Thursday, July 31, 2003

Getting things done...

'When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers."

-Colleen C. Barret

Now, is that another version of the chiefs and Indians story?

Sound familiar?

"Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's party than being there."

As they say, you're either part of the solution or the problem. It's better to make even your detractors a part of your solution. Now, how do we do that?

Keeping others down...

"As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might."

-Marian Anderson

"Do not...

do what you would undo if caught."

-A Wise Man

Six ways to bury a good idea...

1. It will never work.
2. We can't afford it.
3. We've never done it that way before.
4. We're not ready for it.
5. It's not our responsibility.
6. We're doing fine without it.

Just in case you need some help in shooting down the next good idea that flies by.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Are you aware...

of what and how your eyes see the world? Experiment with new ways to use your inner telescope and microscope. Maybe you are like me and you over-use one to the exclusion of the other.

Remember that "vision" is a growth industry for the future. There will always be a market for people who can observe and see life for both what it is and what is could become.

Don't fret...

about what you didn't do today. Celebrate what you did accomplish. Remind at least two people today of something special that they accomplished.

Allow your passion...

to spark some compassion in your work today. Let your curiosity put yourself in the other guy's shoes. It's amazing how refreshing a change of perspective can be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The birds and the bees...

"My father told me all about the birds and the bees, the liar - I went steady with a woodpecker till I was twenty-one."

-Bob Hope

(We will miss him.)

Cleaning up your act...

"It is a mistake that there is no bath that would cure people's manners, but drowning would help."

-Mark Twain

On men...

"It isn't tying himself to one woman that a man dreads when he thinks of marrying; it's separating himself from all the others."

-Helen Rowland

A field day with Fields...

"A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money."

-W. C. Fields

Treating people fairly and equally...

"I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally."

-W.C. Fields

Fields on horses...

Seabiscuit would agree with this. "Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people." -W. C. Fields

Monday, July 28, 2003

Give it your All...

"Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. That is the secret of success."

-Swami Sivananda

Higher self...

All of us has one. Give your inner source of wisdom a name and call him or her forth often during your day. Don't be afraid to dialogue with your wisdom source within.

Understand this...

"A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five."

Groucho Marx

That should be my goal in writing.

Where are you?

"No matter where you go, there you are."

Buckaroo Banzai, Rock Star, Neurosurgeon, Alien Chaser

Buckaroo's resume reads like mine and forty-eleven other economic developers I know. This is a guy who plays loud music that drives the aliens out of your head...

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Such is life...

"Drama is life with the dull bits cut out."

-Alfred Hitchcock

Quick, get me a pair of scissors. I have some work to do.

Honest Abe once said...

"Be not deceived. Revolutions do not go backward."

-Abraham Lincoln

Now, that is a revolting thought...

Bull tails, or tales of bull...

"There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation."

-W.C. Fields

This helps to explain why so many people in organizations become victims of their own actions.

Knowing the meaning of what you say...

"First learn the meaning of what you say, and only then speak."

-Epictetus, Greek Stoic philosopher in Rome

Can you imagine how quiet the world would be if we practiced this simple principle? Congress would be cancelled. There would be no television evening news reports. Thousands of book publishers would go belly-up. And, there would be a huge shakeout in the "blogging world."

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Wise versus foolish men...

"The wise man does at once what the fool does finally."

-Baltasar Gracian

Know any flying bears?

"Brutes find out where their talents lie; a bear will not attempt to fly."

-Jonathan Swift

What's the difference...

between genius and talent?

"Genius does what it must, talent does what it can."

-Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Today I will do something that I can!

Do what you're good at...

"People are always neglecting something they can do in trying to do something they can't do."

-Edgar Watson Howe

Wow, how true that statement is!

Friday, July 25, 2003

What is a "conscious" organization?

According to consciousness expert John Renesch, the "Conscious Organization" is not an end-state where every worker has been certified "enlightened" and each and every element of the company, or division or bureau, or agency, or institution is spotlessly cleaned of any residual unconsciousness. The Conscious Organization, is one which continually examines itself, committed to becoming as conscious as it can. In other words, it has very low tolerance for unconsciousness. It possesses the collective will to be vigilant, the collective commitment to continuous evolution, and the collective courage to act."

Renesch says that "once this Conscious Organization, or anyone involved with it, recognizes a quality, procedure, or other element of its culture which is not conscious, a rallying cry goes out and the organization's resources are marshaled toward "cleaning up" that area and making it more conscious."

He goes on to say that "consciousness" is becoming aware of something and then acting responsibly in light of the new awareness. The discovery or new awareness is likely to generate a number of reactions which should be allowed to surface. If the new awareness is about something "bad" or "wrong," guilt, shame, anger, and other emotions may come up. A tendency to find fault, blame, accuse, or defend oneself or the organization may materialize. But avoiding discovery eliminates any chance of becoming conscious – individually or organizationally. Feeling the initial emotions about these new discoveries is essential. Another key part of this process, according to Renesch is to forgive yourself, the people involved, and the organization for being unaware of this problem. Even if there was some awareness of wrong-doing, it is important to recognize it and forgive.

For more about John Renesch's work, click here.

Conscious business...

An email from a West Coast writer motivated me to dig a little deeper into the role of consciousness in the workplace. For those looking for some interesting examples of where a "conscious culture" is helping to spur business competitiveness, read this.

In The New Pioneers: The Men and Women Who are Transforming the Workplace and the Marketplace, Thomas Petzinger, Jr., discusses the pieces of a powerful revolution currently reshaping the face of American business.

Petzinger, the long time writer of the Wall Street Journal column, The Front Lines, draws his conclusions from corporate case studies of companies in more than forty cities in thirty states and worldwide. The highlighted workplaces demonstrate environments in which motivated people choose to work.

The new sense of personal control, according to Petzinger, “bred a culture of innovation in every corner of the plant. It reveals the creative power of human interaction. It suggests that efficiency is intrinsic; that people are naturally productive; that when inspired with vision, equipped with the right tools, and guided by information about their performance, people will build on each other’s actions to a more efficient result than any single brain could design.”

This is powerful stuff!

Meditation and yoga as sources of competitive advantage...

"Nortel, Texas Instruments, Raytheon, Google, Apple and many others are apparently finding meditation and yoga to be a very efficient way to motivate and energize the employees. BusinessWeek finds that the reasons companies are suddenly hiring the yoga experts and conducting regular classes are easily justified to the management: "increased brain-wave activity, enhanced intuition, better concentration, and the alleviation of the kinds of aches and pains that plague employees most"."

Thursday, July 24, 2003


and allow what comes naturally to you to take charge of your life today. The secret to peak performance is to relax under pressure. That is a lesson my meditation practice is teaching me.

Spiritual vision...

helps light the path we walk in life. You are your own source of light. Shine forth today and something wonderful and powerful will happen.

Love is...

a special place inside you that is more powerful than whatever fear or pain you might be feeling right now. Give in to your loving nature. Allow it to heal your pain and suffering. It's really very simple.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Stuff happens...

but what really matters is how we respond to it.

The human spirit is indomitable, even in the face of major crisis. If stuff didn't happen in our lives, our lives would cease to be. Sometimes we want to control stuff from happening in our lives. We don't grow unless stuff happens--both good and bad stuff. Giving thanks for the good stuff in our life is, or should be, easy. When bad stuff happens, you can fix it--at least most bad stuff that happens.

Let's say you lose your job, and people do everyday. You may be angry, and scared; put the energy of fear, and anger into constructive action. No one can achieve anything alone, so affirm these facts:

• I am here • I have ability • I have resources.

• Be mindful of and use what you have — remember, no challenge is bigger than you are.

From: Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!) by John Alston and Lloyd Thaxton

The weeping sand...

As soon as he arrived in Marrakech, the missionary decided that he would spend each morning in the desert which lay beyond the town. During his first walk, he noticed a man lying in the sand, caressing the ground with his hand, and with his ear pressed to the earth.

"He is a madman," he said to himself.

But the scene was repeated every day, and intrigued by this strange behavior, after a month he decided to speak to the stranger. With great difficulty - since he did not yet speak Arabic fluently - he knelt down beside him.

- What are you doing?
- I am keeping the desert company, and consoling it for its solitude and tears.
- I didn't know the desert was able to weep.
- It weeps every day, because it dreams of becoming useful to man, and being transformed into a great garden, where one might grow grain, flowers, and raise sheep.
- Then tell the desert that it has fulfilled its mission well - said the missionary. - Each time I come walking here, I understand the true dimension of mankind, for its open space allows me to see how small we are beside God.

"When I see its sands, I imagine the millions of people in the world, who were created equal, although the world is not always fair to all. Its mountains help me to meditate. Upon seeing the sun rise on its horizon, my soul is filled with joy, and I am closer to God."

The missionary left the man and returned to his daily affairs. To his great surprise, the next morning, he found him in the same place, in the same position.

- Did you tell the desert everything I said to you? - he asked.
The man nodded.
- And it continues to weep nevertheless?
- I can hear each of its sobs. Now it is crying because it spend thousands of years thinking it was completely useless, and wasted all this time blaspheming God and its destiny.

- Then tell it that although man has a much shorter life, he also spends many days thinking he is useless. He rarely discovers his destiny, and thinks God has been unfair to him. When the moment finally comes that some event shows him why he was born, he thinks it is too late to change his life, and he continues to suffer. And like the desert, he blames himself for the lost time.

- I don't know whether the desert will hear - said the man. - It is already so used to the pain, and cannot see things differently.
- Then let us do what I always do when people lose hope. Let us pray.
The two men knelt down and prayed; one turned towards Mecca, for he was a Muslim, the other placed his hands together in prayer, for he was a Catholic. Each prayed to his own God, who was always the same God, although people insisted on calling Him different names.

The following day, when the missionary went on his morning walk, the man was no longer there. At the spot where he used to embrace the sand, the soil appeared to be moist, a spring having emerged. During the following months, this spring grew in strength, and the inhabitants of the town built a well around it.

The Bedouins named the place "Well of the Desert Tears". They say that all those who drink its water, will succeed in transforming the reason for his suffering into the reason for joy; and will end up finding his true destiny.

-By Paulo Coelho, The Warrior of Light

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Conscious Living is a gift...

It has brought so many wonderful people to me. People from around the world and many in my own back yard. It gives me great comfort to know that I am not alone in my desire to live a more conscious life. There are many others who seek to live and experience life more fully.

Some mornings I feel it is a chore to create and post articles to Conscious Living. Then, a few days later I receive a wonderful email from someone who tells me that they faithfully visit the blog for daily spiritual nourishment. That makes it all worthwhile and reminds me that my true calling is simply to find my own way in life and in the process lend a helping hand to others so they can do the same.

Seeking happiness...

Amazing as it might seem, many people are afraid of happiness. To such people, being at one with life would mean changing certain habits - and losing their own identity.

We often decide we are unworthy of the good things which happen to us. We do not accept miracles - for to accept them gives us the sensation that we owe God something. Furthermore, we are afraid we might "grow accustomed" to happiness.

We think: "it is better not to taste the chalice of joy, because we shall suffer so much when it is gone."

Afraid to diminish, we cease to grow. Afraid to cry, we cease to laugh. Here are a few stories about this:

-Told by Paulo Coelho

Make of it what you will...

A journalist hounded the French writer, Albert Camus, asking him to explain his work in detail. The author of The Plague refused: "I write, and others can make of it what they will."

But the journalist refused to give in. One afternoon, he managed to find him in a café in Paris.

"Critics say you never take on truly profound themes," said the journalist. "I ask you now: if you had to write a book about society, would you accept the challenge?"

"Of course," replied Camus. "The book would be one hundred pages long. Ninety-nine would be blank, since there is nothing to be said. At the bottom of the hundredth page, I'd write: "man's only duty is to love ".

A reflection on the warrior...

For the common man, the world is strange because when he isn't tired of living, he is suffering because of things he believes he doesn't deserve. To a warrior, the world is strange because it is stupendous, frightening, mysterious, unfathomable. The art of the warrior consists of balancing the terror of being a man, with the wonder of being a man.

-Paulo Coelho

Do not question the search...

Sri Ramakrisna tells the story of a man who was about the cross a river, when master Bibhishana came over, wrote a name on a leaf, tied it to the man's back, and said: "Don't be afraid. Your faith will help you walk on the waters. But the minute you lose faith, you will drown."

The man trusted Bibhishana, and began to walk on the waters, without any difficulty. At a certain point, he had an overwhelming desire to know what his master had written on the leaf tied to his back.

He took it and read what was written: "Oh god Rama, help this man to cross the river."

"Is that all?" thought the man. "And who is this god Rama, anyway?"

The moment this doubt became lodged in his mind, he was submerged and drowned in the strong current.

Warrior of the Light website

Monday, July 21, 2003

Reacting to terror...

This weekend my wife and I experienced a small taste of terror while playing tennis at a local park.

Two men began arguing at a nearby shelter in the park. The agrument erupted into a fight. It became apparent to us that the situation could escalate. As a result of a series of 911 calls by those at the park, the police arrived within minutes.

The man instigating the fight jumped into his car just seconds before the police arrived. The man screeched out of the parking lot in his old car. He raced his car over a grassy knoll and sped recklessly out of the park. The sound of the wild man's screeching tires still ring in my ears. It was a horrible sound. We kept waiting to hear a crash as the man's car collided into another car on the roadway. Fortunately, it did not.

The incident happened so suddenly it made our hearts race nearly as fast as the mad man's car. We were relieved that no one was hurt. We kept thinking of the tragedy that could have occurred if children were playing on the nearby grassy knoll.

What could cause a man to do such a thing? How could he allow himself to lose control of himself and put others' lives at risk in this way? As I reflect on the situation, the word "desperation" keeps surfacing in my consciousness. The incident also reminds me that people who think so little of themselves have little to no regard for others.

We are fortunate that the ugly side of life visits us so infrequently. Some are not so lucky as we read stories daily in the newspaper of horrid tragedies caused by human recklessness.

Moments like this are stark reminders of how suddenly the world can change.

Wisdom garden...

A garden of wisdom exists within each us. Within our wisdom garden lies abundant insight, guidance and knowledge that is there to help us make the right life decisions. Like any garden, our wisdom garden requires our regular attention and care to ensure it is not overtaken by weeds. It's a wonderful place where you can find the right answer to any question you may ask in your life.

Close your eyes and envision your wisdom garden. It's truly a beautiful place.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Today and now...

"It's not that today is the first day of the rest of my life, but that "now" is all there is of my life."

-Hugh Prather


"Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without it we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency."

-Maya Angelou


"Worry is a god, invisible but omnipotent. It steals the bloom from the cheek and lightness from the pulse; it takes away the appetite, and turns the hair gray."

-Benjamin Disraeli

Sound familiar?

Saturday, July 19, 2003

People we attract...

Do you ever look around and ask: "Why are the people who are a part of my life in my life?" I find myself doing that, especially when I run into someone who brings me great joy and happiness or someone who is the biggest pain-in-the-ass I have ever met.

I have a theory of people attraction and it goes something like this. Each of us is a powerful "energy" magnet that attracts and repels people. The qualities of our inner magnet changes many times during our life.

No one wants to attract assholes, but we attract them at times because even the asshole has something to teach us. The guy who cuts you off on the highway could be a reminder that we tend to do the same thing literally or symbolically to others. Joyous people can help remind us that there is a place of joy inside each of us.

There is another dimension to my theory, which is the relationship dimension. Every person you attract has relationships with other people. These relationships reflect the complex web that person lives in. When you attract that person, you at times also attract a part of their relationship web. This is especially common when we manage a sustained relationship with a person over time.

Why is all this important? It's important because it points out that we need to understand ourselves to truly understand the meaning of our relationships. It also points out that we have a choice in who we attract into our lives and who we are attracted to. Finally, it points out the importance of building a network of relationships that is healthy and capable of nourishing our growth.

The quality of our relationships really matters. If your life is filled with joyous, creative, and happy people, look closely at the path that led you to them. Do the same for the assholes and jerks in your life. The path will tell you a lot about yourself and how and why you relate to certain types of people. If you try, you can actually change the mix of people you attract.

Dealing with problems...

"When you can't solve the problem, manage it."

-Robert H. Schuller

"The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insolvable. They can never be solved, but only outgrown."

-Carl Jung

"Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginery ones that are unconquerable."

-Theodore N. Vail

Integrated spirituality...

"My objective in life is not to have a spiritual part of life that is separate from the rest of my life."

-Ed McCracken, CEO, Silicon Graphics

That is my goal as well. Many people avoid their own spirituality because they see it as a Sunday church experience, or something they can only practice at home or in the company of others who share their spiritual beliefs. I am learning to live in a spiritual way everyday and everywhere.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Yes, master...

"Depending on the circumstances,
You should be hard as a diamond,
Flexible as a willow,
Smooth-flowing like water
or as empty as space."

-Morihei Ueshiba

Ah, how very true...

Failing versus being a failure...

"Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself "I have failed three times," and what happens when he says "I am a failure."

-S. I. Hayakawa


Does this sound familiar to you? It's called the "tyranny of because."

"I was late because my alarm clock didn't go off."
"Profits are declining because of the recession."
I am getting divorced because my spouse is too critical."
"Women make poor leaders because they are too emotional."
"You can't be honest with people because that will damage the relationship."

Source: The Corporate Mystic: A Guidebook for Visionaries with Thier Feet on the Ground, by Gay Hendricks and Kate Ludeman.

Two things come to mind in reflecting on this wonderful insight. First, causality and attribution (connecting causes and their effects) have become an obsession in our culture. Science and religion are both in part to blame for this. Second, at times we are more prone to attempt to explain something rather than simply accept or receive it. The mind is a sword with many sharp edges. Be aware of the various ways it slices and dices reality. And yes, that is straight from Don's Book of Infinite Wisdoms and Other Quips About Life.

Not either/or, but both...

"People with high levels of personal mastery do not set out to integrate reason and intuition. Rather, they achieve it naturally--as a by-product of their commitment to use all the resources at their disposal. They cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, any more than they would choose to walk on one leg or see with one eye."

-Peter Senge

Thank you. I really needed to be reminded of this. This is precisely what some members of my "personal advisory board" have been telling me. It amazes me how what you need just seems to appear when you need it. Now, please send $1 million my way.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Goals in life...

"An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding."

-Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

"Purpose is what gives life a meaning."

-C. H. Pankhurst

"Be a life long or short, its completeness depends on what it was lived for."

-David Starr Jordan


"Enthusiasm signifies God in is."

-Madame de Stael

"A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him."

-Mae West

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

How we see others...

"The way in which we think of ourselves has everything to do with how the world sees us."

-Arlene Raven

"Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself."

-Honore de Balzac


"To me, faith means not worrying."

-John Dewey

"Faith is primarily a process of identification; the process by which the individual ceases to be himself and becomes part of something eternal."

-Eric Hoffer

"Faith is a passionate intuition."

-William Wordsworth

"Faith is a subtle chain that binds us to the infinite."

-Elizabeth O. Smith

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


"The bird, a nest; the spider, a web; and man, friendship."

-William Blake

How very true!


is almost always the union of a part of one mind with a part of another; people are friends in spots."

-George Santayana

I am thankful for my friends!


is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple."

-C.W. Ceram

Life does not have to be some complicated. Simplify it!


"To expect defeat is 95 percent of defeat."

-Francis Marion Crawford

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The sacred circle beckons...

"Build medicine wheels,"
says a small voice inside.
I dally with the thought,
fearing it will change who I am.
Who am I?
"If you really want to know,
build medicine wheels."

How true this is...

"Even if you are on the right track you will still get run over if you just sit there."

-Will Rogers

Another wow...

"Work is love made visible."

-Khalil Gibran

As we think about future job creation, remember...

"No race can prosper until it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."

-Booker T. Washington


Don't count the days, make the days count.

Did I miss something?

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

- Thomas A. Edison

Above the fog...

Opening bell
echoes from the canyon walls --
raindrops on the river.

The sounds of rocks bouncing off rocks;
the shadows of trees traced on trees.

I sit, still.
The canyon river chants,
moving mountains.

The sermon spun on the still point:
dropping off eternity, picking up time;
letting go of self, awakened to Mind.

-Michael P. Garofalo, Above the Fog

Grasp this if you can...

The mind of the past is ungraspable;
the mind of the future is ungraspable;
the mind of the present is ungraspable.

-Diamond Sutra

Monday, July 14, 2003

"Voluntary simplicity...

involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some other directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not be relevant to the purpose of another...The degree of simplification is a matter for each individual to settle himself."

Source: Voluntary Simplicity, by Duane Elgin.

Does this ring true for you? I know it does for me. Sometimes I feel like I just have too much stuff to care for, manage and otherwise pay attention to. I have been giving some thought to a daily approach that I could follow to simplify my own life. Meditation is helping to unclutter my head, but I need to take additional steps. You will be hearing more about this.

How have you simplified your life recently? I'd like to hear your ideas.

The art of mingling...

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to be natural minglers and networkers? There is a real art to mingling, which Jeanne Martinet describes in her book, The Art of Mingling (MJF Books, 1992).

Here is a bit of solid advice from the book. The author cautions us about using the line "So, what do you do for a living?" All of us have used this as our lead line because we assume that a person's work goes a long way in defining the person. Why avoid the line? Because it is a greatly over-used line, the person may have just lost his or her job, or they might think that you only care about their work and not them as a person.

What are some effective conversation starting lines you have used with success? I'm looking for some ideas.

Believe to achieve...

We must first become believers, if we want to become better achievers. Don't ask me who said this first, but it's a thought that has been running through my mind for some time.

Speaking of exercise...

Jumping to conclusions is about the only exercise some people get.

Sunday, July 13, 2003


"It is possible that a man could live twice as long if he didn't spend the first half of his life acquiring habits that shorten the other half."

"The worst boss anyone can have is a bad habit."

"Good habits are formed; bad habits we usually fall into."

"One can conquer a bad habit easier today than tomorrow."

"It's easier to form good habits than reform bad ones."

Source: 14,000 Quips and Quotes for Writers and Speakers, by E.C. McKenzie

Being right...

"If being right is your goal,
You will find error in the world,
And seek to correct it.
But do not expect peace of mind.
If peace of mind is your goal,
Look for the errors in your beliefs and expecatations.
Seek to change them, not the world.
And be always prepared to be wrong."

From: Waking Up in Time, by Peter Russell.

Systems thinking can help in most anything...

1. Learn to be comfortable with contradictions. See your own life as a movie.

2. Learn to look at problems as possible opportunities. If you want to improve processes and systems, look in the very places where the problems appear. Use beyond-tangible and beyond-linear ways.

3. Learn to focus on people's "better sides." Use win/win, not win/lose. See the beyond-tangible elements. Make new relationships with beyond-linear reasoning.

4. Pause to look for connections in the "big picture." Things get done in the white
space in between.

5. Look for systems and develop an appreciation of them, e.g., anthills, baseball fields, etc. Look for systems everywhere. The effect will be logarithmic.

From: Bringing the Soul into the Workplace, by Naomi Rose

Improving your tennis attitude...

Can a change of attitude change your tennis game? The experts say it definitely can, including those teaching us tennis this past weekend.

What are some common issues that beginning and advanced tennis players alike face?

Common Issues

- Extreme nerves during matches / lack of belief in yourself.
- Playing great in practice, but lousy in tournament matches or competition.
- Practicing hard but getting little payback.
- Injuries or illnesses occurring just before tournament matches.
- Anger problems, racquet smashing, tanking matches etc.
- Slumps in form.
- Regularly recurring problems on the court.
- Concentration and technical problems.
- Doubts, fears, worries and anxiety, worrying about what others think.
- Inconsistency in matches.
- Overly worrying about the "uncontrollables" such as which opponent you will be drawn to play.

Tennis is a lot like life. You have to practice and then just go out and do it! Accept that you have a lot to learn--because everyone does, whether you are a beginner or a professional.

Probably the best advice that I received this weekend from the tennis pros at Yellow Ball Tennis Camp was "RELAX" and concentrate on where you want the ball to go.

Yellow Ball Tennis Camp...

at Oberlin College was terrific. Mary and I just came back from an intense 2.5 days of tennis, from sun up to sun down. We learned SO much. It was an "extreme" experience. Doing this reminded me of the importance of really pushing myself past my own self-set limits. Often we limit our personal growth by pre-judging what we are capable of. I guess that is why we need teachers. Right?

Friday, July 11, 2003


I would like to take a moment to remember my dear friend and father-in-law, Ken Rothaermel, who passed away four years ago on this date.

Ken used his life to help and save others. He was a firefighter in East Cleveland for over thirty years. He saw life optimistically and opportunistically, even after emphysema greatly restricted his mobility. I learned from his courage and love, as did everyone who truly knew Ken.

Ken was the kind of man who knew how to move mountains through small things in life. That is one of the amazing lessons he was able to teach me in the time I knew him. I give thanks for Ken Rothaermel and what he gave to all of us.

Would you be offended if...

somebody accused you of having a conciliabule?

Conciliabule: (n) a secret meeting of plot-hatchers.

Another bit of Twain-sense...

"Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use."

I say let the truth hang out! That's what blogs are for, right?

Just the "hair" facts, please...

* Humans have three times more body hair than chimpanzees.
* Men's whiskers grow 5-6 inches a year.
* The average guy spends 2,965 hours shaving in his life.
* Hair was a successful Broadway production.
* Some guys got it and some guys don't.

Today is...

Friday, July 11, 2003, and on this date in history in 1786 Morocco agreed to stop attacking American ships in the Mediterranean for a payment of $10,000. Gee, what would that cost today?


The word hails from the early description of unfamiliar behavior of foreigners, also known as outlanders. Did you know that?

Source: The Iannone Book of Wisdom and Other Crap

National Condom Week...

starts on Sunday. I hear there will be a parade in Los Angeles. You don't want to miss it.

Mark Twain once said...

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." That is so f _ _ _ _ _ g true!

What was I thinkin'...

writing in foreign languages on other people's blogs. Christian fundamentalism has been known to do this to its early childhood victims; that is to cause them to speak in strange tongues. To my friends George, Steve and Jack, I offer my sincere apologies for having waited so long to "internationalize" their blogs. We need more of this nonsense! Don't you think?

Was I thinkin'... Schreiben in den Fremdsprachen auf blogs der Leute war. Christlicher Fundamentalism bekannt, um dies seine frühen Kindheitopfer anzutun; das ist, sie zu veranlassen, in den merkwürdigen Zungen zu sprechen. meinen Freunden George, Steve und Jack, biete ich meine aufrichtigen Entschuldigungen für die Aufwartung an, also lang "internationalisieren Sie" ihre blogs. Wir benötigen mehr dieses Unsinnes! Nicht denken Sie? And now you know the rest of the story...

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Ecology's paradigm shift...

"In a nutshell, the paradigm shift involves two primary changes: 1) a shift from an equilibrium point of view where local populations and ecosystems are viewed as in balance with local resources and conditions, to a disequilibrium point of view where history matters and populations and ecosystems are continually being influenced by disturbances; and 2) a shift from considering populations and ecosystems as relatively closed or autonomous systems independent of their surroundings, to considering both populations and ecosystems as open and strongly influenced by the input and output or flux of material and individuals across system borders."

From: "Ecology's New Paradigm: What Does It Offer Designers and Planners," by H. Ronald Pulliman and Bart R. Johnson, in Ecology and Design: Frameworks for Learning, edited by Bart R. Johnson and Kristina Hill.

How does our view of our work change if we adopt these two system principles?

Dealing with chaos...

"In order to deal with the chaos that exists in the world today, you need some grounding. That grounding best comes from knowing who you are."

-Michael Ray, professor, Stanford Business School


"Life is now in session. Are you present?"

-B. Copeland

"Success is...

getting up one more time than you fall down."

-Julie Bowden, writer


"A beggar had been sitting by the side of the road for over 30 years. One day a stranger walked by. "Spare some change?" mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. "I have nothing to give you," said the stranger. Then he asked: "What's that you are sitting on?" 'Nothing," replied the beggar. "Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember." "Ever looked inside?" asked the starneger. "No," said the beggaer. "What's the point? There's nothing inside." "Have a look inside," insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to pry open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold."

From: The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle

It's important for all of us to look inside ourselves. We will no doubt find buried treasure...

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Finding work that matters...

Restless? Look for meaning. That is the rock of ages that you seek. Take a look at what Mark Albion has to say in his book Finding Work That Matters:

"In the wake of September 11th, schools throughout the United States noticed the first wave of an historically unprecedented phenomenon-the overwhelming number of people at every level of society who were suddenly pursuing jobs-such as teaching-that paid significantly less than what they were currently earning. Why?

Current studies suggest that 80% of businesspeople are not happy doing what they're doing, which is nearly a 200% increase in career unhappiness since 1960. So when we don't enjoy what we do, and we spend half our waking hours doing it, why does it take something like the events of September 11th to make us decide that we need to make a radical change?

Certainly, we fear making a wrong decision, or not making enough money, or the possibility of failure. But current research has shown that the biggest fear most of us have is not failure, lack of money, or even death itself-our biggest fear is to live a life without meaning."

For more information, click here.

Storytelling helps to heal human suffering...

The Integrative Medicine Center at Duke University has published an interesting article by Larry Burk on the healing power of storytelling. Here is a clip from the article:

"In her best selling book, "Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal," pediatrician Rachel Naomi Remen draws her material from twenty years of working with cancer patients, her own personal struggles with a chronic disease, and the wisdom of her grandfather, a rabbi who shared spiritual lessons with her around the kitchen table during her childhood. Dr. Remen emphasizes the healing power of storytelling in her work as medical director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program. She also shares these insights with the medical students that she teaches at the University of California at San Francisco."

Access the article here.

Physical and psychological effects of meditation...

Meditation practice has assumed an important role in my life. The Institute of Noetic Sciences has released a wonderful report on meditation, which is beneficial to longstanding meditation practitioners as well as newcomers.

"Meditation—that great and mysterious subject which in the past has always conjured up the image of the solitary Asian ascetic sitting in deep trance—is fast appearing in unexpected places throughout modern American culture. Secretaries are doing it as part of their daily noon yoga classes. Preadolescent teenagers dropped off at the YMCA by their mothers on a Saturday morning are learning it as part of their karate training. Truck drivers and housewives in the Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center are practicing a combination of Hindu yoga and Buddhist insight meditation to control hypertension. Star athletes prepare themselves for a demanding basketball game with centering techniques they learned in Zen."

And yes, even economic developers and business executives meditate.

This excellent report reviews the existing scientific and subjective literature on meditation and draws together many useful observations about its positive physical and psychological benefits. I would encourage you to browse it and consider its relevance.

Website access to the report here.

Restlessness on the rise...

Have you sensed a growing restlessness in your world these days?

Wanderlust and a sense of restlessness have been tugging at my heart for sometime. For me, these feelings are tied to where my spiritual path is taking me, and in part I need to be more patient with myself.

My conversations with others reflect they are also growing more restless about their lives, where their careers are headed, how their families are doing and whether the future that lies ahead is the future of their choice.

What is the source of our restless spirit? For many people I have talked with, they seek a new challenge that spurs their personal and professional growth. Some are fearful that the life they created for themselves is a far cry from the life they want. Others say they are simply bored and need a change. Others feel cheated by life, their employer, and their own expectations.

Expectations have a lot to do with our restlessness. In some cases, there are things we need to accept about ourselves and the world, which will resolve some of our restless feelings. In many ways, our restlessness is actually a good thing because it pushes out of our old boxes and forces us to explore new things.

World conditions have a conditioning effect on our psyche. Three years of elevated risk and uncertainty takes its toll on all of us. We shouldn't forget the obvious.

I think a lot of people are quietly asking themselves "what's our next move?" Where should we focus our energies? What will help us garner the greatest happiness and satisfaction in life?

Reading The Alchemist created some inner churn for me. I've just started The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews, and will be sharing some insights from it shortly.

I am reminded of a quote by Kahlil Gibran: "We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them." I wonder if anybody else is feeling this way these days...

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

"The more elaborate...

our garb and lofty our titles, the easier it is to lose sight of the fact that our true identity and value have to do not with social status, but with the Mystery we embody."

The God Instinct: Heeding Your Heart's Unrest, by Tom Stella

Finding gratifying work...

If you're frustrated by your work, you're not alone. I am amazed at the number of people I meet in everyday life who simply are tired of doing what they do. It doesn't have to be that way, folks. We create our own reality, which says we can find what we seek in our work if we try.

Job-lock? Yes, it is a reality for many, but should you remain chained to a meaningless job that just earns you a living? That is a question every individual has to answer for him or herself. My attitude is "follow your passion" and create the work you love.

According to a brand new book, I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This, by Julie Jansen, people struggle with six work dilemmas:

1. Where's the meaning?
2. Been there, done that, but still need to earn.
3. Bruised and gun-shy.
4. Bored and plateaued.
5. Yearning to be on your own.
6. One toe in the retirement pool.

Jansen offers a useful systematic process for helping us think our way through each of these dilemmas. It's a worthwhile read whether you are completely or only moderately frustrated by your worklife.

The spiritual side of the martial arts...

The role of Zen in the martial arts is gaining momentum. While Zen defies easy definition because Zen has no theory, more teachers of the martial arts are including a focus on Zen. Zen is best seen as inner knowing for which there is no clearly stated dogma. The Zen of the martial arts de-emphasizes the power of the intellect and extols that of intuitive action. It's ultimate aim is to free the individual of anger, illusion and false passion.

"In this light, the dojo is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves, including our fears, anxieties, reactions, and habits. It is an arena of confused conflict where we confront an opponent who is not an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us understand ourselves more fully."

What if we did the same in the workplace? Can you imagine the transformation that would occur in how we treat ourselves, our co-workers, customers, suppliers and yes even our competitors.

Source: Zen in the Martial Arts, by Joe Hyams.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Indian world...

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is to be commended for its series on Ohio's Wyandot Indians, which helps remind us of the struggle of Native Americans in our state. The series provides mostly an historical account of the Wyandots during the "Contact" and Post-Contact" periods, when the Wyandot world intercepted the world of early White settlers in Ohio. These were the latter days of the Wynadot. The tribe's roots are much deeper than those reflected in the series.

I have had an attachment to the Indian world since my childhood. I have always felt that I was born with a curiosity about the Native world, which has grown in many different directions across my life. As a child, I could spend entire days walking freshly plowed farm fields looking for arrowheads and other evidence of our earliest citizens. The quest to find the perfect arrowhead kept me searching throughout the day, but the adventure was never complete until I had fully envisioned in my mind's eye how these ancient men and women lived when Nature had little competition from Man.

I sensed the hardship faced by the Indian even then. I knew that life was not easy, as they struggled to find food, water and other essentials. Deep inside, I knew these challenges are what made the Indian what he/she was. It was not until much later that I came to understand the problems facing the Indian in the modern (post-modern) world. Living three years in Arizona helped me to understand what the contemporary Indian world was like. The reservations were pitiful places in the late 1960s. And yes, life on the res has improved in some ways, but it is a far cry from the forests and deserts that the Indian freely lived in during earlier times.

I felt so strongly about the Indian world, that I completed an undergraduate degree in Anthropology/Archeology. The world of the North American Indian came naturally to me. I sensed what it was all about, even beyond what my teachers and the books I read had to say about the Indian world. Rather than continue my studies in this heart-felt area, I allowed my practical Capricorn nature to lead me to more pragmatic ways of making a living. I will always be an archeologist doing economic development work.

The Indian world was placed on hold in my life until the mid-1990s when I assumed management of a 3-year project to assist Midwestern tribes with sustainable development projects. It was a joy to be re-united with the Indian world. Working with tribes was not easy, given the long history of distrust and unmet expectations between Indian country and the White world. I found a way of being that Indians accepted, as much as they accepted any White man setting foot on the res. Our work with tribes was practical, but what interested me most was the Indian spirit world. I have tried to teach myself what I can about this world over the past 6-7 years. The Indian spirit has become a part of who I am in strange sort of way. For me, the Indian spirit has become a path to find my own inner wisdom and a way to find balance and connectedness in my life.

More and more, I find myself walking in the footsteps of the Indian. It is a comfortable pace that keeps me connected with Nature and other important things in life. It is a place to heal my ignorance and to contemplate the meaning of my life in a larger context. So, when I read the recent Plain Dealer stories about the Wyandot people, it helps me find my own path into the Indian world of wisdom and deeper connection with the web of life.

And yes, the medicine wheel is a part of my future journey. I feel it coming. There will be important learning and growth in all this for me. It feels like a good path to walk...

Our life in the Universe...

"The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it."

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations. iv. 3.

"God is...

the perfect poet,
Who in his person acts his own creations."

-Robert Browning

Satchel Paige born on this day...

Leroy Paige, 1906–82, American baseball player, b. Mobile, Ala. Celebrated for his wit and extraordinary pitching ability, he became legendary while barnstorming in the Negro baseball leagues prior to the integration (1947) of the major leagues. He played in as many as 2,500 games and is credited with more than 50 no-hitters. In 1948, at the age of 42, he joined the Cleveland Indians of the American League. He pitched for six seasons in the majors and was the first star of the Negro leagues to be inducted (1971) into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2002 Columbia University Press

Sunday, July 06, 2003

How to Annoy People...

Page yourself over the intercom. (Don't disguise your voice)

Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits.

Always wear them one day after your boss does. (This is especially effective if your boss is the opposite gender)

In the memo field of your paychecks, write "For Sexual Favors".

Put decaf in the coffee maker for three weeks. Once everyone has gotten off their caffine addictions, switch to espresso.

Send e-mail to the rest of your company to tell them what you are doing. For example: "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom."

Put mosquito netting around your cubicle.

Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

Suggest that the Coke machine is filled with beer.

Encourage your colleagues to join in a little synchronized chair dancing.

Determine how many cups of coffee are "to many".

Develop an unnatural fear of staplers.

When driving colleagues around, insist on keeping your cars windshield wipers running during all weather conditions to keep 'em tuned up.

Reply to everything someone says with, "That's what you think."

Practice making fax and modem noises.

Highlight irrelevant information in scientific papers, then cc them to your boss.

Finish all your sentences with "in accordance with the prophecy."

Adjust the tint on your monitor so that the brightness level lights up the entire working area. Insist to others that you like it that way.

Dont use any punctuation

As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

Ask people what sex they are.

While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.

At lunch time, sit in your parked car and point a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.

Specify that your drive-thru order is "to go".

Sing along at the opera.

While sitting at your desk, soak your fingers in Palmolive.

For a relaxing break, get away from it all in the fish tank with a mask and snorkel. If no one notices, ditch the snorkel and see how many fish you can catch in your mouth.


Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.

Leave the copy machine set to reduce 150%, dark, 17 inch paper, 99 copies.

Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles".

If you have a glass eye, tap on it with your pen while talking to others.

Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.

Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears.

Disassemble your pen and "accidentally" flip the cartridge across the room.

Holler random numbers while someone is counting.

Staple papers in the middle of the page.

Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.

Honk and wave to strangers.

Decline to be seated at a restaurant, and simply eat their complimentary mints by the cash register.

Buy a large quantity of orange traffic cones and reroute whole streets

Try playing the William Tell Overture (The Lone Ranger Theme) by tapping on the bottom of your chin.

When nearly done, announce "No, wait, I messed it up", and repeat.

Stomp on little plastic ketchup packets.

Learn Morse code, and have conversations with friends in public consisting entirely of "Beeeep Bip Bip Beeeep Bip..."

Speak only in a "robot" voice.

Push all the flat Lego pieces together tightly.

Sniffle incessantly.

Leave your turn signal on for fifty miles.

Declare your apartment an independent nation, and sue your neighbors upstairs for violating your airspace."

Source: DGS Hermits Idiosyncratic Realm of Solitude.

More about medicine wheels...

Medicine wheels are places to pray, meditate, contemplate and strengthen our connection to our life energy and the Universe. Used properly, the medicine wheel can help us to better understand ourselves and our relationships with all of creation.

Native Americans built medicine wheels where the Earth's energy is strong. One of the most famous medicine wheels is the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, found in Medicine Mountain, Wyoming. They are also found in places like Sedona, Arizona.

I found photographer Courtney Milne's book Sacred Places in North America: A Journey into the Medicine Wheel, to be full of valuable insights about not only medicine wheels, but other sacred landmarks and sites found across the U.S. and Canada.

Courtney Milne's website. His photographs are extremely compelling and powerful. Milne's website contains a wonderful collection of galleries, including some works by his students.

Asking for help...

is perfectly ok. One of the craziest things we do to ourselves is not ask for help when we need it from a family member, friend, a professional resource person, or our Higher Power. Why do we refuse to ask for help? Often it is our pride that prevents us from doing so. What is our pride? It is defense mechanism we create to protect our ego, which does not want to be exposed for what it really is.

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Medicine wheels...

Sacred circles have always played a major role in Native American spiritual practices, as well as those of many other cultures across the world.

The "medicine wheel" is a physical representation of the sacred circle that encompasses all life. It is an outer manifestation of an inner force.

In its deepest sense, the medicine wheel is the pulsating cycle of energy that infuses all matter--animate and inanimate. It is symbolic of the mandala of the universe in which everything created has its appropriate place.

Medicine wheels reinforce not only the sacredness and power of place, but also people and their journeys through life.

The greatest enemy of...

creativity and spiritual growth is "fear." Fear has a way of invading our inner peace and it builds walls around our creative spiritual energy. Understanding and love are the two best weapons against fear. For most of us, releasing our fear requires daily practice.

Friday, July 04, 2003

A little story...

Just two days ago, my wife Mary and I visited an ancient Indian burial mound on the Amelia Island Plantation, which is located near the backwater area on the property. Given my lifelong love affair with the Indian world, I wanted to visit the site and seek spiritual inspiration.

I stood before the mound and silently asked for my heart to speak to me. A very old Indian man said this to my heart: "What do you look for here? We are no more."

I was startled by the words that came to me. I thought it's obvious that there are no Indians here now. As I was standing there, I had lost track of time. Suddenly, I was jolted back to the present by the thought of where my wife Mary was. Fear cut through me like a sharp saber. I ran to the path where Mary had been standing earlier. She was no where to be found. Frantically I searched up and down the path and the nearby marsh. I started calling her and eventually she called back to me. Like a curious child, Mary had wandered down the path to another part of the backwater area. I was SO relieved to see her.

I thought how curious that I would have this experience as I stood by the mound seeking spiritual guidance. It occurred to me a couple hours later that the fear of losing Mary was the sign that I had asked for. It was a sign of my deepest love for her. As they say, you never know what you have until its almost gone. This was a reminder to me of how important Mary is to me. It was also an insight showing me that much of my life has been a journey to find love and understanding.

Our hearts speak to us in amazing ways. I am trying harder to listen to what my heart has to say to me. Sometimes we need a vacation to hear our heart speak. For some of us denser types, it takes talking to the Indian spirits at a backwater burial mound.

A wise man once told me to...

seek the God of my own self-understanding. That has become my path in life. That is the consciousness I seek in everyday life. Thanks Albert for helping me reach this insight.

Life is learning...

It teaches us how to move from bewilderment to awe, how deeply unanswered questions can give way to humility, and how to let go of old ideas and beliefs that hold back our progress. It's true that what we believe at times can get in the way of what we know.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

The soulful path of life...

leads us to our real self. As I walked on the Amelia Island Plantation beach this morning, I realized that my heart speaks to me often, but the buzz of my daily life prevents me from hearing what it has to say. It says "watch for the signs; they are all around you." Learn from your visit to the Indian burial mound yesterday. Understand why the crane stands next to your hotel and marks the place of new building and growth. Hold onto what is inside you and allow it to fill you before you let it go. Give what you have to others that they may find their way. And more...

The sound of the ocean waves...

rushing the beach activates the water part of who and what we are. It is a powerful part of our being and essence. Listen to your ocean waves as they coax you into your own deep inner waters where much energy and life exists. Connect with the flow...

Dreams remind us...

of what we need to resolve and understand in our lives. Some times they teach us profound lessons that only the eyes of our soul can see. Most often, our dreams teach us to pay closer attention to how we process our everyday life. It's good to pay attention to our dreams. They are just as real as our waking moments in the context of our soul.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

At some point we know...

"It's what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend."

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

Friends, I am convinced that each and every one of us has a Personal Legend, and our only reason for being here is to discover that purpose and allow it to shape our life. Please don't stop talking with your heart. Don't let your heart stop talking to you. To forsake your heart is to forsake your life.

It's the possibility...

of having a dream come true that makes life interesting...

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

This short sentence resonates very deeply with me as I sit upon the Amelia Island Plantation beach and ponder my own life dream and how it has shaped my life journey across 52 years. What is it that my heart truly wants me to do?

Historic St. Augustine is...

a captivating experience. Old Spanish tradition echoes from the walls of the old city and its 16th Century buildings. You can almost hear and see the early Spaniards in the hot afternoon sun. This is "must-see TV." I vaguely remember the first time I visited St. Augustine. I was 3 years old and the year was 1954. It was our fist family vacation in Florida, which was spent between Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale. How things have changed! Some for the good and some not for the good.

Have you ever felt...

like you have been some place before, and you haven't--at least not in this lifetime? That is my experience of Amelia Island Plantation. It's a truly wonderful place. So much natural beauty with the white sandy beach, the lush vegetation, the wildlife, and the peace and quiet. Wow! This is a natural healing place. Very powerful place.

Amelia Island Plantation
Friends' Blogs