March 21st, 2013

This column is about frogs.

One might think a zoological topic is atypical of Nick’s Knack. On the contrary, many of my writings have been on the human animal and the “zooification” of our species. Failure to recognize this reinforces many of the points I have made over the past two years. But, if I am writing about frogs, then how could I possibly be doing the reptilian topic justice or coincide their amphibious existence with ours in my typical fashion? I’ll tell you right now, there is much we have to learn from all varieties of these guys, and it begins with their most innately identified characteristic: the jump.

When a frog jumps, I’m guessing that it does not view that act as separate from itself. It simply jumps. For the frog it is a reflex, a way of getting from point A to point B. That’s just what it does. Each hop has a purpose. There is a reason that frog hops which it finds necessary for its fulfillment. The hop isn’t so much an action as a reaction to all the stimuli of life, and frogs do so because they must to survive.

As years go by in a person’s life, it has become customary to gradually acquire more responsibilities to be carried out for the fulfillment of some task deemed necessary for a sufficient or higher quality of living. Since entering high school, then to college, and soon to the vast “real world,” this acquisition has become more commonplace. Gaining more responsibility is a way of showing how well we lived and how much we’ve accomplished, distinguishing us from the rest of the pack. Like the frog’s jumping, gaining a heavier plate of responsibility appears to be innate; it is a reflex to the demands of the world.

As much as we might think our pursuits are stimulated by survival, often we fail to realize how much of our innate needs we’ve renounced. These needs become distinct from our being, embellishments which we are quick to toss away. We are frogs who have begun to think about jumping, viewing it as separate from what we need to survive.

As kids, we ran and jumped and played all day long. It’s just what we did. Only after rules or guidelines were imposed by our parents did we view it as something separate from ourselves. We renounced our instinct to play to make time for this thing called work, thinking of the two as separate actions and devoting a large amount of time and energy toward the consideration of what work we should do, the benefits, the consequences and so forth. Our childhood occupational dreams were not determined by how much money we wanted to make but by who we wanted to be. Ourselves, our work and our play were all one in the same.

Undoubtedly, the world in which we live has much due consideration. We wouldn’t want to negatively affect those around us or ourselves, so the reasoning process is useful. But, this process has produced a lot of personal turmoil.

When was the last time you lost yourself in an action, not viewing it as something separate from your being, but just you being you? When did you react to life, without need for consideration because the action was so deeply ingrained in your existence that it tapped into the most foundational aspects of life that there could be no possible negative consequences? Chances are, it has been a while. If you ask any true master of their trade who is fully satisfied with the things they do, chances are he or she views that action as part of his or her being. When one is released to the mercy of reflex, thoughts, creativity and energy flow, bringing the pinnacle of performance. Any athlete who has done something great has succumbed to the direct purpose of that action. This is the “zone” of focus about which we so often hear.

The frog is not apprehensive to jump because it might hurt itself  or because performing the hop will come back with negative consequences in the future. Jumping is innocent because it is necessary. This truth extends to all actions of all beings. It is when we resign ourselves to the necessities of our being, viewing it as united, that everything is to be gained and nothing to be lost.