Your eyes open to loved ones and medical staff swarming around you. It takes a little while to get more than the colors in the room, the bright sunlight streaming in from the window. Your senses are not doing what they normally do. Finally you have a little more control and you move your head around a little. Someone gets up and tells you to take it easy. “Easy! I just moved my head.”
Then the doctor enters the room and sits down. Doctors don’t sit. A few more people follow him in the room and close the door behind them. The air could be cut with a knife and the tension is already sky high. “What the hell is about to happen?”
“How much do you remember about the accident?”
“There was an accident?”
“I’ve got something you need to know. During the accident you had a…”
It’s a horror show for some and an intriguing idea for others. How would you feel about the ability to only eat one food for the rest of your life? I know some foodies who would jump off the tallest building if that reality set in and was truly their fate.
For me, this has actually been somewhat of a reality for the past several years. I have a funky stomach and a medication regime that makes the basic process of ‘doing business’ a challenge. If I find a pattern that makes regularity a reality, I’m there no matter what.
My choice is pizza – it’s the perfect food. You can cover most of the food groups in one pie. You can order it from a pizza place or (my favorite) have it at home as a homemade dish. It works for breakfast (although I do stray from the purity of this idea and eat meal bars for that meal) and as I don’t eat lunch the pizza for dinner is a perfect solution to the growling in my belly. This has been the pattern for the past three years and I see no reason to make a change. I look forward to the pizza smell wafting from the oven and the sound of the pizza wheel cutting through the crust.
Just this evening my loving spouse announced the pizza wheel needed to be sharpened. Enough said, right? Luckily, my skill set is quite a bit larger than my eating habits and that wheel will be sharp enough to chop a few more years worth of pizza. Weight has remained constant, oh by the way – regular habits make for stable stats.
This post follows the development of the mythology of my left leg sleeve.
The dreamer finds himself swimming at the bottom of a carp pod who are all swimming and attempting to jump over the waterfall that separates them from the pool they are in and the level above them. Rocks and eddy currents attempt to thwart the koi but these creatures are not easily dissuaded once their minds fix on a task. A red koi takes the leap but doesn’t make it this time. No matter to the koi; It will try again and again.
Moving around the pool there is an open lotus with purple and orange petals
Another koi, this time blue with a pale underbelly takes his turn trying.
“Why do you try to leap to the next pond?” the dreamer wonders aloud..
The red koi swims over and says, “We must try to achieve; we know that we will rarely succeed but that doesn’t matter as much as the effort and intention behind the effort”.
“What do you hope to achieve?”
“Do you see the falls that are at this highest level? That is the ‘Dragons Gate’ and if one of us modest Koi make it over the Dragons Gate we instantly turn into a dragon.”
“A DRAGON?!” the dreamer exclaims – “how did this come to be?”
“No one truly knows why it happens or when it first started but the stories tell of the nature of the Koi as one who is stoic, fearless and unflinching in the face of the fisherman’s knife, the gods bestowed the transfiguration of the koi if it reached this most lofty goal.”
“How many Koi have you known to transform?”
“Just one, but it appears that I will see the movie second shortly – the green Koi is making the jump now. He is worthy and particularly tenacious despite his kind soul and gentle heart”.
“Who is he?” the dreamer asks…
“It is you, my friend – you have somehow transported yourself in this dream to witness your own transformation. It is very auspicious that this should happen this way.”
What??? the dreamer thought to himself – how the; nevermind – its a dream…
“OK – how long does the transformation take?” the dreamer asked the Koi.
“Watch…” and as the red koi signals to look upward, a magical shock wave rippled through air and water as the green Koi crossed the Dragons Gate threshold and almost instantly transformed into a green dragon. All the creatures in the ponds – the frog about halfway up and the turtle above it looked skyward and paid homage to the transformed creature. His name was Seiryū-han and he magically flew to occupy his place in the protecting those who suffered through no fault of their own.
Owning dogs is a grand adventure and often I’ve lamented that I miss not having kids in addition to my four giant dogs (well, three and a hobbit…). Then I started to think about why I’d be crazy for wanting to add kids into my life and that led to this;
1. Dogs are always happy to see you. No faces being picked up at school. No crying baby at 2am. Happy, happy and happy! I love consistency.
2. Dogs only require one cleanup if there’s an accident of the industrial sludge variety. It smells no better BUT the dump site is my only concern (and not the source of the deposit).
3. Dogs are much cheaper on birthdays.
4. Dogs eat their meals with no negotiation required, nor do they complain about what they’re served.
5. Dogs can be put in their kennels and we can go out to run errands for several hours at a stint – they call child protective services on you if you try that with your human kids!
6. Dogs only require a bath every couple of months.
7. Dogs can be occupied for an hour with a busy bone (peanut butter inside a calcium bone). With kids, you could usually only get about 5-8 minutes worth of attention for any treat (cookie, ice cream, etc.).
8. Dogs are easier to find – they have collars with tags on them, rattling to signal where they are; kids are usually not wearing bells and they enjoy hiding in cupboards and closets.
9. Dogs do NOT go to school.
10. Dogs never cause concern in us about their futures – they just eat, sleep, go, play – repeat.
11. Dogs are easily amused.
12. Dogs are encouraged to play fight and we gleefully cheer for one or the other like watching a boxing match. Again with the child protective services call – if you pit your kids against one another, they take away your birthday for that kind of stuff.
13. Dogs make us uncontrollably laugh when they have the ‘zoomies’ (frantic running around as fast as possible, pulling 360s and truly enjoying life). When kids do the same thing, the cry of “Stop that – right now” isn’t far behind.
14. Dogs make us belly laugh when they sit on each other. Kids just frustrate you when they do it.
15. Dogs can’t lie – if they eat our banana from the counter, they will turn away looking guilty.
16. Dogs are delighted with toys that we throw for them. Kids usually require toys costing $300+ and they get tired of them in a week.
17. Dogs can stick their heads out of the car and we watch with joy as their ears flap in the wind – with kids, their windows are locked out because we’re worried about their eyes.
18. Dogs don’t try to negotiate terms with mom after being told no by dad. They just do it anyway.
19. Dogs can be adopted with a couple hundred bucks and an application. Kids take MUCH longer and require many more dollars.
20. Dogs will never use drugs or drink UNLESS their human is offering. With kids, we worry when it’s very quiet at 4:20pm or if they’re late coming home from their friends.
I love kids and realize the rewards of parenting far outweigh the negatives. That said, there are pros and cons to everything and in these areas, dogs are better than kids.
Imagine you have taken on a role in your company as a ‘nerd mentor’. Part of this role has you assisting coworkers in creating ‘employee resource groups’ where like-minded folks come together and either have fun, work toward a common goal or support some type of issue. So far, so good – right?
Now imagine you receive an email requesting, for all intents and purposes, a religious study group. I’ve puckered up a few times at work and this was one of them. The requestor and I met and I raised the request up to my contacts to check things out. The initial conversations turned into a series of discussions that climbed higher and higher in the organization.
One day, I received a message that the Diversity Leadership team needed to speak with me. (Another pucker moment) Our conversations were very positive and the generic idea of a group that fostered unity and our connections with each other was supported. We spoke several times and since the existing policy clearly disallowed the practice of a religion, the originally conceived group wasn’t feasible. At that decision, I thought, “Oh well, that’s that” but our conversation turned toward another leadership goal for a different gathering. I was asked whether I’d be interested in putting together a group targeting the ‘Great Mysteries’ in life that looked at big questions humanity has grappled with throughout history related to the spirit and mystery of existence.
My mind reeled – how was that going to work?! I have a huge interest in philosophy and metaphysical matters that science has only started to broach in the last 20 or so years. I’ve tried to glean nuggets from wisdom traditions all across the world. I am, however, a weird renegade that doesn’t fit a mold and I’m delighted and comfortable with that fact. How was I going to convince a group of folks who may be on opposite ends of the spectrum with their knowledge and perspectives of wisdom traditions? How would we cooperatively join in conversation that by rights could be potentially explosive?
As there was no other way, I boldly jumped into the deep end of the pool. I referenced a source provided Diversity Leadership in the Tanenbaum organization (who incidentally has tackled a much larger scope for themselves). Their resources have many themes and referenced content that speaks to them from the wisdom traditions around the world & throughout a wide range of time. Starting with the Golden Rule jumped out at me for three specific reasons:
1. It would be a great thematic topic that spoke to treating others as you wish to be treated.
2. In the minds of many, the Golden Rule already has some attribution and would be an interesting idea to explore from the other traditions and just to explore on a secular level.
3. It was riding the line between ‘religion’ and secular philosophy. Because the practice of religion is out of bounds and certainly not discussed at work often, it would be a good test of our diligence in steering the conversations that might follow.
Around this time, another senior executive (who has delightfully become a friend) reached out and wanted to get involved. They had hosted similar group discussions in their personal time and were interested in bringing this open dialog to the company. The branding of the group was going to be an important component of this and “Faith Exploration” became the name, shortened to just “FX”. We pulled the materials together and lined up a date. Oh, and food. No event you want people to show up at should be held without food if you can help it.
It was an extraordinary event – we had 20-25 people attend from a wide range of perspectives. The desire to explore was palpable. The discussion strayed here and there as any such conversation is want to do but a simple redirection was all that was needed to bring people back. From the organizers, attendees and buzz after the event, it was a resounding success and people wanted more.
I think the thing to take from this was we removed the toxicity of specific religions and recollections of specific events or things. We spent ALL our time on what do you think drove people to this conclusion? How does this impact you in your work and life? Is it still important or valid today? The miniscule negative reactions were blunted by the extensive and ecstatic responses from nearly all the participants. It’s my hope that we can establish something extraordinary and spread the desire to know more about Love, Hope, Courage, Charity, Compassion, Forgiveness, Good Deeds, Respect, Looking Inward/Outward and other topics.
We set clear rules & guidelines that were fair, identified what was in and out of bounds and set our intentions in a purposeful way to let everyone know they were welcome and they could choose for themselves whether this was something they were open to welcoming into their mind. Excitement exists for the next meeting instead of dread – hope instead of horror and the deep intention to help others release their fears and misconceptions in exchange for an hour of exploration.
As we progress I’ll share more of our journey once time has logged the event – Namaste.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad