Sunday, February 14, 2016

Feed The Good Grooves...

Starve The Bad Ones. 

Here I am talking about feeding the good grooves and starving the bad ones while playing the simple game of throwing playing cards into a hat. Obviously, I think this practice has other applications.

I've been using this game for some time now as a way of studying as well as steadying my nerves, and to work on things like balance, posture, coordination, connection, flow...a lot of the same things I work on in my T'ai-Chi practice.

I was really having a hard time developing any kind of consistency, when, after trying all kinds of things that didn't work, I happened on this method. What I do is look for grooves...where the cards just sail into the hat relatively easily without much strain or effort. While a groove lasts, I go with it. I try to repeat a similar motion over and over with minor variations while maintaining a relaxed and ready feeling in my body.

But when a groove I’ve just started, or have been in for several throws, starts to deteriorate...the cards start hitting the brim, or missing the hat completely, or go in, but in a way that doesn't feel right...I stop and do a complete physical re-set. I shake my joints out a bit, stretch, take a breath, and start fresh.

I used to chase the bad grooves, trying to fix them and it resulted, not only in wildly inconsistent scores...some incredibly low...but I also ended up feeling tight, frustrated, and often pissed off too. I happened on this method after months of trying all kinds of different things that didn’t work consistently. This method works much better for me and I almost always score at least 20 out of 54. The trick is to not take the bait and chase the bad grooves...three "almosts" is still three misses...sometimes I can feel a bad one coming right in the middle of a good one and I just stop, take a breath, do a full re-set and start again.

I find that like T'ai-Chi, playing this game with the goal of consistency, rather than just occasional amazing scores, requires real practice, especially listening internally, not only to sense when grooves are starting to go badly but to really register how a good groove feels, so as to return there faster from the next re-set position. This is not about being mechanical. It's about being fresh and ready, again and again. This takes some real listening. I'm just, maybe an advanced beginner at this.

In the video, I say 52 cards for some reason, but it's actually a full deck of Bicycle playing cards, plus two jokers. In the video I do two rounds but I usually do ten with a goal of getting at least 20 in all ten. Most times I can do it, which for me is a real victory. And my scores are generally creeping up. I can imagine setting a new bar of 25 at some point in the future…We will see.

My nerves are a bit steadier from playing this game, but I’m not trying to fix my nerves. I’m learning how to work with and understand them. I do the same thing when I play hacky sack, or sing, or play guitar, or do T'ai-Chi…I don’t have a lot of talent but I work it with what I have.

Scores from tonight's play:


Saturday, February 13, 2016


Don’t Got ‘Em, Don’t Want ‘Em

My "powers" as a human being are so small and insignificant in the bigger picture of life...they literally amount to next to nothing...and yet I spend most of my waking hours improving and expanding them. Strength, mobility, agility, flexibility, balance, self-awareness and self-expression...through words, actions, movement, humor, music, love, listening, connecting, practice, trial and error after be one person through and through, inside and out...with some peace in my heart, some clarity of mind, and a knack for kindness and friendship...I know I'll still end up dead and forgotten like every other form in the Universe...but this is what feels right to me, day in and day out, year after year after year. I have zero interest in "superpowers", superpower movies or fantasies, virtual reality, video games, more and better tech toys, fame, money, more and more stuff...that's not how I want to spend my precious time on earth. No judgments here. We're all throwing our lives away...I just want to throw mine away on the stuff that matters most to me.