Tag Archives

60 Articles

The Leaf

Posted by presspass on
0
Empowerment
The Leaf

The Leaf

Fly CatcherI had several choices of where to go and what to do, but I was drawn to the river that day. I was going fishing. At least that was what I had in mind when I headed down to my favorite stretch of the Musconetcong.

The “Musky,” as it is called by the locals, is a sweet little river with riffles sparkling in the sun. It had been a while since I’d cast a fly rod, since in the recent past I’d only been Spey fishing. Technically speaking, a Spey rod is also a type of a fly rod but it is a totally different, two-handed system. The singlehanded rod felt light and vaguely unfamiliar in my hand and I feared I might be a tad rusty.

On this particular day, the sky was dotted with clouds so the light through the trees was intermittently sun dappled and then diffuse. It was early spring with chartreuse leaves unfurling in the trees. The air was still and the soothing sound of water played in the background of my senses. The water is still cold at that time of year, so I was geared up with polar fleece and heavy socks underneath my waders and boots.

Quietly I moved down the gentle sloping bank until I stood in the river at about knee depth. Line pulled off the reel, an attractive little fly attached, I made my first cast…and then the next and the next, as I rhythmically made my way downstream, one step at a time with only the wildlife to mark my passing.

A fox eyed a pair of Canadian geese, sizing them up for a potential meal. Birds flew about the canopy, and a merganser duck swam upstream. It was too early in the season for the duck to be trailed yet by a dozen or more chicks.

As I made my way down to the farmhouse stretch, a cheerful little riffle where the water dances its way over rocks before emptying into a pool, I caught in my periphery a small leaf hanging from a high branch, fluttering in the wind.

How odd, I thought. There isn’t any breeze today.
I looked more closely.
Is that a bird? Is it snagged up somehow?…Yes –Yes it is!

Fly Catcher with FlyThe branch with the frightened bird was hanging over the far side of the stream, too high for me to reach. I waded ashore, leaned my fly rod on a bush and picked up a stick. Wading back out beneath the limb I used the stick to snag the branch, pulling it down until it was within my grasp. Snapping the entire thing off, I turned my attention to the little creature that was fluttering wildly now. The bird appeared to be a small flycatcher of some sort: gray with a black head and tan sides. But I didn’t take much time to gather details as it quickly became apparent the source of its plight.

Someone else had obviously been to this fishing hole before me. Not surprising, of course, as this stretch of the Musky is part of the fishing club to which I belong. The angler that came before me had also been fishing with a single-handed rod and had clearly made a “bad” cast as his fly had landed in the trees rather than in the spot that was his intent. It’s easy to snag a tree or bush when the limbs hang over the river unless you make your cast just so. I’ve been to some places where the trees look ready for Christmas all year round, decked out with bright colored lures and flies left by anglers over the years.

By this point the little bird was understandably in a panic, flapping and flittering it’s heart out in an attempt to get away. Of course from his perspective I was a huge predator. Gently I closed my hand around him smoothing his frantic wings against his sides so that I could get a closer look at how he was trapped against this branch – at what was preventing his escape. The problem was tiny, oh-so-tiny, yet-oh so-strong.

The angler who came before me had left a little “trico” upon the limb, likely on a size 22 hook, so small as to be almost unseeable, with minuscule translucent white wings that imitate a trico fly. The bird had obviously been fooled by this imitation as he had attempted to catch a meal and had been caught instead.

I could feel the frantic beating of the fly catcher’s tiny heart as I gently eased the hook from his beak. I flung the offending branch and fly into the bushes and looked into the eye of the wild creature and as I opened my hand, he took wing.

By now it was dusk, the magic time when trout often surface to catch a meal. But I had thoroughly disturbed the pool where I was standing and no rising fish were in sight.

That’s alright, I realized as I waded ashore to retrieve my rod. Today’s catch and release wasn’t about trout. I had just thought I was going fishing. If I hadn’t been there to see the “leaf” fluttering when there was no wind, that little bird would have died.

Breathing deeply as day turned to night I headed for home, feeling quietly satisfied at an afternoon well spent.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Creativity

Posted by presspass on
0
Empowerment
Creativity

Creativity

Human beings by nature are creative. We have however, recorded everything that has happened in our past and linked it to our creative process, leading us to erroneously form the point of view that the creative process itself is a function of our struggling, our painful past or our “neurosis.” And if we were to lose that neurosis, our mind thinks that our artistic abilities would be lost as well.

A woman once attended one of our seminars and balked at the idea of letting go of her emotional pain. The sudden loss of her husband had been a major turning point in her life. The time following his death was extremely painful, sad and yet creative, too. Thrust by unfortunate circumstance into a completely different life, the new widow found herself surprisingly capable, increasingly directed and vitally alive. A year later, she was still nurturing the pain and sadness as well as her new found sense of herself. She was afraid, she explained, that if she let go of the pain, anger and sadness she would lose what she had gained in the past year. The shocking loss and ensuing pain had acted as a catalytic agent which sparked her creativity. Her mind then stored all aspects of this time period, and compressed them into a single strategy for success. As we coached her to look, she discovered she was now ready and willing to have the creativity without the pain.

With awareness, you can melt the aspects of your way of being that do not truly produce the results you want, in effect distilling the creative process. No longer does the word “struggling” have to be linked to artist. No longer do pain and neurosis have to be the companion to creativity.

Our creativity is inhibited by past decisions that we have made about our own ability to create. Let’s say, for instance, while growing up, you were not a very good writer of book reports in school. Perhaps one day you got a report back and written on it was a bright red “D” with the words, “Below Average!” The mind records the physical sensations that accompany the grade and also a statement that goes something like, “I am not very good at writing. I am Below Average!”. This statement is available to play back every time you write a new document. The statement may have been true when you were in grammar school, but it may not be true for the adult person that you have become. The problem is that every time you sit down to create something, that recording of, “I am not very good at writing. I am Below Average”, can jump forward between you and the blank page.

Another thing that hinders the creative process is our own internal self-governor or critic. Looking over something you have written, for instance and evaluating it for merit, syntax, grammar, spelling, etc. is obviously a useful thing to do, but timing is everything. Many people apply the process of judging and evaluating their work as they go. This blocks the flow, stops continuity and does not allow for ideas to complete themselves because the sentence, paragraph or idea is being amended even as it is coming into being.

Webster’s dictionary defines “create” as: to cause to come into existence; bring into being; make; originate. Whether you are an artist, working with your hands, applying paint to canvas, writing music or standing on a stage and bringing a character to life it is important to include one detail. The creative process is like the gestation period for a child which one hopes will be born in good health. A little bit of poison can go a long way towards altering the health of the child. Our self-judgments act like poison. If you want to expand your ability to be creative, practice the art of being kind to yourself. Contrary to what some believe, being self critical and hard on yourself does not lead to better quality work. If you are not vigorously chastising mistakes you will not suddenly become complacent and let your work slide. Rather you may find yourself encouraged to take bigger risks and watch as what seems to be a mistake to the judgmental mind turns into something shiny and new that was never even conceived of before.

When one truly creates, one stands in the moment and interacts directly with his or her environment. Not through the filter of thought. Not through one’s personal history. It is a direct expression of the being.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Pink Rain

Posted by presspass on
0
Empowerment
Pink Rain

Pink Rain

Did anyone ever say something to you that you found offensive? What did you do: walk away in a huff … talk back to him or her … “stand up” for yourself and then feel lousy later? Take the “high road” and feel crummy later? How about lying awake at night, rehearsing all of the better things you could have said … smarter things you should have said … or plotting the really good comebacks that you will lay on the offensive party next time you get the chance?

But have you ever simply let it go? Really let it go? Not just turn the other cheek yet seethe inside at the injustice of it all? Let us tell you how it happened for us:

In the late 90s, we were leading a series of winter retreats in Costa Rica. These particular seminars took place near the beach in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific side of the country. There we made the passing acquaintance of a couple, Rena and Sven. These two people radiated their judgmental nature and we felt uncomfortable just being around them.

One morning the two of us took a taxi to the beach. As we exited the cab we arranged with our driver to come back in an hour to pick us up. As we walked down to the ocean, we ran into Rena and Sven. By way of greeting, Rena said something very catty — not just the words, but also the unspoken subtext of the comment.

We bet you are familiar with loaded comments. Just think of a teenager, stomping to his or her room saying, “Fine!” or some such thing and flinging the door closed. In this case the word “fine” actually means anything but. Teens in particular are good at adding the eye rolling and they are great at dripping sarcasm from a single syllable. You get the idea.

It doesn’t really matter what Rena said that morning. We quickly ended the conversation and moved on down the beach. At first it was a bit of a challenge not to rehash the moment and reinforce the agitation that usually comes along with getting a verbal and energetic bump. Yet we purposefully disengaged from what had happened and got involved in what was happening: our walk. As we strolled along the shore, the sand sifting between our toes, we got engaged in what was in sight: the pelicans flying in formation, their wings practically skimming the waves, the sun, the surf, the birds, our conversation, OUR life. We simply invested in what was actually happening in that moment rather than resist Rena or Sven, and as we continued down the beach the upset fell away. In fact we forgot about the couple altogether.

This is a perfect example of the 3 Principles of Instantaneous Transformation in action:

1st Principle of Instantaneous Transformation – What you resist persists, grows stronger and in this case, accompanies you down the beach as it dominates your life and your current experience. If we had resisted Rena, disagreed with her comment, if we had taken exception to how she and Sven were being and chewed it over between us, then we would no longer have been on the beach. When you are in a fight in your thoughts, that’s where you are locked — in your thoughts.

2nd Principle of Instantaneous Transformation – That couple could only be exactly as they were, with their reality. Rena could only have commented as she did, and we could have only had a spontaneous visceral reaction and been taken aback.

3rd Principle of Instantaneous Transformation – Anything you allow to be exactly as it is completes itself. We just let them alone in our thoughts and the situation and our initial reaction just drifted away. But of course, as frequently happens when something of this nature occurs, life gives you the opportunity to see if you really have let the upset go – and if not, you get another chance to dissolve it! Soon our beach hour was almost up and it was time to meet our taxi and go back to work. But when we walked up to the road to the rendezvous spot, who should be standing there but Rena and Sven. We didn’t want to be rude, but we didn’t want to invite more conversation either. So we simply ambled up the sidewalk and put some distance between us. It was at this point something very sweet and special happened.

In Costa Rica there are many flowering trees. You can see entire hillsides populated with purple, orange, yellow or pink blossoms. Up at the curve of the road was a big old tree laden with pink flowers. Just as we approached, a gentle breeze ruffled our hair and combed through the tree’s branches. And suddenly the tree rained pink petals. We stood there in awe, awash in a soft pink rain.

It was as if the circumstances of our lives were guiding us forward so that we could be witness to such a magical moment. We weren’t walking away from them – we simply kept moving in concert with the wind, and the sun, and our lives. We were in sync. We were appropriate to ourselves and our hearts. When you are in the moment you are a part of the symphony of life and the music isn’t discordant, the melody is pure and simple. On that particular day the theme was a soft pink rain.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

How Sweet It Is

Posted by presspass on
0
Categories
How Sweet It Is

“How Sweet it Is,” is an Excerpt from Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work, by Ariel and Shya Kane

Click here for more information or to purchase this book.

There is an old story about a man who was walking through the jungle. Sensing a presence, the man looked over his shoulder and saw a tiger slinking through the foliage, following him. Quickening his pace, the fellow followed the path he was on until he reached a cliff. Looking back once again, he saw the tiger was still there and coming closer. Standing with his toes over the edge, the man noticed that there was a vine running down the cliff face and he swung out onto the vine in order to escape the tiger. Just as he quickly lowered himself down, the tiger jumped. Slashing over the edge with her paw, the tiger narrowly missing catching the man as he made his decent. As the man started to work his way down the cliff face, he looked down to the bottom and saw yet another tiger, the mate of the one at the top. The tigers settled down to wait. Hanging there, the man saw that two mice, a white one and a black one, had started gnawing on the vine above his head. It was only a matter of time before the vine would give way. Looking off to one side, he noticed a wild strawberry gleaming crimson in the sunlight. He picked it, put it in his mouth and tasted…How sweet it was.

Worrying about the future and missing the sweetness of the moment seems to be a way of life for most people. Of course, there are plenty of things to worry about today, if that is what you are used to. There was plenty to worry about in our parents’ day also and in our grandparents’ and so on back through time. And yet they survived. We are all a living testament to that. Perhaps we worry as a part of the culture we were raised in, as a survival strategy, passed down from generation to generation. Have you ever stopped to think that worry is not an integral part of well-being but something extra, unneeded and unexamined that we have absorbed from those around us?

You can taste the wild strawberries that exist around you in your everyday life by being here in this moment, rather than worrying about things you cannot immediately do anything about, such as the state of the world, global warming, political conflict, wars, etc. Those things do exist but in this moment so does the chair you are sitting in, the air you are breathing and the floor under your feet.

Perhaps you tend to worry about something more personal, such as your finances, the state of your relationship or your health. Well, does worrying actually accomplish anything positive? Worry is the mind’s projection of possible futures, based on what we have experienced or known from the past.

Being Here in this moment is the great transformational agent. If you are actually engaged in being here, then life does not have to repeat itself. Unknown creative solutions can present themselves and if you are here, you are available to see them.

There is a Country Western song by Tim McGraw called, “Live Like You Were Dying.” It is about a man who discovered he had a potentially terminal disease and goes out and does all the things he only dreamt of doing…and many he hadn’t even considered; riding a bull, going fishing, being a true friend, talking sweeter, loving deeper and giving forgiveness he had been denying to others.

For the most part, we don’t live our lives as though it is our last day. There are things we do which, if we were dying, we would never indulge in. If the end were near we wouldn’t be wasting those few precious moments. The trick is in discovering how to maintain this sense of urgency and vitality without threatening oneself with dire circumstances such as imminent death. Although the song “Live Like You Were Dying” is just a song, it is representative of what can happen if you engage in your life without preference, without listening to the story of whether or not you feel like doing something and without thinking that this moment doesn’t matter.

How do you engage in your life as if this moment matters when you are truly out of touch with that, and are lost in a loop of worry, you might ask? Well, you could start by washing your dishes, making your bed, cleaning up your office, completing those things that have been incomplete and that you ignore by worrying about other things. What if worry was just a sophisticated way to procrastinate? Have you ever considered that if you are really busy, fully engaged, getting things done, your rarely have time or interest in complaining about your life?

So, if you need a place to start, look around you. Handling any little incompletion is a great start. Then move on to the next thing. You might start with the things you like to do first. Get in a rhythm. Then keep including what’s next. You will be pleasantly surprised how, as you handle the minutia of your life, the answers to how to handle the “big” things magically appear.

This is an excerpt from Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work, available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

A Moment in Time

Posted by presspass on
0
Categories
A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time

by Wendy in Queens, NY

an excerpt from Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment by Ariel and Shya Kane

kidsswinging.jpgMy brother Brian was born a year and a half after I was. My mom told me that when she brought him home from the hospital, I thought he was a gift for me. When we were growing up, Brian seemed to know how to do everything without any help or training. I’d ask him, “How do you know that?” I was amazed and jealous that things seemed to come so easily for him, or so I thought.

Years later when I graduated from college, I found a job in New York City. My brother offered to drive my stuff and me from our home in Rochester, New York to my new apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey. We packed his Suburban to the gills and off we went. We made our way there using a good old-fashioned map since this was before cell phones and Google Maps. We spent the weekend setting up the apartment and took a quick trip into Manhattan to explore the area. The days flew by and the time came for him to head back. We hugged goodbye and off he drove into the horizon. As I watched my brother’s truck get smaller and smaller, tears fell down my cheeks.

Time moved on, life happened, and Brian and I grew apart. I held on to my belief that we would be super close again someday, because that’s how I thought it should be. That’s how I thought life worked. But Brian started using drugs. As his addiction grew stronger, the gulf between us grew wider. He got help, but it was a struggle and he repeatedly slipped back into his old habits. I had a lot of judgments against him, but they had started long before he was using drugs.

Eventually, I discovered a totally new perspective about my brother and my life when a co-worker invited me to one of Ariel and Shya Kane’s evening events in New York City. Soon after, I attended a weekend seminar with them and started to look at relationships through a different lens. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but my perspective just shifted. As a kid I’d made decisions to not be like my family. I started seeing how I held my family and myself as not good enough. I had ideas about what a “good family” looked like, down to how a good family should celebrate Christmas. In the past, I had sat at home feeling sorry for myself if the celebration was not up to my standards.

Then, one December, I had a spontaneous experience of how my life had transformed. I had flown to Rochester to celebrate Christmas with my family and quickly discovered that no one had made plans for a holiday gathering. Rather than going to that familiar place of feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I could plan something. This was a novel idea and I got excited at the notion of hosting Christmas.

With my sister Holley’s permission, I invited everyone to her house on a snowy night in December. I made all of my favorite dishes – cheesy macaroni and cheese, creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes and a big green salad. Holley finished it off with a fresh baked apple pie. My mom brought the frosted buttermilk Christmas cookies that she made every year. Everyone was happy to contribute. Hmm, maybe my family wasn’t such a lost cause after all.

Earlier in the day my sister and I had bought gifts for everyone, including a chess set that I thought my brother would love. Brian was a pretty good chess player and he loved the game. The doorbell sounded and I greeted my mom and brother at the door. It was as if time stood still. I looked into my brother’s eyes and I saw that I had a choice. I could drop my judgments and meet my brother Brian, as if for the first time, or I could hold on to past grievances. In a split second I chose to drop the past. I saw the light flicker in my brother’s eyes as I reached out to hug him and I felt the wall between us crumble. Even the sound of his name was sweet and I was excited he was there.

The evening flew by. After dinner we exchanged gifts. I felt sated and happy. I realized the picture in my mind of how Christmas should be celebrated was a child’s idea and I preferred the way it had unfolded in reality.

Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day EnlightenmentI was scheduled to fly back to New York City on Sunday night and to my surprise, Brian joined my mom and me on the ride to the airport. When we arrived and I found out the flight was delayed, I asked them both to come inside the airport and wait with me. I’d never done that before. I usually couldn’t wait to get out of Rochester but this time was different. We sat in Dunkin’ Donuts, sipping coffee and eating muffins, and laughing at stupid jokes. It was a lot of fun and the silliness was sweet and intimate. When my flight was ready to depart, we said our goodbyes and I made my way to the gate with a big grin on my face.

A few days into the New Year, I got a call in the middle of the night. My brother Brian had overdosed on heroin and his heart had stopped. He died later that night and I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that just a few days earlier we’d had some of the deepest and kindest interactions in years. It was as if I had found my kid brother again only to lose him.

I miss my brother but I’ll be forever grateful for the time I got to spend with him that Christmas. I’m thankful that I dropped the past and discovered who Brian really was while he was still alive.

 

This is an excerpt from Being Here…Too, now available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their award-winning books, their Being Here radio show and join their email newsletter.

Greener Pastures, an excerpt from Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Greener Pastures, an excerpt from Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work

Once we saw a goat put out to graze in a lush field. The grass was high and feeding was plentiful. But the goat wasn’t satisfied. It made a funny picture as it strained toward the field next door. Its front legs were suspended midair, dangling over the fence as it vainly reached for a tempting bit of green just out of reach. Of course the grass wasn’t any richer or higher or more succulent in the next pasture, but try telling that to the goat.

What pastures are you straining after? Most people are strenuously reaching toward what they think will make them happy or satisfied, straining toward something more, better, or different. The problem with this is that there is always something else that needs to be bought or produced in order for you to be happy or satisfied. Truthfully, in this moment, you can only have what you have. Anything you yearn for robs you of the possibility of reveling in the richness of your life.

People get so driven by where they are going that they miss their lives. You may actually be rushing ahead to finish this book, trying to answer some question or fulfill some agenda. While you are trying so hard to get something from the writing, you are not actually there for the reading.

Many of us live our lives as if we are looking through a telephoto lens on a camera. A telephoto lens focuses in on an object in the distance and excludes everything peripheral to that object. So you miss everything happening around you. Instantaneous Transformation is more like a wide-angle lens. It holds everything in focus whether it is close up or far away, and there is three-dimensionality and depth to what you see. The telephoto lens, on the other hand, makes things much more two-dimensional or fl at; you lose the depth of fi eld. When people are lost in a change modality, they feel annoyed when things “intrude” and interrupt their flow toward where they are headed. In a transformational approach, life becomes a dance of noticing what is rather than a tense experience of trying to exclude everything that does not seem on track to producing the things we think we want in the future to make us happy or fulfilled.

Working on Yourself Doesn't Work by Ariel & Shya KaneIt could be said that life is an unfolding, moment to moment, and we have preferences that frequently disagree with how life unfolds, because we are trying to get somewhere rather than be where we are. We think something better is going to come along because this isn’t it, when in fact this moment is all there is. This moment IS it.

People are so busy worrying about what they don’t have or how it is going to turn out in the future, they rarely allow themselves to really relish and enjoy the way things are right now. Life becomes a worry about what isn’t, rather than a celebration of what is. For if we, like the goat, invest our energy only in wanting what we don’t have and lusting after tantalizing goals currently out of reach, satisfaction is set aside for a mythical someday that never comes.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books.  Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

Missing My Morning Coffee

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Missing My Morning Coffee

Missing My Morning Coffee

An Excerpt from Practical Enlightenment

I love my morning cup of Joe. Coffee and I have been friends for almost as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I used to drink from my parents’ forgotten cups, pretending I was an adult. Coffee was my com­panion in college, company during late-night cram sessions. Coffee houses were the destination of choice for my friends and me as we spent long evenings having deep, philosophical discussions about life – life we had yet to live. In later years, when Ariel and I got together, there was a progression of caffeinated times and those that were without. When we moved to our Park Avenue apartment in the ‘80s, there was a little bistro down­stairs where we would have a morning cappuccino and a croissant or sugary pastry. There were years when we gave it up, but even in those times, Ariel and I still en­joyed the pungent aroma of coffee being freshly ground and brewed.

A few years ago, Ariel and I splurged and bought ourselves a lovely espresso machine that heats our cups, grinds the beans, and makes the espresso as strong or as light as we like. Since I like my espresso strong and hot, I pushed the appropriate button one morning and it pressed out a little cup of my favorite elixir. The cup was small, its contents strong. I took my first sip. Mmmm, hot, delicious – both the ritual of a morning cup and its smell and taste. Cup in hand, I set off to start my day. There were things to do and plans to be made. Shortly thereafter I looked down and magically, my cup was empty. I realized that I’d been lost in thought and tossed the coffee down as if it were water, oblivious to the taste, temperature, texture and the moment itself. My thoughts had been all-consuming and the moment was eaten by their magnetic force.

Smiling down at my cup somewhat wistfully, I realized that enjoyable things cease to be enjoyable if you aren’t there to experience them. I couldn’t go back and taste what I’d already drunk. I could make another cup but the caffeine I’d consumed had already worked its magic and I didn’t need more at that moment. Returning to the kitchen, I washed my cup. It was time to move on with my day. It was a short but sweet reminder that if I don’t want to miss my morning coffee, I need to be there while I’m drinking it, even if I’m not yet fully awake.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYCGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment, will be published this November.

Footprints in the Sand

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand

For several years Shya and I travelled down to Great Harbor Cay, on the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. We traditionally rented a little condo on this small sparsely populated island with windows facing east overlooking the ocean – a beautiful place to watch the sunrise to be sure. On many mornings, I went for a walk on the beautiful sandy beach. The shore is long enough that I could easily go for 45 minutes in either direction, enjoying the lap of the waves while keeping a sharp eye out for treasures that the sea had dropped on the sand overnight. This little beach is its own world, one where “rush hour” happened when I occasionally saw another human being – perhaps two. While this stretch of sand is sparsely populated I still was not the only Beachcomber. Sometimes when walking along the beach I followed the tracks of a fellow explorer, noticing where he or she had veered left or right to investigate an interesting-looking tangle of sea grass that had been deposited by the waves upon the shore.

I must admit I really prefer being first to cross the virgin sand after it has been smoothed by the receding tide. When I have come upon the tracks of someone who has come before me, it spurs the notion that I have fallen behind somehow, that I am too late, that everything of note to be discovered has already been found.

One morning, Shya and I stepped out our door and debated briefly whether to turn left or right. He, fly rod in hand, me wearing my light cotton tee with a kangaroo pouch on the front ready to tuck away little treasures. I was also wearing my small belly-pack, complete with water bottle, tissues and more room for seashells inside. Everything a gal needs for a trek down the beach.

We decided to go left, toward the point where the sea wraps around, often leaving interesting shells. It is also where small fish, mainly schools of jacks and pompano, chase baitfish and are likely to take Shya’s fly.

As we walked along we saw a needlefish, a long toothy creature, cruising the shallows. Farther out, shoals of tiny minnows jumped, silver waves fanning out, cascading back into the slick water as they tried to evade a predator below. Occasionally little sandpipers bobbed and weaved their way up and down the gentle rise of sand in search of edibles too tiny for our human eyes to see.

As we walked in the wavelets, Shya’s gaze was pinned on the water as he scanned for the silhouettes of fish, ready to cast the fly, my attention kept being pulled to a flash of light or a daub of color as seashells winked at me in the morning sun. It was a leisurely adventure, not really going anywhere even though our feet were taking us toward that point of land in the distance. When a small school of jacks came hunting, we both caught and released several as we took turns enticing them to eat our imitation shrimp fly.

Eventually we came to the point and Shya waded out down a long sand bar to see if he could catch one of the larger predator fish cruising the water on either side of the underwater spit of sand. I, on the other hand, rounded the corner and ranged up the beach to see what seashells had been left by the ocean overnight. But to my surprise, instead of an unblemished surface, I found footprints in the sand.

Oh no! I immediately thought. Someone was here before me. From nowhere my leisurely morning’s mood disappeared and my competitive nature surged forward, activating those niggling insecurities that whispered: You’re behind. You missed your shot. You’ve lost out.

Prompted by those thoughts, my steps quickened, heart thumped and breath hitched. How could they have gotten here before me? Shya and I came out to the beach virtually at first light.

Scanning ahead, I saw how the trail zigged and zagged and I began to follow it. Several yards down the beach, as I took a step, I noticed that the footprints I was leaving in my wake looked suspiciously the same size as those I was following. I stopped in my tracks. Actually I stopped next to my tracks also and I tipped my head back and laughed. I finally realized that the person I’d been competing with was actually the ghost of myself, for I had come this way the night before. As I looked, it became clear that high tide the night before had not come up far enough to obliterate my prints from yesterday’s beach adventure. I smiled to myself, reminded of Winnie-The-Pooh where Piglet and Pooh follow their own tracks as they circled around the same tree again and again.

Relaxed once again, my eye returned to seeing the wonders in front of me. My attention was no longer turned inward upon perceived failings, and I was no longer subjected to that automatic self-defeating mental diatribe. My stride evened out and I enjoyed the movement of my legs, the textures under my bare feet as I turned around and begin walking back toward Shya.

Suddenly I caught sight of a delicate seashell standing in the fresh sand looking like a pair of butterfly wings poised for flight. Opalescent interior in pearl, aqua and pink contrasted with the darker outside. The outer edges were not smooth but adorned with many points, feathered fingers that would interlace when closed, currently reaching toward the sky. Gently I collected the shell, wrapped it in a tissue and tucked it in my pouch for the walk back to the little bungalow where we were staying.

As my feet found their rhythm, I quietly mused about how odd the notion was that I had missed an opportunity, that I was somehow “behind.” For I had just discovered not only a delicate treasure released by the sea, but the far greater wealth-of-being that happens when I let go of the reflex to get ahead, allowing myself the luxury to be right where I am instead.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

Susan’s First Date

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Susan’s First Date

Susan’s First Date

an excerpt from How to Have A Match Made in Heaven

by Ariel & Shya Kane

mmih-3-awards-trans.jpgIt was still cool at 6:30 in the morning as we strolled barefoot with Susan down Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio beach. We were in the midst of one of our Costa Rican Self Discovery Adventures that we hold each winter. People come from all over the world to join us and use it as a time to get away from the normal routine of one’s life and relax. It is opportunity to look at the mechanics of your life in a gentle, lush environment without judging what you discover; a time to play and let your life unfold.

On this particular morning, Susan was talking with us about her relationships – or more accurately put, her lack of one. We have known Susan for years and she is such a lovely woman. Perhaps you know her or know someone just like her… She is a mover and shaker at work, well respected in her field, someone who people admire. Early 40’s she is pretty, slim, personable, smart, humble, and absolutely adores baseball. In short, she is a dream gal for most any man.

And yet, over the years we have known her, Susan has not had much luck in relationship. Traditionally she falls head over heals for a guy and eventually, after several months or occasionally a year or two, the relationship ends. Gradually Susan had stopped telling people when she really liked someone. It became embarrassing for her to admit when “things didn’t work out” and yet another one was over.

We asked her what was happening with dating. Grimacing, she replied, “I am taking a break. I just don’t see the point. I never have trouble attracting guys – it just never lasts. Something must be wrong with me.”

Discarding the idea that there was something “wrong” with her, we looked at her approach to dating. We encouraged her to take a transformational, anthropological approach – like a scientist, observing a culture of one – herself, looking non-judgmentally, with awareness. When you do this, the best place to start is where you are. Exactly where you are – in this moment.

“How are you approaching things right now?” we asked her. “Start to bring awareness to this moment, this instant, not someday.”

As we looked at her life in that moment, it became obvious that in her attempt to fix her “problem,” set things in order and make for a better future, Susan missed so much — The caress of the breeze as it tousled her hair, the sand between her toes, the steady lap of the surf.

As we conversed, it became apparent that Susan was rarely simply present to where she was. She was habitually driving forward for some desired result that was supposed to make her happy or fulfilled or better — in the future. It became apparent even in how she approached the conversation. For Susan it was a challenge simply to walk with us. She was so accomplished at thinking and strategizing that she kept losing sight of where she was. She missed the lovely shells, the sea foam and the way her muscles moved as she walked. She either charged ahead or got lost in thought and barely moved at all.

We asked her if she had ever dated more than one person at a time. She looked surprised by the question, as if we were suggesting that she was somehow “loose” or unwholesome. So we explained: “Do you ever meet one fellow for lunch on Tuesday and another for a movie on Friday night, etc. so that you can see who might really work for you before you jump ahead into a relationship? Sheepishly, she said “No.” That was when we suddenly realized that Susan had never actually “dated”. Instead, she automatically married: as soon as she went out with someone, she was trying to make him “the one.” Somewhere in the back of her mind he was already her mate – the perfect relationship.

We encouraged her to keep relaxing into herself and into her body for the next few days and forget about getting ahead. Let go of her plans to date or to not. Just be there and have fun.

Two days later during the course, Susan piped up with excitement about her first boogie boarding experience. As she spoke, we looked around and Ralf was beaming. Ralf is an actor who is gay and married. Due to their work schedules, he and his spouse had to come to separate courses, so he was there by himself. He is accomplished at riding waves and Susan had asked him to teach her. Here is what she said:

“I asked Ralf to teach me to boogie board because it looked like so much fun and it was obvious that he was really good at it. At lunch we went to the beach and waded out into the water. Although I was nervous, he made it OK. I hugged the board and the next thing I knew, the wave was coming. As I stood there, I realized that this was the one – the one where I could finally learn to boogie board. Much sooner than I expect Ralf said, “Jump” and I did. I made it all the way into shore! It was great.”

Ralf grinned, “Susan really listened! She timed it perfectly and caught the wave.”

Both Susan and Ralf were so happy. He felt smart, listened to and empowered and so did she. That was when the realization hit us. This was Susan’s first date. It was the first time she had ever “gone out” with a man without the mental computer casting forward to possible futures. She was simply being there enjoying the moment.

We realized that if Susan could bring that type of engagement to going on actual dates, where she was there simply to have fun and have that experience be complete in and of itself – not leading anywhere other than this moment, her life would transform. All it would take now is awareness. She habitually plans for the future. With awareness, Susan can now suspend that habit and be there. Who knows what will happen for her now – Having fun is a pretty powerful way to start any serious relationship.

Kane-player-wide.jpgSince 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

Life Will Provide if You Let It

Posted by Editor on
0
Empowerment
Life Will Provide if You Let It

Life Will Provide if You Let It
By Ariel Kane

I like birds and I really like taking pictures of them. I must admit that I am partial to colorful birds – except not always. The frothy white feathers on a great white egret have been known to catch my imagination and the silhouette of a little hummingbird sitting quietly on a branch at dusk has held me in awe.

Not too long ago while attempting to capture the image of a bright bird with my camera, I had a surprising life lesson. I was keying in on what I wanted, on what I knew. All the while I had been missing something new and exciting by being focused on my desires.

Shya and I were at Caño Negro, a sleepy little village in Costa Rica that caters to nature tours, wetlands bird watching and tarpon fishing. We had been fishing for a day and a half on the Rio Frio where Shya had caught several tarpon, one being a giant, on his birthday. It was our lunch hour and Shya was tying up a few fishing flies for the afternoon; I had seen some scarlet-rumped tanagers by the dining room beneath a tree so I headed there with my camera in hopes of getting a shot.

Scarlet-rumped tanagers are a midnight black bird and as their name implies, they have the brightest of red on the backside. Their markings are very dynamic and I enjoy watching them in the wild. The hotel where we were staying had a bird feeding station and I had noticed them there but I had also seen them in a nearby tree that would be a much more natural picture.

As I drew near the feeding station, the tanagers darted up into a tree. While I could still see them, I knew it would be a really tough shot. The birds were dark, in the branches and leaves it was dark, and they were backlit by the bright, glaring light of day. Still I wanted what I wanted. The moment was arguing against it but I thought I should try. I focused down my lens and tried different settings to capture what I thought was my heart’s desire, dancing this way and that as they shifted position in an attempt to avoid me. So keyed in on getting “my shot” that I didn’t hear the man come up behind me.

“Excuse me,” he said. “You like birds?”

I turned and saw one of the nature guides standing directly behind me. “How about that one? It’s a lineated woodpecker.”

I swiveled my head to the left and on a tree was a beautiful bird. It was bright and interesting and to my delight, was easy to focus on. I gave the man my heartfelt thanks and he melted back into the dining area. For several moments the woodpecker enlarged the hole he was working on while I captured his image.

As I headed back to my room I had to smile to myself. It reminded me once again of how it is so easy to look for what we know and key in on getting the things we think we want, all based in the past. When focusing down on the known, we miss so many things. All it took for me was stepping back from my quest and listening to an expert. So sweet that that man pointed me in the right direction. Even sweeter that I followed his lead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UK, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter here: http://www.transformationmadeeasy.com/ You can also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Practical Enlightenment, is now available on Amazon.com.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Twitter