One Key RULE for Expressive, Unrestricted Living

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The other night — last Thursday, actually — I was in the gym working up a sweat and burning off some ideas.

Yeah, strange to say… I know.  “Isn’t it calories,” you ask, “you’re supposed to be burning along with the sweat?”

Guess so… but, I don’t hit the hardwood with a basketball with the intention of caring about calories. I don’t  count ’em.  My body just knows it needs to sweat, and I do it very well once I’m in the humid gymnasium at our local fitness club.

So, there I was, 20 minutes into my routine of 3-point shooting, running to the basket to get my shot (or missed shot — more of the former, though) :), and letting all the mental energy I’d corked up throughout the day escape my noggin.

NOTE: If you, like me, have millions of ideas and business possibilities / To-Dos running through your brain, you really should try shooting hoops by yourself sometime, in a hot, sweaty gym.

And, out of nowhere, comes some wanna-be Mike Tyson, with this iPod earphones in place, shadow-boxing his way to the speedbag. That’s fine, as I too often like punching the crap out of it.

But two minutes later, he leaves the speedbag for the rack of basketballs.

And suddenly, he starts foot-dancing around one like he’s David Beckham or something. 

So, while I’m shooting around, I’m wondering how long this guy across the court is gonna move a basketball around with his feet… and then it happened:


The ball goes flying into the wall, kicked by the Bozo who thinks he’s in the final seconds of a World Cup match or something.

I go fetch my own rebound, look at him and wonder:

Does this nut not get what the difference is between a soccer ball and a basketball?!

I’m thinking it was a one-time occurrence when again, “Whaaaaam! Smack!”

I’m sorta getting peeved about this time, and then I hear the voice…

It’s my big voice, or what Heather likes to affectionately call “Bigger Barry” — that inner voice we all have, if we are just willing to hear it, regardless of what it says or asks.

It says: “Man, you know that pisses you off. It should. He couldn’t care less what his foot does to deflate or warp the ball, or how to respect it with the proper use. Go say something.”

So, the question is: When you know something isn’t right, or you feel like somebody around you is doing an idiotic thing, “What Would You Do?”

That’s exactly the question ABC’s John Quiñones has been asking lately (but more on that in a second).

Maybe, unlike me, you didn’t play organized basketball. So, maybe a guy super-booting one around the gym wouldn’t get you all worked up.

However, when something of idiocy does hit close to home for you; when you’re in a position to express your inner-voice OUTWARD towards somebody who’s doing or saying something foolish or senseless… do you?

It’s an important question to ask yourself and answer with honesty, as having the ability to gently confront, incite honest reflection, and throw out raw perspective when needed is often the difference between lethargic, unfulfilled wishes… and living authentically, without regret.

Heather and I know plenty of so-called students of higher-learning who make it their focused quest to avoid anything ‘unplesant’, or retreat from any experience that is less than ‘feel-good’ or ‘uplifting.’

Yet, what these folks are missing is that life operates in CONTRASTS

Life is basically saying: “Hey, yoooooooooooo, come on already… if you choose to see ONLY what you WANT to see, you miss the point of all this.”

It’s this very flawed, and dangerous, belief — that they MUST evolve to a detached, emotionless state about something they want to change or don’t like — that causes them to feel UNEVOLVED if they confront it — i.e., get angry, express dissatisfaction, or rant about something or someone who they oppose or disagree with.

So… while to many, I know, a guy super-booting a basketball against the wall wouldn’t cause them to take a second look… I also know that there’s plenty more people out there (maybe you?) who would want to say something, but never could — due to a lot of reasons.

But, the ol’ adage of “Its not what you say, but how you say it” often helps you move from fearful hesitancy to confident action.

In my case, I simply walked over and said, “Hey, you do know that’s not a soccer ball, right?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Great, so being that it’s a basketball, and not designed to be kicked, please quit kicking it.”

“What does it matter? The staff here don’t care if I kick it.”

“It matters because it matters to me. Respect the ball for what it is.  You down with that?”

“Mummmmble… yeaaaah…” He walks away and starts punching the speedbag again.

Anyway, this little minor expression of my values is what reminded me of this show we started watching about three weeks ago.

Here’s one of the first episodes, found on YouTube:

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By the way… another thing that we often speak out (or up) about is the whole “Wealth is an inside jobnonsense. For more, read this short interview…

Filed under: Self-Freedom / Emotional Mastery

4 Responses to “One Key RULE for Expressive, Unrestricted Living”

  1. Thank you, Barry, your wise observations hit home for me.

  2. If life is about contrasts, and that makes it appropriate to allow and engage in every situation, even if it might result in less than desirable consequences, then doesn’t that just as effectively justify doing nothing when called to react to a situation like the one in your story, and feeling like a loser for doing nothing, and being ok with it ? or would that not be appropriate cos we don’t have an innate desire to react like that whereas we do have an innate desire to react like you did ? If the latter is the case, then it calls to question what puts these apparently innate desires in us and whether these innate desires are necessary or just the result of conditioning that is making life more difficult than it needs to be. But I can accept the philosophy that says, “well if these apparently innate desires to react like this or that are in you, then to react like this or that is the best thing to do to make sure you aren’t left with regrets”

    [ Barry’s Reply ] –

    Daniel, you’re using your left-brain waaaaay too much. Don’t over-think it.

  3. Your inner voice is right on. If we learn to listen to the messages from that inner voice, then we will find a powerful lesson or result in our following the messages.

    As for respect to all things and all individuals, contrary to popular belief, we all want it so we all should give it. I believe that we should pep it up and step it up and just be kind and honest to ourselves and others. A request to allow all to enjoy the gym, a park or sitting quietly on a beach to read a book is naturally correct.

    [ Barry’s Reply ] — interesting thoughts, C-Queen. However, as is usually the case with Crowd-thinking, somewhere along the line, they missed realism or the ‘context’ of confrontation.

    Somehow, due to your conditioning or what you’ve accepted as normal, you actually associate asking somebody to stop abusing a a basketball – to stop using it how its not meant to be used – as un-nice. Yup, inteeeeeeresting indeed!

  4. I think this one hits a ton of points. I think its imperative that we respond to our gut instincts to protect. However, I also think its important to remember all emotion allows us to learn from ourselves. It can not all be childishly personal. It is hard not to feel all the empty judgment of your gym buddy. Sometimes we need to evaluate our own premise. Why would you feel so offended by that?

    The children in the video hit a cord with me. It represents the way raise our children. Many people justify using their hands out of love. Most parents feel their anger towards their children is brought on by the childs behavior. I think part of why the teens behavior is so upsetting is the mirror being held up.

    We all want to control our anger and yet here it is on the street. I can also feel the societal issue of not being able to allow the homeless to make that choice. We feel its wrong and judge the opting out. Clearly the children have been taught to be disgusted. I believe you are correct in teaching to respond couragously to our higher self. To trust our instincts is to live honestly. However to be munipulated by a controlling ego makes us not so different form the angry teens.

    [ Barry’s Reply ] — Offended. Who said anything about being offended at the mind-numbed idiot in the gym misusing a basketball? Not me. I explicitly said I was “pissed” (least I’m pretty sure I did). But, that does bring me to a very needed point, as it DOES escape most who feel that being emotionless is the equivalent of controlling a “controlling ego.” (Sorry, ain’t ta buying that notion that the ego is controlling).

    Funny, too, how so, so, so many students of this game (life) continually build themselves up to being evolved due to not judging, speaking up (or out), or cocooning themselves into emotionless expression.

    Or course, that — speaking your mind, regardless of the energy behind the expression — was one of the key points of my post.

    Often overlooked by the finger-waging, spiritual hall-monitors out there who can’t even get past my very innocuous, water-off-a-ducks-back decision to confront a stranger in the gym.

    So, on the note, here’s some more stuff about the ego that may, based on your comments above, even make you want to whack a ruler across my hand:

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