What Is Your Spirit Animal?


In certain spiritual traditions or cultures, spirit animal refers to a spirit which helps guide or protect a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person shares or embodies. It is also metaphor, often humorous, for someone or something a person relates to or admires. (from Dictionary.com)

There is a quiz you can take, (that I have no affiliation with), that can help you if you don’t already know what your spirit animal is, find it here.

My spirit animal is an imaginary hybrid of my own creation, a la, Napoleon Dynamite’s “Lyger”. The “American Long-Crested Eagle” is a majestic and noble bird enriched with heritage and tradition. Unlike the birds it is modeled on, the American Long-Crested Eagle can hunt from both the perch AND from the wing making it one of the world’s most versatile and deadly aerial hunters. It is a medium-sized eagle 🦅 and of unusual intelligence and curiosity.

Mythically, the American Long-Crested Eagle is also a shape-shifter, and is known to take the form of a lion 🦁, and rarely that of an elephant, when it chooses to roam the earth from the land. So, inquiring minds want to know, what’s your spirit animal?

Learn more about the Eagle as a spirit animal.

Interested vs. COMMITTED – A Real Life Tale

Today, I was intent on being a part of our 11am Advanced Life Coaching Group with Marilyn Jhung at the West Central Mental Health Center, (WCMHC), in Los Angeles, California.  Because I am staying in Orange County, California, in order to achieve this task today, I first needed to take three buses in Orange County to the Irvine Train Station, where I would take a train to Los Angeles’ Union Station.  From Union Station, I would conclude my journey by hopping two buses to Crenshaw Blvd & Stocker St., where I can easily hoof it up to the little red brick building we loving call, WCMHC.  I check all the various schedules and lay out my transpo plan.

Here is a recapped synopsis of my day so far:

6am – wake up 20 minutes before my 6:20 alarm.

6:01am – look out the window to see the most Amazing dawn.

6:50am – leave the house.

7am – arrive at bus station for 7:10am bus. Realize I am at the wrong station. Began to jog the 0.9 miles to the correct bus stop arriving at 7:09am, just in time to catch the bus.

8:10am – Exit second bus.

8:30am – Take a bus stop selfie and notice same route go by on other side of the road.

8:40am – Jump on 3rd bus to head to train station to catch 8:52 train. The last northbound train of the am.

8:45am – Think to myself, we should be there already AND nothing going by outside my window looks familiar.

8:47am – Exit the bus realizing I have missed the last am train to Union Station.

So, NOW comes the query inside my heart, AM I INTERESTED OR COMMITTED?

Here is the set-up, I had already spent $22 bucks on a useless train ticket. I am sleepy because I stayed up late working on my current book project. I check Uber to see how much it will cost, because I still have time to make it if I am COMMITTED.  Uber has a driver three minutes away and wants $74.53 to make the trip.  I haven’t had any breakfast and I feel even more sleepy thinking about how I only have a few more than $75 in my account today.  What will I do?

I ordered the Uber. (I am literally writing this piece from the back seat right now.)  I went all in. I put my money 💰 where my COMMITMENT is, I put it toward making it to our group.

Bottomline, I am COMMITTED to my role as a Volunteer at WCMHC.  What are you COMMITTED to?

UPDATE:

10:55am – Group calls to ask if I am gonna make it today. I say, on my way.

10:57am – I walk in the front door of WCMHC. Tell everybody, Mr. West is in the building!!!”

#MissionAccomplished #Winning

Here. Now. The Right Place For Life… 

Los Angeles, California

Today in our Advanced Life Coaching group at the West Central Mental Health Center, Marlynn, our group’s facilitator, gifted us an amazing piece by Jeff Foster, entitled, “The Right Place For Life.”  The short piece was exactly what I needed to help me accept the circumstances of my own now, here, where I stand.  As I sat in the group earlier today, I decided that when I got home later I would engage in the “Finding Forester” exercise of using another’s writing as a starting point to finding your own voice. Unlike the character in the movie, I do not have Jeff Foster’s permission, nor his mentorship, but just the same I will attempt to use his words as a starting point to find my own on this topic of the present moment.  Below is my first draft.  Enjoy!

Trust in wherever the path shall lead…

You have kissed it with your heart and soul.  And now, your heart is broken. You no longer feel comfortable in your own home, not even in your own skin.  Everything you have worked so hard for is falling to pieces right before your eyes.  You feel like you have lost that essential something, that special keepsake of your heart that defined you, that thing that made you, “you.”  It feels as though something within you is missing.  Life is presenting as unfair, unkind, wrong, or even worse, life no longer feels “real” anymore.  You yearn to escape, to just get away.  You ache to jump back in time, to the way things used to be, -or- fast forward past NOW, to that wondrous way that things could be.  You feel isolated, misunderstood, without direction and no one can help.  You are convinced that no one can possibly understand your current situation because nobody else has ever stood in your shoes.

You feel as though you have arrived at the completely wrong place, at the worse possible time.

Stop. Focus on your breath.  Contemplate that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be at this point in time.  How do we know things are exactly, right?  Because this is exactly how things happened.

The Universe can not go “wrong.”  Only our perception of what IS can be “wrong.”  Our life only feels like it is going “wrong” within the confines of our own meat minds, within our own thinking.

What we tell ourselves is only our “story,” our “movie.”  Step out of the movie of past and future, to scenes of “back then,” or dreams of “if when,” and instead turn and face this sacred moment, the NOW of this moment, the only true moment that exists.

Settle down and feel your own presence, right here in this sacred space, focus on the steadiness of your breath, a constant stable rhythm amidst the chaos of the world.  Feel every part of your body, full of sensation, tingling, each part full of life.  Feel the weight of your body, noticing how it interacts with gravity, being pulled downward toward the earth as if pulled magically from its very center.  Feel the life force pulsating in your heart, observe the rise and fall of your chest.  Embrace the raw life that is here, covering you, filling you, animating your every move.  Focus on the vibrations in your head and the activity in your stomach.  Notice how your feet contact the ground, observe the air as it flows past your nostrils.  Concentrate on your ears and all the sounds occurring all around you, rising and falling.

In this awareness of the NOW, know that the next step of your journey can only be taken from here, right where you stand, in this present moment.  Know that the ground under your feet, the only true ground, is ready to meet your next step.  Relax in the joy of not knowing what the next step will be before it is actually taken.  Trust in the knowledge that you cannot trust right now; the path shall reveal itself in its own time.  Do not fret about the future.  The true path ultimately will emerge, as it always has and always will.  Be present.  Be here.  NOW.

Your energy may be low, your heart may be broken my friend, and your old aspirations may have evaporated into the ether no longer on track, but luxuriate in the knowing that you’re always in the right place for life.  Today it is here.  NOW.

Introducing Don West, Jr.’s – Legacy Pyramid™

The Legacy Pyramid™ was created by Don West, Jr., who serves as the Director of Education to the American Institute of Legacy & Estate Planning.  The Legacy Pyramid™ is a visual depiction model for a twenty-two part system for multi-generational well-being, happiness, success, and prosperity.

The Legacy Pyramid’s™ methodology integrates lessons and teachings from history’s greatest coaches, thinkers, and teachers including: Coach John Wooden, Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon Hill, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Og Mandino, Stephen R. Covey, Prentice Mulford, Carl Jung, John Maxwell, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, John Kotre, Don West, Jr., James E. Hughes, Jr., and many more.

The Legacy Pyramid™ is rooted in life long learning, which is the underlying principle of the Intellectual Wellbeing Dimension, the fourth dimension of the Seven Dimensions of Holistic Wellbeing.  Further, Don emphasizes the Legacy Pyramid™ is a living system and is intended to integrate and adopt new knowledge and teachings as they become available.

The twenty-two components of the system are:

Stone 1: Humility & Service (Foundation);
Stone 2: Industriousness (Cornerstone #1);
Stone 3: Enthusiasm (Cornerstone #2);
Stone 4: Definitive Chief Aim;
Stone 5: Junto/Mastermind/Universal Mind;
Stone 6: Iron Grip Control & Management;
Stone 7: Imagination;
Stone 8: Excercise/Physical Fitness;
Stone 9: Habit of Giving & the Law of Saving;
Stone 10: Initiative & Leadership;
Stone 11: Concentration;
Stone 12: Acute & Accurate Thinking;
Stone 13: Pleasing Personality;
Stone 14: Cooperation;
Stone 15: Intentness;
Stone 16: Practicing the Golden Rule;
Stone 17: Universal Law;
Stone 18: Generativity;
Stone 19: Competitive Greatness;
Stone 20: Self-Control;
Stone 21: Self-Confidence; and,
Stone 22: Temet Nosce/Know Thyself.

Don often shares how he developed the Legacy Pyramid™ in his speeches, frequently citing what he calls, #AmazingThoughtz from the books and programs the Pyramid draws upon; he credits two initial influences in developing the Legacy Pyramid,™ they are, Coach John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success,” and Napoleon Hill’s “Laws of Success.”

“As I was reading Napolean Hill’s The Law of Success, I began to wonder how other great systems would interact with his, and thus, began the quest that resulted in the eventual creation of the Legacy Pyramid.™  Having long been a fan of former UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach John Wooden – the ‘Wizard of Westwood,’ and his legendary Pyramid of Success, I sought to utilize and incorporate Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success as the primary model out of respect to his pioneering body of work and high standards of excellence, but also as an homage and continuation of the Mt. Everest-sized legacy Coach Wooden and his Pyramid of Success have become.”

~Don West, Jr., Creator of the Legacy Pyramid™

The staff has gone through the recordings of all of Don’s talks regarding the Pyramid to date and we developed this presentation of “17 Books That Influence The Legacy Pyramid.”

Untethered in 2012


This video was shot in 2018, the post was written in 2012.

 

A Statement by Donald L. West, Jr., JD

Untethered.  That is the goal.  This piece was inspired by three people that I have known-

1)  Professor Marc Fajer of University of Miami School Law;

2)  Melissa Presser author of the blog Mary F. Poppins ; and,

3)  My old boss and good friend Leigh Steinberg.

And also by one person that I have never met- Catherine Zeta-Jones. So now I have shared the goal and the inspiration, but you are probably asking why does he feel tethered in the first place?  Well, for the past four years I have lived in “the cave,” hiding from the world ~ trying to hide from the truth.  (I know your like Donald’s been in a cave the past four years?  Wait till you see me when I get out of the cave at the end of this…)  I have felt as though there was a rock, a weight, a burden so huge and big on my back that I could not look to face the warm rays of the sun, nor the cool sparkle of the stars.  So here goes my statement, the truth shall set you free…

Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be an attorney, many people have heard me tell my story.  Then very late one evening on Miami Beach in 2001, my old roomie from law school, in his capacity as a Florida Notary, swore me into The Florida Bar.  Well, my life’s quests were complete, I was an attorney and a sports attorney at that – done and done.  What next, where is the next great insurmountable mountain to climb?  Boy if I only knew then that the little molehill I was looking for was actually a tiny foothill at the beginning of the great Andes Mountain range.  So here is the deal, in or around 2001 I became aware that I was different than other people.  I say aware because prior to attending law school I had obtained a degree in psychology from Florida State.  More than once during many an undergrad psychology class reading assignments or during a bit of self-reflection I would think, boy that sounds a bit like me.  And in 2001 at the age of 27 things began to change with my mood and energy levels.

Like many others before me impacted by all sorts of challenges I had and have developed coping mechanisms to appear as ‘normal’ as all of you.  So, let’s fast forward to the end 2008 when Kaynaz, (my then girlfriend, now wife), was in Dubai completing her MBA and I was state-side in Miami, Florida working as you guessed it – an attorney.  Some things had changed, I was no longer working as a sports lawyer, I had refocused my practice on the estate & legacy planning areas of concentration, but to keep revenues flowing to my solo practice my caseload looked much more similar to a general practitioner.

I was rocking things, I had clients, I had co-authored a book, launched a publishing company was named a Fellow of the American Bar Association in Trusts & Estates and then in December 2008 ~ a bi-polar episode.  This was not the first and probably will not be the last that I will experience in my life, but at least in this case, as well as others in the past, this episode proved to be life-altering.

Much of this was due to the fact that I always worked to keep it quite, hidden – I felt compelled too, was wrongly counseled by fellow attorneys and even a therapist or two who’d say, ‘Don’t let anyone find out.”  But that is like trying to hide crutches under a trench coat.  Bottomline, “I was taken out of the Game.”  The result was that I had to step away and take some time to take care of myself.  Don West, Jr. required an unscheduled sabbatical.  These types of sabbaticals often have dire and long-lasting consequences. Mine was not any different.  I failed to properly close out numerous open items, including several of my legal clients’ cases.  I made errors in managing my condition prior to the episode and am responsible for all the consequences of said mismanagement.

I am guilty of being an ineffective and consequently dishonest lawyer during this period.  In the end, I have failed to communicate with the Bar because I was too ashamed, to tell the truth.  It has consequences; everything does.  So the truth is that Don West, Jr. is a ‘wee bit’ bi-polar, currently in the midst of serving a one-year suspension [that was extended to three years in total for delays in making restitution and failing to communicate] from the Florida Bar for being a “Dishonest” attorney and I still dream of building on the work of Leigh Steinberg and changing the world in unbelievable ways.  I am a dreamer and I always have been.  But I also make my dreams come true – I’ve been doing it all my life. “Imma be what I set out to be, without a doubt, undoubtedly.” Lucky for me that I am also a high hurdler, cause I got a hella lot of hurdles to get over….

Here is the clipping from the Florida Bar News as it appeared on March 11, 2011:

That is all folks, that is as juicy as the skeletons in the closet get.   But now that they are out – I am UNTETHERED!