I took the road less travelled and it really did make a difference.


The story

Sitting in the car travelling east on the M61 to meet a friend that I have not seen for some time.  Eager to honour my word – to arrive at 6pm – leave from parents home with a fifteen minute margin.  Grateful to my brother for fantastic job he’s done on servicing/valeting the car – it sparkles, it drives well.  Looking forward to spending time with friend – has been many years since we last talked openly and shared a meal together.

Signpost says there are long delays on M62 junctions 20 and 24 due to accident.  Wondering “Does it impact me?” as it could on the western route or the eastern route.  Hit the M62 traffic flows and then hits me that accident, that delay is on route and will impact me.  Frustration, annoyance shows up – why me, why today?   Temptation to stay on M62 is strong: have travelled this route many times and don’t know how else to get there!  Nonetheless, turn off at the first exit before the blockage – part of me gets that is the wisest choice.

Driving along the slip road and a roundabout shows up. Many exits, which exit to take?  Take one, find place to stop, get SatNav out, enter in destination, wait, route is calculated.  Remaining 30 miles will take hour and half instead of 30 minutes – will be late.  Annoyed.  Make call to friend and leave message so she knows what is so and how it is likely to turn out. Put myself in the hands of the SatNav.

The road is dirt track, no other cars travelling on it, pot holes everywhere, drive slowly.  “Am I on the right road?  Is this a dead end?  Has SatNav got it wrong?”  Uncertainty and vulnerability is generating fearful thoughts.  Plough in – trust that it will all work out, can be with whatever shows up.  Soon driving on a proper road.  Relief.  All is well for 10 minutes or so then end up on built up areas of local town.  So different from my world – town is dirty, poor, signs of neglect everywhere, was really something during Industrial Revolution and now looks like Detroit.

Frustration, annoyance and anger are all present:  built up areas, 30mph speed limit, traffic lights everywhere, traffic, stop, start, not getting anywhere.  “It’s not fair, why me, why trapped here in hell?” Towns, cities, built up areas don’t speak to me.  Nonetheless an angel is present and speaks “Be with what is and what is not.  Be patient.  Accept world just as it is and just as it is not.  That is freedom:  being with what is and what is not is the access to authentic freedom!”  Now relaxed, no hurry, simply taking in the scenery, listening to the music on the radio.

Suddenly, road leaves town centre behind and starts to wind and climb up.  One bend after another, climbing, car struggles, change down a gear. Arrive at top of big hill, look down and this thought shows up “Wow, how beautiful!”  Countryside everywhere: rolling hills, country road, no traffic, clear roads, now travelling at 50mph.  “”Wow, how beautiful to be so high up, here in God’s country!  What luck.  If it had not been for the accident, the traffic jam, this world would never have been disclosed to me!”

Joy is present, wonder/awe is present, peace is present whilst driving on the ideal road for me – one that snakes around from side to side and up and down. Water!  Lake?  Reservoir?  Stop car by side of road.  Get out and just look – really look at the sunshine hitting the water and the wind caressing the water – water is rippling.  How beautiful!

What fun, what joy, what beauty, how wonderful the experience of driving is.  Have not traveled on this kind of road for a long time.  Then another ‘lake/reservoir” shows up.  “Wow.  This is the body of water that has shown up many times on my travels on the M62.  Each time wanting to get off M62 to take a closer look.  This time, today, that closer look is taking place.

Travelling along the Pennines, time no longer matters, just joy of driving and being here right now.   Suddenly it ends just as abruptly as it began – now travelling in the suburbs of a city.  Joy and gratitude are still present.  Drive slowly, calmly and fifteen minutes or so later the car sits on my friends drive.

What is the meaning of this story?

Life is simply more fun on the road less travelled.  And the price is the willingness to be with fear, uncertainty, doubt, vulnerability, fear, frustration, annoyance, resentment and even anger.   A glitch in the matrix of everyday life showed up in my life and awoke me from the slumber of the everyday.  Having awoken, taking responsibility, handling fear, chose the road less traveled.  And that made all the difference – an experience that will be with me always.  An experience that shows me that the ‘unexpected’ can be gift, an access to see that which is hidden, to experience that which has not been experienced, to grow. 

On the road less travelled it helps to have the right tools: what would have showed up, what would the experience be like if the SatNav had not been present to take care of working out the route?

Insights into self: self and built areas simply do not go together naturally/effortlessly; self, countryside, rolling hills, mountains, lakes, rivers, ocean go together perfectly.  Home, for me, is the natural world, the natural landscapes.  Leave towns, cities, shopping malls, built up areas to fellow human beings who find joy in them.

Final thought

Isn’t the essence of possibility, leadership and transformation the willingness, the determination, the commitment to envision, communicate and travel the road less travelled?  Sometimes one creates the opening and sometimes the opening shows up and one simply has to step into it.

On being thankful for what shows up in my life


Some years ago waking up at around 2am pain was present in my chest and breathing occurred as painful and difficult.  “Aha asthma attack, relax, focus on breathing, all will be ok”.  After waiting for ten minutes or so it did not get better, it got worse.  Walked to the windows, open them wide, stood there and breathed.  “This will make the difference, it has always done so before.”  It doesn’t make a difference, pain becomes worse, breather becomes shallower. “Am I going to die?”  Panic.  Then the

Thought arrives with absolute conviction “Time is running out, I am going to die this night”.  Absolutely calm.  “What is there to do before I die?”  Another thought “Ring the people closest to me, those that have contributed the most, the people who will miss my presence.”  Rang mobile phones and then peacefully waited for death to arrive.  Completely calm.   Later, knocking on the door.  Walked slowly down the stairs and opened the door.  “It’s my sister!”  She drives me to hospital, doctor does his stuff, I live.

More difficulty in making peace with ‘ill health’

Spent my childhood in and out of hospitals – didn’t like it one bit.  You can argue that I should be grateful:  ‘Ill health’ was the reason that my father bought my mother and us (2 boys) over to the UK from Pakistani administered Kashmir.  If that had not happened life would have turned out differently – probably would not be writing this.

Nonetheless, ‘ill health’ does not sit well with me, it shows up as unwanted, an unwelcome guest.  ‘Ill health’ signifies lack of control and dependency on others – detest not being in control, detest being dependent on others, that is the story of childhood.   “Death is preferable to being ill and dependent on others!”  That is what shows up for me again and again.  Looks life life has other plans.

Not been feeling well for the last month or so.  Ignored it at first and got on with stuff – work, reading, writing, playing… ‘Illness’ did not go away, just got stronger: stomach pain, loss of appetite, tiredness…… Difficult to concentrate on that which interests me including writing this blog. Not able to eat Friday, Saturday or Sunday.  Woke up this morning with stomach ache, could not eat, just had tea. Several hours later ate a banana.  Pain, more pain, more pain, toilet.  No lunch.  Mid afternoon: hunger.  Ate portion of omelette.  Pain, pain, pain – afternoon of pain.  I started to feel sorry for myself.

Be Thankful: a wonderful, uplifting poem delivered by a friend far away

Just when the temptation to play ‘victim’ to feel sorry for myself was the strongest, I received a gift from a friend:

BE THANKFUL

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.

Getting present to that which calls forth thankfulness/gratitude

All the days and times good health has been present

All the times when ‘ill health’ was present and the doctors and nurses who did their best to make me better

The delicious food I have eaten in restaurants around the world – Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Rome, Milan, London, Madrid, Lisbon, Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Amsterdam……

Fine, freshly cooked, delicious meals served by my wife for the last 17+ years – rare is the time that the food was not fresh, not delicious

The beautiful places that I have spent time in / trekked in: Yosemite, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, The Pyrenees, The Alps, Lake Annecy, Lake Geneva, coastline of Senegal……

Sports played/enjoyed: tennis, badminton, table-tennis, cricket, football, trekking, cycling, paragliding – how great it is to be in the air hanging by a ‘thread’!

Today, grateful for the sunshine on my face, the bench in garden to rest upon, love and kindness that flows from daughter…..

Today, grateful for the care shown by doctors and that live in country where medical treatment is free.  Friend in USA is in similar condition and he has no access to healthcare – not rich enough for medical insurance, not poor enough for free medical care!

So much to be grateful for: beauty of flowers in the garden, the wonder/joy of music, ‘taking a course’ in existential philosophy via the iPad that was gifted to me by my sister, listening to the kind words of daughter, hug from daughter, can move, can write, can read, can touch, can be and do so much.

Grateful that am not in living hell like that which lived/experienced by JDB who found himself fully awake and locked into a ‘dead’ body.

Thankful and grateful for the life that had gone by, the life that is, the life that lies ahead.

If the herd is headed for the cliff the sane thing is to break free from the herd no matter how uncomfortable you feel!


What am I to be, to do, to have in this world?

How do I decide what/how I am to be in this world?  How do I decide what to do, how to conduct myself, what to chase after in this world?   Of all questions these are the most important questions and they do not have easy answers.

Given that these are the most difficult questions and there are no ready made answers how do I answer these questions?  The default is simply to follow the herd: look around me and buy into the way of life that everyone around has bought into. Look deeply and you will notice that we human beings are herd animals.  We just don’t use the word herd instead we use softer more appealing words like ‘community’, ‘profession’, ‘vocation’, ‘nation’…..

“It’s all made up!”

If we are fortunate there will be glitches in the ‘matrix of the taken for granted every day life’ and we will notice these glitches.

I noticed these glitches.  I would go to school and be told “X is great, this is the right way to be, the right thing to do…”  and I’d get home and I would be told “X is totally wrong!  It is the wrong way to be, the wrong thing to do, the wrong thing to chase after…”.   At home I would learn a set of views/practices and upon arriving at school I’d be told that these were wrong.  I was lucky enough to be born into one culture and live in it whilst at home and then be embedded in a different culture during school hours.

At the age of about 8/9/10 I remember thinking “Its’ all made up!”  That was the most liberating thought of my life – it changed/directed the course of my life.  I focussed on school work rather than religion.  I studied Physics rather then Biology and thus dashed my parents hopes of becoming a doctor.  I went to a university far from my parents home rather than one nearer home.  I chose my wife rather than get an arranged marriage.  I made friends irrespective of their colour, their race or their religion instead of sticking with my ‘own kind’.  I questioned things and asked difficult questions rather than accept the ready made answers….

Being with the herd does not make you ‘right’, going away from the herd does not make you ‘wrong’

Most of us will experience a series of glitches in the ‘matrix of our taken for granted way of thinking and living’ and one or more of these will grab our attention and open our eyes so that we see beyond the surface.  When we see beyond the surface we may come to the conclusion we are living a false life, a shallow life, a mindless life, a meaningless life, a joyless life, someone else’s life.  Then we are confronted with choice: act/reclaim our life as ours or to go back to being with the herd and pretend we never saw what we saw.

Most of us lull ourself back to sleep and get back to following the herd. And if we don’t do that then the people around us act on us with more and more force to get us back in the pen with the rest of the herd.  Our argument, their argument is often that the herd cannot be wrong, we must be wrong.  With that in mind and with a commitment to leave us with the freedom to transform our lives I share with you the following passage from R.D. Laing’s book, The Politics of Experience:

“From an ideal vantage point from the ground, a formation of planes may be observed from the air.  One plane may be out of formation.  But the whole formation may be off course.  The plane that is ‘out of formation’ may be abnormal, bad or ‘mad’ from the point of view of the formation.  But the formation itself may be bad or mad from the point of view of the ideal observer.  The plane that is out of formation may be also more or less off course than the formation….

In particular, it is of fundamental importance not to confuse the person who may be ‘out of formation’ by telling him that he is ‘of course’ if he is not.  It is of fundamental importance not to make the positivist mistake of assuming that, because a group is in formation, this means they are necessarily ‘on course‘.….. Nor is it necessarily the case that the person who is ‘out of formation’ is more ‘on course’ than the formation……

If the formation is itself off course, then the man who is really to get ‘on course’ must leave the formation.”

It takes inner strength to be yourself; being yourself is the greatest accomplishment


The illusion of individuality

Those of us who are thrown into Anglo-Saxon cultures (at birth) live under the tight grip of the illusion of individuality.  We buy into the following myth: I am an individual and you are individual and as such you and I are free to be just ourselves – no constraints.  People thrown into Easter cultures have a much deeper appreciation of how much it takes to really be an individual – to really stand for who you are, what you believe in.

The being of human beings is that we are beings-in-the-world.  What is a prominent feature of this being-in-the-world?  From the moment we are born we are in an intimate relationship with fellow human beings.  Our life is in their hands and we become masters are doing what it takes to please people – at least those that have a strong influence on our lives.  Furthermore, every culture ensures that playing the game of ‘looking good and avoiding looking bad’ becomes our nature, our default setting.  Let’s be precise – we do just about anything to ‘look good and avoid looking bad’.  It takes inner strength to go against this default, to be who you are (naturally) and to stand up for what you believe.  This was brought home to me this week by my son.

It takes real inner strength to be kind when there is no permission, no agreement, for kindness

My son was sitting next to me and I must have said or did something that made him a little unhappy with me – I honestly cannot remember how it started.  So he starts tapping me softly on my legs.  I blurted out something like “Don’t be a p****y, if you are going to hit me then hit me hard.”  Then my son said something and the way he said it opened my eyes and my heart:

“I know you think I am a p****y.  What you don’t understand is that it takes real strength to be kind, to be gentle,  when all the boys in school are the opposite and pushing me to be the same as them.  Yes, I am kind and I don’t like to hurt people or be hurt by people.  If that means that people call me a p****y then so be it.”

It will be one of those moments that will be with me for the rest of my life.  I was (and still am) in complete awe at his inner strength as I never got what it takes for him to be gentle and kind in his world where ‘criticism, ridicule, indifference or cruelty’ is the norm.  I also got why there is so little genuine kindness and gentleness in the world that I live in: we live in a male dominated world and in this world there is no permission for kindness and gentleness.  It takes something, real inner strength, to against the prevailing wind.

To simply be yourself is the greatest accomplishment

Are leaders – big or small, recognised or not – people who have found the inner strength to simply be who they naturally are and stand up for what matters to them?  Is the biggest transformation of all that which occurs when we give up ‘looking good and avoiding looking bad’ and simply be who we are moved-touched-inspired to be?  Here’s what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”

“You are a fraud!” Thank you, I am totally ok with that


“You are a fraud!”

One of the people who knows me well asserted: “You are fraud!”.  What is the context that gives rise to this statement, this assertion?  Simply the disconnect this person experiences between how I show up for her and how my speaking/writing shows up for her.  There is a big gap and therefore the assertion: “You are a fraud”.

How to deal with that?  Do I attack?  Do I dispute?  Do I assert that she doesn’t see the full picture?  Do I find reasons/excuses for the difference between my speaking and my being/doing that shows up for her?  Do I turn the tables and point out her defects?

I accepted and continue to accept her assertion: “You are a fraud!”.  I totally get and am ok with this.  That is how it is!  For her, I show up as a fraud – that is simply what is so.  Going further I accept that I am a fraud!   What do I mean?

Being human is to be in the fallen state of ‘inauthenticity’: to say one thing and be doing another and not even be present to the difference.  It takes a certain state of being/consciousness – the state of being aware and mindful – to be aware of this inauthenticity.  I wish that I were able to live in that state all the time.  And the reality is that awareness/mindfulness is something that shows up infrequently and sporadically.

I am also a fraud in the sense that a person starting out and committed to being a tennis champion is a fraud.  What do I mean?  Let’s say that I am committed to being a tennis champion, I pick up my racket and head to the tennis court.  I play.  To an objective observer there will a gap between my being/playing and the being/playing of a tennis champion.  And that gap can be used to assert: “You are a fraud!”  I am up for ‘playing BIG’, ‘committed to playing BIG’.  That does not mean that I am ‘BIG’.  So the gap between my speaking of ‘playing BIG’, my ‘playing BIG’ and how I show up can be used to assert “You are a fraud!”

This assertion, “You are a fraud!” does not hurt.  I totally get that when I speak that I am up for and committed to ‘playing BIG’ some people will look at how I show up for them and they will laugh and ridicule me.  That is what is so – when you stick you head above the crowd then some people will take a shot at you.  Sticking my head above the crowd and getting shot at going together like the two sides of a coin.

This is what shows up as real pain: having lived as a fraud for the last 15 years or so

During the week of Christmas 2011 I got present to how I had been living my life.  The honest way would be to say that I had nothing to do with it.  I took time out simply to be and this getting present simply showed up and rocked my world.  Tears rolled from my soul – again and again for a week.  Why?

I got present to the fact that I had been living as a fraud.  I had been trying desperately to be someone else – to fit in, to please, to be a ‘nice person’, to not be a maverick, to not speak my mind, to not stand up for what I believe in genuinely.  And I got present to the fact that it had not worked!  Giving myself up to be ‘acceptable’ had not result in joy, fulfillment, satisfaction, peace being present in my living.  Neither had the ‘workability’ and ‘performance’ of my life increased.  I got present to the fact that I had lost – in every single way that I could imagine including the most wounding one:  I had lost my self-esteem and my self-confidence.  You could say that I showed up for myself as both a ‘fraud’, a ‘wimp’ and a ‘loser’!

Back to today

I am grateful that today I show up simply as a fraud!  I am grateful that I do not show up for myself as ‘lost’, ‘wimp’, ‘loser’.  I am grateful that I show up for myself as a person who has self-esteem – a person who has his own self-respect.  I person who is genuinely proud of what he is up for, the game that his playing and the results that are showing up.

It is amazing how little things make such a big difference.  I was set and internalised high standards and so no-one else berated me as much as I berated myself.  Anything less than perfection was an opportunity for the mother/father housed inside of to whip me to pieces.  And what happens shortly after my wakening up in December?  I am driving my car and I hear a song ( “Don’t let me be misunderstood”) on the radio by the Animals that totally captures my attention.  How?  Here is the chorus line:

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.  Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.

Yes, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.  Oh Lord, please don’t le me be misunderstood.”

Those lines, that song has had such  profound impact on me.  I got that I am simply a soul whose intentions are good and that is good enough for me.  I do not have to get everything right, I do not have to be perfect – for everyone in my life.

I am a fraud and I am at peace with that and in my life.  I am even at peace with the person who asserts that I am a fraud.  How blessed am I?  Now, that is something to be truly grateful for!

I have failed, am I failure? (part II): Werner is right, I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground, do you?


This post is a follow up to the last post I wrote:  I have failed, am I a failure?   The source of this post is a friend that reached out to me after my last post.  Before I speak/share that with you allow me to prepare the ground by sharing some of Werner Erhard’s sayings on our relationship to Reality.

What does Werner say about our relationship to Reality?

“You don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. Anybody who knew their ass from a hole in the ground could stand up and tell me how they know when something’s real.”

“There is no necessary relationship between the way you feel, the way you think, the way you are, the way you’ve figured it out and the way it really is.”

“This lady lives her life as if when she feels a bear there’s really a bear…… I want you to get that this is the way you live your life: as if reality is what is real to you?”

Werner is right: I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground

In my reality (as opposed to Reality) it does occur to me that I have failed in so many ways. And I shared that with you in this post:  I have failed, am I failure? 

The question is what is the relationship between my reality (how things show up for me, my thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs) and Reality (what is really so)?  If you read my post you will notice that it occurs to me that I have failed at being the kind of friend that I imagined I would be and was up for being.   I’ll let you judge – one of my friends read my post and sent this email:

I read your post and wanted to say that I think you are a wonderful friend. There are very few people who have been there consistently for me over the last 20yrs in the way that you have been – especially given my overall crapiness in keeping in touch and given that I know it is not something I have returned.  I read a poem a few years ago and at the time I read it I thought of the way in which you have been there for me so I’m sending it to you. I know you don’t do the whole feelings are important thing but please take it in the spirit in which it’s intended.

If there was ever one

Whom when you were sleeping

Would wipe your tears

When in dreams you were weeping;

Who would offer you time

When others demand;

Whose love lay more infinite

Than grains of sand.

 

If there was ever one

To whom you could cry;

Who would gather each tear

And blow it dry;

Who would offer help

On the mountains of time;

Who would stop to let each sunset

Soothe the jaded mind.

 

If there was ever one

To whom when you run

Will push back the clouds

So you are bathed in sun;

Who would open arms

If you would fall;

Who would show you everything

If you lost it all.

 

If there was ever one

Who when you achieve

Was there before the dream

And even then believed;

Who would clear the air

When it’s full of loss;

Who would count love

Before the cost.

 

If there was ever one

Who when you are cold

Will summon warm air

For your hands to hold;

Who would make peace

In pouring pain,

Make laughter fall

In falling rain.

 

If there was ever one

Who can offer you this and more;

Who in keyless rooms

Can open doors;

Who in open doors

Can see open fields

And in open fields

See harvests yield.

 

Then see only my face

In the reflection of these tides

Through the clear water

Beyond the river side.

All I can send is love

In all that this is

A poem and a necklace

Of invisible kisses.”

This email, this reaching out by my friend gets me present to the this fact: at least in the domain of friendships and as regards this friend in particular I do not know my ass from the hole in the ground.  No I have assumed.  The Reality is that my thoughts/feelings about myself as a friend do not tie up with what is really so.  Which makes me wonder, am I making the same ‘error’ (mistaking my reality for Reality) in other domains of life?

Is Werner right about you?  That you too do not know your ass from a hole in the ground?

Are you as convinced, today, as I was yesterday that your thoughts/feelings are an accurate representation of Reality?  If so it is highly likely, I say certain, that Werner is right about you as well: you do not know your ass from a hole in the ground!  Just in case you haven’t figured it out let me state it bluntly: you don’t have to be stuck with your reality you can let it go. If your are up for that, if you want to have your life work then I invite you to read the following post: Want to set yourself free and live powerfully? Let go of your beliefs….

I have failed, am I a failure?


Karl Jaspers on failure

“The ultimate situations – death, chance, guilt and the uncertainty of the world – confront me with the reality of failure. What do I do in the face of absolute failure, which if I am honest I cannot fail to recognize? …Crucial for man is his attitude toward failure………………The way in which man approaches failure determines what he will become.”

When I look at my life it occurs to me that I have failed in so many ways

I have failed to be the kind of husband I imagined and was up for being. And I imagine that my wife sees me as a failure as a husband.

I have failed to be the kind of father I imagined and was up for being. And the kind of results I expected to show up failed to show up. I suspect that one or more of children see me as a flawed father.

I have failed to be the kind of son I imagined and was up for being. And my father often tells me how much of a disappointment I am and how I failed him.

I have failed to be the kind of brother I imagined and was up for being. My relationship with one of my brothers is particularly difficult.

I have failed to be the kind of uncle I imagined and was up for being. I came out strong out of the starting gate and then my own children arrived.

I have failed to be the kind of friend I imagined and was up for being.

I have failed to be a ‘good employee’ – you could say I am blessed/cursed with an independence of mind and the rebelliousness to go with it.

I have failed to the kind of neighbour I imagined and was up for being though I have good enough relationships with my neighbours.

I have failed to arrive at the kind of career / financial success I envisaged when I was young and at university.

I have failed in making something great out of Humanity In Action even though it got off to a great start.

I have failed to have the kind of impact I wanted and imagined that I would have on people’s lives (for the better) and the world. My sister once told me something like “I used to so look up to you. Nowadays, I am just disappointed in you.” And she had every right to be. I was at least that disappointed in myself!

I have failed to master myself – the automatic machinery that just shows up and spoils the show. This failure is the one that stings the most if I let it sting.

I have failed does that mean I am a failure?

Given that I have failed in so many ways I am free – not trapped by the allure of ‘perfection’, ‘success’, ‘reputation’, ‘looking good and avoiding looking bad’. I am free to simply be, to live, to be grateful for the privilege of living as I live: in a safe country; in an affluent/safe neighbourhood; in a nice house; as a member of a family; with the privilege of sight which allows me to be present to beauty, to navigate, to read; with the privilege of sound such that I get to enjoy music; with the privilege of movement so I can move, dance, cycle, play sports; with the privilege of touch so that I can give and receive hugs; with the privilege of language so that I can speak myself and connect with my fellow human beings in/through conversation.

I am that which I am. Anything else is simply a label that I put on myself or someone else – mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend – puts on me. What I am really interested in is this question: how can I live such that I ‘play BIG’: live an ‘extraordinary’ life: be of service to my fellow human beings; to put something into, to contribute to the game of life; and co-create a ‘world that works’, none excluded. The question is how well am I living that mission? The answer is that I can play this game much more powerfully then I am playing right now!

You and I can live in the past or be fully embedded in the present (surviving, fixing, looking good and avoiding looking bad) or we can invent, project and live into possibilities (like the possibility of ‘playing BIG’) that provide meaning for our lives, that move-touch-inspire us to live resolutely and play full-out in this game called Life.