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. 😉

The Chubby Scotsman’s I Italian shoes.

My father was a man who lived his dreams large.

In 1955, he bought what was a marina on 6 acres in the Montreal suburb of Rosemère.

In honor of the deepest love of his life, he built a colonial mansion right out of “Gone With the Wind”

He built a business crafting women’s shoes from a small run of 55 pairs per day to more than one thousand.

Many times he remembered being laughed at for being the “chubby Scotsman making Italian quality shoes in Canada.

Then he drew the attention of Coco Chanel and Roland Jordan. His reputation for acumen and fairness preceded him in the world of business.

But long before the accolades began, he told me the story of showing up at the bank to open this first commercial account and found himself without a cent to make the initial deposit to open the account. The manager at the time, Mr. Russ Scrim, looked at him and smiled, reached into his pocket and handed him a fiver with the words:

Something tells me I will see a return

Think that happens often in today’s banking world?

We are so caught up with protecting ourselves on to walk, covering our ass or acquiring some participation awards, that the ability to judge risk versus reward (common sense/intuition) that grows from vulnerability, is an talent that has atrophied within our society from lack of practice.

We claim to admire those who reach and strive for excellence but often those are the first at whom we smirk.

“Hang with the ‘winners‘ ” we are told.

When did failure and having nothing become such a leprosy-like condition?

Why, when people need us the most, do we trust their experience (good or bad) the least?

It is precisely at that moment that the wisest among us demonstrate the ability to discern between shame and guilt.

Do they have past evidence of moral corruption (shame) or did they make a bad choice (guilt).

When businesses come to an end we all too often look to blame and almost always the fault is associated with one single strategic error made by the leadership even in the wake of years of sage choices.

Rarely do the pundits, academics or bureaucrats even recognize let alone applaud the “failed” entrepreneur for swinging for the bleachers or finding themselves following an outdated business model right to the last gasp of financial life.

True Entrepreneurs by nature – risk it all.

Ideas fail.

Businesses die.

And just like Mufassa and Simba that’s just how life rolls.

To accept that is to “accept life on life’s terms”

But it ain’t easy as we are surrounded mostly by images of everyone’s best moments!

Happy laughing pictures of well suited smiling people eating fabulous meals driving badass cars to the world’s most beautiful panoramas.

And photoshop fucks with our ability to see life as it really is and to forgive ourselves for our losses.

I, for one, have experienced the challenge of forgiving myself for a past I wish could have been different.

One evening, my daughter Morgan and I were exchanging on self forgiveness:

I just don’t know how to do it without feeling lame… like I am excusing myself for messing up and setting a precedent for future excuses” I shared

” Ya, I get that” she replied.

I struggled with the same thing and then I shifted the focus.

I found the concept of self-forgiveness so dauntingly lame that I couldn’t wrap my head around it until I broke it down.

I have to take it in steps.

Firstly, I have to acknowledge that from today’s perspective, yesterday’s problems look so easy to solve.

Then step two is to try to recognize how the ‘wrong’ outcome (in my view) actually serves me in my pursuit of trying to be a better version of me.

Finally, I have to make the conscious choice to accept that I have learned more from the knocks and bumps than I have from my nicest teachers, and forgive myself.

Placed in three simple steps, even I am able to digest and begin to practice self forgiveness – funny how the second gen freed me.

The end result is that with my hands less filled with obsessively trying to undo the past, I now have my arms outstretched and my hands free to reach for the best I can be with what I know today.

Yes, one’s reputation, which of course is based on the past, is often all that some look at. Further, there are even those who deliberately poke at the scar tissue of our past in a sick attempt to exercise control over us through our past pain. But are these the most enlightened amongst us? And a better question – Why do we allow them around us?

Expressed in today’s vernacular:

Haters gonna hate

That’s just what they do.

In my world, I would rather reach. Receiving the participation award and the experience of a pristine life played safe at the cost of never experiencing the self-confidence of recovery and rebuilding from nothing is far less appealing to me.

And as far as the haters go?

Well, the way my dad raised me …

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn