Friday, July 29, 2005

Why you so attached?

Just read this (got it from this site's great newsletter) and thought I'd share...

"A mighty general was holding and admiring one of his antique cups. Suddenly, the cup slipped from his hands and fell. Although in shock, he quickly caught the cup before it hit the ground. Somewhat breathless from this incident, he thought to himself "I have led tens of thousands of soldiers into battle without fear. Why did a cup cause me to become so frightened?" He then realized that it was his mind of attachment and loss that caused him such fright. With this comprehension, he casually threw the cup to the ground and let it break."


Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Race Walker

Hilarious. Simply and absolutely (and freakalisciously) hilarious: www.theracewalker.com

Friday, July 22, 2005

Character Counts!

I highly recommend the thought provoking commentaries by Michael Josephson--a friend of mine who runs an amazing foundation passionate about creating a culture of character.

The Josephson Institute's "projects are nonpartisan and nonsectarian, promoting a common language of core values called the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship."

Michael's been doing daily commentaries for several years now. You can listen to them on KNX if you live in SoCal (@ 6:55 and 9:55am) or sign up to get em via newsletter (check out a sample newsletter). Highly recommend em.

Great stuff by a great guy.

Mark Morford Is a Funny Man

Mark Morford writes for the SF Chronicle. Funny funny stuff.

Here's his recent piece: There's Sex In My Violence! What's this lame soft-core porn doing in my ultraviolent "Grand Theft Auto"? I am outraged!


Hah. Too funny...

(And, too sad that he even has to write this stuff to remind us of our insanity...)


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist


My God I love Paulo Coelho.

Tangent: I'm creating summaries of all of my current favorite teachers/schools of thought. Including but not limited to: Nietzsche, Emerson, Rand, Buddhism (Buddha, Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh), Hinduism, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Stoicism (Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus), Classic Greek Doods (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle), Taoism (Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu), Rumi, Gibran, Ueshiba, Maslow (God, how did I almost forget him?!?), Frankl, Joseph Campbell, Buscaglia, etc.

Each of those summaries will include some of my favorite passages/quotes from their works. I'm really excited to share em with you...

For now, I offer you some of my favorite passages from Coelho's classic, The Alchemist:

"When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too."

"The world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that's where the power of love comes in. B/c when we love, we always strive to become better than we are."

"There is only one way to learn. It's through action."

"When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream."

"Tell your heart that your fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself and that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, b/c every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."

"What you need to know is this: Before a dream is realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not b/c it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the elssons we have learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one "dies of thirst just when th palm trees have appeared on the horizon."

"Every search begins with beginner's luck and every search ends with the victor's being severely tested."

"The darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn."


"All things are the manifestation of one thing only."

"When you want something with all your heart, that's when you are closest to the soul of the world. It's always a positive force."

"Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure."

the boy to the alchemist:
"What went wrong when other alchemists tried to make gold and were unable to do so?"

"They were looking only for gold," his companion
[the alchemist] answered. "They were seeking the treasure of their personal legend, without wanting actually to live out the personal legend."

--I love that. So many people look at the money they can make in a particular venture and so rarely come from their heart...It's so obvious that if you just have the courage to follow your heart and serve and truly engage in the process of living your "personal legend"all the money in the world will follow... --

"The closer he felt to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became...in his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the sign and omens left by God along his path."

"Don't be impatient."

""I must have no fear of failure.'

"He had lived every day intensely."

"Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the language of the world."

"You must not let up, even after having come so far."

"People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, b/c they feel they don't deserve them or that they'll be unable to achieve them."

"Your eyes show the strength of your soul."

"Don't give in to your fears. If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart."

"If a person is living out his personal legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."

"No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn't know it."

"No project is complete until its objective has been achieved."

It's Your Moral Obligation to Make a Buttload of Money

Hah.

Check out this article on how getting rich is your moral obligation if you really really want to change the world. Good stuff.

A tad (a lot?) harsher than it needs to be re: social workers, but so much of it is true: Create value. Circulate wealth. Create value. Circulate. Create more. Circulate. Repeat.

(btw: I found this from The Science of Getting Rich web site's newsletter...Thanks, Rebecca!)

Steve Jobs' Commencement Address

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says...

Steve Jobs, Mr. Apple/Pixar/genius-crazy-one recently gave a commencement address at Stanford. It's worth reading.

The Combat

I love this:

"I desire only to know the truth, and to live as well as I can...And, to the utmost of my power, I exhort all other men to do the same...I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict." ~ Socrates via Plato from "The Gorgias"

Unity & Love: Gandhi-style




"I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love." ~
Mahatma Gandhi

Rob Costlow: Incredible Solo Piano


I can't believe I haven't posted about Rob yet.

Check him out: www.robcostlow.com.

I HIGHLY recommend his stuff. So, buy a CD or two. You'll love it.

Plus, it's always cool to support someone in their process of achieving greatness, eh?

Speaking of which, how's your quest going?

Yours in the journey,

-bri

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger

Wow. Another British Open. Well on his way to "officially" capturing the greatest golfer ever trophy. (I've already given it to him.)

Reading my buddy Jon's blog and found this video. (Yah, it's a Nike commercial, but it's genius). Check it out:

http://www.nike.com/nikegolf/flash_reg.jhtml?.htm

Towering Genius


"Towering genius disdains a beaten path . . . It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts for distinction." ~ Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President

Brilliant.

Find your own path.

Express yourself.

-bri

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Happiest Day Of My Life

Just got this from Michael Smith. Thought you'd enjoy. Check out more of his work here.


The Happiest Day Of My Life

It started innocently.

Many years ago I worked in an office with large windows facing a busy overpass. I was standing by one of those windows one day when a woman in a passing car looked up and made eye contact. Naturally, I waved.

A chuckle escaped my lips as she turned and tried to identify me. It was the beginning of a year of window antics. When things were slow, I would stand in the window and wave at the passengers who looked up. The strange looks made me laugh and stress was washed away.

Co-workers began to take an interest. They would stand from view, watch the reactions I received, and laugh along.

Late afternoon was the best time - rush hour traffic filled the overpass with cars and transit buses, and providing lots of waving material for the end-of-day routine. It didn't take long to attract a following - a group of commuters who passed the window every day and looked up at the strange waving man. There was a man with a construction truck who would turn on his flashing-yellow light and return my wave, the carpool crowd, and the business lady with her children fresh from day care. But my favorite was the transit bus from the docks that passed my window at 4:40pm. It carried the same group every day, and they became by biggest fans.

After a while, waving became boring, so I devised ways to enhance my act. I made signs: "Hi," "Hello," "Be Happy!" and posted them in the window and waved. I stood on the window ledge in various poses, created hats from paper and file-folders, made faces, played peek-a-boo by bouncing up from below the window ledge, stuck out my tongue, tossed paper planes in the air, and once went into the walkway over the street and danced while co-workers pointed to let my fans know I was there.

Christmas approached, and job cuts were announced. Several co-workers would lose their jobs, and everyone was feeling low. Stress in the office reached a high. A miracle was needed to repair the damage caused by the announcements.

While working a night shift, a red lab jacket attracted my attention. I picked it up and turned it in my hands. In a back corner where packing material was kept, I used my imagination and cut thin, white sheets of cloth-like foam into strips and taped them around the cuffs and collar, down the front, and around the hem. A box of foam packing and strips of tape became Santa's beard and when taped to the hat, slipped over my head in one piece.

The next working day I hid from my co-workers, slipped into the costume, walked bravely to my desk, sat down, held my belly, and mocked Santa's chuckle, as they gathered around me laughing. It was the first time I had seen them smile in weeks. Later my supervisor walked through the door. He took three steps, looked up, saw me, paused, shook his head, turned and left.

I feared trouble. The phone on the desk rung a few moments later, "Mike, can you come to my office please?" I shuffled down the hall, the foam beard swishing across my chest with each step.
"Come in!" the muffled voice replied to my knock. I entered, and sat down. The foam on the beard creaked, and he looked away from me. A bead of sweat rolled down my forehead, the only sound was the hammering of my heart. "Mike..." This was all he managed before he lost his composure, leaned back in his chair, and bellowed with laughter. He held his stomach, and tears formed in his eyes, as I sat silent and confused. When he regained control he said, "Mike, thanks! With the job cuts it has been hard to enjoy the Christmas season. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it."

That evening, and every evening of the Christmas season, I stood proudly in the window and waved to my fans. The bus crowd waved wildly, and the little children smiled at the strange Santa. My heart was full of the season, and for a few minutes each day we could forget the loss of jobs.

I didn't know it then, but a bond was forming between my fans and me. It wasn't until the spring following the Santa act that I discovered how close we had become.

My wife and I were expecting our first child that spring, and I wanted the world to know. Less than a month before the birth I posted a sign in the window, "25 DAYS UNTIL B DAY." My fans passed and shrugged their shoulders. The next day the sign read, "24 DAYS UNTIL B DAY." Each day the number dropped, and the passing people grew more confused.

One day a sign appeared in the bus, "What is B DAY?" I just waved and smiled.

Ten days before the expected date the sign in the window read, "10 DAYS UNTIL BA-- DAY." Still the people wondered. The next day it read, "9 DAYS UNTIL BAB- DAY," then "8 DAYS UNTIL BABY DAY," and my fans finally knew what was happening.

By then, my following had grown to include twenty or thirty different busses and cars. Every night they watched to see if my wife had given birth. Excitement grew as the number decreased. My fans were disappointed when the count reached "zero" without an announcement. The next day the sign read, "BABY DAY 1 DAY LATE," and I pretended to pull out my hair.

Each day the number changed and the interest from passing cars grew. When my wife was fourteen days overdue she went into labor, and the next morning our daughter was born. I left the hospital at 5:30am, screamed my joy into the still morning air and drove home to sleep. I got up at noon, showered, bought cigars, and appeared at my window in time for my fans. My co-workers were ready with a banner posted in the window:

"IT'S A GIRL!"

I wasn't alone that night. My co-workers joined me in celebration. We stood and waved our cigars in the air as every vehicle which passed acknowledged the birth of my daughter. Finally, the bus from the docks made its turn onto the overpass and began to climb the hill. When it drew close, I climbed onto the window ledge and clasped my hands over my head in a victory pose. The bus was directly in front of me when it stopped dead in heavy traffic, and every person on board stood with their hands in the air.

Emotion choked my breathing as I watched the display of celebration for my new daughter. Then it happened: a sign popped up. It filled the windows and stretched half the length of the bus, "CONGRATULATIONS!"

Tears formed in the corners of my eyes as the bus slowly resumed its journey. I stood in silence, as it pulled from view. More fans passed and tooted their horns or flashed their lights to display their happiness, but I hardly noticed them, as I pondered what had just happened.

My daughter had been born fourteen days late. Those people must have carried the sign, unrolled, on the bus for at least two weeks. Everyday they had unrolled it and then rolled it back up.

We all have a clown inside of us. We need to let it free and not be surprised at the magic it can create. For eight months I had made a fool of myself, and those people must have enjoyed the smiles I gave them, because on the happiest day of my life they had shown their appreciation.

It has been more than 18 years since that special time, but on my daughter's birthday I always remember the special gift they gave me.

Michael T. Smith
http://heartsandhumor.com/blog/

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Believe in God and yourself, please!

"You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself."
~ Sri Swami Vivekananda

Believe in yourself.

Believe in God.

Thank you.

-bri

Success & Bill Gates

"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose."
– Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

Good stuff. It's good to get our asses kicked on occassion to hone our attention and play for keeps...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

MLK on Violence

"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

~ Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968) American civil rights leader, clergyman, youngest recipient of Nobel Peace Prize in 1964

More quotes about: Darkness, Driving, Love, Violence

thinkarete: the philosophy

I was talking to a friend of mine today about what makes great people great. Talked about intention and impeccability and all that stuff...Reminded me of this overview of the thinkarete philosophy I wrote a couple years ago. You can check it out here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (51-60)

51. Say “Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You.” Go to bed with these words on your mind, wake up with them and pop em in often throughout the day. Watch what your mind comes up with when you plant this seed…It’s amazing.

Reminds me of Meister Eckhart’s wisdom: “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.”

52. Know What You Want. What’s your intention? What do you want in your life? In this moment?

Quick tip: You’re a LOT more likely to get it if you know what “it” is.

So what is it?

53. Work Hard. Thomas Edison reminds us that “Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration.”

Are you sweating?

54. Relax. Can’t work all the time! Relax, buddy...take a load off. When’s the last time you took a vacation and actually “vacated”? You give yourself time to unplug and unwind? Good.

55. Know What You Believe In. Have you blindly accepted everything your parents/family/society told you was true. Thank God you haven’t! What is YOUR truth? What do you believe in?

56. Practice What You Believe In. You want to piss God off? Believe one thing but do something else! That’ll piss her off every time! She’ll be slapping you around with anxiety and depression faster than you can say “Yikes!”

Be congruent. Be integrated. … Or suffer the consequences. Your call.

57. Put Your Socks On. John Wooden is a cool guy. For those of you not familiar with Coach Wooden, he's arguably the best coach ever (especially if you're a UCLA alum!). His UCLA Bruins won 10 NCAA Basketball Championships, including 7 in a row. (Go Bruins!)

Coach is a humble man who believes in and teaches fundamentals. One of my favorite Wooden stories is about the first thing he taught his players--some of the best players in the country. What did he teach them first?

How to put on their socks!!

Why? Because if they didn't get that simple act perfected then they might get a blister. If they got a blister they'd miss practice time. If they missed practice time they wouldn't win championships.

And his teams won--ten NCAA Championships, of course.

In my opinion, the same rules hold true for our lives. If we don't nail the simple things in all aspects of our life, then how are we going to win championships (aka experience areté, reach our potential, achieve consistent balance and happiness, whatever you want to call it)?

58. thinkarete. “thinkarete”? Yep.

Gandhi got it. Einstein got it. Mother Theresa got it.

Tiger gets it. Gates gets it. Oprah gets it.

The Greeks got it.Get this: Guys like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle said that if you want happiness you better live with areté--a word that literally means virtue or excellence but has a deeper meaning...something closer to “constantly striving to reach your highest potential.”areté.

How beautiful is that? It was one of the highest ideals of Greek culture.

It should be one of ours.Tragically, it’s not. (read more…)

59. Explore. Dream. Discover. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

(That question AGAIN??!? Yep. Always.)

The remarkable Mark Twain reminds us that:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

60. Shine. Are you shining today? Good. Marianne Williamson would be proud, ‘cause:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

(Yes, that quote is from Marianne Williamson—NOT Nelson Mandela. Although Mandela has done a lot of amazing things, coming up with that thought is not one of em…that quote is from Williamson’s great book, Return to Love…)

…Now get out there and shine!!

Serve

Just edited #35:

35. Serve. It’s so easy to spend all of our time asking what we can get out of a situation instead of what we can give. I don’t know about you, but I feel stress when I’m just focused on myself. The moment I get out of my own little set of fears/issues and start thinking about how I can serve and give to those around me, my stress seems to evaporate. Amazing.

Try it out. The next time you’re stressed, step back. See how you’re focused on yourself and you may not get what you wanted. Flip the situation around and see how you can give all of yourself to the situation. Irony here, of course, is that when you truly give yourself to the world, you’ll get more than you ever dreamt of in return.

Reminds me of one of my absolute favorite passages from Viktor Frankl’s Man's Search for Meaning:

“Again and again I therefore admonish my students in Europe and America: Don't aim at success -- the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run -- in the long-run, I say! -- success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.”

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (41-50)

41. Make Your Room Your Cave. Your bedroom is for two things: sleeping and baby-making. Period. So, get rid of your TV. Remove the clutter. Read somewhere else. (Keep the candles though, that’s a nice touch. :)

42. Support Someone in the Process of Achieving Greatness. Support an artist. An entrepreneur. Anyone and everyone who has enough courage to follow their dreams and try to make them a reality.

Hire a personal trainer. Work with a life coach. Take a yoga class. Go get a massage from a private practitioner. Try acupuncture. Talk to a nutritionist. Support people who have taken the risk to get paid to try to help you improve your life!

Buy a CD from a musician who’s out there living her dream. Go to a show. Care enough to support them!

(And, why not start with a friend of mine? His name’s Rob Costlow. He’s amazing. Since he was a kid, he’s been annoying his piano teachers by adding new endings to Mozart and stuff. (How cool is that?!?) He just released his second incredible album of his solo piano work. It’s amazing stuff. Support him while he works his butt off and takes a huge risk to get paid to do what he loves and share his gifts with the world. Check him out and support him today by going to http://www.robcostlow.com/. You’ll be thrilled you did.)

Support an entrepreneur. Whether it’s the local pet store or a guy following his dream to create a company worth creating (like me). I thank God everyday for the amazing group of people who have invested in me. Without their capital, I wouldn’t be typing this and you wouldn’t be reading this. So, support someone today—whether it’s an encouraging email, an introduction to a prospective partner or client or even an investment. Do it. The world needs it!

(Speaking of entrepreneurs worth supporting, check out LearnOutLoud.com. Jon Bischke, one of my closest friends (and also one of the biggest investors in me and in Zaadz, Inc.) decided to follow his passion to inspire people to reach their potential by encouraging us to seize every opportunity to learn. The guy’s a learning freak. He’s read/listened to nearly everything you can imagine and squeezes unimaginable amounts of time out of his day to feed his brain. He’s on a mission to inspire others to do the same. He’s gotten me hooked and you should be hooked as well. So, check him out, sign up for his newsletter, tell a friend about LearnOutLoud and get to learnin’!)

43. Follow Your Bliss. Those three words capture the message of Joseph Campbell—the amazing mythology guru and mentor to George Lucas who based much of Star Wars on the classic archetypal journeys Campbell discovered.

It’s rather simple. Three words: 1. Follow. 2. Your. 3. Bliss.

Key words: “bliss” and “your.” Not someone else’s idea of your bliss. Not what you think should be your bliss. Not what you think would impress the crowd or appease the family. YOUR bliss. What truly gets you giddy.

Oh yah, “follow” is kinda important as well. Get off your ass and go out there and follow your bliss! (Pretty please. Thank you.)

44. Use a Dictionary. Read a word you don’t know? Stop. Get a dictionary. Open it. (Or use one online…whatever.) Find the word. (Really complicated stuff, so far, eh?) Read the word’s meaning. Make sure you get it. Perhaps even write your new word down. Now, you can either leave the dictionary open or closed. That part’s totally up to you. But, please please please please please expand your mind a bit and use a dictionary! Fancy words appreciate it. So does your intellect.

45. Wear Sunscreen. It’s just a good idea. Plus that commencement address that Baz Lurman adapted into a song was pretty cool. You know—the one that starts with the guy going “Weeeeeaaaaaaaar sunscreen…If I can offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. Whereas the rest of my advice is based on my own meandering experience, sunscreen has been proved by science…”

Love that. (And have always wanted to say that out loud to someone other than myself in my car. :)

46. Quit Comparing Yourself to Others. It’s really a pointless exercise. It automatically creates a strained relationship with whomever you’re comparing yourself—you’ve either gotta be superior or inferior to them, right? Neither is a good basis for a loving relationship.

But, that’s not even the part that bothers me the most. Frankly, I think we’re selling ourselves insanely short when we compare ourselves to others. Even if I'm comparing myself to the greatest people who ever lived that would still be a disservice to my creator. He/She/It created ME—a unique mix of gifts (and wackiness) that is begging for it’s own unique expression.

So, if you need to do any comparison at all—do it with your potential self!

In the words of William Faulkner, “Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

47. Brush Your Teeth. OK. I figure you’ve got that one down already. But how about this: the next time you’re doing it, instead of letting your mind wander for a couple minutes (hasn’t it already done that enough for a day?!?), just stop and look in the mirror. Look in your eyes and simply say “I love me” to yourself.

Kinda freaky? Maybe the first time you do it. But you’ll get over it. Seriously. Do it. “I love me.” Say it again. Mean it. Not a bad way to use your mind for a couple minutes, eh? (I’m telling ya! The little things count!!)

48. Squeeze the Old Keegle. While we’re chillin in the bathroom, we might as well focus on squeezing the keegle. You know, the old “keegle”—that grand muscle of yours that starts and stops the flow of your pee. Squeeze it. Stop your pee. Start it. Stop. Start. Stop. Make a game out of it. See how many times you can do it. Fun stuff. And, you’re getting a great workout that will make your partner happy. Life is good. ;)

49. Stretch. Ahhhhhhhh…Isn’t that nice? Stretch. You know you should. It’s good for you! It doesn’t need to be a full-blown routine (although that’d be great!), just stretch a little every chance you get.

So, stand up. Streeeeeeettttccccchhhhhh. (And breathe and smile while you’re doing it will ya?!)

50. Quit Milking the Cow! She doesn’t like it and neither does your body. Seriously. Dairy simply does NOT belong in your body. Let’s think about this for a moment. Nature makes milk for mommy mammals to give to their offspring. Now, a cow mommy needs the kind of milk that makes its little 50 pound baby a 500 pound grown up in less than year. (Yikes!) That milk has some special needs, wouldn’t you say? It’s just a little bit different than the milk our mommies make for us, eh? So, unless you’re shooting for a crazy growth spurt into a 500 pound cow, why you drinking the stuff?

We won’t even go into all the hormones that are injected into a cow to make her lactate round the clock for months and months…I’ll just say that without a doubt, THE most powerful thing I’ve ever done with my diet is eliminating almost all dairy. My allergies and incessant mucus “miraculously” disappeared. (God I wish we would have known about it when I was a kid so I could have avoided the multiple allergy shots every weak…)

Finally, I really have to ask: Who was the first crazy dood who hopped onto a cow and started sucking? That’s just insane to me. There should be a rule that unless you’re willing to suck straight from a cow’s teet, you don’t get your milk with dinner. (Yah, that was over the line…d’oh.)

btw: Here's a great site on why milk sucks!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (31-40)

31. Stop! Earlier we covered that one habit you should create today that would most beneficially change your life. Now, the question is: What one thing do you know you should stop doing? You might have more than one (I certainly have a few!). But what ONE thing do you know you just simply need to stop doing? It’s not serving you anymore (not that it ever did…). If you want to live with consistent happiness what MUST you stop doing?

You got it? Good. Write it down. Say it outloud. Whatever you gotta do.

Now STOP doing it. Now. Forever. The next time you feel the urge and you feel your habituated self pulling you so strongly toward that behavior. STOP. STOP. STOP. STOP. It might be helpful to replace that old behavior with a new, more positive one.

Say you tend to yell at people you love when you get stressed. Catch yourself doing it (there’s that Awareness again). Pause, then pick something new to do. Maybe smile, take a deep breath or two. Whatever it takes. But the bottom line is simple: pick that one thing you need to stop doing and stop doing it.

Shew. Good work. (This one’s gonna be tough…but do it!!)

32. Act “As If.” I recently read an amazing passage from Wayne Dyer's book, Real Magic. The way he described acting "as if" is genius. My rendition goes something like this: who do you want to be? What's your ideal? Are you enlightened? Are you in perfect physical shape?

Whatever it is, get that image. Then, on a moment-to-moment basis, ACT "AS IF" you already were that person...what would the enlightened being that you are do in this moment of tension? Perhaps breathe in, breathe out, gain perspective and maintain equanimity. Good. Then act like that enlightened person NOW.

How about that perfectly healthy person that you imagine. Good. What would (s)he do right now? What would they eat? How often would they exercise. Perfect. That's what you do now.

Act as if. Moment to moment to moment. And, sooner than you think you won't be acting anymore. How amazingly cool is that?

33. Regain Your Balance. Here’s an exercise I often use to capture the importance of having a clear intention to regain our balance:

Stand up. Put your arms straight out. Make sure you’re in an area that’s big enough so you can spin around. Alright. Now, spin. Give yourself a good 5-10-15 spins. Whatever it takes to get you a little off-balance. Alright. Now once you get there, I want you to stop spinning. Then, I want you to do two different things:

First, I want you to put your hands together like you’re praying and stare at your finger tips—it brings you back to balance AMAZINGLY quickly. Then, I want you to quick staring at your fingertips and instead I want you to look all around you—up, down, far away, to the right, to the left…just look everywhere. Notice how that makes you feel. If you’re like me, it probably makes you wanna barf.

For me, this is a perfect metaphor for having a clear intention in our life. When things get stressful (i.e., we’re “spun around”), we have a couple of options: we can look all around us to get a sense of perspective (which usually leads to more confusion/nausea); or, we can focus on what we know to be true, what our intention in life is, what the purpose of that experience is, etc.—that clarity brings us back to balance as quickly as staring at our fingertips.

So, the next time you’re spinning—have a clear intention: know that your highest intention is to grow as a more enlightened, loving, balanced, growth-oriented human being (or whatever it is for you) and come back to that to re-gain your balance.

Try it out! Methinks you’ll dig it.

34. Go Straight at Your Problems. There’s a great story in Paul Bunyan’s book, Pilgrim’s Progress. It goes something like this: the main character experiences all kinds of challenges and tough situations on his metaphorical spiritual quest in life. The cool part is that he’s blessed with a shield. This shield miraculously protects him against everything in front of him. NOTHING can harm him as long as he approaches it head on. That magic shield works wonders—provided he goes straight at the challenge. If he runs away, he loses its magical powers.

I think that’s amazing. And, so true. Have you ever noticed that those “huge” problems you’ve had seemed to vanish the moment you took em head on? (I mean really head on not vacillating kinda sorta head on!) The things that really kick our ass are the ones we avoid. Lesson: don’t show em our ass! Take em head on. Trust in the powers of your shield.

What problem have you been running away from? Take it head on.

35. Serve. It’s so easy to spend all of our time asking what we can get out of a situation instead of what we can give. I don’t know about you, but I feel stress when I’m just focused on myself. The moment I get out of my own little set of fears/issues and start thinking about how I can serve and give to those around me, my stress seems to evaporate. Amazing.

Try it out. The next time you’re stressed, step back. See how you’re focused on yourself and you may not get what you wanted. Flip the situation around and see how you can give all of yourself to the situation. Irony here, of course, is that when you truly give yourself to the world, you’ll get more than you ever dreamt of in return.

36. Be the Change. What do you want to see in the world? More peace? More love? More kindness? According to Gandhi, the answer is simple: we must be the change we want to see.

You want world peace? Bless the person who cut you off and honked at you on your way to work. Wish them a safe journey instead of getting caught up in their anger and impatience.

You want more kindness? Smile at the person who might be frustrating you. Open the door for someone, pick up a piece of trash. BE kind.

Simple but not easy. Be the Change.

37. Fill Your Water Pot and Hit the Rock. Every great teacher will advise you to build habits and to consistently train yourself to do your best.

The Buddha says it so beautifully when he reminds us that: "Little by little a person becomes evil, as a water pot is filled by drops of water... Little by little a person becomes good, as a water pot is filled by drops of water."

I think the stonecutter is another perfect metaphor for the process of growing into our full potential. You may have heard the story:

A stonecutter hits a rock with his hammer. The stone splits.

The casual observer sees this and thinks, “Wow. That guy is really strong. I can’t believe he broke that huge rock with a single blow!”

The reality (obviously) is that the stonecutter had been hammering away at that rock for a long time. Many, many blows went into the rock before it finally split.

Most people see someone who has achieved some level of success--whether it’s enlightenment or celebrity status--and think, “Wow, they sure must be lucky.”

Obviously, the stonecutter isn’t strong enough to break a rock in one blow and no one is “lucky” enough to reach any level of excellence without an equally diligent and consistent effort.

So, hit the rock. Again. And again. And again. You will break the rock.

38. Be Consistent. One of my favorite lessons from training my body (and helping others train theirs) is the idea that you want to focus on consistency over intensity. It’s not about getting all fired up one day and going off at the gym for an hour and a half…and then waking up the next day unable to move!

It’s much much much much much better to just show up. Put in your 20 minutes, your 30 minutes, your 40 minutes. Whatever. Just do it consistently.

Aristotle made it pretty clear: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence (aka Areté) then, is not an act, but a habit."

This applies to all aspects of our life. Quite simply, we are what we consistently do.

Sure, it's a lot more fun to jump into the latest fad diet or hit the gym for an intense workout once a week or go to a motivational seminar or yoga retreat, but the question is not how intensely we get into any given workout or week of dieting or weekend of yoga...it's all about whether we have the self-mastery to do the things we know we should be doing consistently--moment to moment and week in and week out.

39. Be Inconsistent. So, now that we’re clear on how important consistency is, BE INCONSISTENT. :)

Well, at least be willing and able to be inconsistent. It’s so easy for us to get locked into a way of thinking or to maintain an opinion simply because we strongly felt a certain way at one point. But, my God! If you can’t break free and give yourself the power to change your mind, your job, your strategy, your relationships, whatever…you, uh, are kinda screwed.

Love Emerson’s comments on the subject: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. - 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' -- Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

So, uh, do us all a favor and don’t be a hobgoblin, mmmmk?

40. Embrace Opposites. You know, yin and yang, light and dark, night and day, high tide, low tide, consistency, inconsistency. Stuff like that. Life is full of opposites. Learn to live in a state where you appreciate it and see that you simply can’t have light without dark; you can’t have a day without a night; can’t have a summer without a winter (well, I guess in California you can but you know what I mean!).

The more you appreciate this the less you’re gonna be taken way by your sadness, despair, hopelessness. Transcend it and you’re even more golden…

Friday, July 08, 2005

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (21-30)

21. Create a New Habit. Right now. What one thing do you know you should be doing that would most dramatically change your life? Think about that: What one thing do you know you should be doing that would most dramatically change your life? OK. Commit to creating that habit. Now.

22. Become Aware. Awareness. It’s really the definition of enlightenment. When you’re aware you’re “awake”—that is, not asleep! You’re not just going through the conditioned moments of your habitual life. You’re consciously creating it. That’s powerful.

23. Step Forward. Abraham Maslow broke it down for us in simple terms. He told us that in any given moment you have two options: you can step forward into growth or you can step back into safety. Pretty simple, really. Become aware of your behavior.

Become aware of the decisions you are making every moment of your life—the decision to speak authentically (step forward into growth) or to say what you think you should say (back into safety). Pay attention to your decision to either go out for the run you promised yourself or to make up an excuse as to why you just can’t do it today.

Become AWARE. Become conscious of who you are, the decisions you’re making, how you’re expressing yourself and what you’re actually doing. Your destiny is shaped by your moment to moment decisions. Choose wisely. Step Forward.

24. Say Yes! Quick exercise: Take a moment and say “No!” out loud right now. Say it. Seriously. “No!” Say it again. “No!” Again. “No. No. No. No. No.”

Thank you. Alright. So, how do you feel?

Now, say “Yes!” “Yes!” “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Do you notice a slight difference?!? When you say “no” do you feel yourself almost shutting down, collapsing in? How about when you say “Yes!” Do you almost feel your whole body and spirit uplifting?

Amazing, isn’t it? Lesson: Say “Yes!” more today. Go for it. Live a little.

25. Quit Worrying About What Others Think. That’s a big one. Really big. Really really really big. First of all, let’s be clear about one thing: You’re worried about what someone else thinks of you, right? OK. Now, while you’re doing that, what do you think they are worried about? Hah. Exactly. They’re worried about what you think of them. But you’re so busy worrying about what they think of you that you’re not even spending much time thinking about them. (You follow that? ;)

To be honest, whether or not that’s true all the time is irrelevant (although I do think it’s true most of the time). In any case, if you’re going to live your life dependent on the good opinion of others for your happiness then, uh, I’ll put it to you bluntly: You’re screwed.

There’s NO way you can please everyone all the time. Even someone who wins an election by a landslide still had 30 or 40% of the people who disagreed with her.

Further, and I’d say much much much more importantly, by worrying about what other people think of you and working hard to try to please them, you’re losing the essence of who you are—you’re expressing such a small fraction of who you truly are. That’s not cool.

So, quit worrying about what other people think of you. Pretty please.

26. Listen. How many ears do you have? How many mouths? Right. Try that ratio in your listening to speaking would ya? Thanks.

27. Put the Sock Straight in the Hamper. Remember the whole flossing-do-the-little-things-thing? Good. Same thing here. Do the little things the way you know you should. Sock belongs in the hamper.

28. Push Yourself. In the words of William James, the 19th century US philosopher and psychologist, “You have enormous untapped power you'll probably never tap, because most people never run far enough on their first wind to ever find they have a second."

How bout we tap that power? The way to do it? Push yourself a little harder. Let’s take a quick look at the “Training Effect”—a concept used to build your body—and see how it applies to our lives.

The same principle that applies to building muscles in the gym applies to building excellence in our lives: In order to grow, we must consistently push ourselves just a little bit past our current comfort zone. In exercise physiology parlance, this is called the Training Effect. The principles involved?

Overload: You must “overload” your body with more stress than it can currently handle. (Not too much as this may lead to injury, but enough so you're out of your current comfort zone.)

Overcompensation: Your body is smart. It doesn’t like to get its butt kicked. So, what does it do? It overcompensates and repairs itself so that next time it's stronger–and capable of withstanding the level of stress you put on it previously.

The training effect explains how muscles grow, how your heart is trained to beat more efficiently, and how your lungs are trained to distribute oxygen more efficiently. It’s also the same principle that dictates growth in other aspects of our lives: from our ability to give presentations at work to our ability to have challenging conversations with our significant other at home.

Go out and "train." Push yourself a little further today...

29. Move! Take Action! I often imagine a powerful river with a stream of water that is moving. How beautiful is that? How pure and powerful? Contrast that with a little stagnant pool of water just sitting there—not moving. It’s gross. Scum gathering on top, bugs all cruising around. Yuck.

The difference between the two? One’s moving and the other’s not. Lesson: Move!!! Flow!!!

Don’t get stagnant and invite the scum. Especially when you’re stressed and don’t feel like doing anything but laying in bed and moping. That’s EXACTLY when you need to make sure the pond scum doesn’t start to grow! Move move move.

30. Be Authentic. Authenticity. Did you know that the word "authentic" literally means to be your own author. Be you. Don't pretend to be anything else. Pretty please.

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (11-20)

11. Meditate. Slow down. Breathe. Quiet your mind and your body for a moment or two or three. Whether it’s for 20 minutes in the morning or night (or both) or 20 seconds at a stop light, take a deep breath in, exhale, clear your mind.

I practice a method of meditation called “Japa” that I highly recommend. One of my favorite teachers, Wayne Dyer, introduced me to the sacred sound of “God” echoed throughout the world’s great traditions. Learn more with his Meditations for Manifesting.

12. Be Here. Now. The present moment. You hear a lot about it. Technically, it’s all we have…one moment…after the next…after the next…You can worry about the future or look back all you want, but at some point we need to consider the fact that life is here, to be lived right now. So, be present.

13. Shower. Hah. My guess is that you’re already doing that one. :) How about this? Next time you jump in, start with freezing cold water (that’ll wake you up!). Then go to warm/hot and alternate it a couple times during your shower. Your blood vessels and capillaries will thank you. The cold—hot—cold combo is like a mini-workout for your circulatory system. (While you’re doing that, you might want to remember the whole idea of gratitude as you appreciate the fact that you’re in the fortunate group of people who actually have the means to even regulate a shower like that!)

14. Turn Off Your TV. (Better yet, never turn it on.) Alright, now guess the average emotion of your average TV viewer. You guess "mild depression"?!? Bingo! And, yikes! Makes sense though, eh? Your soul knows that you’re just avoiding life when you plop down to watch some fictional drama unfold or distract yourself in the myriad of numbing selections. Turn off your TV please and…

15. Open a Book. And read it. Read anything good lately? Hope so. Take some time. It’s fun. Your brain will thank you. Looking for some good picks? Check out thinkarete for some of my favorites.

16. LearnOutLoud. LearnOutLoud? Yep. Audio learning is hot these days. Why waste your time sitting in traffic listening to the same old music or unstimulating talk radio when you could be learning?! It’s amazing how much you can learn in a day when you take advantage of audio learning. One of my best friends turned me on to this and he’ll be turning you and the rest of the world on to it as well. (Thanks, Jon!) Check out LearnOutLoud today and see the crazy cool stuff you can learn. You’ll be glad you did.

17. Pay Your Bills with a Smile. Never let a dollar come in or go out of your hands without gratitude. Thank whoever gave you the money and whoever gave you the services or products you’re paying for. Honor the exchange. Think about how many people you’re supporting as you circulate energy in the form of money. Make it a spiritual practice.

18. Get a Journal. And, use it! Highly recommend you take a moment or two each day to chill with a pen and your paper. It’s an incredible way to think through challenges, express your emotions or plan your life.

19. Ask Yourself: What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? Then, do it.

20. Ask Yourself that Question Again. Then do it again. And again. You do that 10 times and I guarantee you you’ll be a different person. Do it every moment and you’ll be telling your story to the world.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Always, always, always, always, always, always, always do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

God. I love that.

100 Things I'm Gonna Do Today (1-10)

I'm making a little list of all the habits I want to build/have built into my life. It's going to evolve into a little book and a PodCast. I'll share them with you as I go. Here are the first 10:

1. Grow. We’re either growing or dying—either stepping forward into growth or back into safety. My vote: let’s grow. Seize every moment as another opportunity to expand your soul. Grow! Grow! Grow!

2. Dream. In the words of one of my favorite teachers, James Allen:

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

So, what are you dreaming of today?

3. Floss. Not kidding. It’s all about the little things, I’m telling ya! A number of years ago I asked a mentor of mine what one thing he would recommend. His advice: Do the little things to the best of your ability—from putting a sock straight in the hamper to washing your dishes immediately to flossing your teeth. His point: there are no little things and when you get in the habit of living at your highest potential with the mundane things, it becomes second nature for the bigger stuff.

So, floss your teeth. It’ll build strong habits and even make your trip to the dentist a lot more pleasant! (Seriously: it’s fun to have a dentist tell you how good your gums look! :)

4. Breathe. Often. You know—that whole oxygen and carbon dioxide moving through your body thing. It’s a good thing. Seriously.

Stressed? Slow down. Take a deep breath in. Exhale. Ahhhh. Shoulders up! Shoulders down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Now isn’t that nice? I think so, too. So does every cell in your body that you just nourished.

Tip: Ever watch a baby breathe? Notice how their belly just goes up and down? Up and down…now that’s a nice, deep breath—that’s how you want to breathe. It’s called breathing into your diaphragm. Babies get it. Somewhere along the line, stress moved our breath up and up until we were taking shallow breaths and barely getting any air. Eek.

Try this: Put your hand on your belly. Try to keep your chest still while you make your hand on your belly move in and out. Why should you care? Because right there at the bottom of your lungs is where all the real friendly little lung guys hang out waiting to collect the most oxygen for you! (That’s the scientific description.) Seriously, breathe deeply. Increase oxygen. Reduce stress.

5. Smile. Isn’t that nice? It’s amazing what a smile can do. I once read about a study where depressed people were split into two groups—one group looked into a mirror and smiled for 30 minutes a day for 30 days. That’s it. Just looked at themselves and smiled. The other group didn’t. At the end of the study, the smilers were significantly more happy than the other group. Cool, eh? Lesson: smile. Now. Tickle tickle. Gimme a little smile, will ya?!? There ya go! That wasn’t so hard now was it? :)

6. Sweat. You get sweaty today? I hope so. Our bodies were made to move. We, uh, weren’t really designed to be sitting in front of a computer or in a car all day long. Get out and move! When you pump blood through your vessels and air through your lungs, it’s like taking your insides to a car wash. (Even comes with an air freshener…oh, wait…that comes after the shower…)

7. Be Nice. Have you ever heard about the effects of kindness on your brain? Wayne Dyer shares this amazing story in his book “Power of Intention”:

“The positive effect of kindness on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain has been proven in research studies. Serotonin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that makes us feel more comfortable, peaceful, and even blissful. In fact, the role of most anti-depressants is to stimulate the production of serotonin chemically, helping to ease depression. Research has shown that a simple act of kindness directed toward another improves the functioning of the immune system and stimulates the production of serotonin in both the recipient of the kindness and the person extending the kindness. Even more amazing is that persons observing the act of kindness have similar beneficial results. Imagine this! Kindness extended, received, or observed beneficially impacts the physical health and feelings of everyone involved!"

That simply blows me away every time I even think about that. God rewards good behavior. So, be nice.

8. Be Grateful. Gratitude. Now that is a powerful emotion. I dare you to be depressed/angry/stressed/whatever while you’re thinking of something for which you’re grateful. It’s impossible. Go ahead. Try it. Ger really upset right now (or just wait till it happens next) then take a moment to step out of that anger/stress/depression to think of three things that make you grateful. Could be the fact that you’re alive, that listening or reading to this now or whatever. Just give yourself the gift of gratitude.

9. Drink Plenty of Water. You drinking water today? Bare minimum is 64 ounces per day—that’s 8 cups. Your body needs water for everything from releasing toxins to maintaining skin health. If you're not drinking enough water, your energy level will drop and you'll be more likely to get headaches.

Your brain and your heart are especially sensitive to even the slightest levels of dehydration. If you don't drink enough water, your blood volume will be affected, requiring your heart to pump harder to circulate blood throughout your body. The chemical and electrical signals in your brain need water. You'll feel tired and lethargic if you're thirsty.

Tip: Drink at least 8 cups of water every day for a week. You'll be surprised with the boost in your energy levels. Trust me.

10. Take Responsibility for Your Life. Are you blaming a bad job, a bad childhood, a bad relationship, or a bad whatever for where you are? Hope not. Cause if you are then you’re not helping your chances of being consistently happy.

Your Ethical Obligation to Achieve Greatness

I'm going to be spending a lot more time on Yasuhiko Genku Kimura. For now, I leave you with a future "Zaadz Wisdom" piece:

“It is unethical not to know. It is unethical not to think. It is unethical not to love. It is unethical not to live an impassioned life. It is unethical not to attain greatness. It is unethical to succumb to the fear of envy and the conspiracy of mediocrity. It is unethical not to self-bestow genius. It is unethical not to be the first monkey.”
~ Yasuhiko Genku Kimura


Yasuhiko boldly states that we have an ethical mandate to manifest our “singular kosmic destiny.”

To discover that destiny, we must answer the question, “What is my passion? What is the deepest desire and creative vision of my soul?”

Only you can answer that question…

What is your passion?

What is the deepest desire and creative vision of your soul?

-bri


More about Yasuhiko Genku Kimura
Yasuhiko is a 21st century philosopher, consultant and all around cool guy. A former Zen Buddhist Priest from Japan, he studied a broad range of spiritual and intellectual disciplines in Japan, India and the United States. Loved the line he gave during one of his talks when he said he needs to write “the miso soup for the soul” series. :)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Goldmine of Golden Rules

Stumbled across this site, which reminded me of the Goldmine of Golden Rules I already created...

I wanted to share. So, here ya go. Know of any others? Please lemme know. Gracias.

Bahá'ís
"And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself."
- Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 30

Buddhism
"Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."
- The Udanavarga 5.18

Christianity
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
- Matthew 22:36-40

Confucianism
"Tzu-kung asked, 'Is there a single word which can be a guide to conduct throughout one's life?' The Master said, 'It is perhaps the word 'shu.' Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire."
- Confucius, from The Analects

Hinduism
"This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain."
- Mahabharata 5.1517

Islam
“No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”
- Hadith

Jainism
"A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. "
- Sutrakritanga 1.11.33

Judaism
“What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow human beings. That is the law; all the rest is commentary.”
- Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Native Spiritual Traditions
"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
-Chief Seattle

Nigerian Proverb
"One [who is] going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."

Shintoism
"Be Charitable to all beings, love is the representation of god."
-KO-JI-KI Hachiman Kasuga

Sikhism
"Don’t create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone."
- Guru Arjan Devji 259. Guru Granth Sahib

Taoism
"Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain; and regard your neighbor's loss as your own loss."
- Tai Shang Kan Ying P'ien

Zoroastrianism
"Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."
- Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Change the world, please! (thanks)

Just read this quote from the ancient writer Philo:

"Households, cities, countries and nations have enjoyed great happiness when a single individual has taken heed of the Good and Beautiful...Such men do not only liberate themselves; they fill those they meet with a free mind."

You are that single individual. Liberate yourself. Fill those you meet with a free mind. (Pretty please with sugar--no, make that some sort of your favorite fruit--on top!)

If that doesn't move you (and it wasn't that inspiring, but cool...), then read this passage from Robert F. Kennedy. It will move you (and if it doesn't then there is officially no hope...):

"There are differing evils, but they are common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellows.

But we can perhaps remember--even if only for a time--that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment in life; that they seek--as we do--nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Our answer is to rely on youth--not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties of obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress...

Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills -- against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32 year old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. ‘Give me a place to stand,’ said Archimedes, ‘and I will move the world.’


These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.


Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world that yields most painfully to change...


Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live."


--Robert Kennedy in a speech made to youths in South Africa, 1966. (This was quoted by Ted Kennedy in his eulogy)

This version is abridged. To read the full text, click here and visit The RFK Memorial Site.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Bono is my hero!

Well, he's definitely an amazing guy. Didn't make it to Live 8, so I figured I should spend the day getting to know Bono better by reading his new book. Good decision.

(If you haven't already checked out and become part of the One campaign to "make poverty history" by relieving debt loads and envigorating economies in African nations, check it out.)

And, check out clips from the shows.

For your reading pleasure, I include a few of my favorite passages:

On Dreaming & Dads (who don't):
"As I say, my father's advice to me, without ever speaking it, was: "Don't dream! to dream is to be disappointed," which would be a pity, wouldn't it, never to dream...And, of course this is where my megalomania must have begun. To never have a big idea was his thing. That's all I'm interested in."

Hah. Love that.

On how he would have become a traveling salesman (like a lot of people in his family) if he wasn't a musician:
"I am very much a traveling salesman. and that, if you really want to know, is how I see myself. I sell songs from door to door, from town to town. I sell melodies and words. And for me, in my political work, I sell ideas. In the commercial world that I'm entering into, I'm also selling ideas. So I see myself in a long line of family sales people. I really do. Thank God for my Uncle Jack!"

That's genius as well. I know I'm a traveling salesman...selling the ideas I'm passionate about. You?

On fear and Failure:
"And fear, as you know, is the opposite of faith."

"You have to dare to fail. I think that's the big one: fear of failure. I've never had a fear of failure. Isn't that mad?"

"Defeat was not an option, though it was much more likely, if you're honest. I think, you know, I really sensed defeat at any minute, and I was so determined to drown out the vice of failure that I just took out all peripheral vision. I just became very single-minded."

On the subject of taking risks to express himself and look like an idiot with pie on his face: "Fuck, I don't mind. I'll be the clown, throw the pie."

On change:
"That would be awful, not to change. And of course you should be changing."

"I think what punk rock gave to us was that you could knock everything down and start again, either decide who you wanted to be: a new name, a new pair of shoes, a new way to see the world. Everything was possible, and the only limit was your imagination."

On wanting it:
"Yes. Nothing happens by chance. You don't end up in front of twenty thousand people on stage by accident."

On solitude/reflection vis a vis instinct/intellect:
"...See, I always believed in instinct over intellect. The instinct is what you always knew; intellect is what you figure out...So for me it's not really a question of sitting and figuring it out. You know what I mean? That's not really gonna help me. What I need is silence in order to find my own voice again."

On Flow:
"But what I will say is when it's really going off, you have the sense that you're really in the song, and the song is really in the room: all of you, crowd and performers, disappear into it. It's an extraordinary thing. I mean it really is." (p. 120)

On radical humility:
"...What's the difference between a very good song and a great song? Answer: I think, very good songs, you can take the credit for. But great songs, you can't. They feel like you stumble upon them..."

On his favorite U2 song:
"We haven't written it yet."

(how cool is that?)

Comments to younger self:
"I would tell myself: "You're right. Don't second guess yourself. I felt it so strongly. I wish I knew then how right I was. I wasn't wrong. You're supposed to go: "Oh, I was foolish then. I've grown up, and I laugh." I do laugh at some of the music, some of the statements I made. Some of the image problems do leave me a little embarrassed, a little red-faced. But there's a strength to that naivete. I wasn't wrong about the world. The world is more malleable than you think. We can bend it into better shape. Ask big questions, demand big answers."

"We can be a big success without having to sell out. And we don't have to be embarrassed by our ambition..."

"But if you had said to this twenty-one-year old one, that one day he's gonna be on the cover of Time magazine, he [pauses for dramatic effect] probably would have believed you. [laughs]"

On growth through argument:
"The friction of different points makes you better. And the thing that'll make you less and less able to realize your potential is a room that's empty of argument."

"The real problem in a relationship is when the arguing stops."

On fundamentalists:
"We thought they were trampling all over the most precious thing of all: the concept that God is love."

...and America
"That's the great thing about America. It is the land of reinvention. It was never about where you come from, it's always about where you're going...And this is at the heart of redemption: to begin again. ..I wish to begin again on a daily basis. To be born again every day is something that I try to do. And I'm deadly serious about that."

On God:
"God is love."

...and Religious People:
"Religious people, generally, they freak me out. Honestly, I start twitching when I'm around them. But sometimes, maybe weirdos are the only people who really know they need God."

On Leadership:
"A good leader needs big scissors to get things moving. Actually, I think a great leader has to have a great ear for melody. By this, I mean clarity of ideas."

On Never Really Living:
"Some people die at seventeen and put their funeral off until they're seventy-seven."

On what makes Nelson Mandela Mandela:
"...His imagination. His ability to see, taste, and almost touch a future that wasn't yet there. Most people in his situation would have focused on what they had lost--the past. He's only thinking about the future."

"He's a lesson in humility..."

On humility:
"And the people who work the hardest, and who have overcome the most obstacles in their life, who have a reason to be arrogant, who have a reason to beat their breasts are the most humble, sometimes. I can't get over that."

On challenges:
"I don't like losing. I don't like wasting opportunities. There are so many! I get excited. I don't even mind the obstacle course. It's fun to run it, jumping, leaping as fast as I can."

On being an Artist:
"All art is an attempt to identify yourself. You try out many characters on the way to finding the one that most fits you, and therefore is you...So, I'm just exploring and trying to find out what I'm capable of. What's useful for me to contribute to my family, my friends and...the world."

On God and Being:
"When I wake up in the morning, I sort of put my had out--spiritually--and I reach for what you might call God. Sometimes I don't feel God, and I feel lonely. I feel on my own, and I wonder where God is. And then [pause]--again, Io don't want to be melodramatic about this--I ask God: "Where have You gone?" God usually replies in a way that is hard to describe: "I haven't gone anywhere. [laughs] Where have YOU gone? I haven't moved." Then I have to check, and I realize that I have somewhere sold myself out. It usually happens incrementally, in tiny steps. You never betray yourself--at least I never betray myself--in big dramatic bold moves, like: OK, this morning, I'm going to rob the bank, and find out where my enemy lives and tie him to his bed. You slowly move away from that person that is most like you..."

""Be silent, and know that I am God." That's a favorite line from the Scriptures. "Shut Up and Let me Love You" would be the pop song. [laughs] It's really what it means. If I ever neede to hear a comment, it might be that."

...and, my favorite:
"I'm a fucking rock star. Get over it." [laughs]

--

Again, here's a link to the book , to the Live 8 site and to more info on his One campaign.


Acting "As If"

Just read an amazing passage from Wayne Dyer's book, Real Magic. (I'm currently on a Dyer binge after falling in love with The Power of Intention then listening to everything I could find on Audible via LearnOutLoud...his stuff's amazing...Love him and can't wait to meet him and let him know that he's my spiritual daddy.)

Anyhoo, so, there's this passage about acting "as if." The way he describes it is genius. My rendition goes something like this: who do you want to be? What's your ideal? Are you enlightened? Are you in perfect physical shape?

Whatever it is, get that image. Then, on a moment-to-moment basis, ACT "AS IF" you already were that person...what would the enlightened being that you are do in this moment of tension? Perhaps breathe in, breathe out, gain perspective and maintain equanimity. Good. Then act like that enlightened person NOW.

How about that perfectly healthy person that you imagine. Good. What would (s)he do right now? What would they eat? How often would they exercise. Perfect. That's what you do now.

Act as if. Moment to moment to moment. And, sooner than you think you won't be acting anymore. How amazingly cool is that?

Love ya,

-bri