The "Now" Is All There Ever Is...

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I already got more nicknames than my boy Marshall Mathers... but now I done gone and got myself a new one:

"Skate Dad."

Well golly shucks.

That's right: at the young age of 31, I've taken up skateboarding.

The guys joke that I'm like that old guy that tries to be all cool and down with hip and trendy youth culture... he's got a pink mohawk, standing on the porch giving a thumbs-up and yelling, "HEY DUDES! RADICAL!!" while the kids just sort of look at each other and shake their heads in embarrassment.

One thing that I'm always doing is pushing myself to learn new skills. It's that philosophy of constant and never-ending improvement, striving to become a more well-rounded person. If those skills happen to involve some kind of athletic activity, all the better.

In any case, an interesting side-effect of all this is that it keeps me tuned in to the mentality of the layman. When you first attempt to take on a new skill set, skateboarding, pickup, whatever, there's invariably going to be a learning curve, the beginning of which is typically quite frustrating.

When you've been doing something for five years, like I've been doing with this pickup game, it's easy to lose sight of that.

As an Executive Coach with Real Social Dynamics, I've got to take guys who are more often than not full-blown novices, and get them up to speed in the course of 21 hours... week in and week out.

By continually taking on new challenges, it helps me to stay grounded so that I can better understand what my students are going through when they take a Bootcamp.

Being in touch with that "layman mentality" helps us to connect, and that's something that's vital when you're dealing with an intense self-actualization experience like a Bootcamp, if you want to maximize results.

So anyway, when you're learning how to skate, the most basic thing you need to know is how to perform an ollie. If you can't do this, you have no business calling yourself a skater.

It's that simple.

This is where you jump and you pop the board up in the air with you, without grabbing it. It's the basis of almost every other trick in skateboarding.

You have to jump, pop the tail, slide your foot to the front of the board to bring it level, and then land it flat. It might sound easy, but it's not. It's all about timing, and the timing has to be PERFECT.

I mean, when you're first learning it, it's TOUGH. It took me two weeks of practicing several hours every day before I could do it STATIONARY.

Two weeks of falling on my ass over and OVER again, getting back up, and trying again. Jump, fall off, the board shoots out, etc. But every single time, I'd get back up and immediately try again.

It's hard work. I'd stand there, sweating like a pig, breathing heavily, bruised up and at times getting extremely annoyed.

But something COMPELLED me to keep going.

Because while all this was happening, I'd get these little flashes of insight. Like, I'd fall off, but I'd get a glimpse of how it was SUPPOSED to feel. And *that* is what kept me going.

"Now we can end the story right here But shorty didn't quit there was something in the air Yea, he said it was something so appealing He couldn't fight the feeling Something about it..."

And then one day, finally, it happened.

I GOT IT.

I put it all together, and hit the trick. You know, when you just KNOW. "Yep, that was it." It felt so smooth, so natural.

It felt like MAGIC.

And that's when I knew I was hooked.

Learning the pickup game is remarkably similar.

You go out to the club and try it out, and at first it's this epic uphill battle, with blowout after backturn after blowout. Slowly, however, you start to understand what needs to happen.

You keep at it, and you start to have success, albeit in a limited way. After a while, you internalize the necessary principles more and more, and you eventually get to a point where it becomes almost unconscious.

One minute you're over here, leveling through life with a skill set that's not quite there, and the next moment you have this breakthrough where you're off to the races and your inner player is awake, alive and taking care of business.

Next thing you know, you start "feeling yourself," and you begin to get a little more "swagger in your style." You start pulling off more advanced stuff.

And you start having a hell of a lot of fun.

I've always said this game is a KNACK, like learning to snap your fingers or whistle. It's admittedly a lot more complex than that, but it's still a knack.

With practice, the skills needed to approach and attract a woman you've never met before get hardwired into your kinesthetic memory. Those neural pathways become strengthened and thickened, bit by bit.

Skateboarding, pickup, whatever... it's essentially the same process.

The difference is, when you fall in this game, you don't get a cool scar.

Sometimes, you just get straight fucked.

SAN FRANCISCO, earlier this year. I've just gotten back from Australia and I'm due to spend a while here, at home. I've been rolling around the clubs, meeting people, enjoying myself.

So I get this girl's number and call her up. The first date goes well, we end up back at her place, things get pretty intense but I don't close the deal. She's just not ready, and that's fine. I leave feeling pretty chipper, I'm walking on sunshine.

About a week later, we go out again. I meet her for a low-key dinner. As I walk into the place, I see her sitting there, and she's looking hot like a tea pot. Damn. We kiss and settle in for the meal.

During dinner, things are going better than I even expected. It's like the heavens have parted, little cartoon birds are flying around our heads and smiling. It's perfect.

So it's getting time to leave, and she says, "Hmmm, it's still pretty early, what do you want to do?"

I go, "Well, we could go out to the karaoke bar." I hesitate for a second. "Or... we could go back to your place and I could fuck the shit out of you."

Something instantly changes behind her eyes.

I know I've made a critical mistake.

DURRRRR

Dumbass!!

We drive back to her place in my car, listening to chodely lite rock. There is an odd, somber vibe in the air. As we pull into her driveway, she turns to me and says, "Sorry, I can't let you come up."

For a moment, I wonder if (vainly hope) she's joking, and I laugh, "Hahah, yeah. Anyway, let's go."

She says, "I'm serious."

And I know... that's that.

"Done, son!"

I sit there, stunned, saying nothing with a wan smile on my face. The car is silent except for the radio, which is playing "Africa" by Toto.

doo doo doo doo doodoo do doooooooooooo (boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop boop)

...

It's interminable. Finally, she breaks the silence. "What's going on? Are you speechless? Upset? Listening to Toto? All three?"

I sigh and continue to stare out the windshield. Ten seconds pass.

Eventually, I sort of murmur, "No... it's fine."

I get out of the car, walk around and open her door. "You have a good day tomorrow." She gets out and I give her a little kiss.

She looks sad. "I'm sorry," she whispers.

"Me too," I say.

I am.

I get back in my car and drive away.

/

In the car, I am distracted. So much that I can barely even drive. I'm confused. I feel like something inside of me has been DESTROYED.

I am *HURT*.

I know what I did was wrong. I was miscalibrated. That certainly wasn't the first time I'd uttered that particular phrase over dinner; a different girl would have laughed her ass off at the comment and pulled me back to her place for wild times of love and glory. Many have.

She, uhhhh... she DIDN'T.

I had misread the play, and badly. Right before I said it, I'd hesitated. A familiar alarm, installed fastidiously over my five long, hard years of field experience, had gone off...

"DO NOT SAY THAT!"

But I disregarded it. I went ahead and said it anyway. After all this time, I should have known better. When that intuition hits, you trust it.

I didn't, and I paid the price. Sure, maybe I could have saved it by being unreactive and leading when we got back to her place, but I sort of didn't even want to at that point.

I'm dazed and stunned. It's been a long time since I fucked up this bad, and I'm in a state of shock. It all happened so quickly.

I mean, I thought this girl was ON MY TEAM.

Up until my vulgar little remark, we'd had a great connection. It was legit. It was like we were in our own little bubble of love or something.

How could she do this to me? To US?

The fact is, I screwed up. It happens.

It was only ONE error, but sometimes that's all it takes. When all is said and done, there are rules to this game and if you want to win, you've got to play by them. No matter how much you think she's into you, no matter how much she IS into you, if you give the wrong stimulus, you're going to get a poor response.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Why does it hurt so bad even though I KNOW this? What's really going on here?

Emotional fitness is an ongoing process. Years ago, when I'd drop the ball or if things went sideways, I'd be fully wallowing in the grip of the angst and anguish, oblivious to what was really going on. Now, even though it still SUCKS, I'm at least aware of what's happening.

Nonetheless, as I drive along, the negative feeling is almost suffocating. My mind is doing everything it can to analyze and label what just happened. "She treated me like some kind of scumbag... some kind of criminal!"

Suddenly, I'm reminded of our good friend Eckhart Tolle. I sigh and say to myself, "No, Jeff. SHE didn't do anything. Relax."

What's really happening, RIGHT NOW?

Well, let's see. I'm driving. I'm listening to some cool song on the radio. Normally, under these circumstances I'd be loving life, as I usually do, rolling along with a smile on my face and bopping my head to the beat.

But I'm not HERE. I'm back at that girl's house, sitting in stunned silence with her in the car.

It hurts, but by being aware of it, by accepting it now, it begins to dissipate. Slowly.

See, this pain is far worse than a busted lip or broken bone. Because it is a wound to the EGO.

Our ego is this little story we invent, alone in a hostile universe, fragile. It longs for wholeness, for an end to the Self-Other duality. Sexual connection and intimacy is the highest expression of that "wholeness" that we can experience in the physical realm.

At the restaurant, gazing into that beautiful girl's eyes, I felt ALIVE... intense... special. That feeling was magnified by the fact that SHE wanted ME too. We were alone in our own world of love and sweetness.

This is why the game can be so exhilarating. When you're getting that validation, it's like the most incredible high there is.

But when the girl behaves in ways that fail to meet your ego needs, the pain body flares up, bigger than ever.

Tolle defines the "pain body" as follows:

"The pain-body is an energy field, almost like an entity, that has become lodged in your inner space. It is life energy that has become trapped, energy that is no longer flowing.

Of course, the pain-body is there because of certain things that happened in the past. It is the living part of you, and you identify with the past.

A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, which is the opposite of the truth. It is the belief that other people and what they did to you are responsible for who you are now, for your emotional pain or your inability to be your true self.

The truth is that the only power there is, is contained within this moment: it is the power of your presence."

So when the ego gets wounded in a situation like this, the pain you feel is not something new that's being introduced. It's already there.

Many times, when we're gaming, our motivations are skewed; we're using sex and the validation that comes with it as a way to mask that pain.

You have to understand that the "game" will not save you or make you happy. If you think it will, that's when it becomes the drug, the addiction.

As Tim says, "Girls are not the golden treasure that will save your life. The golden treasure is YOU."

True love is not some external thing. It is INSIDE you.

If you really want to get to the highest levels of this game, you have to stop judging yourself. For that matter, you have to stop judging OTHERS as well.

In the course of my pickup "career," I've had many craptacular failures like the one here. They happen less and less these days, but every once in a while, they do still happen. And while they surely can (and do) SUCK, these failures have often taught me my most intense lessons.

They have helped me to discard disempowering identity patterns.

They have taught me the value of having depth, humility, and compassion.

They are a part of life, which is, at the end of the day, an essentially ABSURD situation.

Not long after The Jeffy Show had been recorded, Tyler asked me to come up with a subtitle for the program. I thought for a moment, and the very first thing that popped into my head was "Advanced Dating Strategies for an Absurd Universe."

It just worked.

See, a long time ago, back in the early days, Tyler once said to me, "Jlaix, you're not an insane maniac. You're a poser insane maniac. You're just dealing with the absurdity of existence by shoving absurdity back down existence's throat."

That statement really struck a chord with me, because this was actually something that I'd been keenly aware of for a long time.

Back in high school, I read a philosophical essay by the French author Albert Camus called "The Myth of Sisyphus."

Though it was a small work, it made a big impression on me. In the essay, Camus introduces his philosophy of the absurd: man's futile search for meaning, unity and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world.

Does the realization of the absurd require suicide? Camus answers: "No. It requires revolt."

The final chapter compares the absurdity of man's life with the situation of Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology who was condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a rock up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.

The essay concludes, "The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

If you excessively focus on the goal, that "someday" when you will finally be "good at this stuff," you are reducing the now to a stepping stone. The process ceases to be an adventure, and becomes an obsessive need to arrive, to MAKE IT.

It's one of the more difficult things to do, but you have to train yourself to detach from outcome.

Always, ALWAYS, draw your state from within. Learn to accept, enjoy and be enthused about the journey. This is the essence of what I refer to as THE NIMBUS. It's happiness. It's FUN.

It's a celebration of life.

Think of it as your dharma, your duty to GOD.

I'm only half joking.

The Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu text, says this on the subject:

"You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Act for action's sake, and never be attached to not doing your duty.

"Self-possessed, resolute, act, abandoning all attachment to success or failure.

"The wise man lets go of all results, whether good or bad, and is focused on the action alone.

"A Self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason not to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being."

"Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme."

This game can be frightening, tedious and/or painful, or it can be an exciting and pleasurable pastime. It all depends on the inner attitude and peace of mind (or the lack of it).

I remember when I first understood this. I was leaving Spain after having been there for several months to train Ozzie, who had just joined the crew.

During that time, I had worked very hard to change my health situation, both inside and out. Dialing that internal compass had been the last piece of the puzzle, the missing component of my game that had left me with a disturbing feeling of hollowness for so long.

As I sat in the cab on the way to the airport, I looked wistfully out the window and nodded slowly. Something had fundamentally changed, and it wasn't just on some superficial level. There would still be challenges, but when it came right down to it, I had WON.

I knew it.

Everything was gonna be okay.

As I pull up to my house after my disastrous "date," all of this is swirling in my head. I feel better. Grounded. There's always next time, and there's always a chance to turn things around. Suddenly, in an odd case of synchronicity, Pink Floyd comes on the radio, and I smile.

See, it was Tyler's birthday recently, and I sent him a copy of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Since Tyler was the one that turned me on to Eckhart Tolle, I thought he'd appreciate some of the themes the album deals with.

In particular, I felt he would enjoy the song "Time." It's one of my favorites, a true classic.

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking Racing around to come up behind you again The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way The time has gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say"

Anyway, the lyrics of the song deal with Roger Waters's realization that life is not about preparing yourself for what happens next, but about grabbing control of your own destiny.

To me, this message is CRUCIAL.

So many guys sit around doing nothing and say to themselves, "I'll get around to that eventually." Or they endlessly *prepare* and never take action.

You see, it isn't TIME that's precious, because time is an illusion.

The "now" is precious, because it's what most of us miss.

As Tolle says, "It's the most precious thing because it's the ONLY thing."

Any work toward planning or achieving goals happens NOW.

Honor that moment.

This is your only life.

Stop waiting around for your life to start.

Start it yourself.

Start it now.

-jlaix

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