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

End of 2009 – Brilliant

Another year wraps up and I’ve been reflecting on it lately.

Back when I came up with the idea and started Your Story I commented on how the years were all the same and the disappointment that there wasn’t any real change from year to year, of my desire to shake that up. Now it’s now been nearly 3 years.

I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing when I started on this path those few years ago but I knew that I needed to start and see where it would go. The first 15 years of my adult life were wonderful years with a great marriage, adventure and achievements but after that it was particularly tough. Now I can say that of the last 15 years since my marriage went south these last 3 years have been the best, most rewarding and enlightening years.

When my daughter was little I used to say that I was running a one off, 18 year experiment in parenting and I’d get back with the results on whether I achieved anything when she is 18. Now that she is I think that experiment has been very successful but that is another story. Just the same as parenting, this last year I’ve been running another experiment in not planning, not goal setting but

Ian in Buenos AIres

simply going where the moment takes me. It started way back in May when I decided, just for one week to have a Societyfast. What could go wrong for one week of not buying into all the stuff of society?

As it turns out after that week I decided not to reconnect with the system and that’s the way it’s been all year since then. Now I’ve always done things somewhat my own way but this was really ramping it up. I have for the majority of the year slept, worked, danced and travelled as it’s seemed right in the moment. I’ve done my best not to project into the future and reminisce on the past. I have at times been far from perfect from achieving this and I have sometimes bought into fear and sentimentality but generally I’ve been able to reconnect after a time and just enjoy the moment. And what wonderful moments I’ve had.

In the last year I’ve only worked about 10 weeks which has caused me to live very lean but my life is wonderful and rich with friends old and new. I have a wonderful social life thanks to my dancing and all that Tango has given me. I’ve travelled yet again, this time to Buenos Aires. I’ve worked for a time with an artist and on Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where I made some wonderful things. The podcast is evolving and I’ve managed to meet and get a whole new level of guests to come onto the show. My skills have continued to improve both with audio and video while some people, though only a few, seem to like what I’m producing and keep coming back.

But most importantly I’ve discovered that if I take the time, to take no time, to just be in the moment and make decisions on what needs to be done now and follow that quiet feeling inside me that says that I should do … right now it all seems to work out. Leave my petty ego out of it and be content with whatever happens whether it’s others or my doing doesn’t matter. Instead of worrying I’m starting to have an attitude that something will happen, it’s just that I don’t know what it is. This is creating a new state of wonder, where I don’t know what is going to happen but like watching a film I’m curious and wonder what will evolve. Amazingly it’s working out different and much better than I could imagine.

Yes, what will come of the New Year. I wonder because I have no idea.

Lets find out…

Work – Is it an addiction?

I’ve finished work a while back on the Narnia movie again. I was initially on for a month, which is where I wrote the previous post, then off for a month, then back on for 2.5 weeks and now yet again I’ve not worked for a few weeks. Since I finished up I’ve been thinking about

Book Stands for the Movie

Book Stands for the Movie

this crazy life of mine and how it flies in the face of the Western method of work, whether it’s valid or irresponsible of me, if I’m burning my bridges for my future or if maybe I may actually have something here.

When I finished I knew I had to do the whole readjust again back into the mental head-space of just hanging out doing my thing again. It’s very easy to plug into work, as once I’m on a Job there is a first morning where I get up and head off to another first day and from then on it’s routine. The longer I work in that one place the more ingrained the routine becomes and the more comfortable it all is. That is until the routine becomes boredom. Then another type of stress starts where I question my existence and waste of life in that environment and yet again I have to leave to find myself.

That is very much the way it is for most of the permanent work that I’ve done and the great advantage of working contract is that normally I can stick it out long enough until the project is complete which hopefully isn’t too long and then I get the change that I need. So film work often suits me well in this regard.

Finishing and readjusting to no work is not as easy as compared to starting as I don’t have the distractions that work gives me from what I call the “Void” or “Nothing”. However there are two ways to approach this.

  1. Get another Job is what everyone asks and expects. In a lot of ways that is the easiest option. But for me after all these years of doing the variations on this lifestyle I know that it will go the way that I’ve outlined above. Normally six months and I’m a spent force, bored and ready to move on. It even tends to manifest in physical disturbances in my body brought on by the low but permanent levels of stress.
  2. Embrace the Void. Now it’s not exactly Nothing. It’s not as though I wake up sit down and do nothing until I go back to sleep that night as I have my personal projects and day to day order to keep functioning so there is a whole range of activities and a constant supply of new and interesting opportunities turning up daily to keep me active. However compared to the 40 hour week, 48 week year work model it appears to be a void that requires filling.

The challenges with embracing the Void is that there is no order projected onto the future, no planning and no surety. It’s very much living in the moment and taking the opportunities as they arrive on a moment by moment time frame. That flies in the face of the Western model of how to get things done. I’m supposed to have lists, goals, plans for what I want to achieve and a step by step approach to achieving them. I’ve read the books on goal setting and that’s the way they say to achieve what your after. Sure that’s the model and if you have a specific goal that is what you do to achieve it, I get that.

But what if you haven’t the goal at the moment?

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Buenos Aires, Argentina – Video

In July I travelled to Buenos Aires for 3.5 weeks with some friends to soak up the Argentine culture, to experience the city where tango originates from and still resonates around the world.

I’ve been learning tango for 2.5 years now with Ross and Sandra, my teachers from Friends of Tango Each year  they return to Buenos Aires to learn from their teachers and share with those interested, the feel and culture that is this European city in South America. I thought this year I would take the chance to see what all the fuss was about.

I’ve already created quite a bit more information with some interesting observations from both my fellow travellers and locals over at my other podcast site Your Story. There is even a podcast you can freely subscribe to.

Additional to the audio that I produced I’ve spent the last couple of months off and on editing this video. I’ve attempted to make it as interesting as possible for everyone, knowing that we all get bored with the home video/slide shows or friends travels. It’s up to others to decide if I’ve achieved that goal.

I’d appreciate any feedback either here or over on the viddler site where this video is embedded from. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Film Industry Work Challanges

I’ve just recently finished working on another film at the Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. This time it’s the third in the series of Narnia movies and again I had the pleasure to work with some of the people that I’ve worked with before on previous films such as Fools Gold, Star Wars Ep3 and Stealth.

Initially there were many false starts as they were getting underway on the preproduction with the continual “you’ll start in about 2 weeks” statements that went on for three months. The whole time I was hoping that I may have had the chance to earn some income prior to my eventual trip away.  Before I managed to get a start I went off to Buenos Aires for nearly four weeks, so all up the work that I could be involved in had been happening for four months before I managed to get a start. It is no ones particular fault that it started like this, it just happens to be the nature of the work that there are no promises and it’s always somewhat up in the air. These type of events create an attitude within those who work in the film industry and that’s what I want to bring up in this post.

Again I was working in props manufacture where we build all the items if they are not able to be purchased that are used either for the actors to interact with or to dress the sets.

Workshop Overview

Workshop Overview

You would be amazed at the different things that have to be made. In the case of this film items from swords to light fittings, decorative panels to dioramas all have to be manufactured to the needs of the set requirements and the action of the film, all to the whim of the art directors.

It’s work I’ve realised that I enjoy and I’m very good at, mind you after 30 years of this and similar work you can’t help build up a large resource of skills that means that not too much fazes me when it comes to manufacturing. It’s simply what I’ve been trained to do and experience.

After Fools Gold I dreamt up a new idea, so for the last two years I’ve been concentrating on developing my podcast Your Story. After spending time using up $40k in having the lifestyle to learn how to podcast and develop an online presence and only working part time, the money that I had set aside to move into a new lifestyle was finally used up. That necessitated me having to get some income after returning from Buenos Aires, a date with destiny that I knew awaited me on my return.

Fortunately on my return I managed to get the chance to work as part of the team on this film. It was a huge relief to have some income and I could relax, at least for the moment. Unfortunately I quickly discovered that things had changed within me and there were new hidden dangers with the industry that I hadn’t been aware of previously.

Continue reading

3 Giggling Girls and Ian. Swidwin Trip Version 2

In a previous post for my family I edited a version of a trip from Berlin, Germany to Swidwin in Poland that I travelled with three lovely friends of mine in July 2008. That version I edited for the family taking some care to make it so as not to bore the family with my own personal indulgences. After all we have all had to deal with the interminably boring slide show or film night of someones latest holiday. So I endeavoured to keep the personal fun things out of it and just show the trip, town and countryside that may interest the family.

Well this video is a re-cut of the Swidwin trip and is that very indulgence. I make no apologies for it and it’s here for all to see but is intended primarily for the four of us.

We had a wonderful day out not exactly having any idea what we would find, intending to stay the night and eventually deciding to travel back to Berlin. This is a recap of a fun day for the four of us.

Thanks ladies for being my companions on this trip. You make it a gazillion times more fun having you there.

  • Thank you Eve for driving and the use of your car.
  • Thank you Romy for the navigation and photography.
  • Thank you Claudie for being my pillow and well… being the lovely Claudie 😉

There are more videos of my time in Europia to come. That’s the great thing about having a blog. 🙂

125 Year Family Celebration.

A little of my personal family history.

The 27 April 2009 was the 125 anniversary of Eduard(57) and Antonia (51) Kath Gravemigrating in 1884 from Swidwin in what is now Poland to Australia with their four children Herman(22) Wilhelm(18) Heinrich(14) Auguste(11). After initally arriving in North Queensland they settled at rural Glenco in South East Queensland just west of Toowoomba.

At the time they were among the founding congregation of the local Lutherian church and last week end on the 2 May 2009, 125 years since their migration to Australia, my family, the descendants of Eduard and Antonia gathered to celebrate on those same church grounds, our family history.

Last year at the annual family picnic that my family have been having at Somerset Dam since 1964 my cousins announced that this year would be the 125 anniversary of the migration and asked if we should have a celebration. To an resounding Yes! Judy and Robyn set about over the last year preparing, familychurchcontacting and communicating to all the family that the celebrations were on. As you can see from the video we had an outstanding time with family picking over the information and photos of our heritage.

The huge amount of work that went into preparing for this I can’t comprehend but only imagine. I can’t express how much I admire Judy, Robyn and June for the amount of work that went into preparing for this celebration, pulling it all together and the wonderful time that we all had.

This is my family. Good people one and all and it was wonderful to see everyone come together for this once in a lifetime celebration of our heritage.

If your a family member visiting to see this video and images thanks for dropping by to have a look, thanks for coming to the reunion and thanks for being part of my family.

A video of my trip to Swidwin last year is in the previous post

Family

150 members of the family

Swidwin Trip 2008.

Although a few may see this post who may be only superficially interested there might be a few others who have more of an interest, namely my family. So to my family members, 🙂 Welcome.

Ian in Swidwin

Ian in Swidwin

This year is the 125 anniversary of my ancestors Eduard and Antonia Kath travelling to Australia from what is now known as Swidwin. Originally known as Schivelbein in German in their time, Swidwin is the now the Polish name that it’s know by.

In 1884 this part of Europe was part of the Prussian empire however it is questionable as to whether Eduard & family would have identified as Prussian as they may have still thought of themselves as Pomeranian.

castleLast year I travelled to Europe to visit friends and record some Episodes of my Online Chat Show Your Story, that I’ve been doing since 2007. While I was in Berlin I decided that as it was only 3.5 hours drive, I may as well travel to Swidwin and see what this town is like. I was also on a mission to meet as many interesting people as I could and was lead to have a few drinks with a couple of delightful women who publish a travel magazine, Hidden Europe. This is my post of that meeting.

In telling Nicky and Susanne of my reason to visit Europe I mentioned that I was also intending on a trip to Swidwin to see where Eduard and Antonia came from. To my delight a couple of days later Nicky sent me an email to which I’ve added some images which you can download as a PDF. It explains some of the history of the area and general information of the times that may have impacted on our ancestor and reading between the lines, some of the reasons for wanting to leave Europe.

A few days later I travelled with three friends to Swidwin to have a look around and see if there is anything of interest. Here is the video of that trip which I’ve put together, I hope you enjoy. Although the trip was on a beautiful sunny summer day and I had great company I found that there wasn’t a lot to see in the town. Maybe if it was any other day than a Sunday it may have been more interesting but in many parts I found it a little sad. Granted we had limited time so we didn’t break into the culture of Swidwin and there may be a lot going on that we didn’t find but I remember thinking that if this is summer and the town is like this, what must it be like in winter?

In walking around Swidwin and thinking this could possibly still be my home I considered how hard life would have been with the living standards of the time, the recent wars and possible religious persecution that drove Eduard and Antonia’s decision to migrate to Australia, giving us the opportunities that we have here. Although it’s now 125 years later I’m so appreciative of the fact that I live in Australia and in their small genetic way I have them to thank for that.

If you want to check out some images of my trip to Swidwin please go to this Swidwin Flickr link and I have included some historical family images on this Family Flickr link.pommern

Feel free to copy, share, print or repost any content that you see here and please feel free to share it with the family. Hopefully it’s of interest to you.

As I write this I’m in preparation of travelling to a very large family reunion tomorrow at Glenco west of Toowoomba where we are gathering to celebrate the 125 years that our family have been in Australia. I’m intending on collecting some additional information that I’ll post in the near future.

Below is a place to post comments. Please mention that you’ve been here, it would mean a great deal to those who read and myself.

Tango

Up until 2001 I had been doing some Latin dancing at Rio Rhythmics in West End, very much along the styles of Salsa, Bolero and Lambada which you’ve probably seen them around occasionally. Then I decided to do a little Tango. Wow!

argentine-tango-couplesI still remember and to this day, the two most impressive dances that I’ve had were in 2001 when I danced with Madeline and with Wolfgang. There was a grace I felt in dancing with Madeline that I have yet to feel again and with Wolfgang I felt for the only time the strength and passion that can be expressed through the lead from the man.

I did a few months of Tango and stressed out a great deal over it along with some major personal crisis at the time including the death of my sister in a horse riding accident. The personal issues led me to reassess my life, move to Sydney to work on Matrix 2 & 3 ultimately dropping out of Tango.

Although I meet some wonderful people in 2001 I lost contact with most of them as happens, however I decided in 2007 after some more changes in my life to re-enter the fray and have another crack at learning Tango. So I contacted Wolfgang and he directed me to Ross and Sandra who run Friends of Tango and I started lessons as a beginner again.

Six years later I had forgotten everything and had to start from the basics again. however this time it felt different. It was actually harder. Now that I have more experience I realise that Ross and Sandra are teaching me at a much higher standard than I was being taught before, understanding the subtleties of a dozen things at once making it was much, much more difficult. Now we were moving towards excellence instead of just dancing. Good Tango like the very best of things in life are challenging and can only be appreciated when done with an attitude of excellence.

I’ll go into more later but suffice to say this is one of the half dozen of the most difficult things that I’ve done in my life and it’s required dogged determination all the way. Only now that I’ve move through a transition do I feel that I can write about it.