Feng Shui

Welcoming the unpredictable forces of life, provides ease and creates space for energizing adaptation. Peace awaits those who appreciate all that is, without worrying so much about all that is not. That said, we know this doesn’t mean everything just falls into place. It takes initiative, consistency, awareness, and sacrifice to find your own version of equanimity.

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It’s not a rainy day. It’s free water.

As I felt the warm wind of this sunset cruise on a glass lake, Kid Cudi mentioned feng shui and got me thinking about this week’s writing. Similar to how one may setup the space of a home to harmonize with nature, we can connect elements of our own career portfolio to feel the universal benefits of feng shui.

The places you visit, the people you’re with, and the art you generously create all connect through you. Over a lifetime, you become an environment for others, and this becomes your legacy. If there’s passion, diversity, intellectual humility, and overall harmony within your environment, your impact on the universe can be serendipitous and my hope is that the way you spend your time, will add up in the end.

Bloop

Imagine yourself as a circle.

It’s tempting to suggest a sphere, but the added dimension is not necessary for this metaphor. Alright, with your circular self, take a tiny portion of the arc and “bloop”… push it beyond the circle’s circumference. Even the smallest nudge gives the entire circle space to expand.

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I had fun making all sorts of sounds as I considered the title for this reflection, but I’d love to hear how you’d describe the sound of such an expansion. Also, since I had to look up the terms to ensure this metaphor was translated correctly, here are the parts of a circle.

There’s plenty of research behind the idea of small improvements adding up. As we hear from inspired speakers and read about in Atomic Habits by James Clear, if you get one percent better each day, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the end of a year. It’s hard to define “better” and such steady progress would surely require sacrifice, but most will agree that small choices don’t make much of a difference, until they add up.

While establishing systems that support good habits and compiled improvements are great, this reflection is more about welcoming singular moments of exploration and growth, even when it seems unrelated, weird, or insignificant.

Perhaps it’s trying something new without preconceptions, saying yes when no is status quo, or being the initiator when movement is seen as risk? As we poke the box and invite a bit more bloop in our life, we give ourselves an opportunity to grow as our own circles expand.

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To thank those who have enjoyed brewing on these Roasted Reflections every week for almost two years AND to say hello to some new friends, here’s a free gift just for fun!

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.

Hole-In-One

I grew up playing golf, but inadvertently fell out of the game due to work and other priorities. I‘d been longing to get back into the game, but kept procrastinating. So, when my friend Ben asked me to join him for 9 holes to celebrate his 40th birthday at Glen Oaks, I thought… here’s my chance! (LESSON #1: yes = adventure)

At first, I was intimidated and hesitant to have my first round in 8 years be at a fancy country club. I mean, I didn’t even have golf clothes, a glove, or shoes anymore, but I figured this would be a great way to dive in head first and get back out there. So, I quickly went shopping and got a few practice swings in at the driving range. (LESSON #2: now > later)

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This caffeinated contribution was written by Derek Brooks. Derek is a 40.79 year old midwestern American dude who enjoys building, traveling, partying, extremish sports, and can be found in our Roasted Reflections group on Discord.

On Ben’s birthday, I showed up to find him sipping on a Miami Vice cocktail with his buddy and business partner, Sinclair. This immediately set the stage that we were going to have some fun. Golfing with Ben was awesome. Whether it was his general demeanor, his lack of grabbing a scorecard, the way we strolled around the clubhouse, or laughs along the way, this freshly minted 40 year old was a constant reminder that we were here to relax. (LESSON #3: fun > serious)

For the first 5 holes on the back 9, my subconscious nerves were getting in the way. My hits weren’t clean and the strong winds certainly weren’t helping… But despite all the double bogeys, I was still having fun and it felt great being back on the course. (LESSON #4: fun + humility + patience = growth)

Halfway through the round, I could feel the groove coming back. On hole 15, I finally snagged my first par (Ben caught a birdie, haha). After that, we walked up to Hole 16, a 168-yard par 3, with wind in our face. Feeling incredibly relaxed, I lined up with my 7-iron and hit a super clean shot. It felt great and looked even better. The ball dropped just short and left of the pin, took 2 small hops, and then smoothly rolled right into the hole. A freakin hole-in-one. (LESSON #5: openness + growth + serendipity = opportunity)

I couldn’t believe what I’d just seen. Ben and I started screaming and laughing as we ran around the tee box. We full-on bear hugged and I think he even picked me up at one point. Neither of us knew what to do or how to act, so I just threw my gold chain on and giggled while Ben pulled out his GoPro to capture the moment.

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Watch this magical moment!

After that ace, the next hole was a complete blur, but I ended the round with a birdie on 18. If I hadn’t set my nerves/ego aside and took that opportunity to get back into the game by having my first round in 8 years at an intimidating country club, I’d still be in that procrastination loop. I would’ve never gotten my first hole-in-one or shared this incredible experience on Ben’s 40th birthday. (LESSON #6: yes + growth = celebrate)

When I think about this experience through the lens of my career as a technologist, I’m reminded that getting in over-my-head has always been the fastest way for me to grow and move forward. I’m not expecting to be cranking out hole-in-ones from here, but once again, jumping back in head first is something that I will never regret. This memorable day was the reminder I needed to push outside comfort zones, enjoy the moments, and celebrate always.

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.