Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Jolted Awake

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Jolted Awake

head nodding
asleep in my chair

jolted awake by
the fire-truck siren
–Terry Chitwood

The market slows down, drifting like a leaf on the wind, spiraling down, gusting up, lulling us asleep. While we’re asleep, the market accelerates, falling off a cliff or soaring toward the sun—in any case, moving against our position. While sleeping, we are vulnerable to the whims of the market.

Asleep while Awake

At certain times in our lives, we are asleep in our chairs, dozing to the rhythm of our repetitive life-tasks. Trapped in an assembly-line mentality, we move robotically from one thing to the next. Freedom is just a memory; joy is just a word. We are asleep while awake.


A shrill siren jolts us awake, sending waves of adrenaline through our bodies, rocking our world. Life-changing events, dreams of earthquakes, nightmares, shocking experiences or confrontations with others—all of these can be sirens . . . waking us up. Once awake, we experience the vibrancy of being fully alive.

Photo Credit: Photo by Olivier Le Queinec.

The Christian Trader: The Face of Christ

Tweet Sunlight through the stained-glass window paints the face of Christ on the hardwood floor of the church. –Terry Chitwood The face of Christ, radiant on the church’s floor, illustrates the divinity of humility. Lying prostrate on the hardwood floor brings us into the right relation to God. Grounded in Christ, we can turn our…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Wind over Water

Tweet wavelets softly brush the lake’s shore wind over water –Terry Chitwood “Wind over Water” is hexagram 59 in The I Ching or Book of Changes. One image for “Wind over Water” is a warm, spring wind gently dissolving the winter ice on a lake, the soft overcoming the hard, the warm overcoming the cold….

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Rebirth

Tweet wind-blown ash falls on the lake sinking slowly –Terry Chitwood Ash from the burning up of an out-moded worldview lands softly on the lake, fire dissolved in water, a promise of new life. Worn-out ideas become hardened—brittle to the touch. Rigid ideas crack and fall apart, turning to dust, washed away by the spring…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Invisible Matrix

Tweet walking on wind dancing on water invisible matrix –Terry Chitwood During our lives, we are supported by an invisible force. Some people call it the universe; some people call it God. But call on it we must if we want to survive our journey through this world. An underlying invisible foundation permeates our lives,…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Clear Lake

Tweet sand dunes shaped by wind clear lake –Terry Chitwood Sand, dried-up trading ideas burnt by the sun, blows through traders’ minds every day. Tiny particles seep into trading ideas, causing them to become brittle and break. Then the wind comes whisking the fragments away. Traders’ minds go blank, conceptions turned to dust. Creativity Contrasted…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Green Eyes

Tweet the ocean sprays my eyes coloring them green –Terry Chitwood Green eyes convey mystery like the song “Green-Eyed Lady” by The Guess Who. The following are some applicable lyrics: Green-eyed lady, wind-swept lady Rules the night, the waves, the sand Green-eyed lady, ocean lady Child of nature, friend of man Night-Sea Journey The lyrics…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Looking Deeper

Tweet snow falls on the boulder making it disappear –Terry Chitwood As a trader, you generally trade from your intellect, artificially severing your connection with your emotions, and blotting out your relationship to your soul. Covering your soul (the boulder) with cold intellectual concepts (snow) may seem to make your soul disappear, but the snow…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Sun and Shadow

Tweet a cloud blocks the sun shadow on the mountain path –Terry Chitwood Sometimes the light is too bright to see clearly, blinding our eyes to the next step on the path. Shade cools the piercing brilliance of the sun, allowing the next bend on the trail to be discerned. Sun and shadow play with…

Keep Reading

Zen Kernels, Insights for Traders: Entwined Light

Tweet a strand of moonlight entwined with a strand of sunlight yellow-white glow –Terry Chitwood Moonlight illumines the night, a pale light with a soft glow that takes the hard edge off a losing trading day . . . a losing trading week. Losing brings us into the night where we still need a light…

Keep Reading