Friday, 21 February 2020

Choose Again

Life, perhaps aptly described in the "Hollies" lyric: "the road is long, with many a winding turn....."
At the face of that, who can dispute it?
Certainly more unknown than not, a fact that will remained unchanged, no matter how much one "learns." Disclaim that within, you're kidding yourself. Proclaim it or imply it, in your writing, marketing, posting etc. could be seen, as attempting to mislead others. Of course it's up to each, as to whether or not they "buy" into anything. "Buyer beware," doesn't exonerate those that presume to lead, but are misguided or erroneous - it does point out the need for discernment by the "consumer," however, there is the question of whether others are lead down the garden path (as the adage goes.. "Do no harm..")

Now, without any need to go down the path, regarding those that would intentionally mislead for personal gain; generously; one could consider from an open mind that, more than not, stand in what they believe, present it accordingly, as that, which will be authentically beneficial to others. In other words they think they offer something useful.

Our economy and society is not necessarily founded on such a foundation & sound under-pinning. When I consider my navigation through my life, I suppose I could make a sweeping summation and observance of, a great deal of "trial and error." It's not even entirely necessary to label it "error," it was either directed toward a particular need or needs (with greater or lesser effectiveness) had worked for some period of time (until it was found to no longer be true). All my choices have been mine to make, the only provision being, that the consequences were mine to reckon with too.

I suppose that collectively: society, regionally, nationally - it's not that much different. Consequences may well play out on a larger stage and be exponentially more dramatic, but much of the misinformation, erroneous beliefs and even marked unconsciousness are the same. Interpersonally, I don't believe that groups of people, can be beat over the head, to change their beliefs The same could be said to be true for me (nor is that an effective way to address the need for change)... Nobody is going to embrace change, until they have come to a place of reckoning within themselves, that the time is nigh. Trying to enforce change, will only result in a half-hearted compliance, along with a mounting resentment and corresponding backlash. In this regard, lasting change will be thwarted in favour of a seeking of "freedom" - through what might amount to, self-defeating behaviour, sabotage and out and out rebellion.

Many of the facets of the "economy" are comprised of enterprises, that might claim to be life sustaining in the short term (i.e. they provided "jobs") but the industries themselves, when considered from a broader perspective, are generating income (for someone) providing wages, that no one can live on & placing undue strain on the environment, and the state of the world. They continue to be given the blessing to be, only on their contribution to economic merit. In a society that "values" work above the sustainability of land and water; that Dollar store job, is seen as more valuable than someone that rallies to try and impress on "the powers that be" a preference to preserve natural reserves, rather than continue to exploit them for profit.

 Corporate newspapers will print the letter questioning the employment status of someone that chooses to support a global cause and won't give equal voice to the person doing the supporting (without some accompanying ink to discredit it). Nobody knows if someone has taken the time off work, or from their personal business -  the sweeping assumption is made "go to work, good" protest injustice bad.. Who's to say that someone formerly employed, doesn't reach the tipping point within themselves and quits their dead-end job, and decides to participate in something that is more meaningful to them.

Who's business is that?

It should be up to the individual, but of course, there are no shortage of people miserable in their own choices that - won't feel any better if more join them in their misery, however self-righteousness, will reach new heights, if everyone isn't as miserable and unfulfilled as they are.

The "spiritual journey" which is life itself, working its way through everyone (whether you wrap yourself in any form of spiritual persona or not) - the real test of your mettle, will come when whatever you choose (doesn't align with the accepted "norm")...

If you are looking for the blessing of virtually anyone - with your choices, you will be vastly delayed or vastly disappointed. It doesn't matter if what you are choosing, for yourself, you yourself identify as being directly significant, to your quality of life (maybe even you're continuing to live) - there will always be those, that want to drag you back to their way of being (which may have been your way - but you've decided, no longer!!) "This is how it is..," "it's always been this way," "everybody knows that......" "oh come on, live a little.." "one won't hurt ya," "everything in moderation right..." 

WRONG!!!!!!!!! A moderate amount of arsenic will kill you ... moderately quickly!! Much of the modern commercially available "food chain," is nothing more than suicide on the instalment plan (& it's entirely legal to keep right on producing it, marketing it and selling it - even to your children)..

You can't moderate Wrong.... and those that keep the moderation myth alive, are those that are masters of manipulation and psychological leveraging, through which they continue to make enormous profit... They don't even need to keep spending money on advertising after a certain point, ... because John and Joanne Q. Public, keep on harping the erroneous propaganda into continued existence; all the while, killing themselves working, to pay for the lifestyle, that is killing them and life all over the planet. But just as long as it's okay with the Jones's - let's all carry right along!

I've been manipulated and I have been the manipulator.... Enough!

I can forgive my own ignorance and "best I could do with the information I had at the time.." I can extend that to "live and let live" and give other carte blanche to participate in their own ignorance.

Just keep your ignorance out of my business.

R. O'Neill (February 21, 2020)

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Eye (I) Exam

If you
Part of 
The whole..

Each of
Composite cells
Makes up
Your body...

Could you then...

To live
So decidedly

Still convinced
In a 

Of your

Than acknowledge
The web of

Convinces you
That Life
Was bestowed
Upon you
For the

Led you 
To believe
Matters more
Any other

Your suffering
Is beyond
That of
Any other
Living being?

That you 
Should be
Your share
The collective

Not then....

To run 

Your head
Your ass..




A moment
Each day

You pause
In yourself
All that 

It's not fear
Of what 
You think
Has you hesitate... 

It's the ladder
You climb
The wall
You placate..

flow of life
Has been 

Bent over 
An image
Designed to

Invisible drums..

Your steps


Blind date

R. O'Neill (February 06, 2020)

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Introducing the Stranger in "Our" Midst

At first blush, the idea: "Know Thyself...." (assuming it was giving any value at all - rather than written off as inane "navel gazing..") it might be considered an activity, that could be achieved "toot-sweet" and then there's nothing left to know.

"What do ya mean Know Myself??" "What you see is what you get - nothing more, nothing less..." "How can I help but "know me," - I am after all ME, who would know me better than me?

If one does decide to venture down that road of self-discovery, it is soon realized, there's more to this (me) than meets the eye; & maybe, I won't be done, in time to go to lunch.

What is it that "I" believe? How were those beliefs formed? Do I still believe them? Do I have to forego them, because I encounter someone else, that believes something different? How does the culture I live in shape my beliefs? (those about the world I live in..... about myself in that world) If I don't believe, the popular consensus, that my culture holds true, about that which is said to define me, am I then, prepared to walk out the door each day, and in effect, fly in the face, of widely held social agreements, in order to be myself? If I choose conformity, why is that so? What do I gain? What do I lose?

Am I willing to stand up within "my community" and disclose that these popular beliefs hurt me (and perhaps I'm not alone in that...). If in fact I cannot expect to effect change in those around me, what will it take for me to show up as me anyway?

I used to think one "goes along to get along..." or that "go with the flow" or "not making waves" were the necessary ingredients to peaceful living... (all of which made me "easy going..") they are not & it did not (at least this is true for me)... Below these notions were, "fear of conflict," "fear of rejection," "fear of getting hurt," "fear of humiliation," (a vast array of different "voices," the harbingers of a history of trauma in my early life)..... the problem with acquiescence to these fear-ladened voices, was that it leads me to self-abandonment; which has no hope of creating inner peace. But I never would have come to realize, that all this was in operation, without employing some introspection.

If one continually looks outside themselves, for the deciding measure, of what is acceptable; this perpetuates a painful disconnection, from oneself. Also true, if all or most of ones self-assessment, is that of admonishment, self-criticism, self-hatred, endless perfectionism; then living in that skin, will be exceedingly uncomfortable, to say the least.

To muddy the water further, just because someone has this inner world of negativity and poor self-image, doesn't necessarily mean, that their out-ward presentation, is clearly indicative of their inner suffering. Compensatory ways of being, can yield individuals that rise to the top of Fortune 500 corporations - they are among societies "highest achievers." in some cases that angst and rage, is channelled into sports, where it is applauded and richly rewarded. He or she that "gallantly gives their life in the service of their country" might have been suicidal (jump off a bridge, you're a loser - absorb the explosion of a hand-grenade and you're a hero).... dead either way! Of course it is not entirely cut and dried along these lines... I'm not a proponent of war - so it is a stretch for me to discuss, beyond my belief that it is abhorrent and grossly ineffective... However, in the context of a war - I can acknowledge, that there are those that act, with great courage and heroics (albeit, I'm not convinced, they needed to, or should be there, in the first place.

Before I could begin to gain any freedom, from the dysfunction of my early life, I needed to recognize that much that I had "normalized," through my immersion in it - was in fact, patently abusive. Through all the information available these days that unpacks the different forms violence can take, I learn that many of my ways of being (i.e. sarcastic, sometimes passive/aggressive, sometimes just aggressive) are of themselves violent.That they are widely practiced and accepted in the society I live in doesn't do anything for me to grow beyond my own dysfunction. Beyond that, I learn that beliefs I formed about myself, were what would be expected; given what's known about the development of a child's psyche, and how the environment they are in, shape their beliefs. So despite beliefs to the contrary, I wasn't "broken" right from the start. Behaviours, personality etc. were formed, in order to survive in a given environment. They were at that, highly successful.

They don't however serve me in my life ongoing. They don't serve me, or my relationships. They don't serve me in my capacity, to function in the world. If every difference of opinion, or unfounded criticism or even assessment that is intended to be helpful (though every instance of such isn't necessarily automatically a "trigger") lights the fuse, of a cascade of "trauma" responses; & my "reaction," is one that has the intensity, of "fighting for my life..." (a disproportionate response to the given circumstance) this is both, not what I want for my life, and not what I want to bring, to the lives of others.

The exploration of my past is helpful, to understand, how these beliefs and ways of being, came about. There is no further intention, to blame my history or those in it. The ongoing healing work calls for a deepening of personal responsibility (not for what happened) but for the beliefs (mine), feelings, (mine), behaviours (mine). I'm not looking to wrong myself continually anymore - just to recognize, Yup that was what I did, or said...... this doesn't need to look like self-condemnation (what did I need, what was I afraid of, what did I believe was occurring at the time - what do I need to do to clean up my part?)

In honest relating - conflict is inevitable. However, assumptions, presumptions, presuppositions, dragging the past into the present (whether that involves interaction with the same person or someone that I am now "substituting" as the villain from my past - in the current sequel of my movie).... does nothing to resolve conflict... Truth be told it does nothing to sooth the hurt/discomfort in me and more often than not, creates a spiralling back-lash of shame for my behaviour. I can't remember any instance of seething self-righteousness that ever made me feel better. Quite likely because, the unmet needs are still, unmet! The dust settles and nothing has changed, except now there is a great deal more hurt added to whatever the original conflict was.

There is so much more (as Rumi indicated) in the "field that lies, between right and wrong..." So much more to feed the possibility of connection - maybe if only,  both "sides" walk away, maintaining the patency of their respective beliefs - but still somehow enriched by the honouring of each other, a new or continued connection, and not having destroyed another soul in a "no holds barred" need to be "right;" then maybe the new "norm" could be one of more consistently seeking understanding instead of "living and dying" (sometimes literally) over who's right & who's wrong.

There is a rich field of communication available to each of us (within ourselves), a life time of learning and understanding, endless layers of nuance and mystery.

This certainly is not the last word. Take a look in the mirror, who do you see? Instead of insisting you know all there is to know about them or impose what you believe to be the absolute unshakeable truth; ask he or she if there's anything they would like you to know about them.

You might be surprised by the answer.

R. O'Neill (February 05, 2020)