What Prevents Us From Getting Along With EVERYONE?

If there is a secret to living the life to which I aspire, then it’s got to be in how I relate to the world, to the people in and around my life, and to my self.

I have to be able to deal with the conflicts that come with those relationships in a healthy and effective way that empowers all parties.  There can’t be any other way.

Getting along with others has always been a constant and major topic of discussion in the world.  What I don’t fully understand is how we all know the significance of relationships in life; and yet, somehow we tend to casually (or fearfully?) overlook the critical impact they have on our ability to experience many moments of true joy, happiness, and freedom EVERY SINGLE DAY – regardless of our station in life at any given time.

I hear you chuckling in the background as you read again the above statement. True Joy? Happiness? Freedom? EVERY DAY???????

Got you wondering what new meds I am on now, or if there’s a great strain going around the neighbourhood?  Regardless of your musings, I can honestly assert – I truly and honestly experience a certain amount of zen most days. It is possible.

***

After years of experimentation and study, I’m testing a conclusion:

Any level of achievement or happiness in my life lies in every single relationship (and their meanings) and how I live and respond within them.

From a very young age, we learn to understand our relationships with different people come in many different forms on different levels.  We learn, even in early childhood, how important and complex they can be – and we even exercise it early and often.  (Do you remember, huh?)

***

I figure the meaning and level of relationship is

based on their expectations which is

based on their values and beliefs which is

based on their previous experiences which is

based on their secret memories which is

based on their private fears.

 

THIS IS THE SAME FOR ME, AS IT IS FOR YOU
and EVERYONE ELSE.

We are all the same.

 

AND, this is where conflict lurks in relationships, because it is all STORY made up in our minds and we have certain expectations on how the relationship should be.  The reactions from those stories lead to conflict because they come from the past; and for the most part, we are all convinced WE hold the TRUTH – regardless of who you are!

***

Fortunately, distinguishing how we are “being” in our relationships are not that complex to sort out; actually, it’s rather easy with a little time, some focus, and personal honesty with our self.

The best news >>>

How we deal with those relationships (the “doing”) and the conflicts that come with them are even easier still to rectify.  All it takes is a little time, some focus, and personal honesty with our self. (Sound familiar?)

Regardless of all the talk, the expert advice, and eons of knowledge we have we’ve gathered and shared about human relationships, we still don’t get it.  Proof of that is found in the exploding industry of therapy, self-help, building esteem, motivation, etc.

Yet, with all this knowledge and activity, the world still experiences violence against humans.  It’s very obvious:

We still don’t understand how to relate to each other.

Do we really want to understand?

 

We’ve learned from the world and everything around us (and from our own personal trials and errors) that there is no way we can survive in any way on our own.  There is evidence all around us that gives validity to the importance of relationships – regardless of all it’s baggage and drama.

We are constantly bombarded with the message thatthere is a better way to treat othersin religion, business, media, politicians, and social sciences among others.

To empower people, industries like film and television create stories on how people overcome their conflicts in human relationships.  The actual story issue is not that important – it’s usually how the characters act and react towards each other.  The character depth is always important in any story and we know we are interested in how others are ‘being’ under certain circumstances.  The hero always is a relationship-builder.

And STILL, we struggle.

Is the fear that crushing?

Relating with others is the most common occurrence we experience – and we still don’t get it.  Even with the knowledge that there is no way we can survive in any way on our own without these relationships – THE MOST CRITICAL PART OF MAINTAINING OUR SPECIES and our futures.

Regardless of the level of relationship we have with someone, just the fact that we’ve crossed paths with each other creates a RELATING OPPORTUNITY for us each of us to express ourselves – and it happens ALL the time.

***

Let’s look at these relationships

(for each of us, the categories have different levels of priority, so the following list is not rated):

(Please remember, these are only my observations and experiences I had over many years. This is not the truth.)
  • Family: eg: siblings, parents, extended families …

    • Blood is NOT “thicker than water”.
    • A long history in the relationship has a tendency to create long-term (and unspoken) grievances
    • The deepest form of Love and connection – creates emotions with the deepest crevasses and the highest peaks
    • Not relationships that are necessarily wanted – by default
    • Different shared memories from growing up together
    • Not based on common interests
  • Friends: eg: childhood, hobbies, volunteering, school, recreation, lovers …

    • Based on common interests with different levels of commitment
    • WANT to be together with each other due to similar wants and needs
    • Can end the relationship at any time without repercussion
    • The more often together, the deeper the relationship
  • Business and Professional: eg: co-workers, superiors, subs, customers …

    • Based on career/job status
    • Plays a role in each other’s lives
    • Can be long-term if carried beyond working relationship
    • Can have deeper implications on life due to type of relationship
    • Other than those types which are equal, relationship can be manipulative (and vicious)
    • Usually, based on fulfilling own personal needs/wants
    • Can end suddenly with termination of work relationship
  • Life Partners: eg: committed monogamous relationship …

    • Can be the most gratifying relationships we ever have
    • Very personal and deep with knowledge of partner’s secrets and fears
  • Miscellaneous Acquaintances: eg: people on street, local shops, neighbours, services …

    • Usually transient
    • Nothing at risk in the relationship – easy choice to maintain or end
    • Not too personal
    • Not based of knowledge of each
    • Develops over a long period of time
***

So many of us have a difficult time with relationships.  For a lot of us, when we enter into a relationship, we don’t know what we are getting into, and as a result, it is this void which creates the possibilities of conflict.  We have expectations.

Part of that is due to the way we see life in general; part is due to what we’ve learned about people; and part is due to our own insecurities we learned over the years about our own inabilities to have a healthy relationship (negative-based thinking).

***

Here are my general assumptions about relationships:

1

We have to accept that we are forced
to be in relationships with people.
We have no choice.

I am experimenting with this concept; so at this point, I place my trust and belief in this assertion.  As I go through my day, I keep in the back of my mind this assumption and see how I think and relate to people I meet on the street – both familiar and strangers.

2

If we don’t have ups and downs in our relationships,
then there is probably something not working.

.

Given we know that all relationships will have ‘ups and downs’ and ‘ins and outs’ as it develops over the years, we can count on a few conflicts to sprinkle over the growth; and it is absolutely normal.  Again, this is a good sign that the relationship may be waning and suffering in silence.

***

As the world is today, we know there are good people, not so good people, and downright evil people.  Because we know this (and the evidence is shown to us at 6 and 11 nightly), a good many of us realize that with all the pain and suffering perpetrated by these people, it is difficult to keep a level head when determining (in our head) what to do when someone wrongs us.

***

Why do we have difficulty getting along?
Do we want to?

We have a set of social norms (or rules) from which we play.  Acknowledged or not, they are always based on LAW, ETHICS, MORALS, and INTEGRITY.  These rules give us guidelines on what is socially acceptable in any given culture (family, local, urban, national, etc).

We learn these rules from EVERYTHING WE LEARN and EXPERIENCE.  The rules are complex, without limit, transient, specific to person, place, and thing, always changing, always created, hidden, and not usually talked about (unless in bad taste or academia).

I have an assumption why relationships fail:

There are many ways to get along with each other; but at the end of the day, we either feel like an imposter, secretly remain angry, or we don’t feel vindicated.

Here is a list of some of the ways we have been taught to deal with difficult people/situations in a healthy and respectful way (Remember, they are based on our backgrounds):

  • Forgiveness

  • Giving in/up

  • Tolerance

  • Indignation

  • Conflict Escalation

Sadly, for those same eons we’ve know about the richness of great relationships, we’ve also failed at effectively dealing with conflict big and small.

***

For part two in the next post, we will look at issues of HOW we are reacting in those relationships and what we can do to eliminate the conflict.

***

You will be amazed how easy (and non-labour intensive) it is
to understand how create empowering relationships,

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

without the games and general feeling of disempowerment.

 

Advertisements

Values & Beliefs: Shila – My Mistress of Endeavour

or “How To Succeed Without Trying”

.

In hindsight, the story of how I come to meet Shila Murti seems more mysterious than the actual happening at the time.  It wasn’t a smoke-filled den into which I happened to wander, to find an ancient sage nestled in a cozy dent in the corner.

Neither was it the voice of an enigmatic soul emanating magnetic vibrations to draw me closer.  Still further, a raspy and quiet voice didn’t draw me to put my belief in a stone that can guarantee everlasting peace and serenity.

It would have been so much easier if it had, though!  Instead, as I wandered into a new living space and was trying (once again!) to get settled, I attempted to focus my energy and efforts on completing at least one task of the many I was sorting out.  You see, over the past few years, I have been searching.  Not sure exactly what It was I was seeking – only that I had building towards something – something bigger than me, and I was feeling like an octopus.  I had my arms going in all directions reaching out for something to anchor onto.  At that time, I ran into another tenant, Art Seligman.  As he briefly introduced himself, he informed me he had a gift for me – just be patient.  I thought it was very kind of him to offer me a ‘housewarming’ gift; and I was looking forward to his generosity.

______  .  ______

On an ordinary day just a few weeks back, I was pulling at loose ends on the next stage of my new life (you know, the usual things) and writing on my computer.  (Even though I live with four disabilities, I’ve never let it be an excuse for not making a contribution.)  And having a fertile mind, I was trying to work on five or six projects all at the same time – just picking away and updating information as the creative thought came to me.  Yet, I was feeling frustrated because I neither felt like I was accomplishing anything, nor did I feel was I making good use of my time.  Of course, again in hindsight, I realize the untruths I was planting in my mind. Grrrrrr!

I was on my way outside to get some air, and I happen to meet with Art in the doorway.  I was six inches of not having this meeting.  So, Art introduced himself more fully and we seemed to have a real great conversation.  He decided to give me the gift he had promised.

.

I will say this about myself; I’ve met 1000’s of people over my travels.  I’ve heard of everything and experienced much more.  My homes and travels, which brought me across Canada several times, allowed me to be exposed to situations I never would have been privy to had I stayed in my little shell of a corner.

So, naturally, I’m a whyz-guy – I have this desire to ask “why” about everything and anything.  I’ll read anything and try anything as long as it doesn’t hurt me physically.

Having said that, I was naturally a bit skeptical about what Art was telling me as he handed me the gift.  Besides, it’s not the first time I heard something like this before.  I looked at the gift and saw it was 2 dark rounded stones.  And not just any stones: but Shila Murti stones.  I was told to carry one with me at all times and keep one in a safe place at home.

I held the Shilas in my hand and they felt warm.  I was given the background of the stones and the “energy” they held.  As a scientific-based thinker, I had my doubts; yet I do have enough understanding about the world to know everything is made of energy – it is a scientific fact.  So I listened and stayed tuned in without disbelieving.  I was told there were benefits from carrying this stone as long as it was with me at all times.

______  .  ______


The reason I went ahead with this ‘experiment’ was based on one thing that was actually quite profound in the events that took place.  It was this:  At no time did Art ever ask me to believe in anything, or follow something, or do anything (other than carry) that would make the energy ‘work’.  All he said was to carry it around with me and I will notice a shift in my life that will help me become more focused, accomplish more, and experience my life with others on a different level. (Actually, that’s what I heard in my head – they may not be his exact words.)  I thought that was easy, so I complied.

Well, what happened (starting almost immediately) was completely beyond my comprehension of the way the world worked.  I was, after all, a former military soldier, worked for 3 governments, worked in social services, and had my own businesses – – – and, in all my years of working experiences, the speed and quality of accomplishments I experienced over the next few weeks (to today) were transformational compared to any other period in my life.

Without doing anything other than carrying around Shila in my pocket, my life is taking on a new purpose.  I have, without any real effort, laid the groundwork for me to not only understand the direction in which my life is heading, but to take concrete actions that fill in the cracks of previous accomplishment.

Having re-established relationships from my past, both long-ago friends and mended loves with family members, I have been given a new and empowering feeling of certainty and love for the work I am doing.

Now that I have met with lawyers and professionals to help me sort out my long-term hurts that have impeded my true growth for decades; I have been given validation for my skills and talents and the work I put into them while overcoming barriers I can resolve.

______  .  ______

Because I am sharing in people’s lives more intimately (without even asking), and engaging in conversations that now leave us both alive and invigorated rather than sad and depressed aftwards; I now see the world on a different level:

  • I now have a closer relationships with life (mine and others’), giving me greater hope,

  • I am re-energized and more active because I have a better understanding of the value in the work I am presenting to the world,

  • I am more confident because all life indicators are directing me on the right path, and

  • I am truly happier, because I am expressing myself and the essence of my very being.

______  .  ______

Keep this in mind because this is very important:

I didn’t do anything with the intention of having it happen – things just did.

.

The only difference I see now is in how I approach anything that happens to me.  This is the real key (I think) that has the Shila Murti become so valuable to me.  It is very subtle and I only notice it after the fact.  It is this:

  • In a lot of things in my life, I always question myself or decide on something after I check in with my feelings. Now I notice I just instinctively go up to someone (even strangers now!) and have a conversation with him or her about something.

    • For example: to talk to someone I know on the street.  I want to talk to them, but something inside of me tells me not to (for whatever reason). So, I don’t speak, and I miss out on a conversation either I needed to have or wanted to have. Now, I don’t hold back the energy inside of me; and instead, I just acknowledge the other person – and usually we share a comment or short (and even long) conversation with others.
    (After meeting a stranger at McD’s one afternoon, I ended up being invited to his home to show me an invention he and his wife created. We discovered I had the skills he needed to help build his Business Plan, and we traded cards. We may enter into a business relationship. All because of a bird flying overhead!)

______  .  ______

As I said, there was no intention in anything I was doing to substantiate the value of Shila. These things are just changing on their own.

And the best thing – I find the more skeptical I am about the stone, the more effective it is.  I look for holes in the possibility.  I look for downsides to this phenomenon – and I can’t find any!

Imagine That!

.

.

Values & Beliefs: Why Tolerance is NOT Acceptable

Can somebody be given the power to choose who/what is tolerable and who/what isn’t?

If you think ‘yes’, then you need to read this post and see if you are missing some information about Tolerance.

 If your answer is ‘no’, then we probably have a lot in common regarding how tolerance is perceived and used in society.  I haven’t heard a call for Tolerance in some time, so maybe it is gone out of fashion and out of acceptability by the masses.

The way is in my experiences and learnings are explained on how I see Tolerance and why it is not acceptable.

There are some who hail Tolerance as an optional path towards unity and human happiness.  The fact that someone would still use this thought pattern has his head so far up his own butt (yes, I specifically refer to ‘his’) that he deserves the misery he inflicts upon himself.  Yet, some people think it is okay.  How this can be accepted is quite confusing, and it has me question my interpretation of Tolerance as it is viewed by societies at large.  It begs me to ask:

What the Heck is Tolerance?

***

Through my life experiences (even though I am a white guy in a white racist society), I have been on the receiving end of Tolerance.  If you can relate to the experience, then you know it is something that is felt more than said.  Of course, when it is said, it is usually done in a joking way or an aside comment.  Here’s an example of one of my recent experiences in college:

I was tutoring a student with visual impairment.  We went to the college library to book a room.  The ‘system’ of the college took precedence over common sense; so when my student showed her student card to the staff, because there wasn’t a green dot on the back of the card (signifying a disability – get that, huh?), she could not book the room.  Though I don’t look or act disabled, my student was obvious in her sightedness.

Neither I nor my student (both with the Disability Office) ever heard about this oppressive ‘green dot’ policy.  We had to be assertive and somewhat insisting on the rights of students and the accompanying accommodations.  Until we were able to get the attention of the Management were we able to gain access to the room.  The closing comment by the staff was something like “well, we will let it go this time.”

It was a moment of realizing that it was possible that staff member was Tolerating differently-abled, or “diff-abled” students.  And maybe, this was her way of trying to overcome her own sense of powerlessness – by inflicting it upon another through displaying both her Intolerance and Tolerance.

The most interesting thing happened later on.  I went through the complaint procedure and ended up getting a meeting with Management (and there another issue needed to be discussed).  It was professional and cordial and the necessary explanations and excuses were made to justify their actions.

When we left the meeting, we were walking casually and off-the-record, and he came around to saying to me (I am paraphrasing), “You know how young students are?  They are irresponsible and don’t listen.”  It was said so casual, like a “nudge-nudge wink-wink, know-what-I-mean, eh?”  (Thanks, Monty Python.)

So, after I wrapped my mind around that remark, I realized that comment could be understood to mean (to me, anyways, because he did acknowledge my mature status as a student):

1 – that ALL young students are the same,

2 – YOUNG students are irresponsible,

3 – they are being Tolerated,

4 – I should feel the same way he does given our ages,

5 – I should Tolerate the students too, and

6 – I should now understand the REAL reasoning behind their oppressive actions.

***
Back to my wonderings.

Is the Tolerating (and dominant) person/party
implying there is something wrong
with the differences over whom they feel superior?

In my search for answers to this and other questions, I also wondered why we have to use “othering” (or the symbol of their group) and put them down in order to achieve some kind of superior/powerful position.

This is the story in my head (from the ‘Meaning Making Machine’) about the way I see Tolerance:  It is an act by someone who ruthlessly allows somebody or something to “be” in spite of that person’s own perceived objections.

In other words,
the person doing the tolerating
is telling or implying to the person being tolerated
that s/he does not meet their standard.

***

It is not hard to see the possibility of Tolerance as an issue of power?  I sometimes get the feeling that when Tolerance is spoken or acted upon, it is no longer tolerance – it becomes arrogance.  Tolerance is divisive, exclusive, and laced with hidden prejudice.

I sometimes see Tolerance as a political tool.  Why the destructive nature of Tolerance is used this way (reasons/excuses) causes me to question the ignorance of people who accept it.  All Tolerance does is delay the journey towards understanding of others and ourselves.  It does not foster understanding, and it is not respectful.  It is just a grab for power over another.

The way Tolerance is expressed is so flexible,
that it can be anything between subtle sub-text in a conversation and
overt actions of obvious discrimination.

Everybody inherently knows this.  We know it is lip-service.  We know Tolerance doesn’t work and we all know someone still ends up feeling disempowered.  Yet, there is a lot of us who pretend to be humble when using Tolerance.

To accept Tolerance as an affective tool or way of being towards fostering a harmonious society is to both stunt the growth of this quest and do MORE harm towards our fellow human beings.

***

NEVER ACCEPT TOLERANCE!

***

Awareness: 5 Lies We Are Told?

As I go through life, I hope to get through it with as little pain as possible – at least that’s the way I’ve experienced it.

I figure that one of our primary goals in life is to keep the body as comfortable as possible.  I go by the thinking that everything goes to its very basic – personal comfort.  We know we can’t get out of this life alive I’ve often wondered (I am a whyz-guy) about people’s motivations and the way in which we achieve our goals and plan our lives.  From these learnings, I’ve come to create certain truisms about people and life..

In this post, I focus on how we relate to each other and how we’ve been socially conditioned to believe certain ‘facts’ about life.  These are the kind of life facts that help us get along in life and keep ourselves safe and more assured.  We live by these because we’ve got nothing else, and we’ve heard these over and over and over again in our lives as truisms.

***

How I achieve it is based on everything I’ve ever experienced and learned throughout my life.  Some are personal life tests, some from my family, from the media, and from the social conditioning this North American culture (here in Toronto) provides us.  Over the life of this blog, I will come to discuss these issues in greater depth; but for now, I’d like to share with you some of my imaginings and illusions I’ve come to park in my belief system.

As everything else in my life, it doesn’t mean I am married to these beliefs; rather, they are just some thoughts I am ‘trying on’ in my thought patterns.  What I do is test them as often as possible.

Why do I call them lies, you ask?

How did I arrive at my musings?

On what do I base my suppositions? 

Hmmm.  Funny you should ask.

If you happened to venture to my page explaining my background (and what I think about myself, haha), you will find that I carry a philosophical background under the labels of Humanism and Existentialism.  I think of myself, in other words, as someone who loves people and dislikes social games.

I believe that we are responsible individuals who can take control of our lives,
and actually have complete control of its outcome.

That’s not to say many outside influences shape our thoughts and actions, but I do believe we can overcome those influences and challenges.  I think that we, as a specie, are very special individually and as a group.

Given these motivations, I tend to look to the positive as much as possible.  I’ve had enough challenges in my own life to have the opportunity to challenge and stretch myself countless times.  I could see life as a problem.  I dunno, but I figure it can’t be all that bad because I am still alive and kicking … and I needed a lot of help and love from others to get me here.

Along the way, I saw a lot of recurring events/nightmares coming up in people’s lives that didn’t make sense.  It wasn’t until I developed deeper relationships with others that I was able to make some kind of sense (at least to me) of this wonderful mystery called life.  It left and impression, that’s for sure!

***

So what I’m getting at is that I’ve probably ‘been there and done that’ as far as life experiences go and I’m blessed to have had the ability to survive it and tell.  Through these experiences (even in my limited knowledge) I’ve both conscious and unconsciously tested these lies – and I personally hold them to be true to my belief system (and not in any particular order).  What do you think?


_____________________________________________________________

The 5 BIGGEST Lies of Life

LIE # 1: The Strongest Survive

There was a time in our history of humankind where this was evident and true.  In those times, physical prowess is what got you what you wanted and needed.  As we’ve become more intelligent and created systems, processes, and events that make it easier on our physical lives, we no longer need physicality.

We’ve recorded too many instances over the last few millennium to doubt that brains make the difference.  Heck, the 19th and 20th centuries were a hotbed of inventions, thought, creativity, and advancement.  I figure we’ve been hanging on to an out-dated lie.

LIE # 2: Knowledge Is Power

This lie is a child of the demon above – and we have taken this lie to be something motivational.  Sadly, (the way I see it) I think we’ve gone too far with this one; and even more >> it is missing the real power and misleading us into thinking knowledge is actually power.

Give me a moment with this one, if you will.  First, I am not suggesting at all that one forgets about seeking knowledge.  Knowledge is important because it gives us awareness.  But still no power.

Think about it: How many people do you know that are very knowledgeable but are not very successful/powerful in their lives?  How much knowledge do governments and powerful organizations have and still mess up on a regular basis?  How often do you see people that rhyme off statistics and observations yet really don’t know what the heck is going on?  This is what I figure: 

Knowledge is only the FUEL –

ACTION is the TRUE POWER.

 It doesn’t matter how much you know.  What we need to do is USE THE KNOWLEDGE so we can take action.  Our actions can be more effective with knowledge – but pity the soul who still lives in this lie.

LIE # 3: Trust is Earned

This is one of those lies that goes right over our heads.  We’ve seen it countless of times – someone breaks the sacred trust between them, and the victim of the broken trust states that people now have to earn his/her trust.  A lot of us live that mantra and really believe that trust is indeed earned. Yet, we fail to realize that trust is actually something that is automatically given to someone else.

We play head games with ourselves into thinking that there is a certain degree of mistrust, inevitably, we GIVE them our trust.  We have to or we would never get anything done.  That’s why we have contracts – to help us trust the other in business dealings.  It gives us a remedy (to sue) when the trust is broken; and as we know, a lot of weight is given to a WRITTEN agreement.

What actually happens is that we give the trust (sometimes reluctantly) and
expect the best outcome.

We sometimes shake on an agreement as a symbol
of showing each other that integrity in the agreement is based on trust.

When the trust is broken, we are heartbroken (and we express it in different ways) that someone would do that.  Then, in the heat of the pain, we declare that from now on, trust is earned – and that goes for everyone.

Sadly, we often go too far on this one.  If anything, it would be better for us to declare that the one particular individual has to re-earn the trust they broke.  It would be shameful to make it a blanket statement.

If we knowingly and willing gave everyone the trust we all deserve, we could possibly experience a shift in cooperation and community.  Just this acknowledgement can make a difference, as I have had the amazing times meeting a broad range of individuals who contributed so much to my experience of life.

LIE # 4: There Is NO Fear.

This lie has been one of my issues with the world because of it’s misuse.

In one way, there is a lot of truth in this statement.
Unfortunately, even though people use this mantra to empower themselves or others,
the true essence is missing.

It is not a saying to be played with any more than telling someone they are going to live to be 100 years old.  Yes indeed, it is possible, but unless you have all the facts and you are doing all the right things, then the possibility of achievement is limited.

And when it comes to fear, there is a lot of limited information given and not enough depth to the conversation.  So, if I may, allow me to expand on my philosophy on fear.
.
In empowerment training (like athletics), there is a belief that there is NO FEAR.  We are told that regardless of what people are saying, how you are feeling, and what is going on, you have nothing to fear in your drive to achieve your goal.  To their credit, the teaching advises us that we can overcome the fear – with the benefit of being c
ourageous.  And while this is a noble thought in assisting to raise someone’s ability, it only goes part of the way without fully explaining the depth of the teaching.

Without going into great detail, I suggest that we remind people that our beliefs about fear, courage, excitement, etc., are not based on reality.  Rather, we make up stories in our head about our feelings based on what is going on around us.  Here’s an example of what I mean.

The way I was able to eliminate fear completely when it came to performing publicly (not overcome – it never existed except for the first time) was to realize that I was letting a bodily feeling tell me how I should feel emotionally or psychologically.  So this is how it went:

I was around 8 years old and was studying piano music with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.  I guess I was pretty good (though I had no thought about it at the time) because soon after starting, I was playing in recitals and other public venues.As I said, it happened only the first time I ever performed.

I remember feeling my adrenalin rushing through my mid-section and working its way to my heart.  I was starting to breathe a little heavier and my legs became weak.  As I sat, I remember having thoughts of what those feelings meant.  Given my family, the first and most obvious answer was “fear” and “nervousness”.  I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way because I loved playing the piano (still do) – yet here I was – scared and nervous.

I can’t remember who said what and how it was implanted, but I arrived at a profound understanding about life.  I realized that I felt the very same way when I am practicing and playing music (singing too) at home or school.

I had the exact same bodily feelings – adrenalin, speeding heart, goose bumps, etc – when I was alive, excited, and experiencing full self-expression.  THE EXACT SAME FEELING – except my brain called it something different because I was doing something else.  Therefore, since the feeling is the same and just my thought about it was different, then I can change the thought about the feelings.

Instead of saying I was nervous when performing in front of a lot of people, I told myself I was actually excited about performing.  I still had the same feelings; but instead of feeling bad, I felt so much more excited that I often performed beyond my wildest imaginations.  Ever since, I never ever had any fear of performing (acting, singing, speaking, training, etc).  As a result, I never have to even think about fear because it is not a part of my being.

.
A couple of interesting thoughts on this.  First, for many years, I thought there was something wrong with me because I could manipulate my feelings about my motivations.  I thought I was doing something devious or mentally imbalanced because I didn’t think other people would do the same thing.  But I was addicted, so I pursued every interest I’ve ever had regardless.

The second thing to mention that this knowledge about fear has given me so many more enriching experiences and deeper relationships.  One example is my desire to always be in school or training of some kind.  If it interests me, I’ll try it out.  Because I am not afraid of failing, I always have great experiences with learning.

LIE # 5: The World has Truth (or Meaning)

In a way, this is tied in with the thoughts on Fear.  As I got older and learned more about life, I realized I wasn’t crazy (or really was!) because understanding that meaning is an individual thing with transient motivations depending on the individual, the culture, and family background.

     Of course, we know the world has no real meaning and definitely no single truth;
yet we will fight to the death to protect the meaning we have given.

.

Meaning and truth are a funny couple too.  It’s like a double-edged sword on human relationships.  Which one is worse: We give meaning to something and we create a truth to make a fit, or we create a truth and fit it with a meaning to validate it?

I guess there could be two ways of looking at the problem with truth and meaning.  The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, ”the thing is to find a truth which is true for me…”.  So given the world changes all the time making truth a constantly moving force, can we live with long-held truths passed down over time?

Secondly, given we know that some people are going to defend their truths and meaning to the mortal end, can we accept their belief systems as theirs?
.
.
Here’s a bonus:

Wind Blows

This is only my illusion about how science works here.  Since heat creates a vacuum in the atmosphere, cold air would be sucked into it creating an effect that feels like blowing.  It’s really wind sucking and not blowing.
.
Any thoughts?

Holding Back

Every time I dare to dream,
I test myself
To see if it’s all true;
Always running
Not to hurt myself
From fear of actions dared.
 
In the middle of a dream,
I pinch myself
To find a hidden clue;
No need for stopping
To curse myself
My comfort once again is spared.

(orginally written June 2011)

Values & Beliefs: The Lobster and The Crab

This is a joke about how perception can create false impressions.  I think we do this a lot when we don’t have all the information we need to create an opinion about something.


 

A crab and a lobster are secretly dating.

Pretty soon, the lobster tires of the lying and tells her father, who then forbids her to see the crab anymore.

“It’ll never work, honey.” he says to her. “Crabs walk sideways and we walk straight.”

“Please,” she begs her father. “Just meet him once. I know you’ll like him.”

Her father finally relents and agrees to a one-time meeting, and she runs off to share the good news with her crab sweetie.

The crab is so excited he decides to surprise his beloved’s family. He practices and practices until he can finally walk straight!

On the BIG day, he walks the entire way to the lobster’s house as straight as he can.

Standing on the porch, and seeing the crab walking towards him, the lobster dad yells to his daughter…..

“I knew it! Here comes that crab and he’s drunk!”

Thanks to
Dr. David J. Baxter, Ottawa, Canada