Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Hazards of Expectations

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations, neither are you here to live up to mine, I don’t owe no one no obligation, no one owe me none so everything is fine. I said I am that I am”
-Peter Tosh

Expectations… They truly are a silent killer. A stealth assassin that creeps in to so many moments in our lives and destroys our ability to truly grasp the volume of information that is being offered to us on a daily basis. Whether we believe it or not, we have expectations for many situations in our lives. When these expectations are not met, we may often feel that we have been cheated on some level and don’t receive the full experience of many of the situations that we enter into - or the people that we come into contact with. If you are truly open, then everyone has something to teach you.
Just as I did in my previous post, I will tell you that this is yet another area in which I do not have mastery, and we will all make some mistakes from time to time. I find that the more tired or frustrated I am, the more closed-minded I can be. It seems as if this may be true for a lot of people. (This is also one of the many reasons that I always request my students get plenty of rest at night!)
I would like to share a short story. Some of you may have heard this if you have ever taken a class with me, but is very applicable to this subject.
Many years ago when I was teaching with Tracker school down in Florida I got the opportunity to hunt for wild pig. I jumped at the chance because I think they are by far my favorite animals to hunt and for several reasons: They are keen, hard to stalk, and they can be dangerous. All of these considerations lead to an amazing hunt that requires proficiency in several different skill sets in order to be successful.
The hunt was going to take place on a leased property in south central Florida. The property was in amongst thousands of acres of cattle pastures and tomato farms and was full of amazing wildlife. I woke up late on the day of the hunt, which already started me off on a bad note. In addition, when I finally made it to the property, I got myself lost which only added to my frustration. I was running about 4 hours behind schedule when I ultimately found the hunting spot.
I met the friends and two guides that I was going to be hunting with out on the road, and followed them back to their cabin. As we rounded a bend to the cabin, the first thing that caught my eye was a burnt pile of trash and plastic, as well as an abundance of litter strewn about the property. As the property we were using for our hunt was rather large, I was to be led by the one of the guides. I immediately began to question my plans for the day, feeling as if these two men obviously did not have as much respect for the earth and nature as I had hoped. I was also pretty certain that we had contrasting hunting ethics. When we began to speak I took notice of the lack of reverence and that these two men held for the act of hunting, also in stark contrast to my own feelings. “What could they possibly show me?”, I wondered. I began to get more frustrated with the whole situation and decided that I was going to go out and hunt by myself. I was preparing to set off when I stopped myself and thought that this was not the way I need to be approaching the situation, remembering that everyone and everything has something to teach me. I swallowed my pride and set off on the hunt with “Earl” (name changed).
It strikes me as humorous as to the method in which the Creator shows a person how wrong he/she can be. Earl had been hunting this property for the better part of 20 years and, as it turned out, had an impressive understanding of the interaction between the south Florida wildlife. Not only that, but he was also an amazing tracker! It was turning out to be a great hunt after all.
Considering sunset was still a few hours away, we decided that it would be best to stop and wait in one particular spot for a bit. At that time the animals would be on the move. As we waited we talked some more, shared hunting stories and had a few laughs. The place we were sitting was on the edge of a patch of oak and palm that was about a half acre in size, looking out over many hundreds of acres with grazing cattle. I kept looking out across this vast space in wide-angle vision, hoping to catch the movement of a wild boar. About an hour into our sit, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye in a thicket that was about a hundred yards across from where we were sitting. Slowly turning my head, and simultaneously hushing my hunting partner, I turned my gaze to the source of the movement and was absolutely awestruck. Out of the thicket stepped a beautiful female mountain lion!!! Up until that point in my life I had always yearned to see one of these amazing animals. I had spent countless hours in areas of the US where there are huge populations of these amazing beings, searching for them, but finding only tracks and signs of them. Yet here in Florida, where the estimated population of panthers is no more that 80 to the entire state, I was blessed enough to see one!!
She stepped out of the thicket, stopped, listened, and smelled the air. Luckily the wind was in our favor and she did sense our presence. We then watched in amazement as she slowly walked, for several hundred yards across the open field in front of us and vanished like a ghost into another thicket. I always tell people that the best hunts I have ever had do not involve taking the life of an animal - and I cannot think of a more shining example. That experience is one that I will never forget and, in fact, still lives on completely vividly in my minds eye.
So I ask you this.: What would have happened had I not swallowed my pride and set out on that hunt by myself? I’m sure I still would have had a good time, for any time spent in the cathedrals of nature is amazing. Yet, would I have had such an amazing experience? Would I have learned so much? As I said in my last post, often times we get so wrapped up in the end result that we fail to notice the wonder that goes on around us every second of every day. It’s one of the reasons why people can be so unhappy with their lives. Their expectations of where and who they should be both in the present and future are not met, and that disappoints them. Often times these expectations are not even their own, but instead placed upon them by family, class, and society. People are so busy trying to live up to others expectations that they rarely find themselves. Thankfully some of us are able to break free and realize that our lives belong to us as individuals, and everyone’s vision is unique to him/herself. It reminds me of yet another quote from a musician.
“We the American working population hate the fact that eight hours a day is wasted on chasing the dreams of someone that isn’t us.”
-Aesop Rock
I can’t exactly give you a grand summation to all of this, but I will offer some advice: Approach life with an empty cup. Open yourselves to the lessons of the universe; they are being spoken at all times. Sometimes with words, other times more subtly. We all have something to learn from everybody and everything out there. I will say this with a hint of guilt. DON’T LET YOUR EGO RULE THE DAY!!! Don’t regret things you have done in the past, especially if you have learned from it. We all have the power to change at any time,. We have the power to do whatever we want with our lives and can reverse course at a moments notice. I am not saying that any of this is easy. On the contrary, anything that revolutionary is worth working hard for because the rewards outweigh the struggle. Truth be told, most of the truly amazing folks I know have had to endure a fair amount of pain and struggle in their lives. Its not that pain and struggle that defines them, but how they channeled it, how it forged them into the people they are today.
Again I will tell you that these are things I definitely still struggle with. At least I can say that I am beginning to have conscious awareness of them and am trying to overcome them. We are always growing and evolving. Make the choice to approach every second with that empty cup.

Next week I will fill you all in on some projects I am working on as of late. Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Changes and New beginings..

Well I knew the Time would come, when even I might get into the "blogging" so here we go..
Alot has changed for me in the last little while. I guess change is always inevitable, yet feared by so many, my self included. Often enough people get to comfortable in there lives regardless of the quality. People are willing to settle for a horrible existence, all because the fear of the unknown is such a powerful force that it binds them to whatever the current "comfortable" situation is.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to
lose sight of the shore.
-Andre Gide

Think of comfort and about what it means to you..
I have known many levels of comfort in my life.
There was a time, when I was hitchhiking around the country were being comfortable meant not getting rained on, and eating once a day. Other times this may have been extremely uncomfortable. Comfort Is something that is created within us when we decide that whatever is happening to us currently is better than the unknown.

We as humans are by far and away the best at adaptation. Because of this feature, it has allowed us to spread north to south, east to west, pillaging as we go. But also, Adaptation has kept people, on an individual level stuck in a rut, afraid of the possibilities that lie outside the walls. That adaptation is what makes people comfortable in horrible situations. Please keep in mind that I have in no way shape or form mastered the art of conquering the unknown or facing my fears for that matter..
I am learning as the rest. We as people crave that comfort, and I truly believe that if more people would step into the unknown that this world would be a better place. I have found that from my personal experience that when you fight the urges to stay put, and you push into that brave new world you realize that there was nothing to be afraid of. In fact it feels pretty great!.
Think about what would happen if you had a fully functioning adult mind just before you were born. would you want to be thrust out into the unknown? or stay in the warmth of the womb? My father Says often that we as a global society crave safety, security, and comfort. he also calls these euphemisms for death. Another thing that he says that has stuck to me all this time and I know to be true is that the memories that stand out most to you, the ones you can think back to and not just remember, but relive. you were probably not safe, secure, or comfortable.
I said earlier that I in no way have gotten control over jumping into the unknown, leaving perceived comfort behind for uncertainty. But it seems to my as of late that I have been enrolled in a crash course. Lately I've come to the conclusion that life happens with or without you so no matter what it throws at you, you have to make the best of it. I've been reading some things lately and something that has stuck out was the statement " start looking at your problems as opportunities" and I think for once in my life I am doing this. Often times in my life when a problem would arise, I would first try to ignore it. Sometimes it would go away, but more often then not it would just be put of until things got so out of hand that I had to deal with it or face serious consequences, then after all that work I would kick myself in the ass, thinking that had I just dealt with it in the beginning it would have been so much easier.
The best part of all this is, I still torture myself to this day by doing the same thing repeatedly!! Who knows.. I don't think that anyone will argue with the fact that the Brown men can be stubborn!.
With me Lately it has been a case of "When it rains, It Pours." My Family and I left New jersey just before thanksgiving to move here to Cincinnati Ohio, This was unseen but I guess there comes a time in every body's life when there is no visible fork in the road of life, yet there is a strong sense that there is a trail there somewhere. In these cases a new trail must be forged. Ones vision or purpose in life is somethings that is far from being set in stone. A vision is ever evolving day by day, minute by minute. Many people get wrapped up in the end result and fail to pay attention to subtle cues from life. They don't listen, because they are afraid of coming to the realization that they may have to make some major changes and the unknown. I am trying my hardest not to be intimidated by the task at hand, to forge ahead and look for the path I know is there somewhere. Slowly but surely It will come into view. I am sure of it! One thing I am Absolutely sure of, that has been proven to me time and time again, is that when you open yourself, the universe will guide you. Everyone has heard the saying "when one door closes, another opens" Thank to this "universal law" I now have the opportunity to do some work with some amazing folks who are starting an organization in New york City. I will elaborate more on this project at a later time.
I plan on using this Blog as a forum for many things, News about what I am doing as far as classes and things, Random thoughts, And writing about Primitive skills. I am also sure that there will be alot of other random topics as well!! Thanks for taking a look and I hope you read again!!

Many Blessings!!