thx thầy

Sending super gratitude to Thích Nhất Hạnh who passed at 95 on Jan 22, 2022.

I learned of Thích from my wife, who showed me his book Peace Is Every Step. He was my introduction to any of this stuff. This type of writing. This way of looking at the world. This ability to see beauty in everything. To look at things that are hard and things of traditional beauty like nature with the same energy and intention. To honor our brief time in relationship to these bodies and this world.

Thích finally got me meditating. I realized at one point after reading a few of his books that I was going through the motions a bit. Reading and thinking yes meditation is great and important… finally admitting it’s not something I practiced. Around 5 years or so later I’m still a very amateur, sporadic meditator, but I practice.

Thích also absolutely changed what walking looks like for me too. Mindful walking, walking meditation, taking the time to notice things a bit deeper, with the awesome benefit of forgetting about work ish and to-do lists for a sec too.

Thinking about him today, I realized one of the gifts I learned from Thích was to not really refute. I just can’t picture him arguing with people—it even sounds ridiculous to write. He so confidently repped what he believed there wasn’t much need for anything else.

He has a tragic story he tells of a rapist pirate, and how he realized he could be that rapist pirate if he was born and raised the same way as them.

I wonder what this level of openness and egolessness could look like in terms of our political and religious discourse and beyond. To understand past immediate differences. To sit with them calmly, to realize our interbeing.

At the same time—Thích was a massive activist! Such a trip to think of how these two seemingly opposing ideas can coexist. He famous helped Martin Luther King Jr. see a way beyond war, causing MLK to publicly oppose the U.S. invasion of Vietnam. MLK later nominated Thích for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.

I guess this is a thank you note and a way for me to practice re-re-re-remembering Thích’s influence, and dive back into the books (all of which I highly recommend). To practicing looking at a tree and seeing the rain, the clouds, the sun, the earth, the birds, the pollinators, and ourselves.


Mid-range elders

The other day I got to drive some footage for a couple of docs we’re shooting from Tucson to Phoenix. It felt like a spy mission because the tiny memory card in my pocket can make or break days of shooting and thousands of dollars (no pressure!).

We always keep 2 copies of the footage in 2 different spaces, so if one is lost, stolen, or melts in the sun we still have the footage. It’s a trip how often this actually happens and films are lost. Apparently, Julia Cameron went through this in the ’80s when all of the sound from her film was totally lost.

On the way home from Phoenix (after buying out the vegan pastry case at The Cornado and getting a sammy from Green), I listened to the Emergent Strategy episode featuring MawuLisa Thomas Adeyemo. She focuses her work on the body, asking us to start with our personal temple. What are we putting in our bodies and minds?

A convo about eating what’s right for us moved to gardening and eventually aging. MawuLisa talked about being 45, realizing they’re becoming an elder, and are thinking about what that means. They’re trying to embrace this important stage, preparing by asking themselves who they are and what are they teaching the youth?

In a society that tells us we should figure out a way to be young forever I love folks who openly embrace aging—my friend Jacob being the first in my life I ever heard talk about being excited to get older.

When I think of my own aging body and mind, part of my brain (inner-hater McGee) loves to diss. “Oh cool, you’re happy with being old? Guess you’re done living, striving, and questioning.” My practice is noticing this unconscious BS synonymous with aging in my head and doing the work I need to do to live my current truth and possibility.

Age, time, and experience help us get used to being comfy being us. This doesn’t need to mean complacency, but more owning and sharing who we are. I love MawuLisa’s perspective. it’s ok to be like, I’m older than these folks, and to make that cause to be a leader. Feels like ridiculously dope and necessary motivation for growth!

There is SO MUCH LEFT TO LEARN. We’re never done. Forever intimidating amounts but we just have to continue growing and honoring our hype selves and capabilities—whatever that looks like for us.

A friend of mine is 47 and recently shared a bit about how they were missing their prime. I tried to gracefully notice they seem to be doing pretty amazing stuff right now. Had their life really peaked 20 years ago? I loved their response. They talked about missing the energy they had back then and being OK with recognizing the era as a magic time in their life. Not better, just very different.

I shared MawuLisa’s Emergent Strategy episode with her and after classicly overthinking it for a bit. She thanked me and I thanked her for sharing her perspective. She has a perspective I’m still on my way to realizing. My job is at least in part to listen and learn, while of course staying on whatever this path looks like for me.

Full love to thinking about those times when we knew we were crushing. My hope is to learn from these experiences. What does that vibe look like today, knowing what I know now, and realizing I’m still everything I was, just with even more knowledge and experience on top? That things will never be what they were, and how this is not only OK but so dope to get to build something new, here, today.