Farewell Mal.

Most people don’t think of funerals as being pleasant but on Saturday I had the good fortune to go to a great memorial service for a cousin. Malcolm Kath, just four years my senior passed away from cancer about 10 days earlier and we were under strict instructions not to not wear any suits but loud shirts, roll at least one bowl down the green at the Canungra Bowls Club and have a drink, his shout.

Mal was one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. He was kind and wanted little from others but his simple life reminded me that sometimes it’s the quite ones that have an impact far wider than the people who make all the noise. A bachelor until 50, he finally married his childhood sweetheart Marcia in 2006. At the service I saw school photos of the eight year old Mal and Marcia in the same class at school.

I remember catching up with Mal a couple of years ago and in his style he was holding his right hand out in a claw, complaining that there was something wrong with it. I asked what was the problem, to which he replied “I don’t have a beer in it”.¬† A simple dry wit was his style but sadly his desire for beer was a life long issue and the addiction to it eventually lead him, in the last few years to loose his short term memory to the alcohol abuse condition of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. This had the side benefit in his last days, which although full of pain and with difficult palliative care, he was unable to remember any of it, so he was constantly discovering how dire his circumstances were inso only living in each new moment.

I suppose this is the point of this post and what I learnt from Mal on Saturday. Things are not always as they may seem.

He was content with his life fully aware that he made the decisions that lead to all events. He lived in his moment to moment life and he accepted the consequences of those decisions and he earned great respect from his community for that and the decent person that he was. Continue reading

The Eight Irresistable Principles Of Fun

Have you ever noticed how people mask who they really are so they can seem more professional. Sure we do a variety of roll playing in all areas of life, partner, parent, employer or Christmas party clown but some people change profoundly from what they are in their personal life to their professional life, it’s almost like a split personality disorder.

I recently heard the when Oprah was a television news reader she modeled herself on Barbara Walters only to one day loose the persona while news reading, became her true self and the rest is history. This is the first thing that I noticed when I started watching this video but there are a lot more good ideas in this little gem that I found over at Please Feed The Animals. Enjoy ūüôā

Eckhart Tolle, An Intoroduction.

If you’ve been following this blog I’ve mentioned Eckhart Tolle several times.

To me he seems to explain in terms that we in the West understand, some of the long held wisdom of the ages. Nothing he says is new, it’s all simply a rehash of what all the great spiritual teachers have been saying for ages and I don’t think that he is anything special other than at present he is the one who has captured the minds of people who are searching. After all it’s not the messenger but the message that is important. It’s just that he is using the modern, Western¬† systems of understanding to get the message out and he is using the modern Western mindset to explain the things that defy that very Western mindset. A very challenging task. That’s why it’s probably taken him 20 years before he published his first book, The Power of Now,¬† as he mentions that he didn’t understand what happened to him for a long time and as he realised it he was able to then explain it, in the terms of his culture, to the advantage of we, who also live in it.

His latest book A New Earth and some of his talks get a little deep and could be somewhat overwhelming in the first instance but recently I found these three CBC interviews which I feel are a great introduction into what he is about. I’ve also recorded the audio if you just want to listen to that, the links are below each embedded YouTube clip.

Here is the Audio from Eckhart Tolle Part One

Continue reading

Ego = Fail

Just now I was reflecting on how Eckhart Tolle mentions about how his ego doesn’t interfere with his daily events as they would cause identification with the events around him. This identification would interfere with him doing things in the moment and cause stress and anxiety. This reminded me of the numerous times when I’ve been in fear before an event and how when I’m in the flow it always works without fear. How this stress is always ego related and how without the expectations of a new beginning I do well and if I allow my ego to get involved I always seem to screw it up.Ego=Fail

Does this mean that if I am fearful or anxious I’m identifying with the event with my ego? I think so.

I’ve always said that I have “Beginners Luck”. The number of times that I’ve done something for the first time and done it initially with ease is staggering. I remember when I started skydiving at 17 years of age. I went to the drop zone the first weekend and did my training and the following weekend I went to do my first jumps. That weekend I did four static line jumps, each and every one was copy book perfect. Everyone praised me, paying complements as to my natural abilities. Then the following week end I returned to continue and failed monumentally, moving onto free fall and tumbling out of control eventually returning to static line descendants and doing 13 instead of the usual five until I eventually moved onto free-fall again. It was even recommended that I should give it away. Ultimately I amassed 2000 skydives and became an instructor at 19. By then I was humbled by by initiation into the sport.

For a short time when I was about 30 I had a sales job using a style of sales similar to encyclopaedia selling where I had to present to people in their homes from a script and eventually close the deal. After the initial training I went out on my first day to present, not expecting any results as I was such a raw recruit and managed to sell four out of five presentations blowing everyones expectations, including mine, out of the water. The following six weeks were harrowing as I slowly started to stress and didn’t sell one programme until eventually I decided to give it away and on my last presentation I sold two unexpectedly to the client and her friend who just happened to be sitting in. I’m sure I sold on the last day because I no longer had an attachment to the outcome, the stress of achieving was removed and my ego was now out of the picture.

This has happened in all the fields that I have ventured into where the first time I do something, I do well as I have no expectations, my ego is subdued as I’m only starting and I don’t expect any results. Because I’m completely with the experience and not at all in my ego I allow anything to happen and it resolves in ways far better than I would have expected. It’s even happened with the first time I played lotto and won $35 because there is no chance to win on my first attempt and I’ve never won anything since.

The problem is that once I have the initial success, I then buy into others and my own expectations based on the past experience and extrapolate it out into the future, then naturally expect the evolvement of the good fortune into something grand. Then when it doesn’t materialise I become demoralised, think of it as a failure and it all falls apart. If I do keep at it in the long term and persevere through the negative period as I did with skydiving and my trade skill I notice that I eventually return to the level of success that I originally had but now I’ve been humbled by the experience of doing so poorly during the intervening period. I then don’t think of what I do as being anything special but think of it as something that anyone can do, as is really the case. If I can do something anyone can and often times anyone has, so why should I think that I’m anything special. This is what I find so interesting.

I seem to be blessed with some innate natural talents which enable me to do well initially but if I allow my ego to rise up even at the most basic level I come unstuck then my ego feels blighted by the failure and stress develops and a downward cycle begins. What if I don’t allow my ego into the picture? What if I simply say “this person which is me is doing this thing and it will be as it will be”? If the goal of the day is achieved or not is irrelevant. It’s only important to do the task as seems appropriate with no judgement of whether it is good or bad, which is a judgement in itself. Just let it be and not to identify with the event in anyway as being something personal.

That’s the take home, “not to identify with the event in anyway as being something personal” which has to exclude any form of ego.

2010 – The Year Ahead

Picking up from yesterdays post about 2009 and how good a year I had, I thought that it was also appropriate to consider what is ahead for 2010.

Last year I sat down with some serious consideration to goal setting and planning out my year ahead.What I hoped to have for my¬†podcast, income, home and social life. Then as the year wore on I realised that despite my good intentions many other things were being thrown up in my path creating situations that prevented or changed the direction of things that I had set out to achieve. Some improvements some challengers but things that changed where I thought I was travelling, thereby creating a feeling in me that I didn’t have control on my life and frustration that I wasn’t able to make the goals realised as I was told would be achieved if I followed the rules of goal setting. Basically what I’m saying is that the classic western goal setting model doesn’t seem to work for this little black duck.

So as I mentioned in the last post, as I started on this exercise in May to just opt out of what is expected and make my decisions based on what is appropriate in each moment and the relative ease at which my life now seems to be evolving I’ve decided on some new goals for this new year.

  • Goal 1 – I intend to be fully engaged with every activity and make any decisions that need to be taken in that moment.
  • Goal 2 – Any time I fall into emotional considerations of the future or reminiscences of the past I’ll concentrate on Goal 1.

If you haven’t realised goal 2 is actually a variation on goal 1. It’s just that I’m still not brilliant at this and I sometimes have to remind myself to go to Goal 1.

Oh! and just in case you think this is not, or is a real goal, I don’t mind what happens anyway.

I’m just here Now.

Life is a Game
A Game to be Played
You can never Lose
You can only Win
So long as You Play. ’91