Parrot: Horses and Helis: How They Change | Opinion







I have a producer friend in Los Angeles, George (who also lives in Los Angeles besides producers and influencers, after all?), who has constantly challenged my acceptance of change. He is a true innovator, someone who looks at a seemingly innocuous and forgotten profession like ranching and presents the following to Red Bull TV: Let’s do a series about ranchers in the Australian outback adapting to the changing climate and socio-economic landscape by using helicopters to graze their livestock.

Sign up for this quest in someone else’s world.

Sometimes George and I talk, a lot of times we text, but the gist of what comes next is our approach to life, a favorite quote from

RickRubin on Twitter: “Work as hard as you can to be able to share it.” My bottom line is that without authenticity, nothing will communicate – be authentic. Without creation, nothing can be shared – expand your outlook and design the life you dream of. And without sharing, nothing will remain or improve – give your gifts and your love freely and without expectation.

If you’re looking for Rubin’s Twitter quote to save to your Pinterest, you won’t find it, because Rubin deletes everything he posts the next day. You cannot touch the same water, in the same way, twice. His daily sayings in disappearance remind me of the impermanence of everything and everyone, and of the importance of those who engrave wisdom into our hearts after words and images have faded: authentic people who are created to share.

Sometime in the mid-2000s, I read Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson. One quote stuck in my mind and became, paired with Robin’s wisdom from May 12, a guiding principle: “I’ve always believed that the only way to deal with a cash crunch is not to contract but to try to expand out of it.” The philosophy was surprising, almost heretical, akin to that of twenty-first century ranchers who turned to helicopters instead of horses. It is human nature to contract, fear, greed, insure, and hoard. Replace “cash” with any name, apply extensive psychology, and now you have a recipe for life and a difficult path to walk. In practice, the examples might look like this:

There was a time when I had $500 worth of liquid to my name. I felt, in my body and psyche as well, that I was “sticking on” very tightly. I chose five organizations, from Planned Parenthood to the Navy SEAL Foundation to Proyecto Remedios Educativos (PRE) in Nicaragua, and donated $100 each. Problem solved – after that I didn’t have anything fake to hold on to.

When I get stuck in my own story about someone I love or whose words or actions hurt me, I go deeper and give the most loving thing I can, without expectation. Sometimes they are words; Sometimes it’s tangible sometimes it’s space and silence. When anything or anyone hurts the heart, I finish the work and open it up to allow new levels of depth and love to progress – to that person, to myself, to others.

This is the most difficult daily psychological exercise I have. Sometimes I hide from it for minutes or months at a time. Sometimes I’m a half-ass coward. Sometimes I send him and sell the yard. Even when I commit to landing my best, it’s never going to be easy. It’s the emotional equivalent of jumping out of a plane or skiing down a sinister streak, every single day. There is a real fear, aversion, and annoyance at the rejection of a basic instinct of self-preservation to expand rather than contract.

However, what Branson discovered is that expansion is the key to survival, let alone progress. And if you can lean on love and expand, even half the time? If you could appear to others the way you want people to appear to you? If you could give another dime? All I can say is that it comes back a hundredfold. Then it will be taken away. And then you will come back. Over and over again, like Badoo collision.

Tom Robbins wrote in Still Life With Woodpecker: “Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question was whether or not to kill yourself. Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question was whether time had a beginning and an end. Camus apparently rose upon Wrong side of the bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm. There is only one serious question. And that is: Who knows how to make love stay? Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself. Answer me about that and I will clear your mind about the beginning and end of time. Answer me that and I will reveal to you the purpose of the moon.”

Preservation of self and society lies in the ability to expand when everything shrinks. Mountain towns in particular are great at sticking tenaciously, resisting change, and romanticizing the countryside. Some of this is perfectly fine, and some of it is devastating to the people and places we love most. At our best, we can aspire to serve as individuals like the Aspen Historical Society for our community – a way to honor the past without holding on, a bridge to prepare for the future by living in the enlightened present.

Practical applications for this include everything from the acceptance of a roundabout construction to the last (April) allowance for e-bikes in the San Juan National Forest, in conjunction with the US Forest Service. Electric mountain bikes will be at Sky Mountain and Rim Trail before 2025, and instead of bemoaning “human-powered” and all that remains, perhaps we can broaden our view to realize that climate change is mandating alternative income sources, that consumer interest is driving adoption, and if we truly are patrons Cows we think are, we’ll also be able to adapt, from horses to helicopters.

First, you have to love the people and places. Second, you have to face your fears and realize that love is not yours – none of us are the keeper of Aspen, but each of us is the living, breathing embodiment of what we are today. Third, you have to muster all the courage required to expand, not contract. And then, you work as hard as you can to be able to share it.

It probably won’t make love last (a strength), but it’s the way to build a foundation that makes love last (flow). That’s what Branson understood about business, Robin about music and Robins about tequila — how to expand into uncomfortable change with more love, not less.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: