Sedona Sands

We’ve all had experiences that touch our soul.

Perhaps it’s exploring the universe at an observatory, a scenic nature hike, an inspired talk from someone who seems to know just what you need to hear, or a concert that takes you to a different state of consciousness. Whatever the experience may be, we are moved in these moments, but how can we ensure the energy from such occasions don’t fade?

Perhaps adding a mental bookmark can thicken the moment? Even if it’s a short, but focused mediation in the moment of impact, might this attention make it easier to revisit the sights, sounds, and feelings of a past experience? Stories, photos, and video are fantastic reminders of what we saw, but connected meditations may provide added layers of internalization.

This story of curiosity begins in the sands of Sedona, Arizona. As we hiked the Airport Vortex, my wife and I found a shady spot to rest on the mountainside. Michael Kass, a friend, colleague, and facilitator who helps others shift consciousness one breath at a time, had given me a special gift. It was a personalized, recorded meditation for my 40th birthday, which I named Sedona Sands and minted this NFT to commemorate. As my wife and I sat together, listening to this thoughtful gift and breathing with the land, I was thankful for such serenity with someone I care so much about. I was also (pleasantly) distracted by the scenic view, with beauty that made it had a hard to close my eyes. 12 minutes soon passed and while I felt a flowing sense of gratitude, it didn’t feel like an enlightened moment at the time.

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Here are a few meditations to enjoy.

Now…for the wizardry.

Fast forward two weeks. I was visiting 1MC communities in Kansas City, Wichita, Iowa City, and Chicago. Within the whirlwind of travel, I had an evening to unwind. After enjoying a serendipitous sunset overlooking the Arkansas River, soaking in the hot tub with a good book sounded like a relaxing way to finish my day. After reading a chapter, I thought it might be interesting to shift gears by revisiting Michael’s recorded meditation. This was the first time I had listed to it since we enjoyed it in Sedona. To compliment the steam, I put a cold towel over my eyes and let cool water run through my fingers. Within an instant, the recorded meditation brought me back to that shady spot on the mountainside. The red rocks surrounding us. I could feel the desert air. My wife was with me and I was there!

This same mediation was enjoyed at a different time and place, but the energy was deeply connected. I look forward to exploring how momentary, connected meditations may allow the powers of our past to continue guiding us through the grounded energy of this great adventure called life.

Eclipsing 40

I sit atop this hill, soaking in the darkness of a total lunar eclipse, verbally dictating this short reflection to celebrate my own 40th trip around the Sun.

As our pale blue dot moved between the moon and our closest star, I first noticed the moving shadow’s blurry edge. As I think about the time we spend on Earth, so much of it is devoted to finding our place in the universe. Even when we are so close to perfect alignment, the blur of subtle distractions will remain constant.

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Perhaps this transitory quest for totality is the impossible pursuit that makes life so much fun.

Anticipation takes over as the final sliver of moonlight goes dark. The orange haze of this blood moon is now the only cloud in the sky. Even with the cool breeze, city lights, distant traffic, and frogs burping, the twinkling stars seem to serenade the silence of this moment. As the darkness holds time still, an eerie peacefulness is accompanied by a welcomed loneliness.

My thoughts soon sync into the shadow of this cosmic darkness. This makes it useless to resist the overwhelming appreciation I have for so many people who have given my life meaning. The past 40 years are a tribute to those who brought me to this place and to the family I’ve chosen every step of the way. Thank you.

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Jodie and Kate, you are the light of my life and my own totality. Together, you set me free to wonder and have taught me the meaning of life. I’m only 40 years old, so while I look forward to much more of our story being written, whenever I do turn my final page, know that I’ll always be with you and wouldn’t have changed a single thing. I appreciate these quiet tears, knowing that my greatest achievement will always be the honor of being part of US forever.

Within the darkness of totality, I’m soon struck by the discomfort I feel, not knowing when the moonlight may return. We’ve all heard how dark it is before the dawn, yet it still feels natural to consider things that have not gone to plan. Accepting past failures, broken relationships, and the future challenges we may face was not an expected emotion, but perspective determines how we respond. I’m thankful that it’s hard to think of anyone who may need to hear this, but if I’ve ever wronged you in anyway, I want to say that I am sorry and only wish the best for you.

As the first sliver of moonlight returns, eminence joy and assuring enthusiasm seemed to rush over my mind and body. It was as if the light of our cherished moon had never been brighter. The subsiding shadow of our planet slowly released moonlight back into the night sky, which lit renewed optimism for all that is still to come.

I am so blessed to have brewed 40 remarkable years into this life. As the full moon shown brighter than ever, so will my appreciation for all that we share.

Dark Matter

Something that looks like nothing can still create gravitational effects.

Invisible forces may not get as much attention as the shining stars of our evening sky, but they fill our universe and impact everything. This metaphorical dark matter may be a misguided mindset. Maybe it’s an experience that altered the trajectory of your life. Perhaps it’s a habit, a relationship, or a mysterious feeling you often sense, but don’t yet understand?

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“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” –@NeilTyson

No matter how your own dark matter manifests itself, the gravity it wields will attract the light of your life. As the renewing energies of Spring begin to bloom, we’re invited to look up and reflect on dark matter that may be pulling us in the wrong direction. Even the slightest reduction on a negative charge, creates a refreshing void that welcomes positive growth.

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Let’s stir in a friendly welcome and thanks again to all who tap into this weekly blog for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, educators, students, and community builders! After the release of YDNTB in 2021, the soon-to-be minted NFT collection commemorating its one year anniversary, and now 67 consecutive weeks writing into these Roasted Reflections, my hope is that this innovative energy keeps us all creating art in ways that feel like play to you, but looks like work to others. Stay curious and keep building!

Serendipitist

Do things always seem to work out for you?

Our internal narratives and external experiences make the cultural consequences of serendipity hard to refute. Serendipity may be pseudoscientific, but it makes sense that things we dedicate our focus and attention to, naturally attracts more of the same.

This mental model can be established in many ways. For me, the appetite for welcoming serendipitous collisions has been brewed from the eternal optimism that an entrepreneurial lifestyle constructs. No matter the source, I believe many of us are, or have the potential to be serendipitists.

Serendipitists seek adventures that invite, sometimes even require different layers of serendipity. The extend at which you control what you’re able to control (a dichotomy within stoicism), while also letting the winds of happenstance guide you through a sense of abundance, determines how often/deeply we experience this charming phenomenon.

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What’s normal for a spider, is chaos for the fly.

In the moment, not everything will work out. This is why serendipitists are often confused with just being lucky. Serendipity and luck both require preparation, openness, and opportunity. The difference between serendipity and luck, is perseverance. Over time, serendipitists share similar energies within their practice.

Serendipitists say “yes” more often.
Serendipitists consistently show up.
Serendipitists assume positive intent.
Serendipitists seek to understand.
Serendipitists are empathetic.
Serendipitists are generous.
Serendipitists stay curious.
Serendipitists fuel positive change.
Serendipitists play long-term games.
Serendipitists have fun and die empty.

As we experience serendipity, celebrate it. Recognize the random awesomeness that comes from the positivity you squeeze into the universe. Continue connecting dots, appreciate how things come together, and keep making a ruckus to feel it even more.

Airport Foot Massage

I’m not a huge fan of scripted ice breakers, but one that caught my attention, invites people to share something that others in the group may not know about you.

There are many ways to approach such a prompt, but a fun response I once threw in the mix, was my unassuming indulgence of foot massages in airports. There’s something luxurious about having your tired feet rubbed while endless strangers pass by, lol! Along with a very public layer of mental relation, the tightness of your body is basically fixed after a conference, golfcation, snowboarding, or any time you had fun while being away on travel.

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Now that you’re smiling, and also secretly planning to try this next time you fly, follow along to reflect on how we approach our endless transitions.

The thought of “transition” came to mind when a recent airport masseuse was melting my feet into mashed potatoes. The subtle tension of this mini moment arrived as the artisan prepared to switch from one foot to the next. There was an undercurrent of disappointment in that one foot’s rub was coming to end, yet this feeling disappeared when the next foot received its first touch of attention. This is quite a stretch, haha, but this tiny transition made me want to explore these kaleidoscopic moments.

Unconscious transitions are constantly happening all around us, yet some transitions bring forth extra weight or take more time than expected. The path for a smooth transition will be different for every situation, but here’s one tactic to try as you navigate your next transition: Acknowledge the past, then use the present to concentrate energy toward what’s next.

This seems obvious, but such centering can be challenging, as the ego often tries to pull us back to what we may be leaving behind. To surpass these ornery moments, take immediate action toward your forthcoming future.

For example, I think back to when we were first building the Regional Rep role for 1 Million Cups. I remember how hard it was transitioning out of my role as a lead 1MC organizer within the local startup community I care so much about. I had loved organizing 1MC in Des Moines for so many years, and every Wednesday morning felt like a ritual that never got old. As I transitioned into my expanded responsibility, whenever a sense of lose or thoughts of “what if” arose, I took abrupt action. Instead of dwelling on the comfort of what I was stepping away from, I twisted toward my own next. In these moments of uncertainty, I left a sense of lose behind by brewing new connections with more 1MC organizers I was excited to support/connect in the new Regional Rep role. This progressive action helped build relationships and a lot of constructive momentum. Over time, what first felt transitional, soon became my practice. This clarified my new role while also providing space to evolve for the new 1MC organizing team in Des Moines.

Wow. That was over four years ago! I’ll always be a 1MC organizer in Des Moines, but that progressive action helped me move forward and released personal bandwidth needed to help build my new role with the Kauffman Foundation. Fast forward to now. I’m still an active 1MC attendee here in Iowa, but I’m also blessed to collaborate with hundreds of remarkable community builders, ecosystem builders, and 1MC organizers throughout all 12 states that make up @1MCMidwest. Even more, after years of complex work with 1MCHQ and the other four Regional Reps, #1MCNation is now more aligned and supported within it’s connected era. As with most ventures, there will always be more to do and everything will continue to evolve, but it’s such a gift knowing so many lifelong friends are enjoying coffee every Wednesday morning, in over a hundred 1MC communities nationwide.

Hopefully the lighthearted ice breaker, followed by that oddly connected reflection, inspires you to stay energized as you grow from within your next transition.

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To celebrate Valentine’s Day, here’s a telepathic gift. Think back to when you enjoyed a relaxing massage, yoga, workout, or meditation. Alright, in that peaceful state of mind, close your eyes and enjoy five deep breaths. Ahhh…alright, get back to building.