Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What do you sit on?

Have a look at your knees. Drop your drawers, hoist your skirt, lift your pant leg and inspect them. I’ll wait…

Scars, knobby, pointy, pudgy, knock-kneed, fading memories from nasty bike spills when you were a kid, hairy, bald, aching or sore? How many miles on those babies? They carry you up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, across the ice, down the hill, kicking, climbing, twisting, hopping, resting, running, crossing, standing. Had knee surgery (900,000 arthroscopic knee surgeries performed annually in North America are done as treatment for osteoarthritis)? Knees are an often overlooked, hardworking joint. Here’s what knees look like on the inside:

Take a close look at the intricacies of your knee joint. They are kind of like cars from back in the early days when everything was just a little simpler to fix. You could maintain your own car or truck, had the tools in your garage to do just about anything to ensure your ride, basic mechanics. As a joke you could simply unplug the coil wire so your buddy couldn’t start their vehicle (not that I’ve ever done that). Memories of a different time.

Knees, and other human joints, are pretty much the same, yep they may each have their own unique characteristics, just like Chevy’s and Ford’s, but really the mechanics are the same across the board. Just as the systems we house, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, nervous, immune, reproductive, urinary, lymphatic, vehicles too house systems; cooling, electrical, emission, break… you get the picture. We could compare the solar system, operating system, software system, organizational systems, information systems. The real question is, What would chairs look like if our knees bent the other way?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Black Diamonds

Last year we committed to skiing more and improving. Lake Louise was our most frequented hill so when we hit Fernie for the first time we couldn’t believe all the powder.

If you ski you know skiing powder (the billowy, fluffy stuff that is nice and soft…and really hard to get out of if it’s shoulder deep, especially if you’ve got skis strapped to your feet!) is a lot different than no powder. Feeling more like beginners, we still attempted a couple of black diamonds. I say we, it was Dave who was the adventurous one detouring to the harder runs. Being more tentative than him, I didn’t follow at the start. After he came out alive, I gave them a shot. He introduced me to ‘China Wall’, ‘Tom’s Run’ and ‘KC Chutes’ black and double black diamonds, choke!

This year Panorama was our first ski adventure. Instead of being shoulder deep in powder, we were dodging rocks and faced with more moguls (like the icing on a Sara Lee cake, those bumps that professional skiers effortlessly carve around) than you could imagine. I’d never seen such huge moguls in my life, some 5 feet high and others had such deep grooves around them you had to either carve and turn fast or end up speeding uncontrollably through a grove and over a bump, possibly teetering on the top or sliding back onto rocks and ice or wiping out, over and over and over again. My skis came back with gaping wounds as big as the gullies between those moguls. Dave again was the adventurous one who led me astray, I’d follow figuring I could always slide down the hill and try to side step anything that looked too nutty.

This weekend Fernie. We had a good foot or so of fresh snow, ran a couple of easier runs to start off first thing in the morning but I didn’t feel so comfortable. Then something happened, maybe I woke up (that doesn’t usually happen ‘til about noon). What better way to challenge, build confidence and believe in yourself than to be absolutely humbled by nature. I was outside with Dave, it was warm, great snow conditions and I was physically active, all things I love. I focused on what I was doing, hit some hard runs and laughed as I fell, skidded, and crashed my way down the mountain, smiling the whole way.

Later that day I decided to attack the hill, the more apprehensive approach wasn’t working so well. My confidence grew (my downhill mantras ~ ‘attack the hill’ ‘keep your skis together’ especially when we traversed skinny little turkey trails in the expert and advanced areas). My attitude shifted, frustration and disappointment to enjoyment and acceptance. The second day brought great sunshine and warm weather, I haven’t fallen that much in such a short time.

Failing forward, you do learn the most from failures, but does it carry over to other aspects of life? I’d like to think so but I’m not so sure it always does. I’m a big believer in experiential learning still there are real challenges with transference from one situation to another. It’s kind of like history repeating itself, we pick out elements as to how it’s different this time, is it really different? I’m not convinced that it is.

To connect and transfer learning a conscious effort and an honest evaluation keeping the big picture in mind could work. Shooting for double blacks intentionally challenges both physical and mental capacity. On the other hand aiming to create deeper, more soulful connections that are meaningful, challenge more than the physical and mental. It’s beyond our tangible reality and moves into the realm of what we cannot touch, write or think. The intangible essence, energy or whatever you want to call it appears to be where we need to move to deepen our connectedness.

So are soulful connections any different than double blacks? Are the differences excuses not to transfer learnings to a more complex situation? What can be transferred from double black learnings to soulful connections, beyond talking?

Ski run ratings:
Green Circle - Easiest Runs
Blue Square - Intermediate
Black Diamond - Advanced
Double Black Diamond – Expert

Shooting for Double Blacks!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Klepto-parasitic bees, travel the world thru chocolate... Mediocrity NOT at its finest!

If Clifford Stoll and Dennis van Engelsdorp can’t get your mojo going then who knows what will. Mediocrity is something that we’re trained to accept, no more! We should expect to have our brains explode, hearts shatter, bodies invigorate and souls rocket with idea after idea after idea when listening to a speaker, attending a workshop, walking our dogs, it’s our duty to rupture the blueprint of, or should I say addiction to, mediocrity.

It starts with our own little pedestrian lives.

Does that mean that every moment is to be an explosion of sensory perceptions? Not quite. It does however mean that every moment counts and every moment leads to and plays a role in creating exemplary practice, thought, connection and movement. We cannot afford to accept what is put before us. We cannot expect to continue along our merry way, we no longer are able to turn away from our global neighbours because we know and see, hear and are fed a smorgasbord of stimulants that provide evidence and misinformation from near and away. Colleges and Universities now focus on critical thinking and problem solving, analysis and evaluation rather than information transference, isn’t that how it all started in the first place?

Information is not power, knowledge may be important but essential for the new future is a new (renewed) way. Our transformation into an information society from an industrial one has taken hold and the emergence of a new future is on its way. That new future includes new (or are they renewed) relationships: with the earth, the others on the planet and the energy around. The new future is a mobius loop of idea generation, realization and existence. We will no longer wait for the go ahead, we’ll go. We’ll no longer wait for someone else to create a solution, we’ll create our own, we’ll take charge and develop interesting viaducts with unfamiliar materials that hold strength with deeper understanding and acceptance. We see it already in our multiracial schools, in our international services, in our supermarkets.

When we decide that mediocre is no longer tolerable, we’ll see that our small and insignificant presence will be forgotten at the same time will have been a part of an evolution of magical proportion. What is insignificant is significant, what is important is unimportant, what we accept or strive to change builds energy towards and within something that we can only imagine. Smiling as the Dalai Lama with openness will expand the space we imagine and create the new future much like the old.

Move to the new future and expect amazing, it’s here so inhabit it.

Visit http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dennis_vanengelsdorp_a_plea_for_bees.html to watch a short clip on “Where have the bees gone? The rise of collaboration”. Dennis van Engelsdorp shares bees. It’s astounding how that community, bees, parallels our communities. Did you know that 1 in 3 bites we eat is pollinated directly or indirectly by bees? At the same site check out Clifford Stoll’s clip, “18 minutes with an agile mind” another one to blow away mediocre. Heard of a Mobius Loop - a one sided, one edged surface? Give a strip of paper a half-twist, then tape the ends together. It's one side and one boundary, the inside is the outside. Clifford shares his Klein bottle and his hand that guides us along his idea map. Not for all but much for many, stroll through TED.com to find something that inspires you.

Could if my brain think like this.