It’s fourth and critical

Football is not my sport. But I thought it was a fitting analogy for the current circus of an election seeing how there are only seven days left. It’s been a defensive struggle between these two teams with a championship title at stake.

The theme of this game has been fumbles.  Both sides are attempting to carry their team (or party, which are interchangeable in this post) to the championship, yet suffer from an acute case of fumblitis.  The score is nothing/nothing and the carnage is everywhere.  The small, vested crowd that is left, is willing to kill for the outcome.  The rest of us have gone home to plan for the end.

Just when one team begins to move the ball, their momentum is shutdown by calls like – “illegal use of the hands” – which has stopped the Trump now on 13 consecutive drives or “email server interference, against the offense, loss of third down” which has just stopped what looked to be a winning drive by Clinton.  It is already being called the ugliest game…ever.

But still, the small crowd cheers on.  Trump, during a time out, receives a $1.25 million dollar infusion from a Silicon Valley Giant, with the hopes of providing some last minute resurgence for the team.  Meanwhile, the Clinton team, on the sidelines, is questioning the calls by the referee during the last two quarters.  Both teams are beaten up and desperate.  It’s fourth and goal, seconds left. Who will win?

No one knows. But what looks highly likely is this – everybody else will  lose – whether you attended the game or not.  You see, neither of these teams are fighting for our collective best interest.  They are beating each other up for purely selfish reasons.  As the clock ticks down, what’s at stake is the future of our world.  We are tethered to a game that has so much at stake, yet being heard from the bleachers is impossible. The noise of the crowd (read: media and special interests) drowns out any attempt at reason.

We seem to only be able to sit by and watch.

Hot dog anyone?

Candy or Candid?

The streets echo with little one’s looking forward to a night of goblins and candy. Yes, Halloween is now upon us. Our neighborhood is alive with children (which is unusual, since there seems to be no children the rest of the year). Do we buy candy or slip quietly into the night and turn the lights off. Sounds so, bah-humbug.

Every year at this time, with the crescendo being Christmas, I notice that I want to look at relocating to some far off land where holidays take on a new meaning. Something less Target, and more human.

You see, I feel that how we celebrate reflects in someway our continued slide into the material abyss. It’s all about the stuff that makes the holiday (i.e. gifts at Christmas, the sales that accompany all of the major holidays, etc.). Not about what we do or want for the community around us. Do we have to buy candy to celebrate a day or feel closer to family?

As I write, I start to feel the flavor of old Mr. Scrooge in me (or at least as I perceive others might feel about anything blasting holidays). What is it in me that has such a reaction to the holidays? Does it have something to do with the “fake” culture that I see that encumbers our perception of the holidays? Everything is nice, we all get along, we must participate, and so on. Meanwhile, we continue to pile down the path toward the cliff – no questions asked, no thoughts to a different way.

So what do I want?  What does less Target and more human mean?  Well, the scale of advertising and selling that occurs the last three months of the year is absurd. Companies ramp up their advertising efforts by 50% + just to get you to buy things, regardless if you need them or not. That’s a lot of candy. It’s no surprise that our collective stress level skyrockets over this same period of time. Our sense of well-being drops.  Yay! Let’s go shopping!  Our personal debt increases. Before you know it, January is upon us and we feel dead to the world (and broke).

I am on board with ideas like “just stop buying things” as Woody Harrelson promotes. Maybe spend more time doing the things we love. Being collectively present and available for those around us. Accepting ourselves for who we are. Presenting love, instead of stuff.

Marilyn and I have no plans for the holidays other than to fully embrace the opportunity to be together. Yes, we will be out on Halloween eve – sorry kids. The rest of the season will be about what nourishes us. Time with my son, Nate, as he celebrates his first holidays away from us (he now lives in Maryland).  A time to relax, to appreciate, and to focus on the new year. All rich stuff without the debt hangover that follows.

The Art of Cooking

This blog post contains no recipes or food tips.  Just to be clear.

What I’m talking about when I refer to “cooking” is not about the food we make.  What I’m talking about is the slow integration process we experience as human beings when we make a conscious effort to grow ourselves.

When we cook something, there are chemical and physical reactions taking place as ingredients are allowed to come together.  The tastes (acids, fats, salty, etc.)  begin to balance each other out. The slower the process, the more intense the flavor.  Think of a slow roasted chicken or stew.  All these flavors meld together to create amazing food.

Well, the same thing happens to you and I when we allow ourselves to cook.  Our inner alchemy begins to shift and intermingle.  We burn things off (old patterns, behaviors, fears), while building other things up (clarity, sensation, awareness).  With time and intensity – which are key ingredients – change happens.  Beautiful, amazing change.

An example of this is my current project, the Wisdom Path.  It has taken over 8 years for this project to become clear.  I could feel something simmering, but the concept, like a piece of fruit that was not yet ripe, couldn’t come to fruition.  As this concept has been cooking within me for quite some time, I intentionally pushed forward using techniques like meditation and experimentation to build the knowledge base required to up-pack the project.  Now the time is here and I’m ready.

As all great cooks know, you can’t rush good food.  Inner work is much the same.  We must apply the right amount of heat (intensity), for the certain period to create a shift.  This, like cooking, takes time, intention and patience.

So, set yourself an intention,  put it out there, and let time do it’s thing.  Remember, a watched pot never boils.

Lesson’s of a good story

“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in heart forever.” – Native American Proverb

Stories provided the communal bread from which all people shared within a given culture or community.  Stories brought the characters of tales and myths closer to people. They passed on the wisdom necessary to keep tradition alive.

Story answered questions like:
Where did we, as a people, come from (life and death)?
How do we grow from adolescences to adulthood?
How do we relate to nature?
Good vs. Evil: what is their significant in our world?

Everything necessary, for a people to survive, was found in story. It was the way of grounding the lessons of life into the core of everyone who listened – the proverbial “glue” that held a people together.

I have been re-introduced to importance of story after years of working within the Native American community. My current project, the Wisdom Path podcasts, is about the telling of story and what wisdom is being passed in the process.

I hope you’ll join me and my team for this podcast series starting January 2017.

 

I woke up this morning with nothing to write

I went to bed last night full of creative thoughts.  I woke up this morning with nothing to write.

Only 33 posts into my process and I’m blanking out.  I had so much to say (or at least I thought), yet the mind is not working.

My morning coffee didn’t jump start me . Yeah, blame the coffee.  Hours have passed, yet the page is still looking quite bare.

Now night is upon me.  I’ve had several starts today.  Perhaps one or two will work at some point in time…but not for tonight.

Robert Bly once said “You say to yourself, Well this poem isn’t going to be any good, but I’ll write it anyways”

Guess I’ll just sink into not having something to write about, and write to share this with you.

This is after all, my reality.

So don’t expect too much tonight.  Just me in my blankness.

Cheers!

The Wisdom Path

Almost there.

My co-producer, Marcus Acoya, and I just finished the audio portion of a video track that will be used as part of our Kick starter funding page.  Why Kick starter?  We are trying to build the Wisdom Path podcast series (a brief on the podcast will be posted at the end of this week on my website: http://www.tengraces.com).

We will be launching our “ask” November first in order to fund the first series of podcasts (we are planning three in all).  The first series will cost us approximately $25K.  This project is very near and dear to me as it is the result of five years of research and discussion around the subject of story.  An important topic, in these very UN-usual times.

Stay tuned for more in the coming days.

 

Barriers

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What are the obstacles or barriers that keeps us from living fully?

Have you ever asked yourself this? I have…many times over.  Some days, it’s as if there is something standing in the way of me and my wants.  The “it” is on the other side and I can’t get there.

Well, the “it” is actually inside of me (and you).  The barrier, is merely a temporary question mark on our pathway through life. A pop quiz to remind us what is important and what is irrelevant.

Writing used to be such a barrier for me.  I didn’t think anyone would care or like what I wrote.  So I didn’t.  Couldn’t get past the barrier in my mind.

But that has changed for me.  I stopped worrying about what others thought, and simply started to write.  I have found great pleasure in expressing my world through words.  Sharing what is alive in me.  Regardless.

I still run into barriers these days. They are signs that my desire to live and grow are still healthy and present.