Posts Tagged ‘possibility’

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

April 11, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

There’s a distinction that Sifu has brought up a few times in our training I call the “Olympic Distinction”.

Which is to say that at the Olympics, things are decided by the 1/1000 of a second.  That little extra oomph of training and effort often makes all the difference.

In that way it’s not an unfamiliar distinction, and one propagated on countless motivational posters. BUT!  In a very Niels Bohr-ian way, there’s an even more powerful distinction here, especially for those, like me, who can or readily do fall prey to streaks of perfectionism:

“1/1000 only applies at the Olympics.” *

There are many times in life when we can get caught in our own mental traps that drive us to over polished—and ultimately unproductive—excess. We push and prod and try to make perfect and fret and expend time and effort and sweat and oomph and get nervous and distraught and stressed and all riled up and lose sleep and then… either…

never finish the darn thing,

have to cut it short to finish on time thus parts are left ironically underdone,

have to make changes and the extra effort is lost,

or all that extra effort didn’t make a difference in the final result or even in quality.

It’s hard thing to grasp sometimes.  It’s even hard for me to type it out.  It sounds so much like “be sloppy” or “don’t try your hardest” or “everyone else is a fool they won’t notice anyway”, or “cut corners”  or “never improve” or…

But it’s not really that.  It’s a reminder that good enough is still pretty frikken good.  That perfection can be an illusion.  That not everything we participate in is the Olympics.  And above all to be simply present to the cost that comes with perfectionism.

Sometimes that cost is that we don’t even start.  We see the amount of work it would take to reach that level of perfection and we think, “I’m never going to be able to get to an Olympic level to do that, so why bother, it’s not worth even starting.”  And so we abandon all the joy we’d have in the learning, the doing, and losing ourselves deeply in that activity.

We can get trapped on both ends, never starting or never finishing.  We can hinder our enjoyment of the task, and we can hinder our time to enjoy other things as we burn it all into this moment of perfectionism.  And, in the most counterintuitive way possible, it can even hinder the work.

Finding that middle path, and walking it, is where we, and our work, can shine.  We can play full out and avoid the Perils of Perfect(ion).**

And turn out some quite frikken good stuff.

 

* In many ways, this sentiment is also captured in the more common phrase “Perfect is the enemy of good” (or the more original phrase by Voltaire, “Le  mieux est l’ennemi du bien” – “The best is the enemy of good.”)

** Hmmm… Beware the PoP?

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

April 4, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

We talk about great many things in the same way we talk about gravity.

The economy, cultures, institutions, regions, groups and sub-groups (and sub-sub-groups)…  even individuals.  And even about ourselves.

All like gravity.  All like a physical law of the universe that operates in a strict, and predictable and unbending way.

“Gravity,” as the old* humorous saying goes, “is a harsh mistress.”

And perhaps it’s no surprise.

We know things like gravity (including gravity):  inviolable,  primal,  prone to landing us flat on our keister with no hesitation.

But the thing is, that’s just gravity.  It’s not all things.

If we look through a microscope, we can detect no influence of, for example,  “the economy” on the cells or molecules within.

If we look through a telescope, we can detect no influence of “the economy” on the movement of the planets, the stars, galaxies, or anything in the universe at large.

It’s not like gravity at all.

We’ve collapsed something.  We’ve made a mistake of classification and equivalency.

Many things are not as figured out as we speak them to be.

Many things are not as rigid as we speak them to be.

Many things are not as inviolable as we speak them to be.

How fascinating!

When we distinguish between that which is our own construct, and that which is a true law of the universe, things open up.

We gain freedom, and we grant others freedom.

We open the door to possibilities, to connection, and to creation.

And we get to land on our keisters a lot less often.

 

* Ok, not that old, it was from an episode of the Tick… but it was inspired by a classic Heinlein story “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” in which gravity did play a big role

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 28, 2017

This is a philosophical post, intended to spark thinking and examining.

Often, things are talked about like they are a light switch.

Either on, or off.

With each side paired off against the other:

You’re either an introvert or an extrovert.

You should always be assertive, otherwise you will be a pushover.

All boys should act and are like X.  All girls should act and are like Y.

You either have to be a complete shut in, or be a wild exhibitionist.

You must follow this precept, else be cast forever in sin.

You’re either with us, or against us.

It’s all you are/it is X or Y.

Whole worlds of divisions.

Light on.  Or light off.

Here’s the thing about lights, though.

They have things called dimmers.

Gradients are possible (and normal).

 

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 21, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Today, it comes in the form of a quote:

In retrospect it may seem naive.

But then again, in retrospect, everyone looks naive.

That doesn’t mean we stop trying.

The Art Assignment

(Love it. I can read this on many levels.  For myself, I can go easy and be forgiving for what I have wrought, perhaps foolishly, in my past.  For others, I can be present and understanding and compassionate.  For the world, I can be courageous and self-expressed in striving towards a future that works for both everyone and all the wondrous creatures that surround us, with no one and nothing left out.)

 

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

March 7, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

In a kind of continuation from last week’s post… given how poor we often are at noticing our patterns and biases and all those moments we hijack ourselves away from being effective at going after what we really want, what can we do in order to check in on ourselves?  How can we pierce the veil?

One way is to ask another person what they see.

The other, is to explore following inquiry:

There’s who I proclaim myself to be, and what I say I am doing in life.

yet,

What do my actions say about what I’m ACTUALLY doing?  What do my actions say about how I ACTUALLY am acting in the world?

Amazingly (or maybe not so amazingly) they don’t always match up.

It can be quite funny too, when we write down all the actions we’ve been taking and work our way backwards and ask, “if I saw these actions in a stranger, what would I say they are doing?”

“They are just trying to score points and be right.  They are willing to be totally dismissive.”  (Yet we thought we were being open and engaged)

“They are spending all their time gathering more information, and are really avoiding taking the hard actions needed.”  (Yet we thought we were honestly pursuing love/a job/excellence)

“They are always annoyed, and are being fully righteous about it.” (Yet we thought we were being smart and aware)

“They are letting themselves get super distracted on the web.”  (Yet we’ve been decrying we don’t have enough time in the day)

“They are always on edge, waiting for that person to do that thing so they can explode.”  (Yet we said we were being loving)

Hmmmm.

Wherever we see a disconnect, there’s a chance for us to see, and grow.

Especially since most of the time these actions are automatic, completely on autopilot, showing up before we even realize it.  They’re so familiar, they feel right.  So we do it.  Again and again.  Even if it’s not what we want.

To break out, we can take an opportunity to look.  Be present.  Notice the disconnects.

Perhaps we’re not so committed to those things we’ve been saying.  Maybe we don’t really want to finish that project, or we don’t really care about behaving a certain way.  OK!  Great to know this.  Let’s reconsider things.

Or*, maybe we truly ARE committed to being a certain way, to uphold certain values, to comport ourselves in a way that speaks our most basic and deep convictions about what we all want in life.  Maybe we truly ARE committed to those goals, those projects, those futures.

Either way, there’s some work to be done.  We can do the work of setting aside and inventing anew, and following through by taking the actions that do speak to our central self and our authentic core.

And when our intentions, ways of being, and actions are all aligned, our lives begin to sing.

 

* More often than not, I’d wager…

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

February 28, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Our minds can so easily be hijacked.

Really, there are so many ways, avenues, and hooks out there that lead us astray that, when you can stand back and realize it, it’s actually kinda funny.

We have our righteousness buttons.  We have our biases and our views.  We have our pithy sayings.  We have our stories, both personal and those we’ve heard from others.   We have brains that automatically filter things.  We have our identities fighting tooth and nail to survive.  We have the sense that we are the centre of the universe.  We have that inner monologue that often goes for the most cliché write-up it can muster.

And it’s almost always completely unconscious to us.

We’re… really not, at most times, all that great at this.  Hilariously bad at keeping ourselves from being commandeered by some already always decided or automatic thing.  We might as well be sailing with blinders on and a big “hijack me” flag flapping in the breeze.

There’s a reason mindfulness – or being present – is at the heart of nearly all philosophical traditions, and a reason why it’s first practice to put in place.

Mindfulness and ontological inquiry is what gives us the awareness* to see just how eff’n easy and often it is that we get hijacked.

As we start to practice and develop our mindfulness, we get to recognize how much our perception of things shapes our experience of the moment, of who we are, and of how the world is.

Being present gives us the ability to reconnect to the present.

Being present lets us awaken to what’s so, that is, to what’s actually, physically happening in the universe.  It lets in the evidence.

It gives us access to making the best choices.

Through inquiry and being mindful we can avoid our brain being so easily hijacked.

We can see how crazy often it happens.

We can laugh at our foibles.

Gain control.

We can take stock of what’s so.

We can consult with our authentic core.

Listen, see with open eyes and heart, and choose.

And step boldly forward towards a future we truly want.

 

* And the visceral experience that comes with it.  There is a feeling that comes with realizing and recognizing that you’ve just hoodwinked yourself, that your own mind has taken you down some path that is far away from the truth of what’s actually so in reality.  The feeling is, really, quite shocking and disorienting, and maybe even sickening, at least at first.   Then, as you get settled with how silly we humans are, the shock and the uncomfortable feelings pass quickly, you shake your head at yourself with a smile, and you get to work in apologizing, adjusting, creating, and taking action.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

February 21, 2017

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

Consider for a moment the idea of rules.

Consider that rules are not the great inhibitor,  or a restraint, or an attack on choice.

Consider that we make rules to empower us.

Consider that we make rules to empower us to get that which we want in life.

If you play, or enjoy watching, a sport, then this concept is very clear.

Because a sport is nothing but rules.

The first rule of a sport is often something like “it is more important to have the ball over there than it is to have it over here.”

Then we create rules to limit how you can get the ball over there.

Sometimes very intricate and amazing rules, with paragraphs and sub-paragraphs:

“Added new Rule 6.03(a)(4) regarding a batter who throws his bat and hits the catcher.  Exception now applies to Rules 6.03(a)(3) and 6.06(a)(4). Comment now applies to 6.03(a)(3) and 6.06(a)(4).”

That is one rule from two pages of rule changes made in a single year to a 170 page rule book.

Deliciously intricate.

And we enter 100% voluntarily into them.

Why?  Because it’s fun.

We’ve created a ruleset to empower us to have a great time.

It is, of course, the same with all games, not just sports.

And it is the same within our personal lives and our communities.

Like a rather common rule that says “you can’t just walk up and take someone’s stuff.”

Why did we create that rule?

Because it empowers us to get what we want in life:  The opportunity to focus on things other than combat training, being at ease and not always on guard, security, a life of less stress, one full of ease, where we can be and playful and joyous and waltz around with abandon.

Rules that empower us.

And we even task others to maintain and insist on  those rules.

We create umpires and referees.

We send them out onto the field, or onto the broader scale of our community, or the grand scale of our country, to maintain those rules.

Rules allow us to operate together to strive forwards together.

We can look at our intentions, be fully grounded in what’s actually happening, and create our rules accordingly.

Errata is very possible, if need be.  Even for a league that’s been around for 114 years.

All towards empowerment of who we are, and what we want:

Lives full of health, ease, grace, safety, love, enjoyment, fulfillment, expression, passion, fun, and peace of mind.