Q and A on ZEN Shredding the book…

The questions:


*     Why is your book called Zen Shredding?


*     How would you describe your book?


*     What was the inspiration for the writing of the book?


*     How is Zen Shredding connected to the slide show that is circulating the Internet?


*     Who do you think is going to be interested in this title?


*     One theme you have in the book is the idea of asking questions in life, what do you think is the most important question to ask?


*     What would you like to say about Being Change?


*     What is your connection to Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Centre in California?


*     If there is one thing you’d like everyone to remember about this book, what is it?


*     What can you say about the Zero Ceiling Initiative that is part of this book?


*     Why writing?



*     So, when is the book going to be ready?




The answers:


Q.     Why is your book called Zen Shredding?


I’ve been a daily meditator since 1989.  It is a practice that has significantly impacted the subjective experience I have of life and how I experience life.  Everything I do is ultimately filtered through the awareness or perception I have or do not have of the Self.

While my meditation practice is not a form of Buddhism, I believe all practices when successful lead us to the same destination or realization.  The term Zen represents to me a quality of living and experiencing life that I desire to cultivate more fully.


When I decided to learn how to snowboard (the second time), and I progressed through the days, weeks and months of that new experience, many internal “obstacles” were brought to the surface, some were old, “issues” that I was familiar with and had worked on over the past two decades, and some were new. 


Essentially my snowboarding experience became a “boot camp” return to many principles or insights that have served me well on my own personal journey of growth and transformation. “Shred” or “Shredding” are slang words to describe how snowboarders traverse their terrain; I want to be traverse the terrain of my life with Zen like approach or way of being.   




*     How would you describe your book?


I would first say that it is not a conventional book in both style and layout.  Most books you read front to back, for whatever reason.  While there are segments like the introduction and vignettes that appear throughout the book, I would say Zen Shredding is more of a process than a “read”. 


There are 114 insights in the book that I encourage the reader to spend time with, let’s say one a day, or one per week.  Each insight has a short commentary to help define the insight and then question for each of the insights.  What is said is not so much as important as how the insight, commentary and question relate to the person who is reading it.  It’s all about engaging the reader into their own life experience through the process of enquiry. 


On the surface Zen Shredding is a book of how I made a choice to bring a new experience into my life, but within a few pages it becomes much more than a simple narrative about a choice.  It’s an invitation for the reader to immerse themselves into the significance of not only asking questions about their own life but also how their life can be elevated as a result of pursuing dreams.



*     What was the inspiration for the writing of the book?


I can look at this question from a number of different angles.  I think one of the most important angles to “get the book” is to realize that human beings need inspiration in order to live life in more meaningful and purposeful ways.  We are hardwired to live life expanding the levels of happiness we experience. 


If I could snap my fingers and make a change in the world one of the things I would do would be to connect or create clarity for people with their own ability to tap into something that inspires them.  I think people crave inspiration in life.  What the world needs now is NOT love, but inspiration!  When we are inspired love naturally flows, our life becomes more effortless and Who We Are Being and what we are doing is naturally calibrated from our inner wisdom and knowing.  This inner inspiration then fuels the outer expression of Who We Are Being in the world, when this happens there is the potential to change everything…


The process of writing Zen Shredding was and continues to be a metamorphosis of a few projects, ideas and practices that I’ve been working with over the past few years.  I initially wrote an article that was based on 20 insights for living a more fulfilled life.  The article then became a 13 minute slideshow presentation, which then inspired me to continue to expand the insights to the 114 we see in the book, one step lead to the next.  It is interesting to simply witness the process unfold, to show up and see who I’m going to connect with next and what/how the moment will unfold.



*     How is Zen Shredding connected to the slide show that is circulating the Internet?


The slideshow was an important step in my own creative process and inspiration.  I’ve always loved writing, although I don’t consider myself to be a professional writer.  I’ve always loved photography, although I am not a professional photographer.  I also have no claim to fame about being some great snowboarder; it’s something I do to enjoy being in nature and a way to celebrate being in a body.  All of these elements, the snowboarding, writing, and photography came together in the format of the Zen Shredding slideshow presentation, which I initially put together as a project for Whistler Wellness Week in 2006. 


The slideshow we see today has been revamped in its look; new, licensed music has been added.  Ultimately if I have to label myself I would consider myself to be more of an artist if anything and the multi media presentation of a slideshow presentation was a great way to blend many of my other passions in life into a single vehicle that would be available to those who may not be interested in exploring the book.



*     Who do you think is going to be interested in this title?


I would imagine that anyone who is interested in pursuing their dreams would be drawn to this book, perhaps individuals who are interested in creating more passion in life or looking for ways to do life differently!  It’s a great primer or process for those who are exploring Spirituality and personal transformation.  If someone is inspired to follow their own dreams as a result of seeing the slideshow or working with the ideas in the book then I would say its purpose was successful.



*     One theme you have in the book is on the idea of asking questions in life, what do you think is the most important question to ask?


I think it is going to be different for everyone.  It will depend a lot upon where the individual is in their own process and life experience.  In my own experience the questions we ask ourselves change throughout our life.  What’s important when we are younger, living at home, will probably change when we move out and have to become more independent.  The questions we ask ourselves when we are in an intimate relationship will be different than if we are single, and the questions we ask ourselves when we turn 20, 30, 40 and so on will also change.  There will always be significant questions for each and every stage of our life; the trick is to be able to create clarity around the question we need to be dancing with in the moment.   


That being said, I would always encourage the individual who is asking the question to also contemplate “Who is it that is asking the question?”  This can be done at any age, and at any time during our life.  It is a vital question to ask; who is the one who is asking these questions.  If you want to really explore life, this question will provide you with both focus and clarity, it will help move the focus from what could be superficial to more meaningful and purposeful levels in terms of the relevance it has too your life.



*     What would you like to say about Being Change?


There is so much that can be said about change, which is why it became a chapter in my book and of course an underlying theme through out.  I think first and foremost we must change our perception of change as being an experience of struggle.  Most of humanity is suffering, suffering because we have an innate belief that change and even life itself equates to effort and struggle.  When we begin to explore our personal allegiance to struggle and the way it manifests in our life, we can then find ways to live life more effortlessly and our experience of change will change!  We will no longer see change as something to be feared, denied or resisted.  We will begin to experience change as an opportunity for inner and outer transformation.


Most people are looking for change in their life and the world we live in but feel completely helpless in understanding how we can engage change in a progressive way that is beneficial for both ourselves and the world at large.  With a little enquiry, with some solid approaches to “Self care”, the element of change can be cultivated in a way that serves on all levels, emotional, physical or Spiritual.  When this happens the outer impact happens naturally, spontaneously, without any effort on our part!  



*     What is your connection to Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Centre in California?


I’ve enjoyed the work of Deepak Chopra for years, the knowledge and wisdom he expresses in his books and workshops speaks deeply to a part of me.  In 2000 I decided to change my meditative practiced to Primordial Sound Meditation, a time honored practice Deepak re-developed with the co-founder of the Chopra Centre David Simon.  After taking the initial instruction I was then inspired to become a Certified teacher of Primordial Sound Meditation.  As a certified instructor of meditation I have the pleasure of introducing new meditators to a practice that serves as a tool to nurture and support the expression of life at the deepest level of inspiration.   



*     If there is one thing you’d like everyone to remember about this book, what is



It would be my dream to know that as a result of someone reading or engaging the content of this book they were inspired or re-inspired to live their life in more meaningful ways.  I’d like to think that as a result of reading or practicing one of the insights or asking one of the questions from the book that a person was able to create for themselves or others a greater level of subjective freedom in their life experience ~ I think that would be good enough!



*     What can you say about the Zero Ceiling Initiative that is part of this book?


The Zero Ceiling initiative is a very important thread within this project; emotionally I feel it is as important or as meaningful as the release of the title itself.  The Zero Ceiling initiative represents to me a desire or stage I am at in my own life process.  It’s another extension and vehicle of how I want to express myself creatively within the context of Zen Shredding book project and slideshow.


I’ve lived in Whistler since the fall of 2004 and over the years I’ve witnessed the amazing work of many non profit projects and societies.  The Zero Ceiling Society inspired me as one project that was both unique and innovative in its approach to making a difference.  I’m at a place in my own life were I feel very “full” in certain areas.  I’m at a place in life where I’m interested in creative ways of making a difference using the gifts, talents and passions I have in life. 


The idea that I could provide some financial support to the Zero Ceiling initiative through 10% of the net sales of the book and downloading of the slideshow was one expression of the support I envisioned for this project.  I also wanted to provide space within the book itself to speak to the Zero Ceiling project, to create more awareness and visibility around some of the great things that are happening in our world today. 


There is also a lot of theme continuity between the two projects Zen shredding is a book about pursing dreams, inspiration, passion, change and snowboarding.  The Zero Ceiling initiative has a focus of providing adventure based snowboarding programs for learning, employment skills training and personal development to at-risk-youth and street youth from Vancouver and Montreal.  It all just seemed to make sense to me when I thought of what the purpose or intent of the “partnership” ~ a project within a project.  I feel honored to be able to support the Zero Ceiling initiative and am truly grateful for Chris Winter and Mark Zurbuchen agreeing to my proposal! 



Why writing?


Writing is a simple, immediate way I can express my creativity.  I’ve used many mediums, but writing is one of the cheapest and in my case if you have an editor, you can slip passed the mechanics or craft of the process more easily.  I’ve always enjoyed exploring more than one medium of expression for my creativity, the accessibility of using words and writing, presented itself to me and I just immersed myself into the procecess.


*     So, when is the book going to be available?


: )


I just received the final prood (5 in total).  I’m not the most patient person, so the editing/proofing process ended up being way to long.  I’m happy to say I will be approving this proof, which will make it availabe to order  through Trafford my publisher in a week or so http://www.trafford.com/ . 


You can still get a great “pre order” price off my on my own website for a few more week, although the shipping may take a little longer until I get my own inventory: 













3 Responses

  1. Michael,

    I am so excited for you and I can’t wait to buy a copy of your book…..

    I am loving all that you are writing.

    Thank you for sharing.


  2. I stumbled upon this site while browsing the ‘net and I must say I’m very interested with what you have here. I’ve been medidating the last two months (using the program I got from the link above) and it’s been giving me good results, however I’ve been regressing a bit the last week and thus have started wondering if I need to look for other resources other than the one I’m currently using. Zen Shredding seems like a very inspiring copy and just might be what I need. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for your comment!

    I think it is important to recognize, say and remind ourselves constantly, that we ourselves, are our best resource…

    While it certainly is important to find the tool that feels best for us, and important that we should feel comfortable that there is a feeling of “progression” occurring when there is regular, consistent practice, nothing can replace, substitute, or improve upon the innocent application of our attention into our awareness.

    We were born with the innocence of awareness, but we were not born with the skill to be aware of the fact that we are aware, and most of us never had someone to point out the power that lies in awareness. Awareness alone ; the act of being aware of the fact that we are aware, is the gift we have been given!

    To spend time in the touch point of that awareness, to notice that awareness, to witness everything arise and subside in that awareness is to spend time in the touch point of Who We Are…

    Best wishes on your journey and discovery!


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