What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?
Are We Civilized?
Kindness 101: Friendship
Why It’s Perfectly Normal to See Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Iceland Each Year
Your “Before I Die List” with Robin Sharma
+ Taking You Out With The Unbridled Joy Of Music (I Can’t Help Myself- It Always Cracks My Heart Open!)
In the past week, I had the privilege of speaking at the CIF Symposium where the focus was proper sportsmanship, not just by the student athletes, but by coaches and spectators too!
Thought you might value this perspective…
What Can the Wisdom Traditions Teach Us About Winning and Losing?
If we look at what have become an all too common cultural norm, be it in politics, business or personal life, it seems that winning at all costs has replaced the more humane and wise notion of winning- but doing so following the rules of the game and a moral imperative.
When we look the other way, ignoring fouls and other ethical violations, are we tacitly endorsing these behaviors at best, or enabling at worst, behaviors that are antithetical to our own betterment and survival not just as individuals but as a species?
In the wisdom traditions, using traditional martial arts as a proxy, we are trained to strive for personal excellence and the contest whether in the ring of competition on in the ring of life provides a “proving ground” to test ourselves not just versus another player or contestant but against our own best potential.
Here there are 4 levels of winning and losing, not just the binary winning and losing we have become all too familiar with today.
The highest level of achievement is an honorable win. Your win is supported by right conduct and if you know you did not win cleanly you self-report the foul or incident rather than hide it under the rug or play to the chorus of if it wasn’t seen, or can’t be proved, then it didn’t happen.
One level down from this is an honorable loss. If you lost but did your best and were beaten fair and square you honor both your opponent and yourself, and learn from the experience by being a gracious “loser”. Here winning still occurs through character development, investing in loss, and remaining focused on long term growth not just short term outcomes. Honorable losses build resiliency and forge a character of perseverance and grit.
Next comes a dishonorable win and obviously in last place comes the dishonorable loss where in spite of trying every dirty trick in the book you still get your clock cleaned!
Whether it is in Olympic competition against the best in the world, or a personal competition to better oneself, it would be useful to foster a climate/culture that underscores the importance of honor and humility in the “success calculus” or we find the win meaningless, transitory and ultimately not supportive of our individual or collective growth.
This can also play out in our day to day choices; doing the right thing for the right reason, the wrong thing for the right reason, the right thing for the wrong reason and the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I will leave it to you to discern the hierarchy and Faustian bargain this path takes us to when left to its ultimate conclusion.
Much is made of Alpha animals dominating their tribe and being willing to prevail over all contenders both inside and out.
Not as much is understood or appreciated about Alpha leaders, even in primates, modeling empathy and seeing their primary role as caring for and supporting their group not just terrorizing their peers and den members.
A real Alpha leader has the capacity to win at all costs but subordinates themselves.
I have heard altruism defined as “self-handicapping” for the greater good…
What kind of leader do you want to model, follow or create?
Let’s start now!
Are We Civilized?
Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts!
“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized.
Kindness 101: Friendship As part of the ongoing series “Kindness 101,” Steve Hartman and his kids are sharing stories built around themes of kindness and character and the people who’ve mastered both. His latest lesson is friendship.
Why It’s Perfectly Normal to See Baby Puffins Thrown Off Cliffs in Iceland Each Year Throwing thousands of baby puffins off a cliff is a yearly tradition for the people of Iceland’s Westman Islands. It’s part of what’s known as “puffing season” and is a crucial life-saving endeavor.
Sorry to bring up death in the title yet you and I both come with an expiration date.
Like it or not, we’ll all end up as dust. Soon or late.
Makes me think of Ted Leonsis. The tech titan, visionary leader and business disruptor.
He was on a plane when the pilot said it looked like they would crash. Just imagine. Actually, please don’t.
Face to face with the end, he reflected on the things that truly mattered. No accessories. Only priorities.
He considered all the things he didn’t do and the places he didn’t visit and the people he failed to meet.
He confronted his truest values and highest visions, reflecting on the busyness of life and how it causes even the best amongst us to stray from the mission.
Fortunately the aircraft landed safely.
In the terminal, Ted wrote out a list that would transform his life: a list of 101 things that he vowed to do before he died.
Within a few years most were done.
Yet here’s the opportunity for you to take a few pristine hours—hidden away from the world—to generate your list. Of 50 or 75 or 100 things you absolutely must get done before you pass into that great field of daisies in the sky.
It’ll help you identify what truly counts. So you can strip out the trivialities. And lead your most majestic life. Beginning (hopefully) today. Because now is a gorgeous time to start a better way.
Take You Out With The Unbridled Joy Of Music:
From 8 to 80, the love of music makes your heart sing
I’m feeling overwhelmed! We all hear that a lot. I think we can see it too in our children, our peers, our friends when they get short with us or push us away.
So what can we do about it? Here are 5 tips I got from an article that you can share with them or use yourself.
Everyone at one time or another, or many times, will feel overwhelmed. It’s natural. It’s the way your mind tells you that you have too much going on and you need to slow down. So let’s not fight it next time – let’s do something about it!
List what is overwhelming you. Sometimes you realize after writing the things overwhelming you down – hey! I can do this. Sometimes that list is really long. But you know what you’ve just done. You put them down so now you can prioritize and start knocking those items off that list in an orderly, less chaotic manner. You may notice some things you can’t control on that list. Know what you get to do with those? Take them off the list! Cross those right off. And there may be things that others can help you with – let’s see what to do with those a little later in this list.
Realize it’s a breakdown of thoughts, not life. I love this sentence from Braden Thompson, “When you feel overwhelmed, your life isn’t falling apart – your thoughts are.” Remember being overwhelmed isn’t a stated of being – it’s a FEELING. We all have the ability to control our feelings.
Things can turn around quickly. Do you find yourself often feeling overwhelmed on Mondays and Tuesdays? That’s when the week begins. That feeling may dissipate as you work on things throughout the week. So track when you start to have those feelings – does it always seem to be on the same day of the week? Either way, don’t wallow in inaction, start doing and seeing the small progress chip away not only at that list you have to do, but also those feelings of being overwhelmed.
You’ve felt this way before. It ended before, and it will end again.Just remember that.
Your problems may not be as bad as you think. Remember when you were in school and finals were so overwhelming (maybe that was just me?)! Looking back now – what’s the worst that could have happened? You have that perspective now. It’s wasn’t the end of the world issue I made it to be. In fact – if only those were the problems I was facing now! Try to put things in perspective. Still doesn’t help? Help out at a food shelter, or reach out to others who wish that they had your problems. That really helps. Furthermore, acts of kindness make this world a better place, help others, and help you feel better too!
Everyone feels overwhelmed at one point or another. You are not alone. Remember – you control those feelings and what you do about them.
You Don’t Have to Quit Your Job to Find More Meaning in Life:
Before giving notice, and going on a vision quest, consider this. Fulfillment doesn’t require big change. In fact, you can find more meaning even in a joy you don’t love.
Daily ‘breath training’ can work as well as medicine to reduce high blood pressure Research finds five to 10 minutes daily of a type of strength training for muscles used in breathing can help anyone reduce or prevent high blood pressure. The training can also help elite athletes.
Mimi Choi is a professional illusion-makeup artist in Vancouver, Canada, who has gone viral for her optical-illusion looks on her face and body. Choi has collaborated with stars like Ezra Miller for their 2019 Met Gala makeup, Shay Mitchell, and Jeff Goldblum. Choi paints directly on her face and adjusts as she goes rather than sketching out an idea ahead of time. The process takes an average of four to five hours to complete, and some looks have taken over eight hours. The key to creating the most realistic illusion is lighting, background, and camera and face angles. Her goal is to create expressive art that shocks her audience.
One must transcend technical knowledge until the art becomes an artless art, flowing from the subconscious”
– D Suzuki (Zen Master)
Greetings Live Music Lovers & Kindred Spirits!
I have been extremely blessed and jazzed to play live music all over the world, from busking on the streets of Europe with a single musician, to jamming at the beach resorts of Florida, to jumping in at the paladares in Cuba, or bars and restaurants in Hawaii, to music halls and concert gigs and charity events right here in Southern California.
In my experience there are two types of artists (including musicians of course).
The first are all about cultivating their technical chops.
The pride themselves on their well-honed skills and excellence, but with that bias comes a sharp inner critic and voice of judgement.
They focus on the craft over the people.
Their debrief is all about what was missing, and what they could have done better in their pursuit of technical excellence.
They privilege virtuosity, and take pride in their accomplishment.
The second group are all about creating an experience and disappearing in the flow of the art.
They take pride when they surrender themselves to the moment, listen well to each other, and transport their audience to another dimension.
Their focus is on people over craft.
Their debrief is all about what resonated, where magic happened, and how to repeat that flow experience in service of their audience.
They privilege virtuousness in service of the art, and take pride in accompaniment.
Different experience and outcome…
Here are two live music experiences that focus on the latter (which as you have probably figured out, is my jam!) and if you have been out to any of the shows know exactly what I am talking about:
Saturday Sept 24thDrivin’ The Bus is at the Carlsbad Landings (outdoors) from 6 to 9pm
2192 McClellan, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Righteous Classic Jam band playing all the crowd favs
Look to this Day, for it is Life – the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence: the Bliss of Growth, the Glory of Action, the Splendor of Beauty.
For yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision; but today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this Day. Such is the salutation of the Dawn.
For 40 years, I have been practicing and teaching the wisdom traditions at UC San Diego.
“Practice Makes Permanent. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect” so still working at it…
During Covid, I have been doing this virtually every week at work as an act of service to support our mental wellbeing and practice self-care.
One helpful skill has been learning to quiet the mind and practice present moment mindfulness by going within, exploring inner space (Psycho-nauts instead of Astro-nauts), and connecting via intuition and inner knowing with our deepest and most authentic self.
Many of us when striving to sit quietly, find our time and space hijacked by our monkey mind, so we need a redirect that tames that pesky beast in order to go deeper.
“All’s Well That Begins Well”
Here is a sampler, if you could use a 15 minute tune up, to Start the Day Right. You can also just plug in some headphones, line down on your bed if you prefer, and set the intention for the day.
If you find this valuable, we can add a few more sessions, from progressive relaxations, to guided meditations, to energy center tune ups, to out of body visualizations to a YouTube channel and send you a link- just let me know.
Optical Illusions: What Causes Them? Try Some Out! Abigail Howell, a biomedical student at Arizona State University, explains that there are three different types of optical illusion, in which the brain incorrectly interprets what the eyes are seeing:
Only 1% Of People Can Spot Second Tiger In This Optical Illusion Get your eyeballs around this trippy tiger picture, and prepare for your mind to start fizzing as you try to spot the hidden second tiger
A rare, 5-planet alignment will take over the sky this month Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will align in the month of June, with the waning crescent moon making a special appearance on June 24.
Watch Carlos Santana Re-Record ‘Oye Como Va’ With Musicians From Around The World The Playing For Change video features Cindy Blackman Santana, Becky G, Tito Puente, Jr., Rubén Rada, and more than 20 others
An Elementary Schooler Told This Child Psychologist Not To Worry About School Shootings, And The Reason Why Is Gut-Wrenching “I just got done with a session with an elementary schooler who asked me if when I saw the news yesterday, I was sad like her mommy or if I was scared.”
Pope Francis and a cardinal say it’s time for the U.S. to act on guns “It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday, as he sent condolences to families in Uvalde, Texas.
‘The Onion’ has republished a grim headline about mass shootings 21 times since 2014 The satirical news site publishes modified versions of the article after major mass shootings, always with the same headline: “No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
San Diego students walk out of class to protest gun violence after Texas school shooting In the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, thousands of students from San Diego County and across the country walked out of their classrooms in protest of gun violence.
Comfort dogs have been deployed to Uvalde, Texas, from near and far At least five organizations in and beyond the state have sent dogs to Uvalde, where they are visiting hospitals, churches and schools. Many have responded to other mass shootings across the country.
A Florida class president couldn’t discuss being gay in high school graduation speech — so he talked about his curly hair The class president at a Florida high school says he wasn’t allowed to share his experience as a gay student in his graduation speech or how the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law will affect students like him, so he talked about something else that makes him a little different from his classmates — his curly hair.
3 books all recent college graduates should read, according to a career expert There’s no manual for what to do after leaving school, but books can provide practical advice and inspiration on how to succeed in this next chapter.
The world’s oldest person is a French nun who enjoys chocolate and wine A 118-year-old nun living in a nursing home in southern France has become the world’s oldest living person, according to the Guinness World Records.
There’s a reason humans melt when they see ‘puppy dog eyes,’ new research reveals Researchers compared facial movements among wolves and dogs, finding that the domestication and the desire to be chosen has shaped dogs’ muscles.
My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.
Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.
I saw a Mormon with only one wife.
McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.
Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.
Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.
A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.
A picture is now only worth 200 words.
The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.
Called to get Blue Book Value on my car. They asked if gas tank was full or empty.
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Afghanistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.
(Suicide is no joke. If you are struggling please call 800-273-8255.)
Thanks this week go to Starla L, UCSD Alumni everywhere, Bob C, & The Mission Fed ArtWalk Team with help from Simpler and Simpler
Please Pay It Forward, Share with your Social Network and Subscribe to make it easier to get this to you…
Global and local implications of looming climate catastrophe continue unabated. What will it take for us to attend to this perilous condition without denying reality on the one hand, or awfulizing it on the other?
Here are some powerful examples of what is happening that are worth our attention, and some positive responses both from indigenous traditions as well as from modern science…
Outside the Supreme Court, A Life of Purpose and Pain Ends in Flames:
Wynn Bruce, whose life was shaped by a devastating car accident and Buddhism, set himself on fire on Earth Day in what his father believes was a climate change protest. If the world ignores Bruce’s death and disregards the warnings from scientists about the actions needed to curb the world’s warming, they argued, millions more people will die by fire.
“We See the Storm Coming”: U.S. Struggles to Contain a Deepening Global Food Crisis: Biden officials are scrambling to limit the damage from fast-spreading food shortages sparked by Russia’s war in Ukraine, but they face an array of complex political and logistical challenges.
As Lake Powell hits landmark low, Arizona looks to a new agency, a $1 billion investment and Mexican seawater Gov. Doug Ducey hopes to solve the state’s water woes during his last year in office as decades of drought strain water supplies from the Colorado River.
An Ocean of Noise: How Sonic Pollution is Hurting Marine Life: Today’s oceans are a tumult of engine roar, artificial sonar and seismic blasts that make it impossible for marine creatures to hunt or communicate. We could make it stop, so why don’t we?
Whale Takes Tourists for Ride Near Mexico By Lifting Boat on Its Back and Swimming Away: A passenger aboard the boat said the playful whale “gently” lifted the boat and swam with the vessel on their back “twice” before swimming away
For the First Time, Wind Power Eclipsed Both Coal and Nuclear in the U.S.: For a single day at the end of March, wind was the second-largest source of electricity generation, the Energy Information Administration says. Natural gas is still the nation’s largest power source.
Learning From the Ingenious Wisdom of Our Ancestors-
Why Did the Ancient Maya Abandon Their Cities?
As we face an uncertain future of our own amid a climate crisis, are there any lessons we can learn from the Maya about how to live sustainably on this planet?
The ancient Maya flourished in modern day Mexico and Central America for millennia. They built incredible cities and they had sophisticated knowledge of astronomy, architecture and the natural world. But although Maya culture continues to exist today, around 900 AD, many of their great settlements collapsed, and today they lie in ruins. CrowdScience listener Michael wants to know – how did the Maya sustain their populations successfully for so long? And what happened 1000 years ago that led them to abandon their cities? To find out, presenter Melanie Brown travels to the forests of Western Belize. She visits the archaeological site of Xunantunich to learn about what life would have been like for the Maya living in what was once a prosperous city. She hears about the importance of water to the Maya way of life in this region, and their ingenious methods for capturing and storing rainfall. She meets archaeologists using lasers and drones to map Maya settlements that have lain hidden by jungle for centuries. And she discovers what material from the bottom of lakes can tell us about how the Maya faced a changing climate, which may have had huge consequences for their society. This episode was released on Earth Day 2022.
Spring Time: Why an Ancient Water System is Being Brought Back to Life in Spain: A project to restore a 1,000-year-old network of water channels is helping farmers in the Sierra Nevada adapt to the effects of the climate crisis