Play BIG by Showing Up & Travelling Regally

When I talk of playing BIG in life the tendency is to think that I am talk about  doing-achieving.  You know the kind of doing-achieving of say Steve Jobs or Elon Musk.  Put differently, playing BIG can be, often is, interpreted in terms of achievement.  Why?  Simply because this what matters in the Anglo-Saxon world.

There is an alternative way to think about playing BIG. What alternative?  Being-doing. What am I pointing at here?  I mean the way you/i show up and travel in life.  Is this still vague?  Sure it is as we are not used to thinking this way.  So I invite you to listen to the following:

To each, the dignity that befits him. Not everyone is a king, but your deeds should be worthy of one, within the limits of your class and condition. A regal way of doing things. Sublimity of action, a lofty mind. You should resemble a king in merit, if not in reality, for true sovereignty lies in integrity. You won’t envy greatness if you yourself can be a norm of greatness. Especially those who are near the throne should acquire something of true superiority. They should share the moral gifts of majesty rather than pomp, and aspire to things lofty and substantial rather than imperfect vanity.

— The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Baltasar Gracián

I dedicate this conversation to my friend Richard Hornby.  For me he is and continues to be living example of human dignity embodied and in action.

I thank you for listening to my speaking. And invite you to play BIG in how you show up and travel in this life: resemble a king in merit, aspire to things lofty and substantial, be a norm of greatness in you way of being…

Each Of Us Is More Than S/he Seems

During my participation in the Landmark Forum (many years ago) I found myself deeply touched by that which was unconcealed once the social masks that are us, in our everydayness, lost their grip on me and my fellow participants.

What showed up in this unconcealment?  Allow me to introduce that through the following story:

Some years ago a young resident psychiatrist ……. who wanted to learn more about people at the edge of life was observing one of my sessions.

A former gang member whose hands were covered with tattoos was speaking of the deep love he now felt for his young wife who was dying of cancer, the ways in which this capacity to love had caught him unawares and so had healed him.

As he shared his insights about himself and his experiences of intense intimacy and tenderness with his wife, I glanced over at the young Freudian psychiatrist. He had stopped taking notes. His eyes were filled with tears.

After the patient left, I asked him if he had learned anything useful from the session. He smiled ruefully, “We are all more than we seem,” he said.

Actually, we are all more than we know. Wholeness is never lost, it is only forgotten. Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves: it is more an undoing than an doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to “fix” ourselves …..

Often in reclaiming the freedom to be who we are, we remember some basic human quality, an unsuspected capacity for love or compassion or some other part of our common birthright as human beings. What we find is almost always a surprise but it is also familiar; like something we have put in the back of a drawer long ago, once we see it we know it is our own.

– Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom





When You Find The Path Too Difficult To Travel And Are Tempted To Give Up

Every time I write and share myself through this blog, it takes something. Why?  I am clear that I am an ordinary human being and as such I face a constant struggle to show up and travel in life in a manner that embodies that which I speak-share here with you.  The more mindful (attentive) I become the more I notice the gap between how I wish you to show up and travel and how I actually show up and travel.

There are times where I wonder if I am deceiving myself. I find myself asking the question: will I ever close the gap between how I wish to show and travel in the world and how I find myself showing up and travelling in the world?

The other day I came across the following passage and it has given me the access to see the situation rather differently than I had seen it. I share it with you as it may help you with your stand (in life) and your challenges.  Here it is:

A student instructed to meditate upon compassion came to his teacher in despair. “This is too hard,” he complained. “I sit and try to extend compassion to the countless beings in the world, and all the time I find myself criticising how my neighbour wears her robes, how much noise my roommate makes, how much my knees hurt, and how bad the food is. How can I ever get beyond this?”

The teacher listened patiently to the long litany of complaints, then sat and pondered for a time.

Hoping for words of reassurance or a shortcut to transcendence, the student waited expectantly.

Finally, the teacher opened her eyes and said, “These difficulties are going to be with you for the rest of your life.”

– Christina Feldman, The Best Buddhist Writing 2006

It occurs to me there is wisdom in this tale. How have I interpreted it?  I have taken it to mean that what matters is that I walk the path that I have committed myself to walking. On this path I will encounter all kinds of challenges and some of the most difficult will be those that I generate myself – including leaving the path. The key is to be attentive: to notice when I am no longer on the path and get myself back on the path as soon as I notice I have strayed from the path.

Getting back on the path is not enough. Why? Because when I stray from the path I usually tend to make some kind of mess. And to workability, the mess needs to be cleaned up in a manner that restores integrity and workability.

Is it enough simply to clean up the mess?  Yes, and I do not advise stopping there. I have got value out of looking into the matter and learning: what happened, how did it happen, what might have contributed it to happening.  The reflection has helped me notice that I stray from the path when I find myself hungry, when I find myself tired, when I find myself stressed with conflicting demands, when I take it upon myself to fix the world for others…

Life Works If You Work With It

The story: what do you do when workability is compromised?

I was at my parents home – in the kitchen, cooking.  Just as I had finished cooking one of my brothers came into the kitchen to get some ice cream for his daughter. He opened up the freezer and struggled to take out the tray in which the ice cream rested. After pulling at it, this way and that, he managed to pull the tray out. That is when I noticed that something was ‘wrong’.  The tray was full of water that had turned to ice.  The ice was in the tray, on the sides of the tray, and underneath the tray.

After serving ice cream to his daughter, brother started to put the tray back into the freezer. I protested that the tray needed to be emptied of the ice. So I took out the frozen stuff, washed the tray with water thus unfreezing the ice, cleaned and dried the tray. Then I refilled it with the frozen food and gave it back to my brother.

He struggled to insert the tray back into the freezer. That was not surprising as the freezer compartment was all iced up.  Clearly a defrosting process had occurred in the freezer, water had formed, and then the water had turned to ice.  And this was jamming up all of the trays.  I noticed that one of the freezer trays was broken at the front, near the handle. I assumed that this had happened when someone had tried to get the tray out, was not able to (because of the ice), and had forced the tray out.

Standing there looking at the situation, it was clear to me that the integrity and workability of the freezer had been compromised. And what needed to be done was to defrost the freezer and thus restore the integrity-workability of the freezer.

What did my brother do?  He did what we human beings do when faced with a situation that requires work-effort and we are not up for putting in that work-effort. He found an instrument and start scraping off the softer ice from the freezer so that he could slide the tray back into the freezer.  Once he had done enough to slide the tray back into the freezer he stopped.

What is the lesson, the learning here?

It occurs to me that for many of us there is at least one significant aspect of our living that does not work well. That aspect of our living is stuck-jammed-unworkable in some important manner.  Just at the freezer is at my parents house.

Given that this is the case.  You and I can choose to do what it required to restore workability to that part of our living. The equivalent of defrosting the freezer, throwing away the food that defrosted and got frozen again, clean up the mess, and restoring the integrity and thus the workability of the freezer.

Or we can do what my brother did, do the minimum: deal with the symptoms and ignore the cause – the unworkability that gives rise to the symptoms. It occurs to me that if you and I choose to take the latter course, the short cut, and shirk that which needs to be done to restore workability to our lives then we can expect continued struggle in our lives.

It occurs to me that my life works when I work with it – when I work with the grain of life. It occurs to me that where I continue to struggle with life, it is highly likely that I am creating my struggle (my suffering) by working against the grain of life.

Want to live an ‘extraordinary’ life and show up as leader? Then get to grips with and live from the following distinctions and insights

Ordinary living: we play ‘victim’, we avoid responsibility for what is so and what is not so, we are left complaining

Engaged in a conversation on leadership, my partner in this conversation asked something like “What is the cause of poor leadership and how is it that poor leaders stay in power?”  I replied something like “Us”, he looked puzzled so I continued “I am the cause, you are the cause, we are the cause!”  This response took him by surprise.  So I continued “By following ‘poor leaders’ we tell these leaders that they are ok, their leadership style is ok. And as such we encourage them to continue being who they are being and doing what they are doing.  We are the cause of poor leaders and poor leadership”

He got it instantly and dropped the conversation – the ‘complaint’ around/about poor leaders stopped instantly.  I saw that my partner got access to the ‘truth’ and that this ‘truth’ opened his eyes and set him free – free from his ‘complaint’.   This got me thinking that it is time for me to share, with you, some powerful distinctions and insights which are the pillars of this blog.

‘Extraordinary’ living: what is the access to living powerfully, living a transformed life?

The access to ‘playing BIG’, living powerfully, living an ‘extraordinary’ life and generating a transformation in the quality of  living requires that one creates a map of the territory (of our lives, the situations we find ourselves in, the world at large) that is both ‘accurate’ and which leaves one being an ‘author’ rather than a character (or characters) in the play of Life.

Let’s listen, profoundly, to a master of living – Werner Erhard. Why?  Because you want to have your life work.  Right?  Because you understand that you only get one go at living and you want that living to count.  Right?  Because you don’t simply want to live you want to feel ALIVE. Right?  If that does not resonate with you then stop reading and go do something else.  If it does then stop everything, be silent, be present and soak in the mind-blowing insight / wisdom that Werner Erhard unconceals for us.  Why?  Because you and I are locked inside the prison of ordinary living and Werner is giving us the keys to our freedom, to living an ‘extraordinary’ life.

Responsibility: is the access to being powerful and living an ‘extraordinary’ life?

“Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame or guilt.  All of these include judgments of good and bad, right and wrong, or better and worse.  They are not responsibility.

Responsibility starts with the willingness to experience your Self as cause in the matter……  Responsibility starts with the willingness to deal with the situation from the point of view, whether in the moment realised or not, that you are the source of who you are, what you do and what you have.  This point of view extends to include even what is done to you and ultimately what another does to another.  Ultimately, responsibility is a context – a context of Self as source – for the content, i.e., for what is.”   Werner Erhard

Wow!  Do you get that?  Responsibility is a choice.  It is a choice that only you can make.  It is gift that only you can give yourself.  Why is it a gift?  Because choosing to view yourself and operate from the context ‘I matter, I have a say in how I am being, how I live, how the world works, how the world turns out’ transforms your being, your experience of yourself and your living.  It moves you from being a ‘victim’ and ‘complaining’ to a creator of possibilities, the Director of the play called ‘My Life, My World’ and this leaves you being powerful (powerful as opposed to forceful)  in the world.  It is really important that you get the distinctions ‘context’ and ‘content’.

Accountability: the access to joy, fearlessness, energy and satisfaction?

“Accountability is the opportunity to live at choice rather than accidentally.  Accountability is the opportunity to carve out a future rather than sit back and have it happen to you.  Accountability held as stand ‘as one’s word’ is the ground from which one’s own transformation is created ongoingly.   Transfomation lives in accountability.  Without accountability, without committed speaking, without promises and declarations, there is no transformation…..

A promise has real power.  A promise made from the stand that ‘who you are is your word’, engages you as a participantYou cease to be a spectator, and your words become actions that impact the world.  With a promise you create a condition that supports your commitment rather than your moods.  When motivational dialog comes up about your preferences versus your commitments, and you disregard the dialog in favour of doing what you said you would do solely because you said so, you distinguish yourself from your psychology.  In that moment you are your word as an action, rather than only an idea you have.  In that moment, the promise becomes who you are rather than something you said and your relationship to the world shifts.  You find yourself producing results that seem discontinuous and unpredictable from the point of the view of the spectator.   The experience is one of joy, fearlessness, irrepressible energy and satisfaction. ”  Werner Erhard

If you get this, really get this then you, your living, how you show up in the world, your experience of living will never be as it was before you read this.  If you didn’t get it that way then go back and read it again – read it out aloud to yourself, read it slowly savouring the words.  Let the words sink in.  If after that you are still left untouched then move on:  the master will appear when the student is ready – always.

Integrity:  why it matters and the price we pay when we give it up

“You and I go through life and you would be surprised how much of the time, in life, the question, ‘How can I live and have integrity at the same time?‘ is present.  It’s very difficult for people to live with integrity.  Usually, there seems to be a conflict between integrity and living.  The fact is that you give up your life when you compromise integrity.”  Werner Erhard

Be careful how you read this because when Werner speaks ‘Integrity’ he is not speaking what you are most likely to be thinking he is speaking.  When Werner speaks ‘Integrity’ he is not referring to morals and virtues – being a ‘good person’ or a ‘upstanding citizen’.  No.  Werner is pointing out / speaking on the subject of wholeness; the match between your word, your being and your actions; the fit between who you hold yourself out to be for yourself and the world and how you show up in terms of your being, doing and having If I say “I am going to drive over to your home and smash your car tomorrow!” and then tomorrow I drive over and smash you car then in a sense I am in Integrity.  Yet, it is not as simple as that.  If I declare myself to be “kind, calm, considerate and law abiding citizen” then I am out of Integrity when I say “I am going to drive over to our home and smash your car tomorrow!”

Making a difference: what does it take to make a difference?

“All it takes to make a difference is the courage to stop proving I was right in being unable to make a difference….. to stop assigning cause for my inability to the circumstances outside of myself….. And to see that the fear of being a failure is a lot less important than the unique opportunity I have to make a difference.”  Werner Erhard

There it is!  If you and I are serious, as in moved-touched-inspired, about making a difference in the world then Werner has left us nowhere to hide.  Werner is telling us that we have the capacity to make a difference and to make a difference we simply have to quit ‘playing small’ – quit making excuses, quite playing ‘victim’, quite being small in life.

Summing it up

You and I want our lives to work.  You and I want the ‘world to work’.  What does it take, what is the access having a a life that works and a world that works?  The access, according to Werner Erhard as I understand Werner Erhard, is Responsibility, Accountability and being in Integrity – as explained in this post not as commonly understood and spoken about in our day-to-day living.

Incidentally, when you live into and from these distinctions, and the context that is intimately associated with these distinctions, then you will show up as a leader.  Showing up as a leader in the world is simply a side effect of living from/out of Responsibility, Accountability and Integrity.

Playing BIG full out: Tuesday 27th Dec 2011 – an ordinary day, an extraordinary experience

The automatic machinery of ‘Playing small’ kick into action yet fails

I went to sleep at 3:15 am and I awoke and got out of bed at 6:35.  Was I tired?  Clearly not because there was no-one in the house and no noise to wake me up and yet I did awake.  Upon waking the automatic machinery of ‘Playing small’ kicked into action and i was telling myself “i am tired, i should go back to sleep.”  What saved me?  I kicked into action and reminded me that I am ‘Playing BIG’ and I had given my Word (to my parents) that I’d spend today with them. I choose to leave for Preston (220 miles away) by 9am – that is the objective I set myself.

Dressing in accordance with ‘Playing BIG’

After showering, taking my medicine and breakfast I went up to my bedroom to get dressed.  When I had been wrapped up in playing small I would have automatically picked up and worn second class clothes – clothes that had seen better days.  Today, mindful of the fact that I chose and committed to the game called ‘Playing BIG” I took out a brand new pair of Chinos, a blue shirt and my blue blazer (with the gold buttons).  Once I had finished dressing I was aware that I was still not dressed in accordance with playing big.  What was letting me down?  The wallet and the worn out shoelaces.  I made a commitment to deal with these issues when I got to Preston.

‘Playing BIG’ rests on the foundation of honouring my word as myself

The previous day I had promised my son that before leaving the house (he was sleeping over at a friends) I would leave him £60 and that I would take the spare keys put them in a plastic bag and hide them in the rather large garden just in case he needed them in an emergency.  I was also mindful that I had committed to put the rubbish bin outside ready to be collected tomorrow morning.

I packed and then I put all of my luggage in the car. Then I put the rubbish bin out where it needs to be if it is to be emptied tomorrow.  What is missing?  Music – but not old music. So I headed back into house and remembered where the right music was sitting – I had once played the game of ‘Playing BIG’.  I took the music cassettes to the car – yes it is that long since I last played the game called ‘Playing BIG’.

Getting into the car to go to the bank I noticed that the car need refuelling.  So I headed to petrol station that had a cashpoint and took care of both the petrol and the cash.  I drove back home, took out £100 put them in a clear plastic money bag and left a note for my son.  It reads “I love you son.  I have complete confidence in you which is why I am happy to leave you to fend for yourself.”  Then I took care of the keys.  Commitments fulfilled I headed for Preston to see my parents.  I did notice that I had failed to keep one of my commitments – I was leaving around 9:10 and not 9:00 am: I am already out of Integrity and it is only 9:10am.  Whilst I noticed this lack of Integrity I did not castigate myself – I was simply mindful that there is plenty of work to do to be in accordance with ‘Playing BIG’.

On the motorway I have a blast of a time even though I got caught up in a traffic jam

Once I headed towards Preston I played the right tape – one that would help me to be in the right state – the state that correlates with ‘Playing BIG’.  I chose to play the game of sticking to the speed limit – sometimes a big ask as i love to drive fast and so am not mindful (enough) of the speed limit. Heading north on the  motorway the music and I co-created the right state – I was singing and ‘dancing’ to the music.  Now that might not seem like a big deal and yet it is.  i does not sing – not even in the car.  And i absolutely does not ‘dance’ in the car – “Heavens, other poeple are looking and they will think I am an idiot! So don’t do anything to attract attention to yourself.”  So it was a huge achievement to simply drop this and sing and ‘dance’ to the music – full out.

i hates, loathes, traffic jams.  i relates to itself as SPECIAL and as such expects EVERYTHING to work. i being SPECIAL does not like to be inconvenienced and detests having to wait in line. i gets FRUSTRATED and ANGRY when traffic jam occurs.  i curses this third world country where the roads are lanes are closed off because of repairs and this creates traffic jam.  i thinks that anyone that is involved in a accident is a MORON – why can’t these people drive properly?  How can some people be so inconsiderate as to take part in an accident and thus inconvenience competent folks like i?

North of Birmingham there was a traffic jam – a big one. i immediately kicked into action – it started castigating me for being stupid enough to take 20 minutes out the service station to ring my parents and do my stretching exercises.  Incidentally, I did stretching exercise in public by giving my being SIGNIFICANT – initially i did not like this as people were looking at i and giving funny looks.  All the time I was doing the exercises i kept complaining and urging I to stop this madness and the associated embarrassment.  Back to the traffic jam.  i was about to complain about the station and I came into being saying “The Self is providing me with an opportunity to practice patience so lets practice patience.  Let’s go further and be fun whilst practising patience.”  That is exactly what I did – I stepped up the level of expression in its singing and dancing.  Furthermore, I opened the windows so that others could hear – to deal with the issue of i being SIGNIFICANT.  i did not like this and closed the window several times.  Each time I came back into being and dealt with the situation. In the end I was driving with the car windows open whilst singing and ‘dancing’.  We (I and i) got some looks especially from the car drivers in the cars coming in the opposite direction. Around 13:20 I arrived at my parents home.

Lack of Integrity: i gets the better of I in two domains

Whilst this may sound splendid and it is.  It is also true that i bested I in at least domain: I failed to keep its promise of sticking to the speed limit.  Now and then i got the better of I and put the foot down and broke the speed limit.  So upon arriving at my parents I noticed at least two areas in which I had failed to honor the commitments associated with ‘Playing BIG”: breaking the speed limit and arriving at 13:20 rather than 13:00 – the time I had promised to my parents.

An extraordinary shopping experience

My niece who is ten years old and rather shy was at my parents.  My parents are old and so she (Zara) was sitting at the table coloring.  After eating lunch, mindful that I had committed to sorting out the out of Integrity dress issues and coming from a stand of ‘good fellowship’ I asked Zara if she would like to go shopping with me.  She said “Yes” and by that time my eldest nephew (Mohammed) came into the house and I asked him if he wanted to come along as well.  He also said “Yes” so I told them both that I would be leaving at 2:45 and so they need to be ready to leave by then.  Zara was ready.  Mohammed was not ready.  I was not ready.  By the time I got ready and left the house with them both it was closer to 3:00.  I noticed this lack of Integrity – failing to play full out to honor my word.

Whilst the three of us left the house only Zara and I walked to Preston town centre.  Mohammed did not want to walk, took the car and told me that he would meet us in the town centre.  Heading to the centre I took Zara’s hand and started to talking with her.  I noticed that I can barely hear her – she is so shy that she speaks so softly and that makes it difficult to hear her.  That works fine by her because that is what she wants – not to be heard, not to be noticed.  So I chose to offer myself as a model of self-expression in order to get her to get that it is OK to express oneself and that one can have fun with it as well.

I am no poet yet I came with rhymes and I sang them out loud. People noticed and the world did not end.  After a little while I asked Zara to join in and at first she was hesitant.  She was laughing at my singing and yet refused to sing.  Later I invited her to sing she agreed and so we sang a rhyme that I created on the spot that Zara could connect to and which she finds funny: “I love my daddy, he is a fatty, yet he is my daddy, I love my daddy!”  What I got that I am no poet laureate I can make up rhymes – and on the spot.  This was something new to me – i had always thought of itself as being useless at this kind of stuff, i does not take to poetry, i finds it a turn-off.

Mohammed joined us at the outskirts of the town centre and then wished he hadn’t.  Why?  Because I was singing out loud – loud enough for people to hear me and look at us.  He did not like that one little bit and kept telling me to stop pleading that it is his town and that he has to live here.  I simply ignored him and continued singing especially as Zara found this amusing and from time to time joined in.

In the centre which is the first shop that I noticed?  The one that tends to stock clothes that I like and which fit me: Moss.  So the three of us headed into the shop and I started looking at the shirts. Why?  Because I got that I am not happy with the quality of some of my shirts. Why?  Because they are an expression of ‘Playing small’.  Steve, on the shop assistants, came over to ask if I needed help. “Yes, please!” is what I said. Steve started showing me some shirts, I was not impressed.  I said “I don’t want anything cheap. I want the best quality shirts – the shirts that feel good against the skin for 10 hours a day and which do not crease easily.”  Steve recommended some shirts.  I asked to try it on to experience the feel.  And that is what I did.  I found that whilst Steve had measured my neck and given me a size 15.5 shirt I found it to be too small.  So I asked Steve to find me a size 16 white shirt.  I tried it on and it felt good against the skin: it proved that the shirt I was wearing was cheap.  So I kept wearing the shirt and asked Steve to get me another 4 shirts.  He was caught by surprise and told me that they were unlikely to have four size 16 white shirts in stock.  I confidently requested that he go and look – “give it your best shot” or something close to that is what I said.

Steve came back with four white shirts.  Excellent.  I told Steve that I wanted to leave the shop with 10 of those shirts. So we set about finding the other five shirts.  We found four but not the fourth.  Steve suggested other brand shirts, I refused.  Why?  Because I had chosen to buy the best quality shirts and this brand was not the best quality brand.  Taking a lesser brand would have polluted the other nine shirts that I had bought.

Being a good salesman Steve asked me if I needed anything else. “Yes, I do,  I am looking for belts”.  Steve showed me various belts and I tried them choosing several. Then I noticed a higher quality belt and tried it on – it fitted perfectly.  So I told Steve that wanted four of those belts.  We left the shop having bought 9 shirts and 4 belts.  But that was not all.  I had sang in the shop and embarrassed Mohammed so much that he locked himself away in one of the dressing rooms.  It was worth it though because Zara was finding this funny and by now at least one step outside of her narrow zone of no self expression. I had also got Steve a little bit and I believe he got my sincere thanks for being so helpful and helping me to achieve my objective.

Then Zara and I found ourselves in the high street (the main street) full of people many of them out shopping and looking for bargains. Mohammed had felt so embarrassed that he quit and left for home – that worked out great as he took my shopping back to his car and back to my parents.  Walking down the high street, holding Zara’s hand I sang and Zara joined me now and then.  I saw HMV and headed there knowing that Zara was bored at my parents and likes to watch movies.  There we bought the DVD’s that caught our attention – both of us left the shop happy.  Then we sang ourselves to Debenhams as I still needed a wallet and was up for finding more Chinos.  Whilst it did not look promising we persisted and found the wallet and two pairs of Chinos – both of these trousers fitted perfectly.  We queued, we paid, we left and headed back to my parents.

The delight of Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Not wanting to go back the same way we had come – it occurred as being boring and ‘Playing small’ – we chose a different route.  And what did I see?  Advertising for Costa Coffee and in particular Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  i would frown on eating this kind of junk.  Yet, I thought about Zara.  I asked her if she liked Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a big smile came across her face and she said “Yes!”.  So we headed to Costa Coffee and queued yet I was disturbed that I could not see any of the KK doughnuts.  i noticed that the Costa Coffee staff were inefficient – not at all on the ball.  i does not like this at all – everyone should be performing efficiently.  i particularly does not like having to wait as a result of lazy, incompetent unprofessional staff!

I noticed the automatic machinery of i whirring into action and I stopped as just as it got started.  So I queued for several minutes and then out of the corner of my eyes I saw the Krispy Kreme shop. So we headed straight for it and bought the assortment of 12 doughnuts for £9:45.  Zara was delighted: she had refused my offer to carry any of the shopping bags, she did not refuse the invitation to carry the KK doughnuts.  She was beaming and I felt great seeing her happy.  When we got home we gathered my niece (Sophia), Mohammed and my parents around the dining table.  Everyone helped themselves to a selection of the doughnuts French style – taking a quarter of so of each doughnut.  Yes, there is an advantage of being married into the French – they know how to eat right: a little bit of everything so that you can taste the different ‘flavours and tastes’.  At the end of this sharing we had six happy people.  Great – I had made a contribution to my parents which was the major reason for coming up to see my parents.

Honoring the dress code commitments

By now it was the evening and set about the task of replacing the tatty shoe laces with the new ones that I had bought from Clarks.  At first it just did not happen – the shoelaces would not go through the holes.  i was saying “Wrong shoelaces, she gave the wrong shoelaces the idiot. i’ll just have to go back and change them.” Once again I, who is enrolled in the game of ‘Playing BIG’ stepped up the plate and dealt with the situation at hand.  I figured out that the shoelaces should go through the holes.  I found pliers and used these to thread the shoelaces  – job done, commitment kept, Integrity in!  Excellent.  Then I set about polishing my shoes: easy to do and resulted in a big smile on the inside and outside.  Job done – all dress code commitments kept.

Sorting out the car

I think it is accurate to say that about now just about everyone my younger brother, my nieces, my nephew, my parents had noticed that I was no longer i:  they commented that I looked different (dress), that I looked younger.  When my younger brother commented on the change and that he was delighted I shared with him that I had been immersed in the game of ‘Playing small’ and been living in darkness for some 10 years.  He got that, he agreed and he liked the new me – I suspect he experienced me the way that he used to experience me when I made stuff happen.

Having established a bond I asked my brother to clean my Honda Accord – inside and out – so that it is reflection of me – the I ‘Playing BIG’.  He agreed to have my car ready by 10am tomorrow morning.  Then I asked him what was happening with regards to my Mercedes Benz.  He told me that he had figured out the problem.  So I asked him if it had been sorted out, he told me that it had not.  What will it take to get it sorted out?  He told me that it would take a day.  So I asked him if he was up for sorting it out by the end of Thursday.  He agreed.  Excellent – another loose end and lack of Integrity addressed.  By this time my brother and I were getting on great.

Powerful conversations: calling it as I see it and it lands where it lands, I am ok with that

I had not intended to have this conversation with my brother nonetheless I found myself right in the middle of it.  “Your word and a piece of shit are equal – they have the same value!”  Too late to pull back – there it is, these words have been waiting to be born for a long time and now they are born.  They took my brother by surprise – they may have even shocked him.  So I reminded him that I was coming from the context of love and of being a source of powerful conversations that call people to ‘Play BIG’ and give up ‘Playing small’ – people includes me.

Then I reminded by brother that he had agreed – several months (three to five) ago – to give me his Apple iPhone 3GS when he bought the 4S.  That I had offered to buy it off him at market price and that he had declined to take the money.  Instead he simply said that he would give it to me for free.  So how is it that the Apple 3GS belongs to my sister now?  I shared the fact that I had promised my son that phone and that as result of his lack of Integrity I was out of Integrity.  He got that – probably for the first time.  Why?  Because he has the same relationship to his words that most of us have to shit.  Harsh?  Maybe.  True – absolutely from where I stand.

Then I went on to share with him that he had asked to borrow money from me – £3000 here, £2000 there, £1000 here etc – and I had lent him the money but always on the condition that he would pay it back. And most importantly we had agreed a specific date.  Right now, I told him, you owe me over £20,000.  The latest being £2,000 you borrowed back in February and promised to pay it back within the month.  Yet we had agreed on three months because I did not believe he would keep his word.  Then I got him present to the fact that he had not paid me by the due date so I had asked him face to face to look at his finances and let me know when and how he was going to pay me back.  That was over six months ago and he had not come back to me.  I believe that hit home – he got his lack of Integrity, his lack of any relationship to his word. Finally I declared that I love him unconditionally – he is my brother and a player in the unceasing dynamic pattern I call Self.  And I told him that I was a stand for him ‘Playing BIG’ and I requested that he be a stand for ‘Playing BIG’.   Later he left to go home to his family – did he leave on good terms?  Great if he did. Yet it does not matter as wanting to be liked is key component of ‘Playing small’.  Wanting to be liked by my brother and knowing full well that I was immersed in ‘Playing small’ I had never my brother on his lack of Integrity and his ‘Playing small’.  If I had done so then he would have accused me of the same  – and he would have been bang on.  i ‘Play small’, you ‘Pay small’ and we collude in keeping each other ‘Playing small’ whilst pretending that we are ‘Playing BIG’ – that is what is so, it automatically comes into play due to the world that we are embedded in.

Onwards.  I am clear i was ‘Playing small’ for 10 years and as such I had wasted 10 years and had an enormously negative impact on myself and those close to me.  Now my younger brother was clear.  How about my nephew (Mohammed) who is convinced he is big man – someone special? Convinced that Mohammed is ‘Playing small’ full out (he is master at this) I made the choice to have a powerful conversation with him in the context of love and being a stand for Mohammed ‘Playing BIG’.

Heck this 20 year old man came up with the idea for an anti-smoking advert.  The idea was so good that his idea got chosen and then he worked with a professional director and production team to shoot the advert – to bring it to life. That  advert has been played in British cinemas and he had been invited to come up with another advert.  This young man has shaken hands with the rich and famous due to his work; he has met the Hollyoaks cast – many men would die for that opportunity.  Yet here he is pissing his life away living in the land of delusion: in this land it is everyone else’s fault, he is cool, he is special, he is someone BIG.  Towards the end of the conversation Mohammed got present to one overriding emotion: shame. On a scale of 1 – 10 he chose 8 – he is that ashamed of himself.  So I asked Mohammed what his life would look like for him to score 10 – to be that ashamed of himself.  He give me four conditions and I got him present to the fact that three of those are already there – he is living them in reality but deluding himself that he is not.  He got that.  Invited to rescore he said when it comes to being ashamed of himself it is 10 out of 10.  Never leave a person on a low – that is not good fellowship.  So I took the time to get Mohammed present to how I relate to him: a young man with extraordinary potential and a young man I love and for whom I am stand for ‘Playing BIG’.  I invited him to be a stand for me – to call me on ‘Playing small’ if he ever thinks/feels that I am ‘Playing small’.

Reflections on the day

This was on ordinary day – just like any other day. If i had been in charge it would have been another ordinary day in the sea of ordinary days.  As it is I was present and fully immersed in ‘Playing BIG’ and as such this day has occurred an an extraordinary day!  Yesterday I had just over three hours of sleep.  I have been going full out now for 20 hours and I am not tired.  How amazing is that!  Tiredness shows up in my life when I ‘Play small’.  Why?  Because ‘Playing small’ does not inspire me, energize me – the opposite it kills me on the inside even if I do a good job of donning the mask of ‘Everything is great with me and my life’.

On the other side there is some way to get my Integrity back in.  First, I left for Preston around 9:10 not 9:00.  Second, I failed to keep to the speed limit.  Third, I told my parents that I would arrive at their home at 13:00, I arrived at 13:20.  Yes, there is some way to go.  I get that and I am not making a story about.

A request: you can do to help me ‘Play BIG’

Talking about ‘Playing BIG’ I am committing myself (actually have already done it with my nephew Mohammed) to designing and educational course around ‘Playing BIG’, advertising locally and offering that course to people like my Nephew – teenagers who are struggling in life, who are ‘Playing small’ and are not present to ‘Playing small’.  By when?  By end of June 2012.  Why I am I letting  you know?  So that I do not backslide, so that you call me on any backsliding, to create an existence structure that calls me to bring this commitment, this Possibility, into being.

I thank you for reading.  I hope that this long blog gets you present to where you are ‘Playing small’ and I hope that you find a seed here to get you started on ‘Playing BIG’.