True independence

All words have a limited purpose, “for now.” “Independence” is that way. It is needed to get free of false supports, or false assumptions that lead to false needs. False needs erode time, health, and treasure. They tend to be sedimentary and inefficient for us.

We are wise to do an Independence Inventory from time to time to identify the ideas, notions, feelings, things, and habits that have settled in around us that are not aligned with the truest, most honorable, most loving, and most righteous (not self-righteous, but righteous by others) person each of us aspires to be. The “Look-Up” YouTube video of my previous post illustrates a thing from which we need independence.

Why try? Because what we aspire to be is what is in our heart.

Adaptive training seeks to adapt mind and body in service to our true heart, to our reason for being here. This means letting go of falseness, wherever found.

Free of false things, we are better prepared for interdependence in a way that will benefit, not harm others. We may “get up and walk.”

Like farming land, this farming of the heart, mind, and body is the purpose of training the mind and body to find harmony with the decisive, innocent spirit which we were given as children.

As I get older, I see that spirit of decisive innocence to clear the way for genuine love. Instantly, reflecting on this, trying to re-establish harmony with that divine spark, it is easy for me to see all my defects brought to light. My selfishness.

It is then I remember I must stand again, find my heart, and work the fields of this earthly testing ground another day.

Fri: Kite Adventure

high and far away...

high and far away…tree at left flies kite better than blogger; as did child Kite Master and a small dog.

art of kite flying exhibited by tree

art of kite flying exhibited by tree holding spool, kite in background obeying. A tree.

The wind was right Friday for the Kite Master to show herself.

Effortlessly handling the loyal dog-kite, she flew it on the swing; dancing twirls; and even tied it to her dog who also flew it flawlessly.

Dad crashed it three times.

Once, the wind was too strong, even for the Kite Master, pulling the spool and string from her hands.

The spool rose and fell, flying at about 15 knots in an easterly direction. Dad sprinted after it. It crossed a street. Then the kite pulled the spool high and stuck it firmly into the crook of a branch about 25 feet above the driveway of a home where no one was home. The tree flew the kite flawlessly, never losing it, never crashing it.

Using an extension rod fetched from home, I whacked the spool loose from the tree. Fail: could not wrap the string around the extension. Off went the spool again, dipping low, but moving at a clip across another street. I got a break. The kite pulled the string over a garage roof. The spool hung within my reach for about five seconds as I chased it down. As I reached for it, the kite jumped and the spool lifted steadily out of my reach, skittered across the roof and launched off the other side of this house into the adjoining yard on the next block.

Another sprint to locate it. There was the kite, flying true, bobbing and weaving and using all the string. But I could not see where the string was on the ground. Finally we saw the little shrub in a back yard that was now flying the kite. Flawlessly.

After knocking and ringing, there was no one home. We finally seized the spool, and walked the kite home. On the way, the Kite Master handed me the spool. I crashed the kite into a yard. We spent ten more minutes extricating the string and kite from a small spruce tree.

We were all smiling ear-to-ear. It was a kite adventure to remember. And it was a running kite adventure, with sprint intervals, timing, and of course, learning from the Kite Master.

Adaptive Labor as Training: Aid to Martin Acres subdivision of Boulder

For two and a half hours this morning I had the opportunity to work on flood remediation efforts with some wonderful people volunteering with DonateBoulder.org. We worked in the Martin Acres subdivision.

For those who are medically cleared for this kind of work, I highly encourage volunteer physical labor for those who cannot do it themselves, or who are overwhelmed.

Among the training benefits are asymmetric muscle work, pulling, lifting, carrying, hacking, breaking, dragging, stacking, leveraging, maneuvering, prying, throwing, and tossing. Working with tools with your hands is a bonus, as hand tools benefit your connective tissues and fine motor muscles in ways merely lifting weights cannot.

The best thing about training this way is that you get to work with some special people: other volunteers. You get to help someone in difficult circumstances. And, you help free up another wave of volunteers for the next effort by knocking one out.

You may only have a morning to work, or a whole day. We all have different obligations and time sensitive items any given day. Yet if you put in what you can, and others do too, this expedites humane relief and mitigation of adverse health conditions.

The must have tools and qualities: (1) mask that filters out airborne dust, molds, and noxious building materials such as asbestos; (2) tools for pulling up baseboards and tearing out sodden drywall, i.e. crowbars, wood chisels, hammers, dustpans, shovels, brooms; (3) approved anti-mold and mildew spray product; (4) first aid kit; and (5) safety sense.

Volunteering, like group training, builds camaraderie, dispels loneliness, and strengthens community. Those intangible fringe benefits are as valuable as the physical mission and physical training benefit. Yet the training benefit also helps give the person helped a better feeling that someone is helping them, yet getting something out of it.

That is all true of course, so long as volunteers take the necessary safety precautions, such as an updated tetanus shot and the equipment listed above.

Handling Victory and Defeat with Grace

If in our hearts we thoroughly prepare for lifelong grace after victory or defeat, neither victory or defeat can undo us.

Updated: Vying for the Heart of Athleticism in the Big Picture: Pride for Glory-of-Self or Service for Glory of the Team?

In succeeding, pride divides, while service, succeeding or not, unifies. Service brings glory after all seasons for one and for all. Even teams who lost fair and square to a team playing from the service ethos improve because of it.

The team that cries out of burst pride when it loses is less prepared to prevail in the greater competition against evils and injustices in the world. The team that wins in pride is even weaker, as they are deluded by self-legend.

Competition is best that tempers us toward excellence to be able to dissuade, dispel, and if necessary, defeat and heal injustices and evil processes plaguing humankind. Sports are fields of preparation for work and art, and contain them both. Play and the joy of play are part of the game of betterment.

The aim of sports was once to make community better, purer, truer, stronger, wiser, and in doing so raise every person to communal roles of glory from time to time. Instead sports in our great country have been struggling with the error of elevating pride as their driving spirit. That error has spawned a Pandora’s box of symptoms.

The team service ethos in sports unifies us, and makes us a team whose glory feeds those who witness and participate with it. Unfortunately we see this zone of service ethos in sports, art, and work waning, as the burgeoning prideful self, by self-glorification or self-esteem, sucks away rather than multiplies the spirit of personal excellence.

By character, determination, and service, success and failure are cumulative toward ultimate successes. Service success doesn’t admit the virus of tomorrow’s division. Today’s victory does not contain the DNA of tomorrow’s defeat with the ethos of service to the team. Failing to heed the law of the cosmos that pride comes before a fall is itself a delusion of pride in practice.

You may have noticed the shift in American sports as the word pride has replaced the word teamwork, love of team, and team spirit. Pride is the driving passion of despotism and fascism. Even the term “school pride” is a sad misnomer where well-intended, and a sickness where it dominates.

School is an institution part of a government that is supposed to be “by and for the people.” Such institutions, bureaucratized, may or may not run on people-oriented values. When there is a tradition of people-oriented leaders in that school or its system, they tend to feed students’ overall development, working as a team seeking excellence in doing so.

With such leadership, the bureaucratic addiction dissolves and the person-building institution arises. Perhaps we’ve forgotten that institutions and industries were at some point meant to help us develop ourselves as persons whose innate virtues obviate the need for heavy-institutionalism and industrialization in the first place. Freedom with behavioral trust was the objective. Remember “for the people, by the people?”

Yet where do we see many MVP’s go today? The pride-principle has morphed sports into a self-glorification machine, a scandal machine, a materialism machine, and a discipline in service to vice. See how ethics and character have fared in university and professional sports? Workplace and industry ethics seem to have followed suit. Drug and performance enhancement testing is required because lack of trust has taken hold. Thorough background checks exist because the we don’t trust each other anymore. This is a deep pathology unlikely to bring a unified republic and it is largely pride’s cancer, for which the opportunity cost is love of one’s fellows.

Protestations that “everybody’s cheating,” or “everybody’s doping” does not fix the problem any more than such an explanation justifies the erosion of character leading to the 2007 mortgage crisis and 2008 financial crisis. Attacking messengers of this truth is like a drowning person attacking a lifeguard or coastguard swimmer trying to help them.

It makes little sense to have a social net if every individual is so narcissistic that he or she thinks teamwork is for their own ascendancy or self-esteem, but not for each and every one else. Selfishness is fueled by fear of loss. Yet the major wisdom traditions of most religions, corrected for political and racial incursions on same, teach that fear of loss is a wasteful, useless state of mind.

Fear will dissolve in each of us as we willingly give up our passionate attachments to seeking blessings, and dedicate our lives to the love of our brothers and sisters no matter their appearance. How many times have I forgotten this through many, many falls to repeated delusions? For those who purpose good can also twist that motive with the lie that they must first be rich, ascendant, or powerful to do significant good. They forget that good done can have cascading, unintended effects far into the future.

Out of fear of lost face keep we must not let our errors keep us from witnessing what we can see by having fallen down enough ourselves. For when I fall, when I open my eyes, I can see under the fog to identify what made me slip. And by writing this, I am merely getting up using words as handholds, having not mastered fear, or loved as I should, but merely having become a practitioner at getting up to train at those high goals yet again. Truth: if each one of us cannot confess truth and get up again, then we cannot help message others about pile-ups around the corner. However, if we get up and do good anyway, and speak the truth, we can help the greater team live well.

Our first three obstacles to master for the good include our responses to error, entropy, and change. The answer to our own error and weaknesses is not that we must become masters of what we fear as some morph themselves to try; or that we despond in resignation; or that we get lost in an extreme ideology not fit for all that our hearts know is too rigid. Instead, we must learn to love others and master ourselves for that goal despite fear, and perhaps, extinguish fear with love’s inherent, creative grace.

From love’s grace teamwork is sustainable into infinity. This is true for every form of athleticism: work, intellect, spirit, and body. All of us seek excellence together to help us beyond the deceptive mortal futility and insanity of the mortal zoo cage. That transcendence is the truest possibility, and all innately know it. I am a believer in the authenticity of the foxhole conversion: for it is in crucibles that we cut to the chase, not in the luxurious salons of rhetorical exhaustion. In this, the edge of service-led competition in sports can be wiser than what passes for intellectual, and exponents more effectual.