Live What You Know

Learn, Grow, Accept, Appreciate, Realize, Love…Truly Live It All! Make Every Day A Masterpiece and Live Each Moment In Joy! —or— You are Divine. You are All. We are One. Let us Be still. Let us Listen with an open heart. Let us Live what we hear. Let us Love with All of our heart. BE. YOU. I AM. —or— wherever you're at and growing from now.

Category: Wooden Wisdom

What’cha Doin? or What are YOU DOING?

Life is guiding you, nudging you and loving you in the direction of  your highest calling, most joyful Being and most authentic self that will serve to create absolute miracles, abundant blessings and wildly inexplicable Love at all times. It may not always appear that way, but it IS always so.

“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” —John Wooden

Whatever happened or seemed to have happened in your experiences today, yesterday, the day before that or any other day you can recall, happened or at least appeared that way to you for a reason. Life is showing you something. Always. Believe it or not, the stuff that brings you the most joy or feels the best is where Life is speaking the loudest to you. We are meant for joy. We Are Love. We can do our most good and become our truest most authentic selves by following those natural states. May we listen well and by doing so, Love completely!

Beyond the messages we receive is a deep connectedness that allows them to happen at just the right moment in just the right way and sets them up days, months, years, even eons prior to allow the one you were blessed with today. The way the dots connect in our lives and the complex web of blessings that are continuously lining up for us is truly miraculous and beyond my reach in words to explain. I don’t “feel” this to be true. I am sure of it. You are too, or at the very least, you can be quite soon, if you take the time and effort to listen, watch, be amazed and therefore blessed at any and all times throughout your days.

Letting go of the labels and convenient category assignments (good, bad, awful, amazing) we so badly want to apply to every occurrence will guide us to much more of Life. Let us let go, listen and Live.

Sometimes trying something scary, facing a fear or quieting the cynic telling you it’s not possible is necessary to allow you to even more of everything you are meant for. You may have been listening well and following along in the way that makes you the most comfortable. You may even feel you have stepped out and tried harder, newer, scarier things…there is always more to push for, more to push through, more you can do, more you can be, more waiting for you. You already are Everything. The Universe is trying to help you see it, feel it and Be it.

Tomorrow, I’m starting a new course of sorts that plopped into my lap to help me “ignite the vision” in my life. There are so many ways the voice in my head said it’s silly or not the right time or that I don’t have enough time. Oh well, too bad, I’m going for it anyway. I have been listening and following along in my own comfortable and even sometimes uncomfortable ways for quite some time. I try to challenge myself in new ways as I go. I do that well enough. I know I can do it better. Go for more. Believe in more. Push myself. My Life can only become that which I can envision and create. I truly feel that I have a message to share and I want to inspire many and myself in countless ways as I go. I am up to new and exciting ways of doing things. I can couple a new learning or course opportunity with the deep internal listening I always believe to be of the utmost importance in our lives.

The opportunity I have committed to could only have come to me through the dots connecting in seven thousand or so ways that I can see and even more that are invisible. 🙂 I know if I don’t listen to this whisper from the Universe (seven thousand connections preceding it type of whisper), then soon it will become a scream, then a pounding over the head before I know it. Wish me luck as I push myself for more and learn the best way for me to be able to share with others in a larger way while staying true to Me. In many ways I definitely don’t “need” to follow this path. My life is great and would be seemingly “fine” without it. However, the way I am made, the way I hear my soul speak and the way I yearn to become All I am meant to be means I do need to do it…but in the best, most authentic, most trustworthy and powerful way. It is a true need, born not of desperation, but of purpose, meaning and a true desire to be the best Me I can Be. The same can be said for us All; we only need to listen well to hear it, listen closer to Know it and be guided from the depths of our soul within and around us to Live it.

Wishing you the courage to go for what the Universe is nudging and loving you towards these days. Hoping we all embrace the truth that joy really is our natural state. Knowing all these things to be true and more. Grateful to share with you here. Sending love and joy to as many of you as I can imagine.

Honor The Little Things and Big Things Will Happen

It is in the air right now…setting goals, making resolutions, trying to make changes.  This is all fine and can be a lovely experience…until it isn’t.  For this process to go well, it is important to remember, it is the little things that make success possible.  All things are made up of lots and lots of little things that connect to each other in ways beyond our imagination.  Honoring the little things we do brings more awareness and roots us in presence that allows us to live a conscious and authentic life.  Doing little things well, with our fullest attention and awareness can keep us awake to life and bring peace to us and everyone around us.  The intention we put behind each little thing comes back to us in direct proportion.  Let’s talk about socks…

Little things done well is probably the greatest secret to success.  –Coach John Wooden

Coach Wooden has shared many great lessons about the little things and paying attention to detail.  Coach describes paying attention to detail as the difference between champions and near champions.  In many of his books, he gave us the beautiful story of how he instructed his players to put on their socks.  At the first squad meeting each season, he personally demonstrated with explicit detail how to start with the toes, how to run your fingers along the side to prevent wrinkles, how to handle the heel and much more (it is actually quite a long explanation).  He would demonstrate and then watch each player do it.  Then he would move on to the other foot and do that one, first demonstrating, then watching.  Next, how to tie your shoes.  He speaks passionately about preventing blisters and avoiding laces coming undone.

In various interviews with Coach’s players, they share their perspective of the sock lessons.  They recall being excited and ready to have their first meeting with the greatest coach of all time.  With enthusiastic anticipation, waiting to hear how they would win the championship, how he had been so successful, the secret to winning, etc., anxious to get down to those legendary practices, they would soon find themselves learning how to put on their socks.  They would start the season with intense sock training and end winning the championship; quite a powerful lesson on little things.

Coach left a great gift behind by recounting  his dedication to  the little things for us.  He planned his practices down to the second.  He was all about proper preparation and attention to the smallest detail.  No matter what success his team encountered, he always stayed true to his Pyramid of Success, living all of the little things explained within and doing his personal best in all things (big and small).  He started every single season with the socks.

I have heard Eckhart Tolle talk at great length about noticing how it feels to pull on your pants, how to feel the fabric on your skin, how to experience every part of getting dressed in the morning, bringing presence to it all.  He talks about truly experiencing our morning shower instead of not really being there because we have allowed our mind to distract us with thoughts about the day or worry about the past.  He describes the difference in really being there and feeling the water hit our skin and the joy of that everyday experience we so often miss.

Thich Naht Hanh tell us, “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.  Live the actual moment.  Only this moment is life.”  I have heard him describe the experience of tea.  It is lovely.  When asked how long it takes him to drink a cup, he said it was about an hour.  A mindful cup of tea is an hour well spent.

If you do little things well, you’ll do big ones better.

I have a plaque on my desk that says the quote above.  It has no name attached to it; someone said it, someone made the plaque.  I am grateful they did.  It is a nice reminder.

Years ago, my son found his favorite poem.  He recited it quite frequently, even in front of his preschool class.  It just so happens, it is called Little Things.  It is by Julia A. F. Carney.  I included this image below in a previous post about Beauty.  To me, this is a beautiful image because it is my boy’s sweet young writing and because the words are so powerful and contain so much wisdom.  On his own, at three years old, he connected to these words and repeated them countless times throughout our days.  That little thing he did for us was really a huge blessing.

Little Things

Nothing big can happen without countless little things happening just as they should.  We create and design our world with each and every little thing we do.  This isn’t about doing things perfectly, there is no such thing.  It is about bringing presence to everything we do and doing it with our fullest attention and awareness.  It is also about learning how to set goals that will allow enough room to keep all the little things in sharp focus.  I have noticed how awful it feels when I cannot do things to the best of my ability and with my full attention.  I would rather choose not to do something than have to rush through and half-way go through the motions.  My soul knows about the little things and what grounding myself in them feels like, anything less is numbing, inauthentic and brings suffering.

Doing the little things well is truly living, it’s really being where we are and honoring every little detail.  All the little activities, choices, thoughts, etc., turn into how we are creating the world we live in.  Treating every little thing as sacred brings more presence, more love, more peace, more joy, more miracles, more alignment with our soul’s purpose — more of everything we are meant to live.  As you set your goals and resolutions this year, be sure you have enough room for honoring the little things.  Those little things add up, multiply and come back to bless you in countless ways — big and small.

May the goals you set for yourself this year be blessed with the proper attention, awareness and presence for honoring the little things necessary to achieve them.  Wishing you joy and presence found in putting on your socks, pulling up your pants, taking a shower and drinking a cup of tea.  Sending you love!

 

 

Cultivating a Poetry Practice

As detailed in my previous post, after learning all about Coach Wooden, I read and studied all of his work with a voracious appetite to learn and a grateful heart for the spirit and gift I had discovered.  The thing that Coach expresses first and foremost in most of his work is his great respect, love and admiration for his father,  Joshua Wooden.   As you read Coach’s work, it is quite something to hear about his childhood on the farm and the many life lessons he encountered there.  His parents were a great example of exemplary character through hardships and all life brought their way.  It was quite meaningful to have a glimpse into another time with such amazing people working so hard without complaint.

One of the great things Coach shared was about his father reading to his children at night.  He grew up with no electricity, plumbing, or conveniences.  For their entertainment, his father read to them by the light of a coal-oil lamp.  He read them a lot of poetry and Shakespeare and more.  In Coach’s own words he says, ” The poetry Dad read to us when we were kids instilled a love of reading, English, books and knowledge.”  He also recalls, “Dad reminded me often, ‘Johnny, you’ll never learn a thing that you didn’t learn from someone else.’  Good books help us do that.” 

When Coach graduated from grade school, his father gave him what he called The Gift of A Lifetime...it was a little card that had a very special verse on one side and a list of “Seven Things to Do” on the other side.  He eventually called the seven things “Dad’s Seven Point Creed”… When his Dad handed him the card, all he said was, “Son, try and live up to these things.”  In Coach’s humble way, when sharing about these things, he says he wishes he could say he lived up to them.  He says he tried.  I think we can all see how he more than tried, he soared.  He lived up to his father’s Seven Point Creed and he brought it to so many in a time when it is so needed.

Number four on the list was, “Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.”  Coach certainly did that.  His love of books and reading started those nights listening to his father reading.  When I learned of this in his various retellings of it, it hit me deep and it changed me.  I thought of my own little ones and my heart tugged and I remember feeling, “Oh, how I wish we lived in a time when we could do this.”…next thought was something like, “Duh, we can do this now.”  Mad dash to the computer to order poetry books and our family poetry nights began…

We have kept with family poetry nights over the years and we have practiced in various ways.  At first we would rotate turns and let each family member lead the reading and discussion.  Whoever’s night it was would read the poem and then we would all discuss what it meant to each of us.  It was delightful to hear how we would each interpret things in our own way.  It also helped us to understand each other better and see things through the eyes of our loved ones.  We went through a stage of everyone reading each night, as we discussed several poems or at least listened to several.  We began to crave going deeper into just one or two poems again, so we returned to assigning nights.  Sometimes the kids are so enthusiastic, we read more.  We are going with the flow of it now.

Our family poetry practice has been a great gift in our lives.  Poetry cannot be read quickly, you must slow down and give it your full attention.  It speaks to the soul.  It brings meaning to our days.  We are by no means poetry experts, we simply follow our hearts toward what speaks to us.  It has led to so many wonderful works, discussions and experiences.  Often when we’re out in the world, one of the kids will see something that reminds them of a poem…they will begin reciting it and excitedly experiencing life in a deeper way.  It is miraculous.  The poetry doesn’t just stay in the house with us where we practice it…it lives with us all the time and blesses us constantly.  We love reading poetry from all corners of the world, it connects us to more than our lives here.  We have been blessed by poetry in our lives in countless ways.

As the years of our poetry practice are adding up, I can truly see just how much it has added to our children’s lives.  It makes them willing to look deeper at things and try to understand that which isn’t immediately obvious.  It has also developed their love of reading and learning in so many ways.  For my husband and I, it has been equally amazing.  Cultivating a poetry practice was new for us both and it has been the most delightful gift.  The poems have a way of finding us.  We have been exposed to so much more than we expected.  We will keep this family practice alive in our home and hearts as long as possible and continue to cultivate it and go deeper and deeper into our practice.  We are grateful for this gift!

Wishing you a life full of poetry!

One of The Great Blessings In My Life…Wooden Wisdom

Coach John Wooden passed away on June 4, 2010.  That day was a life changer for me.  We happened to be sick that weekend and uncharacteristically had the television on, allowing us to see some of the coverage…I am so thankful for that.  I was deeply touched by what I learned about this amazing man that day.  I haven’t written all that much about Coach Wooden here yet because every time I think about putting my feelings into words, I get a kind of terrified feeling.  I think it is because I fear that I could never quite express how knowing about what he did with his life has affected mine and that of my family.  Even now, I sit here with tears starting to form, a sick feeling in my stomach and a lump in my throat.  What is this?  I don’t really experience this with my writing, I am willing to share and be open about just about anything…  Fear is a ridiculous illusion that tries to stop us from so many things, so I will just bulldoze right through it.  Wish me luck please!

As I sat there learning about Coach Wooden that day, I was stunned to see that someone like him had existed.  There was so much more to the story than the man who had coached basketball so successfully.  So much more.  I SAW LOVE!  I think it stood out because it was all men talking about this man and they were just so completely raw and open and loving as they recalled what Coach had meant to them and what knowing him had done in their lives.  The coverage included a little about his great love for his wife who had passed away many years before.  We saw that he had written her a letter every single day for twenty-five years since her passing.  We saw some of his Pyramid of Success.  We saw so much, but for me I wanted to know much more.  I had to.

I decided to read everything I could get my hands on that Coach had written.  He has many books out there.  I devoured all of them.  I would never be the same.  This man knew what success meant.  He began thinking of it back in high school when his math teacher asked his students “What is success?”… Coach never let the question go, he worked on his Pyramid of Success for thirteen years.  He lived it and he devoted his life to teaching others how to live it as well.  His pyramid is something my family has studied since we discovered it and we will continue to do so for years to come.  Coach’s definition of success is this–

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.  –John R. Wooden

Here is his Pyramid of Success:

wooden_pyramid

I could attempt to explain all that the Pyramid and all of Coach’s work mean to me, but I know that it really can’t be put into words.  It is much more than words.  I will just say that I think it is very strange that they put his books in the sports section at the book stores.  He taught about much much more than sports.  He taught about life and he lived as an example.

I am grateful for many teachers in my life.  Just prior to reading all of Coach’s work, I had been reading various spiritual awakening books and memoirs.  I was really trying to grasp consciousness and awakening and in some cases, reading and rereading the same books again and again.  Somehow Coach’s work was exactly the piece of the puzzle that I needed at the exact moment…a gift from God.  It felt like my grandfather explaining life to me in understandable terms.  I probably couldn’t have understood Coach so deeply if I hadn’t already been changed by awe-inspiring lessons from many before I found him though, so for that I am grateful!  I think of Coach’s work as the glue I needed as my foundation to understand all the other lessons coming my way and to make sense of all that I had already learned.  I believe Coach Wooden was an enlightened being among us and the best part about him was that he was so humble he didn’t label himself at all.  He was just a man, doing his personal best.  We are all so blessed to have his example.

For me, the Pyramid and many more things I learned from Coach Wooden’s work are my foundation.  That foundation is always there for me reminding me to work hard towards becoming the best version of myself, while being open to Life in every way possible.  Life is always supporting and growing and blessing us with miracles and lessons, but we are also responsible for doing the work of co-creating with it.  Coach’s work brings good old-fashioned character lessons and supports us while we also tap into the moment and the flow of God’s love that is ever-present.  For me, it is the perfect combination.  I am so grateful for the gift of Wooden Wisdom in my life!

We love Coach Wooden’s books for children so very much.  He did a great job in the later part of his life bringing his work to kids.  In his last book, The Wisdom of Wooden, he shared a special picture and a great message about his children’s books.  He said that the people at the company that worked to bring his kids’ books into classrooms asked him if he had ever thought about changing the Pyramid in any manner.  Coach shared that when asked, he had replied, “No, except for one thing.  I wish I had included the word ‘Love’ somewhere.  Love is the basis for everything I do.”  He was excited to share that they granted his wish by making him the picture below.  You can see love in the cement holding the blocks together.  It is so very special.  I saw the love that day that I first learned of Coach and I will never forget it.

Scan 133060001-3

The pictures in the children’s books don’t have the love in the cement…he shared this in his last book.  I scanned it directly from the pages of The Wisdom of Wooden.  I was not surprised at all to hear that was the only change he would make.  I could see on that first day I learned of him that he was a man who lived full of love and I am so grateful that he showed me what a lifetime full of love looks like.

From all the spiritual teachers I have learned that love is always the answer.  I know that is why Coach mentioned this late in his life when asked…he knew deeply that love is the only answer and it is always the answer.  He was and continues to be an amazing example of a life lived well and with lots of love.

I can see as I try to wrap-up this post that it would take many more words to even begin to explain my feelings for Coach.  I feel that I will have many opportunities to share my feelings in the future here on Live What You Know…for that I am grateful and to you, my cherished reader, I am grateful!  Thank you!  Please stay tuned for many more specific lessons I learned from our beloved, Coach Wooden.  For now, lets just try to remember that love is always the answer.  No matter what it is, stop and flex that heart muscle and you will feel it and summon the courage to use it.  You can move mountains with love.  You can forgive, cherish, laugh, cry, squeeze, smile, create, build, win, lose, adore and so much more with love and that muscle we call… the heart.

Love is always the answer.  Wishing you love!

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