Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Unique Soul path - Might Just Usurp Common Sense?

Not that I would lay claim to my previous written suppositions having represented the "last word"on anything, but I suspect this one might reach new pinnacles of ambiguity. I don't fancy that I can lay claim to being "an authority" on much of anything - this can be attributed to a lifetime of what could be described as a renaissance mind with an attention span that shall we say, lacks an "iron grip!" So I suppose generously, I might be described as a "generalist."

To begin with I'm going to consider the oft referenced "common sense" - I can't begin to account for the number of times I've been "a fly on the wall" during the conversation between others (not because I'm eaves-dropping, but rather, I'm listening for a window of opportunity to contribute something) - when one or the other in reference to whatever they were talking about concludes: "it's just common sense!" Upon hearing this I think to myself - I didn't "know" that! If it's "common sense" why don't know too? Where am I when all this "common sense" is being dished out? (I recognize even as I write this - already, I set myself up to be the butt of many a joke - i.e. "where were you when the brains were being handed out....?" - blah..blah..blah! On occasion during these sort of conversations I have spoke right up..... "I didn't know that!"

"Where the hell you been? - living in a cave?"
"Ah...er..... well...... I don't know, or rather no, I do know, I wasn't in a cave ...... but, ah... forget it!"

Many the time I've heard.... "so much information in the world!" "Ya, can't possibly know it all!"
"Oh thank God!" I feel fleeting momentary relief - only to hear in the next breath ..... "but that, for God's sake, that's just "common sense."

"Oh for the love of.........!!!"
It occurs to me - what is so great about this "common sense?" The term seems to imply to me that it is fairly widely known (I don't know that one can necessarily presume it's true - though I suppose it's safe to say many are operating as though it's true) - how else does it become "common?" Being "common" I guess you don't have to go far to have these sentiments upheld (depending on skin density you can outright ask, the answer may well be delivered with varying degrees of grace).

But let's begin to make some distinctions here - the "common consensus" was once "the earth is flat." The "common" opinion of the British in Gandhi's time, was that India should remain under the rule of Britain.  In Nazi Germany a movement was being upheld that perpetuated atrocities for another whole group of people. When examined in this light - there may be "commonalities" but where's the "sense?" It does hold true for large segments of the population (or might not be true at all). So then "common sense" begins to look like some kind of "comfort for the masses." Something is at stake should one try and operate outside of this commonly held system of beliefs. Could be your life, or your dignity, emotional safety (there would seem to be no shortage of incentive to "go with the flow") It begins to look like there is more concern, not for whether it is true, just, or for the highest good of the majority, but that it can be justified by how many other people hold it to be true (or act as though it is).

Believe me I'm not speaking from any high ground or moral authority - I am newly aghast at the influences I allow to orchestrate my decisions (perhaps a new level of awakening) - which so often it seems to me, is touted as the "brass ring" - "we are here to become enlightened" etc. (I don't mean to disclaim or discredit that) but right at this particular place on my path ...... all I can say is: DAMN IT ALL TO ............!!!!!

Curtain rises and from the wings to center stage enters Ambiguity

Without question at times - I don't want (nor is it the best use of time/energy/resources) to "reinvent the wheel - so on such occasions perhaps I consult the "experience" of another (or others). So now then..... how do I know I'm not soliciting myself a snoot full of this "common sense" - "the earth is still flat" "panacea for the masses" when what I'm supposed to do is "blaze a trail."

Having posed that question - it is not abundantly clear to me (in all circumstances) that maybe.... just maybe..... I'm not always supposed to be this "maverick" cum "rebel without a cause" and just then, "see one - do one (maybe then teach one).

My self exploration has yielded me an awareness that I have oft times in my life "felt" compelled to be "right." (I'm pretty clear as well, that represented a once raging battle with low self worth that equated my "getting it wrong" with me myself being a mistake (flawed/broken) etc.

I may not entirely be out of those woods - but I can at least see the light now (it was once a very dark and foreboding landscape) now I would really like to just lessen the variety (and frequency) of results that I loosely define as "WRONG" (yes.... I know "there is no right or wrong...... it just is." I'm down with the personal responsibility and I know (or at least I strongly suspect) there is a vast new opportunity to deepen self-acceptance, self-forgiveness and self-love just around the corner. On the way....... I will unquestionably need to acknowledge, move through and release some anger.

So this "common sense" I'm beginning to suspect is "common" because many are thinking it, believing it, doing and being it (including me) whether it's in anyone's best interest or not.

As some of this subject matter has been percolating for awhile now - I was also reminded of the old fable - "The Emperor's New Clothes" (Hans Christian Andersen) I'm going to presume most have heard or read the story or are suitably resourceful to look it up online.

Anyway...... there are many circumstances in my life where I am sure that which is "paraded in front of me" is "butt - naked" and I say as much - "dude is naked" doesn't matter what you believe "he ain't wearing no new clothes." Thanks for sharing!

 Other times - I have taken a look and I say to myself (or myself says to me?) "yup butt naked" and then a harmonious cacophony rises from the primordial ooze in a seemingly angelic 4 part choral arrangement - "isn't that the funkiest, man knows, when and how, to pull the trigger, bad-ass clothing you ever laid your eyes on?"

And I'm like............ HUUUUUHHHHH?????
But.....what the.......? I was so sure....... uh...... that? (majority rules...... might makes right, could that many people be wrong) uh..... hmm, I must be mistaken??
"Oh ya those are some fine threads" (pardon the digression to my inner "Huggy Bear")

My point is how in God's name does this happen? Part of me knows damn well, that just because someone says something in a "confident" manner "with conviction" doesn't mean it's true (though I have to admit if I don't have what I deem to be "the right answer" (of course now it's getting that even thinking I know, I'm still left with, how long is what I think I know, going to hold up? - a new piece of information could blow it right out of the water! I may just go away thinking, "he/she said it with such gusto - could be right).

The worst part of this dynamic is, the wiring that on occasion has me doubting my own assessment of a circumstance (which I may begin to distinguish from the "still small voice") by the fact it is anything but still - more like "manic" - incessant and loud (pipes up with stuff like....... "oh this is going to be so good....... first such & such....... and then....... and then............ no don't worry......... if this....... then that ......... and then......... and then.......!"

When it all - "hits the fan......" the same voice does a 180 degree turn and begins the litany of "what the hell did you do that for?""That was a stupid.... dumb-ass thing to do!" "What were ya thinking?"
For God-sake it's 'common sense'..................... AHA!! just figured out where "common sense" comes from (I'll call it "collective ego") - probably summed up with the adage "misery loves company."

So this is where my journey is taking me - this "mechanism" must be dismantled! In the particular frame of mind I'm in right at this moment, I might be inclined to say it must be "smashed." However when a cooler head prevails I believe that it must be somehow - disassembled, so I can see it's assorted parts then accepted, harmonized and assimilated. I need the whole kit and caboodle working for me (it is after all "me")

Given I do still aspire to inspire others through my writing - it occurs to me this piece may seem at odds with those aspirations (given that it may well read like some sordid "reality t.v." episode).

I also recall at least once, I have stipulated that it is my intention to be as transparent and authentic as I can be. I can't know where my particular path will take me ..... perhaps one day I will write from the perspective of living moment to moment in my power, making clear, inspired decisive choices, that are on purpose and unwaveringly followed ........

Today however....... not so much!

Just the same if in sharing my walk here upon Mother earth .... I can let another brother or sister know "no, you are not alone - let me tell you a little story about yours truly!" It will be worthwhile!

It might just be that upon the road to excellence there is quite a number of "common" pot-holes it may appear as though "you" are the only one that hits any of them - I'm here to tell you, I've hit them all (some I went around the block and hit 'em again!) "Common sense" might dictate I don't share that with you - "don't ever let them see you sweat" - "Damn the Torpedoes" (What - evvvver!) You know what's common about that - it's a lie - that's the bottom line. I create at least some of these jackpots by not being honest...... I lie then I justify my lies, by pointing out & insisting everyone else is lying. Ironically often to "be accepted" (what kind of cockeyed logic would have me believe I can win acceptance by lying?) 

Just as an aside - what makes someone "more trustworthy" that they flat out admit "honestly" that they have told lies or would you feel better about someone that claims impeccable honesty though "evidence" points to the contrary?

I'm not saying this is the "preferred" route - I'm also not denying, there could be those, that navigate around more than they hit!
What I am saying is it might be of more value, to more people, to talk about what we really have in common, than collectively continue to uphold the "common sense" of the elephant/s in the room. I'm all for the preservation of the "real elephants" but these wispy, shadowy one's might best be allowed to become extinct?

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Do You See What I See?

The blank page beckons this day as I ponder various passages of scripture. The first thing I should say with regard to this, is I'm not entirely sure right out of the gate, that the phrases I'm considering are truly scripture - in other words, I'm not sure I'm accurately using the term. I know them to come from the bible (though that in itself muddies the water further when one considers the multiple "versions" of that book).

I am not a card carrying member of any religion - I do consider myself to be on a spiritual path (one to me that is all encompassing of all aspects of my life) so even though at this moment I'm sitting on my butt in chair - I'm "walking my spiritual path." The scope of this blog is not to enter into debate with regard to the authenticity of the scriptures, passages, dharma etc. of any given path, with respect to who said what or if they said it. I have over time read various text from multiple sources and experience value in it all.

Whether it is the "writer" in me or just part of how I "see" I love the metaphor. I experience them everywhere - I sometimes speak using them, which frequently results in a puzzled look from the recipient or yields reflections that question my "intensity." (i.e. "lighten up") - do I think this makes me "special" - no, (perhaps unique) and I only say that, because I'm hard-pressed to find others that want to engage in or that "see" more deeply (I'm sure they exist - I appreciate the hesitancy to remain "underground" it's not a perspective that is widely embraced). So this intensity is for me "where the juice" exists - it's alive to me, as I seek truth in my life I recognize it seldom (if ever) exists upon the surface.

Back to the love of metaphors - this extends to parables, fables, koans (ok ..... in truth koans, make my head hurt) poetry, songs etc. This is the way I receive what is written in these holy books (not that I've ever read one cover to cover). Just the same my experience of some of these (at the time I experienced them) is that they are "alive" and meaningful, have impact and are directly applicable to some aspect of my life (not necessarily just as written - specifically at face value) as I consider them - they seemingly unravel to reveal a deeper meaning (one that I might add, may well present differently on another occasion). For me the power and value of such wisdom is potentially lost if the words themselves are held in a dogmatic manner or are thrown out entirely because they have become associated with the prejudice (earned or not) attributed to a particular group aligned with the word - therefore the word is worthless.

The main text utilized in "Alcoholics Anonymous" ("The Big Book") has a phrase which expresses this well: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

I'm not endorsing nor am I opposing A.A. it just so happens this phrase conveys my point beautifully so why would I try and rewrite it? Another idea that conveys a similar idea is: "don't discount the message because you don't care for the messenger."

The first of the passages that prompted me to embark upon this topic is:

"Forgive them the know not what they do."

Attributed to Jesus (while dying on the cross) - I've already accounted for the possibility that variations in words exist, version to version.

Where I have gone with this idea this morning is an expansion from "them" to "me" (I would suggest this me, could be you too, you decide!) The thing is, as I go through my life I come to realize often through that beautiful crystal clear 20/20 hindsight that I have been "unknowingly" but nonetheless acting, believing and behaving in ways that are not in anyone's best interest. It's amazing to me when the veil of denial rises, that it is so clear and yet for so long I was too involved being it, to be able to see it.

This is not a sophisticated alibi ...... bare with me! The fact is though I can only see how I was through the expanded consciousness of who I'm now becoming. I am still responsible for who I was and what I did at that time - but if you're at all like me, when I come to realize what I didn't see before about myself (I have been brutally critical and denied myself any form of understanding, self-empathy, love or compassion). I've come to realize this for me is not the path to healing..... the recognition is necessary - the continued punishment of self is not. Think about it - if I come to discover a particular way of being and further to that, realize it has not been serving me, chances are that lack of service has created some form of suffering already........ how can it possibly benefit me to realize I have created suffering for myself (and others) and then proceed to create more suffering for myself because I created suffering for myself?

Therefore I offer: "forgive "me" for at times I know not what I do." (not a license to keep on doing it, I am talking about a continued commitment to continue to grow and evolve in alignment with the highest good for all). The highest good includes love and understanding for myself (yourself) - I've not met many people that get up in the morning with the intent to create suffering - it seems to me vitally important that framework extend to one's self. Each of us can ease the "suffering of the world" by being more mindful with regard to the suffering we first create for ourselves (and in my case extend it to others) - maybe you can relate?

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Again I suggest that remaining upon the surface I could cling to the myriad of ways in which someone "trespassed" against me. If I left it there, I would miss the lesson for myself - digging deeper, I recognize that I frequently have "trespassed against myself" in the form of remaining silent rather than speaking my truth, abandoning myself (my needs, my values, my intuition). By and large no one but me knows this is true (well... until now) who pray tell..... do I spend the most time with? Therefore from whom do I need forgiveness more than anyone else? A misguided choice cannot possibly be made better by self-flagellation. Wouldn't it be preferable to observe - "wow not the outcome I was hoping for - frankly it sucked" however it likely could have been much worse - I am grateful for the new awareness." For those of you that think this a departure to "pollyannaism" - all I can say is, that I have used self-defeating beliefs and subsequent self admonishment for a very long time (it doesn't work) there is no way to feeling better or rising up, through shame - whether you direct at someone else or yourself. Therefore I begin the collection of 21st century wisdom from the Gospel of Rob  (directed at me and anyone that relates) "STOP IT!"

Finally I include three "scriptures" that found me (I don't currently even have a bible in my home - they come, they go) it seems if I ever do try and "read one" I get lost in the "thees & thous" the meaning of  "beautitudes" forsakes me, and I feel like I've been "smited" in the head with the book. However on this occasion as I said these three passages "found me" - I can't even recall what I was first reading that led to their inclusion (that is how this works for me, I often get what I need, when I need it - but of course I would need to be open to the "source" in order to get it - otherwise might just hit "delete."

Proverbs 13:11
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Proverbs 28:19-20 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
Proverbs 22:16 Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
First I repeat I didn't go looking for these passages (didn't even know they existed). Secondly, they are timely and meaningful to me.
Again there is much more said here to me (than meets the eye) it could be all interpreted exclusively on the material plane - where I'm sure that ideas such as "slow and steady wins the race" - "all that glitters is not gold" apply equally well to what is being conveyed here.
But I see the "poverty" as being far more than a financial statement - there is a poverty of heart and soul that is more vast than any earthly desert" (chances are this poverty will result in material poverty as well). However to follow "worthless pursuits" doesn't mean that it might not ultimately yield vast fortunes of material "wealth" but it could still leave one "spiritually impoverished."
"Will not go unpunished" to me, has nothing to do with a "wrathful God" it is simply a natural consequence of "cause and effect" a law of the universe (which come to think of it reflects another "scripture" "You reap what you sow."
This is not in any way meant to vilify money or wealth or "wealthy people" but rather to distinguish or expand upon ideas like "wealth" 'prosperity" "abundance" to include spiritual considerations and impact thereof. 
Lack of self confidence, lack of a path - which is congruent with heart and soul, that results in benefit and the highest good for all, I believe will create a poverty that cannot be resolved by any amount of financial gain. 
It is well known there is a "cost to doing business" however most ledger sheets don't have a column that reflects heart and soul, perhaps the most valuable of assets?

Friday, 26 July 2013

Authenticity = "When wrong promptly admit it!"

When I first created this blog I did so with the intention of creating a platform through which I could develop my passion as a writer. The original purpose was to grow and stretch my own belief around myself as a "writer"- prior to that, I had begun writing (even shared it gradually with others) the consistent feedback was, that I indeed should write!

I love to write - space and time are lost and I experience the "flow" that I have so frequently heard others speak of, when they are engaged through their hearts and souls. It's taken a life time for me to begin to recognize this for myself.  So I reasoned, if I am to be a writer....... I must write, and so this blog was born. I expected that through the "practice" of writing, I would continue to hone my craft (over time my personal development, would allow me to call it "mine" and own it as a "gift" and a "craft.")

It would seem that I have developed a following of readership (I am thrilled, honoured and humbled). Largely (in fact, with the exception of the occasional "like" on Facebook I don't even know who is reading) - I do wish to say thank you!

It is my dream to lead & inspire people through writing (perhaps speaking as well). I believe in people and the unlimited potential within each and I would love nothing more than to play a part in leading people to the discovery of their power within (of course I recognize I must be living a life that reflects that I am indeed, coming from that place as well).

It is also my intention through my writing to share of myself, my experience & my path, openly and authentically. I aspire to build a presence through writing both online and in hardcopy (I'm old school at heart - I still like a book in my hand!) therefore it is important to me that this presence, represent integrity and accountability.

I have recently been writing about my experience getting involved with an Internet marketing company. Without question some of what I have experienced has been life changing and growth producing (this should not be interpreted as an endorsement for, or an attack on, the company). In hindsight I recognize that much (if not all of the credit for this) must go to me (Just as anything you do in your life comes about as a result of decisions you make - action or inaction). I continue to maintain personal growth, spiritual development and healing is an "inside job" between me and the God of my understanding. Therefore I'm not taking all the credit - but maintaining that nothing outside of myself brings this about.

I say this because I don't want to give the impression that the company itself should receive the credit. Nor do I want anyone getting the idea that though I was making new discoveries, enjoying the adventure of travel, meeting new people, dreaming, goal setting etc. that this is the only path one could do all that upon.

There has been and will continue to be, a great deal of personal growth as the result of my recent journey - the truth of the matter is some of that will come as a result of being too impulsive, getting in over my head and creating a great deal of unnecessary stress for myself. (Then again, it may well have been entirely "necessary" in order for me to get the "wake up call.")

I believe I will be fine and all will work out in the end (where I'm concerned). More than anything, even though I don't entirely know who is reading my blog - I want you to know that I care about you and how anything I'm writing about might impact you. Of course I recognize the power of each to discern for themselves and I don't expect anyone will blindly follow my lead just because of what they read.

I just wish to be clear that overall this latest venture of mine was not for me (I suppose kudos are warranted for taking a look) - though I could have taken a less expensive look! Also it is not my intention to malign the company or anyone that works within (again, I take full responsibility for my choices). My intention is to stand in who I am and bring that into being into the world, in whatever I do - who I am does not come at the expense of others (therefore I will not engage in character assassination - period!) The change that I want to see in the world will begin with me - I will then be too busy being, to be concerned about what others are doing!

 So, some of my actions of late, have been growth producing (I suppose they all have - some just have come in less desirable ways).  What I'm saying is this particular opportunity is not for me - it may be  perfect for someone else. I would highly recommend one do their own due diligence, I'm not advocating that anyone follow in my footsteps - I would much rather own, that I made some misguided choices (for me) than to be responsible for influencing anyone else to make the same mistakes (even given the fact each is responsible for their own choices).

Without question I recognize that there is power in decisiveness - that over thinking can result in immobility, perfectionism can result in procrastination, being stuck and stagnation - however rash decisions, rushed choices - ignoring "gut feelings" and intuition can wreak havoc in a persons life too! It actually doesn't matter how many other people are doing it (whatever it is) the right and perfect choice for you, might be walk away!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

"V" for Victory!

I've spent much of the morning considering my dreams - even wrote them down. If this is something you've never done I highly recommend it. I'll be honest with you, I have never done anything like this before - oh sure I may have "fantasized" about certain things; but I never really believed these things were possible (for me) nor did I ever have any sort of coherent plan to achieve them.

Once again - the truth was, I didn't have, any plan! So let's review - a vague idea, no belief in it's realization and no plan to get there - can you guess what my results have been?

Needless to say this was not a formula for a "success story!"

However it has led me to a path that is now teaching me how to be successful - not just in business, but in all areas of my life.

So today I have made a start.... you might say, well so what! There's plenty of real estate between you and success and you know what..... you're right!

However I'm working on clarifying my dreams (so now I'm creating my vision) - I've begun to lay the ground work, to gather the resources that will teach me how to get where I want to go.

Once there is a compelling vision, the education on how to go about getting there & consistent daily application of the teachings in the form of inspired action - all that remains is "the start" (it may well be the most powerful decision of a lifetime!)

I know many a success has been denied in my life - Why? Because there was no Start!

The dream, the education, the plan, implementation - all require a "Start!"

Of course even a start doesn't in itself guarantee success (without perseverance) so then ..... START (and then keep going) there is no Stop! (perhaps: rest, regroup, rethink, reorganize, adapt, expand) but Start means, to get in motion and stay in motion.

I'm am grateful that I have made a powerful "start" on my goals, dreams and my business, by getting "all in" with Empower Network. I now have access to training and am part of a community of people that are using this training to build success in their lives.

Even if I don't want the exact same things in my life, I can absolutely utilize the same means to be successful in my life and reaching my own goals. Can you put a price on "hope and inspiration?" Well having experienced hopelessness in my life - I'm prepared to say these thing are priceless!

I believe whole-heartedly that the path I'm now on, will work if I work it!

The name says it all: "EMPOWER" - no longer does "V" stand for Victim in my life!

I am committed to my life and my dreams (which includes empowering others, in their lives) therefore "V" now is all about VICTORY! (victory over self-limitation, victory over adversity, victory over challenges) - all have, and will continue to present, upon this journey)

That's why I'm building a bigger vision - so that it will pull me forward, no matter what!

It's my experience that "Start" overrides any and all excuses! - check it out ----->

I've never been in business for myself (JUST START!)
I'm not very knowledgeable about computers (JUST START!)
I don't know anything about marketing on the internet (JUST START!)

See what I mean?

Now I'm not insisting that you do what I'm doing - I'm just saying, whatever it is you dream of doing (you and your dreams are absolutely worth pursuing) so - START! (imagine how many people on the planet right here, right now could be benefiting from the manifestation of your dream!)

You owe it to yourself and all you will impact, to make that dream a reality!

I want to see more dreams come true - how about you?



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On the Road of Transformation

Have you ever wondered about how you might go about removing the various "roadblocks" to your success? You know what I mean.... or maybe you don't? What I'm talking about, is that "something" that stands between you and having, being or doing something (anything!) more, different or maybe even outrageous, in any (or all, areas of your life).

Now before I tell you what I did (& am doing) about these blocks in my life - I've got some bad news, but don't worry, I intend to resolve that immediately, with great news! The bad news is, that I discovered that I am in fact, the source of the blocks - or rather they largely (if not entirely) exist within me. It's entirely possible that could be true for you too - but, I'm going to let you decide that for yourself.

The great news is that we all have the power to change ourselves, our thinking & our beliefs! Imagine what might be possible once those changes are implemented!

So my latest strategy for the removal of roadblocks was "ROAD TRIP" Well..... I suppose, I should back up a little, first I joined Empower Network - very soon there after, I made the decision to go to an Empower Event (in Denver, Colorado). What I can tell you about this process is that, I have in my life past, made decisions at "glacial speed" (i.e. painfully slow). In contrast, this decision looked like, I've got a car - I'm going!

From that decision I was "gifted" the company of two people that are infinitely more knowledgable about Empower and now I've got me a "5000 km Master Class" (as well as good company!). Wow the power of a decision! (it's enough to make a "believer" out of me!

The event was amazing - full immersion in and with, people that are doing some extraordinary things in their lives (absolutely exhilarating and inspiring) - little did I know how many times throughout, I would be given the opportunity to see myself (and how I've gone about my life) I realized that these "cross-roads" always  presented the invitation to show up differently - a chance to decide, newly!

My life is changing - now! It began with a decision while still sitting in my chair at home! It carried on over 5000 km of driving in the front seat of my car, through 7 awe inspiring states (that covers the geography) who knows how many mental/emotional/spiritual "states" were traversed - in between I spent 2 1/2 days in a seat at a world class venue in Denver, at a Life Changing Event - all from one decision! (and come to think of it while sitting the whole time!) That's a lot of transformation without even getting out of the chair!

I have now followed through on the decision I made while at the event to fully commit myself to Empower and "my business" (by getting "all in").
What this means to me is I am fully committing to me, my life, and my dreams and that I am worth it.

Through this decision it is my intention to be of service and assistance to others! My dream now contains upholding the lives and dreams of others!

I invite you to "decide" to join me!


Saturday, 6 July 2013


God Grant Me the Serenity
To Accept the Things I Cannot Change
Courage to Change the Things I Can
And the Wisdom to Know the Difference.
Twenty-six years ago I was introduced to that prayer through the 12-step rooms of A.A. (Something else I remembered that was frequently said back then was - "all you have to do is put the plug in the jug and change your whole "friggin' life").
Though I'm not around those rooms any longer (my spirituality and ongoing "sobriety" has been and continues to be supported elsewhere) - I still credit coming through those doors for saving my life.
Interestingly, the one thing that has remained unchanged - is the "call to change." (apparently on that score - the "old-timers" knew what they were talking about) - the call gets louder and the words of that prayer likely now burned into every fibre of my being having been repeated  thousands & thousands of times, continually, take on new meaning.
So much has "changed" since those early days I was 27 when I first "sobered up" 28 by time I came through "the doors" and I actually thought my life was over. In so many ways, on so many fronts, it had not yet really begun. I am immensely grateful to have that experience to look back on.
Over the ensuing years I got married (for the first time) divorced after seventeen years started new jobs - quit jobs etc. In hindsight my primary focus for change was the external realities of my life. Certainly things got "different" and it collectively represents my experience - all contributing to who I am today. Something I discovered along the way  was that until I began to focus the need for "change" on myself ........ well it was a bit like spraying expensive perfume on a bucket of shit (at first it was pleasant enough, but eventually it really started to stink again!).
Once again I realize that the "old-timers" had eluded to this - they were forever saying: "this is an inside job" (I wasn't clear for quite sometime what that meant - but damned if I was going to be the only one in the room that didn't get it). So I twisted one of their other "slogans" ("fake it 'til ya make it.") - and marched around parroting - "oh ya, it's an inside job." Eventually life has a way of introducing humility - even to someone like myself that was hobbled by his own pride, arrogance and shame. "Change" was made possible when I became "teachable" and learned the power of asking for help.  Sometimes willingness looks a little bit like desperate (but it is enough for a beginning).
All these years later and I have come to know frequently (if not always) "the thing I can change" is me. (the thing that must change is me). So frequently I have been what stands between myself and the things I would like to have in my life. Trouble was I blamed everything and everybody but me (until I didn't).
So the responsibility has come home to roost (better late than never) made possible by an ongoing "change of perspective." Now I embrace the power of creativity that was present all along (though was misdirected and focused on what I didn't want) and I might add, was highly successfully at bringing me just that! Now, I'm learning how to be more intentional about what I do want. Perhaps a subtle "change" but one that is proving to be "life changing!"
I'm reminded of the old "Peanuts" cartoon strip (in particular the character "Pig Pen") like him I had this "cloud" in tow (ever present - dragged it along with me wherever I went) one might consider this an odd thing to remain attached to (I know I do, now that I've become aware of it!") This is what I was putting out to the universe - it coloured my worldview and my experience (in fact I'm coming to realize now it was part of creating and attracting my experiences).
What a freedom to come to realize I can choose my experience - that in fact change is possible (beginning with becoming more willing to invite and embrace change). What really excites me is the opportunity to model the profound change that has been (and I trust, will continue to be) possible in my life - I will be able to share with other people that believe they are trapped in unchangeable circumstances.
Big changes are on the horizon - not the least of which will be the need for me to step up and into, that which is necessary to support and recognize, the need to further learn and grow. To trust, dare more greatly - to believe in my innate gifts and worth to create a life that I love - a love for life and to "Be the Change I Want to See In the World"
How's that for Change?!!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Can We Talk

Patriarchy, misogyny, oppression, violence, wars, rape, pillage, control, exploitation - at times it can appear (depending on who you listen to) as though this is the sum total of the male legacy and contribution (detraction) to humanity and by extension to planet earth. As with any issues (if one were willing to concede that there are indeed "issues" that adversely effect men, while acknowledging a decidedly unbalanced playing field) the complexities are varied and multi-faceted. It certainly is not my intention to deny the prevalence of pain and destruction brought on by men. I will submit, that these men carry their own pain and "codes of silence" that are the ancestral inheritance and social programming that perpetuates this pain. No, this is not an excuse or justification for the behaviours (it is however, I believe, part of the problem). A problem for which there exists minimal resources or even the collective will to rectify. "Men's Studies" programs are in the minority, political will (largely upholds the problems - no surprise I suppose, given the domination by men - who continue to be rewarded for promotion and participation of pathological behaviour).

I reckon that though I describe the behaviour as the outward manifestation of generational dysfunction and collective complicity, all of which contributes to widespread breakdown of families, communities, societies,  nevertheless,  the power and influence of the status quo, continues to exert a significant force. The roles, beliefs and ways of being are rather deeply entrenched (to say the least - including those that seemingly serve nothing). Of course sweeping generalizations can't be made, however even those that consciously or just naturally step outside of the "norm" do so at personal risk of being ostracized by men and women alike.

I spent many years working in nursing which certainly was at that time a predominately female profession - there I witnessed (and at times was on the receiving end of), derogatory treatment,  that was specifically an attack on, and because of, my being male. I have to say I was ill-equipped and unskillful at this stage of my life to engage in these "assaults"and in hindsight, though much of what they said was just plain inappropriate - there were some of these "reflections" that I can now own as (whether a little or a lot) true in my own life. Hence the anger was at times, a defensive reflex on my part in an attempt to not face these truths.

 My point is, that given the high concentration of different individuals (that were in this case female) it seems reasonable to conclude the views being expressed were not just those of (for example) a couple embittered individuals - rather a consensus of sorts, seemed to be represented. Over time I heard many attitudes and beliefs which were not conducive to men (in general) being willing to change anything about how they related in the world - this was not an environment where one might choose to be emotionally vulnerable (certainly not for me - nor did I ever witness any other men doing so). Still the onus is on me (as it is with any individual) to decide how I'm going to show up (or not) and work at bringing about the desired changes as necessary and regardless of the opinions of others.

So without question the world has been (and still is) unbalanced with respect to "advantages" weighted in favour of men (more specifically white men) - ironically through a large percentage of my life due to my own dysfunction I was largely unaware that I fell into this "advantaged category" I was too busy living out my own "victimhood." I suppose even so, there were innumerable things that I "enjoyed" even without realizing it - for no other reason than my gender and ancestry (I just had to get out of bed and there it was). Even at my core  "entitlement" has been discovered in my self-appraisal ( nothing to be proud of, but necessary to identify as an impediment to my own evolution).

Though less spoken of (as many men are conditioned not to speak of such things) men carry their own wounds at the hands of this societal "system" The conundrum becomes the silence, secrecy and it's underlying shame are upheld by a fear of revealing "the truth" and risk being seen as less of a man (by other men) and less attractive to many women. (that's a lot of potential and realized "rejection").  Of course the well-balanced, self-assured person can stand firmly in who they are, this assumes a pretty solid upbringing with which to build that foundation and/or considerable "personal development" later in life to heal the wounds that conformity inflicts - (all the while the status quo asserts it's grip, attempting to curtail any notion of change).

How does one engage in the personal vulnerability necessary for authentic self-disclosure, intimacy and deeper connection if said vulnerability is seen so widely as "unmanly." I am not saying this hesitancy to  avoid vulnerability is exclusive to men - only that it has it's own "flavour." I would suggest it's a human predicament and I can only represent with any assurance, my own experience as a man (without claiming to be the spokesperson for my gender).

Even though I  identify my personal need and preference to free myself from the emotional bondage of my past and discover I'm by no means blazing a trail or alone in this pursuit - vulnerability as a "practice" is not widely embraced and therefore seems to be more the exception than the rule. Of course I can choose for myself the frequency and regularity that I open myself to this practice. By it's very nature there are no guarantees the results can vary from person to person - a seemingly favourable experience one time, doesn't mean I've now achieved mastery, nor assure the next time won't be disastrous (not everyone is prepared for, nor will they embrace with enthusiasm my decision to grow - hell I don't always embrace it!)

With respect to the prevalence of violence in the various forms referenced in the opening (at the hands of men) -  it would seem there has been progress made with respect to awareness, however there continues to be a need for men to be willing to "break the silence" with each other, their partners, there co-workers. Violence for example toward women (or children - even toward other men) by men, is a Men's issue (despite being widely touted as a "women's issue"). It will take more individuals that possess the necessary courage, integrity and moral fibre to speak up in their circles of influence. Speaking up is not easy - however I believe it was Martin Luther King that said "In the end, it is not the words of our enemy that we will remember, but the silence of our friends." Whatever encourages this silence: false misguided loyalties, shame, concern for approval, must become part of the conversation - one by one, personal transformations can lead to the forming of new paradigms of human relating where violence is no longer considered an option (let alone the default strategy).

This is not an issue that either gender has a monopoly on - men not only are perpetrators but victims of violence, just as women can be on either side of this dichotomy - violence toward children can be committed by either gender (particularly if you expand the defining criteria to include all forms of violence; physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, spiritual).

I'm not suggesting for a minute that these healing conversations are comfortable - frankly to speak out invites violence of one form or another. But what is the cost of silence, how uncomfortable is the continued spectre of violence woven through the fabric of our societies.

I personally have experienced circles (in this case) of men, where each is willing to examine for himself the shadowy attributes of his own character - to recognize and own, the negative projections of himself that he imposes upon others and become increasingly aware of his responsibility for the life (and world) he is creating. All this takes place in a space where there is support, encouragement and acceptance for each man in the circle provided by the men in the circle. Each creates and develops a "mission statement" that defines how this man intends to show up in the world and further gives him, over time the opportunity to continue to examine for himself what gets in the way. The point is this is occurring - it might be awkward, uncomfortable, and weird - but as far as I'M concerned it epitomizes courage and illuminates for me "everyday heroes" in a world that can at times be hard-pressed to demonstrate true "heroism," and gives me hope that real change is possible.

I have witnessed the healing that takes place and experienced it for myself I "know" that this works and would work on a grander scale - upon the world stage. But it would take the will and the intention of the people. A recognition that all the good works of the "women's movement" is not the end of the line. "We" are in this together - "we" all stand to gain through a furtherance of human evolution. It's seems to me little can be gained by women getting themselves into corporate board rooms, armed forces, political office, clergy, tradesperson etc. and then embody an excess of "male energy."It was (is) an imbalance that created the original problems - further imbalance cannot solve the problem.

I know in my personal life changes are coming about - but only as I acknowledge what isn't working (and most importantly what I'm doing (or not doing) to contribute to this). I'm just a link in the chain of humanity - I can't just sit back and point at all that is "broken"without acknowledging my share. My life though on the one hand, very small in relation to all of the known and unknown universe - then again I am inextricably connected to it all - my life does not occur in a vacuum.

I think all dichotomies exist as do two sides of the same coin - men and women could for all time stare at each other across the chasm of gender division but can humanity ever really benefit from continued divisiveness of any sort. Seems to me there's a clue in the word "divisiveness" (i.e. divide). "We" can embrace are unique concerns - while each also takes full responsibility for what is their's - rather than perpetuating the senselessness of "right/wrong."

All could begin to risk more of themselves to make the world a more open welcoming place for the other and it might start something like this: "Can we talk?"