Friday, September 17, 2010

Peering Under the Sheet of Civility

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;

I've always been attracted to this opening of Merchant of Venice - somehow it speaks to me. It reminds me also of Henry Thoreau's quote:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

In Buddhist philosophy it is called Duhkha or dissatisfaction, a condition that exists perennially at the base of every action we make.

What we usually call "fun" is most often only a temporary cessation of Duhkha. I get hungry, I feel wonderful while I eat, then I get hungry. Those who read my blog will know that every night these days I get hungry, so I have plenty of opportunities to study Duhkha.

These last two wistful days I spent wandering around my Osaka studio, pretending to be intent and focused, were all the time tinged with this delicate desperation. Hanging back at the wings was a sadness, not clearly defined but ever present when I let it.

So where does "will" fit in with this? I practiced my daily quantum accelerator (good boy that I am) and chose enthusiasm as the antidote for this lingering malady, but knew moment to moment that I needed choices that took me away from the inclinations that drove me. Sometimes I did, but after lunch collapse set in, and I supplicated to it.

The focal drive of this object called me is an endless source of fascination! I have many an analysis for the moods that try to possess me—fatigue, missing my little girls and wife, hearing of distrust some staff hold of, the schizophrenia of trying to get a start-up going in Sydney while overseeing an emotional shakeup in the Japan. Seeing it all written down here, the last two days are making more sense.

"Will" has its place, but acceptance is a beaut little tool too. It just is. I continue my disciplined life, my meso practise, my precepts, my self promises and say to myself "What I did today is what I did today." Part of the skill in managing myself is knowing what is kinder of all the choices that face me, providing each choice has a functioning role in the greater vision that possesses me.

I am writing in an odd way tonight, I am not my fingers! It is this mysteriousness of living that attracts me in the Venice quote. That there is the unexplained, that there is still a mystery to manage. If we really knew it all—where's the fun in that?

Tonight I have no answers, I feel some disappointment with myself, I am lonely but not desperate, I am tired but still thrilled to write, I am hopeful while overwhelmed by a multitude of necessities. All these contradictions, and I am sure something sits deeper under that. I have enlisted the support of a coach soon, and look forward to peering underneath the sheet of my civility.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Mr Bone Knows Why

In Tokyo now, miles away in mind from Australia - only the paper lists keep it living.

This week a small class organised by Ikuo Nishioka, the ex-Chairman of the Intel Corporation of Japan, at his Business schools in Roppongi for some middle level executives from large Japanese corporations. I gave a quick powerpoint, then lots of demonstrations to my now accustomed looks of surprise, wonder and joy. I manage to throw in a mention of Victorinox's 40% productivity increase through AT—that got noticed. And there were the obligatory one or two doubters, looking through a cocked head wondering what my trick must be…

Of course nature's the trick—the wonderful capacity we have for natural movement, pain free. It is always the first surprise I love the most: the way the pain vanishes, the way nothing happens to make the pain vanish "What did you do?" It was a shock, wrote one participant after the evening, to learn that there is "nothing to do." I understand that. It is a huge shock. In these days of power yoga and body control pilates (there is even yogalates now) to learn to do less is almost heretical. Of course exercise is great, tone is necessary, flexibility takes movement—but the point of our work is not any of that. It is not even about release. The pain thing, as spectacular as it can be, is just a side show, and a distracting one at that.

No—the real thing is the evolution of human consciousness, and FM's discovery is a powerful factor in encouraging its development. Of course there are no shortage of other modalities working at the same goal, but none bring with them the concrete reality of using information on how our bones range themselves around joints to calibrate the state of consciousness, in a remarkably reliable and consistent manner. Mr Bone Knows It. Mr Bone Is It.

So BodyChance Japan is working on Gold Membership from April 2011. We seek the time-challenged market, not the financially-challenged market. My overwhelming concern right now is profit. Without a bottom line PL profit—who will invest in BodyChance? Who would lend us money to expand? I have to figure that out, and going up market seems the only way, otherwise we will remain stuck as a one centre marvel, slowly going tacky.

There's only five ways to make money in a business: cut costs, raise prices, sell more to each customer, sell to more customers or sell the business. Being a service industry, and selling our time for money, makes it hard to cut costs, although we try. And as I don't plan to sell BodyChance anytime soon, that leaves just three ways to make more.

Michael Masterson wrote a brilliant book—a text book really—about the 4 stages of a business. "Ready, Fire, Aim" He based it each stage on revenue. 1st is zero to one million in sales (that's us); next is one million to ten million (that's next). Stage two is all about increasing services, offering more variety. My other constant companion is—we need products, not just services. For our work, the obvious product is an information product. So I am dead keen on the development of that. Keep watching our website (if you can read Japanese).

As for new services, well there's the Gold Membership, although there's no gold members yet. Plan to launch that next April. We are also embarking on niche marketing campaigns—currently katakori (like sore/frozen shoulders, a big thing in Japan), presentation and (wonderfully left of field) stuttering. Sales growing at 30%, but still growing.

And my life is sculptured every hour these days—breaks are scheduled like everything else. Not that I have many, but it's the life I choose. I get overwhelmed sometimes at how profoundly small we are. I sit in the bullet train as building after building whizzes by, thinking "We are no bigger than half a floor of that building over there." And there are SO MANY MORE. When we ever be able to make a significant impact socially….?

If I'm lucky I've got 25, maybe 30 years of productive working life left. Then it's all over for me. My deep wish is to leave something that lives independently, that carries on. I think we have that in Japan now. I aim to have it in as many places as possible before the end. Sydney next. Oh Sydney. Don't start me on that…