October 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
In Mysore class you show up anytime during the posted hours and will be taught the Ashtanga sequence one posture at a time with a teacher. As you repeat the postures daily, you gradually increase your knowledge and create an independent, personal practice. New students are asked to commit to a consistent Mysore practice of at least 3x per week (students are welcome to come and observe class anytime). This commitment enables the student to fully realize all of the benefits of this method of practicing Ashtanga yoga.
September 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
These are two words I do not always exhibit; however I have tasted the rewards of discipline and patience.
I watched a fantastic documentary a few weeks ago called “Jiro dreams of Sushi”
I highly recommend this movie. It is exceptionally well filmed and it carries a powerful message. Jiro is an 85 year old Sushi master, who is still striving to advance his art of creating sushi. The discipline he models from a life commitment to his craft is inspiring.
I have been experiencing my own break throughs in recent years. Having been a Realtor for almost 12 years now I have experienced some of the joys of a committed work path. Recently I have been sharing with others that for the first 5 years of my Real Estate career I wasn’t sure if I was committed to this profession. It was a time of testing the waters of the business and deciding what to do with my life.
I remember being a few years in to this career path and entering in to an office meeting with a good friend of mine. A 55 year old lawyer who served as a role model and mentor to me. I announced on that morning that I had decided to return to youth work (I had formerly ran a Youth Program). My wise friend leaned back in his leather chair and folded his hands behind his head, and with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face challenged me. “Keep your eye on the ball”.
Admittedly back then I did not really know what I was doing. Thankfully I found myself surrounded with wise council that would challenge me to stay the course. I am thankful that on that morning I felt the proverbial whack on the side of the head that called me to keep my head in the game.
Had I made a decision to break away and try something new that day I may have looked back at that moment in time with equal appreciation of the value of change.
Meanwhile the experience I was destined to have was to enjoy the rewards of discipline and patience. Staying on my career path as a Realtor has given me the opportunity to experience a success that comes with endurance. The effect is like that of a snowball rolling down a hill and growing in size and momentum. If you keep starting new snowballs it will not allow you to experience the same growth and velocity.
The story of Jiro the sushi chef provides an inspiration that is less common today. To imagine doing the same job for a lifetime to most could seem uninspiring, maybe even depressing. Yet those who choose change at a time of a plateau rather then patience to push towards breaking through to the next level may never know the joy that is possible from such commitment. To see an 85 year old master who has been consistent and created a new level of performance that was not known to possible is inspiring.
I am learning these lesson in many aspects of my life. I am by no means a a prime example of these virtues but I have tasted the pleasures of these traits.
I recommend a book by Seth Godin called The Dip that discusses, when to quite and when to keep going.
July 17, 2012 § 2 Comments
There have been moments in time that my focus was writing.
My writing had a general motive, to share my insights, ideas, opinions, passion and love. To share a little bit of myself with the world.
First slowly, then quickly my blog began to die. When posts slow from writing every other day, to every other week, to every other month. Is this the typical life cycle of a blog or just the blogs that I have created?
This is my third blog (not including http://www.RamageGroup.TV my business video blog). I have retired my previous written blogs “incognitoaxis” and “veganyogirunner”. I am okay with that. I had many great posts on those previous sites and I felt very liberated to press delete (although veganyogirunner still lives online).
With this current blog I have clearly fumbled through the purpose of my writing. I have shared aspirations towards world travel as a family and then decided to maintain my lifestyle in Calgary as a Realtor.
Now, Here I am.
I just read a post from a blogger that inspired me. I was encouraged to write because I could see the value in sharing. Being reminded of the simple things that make as human. Sharing our observations on the world helps to remind us of our common journey as people.
Thank you for reading this and I hope to begin writing again right now.
I admire those bloggers who stay committed, consistent and disciplined. I admire those who keep sharing and keep the content coming. From mommy bloggers to copywriters, you inspire me. Clearly the only way to improve is to practice and the only place to start (again) is right here and right now.
I began my day in the usual way today. At 4:50am I was cruising on my longboard to the Yoga Shala. There was a mist in the air, and with a slight downhill decline I gave a couple solid kicks to the ground and then stood with both feet on the board and outstretched my arms. There is magic in the air in the predawn, as a car cruises by I wonder if they are at the beginning of their day or the end.
Feeling pretty fine I grab up my board and unlock the Shala door. Upon arrival two of the usual are already into their practice. My wonderful teacher Pat is at the end of his practice which would indicate that he must have started before 4am.
I am happy that recently I have assumed the role of candle-lighter. I have always wanted to be a part of some early morning ritual of lighting candles in a temple. Although this is not a temple and is simply a studio in a strip mall, it is a temple to me. I am grateful as I spark the flames of the tea lights around the yoga studio.
When I close my eyes to begin the incantation that preludes my Mysore practice I give thanks.
Here I am.
Blog to be continued…
April 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
On March 29 to April 01 I attended an Anthony Robbins “Unleash the Power Within” seminar in New Jersey.
I have long admired Anthony Robbins, I remember first seeing some of his infomercials on TV in the mid to late 1990′s. Rather then buying his audio tapes I went to the local library and borrowed what I could. As a result I listened to almost everything that was available in his Power Talk collection. In 1998 I purchased the book “Awaken the Giant within” and it was certainly one of the most formative books in my life.
All these years later Anthony Robbins has not written another book and in some ways seems more distant on the radar of popular media. However my wife had come across some of his online content this last year and had become a bit of a fan. We looked over his calendar of events and decided going to New Jersey to participate in the “Unleash the Power Within” seminar would be a great vacation retreat.
Here is a summary of my experience:
Anthony Robbins is incredible. I may well be a groupie in my own right, yet it is impossible to ignore the amazing talent and discipline Anthony Robbins has.
On the first day Anthony Robbins spoke for a steady 12 hours from 2pm until about 2am! There were short intermittent breaks, but for the most part he went non stop! He is a master story teller, and the best part is that his stories have a purpose. In the end the moral of his tale reconnects to a principle that helps install and bring to life the lesson that he is seeking to teach. His life experiences are so rich and diverse that he will have you at the edge of your seat in anticipation.
Anthony’s speaking is broken up nicely with stretch and dance breaks. He also gets the crowd doing crazy things like massaging your neighbours or leading those beside you in aerobic instruction. There is lots of dancing and jumping, and at certain intervals the experience is like a rock and roll concert. At one point Anthony Robbins pulls out a water gun and everyone in the crowd starts going nuts and splashing water from water bottles everywhere. This happened while Nirvana “smells like teen spirit” was blaring and the whole audience was bouncing in unison.
There are numerous moments to take breaks and write and reflect – moving life lessons into practice and making plans to implement action into your life. There are many opportunities to share your writing and reflections with your neighbour. I sat with my wife for the seminar but I met a few couples who decided to create space so that they would share with a stranger and be less biased in these activities.
Anthony does take you through what would really seem to be some almost trance inducing exercises. Along the lines of “close your eyes and imagine yourself stepping into a bubble..” On the first night this type of experience felt like 10 minutes but was apparently a 45 minute state. He suggested that the rest we experienced while visioning would have been equivalent to 2-3 hours of sleep! From a refreshed state – we approached the firewalk!
The firewalk occurred on the first night. I was not nervous about it as I feel Anthony Robbins guides hundreds of thousands through the experience, so “if they can do it I can do it”. Yet as he shared the history of the firewalk and the reality of the temperatures of the coals and the possible dangers, I found myself slightly more concerned. Anthony shared a few key components to the way you need to cross the bed of hot coals. Then everyone got pumped up in in the “optimum state” to go do it.
Of the many groups and beds of fire I was the first one in line to cross my particular bed of fire. The whole crowd was clapping and chanting “yes” in unison. The whole thing was very tribal. At times my mind wanted to say “this is fu#ked”! but I replaced that with “This is awesome!”. One of the crew jumped ahead of me and gave the walk a try with success. I had no doubt I could do the same. I was given the “okay” and huffed right across confidently and with ease. It was super exhilarating and gave me a very satisfied feeling.
One big surprise to me was the amount of profanity that Anthony uses in his talks. It was on par with what I would expect from Gary Vaynerchuck. He gave some disclaimers to this early on, and expressed that his choice of words is very intentional. After adjusting to the language I came to really appreciate it. It made me realize how overly delicate I am with using “soft” appropriate words in all settings, when sometimes some good solid profanity simply expresses the truth best.
Anthony was on stage 2/4 days, resting his voice box on the off days. On those days his number 1 coach Joseph McClendon III facilitated. Joseph is a great speaker and is clearly living a very impacting life. He primarily set the stage for Anthony to share on previously recorded video sessions. These pre recorded speeches carried almost as much impact as Anthony’s live speeches. All the same “stretch breaks” and activity breaks occurred and often audience members interacted in the same ways as if Anthony himself was actually up on stage.
I overheard a crew member sharing that “95% of those who attend will not implement real changes in their life from this weekend”. That statistic may be hearsay and who really knows, but for me I reaffirmed some real “musts” for my life. A weekend retreat of this nature always seems like a good annual event to get away from the business of regular life and examine where you are and where you want to be going.
I would highly recommend this type of conference for anyone who cares about living a life to their maximum potential. Three motto’s that linger in my head are (without browsing my notes):
“Where focus goes energy flows”
“Motion creates emotion”
“Live with passion”
February 21, 2012 § 1 Comment
We are not our status updates. But our status updates may tell the story of ourselves to the world.
It is easy to feel jaded about the deception that is social media. Participants project to their circle of friends or to the world the perception that they want to create about who they are. It feels like we create this virtual self. My online character is some type of reflection of who I am, however it is not me.
I use Social Media and I enjoy it. At certain moments in time I am addicted to it in potentially unhealthy ways. I observe the way I obsess over my blog stats. I am eager to receive feedback in the form of comments or “likes” to my posts, real co-dependant type behaviour. “Tell me you love me”. As I gaze into my iPhone I imagine the ironic thought bubble that could be sketched over my head asking “who am I?”, using my device like a mirror hoping my “friends” will affirm me.
I exaggerate a touch for effect, however at its worst this is the nature of “Social Media”.
However I do have a passion for the possibilities that exist in the new world of Social Media. I have obviously chosen to embrace these “tools” and I believe as is the case with so many things it is all about what you do with it that matters.
I have often hoped that one day I may write a book, I suspect that whatever that book may be it will be a partial telling of the experiences of my life. Storytelling is something I believe is inherited to all of us. We have all had life experiences, ideas, and perceptions that we want to share with others.
The new world of Social Media is our opportunity to tell our story in a small way every day. Offering little nuggets of who we are to the world. I think that of everyone who logs on to Facebook there are many more who look rather than post. It is also easier to discredit and criticize the nature of sharing that happens on that social sphere when you do not actively participate in the conversation. Yet all those who open their news feed everyday are looking for something. There is some reason we all keep coming back.
I appreciate the daily opportunities that exist in telling my story in small ways. Documenting my life as it happens and sharing a little bit of myself with the world.
Art is a lie… yet it is the best way to share truth.
I invite you to take a few moments to watch this very cool display of magic using the modern-day iPhone:
I create art in my work as a Realtor.
The way we describe & promote properties with video and images. It is important to create realistic expectations yet at the same time we want to draw the focus towards what is positive. If a view to the right features a highway and the view to the left reveals a river view, we will be more inclined to highlight the positive. The negative may receive an understated footnote such as “you can still feel the pulse of the city by way of this homes urban location”.
Is this a lie?
When you go and take family pictures you want the photographer to make you look better than you look in reality. Are you truly the happy family that is captured in those few minutes in the studio. I imagine yes and no depending at the moment in time.
Sharing posts, tweets, status updates that deceive towards the positive is okay with me. These little snap shots may be the closest I get to share my life with the world. I am happy to open the pages of who I am and let you peer in. As the author of what is being written I will obviously direct your focus towards what I love.
I can take the updates of others in a similar way knowing all we can hope for is a dim reflection of the people who share themselves. Maybe in the end we can draw closer and become friends for real.
In the same way a poet can tell more truth in a few lines of poetry then a theologian or a scientist can write in a whole book. The small clues to who we are shared on Social Media might be deceptive, but so is art. There is an Art to Social Media. If we approach our social news feed with an openness we might find it offers the most honest news we read today.
February 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I had the joy of watching three friends gather close around an iPhone last night and watch this beautiful 2 minute video.
I perceived a happy glow on their faces and felt a happiness in my heart. I had seen the video many times already as I had produced it and uploaded it 35 hours earlier.
40 hours earlier I had uploaded the following video to my Real Estate sites:
What do these do productions have in common?
After capturing video one of my favourite things is browsing a song library to discover a song that will serve as the soundtrack. Finding the right song before cutting down the video footage helps me to define many elements of the final cut. I love trimming frame transitions to intersect with transitions in the music.
It was especially exciting trimming the content for the Real Estate video to just over two minutes, and still being able to maintain the essence of what I wanted to communicate.
Every once in a while I go with virtually no sleep. Often as a result of these intense video capturing and editing sessions. When I come home with some footage and a vision I am like a kid at Christmas. I upload my SD card to my computer and I am excited to start the editing process. On Wednesday night I pressed upload after midnight and went to bed close to 1 am, snoozed for few hours before waking up at 4am and going to the Yoga Shala at 5am to practice and then film Liana and her beautiful backbends.
While practicing my own primary series in the morning I was setting the stage for Liana in my mind. I saw the right location in the room to create an attractive backdrop and started assembling some of the visual props in my head. The tiny statue for the foreground with a few tea lights and the singing bowl. These items help enhance the movement of the camera on the slider and enhance the zen-like qualities of the space. I also realized that the song I had uploaded a few hours earlier would make for a real nice track for the video I was about to make.
While I filmed I was so focused on the pace of the slide and the framing of Liana that I was only dimly aware of the beauty of her movement. It was really after I made the final cut that I really SAW how amazing this back bending was. It indeed seems like slow motion, unless the flicker of the candles expressed otherwise.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to create and to share. It is a gift for me to enjoy and savour the process of being in what is called “the flow” and when published and shared may put the glow of happiness on the face of others.