The Art of Winning Blog

Friday, October 31, 2014

Contribution: A Poem

Contribution

I love you
In all your forms.
Even rumpled and dirty, 
So old that history 
has replaced your features
With smudge marks.
I love you
When you make a raucous. 
When you're so loud I can barely hear myself
And as we run to the ice cream truck
You make my palm sweaty.
I've loved you since the Tooth Fairy,
Since I learned you were magic,
Showing up in ways 
And places unexpected. 
I love you
For the freedoms you bring me,
The lacy undergarments,
The delicious food,
The powerful engine of my car.
I love you for being there,
Growing and letting go,
Contributing to the beingness in my world.
I love you
In all your forms.
I love you in paper, coin, credit, and just as numbers on my screens.
Thank you for all you be.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nature of Change

When I first came to CO, it was for a Naropa Ecopsycology program. I was attracted to Ecopsychology because of the premise that answers are found in nature. One of my first experiences was a solo nature hike that I did on Flagstaff. I went into the wilderness with the question "what is the nature of change?" At the time, I didn't realize the second part of my question, "how do I consciously choose change?"  I expected the answer to pop into my head at some point (because that's how it works for me) but that didn't happen until just this morning. But to stay back in 2004 for a few more minutes, I did have 2 profound messages on that hike, though neither was verbal (and only one is relevant to this topic so I'm going to save the other story. Yes, I'm a tease, deal with it.)

So on this hike, I'm starting to get frustrated because the answers aren't coming to me. The answers always come to me. I'm doubting myself, thinking I must be doing it wrong. I'm not very good at this Ecopsychology stuff, maybe I shouldn't be here (Flagstaff, Naropa, CO, earth). Recognizing this futility, I take a deep breath and look up. As my gaze widens and refocuses, I'm looking out into a sea of evergreens, with a single yellow deciduous tree among hundreds of acres of green screaming "I am the answer." To which I say "ok. I don't know what you mean but I sense you. Thank you."

For the next 10 years, I've continually come back to this question "what is the nature of change and how can I choose it consciously?" Some days, I'm afraid to choose change. I'm much more comfortable when change is happening to me and I can ride it with aplomb. When I'm choosing change, it's scratchy and irritating. 

Fast forward to this morning. Butterflies are caterpillars who got rid of the stuff that wasn't a butterfly. Leaves don't change colors. The green leaves and the other colors become visible. When you change, you do not become something else. You become more of something which was always in you. If you don't consciously choose change, it'll choose you. 

One more thing, I can't control what the changes looks like but I can steer the direction. These pictures are are of a Black Swallowtail. I would never have guessed from that caterpillar, that butterfly would emerge. Holding the intention of the direction of change (to butterfly) allows me the emotional freedom to allow colors and beauty to simply emerge as fits the scheme of totality. Because what if I can be even more brilliant, do even more good work, shine ever more brightly than I have ever imagined? 


Photos courtesy of Bored Panda. Check out the full article because it's awesome. http://www.boredpanda.com/caterpillar-transformation-butterfly-moth/?image_id=caterpillar-moth-butterfly-before-after-metamorphosis-5-2.jpg#topcategories

Friday, October 3, 2014

My Experience of Invisibility and the Student Creed

The past two years have been a new level of stress for me. For the first time since my teens, and maybe even more than my teens, my mind was more in command than I was. Previous to this stress, when I was under stress, I could retreat into my mind and it was a beautifully clear space. Now I was finding that I couldn't even focus long enough to take a breath. Seriously. It took multiple attempts to just focus for the entirety of a single breath. Thank goodness I have an amazing store of willpower that kept me coming back again and again to the discipline of focused breathing. One of my inquiries in these meditations was exploring how the mind can get so wrapped up and attached (and on the systematic detachment of attachments to allow my love and joy to be my guides).

Invisibility
During one of these meditations, I remembered one of the teachings about Marishi-Ten. In the particular teaching I remembered, Marishi's brilliance in hiding the sun in plain sight--so bright and beautiful that it was impossible to look directly at. This image became the focus of my meditation--how can I create an illuminating brilliance?

Then fear and doubt crept in. I've seen friends and family members devolve in a web of delusion and I am frankly terrified of this potential. If I was going to truly create brilliance--to trust in myself as an infinite being--how was I going to ensure I could believe in infinite potential without devolving in a mire of self-delusion?

A conversation in Tampa with Mark Sentoshi Russo kicked off my insights into the Student Creed. (Interestingly, I got awful food poisoning that trip but that exploration is for a different post.) Over the following months and years, I continued to pick at and mold this theory. What I came away with is the Student Creed as a tool for countering self delusion.

  1. I believe in myself. I know myself deeply with all levels of my being. I know what I stand for and I'm willing to make, and remake decisions, with every new moment. This foundation is a freeing relationship, rather than a limiting one. It's not a conscious listing of my beliefs, it's a subconscious, energetic understanding of my infinity.
  2. I believe in what I study. I keep coming back to the mat/cushion to honestly explore the lessons that excite and frustrate me. There were times when I forgot the basic movements and I had to go back to fundamental teachings. There were times I didn't want to. I just wanted to move forward, to be past it already. I could convince my mind I was all over it but getting on the mat was a way to measure exactly where I was. Whether it was exploring movement principles or looking at the mind practices, I just kept coming back to training.
  3. I believe in my teachers. I realized this was a resource I was under-utilizing. Certainly, I was drawing on my teachers for direct lessons, but I wasn't asking for support in being the person I really wanted to be. I mindfully picked 4 people that I trust to know my brightness. I gave them permission to call me on my bullshit (we all have it). These are the people whose feedback I'll trust, even if I don't want to. It was easy after the trauma to gravitate to the people who would reinforce my already held beliefs. I realized it was important for my growth to have people who would challenge me to grow.
How to Use It
Let's take an easy example. Say a friend asks you to keep a secret. Ask yourself: is it true to my being to keep this secret? How do I feel about being a keeper of this secret? Does it feel right to me?

Is it true to my beliefs and principles to keep this secret? Are there teachings I believe that have wisdom on the subject?

What would my role models do? Do they have any experience with this secret?
Stephen K. Hayes Pro Shop



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