We’ve just returned from a 6 day camping trip in the Isle of Wight. Mostly it was a chance to relax and unwind for a few days. In fact, a part from a few tourist attractions, we didn’t do much except lie around either the campsite, the pool, or the beach. For once there was some decent weather in England. I can’t say that the IOW is a happening place. When you get right down to it, the plae is atually kind of boring. It lacks atmosphere. Well at best I can say I’ve been to the Isle of Wight. At worst, I don’t think I’ll be visiting again.

Bookstores and libraries are always my favourite sources for inspiration. I walked away from Waterstones today with some exciting titles: Winning, by Jack Welch, Truth, by Simon Blackburn, Man and his Symbols, by Carl Jung, and SynchroDestiny, by Deepak Chopra. I’m giddy with anticipation of delving into the knowledge and ideas they contain.

Two reflective thoughts I picked up while browsing: one, from a lady author whom I can’t remember, but the book is Consciousness. I read her acknowledgement page in which she expressed the pure joy she found in the two years it took to write the book. She said she enjoyed being by herself reading, thinking, and writing. That clue was later joined up with a thought from another Blackburn title called, Think. From those two sources I received the message that I don’t think deeply enough.

So my challenge is to allow myself to think deeply and then to allow myself to express my thoughts clearly and poetically.

I’ve been thinking about what form my practice should take. I like the principles and beliefs behind Aikido yet I believe I would struggle to find a dojo that was more inclines towards teaching the spirituality of the art followed by the physical manifestation of it. The likelihood is that I would mainly probably find dojos in the reverse.

I mentioned to Pete that his Way is possibly the badminton court. This seemed to resonate with him. I reasoned that the practice had to have a physical opponent, someone to act as a reflection of your strengths and weaknesses. Pete suggested that the mountain could be the metaphor and also reflect the same thing. Perhaps that is a way forward for me since I really don’t relish the idea of going to fixed classes with folks that are not on the same spiritual quest as me. I suppose what would be missing, though, is the agile use of the body in conjunction with the mind and the spirit.

Money, or financial independence to be precise, is thought to be the elixir that will cure all ones ills. “If only I had more money…” is a common mantra among those seeking to escape the functional reality of their ordinary lives. The materialist’s view is that happiness is having more things, more relationships, more freedoms, more time, and most of all, more money. Because, as the thought process goes, if you have lots of money, well then, you can buy whatever it is that makes you happy.

David Geffen, the working-class kid from Brooklyn, who worked his way up to the top of the American entertainment industry and became a billionaire in the process, has this to say about being rich, “people who think money makes you happy haven’t been rich enough long enough.”

Yet we all chase after this dream to win the lottery, pick the hot stock that’ll make us millions, or bet big on a high stakes game of poker. We believe that money will buy us the freedom to pursue our dreams. We dream of a time when we’ll have enough money to buy the things we want and to do the things we want to do. As a friend of mine said, “It would be nice if we lived in a country where everyone makes a living wage working 30 hours a week. Then we’d all have time for the rest of life; for cleaning our houses, for running our errands, for following our dreams, for volunteering, for raising our children. Why have we decided that the best thing is to make people work lots of hours, and convince them that this makes them better and more dedicated people, committed to the corporate cause?”

What is “the rest of life?”

We have a tendency to spend a lot of time with our minds somewhere else, either in the past or the future. So much so, that we often miss what’s happening right now. And like my friend, we put life on hold. We dare not pursue our dreams of living the life we want to live; doing the things we want to do.

I can almost hear the voices now, “Yeah, but in the real world you can’t always do what you want to do; you’ve got to eat and pay the bills.” And I’d say that’s true, but do you have to give up on engaging the mystery of life, finding excitement and adventure right here, right now, in whatever you’re doing, instead of putting life on hold while you slave away in the corporate salt mines?

At the tail end of last year I took a trip to Mallorca where I met a girl named Margherita. Margherita and I spent hours talking in the evenings. We talked about a great many things from capitalism to religion to tennis. I had come to Mallorca seeking an answer to the question of purpose and it is my belief that the Universe spoke to me through Margherita. She said: “We should live to live not live to work.”

One of the things Margherita found difficult about living in America was that everyone, from her experience, seemed to live to work and were obsessive about what people did for a living or what university they’d attended. She said she felt insignificant in the presence of that system.

But back Mallorca she was Margherita. She wasn’t the company she worked for. She wasn’t the university she attended. She wasn’t how much money she had in the bank. She was simply Margherita and she could live to live.

She told me that the people of Mallorca don’t general ask or want to know what you do for work or what university you went to. She said it’s of such little concern that she doesn’t even know what some of her best friends do for work. And some of these are friends she’s known for years. Imagine that!

Live to live. I like the simplicity in that concept. It says to me that no matter where you’re at, there you are. Enjoy just being you. If nothing else just enjoy the simple art and pleasure of breathing.

Peace,
Clay

When will you ever have time for the rest of life? If not now, when?

I dreamt that a friend’s parents had rented out a 747 with no seats to fly a gang of somewhere. The hollowed out 747 was so we could play football in the back so as not to get board on the flight. In other part of the dream, I met Graham Norton/Steele Williams and they gave me directions to a party that turns out is in my grandfather’s old apartment building on 691 Elizabeth Ave. Valerie still lives there and was also intending to attend the party which was in apartment 1384. I can’t remember the girl, but there was a girl in the dream. My pre-awakening daydream was about battle-axes, morning stars and maces. I was thinking how brutal these particular weapons were.

I’m a little groggy this morning, though I feel well rested as I slept deeply. The inward pull continues to be strong.

I’m sitting in my bat cave chilling to some mellow tunes watching the sun sink below the horizon. There are 3 boys and a girl playing grab-ass in the school yard that runs paralell to my back yard(garden for you UK types). I’m between contracts at the moment, so this week I’ve had some time to catch up on some of the niggly little things that beg to be done, but often get pushed to the bottom of the pile until they can no longer be ignored, like renewing my driver’s license, electing how I want to receive the dividends from my not so impressive stock, updating my website, invoices, taxes, money transfers, picking up some of my mess lying around the house, fixing odds and ends on the car, picking up my suit from the cleaners that’s been there for about 6 weeks, designing a workshop I’m running next weekend, answering emails I’ve been neglecting for weeks etc. I could go on, but I suppose I should get back to it.

On a different note, I’ve been able to start running agaian this week with the aid of a knee brace. I’ve been out of running comission now for about 4 weeks which for me is a killer as I love running. I’ve switched back to cycling and circuit training as well as boxing(bags and shadow boxing).