Monday, January 23, 2017

2. Planting Seeds

More heartbreak.  But I can count to 2.


I don't know why it took 35 years to actually put this into words but here goes.  A very special person taught me a lesson that had escaped me.  A lesson that was the main reason for my tendency to have my grand plans stagnate and stall.

Embodiment takes time. Taking a plan and making it a part of you has covert effects before the overt effects emerge. Anyone can lift a weight of perform a kata. The body and mind change immediately - but this change happens on the scale of the micron, the sarcomere, the synapse. For that weight or kata to leave a visible impression in your body takes time.  To be on the safe side don't assume that you will see any improvement until you've committed to doing something for a minimum of two moons unbroken.  That is not to say that if you do something for 6 or 7 weeks that you have not changed. You certainly have but the growth is below the surface at a level that cannot be overtly discerned.  The seed does not break the surface of the soil overnight.  The groundwork and foundation happens below the surface, the basement must be built before the house is raised.  We surrender prematurely and often because we don't immediately see the sprout, and figure our efforts are for naught. Give it a couple of months… You will see that the seed of your efforts was working the whole time.

Therefore to make real progress in life you have to be not just nurturing planted seeds. You also have to plant more seeds. Planting seeds and nurturing seeds - this is the cycle of growth and progress.

The Keiko for this year is a plant whose seed is only 3 weeks old.  Let's see where we are 5 weeks from now and see whether the seedling has broken the surface.


Consider the idea of sequence breaking in shooting.  The most important flaw of our shot has always been keeping the ball too low.  It has to be elevated before your toes leave the ground.  Feel the 'L', keep the wrist loose.  Hold the ball lightly.  Don't be afraid to move the guide hand a little further forward and flip the guide hand free just like you flip the shooting hand forward.  Often, misses have the guide hand in contact with the ball for too long.  

There is the jumper where the release is coordinated with the extension of the legs and the set shot which is based more on arms and wrist feel.  Play with both types of shot - look for where one can combine with the other. 


Neck pain from swimming or from squats?   Don't know.  Definitely need to improve breathing form for freestyle swimming.  Look down and relax with your stroke.  Relaxing makes it easier to hold breath and breath.  Use as few muscles as possible.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Stillpoint, Year One: 1. Can I even count to 52?

Today is Friday January 13th, 2017.  Two weeks into this year and I’m comfortable saying I’m at my lowest point.  This story begins with heartbreak – heartbreak that I won’t mention here.  All that’s left is to make something of it.  All that’s left is to take some meaning from it.

Bad news on Friday the 13th – yes it is cliché.  But the meaning of it, the meaning of it is clear.  I’m not young anymore.  I’m not young enough to be as dumb as I am.  I’m not young enough to not do things that I know that I should do.  I’m not young or naïve enough to beat myself up for the things that I should do that I don’t. 

I’m too old to still be trying, to live in between outcomes and results and be okay.  I have to decide on action or decide on inaction.  I’m not young enough to operate on inertia.

I’ve made some progress, have some directionality to my life – driven in large part by not myself but of course my wife.  I don’t take myself seriously enough because yesterday I was young.  But I’m not young anymore today.  And with each day that I live, I’m going to take myself more seriously than the last.

The Stillpoint lives in me, in my heart, threatening to burst, waiting to escape.  My Mind shifts slowly but surely, like the Plate tectonic beneath the earth.  It will be uncomfortable.  But I’m not young enough to be okay with comfort all the time.

Can I count to 52?  Is it such a burden, a mountain to scale?  Can I take myself seriously for 52 weeks, seriously enough to revisit myself over and over again?  And if I do that, if I revisit myself over the course of this year, will I like what I see?  Will I like it more than if I turned a blind eye to myself, or less?

I wonder if the hardest part isn’t already over, having written these final words as I count to…