Mental Training by Rich VanHuizen

December 30, 2011

I am customizing my personal mental training program…
This is what I just wrote to start my rough copy:

20 minutes per day

To be fully prepared for the moment when it comes, so that when the moment comes, there is no reaction; there is only the natural response.
Mindful to always respond with awareness: to be fully in tune with the things around me.

Then I began to think of the moments that I’ve had with significant people in my life such as relationships, past and current teammates, and Brian O’Reilly.
Brian was my coach when I started to make a big transition in my life.  When I began to look at things through a different lens.
The rough copy of my mental training program above reflects this transition that began in 2004.

Brian and I have studied the brain and relationships, we’ve also done workshops and role-plays.  The most impactful thing that I’ve learned through all of our moments together is the value of being prepared.

When I am un-loving, I am not preparing.  If I am not constantly watching myself and my own behaviours (preparing), I will be mean to the people around me.  When I am mean to the people around me I am not realizing that my unpreparedness shows itself when the shit hits the fan.  When I am unloving (gossiping about, criticizing, judging) and that person calls me out on it, I look like a fool.  I look like a fool because the truth revealed itself and the truth is that the damage to the relationship is my doing.

When I live my life prepared, I am constantly watching myself.  I am constantly responding to situations.  For instance, if I see an injustice, I speak up and share my truth about it.  I am constantly doing this when I see the value of being prepared.  Then, when the shit hits the fan, the truth, once again, reveals itself.

This way of living is extremely rewarding.
I often fail to live this way because I think that living this way is draining.  To be prepared to address every drama and injustice in your life each and every moment seems like a heavy task.  It seems draining.  Yet, when you do it, when I do it, we notice how energizing it is.  How energizing and rewarding it is to constantly speak the truth!!  Yet I am lazy.  My preparedness falls away because I simply blame others for my unhappiness.
What does preparedness look like to me?  Committing each day to bring an expectation to speak the truth with love in every moment.

I’d like to share how this life training has impacted my daily life.
I am in teacher’s college.  In my Grade 6 practicum placement I decided to use the community circle as a teaching tool (a community circle is where you move the desks out of the way and make a circle with the students and my chair, I am just one of 28).  I use the circle most often when I sense that there is a shift in energy in the classroom and there is unhappiness in the group.  We get in the circle and we just talk.  I do my best to build an environment in which the kids feel safe to say whatever they want.  I do this with my demeanor and by being honest myself.  I talk about what I’ve noticed in the classroom (such as bullying), and then I share how I have been a bully to a particular person in the past week or that day and I share the story of what happened.  I share what I did wrong, why I did it, and how I wish I had handled it.  The presence of honesty is so natural and so relieving to the kids that it simply and naturally paves the way for incredibly honest conversations.  The kids open right up and share and share and share and it does incredible things to the level of trust in the classroom.

I couldn’t do this if I wasn’t prepared.  I couldn’t do this if, when students in my classroom are disruptive, I shut them down and used anger to deal with my ineffectiveness as a teacher (aren’t they being disruptive because the teacher is b-o-r-i-n-g?  When was the last time you sat through a conference or a workshop for your job that was boring and you chose to sit quietly and attentively?  We expect our kids to do that from 9:00 to 3:30 every day? I digress).  I couldn’t do this if I wasn’t aware and awake to the needs of all of my kids every day.  If I didn’t pay close attention to the mood of my students and the things they said to each other and the feelings of loneliness and pain that my students had.  I couldn’t do this if teaching was simply a means to tell the kids what they needed to hear to meet my curriculum expectations and get a paycheck.  Having these types of rewarding conversations with my students in the community circle began with having individual community circles with my students in the hallway, on the playground, while helping them with their work, while listening to why their homework isn’t done.  It began with being prepared – prepared every day to respond to situations and speak to injustices.

When I am effectively doing this what am I doing?  Choosing love over judgment in each moment.  This requires preparation.

Rich VanHuizen
Beach Volleyball

The Questioning Series: Why Is Living So Difficult?

November 30, 2011

The fact is that most of us are not concerned about how we live. We are most involved in how to earn a living.  These are two different conditions, one of which is a pure brain activity. And the other is a brain activity with a far deeper, more sensitive and insightful existence. Part of this is the true activity of the mind which is universal, a deeper process that is connection with out effort. Because we are so concerned with making a living, we are cut off from the other because one cannot have one foot in peace and the other in war.

The animal kingdom is not at war amongst itself or its own species. We are the only creature on the planet doing that. The animals don’t strive to reach their potential – they live into it. They are all they can be! Humankind, on the other hand, live mostly in envy and therefore they are constantly consuming things to cover up their inner inadequacy. That is why death is viewed upon as the great inadequacy and feared more than anything else. Nothing in nature dies without beauty and grace – just human beings.

Filling our hearts with the things of the mind to cover up our impoverished state, we have lost the feeling for what it means to live. Living is a moment of joy and bliss. When in my daily activity I can be what I am fully, with a mind that is raptured in a state of attention, not in judgment or like and dislike. That attention has the quality of love. When one loves life one isn’t trying to be anything or become anything. What matters is living itself, freedom to explore life and be blown away by its beauty and ugliness.  When the brain and the mind are free from the false security of what thought has built, then living flowers because one is not concerned for oneself but the concern for the one and the many.

Death comes to all of us, as did living. What we learn here effects the next generation by either decreasing or increasing their burden, as the previous generations have imposed their burden on you. Living is short, death is eternal but most die having never lived. We are creative beings and that creativity is life itself, longing for itself and the source of all happiness. To make a living and forget how to live is like being creative with primitive tools that have no value to meet the present challenge. Living is meditation when one is in tune with an order not made by thought or knowledge. Living is a movement that embraces death with open arms, how difficult it is to live.


Coach bri

Inviting Indifference

June 12, 2009

A busy mind is a distracted mind that leads to indifference. To be indifferent is to lose all one’s sensitivity. To understand oneself you have to invite indifference, without any judgment or acceptance. Only in that attentiveness one’s attachments can be seen and understood, thereby giving rise to their falling away. This is love in action and happy are those who see it.

Coach bri