Archive for the 'Authors' Category
I think it was Eckhart Tolle who said, “not everyone is going to like you, not everyone liked Jesus”. Can you imagine that? Jesus was about love and equality and yet, we have people who didn’t care for his message. Why might that be? My guess is people weren’t open to the emotional logic and maturity of Jesus’ teachings. It didn’t feel safe to consider the concept of equality. It threatens the ego (mind) and since we have settled into fear as our most primary of emotions, the concept of domination (over others and nature) has taken a strong hold over humanities psyche and safety always seems to be at the crux of this tactic.
As far as safety is concerned, we’ve been taught to believe it’s mostly a financial game. If I am more important than you (cuz I have money), then I have a reason to get my way over yours. Of course that does play out by believing in a superiority over others mentality. Hence why the money stays within the 1% in this country. All of this of course then aptly justifies (in the minds of these precious few) why I have food when you don’t, have a big house, more money, material ease, personal comforts, get my way…..the list is endless).
What I’ve learned is money has little to do with our emotional success (a feeling of safety and connection to others) and that a sense of peace and wholeness does not come from a high income (isn’t Trump the epitome of proof?). Based on my experience, I feel safest when I have stability and with that a feeling of safety arises. When I feel stable, I feel safe, I can trust more and isn’t that what’s continually being threatened? Personal trust and safety is a COMMODITY and it’s one we’ve naively handed over to our persecutors (Corporations , the 1% not our neighbors) and then blindly believe it’s those whom we’ve given our power to who will save us when in fact they’re using or fears or inability to trust as the very weapons they wield against us (trump, media)?
It’s not about how much we have but rather- Can I depend on what I have to continue? Since that would imply an ability to control all aspects of life, including those I love, my boss, my clients, my friends and traffic (as a few examples) I could be screwed… SO the only way to truly create safety for myself is from within. It’s a courageous act, as it implies trust must already exist (on some level) and self-acceptance must be diligently applied, so we can learn how to accept and trust others. This is the how I keep moving forward-knowing I have the right to ind my mind otherwise I will only see the fear based teachings and I want more of my own power back I want to CHOOSE what I see.
Righteous anger. This is a phrase I have come across while reading a prolific contributor to our society, Rudolf Steiner. His contributions to mankind (in medicine, farming, education, spiritual development, to name a few) are continuing to blossom nearly a century after his death.
He wrote, “For the spiritual scientist, anger is also the harbinger of something quite different. Life shows us that a person who is unable to flare up with anger at injustice or folly will never develop true kindness and love. Equally, a person who educates himself through noble anger will have a heart abounding in love, and through love he will do good. Love and kindness are the obverse of noble anger. Anger that is overcome and purified will be transformed into the love that is its counterpart. A loving hand is seldom one that has never been clenched in response to injustice or folly. Anger and love are complementary”
Hear, hear, I feel vindicated. I have been given permission to accept myself and beyond that presented an understanding that feels in alignment to my truth. I have so often felt shame for my reactions to situations-either through a very uncomfortable silence which is then followed by the “moving right along” shift in conversation or through a direct hit, “wow you have anger issues”. Our culture has made it as challenging for a woman who expresses anger, as it has for a man who expresses fear. The judgments thrown our way are so prolific that many of us have learned to cut out the middleman and just slam ourselves (usually quite mercilessly) and through the use of culturally taught condemnation have cornered our esteem somewhere in a dank basement.
Non-Violent Communication training (NVC), the process created by Marshall Rosenberg, was another place where I learned another level of self-acceptance for what has been called my, “not so lady-like” expression. It was through his gracious approach to viewing individuals, that I understood that anger is akin to a warning light in a car. A successful approach to this “warning signal” would be to consider something’s happening, what’s needed to help the car feel (run) better? We never say the car has issues and simply leave it at that, usually we tend to its warning signal and apply the necessary care needed to help it run smoothly. Yet with people were prone to treat them with much less care.
So often my warning light starts to flash (maybe the first blush of anger starts to rise) when I feel alone and really want understanding. Through the use of NVC I learn how to take care of that need and nip anger in the bud, as in those cases it’s usually not so much a righteous anger as it might be a long winded rant. Nonetheless, it’s a process that lends itself to understanding and not flogging.
Dr. Mario Martinez, the founder of the Biocognitive Science Institute, encourages righteous anger as a pathway for individuals with disease or illness towards health and well-being. I appreciate him taking a stand for anger. Personally I could use the advocate, but I have wondered if what he’s encouraging is simply the expression of the ego and not really righteous anger? Am I moving steadily towards enlightenment or just spewing hell fire? Could I claim noble anger as my companion or was I just having a hissy fit?
I used to say, I’m not angry, I’m passionate, I applied that rationale as a means of protection from men who labeled me “crazy” and as a defense from women who liked to think they were better than me because they weren’t like me-they kept their emotions in line. And in fact this play on words was a strategy I was enacting in attempts to forgive myself for “acting out”, It didn’t work because I unknowingly bought into that masculine taught value (which is purported as the “right” approach to our emotional existence) and was attempting to deny the existence of anger by calling it something much more beautiful, la pasión. That approach is not that far off from Steiner’s conceit but there is a lot digging one has to undergo in order for that transformation from noble anger to loving-kindness to actually come forth. One has to identify what type of anger one is participating in the first place.
Thusly, I have often felt alone and embarrassed for my moments of anger and found myself buying so heavily into the social construction that being emotional was bad that I often found myself apologizing for my very existence (the shadow of the feminine energetic). Through Steiner and Rosenberg’s heartfelt insights (the positive feminine energies) I have learned a balanced approach to my emotions, where denying them isn’t prescribed. I may curtail them to gain insight and self -awareness, but I do not deny them to gain others favor. Fortunately for me as I age, growth has occurred through my diligent pursuit of wanting to being an authentically caring person (healthy, true, honest, empowered/empowering). I have come to a richer understanding of my emotional life and it’s purposefulness.
My saving grace has come through learning the difference between indignation and righteousness, high minded vs. disgruntled anger. There are numerous examples of disgruntled, ego based (fear driven) organizations and persons who believe they are doing the “right” thing while causing harm to others on the behalf of their beliefs. Disgruntled indeed!
One way I have learned to identify this ego motivated anger within me is was if I wanted someone to feeeeel my pain. My fuel is then most likely indignant anger and therefore all actions taken from that stance will only perpetuate pain and suffering rather than create long term solutions that heal.
So if one considers Steiner’s words, “When a person educates himself through noble anger he will abound in love”, then it must follow that the obverse to ego based anger is thoughtfulness and if this is so, the motivation for taking action is derived from an entirely different energetic.
Thoughtfulness doesn’t mean being kind, it means taking the time for introspection and rumination. It means applied focus and concentration. Towards what end is up to you. The clearest formula I have found suitable for distinction is: Separation thinking (ego/indignant anger) vs. solution-oriented healing (noble/high minded righteous anger).
Is the mind creating more problems by harboring us against them thinking or is it searching for answers, which could bring harmonious outcomes? Complaining for the sake of relief or ridicule is the ego’s mechanism for steering you directly away from love, which is the highest mind available. Feeling moved to make a difference though means of supportive and creative processes transforms indignation and personal anger into is the healing expression of love in action. This is why Steiner included in his above statement that, “Anger that is overcome and purified will be transformed into the love that is its counterpart”. It takes willingness on our part to go beyond personal suffering and, like the NVC mascot, the giraffe, see above the situation. By having the fortitude to approach anger for the gift that it is, rather than something to be shunned, we can curtail its negative effects on others as well as ourselves and use it as a serviceable vehicle of transformation.
I went to a Marianne Williamson fundraiser this past weekend. I left feeling awful. I had the notion to bring up a question and when I did my whole body began to shake and I felt fearful. It was shocking to me, because I had never considered myself shy or fearful to speak up in these type of situations. Yet, there I was, wobbly while sitting in my seat.
Eventually I decided to do it, the timing seemed right, Alanis Morissette just brought up being angry. It was my cue in. I asked if there was a way to take anger and make it righteous from the standpoint of bringing thought into it and then apply a new approach to it-taking the energy it provides and directing others into a way of thinking that doesn’t include the word, “evil”, as Marianne had used earlier in the day. Can there be a way to be angry and transmute that anger into a different conversation?
I will give you the very abbreviated version of her response. I was made into a “mambe-pambe spiritual person who wants people to like me”.
Woah…How crazy is that? SO FAR from who I am…its absurd.
Had she an ounce of GRACE or of that LOVE (words she so often likes to throw around) she would have simply addressed the question not come after me.
All she needed to say was that the word evil is the word she feels most comfortable using based on all the atrocities on our planet and that she just couldn’t describe it any other way.
Logical enough but instead I was met with all the grace of a sumo wrestler taking a yoga class. I wonder what triggered her so much that she felt the need to rip me down? Where in her is that anger still fueled by her own “evil” feelings that allows her to justify treating others like doormats?
I would have gladly supported her quest to congress (Waxman’s district/ 33rd) had I been allowed some understanding that didn’t include nailing me to a cross. I’m not the one running for public office, I am not expected to ferret out the tough questions (as she would be expected to do) but I guess she was just priming me for my own life in public!
I can’t support her. Not because I am hurt, I am clear enough to know what’s mine to process and what’s hers….but because she isn’t the person she claims to be, but I already guessed that…which is why she spit back a response towards me rather than offer a thoughtful return to love (this is one of her book titles) based reply.
Clearly disappointed in the experience but will continue believing that someone like Marshall Rosenberg or Eckhart Tolle may one day have more influence in the world than evil or the fragile ego of Marianne Williamson. Who I’m sure would love to bludgeon me at this point.
I was climbing the stairs in Culver City. As one ascends what becomes clear is that their daunting not simply because there are over 400 steps at a steep angle but that they’re also very uneven in height. Some are quite reasonable, akin to an apartment building stairwell. While many demand double effort and lung capacity to mount them (causing short ones like me to have to really reach!).
As I dragged my heaving torso and leaden legs towards the top, I was met by a slender, tall, very fit, African American man-friendly, chipper…. annoying? How can he be so happy when at this moment, when I tempered with exhaustion, I’m barely audible! Mumbling, waving hands, I send the “thumbs up” in his direction, hoping he won’t expect conversation at this point.
Okay. 2nd round. There he is again. This time with a bit more breath available I say to him, “how sweet of you to cheer us on”. He responded positively but then quickly enough decided that my word to describe his support was incorrect. He preferred, “motivator”. “Cheering”, was decidedly too feminine.
I asked what’s wrong with being “feminine”? He immediately understood what I meant. You mean, caring, he asked? YES! I said enthusiastically, with an undercurrent of shock humming within too. He associated feminine to caring. How beautiful to know that a random man on the Culver City steps, is carrying around the consciousness that femininity equates to care! Yet, it’s that very fact he didn’t want to be associated with the word care that caused a brief bubble of disappointment or sadness to pop up. We continued talking a bit longer. I expressed that caring is precisely what he’s doing at the top of those stairs, helping others feel good about their accomplishments. After pause, he did agree. How sweet (another feminine feature I suppose?). He put his masculine ideals aside for a moment and decided that care was a quality he valued. By the end of our conversation I believed he was comfortable to be seen as a man who cared and actually felt safe with that little secret being exposed (at least between us).
You’ll know there’s a huge shift in consciousness the day boys are referred to as “girly” and it’s taken as a compliment! And when later in life they hear: Why mister so and so….you have so many feminine qualities, we’ve been searching for a girly man like you, welcome to our firm! HA….not likely but one can play, dance and skirt around the notion.
What is your definition of spirituality? What is your idea of a leader?
Where does your spirituality come from, where does it live in your body?
Can loving connection come from the mind or is it an action that is taken when the heart becomes activated and does the interpreting along with the head?
As with Byron Katie’s teaching and that again of Marshall Rosenberg, our thoughts must be interrupted in order for the heart to engage. To question: from whence our thoughts arrive, where were they learned and what are they serving, can bring great personal wisdom. Often, because of our cultural education, the heart does not lead in communication. We must give the heart an opportunity to work in tandem with the mind. The mind has to be taught how to forge a perception that is greater then self -protection.
This is where you’ll develop the ability to ask, what is my motivation, what shall be my guide?
As long as your decisions lead you to a place of heart motivated answers, any safety you desire in life will have a chance to build and grow from within.
The choices we make moment by moment are what develop how we become and perceive the world around us. Is it a world whose only purpose is death and destruction or is it a world of continual growth and evolution? Mind abandoning heart or heart engaging with mind? Which will lead you? Yes, the mind can see the “truth” of the everyday atrocities, and using the heart as a perception device may look like an airy-fairy sugar coated version of that view-but that’s if that’s how you choose to see it.
The heart provides profound moments of truth when given permission to speak. We’ve all seen photo’s of devastation, suffering and pain and among them we’ll see a single flower cutting through the soil, in it’s own equal struggle for life, it reveals it’s quiet knowing beauty. That single flower could bring your mind to its knee’s, or rather, into the heart; as this expression of life, which blooms so innocently, is the divine’s challenge to show us beauty amongst the destruction, if we choose to see it. We are given the task to rise above the moment, to not judge what we cannot understand without the clairvoyant view from the heavens.
This is our work as a species and in many ways what Barbara Marx Hubbard espouses.
How to get in contact with God, the real truth of God? Not the man made with human traits of hate and jealousy and justice God- but the divine knower of all that is (which resides within us), the God that quietly resides in moments of connection, contentment, safety. Each traits of trust or even more confronting: blind faith. You would be mistaken to consider faith as passive. It takes diligence of mind, the act of conscious directing and choosing what thoughts and idea’s one will serve.
It is my guess that even when there is death and destruction that the God energy of this planet does not wail in grief and misery but simply goes about knowing the ultimate Truth. Knowing that in time our species will set aside the pettiness of personality differences and embrace the unique expression that comes forward as an I.
As that begins to happen over and over and over and….over…then the Christ Consciousness seed that is felt within so many of us wandering souls will unfold fully and the upliftment referred to as enlightenment will have it’s day among humanity and the planet Earth. The divine beings whose presence surrounds and guides us, does not fret, the discovery of self as God beings in harmonious action and perceptions can come.
Listen to the heart and what it has to say when you are in communication with those around you who are yet unable to listen for themselves (what you are yet to do for yourself), love unconditionally. Listen to their desire to be held and see that same desire within you. Look to their pain as a plea for acceptance. Honor that plea and give it. It’s damn hard, but you can do it. Break into the heart and do it; lead.
We are each prisoners of judgment, shame, guilt and fear. I sit and I watch the defensive postures of those around me in the café, each unaware of that very fact. Each believing the defensive mechanism they have chosen truly hides their insecure condition. The tattooed man with his armored ink believes he cannot be seen, the rabbit hidden within the bush holds stone still, but those of us skilled in sight spot the vulnerable creature nonetheless.
The fear that carries us daily propels us into the hardened world we continue to create. The one faced with deathly images of children, men and their mothers being raped, murdered and killed right next door to us and yet, nothing stops us long enough to feel their death upon our hands. We continue forth believing we are innocent because we are suffering too, but we do not stop long enough to accept this fact. Rather we move forward with our hard bodies, hard minds, hard breasts and ever growing hardened hearts.
Perhaps the ink on the next tattoo will actually penetrate the veins of life and pull blood from ourselves, a blood that within it’s vibrant red flow causes us to pause and feel the trickle of life it provides. We rush past and through our existence either praying it will end or believing we are invisible (I meant to write invincible, do you suppose that’s a glorious faux pas of the unconscious trying to teach its lesson?) and never really ever feeling the glory of God within.
The struggle runs so deep because we carry so many layers of pain of mis-belief. We store lies within our system of judgment. They feel like truths because they have logic and sense attached to them, or so we think. They make sense because they are true for us. The words we hear in our head we automatically accept as true. How often do we question the thoughts we carry. We see someone look at us and make an instant deduction of what the persons could be thinking and of course, whatever it is, it’s generally about us. About our good looks or fat body, about the bad hair we feel we have or the great sense of style we project. I wonder how many times that person we believe is thinking about us in that moment, is actually looking past us and wondering about what the person behind us is thinking about them!
How often do we have a thought that actually is incorrect? How often is our perception of why what another person does is actually being colored by your current mood ? Have you ever noticed that your mood actually is the determining factor of what someone is thinking? Have you ever noticed that your own guilt can provide the very reason that the person before you is being judged?
May want to visit the Byron Katie website for more info. on questioning thought patterns. She is genius.
A friend of mine, during a phone conversation, was suddenly met with the sound of the dial tone, as his 5- year old son decided he had had enough (of not getting his way). My guess is this was a behavior he observed in others, otherwise how could a 5 year old know that hanging up on someone when frustrated was an option?
The father then called the child back and said, “You shouldn’t hang up on people, that’s not nice”. The child said (the obligatory) sorry and they moved on.
Does that appear to be good parenting skills? Did dad do the right thing? What was the focus? Teaching his son good behavior? Is that a demonstration of love or connection? Do you think the child felt satisfied by their interaction?
Our society seems to have little understanding of how to truly interact with each other in supportive ways. Often, the focus (and I am sorely guilty of this) seems to be more on correcting than connecting (thank you Marshall Rosenberg) advising over allowing. We take great pride in being able to find a place or reason to tell another how they can better themselves, but do very little to acknowledge that who they are and how they feel is completely acceptable and perfectly fine. We are brilliant at guidance but are we equally genius at allowance?
Of course we are unwitting in our ignoring of the emotional need that’s often presenting itself- because it’s often unspoken. We are left to guess and wonder to what it is that our comrade, brother, sister, son or daughter, lover, boss, companion and neighbor are saying when they scream, yell, hang up, walk out or even worse (gasp) curse. We are hardly to know that in fact when they slam down the phone, that was is actually and in reality being said is: HELP ME (feel better).
Instead we tune out the emotional need that fuels the furry and focus on the physical action and tell them, no, no no man. No don’t do that, don’t behave like that and whatever caused you to do that, is in no way necessary to discuss as it might be painful and not comfortable to confront so just shhhh, don’t do that, don’t do that I say. Listen to my words don’t follow my example but live out the fear within the context and privacy of your own heart and mind and do not do not feel in front of me, as it’s not easy for me to feel anything…anymore. We have become deadened to the hearts and care of others. We accidentally put ourselves first and forget about the other.
Does the father who corrected his son realize that he just sidestepped his sons’ emotions, definitely not. As our main and sometimes only source for parenting education comes via our parents and while many of us aren’t thrilled with our parents style, it’s the only one we know and rarely do we understand just how their style may have failed us. We just know it did. Thus, we repeat the same knee jerk reactive reactions, the same meaningless mantras (because I said so that’s why) and remain trapped in a form of behavior that produces a quick fix, desired result but does it serve? Does it create a satisfying connection to our loved ones? Based on the number of people I have worked with, interacted and shared time with on this planet, I am going to say, no. So many people never really feel heard. So many of us believe ourselves to be invisible. Our needs and loving intentions ignored or worse, misunderstood.
In the child parent interaction just sited, the parent wanted the child to know, “we don’t act that way because it’s not nice”. Why was that the focus? Why wasn’t the child’s emotional expression addressed from the standpoint of the child’s need instead of from the judgment of his action? Nowhere within our educational culture is there a process that’s taught based on our hearts ability to see and teach.
Therefore the parent really felt he was addressing the situation fully and “correctly”. What really was addressed was the parents belief that he was properly teaching his child about manners and while inadvertently taking care of his feelings about being hung up on (“that’s not nice to hang up on daddy” implies my feelings were hurt by your action, why would you do that to me) while the child’s hurt or frustration (demonstrated by the hanging up) wasn’t addressed. Never did the father say, why were you so upset? What made you so angry or hurt that made you want to hang up the phone?
This lack of questioning from the child’s perspective teaches him to feel bad for his action and shows that his original hurt that caused his “not nice” reaction is of no importance.
Now the child’s emotional state has been layered with a small feeling of guilt for not being a nice person. Since no child wants to feel bad and wants to be viewed as “good” he quickly says sorry so he can release feeling bad and everything goes back to normal.
Except for the fact that this child is now sitting with a bit of embarrassment at making a mistake coupled with an unexplainable feeling of being completely overlooked. He doesn’t have the words or skills to tell you this, so you think everything is fine; and by the way, so does the child.
He has buried his feelings. How might that reveal itself in his behavior as he grows up with this continual neglect of his needs? Remember all that over crowding we have in our prisons? All of those children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or the unruly child who won’t listen in school? How about the myriad of adults who never seems to grow up emotionally?
What has erroneously been taught by this interaction? Be nice to others or you’re a bad person and your needs….oh well, those don’t matter.
Why did this happen? Because he was addressed with his fathers’ thoughts about what he did instead of concern about how the child felt. The childs feelings never entered the discussion (because the father wasn’t taught or nurtured from this perspective either, poor little one). Yet, the father felt very reassured within himself that he just taught his boy well because his son felt bad for what he did and said sorry.
Let’s try this scenario with the son feelings being considered too. The father calls back and this time says:
Dad: Wow, you were really upset, so upset you hung up the phone.
Dad: Were you feeling bad because you weren’t getting what you wanted?
Dad: I understand that, I sometimes get upset when I can’t get what I want too.
Dad: Do you still feel angry?
Son: No, I’m not angry, I just want that toy.
Dad: I hear that you want that toy. That may be possible, but we have to talk about that later, first I want to talk to you about something else. Okay?
Dad has no entered into the possibility of helping his son feel understood rather than only addressing his child’s reaction. If it really feels necessary to give a manners lesson, maybe the talk could continue along the lines below:
Dad: You know I get why you hung up on me, but when you hang up on people, it won’t help you get what you want.
Son: But Billy has the new WII and I want one too!
Dad: I hear ya, but hanging up on me or anyone, doesn’t help get what you want, it may even make things worse. If I didn’t know you so well, I may think you were being mean to me. Luckily, I know you’re a great kid and you’re just angry, but other people might not know you so well and misunderstand why you hung up on them. They’ll think you’re rude.
Son: I’m not rude
Dad: I know that, like I said, you’re a great kid but sometimes other people will misjudge you and that’s okay but I just think you should know not everyone will understand that when you hang up, you’re just upset with not getting your way.
This discussion takes longer than most of our current day discussions. We just shortcut everything, we say the bottom line, cut to the chase and bark or say our wanted end results without ever considering how the other person may be feeling. If we were able to take in the other persons’ perspective while considering what it is we truly want in the moment (do I want my child to feel loved by me or to feel wrong?) we may have more connection and understanding in our relationships. I’ve noticed an immediate sense of satisfaction when I approach my discussions from this new viewpoint. I feel heard because I am actually expressing myself more clearly and I feel proud of myself for demonstrating more care for the other person. I often feel uplifted and it’s not because the other person did anything different, but because I did.
What is your definition of spirituality?
What is your idea of a leader?
What qualities does that person possess?
Where does your spirituality come from, where does it live in your body?
Is it motivated by your heart or head?
Can it really come from the mind or is it an action that is taken because the heart becomes activated and does the interpreting along with the head?
As with Byron Katie’s teaching and that again of Marshall Rosenberg, the thoughts must be interrupted most often in order for the heart to engage. They may not say it in those words but they do suggest to question from whence our thoughts arrive, from where have they been learned and what are they serving? Often, because of our cultural education, the heart does not lead in communication but must be given the opportunity to work in tandem with the mind. The mind has to be taught how to forge a perception that is greater then self -protection. This is our work as a species. How to get in contact with God, the real truth of God. Not the man made in the image of self God, but the divine knower of all that is, of all that is which creates from a sense of joy and connection. It is my guess that even when there is death and destruction that the God energy of this planet does not wail in grief and misery but simply goes about knowing the ultimate Truth. Knowing that one day our species will set aside the pettiness of personality differences and embrace the unique expression that comes forward as an I. As that begins to happen over and over and over and….over…then the Christ Consciousness seed that is felt within so many of us wandering souls will unfold fully and the upliftment referred to enlightenment will have it’s day among humanity and the planet Earth. The divine beings whose presence surrounds and guides us does not fret, for they know the Truth and are allowing us our own timing of the discovery of self as God beings in harmonious action and perceptions.
Listen to the heart and what it has to say when you are in communication with those around you who are yet unable to do for themselves what you are yet to do for yourself, love unconditionally. Listen to their desire to be held and see that same desire within you. Look to their pain as a plea for acceptance and honor that plea and give it.
Hear their words and know, they do not yet themselves know how to love and be loved and are looking for you to be their leader.
I have often observed persons who have a superior intellect apply it towards diminishing others self esteem rather then uplift and support. It’s the way our whole male dominator paradigm has operated in the world for centuries and it’s my intention to challenge the way we use our minds (as does Gary Zukov, Eckhart Tolle, Carolyn Myss, Byron Katie and my current favorite, Marshall Rosenberg all do with such brilliance).
My hope is to get people to actually think about supportive dialog when interacting with others rather than the current unconscious training from which most of us speak, which is of the “divide and conquer” model. As our society teaches, winning is right, and the most important goal to accomplish. Winning is the cause of righteous self- grandiosity with little regard for the well being or nurturing of the heart of self or others.
Wouldn’t it be a rosy (or maybe a real time slap in the face) world if we actually could hear/feel how our words affect those around us? I do include myself in this by the way; I know I am far from pure and clean. I do occasionally throw the verbal dagger on purpose, but mostly jab without even realizing (as most of us do). My success with this post would come if I can assist in creating that brief pause before a person speaks, a second to re-choose words that have an arc (as opposed to a piercing thrust) during the invisible path from mouth to ear, cause a softer landing and less damage to the heart of the other person. That being said, we can’t take responsibility for how one choose to hear us, but we can be as clear and clean as possible when we speak, knowing our intentions are purely for connecting, educating, uplifting, supporting, sharing and when necessary finding a way to get our needs met that won’t jeopardize the other persons self worth.
How do we unwittingly patronize, degrade or dismiss others?
We rationalize our approach in logic and fact and believe our perceptions. We do very little listening to how our facts or opinions may effect the other. Recently I watched, Burn After Reading. In it, the wife states to the husband (in reference to him being black mailed for his memoirs), “why in the world would anyone think they have value?” Yes, it causes a laugh from the outside, as the raw, blunt honesty of her thoughts slaps him mercilessly across his already self- loathing face. For her, the confusion was true, as her respect and care for him at this point diminished to nothing. Yet, would she have hurt him (chosen that approach) to this degree if she were aware of how devastating her words sounded to his ears let alone to the ears of a passerby? If nothing at all, merely due to the selfish and fearful thought of how others would perceive her? Perhaps that’s the one instance where grace and ego can actually serve each other. If she thought for a moment her words were over heard by a stranger, would she have said them?
We’ve been taught that to hate upon the self (or to give a cold honest opinion to others) is the key to self-awareness or “perfection”, if you will. Yet, I dare ask, how is it possible to pick on, belittle and criticize while never allowing the human attributes of compassion, gentle communication, loving connection and guidance be felt for the self and others and yet expect the end result to equate to perfection? What an oxymoron. Isn’t “perfect” really an opinion anyway and a reflection of an individuals value system? What I deem as perfect for me, may be true (but really just a mind training I’ve bought) but to apply that to others is just a form of narcissism (an exaggerated sense of self importance) isn’t it? I learned this with the most non-consequential of examples.
We are taught as women to wear our nail polish (and wear it we must if we are to be considered a woman of status) without chips, makes sense, right? The chipped and tattered nail is often associated with the unkempt and unclean, perhaps even the street -walker types. I agreed fervently. Until I met a girlfriend, an artistic old soul whose passion for God and beauty, whose sustained belief of man as beings of light, regardless of their unconscious actions, wore chipped nail polish… on purpose. She felt it was (quite simply put) cool. With this, I have grown exponentially in my judgment of what perfection really is anyway. One person’s or maybe one organization’s thought (generally with a self serving agenda) pushed upon the human race so strongly (via media, which generates peer pressure, yes, even upon the adult population, I mean, look at UGGS, could they have ever become “hip” otherwise?) that we’ve all slowly started to accept the views of others over (or as) our own. Thankfully my girlfriend has maintained a strong connection to her artistic self and hasn’t fallen into the trap of the group mentality. Thankfully, I was wise enough to respect her own wisdom and allow it to chip away at my idea of what perfection really means.
To bring this to the basics, why do we want to be viewed as perfect? We believe that if we are perfect, we will get all the love and support, understanding and compassion we desire, yet without providing it to the self first, it will never be given by other’s. That’s what the mirror theory is all about, we teach others how to treat us. How we talk to self, the vibration of who we are exudes out to those around us. They pick up on that self talk, on the invisible realm we have termed, someone’s “vibe”.
Hence the adage, you can’t truly love someone else until you love yourself. How we talk to the self is how we talk to others. Want to know what you think of yourself? Look and listen. Do you ridicule, complain and feel like a victim to the circumstances of your life or do you explore, seek to understand and view challenges and heartache as gifts from the universe that provide you with an opportunity to learn and grow? Neither is wrong, but my guess is, one will provide you with a more enjoyable or in the very least, compassionate viewpoint of life. I was raised in an environment of great sorrow, repression and pain. It’s what I knew and spoke for the first forty years of my life. I write these words due to the trial and error of seeking inner peace. I am far from the “enlightened” status of the master and teachers before me but then again, perhaps my idea of enlightenment equates to perfection and if so…who am I to judge what that looks like and really what does that mean? Acceptance of self seems to be the key factor in achieving perfection.
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A change in perspective. We hear it all the time, it’s considered the new “catch phrase” among the spiritual teachers and new age coaches. The question is, how do we truly get to that place? How do we see another persons perspective clearly without painting an agenda onto it?
I have been challenged recently with this very idea. This desire to hear authentically has always been with me, but rarely if ever have I been able to do this very task. I have pursued different teachers, different paths and different ideologies and belief that NVC, which stands for Non-Violent Communication (createed by Marshall Rosenberg), has one of the most profound techniques for assisting with the communication/compassion needs of humanity.
My coach, who is a very dedicated 23 year-old young man, has been immensely helpful in my process. He, from the goodness of his heart, has been guiding myself and others through this process for no charge. A gift from his heart to the rest of the world, I thank him deeply for his dedication and belief in a better world.
In conjunction with NVC, I am using another approach. My coach, Daniel, doesn’t full agree with this mixed bag of tricks as he knows that straight NVC talk does work, but forgives me as I am a babe in the woods and knows that I am lost!
What I have found that if the need to defend oneself and the need to be heard (first) leaves our mind, no longer is the focus of our chosen words about us and the ability to hear what the other person is truly saying comes through much stronger. The ability to unite rather than fight is more easily accessed and since I have always been plagued with the desire to be free, I am finding that the freedom I crave is coming forth more quickly than it ever has before. I encourage all persons to engage from a place of just acknowledging what the other person is saying. A simple, thank you for your thoughts is enough. I recommend speaking honestly about what is being felt within your body, as it is a huge source of information, if one stops to feel, the words become more honest and less defensive or attacking of the other. They are descriptors of your experience only, such as: I feel really tight in my chest and I’m scared. I feel a lot of energy trapped in my chest and I want to scream. Those are honest communications and they do not make you bad, wrong or defensive and nor do they put any onus on anyone else. They are just reports. When reporting about oneself, you have the opportunity to feel more deeply what it is that’s really caused the offense to occur in the first place and in doing this type of self-research, you realize your really the one who is carrying all these thoughts and idea’s about yourself (that you haven’t really heard come from the other persons mouth at all), but you have thought them silently. Where did those thoughts and feelings arise from originally? Why has this moment awakened these feelings and what can you do to nurture yourself? This ability brings freedom, it brings healing to the core of self. It’s a really challenging process and I urge you to take it on, as it’s the most gratifying gift to give to oneself.
Blessings to you.