Sand storms bring out interesting conversation.
That’s what I was thinking as fine dust hit every inch of my face, flooding my sunglasses and burning my eyes. I pulled a white bandana up over my face, and then — as suddenly as it started — it ended.
The three people seated around me came back into view, I took a sip of water, and we continued where we left off. Just another late morning at Burning Man.
I’ve since returned to San Francisco from the middle of the Nevada desert, but I brought a few things back with me. My camp, called Maslowtopia and organized by famed hotelier Chip Conley (author of Peak), gathered a motley crew of around 100 all-stars from around the world, including incredible artists, organic chefs, and wise Fortune-100 co-founders…
One of those all-stars was an A-list entrepreneur and former top-tier investment banker. Trained at Harvard as a lawyer and forged into the consummate dealmaker, she had literally built economies from scratch. Moments before the sandstorm, she had passed me a piece of paper.
Like me, like my mentors, like the billionaires I’ve met, she had her moments of doubt (I’ve written about this before).
No one is immune.
Her solace, and her elegant remedy, was on the piece of paper. It was the below poem, titled “Kindness” and written by Palestinian-American Naomi Shihab Nye.
I am not a poet. Furthermore, I almost never “get” poetry, as sad as that sounds. This prose, however, immediately hit me (it was visceral) as relevant and valuable enough to share. It’s from Naomi’s short collection, Words Under Words, which is now the only book of poetry I’ve ever purchased of my own free will.
I hope you’ll pass this along to those in your life who may need it.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.
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169 Replies to “Discovering Kindness In The Storm”
Tim, a touching read and reminds me we’re all human and share the same fears.
Parkour project? Sounds pretty damn interesting. Anything else you wanna tell us?
Good read. Sadly, I also rarely “get it” when exposed to poetry but this is nice.
I like it. Nice change of pace for the blog. Please keep reminding us what life is all about. I can testify that other people’s kindness has helped me a great deal to get where I am today.
There are many things (like poetry) that I also feel I simply don’t get, but that’s why I like events like Burning Man 😉 It’s truly mind-opening
Thanks for sharing Tim!
I didn’t get to go to the burn this year, but thank you for this little playa moment.
I like it. A random thought that bears some meaning – that’s a great poem right there.
Regarding your parkour request; I guess you’ve already tried to hit up Damien Walters? I’m sure you’re familiar with him. That guy is a (positively speaking) beast.
I have had some email with Damien. He’s freaking amazing, but he’s also in the UK 🙂
Burning Man is an incredible euphoria made up of energy you don’t normally experience in your everyday life. To me, it’s a place where you can discover other dimensions of yourself, and most importantly others. Although, it has a different definition to us all I guess. You must have had an incredible time Tim!!!! Quite a thing to get that from someone 🙂
Up until now, Charles Bukowski was the only poetry I purchased of my own accord. Last Night Of The Earth Poems, cinched it for me. But it wasn’t just the poems, it was the author writing the poems… couldn’t appreciate one without the other.
Kindness is doing it for me too though.
Thanks. I owe ya one.
Unrelated but interested: Can we expect your TV show to be out soon?
I’ll be working on more TV projects in 2011, but TV will have to wait until after the new book 🙂
Thanks for introducing me to StumbleUpon. Now I’ll have to re-read your “Elimination” chapter again…
Great Poem. But it suggests that in order to show true kindness you need to lose your current self – or remove/understand that worldly possessions mean nothing, thus removing the shackles of life. I am not sure I agree with that fully.
I do agree that great kindness is often preceded by great sorrow. Think of relatives forgiving the people who murdered their sons or wifes etc.
The world could do with a lot more kindness
Thank you for posting this. I’ve heard a portion of this poem before. I found the whole thing very moving.
This poem reminds me of “The Envoy of Mr. Cogito” by Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert. Check the English translation here:
Great post. Mom passed in April after going all 12 rounds with cancer. Thanks for passing the poem along, I will read it again.
J, my sincere condolences for your loss. All my best to you and yours.
thank you for sharing those lovely words.
We so often forget the power that kindness has in both our life and those we are close to. What a beautiful poem with a welcome nudge.
Hola Tim. Quiero conocerte y aprender inglés, te invito a que vengas a Esquel, Patagonia argentina y charlemos un rato.
Gracias por tu libro,
Speaking of the new book, what is the status of it? Last I heard, the due date was Sept 2010. Has that changed?
BEAUTIFUL poem! Thank you for sharing it!
That reminds me of another one I absolutely love – “The Invitation” by Oriah.
Here it is:
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
Tim, Great book and appreciate the change of pace for today. Regarding your parkour search, I highly recommend Ozzy Quintero from Hawaii Parkour. He taught a seminar out there about 2 years ago. The guy is amazing, a great teacher and a completely humble traceur. Check him out at Hawaii Parkour.
Oh! What a poem. So true. Made my morning.
Great poem, Tim. I’m not usually a huge fan of poetry, but this was a nice read.
FYI…I just tried to share this via the share button on your blog and it did not work…it could be a problem on my end but thought I would mention it.
Thanks for the comment and heads up. Just tested it and it worked fine for me — anyone else having this issue?
Wow, great poem. It really makes me appreciate where I am and where I’ve been.
Tim – I first read this poem of Naomi’s in Roger Housden’s book Ten Poems to Open Your Heart, his second book in a series that begins with Ten Poems to Change Your LIfe. Roger’s books are for anyone who feels they don’t “get” poetry. He was able to bring me to experience poetry the way Mary Oliver describes it to be: “Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes indeed.”
What a beautiful moment to share. I especially like the lines about our future dissolving like salt in the broth. As I get older I with Abraham Heschel who said, “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.”
A good day to you.
Great poem. It reminds me of an earlier post where you were thankful for your fears and learned to swim because of it. What I draw, from these two examples are the reality the until we know and feel that which scares us hurts us and controls us we will never be free of it. This poem says you can take the bad in life and find the greater good.
Burning Man is one thing for me to do in the next year. Thanks for the reminder
At a time when many folks are experiencing a transformation of life(style) as it’s been known, exacerbating emotional resources, this poem speaks to the spiritual heart of human’kind’ and a need to seek the wisdom of the (collective) soul. With thanks.
Golden stuff. Tim, the thing I will always give you the most credit for is looking at the bigger picture.
We need to have to opposing concepts to define one another. Night defines day and desolation defines abundance. By knowing the negative of the opposition you fully understand the positive.
Kansas City, MO
How can I help?
Tim, as poets go, you might also enjoy Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Pinsky. Tennessee Williams and Robert Frost also come to mind.
These four poets have the same prose-like quality to their work, and I bet you would appreciate them also.
Awesome poem. It reminds me of a line from my personal favorite piece of writing ever, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (which I read semi-yearly along with Coelho’s The Alchemist)
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very same that was burned in the potter’s oven?”
If you’re still reading… In light of your new book, you’ll also love this passage on food/meat. I’ve experimented with vegetarianism and even veganism, but this philosophy resonates most deeply with me:
“But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of its mother’s milk to quench your thirst, let it then be an act of worship.
And let your board stand an altar on which the pure and the innocent of forest and plain are sacrificed for that which is purer and still more innocent in man.
When you kill a beast say to him in your heart,
‘By the same power that slays you, I too am slain; and I too shall be consumed.
For the law that delivered you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand.
Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven.”
Tim (or Tim’s assistants, whoever reads these), great post, beautiful poem. Love everything I’ve read/heard from you, looking forward to more!
@ Paul Singh: I read the poem not as suggesting that you need to lose yourself (unless you are defined by your material possessions), but rather that until you experience true sorrow, hitting rock bottom you might say, it is hard to experience kindness. If you’ve lived your whole life getting everything you ever wanted, never “going without” or seeing people that you love suffer, it’s hard to have empathy for others’ suffering and thus hard to show them kindness.
Great post, Naomi Shihab Nye is a master poet, and the book you purchased is packed full of beautiful prose and wisdom.
My favorite poem in that book is called, “Famous” (80). Very inspiring.
Thanks for sharing this Tim. A great poem to reflect on the very first day of the week.
RE: Parkour – check out The Tribe: http://tribalmovement.com/. I know a few of the members through the Primal Fitness gym in DC, and they’re really good. They’ve done commercials (K-Swiss), live performances (Madonna concerts) and TV spots (Chuck). Travis and Frosti are awesome. I’ll pass this along to them, but check out their site if you can.
Great Burn this year. Always an amazing creative recharge. I found an BM pic of you from 2008 from your car breakdown en route. Just curious if it was on that insane stretch of Route 80 between Auburn and Truckee. My friends and I call it the “Bermuda Triangle” because every year, like clockwork, we experience SOME kind of car glitch on that patch — tires popping, wheels falling OFF, engines knocking like a spooked ghost, etc. Too much altitude, attitude, incline and enthusiasm for mere metal to handle it seems 🙂
Yep! You nailed it 🙂
This was my first Burning Man (I left early as well), and for me it was much more about the conversations and interactions than the party. The topics of conversation ranged so broadly that I never got bored. I have this image in my head of a 4-day long Mark Twain dinner party, safe from the interruptions of life, responsibilities and always-on media.
My goal for next year is to fly myself to Burning Man,
Any luck trying Sébastien Foucan of Casino Royale fame? You’d likely need a very persuasive exposure guarantee. I’m guessing he could be use to compensation by now.
Everything about this posting was really beautiful and truthful – the pic, your thoughts, then the poem – you touched my heart today.
Thank you for that 🙂
just got back from the playa after a 4-year hiatus… staring at dusty laundry and contemplating a bath.
(nah, i’d rather catch up on what happened in my personal blogosphere while i was away…)
thanks for sharing this touching moment tim. my fave part of burning man is the heightened anticipation of what i’ll come across next, who i will meet, what fleeting conversation will impact me for a week or a lifetime.
this year i met a wacky puppeteer who entertained me for a moment with his art and psychosis. then i saw him again. then, a 3rd time. with 51K ppl on the playa, it’s surprising our paths would cross 3 times. society would call him insane. but he was totally himself and loved in BRC. i told him how much i appreciated him sharing his art with me, and he said i may be his biggest fan.
off to make other outliers feel loved… thanks tim.
Beautiful, lurid poem. Personally, my best moments of Bman insight have been found when riding headlong into whiteout conditions on the open playa. Either through the magic of isolation or chance meetings, the warm blanketing embrace of the desert has always abided. Hope to bump into you out there one day as burnendipity dictates…apparently we have a couple of mutual acquaintances.
My favorite American free runner is definitely Levi Meeuwenberg. He has a lot of charisma and adds a personal flair to his moves that I really enjoy. Highlight reel here:
I married a poet – and it changed the way I see life. As a solid non-fiction reader and article writer – poetry awoke my senses to the world around me.
James St. James – P.S. Ever since “into the wild” I have wanted to check out Burning Man.
Some poems lose me in the first two or three lines (stanza’s?). This poem held my attention to the end. And, even if one doesn’t “get” every word, or agree with the message, and truly signals us to the importance kindness should play in our lives. I love to be reminded of this! Especially to such a deep level that encourages rethinking and repositioning of values and defintions. I gotta make Burning Man a priority for next year!
This one caused a massive gut reaction when I was suffering from prolonged illness:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
Tim, thanks for the kind words about Mom. I am brand new to the blog and pretty new to the book. Thanks to Tim for sharing his amazing journey and thanks to everyone for their comments. I am enjoying the collective energy on this site.
That poem takes me back to Buenos Aires where I was studying Spanish in 2005. I’m a Swede and I was renting an apartment in the Microcentro district of the city with a couple Americans, one of which I did not get along with. A 4 AM fire in our apartment building woke my roommates and I and within minutes we felt “the future dissolve in a moment”. I thought I was going to die. Our only option was stepping out of our 14th floor window where we climbed TV cables to the roof, two floors up (the fire was below us so we couldn’t take the stairs and the fire escape was locked). I was the last to climb and was so exhausted from smoke inhalation that I couldn’t climb the last bit to the rescue. The kindness of the two Yanks (:)) who risked their lives by leaning over the edge of the roof and pulling me to safety is something I’ll never forget…
Two nights later we were in Café Tortoni and the reality of a new lease on life and two new best friends made for the most surreal tango experience ever:)
Hi everyone – I just completed Ironman Louisville. 140.6 miles in 14 hours. I put this video together and ironically ended the video with one of the major lessons being kindness and gentleness to myself. Thanks Tim for your post.
Looking for an incredible parkour/freerunning athlete to be in high-profile video project?
I smell an episode of Trial by Fire [or some derivation of the concept] in the works! Say it is so! I sincerely hope you to mention juicy details in the next impromptu episode of the Random Show!
very inspiring thoughts.
A close friend of mine walked to the edge twice with Cancer and came back to full life.
I spent a lot of time by her bedside during those times and I remember feeling the potential lose of her friendship as she went gaunt with fatigue and pain. I remember the kind words of love she gave me during her time of suffering. Her experience changed the path of my life.
I learned from her to deal with experiences like going hungry, having 57 dollars in the bank, having more illnesses in the family, dealing with unemployment. When I reflect on her experience mine are easy.
I often stop in traffic to help someone on the road because as Sir Francis Bacon said ‘Their but for the grace of God go I’
I count my blessing and that works wonders.
Life is good.
Thanks for the poem Tim,
I also have experienced a wind storm in Siwa when I went for a hike. It sure is an incredible experience. It felt like the sand was cutting into me.
But that too passed and I am glad to have had the experience.
P.S. I just did my first Via Ferrata in the south of France – have you had the experience? I think now I have finally lost my fear of heights after crossing un pont de singe after working my way up a cliff face. I highly recommend the experience.
Poetry is tricky. I can handle certain poets, but not all poetry. In fact, I can’t bring myself to read past the first line of many poems.
I love this poem for two reasons:
1) She creates a moving, breathing image with words.
2) The last three lines – how they sear into me.
Hope you enjoy it.
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
– Mary Oliver
Ryan Ford from Apex Movement (http://www.apexmovement.com/) in Denver, CO is an amazing traceur.
Here is a video of Ryan
My first exposure to parkour was this “russian street climbing” video a few years ago… these guys are good.
Burning man is definitely worth crossing the border for. My friends go every year so maybe next year I’ll join them. Thanks to all who contributed their favorite poems. They were all inspiring 🙂
Chips awesome, total manifestation of your philosophy in the hotel industry and always stay at his places. Fun stuff.
…keep a chin up, pal!
Tim, do you think a compensation was not guaranteed to Sébastien Foucan in Casino Royale because his work would be exposed to millions 100% guaranteed?
Thank you for your great work! Keep it up!!
MGM has a bigger budget than I do. Different approaches for different folks. I would prefer to find someone I can really help long-term. What is more valuable to the right person, a $1,000 check (or something like that), or me feeling absolutely obligated to help them in any way possible? If it’s the right person, the latter is much, much, much better.
Nice poem. Kindness and sorrow are part of a higher good. They’re both something that brings people into communion (not necessarily used in a religious context.)
Kindness is a skill that, for most people does not come naturally. It must be cultivated, especially since we live, as our ancestors did, in a competitive world that rewards people for being winners. Compassion is a trait that may not be present in those who have an aggressive winner mentality and so, I do not think of them as kind people, necessarily. I’m sure there are exceptions in which case they have achieved some degree of perfection. After reading your poem, I can understand how important the virtue of kindness is and can make anyone who is truly kind a hero in my eyes.
What a great read. I live in San Francisco and I use to do a bunch of free running things. But Surgery has caught up to me a few years back and now I’m still crying about it. If you send me an email I could probably carry stuff and talk about different types of cauliflower 🙂
Loved the poem. Brings you back to the fact that almost anything can be resolved with kindness & respect – covers all possibilities. Takes a while to get to the stage you can recognise that’s all that is required.
i just watched the video on “russian street climbing” and WOW is that cool. i don’t know why i am so impressed with that ability, but here is what i do know. the human body is capable of amazing things and we no longer test nor challenge our “inner caveman.” a long time ago we’re supposed to walk out of our cave, run 20 miles, throw a spear at a wooly mamath, and then drag it home for dinner. that ability, that capability rather is dying and i love testing physical limits. the feeling of accomplishment is unmatched.
awesome poem and posts!
Tim, this is a wonderful poem, but did you get a chance to ask her why she relied on this particular poem? How did reading a poem on kindness help your CEO friend deal with her doubts or reinforce self belief ? I don’t see the connection.
Just curious – thanks 🙂
You and your book are mentioned in my entrepreneurship text book for this semester. I thought you would appreciate that. =)
… and of course this was a good post, per usual. Thank you for sharing.
Regarding the poem, I admire paragraphs one (“Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things…”) and three (“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow…”)
It feels great to share in the experience of humility with others. Tim, thank you for sharing.
Good post Tim. Making me regret not having the ability to make this my first year at Burning Man. I am planning for next year however.
As the poem makes clear, sometimes its the kindness that matters most. I won’t even throw in any comments about traffic and kindness.
Amazing poem. Thanks for sharing it. We live on the edge of these moments that can be life changing in the hospital on a daily basis. It is great to be reminded of that through tragedy and obstacles, perspective is gained. And in doing so a new way of life is born. A life of kindness and of understanding exactly what it is.
To being kind,
Great share.. and you DID go to the Burning Man!
I should have read here before posting on your fb page. *meek*
Hey, I have a great friend who is a Motivational Speaker and Runner – Croix Sather from New York. He’s preparing to run across America San Diego to New York in a 100 days with 100 seminars!!!
I’ve sent him a message about your hunt for a runner…
I think you two would be an awesome fit!
Hope this helps – both of you! =)
All the best.. Katie Joy
This is beautiful, it is such a powerful reminder, if not an enlightenment in our lives. It sheds perspective, and no matter what you may be dealing with helps to give a positive spin on things.
Amazing poem and very inspiring.
Greetings Tim and All:
I am so impressed with both the insight and humility offered in these comments. I look forward to following everyone’s comments with Tim’s hand on the rudder.
I recall hearing somewhere that, “The only thing in life you keep is what you give away.” Whether that is a sweatshirt on a September Saturday or something more…economic, perhaps there is a connection between gifting and kindness and when we give that sweatshirt we get a wardrobe of satisfaction back in return.
I am going through the “kindness” stage. Going through it is hard and I have problems breathing at times. Having three kids that depend on you make it scary…But knowing that they love you unconditionally makes the journey bearable. Thank you for this post.
A great poet is Robert Frost, and I would hope one day you’d purchase one of his books Tim. I just recently did, and it was very rewarding. Allow me to cite this one to you, as a simple explanation of it.
The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God’s last ‘Put out the Light’ was spoken.
— Robert Frost
I hope you were able to appreciate the fact that some poetry can mean nothing.. and that is okay. Not getting it is a facet that some poets use to describe their life and love…
Compassion and empathy are oil on the troubled waters of life.
Our buddy from down under Katie Joy posted about me a few 2 up.
Katie is right, I will be running from San Diego to New York City starting Feb 26, 2011 called Dream Big, Act Big!
Similar to your style, I am fully immersing myself in a sport I have little experience in and will make it happen in a big way. It is not just a run of 31+ miles a day, I will be on a speaking tour too – a seminar each day. 100 marathons, 100 seminars, 100 days. The purpose to inspire people to follow their dreams no matter how big and take massive action to make it happen.
If you are going to do something, do it so BIG that others notice!
All the best … Croix
Good luck, Croix! That’s one hell of a goal, and a good one. Make sure you get your protein and joint fuel. I’ll be getting into endurance (nothing remotely close) in the next 6 months. Looks like you could offer some great tips…
Thanks to everyone who wrote. I was enthralled by what you said. There’s authenticity there, inspiration above that, connection here…I figure I could sit down with any one of you and have a wonderful conversation and consider it a gift.
heart-felf post (and poem), BUT i will have to respectfully disagree with the poem. what she says is sometimes true, but there are other ways to learn kindness other than “you must know how desolate the landscape can be.” compassion – seeing others for who they are, looking in to their soul and really seeing them and they goodness that exists inside of them – is one way to develop genuine kindness. no “losing it all” needed. some people are just naturally kind. others know how much joy kindness brings to the lives of both givers and receivers.
that said, the poem does remind us that from tragedy – those darkest of places – comes a unique opportunity to see the world in a new light, a light potentially shining with a bit more wattage of kindness.
if i’ve missed something – or Tim, you’d like to add – i’m open to other interpretations.
About real poetry:
DISCLAIMER OF INTEREST: I’m old – so I remember when poetry was real.
For those of you who don’t “get” poetry like the quotations posted above here, the answer is simple:
These postings are simply prose. Sometimes clever and thoughtful, but certainly are not poetry.
Poetry requires the ability in the writer to be able to rhyme. To create a rhythm for the reader and real poetry is best read aloud.
It is never obscure and creates meaningful pictures at once in the mind of the reader/hearer.
It is extremely difficult to do and is the difference between Rembrandt and “modern” art. The test of difference being:
If *you* can duplicate it, it isn’t art.
I have admired you for your ability to laser focus in on the one (or two) key actions that will take you to the top of any of your endeavors. I read your book for the how-others-can-do-it too. I read your blog to catch more nuggets of your brilliance.
But this one – the one where you turn that brilliant laser focus onto the key to humanity has made me a fan. Your brilliance isn’t just in the business and athletic arena but in creating wonderful relationships. Thank you for just being you!
I am not the type of person who comments on posts but I have read this poem every day since you put it up. This past year has been the most challenging year of my life. I lost everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Possessions, financial security and worst of all, my best friend. Looking back I always understood that I was becoming a better person by overcoming these challenges but this poem really put it in perspective.
Thank you for your comment, Dustin. You’re not alone. Upward and onward.
I had trouble with poetry until I realized that most seemed to me that they were a conversation between two people who have know each other for a long time.
My co-worker met his wife in a Burning Man sandstorm. Complete strangers, they took solace in each others’ arms. One lived in Germany, the other in California. 5 years later, they were married.
Re: Parkour, there are two groups in the Bay Area you can check out…
SF Parkour: http://www.sfparkour.com/
Bay Area Parkour: http://www.baparkour.com/
There’s something happening almost everyday.
Thank you for reminding us that a little kindness can make a difference. If each of us will do a small act of kindness, then it will create ripples with no end. 🙂
P.S. Let me share with you an article on Great Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship.
Kindness is the first step in building a relationship.
Thank you for the post and the poem. It has a way of getting the feeling out of words.
Great poem- I’m in the midst of reading your book as I return from Burning Man- a great book and a fellow Burner-wow!
Naomi’s poetry gets me every time. She is the most charming and bubbly person I know, but her poetry is all depth. Have you read her poem the Art of Disappearing? Beautiful…
Damn, you killed me. It’s just bringing home to me what I’ve learned these last couple years of being an entrepreneur: life is a full-contact sport. You’re gonna get hit.
That’s a really cool poem, and inspired me to add this comment. I only intend to hopefully add to the beautiful feeling from the poem, and to reinforce a great purpose of kindness and love.
I love to read books and learn about how our thoughts actually send out vibrations that affect what ultimately we bring into our lives. By this belief, which I do whole-heartedly believe, thoughts literally attract into our lives, the very things we think about most. This way of thinking, at first glance, seems completely in the realm of feeling, and nothing to do with logic. However, there are logical studies that have been done to prove this to be true. To illustrate one of these studies, there is a 2 part documentary called “What the Bleep Do We Know?” And “Down The Rabbit Hole” that I highly recommend that goes into a lot of the detail on this. If anyone is interested in checking it out on Youtube, one of the best scenes in this movie is found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMfCvdyaNGQ&feature=related and demonstrates how thoughts and emotions can vastly affect even water.
My point here is that for me, during what can seem to be hard times, when it is easy to think “If only my situation would change, I could be happy”, the very knowing that my thoughts are attracting the events that I experience tells me that my thinking is backwards in that case, and ironically, if I find a way, any way, to feel good now, THEN my situation changes! This always helps me feel better when I am feeling sad, because I turn to the logical thinking of knowing that if, in this moment of sadness, I can find a way to feel the feelings of love and kindness, those very thoughts will not only help me feel better instantly, but will attract things to bring more love and kindness into my life.
If we don’t have any negative feelings or thoughts in us, it is then impossible for us to experience negative events. I understand some may disagree, but I hope this post helps even one person see life a little differently. It would make this comment totally worthwhile for me.
Peace and Love,
A great poem. Thanks for all you give us.
It’s been fun to see your evolution.
I hereby submit as a poem anyone can “get” (and even memorize instantly) Ogden Nash’s famous poem titled REFLECTIONS ON ICE-BREAKING:
REFLECTIONS ON ICE-BREAKING
A few years ago while at Burning Man, a similar sand storm arose all of a sudden. I was only a few hundred yards from camp but was instantly blinded by the dust. That was a very difficult bike ride to say the least. Luckily, I was a part of Cougar Melon Camp so my fellow campers were hiding in the mellon truck.
After hearing there calls I was soon in the melon truck hideaway with them enjoying some, albeit now dusty, cool and refreshing cantaloupe while we waited out the storm!
I’m a big fan of your work and the website! Beautiful poem. It reminded me of program I saw the other day that played in the UK (thank you, Internet!). Derren Brown, a famous performer out there did a show called Hero at 30,000 Feet and in it, he took a random passive individual and put a series of challenges up for him, most of it he wasn’t aware of. It felt very much like an extreme version of the first exercises in your book. It was all about taking more risks and living your life. He’s specialty is mind games and the like. It culminates in the individual, who is terrified of flying, being put in a situation where (he believes) he is on a plane and the pilot goes down and he must volunteer and land it with a cabin full of passengers (hence the title).
The reason why I’m commenting here is he divided the episode into “chapters” and one was called to Act Selflessly. He narrates that “Living life fully is not just about fulfilling ambition regardless of what motivational books tell you, it’s also about being kinder. Engaging selflessly with others makes us happier, just by the sheer fact of bringing them joy.” It seemed to fit in with the subject of this post.
I hope you have a chance to check it out and enjoy it.
I had trouble using the 4-on-Demand player as it won’t play for me, I’m guessing cause I’m in the states. But it’s available on iTunes I believe.
And I’m sure you will have some questions, he goes into detail about them here… but you should read this AFTER watching the episode :).
just listened to this great talk, on why art (poetic, performing and other) matters so much right now…
Thanks for the post and Naomi’s poem. Very. Powerful. Stuff. I needed reminding. And that poem reminded me. I’m gonna print that one out and stick it on the family room wall.
I just love the good energy your posts and your readers’ comments bring to my life. Thank you.
And the quote in Albert’s comment: “Life is a full-contact sport. You’re gonna get hit.” Heard it before, but needed that reminder too…Thanks Albert.