si dawson

experiments in self-improvement

Month: July, 2008

Who Teaches Us To Live?

With everything that’s been happening lately, I’ve been wondering why it is that years of education only teach us how to read, write, and so on.

Who teaches us how to live? How to deal with painful emotions? How to survive, or better yet, to thrive?

pic byJim Moore

Traditionally, this is the role our parents have – but the big assumption is that they already know, and they’re not still picking it up themselves.

Personally, it feels like so much of what I’ve learned in terms of dealing with the world and truly living I’ve only discovered in the last few months & years.

To my complete lack of surprise, my Aikido sensei pointed out that this train of thought has already been well covered (by someone far more eloquent than I):


The vastest things are those we may not learn.
We are not taught to die, nor to be born,
Nor how to burn
With love.
How pitiful is our enforced return
To those small things we are the masters of.

– by Mervyn Peake


    C-Walk Extraordinaire

    This is simply jaw dropping (particularly after 2:30).

    Notice how he’s moving so fast the CCD in the camera is having trouble keeping up with him – so it looks like he’s dancing under a strobe, even though it’s bright daylight.


      The Subtle Power Of A Room Shuffle

      I recently shuffled my entire office around. Why? Because it was time for serious change.

      Remember that scene from Dead Poet’s Society, where the teacher, played by Robin Williams, gets the kids to stand on their desks so they can see the world in a different way?


      Yeah, it’s like that now. Only more so.

      Now, it doesn’t have to be as drastic an exercise as it was for me (it was a solid two day job, shifting everything in my office somewhere new). Often just reversing a couple of pieces of key furniture, or turning a single chair to face a different direction can give you a whole new perspective on life.

      I had a friend who used to completely rearrange his bedroom every six months. At the time I didn’t really understand it, but now I see what a clear message it sends to our brains.

      Every time you’re in that environment, all the old familiar signals you’re used to are now gone. Your brain has to reassess. It makes it easier to lose old habits, along with the old environment. It’s easy to feel like you’re starting a new life, because everything feels so different. Not only that, but we get constant drum beat every second we’re in that room:

      • Don’t take things for granted!
      • You do have influence in your environment!
      • You can make things exactly how you want them!
      • If you’re unhappy, change it!
      • Better things are afoot!

      Even more essentially, it keeps things fresh, it makes you feel at a very deep level like you’re making a new start – and sometimes that’s exactly what the doctor ordered.


        I’m a Recovering Struggle-a-holic.. Are You?

        I was thinking things over last night, and had one of those “once in a lifetime realisations”:

        I’m addicted to struggling. I like to struggle. I want to struggle.

        pic by Ahmad Kavousian

        I want things to be difficult, to have to tough things out.

        Now, I suspect this comes from a combination of “anything worthwhile takes effort” & the feeling of accomplishment that comes from overcoming ridiculous odds.

        But really, who cares why? The important thing is to get it the hell out of my life.

        And, mostly, I’ve done that, using a combination of releasing & EFT. There’s still some residual stuff there, but it’s much lighter. How do I know there’s some left? When I went to the bank today it took 45 minutes & 3 different tellers for what is usually a 10 minute exercise. That’s struggling.

        Realising that this has been such a deep belief of mine has put everything in my life into extreme focus. So many of the difficulties, the pain, the hardship. I realise now the vast majority (if not all) of them were self created. Fortunately, they don’t have to be. I decide what I believe, so I can change that.

        Really interestingly, today I saw for the first time, all these situations where I’m making things harder for myself. Instinctive choices I’m about to make that wind things up instead of down, make things harder instead of easier. The beauty is as I make those different choices, I can, finally, see things smoothing out before me.

        So ask yourself. Is your life as smooth as it could be? Maybe?

        To get to the point where I was able to admit this to myself has taken a couple of years – again, that’s me struggling. For you? I hope the answer comes much quicker, and is a resounding “Hell No!”


          War Games Cracks Me the Hell Up

          So I’m reading an interview on Wired with a bunch of the people behind the 1983 hit WarGames, and I stumble across what I think may be the funniest sub-interview ever to grace a sidebar.


          It’s with Ally Sheedy, the then 20 year old love interest of the movie (who set many a heart pattering in her day, I can tell you)

          Wired: So it wasn’t a love for microprocessors that drew you to this role.

          Sheedy: I couldn’t make heads or tails of the script. It was easy for me to do the part where she’s asking questions.

          Wired: What about now?

          Sheedy: To be honest, I haven’t seen the movie since it came out. It’s probably kind of quaint.

          Wired: Nowadays, cybercrime might outrank nuclear warfare as a source of collective anxiety. I sometimes feel really at sea with technology. I love email.

          Sheedy: All this communicating has created a world where no one’s accountable. And I have a 14-year-old daughter, so I worry.

          Wired: Wow. You have a 14-year-old daughter. That just set off a wave of cognitive dissonance among the hackers who’d like to hit on you … Do hackers hit on you?

          Sheedy: No, I don’t hear so much from hackers. No. No, no, no. I don’t. Thankfully. No.

          Wired: Just one no would’ve been fine.

          The rest of the Wired piece is actually kind of fascinating too. Those guys really did their research.

          ok, ok, one more funny quote, from the director (they had a stack of geeks on set the whole time)

          You could get all the hacker geekiness you wanted just by standing on the set. We were dealing with things like when Matthew sits at the computer, we’ve got an actor who can’t even type. I’d say, “No, I just really want him to type in ‘David’ and have him get on.” They said, “No! You can’t do that! You have to go through all these elaborate sequences!” I said, “No, we’re not doing that. Audiences will have left the theater by the time he logs into the computer one time.”