5 ~ “You Might as well Jump” -Van Halen

I changed my homescreen on Jan 1.

This is a pic that was taken during the last year.

At first glance, it would appear that the player is sitting in the bleachers, but upon further inspection one can see the position of his feet reveal that he is in fact, in the air.

Four short years ago, the depth of his knowledge of the sport was fairly limited, he was considerably smaller in size and had just left home to start out on his own.

An ardent outdoorsman, he always travels light, taking with him only a few mementos and a duffel bag full of dreams.

Amongst those was, one he had carrried since the age of eight.

To make his mark at the highest level of amateur sport.

One day, he shared the latest version of that dream.

“Dad, I want to start in every game, and I want to make a difference on the field for the men’s varsity rugby team.”

Feeling lucky to be included, I sat down and wrote up a multi-point plan to leverage every single variable over which he had control. (Reach out to me in the comments and I will send it to you, it is not limited to rugby, or even sport)

I shared it with him but TBT didn’t know if it was a flight of fancy or if it would resonate with him-you know cuz young men are often easily distracted.

Along the way there were a few things life brought to his game that were beyond his control. They certainly taxed his resolve both physically and emotionally.

For example, he broke an ankle, damaged a shoulder and suffered a neck injury, yet he kept leaping.

His parents separated and the only home he ever knew was sold- yet he continued.

Despite the upside down status of his world, he never stopped leaving his feet, jumping into the air, reaching for his goal.

According to Webster, Alchemy is defined as “a medieval chemical science … aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold

Over the past four years I have had the privilege of watching my son perform alchemy.

Only instead of turning low value metals into gold, he turned dreams into his own precious mettle.

For two consecuctive seasons he was declared a league all-star in his position.`

In his last season his on field minutes were the highest on the team.

His was recognised and respected as a player of consequence and better- of integrity and fairplay.

Acting with passion, he accomplished this with nothing more than rentless self sacrifice, focus and humility – rarely speaking of his progress, neglecting to mention his awards to friends and family.

On the day of the last game of his university career, he captained the team, in the semi finals.

I call that -success .

For many of us though, we choose to clip our own wings, when life drops us from the sky with seemingly brutal indifference.

Sometimes forgetting what we are capable of, despite having flown the plane upside down, we let our misguided, misinformed or mistaken choices force us to a crash landing.

Life pounds us and then all too often we let it ground us.

We focus on a view of the wreckage and regret, which often that appears too heavy for another takeoff. We fear the lift off, frozen by the imagined landing.

We mindlessly anchor our feet, heart and dreams to the ground.

There, we join the others- who have traded the same perspective of life’s threats and challenges for their goals and dreams.

There’s a couple of ways the game of Rugby mimics life .

1) When your opponents score on you, you give the ball back to them.

Unlike football, where, when you get scored on, (beaten, embarressed or mistaken) the team who scored hands kicks you the ball cuz ‘it’s your turn’

In Rugby, after being spanked it’s like your team is forced to say:


The result is, sometimes in Rugby, a team takes control and just never yields the ball again.

And if that doesn’t test your ability to remain willing to leave your feet and chase your version of success- then this little rule will:

2) In Rugby, the opposing team cannot make contact with a player attempting to catch a ball IF the player catching the ball has both feet off the ground.

The game screams..If your not fully commited to success then you’re gonna pay.

Upon landing though -a lot like life- the recipient better be ready for impact.

Cuz the game keeps going and rugby, like life, is a without question, a contact sport.

There is no time for over thinking and self defeating hesitation.

In fact not committing to the leap actually places a player in a position of greater danger.

In order to avoid getting pummelled, by catching on the ground, the recipient must precisely time the moment to suspend animation (and fear) in order to leap into the air.

To hang from the clouds until the ball finds his hands.

And when he does, the opponents will be within arms reach, so most often the player will find himself at the bottom of a pile of sweaty, smelly, and heavy opponents.

Forward progress may be halted, but he will be holding the ball like a briefcase full of cash.

I changed my homescreen Jan 1 … for several reasons:

  1. Because I can literally feel the fearless commitment to a goal in this picture.
  2. So I remain grateful for the privilege of being his father.
  3. Some days I really need to be reminded of how it feels fly.

Yet, I changed my homescreen mostly because there’s one other similarity between the game of Rugby and a life fully lived:

When you score … it’s called a “TRY

4~ “Steps to Immortality”

The Buddhist principle of all suffering being rooted in attachment is conceptually easy to understand but often difficult to apply .

What’s with that ?

I mean how can a practice that is, by nature, austere be so complex ?

Let’s back up … we die … (actually that’s fast forward) and when we do, everything that we had here is, in the absence of a heartbeat, free from our attachment to it.

First in line for your attachments will be the Government. They deserve their cut …right ?🙄

Then you have the family members who feel an entitlement to your assets …And then the rest is left in some storage facility until it is given or thrown away .

And where are you?

In ashes. In an urn, on someones mantle or floating across your favourite body of water.

You have no clutching hands and no space in that urn to cling to anything .

Last time I checked pretty much everyone dies… eventually.

So considering the inevitable reality of the two previous points (gonna die and can’t take much along for the ride) why do we cling to things material at all ?

How is it possible siblings destroy family bonds in the name of something that happened decades ago which at some point in time was attached to some physical item or some position of status?

The lengths gone to in the name of settling scores and control are far greater than any distance between two points in the physical world .

So why ?

At this point, my best guess is that as we age our sense of self is all too often defined by the memories and stuff of days gone by.

Thing is though, that makes about as much sense as defining any individual existence in the way articulated by the late great drummer and eccentric Keith Moon who once said “ the one with the most toys wins”

Today, to me, this feels like a fools errand.

When we die, it is the memory of us that lives in the moments our survivors connect with the items we once used or the cash left behind.

It is our love and energy that is missed not our loge at the Bell Centre.

It is what we did with adversity, how we evolved as a person and the love we showed to those we held space for in our hearts that will be immortal… not our cash and stuff.

When we touch the lives of others we are able to witness, fully our existence and how we fit into a bigger picture.

It is our qualities and characteristics that transcend death and it is the smiles we aimed for in those left behind, that they use to remember what it felt like to be with us.

So to achieve immortality the surest way is to create a heart connection, invisible to the eye that slips back out of sight

It’s like we are Obi-Wan facing the storm trooper saying to death “ these (necklaces, rings or whatever) are not the Druids you are searching for and death must surrender the departed to you heart, they live forever.

The secret to immortality then is simply that … be of service to others – create a smile in their hearts and you will prepare a place therein for your existence for the remainder of a life after yours

Further if one has a practice of effort to bring smiles to the hearts of all she touches, then the logic prevails that if immortality is the goal then the greater the number of people one can warm the heart of the greater the number of homes one can posthumously live on in.

This to me seems to be a far more direct path than to spend you’re life trying to amass material or worrying about what form of life your karma will reincarnate you as.

Which simply confirms that “ Immortality can be “a thing” if we can abandon our attachments to the physical and practice existence in the ethereal simply by attaching our existence to hearts and smiles

2~ Mindful

Words- sometimes, they really flummox me.

Take mindful for example.

When first encountered the word seems to suggest the state of being in ones head…you know, as in full of mind. While this may appear to be a better alternative to being full of shit, it actually is arguably not.

In the vernacular of the generation, to be “all up in my head” or to allow someone “to get into ones head” is synonoumus to to a mindfuck.

Which surprisngly isn’t a good thing.

My dad would use the term mind, as a verb in the sense of ” Mind you don’t knock over that beer with all your hand talking”

To “mind the children” would describe the responsibility of keeping an eye on them or out for them, which lines up with the dictionary defintion : “Conscious or aware of something.”

Yet its the seccond meaning of the word is one that appears more frequently in our currrent language: “Focusing one’s awareness on the present moment”

Everyone is talking about the state of “mindfulness” and this us where I remain flummoxed.

How can I step outside of my head if being mindful requires me to be full of mind?

Now you might recognize the practice of my overthinking here….(is that mindful?)

Recently, plant based psychedelics in the form of mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote, et al, have been more publicly touted as treatments for ADHD, PTSD, Alcoholism, Anxiety, amongst other neurally diveregent experiences.

Almost universally, the feedback described a trip that results in some form of Egoic Dissociation

People describe the trip as revealing and enlightening in that it provided a perspective that allowed the tripper to see their role in some grander scheme of things.

They speak of the awareness of themselves as only a small part of a much bigger system, simultaneously providing the humility of the awareness of ones own insignificance as well as the power of being a part of a much bigger force.

One indivual I spoke with saw himself as a piston within an engine, when he became aware of this, he felt momentarily bummed and decided to leave the confines of the cylinder he was relegated to and in so doing the engine ceased operating – he was but a cog, but without him the entire machine was renedered impotent.

It made me think….even more.

Perhaps the notion of mindfulness is exactly the intersection between our stunning, seemingly limitless capacities and the fragility of our humanity.

Perhaps when we practice mindfulness we find ourselves driving to that intersection.

A place where awareness, and acceptance trumps fear and controlling.

Even with this revelation I was still flummoxed as to why a word which was outwardly confounding, was penetrating our current conversations so profusely.

So I shifted to look for a clue from another angle. Perspectice from the other side often leads me to understanding, if nothing else, more holistcally

I thought about the antonmym …Mindless.

Ah …now that’s something that’s really easy to get my head around!

Mindless leads me to the place of the prusuit of the exterior solving issues for the interior.

Mindless work, sex, partying, driving etc, all seem to be a way to bring the body away from that which distrubs it – if only temporarily. Not that there’s anything wrong with a little steppin out on the endless demands of our hyper speed existence, it’s just that it is so seductive as an alternative to the messiness of life that we often choose to reside in shallow mindlessness as a painfree alternative to fully experiencing rollercoaster of the exisitence we are graced with.

Our head down scrolling, or actions executed under the veil of spin doctor blame throwing, all to often lulls us from from that intersection tp a place where we are not quite sure why we do what we do other than “that’s just the norm of the herd

Can mindfullness restore our concisousness?

If mindlessness releases us from the awareness of our actions then it’s opposite, mindfullness must actually be a state of heightened awarness of the moment in which we are.

Case in point “flummoxed

I had no idea what the word meant…until it drew my attention to it and I directed my actions to the understanding of it….which in the smallest of ways moment of mindfullness, despite being in the middle of a kaleidoscope http://www.makingabetterpast.com/2023/01/01/reset-day-one/

Perhaps the introduction of mindfullness into our conversations, will be the antitdote for a society in which responsibilty for our actions, at home, in relationships and in business will finally resurface, so that we can actually get to work on fixing what we broke.

Hmmm, I need to think about that. 😉

Reset …Day One

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go away”

So many of us mark this day with a list of objectives we somehow believe will improve our life experience.

Almost invaribaly we begin our new commitment one by delaying it a day…”until the hangover passes” or maybe two, explaining to ourselves -“just til I get back into the routine“, forgetting that the ” routine” we hope to get back into is the one we hope our resolutions will take us out of.

Other saboteurs of our will, may acutally find residence in our our neual divergence from the polished laquered norm we see in mainstream and social media.

For example those of us with ADHD may find day one in our newly chosen practice never actually comes because of the kaleidoscope of butterflies that draw our attention to other experiennces ….who knew a group of butterflies was actually called a kaleidoscope? I mean it makes sense right? What with all the colors…who comes up with these descriptions of gathering of animals? I mean a group of crows is a Murder! What is that about?…

Dammit! I digress …

Where was I ?

My line of thought was something like… we all aspire toward the favorable upward trending of our existence and we know that no one is going to live for us, so we devise lists of resolutions to attempt to facilitate the conditions that whatever we want more of will be drawn to us.

We target bodywork to improve our self image and health, we target unhealthy habits like daily drinking or smoking to have a more authentic life- or at least one in which we remember what we did last night. We pick up yoga or meditation to mute the static between our ears, we sign up to Audible to expose ourselves to the wealth of the written word, we commit to drinking more water, walking up the stairs instead of the elevator, visiting our mother more often, reducing our tardiness and so on all to tweak the existence of the life we are living.

So why do so many resolutions never make it into our daily practice?

Life coaches, and self help books try to fill the gap where our willpower falls short but all too often the power of old habits shelves the book before complete and finds flaw with the advice of the coach. I suspect this to be because the pain of our currrent habit has not been leveraged to the extent that it is more than just a fanciful wish. Something we thing might look good on us rather than something we can not live without.

And this is why the choice of an arbitrary day that follows the biggest night of partying in the year, may not actually be the most effective approach to achieving our dreams.

So what is?

I don’t really know…

I gave up making resolutions a while ago.

Yet that doesn’t mean my existence hasn’t evovled tremendously since.

It just means my perspective has.

The clarity surrounding the notion that the long term is made of a series of short terms is practice that has heretofore escaped me

More on that later…. assuming another kaleidoscope doesnt fly by and this practice sticks past day one 😉

For now let me simply say there are three hundred and sixty five and a quarter opportunities to see what will and I am looking forward to the walk through 2023, may yours be thrilling too.