Insecurity as the fuel to mastery

michael jordan dunking

I have had a mild obsession with Kobe Bryant lately. I recently watched his documentary on Showtime – I have been reading news about him online almost daily – and I even picked a #24 go-kart in a recent game of “whirly ball”. For being someone who has some level of pride about being ignorant about celebrity culture/lifestyle – I am a nearly 30-year-old man with a fascination about someone who I know very little about.

But it is what I do know about Kobe that keeps drawing me to him. Due to moving frequently as a kid, he felt like an outsider growing up. He does not consider himself to have any close friends. He is completely obsessed with his craft – spending time at the gym at all hours of the night. He has chosen to fight injury after injury late in his career in order to continue doing what he loves. There is something my brain is struggling to figure out – and Kobe personifies this question mark in my mind.

Michael Jordan used basketball to increase his self-worth in the eyes of others. If you read his book “Driven From Within”, he admits that he used basketball to gain acceptance from his peers, to gain attention from females – he used basketball to elevate his status in the world. With Kobe, it seems to be a similar story. An outsider growing up, not fitting in, not having a place in the world, feeling isolated – and then finding a craft to focus on that helps cope with the discomfort of his life. Obsession with a craft to cope with or fix a dissatisfactory life situation. Is this the soil of greatness for some individuals? Continue reading

Coming home


I come home and I breathe in deep – an undeniable invitation to silence and peace lingers in the air. The seemingly noisy world gets put on pause – mental chaos that was so familiar and persistent a moment ago is suddenly odd and obscure and completely irrelevant. Though I left a lifetime ago, home is somehow always ready for my arrival – ready to breathe into me new life – ready to fill me with calm grounding strength that gets lost with a hectic life lived on unfamiliar roads.

Home is where you soul settles in perfectly, like putting on an old pair of jeans that fits as well as skin itself. Where the pressures of the world are drowned out by the satisfaction of running your bare feet through a familiar carpet. Where a home cooked meal, an afternoon laid out on a worn-out couch, and the words of an outdated magazine remind the forgetful spirit of the joy of simplicity and belonging. Continue reading

My greatest most impossible dream


Change is happening always. No matter what it is – it passes. Unquestioned strength gets overtaken. Broken hearts heal. A good flow is blindsided by a gut shot you never saw coming. Bad luck yields and creates space for growth. If you pay attention to the changes, you realize they are a trail of crumbs leading you towards the truth.

There is a point I am always striving towards; a self within that I am always trying to reach. And in this journey toward self-determination, I‘ve been forced to change a few million times. I’ve learned to stand taller, accept more, love more, breathe deeper, and hold on less. I’ve learned all these things, because at some point I did not know these things. Like an onion with a center of realization, you have to peel back the layers of illusion to discover the nirvana within. And there are so many layers to peel back. Continue reading

This passing gift


There come points in your life where the story of what you are and what is going on with you in the material world is as separate as ground and space. Where the weaving of the story of you is so much more intimate and real than the bed you are sitting on, the responsibilities that you carry, or even the thoughts that you think. Where the feeling of what you’re experiencing is more precious than any single possession you can ever have, and where you realize that where you find yourself physically in this dimension is as irrelevant as a computer to a horse.

What a precious thing it is to have this feeling. How did this little light within me get lit, and from which mystical place did it arise? Can I worship it for a thousand years? If its a million fold more precious than gold, how did it come to me? And I know it is not in my possession because it will escape me with just as little effort as which it came. Continue reading

Every time


After a day of running around seriously
Chasing phantoms of gold
And battling invisible demons
I go home and read my Sufi poems
And with wine warming my flesh
Listen to music that gently moves the soul

I spend the quiet midnight lost in wonder
With my heart cracking open inch by inch
I remember its transformative soft power
And ability to bring me back home to God
Every time life takes me away from Him

photo credit: torbakhopper HE DEAD via photopin cc