My Pet Fly

October 21, 2008

I guess you could say I have a fly for a pet. I rather like him because he’s tenacious and unrelenting in his goal. After all, what I see in him I like in me. Not sure where he sleeps at night but that doesn’t matter. It’s his daytime activity that is the most fun to watch. He’s been buzzing and fussing around my place for many days now. He acts like he has a very important place to be but can’t quite get there.

I think this particular fly is a “he” because he hasn’t stopped to ask for any directions. If he did, he would come to learn two things: 1. there is no escape and 2. here is better than there. Oh sure, he could lay in wait until the front door opens and make a dash for it but the part that would deter, if he asked, is that it’s currently averaging -10 Celsius out there these days. Could enough to freeze the brass balls off a well he would get the idea quickly enough if he succeeded.

My place was built at the turn of the century so the windows are a bit loose. I keep the draft in check and the heat in by covering all my windows with a special sheet of clear plastic. The idea is to tape the sheet to the window frame and use a hot hair dryer to tighten up the wrinkles so it doesn’t flap. It makes it completely see through, in fact, it’s quite invisible, even to a fly’s thousand eyes. It’s also as tight as a drum.

If I believed in reincarnation it might be possible that this particular fly was an ex jazz drummer who turned bad. A seedy previous life of bad karma now destined to come back as a bug with a beat. He has a real affinity for the drum like window covering. He’s quite good actually and keeps up a half decent beat. He rotates through the house diligently “attempting” escapes. The phrase “planning his escape” also comes to mind but his action has much more impulse than forethought, including consideration of the consequences of success.

Every time he enters a room it is a truly grand entrance worthy of operatic drama. He flings through the open door like a diva missing a boa and makes swoop high in the room and before hurling himself headlong at the window of his discontent and bondage. Seeking that elusive chink in the armor, that small split in the plastic, perhaps through which he will, unbeknownst, end up in the no man’s land between out and in.

Should he have asked, he would learned the theory of the basic law of physics, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, especially on a drum head. But he learns the hard way, through experience. His headlong hurtle results in a predictable “boing” off the drum tight clear sheet. Undaunted by a minor setback, he hurls himself at it again, and again, ad nausem producing a rather audible dum, dum, dum, dum. If the beat weren’t as rapid as machine gun fire it would be a worthy back beat that might inspire someone to start up an impromptu rap diddy. “Yo, what up, I’m da king of da fling and as I pop thru this thing I’m gonna sing.”

Alas life with a fly as a pet is not all not all jiving grove beats. He does eventually pause and cling to some vertical surface with his back legs while he preens his front legs by rubbing them together like crickets do when they are calling a mate for a date. He rubs his front legs together like a prisoner who wrings his hands with glee and satisfaction with the anticipation of a break through at long last from the tunnel under the jail.

A great philosopher once said it is a great gift to see the world in a grain of sand. Maybe the fly reminds me of life. Like the times I have doggedly pursued what I thought was better only to realize what I had was the best thing going. Or the times that I have tried to make a change, given up and returned to it sometime later with the odd feeling I had done that before.

I guess all pets can teach us something and this little fellow is no exception. Here are a few life lessons from the bard. Stop trying so hard to be somewhere you are not and for that matter someone you are not. Live in the moment and enjoy this season in your life. If beating you head against the proverbial wall of life is producing no results then for God’s sake stop and try something else. At least step back and get some perspective and see where you can fit in the big picture. Humans call it lifting your nose off the grindstone to check that what you are working so hard for is still worth it. Tenacity and conviction inspires people to tell stories.

So I have a fly for a pet. He may not be to wise, but who am I to call the kettle black. His relentless pursuit of his dream to be free and unfettered by walls is both an admirable and dumb. I should know I’ve been there. Who knows, maybe he’s having the time of his life. Maybe we both are. I’ve started calling him Alfred when he is in ear shot and if he keeps up his good behavior he might get parole this Spring.

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Pieces of Mirror Faith

September 15, 2008

I grew up Christian with my little bible I got in Grade 3 and another one later handed down from grandparents before they went to heaven. I even studied for my masters degree in an ecumenical theological seminary. However, I slowly found through experiences of aging and travel, listening and seeing that my little denomination within Christianity only had a shard of the truth. I found that Christianity itself only has a slightly bigger piece of the answers.

Then I heard a story about how a long, long time ago the truth was a mirror that was shattered in a thousand pieces.

Those who picked up a piece and carried it off to the 4 corners of the earth soon forgot it was only a shard, a mere fragment of the original. They wrote sacred books and passed them on to their children. They gave special meaning to candles, shapes, habits and rules and places. They built temples and statues of multi-face gods and goddesses and some even settled for one God but three incarnations like the Christian’s father, son and holy ghost or the Hindu’s brahma, krishna and vishnu. Some made beautiful things in an attempt to help the soul, who thinks in images, speak to their particular source of all knowing and all understanding. Some even said there was no god at all only a path to follow up.

One thing that became sure over the years was that the more people hold onto their shard as truth the more they cut themselves and in some cases cut up others who hold another sliver for being more or less right. Especially if they happen to be neighbours on the same planet.

So I asked myself, self what was the original mirror reflecting back to us in the old days? And the idea came that maybe it shone as complete, or complete to the depth our wee little human brain can understand. Maybe the only thing it showed was everything, all at once, everywhere, totally and completely around it wholly and not just the person looking into a singular piece. Maybe the mirror showed the lakes and the birds and the ants building in harmony and the weather swimming seeking perfect balance. Maybe it showed the infinite expanse of the timeless space and on a lucky night, a shooting star. Maybe it reflected the infinite brilliance of our being in the world with a sense of completeness in the cradle of this vast creation made from the original blessing of love.

Maybe it shows our true nature. Maybe the source of all that is exists under our feet and in every breath we cycle in and out of our body and in every decaying leaf or bug flat on a car grill.

So I listen to her wisdom and watch him end a season to allow for a new season to emerge anew but the same. I wait for her warmth to light my lovers face in the early morning and for him to chill the wind so we rest by the open fire, a symbol of passion, of heart in the oneness of all that is and shall be known. And I am humbled as I stand on the edge of the ocean, waves relentless on the cliff below and have a mere flicker of truth that no single shard can contain the greatness of this creation. Mine life is to life with it not against it or anything else in this wonderment. My life is to discover how my life is as nature intended, to grow continually and to serve a purpose greater than myself. How that looks is my uniqueness, what it looks like is the mystery, why it looks that way is only natural.


Beauty Place

September 15, 2008

Where is the most beautiful place you have ever been? What features and qualities make it so? I wonder how much your place has to do with peace and quiet and a natural surrounding. That’s where we find our true nature best, when we feel at one with all that surrounds us.

I had the honour to be program leader on a men’s wilderness canoe trip recently. The following are some reflections on how the journey helped me remember my true nature, no matter where my feet are touching or where my eyes gaze

I hope this inspires your own reflection.
Peter

Imagine a lake system deep in the forests of back country of Nova Scotia 3 hours drive, 2 days canoeing and 5 portages later, with a beach front under a canopy of old pine trees. Midnight paddles in complete silence with nothing but the full moon in a star lite sky reflecting the entire universe in a perfectly still mirror on the still water.

In the morning the light breaks through the trees of an island as the mist swirls on the still surface of the water, all is calm except for the plaintive calling of a loon that rolls across the calm lake.

Men sit around the fire sipping a hot drink telling stories, no alcohol, just high on the autumn leaves turning crimson. No weapons just the foil of quick wit and humour. Just space, space in time and in length of sight.

This is the place were anyone can reconnect to their true nature. Where the natural laws of abundance, transformation, balance and harmony coexist in bold measure. The trick is not in finding her wisdom, it is in every paddle stroke and pine needle. The trick is to keep nature as your guide when we return to our daily lives of decisions, crowded places and unnatural paces


Separate From Nature Meme

September 15, 2008

Common memes that can hinder fulfillment and contentment:

The meme that we are separate from nature

Alternative

It’s understandable that we feel above and superior to the natural order. Afterall we harness the wind, tide and atom to do our bidding. We scrape oil off the land where the tar sands ooze and we dump toxins into the air and water as if it won’t come back to plague us, figuratively and literally.

But what price do we pay on a personal level from believing in the meme that we are separate from the natural order that connects all things. That we are somehow outside of the interconnected web of life.

One of nature’s laws that we could better pay attention to is that in the Law of Abundance: Nothing is ever missing, it just changes in form.

The leaves in Nova Scotia are a splendid reminder of this cycle interconnected web of life. If I offered you a million dollars to destroy a drop of water you wouldn’t succeed. You can heat it, freeze it and combine it but not eliminate the drop. The best you could do is change its form.

So how does this relate to life and work? How does bringing the rules of nature back to our daily living to help us? How does exposing the meme that we are above or separate than nature help us naturally thrive.

True story. I was working with an executive team in a powerful learning organization. They were engaging the 5 laws of nature and folding them into their duties and responsibilities as leaders. When we discussed the Law of Abundance: Nothing is missing, it just changes in form, they wanted an example. I invited someone to share an example of something that was missing from their life that could impact their work.

One of the team volunteered that she was single and was missing a partner. She was getting on in years and was troubled by her singleness and her anxiety was, if she were honest, taking a lot of emotional energy away from what was important like her work. I thought that this team must be very close and trusting for her to share personally but with her permission to explore as a group we proceeded together.

I inquired, “What’s missing for you? What are the qualities that you miss most in a partner?”

She replied, “I miss a sense of closeness, compassionate touch, feeling excited inside and being at one with another.”

I responded, “When we are aligned with natural Law of Abundance then nothing is missing so where do you have these qualities in your life right now?”

She thought for a moment then told the group a story about going for a long hike along the seashore the previous weekend. She recounted how she felt so fulfilled with the beauty around her and breathed deeply of the fresh air. She spoke of how she likes to get out on a regular basis because of the very peaceful and serene feeling she gets. At the end of the long hike she came to a clearing at the edge of the water and stood on the edge of the cliff catching her breath and wiping the sweat off her brow. She went on in detail how she stood facing the setting sun and described how the sun warmed and seemed to caress her face and as the wind blew her hair back she felt excited to be alive.

There was a long pause after she finished sharing until one of her colleagues quipped, “I need a cigarette!”

After we all chuckled I pointed out what was already obvious. She had found her lover in it’s current form.

We all have two choices. 1. You can feel sad, unfulfilled, worried and stressed for what you don’t have in the form you think it should be or 2. Give thanks for the form it’s in now. Get grateful because if you’re not thankful for the way you got it then you are not going to get it the way you want it.

Despite the fact we live in cities and surround ourselves with electricity, plastic, and technology it’s useful to remember that inside all of us we are still part of nature’s gift. The next time you catch yourself thinking outside the natural order of the universe with memes that reinforce separation just ask yourself what’s missing and what form is it actually in.

PS. Our executive wrote a very long thank you letter to herself and I heard that several weeks later she met a single fellow who joined the hiking club. I wish them happy trails in whatever form that takes.


Welcome Rain

September 12, 2008

Rain. Curse or Blessing?

Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory. Today we had good old fashioned cloud burst. It’s fun to watch how people react.

For some, its the mad dash from car to building and vice versa as if they can dodge drops! For others they hoot a big thanks on behalf of their garden. What’s your relationship to rain? Do you welcome it or loathe it?

It’s all perspective. I recall a story of a couple who were married in a country church. Just as the ceremony ended and they were scheduled to go out side for official portraits, the heavens opened and the earth was blessed with rain. At least that was their perspective because they ran outside and danced, rental tuxes and wedding gown were drenched as they kicked off their shoes and danced and splashed.

What were they thinking? The couple was from Africa and when it rains, and that is rare, it’s a blessing. And when it rains on an auspicious day as a wedding then the couple is duly and doubly blessed.

Next time the warm rain blesses the earth with the waters of life, grab a partner and kick off your shoes and dance. In the meantime have a peek at the rain video below and watch out for those puddles

Welcome the rain movie


Innerwealth Alive

September 12, 2008

Innerwealth helps people discover bigger answers to the question “How do You Want to Live and Give?” This is less a question to be answered than a lesson learned in life or, as some authors have put it, a mystery to be lived. We seek, fail and eventually discover how to have the time of our life. Every child plays grownup, pretends to be a super hero and yearns to build and fly higher. For adults we might call it playing the bigger game.

“The cosmic life journey: Born, Happy – Sad, Joined – Separate, Order – Chaos, Balance – Out of Balance, Collect moments of love, Die. Repeat as Necessary”

As a person journeys to work each day they are probably thinking about the weather, the gardens they pass, or the occasional cat that stumbles on their path or the stories of others on the bus and the congestion of traffic. At the most they may be thinking of how their family felt as they departed, deadlines or assignments due, practical jokes to play or even dreading an encounter with difficult coworker or client. Most don’t people don’t flip on the TV or talk to someone in the check out at the grocery store and ask themselves “what will I learn from this that will enhance my sense of meaning for my life and make me a better card player, lover or neighbor?”

Our success with in daily encounters with others, ideas and our environment can be measured by tapping into a deep wellspring. Every human on the planet, regardless of color, wealth or religion, from childhood to old age can measure greater satisfaction in life by the degree to which they encounter, and ultimately gradually acquire, the following four attributes of being human: caring , connection, contribution and chuckles. With these four attributes then we have achieved peace and harmony and can see the richest beauty in all things and experiences. It is not a moment but rather the possibilities of a million more moments. This is what could be lost if we were not so conscious of being ever so alive.

These four attributes of being human, qualities, or hallmarks of success can be accomplished on an immediate, short term level through the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This might include a good meal with friends, watching a hockey game playoff, attending theater, movies and arts, or throwing the ball for a dog. But they are transient and dependant on our ever unreliable environment to make us feel alive. They become an all too infrequent and shallow shortfall if one is really reaching for the most out of life.

There is, for some, a call to more, a call to understand a greater role in the participation of life and its infinite capacity for love. For those the principles underlying Innerwealth approach to getting back to our true nature of inspired living and fulfilling work will ring true to their heart and soul.

The Four Human Attributes Explored

People are more internally motivated with harmony and energy to give when they believe that their needs and values are engaged and their whole person body, mind and heart is supported to reach and maintain greater balance, wellness, harmony, purpose and commitment to their life and work.

Core among these needs and values are:

1. Care — How much do I matter?

Establishing a safe and supportive work environment where individuals feel heard and empowered by colleagues means that they will bring their heart and hands to work, allowing for the whole person to engage, to feel cared for, to take care of self and respect and care for the needs of others and the overall health and vision of the organization.

Beyond this many people are realizing that they are the only person that will spend the rest of their life with so rather than expecting others to meet their needs people are seeking handy applicable self-empowerment tools to take responsibility for self worth and to gain control over fulfillment.

2. Connection — Where do I belong?

People are starting to seek deeper answer to this question than popular culture or the main stream organized religions can provide. The more unconditional the giving, the more purity of intent with the offer, the closer we share with integrity of true love.

Human nature is about connection-to have a sense of belonging. The organization that acknowledges that ‘work family’ relationships contain both support and healthy challenge are the most effective. Connection to a balanced lifestyle ensures healthy individuals who come to work ready to grow and commit to the task at hand in the company of others.

3. Contribution — How do my skills and time make a difference?

Individuals thrive when they know why do what they do and can clearly see progress and how it contributes to the overall purpose. As this furthers their daily satisfaction a sense of fulfillment and their commitment grows. When individuals have a sense of contribution, the overall respect in the work place is enhanced. Motivation shifts from external to internal sources, resulting in an inspired work place of empowered individuals, contributing to a greater purpose than their own.

More and more people are speaking and seeking the journey of life as a way to discover who we are, to leave the world a bit better than when we came. We see the world as big as our family or community so having healthy children that can do better than us, go off to school and get a better job is our great reward in our old age. For others it is a more universal call to participate.

4. Chuckles / Craic — What if life and work were play?

If the shortest distance between two people is laughter. Imagine the energy and lightness of connection between staff members or a project team that shares the same common aspiration, to make work fun.

Joy and humor are cousins and people who seek to find the beauty and lightness of heart will find that humor is fed from the same wellspring. Personal spirituality is defined as how many eyes you looked into in a day. Personal spirituality seeks to accomplish similar things that all world religions offer, the ever growing ability to make meaning of life and to offer a path to something better, call it heaven, nirvana or enlightenment. Personal spirituality is not exclusive or organized religion and it is not dependent on organized religion for success.

WHAT INNERWEALTH PROVIDES

Integral to each program, keynote speech or individual consultation is the power of
THE THREE FOLD PATH OF PRESENCE PASSION AND PURPOSE.

be more
Presence – Discipline to focus on life force energy in the moment.

feel more
Passion – Measured by your desire to create opportunities to express your values.

serve more
Purpose – Crystal clarity of knowing what you are doing and for whom.


Yoga for Guys

September 12, 2008

Jenny, owner of Breathing Space Yoga Studio, invited me to be a student during the filming of an ASN Breakfast TV special on featuring her introduction of Hot Yoga. The interviewer was one of the shows hosts, an out of shape fellow named Cyril. It’s not unkind to call him out of shape because he admits it and uses the fact in his assignment to try out and report back to viewers how he is progressing with his various fitness goals.

They taped 6 interview clips and Jenny eased him into various classic yoga asanas. One of the last moves we did was to sit in lotus position in preparation for breathing. He was struggling a bit trying to position his feet with souls facing up in full lotus. I reassured him from the back row that guys don’t really do that position because we don’t have the hips. He seemed relieved. Of course that’s universally not true as the great masters make pretzels out of every limb but I venture to claim that the average guy has to work it a bit more in some poses. So I caught myself genderizing yoga and wondering if there is in fact a different experience for men.

This question started me reflecting on why I started yoga as a 40 year old man. My motivation was driven first and foremost by the fact that I couldn’t touch my toes and I had shoulder and back troubles as a result of that stiffness. Sun salutations are for me with this goal in sight. I started off with interdisciplinary yoga but was soon drawn to astanga. I certainly like the cardiovascular aspect of the heart pumping full flow yoga but I also wonder, if I were honest, how much I secretly liked that astanga is also called power yoga because the name is something most dudes understand and respect.

As I got further into the discipline I learned how yoga, which in Sanskrit means yoke, is really about the union of body, mind and spirit especially through the breath This is not normal conversation between most guys. “Hey how is your BMS balance today?” For most guys heavy breathing is a different kind of exercise all together. I meant snow shoveling.

But seriously, men aren’t exactly renowned for being leaders with their own health. This lack of awareness is a major problem in our lives. Like it or not we are notorious for not listening to our body’s wisdom. Men die sooner and have more stress related diseases (read preventable). So something here is missing. Why the heck aren’t more guys stretching it out and yoking the whole show into the common cause of wellness? I don’t have a fast answer.

The only thing I can do is to tell how great it has been for me personally. How the deep breath helps me speak better as a professional motivational speaker. How the cardio workout is gentle yet relentless. How I feel more supple and relaxed and I likely even sleep better at night. How my balance and focus have improved. How my energy has improved and likely my ability to hold peaceful space when all things around are a bit crazy.

This is only one guy’s story about how he discovered an amazing, rich, deep and revitalizing holistic exercise. Maybe that’s the best we can all do. So go tell it from the mountain that you do yoga and listen up, this is how it helps me. What if everybody did this with 3 male friends, husband, brother, etc. Let’s see what we can do to invite a guy to at least try out a class.

If the approach of enrolling with personal witness and a long list awesome health benefits does not work I might go as far as to mention, with my single friends at least, that, especially at Breathing Space Yoga Studio, yoga is also a great way to meet some wonderful, fun and health conscious women. That certainly sounds like a guy way to advertise, but if it enrolls more men into the wonderful secrets of yoga then what the heck. I know they’ll thank me in the long run when they master the full “pretzel lotusdoltasana” and live better and longer because of it.

— Peter Davison is local motivational speaker working on his back bends.
Breathing Space Yoga Studio