Be Your Own Marketing Team

I was reading a book to my kids on sales and marketing. The kids were suitably intrigued and found the story engaging and fun, while they may have also picked up a few details on the topic. The most interesting part to me, was my reaction. I felt uncomfortable talking about sales and marketing with my children.

I have always been uncomfortable with sales and marketing. Trying to understand why and how to get over/through this issues for my own business is the focus of much self work that I engage in.

Even presently, as I am struggling to grow my own businesses, I find myself hesitant. My activities are critically intertwined with sales and marketing. Though I feel somewhat more noble taking advantage of the fruits of other peoples marketing efforts, rather than engaging in my own. I suppose it’s akin to hiring an assassin instead of killing someone yourself… The fact that my brain comes up with this analogy is a clear indicator that I see marketing as dirty and unseemly, analogous to killing.

The book was sharing the idea of a kid’s lemonade stand. A simple enough idea. It discusses how, when you run a business, you need to consider the expense. You have to pay for inventory such as lemons, sugar and cups. You need to advertise, in this case a simple form of poster boards put up around your stand to point people in the right direction.

This to me is a good and pure activity and has simple math and business lessons for us all.

The book goes on to talk about various forms of advertising and how they can be used to reach people (TV, radio, print, etc). This is where things start to get uncomfortable, techniques for making the customer ‘need’ your product. They discuss packaging, making the items look more fun and engaging. How some packaging is deceptive, such as making the product look bigger or nicer than it actually is. Also, the discussion moves towards making people feel like they need something. Advertisements focused on making people feel, if they have the product, they will be more beautiful, have friends, etc.

In many ways I wish I had someone introduce me to these ideas when I was younger. But I still don’t know how much it would help. Advertisers have honed their art to such a degree, it’s almost like black magic. Crafting the words and ideas in such a way that the claims make you feel like you need their product to fulfill your desires. “If I just crack open an ice cold soda I will be surrounded by friends and dancing teddy bears.” We know it’s not true, but the image is in our heads and the association is there. Soda advertisements never show obese people sitting alone in a dark room watching TV and eating a tub of cheezy puffaroos while they check their insulin levels.

I think this is part of my concern. My version of a soda commercial and theirs exaggerate certain aspects of life. They are focusing on the positive and desired aspects of life that they want associated with their product. My advertisement of their soda focuses on the negative. It’s a snapshot. Not the full picture.

When I sell someone something I want them to be aware of both sides of the coin.

Warning: My blog may contain boring prose where I ramble about ideas that you don’t care about and have no impact on your life.

I suppose some level of it is ego management. Lowering expectations so I don’t disappoint. But there is also a large group of people that would have no interest in my blog whatsoever. I don’t need to focus on those people, they won’t be reading the blog.

Others can point out my flaws.

Others can also point out my merits.

So on balance, this leads to my current approach to marketing, which is to let the end results speak for themselves. The merit of the content and materials will ‘sell themselves’. To a degree this is true and to a degree this works. But… If you are going to speak about yourself, your work, your products, why would you bad mouth them? Why would you become your own voice of dissent? Why turn your own market against you?

You are your own marketing group. Whether it comes to dating, selling, being part of a community, everything you do. You don’t have to be false. You don’t have to manufacture a need for your product. Believe in your value and the merits of your products and speak highly of them. If you truly don’t believe in the product you are selling, then you need to change the product or find a way to believe in yourself. Self sabotage doesn’t protect you from failure, it ensures it.

Go out there and succeed. I’ll see you at the top of the mountain.

Love and Namaste,

Kevin

Brief Shadows On The Wall

Why do we rush so?

Why do we busy ourselves with so much nonsense?

There is the standard answer that helps me move on and ignore the question: I need to make a living. I need to feed myself and my family. I do what I do to survive.

I was listened to the radio yesterday when ‘Dust in the wind’ by Kansas came on. I’ve mentioned the song here before. This time it struck me powerfully in a moment of busyness. As I listened I almost began to weep.

I was reminded that all my busy work and activity will not be remembered.

It occurred to me as I considered my busyness and rushing about, that it has little to no impact on the world at large. Thought of legacy doesn’t typically enter my day or impact my choices. My light and my shadow are fleeting and then all too soon gone.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” – Macbeth – Shakespeare

Don’t despair. This is your moment on the stage. Enjoy the stage lights. Anticipate the applause. Appreciate that you are the player and that you are only here for a brief run.

Enjoy the show.

My point, if I am force to make one, is that we take ourselves very seriously. In a few moments we will be gone. Nothing but dust. Perhaps our time would be better spent watching the clouds make shapes, then trying to reshape the clouds.

“Mongo only pawn in game of life.” – Mongo – Blazing Saddles – Mel Brooks

Namaste, Kevin

 

 

I Guess I Need You Again

Wow! It has been a long break. I have not posted a blog update in just over a year. I was looking at my website today and realized 2 interesting things. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog update for the last few weeks. So here is the long awaited return of my chakra thoughts.

1) My last update was on 5/5/16 Just over 1 year ago.
2) The title of the update was ‘I Don’t Need You Right Now’

I intended for the title to be a means of letting you, my loyal readers, off the hook. A way of letting you know that you don’t have to be on all the time. That we can relax a bit. So we all took a year off. I have been learning a bit about manifesting through thought and energy over the last year. Well, the initial exposure was a long time before that. But the last year has been an exercise in faith and practice. I have to say, there are aspects of it that are going very well, and aspects that are completely unexpected.

I had no idea when I wrote that post last year that I would then not write again for a year. But I put the thought out there, I expressed the energy, that I didn’t need you, and then it manifested. And might I add, I’ve kind of missed you all. For many of you the energy is intangible, I have never even heard from 90 percent of my readers, but I would like to. Please send me an email, reply to my post, say hello. I would love to hear from the people the universe has seen fit to connect me with.

Additionally I have to say, with no hint of modesty, for all of us to take a year off was a colossal mistake. The world apparently, desperately needed us, in our absence they have made some very bad decisions. But we stepped away from the helm and look where we are now…

So I say with love in my heart and compassion in my thoughts, let’s get back out there. The world really needs us. Like, REALLY REALLY needs us! So let’s get ready. I guess I need you again too. Welcome back.

Namaste,
Kevin

I Don’t Need You Right Now

i-dont-need-you
Go take a 5 minute break, you’re not needed right now.

There is a lot going on in the world, there always has been, there always will be. You are not responsible for managing it all.
I was out for lunch at a local pizza place. I was by myself and it was pretty much just me and my thoughts. Well there were a few other people eating in the restaurant. Oh, and there were TVs playing random shows placed around the walls. I think I counted 10 TVs each with a slightly different sports event playing. There was also music playing over the sound system in the pizza place. So there I was, practically in a zen sanctuary, on my precious lunch break, trying to relax. I set my phone down on the table and just went into my head for a few minutes. It was more or less quiet in my head, apart from parsing the music and random snippets of conversation and visual input of the silent TVs. At that moment it occurred to me, “Someone might need me, I should check my phone!”

It’s been a rough week. I got a speeding ticket on Monday. My daughter got bit by a stray cat Wednesday. Lots of concerns and built up anxiety about the future and the present all pile up to a feeling that something must be done right now. I must be needed by someone, somewhere, right now. So I have taken some time off by myself today, to step away from all the needs, in an attempt to have some time where I feel I am not needed. So I surround myself with devices that foster constant need.

I’ve yet to determine if my phone is high maintenance, or if it is me that is high maintenance. But we certainly interact with each other frequently in a high touch manner.

Also, was I high maintenance before the phone? Did I need to know this much about the people around me before I could? Now that I can remain in virtual constant contact it makes it hard to distinguish between when that contact is actually needed, and when it is just convenient.

I remember back before mobile phones were ubiquitous and ‘smart’. I recall a time when I was responsible for after hour outages at my software job. A pager was handed off to me at the end of the workday on Monday, I was told to keep it on me for the week, in case there was a problem. How I balked at the idea.

“My personal time is mine, I need the separation between my job and my life.” I yelled at my boss, quietly in my head, as I took the pager and placed it in my things to go home with.

I look back and think what a luxury it was to even be able to suggest such an idea. How amazing it was to be able to say “You won’t be able to reach me this evening, I’ll be out.” This was almost 20 years ago. It’s probably been 10 years since that level of disconnect was even possible from the world around us.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that it is possible to live your life less connected. I know there is a path to a life not always tapped in, but it’s not the mainstream path. I have friends that have a home phone and nothing more. I both marvel at this in wonder, and imagine what it would be like to go back to that. But it’s definitely the exception and not the norm any more.

So today, the average person in the US, is pretty much accessible 24/7. We put ourselves out there as being reachable and in touch. There was a time, almost forgotten now, when being out of touch was the standard. When having periods of un-reach-ability was expected. There was a time when having something called downtime was considered common.

Even now, as I sit here writing this, I pause and reach toward my pocket wanting to check my email. Wanting to see if anyone needs me. Wondering if anything wonderful, or more often terrible, has happened that I should know about.

If you are reading this and wondering, I want you to know that I don’t need you right now. The rest of the world can pretty much keep spinning without you for a bit also. Please go as far away as you can, and rest. Your time will come, you will be needed, but it’s not right now. Take a breath and regroup. We all need you to be well rested for when you’re actually needed. Right now all is well.

Namaste,
Kevin

Have a Recital

Cute Little Girl Playing Grand Piano In Music School

Why don’t we have recitals any more as adults?

My 6 year old just had her first recital. It’s seen as a growth moment, a rite of passage and the culmination of learning something new. But it’s also just a milestone. She sang a song and played the piano. While she did wonderfully, it doesn’t mean she is done. It does mark a fantastic milestone, with many more to come.

So why don’t adults have recitals? There are so many things we learn as adults. So many actions that we are practicing, doing for the first time. Could we have a parenting recital? Or a job interview recital? Or even a standard recital? Go learn to sing. Learn piano. Take up a new craft and show it off.

There is no point in finally being an adult if you don’t get to keep learning. And now you have the freedom to learn whatever you want. Nobody is telling you to go practice your piano. Nobody is telling you to read up on basket weaving. It’s all down to you.

I would like to formally invite you to try something new. Practice, practice, practice. And then go show it off. Have your own recital, or better yet form a recital group. A team of people bonded together with nothing more than the quest to learn and a forum to show it off.

Go have a recital!

Namaste,

Kevin

have-a-recital

The Record Needle

Consciousness is enigmatic at best. It’s easy enough to explain it in self referencing terms, for example, “I think, therefore I am.” But it’s difficult to abstract away from the subject itself to describe what consciousness actually is. I wanted to introduce you to the concept of the record needle.

Dj Stylus On Vinyl Record

Imagine for a moment that your life is a record. You are born on the outer edge of the record and you die when the last song plays on the inner edge near the record label. Your whole life is represented by the music across the vinyl.

So what are you?

Are you the record? Yes. But this represents you across all time that you will occupy and have occupied.

Are you the music coming out of the speakers? Yes. But this is really the side effect of your presence.

Are you the record player? Yes, arguably, along with the rest of the universe. You can be seen as both part of the choir and the conductor. Player and played.

But what of your consciousness? Where would this metaphor put your consciousness? The answer is, the record needle.

Dj Needle Stylus On Spinning Record

Your consciousness is actually a tool, or mechanism, through which you are married to the present moment. Your consciousness enables you to experience your life one moment at a time. Without the needle the record would be a collage of random notes and orchestration. You need a linear experience to be able to process and attempt to understand the content.

Spinning Vinyl Record. Motion Blur Image. Vintage Toned.

Without life being presented as a momentary experience, everything would happen at once. There would be a tremendous burst of sight and sound, light and darkness, noise and silence, in an instant and then nothing.

Perhaps that is truly what the big bang is/was/will be. Everything happened all at once. Within that a tool was devised to allow souls to try to understand/experience that flash. How would you try to break down, literally everything, into digestible chunks?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Thus comes consciousness, a needle on the record of your life. Allowing you to process this experience linearly.

record-needle

Namaste,

Kevin

Take the Next Shot

Take-Your-Next-Shot

 

“Life can beat you up, beat you down and leave you crying in a corner.” – unknown (probably something I said)

I remember when I was a kid I always felt ready to be an adult. I’d get to make my own decisions, I’d be the law. I’d have free run.

I remember sitting down and doing the math in my head many times… “Let’s see, I’m in the 3rd grade now, that’s 5 more years of grade school, 4 years of high-school and 4 years of college. Then I’ll be the boss.” WooHoo!

Portrait of a school kid holding a basketball, isolated on white background

My prediction mostly came true. I took 5 years to go through college. I don’t regret the extra time I took in college. But even in college I was tired of others making the rules. We were paying a fortune to have teachers boss us around and tells us what to do, when to do it and where to be. But then, finally, at graduation I was free. Or was I?…

I entered the world as a free man and found I had new task masters. A boss, bills, taxes. I was free alright. The breadth of mistakes I could make on my own accord had broadened. The pressure I felt on a daily level had increased. It was all on me. I was already locked into a new set of rules with a new set of task masters. The freedom I had imagined as a child had all been an illusion.

Mistakes were made. Nothing egregious. Nothing worthy of a publisher requesting a tell all memoir. But I made mistakes. Lots of them. Little mistakes, big mistakes, common mistakes, repeated mistakes. I would make mistakes that others had warned me about and mistakes on things I’d never even imagined I’d be faced with. But I made mistakes and I regretted them, for a while. Some of the mistakes were quite painful, pain leading to transformation. Some transformations lead to a new way to see the world. Other transformations lead to thought processes that would simply avoid getting into that situation again.

Interestingly, as time progressed and mistakes turned into wisdom, I learned one of my most valuable lessons about my mistakes. My mistakes had helped shape who I was, who I am. If you look at my life as a topographical map, my mistakes marked the points of interest. Some mistakes would be marked as the coastline, with the ocean, where I found I could not cross. Other mistakes would be marked as great mountains, that I had to find ways to toil over or circumnavigate. And some of the greatest mistakes have been turned into national parks because of the beauty that formed in their aftermath. My Grand Canyon and Yellowstone parks, if you will.

But the most interesting part about this analogy and my mistakes is that I kept getting back up and trying again. If  mistake had been considered a block, something that prevented me from moving forward, the whole map would look like a tiny island surrounded by mist or oceans that could not be crossed. My life would be tiny and empty and I would be riddled with doubts and inadequacies. Instead the map of my life represents a journal of my conquests and triumphs, along with a documentary of some of my failures. But each challenge overcome is most notably described as a situation where I failed and tried again.

bigstock-Young-girl-basketball-player-crop-120698258

The best sports analogy I see when thinking about this has to do with basketball. Basketball isn’t about the number of shots you’ve missed, it’s about the number of shots you make. If you get caught up in lamenting a missed shot, you’ll lose the ball and won’t get to shoot again. You have to get your hands back on the basketball and try again. You need to take your next shot. The score at the end of the game represents the number of baskets made. But it only represents a small portion of the actually effort. Many shots are missed in order for a single shot to be made. Even an expert at the game misses shots, it’s the nature of the game. You’ve got to get your hands on the ball and take your next shot.

There are times in life when it is easy to get hung up on what you didn’t do, or where you failed. There are times in life when reflection is valuable and learning from the past is beneficial. But you can’t move forward, you can’t advance the score and keep the game moving, unless you take your next shot. You are master of your destiny. You are in charge now. Get yourself up, dust yourself off, get in the game.

Make mistakes, it is all part of the game.

Take your next shot.

Namaste,

Kevin

Young girl basketball player isolated

Do you have a healthy Spirit Diet?

Newspapers

The interesting thing about the present is that everything is here.

There is no past. There is no future. Nothing exists except those things that are here in the present.

The present does represent the culmination of the past and the inception of the future, but it is not those things.

It is only the present. The present is the home for everything.

But consider for a moment, that even in this present we misrepresent it’s content and reality. Perhaps we have been deceived. Perhaps we are deceiving ourselves. Or, at the very least, we lack the information required to fully qualify the present and it’s contents. The fact that everything is here, implies that there is too much here for us to quantify, catalog and pass judgement on.

Yet we continue to try. We are constantly attempting to take inventory of and account for, what we have and what is happening to us. Us as individuals and us as a community.

Look at your own history. 1 year ago. 10 years ago.

What do you remember?

What concerns did you have at the time?

What was happening in the world around you that had your attention?

Did it make a larger impact?

Is there a history book written that even has footnotes about your concerns?

Bear in mind, that as you do this exercise, your memories have already been altered. As time has passed, and as you have read others stories about what was truly important at the time, you have adjusted your memories. You have weighted the ‘important’ memories and key events. Meanwhile the trivia of the moment has passed away.

Remember when you brushed your teeth on a rainy Thursday morning 10 years ago?

Remember when you stubbed your toe on the bed frame as you walked through a dark bedroom?

Remember when the planes crashed into the world trade center?

All of your memories have been prioritized based on your perception of the importance of those events. It is not a wrong thing, or a right thing, it is just a thing. This is something that has happened. Your job is not to change it, more to the point, your job is to be aware of it.

When you look at a history book, at the milestones it covers, it’s intriguing to consider, what was left out?

We alter the present through our perception. We alter the past through our edits. We imagine the future through our fantasy and fears. Is there room in all this for reality? Does there need to be?

When you look at the present, and everything that is happening today, which parts do you think will be remembered? Which parts will be discarded? Odds are that the things we believe are vital, crucial and life changing, will actually be footnotes at best and most likely discarded as unnecessary filler.

Memory Loss Concept

Does this mean your concerns are invalid? Does it mean that we are wasting our time? Does this mean we need to shift our focus to something other?

The short answer is, “Yes and no.”

Yes, you are wasting your time. No, you are not wasting your time. You are simply spending your time. We have a time allowance. Each day you spend your allowance. You cannot save up time for a rainy day. You cannot spend time on credit and pay it back later. Time is here and gone. Perhaps instead of worrying about wasting our time you should simply practice awareness of the passage of time.

Your concerns, your perceived world, is valid and correct. But they are also constructs of your perception.

You have pieced together this world based on what you believe is important or based on what you perceive as others saying is important. But in the latter case, you are still piecing the world together based on what you believe is important and flagging “what others say” as being important to you. Your world is constructed in your head.

Since your world is actually a construct in your head, of information you have chosen to piece together, you can chose to piece information together differently and thus actually change your world.

You can see a situation where you were robbed, as a situation where you donated money to someone less fortunate than you.

You can see a situation where you were wronged, as a situation where you served as a tool in a lesson for another person.

Your day to day activity is in fact 99 percent disposable. But disposable is not be be confused with wasted. Your daily actions are more like your diet for your spirit. Just like your physical body needs food, your spiritual body needs metaphorical food. Do you have a healthy spirit diet?

The impact of the caloric content of spiritual food is largely in your perception. Meaning when it comes to spirit, what you believe you are consuming is what you are consuming. Your attitude and your beliefs impact your results. A healthy spirit diet is more about believing than reality.

Two people can have exactly the same job at the same company doing the same work. One of these people can be happy and excited for the work they do, flowing through their work like a ray of sunshine. While their counterpart can loathe the activity and proceed through the day like a dark rain cloud, angry and stormy. They are both performing the same job, consuming the same spirit food, but the person that actually likes their job has a healthier spirit diet.

All this is meant to say, that we will never have total recall. We will never know, in a given moment, everything that is happening in the reality that surrounds us. Our attempts to consume everything, to get the big picture is a futile effort. If we read of all the tragedy that occurred in the world today we will miss out on the triumph. If we read of all the triumphs we miss the tragedy. Any attempt to consume all of both will lead to an oversight in some other department that we forgot existed, because we were so focused on everything in another area. If you rely on a summary of those events, we have to remember those were edited for content and they left our information that they deemed unnecessary filler. Everything we perceive as information is in fact filtered and processed from one reality to another.

When you were a kid did you ever play the game of telephone? You line up about 10 kids and whisper a story to the first kid. Then they whisper the story in the ear of the kid next to them and so on. Then when the story gets to the last child you ask them to tell the story out loud to the whole group. The whole chain of kids look astonished as they say “that’s not what I heard”. Sometimes a kid in the middle will even, just for fun, mess up the story and throw in something they know wasn’t in it. Even this is a great example of reality.

Expand the game of telephone to life. Everyone has filters. Sometimes they are aware of them and altering the story because they have an agenda, sometimes it’s just a misunderstanding when a concept goes through a person that doesn’t understand the idea. The point is, there is no pure information, there is no ultimate source of truth. Life is a giant game of telephone. Even in your head a story is being told and retold over and over again. Altered to fit your beliefs. Filtered to not mess with your reality.

There is no total recall. There is no ultimate truth. There is only this moment and everything in it. Allow the moments to flow through you. Try not to judge, try not to take in too much. Try to keep a good spiritual diet. If you can’t find a way to enjoy the spirity food you area already eating, then change your diet. You can’t take it all in, nor would it be a good idea if you could. You don’t need to take it all in. Everything is perfect.

Namaste,

Kevin

ChakraCommunity-TotalRecall

Rough Roads Ahead – Look Up

bigstock-Damaged-Roadway-Edit-90484274

I have tunnel vision. All I see, is the road laid out before me. I see a road full of potholes. I can’t possible steer around them.

“I am going to hit that big one up on the right.”

“I’m going to get a flat.”

“I’ll be stuck at the side of this terrifying road.”

“This road is rough.”

 

A tiny voice in the back of my head suggests, “look up!”

 

So, for a moment, I look at the bigger picture. I look up from the road to the horizon. I realize that it is in fact a sunny day. The sky is blue and the clouds are those picture perfect bundles of white. They’re the kind of clouds that make you want to lay on your back in a grassy field and look for shapes.

“I see a turtle.”

“I see a dragon.”

“I see a teddy bear.”

 

Honestly the clouds look very hug-gable.

 

Everything about this day is perfect.

 

A loud grumpy voice hollers out “Look down you fool!”

 

This damn road!

 

Fear of bumps keep pulling my mind back to the road. It’s a beautiful day. But there is a pothole in front of me. There are speed bumps and cracks in the concrete. This road is a mess.

 

The quiet voice calls back to me, “That’s a nice car.”

 

I am reminded that my car is nice. It is solid, it is sound. I’ve sure come a long way in it. But it can go a lot farther. I can get many more miles out of this old chassis. There were a few engine troubles over the last couple years. But I’ve worked hard on maintenance. The car is running better than ever. Better yet, I have learned how to repair the engine. It there are problems again, I can make repairs.

 

The grump calls out, ”But this damn road!”

 

The quiet voice whispers, “look to the sky.”

 

These two voices begin to argue, back and forth.

I watch like a terrified child, seeing his parents argue in front of him.

 

The grump looks straight at me and with an angry edge to his voice yells, “YOU ARE GOING TO RUN STRAIGHT INTO THAT DITCH!”

 

The quiet voice rallies, with a golden tone in its compassion filled voice, it suggests simply, “Kevin, you can fly.”

 

With no more urging needed, I lift my wheels and take flight.

 

I didn’t know I could fly. All I had to do was ask.

 

Namaste,

Kevin

Damaged Roadway

Panic Hero

The first time I remember having a panic attack was in the first grade. Of course, I didn’t know it was a panic attack. It was just an overwhelming sense of fear that washed over me. Almost crippling, largely adrenal, but definitely a feeling of panic. It was a snowy winter in Ohio in the late 1970s, and we were outside for recess. There were large piles of snow around the school playground and a long strip of unplowed snow running on a grassy divider between an access road and the main school blacktop playground. Someone had dug a massive hole in the snow, massive at least by the standards of a 7-year-old. In my 7-year-old wisdom, I decided to make a bridge of my body and lay down facing into the hole with my arms stretching to one side and my thighs stretching to the other. I had just bridged the gap when gravity started to kick in. As gravity pulled my hips towards the ground I realized my arms were locked and would not bend. Additionally, because I was bracing against my thighs instead of my calves, my knees could not bend to release me. I felt gravity pulling down on my hips and pelvis as my spine started to compress uncomfortably. I began to panic.

I called out to my teacher “Help, I’m stuck, help me.”

Her callous response was “You’re fine, get up.”

I felt betrayal in my core. How could she dismiss me? She was my school mom! How cruel! I was not fine. I was stuck! my spine was going to snap. This would be a life altering moment. I was just milliseconds away from my tendons giving out and collapsing in a useless heap in the bottom of this icy hole. Once there they may as well cover me up with the snow. I was done for.

I gave one last effort to free myself prior to the inevitable black out. I struggled to unlock my shoulders.

One shoulder released and I was able to put my hand down into the hole, then shimmy my other shoulder free.

Released from an almost certain icy death, I took inventory of the damages. Huh… I was fine. The teacher was right. As I run off to make snowballs.

Only looking back can I label that feeling, that experience. That utter helplessness that comes with a panic attack. The speed with which my brain operates had suddenly turned against me. Instead of using my speed for witty banter and smart mouth behavior my mind had turned against me. In my moment of crisis, my mind had raced down a path of fear and panic. It had concocted a story of my ultimate demise.

It would not be the last time. But it is the first time I can go back in my memory and resolve a panic attack. Where I can see the thoughts in my head over-riding the condition of my body and the situation in the world around me.

Still, it has taken almost 40 years and many similar experiences to be able to go back and label the experience.

Does identifying an experience with a label actually help resolve the experience? Does understanding the bigger picture and context of that moment actually help make the moment be okay? I would argue, that to some degree, yes, it does.

There will always be the emotional experience. There will always be the memory. I can recall the look and feel of that specific moment, to this day. I can almost feel the compression in my spine as I retell the story.

I also feel a lot more compassion for the teacher. At the time I truly felt betrayal. I actually believed that she was dishonoring her care agreement for me. The she was abandoning me to the whim of the world. But looking back, and acknowledging that I turned out to be quite fine, I must admit, the teacher was right. I was going to be fine. And I did end up getting up.

It also gives me an astonishing context. How many other moments, where I was sure my very survival was on the line, were in fact examples of my brains abilities to exaggerate?

My brain is a powerful tool. My brain is quick. My brain has an amazing ability to focus. When my brain focuses on a negative story and quickly iterates the possible outcomes, my power is turned against me. I have two options. I can marvel at the ability of my brain to spin this tale, observing it with wonder. Or, I can lose myself in the story my mind is telling me, believing that is actually what is and will happen.

It’s only a story. Sure it’s based on real events. Much like a docudrama with dramatic music overlayed to heighten moments of tension. The story in my head was based on true events, but the details have been changed to keep the attention of the viewer.

I am going to be okay. I am loved. I am the hero of my story. It’s always darkest just before the hero triumphs.

This is true for you too. It’s going to be okay. You are loved. You are a hero.

Namaste,

Kevin