What Amazing Thing Do You Do?

Rival Toddler Teams With Basketballs In Uniform

My 2 year old walked by with a ear to ear grin on his face and a big red bouncy ball in his hands. He’s still getting his words, but I could tell from his expression what he was thinking, “Watch This Magic Trick!”

 

The magic trick, the thing  that brought absolute wonder to his eyes and an expectation that I would marvel at his ability, was throwing the ball. He proceeded to throw the big red bouncy ball across the room and then laugh and giggle at how amazing it was. The follow on look in his eyes and the happy sounds from his mouth, stated clearly, “Did you See That? That was Amazing!!!”

 

It put a smile on my face to see so much joy and wonder. But it also gave me pause. What amazing thing do I do, that I no longer consider amazing?

 

I’ve thrown a ball recently, and I was pretty non-plused. But when I look back at all the hours and hours of practice I’ve had throwing a ball, I should be pretty impressed. I have fallen into a common trap that catches all of us, diminishing returns. “Yes, congratulations Kevin, you can throw a ball. You could throw a ball yesterday. What new thing can you do?”

 

In always seeking the new and exciting, we lose sight of the old and valuable.

 

What you can do today, is amazing. What you are already capable of would marvel any 2 year old. And, if you take a step back and view yourself from the outside, you should be able to take a deep breath of amazement and say “Wow, look at me go!”

 

So, as we are currently in the holiday season of giving, I invite you to give yourself a break. You kinda rock!

 

Namaste,

Kevin

 

 

Rival Toddler Teams With Basketballs In Uniform

My Problem With Sin

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I grew up with many confusing ideas about religion. When I say confusing, I mean non-logical and inconsistent. I don’t entirely regret it, because it is this inconsistency and not quite making sense that has pushed me spiritually to find something that does make sense. It has helped move me to the spiritual path that I am on today. So I can’t complain, I feel I am in a good place. At the same time there is always a nagging voice that causes me to revisit the ideas presented to me in my youth, in an attempt to understand the jumble of Christian thinking I was brought up on. With so many wonderful people living a life of faith in Christ it seems there must be something to it that I’ve missed.

 

One of the major stumbling blocks I ran into in my attempt to be Christian, was the problem of Sin. I grew up being taught that Sin was a thing, it had substance and accountability and was real. All your sins are written in the great book of life. All your sins must be paid for or repented for. And of course the primary concept of Christianity, that Christ in a moment on the cross took all the sins of humanity upon himself and paid the price for those sins. These are not the attributes of a non-entity, therefore in my mind sin was a thing. And all things, must be created. Ergo, God created sin and then made it my fault…

 

This has been a stumbling block for me. A point I cannot concede to a God that is supposed to be Love and Compassion. How is it that a God that is supposed to be Love would also create something designed to trip me up. A construct that the very nature of it’s substance causes me to be, literally, damned for all eternity?

 

In the past few weeks I’ve been undertaking treatment for Lyme Disease. My doctor has been very helpful in identifying that I have lyme disease and the appropriate treatment regiment. One evening as I was recovering from the days treatment and pondering life, I was struck by an epiphany. What if Sin was more like Lyme and less like a collection of scarlet letters? What if God was more like my Doctor and less like Judge Judy?

 

Let me explain. If sin is a created substance than my original concern with God holds up. But what if sin is more like disease? What if sin, instead of being a created substance was merely a description of the absence of spiritual health? Then, God, being more like my doctor, would be the compassionate healer that wants to help cure me of this spiritual disease. Instead of God being the sadistic judge that creates a legal snare and then catches me up in it and judges me for my failure.

 

I can’t say which is truth, but being able to identify a world model in which sin is something to get help for, as opposed to a tool of manipulation, is comforting. Seeing a God that wants to heal you as opposed to a God that wants to condemn you is a powerful change.

 

I still have many challenges I’m working through when it comes to the Christian bible and the stories I was brought up on. But it is comforting to me to find a God, behind the layers of inconsistencies I was taught, that may resemble the God of Love that I’ve heard so much about. My journey continues and my path is burgeoning with growth opportunities. But as I travel I wanted to share my epiphanies with you. I hope it helps in your path today.

 

Namaste,

Kevin

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The Natural Order

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The world is out of balance. You can feel it in when you wake in the morning. Sense it on the roadways. See it in the eyes of strangers.

 

Everything has a natural order to it.

 

But it is not our job to maintain order.

 

You cannot directly fix the world, but you can observe the imbalance. Through the observation you can see what needs go unmet and find ways to provide within this context. You can’t take responsibility for the imbalance, on the whole, but you can be a source of balance.

 

The universe has a balance to it, and that balance is maintained by universal forces beyond our control. All things naturally seek balance. Perceived imbalance is simply that, a perception. The larger system, the universe, seeks to balance. It is not a desire; it is a fact.

 

However, in the context of universal balance, there are cycles, waves if you will, of motion going toward and moving away from equilibrium. When you see the world out of balance in one direction or another you are witnessing a wave of motion around the greater center.

 

The scale of these movements can be hard to comprehend. These cycles may take months, years, or even many, many lifetimes.

 

A simple analogy, to help understand the bigger picture, is the predator/prey model. By understanding the balance sought between the hunter and the hunted, foxes and rabbits, we can gain an understanding of the larger system.

 

You need a certain number of foxes to keep the rabbit population under control. For example, if you have 1 fox for every 100 rabbits then both populations stay balanced. Each fox will eat a few rabbits. The foxes will have a few babies and the rabbits will have a few more babies and the balance maintains itself.

 

However, if one year the foxes are particularly successful at mating and have many more foxes, these new foxes will need more food. They will eat more rabbits and the rabbit population will decline. Over time the lack of sufficient rabbits will lead to a decline in the fox population.

 

Alternately, if you have too few foxes the rabbit population gets out of control, rabbits eat too much vegetation and with a lower food source the rabbit population declines.

 

Initially, from the outside, the cycles of death and birth appear random and dramatic. But a larger picture starts to form over time of the birth and death rates as you see the natural balance of the populations establish. You can even work out an equation to establish the ideal population of each creature within the system.

 

Each individual life still matters, but the picture of the larger system takes shape and balance can be observed.

 

What does this mean to you?

Should we form a foundation to protect the foxes?

Or start trapping rabbits?

Why should we care?

 

The foxes, the rabbits and the universal search for balance are all related. They all grant us a larger picture perspective on the search for balance and natural order in your own life. You don’t really have to worry about the rabbits or the foxes, the universe will take care of them.

 

For that matter you don’t have to worry about yourself. The universe will take care of you. Worry doesn’t create balance, the natural order of the system does.

 

If you learn how to flow with the universe, you ease the tension with the world around you.

 

If you continue to fight the universe in your attempt to swim upstream against the flow of balance, you will generate angst and discomfort.

 

Your destination is the same whether you flow or fight. The results are the same in both cases, but the experience is completely different. Would you rather life a life in harmony or live a life in conflict?

 

It is important to understand, even though you are subject to larger forces, you are not powerless. You are part of this system. As such you have an integral role in the systemic action and reaction. You are part of the problem and part of the solution.

 

Tap in to your intuition and awareness. Your action is still required in this world. But understanding how to apply that action can be best achieved through using your intuition and being aware.

 

Our attempts to access our intuition are undermined by the flooding of our senses provided by the world around us. The world we live in is bombarding our senses with input. It can be difficult to separate out wheat from the chaff. To retain what is valuable and release what is useless is a crucial skill. Intuitive impulses still exist, but they are drowned in the clutter of all the other input.

 

This muted awareness of our intuition leads to poor decision making. As we tap into our awareness and leverage the resulting intuitive impulses, the appropriate pathway becomes more clear. We can identify the path that will generate the least friction and align our personal goals with the actions of universal balance.

 

Living an intuitive life with appropriate awareness leads to personal balance. You can become a part of the change without feeling responsible for the change.

 

Thinking you must change the world yourself is daunting at best and impossible at worst. On the other hand, approaching your day in a way that enables you to live a balanced and fulfilled life, is liberating and empowering.

 

Be the change that you wish to see and let go of trying to alter the path of the universe. Instead become a peaceful part of the universal natural order.

 

The universe is already in motion and you are in good hands.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

Somebody Else’s Problem

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I was awoken to the sound of gushing water, it sounded like a geyser spraying out onto the road. My instincts kicked in, and I got out of bed and rushed to the window to see if I could identify the problem. I had heard this sound before at home, a broken sprinkler, but I was staying in someone else’s home. I got to the window and looked out, just as I suspected, a sprinkler head had broken off and was gushing out a geyser of water high into the air.

 

As I looked out and considered my options my logical brain awoke to meet up with my crisis brain. The mental conference call began.  I considered my options. As I assessed the situation I remembered that I was staying at my sister’s house and the sprinkler was on community property. There was no easy valve I could shut off. It wasn’t ‘my water’, it wasn’t even my sisters water. There was a home owners association to handle such a thing. In the middle of the night they wouldn’t even care. Nor did I have a way to reach them. I also reasoned that no one was being hurt by the geyser and that it could wait till morning. So really there was nothing I could do about it at the present moment. So I went back to bed. A few moments later I was fast asleep as the soothing sound of water splashing on pavement soothed my nerves and sent me off to dream land.

 

The remarkable thing about this story, to my mind, was my reaction of allowing it to not stress me. If it had been at my house, with my sprinkler I would have gone into a panic and rallied the troops (my dogs) we would have gone out and further assessed the situation. Gotten frustrated with the broken sprinkler, found a way to disable it, possibly have gone as far as fixing it (at 3am) and then spent the rest of the night agitated that I couldn’t sleep because I was so keyed up on adrenaline.

 

This to me was notable because in both cases it would have been mostly the same situation, but my perception of control and ownership would have caused me to escalate to a whole new level of alarm. My ability to handle the physical situation would have caused me to lose control of my mental situation. I can say this because I’ve been through it enough in the last few years to realize how I would have reacted, had I perceived the situation as “mine”.

 

Perhaps my stress reaction is just part of the  burden of ownership. It appears that I can handle situations just as well, if not better, if I perceive myself as being the assistant or an extra, instead of being the lead character. Allowing myself to become a supporting actor instead of the star of the show could actually enable me to live a more relaxed and burden free life.

 

Perhaps it will aid in my efforts not to be a control freak in other areas of my life… Well, maybe.

 

I read Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy, when I was in high school. One of my favorite parts was the S.E.P. field. There was a spaceship on earth parked right next to a large public area, but nobody was seeing it. The reasoning was, that it was hidden by an S.E.P. field (Somebody Else’s Problem). This distortion field caused the viewer to not see the ship when looking at it directly. You had to view it out of the corner of your eye. If you caught a glimpse and then tried to look at it directly it would simply disappear again.

 

I believe it is a valuable concept to apply to my life. I tend to take on everything that comes my way. I end up wasting a great deal of energy trying to deal with things I don’t even need to deal with. I need to learn when to apply an S.E.P. field, so I can see past these distractions to the things that actually matter.

 

Now, to learn the skill about when it’s appropriate to apply these fields and when to keep paying attention. I guess that’s a lesson for another time. Remember, don’t sweat the small stuff!

 

Namaste,

Kevin

 

 

 

Because You Are Too BIG

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Growing up is difficult.

I recently heard my wife explain to my daughter that she was too big to do something. At the age of 3 this can be difficult to understand. She remembers enjoying laying in a baby’s bouncy seat and just bouncing. However, the cloth structure is meant for a 15 lbs infant, not a 30 lbs. 3-year-old that wants a trampoline!

I recall often during my adolescence hearing “because you’re too small” or “because you’re too big”. It’s frustrating not being able to do what I used to do, and not being able to do what the adults are doing. When you are too short to ride the roller coaster or go on the water slide, and everyone around you appears to be ready but you.

We often think the process of growing up stops when we reach adult size. But all too often we find that we can’t do what we used to do, for one reason or another. Even worse, there are other things we still can’t do yet, and may never be able to do.

I can’t run off on a luxury cruise to the Bahamas today, that requires a little more planning and budget. I can’t spend the first day of summer vacation riding my bike down the park with my friends. Which reminds me, why did we agree to give up summer vacations when we become adults? I think adults need them more than kids do!

Regardless of where you are in life, it’s important to embrace the joy of what you can and not worry about the outliers. There will always be things you’ve outgrown and  things you aren’t up for yet. Don’t lose site of the wonder of the day by introducing the dissatisfaction engendered by the things you cannot do. Instead explore the possibilities and wonder of what you can do today.

Try not to worry about your perceived boundaries. There are a lot of advantages to being exactly who you are, where you are, and the size you are. You’re kind perfect right now. Enjoy.

Namaste,

Kevin

 

Measuring Your Life Through Spiritual Impact

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It is all too easy today to get distracted from your values and start measuring yourself with the wrong metrics.

When money is abundant in the economy, it seems like we are all measured by financial impact.

When money is scarce in the economy, it seems like we are all measured by financial impact.

It is all too easy to start picturing ourselves as piggy banks instead of spiritual beings. Whether you have money or not, there are things of more substance to measure yourself against. It doesn’t even matter if the world recognizes your effort, you will know.

You need to keep grounded in the metrics that reflect your values.

Take a moment to consider what you value. Now think for a moment on what metrics can be useful in measuring your impact within those values.

It is okay to value money. Money is simply a tool. Tools can be used for good and bad impact. Tools have value.

I absolutely value money, but I also find myself resentful of it. I work hard at getting money to take a back seat to my higher values.

I value spiritual growth. I nurture it in myself and I encourage it in others. It’s a big reason why I write and share with others. I love to communicate and share ideas with people. I also love to connect my daily experiences with my spiritual growth.

Spirituality is, in many ways, a tool. I have seen spirituality used for good and bad.

One of the most authentic pathways to spirituality is through personal empowerment. Reminding people of their inherent value gives them the confidence to trust their instincts and follow their intuitive path. Through self esteem, self discovery is enabled. As they walk the path, natural instincts will kick.

I have also seen people’s drive for a spiritual connection lead them down a path to communities that exploit them. These communities will take a person’s natural instinct and drive it toward the communities needs instead of the individuals needs.

Being a self actualized individual feeds communities in a natural way.

Telling people how they should be spiritual puts forth a false spirit. It isn’t as powerful and it doesn’t last when the external driving force is removed.

Ultimate spiritual drive and impact must come from with the individual.

I often get distracted from my own values and find that I am measuring myself against what others value. This miscalculation leads to a path where I don’t measure up. This is when I find that I am measuring my life by metrics that matter to others, but are not as important to me. My impact and my inherent value come more from authenticity than from mimicry. Try all I want, I will never be someone else. I can only excel at being me.

Finding ways to measure your spiritual impact can be valuable. But they can also be distracting. If you don’t know how to measure your impact, don’t worry, just follow your path. Be true to yourself. Don’t worry about metrics and measures. Living an authentic life will lead to spiritual impact that cannot always be measured, but can be felt. Relax into the flow of your life.

Namaste,

Kevin

Putting Forth Your Best

It’s important in this life to do your best and let go of the results.

There are many challenges in both stages of the process.

Doing your best can be challenging because there are often expectations that we are somebody else. It’s important to remember that when you’re giving your best, it’s YOUR best, not someone else’s.

There is often confusion about what we bring to the table, and frequently that confusion comes from within us. Begin to understand your strengths and operate from within them. When operating from within your strengths you benefit everyone around you.

It can be difficult to manage expectations on two levels.

First, the people around you can often expect you to be exactly like themselves or someone else they are thinking of. It is very rare in life to find someone that expects you to be you.

Secondly, you have spent so much of your life with people expecting you to be someone else, that often you expect you to be someone else.

I know this sounds odd, but think about it for a few moments. When was the last time you were disappointed in yourself? Odds are that you were measuring yourself against a standard that may not even apply to you.

To find your true self and maintain that truth throughout your life is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. And by direct correlation you become a blessing and a gift to the world.

People being true to themselves and authentic change the world.

People trying to be someone else, simply blend into the crowd.

The next step is letting go of the results. Please bare in mind this does not mean apathy. This does not mean you no longer care about the outcome. This means you trust that you have done your best and that the ultimate outcome is beyond your control. Allow for success and allow for failure, but be secure in the fact that you have offered the world the most authentic you, that you have to offer.

Lastly, allow for this to evolve. As you learn more about your true self, the authentic you, your authentic offerings will likewise change and evolve.

This does not mean you are changing yourself, you are discovering yourself.

This does not mean you were false or wasteful with previous offerings, it simply means that you were in process.

We are all in process.

I believe that is the point of our life here. We should embrace the process discovery but let go of the expectations and timeline for results. Allow for you to become aware of you at a rate that is appropriate for you.

Namaste,

Kevin

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The Path Of Resistance

I have always believed that things should flow organically in life. There is a natural rhythm to life and our path through it.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy, it does mean it should be fluid.

It is important to remember that organic things do some difficult work. Organic doesn’t mean easy. It implies that the process is natural.

I believe that when you find yourself hitting resistance, there are two potential reasons:

  • You’re going the wrong way
  • You’re going the right way

Understanding the difference can be subtle and frustrating. It can be especially frustrating resistance comes from your own team, the people that are closest to you.

Traveling the path of most resistance is frequently not the right answer. Sometimes you are simply headed in the wrong direction.

Other times you’re headed the right way, but on the wrong path.

Shortly after I had moved to California, I drove  up to San Francisco for a conference. I was not used to driving on busy city streets. Driving around in San Francisco can be challenging for those unfamiliar with one way streets. As I tried to find my way to the convention center I took a right turn, because I knew I needed to be somewhere in that direction. I was so disorientated though my sign reading skill had shut down. So I was ignoring the helpful signs pointing the other direction simply stating “One Way”. Not only did I turn and head the wrong direction but a massive dump truck being driven by a man who confidently knew he had the right of way, was headed straight at me. I quickly veered into a convenient driveway and waited for my racing heart to calm down. I was headed in the right direction, but on the wrong road.

I was soon able to find another road that was one way, in the direction I wanted to go, and I arrived safely at my conference.

Traveling the path of least resistance is frequently not the right answer. The easy thing, and the right thing, are not always the same. When you are first learning to ride a bike, the easy thing to do is to fall down get bruised and walk away. But it is certainly not the ideal thing to do. If you give up you’ll never reach the next stage, which is being able to ride a bike. You are up against a learning curve; However, Once you’ve mastered the basics of balance and learned to trust the bicycle, you’ve gained a powerful and fun life skill. You can get around a lot quicker now. Once you’ve learned how to balance the road opens up to you.

Traveling under your own power is so much more efficient on a bicycle.

As with all things in life, the path to success involves operating between two extremes. Finding the balance between “way too easy” and “way too hard”.

As you operate just beyond your zone of ease, your skills grow and your path unfolds. If things are too easy, you lose your edge and become lazy.

If things are too hard, you can’t even get started. It would be like trying to balance on a bike when you haven’t even learned to walk yet. You simply can’t make the leap and you give up. You’ve set your mark so high that you can’t even see it, let alone imagine how you could reach it.

The road to success is somewhere in the middle on the moderate path.

Remember when you run into resistance it can often be a sign that you’re on the right path.

Trust your instincts. Listen to your gut. Follow your heart. Stay sharp.

Namaste,

Kevin

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The Icarus Deception

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I’ve been working through The Icarus Deception By Seth Godin

 

The base concept of the book comes from the legend of Icarus.

 

If you’re not familiar with the story of Icarus, here is the overview. Icarus and his father were imprisoned. To escape his father crafted wings for them out of feathers and wax. They were successful in flying. Icarus’ father warned him not to fly too close to the sun. As they were escaping Icarus felt so powerful that he flew high into the air approaching the sun. As he did so, the sun heated the wax, the wings fell apart, and Icarus plummeted to his death.

 

The deception from the title comes from our cultural retelling of the story. Part of the original story, that is withheld by the industrial world, is that he was also warned not to fly too low. Flying too close to the sea would cause him to lose lift and crash.

 

We are constantly surrounded by messages of conformity telling us to lay low, fit in and generally don’t shine.

 

We need to break free of these messages.

 

Remember that changing your viewpoint takes time.

 

The messages of conformity and the cultural drive to be a cog in the great machine have been hammered into us since birth. It’s not something that can be unlearned over night… But you can learn to think and act differently.

 

I have been struggling with changing my mindset for years. I have actively made choices that have been moving me in this direction for over 8 years and I only now do I feel like my egg is beginning to crack. Over time, I will emerge a new creature, and you can too.

 

Remember, when the challenges comes, you are the right person, in the right place, at the right time. You are making a difference.

 

Keep up the good work.

Namaste,

Kevin

Gratitude For All Things

 

I was sick last week. In bed and unable to function for a few days beyond taking my vitamins and trying to drink fluids.

I have an 8 month pregnant wife, and a 3 year old. The 3 year old was also sick and through a blessing beyond measure my wife never got sick.

Needless to say, we were NOT abundant last week in time or energy. My pregnant wife could barely keep up with caring for us and I could barely keep up with blowing my nose and nursing my fever.

We were abundant in community.

So this makes my gratitude and appreciation for the outpouring of help from our friends and communities all the more powerful.

There are times when I feel isolated and alone. There are times when I feel out of touch and out of communication. Last week was not one of those times.

Through a few facebook posts my wife was able to ask for assistance and the offers and prayers came pouring in.

Today, one week later, my body is still on the mend, but my spirit is soaring. Thank you everyone that helped and thought of us last week. You give me courage.

As an individual reading this, know that in your own community you are priceless. Sometimes you are in need, and sometimes you are the caregiver. Embrace both rolls. For everything there is a season.

Namaste,

Kevin

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