tim’s “Code” holds meaning only to him; therefore, it is only he who can attain true mastery. For him, self-mastery comes from a place of power within ones-self that engages with the world through presence, self-knowledge, experience and wisdom.

By |March 9th, 2015|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

Life’s Song

In reading Jack Kornfield’s newest book, Bringing Home the Dharma, I came across a passage that I would like to share:

There’s a tribe in West Africa whose members count the birthday of a child from the day the child is first a thought in its mother’s mind. On that day, a woman goes out and sits under a tree and quietly listens and waits until she can hear the song of her child. When she has heard the song, she returns to the village and teaches it to the man whom she has envisioned as the child’s father so that they can sing the song when they make love, inviting their child to join them. The expectant mother then sings this song to the child in her womb and teaches it to the midwives, who sing it when the child is born. And the villagers all learn the child’s song so that whenever the child cries or hurts himself, they pick it up, hold it in their arms, and sing the song. The song is also sung when the young man or woman goes through a rite of passage, when he or she marries, and then for the last time, when he or she is about to die (p.42-43).

Imagine being known by your community for your own sweet song, not your accomplishments, your status or your commodities. At the core of your being: a melody, a melody that your mother heard while she sat waiting patiently to hear you sing.

By |December 29th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|2 Comments

Earth’s Caretaker

Not confined by space or time, Paul Goodberg sends a loving message to his students about trauma, its roots and its impact on our planet, our psyches and our relationship to the Earth. Sitting with Paul, one feels in the presence of someone who sees beyond the veil. With a pulse on energetics, Paul can clear an area to restore its balance returning harmony to a land and its inhabitants. At Ratna Ling on that bright and clear August morning, could we really sense that there was an energetic shift? We could, indeed!

Trauma resonates in many forms, and without a clearing, takes root. What was once pristine becomes encumbered holding memories of past misdeeds. Paul has made it his mission, his commitment to heal the Earth. Trained at an early age, Paul understands both the subtleties and the complexities of our native land. Put simply, Paul listens as the Earth speaks.

Passionate about his life’s work and compassionate to those who share his calling, Paul is student and teacher, vessel and vehicle. He walks a quiet line over a narrow trail along a steep ridge and in his footprints leaves his healings. ~Sdukes

Image: Courtesy of Helping Heal the Earth

By |December 15th, 2014|Categories: Healing, Mastery|0 Comments

The Peaceful Warrior

Just recently, I watched a film entitled Peaceful Warrior: simple lessons cloaked in a modern teaching tale. Based on a true story, this is the struggle of a young man’s journey to find himself after a potentially debilitating accident.

The underlying teachings speak to each one of us, as long as we can stay present to listen. Several key phrases are: “All you have is right now. You can live a whole lifetime without ever being awake. People are not their thoughts. Stop gathering information from the outside; start gathering it from the inside.”

At one point, the student turned to his teacher remarking, “You are out of your mind.”

The teacher, played by Nick Nolte working as a gas station attendant, replied, “It has taken a lifetime of practice.” He went on to explain that some times you have to “lose your mind to come to your senses.”

If there are no “ordinary moments,” and if all that we have is “right now,” shouldn’t we be looking for the purpose in every action that we take or every obstacle that we encounter? If a “warrior acts” and a “fool reacts,” perhaps it is time to become conscious of the choices that we make and revisit the stories that we tell ourselves.

Peaceful Warrior is a worthy watch. It will touch on your vulnerability, arouse your curiosity and quietly challenge you to awaken to the very moments that make up your life.

Image: Tdukes, UK, 2005

By |September 16th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

Innate Wildness

Image: Tdukes, Kauai, 2011

“Anyone who stays long enough in [a] landscape… will eventually absorb some of what is wild about the place and come to realize that they are as much a part of it as the flora and fauna around them, and that their own innate wildness is affecting the place as much as the place affects them.” –Mark Dowie, The Fiction of Wildness

By |August 24th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

EMOTIONAL CURRENCY

Written by Kate Levinson, PhD, emotional currency is a book about building a healthy relationship to money, and it is a woman’s guide. But really, it is more than either of these descriptions. It speaks deeply and powerfully to an unconscious change that is taking place in our society, our culture and the world at large. It speaks to an awakening at the personal level as to why we do what we do and feel what we feel when it comes to spending money. Be it power, dependence, hunger or greed, the roots of spending are rooted deeply within our psyches.

In our current Market Economy, we no longer have to beg, borrow or steal; we simply have to “buy.” This purchase power limits our relationship to the cashier or the sales person foregoing any vulnerability at feeling beholden to a neighbor, relative or friend. In the digital marketplace, the button on our computer has replaced the salesperson leaving us isolated and removed from the story, the smile and the repartee that so often accompanies a purchase. Yet, bottom line: people need connection, relationship nourishes the soul feeding the void that consumerism attempts to fill.

Kate Levinson acknowledges that out of this need, both financial and emotional, people have begun “doing it, making it, or growing and harvesting it.” Dr. Levinson states that it is our own feelings about money that create the problem. In speaking openly, she relates, “money was walking hand in hand with my fears about life.”

Emotional currency uses case study and inquiry to unravel and untangle our unconscious relationship to the money we have, the money we earn, and the money we spend, squander or save. It is truly a guide for all genders of all income brackets. ~Sdukes

By |August 12th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

Tasting Sweetness

Trees-0271“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

By |July 19th, 2014|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

When You Are Stuck – Reach Out For Support

When faced with the necessity for change, moving forward requires both energy and a deep rootedness as you make the necessary adjustments to hold your balance. It is not easy to move forward when thoughts about what was and what isn’t begin to knock you off center. Although learned young, walking required the mastery of one primary skill – step by step. We all took falls along the way, accumulating bumps and bruises packed with memories and tears. Some learned early to reach for support – a wall, a hand, even a knee. Yet, in the end, walking became second nature.

What isn’t always second nature is holding true to our intended path. So many choices, upon so many actions contribute to a life created by decisions and conditioning that over time placed our feet in one direction and then the next.

When the balance begins to shift and we are faced with the inevitability of change, when life’s back-story bleeds heavily into the present, we must have the necessary tools and skills, along with the intention to take the next step to awaken to that which has yet to be revealed. And, even with the best of intentions, the sharpest of tools and the savviest of skills, there can remain an internal pulling and yearning to remain steadfast. Our intention to shift and change will inevitably evoke memories of past stumbles and falls. At times such as these, before mastery has taken root, one needs to remember to reach for the wall, the hand or even the knee. Look for support as you make your way – step by step. Only then will your intended path become second nature.

By |June 30th, 2014|Categories: Mastery, Progress|Tags: |0 Comments