Sometimes you only miss it when you do it

The less I do something, the less I miss it.

Paddling out for a surf on a winter’s day.  The water is dark blue and cold. I’m warm in my car sipping some coffee. I fight the urge to drive away. Only after the first duck dive and feeling the salt water hit my face do I miss the feeling of being in the water

Waking up early for a morning run. The first few minutes out in the wild are the hardest. I’m talking myself into turning around and heading home. Then something magical happens after the first mile. I started to look forward and forget about what’s behind me. My body loosens up and I start to smell the morning.

Yoga first thing in the morning. I’d rather be sleeping or getting a jump start on the day. My body resists the first stretch and the inner dialogue comes up with reasons why I should rather cut it short, shower and check my phone. Only after the first three stretches do I get into the groove and am grateful that I overcame the initial inertia.

Leaving my phone at home when I go for a hike. Initially I have phantom phone syndrome. Even though I don’t have my phone I can still feel it vibrating in my pocket. Only once I’m far away from the roads and deep in the trails do I disconnect and am reminded of how good it feels to be free from the likes, hearts, pings, retweets and favorites.

The ego is crafty and will seduce you into the path of least resistance. Feelings fade the longer you are away from something. Overcome the inertia and all resistance crumbles.

God’s temples

We went walking through the Redwoods last weekend. It’s not surprising that certain groves of trees have been revered as sacred all over world since the beginning of time. They seem to be gateways to the unseen world around us.

The groves were God’s first temples. – William Cullen Bryant, A Forest Hymn

It just is 

…”I had a discussion with a great master in Japan… and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, ‘That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen… you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because… the sound of the rain needs no translation’.”

– Alan Watts

The crazies and quiet ones

In every big city I've lived in, I’ve come across people who talk to themselves. I’ll be sitting on a bus and hear someone start a loud conversation and my first thought is that it’s a loud obnoxious phone call, or maybe it’s two friends having a lively conversation – but after a quick glance I realize that it’s just one person having have a solo conversation. I’ve seen this on the city streets as well, someone will walk past me muttering to themselves or start shouting at unseen people. Their eyes are glazed over and it’s like they are on a different planet. They are lost within themselves and have disconnected from everyone around them.

The only difference between the talker and everyone else sitting quietly on the bus trying to ignore the “crazy” guy is that the quiet people's dialogue is INTERNAL vs EXTERNAL. Everyone out there has a similar chatterbox going on inside their head. Conversations like “I have to reply to that email today”, “I thought that was rude!”, “I shouldn’t have lost my temper this morning (sigh)” “I love her”, “I’m hungry”, “I should’ve answered that question differently”,  “Why didn’t he text back”, “I hope the test results come back okay,” “When is the package arriving?”, “I need to workout tonight”, "I feel good", "I feel shit" etc.

Imagine if everyone’s INTERNAL dialogue was EXTERNAL. It would be a noisy bus ride. If that’s the only difference between the crazy / angry guy on the bus then who is really crazy?

The mind is a playful monkey. From time to time you have to catch yourself from being sucked into an internal dialogue with yourself. Calm the monkey with a few deep breaths, get out of your head and get into the moment.

Compound Beauty Part 2 of 2

In the previous post I wrote about my neighbor and her beautiful garden. She’s always working on it. Her clippers are always in her right hand as she wanders through the garden. She’s a quick draw and will snip a dead shrub or feral branch in the blink of an eye. Her clippers are close at hand and she’s prepared.

Here’s lesson number two: Part of constant tweaking and improving is that you got to be prepared with the right tools. Make it easy to improve and tweak. Structure your day so that you have time to exercise, eat a good breakfast so you don’t snack on junk during the day, buy healthy food so that when you want to snack you have good food close by, set up filters on your email so that you give full attention to the right people.

Equip yourself with the right tools and it’s easier to improve day to day.