Thursday, July 10, 2014

7/11/14—Getting Real

This woman has surgically and otherwise altered herself
to look like a human Barbie doll. No doubt there's a
good bit of photo manipulation going on here, too.
Some of you may know me to be a night owl. I do like the early am hours. But I rarely ever spend those hours writing. And since I maintain a diversion-free bedroom environment, it’s even more rare for me to write in bed. So tonight I’m breaking all the rules.

It’s an interesting thing when that one thing that calls to you more than anything else is also the way you make your money. For some people those things are separate. For some they’re the same, but the people never recognize it because they never pondered the “what calls to me” question long enough to boil it down to a theme that has been pervasive in their life all along. I’ve had the honor of talking to many such people in the past and, when we light upon that common denominator, a light bulb goes off and they discover that what they’re doing now is fulfilling their mission. They might prefer to do it in a different way, bit it nonetheless supports their calling. I think there are a lot of people who are that way.

But now back to me. :)

I’m someone who has to write. My calling, boiled down, is to “move people with my words.” Professionally, as an advertising copywriter, I move people to buy stuff and visit places and choose certain colleges and subscribe to things. Here on this blog, I hope I move you to consider your personal and spiritual growth in different or deeper ways.

But it’s an interesting thing when this passion of yours becomes a transaction of sorts. In my job as a freelance copywriter, I’m compensated for doing something I truly enjoy—something that makes all my cylinders fire. Even though I don’t make a penny off this blog and it’s what I would consider “writing for enjoyment,” I still see it as a business transaction because it’s informing my budding career as an author. Both of these “transactions” are deadline-based and “my day isn’t over” until my desktop is cleaned off and all the deadlines are met. Yet, I thoroughly enjoy the “doing” of them. Yet, they’re my job. Yet, I feel so fortunate for them. Yet I’m doing my job.

I hear people—usually celebrities—say things like “when you’re doing what you love, it’s not work.” OK. I understand what they’re saying. But I want to call bullshit on it, too. It’s still a job. There are still aspects of it that bite. You still have to be somewhere at a given time each day. There are still difficult people you have to deal with. So this breezy attitude of “it’s not work” is not only inaccurate, but it also sets false expectations that people can never truly meet.

I’ve never come out and said it here before, but I’m not a fan of expectations and ideals that can’t be met. Nobody and no situation is perfect and the projection of that image imprints negatively on the observer when they fall short. It’s the same with airbrushed supermodels, perfect love and shiny little Brady Bunch families. In the shadows lurk cellulite, annoying tics and a neglected middle child who’s just one forgotten birthday away from going postal on society.

Part of it is our tendency to look on the other side of the fence to admire what we’re missing, but part of it is also carefully crafted PR on the part of the observed. And, mind you, we all play the role of observer in this dynamic and we also all play the role of the observed. (Which means there’s someone out there envious of YOU. Yeah. You.)

Somewhere along the line, we all project an image of effortlessness to some observer. And somewhere along the line we all also begin to believe some unattainable thing we observed might be attainable. And we fall short. And we either awaken to the thought that we’re doing this to ourselves and stop buying in to ideals nobody can meet. Or we continue to feel “less than.”

If I told you there’s somewhere in your life where you’re falling short, would you know the issue I’m talking about? Stop for a second and consider that question. What would make you perfect? Is it a short list or a long list?

What if there are some things out there you just simply can’t do better? And what if that’s perfect? What if that’s part of why you’re here…to strive for your best and make peace with your best even when it falls short of someone else’s best?

We waste so much time and energy—and even beat ourselves up—because our body’s not as flawless as Adriana Lima’s, our faith isn’t as strong as the Dalai Lama’s and we’re not as polished and professional as that chick in the office. But you can’t possibly be everybody’s personal best—you can’t embody everyone’s “one thing they came here to be.” Besides, not even Adriana Lima is “Adriana Lima.” Nor is the Dalai Lama the Dalai Lama. Each of them falls short of their own projected image in some way. And each of them falls short of you in some regard that has meaning for you.

Internally we’re all aware of where we fall short, but externally we tend to pretty that up with denials, fancy clothes, a showy lifestyle, strategic omissions or a certain air that makes us seem like we don’t fart or fail. While there’s wisdom to putting our best foot forward, there’s also a price. No one, including ourselves, can live up to the image any of us consciously or unconsciously convey. And, because we greet our inability to live up to those images with shame instead of acceptance—because we measure our worth against the yardstick of others—we limit our evolution as both individuals and a society.

We live in a society where it’s considered arrogant if you a) own your strengths and/or b) don’t own your weaknesses. Society actually supports our feelings of being “less than,” perpetuating a cycle of inadequacy. It’s a cycle that only be broken by getting real, embracing the entirety of who we are and representing the good and the bad honestly.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

7/9/14—Letting Go With Sparky & Goddess

Today's post is from our monthly guest bloggers, Sparky & Goddess. I'll be back on Thursday night with Friday's post!

The Sparky & Goddess Evolutionary Love Chronicles 

Part 2

Sparky - It’s been several weeks since our last blog and by now, just the phrase letting go has taken on the vibe of an inside joke - where attraction and repulsion arise together, resonating with both familiar and new twists of insight.  We ended our last blog with four questions and invited readers to join in the inquiries with us.  One result has been that Goddess and I have felt an energized sense of interest, even community, around this Letting Go topic.  

Goddess – Yes, we have, Sparky!  This quest for going into letting go came about in the first place because that’s the number one question that keeps coming up in my practice and in my own life: how do you let go?  I’ve let go of so much in my own life and I have felt my way into approaches that have served me in the past.  The how seems to be a moving target for each circumstance and certainly for each individual.  We ended Part 1 by asking 4 questions as a way for each of us to explore more about our own relationship with letting go.  Today, we thought we’d share one of our reflections from each of these inquiries.  Of course, these are just perspectives and you, the reader, can decide if there’s anything here that adds to yours. 

The first question we asked was, why let go at all?   

Sparky – The first thing that came up for me was, because it’s a pain to lug all this stuff around!  Then I realized that the statement implies that we’re aware of being in motion, which of course we are in motion, but our awareness of being in motion varies with the circumstances and events in our life.  For a while holding on can be a choice, while still in a role we’re taking on in life or part of processing a particular experience...  And at some point, all roles change and the currents of life tug at us to further process and move back into flow.  Hanging onto roles - life stories and events, as a source of personal identity is always the ego.  We have to engage our authentic awareness, or consciousness, just to tweeze these apart and become aware that we even have a choice to let go, or hang on.  

Goddess – So from this perspective letting go is consciously aligning, or resisting the flow of life.  We let go so that we can move along with, rather than being anchored by, our past.  We let go so that we can align to the present by living a more authentic life!  It’s an ongoing process and really, a personal responsibility.   

We feel this in relationships, where egos can produce static, inflexible lines that are not really boundaries but trip-wires around unexamined and closed-off, inner-spaces.  Instead of a line of respectful agreement, we unconsciously protect these lines and crossing them can trigger a reactive, attack/defend response.  Doing the inner-work of letting go lets us clean out these fortresses which then allows for freer, deeper authentic connections.  In relationships, this feels like a gift of ease and spaciousness because it relieves others from the “responsibilities” of accommodating, tolerating and endlessly satiating another’s ego.

Sparky – The next question invites us to investigate by asking, what’s it like to hang on?  

Goddess – My response to that is S.T.U.C.K. 

Sparky – I once knew a teacher who, when asked how he was doing, would reply, “Tired of living and scared of dying.”  That’s a lyric from the song Old Man River, by Oscar Hammerstein, and it sums up the essence of stuck pretty well, for me… And so did the guy!

Goddess – The poor man…  Sounds like he was hanging on to quite a lot!  

When you’re hanging on so long like that, it can be the worst kind of stuck because deep down, we know we’re our own jailer and we know we hold the key.  No matter what else changes around us, we’re stuck to what and where we’re hanging onto until we can consciously let go.  Sometimes we even know what we want to let go of, and we accept that we’re our own jailer, but we still can’t find the darn key!

Sparky – Oh yeah, and then it’s like you’re Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, where you’re living the same day over and over and you already know what’s going to happen.  

Goddess – It makes you feel disconnected, isolated and bitter… As if life is what everybody else gets to experience while you get something less.  In your example of Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character becomes more and more authentic and present, and he begins to interact in ways that create a different result each day.  He becomes engaged in living each moment consciously/authentically, which opens him up and which becomes the necessary processing itself!   

Sparky – Which takes us right into the third question, what’s it like to let go?  

Goddess – What’s it like?  It’s freeing, opening and exhilarating!  But, that’s only after you’ve actually let go.  Just before that it’s uncomfortable, complicated and even scary!  There’s also that eureka moment where you feel that a way has suddenly formed - a way that had not been there just moments before!

Sparky – Yes, a way forward becomes available!  Your last point reminds me that “letting go” isn’t really so much the act of dropping something entirely, but rather re-processing and re-forming how we’re holding things.  In fact for me, the most significant letting go I’ve ever done has had more to do with dropping unwanted attachments, which winds up transforming my experience.

Goddess – That’s absolutely true for me!  For example, I’ve transformed relationships by immersing into the human condition itself and gaining broader insights and understanding around the issues at hand.  By immersing in the universal perspective, I’m free to see how specific dynamics are happening.  When I’m out of my comfort zone and floundering to align, I’m forced to find the courage to go to higher ground.  

Sparky – That higher ground is where acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude and love all become available.  To stand at that higher ground is to stand in your power and it’s where we do the real letting go.  This is the inner change that is primary to manifesting the external change, which is secondary.  

Goddess – And it’s that inner space of naked clarity and authenticity that the Evolutionary Impulse drives us to. It’s where the ‘Impeccable Imperative” arises as both your path and your purpose!     
Sparky – In that spirit of path and purpose, our last question was, what’s just one thing to let go of now?  

Goddess – And that question is going to carry us into Part 3 of what is now emerging as a journey with Letting Go!  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

7/7/14—Being Receptive to Magic

I wrote a blog post about being in the now and being receptive to magic, but somehow lost all of it. So all you get today is a panoramic picture from my hammock. Sorry. But it is what it is and I'm going with it. :)