Stacking the deck

Time and time again I come across people arguing with principles. There will be a yes but answer for everything and a rationale about why every potential positive is doomed to fail. Glass half empty perspectives some people might say.

But not understanding the way things work doesn’t make you dumb, misguided, wrong, or bad. It sure as heck makes it hard to get something good to happen though.

In this life, thinking we get to control everything or make impossible things happen is counterproductive but no more or less than thinking we have no control at all when the best outcomes to hope for are nothing more than less harsh reactions to the world around us.

The way to create the life you want is to begin by moving toward it. This way, the results begin immediately and being on your way re enforces your power and capacity and the potential to reach your goals.

The way to move toward the life you want is to stack the proverbial deck in your favour. You do this by visualising alot, feeling a lot, meditating a lot, and reviewing your plan, actions, and outcomes a lot and making necessary adjustments. You don’t just click your fingers and whatever is wanted, happens at your command. Rather you affect as much of the energy around you and as far out from you as you can in line with what you want. You support the universal force to support your desires and thereby, increase the chances of your manifestation occurring rather than not.

I don’t know about others but I am a lot happier when I know I am living my life everyday in support of manifesting something I really want to be happening in my life. And the fact that I have 10 or more examples of truly great work so far, inspires me to ask the question again and again after each success. What do I want?

Whatever the answer is, I can never be sure I’ll get it until I do but if I really want it then, it’s really worth working for and that means doing everything I can to make it happen, including stacking the deck.

Pleasant musings

Johnny

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

According to statistics, the weather is far and away the most common conversation starter and topic among people in the western world. these days I am privileged enough to work with older adults – the senior citizens among us – and I don’t mind saying that it is probably the ONLY topic of conversation for many people. But to be fair, the weather affects ALL of our lives, it is no small thing. It provides common ground with which to relate and, it affects us physically, emotionally, intellectually, and even spiritually providing a gamut of possible conversant permutations. Who knows, it may be possible to hold a weather conversation for a whole afternoon or more?

Ignoring age for a moment though, and in my experience, there is another almost as common conversation starter or apparently automatic ice breaker. At least in my estimation and in particular, in and around working folk or situations. It is the question:

WHAT DO YOU DO?

And this question is portrayed as something of a revelation. The insinuation being that a) you are what you do so in answering the question you will reveal who you are and b) what we do is apparently definable and thereby offering some type of factual data with which to judge ourselves and others. So how would you answer, if you were me?

Last week I had coffee with my daughter, spent 90 minutes on the phone with a friend, counselled a person challenged by mental health difficulties, offered a phone reference for a job seeker, applied for a new position, and wrote a 12 page event analysis on coordinating, delivering, and recording data from a particular style of community event.

I taught a community ukulele class for 2 hours, I replaced the broken toilet cistern and plastered up broken walls, I had supervisory meetings with 2 staff members, painted a tea trolley with 3 coats of gloss white and lined its shelves with hand cut marbled vinyl, reviewed the budget, and cooked a hot lunch for 15 people.

I taught someone how to use a security system, showed someone else how use a digital camera, I drew up two creative white board charts for a managers presentation next week, completed week 6 of my current music study at the Australian Music College, wired up a new power amplifier to my computer and recording software, rowed 5 kilometres every weekday morning and I played with the dog.

I conducted 2 health assessments with community members, assembled a BBQ, and on the weekend, replaced the spark plugs and leads on my Hi Lux utility and after that I washed my hands and cooked bread.

This week I will be preparing a catered afternoon tea for our visiting executive team, delivering a half hour presentation around program semantics and potential, replacing the tuners on a baritone ukulele, lowering the action, and adding new strings at the same time, starting my 6 week practice schedule for up and coming gigging parts, practicing scales, conducting more online certificate study, helping a friend to move a kayak, attending 3 community forums, building a new website, and visiting my Mum.

It reads a bit like a Berocca add doesn’t it? But obviously I am painting a broad picture in order to show the illogical nature of such a question or more exactly, a supposed meaningful answer. How can I possibly answer the question when what I do, depends on so many different factors and on so many different days? Imagine if the question was:

WHAT CAN’T YOU DO?

I would have much more success answering that! For starters, all the things I don’t know yet that I cannot do wouldn’t factor in. And secondly, all the things I can do, aren’t part of the answer either. All I would be left with, are the things I have tried and found I cannot do and that’s a small group by comparison to what I mentioned above over the course of an average week.

Not that I am complaining. With a diverse lifestyle and workplace, I am able to stretch my creativity and make things happen where others may not. This momentum inspires those around me to do the same and collectively, we are far greater than we would have been individually – and more beneficial to the world around us. People ask me often “Is there anything you can’t do?” and I just smile and say “your kind, thank you” because like anyone, there must be millions of things to be sure. If nothing else, it gives reason for meaningful exchange and quite possibly topics for deeper conversation that aren’t the weather and that aren’t what you do.

You and I, we are so much more than what we do. And while I, unlike most people, have a blurry line between work and home lives, what I do at work is still only part of who I am becoming. We are conversant sometimes, good speakers – some of us, great thinkers maybe, artists of various natures, good listeners, funny people, carers, writers, good drivers or planners, and above all creators – every one of us. Don’t ever sell yourself short by answering that you do one thing which supposedly defines you. That is by far, just a small part of the who that is really you and while the real you may be difficult to sum up in a sentence to answer someones question, think about ALL you really are and do before you go ahead and offer a response.

At the end of the day, I personally do not understand the question or the logic behind believing its relevance. Whenever anyone asks me, I smile inwardly preparing as creative a response as I possibly can ensuring this automatic question does not get an automatic answer. But people always walk away and that is because it does not compute, I do not compute. It does not fut into the boxes with labels that others have already prepared, I do not fit into the boxes with labels that others have already prepared. And that’s OK, I don’t want to be in those boxes, what true Rebel would? I am me, and that is enough. I may or may not be great but either way what I do doesn’t really matter. I can do something today, it may be different to yesterday or tomorrow, but whether anyone cares or not, I can still do it, if I choose to. And that’s all the matters right now, I have no time for silly questions and pre-selected answers, life’s short after all.

Looks like rain

 

Happy days

Johnny

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EXTREME BALANCE

EXTREME BALANCE

This idea, used plenty over the past decade, of a hand in front of ones face insinuating a closed perspective and that by spreading fingers and then, even moreso, moving the hand back so that your view or perspective increases to take in the big picture, is a typical paradox. Like so many great ideas or analogous presentations it risks overkill.

Balance as always is necessary if we are to extract the best from each extreme. My manager used to tell me often “context is everything Johnny” and there’s no doubt in my mind as to the accuracy of this statement. After all, physical existence is in itself, a paradox that is consumed in a mosh pit of duality. Without context, we have no basis for comparison, no sentence with which to derive literary meaning of words we don’t understand, and no standards that we may judge ourselves against in order to rate our own performance or quality in this life we live.

But, the challenge lies in the exclusiveness of any concept. A favourite quote I was given by a counselor many years ago was:

Comparison is the first ally of depression

And so one might come to think, that the small picture, the one which we see with a closed hand fair in front of our face, has its benefits. Especially when we consider the pressure placed upon us by the social construct to be someone or something? Teenagers have to have aspirations and hi IQ apparently, not to mention a gamut of friends and popularity, plus great looks to boot. Men cannot suffer depression or if they do they must recover quickly so it seems. And woman are forced into the challenge of worthiness supposedly being measured only by youthful looks and/or behaviours. It truly is a jungle out there if you’re a follower. But for the Rebel? Well, the so-called “limited” view may have it’s advantages.

Imagine if we have a limited amount of energy within us. And I for one subscribe to such a thought, whether it is replenished daily or weighed up over the course of a life. The idea that we might use said energy at any given time and focus it on a particular desire, aspect, or goal, means a greater result than say, unfocused and sposmatic energies applied inconsistently at best. When you take a magnifying glass and use it to focus the sunlight (something most boys did at least once in their childhood) it becomes intense both in heat and in light, yet the area it can affect is remarkably small by comparison to the unfocussed sunlight from the sky.

Notice how, at no point, are we negating the quality, purpose, or benefit of any of these potentials. In fact, each has its own place. To consider either of them less than the other or, without its place in the big picture would be detrimental and inaccurate when truthfully, each needs the other to exist. Importantly, one of them requires exclusive focus for a concentrated period.

So that in life, we can take this example and apply it for our own benefit. Because sometimes, we need to step back, it’s healthy and it’s useful. Focusing our energies all the time can result in burnout at worst and at best, a distorted perspective that fails to recognise the all important context we spoke of earlier. Without context after all, we can never understand or appreciate how the focused work we do fits into the greater scheme if things.

On the other hand If we are so “stepped back” we may never step in and if we never focus it will remain unclear as to how creative we can actually be. Our capacity is of course unlimited but reaching that level does not happen overnight, we work too hard against it living the way we do in the modern world. Conversely, aware people, those with some insight at least, will know that we can improve, and do so every single day. Focused efforts in creating that which is desired can have incredible benefits to the psyche, to physical health, and to seeding further spontaneous creative endeavour and confidence – when it is balanced.

Finally, an important distinction that needs to be mentioned is this:

Stepping back is NOT the same as stepping out.

Sometimes, we have encouraged or supported people to step out. When a situation they are in, with another person or persons, is intense to the point of challenging health and emotional well-being, removing oneself from the situation is in the first instance, mandatory. A heated argument for example, never supports a healthy outcome, walking away until a better time for conducive talks, is healthy and proactive – better for everyone.

With stepping back however, sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes when a person is anxious, overwhelmed with how much there seems around them in their life, stepping in can resolve said issues. For stepping in can take away so much peripheral (often superfluous) knowing only to well that what is left is the most important thing currently to you. And this is the thing which requires your focus for that time (for now), exclusively, intensely, for a short period.

Keep balance in mind, it is achievable. And while there is no right or wrong, sometimes you need to go counter-intuitive and STEP IN when the thought wouldn’t ever naturally arise. There will always be extremes in this life, it’s what we do and it’s how we do it, but remember those extremes have no quality unto themselves. What we do, as always, is our most important choice. So don’t just choose balance, go hard, do your best, and instead, choose …

EXTREME BALANCE

 

Pleasant musings

 

Johnny

Johnny.mackay.moonfruit.com

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FITTING LIFE IN

I have, over the years, tried various approaches to living and to creating the right lifestyle for me. I do not wish here, to make assumptions about what other people want, but during my travels and conversations over those same years, it seems that most of us want similar things. So that regarding what we get out of this thing called life, there are some distinctive similarities:

  • HEALTH – physical and emotional wellbeing regardless of age of situation
  • LOVE – opportunity to give and receive unconditional love
  • FUN – because it is simply brings joy to our existence
  • GROWTH – personally, professionally, physically, it’s in our genes to expand
  • PURPOSE – a sense that what we are doing matters in the bigger picture somehow
  • PEACE

But although I can sit down and articulate these aspects of what a fulfilling life may mean to me, it wasn’t always as easy and, more often than not, I would fail to even recognise let-a-lone give attention to, these goals which would allude to a sound and purposeful direction. No instead, until now that is, I have tried and tested two different approaches and though I did not test them deliberately perse’, I am able to expound upon them here and importantly, why they can never lead to that which is so passionately sought in the dot points above. Obviously, for part time workers, balance can come far more easily but full time (one third of living) has it’s own specific set of challenges. Perhaps some readers will recognise said methods in their own past or current behaviours and be able to relate to the outcomes with which I have personally experienced.

THE FIRST METHOD

Interestingly we are seeing this acted out en masse’ currently in our younger professional people, which once long ago, would only be evident in mature professional A type personalities. So that a person rises early tired but driven, shower dress, add packaged liquid breakfast on the drive to the work place, probably a couple of calls on the way, all day on the go for bosses or self til late, lunch was at the desk or a business lunch, leaving work exhausted, no energy at home to cook so take away food and TV will suffice. If children or partners are involved they too, get the raw end of the deal. Sleep isn’t great as the position is on call and responsible to large numbers of people plus the anxiety keeps you awake. On the weekend, when available, it takes until Sunday afternoon before true relaxation begins.

At the time I had no partner or children with me so the idea to work three jobs and as many shifts as possible in a seven day week wasn’t exactly met with resistance. I had no social life outside of the room in which I rented.

In this position you meet a lot of people and the “pump” keeps you going along with the money which is very good. Unfortunately this type of lifestyle isn’t actually sustainable irrespective of the TV shows or movie stars which sell us the opposite. In the end, you aren’t the high energy person you appear to be, you are simply running on adrenaline all the time. Eventually, the adrenal glands become fatigued (chronic fatigue possibly) and everything begins shutting down. Recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome doesn’t take a weekend off, it takes months and sometimes years!

It’s one thing to pull a long day every once in a while to finish a project or deal with a crisis, but it’s another to routinely stay late at the office or work into the night. That’s chronic overwork — and it can have extremely negative impacts on your health, happiness, and overall quality of life

Lydsay Kolowhich

THE SECOND METHOD

This way is more carefully thought out and at least, considerate of the desired outcomes. Because work is important, and so is life, you pick work which you live for. In my case this was music and writing and while my chosen work was not music based, I saw to it that music found its way in at every possible opportunity. So that I would wake, tired, walk to work without breakfast but get coffee on the way, drive myself to work a hard intellectual and physical day travelling, speaking, writing, and then drag myself home stumbling, hit the bottle, eat packet food, and focus on my music and writing before bed because apparently, my life was important. I would sleep poorly pondering various scenarios and plans for the future.

A wide body of research has shown that overwork can negatively impact your sleep — whether it’s the resulting stress, the staring at the computer screen, or just not having enough time to unwind before hitting the hay. This can cause us to build up what’s called “sleep debt,” which is kind of like being overdrawn at a bank. Chronic sleep debt raises the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In the short-term, lack of sleep can have significant effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation

Lyndsay Kolowhich

THE THIRD METHOD

No I can’t honestly tell you how this has played out for me because it is still, a work in progress, but I can give you the basics and allow you to make your own judgments. Counter-intuitively, this method puts work second or even third – its a strength based approach. We are indoctrinated so that, work, employment, hierarchical management structures and militant rule should all be revered however, none of it is natural and one look at the state of us all in Australia (like America) shows a great misunderstanding toward living with, not against, the natural flow and within the context of the human experience – at least if its true happiness we seek.

This person sleeps well, they are switched off and calmed down entering into a down cycle for bed an hour at least before that time. They are switched off because their processing is done and they accomplish this by talking with confidante’s regularly, writing their thoughts regularly, and walking every single day bar none. In the morning they are rested and wake accepting that the day will provide opportunities and challenges. They stretch, shower, dress, eat a high quality breakfast and head out. But their trip is not to work perse’, they haven’t started yet, their drive is a scenic one and they take in the sights enjoying time to do so. Parking they enjoy a walk or a ride for thirty minutes or so not because they are travelling to work (although they are) but because they are exercising in their day. Finally arriving at work their work time has started (this is hours less already than most people dragging themselves out of bed because they have to go to work). Tea, fruit, salads throughout the day, plenty of water, an hour in the day with the door shut away from interruptions, regular breaks from the computer screen, a walk at lunch, and a home time which is regular and appropriate. Leaving work is life time again, straight away and embraced with options for? Yep you guessed it:

  • HEALTH – physical and emotional wellbing regardless of age of situation
  • LOVE – opportunity to give and receive unconditional love
  • FUN – because it is simply brings joy to our existence
  • GROWTH – personally, professionally, physically, it’s in our genes to expand
  • PURPOSE – a sense that what we are doing matters in the bigger picture somehow
  • PEACE

Their home time has space for their partner or children and study and rest all deliberately and easily (although television may have to be missed!)  Holidays are not a stressful planning nightmare must do to break from work, they are instead, something which is scheduled in something which work itself must fit around.  I reckon its gotta be worth thinking about, just focusing this way affirms yours and your life’s importance. If nothing else, it’s because the first two methods do not, cannot, ever work. If we allow space in our ALL important lives, to fit a little work in as it were, it may just balance up alright after all.

Pleasant musings

Johnny

REFERENCES. Lindsay Kolowich  Why Overworking Is Bad For Your Health (And Who’s to Blame), http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/overwork-bad-health, viewed 2016

 

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PLANT, POT, PLATE

In an interesting conversation about creating a group activity, we were speaking about fresh food and collective cooking of meals. I expressed my enthusiasm for something which isn’t entirely original however, is rarely executed with any level of quality or sustainability – the idea of growing, cooking, and eating, the product. It may be because of money, time, shared enthusiasm, or required effort which gets in the way of most ideas like this one getting off the ground and in rare cases when they do, the ability of maintaining them for any beneficial length of time. A colleague of mine came up with the name for the group, PLANT, POT, PLATE. I thought the name was catchy and clever given we could incorporate a gardening group, a cooking group, and a lunch group all inclusive. But as is common with the mind I have, it got me to thinking about living and about creating the life we live as well.

This name or title may have a little more depth than a first glance might suggest. For example, in life terms, is it possible to conceive that therein lies an overview of what we do in creating our lives? If nothing else, it’s a funny look at things but either way, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share the thoughts with the readers I am privileged enough to write for. And, for the first blog of 2016! Brilliant.

PLANT

It’s true, that we are planting, and nurturing previous plantings, every day. In our minds we seed thoughts, thousands and thousands a day and they begin to take root. Of course if they are not nurtured they won’t take root, they will instead wither and die through a lack of attention and focus. But understand this is not necessarily bad. We are talking about seeds and growth and we haven’t mentioned the quality of those seeds or their resultant extensions. For most of us, the predominant force in our lives is one with a negative connotation, one which pertains to limited thinking, errors of thought, a lack of self-love and, egotistical separations. As our awareness grows we get better and better at recognising negative or destructive thoughts either before, during, or just after we have them. Recognising them and passing them away as expressions of challenge and growth, and thinking about other positive and supportive things instead (more seeds) for the rest of the time is a powerful approach to creating a desired life.

It is said that 90% of our thoughts today are the same as they were yesterday. Now imagine, if yesterday, we planted the most awesome seeds and that today we were continuing to nurture their growth and support them to become powerful forces in our lives? That’s what Harry Palmer might call DELIBERATE or PURPOSEFUL LIVING.

POT

The pot connotation in regards to life is a little more abstract, but humour me, I think you’ll agree it still fits. The pot is taking the harvest if you will, with accountability, saying “this is where I am and this is what I have”. We take wherever we are and whatever we have and this exact moment we are in at any given time, and that’s what we work with – that’s what we cook (in the pot). There are two powerful aspects of getting the pot or cooking phase as good as possible, one is the cultivation of a level of acceptance for what Byron Katie would call LOVING WHAT IS, and the second is creativity – taking the materials and/or situation you have and creating something original and beautiful and supportive for yourself and/or for others. That’s a learned skill and even in a whole lifetime, may require lifetimes more to perfect. But what a skill to build right? Imagine, accepting an outcome as not great, not even what you were aiming for, but with due consideration for the fact that you created it deliberately or otherwise and, that it is yours to own and use right here and right now? Even heading in this direction is fundamentally beneficial to us.

PLATE

The PLATE idea might seem abstract too but I hazard a guess that this is not an intrinsic quality based on my suggestions in this piece. I expect instead, that it is because this is so rarely recognised and actioned as part of the process. I am in fact talking about reaping the fruits of one’s labour and acknowledging ALL outcomes as part of the creative unfold.

Time and time again and especially in this manic anxious life we live in modern times, we are constantly pinging between coping with the challenges and deliberately escaping from them. But creation is a three part process. It involves the germination of the idea/seed, it involves the maintenance and support phase, and it must ALWAYS include the recognition/celebration of what has been created. This is an increasing potential for future creation successes which comes as each outcome manifests and it is wonderful regardless. So that it is relevant to both desired outcomes and outcomes which do not hit the proverbial mark. It is the completion of the process each time which we celebrate, not necessarily the outcome. And here, it is the food we have seeded, grown, cooked, and presented which we finally get to sit down to, appreciate and eat.

And so that if the food does not taste the way you imagined, create changes for next time and start getting excited you have learnt what doesn’t work for you perfectly. Understand that now is the time for next the level of germination and new beginnings and acknowledging you are inevitably further along than you were before.

And if you are determined to have your best life and be your best person in the process, you will be, again and again, and every time you start and complete the circle of creation. A circle of creation that in my mind,  could easily be called:

PLANT,  POT, PLATE.

 

Pleasant musings and

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Johnny

 

REFERENCES:

Harry Plamer, https://theavatarcourse.com/en/, viewed January 2016

Byron Katie, thework.com, viewed January 2016

http://www.johnnymackay.moonfruit.com

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LEANING INTO BALANCE

As always, the challenge (paradox) of the human experience sees us engaged with practices that move us further from, rather than closer to, source – our true healthy and happy selves. Here are some examples:

Hippocrates said:

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food

Yet the food we eat almost exclusively does not come from home grown gardens, nor without dangerous cancerous chemicals both on the surface and under the skin. It is approved for consumption as opposed to sustenance. It is “built” for convenience.

Yet inarguable evidence shows us that people eating naturally are living better and longer.

Garbage in garbage out

George Fuechsel

The consumption of materials in our lives seems to rule and, is what we teach our children too. That it is important to have stuff, because if you have “stuff” you are important? Worthy? Seen as rich? Successful? And of course Happy?

Yet inarguable evidence shows us that people with the most simplest of acquisitions and, the most few, are living better and longer.

 “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”

― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

The pace at which we live drives our insecurity and anxiety (the most common mental health diagnosis in developing countries), and it’s a  facade of achievement when what we are achieving is nothing worthy of our own growth and well-being. We have become obsessed with doing to the exclusion of being.

Yet inarguable evidence shows us that people with the understanding of balance or at least, regular time out, are living better and longer.

There’s no advantage to hurrying through life

― Masashi Kishimoto

The medications we consume to FIX problems including pain, disease, emotional distraught, sadness, tiredness, boredom, and a lack of mojo have taken over. And drug testing parameters have become ironically, dangerously poor in relation to the increasing impact medications have on  our lives. Medications equal money, and control, both important to the powers that be.

Yet inarguable evidence shows that people who are supported to safely reduce or eliminate medications, or who are medication free, or who use naturally verified healing methods, are living better and longer.

 The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will educate his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease

—  Thomas Edison

 

How come we are treating ourselves this way, and what happened to make it OK? While there may be an answer to this question there is, as always, a more important and less reactive question to ask – What can I do? Because at the end of this day, working within our own domains, is ALL that we have and this is where we get to make ALL the difference.

How do I keep myself balanced in an otherwise rapidly leaning world, how do I live longer and better? It probably comes as no surprise but here’s some sharing of the latest research from Blue Zones and Dan Beutnner. These 9 particular considerations he provides us with are not guesses but rather, common denominators from identified groups – blue zones – (and there aren’t too many of them) who are in fact, living better and living longer. So it’s experiential evidence, the real deal.

  1. MOVE NATURALLY [real life exercise, not using machines which are biomechanically “un-natural”]
  2. DOWNSHIFT [time-out, regular creative “time” factored in]
  3. PURPOSE [perceived meaning and significant contribution]
  4. WINE@5 [moderate consumption of high quality wine]
  5. PLANT SLANT [eat more fresh organic fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens]
  6. 80% rule [eat til satisfied not, til stuffed]
  7. LOVED ONES FIRST [seek out opportunities to give and receive love]
  8. BELONG [Isolation is an important balancing option, not a healthy norm. Connect and socialise]
  9. RIGHT TRIBE [choose to surround yourself with the best people for you]

It make take some creative thinking, some changes for sure, to affect this sort of living in our lives when our lives are, for most of us, made up of fundamentally different stuff. But it can be done little by little. Stepping back, breathing for you, feeling and giving love, laughing a lot, singing, dancing, drawing, meditating, dreaming, being around ageing folk, being around children, running, walking, and resting, eating together, eating alone, whatever it takes for you to find you because at the end of it all, whenever that opportunity presents, YOU are all there is.

And that’s a worthwhile consideration in my mind. Start now, if you want to, and what happens next will begin an incredible unfold. Slowly but surely, you will start your way into, not away from, that which you truly deserve – to live better and to live longer. Then you too, will begin

LEANING INTO BALANCE

Best for Christmas 2015 and beyond

Johnny

REFERENCES:

Rhon, J, http://www.jimrhon.com

Rebel Yell UPDATED

The Fifty Best Quotes About Health and Nutrition, http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/quotes-about-health/, viewed, December 2015

http://www.goodreads.com, viewed December 2015

Buetnner, D, http://www.bluezones.com

The Health Wyze Report, http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/236-funny-sad-and-thought-provoking-medical-quotations.html, viewed December 2015

 

 

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HEARING FEET

It was an interesting time when I was younger, coaching the young girls in badminton at the high school where my daughter attended. The highlight for me, not surprisingly the greatest time of growth for all of us there, was in response to a concept I outlined as a strategy to improve the game and competence each girl displayed. The strategy was simply; to listen to the sounds our feet make. Ideally I was talking about one’s own feet and recognising how this expressed the level of both confidence and skill which was being expressed as one played the game however, we had to start somewhere and my suggestions went in this order:

  • Listen to ‘my’ feet (as I play)
  • Listen to ‘their’ feet (as they play)
  • Listen to ‘your’ feet (as you play)

In the first two instances it was possible to listen and watch. This is more modal allowing for a more intense learning opportunity. The reactions to the idea met with some resistance and laughter and skepticism. But shortly thereafter, curiosity and wonder. And the results of our forays into this particular strategy opened minds, minimised limitations, and paved way for increasing agility and control.

Have you ever listened to the feet of an anxious person? They shuffle deliberately back and forth back and forth. My pod buddy questions how I know how she is feeling when I make comment about her angst without even looking up from my desk to see her. I tell her it’s in her feet but she doesn’t believe me. I must admit, to the uninitiated, it’s an odd concept.

We talk about assertiveness and where it lay roughly between what we might call aggression and non-assertiveness or passivity. Have you ever met someone who is overly and/or predominantly passive? Always on the back foot and ready to apologise in the next moment for anything and everything? Not to be confused with humility, it is instead, a lack of self-assurance. Have you ever listened to their feet? A passive person drags their feet moving almost reluctantly and certainly with over-caution as if they might interrupt someone or run into them or appear when they apparently shouldn’t.

Almost in-arguably, it lives in the realm of subconscious. Probably expected though, given that our body language sits same and that’s why lying is spotted most accurately through this communicative mode. I have in fact, listened to people walking almost without tell-tale signs navigating through their general day without challenge or fear only to hear them then, walk into a pod and approach someone for a conversation or request. That’s when the dragging begins! It’s amazing.

There are people who display general arrogance or express large egos by comparison at the other end of the proverbial scale. They tend to lean forward through fear and so, their feet sound heavy. Their feet are a little behind and they are constantly fighting their own balance therefore, have to plant their feet to establish a solid platform while leaning forward. You always hear these ‘big’ personalities coming (or leaving), and their feet rarely change sounds during any given life period. When these people are female they tend to wear the highest of high heels. Regardless of what appears to be a painful and difficult balance to onlookers, these heels maintain the awkward angle just enough so that the inward lean can be maintained without fear of submission (or surrender). It’s incredible! Interestingly, albeit with a smaller “footprint”, the high heels still express the characteristic plant!

Have a listen next time you get chance. I expect like me, you will find:

  • Most high heel wearers do not plant but swagger and maintain a relatively usual foot sound.
  • Most people do not shuffle
  • Most people change their foot ‘sound’ pending their feelings and or state of mind
  • Most people have no idea their feet ‘talk’
  • Challenging or ‘loud’ personalities have the distinctive ‘plant’ (and aren’t usually good listeners)

God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.

He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm

William Cowper

It’s not rocket-science though is it? When we consider the premise of NLP  (Neurolinguistic programming) and the characteristic studies over the years detailing revealing body language and predominant human traits, it makes sense every part of our body and our actions will reveal something about us. But learning can be even more fun, when we discover yet another fascinating aspect about how we act as people and in particular, checking it out against our fellow travelers just to be sure!

Certainly, I maintained a similar poise in my position as coach, “It’s not so silly, when you think about it” I stated. A great player leads and swoops. They can cover the court from ‘home base’ with no more than two steps sideways, forwards, or back. And their touch will be poetic – light, bouncy, and deliberately transitional. Compare this with either an amateur or a beginner and, through no lack of trying, they will sound heavy, complicated, confused, clumsy, and noisy all at once.  There will be many many steps and sometimes more than seems possible in the allocated space. There will be dragging sounds, and there will be squeals and scrapes. Perhaps in life too, you can learn a lot about a player and about playing, by closing your eyes, calming your mind and:

Hearing feet

 

Til next time

Johnny

johnnymackay.moonfruit.com

 

REFERENCES

perscribo.moonfruit.com

BrainyQuote, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/footsteps.html#TjToUGV3xSMghLJQ.99

 

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