Somos humanidade – We are humanity

Somos humanidade — We are humanity

My son is in high school and this semester he’s taking a class in sociology. Of course when I asked him what the class was about, he said it was the study of society… duh (I need to drag him deeper to come up with a more sophisticated answer). Sociology isn’t just studying society, it is how we are connected and how the choices we make affect each other and our environment, whether we want them to or not. No one is passive in this relationship.

I love Ted Talks. So it was easy enough to google “sociology ted talk” and click on a link. The first link to pop up was “The wisdom of sociology” by Sam Richards, a sociologist at Penn State. He also has one called “Radical experiment in empathy” which sounds pretty cool. I’ll check that one out next.

My son and I sat for 19 minutes in silence as Sam talked bout the invisible web of Sociology. The interconnectedness of people. Connections that can’t be seen with the naked eye but are nonetheless there. Underlying, unavoidable patterns. The conclusion being: we are never truly alone. Even as personal of a decision as one might think suicide is, it can not be extrapolated from the society from which that person inhabits. A person can not be outside of society and a society can not exist without the person. Kind of makes me think about “free will” and whether or not we can truly have any. Does a red blood cell have free will? Hmm.

At the end, my son had a bit of a hard time putting it all together, but I feel he has a deeper knowing even if he doesn’t realize it. If nothing else, he can now go into his class and have something to share.

As I sat alone, hours later, I thought a bit deeper about what Sam was saying. Sociology. It’s a science, right? Hmm. I’m not so sure. The interconnectedess can be described as a collective unconsciousness. A feeling. An energy. A spirit. A vibration. Is this “science” or perhaps spirituality?

I dunno. I’m sitting in my office alone… or am I? 🙂



Ten Bulls – what’s in a name?

A bunch of dads and myself belong to a group that take our daughters out on camping/fun trips, get-togethers, shows, meetings, etc. to enrich our bond with them. It is through the YMCA (“Y-guides“) and I highly recommend it. Hit me up if you have questions.

One of the things that is really interesting is that at the beginning of whole thing, when you are forming your “tribe”, you get to pick a Native American-esque name. A lot of our girls are now “Frozen Princess” and “Wild Snowflake”. Disney taking it’s toll.

More interesting to me, though, is when the dads choose their name. Some are practical “Fishing Frog”, some are funny “Talking Bull”, and some are philosophical with a deeper underlying meaning that isn’t visible on the surface.

A buddy of mine is Ten Bulls. Cool name. I had to look it up. And once I did, it became clear and made a lot of sense considering what I know about him. The tale of Ten Bulls is a Zen story about finding enlightenment. The ten bulls are ten steps along this path: 1) the search for the bull 2) discovering footprints 3)  perceiving the bull 4) catching the bull 5) taming the bull 6) riding the bull 7) transcending the bull 8) transcending the bull and self 9) reaching the source 10) re-entering the world.

Given the same opportunity, what would your name be? Native American or otherwise, what is something significant and profound, yet subtle and personal?

… and I would be impressed if you could guess mine. 🙂


Placebo effect: prickles and goo

Can you think your way out of disease and sickness? How powerful is the mind, really? I have a vague concept that we are all goo and prickles (as Alan Watts put it) made up of tiny vibrations. Innate to us is our own, specific vibration. The reason ‘red’ is ‘red’ and not ‘blue’ is because of it’s vibration. Somewhere between spirituality and matter sits quantum weirdness, and it is here I believe the most healing can happen.

When you find a vibration that is harmonically similar to yours, you gravitate to it. It’s why I can watch The Godfather 100 times but have not much interest in The English Patient… it doesn’t jive with me. I don’t relate to it. I’m not hip to it. It’s not on my frequency. I disagree with it. It isn’t entertaining to me. There are so many ways to say the same thing. And yet we say it not knowing why it is so. (Ooh. I like that word “jive”. It has a sense of rhythm.) 

The Institute of Noetic Sciences, a nonprofit organization doing some very cool things with consciousness research and learning with a goal of helping humans raise their vibrational level, has a section of their website called “Spontaneous Remission Bibliography Project” dedicated entirely to the placebo effect. Not just people thinking their headaches away, but people thinking their cancer, AIDS, and other fatal diseases away. Apparently, Qi, is one powerful medicine. Something we all have but have no practical access to, especially in the West. I’m guilty too! Don’t get me wrong. I’m a beginner with all of this stuff.

Check out the Ted talk below. What if?


Please keep it down, I’m flowing over here

If you haven’t read Steven Kotler’s “The Rise of Superman“, I highly recommend it. In the book Steven describes the flow state that is best recognized when athlete’s hit that “zone” during training or competition. The so-called “runner’s high”. An amazing example of this is illustrated in Danny Way’s incredible jump over the Great Wall of China on his skateboard after shattering his ankle and tearing his ACL on a practice run earlier in the day (check out the video). A feat that even the most prolific athlete couldn’t conquer, Danny did it under extreme circumstances. The book essentially goes into the “how” of this and other examples of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, attributing this to a flow state.

Extrapolating this to the office environment is a simple jump (punny, huh?). Capturing the ability for employees to experience flow would make a company unmatchable in their execution. Alas, offices are not run this way. Shouts from the top of the food chain, where the goal is ambiguous or worse, is not seen to have value to the team executing the order, are blithely managed. “Ambiguity is always negatively perceived”.

Kotler describes in the section ‘Hacking Flow’, that the environment we are in directly influences our ability to get into a flow state. Recently, to save money (sorry, nothing to fostering teamwork), offices have shifted to a hot-desk style where employees are required to sit wherever there is an opening, never having a set location each day. This, along with cubicle farms, are inversely proportionate to the amount of flow a person can experience. Flow requires focus, and who can focus when someone is talking loudly to their spouse, a client, whomever, sneezing, coughing, eating Doritos, when you are just trying to get the damned spreadsheet filled in?! As Greylock Partners venture capitalist James Slavet wrote on “These interruptions…move us out of ‘flow’ and increase research and design cycle times and costs dramatically. Studies have shown that each time a flow state is disrupted it takes 15 minutes to get back into flow, if you can get back in at all.” Something to think about next time you decide to bring in grandma’s leftover tuna casserole and eat at your desk.

I hope you check out the book and if you do, let me know your thoughts.

And go for a run. Get outside. Walk. Breathe. Get into the flow.

Continue reading “Please keep it down, I’m flowing over here”

“Because life is so brief and time is a thief when you’re undecided”

I just love that Rod Stewart song. I remember being in the back of my dad’s HUGE station wagon, unbuckled, playing in the “back, back” with my brother as we rolled down the interstate towards wherever. “Young hearts be free tonight. Time, time is on your side”

Well, yes and no. This article by Benjamin Hardy clearly lays out the fact that time ISN’T on our side. You will die. And when you die, will you have done the things you wanted for yourself and your family? Or will you have lived someone else’s dream? Tough questions.pier-near-charleston.jpg

Nature boy

“Ego is the glue that holds soul into body”

I was introduced via podcast to Guru Singh recently. He attributed the above quote to Yogi Bhajan, whom I currently do not know. A lot of times I see or hear people talking about getting rid of the ego, suppressing the ego, or letting the ego “go”. We would die without the ego and it is there to protect us. But like a petulant child, it can drive us crazy when it is overactive. I guess this is why meditation works and focusing on breathing allows the ego to, in a sense, take a nap. It will never go away, so make friends with it. Care for it. Understand its nature.

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