Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Dave, Monika, Dianne

My last visit to Sin City came after my first visit to the Grand Canyon, and as a fitting contrast to the natural beauty of the big ditch.

This weekend I return to the land of concrete and sand, to experience my first race as a coach.

I have a whole slew of thoughts about the season.  There are plenty of things I could have done better.  However, the overall momentum of a team effort winds up dragging along anything attached to it without much concern for the little goofs along the way.  We all will certainly arrive at the starting line wearing various smiles, some nervous, some excited.  Everyone will give the vast majority of what they have to give.  Some will amaze themselves, some will undoubtedly be disappointed.  My good friend, Iso Yucra likes to say "like life, sometimes hard."  I think that sums up racing in general, regardless of the distances or terrain involved.

I'm sure my mind will be working overtime leading up to the race start.  I'm sure I will be more nervous than my athletes because I can't control the outcome.  I'm sure they will all experience moments that I will be envious of.

I feel like the next couple of days are the part where I'm walking across the cold pool deck, waiting to jump in the water and see how things go.

Cheers to TCSD and the CCFA for giving me the opportunity to experience something I know well, from an entirely different angle.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Single Wall Construction

Many of the older homes in Hawaii were constructed with only a single exterior wall, which is often referred to as single wall construction.  The original purpose of single wall construction was to save on costs because most building material has to be shipped in from the mainland.  Single wall construction is possible in Hawaii primarily because there is no need to insulate against the cold.  Many of these single wall homes have louvered windows to throttle the cooling effect of the trade winds.  Since the wood used in single wall construction is exposed to the elements, redwood or cedar are preferred for their termite and dryrot resistance.  In the 1980's, the price of redwood and cedar increased, offsetting the cost advantages single wall construction once held.  Since double wall construction requires slightly less skill, single wall homes became less common.  An irony about single wall construction is that they have less bugs, don't need air conditioning, and are cheaper in the long run.  Single wall homes typically have no fiberglass insulation and often do not have any drywall, both of which are some of the less earth friendly of all building materials.

Where am I going with this?  Off on a tangent of course.

I'd like to think we as humans have the option to build our exterior with single or double construction.  It's easier and far more common to go double-wall, first framing our boundaries, then attaching osb, a moisture barrier, and an exterior siding.  At that point we go about our business of insulating, drywalling, taping, painting, and installing floors and baseboard.  When we are done, we feel strong and protected, and we can open our front door to any of our friends who ring the doorbell or text us that they are stopping by to visit.

By contrast, the single wall human takes a bit more thought and work.  Any gaps will be very noticeable, so the joints between boards and all of the angles which are exposed should maintain tight tolerances.  Electrical wires have to be concealed behind casing, and plumbing routed entirely under the floor.  A lot less material is used, but more time and care must go into the process of building, a process of delayed gratification.

As a child, I never appreciated single wall construction.  I thumbed my nose at any homes that looked so "cheap".  I erroneously assumed that drywall was "right".  I did not fully appreciate the simple beauty that was all around me, single wall homes just seemed like a construction project waiting for funding.

But I do remember how it felt to be inside one of those homes.  How connected to the island you feel when the tradewinds sing through, and how much you hear through the openness of the walls.  In many ways, this feeling, the single wall feeling, describes what I feel in yoga, of connecting myself to the outside, while remaining indoors.

The privileges of a childhood in paradise are numerous because of all the uniqueness which simply cannot survive elsewhere.  Unique species, unique construction methods, unique family units, and unique and breathtaking views of natural wonder.  And yet, while the specifics of Hawaii's uniqueness cannot be directly experienced on the mainland, the conceptual approach to openness and connection is an option for everyone no matter where they are.  We can always extend ourselves to others in various ways without giving up much of anything from ourselves.  We can always get by with less, less stuff, less food, less time, less praise.  We can always feel more connected to the world, by removing barriers between ourselves and that which we seek to be closer to.

One of my favorite memories of home, of being in a place I will always call home, is running past a single wall house, as the afternoon showers rinse my skin, and feeling an intense connection to the life flowing all around me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Kim, Vince, Sally, Jessica, Me, Wendy, Sean, June, Jenna

I lead my 2nd "real" yoga class today, at The Nest.  Before I break it down, I gotta unload my thank you's:

Sean and Vince, two young men who I can count on to come through, show up, and sweat it out.  Both of you are tough as nails and yet willing to experience "girly" yoga with me, it says a lot about your character and open mindedness.  A lot of dudes would have a tough time doing that.  Thank you for cranking out the heat.

Wendy, June and Sally, the three additions since the first class.  You made this class special for me by your willingness to experience something new for yourself.  All 3 of you are off my periphery since most of your workouts are done with the central team, and yet you were able to trust me off the few interactions we've had.  That says a lot about your character.  Especially June, your courage to explore your limits and trust that we would take care of you meant a ton to me.  Thank you all, you are three very classy ladies.

Jessica and Kimberly, my two yoga rock stars.  You both really knocked it out of the park today and I'm so stoked for you and for being able to share those two classes with you.  I really hope you both find some joy on the mat the way I have, I'm quite certain you will be shredding it up if you decide to dabble a bit more.

Caitlin, wow, what can I say?  You made this space, _and_ you let me invite myself in to come and teach.  You trusted me and your generosity has allowed me to sharpen my skills.  Your dream, realized just a few months ago, now allows me to explore my own dreams.  You support me with all of the compassion and understanding I could ask for, a willingness to serve and a patience for me to make my own mistakes as I walk down a path you traveled long ago.  Every moment with you leaves me more and more impressed.  Oh, and thanks for all your help with the music (more on that later.)

Jenna, you've become a such a wonderful, dear friend to me.  You've been there for me every single time I asked and you always make me smile.  You pulled off some awesome demos, you worked endlessly to spread the love around, and you never once corrected me or made me feel like the rookie that I am.  Acceptance comes so naturally to you, it's a gift.  I've watched your own teaching skills sharpen, I've watched you grow and live and learn and explore as we've both become such great friends.  Some strange stoke of luck brought us together, and I think we've both built each other up ever since we met.  Being friends with you is effortless and always feels special because your inner light is warm and bright.  Thank you for being there to support me through this, for accepting all of my insanity and even embracing it.

OK, enough blowing sunshine around, right?  Let's get down to business.

First, the music.  I botched the tunes again, 0-2 on that.  This time I spent a lot of time lining up the songs based on the timeline and by some idiotic move I left my ipad in shuffle mode.  I was scratching my head half the time as the songs came up out of order, but Caitlin helped out a lot by adjusting the volume.  And since most of the songs in the playlist are pretty mellow, it worked out OK.  I hand-picked the song for core at the right time, so that worked out OK.  But it threw me off b/c I didn't realize until about 2/3 of the way through, when I turned off shuffle.  Rookie goof.  Oh well.  I'm pretty sure I didn't get one or two of the songs on the playlist in, and I think I repeated 2 or 3.  I even set up an extra song for a long intro and used it because half of the peeps showed up 10 minutes early.  Oh well, I'll keep learning and focusing on this stuff, it's easy enough to get the music right.

My greetings this time weren't as awesome as last time.  I need to keep the effort up with that.  I have a tendency to get too comfortable with people I know and skip formalities.  That's a total growth area.

The rest of this is going to be a bit difficult to follow for anyone who doesn't know the Core Power C1 sequence, but I'm going to write it for a reader who knows it well because this whole post is intended to serve as a learning experience for me with my peers and instructors.

I felt like I did OK with integration series.  I tried to spend the right amount of time in balasana, and I stumbled over my words a little less than before.  I did a demo with Jenna in table top to try to set the stage for tucking the tailbone later on and I think that was fairly successful even though I burned some extra time there.  My cues for downward dog weren't awesome, but I felt like I lead through a decent samasthiti and kept it rolling through Surya Namaskara A and the chaturanga demo.  Using Jenna for the demo was a great crutch, I felt it was definitely worth taking advantage of since she was there so that I could focus on the words and she could be the body.  I'm curious what Caitlin thinks of how it came off.  I got the impression from at least one of the students that there was more of an understanding from the two early demos in table top and chaturanga than my first class where I demo'd everything myself.  I know this isn't something I can count on as an instructor, but I also think when you have the tool in the box, you might as well use it instead of doing things the hard way.

I spent a bit of time on tadasana too.  Perhaps I spent too much time talking about "I" and "me" during these demos but I really wanted to explain why I was spending the time focusing on what must seem like minutia to beginners, why I found that stuff important.  I wonder how it came off.  Maybe I am too OCD on that stuff, maybe I should just let it be, maybe I took the focus off the students by relating to personal experience and preference.  My intention was to really crank on alignment in the early stuff and then let the rest unravel.

Surya Namaskara B went pretty well.  I tried to demo/assist with Jenna for warrior 2 and maybe spent a bit too much time but I felt this set up things reasonably well for some good lunges later on.  Everyone was oriented facing center which made for some good vision to the demo space, and I think I milked it since I had Caitlin to adjust alignment while I demo'd on Jenna.  It was really fun, I think this is where I really started to relax and enjoy the experience.  The first class was just giving, pouring myself out and feeling empty at the end.  This 2nd class was different, I felt like I was filling myself while I filled up the room.  Sun B was where it started flowing.  I probably pushed the pace a bit too much for the 2nd and 3rd rounds of Sun B, but I tried to explain why I was doing that.  I was a little surprised at how tentative everyone took their SUN B chaturanga's, but I also wanted to give them space to practice how they wanted to, so I cued an extra inhale/shift forward on almost all of them.  It seemed to work OK.  I think we were maybe 5 minutes behind schedule after Sun B, going off total guesses.

Core went OK.  I think a bit better than last time.  I could really see and feel the effort at this point, the room was engaged and that got me excited.  Navasana seemed really strong to me.  I can't take full credit for this, I think having the 4 repeat customers helped because they knew it was only 3 minutes and it is safe to push hard for those full 3 minutes.

Crescent lunge was another walkthrough on Jenna and I think all the visual reinforcement helped the others.  I would imagine Caitlin and Meg when they dual teach get a lot of good information across, since they are both so experienced.  A demo on a girl body is just way better than a demo on an inflexible boy body.  I was happy enough with my cues through cresecent lunge series, though I think my revolved crescent cues could improve a bit.  I forget if I suggested a modification in revolved crescent, but I remember adding it in for both vasistasanas and also for runner's lunge.  I felt like I gave enough space in runner's lunge for some quiet time.  I think Caitlin might have turned down the music a bit for each of those moments.

Prayer twist and gorilla seemed to flow OK, though I may have been stumbling a bit here, I just remember being fully engaged in the moment.  Bakasana demo was unrehearsed, and my intention was to offer lolasana instead.  I'm not sure Jenna knew what I meant by lolasana, I sort of expected her to have infinite experience with it, but it's not part of any sequence that I know of, and I'm not sure she spends as much time messing around with arm balances like I do with Shane.  It seemed klunky as I tried to cue something I've never cued before, purely off memory and reading one article the day before.  So I sort of gave up on that and talked through a bakasana demo.  I forget if I offerred a baksasana prep demo/explanation.  This part just got slopppy, and ironically I pulled off a much beter version in teacher training a few hours later, demo'ing with my own body and skipping lolasana.  I do think crow makes zero sense in the C1 and that lolasana would be a better choice because 2 or 3 sets would be something just about anyone can do by leveraging weight in their toes and it would build strength for future arm balances.  But I also think I'm not nearly a good enough teacher to pull off a swap like this without some thought and preparation.

I'm blank on the 2nd balasana, I know I hit it well in teacher training afterwards, but I forget if I gave out any love out at the nest.  However, the next part was the biggest surprise of the day.  I suck at balancing in my own practice, and I don't think I'm a very good instructor for the balancing series, but I swear there was just a moment during vrksasana that felt electric.  Even natarajasana felt steady.  Perhaps I've improved a bit?  Garudasana went OK, the whole series was better than I expected.  I think I have a hangup on this series because I typically fall out a few times, so it was a big confidence boost to rock it out and it really set a special tone that lasted the rest of class.

Triangle series was the one I had gone way too fast through the Monday prior.  I had a huge intention to slow down and let that series soak in, particularly vera bhadrasana I.  I'm not one to congratulate myself very often, but I felt like I hit the mark with my timing for triangle series and that meant a lot to me.  To observe a deficiency or tendency and then be able to correct it is exactly what learning from experience is about.  It gives me hope.  Timing and tempo is so critical to the student's experience, you want a full chance for deep expression, and that may involve some quivering or shaking, but you don't want to leave anyone hung out to dry.  It can be a fine line.  My cues may not have been perfect, but I was just very happy with my tempo.  I did leave out reverse warrior after prasarita paddotanasana though, that's something to try to remember to add in, but I don't think anyone minded, there was a look of fatigue at that point.

Half pidgeon went really well, not necessarily the cues, but the mood and bringing down the intensity.  I felt like I heard my own voice softening at just the right time, and I felt like I gave adequate space here.  I was tempted to talk more, to introduce more of a theme, but silence just felt right this time.  In retrospect, the class ended up fairly themeless, but somehow silence and rain seemed enough.  It seemed like a chord was struck without using so many words, so I just let it be.  In the future, I'd really prefer to have a solid theme to interweave, but today it was OK to just let it be a little open ended.

Bujangasana and Daunurasana were acceptable, not awesome, but probably better than last time.  Camel was a little better since I didn't second guess myself and consider leaving it out.  Then seated forward fold before bridge which is something that doesn't feel perfect.  We've talked about this a bit, and it's something to continue thinking about.  If pachimotanasana follows ustrasana and leads into septu bandha sarvangasana then it should be a hamstring stretch, not a lower back stretch, otherwise there is just too much backward bending and forward bending without a chance to neutralize the spine.  But if you do bridge before seated foward fold, then you're coming down to the mat and then back up.  Neither feels right to me yet, but I think camel to forward fold to lying down to bridge seems like the best option.  Anyway, bridge was OK, better than before, fairly decent actually.

My happy baby could use a little work, and supine spinal twist wasn't perfect, but not horrible.  Savasana somehow felt so serene that I just didn't want to talk, I wanted to give space.  I felt like it was about the right amount of time in savasana before I started bringing them back, but it might have been a bit short.  I ran about 10 minutes over in total, which is probably a pretty normal C1 if I had thrown out camel and bridge and all the extra demo's.  Of course I'd still like to dial it in to an exact 60 minutes, but I think with less demos I'd be closer.

Areas for improvement:

1. Breathe with the class more.  Add in more quiet time.  I think I've made good progress here but I still have a ways to go.

2. Better cues for surrender series.  This is the newest and hence my weakest, but I'm happy with my progress.

3. Better greeting and intro.  Always have a theme, a solid, clear, crystalline theme, and drive it home.  I was losey goosey with that this time, after overdoing it last time.  Find the middle ground, short and sweet, have a quote or two ready, and sew it throughout the class.

4. Music.  It needs to be spot on.  There's no excuse for that, especially for a tech minded guy like me.

5. More adjustments.  I only did a few hands-on adjustments.  I'd like to challenge myself more with that.  I'm comfortable touching people, I just need to get out of my own head long enough to remember to jump in.  Having the two ladies was a crutch that I relied on.  I need to work towards being more self sufficient.

That's about all I can think of for now.  I feel a lot better about how this class went.  We'll see how the eval goes from Jenna and Caitlin as I consider if I'm going to keep trying to teach classes...

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I still have this t-shirt, though I haven't worn it in years.

My life has been shaped so much by my early years. The street I grew up on, Pueohala Place, was originally owned entirely by a single family, the Mortensens, and their approach to living has greatly influenced my own. The original house, which at one point was the only house on the street, is still there. It was built closer to the beach and then at some point in time before I was born it was moved mauka (towards the mountains) and two new homes were built makai (towards the ocean). Eventually, the street was split up and 5 more single family homes were built behind the front 3, one of which my father impulsively selected because it allowed a view from the kitchen into the family room so my mother could cook while keeping an eye on us.

The Mortensen family became a part of our existence, Dolly, David, and their three children, Dayna, Katie and Kavika. Their door was never locked. I could borrow a surfboard any time. I played basketball in their driveway whenever I felt like it. I could always count on David to have a smile and a joke for me, to loan out a tool, to teach me how to use it, or to just take the stress of life away with his gigantic heart. Hawaii is the land of lingering and when you have Hawaiian blood and a familiy history rooted in the islands, you have a responsibility to give your time away to anyone who wants it, regardless of where you are or what you are doing. The street that feeds into Pueohala Place, named North Kalaheo, used to back up with 3-5 cars every now and then because the driver had stopped in the middle of the lane to talk to a friend or relative walking on the side of the street. Nobody honks in that situation. You just wait it out and let the conversation finish.

Life lessons don't always sink in so well at that age. In retrospect, I don't think I realized what an example that was for me. The Mortensens had no riches, no "things" of substantial value, but they were rich in life and love. They sold the land they once owned, and kept only 2 of the 8 houses for themselves, keeping only what they really needed. They befriended everyone on the street, even us haoles from the mainland, and treated all of the kids the same, with even handed, overflowing acceptance even though we all did our share of idiotic things.

Life was fairly simple for those early years. I went to school, that was my job, and until 6th or 7th grade it really wasn't that terrifying. Public school in particular wasn't particuarly challenging, Hawaii ranks 50th in the nation in public schools, so up until 4th grade when I switched to a private school my efforts and intensity revolved around weekends spent on the tennis court. My entire world was a 5x1 kilometer rectangle from Oneawa to the beach, between Kuulei and Kainui. It has taken me years to realize exactly how privileged that childhood really was. Not privileged in the sense of extravagent wealth, but privileges in the sense of extravagent freedom. It seemed so normal at the time, kind of like how when you're standing on a peak and looking at an incredible view, you don't realize how expansive your perspective is compared to those in the valley below. You can only see from one place at a time, just as you can only grow up once.

Samadhi, at least my current concept of it, warped in my western-rooted mind, seems very much like how I remember my early years. A 2 minute walk took me to one of the most beautiful beaches in the state if not the world, safe, clean, uncrowded, with warm water and just-right waves for a kid to play around in, get tossed upside down, but not worry too much about drowning. My childhood started off with pure sentiment, feeling instead of thinking, before there was any need to understand or analyze. I felt spiritual moments out in that water, long before we took a pair of canoes out to spread my mother's ashes in the very same water. I would sometimes fall asleep in my bed at night as a kid and instantly return to the feeling of floating and rocking on my board, just past the break. The exhaustion from 3 or 4 hours of paddling around, catching waves, running, jumping, and just being must have left left a permanent imprint on my consciousness. Life spent at the beach, at the neighbor's, riding bikes up/down the street, climbing in the ironwood trees, digging up insects, and exploring outside was pure freedom. There were no bills. There were no deadlines. I was never too cold or too hot.

Inevitably, life gets more complicated as we grow up. We accumulate items and scars, we form complex relationships with all sorts of people. My sister is now seeing that for the first time in her own children, how the endless joy of naieve optimism gives way to more complicated, more calculated thoughts as a child reaches past diapers, through the challenges of walking and talking, and begins to take the first steps on the flight of self awareness.

I think one of the reasons I've allowed myself to be open to new challenges is based on knowing that my happy place is still there. Kailua hasn't changed much at all, every time I go back I confirm that. I think I've always assumed that if my life turned into a complete failure, if I lost all that I valued, if I had no friends and nothing left to care about, all I needed was a one way ticket home and the willingness to work enough to pay for food and shelter and my life would be just perfect. Ironically, I honestly believe I would prpobably be happier if I did that today, but I won't allow myself to take the easy way, to give up on myself just yet. I love my life so much here, I love what I've created and what I've stumbled into. I love my friends, I love my dog. I love my neighbors who are the modern, San Diego version of the Mortensens.

So, for now, I keep stacking weight on myself, unsure if I can or will be able to shoulder the burden indefinitely, but aware that if I break, if I fall apart completely, I've always known exactly where to go. If that breaking point arrives, I know that happiness will be waiting for me on the other end. That belief alone carries me through so many of the challenges I seek. That belief allows me to reach past my own doubts and insecurities and attempt to cultivate proficiency. I know that I'll be able to retreat into the comfort of a known world if I fail, and that allows me to attempt to improve without worrying so much about the final outcome.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


There are 3 things to acknowledge today, realizations from last night and this morning.

I'll start with last night. I've heard this before, actually I've heard it many times. When someone presents an idea, an opinion, or a statement to me, I often respond with an exception or by pointing out one way in which that idea does not make sense to me. This comes off as me sounding like the perpetual devil's advocate, or debbie downer, or just plain negative nancy. I notice that I do this, even if I accept 90% of the concept as dead-on. This is a clear weakness in my communication skills. My lack of acknowledgment is easily interpreted as a rejection of what was presented, even if I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. It's like my brain takes a shortcut, skipping the "omg, you are so right" and goes straight to the "but what about this one little part that doesn't seem to fit"?

While I work to correct this imbalance in my communication, I think it's worthwhile to at least explain why this happens. I'm not making excuses for myself, but I do see this approach as a key ingredient to success in the workplace, particularly amongst software developers. I've hired a few, interviewed a lot, and I've seen all sorts of teams and styles in my 14 years of work. The most valued colleagues I have worked with are those who can quickly point out the problems with anyone's proposed approach, without worrying about how that information is received. When everyone toes the line and follows the leader, that leader's oversights can become catastrophic. Without checks and balances, code reviews, and daily challenges to the design, product quality suffers. When everyone on the team can (hopefully respectfully) call into question the details of the suggested implementation and point out specific situations where additional design is necessary, the project as a whole stands a much greater chance of success.

The real challenge for me is to not lose this professional skill, while simultaneously working to acknowledge and appreciate input in my personal life. And I can _always_ word things better, even in the professional world. This challenge will not be easy for me, it will take months and more likely years to make progress.

On that same line of thinking, this morning was one of those days on the mat that we hope for every day. Shane decided we should focus on arm balances, and while I reached tricep fatigue well before the 60 min mark, I was thrilled to pull off some poses that I previously had not been able to, and to do others with slightly more confidence and control. Specifically, my core strength improvements have built to the point that I am reaching a basic competence with headstand and that allows me to do more with it than just trying to stay up for 20 breaths. It's a real thrill to unlock those doors and be able to walk down new hallways in my practice, and while today had no gigantic landmarks like pulling off an actual unsupported handstand, I really felt a marker had ticked by on my progression. I'd like to acknowledge Shane for all of his hard work in getting me to this point, he laid out a plan, tricked me into following it, and now he has proven to me how true his initial words really were. It all reinforces my core belief that 2 people, working together, is tremendously more powerful than 1 + 1.

Now, lest anyone view this as overly congratulatory, I want to point out how humbling it actually is. Today was the first time I learned what bakasana should actually feel like. It is tremendously more difficult to press your knees up to your armpits than it is to dig them into your triceps and use your skin or the grip of a towel to keep them from slipping down. That last bit of compression from the core and the hip flexors is intense and excruciating, just as pressing my elbows together in dolphin or many of my side arm balances which involve twisting, flexibility, balance, and strength. Another angle on this is doing headstand prep where you keep your toes on the mat behind you but lift your head 1/4" out of your hands and focus on arm strength. That is actually much more challenging for me than headstand, and far less gratifying, but the gains from doing it for just a few weeks are noticeable. Full expression is an evolution, a series of passageways that lead to a maze of neverending self exploration. My bakasana had gotten a bit stagnant over the past month or two and now it is time to keep pushing it foward because the effort invested will give me the foundation for all sorts of new things down the road.

My note to my runners this week was about acknowledging themselves for how far they have come this season, because it is so easy to lose sight of progress when you are in the midst of the heavy preparation that must be done one month before race day. I find it especially ironic that I'm preaching self acknowledgment when I struggle with this concept for myself. Like any overweight, out-of-shape NFL coach knows, you don't have to be able to do something in order to tell someone else how to do it. For some reason, I find it very easy to acknowledge others for their efforts to improve themselves. I find that I am naturally able to motivate and inspire, and I think this is true because I am so motivated and inspired myself, by those who I have been fortunate enough to share time and space with. This natural energy from others simply reflects and refracts through me and is redirected out to anyone in my vicinity. I remember my high school water polo coach, recognizing my complete lack of talent but overflowing enthusiasm, sending me into the championship game to try to get things really amped up. I'm sure he must have been wincing and crossing his fingers and hoping that I didn't get anywhere near the ball, but I appreciated his faith in me for what I could provide.

I'm going to end with a question that came up last night. Is "work" a basic need? I'm sure the weight of that question rests on how you define work. If you take work as a strict "something you get paid to do" then I'd imagine some people might say that no, work is not a basic need, as long as you have your other needs met, you don't need work to survive and feel grounded/stable/safe/secure. However, if you define work as your purpose, dharma, calling, passion, whatever, and therefore include volunteering, caring for the sick or old, raising children (which is most definitely work in my book) or the host of various other efforts that do not directly correspond to wages, then I think it becomes much easier to say that work is a basic need. Dogs, particularly labradors, want to have work to feel happy, they need a purpose, and I sense that Hunter would love to do more if his body would allow him to. I certainly feel an insatiable drive to do something meaningful with my time, though most of my real passions are not particularly lucrative, they tend to be more cashflow-negative types. Feel free to chime in if anyone has any thoughts on this. I know that having an entire year off from the structure of the corporate workplace gave me a real appreciation for how great life can be without "work" (as a strict definition.) And I'm sure that is what is hiding behind some of my questions about if work is a basic need or not.

So, to summarize, acknowledgement of ideas, acknowledgement of my progress, and acknowledgement of others, that is my focus for today.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


How do we find grace in our lives?

When we move from one pose to the next, from one thought to another, how do we connect with our own inner grace, the ease of effortlessnes, peacefullness and seamlessness?

The elusive thing about grace is that it's so obvious to observe, but so difficult to manufacture. It must come from the heart and it must flow out through our bodies, in words and deeds. To find grace, we must be at peace, but who allows themselves a moment's peace in today's world? Not many of us. I know I struggle with this. There are so many opportunities to be distracted, to get upset, to throw our composure out the window.

How will I manifest grace today?

An opportunity will undoubtedly present itself. And it won't have a sign on it that says "this is your test today, try not to fail." It will be one of those situations which only seems clear in retrospect, a moment that only becomes clear once it becomes a memory.

How can I find words of grace to share with others?

This is obviously the near term focus for me, but it's a great goal for all of us. Grace in our expression, to inspire others and by doing so, inspire ourselves.

How often do we forget to be graceful?

To our loved ones and children. To our co-workers and bosses. To other drivers. To those who make us wait.

Grace starts with a single word, a single motion. The difference between a weightless step onto the ball of our foot and the klunky maneuver I more frequently use. Why not try to tread softly? It's hard for me, but I think about it a lot.

There exists tremendous power in grace, and yet grace is humble. Kind of like Gandhi without the glasses and wrinkly skin.

Grace is not earned, it is simply expressed.

Be unreasonably graceful today.