• Time and…. stuff

    It’s funny how time just runs away from us, sometimes.

    Perhaps John Lennon expressed it best: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” That famous quote doesn’t even include the word “time,” yet it encapsulates how things just “keep going,” no matter what we’re doing. And we can either be “bystanders,” or “participants.”

    I haven’t exactly given up on the idea of blogging. After all, I’ve been a member of the blogosphere since before there even was a blogosphere. I came to xanga five years ago (this month) because I got a very clear “message” from the Universe that I needed to be here, rather than “waste my time” on blogger, where there really was no sense of community and it was just the “wrong” place. Going into detail about what that cryptic sentence “means” would require a book, not a blog post, so I’ll leave it at that.

    The point being, that this blog has served its original purpose, and I’m sortof pondering what to do with it. What direction– if any– to take it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing. And I like to ponder the imponderables of the Universe, in writing. But where doing so was once something I pursued with almost religious fervor, now…. not so much.

    And I guess that’s partially what I mean when I feel like time has “run away.” And “other things” are more important, these days.

    It amuses (and saddens) me– about our society, in general– how we all live in the ostensible “Pursuit of Happiness,” while often keeping ourselves in a state of helplessness. People strive to be whole, better, functional, successful, content, at peace, and whatever. Yet the vast majority of communication and “societal chatter” is about what’s wrong, and who sucks, and UNhappiness, and strife, and anger, and arguments. On one hand, we aspire to be (and be like) Happy People, but the moment someone admits that their life actually is frakking brilliant and, yes, they are HAPPY, we start tearing them down and saying things like “You’re just delusional, living in a fantasy world, life IS NOT LIKE THAT!

    The popular saying is “misery loves company.” Where’s the parallel quote about happiness?

    One of the things that always strikes me about happiness… and perhaps also hints at why people more readily “tear down,” than “build up,” is that happiness requires a sort of personal accountability. Happiness is something you have to dream up, define, create and then “own.” It’s internal. YOU create it. It comes from YOU. Nobody “gives it” to you. And– in some ways– that makes happiness “scarier” than unhappiness because it demands that we be willing to expose ourselves to the buffeting winds of naysayers and the vast majority who don’t want to be ultimately accountable for the outcomes of their lives.

    UN-happiness… well, it thrives on external blame, fear, mistrust and merely pointing out what is “wrong” with other people, ideas, actions, laws, beliefs, societies. “Everyone else” gets to own your problems. You choose to blame “ridiculous qualification requirements” for getting passed over for that job, rather than accept that you partied your way through college and never completed your degree, as a result of which you simply need to be “more” than the degreed folks, to get what you want. You attribute your sad relationship history and your disillusionment with love to such “facts” as “all men (or women) are pigs,” rather than accept that you’re always stressed to the gills and have anger management issues… and so it IS “about YOU” and not “about THEM.”

    I sensed a subtle shift in the background energy of the world, late in the evening of Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. Generalizations are, of course, dangerous– which is why I chose the word “subtle.”

    When we set aside all the “historic factors” of the election, and all the obviously visible paradigm shifts, beneath it was this subtle shift towards “hope and idealism,” and away from “mistrust and control.” I’m not sure it had anything to do with government, and who is going to be the President of the United States. I believe it had to do with choosing the possibility of happiness– as a global community, rather than resigning ourselves to the status quo of “everything is always going to be fucked up.”

    Perhaps my perspective is skewed by the large number of commentaries, articles and blogs I have heard/read over this past week– written by African Americans (and other minorities, as well)– around the essence that “one of OURS is President of the most powerful nation on earth, and it just became a LOT harder to assign external blame to our discontent– WE must be the example, and be more accountable for our lives and happiness, now.”


    Whereas this sentiment may run strongest within the African-American community… isn’t the underlying message really to all of us? We create our realities– nobody comes and serves it up to us, on a silver platter… or if they DO, don’t we have the choice to say “No, I don’t think that’s mine. I’d rather have something else?

    I believe we do.

  • A body (not) in motion…

    One of the things I like about blogging and the Internet: They consume time.

    One of the things I DISlike about blogging and the Internet: They consume time.

    Point? Part of my reason for periodically dropping all attempts to update here have little to do with being bored with writing, nor with not having a good time… and everything to do with simply not having the time or bandwidth to give it.

    Perhaps it’s an oxymoron that I’m here writing, even while I am frantically busy. So shoot me. Maybe it’s just tuna salad that puts me in such a contrarian mood….

    Different people are motivated by different things, and different people have different “natural states.”

    Some people are “bodies in motion.” Even if there is absolutely nothing to do, they will make something to do, so they don’t have to sit still. They always have lives that are filled to overflowing with an endless cornucopia of events and happenings they must tend to. When I am around them, their psychic energy always feels like that of a hummingbird; flighty, flitting, unfocused, always moving, never at rest. Not calling them “wrong,” just saying that it exhausts me.

    I am– by nature– a “stationary object.” All other things being equal, I will sit still and watch paint dry. Or I will sit on a rock and watch waves break. I have no natural inclination to actively “do” things… maybe with the exception of things like making out, discussing the deeper meaning of life and the Universe, or cooking a really good steak for dinner. On the whole, I am very skilled at taking the lowest and easiest route over the fence, as far as everything else goes.

    When something “critical” happens in my sad little whirled, I find myself with no choice but to get up off my duff and deal with things. And when I do change states and become a “body in motion” I am more or less like an avalanche.

    Some might say that I have a “high moment of inertia.” It takes a lot to get me to move, but once I am moving, it takes a lot to stop me, again. I have a life history of coming face-to-face with situations I have had to address head-on, and I have typically done so with a fervor and intensity that has left everyone around me in the dust, including even the most frenetic, perpetually on-the-go Energizer Bunnies I know. Those who formerly criticized me as a stationary object suddenly lie on the ground in exhaustion, begging me to explain how I can work for 19 hours straight, without even a three-minute break to pee. I have actually been called “not human” a couple of times. I’m not kidding.

    My entire motivation is to deal with “whatever” it is I am facing, in as short order as possible, to I can return to a state of peace.

    But I am sortof digressing, here.

    It’s much easier (and preferable, as a pastime) for me to spend 6-8 hours a day creatively fucking off by typing a bit and reading other people’s musings, than it is for me to deal with the normal stuff of life. Even though I have possibly the most wonderful and flexible work life imaginable, I’d just as well not work. A lot of folks– over a great many years– have told me “Oh, you’d get bored with doing nothing, in short order.”


    Not in the slightest.

    The more guru-esque and ethereal ones say “You just haven’t found what you’re meant to do, yet.

    ::: sigh :::

    My typical response goes something like “Sorry, guru-dude, you’re wrong. I just haven’t found a way to get paid for what I am meant to do. Which is ‘as little as possible.’”

    At the moment, I find myself in “one of those periods,” where life demands of me that I remain “frantic,” so I can arrive at another period of sitting still. I’m working towards going to this HSP retreat in upstate New York in about a month, and the following weekend I’m heading down to check out another event that’s directly tied to part of my creative slackerhood… and something else of great importance, too. I “put up with” being frantically busy so I can afford to go do these things. But these periods of working hard are never anything beyond something “I put up with.”

    Funnily enough, one of the areas of my life I have long put “a great deal of effort into” is the very process of how to minimize having to put “a great deal of effort” into ANYthing. I love the idea of “Voluntary Simplicity:”

    “We can describe voluntary simplicity as a manner of living that is
    outwardly more simple and inwardly more rich, a way of being in which
    our most authentic and alive self is brought into direct and conscious
    contact with living.”

    –Duane Elgin

    I’ve had people tell me “Oh, you’re just saying that because you’re poor!” Actually… I totally disagree. This was a choice I started embracing when I had a six-figure income and all the trappings of success… and determined that wasn’t the life I wanted, so I reinvented myself and voluntarily took a 70+% pay cut in the process. Now, if people were instead saying “Oh, you’re just saying that because you’re LAZY!” they’d be closer to the mark… at least in the sense that I evidently almost completely lack the “Protestant Work Ethic” that drives this country.

    That has almost always been true. When faced with questions such as “Don’t you want to ACHEIVE something?” I almost inevitably list a host of intangibles like “live peacefully,” and “have love in my life,” and “have easy access to nature,” and “live close to the beach,” and “have nice friends.” And it hasn’t been for a lack of trying… but I have just never been able to think in terms of creating “tangible monuments” to make statements about my life. I have tried really hard to “feel” differently because I’m wearing a $600 suit, rather than second hand stuff from Goodwill. I have tried really hard to “feel” differently, driving a late model luxury car, as opposed to my old wrecks held together with chewing gum and tape. I have tried really hard to “feel” differently because I lived in a large house in the “right” part of town, vs. in a modest rental.

    In some ways, what I have “felt” is actually disappointment, with the former… one layer of disappointment at the fact that I felt nothing, but had to work 10 times as hard to get those things. And what’s the freakin’ point of that??? A second layer of disappointment at the fact that “outerwear” bearing no relation to my essence as a human being somehow earned me “special” and “preferential” treatment. That’s just plain sad.

    I’ve sort of gone in a circle, here. I guess the end point here is that I am in Energizer Bunny mode, at the moment… but in pursuit of “intangibles,” such as the value of the human connections that go with that retreat I’m both helping organize and later will be a part of. And then again, more human connections, relating to the subsequent festival. Both are simply about “being there,” and “being part of something.”

  • Do we “choose” who and what we are?

    I believe we all have the capacity to create our own reality.

    Whether you believe I am full of shyghte, or you subscribe to the same ideas as I, or you believe I am right but your way looks “different,” I have seen a lot of evidence that our intent (overt or covert) drives our lives. When we fully “intend” to bring precisely what we want into our lives… it somehow seems to happen. Likewise, when we fully believe we are “helpless” and that nothing will turn out for us… then it typically happens that nothing turns out.

    In a way, we do “choose” Who We Are, just as we tend to attract who or what we believe we are. Connecting the dots is not always easy, however. But… we nearly always can. When you look in the mirror every morning and declare (even if subconsciously) “I hate the way I look,” there’s a really good chance you’ll suddenly find yourself five years into a relationship with someone who– oh, surprise– is frequently critical of your appearance. Similarly, if we convince ourselves that we “can never have a fulfilling job,” it will most likely be true.

    Thoughts become things.

    Belief is a powerful thing. We tend to move towards our beliefs, no matter whether we’re consciously “trying,” or not. The deeper implication is that manifesting what we want– love, money, success, inner peace, friendships, relationships, contentment– is more often about examining thoughts, patterns and habits, than it is about sitting down and “making a list” of what we want. One of the primary reasons “affirmations” seldom work is that it doesn’t matter whether we say “I’m going to sign three new clients today!” 45 times if we don’t actually believe in it.

    It’s always interesting to watch the “outward” signs of belief and words not matching. An easy place to witness it is to watch politicians on TV. Look for someone who’s making an “agreeing statement” while at the same time shaking their head side to side, in “disagreement.” It’s a sure “tell” they aren’t actually “behind” the statement they are making… they may think they are, but their “higher self” (for lack of a better phrase) doesn’t agree.

    So how did I “get” here, anyway?

    Well, this year– for me– has been largely about embracing the concept of truly being “a responsible adult.” I won’t go into great depth about what that means to me– I’ve written about it, in the past. Point, though, is that I have also been trying to persuade myself that I “like” being a responsible adult, because it makes me “better off in life,” and more capable of dealing with things and handling life’s disasters, when they come up. But the bottom line– as I “feel it in my bones”– is that I don’t like being a “responsible adult.” I do not like the person I become when I “take life seriously.” I don’t like the way prioritizing things like “work” and “paying bills” and “getting things done on time” turns me into someone who just doesn’t have time/bandwidth for the people and things that really matter to me.

    You may be thinking “boo-hoo-hoo, welcome to the real world.” Indeed, maybe that is how 95% of the world experiences life. However, I’m idealistic/narcissistic enough to believe that I don’t have to be part of that 95%, I can be part of the 5%. Or maybe it’s 1%. And I get very stubborn about it.

    I choose not to be part of the 95%.

    Which brings me face-to-face with one of the “constants” of my life: I simply don’t care what “everyone else” thinks, and I don’t care whether “conventional wisdom” believes that I am “delusional.” And I suppose the bit of “put THAT in your pipe and smoke it” information I take away from these ramblings is an explanation for why– beyond a very superficial level– I eventually get along with so few people.

    Back to the drawing board….

  • Sorting out Life and Wisdom

    Does anyone ever really get “it” figured out?

    Sure, we have gurus who sit on their mountain tops in their diapers, dispensing “wisdom” about life and the Universe, but do they really have everything figured out? One of my Teachers once told me about his own Teacher’s Teacher… and how he was a man of great enlightenment and an evolved spirit… yet he could not survive daily life without a group of followers from his inner circle bringing him food and clean clothes and feeding him. And not because he was ill and weak, but because he was so far dissociated from the practicalities of daily life that he would most likely have died, without “handlers” to tend to his needs.

    Did he have “it” figured out?

    Is that what “enlightened” looks like?

    A cynical part of me thinks that he was certainly “clever” enough to become a person of wisdom, very specifically including the “wisdom” of how to “farm out” getting his basic needs taken care of, by others.

    I’m no guru, of course. However, as an observer of people and their personal spiritual evolution, I find that I have far more respect for the “guru” who plunges his/her own toilet in the morning, and then philosophizes about the meaning of the the Universe in the afternoon. S/he may have cosmic wisdom, but can also be found down at the grocery saying “The brussels sprouts look good, today!” I’m not even sure if “respect” is the right word. Maybe it’s just a matter of relating… and I find that I relate best to someone who is both “OF the world” and “IN the world,” at the same time.

    When I pause to ponder, I also realize that my own perception (and associated filtering) of ostensible “greatness” is perhaps tainted by having grown up in Denmark, in the shadow of the “Jante Law” (a sort of Scandinavian variation of the “tall poppy syndrome”) which– however impractical in “real” terms– runs as a pervasive cultural/sociological subtext through the core values of Scandinavian culture. You can read up on that on your own– the relevance for me is an innate suspicion of anyone claiming to be “better” than anyone else… especially if the “saying” of better is not matched by a practical “demonstration” of better.

    “Figuring it out” is an interesting “beast,” for me. As an observer of the human condition, it at least feels infinitely preferable to wandering through life in a state of oblivion. Perhaps people “in oblivion” have a simple way to live, but I have seen very few signs that the absence of self-awareness leads anyone to contentment… and the “collateral damage” (from addictive behaviors to violence and abuse) of ignorance strikes me as far more unpleasant than the potential existential depression that might result from excessive navel-gazing.

    The fun thing about “figgering” is that what you come up with as a “feeling of rightness” will– in all likelihood– be completely different from what I come up with. And out of that (at least for me) rises the quest to find those elusive “other members of my tribe.”

    And sometimes you get lucky, and find a perfect overlap between two “feelings of rightness….”

  • The Exhausting Inquisition

    In my current state of low energy, I have been contemplating “things that sap energy.” Not as they relate to this current moment, mind you, but as they relate to life, on the whole.

    Temperament (such as “being an introvert”) may be innate, but I believe you can find yourself in places where your innate temperament gets exaggerated, and in places where you notice it less.

    What I have come to understand about myself is that my energy gets sapped by people who have a “questioning” and “inquisition-like” communication style.

    When I was a kid, I grew up in an environment where you’d damn better know what you were talking about, before you opened your mouth. And when you did open your mouth, you’d damn better be prepared to defend your point of view. My parents’ natural “communication style” seemed to be “inquisition.”

    “Mom, I’m thirsty, can I get a glass of milk?”

    “Why are you thirsty? Are you sure you’re thirsty? Why do you want milk? Why not grape juice? Do you like milk better than grape juice? Why not just get a glass of water? Are you sure you’ll have appetite for dinner, if you drink milk now? You’d better have a really good reason for wanting this, right before dinner!”

    I recognize that in my adult life, I have tended to surround myself with “debaters,” in many different situations, from love relationships to friendships to business partnerships.

    I am sure there are people who really like, and even thrive, on “debate” as a communication style. In fact, I know there are. I’ve met more than a few couples who say the favorite part of their relationships (and what keeps their relationships strong) is a kind of constant “verbal sparring.” Not in an abusive way, just in a sort of “perpetual verbal competition” sort of way, like they define their boundaries through an ongoing push-pull process, a never-ending active process of establishing “where you stand” vs. “where I stand,” re-tested over and over and over again. Perhaps I am interpreting it wrong, but it ultimately ends up feeling like we’re engaged in a “soft” verbal wrestling match to establish who’s “superior” and “inferior.”

    Personally, I find it exhausting. As I said, everyone is different. But for me, feeling like I have to be “prepared” (like carrying around a fat wad of internal “legal briefs” with “facts” about the current conversation) to “defend and justify” every word that exits my mouth– especially in close relationships– makes me want to do only one thing… withdraw and preserve energy.

    Now, I’m not trying to say that I shy away from “debate” or “discussion” of the various aspects of life. It’s great to discuss “the meaning of life,” and to explore disparate points of view. But I experience that as very different from– say– feeling like I have to be prepared to “explain myself” because I blew my nose on a paper towel, rather than a Kleenex. In fact, I find that when I’m aware of the imminent likelihood that the first response to some action I’m about to take will be “a demanding question” I’ll mostly choose to not even take that action.

    I also know that I’m probably in the minority, and that my approach is related to this “high sensitivity” thing– HSPs, by nature, tend to be oriented towards “cooperation” and “commonality” rather than towards “competition” and “establishing territory.” And HSPs– while certainly capable of “debating” and “defending themselves”– easily get worn out by the process.

    So… long and the short of it, I find people who seem compelled to constantly “question” everything in the world– from the color of your socks, to who’ll be the next President– exhausting to be around. Nothing wrong with that approach. I’m just saying I don’t want to have to “be on my toes” to “defend my words” every time I open my mouth, or take some action.


    Why hasn’t the caffeine kicked in, yet?

  • Chop wood, carry water, part 432.5.a

    Somewhere in the distance, an air horn blows. Means it’s noon– the sound comes from the paper mill. Somewhere, people are breaking for lunch, shifts are changing, people go about the daily stuff of life.

    Whatever is going on in the Universe at the moment, it seems to be keeping everyone running in a frantic pattern of overload. I can’t turn around without bumping into someone else whose life is completely upside down with overload… like the Cosmos is throwing some kind of collective “test” at everyone… smirking as She says “Oh, so you actually thought you were going to have five minutes to eat a sandwich? Here, let me give you a crisis phone call, to eat up those five minutes… wouldn’t want you to get complacent, in your own age.

    The thing that always puzzles me is how often it holds true that we seem to be plugged into some giant Cosmic biorhythm. When it’s crunch time, it seems to be crunch time for everyone. When it’s slack time, everyone is sitting around, wondering if anything is ever going to end the boredom.

    I sat here, realizing that I only had three more “iterations” of eBay sales to go, before I leave town, at the beginning of October. And with that, realizing that I am caught in the same frenzy as everyone else, whose lives seem to be crunching. Because October is important.

    (For a moment, I pause to ponder that “eBay” has become a “word.” And it’s spell checked. It’s “eBay,” not “ebay” or “Ebay.”)

    Sometimes I wonder whether all the ups and downs are directly connected to the fact that we search out “things to do” while life is “slow” and end up paying the price later. That, instead of merely enjoying the fact that we can watch the grass grow when things are slow… and not fiddle with the formula.

    Excuse me. I have to go. There are things to do.

  • Here I go, again…

    I don’t blog much, any more.

    It’s not that I don’t like writing anymore, it’s just that I’m off doing “other stuff,” most of the time. So I don’t really have the time to spend, with it.

    As many of you know, I work (well, maybe that’s an overstatement) quite a lot with HSPs (HSP = Highly Sensitive Person) because I happen to be one, myself. And because… well, I really like sensitive people. I am, once again, helping out with one of the “HSP Gatherings,” which is basically a five day retreat for HSPs… with workshops, activities, social time and just a chance to meet other members of “my tribe.”

    If you DO happen to be reading this page, and you DO happen to be an HSP… this retreat is taking place in Phoenicia, NY, on October 2-6, 2008. And it would certainly be cool to see some familiar faces, there! Over the years, I have probably met about 10 people from xangaland, at these events.

    I won’t put up a big sales pitch here– there’s current information you can look at on the New York HSP group’s web site.

    Or, if you want to see an agenda and registration info, and all that good stuff, you can find it on organizer Jacquelyn Strickland’s web site.

    So… go check it out, register, and then I’ll see you there… yes?

    Sometimes people do ask me why I “bother.” As in why I “bother” to write so much about my life as an HSP, why I “bother” to create web sites about high sensitivity, why I “bother” with hosting HSP groups and forums on the web, and why I “bother” with the general “awareness spreading” about the trait, as I do.

    It isn’t actually that anyone is arguing against me, as such– far from it– it’s usually about the “bothered” thing. It usually takes the form of “I can understand why you’d want to know and understand, but why not just be happy with that, tell anyone if they DO ask, but otherwise just get on with your life?

    I really do understand that perspective. I started puzzling it out, last year, and even started writing an article about what motivates me to do what I do… when I could be involved in some (better paying) gig, doing something else. Ultimately, I guess I’m just idealistic, and believe I’m doing something that “adds value,” in some capacity.

    I did end up finishing the article today:

    HSP Topics: So WHAT if you’re Sensitive? Why should it matter to you?

    Then I got to thinking– the article doesn’t really touch on the “personal” aspects of it all. It presents rational and logical reasons. I sat and pondered that, after clicking the “submit” button, and realized that I am– quite simply– a hopeless idealist. I come across things I feel “matter,” and then there’s very little turning me back. And when I find myself in those “moods,” I always worry about the delicate balance of “altruistic motives” intersecting with “imposing myself” on others.

    It’s popular “self-growth speak” to talk a lot about “The Ego” and its role in driving our lives. And I am looking at the possibility that anything I get “deeply into” is an ego-exercise. In this case (meaning my involvement in the global HSP “community”), I don’t really care whether I “get paid,” nor whether I am “recognized.”

    I know my own existence has had a lot of painful and confusing times, and that part of my life has been dominated by the idea that unless I could “offer something useful and be rewarded” (old parental crap) I just shouldn’t bother… however, I now find a feeling that if I can add something to the great clutter of information, and it helps someone… well, that works, for its own sake. I has nothing to do with ME, and how I “feel” it just has to do with taking “right action.”

  • The “cycles” of the world

    It seems to me that people really come and go in cycles.

    What I mean by that is that we cycle through periods of being very “out in the world,” and then have periods of being very “inside ourselves.”

    But beyond the way these cycles apply to ourselves, as “one individual,” it often strikes me that we all are part of a greater cycle.

    I work a lot with web groups, and with various forms of Internet marketing. There are times when I can send “X number” of emails out– even to people I know well– and there is almost NO response, at all. And then there are times when I send out the same “X number” of emails, and within hours my in-box is overflowing with happy-happy-joy-joy from all over the place.

    At the moment, the world very much seems to be “in.” And I don’t mean “introspection,” I mean everyone seems very busy feeling “mired down” in the busy-ness of life, work, kids, personal crises, and whatever else. And I’m also not talking about your basic “well, it’s the economy” argument. Nor am I talking about “blips” caused by such things as Mercury being retrograde. I’m talking about an “energetic” in-ness that currently seems to be affecting even the most extraverted people I know. It’s the most “in” I’ve seen, in at least 5-6 years. Maybe it’s the “valley” following what seemed to be a substantial “out” period, which ran from about March through October/November 2007.

    Beats me.

    Don’t I have anything better to do, than sit around and ponder people’s patterns and inclinations? Sure I do. But I also enjoy taking by brain out and playing with it, every now and then.

    Are you “in” or “out,” at the moment?

  • The eternal worry about “Them”

    Come on in, pull up a chair!

    I don’t write much, when life is busy. Life has been… busy.

    I was pondering something this morning… about the way so many people are obsessed with “them.” What I mean by that, is the constant concern with “externals,” the tendency to make one’s life “other referencing,” all the time.

    When I lived down in Texas, I knew this ceramics artist from Thailand. He was a “master potter,” he trained and apprenticed in Japan and was truly a master of his craft. He was also a man of great inner peace, and with wonderful sense of humor. I’d sometimes visit him, in Seabook, TX where he and his extended family occupied three adjacent houses alongside a bayou. The family predominantly worked at nearby NASA, but here was this fellow, creating his life from porcelain clay.

    The thing that was most interesting about V. was not just the degree to which people admired his work, but the willingness with which he was willing to show and teach ANY potter what he did, and how he did it, just for the asking. He was always puzzled by the feedback he’d get: “Aren’t worried that they are your competition? Aren’t you worried that they will take your styles and glaze recipes and copy them? Aren’t you worried that they…..?


    His answer always was “Whyever would I be worried about someone else’s pottery and ability? I feel happy anyone can find a way to make a living from their craft, and if my knowledge can help someone, that makes all of us better off.”

    As a long time “traveller,” I find it fascinating how the obsession with “they” runs rampant, even within the cummunity of spiritual teachings. Even as Teachers and Gurus convey a message of SELF-actualization and SELF-awareness, and NON-attachment… the focus so often becomes on ATTACHMENT to– and fixation on– what THEY are doing.

    Different branches of Christianity teach us about a loving God, and about accepting God into our lives… even while busily telling us that “they” (different perspectives on Christian beliefs) are “evil” and will lead us astray. The “guru in a diaper” teaches us non-attachment and how to silence the “monkey mind” while simultaneously pointing out how “they” (the other gurus in diapers) are “caught in their delusion” or “stuck in the trance.”

    No matter how “evolved” or self-aware, it seems we all all but unable to do anything besides focus on what is wrong with those outside ourselves, as opposed to what is right with ourselves. In many ways, we arrive at our own “rightness” purely through examining and defining others’ “wrongness.”

    We make it about “Them,” not about ourselves. We don’t allow ourselves to just be “right” (for ourselves), we also focus on how they are “wrong.”

    The Thai potter, and “they” came to my mind this morning, because I ended up on some web site where two ostensibly “evolved” spiritual teachers were taking potshots at each other, over their process… each accusing the other of being “delusional” and “stuck in their fixations.”

    Maybe I have a simplistic view of the world, but isn’t that just another way of giving away our personal power?

    Frankly, I’d rather hang out with the potter.

  • The Anger Issue

    Why are so many people angry?

    I’m not talking about “the cat shredded the blinds, I feel angry” anger or “I’m so pissed because I spilled coffee on my new jeans” anger, I’m talking about those whose lives seem to revolve around a constant undercurrent of barely contained rage… that often expresses itself as an (or at least that’s how it feels to me) unwarranted explosion when two drops of coffee spill on the floor, or someone within a three mile radius expressed an opinion that was just 0.01% different from the rageful person’s perception of reality.

    What sometimes troubles me– and perhaps troubles me more than any other thing– is that these folks seem really adept at “being angry” without ever pausing to examine the roots of that anger, nor dealing with it. It almost feels like their “comfort zone” is a perpetual state of rage. If ever questioned, they’ll typically dismiss the inquiry with a statement like “Too bad. That’s just the way I AM. You have a problem with that?” The statement almost comes out as a challenge.

    I’ve been told a million times that when I have a “problem” with something in someone else’s behavior, it’s usually a case of it really being about something in my own behavior; something I don’t like about myself. In other words… projection. There are some areas in which I really struggle with that theory… especially when we are talking about destructive behaviors. You know, like (to take an extreme case) my having an issue with physically violent people and bullies is really “my” problem, not “theirs?” I’m sorry, but that just reeks of “blame the victim,” to me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily some kind of eternal pacifist, or someone who pretends to never get angry about anything. Sometimes
    “psychobabble” goes a little overboard, for my liking. People get so
    gosh-darned involved in the whole “I am one with the Universe, nothing
    affects me” trip… even though it comes across as nothing more than
    the 180-degree opposite from knee-jerk reactivity to everything.

    But I also think there’s something called a “proportional response.” Sure, someone may have had a “bad” day, causing them to snap… but when every day becomes “a bad day, causing them to snap,” there’s a problem. I also do recognize that I am really sensitive to “short fuses,” because my dad had one, and it was like a constant process of “walking on eggshells,” because nobody ever knew what would set him off. In later years, I have learned that much of what set him off was the dynamic between he and my mother… his fiery temper simmered down considerably after they divorced, and he was with someone else.

    Balance. Finding the middle way. Now that’s the real challenge.