Seize The Initiative & Create Your Own Circumstances


Today I happened across a point of view that resonates with me. It occurs to me that this is a point of view that anyone and everyone who is up for anything other than a small life should ponder / read – every day.  Here it is (bolding mine):

Everything in this world conspires to put you on the defensive. At work, your supervisors may want the glory for themselves and will discourage you from taking the initiative. People are constantly pushing and attacking you, keeping you in a react mode. You are continually reminded of your limitations and what you cannot hope to accomplish. You are made to feel guilty for this and that. Such defensiveness on your part can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Before anything, you need to liberate yourself from this feeling. By acting boldly, before others are ready, by moving to seize the initiative, you create your own circumstances rather than simply waiting for what life brings you.”

– Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War

I have heard many points of view on Donald Trump success in the presidential race.  It occurs to me that Robert Greene’s point of view may be a better explanation than any I have come across.  Trump seized the initiative, he set the terms, he was willing to go where other professional politicians were not because it was not professional – not the way that the game was played, he made folks play to his strengths on his terms. The least qualified candidate won because he was not willing to be put on the defensive.

Thank you for your listening; I wish you the very best. Until the next time….

 

Abdul Sattar Edhi: An Inspiration For Those Who Are Up For Playing Big


You and I want our lives to matter. We want our lives to make a real difference — to be of genuine consequence in the world. We know that there is no satisfaction in merely going through the motions in life, even if those motions make us successful or even if we have arranged to make those motions pleasant. We want to know we have had some impact on the world. In fact, you and I want to contribute to the quality of life. We want to make the world work

-Werner Erhard

Yesterday I learnt that Abdul Sattar Edhi is no longer. You’ve probably not heard of him. Yet, in my eyes, he sit there alongside Gandhi as one of the world greatest examples of humanity: a peaceful warrior for the poor, the downtrodden, the outcasts…. A living example of what is possible when one makes one’s life a stand for something noble – something that calls to the deeply human in us, no matter how deeply it is buried.

Sadness. Tears, Sadness. Tears, Sadness. Tears….. A profound sense of loss. Yet, I have never met the man, merely donated money to the organisation he founded. So from where does this deep sense of grief arise?

What is it that i find my deepest self (that which is beyond my conscious control) mourns for?  The loss of a saint, the humanity he embodied, and the humanity he called forth in many people. I suspect that he left heft many of us feeling better about ourselves and the world that we find ourselves.

For as long as there is one Edhi there is hope. More, an Edhi is an opening, a clearing, for our humanity to show up and make difference: to contribute to the quality of life – for all.

 

People have become educated, but have yet to become human.

-Abdul Sattar Edhi

So this is my invitation to you, to me, to us: Let’s play BIG, starting right now, by putting our humanity, the kind of humanity that Abdul Sattar Edhi,  into action.

I thank you for you listening. And I ask that you show up and travel in manner that makes a positive difference to the quality of your life, our life, life itself.

Play BIG: Give Up Cynicism, Embrace Possibility & Greatness


For the purposes of this conversation when I speak ‘big’ I am pointing at a combination of the following: standing for a possibility and/or set of values; and how one shows up and travels in life – one’s being.

Let’s being the conversation.

What kind of a being is human-being? Wiser folk than I have pointed out that man is being-in-the-world-with-others. How is this relevant to the game of playing big in life?

It occurs to me that there is only so much that you/i can do on our own.  There is a limit to how much work I can do just by myself. There is a limit to the impact I can make if the only person that I can count on is myself.  Which is my way of saying that any game, no matter how big I say it is, is small if the only person involved in playing that game is myself.

Put differently, truly playing BIG, and in standing for possibility that in some way-form creates a ‘better world’, involves one’s fellow human beings in playing BIG.  So how I relate to and stand in relation to my fellow human being matters.

What are the choices?  Is the default, the choice that is in play – in me, in the culture I find myself in – one of cynicism?

“Cynicism is perhaps a rational response to despair, but it is one of the most corrosive of human states.….. The cynic will sigh knowingly and say “That’s just the way the world works. Humans are essentially corrupt and selfish – pretending otherwise is just naive.” In that way they justify constraints and rationalise limits.”

– Dr Jeff Sutherland, SCRUM

What is the alternative? What stance can I live from that opens up a world of possibility and unites me with my fellow human beings in playing for BIG possibilities?

“Over the last two decades I have delved deeply into the literature of what makes greatness. The surprising answer is that, fundamentally, humans want to be great. People want to do something purposeful – to make the world, even if just in a small way, a better place.”

– Dr Jeff Sutherland, SCRUM

If I choose to show up and travel in life from this stance towards my fellow human beings then what it there for me to do to call forth this greatness that typically lies dormant in many of us?

“The key is getting rid of what stands in their way, removing the impediments to their becoming who they are capable of becoming.”

– Dr Jeff Sutherland, SCRUM

Personally, I’d rewrite this. How so?  I would rewrite it as:

“The key is getting rid of what stands in their way, removing the impediments to their becoming who they already are at the core of their being.”

It occurs to me that the world gives the label ‘leader’ to s/he who calls forth the greatness of others in the service of possibilities that create-leave the world a better place for us.

Explanation: The Access To Generating Breakthroughs?


PHENOMENON

Definition:

1. An event or situation that can be seen to happen or exist.

2. A fact, occurrence, or circumstance, observed or observable.

Etymology:

1570s, “fact, occurrence,” from Late Latin phænomenon, from Greek phainomenon “that which appears or is seen,” noun use of neuter present participle of phainesthai “to appear”…

What Is So

There is the phenomenon e.g. widespread flooding in the southern England (UK)

There is the interpretation-explanation (‘story’) about the phenomenon e.g.” it is due to government neglect through cost-cutting.” 

Notice: the phenomenon is always distinct from the ‘story’.

Notice: we can invent an array of stories for the phenomenon at hand: “serves people right for building homes in flood prone areas; it serves the middles classes right for voting in this government; it is due to climate change; it is God showing his displeasure; this government is uncaring and incompetent etc….”

The automaticity of the ‘human machinery’ is such that I am almost never present to the distinction between phenomenon and story: the story shines so brightly in my speaking that I cannot see (am not present) to the phenomenon that lies in the background.

Exception = breakdowns.

Breakdowns occurs when the novel-unusual occurs: I find myself faced with the phenomenon as there is no ready made ‘story’ to understand-explain and thus slot the phenomenon into my ‘already always listening-interpreting-explaining’ of phenomena.

Even when breakdowns occur I will do my best to concoct a story that enables me to make sense of these breakdowns and fit them into the ‘story that I already am’ with the minimum disturbance to my way of being / showing up in the world.

What drives this entire play? The ‘story that I already am’. The story that gives my way of being / showing up in the world. My ‘already always listening’: of self, of you, of others, of us, of the world’. Behind my ‘story’ lies the ‘Story’: the story given by the culture that I find myself enmeshed in and of which I am an embodiment.

The Access To Breakthroughs Lie In The Domain Of ‘Story’

Notice, that the phenomenon does not dictate the course of action we will take. For example, the fact that there is flooding in southern England is simply what is so.  What is so does not in any way dictate-determine what is done about what is so.

What determines our course of action regarding the phenomenon?  Our interpretation, our explanation, the ‘story’ that we make about the phenomenon: the dominant ‘story’ determines the course of action taken.

Notice: For as long as the existing ‘story’ explains-dominates the phenomenon we will continue to do some variation on what we have done before in relation to the phenomenon.  Put differently, the course of action that is taken in relation to phenomenon is always given-dictated by the dominant ‘story’ used to interpret-explain the phenomenon.

Which means that if the actions that you are taking, in relation to a specific phenomenon, are not generating the kind of results that you are wanting then you may want to stop. Stop!

Stop and be with the phenomenon just as it is and as it is not. Listen to, observe, touch-feel, live with, be with the phenomenon.  What is it that is unveiled?  Something is always unveiled for it is simply so that one cannot ever see the whole apple: some aspect of the apple is always hidden.

Now, with a fuller-richer-more rounded grasp of the phenomenon, you are in a position to invent-choose an alternative ‘story’: an alternative interpretation-explanation. The trick is to choose a ‘story’ that is in accordance with the phenomenon and generates actionable insight: insight that leaves open the space to take fruitful action.

All of which is to say that the access to generating breakthroughs – in our relationships, in our families, in our workplaces, in this world – lies in the explanation: the ‘story’ that we create around our relationships, our families, our workplaces, our world.

Want a breakthrough in a realm of your life?  Want to generate a transformation in your experience of your life? Then let go of the ‘story that you are and which gives you your way of being and showing up in the world’ and invent-nurture-cultivate-grow a different ‘story’. One of the most important shifts is to move from ‘not enough’ to ‘enough’; from ‘victim’ to author of one’s life; from spectator in the game of life to being on the court playing full-out.

Ultimately, to play BIG is to let go of the dominant story about what it is to be human. And what it is to be successful. And what constitutes a good life.  What does that open up: a space, a big space. And what can we do with such a space. Invent and actualise new possibilities.

 

Play BIG: Be A Human & Call Forth Each Other’s Humanity


I have been giving a lot of thought to what it means to play big.

Imagine you are out of university, enter the world of work, and set your sights to becoming the youngest ever CEO of your organisation.  And you set out to do exactly that.  Now that could be called playing big, and it does not show up for me that way.

Imagine that you have set up a coffee shop and you dream of having a chain of coffee shops all across the country. And then expanding so that there is one of your coffee shops in every city across the world.  And then you get busy turning this feat of imagination into reality.  This could be called playing big, and it does not show up for me that way.

Imagine that you are down and out with cancer. Yet, you envisage getting back on your bike and winning the Tour De France. Unimaginable to most and you are totally determined to do so. And you do all that it takes to deal with your cancer, get healthy, get fit, race. You win the Tour De France.  Many would call that playing big, and it does not show up for me that way.

It occurs to me that, for me personally, playing BIG is transcending that which goes with ego: self-centredness and vanity at best; selfishness, greed, indifference and/or cruelty at worst.  It occurs to me that to play BIG is to put the best of my humanity, our humanity, into action. And in thus doing make a contribution to lives and life itself.  Which is why, I find myself deeply moved by the following words for one who lives-walks the path of god:

Be a human, bring out each other’s humanity.

Get rid of hunger, get rid of poverty. Don’t be materialistic, and you will have money, even to give to America.

I have a love of humanity. A love for any person.

Truthfully, I am a refugee from India, but I call myself a human being.

I have become famous for being a human being.

– Abdul Sattar Edhi, Edhi Foundation

I encourage you to watch the short film and allow yourself to be touched by that which is the best in and of us:

If you find yourself touched then I ask that you honour our shared humanity by truly being a human being and calling forth the best of our shared humanity.  Here is an idea that has just come to me, how about for one day:

  • that which you spend on yourself (say a coffee, a lunch, a restaurant meal…..) you also spend on a fellow human being with a open heart; and
  • put into the world and thus share the non-materialistic bounty of life – a smile, a kind word, deep listening, a helping hand.

I am taking on this game, joyfully.  And it would be great to play this game with you, play it together.

It occurs to me that you/i/we have a choice. What choice? A fundamental choice: to live as gods or to live as beggars. What is the difference? God gives.  The beggar, in whichever guise is always looking for that which he can receive/gain from others.  Please notice even a ‘beggar’ can be god. How? Simply by smiling and allowing that smile to light up the lives of those who pass by and receive the gift of that smile.

I thank you for the listening that your create. It is your listening that keeps me in this conversation and calls forth that which finds itself spoken here, at this blog.

Giftivism: Transforming Life Through Small Acts of Radical Kindness


I start by gifting you that which shows up for me as a profound truth:

“What we will do for love will always be far more powerful than what we will do for money. What we can do together will always be far greater than what we can do alone.”

– Pavithra Mehta

This wisdom, this truth, this gift found itself to me through coming across and listening to what shows up for me as the most radical-inspiring talk of recent times.

It occurs to me that the being of the speaker and that which the speaker shares is in complete alignment with that which I share in my speaking through this blog. As such I am paying it forward by sharing this profound-radical-inspiring talk with you.

http://youtu.be/p_QLGvp_stI

Here are some words that have caught my attention, may they speak to you and resonate with you. May they act as an opening for you to enter into and lift ‘giftivism’: small acts of radical kindness 

“So in a world where everything has a price — what happens to the priceless?

We live in a time where we have mastered the art of “liking” each other on Facebook but have forgotten the art of loving each other in real life.

Our purpose doesn’t lie in our commodities it lies in our sense of communion …. Compassion. Empathy. Generosity. Trust….

What practices, systems and designs emerge when we believe people WANT to behave selflessly?

Generosity is generative. Everybody wins because generosity is NOT a zero sum game.”

And I leave you with the speakers invitation:

“We begin to move from being a market economy to being part of a gift ecology.

 It begins with small steps. I invite each one of you to think about what your small step will be. What is YOUR giftivist resolution?

May we each take that step. May we change ourselves, may we change the world.”

At your service and with my love

maz

 

Which Context is Determining How You (and I) Show Up?


I share with you a talk worth listening to again and again.  If you are a Landmark graduate then this talk may show up as  welcome reminder of some fundamentals. If you are not a Landmark graduate then you are in for a mind opening talk. Enjoy.

Who Do You Want To Be?


We are given to search for recipes, formulas, instructions, and methods. And there is a place for recipes and formulas. If I am new to baking a cake then having a recipe at hand makes a difference.  If I need to get from A to B then the GPS will provide me with the step by step instructions to get from A to B, most of the time.

When it comes to life itself recipes, formulas, instructions and methods don’t work that well.  At best they are hit and miss.  I am not you, you are not me. And neither you nor I can step into the same river twice: we are not the same, the river is not the same.  What works for me may not work for you. What occurs as being a good fit for me may not be a good fit for you.  What leaves me inspired may not leave you inspired.

When it comes to living an authentic life, or living powerfully, or living an ‘extraordinary’ life questions are the access.  With the context set, I invite you to listen to Arnold Schwarznegger.  Why?  Because, he puts forth one of the most powerful questions for inventing a life, an authentic life, a life that matters, a transformed life. This video is only 3-4 minutes and is packed with wisdom.

Is this the most revolutionary truth about life?


You and I have been conned.  What have we been conned out of?  We have been conned into living out of a certain story about ourselves and the world. It is story that says there is right and wrong. It is a story that there is good and bad. It is a story that say the way that it is is the way that it is. And that we are small and powerless to influence-shape-change-transform the way that it is.

It is story that educates-programs us into believing that life is about figuring out how to survive. And get ahead.  It is story that tells us that there are rules to follow. And secret recipes.  That the way to be is to figure out the rules and follow them.  To fit into the box that is society-world.  And that the way to get ahead is to access the secret recipes and use them to rise to the top of the box.  So that we can dominate rather than be dominated.

There really is no space for ease-beauty-love-acceptance-joy-creative expression.  There is no space in this story for putting a “dent in the universe”.  And if we should share our dreams of putting a dent in the universe we are shot down quickly and aggressively.

Yes, we are small. But only if we buy into the story that we are small.  Yes, we are powerless but only if we buy into the story that we are powerless. Yes, our lives are about surviving-fixing-approval-getting ahead but only if we buy into the story that our lives are about surviving-fixing-approval-getting ahead.

From time to time people have turned up to remind us that we can choose to play BIG.  That showing up in the world as small or BIG is a choice.  A choice that we make – every instant, every day. And as such we can choose to change our choice.  These people remind is that life is ALWAYS created.  It is the way that it is because we create the way that it is.  They remind us of a fundamental truth our world is created by us.  It has not stood still. Why? Because some of us have not bought into the myth that we are small and powerless. And have acted to influence-shape the world. To make a dent in the universe.

I leave you with this revolutionary short talk by Steve Jobs. A person who set out to make a “dent in the universe” and did so.

Here is the transcript which I recommend memorising by heart. And living every day:

When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

What can we learn from the happiest man in the world and Jessie Rees?


A lot of pain has been present in my living over this last week.  So much physical pain that I have done little even though I had plans to do a lot.  Truthfully, I have been much less than I aspire to be.  I found myself distant from my family. I have found myself being snappy with one of my son’s.  I found myself just wanting to be left alone to deal with my pain. And when it got too hard I took the easy way out: I took muscle relaxants which eased the pain and knocked me out.

And in this very week, what shows up in my world?  Inspiration.  Heart touching-moving inspiration from two sources.  The first is from “the happiest man in the world”.  And the second is from 12 year old Jessie Joy Rees.

The happiest man in the world

I find myself watching this man, listening to him and being captivated. Captivated by what?  His stance in life. The way he shows up in life.  The way he counts his blessing.  His philosophy of life. His wisdom. I am clear that he gets it. And as such I am delighted that I have come across him.

Jessie Joy Rees and the Joy Jars

What can I say? I find myself watching this video and there are tears running down my cheeks. I am inspired to ask this question:

How can I help them?

 

I have a question for you: how can I help you?  Please think about it and let me know.

 

The Art of Asking: asking in a way that creates a wonderful world


When you and I are first given our part on the stage of life, life shows up as wondrous.  We live in possibility. More accurately, we are infinite possibility.  Nothing occurs as unreasonable, unrealistic, naive, silly.  We are not present to criticism. Nor have we suffering rejection. Slowly and surely possibility is driven out of us and its place is taken up with right/wrong, good/wrong, appropriate/not appropriate, success/failure. And our house of being is filled with shame, guilt, duty, obligation..

Today, I’d like to get each and every one of us present to possibility once more.  What is possible in the music business if you allow yourself to be vulnerable and simply ask?  That is the answer that Amanda Palmer shares in this fabulous TED talk. I challenge you not to be touched-moved-inspired-uplifted.

This talk gets me present to that which is much neglected: asking/receiving can be a source of contribution when our asking shows up as giving.  The kind of giving that generates possibility – a possibility that enables connection and mutual contribution – and enables a transformation in our experience of living.

Is it possible that the defining act of leadership is generating possibilities that call to our fellow human beings, engender connection, and create an opening for people to join together and co-create a world that works for us all, none excluded?

Am I willing, are you willing, to put in that which is required to play the game of possibility, transformation & leadership?  What am I pointing at?  The courage to connect with our deepest call, the courage to respond to this call, the courage to be vulnerable – to share that which calls us and ask for our fellow human beings to contribute.

Put differently, are you and I willing to generate the courage to ‘play BIG’ and give up ‘playing small’? To choose to be ‘extraordinary’ and risk criticism, even abuse, rather than stay comfortable (and dead) in the ordinary?

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.

 

Would you pursue that which calls to you if money was no object?


A conversation occurs with my son

One of my sons recently returned from Christmas in France. During Christmas he saw a beggar, he was touched by the plight of the beggar, stooped down and gave him money.  His friends told him not to do that.  They told him that the beggar was merely lazy and should get a job. This is not how the situation showed up for my son. How did it show up for him?  Life can be hard sometimes. Nobody chooses to be dirty, out in the cold, homeless and begging. And the obligation of one human being to another is for the standing up to help the one that is on the floor.

Reflecting on this it occurred to him that whilst he likes the subjects he is studying for his A levels they do not call to him. What calls to him?  To help the homeless: to provide them with a home, to clothe them, to feed them, to provide education and training, to rebuild their self-esteem and confidence, to provide the foundation with which to rebuild their lives.  Listening to his speaking I was touched-moved-inspired and in large part that was because I got that this really called to him, the he himself is touched-moved-inspired.

Then my son shared his worry.  What is the worry?  Money.  “How am I going to do this?  Where am I going to get the money from to help the homeless?  Where am I going to get the money to look after myself?”

Is this how we become wage slaves?

I got how it is that so many of us become wage slaves.  It occurs to me that when you and I were young we had dreams like my son has right now.  Some of us wanted to invent, others wanted to explore/adventure, others wanted to create/make stuff, others wanted to be of service to help others….. Confronted with the money question we put away these dreams and got busy with the practicalities of life.  And little by little, one sacrifice at a team, we became wage slaves.  Trapped: lifestyle, mortgage, school fees…..

What is a wage slave for me?  For me a wage slave is a person who has no affinity for the work that he does.  Importantly,  he notices that the work is ‘killing him/her’ in some significant way and yet continues because of the money/rewards that go along with the job/work. Put differently, the work that the wage slave does and/or the environment in which he does that work does not nourish.  On the contrary it is slow poison that kills that which is most human – the capacity to imagine possibilities, to pursue possibilities, to be a creator, an author of one’s life!

Is the point of living merely living?  

Is our project here on here on Earth simply do feed oneself, clothe oneself, shelter oneself? And when these needs have been secured to entertain oneself and/or drown our sorrows with the drug of our choice?  If that is the case then the meaning/purpose I give to myself is merely to survive, to exist.

And if that is the case then a question presents itself “What for?”  Put differently, why toil away as wage slaves merely to survive?  To feed, clothe, shelter and encourage our children to be wage slaves?  So that they can do they same for their children and so on?  Isn’t this madness?  It occurs as madness to me.

My message to my son and all who are young or young at heart

So what did I say to my son?  I encouraged him to pursue this possibility the one that calls to him.  I told him that to be human – uniquely human – is to step into, live from and pursue that which calls to us.  I told him that he is fortunate that he is present to that which calls to him.  I told him that this is gift, a gift that provides access to walking the path that gives meaning to one’s life. Yes, there will be difficulties. Yes, there will be pain.  Yes, it involves sacrifice. And what kind of life do you want to live, one that is difficult yet meaningful or one that leaves you showing up as a wage slave?

I reminded him of the film that we had watched some time ago.  Which film?  Into the Wild.  And I posed the question, “What is better for you, a long life of drudgery, of being a wage slave or the kind of life that Christopher McCandless (the subject of Into the Wild) lived?”

What if money was no object?

Finally, I asked the question that Alan Watts asks: “What if money was no object?”  I encourage you, especially if you are young, to listen to the words/wisdom of Alan Watts.  I encourage you not only to listen but to let this conversation be you.  Here is the YouTube video:

And if you prefer reading then here is the transcript:

“What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?

Let’s suppose, I do this often in vocational guidance of students, they come to me and say, well, we’re getting out of college and we have the faintest idea what we want to do. So I always ask the question, what would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?

Well, it’s so amazing as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers, but as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way. Or another person says well, I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses. I said you want to teach in a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?

When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.

And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually turn it – you could eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. That’s everybody is – somebody is interested in everything, anything you can be interested in, you will find others will. But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.

See what we are doing, is we’re bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lives we are living. In order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing, so it’s all retch, and no vomit it never gets there. And so, therefore, it’s so important to consider this question, What do I desire?”

Breakdowns as an access to breakthroughs


What is our default way of being in the world?  

Listen to the mystics and it is being ‘not awake’ – not awake to the reality of existence.  Listen to Martin Heidegger and it is ‘fallenness’ – fallenness into they ‘they’, the ‘anyone’, the crowd.  Listen to psychology and it is habit.

I say our normal way of being in the world is to be on automatic pilot.  A great illustration is driving a car.  How many times have you driven from A to B and when you get there you cannot remember the journey?

I say our normal way of being in the world is to go about life as one (anyone) goes about life.  That is to say we have fallen into/with the crowd. Which crowd?  Our society. Our social class. Our tribe.  So you/I go about life as one goes about life: you/I dress like one dresses; you/I eat like one eats; you/I walk like one walks; you/I hang out where one hangs out; you/I talk the way that one talks; you/I work they way one works; you/I entertain ourselves the way that one entertains himself; you/I form the relationships that one forms….

Put differently, our normal way of being is for our habits to have us, to be us.  And where do these habits come from?  From our society, tribe, social class.  So in our normal way of being you/I are simply being/showing up as our society-tribe-social class.  At one level this works great. It allows us to fit in with the rest, smooths social relationships, and allows us all to work together and accomplish more than we could accomplish on our own.

And there is price.  The price is at two levels. At the society-tribe-social class level we are blind to that which we are blind.  Put differently, we have no access to what we don’t know that we don’t know.  At a personal level we do not own our lives. And by not owning our lives we do not get the sense of aliveness, of joy, of meaning/fulfilment that comes with being creators of our lives – being, pursuing, creating, bringing about that which matters to us.  We settle instead for a life of drudgery.

So we are asleep. Habit owns us. We are the crowd – they anyone, the ‘average’.  Which begs the question, for those of us interested in waking up, what is the access to waking up and owning our lives, to living as creators?

Breakdowns are a great access to waking up and making breakthroughs in our living

Breakdowns are those events and moments in our lives when our ordinary way of being in life – not awake, fallenness, habit having us – breaks down even if that is for a minute or two.  In our ordinary way of being – being comfortable with habit, being on automatic pilot – you/I do not welcome breakdowns. No, we get upset, frustrated, annoyed, angry and even violent.  My son and I experienced a mild breakdown when in the midst of watching a movie the electricity was cut-off.  Another example of a breakdown could be the loss of our jobs, or a relationship with a loved one.

If you/I are up for playing BIG, living ‘extraordinary’ lives then we need to welcome and make the best use of breakdowns.  Why? Because breakdowns provide an access to breakthroughs.  When breakdowns occur we are given sight – without our wishes – to our state of being, our habits, our fallenness.  And if we generate the courage and make the time to get present to the sight that shows up for us then we enable ourselves to make breakthroughs in our living.  Put differently, breakdowns if embraced in the right manner enable us to transform our lives.

Want an example of what I am talking about?  Let me share with you the story that has made many tears flow from my eyes and still bleeds my heart.  Which story?  India and the horrific gang rape by six men of a 23 year old physiotherapy student in Delhi.  From what I read it occurs to me that this is not the only young woman that has been raped.  It occurs to me that many women are raped. Just yesterday I was reading of a young woman, mother of two, who threw herself of a train to escape rape and is critically injured.  Put differently, to be a woman in India is to be ‘one who is subjected to oppression, abuse and even rape’.  That is and has been the default state of existence for a long time.  And this default state has been in the background, invisible, not talked about.

For whatever reason the horrific rape of the 23 year old young woman, Jyoti, and her subsequent death has brought about a breakdown – at least for now – in the taken for granted way of ‘the way the world is in India’.  This breakdown has allowed people in India and outside India sight of the ‘darker side of modern India’ – that side which is not at all modern nor civilised (in the western sense of the word). And for some, this has brought both shame and disgust.  So that is the breakdown that has occurred in India, at least Delhi.

I am saddened at the rape and death of Jyoti. I am saddened with learning that a young mother of two is critically injured because she threw herself of the train to escape rape. And yet I see possibility/transformation amidst this sadness.  What am I talking about? This breakdown in India – a suspension of the ordinary way of being and going about in the world – represents an opportunity to make a breakthrough.  What breakthrough?  A breakthrough in the lives of ordinary women in India – young or old.  I can see a world where Indian women are not oppressed, not abused, not raped. Put differently, I see a world where it is not ok for one to oppress, abuse, rape.

What will it take for people in India to use this breakdown to create a breakthrough and thus transform the lives of the women in India? For enough people to be / show up / operate from the possibility that the women folk are free, are respected, are not abused, not oppressed, not raped.  Put differently, for enough people to climb out of their state of falseness and own/live the possibility of ‘freedom, safety and respect for the women of India’.

To sum up: yes breakdowns are painful, few of us welcome them, and yet if embraced breakdowns offer us the ladder via which we can climb out of our state of fallenness and make breakthroughs in our lives and transform the experience of our living.  Isn’t that true leadership – leading our own lives, owning our lives, being a stand for that which matters to us, being a source of contribution to our fellow human beings and life itself?

On possibility as an access to transformation


What is the access to transformation?  Specifically, what is the access – for you and me – to transform the quality of our living?  Put simply, it is shifting our being-in-the-world, and thus our showing up in the world, from impotent to potent.  What do I mean?  Let’s take a look at the definitions:

impotent

Adjective: unable to take effective action; helpless or powerless

Synonyms: powerless – weak – feeble – helpless – infirm

potent

Adjective: having a great power, influence or effect.

Synonyms: powerful – strong – forceful – intense

Let’s assume that you and I are up for transformation, up for shifting our being-in-the-world from impotent (the default) to potent.  What is the access to making this shift?  Willpower? No, this rarely works as many New Years resolutions show.  Is it setting goals? No, this rarely works because goals tend to rely on the exercise of willpower.  And willpower tends to fade.  So what is a suitable access?

The access to making the shift is inventing and living from one or more possibilities that move-touch-inspire us. Which begs the question “What is a possibility?” A possibility is not a wish.  Nor is it an intention.  A possibility is not a goal, an outcome, an achievement.  Nor is possibility a belief in that which is possible for a human being.

A possibility is like a context from which one shows up and gives life to one’s life.  A possibility is like a stand that one takes upon oneself.  A possibility is like a path that one chooses to walk of one’s own accord and thus gives up the multitude of other paths that are open to oneself.  A possibility is like a declaration one makes on what constitutes one’s life.  A possibility is always a choice one voluntarily takes upon oneself that gives shapes to one’s life and how one shows up in life.

Still looking for a pointer as to what constitutes a ‘possibility’?  Then let me share this quote from Nikos Kazantzakis (author of Zorba The Greek):

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The non-existent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”  Nikos Kazantzakis

And when he speaks of believing he is talking about the following kind of believing:

“A belief is not merely an idea that is thought, it is an idea in which one believes. And believing is not an operation of the intellectual mechanism, but a function of the living being as such, the function of guiding his conduct, his performance of his task.”  Jose Ortega Y Gasset

A possibility gives meaning to one’s life and power to one’s being-in-the-world.  As such it does more than provide one with a reason to get up in the morning.  It provides one the access to transcend one’s psychology and push the limits of one’s biology as and when this is necessary.  It calls forth one to be unreasonable when unreasonable is what it takes.  In short, it the access to living a life that shows up as fulfilling.  A life worth living.

Why do I write this blog as opposed to put my feet up, watch a move, hang out in a bar?  Because I invented a possibility. What possibility?  The possibility of playing BIG, living an ‘extraordinary’ life, of being a source of contribution to a ‘world that works, none excluded’.  How about you?  What possibility leaves you moved-touched-inspired to be and create that which does not exist today?  What possibility are you up for inventing/living this year?

Please note, that all acts of leadership start with inventing a possibility that leaves one moved-touched-inspired to disclose and create that which does not exist today.

Heroes


Getting access to your authentic self

Have you ever tried to find and connect with your deeper self, your ‘authentic’ self?  Have you ever wondered what kind of values that you should embody?  Have you ever wondered what really matters to you? Have you ever wondered what kind of life you should lead, what kind of ‘projects’ you should engage in and pursue?

I have.  And in the process I read a lot of self-help books with all the exercises including reflecting and finding experiences where I felt most alive, happy, joyous….  Yet, none of that really worked for me.  Are you in the same boat?

If you want to bypass that and connect with your deeper self and get access to what really matters to you then I have a useful shortcut for you.  Answer these two easy questions:

a) which people – real or fictional – are your heroes?

b) what is it, specifically, about each of these persons that makes them heroes for you?

My heroes include the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Up to this week my heroes included: Gandhi, Jinnah, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Maria Montessori, Joan of Arc, Albert Schweitzer, Oscar Schindler, The Prophet ‘Mohammed’, George Adamson, Tony Fitzjohn, and Monty Roberts.

AN13475677Victoria-Soto-27-

This week, I have been deeply touched by the following people, who show up as heroes for me:

– Victoria Soto;

– Dawn Hochsprung;

– Mary Sherlach;

– Maryrose Kristopik;

– Kaitlin Roig;

– Abbey Clements;

– Yvonne Cech; and

– The Sandy Hook school janitor.

In a tragedy these people make me feel proud to be a member of the human race!  These fellow human beings disclose for me the best of what we, human beings, have to offer as a species.  What is that?  They disclose that human being is not simply being-for-onself: the default view pushed by capitalism and modern society.  No, they disclose that what is truly noble about human being is being-for-others: the willingness to put one’s life at risk for fellow human beings.

Out of this tragedy these men and women have disclosed the possibility of love, selflessness, courage and heroism.  These values speak to me – they bring tears to my cheeks.

How to end this?  I acknowledge the courage of each and everyone of the teachers and staff at the Sandy Hook school.  I offer my condolences to each and every person who has lost a loved one.  My heart and my eyes flow with tears – tears or sorrow for all those who have lost loved ones.  And tears of gratitude for all those who put their lives at risk and saved lives.

I am proud to be a member of the human race. And with people such as Victoria Soto, Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach the human race if worth believing in and standing for.

An extraordinary understanding of and orientation towards responsibility: “I am cause in the matter of …”


The ordinary understanding / orientation of responsibility

What is my ordinary, taken for granted, understanding of and orientation towards responsibility?  I say that it is pretty much captured by the following definition:

  1. The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something.
  2. The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.

Is this a powerful place to stand? No. Who wants to be beholden to duty?  Doesn’t duty show up in my world as a burden?  A burden that is imposed on me by someone else?  Isn’t some element of the burden present even if I say I have a duty to do X and not Y? Looking into this further duty is given/imposed upon me by some outside authority including religion and culture.

Then there is the territorial orientation towards responsibility.  I particularly notice this at work where marking out territory and defending it can be and often is important.  Often the orientation is something like “This is my responsibility!” where the hidden message is I own this, it is my business and I don’t want you involved.  Or the orientation is that of “It’s not my responsibility!”  Either way the orientation is territorial.  And we use territory to assert ownership and exclude each other.

Who wants to leave himself open to blame, to criticism?  I don’t, I really don’t, I absolutely do not look forward to being criticised and even when I criticise myself I do not feel good.    Is it any surprise that many of us avoid responsibility and accountability as we wish to avoid being criticised, being blamed?  Isn’t my first response, your first response, something like “It’s not my responsibility.  It’s not my fault, I am not to be blame.  So leave me alone, let me be.”

Werner Erhard makes a great point. Blaming does not work.  Look there is spilt milk all over the floor.  How is blaming myself, or blaming you help with the situation?  No amount of blaming, responsibility pinning, is going to deal with the spilt milk.  The appropriate course of action is to mop up the milk!

Self-help orientation towards responsibility

If you read enough self-help literature you are going to come across the notion of ‘responsibility as response-ability’. That is the notion that between the stimulus (that which triggers your response) and your response (to that stimulus) you have a window of opportunity to choose your response.  That is you have the ability to choose your response.

Look into this deeply enough and you might just find that the phenomenon of stimulus-response is more complicated than that.  It is mood dependant.  When you and I are in the mood of being calm/relaxed then the window of opportunity is large enough to choose our response.  On the other hand if you and I are stressed, pre-occupied, grappling with our stuff, then the response to the stimulus is automatic.  Yes, we can unlearn this behaviour and it is likely that it takes many many hours of practice.

Werner Erhard: an extraordinary understanding / orientation towards responsibility

There is a radically different way of understanding and orienting oneself towards responsibility.  An understanding and orientation that leaves one in a powerful position.  Werner Erhard came up with and articulated this understanding.

The first point to make is that Werner Erhard’s definition/orientation is not a description of what is so. No, his orientation is generative.  What does it generate?  Possibility.  And a powerful place to stand when it comes to how your lives have turned out and how they can turn out in the future.   So what is Werner’s definition/orientation toward responsibility?

For any situation in our lives, in the world, I can freely take the stance: “I am responsible for……” as in “I am cause in the matter of…..”.   And in taking this stand I move from showing up as victim of the situation, or simply a bystander looking on the situation, to being someone who declares himself to be a causal agent, someone who has a say in the situation at hand and how it turns out

Let’s make this real. I have been experiencing disappointment, frustration, anger, bewilderment towards one my sons and how he behaves.  And we had a relationship that goes along with that: mainly one of ignoring one another.  I was clear that he is responsible for his behaviour, I am not responsible for it.  It is he who talks disrespectfully.   It is he who leaves stuff lying around the house.  It is he who walks into and all over the house with dirty shoes making a mess.  It is he who picks on his brother and sister simply because he is bored.  Standing in this ordinary orientation towards responsibility I was left feeling powerless, a victim of my son’s behaviour.  And I was wondering how it was that a child that I lavished love and attention upon turned out this way.

My wife provided the opening for me to get present to and take Werner Erhard’s orientation toward responsibility as regards my relationship with my son. She simply told me that my ‘bad behaviour’ shows up in the absence of relationship.  This got be present to taking the stance, freely/voluntarily, that “I am cause in the matter of my relationship with my son.  I have contributed to what is so.  And I have the power to influence how our relationship turns out.”  With this shift in orientation, I led, I became the causal agent.

I asked myself the question, what is missing the presence of which will make a difference here in my relationship to my son?  The answer was simple, spend 1 to 1 time with him doing what we both enjoy doing.  And give up blaming my son. Since then I have been playing pool with my son several times a week, we have gone to the cinema, we have played badminton and we have cooked together.  Interestingly, I notice that mutual affection and respect is present.  Two days ago my son said “You know Papa you don’t have to do so much for me, I know that you love me”.

Summing up

Coming to grips with and living from Werner’s articulation of responsibility, as in the sense “I am cause in the matter of…”, is fundamental pillar of living an extraordinary life. This understanding, this orientation, allows me/you/us to move from a position of resignation (I can do nothing, I have to put up with life) to one of authorship/leadership (I have a say in how the situation is and how it turns out).  And this shift from resignation to authorship/leadership/causal agent makes all the difference to my experience of living and your experience of living in this world that we co-create and inhabit together.

Step into freedom: Speak


To speak or not to speak?

Freedom is a choice – choosing to speak and live our truth.  Right now I, you, we are presented with a great opportunity to speak, to share, to contribute, to live our truth.  Yet, most of us choose not to step into this opportunity.  Recently, Seth Godin wrote:

“You are invited to speak your mind online.  To post thoughtful comments and tweets and posts.  You’re given a place where you can post your music, or your art or your photography or your take on the state of your industry…..

Most of us refuse.  We don’t want to be a part of a community that would have us, apparently.  So we sit quietly and watch and take notes and absorb instead of joining the club of contributors.  Retweets are more common than tweets, and listeners are more common than singers.  

Because we believe we don’t belong.  That we’re not qualified.  That someone with a louder microphone is better than we are….”

I can relate to what Seth is pointing at

For many years I thought about speaking my truth and I did not.  What stopped me?  I had decided that I had nothing worthwhile to contribute.  I was convinced that I could not write.  And most importantly who would want to listen to my speaking, a nobody amidst ‘the giants’.  I would walk over to CustomerThink and admire the work of others, ‘the giants’.  And walk away convinced that I simply did not have what it takes to be there amongst the ‘giants’.

In September 2010 I chose to write – to write as a form of self-expression and to learn blogging by blogging.  I had no big plans, no dreams, just a commitment to share my authentic voice.  And to write a minimum of two posts a week.  Around March 2011, the Editor of CustomerThink noticed my blogging and invited me to syndicate my blog to CustomerThink.   Yesterday,  I took a look at the website and noticed something that took me by surprise and delighted me.  Take a look (click on the visual) and see if you notice what I noticed:

Have a look at the Top 10 authors.  Who is included in that Top 10?  It turns out that enough people find my speaking worth listening to.   Perhaps I am not a pygmy after all.

My challenge for you

Perhaps I, you, we are not and never were pygmies amongst giants.  Perhaps we are simply ‘hidden giants masquerading as pygmies’.   Why not put on the boots of courage,  take a step into freedom and speak?  Really, what do I, you, we have to  lose?  Do you want to get to your deathbed and wonder how your life might have turned out if you had been courageous and shared your gift, your point of view, your truth?

A good friend translated this poem from Urdu and sent it to me.  And I want to share it with you standing in the possibility that it may inspire you to speak, to speak your truth.

Speak

“Speak…..

Speak, for your lips are free
Speak, the tongue is still your own

Your delicate body is your own
Speak for life is still your own

Look for in the blacksmith’s shop
Fierce are the flames, the iron glows red

The jaws of the locks begin to open
Every chain has spread open its self

Speak, this brief time is enough
Before the death of body and tongue

Speak for truth is yet still alive
Speak, say whatever you have to say”

What is the being of a father?


Musings on being a father

To father is simply to plant the seeds of a new life. It takes nothing to father.

Whereas to be a father is lifelong commitment to another life entered into voluntarily knowing that on the journey both joy and pain/sorrow will show up.  That is just what is so: in real life a rose without thorns simply does not show up – I have never encountered one.

To be a father is to choose to be responsible for another life.

To be father is to live the art of ‘loose’ and ‘tight’ – to allow freedom within boundaries and to act when boundaries are exceeded.

To be father is be opening  to being moved-touched-inspired-upflited by the child and learning from the child as well as moving-touching-inspiring-uplifting the child and encouraging learning.

To be father is to get that the child is not an adult in training – the child is just that a child and granting the child the freedom to be a child.

To be father is not to preach (that is easy and every fool does that), it is to live/model a life that moves-touches-inspires-uplifts the child.

To be father is to model both strength and vulnerability – showing that one goes with the other as do two sides of the coin.

To be a father is to be ok with saying/admitting “I don’t know, I don’t have the answers.”

To be a father is to accept and step into the process of letting go and let the child become wo/man.

To be a father is to model accepting and then handling that which shows up – wanted or unwanted in life.

To be a father is to be loving.

Fathers Day Card from Clea

Sometimes it occurs to me that I am doing fine at being the kind of father that I am up for being.  At other times it occurs to me I am/have failed so badly.  Neither is true – it is simply what shows up like the wind, sometimes calm and sometimes a gust.  To be a father is to wonder if you are getting it right and be open to encouragement!

 

 

You are neither the thoughts nor the feelings that show up (part II)


This post continues the conversation that I started in the previous post where a ‘sister’ reached out to me for help, for advice, for my point of view as she was and may still be suffering.

Let’s set the ground for this conversation

Look into the matter deeply and you might just find that we human beings do not have access to the truth.  If you are scientifically minded then study what has been taken for knowledge and ‘truth’ and you might just find that ‘truth’ is always provisional and ‘truths’ have come and gone.  Once ‘truth’ was that the heavens revolved around the Earth and women were held to be inferior to men – some men, tribes and religions still cling to the belief that women are inferior to men and are the property/playthings of men. I remember standing up to my parents so that my sister could go to University and create her own life rather than have a forced marriage thrust upon her.

How best to illustrate, provide your for a feeling for what I am pointing at?  Allow me to share a sufi tale with you.  A sufi master is said to have told the following story: 

‘Finding I could speak the language of ants, I approached one and enquired, “What is God like? Does he resemble the ant?”  He answered, “God? No, indeed – we have only a single sting but God, he has two!”‘

Which is not to say that all viewpoints, all the places we choose to stand are equal in value.  If you are driving in the UK it makes huge difference as to whether you drive on the left (the UK viewpoint) or the left (USA/Continental Europe).  The same applies to Life: some vantage points are simply more useful for tilting the table towards the ‘workability’ of life.  So the point of view that I share is not the truth.  I make no such claim yet I do assert that living from the vantage point that I am sharing can increase the ‘workability’ of your life.  Now that we are clear on this lets move on to the conversation itself.

All kinds of unhelpful/disempowering feelings & thoughts can show up in our lives

Sister I notice that all kinds of thoughts and feelings are showing up in your life: feeling lost; feeling the loss of physical intimacy; feeling lost and alone; feeling the burden of uncertainty/insecurity; feeling unwanted; feeling you don’t belong; longing for the one; thinking and believing there is something wrong with you…….

It might occur to you that you are all alone, that this is only showing up in your life.  You are not alone. Many, many of us have experienced these thoughts, these feelings at some point in our lives.  How many thousands are thinking/feeling this way right now?  Allow me to share a story with you.

“One day a mother turned up to the abode of a holy man clutching the body of her dead baby.  She was in so much pain and she pleaded, again and again, with the holy man to bring her baby back to life.  The holy man listened patiently and then told the mother that indeed he could help her.  And in order for him to help her he needed her to go back to her village and bring back a glass of water – but only from a household which had never experienced death.

The mother went back to her village and started knocking on doors. Each household was more than willing to give her a glass of water.  Yet the water was of no use as every household had lost someone – grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, friend……

After knocking on all the doors and finding no household, no person, left untouched by loss of someone dear the mother returned to the holy man.  This time she was lighter because she had gotten that loss, sorrow and death touch us all – an intrinsic part of human life.”

How about living from this stand: whole-complete-perfect?

So ‘sister’ you are no less than anyone else on this planet.  Suffering is not a sign that there is something wrong with you, that you are defective. Loss, pain, sorrow, suffering come as intrinsic to human existence on this planet of ours. You are whole-complete-perfect just as you are and just as you are not.  How about standing in that space?  The space of “I declare myself to be whole-complete-perfect just as I am and am not!”

You (and I) are neither our thoughts nor our feelings

Sister, being a woman, it is quite possible that you may find the following a struggle.  And I say there is value in listening to what I am about to say.  I say that you and I are neither our thoughts nor our feelings!  That’s right I get that thoughts and feelings are present and I say that you are not these thoughts nor these feelings.  Do you disagree?  Does this upset you?  Bear with me and let’s explore.

Do you choose the thoughts that pop up into your mind?  Just sit and meditate even for five minutes, keep a blank mind, think no thoughts.  What happened? Did a stream of thoughts simply show up?  Did you choose to think these thoughts? If you are honest you know that you did not choose these thoughts, they simply pop up in your house of being without your bidding.  Look deeper and you will find that some of these thoughts hook you and others don’t – they show up, they disappear.

What about your feelings?  Do you choose them?  Do you choose to feel sad, miserable, joyful?  If you look deeply you will find that feelings show up in your house of being uninvited just like your thoughts.  And you will find that some feelings show up more often than others.  You are also likely that some feelings hook you more than others – they stay longer, you connect with them more deeply.  And all feelings fade away whether you want them to or not.

Do you still find what I say difficult to accept?  Imagine that you are throwing a party and a you get a village load of people turning up at this party – some invited and some ‘gatecrashers’.  Does your Self expand to include these people?  Do you ever say to yourself I am all – me, the people that I have invited and the ‘gatecrashers’?  No, you do not.  What is more once you noticed the ‘gatecrashers’ you would ask them to leave and if they did not you would  call the police so as to eject these unwelcome ‘gatecrashers’, right?

How are the thoughts and feelings that show up in your house of being any different to the ‘gatecrashers’?  And why do you collapse them with yourself and call them your feelings, your thoughts?  I say that you do that because you have been born into a culture that says and teaches you that the thoughts and feelings that show up for you are yours – they constitute an integral part of yourself.  And that is why you latch onto them and confuse them with yourself. Yet you are not the thoughts and feelings that show up and then disappear!

Do you want access to freedom?

If you want access to freedom then I invite you to live from this sand: “I am the context and not the content.  I am the house of being not the furniture that turns up, stays around, wears it, is thrown out.  I am the chooser not the chosen (content) nor the ‘gatecrashers’ (thoughts/feelings/moods) that show up in my house of being uninvited .  I choose and declare myself to be the possibilities that I project and the stand/s that I take in life!”

You might be wondering how that gives you freedom.  Allow me to illustrate with a personal example. Last week I was in considerable pain – some days I spent curled up in bed, some nights I did not sleep at all.  Then Friday morning arrived and it was the first morning that I felt OK.  Months ago I had agreed to meet a ‘friend that I had not yet met face to face’ and his guests for an informal chat in London. That informal gathering was due to start at 4pm.  What to do?  Do I take a chance and drive into London – an hour drive?  Or do I play it safe and rest given that I have already let my friend know that I am ill and might not make it? The day showed up as being miserable: dark clouds and heavy rain.

What thoughts and feelings showed up? Thoughts: don’t go, stay at home, it is safer (more accidents on the roads in this kind of weather), it is the right thing to do as I need to rest, and if I do go and am unwell then my wife/family will criticise me.  Feelings: confused, worried, scared – about doing the wrong things, making my health situation worse.

What did I do?  I chose to be my stand: to honour my word as myself.  I got into the car at 14:45 and headed into London in the pouring rain.  Half and hour later the noticeboard showed speed restriction and a blocked lane, long delays – an accident had indeed occurred on the motorway.  This was a great excuse to turn the car around and head back home. Those thoughts did pop up in my mind: look you have done your best, you have kept your word, no disgrace in heading home.  What did I do? I chose to play full-out to honour my word.  I diverted onto minor roads and found myself a different route into London.  I arrived 15 minutes late and yet I did turn up and I am proud of myself: I choose not to allow the uninvited thoughts and feelings to deflect me from my stand in life.

Summing up

You, I , we can choose to relate to ourselves as the possibilities that we invent live from/live into and the stand/s that we take in life.  You, I, we can get and live from the stand that we are not the thoughts and the feelings that pop up, stay a while, disappear, reappear in our minds/bodies/lives.

Living from this context we can let go of “I am feel insecure or helpless” and replace it with “How interesting I notice insecurity and helplessness are present, I wonder how they ended up in my house of being.”  And living from this context you can let the thoughts and feelings that show up, simply be, whilst you continue to be ruthless in living from/into the possibilities that you have invented and the stands you have taken.

I guarantee that if you live from the context that I have outlined above your experience of living will be transformed.  You will relate to yourself as a powerful human being.  If you do that then you can drop the need to take more courses to fix yourself.  How/why?  Because you are already whole-complete-perfect and as such there really is nothing to fix and no course will fix it! 

Ultimately it comes down to choice.  Whether you choose to live from the context of whole-complete-perfect, living from/into the possibilities that you invent and the stands you take.  Are you up for that ‘sister’?