Joy


What does it take to generate joy?  I say this is a question worthy of my attention, your attention, our attention.

Is there an experience that is more nourishing than joy?  The joy of being alive- present to the gift of life?  I say for me there is no experience that nourishes me more than joy.  What about you?

How often do you experience joy? Are you present to joy every moment? No?  How about every minute? No? How about every hour? No? How about once a day?  No? How about once a week? No? How about once a month?  No?

When was the last time you experienced joy?  When was the last time you opened the doors of your being to allow joy enter your life?  When?  Can you even remember?  And if you and I do not experience the joy in living then I ask this: what is the point of our living, of being alive?  Why bother with it all?

As I grapple with this question what shows up for me?  That my default way of being-in-this-world is to be on a journey.  What goes with a journey?  Planning. Preparing. Travelling. Hurdles-Obstacles-Surprise. Dealing with obstacles-hurdles-suprises. Breakdowns. Dealing with breakdowns. Busyness. Arrival at destination. Rest. Onwards to the next destination.  And the cycle repeats.

If you and I are so busy on busyness of life and our focus in on achievement then the doors of our being are locked. What are they locked to? Being present to that which is present. Being present to the miracle that is our existence.  Being present to the wonder of this world. Being present to joy – the joy of being here right now in this world.

I stopped the other day.  I took over the left over bread. Slowly patiently I tore it up into little pieces.  A smile was present on my face and in my being. Then I opened the door, went into the garden, and left these breadcrumbs in the right place – place where I see the birds hopping about.  In that being/doing I was a little child once more. Joy was present.  The joy of being connected with life. The joy of transcending selfishness and being of service.

On returning to the house it occurred to me that it really does not take much for joy to enter my house of being.  All it takes is thinking of my fellow participants in this game of life and engaging in little acts of kindness.  Making a cup of tea for wife or sons. Giving a hug. Receiving a hug. Telling a friend that she shows up as a source of inspiration for me. Cleaning the house so that it sparkles. Reading a book. Watching a movie. Writing. Going for a walk and allowing my face to be touched by sunshine.

Sometimes it doesn’t even take that. It just requires being present. Yesterday, driving daughter over to the gym, she asked me if she could turn on the radio. I said yes. Shortly, she was listening to one of her favourite songs, singing along beautifully and then the following came forth: “I just love music!” Wow! I found myself to be sharing in some of her joy.

It occurs to me that joy shows up when I chose to be joyous. It occurs to me that joy shows up when I wonder that I exist, the sun exists, the sky exists, laughter exists, hugs exist, movies exist, that I can drive…..It occurs to me that joy shows up when I put myself into action and contribute to the wellbeing of others.  How about you?

Being a source of contribution: is it as simple as listening?


What does it take to be a source of contribution? Does it take advising?  Does it take fixing?  Does it take doing?

It occurs to me that I can be a source of contribution by simply being present and listening to the other.  What kind of listening?  Non-judgemental listening. Listening without any fixing.  Listening without any telling.  Listening without bringing myself into it. Listening that keeps the light/attention on the person who is doing the speaking. Always on the person doing the speaking.

I just got off a call.  It is not an everyday kind of call.  It was an extraordinary call.  A call that showed up as a contribution in lives. And it is left me humbled.

The first person I spoke with was in pain.  Not as much pain as she was this morning. This morning she cried over the phone.  This evening she did not cry, she shared.  I listened. I listened to her story: of illness; of disappointments; of struggle; of her shame; and the actors that bring her this suffering and heap this shame.

All the time that I was being listening stuff showed up that needed to be dealt with. Whose stuff? What stuff?  The stuff was thoughts, urges, fixed ways of being/doing.  My thoughts, my urges, my fixed ways of being/doing. The temptation to advise was strong.  The temptation to fix was strong. The temptation to minimise her suffering was strong.  And I was in a clearing where I could see this stuff clearly, let it arise, grasp it not, and so let it fall away.

What showed up after this conversation?  I noticed that I had allowed myself to get enrolled in her story. Specifically, I noticed that I had hostile feelings toward a number of actors who behaving badly were the cause of her suffering, her tears.  The next conversation was with one of these actors.

I noticed that I entered into the next conversation reluctantly.  Truthfully, I did not want to speak to him. He showed up for me as ‘bad’ and ‘wrong’ and thus ‘undeserving’ of my time, my listening, my love.  And I simply asked “How are you?” – letting go of the passion to give him a telling off.

He told his story and in the telling of his story he shared his pain and suffering. He burst into tears.  I found myself connected with him through his pain and suffering. I felt his pain, his suffering.  Again, the urge to fix the situation arose and tried to hook me. It fell away, I refused to grasp it.  I simply listened and in the listening got his pain, his suffering.  I just listened. And kept encouraging him to talk. Why was this necessary?

He did not want to take up my time. He did not want me to worry for him.  He did not want to cause me pain and suffering on his account. Ten or so minutes later, he was cried out.  He was no longer carrying his pain and his suffering had lessened. He told me that he loves me.  He told me that my existence matters to him. He told me that he wants to be near me – to get a hug. He told me that he never wants me to die.

A tear falls from my heart and my face.  What is the cause of this tear? I did nothing. I just listened.  I just let the other person tell his story and share his pain/suffering. I just said “I am sad to hear that you are in pain. I am sad that it hasn’t worked out the way you wanted it to work out. I wish I could fly over and give you big hug. I love you. And will it work for you if I ring you tomorrow and they day after?”

I am present to this: listening, pure listening, listening with compassion, shows up as huge source of contribution to the person who gets s/he has been listened to. And to me too.

Questions that provide access to transformation


Ordinary question generate ordinary living: an ordinary way of being and showing up in life.

Extraordinary questions stop us in our tracks, bring us out of our hypnotic state of everydayness, and provide a window to possibility and transformation.  The access to possibility and transformation is always questions: questions that rock us, shake us, tremble us.

If you are up for living a transformed life here are the questions to be with – totally and wholeheartedly:

1. Who am I?

2. Who am I for myself?

3. Who would I be if I lost my memory and had no past?

4. If I had no memory, who would I chose to be?

5. What calls to me when I am silent and courageous?

6.  Who would I chose to be if I knew with absolute certainty that I am whole-complete-perfect?

 

To be me or my reflection?


CleaIqbalMBrook

I am the being of a father. I choose to be the being of a father. As such concerns show up when it comes to all of the children.  And I notice, in particular as regards daughter, Clea. Why?

She is at that age, 12 years old, where there is the change in biology occurring. And at the same time she is acted upon by strong social forces.  The kind of social forces that make, bend, break us.

So it was with delight that I read the following piece. A piece written by daughter where she asks a powerful question – perhaps the most powerful question of all.

Reflections

A chair small. I guess it’s how others interpret it cause in the reflection of the chair it’s tall and big.  A bit like humans.

Humans. There is what we are. And there is our reflection, how other people see us.

But let me ask you this, which one is more important? In our days everyone cares about their reflection: how other people see them.

But is it useful just having/being a reflection? I mean is it useful having a reflection of a chair? I think it is more useful just having the chair, the real chair.

Humans, it is more useful to have/be the real you than your reflection because your reflection is worth nothing to you.

So today ask yourself this question “To be me or to be my reflection?”

Is this real love?


After watching the film The Impossible I found myself to have been affected rather profoundly.  Put differently, I found myself to be ‘all shaken up’.

What shook me was the humanity that showed up in that devastation, that suffering. What showed up for me was how little of a contribution that I am making in the world. What shook me up was the level of pain that is in the world and what little I do to help my fellow wo/man in being with / dealing with pain/suffering.  In short, I showed up for myself as a failure.  Perhaps, even a hypocrite.

So I found myself with tears running down my face. Being with what was so I found myself tired/exhausted. And, I feel asleep in the lounge whilst getting hugs from daughter and one of the sons.

Some hours later I woke up and  looked at the coffee table that was next to me.  What did I find?  I found a box of tissues and this note:

Clea I love you 1This note cheered me up.  I was touched by the love of daughter for me.  Then as I got up off the sofa that I was lying on and made my way to the mantlepiece I found my glasses and the following:

Clea I love you 2By now I was deeply touched.  It occurred to me that perhaps I have not failed to be/make the kind of contribution that I say I am committed to making.  Perhaps, just perhaps, I may be a decent human being doing.  This cheered me up.

As I looked around the room and specifically the dining table I found some stuff.  I wondered why that stuff was there.  Who had put it there and why?  Then I moved closer to the table  and found this waiting for me:

Clea I love you 3

At this point I found myself laughing out loud.  Why? I was totally present to the love that exists between daughter and myself.  It occurred to me that real love exists between daughter and me.  In that space I got that I matter, I make a difference. And as long as my living makes a difference to even one being then my life is not wasted. Nor am I failure.  It occurred to me that the future is wide open to being invented and lived for as long as I have this gift of a life – including the love that I am blessed with.

As I made my way around the rest of the house – the kitchen, the stairs, the bathroom, I found more notes from daughter saying the same “I love you! from Clea”. And in that moment, I got that this is real love.  I got how blessed I am and in getting that I found my being transformed: I straightened up, I was taller, a positive outlook gripped me, smiles and joy were present….

 

Aha: I am cause in the matter of!


I can become crazy annoyed with one of my sons.  What in particular presses my buttons and has me hopping mad?  He is talking about something, sharing something, asking for something, complaining about something.  Listening, I say something like “Enough. I don’t want to hear any more. Stop. This is not the time. No more!”  What does he do?  He continues on interrupted.

What do I take that to mean?  I give it many interpretations, many stories. And it goes something like this: he does not respect me; he is selfish; he lacks social skills; he is stupid!  What does that give rise to?  Either I leave the room or I put him down through labelling or I shout at him.  Whilst I regret this later and apologise it is true that in the moment I feel justified, even righteous.

A funny thing happened today.  Son asked me to take him to buy a torch.  We enter the store, I ask one of the clerks and we get to the section where the torches are hanging.  We pick a torch and head out to the cash tills to pay. It is late, towards closing time.  With the torch in his hand son starts moving towards and checking each of the closed tills.  I tell him they are closed. He continues. I go over take the torch from him head to the only staffed desk (Customer Services), pay and head for the car.

My son is already at the car. I open it and we both enter.  And I say “Son it occurs to me that you lack common sense..” He stops me and say “I don’t want to hear it.”  What do I do?  I carry on uninterrupted. What does he say? He says “I told you I don’t want to hear it.”  What do I do?  I continue saying what I was saying without missing a word!  What does he do?  He puts his hands over his ears.  What do I do? I continue speaking!

We get home.  What hits me?  It hits me for the very first time that I am a hypocrite.  I have just done to my son that which I detest when he does it to me.  Worse still, it hits me that this is not the first time I have done this.  Then this question hits me hard: “Am I the cause of his behaviour? Did he learn it from me?”

The answer?  Yes, it is highly likely that I am the cause in the matter of how my children show up: what they say, what they do, how they say it, how they do it….

What is present for me?  A certain humility. A recognition that I am cause in the matter of my life. And that I am reaping that which I have sown – at least when it comes to the behaviour of wife, sons, and daughter.  Sitting with that I am clear that there is no space for complaining to show up. Nor any space for me to play victim.

How about you?  Where in your life are you the cause of that which shows up in your life and of which you get righteous and complain?

The being / love of a mother: truly extraordinary!


The other day the four of us went to watch a movie: The Impossible.  The film makers say it the true story of a family of five that were caught up in the 2004 tsunami that hit Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and 12 other countries. And killed some 230,000 people.

I was gripped by the move from start to finish.  What gripped me in particular was the being of the mother Maria:

– Her absolute love for her son Lucas. And her willingness to do whatever it took to ensure his survival.

– Her humanity in the most dire of circumstances that save a young life, that of Daniel and which ultimately ended with Daniel being reunited with his father; and

– How she inspired her son Lucas to let go of his fear and call forth his humanity – to save Daniel, to help others in need, to be useful when so many were in pain.

I was also touched by the humanity of many others.  People who in the most desperate circumstances put their humanity in action: shared what they had to share, put themselves out to save lives.

If you have not seen it then I encourage you to go and see The Impossible.  If you do choose to go and see it then please think carefully before you take any non-adults to see this movie.  It is not for the faint-hearted.  And it is one of the very best movies I have seen.

Ultimately, it is movie of possibility, of transformation and of leadership.