Ascent 213 – A Close Shave

For my first today, I came up with something that I have often contemplated and never done: A shave in a barber shop with a straight razor. A true first for me.

I called Ideal Barber shop in Glen Oaks NY, which is a short distance away from where I live. Prior to going, I called to see if they even did that anymore. A heavy Italian accent answered the phone and I had an inkling I had found the right place for my first shave. When I asked if they did that, he answered “Abasalutally!” Game on.

Sue wanted to get a little fresh air so agreed to come with me and offered to take some pictures.

I must admit, I was a little leery as I have long not been too keen to have a blade against my jugular.

As we entered, it was classic barbershop energy. I hadn’t been in one of those for a looooong time.

An Italian voice summoned me toward the back of the shop, introduced himself as Ralph and asked me what I wanted.

He was keen to do the shave and we were underway.

He started with putting some balm on my face, then wrapped my head with a hot moist towel. A minute later, the towel was removed, the shave foam applied and the razor opened.

I was pleasantly surprised with the feeling. The whole process was a series of short precise strokes, with Ralph stretching out my face to get into the nooks & crannies (Not that I have that many) and turning my head from side to side to go from my jugular to my carotid.

He was very thorough, his fingertips determining whether an area needed a little extra attention.

Then, the shaving was done and he applied some more balm. Another hot towel and then a liberal dousing of some aftershave.I was extremely impresses as I didn’t have a single nick.

I greatly enjoyed the experience and consider it the male equivalent of a mani-pedi. I’ll be doing this again.


Ascent 212 – Star Trek Into Darkness

The latest Star Trek movie, Beyond, is playing currently playing in theaters. After reading a stellar review (pun intended) by fellow journeyer & Trekkie, Cindy Lauderdale Moore, I was excited to see it.

Star TrekSuddenly, I realized … I hadn’t seen the second movie in the series: Into Darkness.

My geekness was in jeopardy! I needed to rectify this to maintain my status in the civilized star systems.

We have Amazon Prime and as Sue hadn’t seen the first movie, started from there. Last night, we watched Star Trek. This evening Into Darkness was targeted for viewing.

I love how the movie got straight into action and instantly engaged you in the quest. The twists and turns in the plot were enticing and had me constantly trying to figure out who was the good guy and who wasn’t.

It’s great seeing the relationship between Kirk and Spock evolving as they both continue to be frustrated with the perspectives of the other.

KahnBenedict Cumberbatch was awesome as the genetically-engineered super-villain, Kahn.

As always, the effects were phenomenal and the classic Star Trek plot of near certain destruction averted at the last minute by the ingenuity of Kirk and the team was played out here.

I love seeing Leonard Nimoy making appearances in these movies as he was my favorite from the earliest of the TV shows.

I totally loved this movie and am now excited to boldly go where I haven’t gone before and see Beyond.

Ascent 211 – Commitment Matters

Commitment was brought into my awareness over the last couple of days. More specifically, the level of commitment to that which I say is important to me.

2016-07-30 11.39.30

I love the Steven Covey quote: Without involvement, there is no commitment. I believe the opposite is true also. If you’re not committed, you probably won’t get involved.

If I were to ask you to write a list of that which is truly important in your journey, you would probably be able to that rapidly. If I then asked you to indicate on a scale of 1-10, your level of commitment to that which you say is important, what would that look like? And if I asked you what percentage of your time was actually invested in those items, would it truly reflect your perceived level of importance & commitment.

This is a powerful exercise in how committed you are. I recently had the inspiration to lock in on one focus, one goal. This is crucial when you are attempting to achieve something specific. There are of course other areas in life that require your commitment also. Ie: Your health & self care, your emotional & spiritual growth, your family and personal relationships. They all deserve your commitment and your time.

Have you found yourself getting frustrated because you’re not able to invest the time & effort you desire on one or more commitments?

The above exercise in determining the true priority and commitment level may assist in making some shifts. I know I can do 1 thing extremely well, 2 things pretty well, 3 things fairly well. See the pattern?

The more irons you have in the fire, the thinner you’ll be spread and the less you’ll be able to invest in what matters. When you get frustrated, that robs you of the energy & passion you need to rock out whatever it is you’ve chosen to focus on in that moment.

It’s easy to get caught up in multiple pursuits. Especially in the age of visual imagery where we’re bombarded with images of people at the very top of their game, in that instant of time when the camera shutter clicked. Whether it’s a best selling author, fitness competitor, ninja master, etc. You can, of course, enjoy all these pursuits. Achieving the pinnacle in any may require some choices.

Multi-tasking is not my forte and I’ve learned to say ‘NO!’ to that which doesn’t serve this current phase of my journey.

WinnerAnd that is my overall commitment: To the most fulfilling life journey possible. I choose to get involved with that which fuels my passion, brings me closer to the people & energies that uplift me and that are truly in alignment with my passion.

What to do if you don’t feel committed to a project or venture? Step back and determine whether it is really right for you right now. Is it an item that you do want to be fully committed to. If the answer is no, then release it – for now. You’ll know if & when it’s time to revisit it.

If the answer is yes, what is impeding your commitment to it? Are there other non-essential entities that are depleting your time & energy? If so, release them. Do you have multiple projects competing for your focus? If you’re not a master multi-tasker, then arrange them to suit your style best. For me, that is sequential. I bring one to completion, then start the next. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve started and not completed because the next shiny object came into my awareness.

Allocate and protect your time to honor your commitments and your priorities. This simple tweak alone will pay huge dividends for you and give you that essential downtime.

I’m committed primarily to shifting my vocation currently to substantially free up my time, energy & resources to allow me to devote them to my next commitment.

Ascent 210 – The Leadership Journey Begins

2015-08-27 16.42.36I’ve been a part of Amy Scott Grant’s Ripple Magic program for a little while now. The concepts, techniques and philosophies being taught are simply phenomenal. I’ve studied a lot while on my spiritual path and I keep coming back to what Amy teaches. There are 3 reasons for this: 1. Her stuff works, 2. Her stuff sticks, 3. She rocks.

My journey has taken a quantum leap since I started this program and I’m keen to use the tools to contribute to making the planet a more fulfilled space. When I was invited to step up to the Leadership training, I jumped at the chance.

This involves more study and work, coupled with coaching sessions that will demonstrate my expertise with the concepts while evolving me further. The final test will come over a weekend in September.

Today, was the first session on this journey. A coaching session with Amy is an incredible experience and the clarity that she provides with her intuition is simply amazing. This initial session was to primarily set the stage for the next 6 weeks and to tune me in to what is going to be happening.

It’s going to be work and it’s going to be challenging yet it will be so worth it. I’m excited for the experience of this phase of the journey and getting credentialed to share the gifts with others.

This evening, I’m letting the energy settle from today’s exhilaration and meditating on what was shared. This journey is about to unfold in a whole new dimension.

Ascent 209 – The X-Men Moment


Copyright Marvel Comics

I love the Marvel movie franchise and the various superheroes they bring into our lives. The X-Men has long been a favorite with the various genetic mutations of the characters.

The mutations are varied and include telekinesis, healing, control over the elements, teleportation, transmogrificaton and more. Each mutant started out as an apparently normal human until some event, some extreme emotional trauma, triggered their mutation and they became aware of their powers.

Initially, it was terrifying and that was why Doctor Xavier created his school – to educate the young mutants in understanding their gifts and controlling them.

My son, Chris, shared that the X-Men stories are based upon the Civil Rights movement, with unique characters striving to be accepted in the ‘normal’ world.

The reason why these stories are so significant to me is that they depict what happens when we awaken to our true selves, and become aware of the capabilities we have, and the path that is ours to follow.

There is often a period of discomfort where something is happening and we don’t know what it is. Often we struggle and resist it, further adding to that discomfort as we strive to deny our emerging selves and stay in the small space of who we were.

Some choose to maintain that struggle while others surrender to it and allow the metamorphosis into who they were created to be, to fully embrace their gifts and use them to the benefit of the planet.

There will always be those who can’t relate to our emerging selves and will attempt to derail our evolution. They will succeed if we allow it. Some will not want to journey with us anymore. Others will adversely label us and judge us – which is purely their stuff.

I choose to accept my uniqueness and am fully committed to evolving my gifts to their maximum capacity and seeing where this rabbit hole can take me. A key part of journey is to work with a mentor who has already traveled this path. I then get to give back and mentor others who are ready to fully claim the space of who they truly are.

I won’t be doing the Adamantium treatments anytime soon.

Ascent 208 – All or Nothing Day

July 26th is, among other things, National All or Nothing Day. I wasn’t that this day existed until I was looking into options for my blog topic for today.

All or NothingThis really resonates with me as I’m an in it to win it kind of guy. I confess, in my past I have dabbled in some things and they weren’t really successful as my heart wasn’t in it and I wasn’t truly vested in the process.

That doesn’t make them a loss or a waste – they were actually valuable experiences as they showed me that which wasn’t really a fit for me, which gets me closer to that which is right.

It does apply to goals, projects and intentions. It can also be a daily philosophy where you simply make the commitment to give your all to whatever is present in your space in the moment.

My friend, Noelle Sterne, wrote a wonderful article title Bloom Where You’re Planted that describes putting your passion into what you have to do to allow your passion to be available for what you want to do. I read that a few years ago and it stuck with me. (I’ve since connected with Noelle and spoken to her a couple of times.)

I believe there are certain pursuits that you cannot do partially. Spirituality is a prime example as you can’t be partially spiritual. You’re either on the path or you’re not. Your level of commitment dictates whether you will attain what is possible on your journey. Why settle for less than what is possible.

I have learned to not get involved in ventures, opportunities or projects if I can’t be all in. And that feels great as you don’t spread yourself to thin and focus on that which serves you best.

So, what will you do? Will you go for All or Nothing? Remember – nature abhors a vacuum and will fill nothingness with something. Carpe Diem, baby

Ascent 207 – Shift Happens

Shift2I felt a disturbance in the Force today. Not that terrible one Obi-Wan felt when Alderaan was obliterated by the Death Star. A good disturbance, a feeling that something had shifted.

Any practice is going to produce a tangible result. Whether an exercise regimen, a nutritional plan, or a spiritual practice, there is going to be a time – multiples actually – when you recognize that you’re not in the space that you were.

We intrinsically know this albeit the process of shifting can be a gradual one and the daily advances can be imperceptible. As you continue your practice, keep pushing the envelope, strive to reach a little higher, you are going to achieve a state where you have a discernible difference. And what a great feeling that is.

Ascend 3My journey involves good people, great energy, clearing, releasing, learning, evolving and constantly choosing what feels right in the moment. I truly believe you are the product of the energies that you allow in your space, body, mind, heart and spirit influence who you show up as. I choose those that support me in being fully in my authentic space and challenge me to step into that Mark-shaped space that is mine to fill.

Today, I feel a clear shift. I have ascended some and am a little further along my chosen path. I’m searching for the words to define it and am finding it a little nebulous. I felt a great space of peace today and felt grounded and centered throughout the day and my space was not influenced by the presence – or absence – of anyone else’s energies.

I was engaged and focused today, which is a big thing as I’ve been feeling little scattered recently and was having a hard time getting my mojo on. I consider it a part of the metamorphosis, that phase where normal activities seem to subside and a funky period of limbo ensues. I’ve learned to relax into this space as I know it’s a growth phase and something phenomenal is going to manifest.

I love shifts such as this and am further inspired to keep going, striving, reaching and being open to whatever unfolds on my journey.

I hold the same space for you and look forward to hearing about your shifts.

Don’t fight it, Luke …