I just got back from a wonderful leadership conference with my NSA peeps in Puerto Rico. I was just rocked to the core by an amazing group of people who are stepping up and serving the world in such beautiful ways. I love that when I go to one of these events, its like my whole life and being are elevated to this incredible level and amazing things start happening effortlessly. Its as if I am lifted up and into my Heart and there is this ineffable knowing of Who I Am, What I am Here For, and What I am Made Of – all fueled by great trust, passion, leadership, naturalness, and abundance.
We have two such retreats for practice members coming up in March 8 and April 5 right here in Charlotte. The March event is completely sold out, and April is about 1/2 of the way there. So, if you want to join us for an incredible life-changing journey, let us know! Register by the end of the month and save $50 on your tuition ($250 for day before Jan 1, $300 after Jan 1). It will likely be filled by December 23rd, so do let us know.
I LOVE playing music. Interesting factoid about my life: before NSA care, I never thought I had the talent to play music. Woah! That is just how old stories get in the way. 2 things happened when I was a kid – I was laughed at when I tried out for a singing part in a play AND I failed utterly when learning to play the baritone and I could never keep up in class. Logically, but erroneously, I judged myself incapable of creating music. Further, I had a “story” that if I do put myself out there I could get laughed at. I could feel like a nobody. That is the power of an unquestioned thought. That is the heaviness of an unchallenged “story”. After NSA began to rock my world, and I resolved and rewired these stories, the Didgeridoo found its way to my life and I KNEW I had to bring gifts of love and healing to others through music. As it stands now, I have about 6 concerts booked for next year, and in the last 18 months, most of my shows were sold out. I don’t tell you that you impress you. I tell you that because it humbles me at the power of What we are made of, and how ANYTHING is possible.
Lesson One: Average up. Rob, my teacher, is one of the greatest players in the world. I learned a great lesson from Tony Robbins years ago: We are the “average” of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So if I want to be a world class didgeridoo player, I have to hang and learn with the best. We can never go further than the company we keep. If I want to rock an amazing network practice and provide incredible gifts to my community, then my peer group needs to be folks who are doing the same thing, only better than me! Its not that we don’t love + include everyone, its just that our peer group needs to be intentional. Who we spend time with needs to be intentional. If I want to be a world-class healer, then that means I better hang with and train with the best of the best. Yes, some of us have natural talents, but those talents open up and flourish when pushed and tested and we get out of our comfort zone, pushed by those shining examples of what is possible. Our peer group is that group of folks who mentor us, hold us accountable, and show us what is possible. The reason that this is hard for us is threefold: 1) being with a great group of peers is scary because it means we have to be accountable; 2) it means we have to be humble enough to ask for help; 3) in our culture of quick fixes, instant gratification, and ZERO accountability, this process of mentorship has largely been lost in our culture. Working with peers can tough because of the human tendency towards pride and fear – in our fear of failure we prop up pride, which says we don’t need help and can do it alone. Life is relationship. Relationship takes us back to the One.
Lesson Two: Practice Deep Learning: Learn to relish the feeling where the mind goes blank and we have no idea what we are doing. This is deep learning. Pushed beyond the known, something deep within awakens. Learn to love the uncomfortable feeling of having no idea what is happening. This is when our brain and nervous systems are doing the deepest learning and transformation. It is at the edge, just beyond the known, that the miracle happens. And that “miracle” is not usually what we think it will be. I fancy myself a great didgeridoo player. However, when I am with my teacher, I feel like an infant learning to walk. He is truly a master with decades of wisdom. In that presence, I experience a huge gap of where I am and where it is possible for me to go. The ego hates this feeling because it is awkward and vulnerable. The Soul relishes this chance to grow, evolve, and become When we practice deep learning our brain goes into a whole other state and new pathways are formed. Greats like Mozart, Da Vinci, Michael Jordan may have been born with talent, but it was constant practice and living outside this zone of ease that made them amazing reflections of Spirits evolutionary possibility. We have found at our research at University of Southern California, that as NSA care progresses, the nervous system expresses greater and greater levels of coherence and organization. Being in NSA care speeds and amplifies this learning process dramatically as our internal hardware and software systems get an upgrade.
Lesson Three: Synchronize inside and outside. I was telling my teacher I can often find a great rhythm when playing, but I often “lose it”. I get ahead of myself (surprise, surprise) and lose my center. I lose that central pulse, the heartbeat. This usually means I have to work harder when playing to make up for it. I also know that I can deliver a more coherent musical experience when I play with more rhythmic integrity and a pulsing steadiness. What he had me work on was holding steady to a very specific rhythm, pace, tempo and beat for extended periods of time – and that was the ONLY practice I can do for 4 weeks! My breathing had to lock in a specific sequence and stay there. For people like me who love to “freestyle” and just “go with it”, it was like pulling teeth. “What?!, I don’t need basics!” As I got humble and practiced (deep learning), I could feel my playing taking quantum leaps. Here is my first big takeaway – keep things simple. The magic of life is hidden in the ordinariness of each moment. It’s the space BETWEEN then notes that makes the music. The second takeaway is that all of us have dreams, desires, yearnings, and vision. However, when it is not linked to a map, to a plan, and to action it doesn’t get to express itself 100%. The dream will fail to crystallize as it doesn’t have any roots. The lightest wind can topple it. If a sailboat has no keel, it can steer straight and it can flip over easily. As Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was fond of saying, “nourish the root to enjoy the fruit”. The roots in this case were the basics, the plan, the anchor, the pulse. I can say I want to be a world-class didgeridoo player all I want, but without internal and external anchors, a plan, and deep practice it’s a fantasy. We are all capable of amazing things. Your dreams and visions come from Source, from your heart. We have what it takes to make to happen, but we have to do the work. We are conditioned to think that success or achievement is for the “talented”. Talent is a gift and a seed given at our incarnation, and it is entirely up to us how we cultivate, nourish and evolve this gift. I know lots of very talented people who are hobbling along at 10% of their potential.
The awesome paradox is that when I have a central rhythm within, I find massive creativity to improvise and create something new and amazing. Another paradox I have found is that EVERY TIME I make a plan, commit to it, and take massive action, Spirit steps in and opens doors I never would have seen. We may start in one direction, but suddenly some massive Intelligence takes over. Synchronicity and serendipity become the norm. I don’t believe in miracles, I rely on them! Its like the Universe is waiting for us to be serious, to be willing to give everything, and to leave our fat egos at the door. Spirit smiles and the right people, places, and things show up just when we need them. Try it! I have often tricked myself into waiting for the big A-Ha, the big “download”, the next seminar, the “miracle” simply because I was scared I would fail if I started on a journey with a less than perfect plan. Don’t wait for perfection to live your dreams. Don’t wait for the perfect circumstance, the perfect idea, thee perfect plan. Start where you are. Have a base. Get a mentor. Go for it. Magic happens.
Lesson Four: The Magic of 10 Minutes. Think of one thing you want to improve in your life. Think of one emotion you want to feel more of. Think of one part of your soul you would like to express more of. Think of one goal or yearning you have. Now, what would it be like to spend 10 minutes per day on that? I have a master teacher, but if I don’t PRACTICE at least 10 minutes per day, it means nothing. A lot of us who read this blog have the gift of getting entrained regularly. If you do that, you can take your care to a whole new level by practicing SRI 10 minutes per day. You can take your life to a whole new level by practicing a skill or working towards a soulful goal for 10 minutes per day. Starting a business? Spend 10 minutes per day meeting one new person or setting a marketing plan for the new year. Working out? Spend 10 minutes practicing some brand new skill or exercise, every day. We all want to live “in our flow” but for most it never happens because we are waiting for tomorrow. We are waiting to feel like we are enough. We are waiting to get it perfect. Here is a piece of vulnerable self-disclosure: I AM SCARED ON A REGULAR BASIS. I just know beyond all doubt that the God within is way bigger than my fear and if I just put one foot in front of the other, map in hand, mentors walking beside me, Heart wide open, I’ll get where I need to go. It is that deep process that changes us so utterly at our core. You want more self-love? More self-acceptance? Stop thinking about yourself so much and follow your heart. Practice! 10 minutes per day is a game changer. We know pretty much scientifically that consistency over time is way more important that intensity. Practice 10 minutes per day is so much more powerful than one practice session per month of one hour. This applies to anything and everything in our life.
Lesson Five: Love Falling on Your Face. When I get it “right” without work, struggle, or challenge, I typically don’t learn a new skill. Neither do you. Generally speaking, we carve new pathways in our mind and heart when we fall on our face. I watch my daughter learning to stand and walk. She gets up. She falls. She laughs. Repeat. If she was like most of the adults in our culture she would never try. She would give up. She would be talking about all the reasons her past keeps her down. Our fear of failure and of not being enough is a slap in the face of our Soul. She loves the process. She is alive, and life is PROCESS. I have learned to relish the feeling of embarrassment I feel with my didgeridoo teacher because it means I have just hit a new area of growth. Amazingly, as I have done this in my life for many years with other aspects of my life, this practice opens my heart to others, creates much more compassion, and I am radically more comfortable with myself. Most of the time, I feel a deep naturalness. We learn self-love not by reading the last Wayne Dyer or Eckhart Tolle book (I love Wayne Dyer + Eckhart Tolle), but by practicing courage and love. We don’t get self-esteem by thinking about it; we get it by doing esteemable things. Tal Ben Shahar showed that happier people have actually failed more often (he is a very smart Harvard professor) and get up, learn, shift focus, and take new action. All the stories we love in our culture, the stories that light us up, make us stand up and cheer, and give us energy are stories about overcoming obstacles, shining with courage through challenge, and arising when we have fallen. It’s the heart’s story of the Epic Journey of expressing courage + life in the face of challenge. Fail more often. It’s a good sign. It means you are trying and giving 100%. As Jack Canfield noted, “99% is a bitch. 100% is a breeze.” Its actually easier to give your all. It’s a lot harder in the end when we hold back and attempt to avoid falling on our face.
Lesson Six: Love the Process. The magic is in the process, not the destination. What is the destination, anyway? It is in the process of getting my butt kicked by my teacher that I grow, I get better, and I feel MORE joy for life in general. Love the process, the journey. Each experience in life, each moment, is chock full o’ life, love, presence, and GOD. The process of practice, the process of learning is a sweet recipe for deep happiness. And what is success but the joy we ultimately feel? Study after study has shown that the things we think will bring happiness don’t. What most people think bring happiness are externalized end-point goals. Save yourself a few decades and get into process. You’ll be amazed at what happens as a BYPRODUCT of living your process 100%. Success comes when we stop chasing. I love this quote by Viktor Frankl:
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself… Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
Lesson Seven: Who do you have to BECOME? In order to live this, I have to BECOME a man who steps up with courage, who is willing to do deep practice, who is willing to ask for help, who is willing to average up. I learned from Tony Robbins that success is about 20% what you “do”, and 80% who you are. 20% is the “method”. That 80% is who we must become. The beauty of this journey is that there is always becoming, always new growth. We are always growing. And to deeply engage that process is to suck out the marrow of life, to experience and indescribable authenticity and joy.
As one of our great American writers Henry David Thoreau said, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” I am certain these practices are 7 ways to deeply live authentically, happily, and suck out the marrow of life! They are tried and tested ways to flex the muscle of your nervous system and your heart!
Please let us know if you are interested in one of our upcoming immersion retreats – day long journeys to dive deep and soar high into new possibilities, all in the safe enclave of loving community and the grounded practices of NSA + SRI.
Also, mark your calendars for my upcoming didgeridoo meditation concerts:
January 19, 2:00 PM at Ahlara in Cornelius. Contact them for registration.
February 8th, 2PM at Lotus Living Arts in Concord, NC. Contact them for registration
March 28th at Be Yoga Carmel at 7:30 pm. Contact them for registration.
March 30 2:30pm at Centered Wellness in Charlotte. Contact them for registration.