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

Crossing Over

NEW YORK CITY, USA - MAY 19: A small street with shops in lower manhattan. Cars waiting at traffic lights - pedestrians walking across the street, May 19, 2014 in New York City.
NEW YORK CITY, USA – MAY 19: A small street with shops in lower manhattan. Cars waiting at traffic lights – pedestrians walking across the street, May 19, 2014 in New York City.

I go into San Francisco once a week. The energy invigorates me and smothers me. I come home energized and exhausted. So to manage, I develop patterns. Simple patterns about which bus I get on, to go to the City and which stop I get off at. Each was a simple decision of efficiency at the time of the first occurrence. But with repetition has developed from a single occurrence into a solidified pattern. A habit.

A few weeks ago, when I got to the city, my road was closed. They are building a new subway terminal and the road had been blocked off to negotiate a massive crane carrying beams the weight of 3 school buses. For some well thought out reason, they didn’t want anyone without a hard hat in the area. Gratefully, they were also safe, so the construction workers didn’t have to worry about how their hard hats would measure up against a 3 school bus weighted beam.

I was forced to detour. It was a simple enough detour, I ended up walking down the opposite side of the street from which I normally do. A path only 30 feet away from my normal path. But what a dramatically different walk I had then I normally do. I broke out of autopilot. I disrupted my cadence of speed that I use to try to get all the walk signs timed right. And I looked up and around me. I was on a new path and it required my attention to ensure I didn’t end up going the wrong way. There was a garden with a train caboose in it. There was a massive courtyard with no people and open space to walk diagonally through. I felt like I was in a different part of the city. But I was simply 30 feet away from my normal path, on the same street, I walked down every week. This was new.

It didn’t change my world. I haven’t become enlighted as a result. I didn’t find myself avoiding being hit by a car or avoid being struck by lightning because of the universe conspiring to save me. It was more simple than that, more subtle. It was fresh. It revived an old experience into something new. It put a smile on my face. I liked that.

Try to wander to the other side of the street today.

Namaste,

Kevin

You’ve Come A Long Way Baby!

youve-come-a-long-way---mount-doom

You’ve come a long way, baby!

You’ve got a long way to go!

Sometimes this ride, we call life, feels like a roller coaster. It seems like you just got on and you suddenly realize the ride is coming back to the loading station and it’s time to get off.

Other times it seems like our ride in life is like Frodo trying to destroy the one true ring in the fires of mount doom. Long, Tedious and filled with interactions with people that remind you of Gollum.

No matter how you look at it. No matter what your experience. You can only rely on one thing, as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, it will change.

I keep working off this fantasy in my head that some day I will be perfect. Some day I will attain a point of enlightenment or wisdom where nothing I come across phases me and I’ll understand the nuances of how the world presents itself to me and how I respond to the world. At this point in life, I, at least, have enough wisdom, to say to myself compassionately, “You can keep dreaming Kevin, or you can decide to wake up. But fantasy is the right word for that line of thought.”

This morning, as I was making breakfast, my daughter was reading a book. She’s just getting the reading thing. She recognizes letters and is learning to sound them out. As I finished up some dishes I overheard her sounding out the word cat. “Cuh-Ah-aT. C-A-T. Cat”. I had a brief flash as I remembered the stages of development where I was starting to sound out words and how long it took for simple things like “See Dick Run. Run Dick Run.”

Even today, all these years later, I often judge myself as being a slow reader. I’ve met people that can sit down with a 300-page book and read it in a few hours. I’ve met people that can read a 300-page book in a few days. If I focus, and I’m loving it, I can get through a 300-page book in a few days. But it’s an act of attention. I can whiz through a harry potter book or ready player one. But sit an average novel in front of me and my mind will wander. I still have a book case full of books I can’t quite give up on, but know that I’m never going to read. They have bookmarks in them from 5-10 years ago gather dust and taunting me with their unread, yet non-engaging pages.

Regardless of my penchant for unread tomes. This is more about my judgment of my tome reading speed. I see my daughter reading and realize while I don’t measure up to my fantasy of how fast I should read, I have in fact established a rather phenomenal speed and capability that was not an inborn ability. I had to learn to read and practice a lot to get to where I am today. Although I’m slow when I’m not engaged, you give me a good book and a few hours to myself and ‘shazam!’, I rise to the challenge.

Today I am already more than I think I am. Today I am still not all that I can be.

Today you are more than you think you are. Today you are not all that you can be.

You’ve come a long way, baby!

You’ve got a long way to go!

Embrace the challenge of the future and appreciate your past.

Namaste,

Kevin

youve-come-a-long-way---mount-doom

 

Struggling Gracefully

Struggling-Gracefully

I think part of the reason it’s fun to be a parent is that you get to watch your own experiences mirrored back to you from a different perspective.

Just the other day my 2 1/2 year old was trying to pull up the zipper on his coat. I heard gentle crying and I went to see what the problem was.

There he was with his zipper just connected at the bottom. He practically had tears in his eyes as he said, “This is hard.”

I’ve seen him successful zip up before, and he even gets kind of cranky when I intervene, so I became the observer without saying anything, just kindly watching.

The crying began to get louder as his frustration grew, but he kept trying.

“I can’t do it,” escaped his lips as he began to scream.

But he kept trying, and crying. Frustrated, but working the problem.

The zipper starts to stutteringly move up the coat.

Relief and joy replaces frustration and struggle.

“I can do it,” he states energetically.

Closing triumphantly with “I got it, this is easy.”

This whole interaction took a matter of a few seconds. But it had a big impact on me. My son moved on and has probably forgotten the whole affair, apart from some improved muscle memory from the action. But I keep thinking about observing that and what it means to me.

The compression of the incident was enlightening. When I have struggles in my life, as an adult, they take weeks, months or even years to go through all these phases.

This is hard. I can’t do it. I can do it. That was easy.

It’s easy to forget, during the length of the struggle that this will end. You will figure out the solution.

Seeing this daily reminder of struggle to success is a sweet way to encourage me to keep going. Yes, the zipper feels stuck right now, but in moments it will break free and I will experience success.

Everything children experience is fleeting. They are learning so fast. Each milestone is followed by another and another. Each success followed by another seemingly insurmountable struggle, then met with success. It is astounding when you consider the things that we learn in the first few years of life that are so hard and challenging and after all the time spent struggling to get it, all the effort put into it, you forget about it. Kind of ironic.

We don’t get a placard for our wall stating we have successfully learned to walk, or pull up a zipper, or tie our shoes. These major accomplishments are forgotten. If you had a trophy room, and the desire, you could print out a certificate of completion for so many major life skills. You could wallpaper the entire room with the skill certifications you have mastered.

It’s easy to forget all your accomplishments and just focus on what you haven’t done yet. Remember that you have done a lot.

You have succeeded in the past, odds are you will succeed in the future.

 

Namaste,

Kevin

 

Elegant template of certificate, diploma with lace ornament, ribbon, wax seal, drapery fabric, place for text. Certificate of achievement, education, awards, winner. Vector illustration EPS 10.

Immortal

immortal

There is a lot of fear going around today.

A lot of fear.

We are sad. We are scared. We are scarred.

But it’s not what you think.

I want to start with a disclaimer. I’m sad for what has happened recently in Paris, France. I mourn with the families that have lost people. I even empathically feel their pain and fear.

The amount of media coverage has blossomed the event in our minds to epic proportions. France is changing their military stance to the world based on this event. The US is trying to block refugees from coming into the US because of it. We are in full blown defensive mode.

But the world still needs our compassion. To shut down compassion as a result of this would be an epic failure on our part and a triumph for terror.

Thursday night, I was at a concert in San Francisco. One of the major attacks happened at a concert in France.

My mind went there. What if it had been my concert? What if attackers had come in during my event. What if I had been killed?

In a way, that was the point of the attacks. To take everyday situations and turn them in moments of terror. To remove people from normal behavior patterns and make them afraid.

The job of the terrorist is only half done with the attack. We empower the terrorist by telling the story over and over again.

It can be helpful to know. It can be beneficial to mourn.

That time is over. It is now time to move on. It is time to stay awake and be aware, but let go of fear. Don’t let yourself be dragged through the mud. Don’t consume what the terrorist and the media are feeding you. It’s not a healthy diet.

You will not die in a terrorist attack. I can say that with 99.999 percent certainty.

There are 7 billion people in the world. If we were to lose 1000 people to terrorism in the last year (which is an over-estimate), that would mean the odds of dying from a terrorist attack are 1/7,000,000. The odds of being struck by lightning in the US are 1/1,000,000. This means you are 7 times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to die in a terrorist attack.

I can say with 99.999 percent certainty that you’re not going to get struck by lightning.

You will live forever. Then one day you will die.

You are immortal. Until you are mortal.

This is not a threat.

This is not a warning.

This is a fact.

It is the best-kept secret on the planet. For some reason, nobody likes to talk about it. Everybody dies.

All life will end. Your body will cease functioning at some point. At that point, life will be over.

Until that point, don’t let anyone take the joy of being alive from you. Not the terrorists. Not ISIS. Not the media. Live your life, love your life, you are alive.

You don’t need to live preparing for that moment.

You don’t need to live fearing that moment.

At the end of the day today, I will go to bed. It doesn’t mean I need to spend all day in my pajamas in my bedroom prepping for that moment. It doesn’t mean I need to even think about going to bed all day. My focus will be a thousand other places today. When my day ends, then I will prepare and I will go to sleep. Not before.

My death is the same. My death may appear to come in the middle of the day or long after midnight. I may fall in my prime. I may pass in waning hours withered and forgotten.

But until that moment, I am alive. So are you.

I must not fear, fear is the mind killer.

Don’t fall for it. Don’t believe that everyone in the world is out to get you. Believe in love. Believe in peace.

Don’t believe in a sinister force that must be destroyed in order for you to have peace. Peace cannot be attained through warfare.

Today I send my love and joie de vivre to France. I send my love and joy of living to the world. What the world needs today is the same thing it needed last week, your love, your compassion, and your joy.

Namaste,

Kevin

What’s in a Name?

African man with Hello My Name Is sticker on bare chest

What does your name mean to you?

How do you identify with your name?

The other day I heard someone call out for ‘Kevin’ and I immediately felt they were in good hands. I wasn’t even the Kevin they were asking for. I just associate my name with quality and efficiency. I know it will be done right.

In reality, the other Kevin could have been a complete loser, but this didn’t disturb my calm. It was a Kevin and that meant quality.

I remember back in high school we had a diving contest. We were supposed to do something weird diving off the platform into the pool. I was in the contest and did the weirdest move I could think of. I recall thinking it was pretty average but was pleasantly surprised when I got called up for round 2. They liked me, they really liked me! I stood in line waiting for my turn. I stepped up onto the diving board, ready to wow them. The judges looked at me, “Oh, sorry, we meant Kevin B.” Talk about the walk of shame. It’s enough to bring a high school sophomore to tears. Not being called up is one thing. I wasn’t too invested in it to begin with. But when I got called up for another round my pride jumped on board. I’d made the cut. But I hadn’t. I so hadn’t, that they didn’t even consider that there were two Kevins in the contest. I was so out of the contest in their minds that there was only one Kevin and I wasn’t it. Ouch!

I take pride in my name and associate my actions with it. I strongly identify with my name. It is a critical part of my identity. I often don’t even think about how deeply it’s wedged into my psyche, but there it is. It is a fundamental building block of my identity. I have been called Kevin since birth.

I don’t like disparaging remarks about Kevin’s in general. If I hear someone talking smack about a Kevin, my ego jumps in to defend.

I’m glad we don’t have a president named Kevin because I would have to separate my identity to allow for criticism of a Kevin that wasn’t me.

When you take a long step back. Given how deeply ingrained your name is to your identity, it has to be a really long step. It can be very difficult to step back this far. But when you do, it is interesting to see how much your name is just another label.

It’s a label that means something to others.

It’s a label that means tons to you.

It’s a label that you find being used to identify yourself and in turn locking yourself into a behavior. You may find when you label yourself with your name you are in fact setting your expectations based on that label instead of based on who you really are.

Who is that? Oh, that’s Kevin.

Don’t get hung up on labels.

Namaste,

Kevin