Work life balance is a myth. To be balanced is to be mediocre. Even Jesus eluded to this in the Book of Revelations: ‘…you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm I am about to spit you out of my mouth.’ What I have noticed is in my attempt to lead a balanced life, I have become Joe Average. When my life was unbalanced and chaotic, I constantly pushed the limits of how far I could go. I spent a lot of time on the edge in danger of falling off. The edge is intoxicating because you learn things about yourself you might never have had the opportunity to learn in ordinary circumstances.

My life is less chaotic now, more stable and balanced. But balance, as I have seen it, has brought boredom, frustration and a little irritation. I feel like the caged bird. Only I don’t feel much like singing. I feel like ripping the fucking cage up and beginning again.

Life coaches would have you balance the Wheel of Life. Knowing what I know now, I would say scrap that, choose what most appeals to you and then pour all of your energy into the pursuit if that one area.

The map is not the territory. If you have the territory, why would you need a map? A map presupposes a destination, an endpoint to obtain, a goal. If I sent you an email that read, “Meet me in Wales next Thursday at 10:02am as a matter of urgency. By the way, after I send this message, you won’t be able to contact me further.”

If you know where Wales is, you could make a start but the chances are you wouldn’t find me next Thursday. In fact, it would probably take you a lifetime to find me there without more specific information.

If I said meet me at the very top of Snowdon at 10:02 next Thursday, you would be able to find me if 1) you have an accurate map of Snowdon in your mind, i.e. you have been there many times before and have an accurate memory of the territory, or 2) you have the necessary physical maps you would need to get you to the top of Snowdon from where ever you are right now, or 3) you know someone who knows how to get to Snowdon or could ask someone who knows.

The ‘map’ is a guide to the territory. If you don’t have any particular place to get to within the territory, do you need a map? Any direction you choose is as good as any other. As the Cheshire Cat famously illustrated when Alice asked the question: “Would you tell me please which way I ought to go form here?”

“That depends a great deal on where you want to get to,” replied the Cheshire Cat.

“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

I have been looking for maps to help guide me through my life. Which presupposes I have somewhere to get to. If that’s the case, where do I want to go? Isn’t BEING here enough?

I was visiting one of my West Point Classmate’s website and found this little gem tuck away on her site.  It’s a video of Cadet Basic Training better known as Beast Barracks.  Brings back some fond memories!

The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the source of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand in rapt awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exits, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms, this knowledge, this feeling, is the centre of true experience.

Some of you may recognize these words as those of the preeminent physicist, Albert Einstein. I came across the words while studying some universal laws to which I had know of intellectually but had not put into practice very much. But as I reflect back on the periods in my life when I have had the privilege to tap directly into this source, this magical mystical flow, I realized that these were times when I was at my absolute best. I was firing on all cylinders: mind, body and spirit in tune, in flow and in harmony with everything around me.

Over the past week, I have been drawing a mandala daily as a part of a research project I am doing. The mandala is like a mind mirror in which you can find valuable clues from your subconscious mind. I have an article on mandalas which I’ll make available on the blog later. I also use the mandala as a projective coaching tool on Ascent and recently, I have been running mandala workshops. The workshops have inspired me to start collecting empirical data to be used as the basis of a book on mandalas to support my workshops. If you are interested in participating as a subject, post a comment or send me an email.

Ah the joys of coming home and the anticipation of sleeping in my own rack.  I had a late flight in from Scotland.  I used BMI Baby instead of Fly “May” BE.  The BMI Baby crew actually seem to have pride in their company and treat their customers with a little dignity and respect and on top of that, the plane got us to Birmingham 20 minutes early!  Well it’s late and I’m up early tomorrow for pretty much an all day meeting followed by another engagement in the evening.  Time for some much needed shut eye.

Question number 53 is courtesy of those funky business boys.  The Nobel Prize winning Mr. Henry Kissinger is reputed to have started a press conference with the question: ‘Does anyone have any questions for my answers?’  Which reminds me of the poster of a monkey scratching his head underneath a caption that said, “just when I thought I had all of life’s answers, they changed the questions.”

The barista in training told me there were several good places to eat in Stirling. I told him I would be here for several weeks which would give me plenty of time to try them all. I told him tonight though, I want a burger.

“Where can I go to get a good burger?” I implored.

“Ah that’ll be The Filling Station just down the way. They make an awesome burger.” I finished my coffee and dashed back to my hotel to pick up my copy of funky business forever. I thought Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom might make good dinner companions.

The Flagship Golden Lion Hotel is my home for the next three days. From the moment I walked into the lobby, I didn’t like the place. My dislike grew when I walked into the closet they were calling my room and I absolutely went through the roof when I found out they didn’t have WiFi. According to the welcome pack, “Unfortunately we don’t have Internet access in our hotel but the central library in the city centre is the perfect place to go. They have free Internet access Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am until 6.00 pm.” That would be fine I suppose If I were here as a tourist, but not so good if you’re on business. Not to worries though, this would be my big chance to try out the Vodafone mobile WiFi unit I bought a few weeks ago. I knew it would come in handy sooner or later.

I wander into The Filling Station and ask the lone waitress for a table for one. The place is decked out in old filling station paraphernalia – old Shell and Esson petrol cans, rusty bumpers and old street signs. I immediately spot the spicy hot wings and the Bison burger with bacon and mozzarella cheese.

While I’m waiting for my bison burger, Ridderstrale and Nordstrom tell me that “markets are simply big conversations where sellers and buyers exchange information to determine the price of something.” Radical thinking? Or how about, “America’s success lies in its ability to mop up the greatest talent. The brightest minds from China, India, Russia and Brazil and elsewhere flock to the US. Why? Because the US is an idea not a country.”

The spicy hot wings were sweat on the brow, nose dripping, mouth burning hot! And I would have to say they are the best hot wings I have had in the UK. They are a close second to the world famous Jay’s Elbow Room hot wings. The Bison burger, on the other hand, is a disappointment. I had dreams of it being as good as the bison burger I ever had down on South St in Philadelphia. The bun let the bison burger down. The bun is just as important as the burger. They are a team. In this case, the bun failed to enhance the overall experience of the burger and I left wishing I had just order two or three servings of the hot wings.

I pretty much had a quiet day.  I read An Enchanted Life until mid-afternoon, cooked myself a late spaghetti lunch and then watched the two episodes of Heroes that have been waiting for me to watch them.  The rest of the eveing I spent on packing for my trip to Scotland tomorrow, plus a few odds and ends.

Here are some of the photos I took in Oxford yesterday.  Oh, the reason I was in Oxford was to meet a friend whom I’d not seen for a few months.  He lives in London.  We chose Oxford as a sort of midpoint between us.  I decided to take the train so I could spend some time reading Don Juan:  A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.  This is my second reading, but it’s appropriate for the project I’m working on at the moment.

I have an oh-dark-thirty morning tomorrow so I’ll post these photos and call it a night: