Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

A Ride to Mastery

yoga mastery

Rich rewards through a journey of step-by-step learning and growing - we call this journey MASTERY.

How do you balance a graceful yoga pose on a mountain top OR become a world class speaker? Think MASTERY. According to George Leonard’s book Mastery – to be good at anything, you can’t take a magic pill, but you can definitely enjoy the ride into a process toward mastery. What is the secret behind achieving your highest potential? The modern world tries to convince us we can achieve instant successes, find quick-fixes to long-term illnesses, or become overnight riches without putting forth time and energy. This is why we find ourselves impatient when we embark on a path toward greatness because unconsciously we started to expect quick results.

The bad news – it is very improbably you will achieve anything great without putting enough energy into the process.

The good news – you don’t need a special ticket to achieve your greatest potential, all you need is complete willingness and devotion to the path.

According to George Leonard that there are different types of learners. Some of us are dabblers – we learn things quickly but once we meet obstacles we give up and attempt our effort with something else. Some of us are obsessive  – our learning curve is also steep and we put ourselves into the learning through extra training, books and tools in order to get faster results but end up burnt out in the long run. Others are hackers – they also learn quickly and they don’t need extra information or instructions, they are perfectly happy to stay on the level they are, if there’s growth, then great; no growth no problem! Whereas the master learns quickly, she doesn’t stress when she plateaus, she walks forward with her practice knowing the rise and fall of her growth is immanent and she trusts learning happens at a deeper level and she will raise to a higher plateaus when she is ready.

What type are you? As for me… YUP! You guessed it right, I’m an obsessive dabbler. I’ve lived my live learning many different things but never quite became good at anything. I’ve been seriously obsessive to the point of finding multiple ways to push myself without ever taking a break. I was the super type-A who thought she could stand against the world with her unyielding will. Sounds familiar? Well, the devastating effect is my learning process put me into burnouts after burnouts. I was dead-tired and usually ended up quitting. Even though I know how to snowboard, surf, dance, sing, paint, swim, run, write, skydive, scuba, etc but I was never really good at anything. Doing one thing after another no longer gave me any fulfillment. I was chasing after testing the water without ever feeling a true sense of accomplishment.

The cure? Nowadays I take great pleasure working in the process toward mastery. Being on the path of aikido I realized that there’s so much joy getting into the depth of a Budo. I’ve also found great insights from the five keys to mastery in Leonard’s book. 1) Instruction – the preciousness in having a sensei or any other kind of instructions is we learn from other people’s mistakes and insights. Using an instruction book to begin any kind of practice can give us the foundation to further our learning in a structured manner. I remember the days I tried to learn swimming on my own. Let me tell you it was painful. Once I joined a team with a swim coach, I learned quickly and had more fun. It reduced the length of my plateaus. 2) Practice – duh! Of course in order to get good at something we need to repeat what we learned over and over again. We’ve heard the saying “practice makes it perfect.” Well, actually “perfect practice makes it perfect.” We have to put all of our mind, body and spirit into the practice and treating it like our life depends on it. Only when we focus our practice instead of practice mindlessly we can then improve. I’ve seen several kids in our aikido program that don’t seem to progress at all. That is because they are not present during their practice. The kids who always pay attention and do extra work after class, they enjoy the fruit of their labor quickly. 3) Surrender – what? Yup. Let it go. Let go and let God. When you are in a process, instead of becoming obsessed with “when will I get better” I have to let go and watch the process to unfold. The unconscious mind is always working even when you are not. During your relaxation times your unconscious mind actually integrated all the learning for you. So lay on the beach or take a nap. You will be surprised that tomorrow you might just graduated to the next level! 4) Intentionality – your directed thoughts, images and feelings will amplify your success. Athletes often visualize an event picturing themselves winning prior to the actual competition. In order for any growth to take effect, you have to really want it. Your directed intention will set your unconscious mind work towards your desired outcomes. 5) The edge – always be on the edge, push yourself pass your boundary of comfort, stretch a little. With each edge you will soon find comfort and reach a higher ground. Then push yourself pass another boundary again. The feeling of breaking through boundaries alone can be blissful enough to keep you going. With each boundaries you break through you will feel a new sense of achievement, confidence and drive toward greater mastery.

So friends let’s join hands and walk toward the summit to view a new horizon. We don’t have to quit in the face of difficulties, we don’t have to give up because things got tough, and we certainly don’t have to beat ourselves up toward restless obsessions. All we have to do is to be willing and live on the edge. All we have to do is be willing and practice to achieve our greatest potential – our own personal mastery.

(This is the speech I gave today. They liked it. yippie!)

May 24, 2011 - Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Inner Growth | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. One big step forward.

    Comment by Albert Li | May 24, 2011 | Reply

  2. I’ll do it over here Flo, you invited me.

    I am wondering.

    This is a statement of Visuals Arts or statement of self awareness and programs? I realize your working on yourself. I know. You step into no difference.

    I almost lost my self-expression or so I thought to self-awareness over the issue. I couldn’t jusify the difference with the visual Arts thinking that this is one time separted from fact. Maybe, there always is that material object there.

    I decided on visual arts anyway, thinking at the time I may have made an inferior decision.

    Over a period of time that changed to, it’s a good thing because it makes no difference. Of course this is relative to the time/space of normal daily existence.

    I didn’t lose myself or to myself. I retained my expression, my mastery, my objectivity using the Visual Arts and no diffrence.

    It’s a funny thing that with all of history and all of intelligence the individual can still maintain originality. Frank

    Comment by Frank Seidl | May 25, 2011 | Reply

    • Frank I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

      As for your question, I believe it is both. It goes for visual arts as well. We stay on the path we grow. We walk to the edge and lose our old believes to renew and see the world in a different way.

      I think what you are doing with the visual arts and space project takes vision and persistence. You don’t have to only breakthrough your personal boundaries but also governmental boundaries. If you were to quit, no one else will have the drive to push this project forward.

      As with your decision on Visual Arts as your life, of course you will question yourself if this is the right decision for you. My Sensei’s Sensei in Japan told me once that he often questioned if he’s doing the right thing. His life is in Aikido and he started on the path from an early age. Somedays he wants to quit and get a real job. But he kept on going. Nowadays the energy he gives to the world humbles us all. We have no doubt he choose the right path. And our lives are better because he stayed on this path.

      I hope this helps Frank. I heard a friend say “if you don’t ever question your path, then you are working in denial.” I say follow your heart and follow the echo of your inner voice. If you have lost passion, stop and recalibrate.

      Love to you!

      Comment by Flo Li | May 25, 2011 | Reply

  3. Thanks Flo,

    The instance I was referring to was a transistion period of Visual Art and Idea, new, original idea and consciousness.
    The confusion at that time and I was 30, was with working directly with self, mind body without the art material in the way.
    I was thinking that droping the paper and pencils might be appropriate. Circumstancially this is harder to decide than
    might be anticipated. It could cause compromise or maybe it already was, hard to tell. Attaining consciousness and creating
    a statement of mind is just not that easy to do. This is of course time relative not to mention different life circumstances.

    The Commercial Space Exploration thing is a realization of the circumstance being the creative process. Acquired
    by a thought effort of not belittling the technical efforts of space exploration nor its goal because of the
    position of Fine Arts. Instead equating it for positive outcome.

    Commercial Space Exploration, a great venture for people to pursue their own. Artists
    creating Philosophical value, Culture and History. Commercial Space Exploration as the Creative Process.

    Comment by Frank Seidl | May 27, 2011 | Reply

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