Archive for passion

I want to live like a fearless mama octopus

Let me tell you the story of an extraordinary mother. Yes she is an octopus. But her life is both profound and inspiring. O’ Mama’s life is short but produces life long after her death. She is known for her intelligence. Her heart defines her. In fact, she has three. But perhaps her greatest gift is her sacrificial pursuit of her purpose even in the face of failure.

O’ Mama has a unique reproduction process. After her brief encounter with her lover boy, she finds a lair and lays her eggs. Hundreds of thousands of eggs will carry on her legacy. For a month, her soul is poured into nurturing and protecting her eggs, blowing water over them to give them oxygen and guarding them against predators. She hunts nothing, starving herself so that she  never has to leave her young’s sides. Finally, their birthday arrives. Too weak to move, she uses her last ounces of energy to push them from their cases so they can swim off into the world. And then…she dies.You can watch this beautiful sacrificial birthday here from a dive right in Seattle: A mothers ultimate sacrifice from Koos du Preez on Vimeo.

It would be wonderful if these hundreds of thousands of baby octopuses went off and lived happy lives. But the truth is, of 200,000 eggs, just 3 or 5 will actually live long enough to repeat the process. The rest will be eaten up by predators. Well that was a BIG FAILURE. So much for happy endings, huh?

While the ending might not be the happiest for the yummy little babies, the reality is they are feeding generations of critical species. They are the lifelines for eels, turtles, sharks, dolphins, cods and well…me (marinaded please :)). What may seem like a failed mission by O’ Mama actually changes and strengthens her environment long after she is gone.

There have been so many times where I have done everything in my power NOT to be Mama O’, trying not to invest my soul into seemingly failing missions. Why try out for that singing group when I know I am not going to get in? Why apply for that job when I am not qualified? Why look to lead when there is someone much more equipped? But O’ Mama teaches a much more fruitful perspective—that even our failed attempts produce fruit in our lives and the lives of others. Our fleeting ideas, our dead ends, our dreams deferred are not wasted but live lives well beyond what we might be able to fathom. History gives us many human examples of O’ Mama’s faith:

  • Vincent Van Gogh sold ONE PAINTING in his lifetime just a few weeks before his death. This did not stop him from finishing more than 800 paintings.
  • 27 publishers turned down Dr. Seus’ first book.
  • R.H. Macy failed seven times before business started picking up in a little store in New York.

Are you like O’ Mama, pouring your soul  into your ideas, protecting and nurturing them until their birth, irregardless of the  outcome? Or are you killing them off yourself before their birth? What are you doing now simply because it is safe? How could you be feeding your environment with your simple but profound relentless pursuit of your God given fruit?

Now.. Lets go make some babies!

“The birthday of your possibilities is today.” -The one and only Sean D. Goode


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Set It Off

The other day I came across an intriguing headline on

“Golfer’s Swing Sets 12-Acre Blaze”

Apparently a man was playing a casual round of golf (probably not a very good one) in Irvine, CA and knocked his ball into the rough. Determined to get his ball in a better position, he swung his club. In addition to hitting his ball, he also snagged a nearby rock, causing a spark. That little spark amounted to 150 firefighters and a 12-acre blaze in Southern California. Crazy huh? I promise I could not make this stuff up. See for yourself: I wonder if he saved par?

Its incredible to think that one spark we create could set our world on fire. What seem like small, inconsequential actions to us could have lasting impacts on the world around us.   What’s interesting is that this man was not a professional golfer. He was not Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. In fact, he remains nameless. Yet one action from an ordinary man started an enormous inferno.

What caused this inferno? His pure passion for something better and a vision for what was possible. No ordinary swing creates sparks. You cannot simply swing at the ball and set 12-acres on fire. You have to be swinging with everything you’ve got to create the friction needed to change the environment the way he did. This man was not in an ideal spot. He was in the rough, literally in between a rock and a hard place. Yet he believed he could create a better position for himself with just the right swing and he gave that swing all he had.

There are worlds that are waiting for you to set them on fire with your sparks. There are workplaces, schools, churches and people, waiting for us to take the small seemingly inconsequential actions that will ignite a new fire for living in others. What could you set on fire with your determined passion and tiny spark? Who is waiting for your passion to set their world on fire? We can live our lives smothering fires around us with apathy or we can set this place ablaze with our love. You choose.

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One Man Band

I was walking around Greenlake one afternoon when I heard him.  He stood on the side of the path covered in makeshift instruments from head to toe. His guitar laid across his chest like a breastplate. Attached to his foot was a string that led up his body to a drum stick that rested next to a small drum hanging from his shoulder. He wore a cymbal like a crown atop his head. The rhythm that filled his soul as he strummed his guitar was made evident to the world as he marched in place, triggering the beating of the drum and sounding of his cymbal. His spirit created music for park visitors, not only to be heard but experienced. We experienced him…who he was really…not a carefully crafted conversation that voiced as much as it concealed. He gave us the song of his soul and carried us away in his melody. He was a one-man band, carving out a little spot for himsef in the corner of the park but demanding the attention of everyone in it.

How powerful his presence was. How powerful each of our soul songs are. We may not all strap up with instruments in the morning but we just as powerfully set the atmosphere for those who pass by, by choice or by default.  With every word we choose, every choice of intonation, smile or lack there of, every captured eye to eye glance, we play our song. We play our blues in the key of gripes and complaints. We electrify environments with words of affirmation and our decisions to create possibilities through optimism. What song are those around you hearing from you today? Are people inspired to do the polka or salsa after being in your presence? Or is your song out of key? Need a tune up? The world is marching to the sound of your drum. Where are you leading it?

A classic

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