The Day My Life Changed Forever – 2

Every dark cloud has a silver lining! :)At such a young age, I never considered the existence of out space to be bigger than the universe God created for us.  Man hadn’t landed on the moon yet, so what little I knew were the space walks and John Glenn.  To think space went on and on forever … well, I suddenly felt so small and meaningless.

So, in the darkness and alone, when I learned that our galaxy was one of a uncountable number – I just about died right on the spot.  (You remember last post about the world stopping?)  Given this information was not on TV (where I knew it was mostly fake) and in found in a library book, I had to consider it true.  That was the first blow to my min and difficult for me to understand – and I was confused as heck.

Then I thought … why is science, history, and religion so different?  It seems like we are supposed to believe – but what?  How am I supposed to know what is true?  Another slap in the head with another thought … if religion is true, why is there less proof?  Why do so many believe?  How is it justified?

As you can see, I had a fertile mind (and still do).  I loved understanding things and how it all fits together.  My mother came to have a habit of saying: “You will be a jack of all trades and a master of nothing.”  I was/am in awe of everything. (And she was right, I guess.)

And then to top it off – I panicked.  Then I started thinking things like: Now I’ve been duped by everyone.  Everyone is in on a conspiracy.  Is there something I don’t know yet?  What am I supposed to do and believe?  This is where I am practically wailing (silently) in the cold attic.

All of my pain and agony started to come back.  I put a lot of trust in religion.  I invested all my hope in it.  Now how do I approach religion and my spirituality?  I felt my greatest growth and development as a person through experiences that began from a religious source.  Now this astronomy thing …

***

I already had many traumatic experiences up to that point in my life (for example – I vividly remember being up close and intimate with the psychotic murder of a family next door as it happened).

Scared as heck, I tried to fit in as “normally” as possible, i.e. “not be seen or heard”.  I did what I was told; did it without question; and did it to the best of my ability.  My father conditioned us very well – we were all little child soldiers ready (and fearful) at his calling.  I did it out of safety, a sense of belonging, and for acknowledgement. (I got none!)

Then I found religion; and upon discovering everything it stood for (to a child in distress) – I thought I hit the jackpot!  It had all the answers to everything that was wrong in my world:

  • Patience, forgiveness, unconditional love, corporal punishment, sacrifice, reward of paradise, threat of eternal damnation, and much, much more.
  • It helped put my pain and suffering (and to my siblings) in a palatable acceptance of life

The biggest thing I noticed the religion I was born into did to people is what I witnessed as a power of belief and the changes it made to them.

Heck, for years, my father was transformed for 2 hours every Sunday morning for years as he proudly towed along his 8 kids to church.  He even walked differently (with attitude)!  When I caught an understanding of this a few years earlier, I knew there had to be something to being religious.

So, I remember thinking to myself that if I wanted any happiness in this world of plenty, then religion was the way to go.  By that time, I was attending St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto, Canada.  I had the scholarship and the musical talents (piano/voice); and from that, religion wrapped me in a spiritual blanket.  My inspiration was fueled with thoughts of hope, faith, humility, and service – all of which brought me great joy in those years, and they set another layer to my personal foundation.

Yes, I learned forgiveness, albeit the difficult way; and I still gained valuable lessons about people and myself.  I still benefit greatly every day from these lessons learned.

A small confession:

Being a realist at the time (in hindsight, a budding Existentialist), I always felt the Bible wasn’t something to be literally believed.  I understood clearly they were stories written down to teach us things.  When I saw people expressing their 100% devotion to the faith, I didn’t understand how that could be so.  But one thing for sure: I DID believe in Heaven an Hell – and now this astronomy.

I realize now that I was questioning the trust I put in Christianity.  I trusted every other authority figure I met; and the level of trust had eroded to the point where I thought – at least in this case – that I didn’t believe enough.  I thought I could do better, or look for more suffering, or put myself down and then I will be happy.  And don’t get me wrong.  I had a great many spiritual experiences with people over the years hence.  But …

***

According to my plan, everything was going along great at this point.  I learned to avoid my father’s wrath, I kept up my school marks, and I practiced the piano every day (the Conservatory was expensive!).  Oh yeah – I prayed a lot too. Didn’t seem to make much difference though.

I’m sure you can understand how my life could change with this new knowledge.  And I realize I was just a kid, but my thoughts grew with the expectations set upon me from all the adults in my life.  All I know and remember from almost 50 years ago is that it was a common occurrence for the adults to have a plan for me and not tell me about it.

In a great lesson from that, I learned about Fear.  I guess that’s why I have no issues with experimenting, discovering, change, creativity, expression, performance, and all the other great things about living life.

***

As you can see, my world was rocked.  In a matter of about 2 hours one evening in the fall, I had (and wasn’t aware of it, btw) a personal experience that set in motion a path for a journey that would have me take on life with an unquenchable desire to understand the world.

(tomorrow – final part: How the next 40 years turned out …)

Touching Freedom: Discovering A Life With Purpose, part 1

What is (Life) Purpose?

This may be the second most important personal, intimate, and profound question we all face in humankind just behind “What is the meaning of life?” and just before “What is Freedom?”.  And it is most likely same the reasons it is the most difficult to answer.  It takes a lot of work just to consider what it actually IS before we even consider HOW to Live with Purpose.  All the more reason (especially in these times of short attention spans) to not consider our Life Purpose – it’s a lot of hard work – brain work – thinking.

Our access to this personal question is openly available to anyone who can understand our existence (we know that we are humans on the planet for less than 100 years). It is not so openly to those of us who are not aware of even this particular paradigm of life.

Life Purpose is being in control of our life.  It’s knowing that we will be doing the same thing forever – in some way or another.  LP is the reason for waking in the morning.

Purpose is creative.  Imagination comes from looking outside the ordinary and mundane and envisioning another way of expression.  Purpose is inventive and sees new possibility in things.  Purpose is curiosity and always asking ‘why’.  These are not things that we learn or practice like a skill.  It is an internal process within each and every one of us.

We can decide this way of living for ourselves; but often for most of us, it is decided for us because we gave up option of deciding a long time ago.

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The Meaning of our Life Purpose (LP) is …

… based on feelings, both physical and emotional.

It is a sensation inside our body and mind >> a collision course of creativity and curiosity. It’s a scientific and medical action that takes place in our bodies that we tag with a meaning or a name.

These feelings are found in a lot of things we do over our lifetimes. Feelings are important because they provide the snapshot of memories (both good and bad) that left an impression on our lives.  These feelings may then end up being connected to doing something great, and we loved it, people around us loved it, and it was something that we felt was a genuine contribution to life.

With those feelings, which we want to replicate forever, we end up making stories about ourselves.  Stories about our abilities, desires, obligations, family, competency, and any other description that would give us reasons NOT to follow through on our desires.

Nobody else can decide or define it for us.  It is personal – DEEPLY personal to a point where we may not even share these feelings with anybody else – not even our families and spouses.

We decide as individuals what our own LP is and means to us.

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The quest to discover our LP is an Internal Process with an External measurement.

While the issue of our Life Purpose is not always apparent to everyone at all times, it’s there for all of us.  It’s already inside of us waiting to be expressed to the world.  Waiting for us to ‘release the hounds’ of our secret desires.   But, before we can even consider the thought of seeking our own personal LP, we have to complete other necessary psychological and social tasks to be ready for the inquiry of the mind.

First thing, we have to complete other necessary sociological processes in our lives.  Have we tried things we liked and excelled – only to realize it is only ‘hobby-worthy’?  Have we taken any risks to seek out our LP?  Have we looked back on our lives to find any strings of similarity?

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How do we KNOW it’s Our LP?

When we have found our LP, we instinctively know already that it is found.  Again, as I said earlier, it is something we decide – so it is a result where we know unequivocally that our life (and the lives around us) is lit up with joy and excitement.  That’s one of the great payoffs – everyone benefits.

Some ways the feelings express themselves are in the nature of who we are being.  Sometimes, our thoughts can be obsessive and overwhelming.  Scary! (That may be why we shy away from further inquiry – the fear factor!)

Another good hint of our purpose is when other people tell us we ‘should get into’ or ‘be’ something that we’ve just gloriously and happily demonstrated. They don’t understand why we don’t do it professionally and make lot’s of money doing what is fun.  Sometimes, other people can see it before we can  – sorta like bad habits.

“Getting a feeling of your Life Purpose is like
having great sex for the first time.

Once we’ve experienced it,
  We spend the rest of our life trying to duplicate the feeling.”

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Living within our LP is a difficult proposition to consider because …

Probably the most difficult to seek and achieve, LP remains elusive to most because it involves 2 sides of our humanity at the same time:

1 – our individual Way of Being (Thinking):

– it colours our way of seeing the world and the perspective we have on it

– based on how we feel about ourselves

– being comfortable with who we are

2 – our individual Way of Doing (Acting):

– based on how we feel the world perceives us as individuals

– the expression of what we are thinking about the world

– it requires us to live with ethical and moral values

It takes a lot of conviction, courage, patience, and personal understanding to even consider the possibility of living a Life with Purpose.  Worse still, there are a million reasons/excuses for not seeking our LP that let us off the hook.

It’s always someone else’s fault. And we end up at the end of our lives saying we ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda.”

Sadly, we miss the fact that it is really the fear and discomfort we are avoiding that is really taking place in our hearts.  Besides, who deserves to feel this good in life (and get paid for it, too)?

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Next posting …

Why is having a Life Purpose is important to us.

See you next time,

Kevin

Our Individuality

Another post on Getting Along with Others is forthcoming.

Before I post, I wanted to upload this reminder from the recent post RELATIONSHIP: We CAN Get Along just to keep a concept fresh in our mind as we journey to the next conversation about practical tips on what we can actually DO to experience the shift in our relationships.

I decided to upload the 3 points below because, like the last entry on Fear, these are constant little reminders I keep in my head as I operate out in the world.

They are now second nature and I usually don’t even have to think about it anymore – with one exception:

When I get triggered from an incident,

I usually just have to give myself a little step back, breathe, and remember the following:

Individuality

RELATIONSHIP: We CAN Get Along With EVERYONE

Getting along with others in the world is probably the most difficult thing that confronts us each and every single day.

Lightning Storm of Relating With Others


For some of us, it has gotten easier over the years as we learned some little trick to help make life easier.

For many of us, it is still difficult being in relationship with others.  We may have an inkling of how things can be done differently, and some of them we use.

Still, for others, life continues to be just a string of confrontations and problems that seem to keep popping up and never going away.

Fortunately, there is hope and possibility that this can change for the better – regardless of where we fit in the above situations.  It is possible that all our relationships, from lovers to strangers, can be without the conflict that easily shows up.

By simply changing the way we see others and ourselves, it is a SURE THING to TRANSFORM your life experiences and relationships by just having better understanding of how we operate as individuals.

______  .  ______

In the last post about relationships, which is Part One to this post, I ended it by boldly stating:

It is easy to create empowering relationships

even with people that are unlikeable,
those we don’t much trust, and
people who’s lost our respect

without the head games and general feeling of
disempowerment, and/or resentment, and/or unfinished business.

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For this post, I am bringing the conversation full circle by sharing with you my assumptions and successes that give validation to this very incredible assertion.

Here, we will look at what we can do about the never-ending conflict that surrounds us all.  I am going to make a few assumptions about getting along and how we can live with less conflict towards a more personally freeing experiences we all seek in our lives.

***

I am going to make another major assertion; this time on why we fail miserably in relationships:

We’ve been looking at and attacking the WRONG issues
when understanding and (re)building relationships.

From all of the evidence around us (politicians, criminals, armies, activists, and others), it appears we still have limited knowledge when it come to relating with each other.

______  .  ______

Family Time

Here are some different made-up named character examples and the type of relationship (to which we will refer back) of how we are inwardly being (how we think), how we express ourselves in what we  do, what is the secret threat (or the fear), what we do in our learned response to the threat (how we defend our fear), and what we get out of our relationships by hanging on to the fear (and therefore, maintaining the behaviour):

Family/Close Relationships:

  • Jim
  • Strong and the leadership type.
  • A take-charge person with family matters and is action-oriented.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Abandonment
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, tend to seek at least one ally in the family for support. Will always be right.
  • PAYBACK: Will always have a close connection with ‘family’ throughout whole life.

Business/Work:

  • Sue
  • Quiet and invisible.
  • Does not raise issues and has few friends.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Poverty
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may often tell supervisors what is going.
  • PAYBACK: Better feeling of security and feels a bit of power.

Primary Relationships:

  • Bob
  • Docile and expressive with emotions.
  • Usually go along without sharing concerns.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Dying Alone
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may involve pouting and whining, usually from a ‘victim’ position.
  • PAYBACK: Never give others a reason to leave, and will always have someone by their side.

Acquaintances:

  • John
  • Usually happy and fun to be around.
  • Reliable and a team player.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Loneliness
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may get loud and boisterous sometimes leading to escalate issues.  Usually knowledge of personal details of friends that keeps a connection.
  • PAYBACK: Will be acknowledged as a respected, liked, and a trusted friend. Always have someone to turn to in times of need.

Strangers:

  • Ann
  • Suspicious and distant.
  • Untrusting and avoid eye contact.
  • THE POSSIBLE FEAR: Victim of Abuse
  • When the fear is threatened from an issue, may walk/run away or yell/scream loudly.
  • PAYBACK: Get validation for fears about other people from other people.

When considering these character traits, keep in mind that it is even possible for all of these fears to the emotional make-up of only one person.  It’s possible because we understand these kind of issues, and we can relate to them – if not in ourselves, we can see them in others (just as others would see it in us) .

______  .  ______

We can see how they act/react in such ways that
we would never know the real “deep” reason
for why they act that way.

Even more interesting,

we often don’t even know it when we do it to ourselves.

______ .  ______

So, Why Don’t These Methods Work?

In each of the people above, the pain of issues will never go away, because the real issues are not addressed. They allow the opening for more opportunities for problems and issues to arise because they will still not feel better or closer to other people.

Plain and simply:

  • First: The fears still exists – it/they have only been defended (temporarily for that instance of the fear).

Because we don’t talk about our real fears and feeling to other people, we have been trained to keep “that stuff” to ourselves – especially men; and therefore, we don’t get a deep enough understanding of other people to develop fulfilling relationships.  (Unless you want to pay a lot of money for therapy, lol.)

Because we are dealing with “what happened or is happening”, we overlook the real source of the fear. For example, maybe Sue (from above character) was born into poverty even though father was a union-man.  She witnessed a lot of violence in the workplace and came to believe management were people to fear. She developed her behaviour from the trauma in childhood and did not want to be poor again.

Another problem with this is that we then don’t get the chance to understand

we humans are all more alike than we realize: we all live and hide inside our fears we developed early on in life.

  • Second: The current methods only maintains or increases the distance we have when relating with others.

When we look at Bob or Ann, they may rid themselves of the immediate issue/threat (real or perceived) by their actions; but over the long run in their lives, they will always struggle with how they operate to get what they want.

Secretly, we know it is a ruse – or an act (headgame) – to stop feeling the loneliness, or poverty, or …

The major problem arises from the years of practice we collect to let it imprint on our memories from all our past issues. And when we look back on our lives (and be honest with ourselves), we can see links in EVERYTHING.

We can’t help what we are doing because our habits are deep-rooted.

For example, say I had an issue (fear) with feeling like people are always putting me down. I could react by arguing with people to make a point (as truth), or maybe become a loner, or by having friends below my perceived level.  I may get those feelings from way back in my childhood from, say, a mother that was always putting me down and saying I was stupid, or I lived in a community that I knew was full of poverty.

______  .  ______

Here is my understanding of relationship, and I make the following assumption:

Serene Pathway

I figure the meaning and level of relationship is:

based on OUR expectations on how the relationship should play out, which is

based on OUR values and beliefs from what we’ve learned about relating, which is

based on OUR previous experiences of similar PAST situations, which is

based on OUR secret memories of how we felt in those situations, which is

based on OUR private fears we hold from long-held, unresolved traumatic instances.

 

***

THIS IS THE SAME FOR ME – AS IT IS FOR YOU – AS IT IS FOR EVERY LIVING BEING.

We are all the same!

______  .  ______

The 3 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS to remember
to start getting along with EVERYONE:

Are you ready for what I think are the 3 key things we have to remember so it begins the process of getting along with everyone?  From the insights gleaned from above, I make these assertions about people and relationships (at every level of our interactions with people and things):

The Fawn

1

WE ALL LIVE INSIDE OUR MANY FEARS
CREATED FROM OUR MEMORIES

Let’s admit it – every single one of us on the planet
is affected by fear in some way or another.

REMEMBER THIS CAVEAT:
For the most part, we aren’t even aware how our relationships are affected so much
.

And none of us are immune to the ravages of fear because regardless of whether the fear is real or imagined, the world relies heavily on our exposure to fear and promotes it always.  We just plain cannot escape it as sure as the sun always being there.

***

 The Tigress

2

WE ARE ALL TRAINED THROUGH LIFE
HOW TO REACT TO LIFE’S CHALLENGES

The Social Norms that dictate “how we should be
are taught to us without even being aware of it!

As we know, we are taught in life to be a certain way in specific situations. All of our influences come from many sources: media, entertainment, family, friends, professional associates, financial status, etc.  We are most influenced by our primary relationships: family.

***

The Wolverine

3

WE EXPRESS OURSELVES (AND OUR FEARS)
THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW HOW

Though trial and error, we learn specifically what actions works best
when we are protecting ourselves in conflict.

Because we know this about ourselves, then it is LOGICAL to make the CONNECTION that:

“If I am this way and I am normal and average,
then other people are normal and average also.”

therefore,

“We are all THE SAME.
We just
express ourselves differently.”

______  *  ______

The Brooding Sky

So, the big question to be answered in response to the insights shared here is:

HOW THE HECK DO WE ELIMINATE CONFLICT
BEFORE IT HAS A CHANCE TO HAPPEN?

______  .  ______

If I was so bold, I would first suggest maybe consider making these 3 points a part of a conscious habit to remember.  This won’t take long, maybe a week or so before it becomes second nature and

ALL OF A SUDDEN A MIND-BLOWING SHIFT IN YOUR LIFE TAKES PLACE.

Yes, an INCREDIBLE TRANSFORMATION (NOT change) of how you look at people, see people, interact with people, and get interested in people. YES!

It will suddenly dawn on you things are different. The subtle soon becomes apparent and then sliding in your life will be this “eureka moment” or “aha!“.  So remember these 3 important things about ourselves – OUR INTIMATE SELVES – and realize we are all the same:

  1. We All Live In Fear

  2. We Are Trained/Conditioned To React Certain Ways

  3. We Express Ourselves The Only We Way We Know How

***

DID YOU KNOW: When you walk along the street and you are smiling, people are almost certain to smile back at you when you make eye contact. Try it out sometimes.

Next post on relationships, we will look at some examples of how fear rears it’s ugly head.

The Art of Living

This poem is dedicated to all the silent heroes among us who dare to live life to it’s fullest.

Kevin

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Going For It

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Exercising secret dreams,

It’s not in our tomorrows.

Dancing rushes feel extremes,

Only in our yesterdays.

 

Living and loving outside our mind,

Free from our private sorrows.

The art of living honours our time,

Lived in the NOW each day.

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(c) 2012