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  • Billy Michels

The Hair Goes - Inspiration for Change

Updated: Jul 1, 2019

"The Helping Friendly Book, it seemed, possessed the ancient secrets of eternal joy and never-ending splendor, The trick was to surrender to the flow.." - Phish

Life is short my friends. Every one of you is facing some sort of challenge, some idea, some dream, some change...why not face them and jump in now? Waiting until the time is right is waiting too long, and you never know what is going to happen to you in between now and then. As Mike Tyson so surprisingly eloquently says, "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Couple that with Wayne Gretsky's "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" and you've got a good understanding of the engines that are driving me these days.

You can't fight the flow of a river, you can't be in the river and hold on to a rock forever, and you certainly can't swim upstream without knocking yourself out. Find your river folks, dive in and go with it. See where it takes you, take a chance, leave the safety, leave the mundane and usual, learn something new, take a chance, spend that money, book that trip, move somewhere, take that course, leave that unfulfilling relationship, start something new, look around, join that group, explore something, try something new, create a new experience, build something, write something, call someone, take time for yourself, go for a ride, go somewhere new, give some time, volunteer, smile at a stranger, fuck being shy, fuck holding back, no one is judging you besides yourself, there are no "them" there is just "you", have some fucking fun and laugh...

For several personal reasons, I decided the struggle of keeping the last wispy hangers-on of hair on my head was not a part of a future me. Of course you now know I have cancer and the chemo just don't like hair. On a deeper metaphorical level the fight was holding on to several of my old stories about myself that have only impeded my future growth and success both inside and outside. So the shave down was a symbolic gesture to drop the old and manifest the new. (Also no more bedhead! Saves time showering and money on haircuts and products! And besides, half my students used to say I looked bald anyway, go figure.

I had the honor of having a personal expert of ritual and spiritual connection with me and to guide me through the experience, Erin Mitchell. Yes, I can't even shave my head without making it some voodoo-like ceremonial party. It really meant something powerful to me. Casting off the old and welcoming the new, meditating, journaling, burning Palo Santo wood from Peru, sage burning, sweetgrass burning, intention setting, gift seeking, and per usual...3 plunges into the 41 degree freezing ocean (Yes, Erin went in too!).

So here it is, my words and shared experience to hopefully set some sparks off in you to get in that river and start truly enjoying the ride (with or without hair!). I leave you with one more great guiding quote: "Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” - Jack Kerouac

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