“When I first established the values of the program, we knew that everybody we played would be bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented than we were. We had to find a way. And that way was that no one would be closer as a team than we would. Trust, unity, togetherness.” - Hall of Fame Coach, Jim Sochor
Everyday I walk by Jim Sochor Field, our local stadium, as part of the medicine walk. I often think of him, & sometimes he's been here, with me. Sharing how he used yin, feminine, values to create a football program that had 40 winning seasons. That's 40 years, winning against teams that were, indeed, bigger, stronger, & faster, than the academic-&-agriculture-minded students of UC Davis. There were no big scholarships here to get talent. There was just a really, really great program.
How does that happen?
When other teams were forcing the now-banned two-a-day practices, Jim's players sat in the shade reading - growing their wisdom, sitting on Earth, within the energy field of the trees, & calming their nervous systems. He asked them to focus on their relationships, on their bonding. He invited them to be present, in a fierce & tranquil way. He was also a student - when my father-in-law (once part of Jim's staff) went on to coach a slew of NFL teams, Jim went, too, visiting their practice camps to study the strategies. He kept detailed notes & then pressed for dialogue amongst his coaches & players so that they, too, could get better, they could improve, they could forward their intentions of mastery.
At the same time, Jim modeled stillness, nourishment, & contentment. When he passed recently, he was in the same mid-century-modern home, across the street from my own, that he lived in for 50 years with his artist wife, Donna. He biked to work, every single day, even in the rain & windstorms, Every. Single. Day. He could have moved to the NFL, in a second. He could have made millions, been a broadcaster, or been a legacy author. Instead, I watched him nourishing himself, at Peet's coffee each morning, one leg folded over the other, reading the newspaper & chatting with locals. He was laser-focused on being where he was, doing what he was doing. Charisma.
His core values, trust, unity & togetherness, were also his measures. He wasn't measuring wins. He expected to win. He was measuring trust, unity, & togetherness. Knowing his focus, & lowering the bar on everything else, allowed him to be present. Present to his real work. And present to his life.
The accolades, as you might imagine! He didn't really care about such things, but oh, the parade of accomplished folks that said he was the reason they even did what they did. Their highest selves were in*spirited by the possibilities he modeled.
This is part of the lineage. And as I walked this morning, cormorant held this kind of dazzling humility. Next to the Great Blue Herons, & riot of Spring flowers, she is happy to be ignored. Built for full submergence, her feathers are not waterproof, but are heavy & absorbent, yet sleek & aerodynamic. So she sits below the water, with just her long neck exposed. Cormorant quietly fascinates because she is elusive. She's not trying anything, she's a laser-focused huntress on her nourishment, her innate community, & sunning her wings. She is fearless of heights, depths, & isolation, plunging into murky darkness for her food, up to 300 feet, & sitting, tree-top, 100 feet up. Often she's with her gulp of cormorants, turning heads in unison, or moving off in perfect synchronicity. It's as if they have one mind. Sometimes we kayak towards them, where they stand in line, with wings outstretched like bats, to dry their feathers, before dropping in, one, after another, with a calm & cool protectiveness. So when there's a chance to get close, it's a teaching moment. Look at the plumage! The swoop of feathers at her brow. Look at those eyes. Brightness. Magic. Crystal-clarity. Presence.
Pull out your planner...
What are your core values?
What are you actually measuring?
Are they aligned?
What are the unknown, murky waters you are diving into?
Are they the right ones? Is there nourishment there, for your brightest impulse?
If so, are you going there regularly?
What are you modeling?
How about your community - are you creating core values for them? Or are there innate values for you to strengthen & support?
What are you building yourself for - What aspects of your gesture are you consciously building upon & fine-tuning?
Where are you trying too hard? Socially, or as a huntress, or elsewhere? Can you stop? Can you refrain completely?
How can you pull back, some, & make yourself less accessible? How can you add some exclusivity to your platform?
Do you have a tree, or another dedicated sit-spot, to read & rest?
(For those that might just write that one off, I am 100% serious. You must.)
Give yourself the gift of lining these things up. Lowering the bar. Getting laser, then nourishing yourself with simple pleasures. Simple accomplishments. Feed yourself. Feed your small movement. Turn away from entitlement. Build upon the philosophy, the work that is developing. Become a student of mastery. Become a student of bright presence. Find your spot. And find your locals to chat with. Embody the gesture of relaxed tranquility.
I'd love to know how these thing look for you. Share here, or send me an email. xxx, Maya