Further

Stephen Victor photo

Further

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know. —Ernest Hemingway

There was a time I characterized my life as a ship in transit on which I repeatedly busied myself redesigning and reconstructing its hull — while underway — in heavy, and becalmed seas. I had a knack for creating unnecessary difficulties — while oddly enough, being a decent naval architect and ship fitter. Curious, huh.

Not so much difficulty created these days though — by me, that is.

There is a story, true or not I don’t know. A farmer asked Picasso why he did not paint portraits like everyone else. He replied: You know how any of those I had to paint before I could paint these!?

Often what we once believed to be our ‘truest’ sentences were born out of, and borne on our necessary self deceptions — those simple stations along our way offering solace to our beleaguered selves as we burnished the shine within us — the one we were yet to see.

May the sea and winds render our resolve capable of our truest sentences.

Particularly now – particularly now, may we become equal to circumstance.

Further!
© Stephen Victor 2020

Comedy or Tragedy

Stephen Victor photo

Act I Colluding

“…a man who lived a short distance from himself.” —James Joyce, “A Difficult Case”

Human life is but the loveliness of a passing fragrance. Few see it this way. Most are frequently fraught with challenging experiences leaving life hellishly difficult and long. Also many regard life’s fragrance with suspicion. It need not be this way. Life is more. Beauty is abundantly redolent.

Though Joyce’s descriptor is uncommon, we commonly live it out, unrecognized. Distant from sweetness. In this fray we are wont to trundle on — hastened — to do what we must. Meanwhile, bereavement lingers as subtext.

We, good cultural representatives, are ill-prepared — failing in our attempts to manage the effects of collective folly.

Many proceed dysfunctionally — nearly all drowsily possessing lemming-like proclivities.

Our conformity is our act of collusion — as we must — to the bequeathal of our human nature.

Act II Colliding

“What is madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance.” —Theodore Roethke

We soldier-on. In seeming oblivion. Chaffed.

Faint, freeze, fight, flight — resistances all. Each missing the mark.

Our denial collides — bumping against our sovereign autonomy — with our profound personal agency — our overwhelming creative potential — with what lies beyond the dream. Each collision colossal.

Act III Collaborative Cooperation

“Whether all is really lost or not depends entirely on whether or not I am lost.” —Vaclav Havel

The dance between the consciousness of whatever-it-is-we-are and our corporeal consciousness — the human nature of the animal in which we reside — is intended to be fraught. DNA changes only under pressure. This metaphor helps when considering the imperative of our colluding and colliding: Sirens call and we are thrown against the rocks — of necessity.

The animal consciousness of human nature is hardwired to evolve. The consciousness of whatever-it-is-we-are does not evolve — rather, it expands: The consciousness of our human nature — AND — the consciousness of whatever-it-is-we-are exist on the planet to be changed. The degree to which we change is proportional and consonant with the how of our responses to the vagaries of high and low pressures in our daily lives.

If we consent to the Mystery’s prompts to change, we begin our awakening within the dream of our life. This means we mature in self knowledge and develop skills to manage our attention and emotions — truly becoming adult — possessing the requisite skills for becoming functional in the management of our expression and experience. Said differently, we develop a strong healthy ego enabling us to participate effectively in life’s interdependent dance.

Awakening within the dream is the first phase in believing we are not lost. In this awakening we acquire the necessary self-deception of believing we have found ourselves. This is a noteworthy achievement! Few people do this.

Once awakened within the dream, the Mystery prompts us to awaken from the dream. Fewer still detect these prompts let alone awaken. Awakening within and from the dream are collaborative processes involving the consciousnesses of our animal body, whatever-it-is-we-are and the Mystery Herself. Truly finding ourselves — no longer being lost — is one of the successful outcomes of this cooperative undertaking. Another is the evaporation of our necessary self-deceptions.

Absent each awakening — and remaining awake, we humans do not know how to cooperate. Not in our most intimate relationships nor in the broader collective. Yet, cooperative collaboration is our greatest collective strength.

Love is the intersection between the worlds — the traffic circle — for those yet awakened, those awakening, those awakened to the dream and those awakened from the dream.

Love is an instrumentality: The instrument of awakening. It is the backstory of cooperation. Of intimacy and falling in love with the world — and Life Herself. It is the opening to having an Act III in your life.

Is there a third act in your life? Will there be?

Facts, Stories and COVID-19

Photo: Stephen Victor – old iPhone

The future is not what it used to be. —Arthur C. Clarke
Lore holds, stories are to personal growth and becoming as facts to science.

• Facts either exist or they do not.
• Some stand the test of time. Some help. Some do not.
• Others nullified. Some helped. Some not.
• Apocryphal stories can be as relevant as factual. Some not.
• Facts are subject to interpretation; interpretation subject to facts.
• Facts and stories are characterizations of our experience of Experience.
• Story is not for presenting explicit meaning.
• Story is not for anyone’s entertainment.
• Story is not to hold your attention.
• Story is to put you back doing your work—inner and outer.

1st fact:
The corona virus known as COVID-19 has made sorties into human territory.

2nd fact:
Some will have a catch-and-release Experience.
For others COVID-19, a means of getting off the planet.

3rd fact:
There has been and will be profound loss, grief, sadness.

1st story:
In coming here, whatever-it-is-we-are beyond body, personality and imagination, aligns with the consciousness of the human body and our particular lineage—replete with their antecedents, friend and foe. It needs to be this way.

Our initial gasping inhalation upon leaving our mother’s body constitutes our soul’s consent to our human bequeathment. Whatever-it-is-we-are begins collaborating—cooperatively or not—with the beleaguered and besieged consciousness of the individual and collective human animal—in which we—for a Moment—have taken up residence.

In this breath, our first concession to profound restriction, we become bound; to moments of ricochetting and—or—flowing in the turbulent nature of Human Life. Life is not intended to be easy. We are here as expressions of Experience: those from precincts within the Mystery.

In an evolutionary context, DNA only changes under pressure. This is a useful analogy for us—in human form. Though, whatever-it-is-we-are does not itself evolve human anatomy, physiology and psyche do. Whatever-it-is-we-are are here to directly experience Experience and then to complete Experience by expressing our actual and genuine response to It. OUR own genuine response. Not that of the animal of our body. Re-read this paragraph please.

In this we are Changed. As such, the Awareness of whatever-it-is-we-are perceives and knows the Mystery’s Wisdom. Its Universal Intelligence. With this Awareness, whatever-it-is-Earth-is, changes: its Nature changes—as so too, the corporeal consciousness of the human animal opens and expands. Moves. All—and each of whom—increase their Luminescence. Their Beauty.

2nd story:
Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions by London Reverend Edwin Abbot – 1884

There is a two dimensional world called Flatland. It is a world that has length and width, but no height. Everyone in Flatland moves around as freely as shadows move around the surface of the Earth, totally unaware of height.

“Square”, the protagonist had a dream one night. In the dream he had been transported to Lineland. In Lineland all there was were either points or a series of points arranged in a straight line.

Everyone in Lineland moved freely in this one dimension but had no idea of width or height. While visiting Lineland, Square tried to explain to the inhabitants the missing dimension of width.

Eventually he got frustrated and went to the longest line of Lineland—the King of Lines, the Line of Lines and stated: In my land you would be nothing compared to me and I’m just a Square. In my land I am nothing compared to the nobles in my land.

Eventually all the lines got angry with the Square and began to line up their points ready to attack Square—at which point, he awakened from his dream and felt relieved to realize that he had been dreaming.

Later that day Square was explaining to his grandchild—a hexagon—some notations on geometry. In Flatland, succeeding generations of males had one more side than their fathers until there were so many sides to figure that they were indistinguishable from a circle, the priestly order. Except for triangles—they would always be triangles.

As Square was explaining to his grandson how to figure the number of square inches in a square—this is done by raising the number of inches on one side by the second power—the grandson asked what it would be like in the geometry of something were raised to the third power.

Square explained patiently that there was no such thing as the third power. The grandson persisted until Square got angry and sent the child to bed, telling him that he would do better in geometry if he would talk less non-sense.

Later that evening, Square continued saying to himself “there is no such thing as the third power.” He then heard a voice say “Yes there is!” Square looked around and saw a Sphere in the room with him. The Sphere was a visitor from Spaceland.

The Sphere began explaining the third dimension and it was to no avail as Square was not comprehending. The Sphere then created for the Square a transcendent experience that transported the Square to Spaceland.

Square then yelled “This must be madness or hell!” The Sphere said “It’s neither! It is knowledge. Open your eyes and look around.” The Square go so excited and began talking to the Sphere of the possibility of a forth and fifth dimension. The Sphere said “There is no such thing!” and immediately and angrily threw Square back to Flatland.

Square told people of the other dimensions to no avail.

3rd story:
In times gone by a horse of unknown origins came round to a farm family’s house and barn.
Neighbors came round praising the family’s good fortune.
The farmer responded “Maybe”.
The farmer’s son was thrown from the horse breaking the boy’s leg.
Neighbors came round deploring the bad luck.
The farmer responded “Maybe”.
Army officers came round conscripting adolescent boys and young men.
The son’s broken leg stopped him from being taken.
Neighbors came round praising the good fortune.
The farmer responded “Maybe”.

4th story:
Humanity has experienced extreme exposures to peril myriads of times before. Each one rendering its future altered. And so now too with COVID-19. The intellectually indefensible part of this fourth story is: Each of us are poised to take a fundamental decision. It is based on the choices—many or few—available in the current state of Awareness. This one decision must be taken before taking the many others that too must be taken. It is wise to take this decision consciously. With Awareness.

The fundamental question: Will I let the fear and folly of the provincialism of human conscious take the lead in my Life, or will I, whatever-it-is-I-am, lead my thinking and action?

There are calls to action in the facts and stories of this piece. Take them Awares.

Falling in Love with the World

Whether all is really lost or not depends entirely on whether or not I am lost. —Vaclav Havel

The late mythologist, Joseph Campbell, brought to the world’s attention that we each live out what he called The Hero’s Journey. A story in which we have the course of our lives spectacularly interrupted by an uncompromisingly epic ordeal. One we are uncertain we can survive.

The intent of which is garner our consent. Our surrender. To be become irrevocably changed. After which, we are to rejoin our community and its acknowledging witness to the differences we embody—our change in the direction of the good, true and beautiful.

The ordeal is given us by the Mystery. By Life itself irrespective of where we, ourselves, project blame or responsibility. As good representatives of our upbringing and training we fail to recognize the relevance and validity of this initiatory spiritual process. As such most of us try to abort the process desperate to recover normalcy. To ostensibly feel better again.

Some of us are changed. Some not. Life offers no promises.

Is the story of The Hero’s Journey also allegorical?

Might these circumstances
• Countless refugees
• Political and economic dramas
• Wealth disparities
• covid-19
• Global warming
• Prospects of governments using limited nuclear weapons
be ordeals of epic proportions be bent on irrevocably changing us in the direction of the good, true and beautiful?

Tell me now — Are you lost?

P.S. Given that Life, Earth, the Cosmos and the Mystery are feminine, I invite you to look at the stages of The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock as the model is fittingly relevant and necessary.

P.S.S. The color black contains all colors. White is the absence of color. They are opposites. Giant Panda embodies the alignment of opposites: Wholeness.

Tears

Photo: Stephen Victor

I heard a short story, whether real or apocryphal who knows. It went like this: A woman whose circumstance and those of her community were extraordinarily challenging was asked why are you so happy. Her response was because I cry so much.

This morning I cried and cried—missing my late wife. I looked to identify what prompted the emotion. I checked the calendar. Today would have been her birthday.

Though the majority of us attend little to the unseen media we exist within, I refer to it as energy or energy fields. Affectionately I call it the Mystery. Energy itself is memory. It stores experience. Our own and others’. The greater the emotional intensity of experience, dreaded or desired, the more intense the stored past experiential content: it is present in the energy around us, here and now.

Places and locations and borders of things, and calendar dates, accumulate and store quantities of energy rendering them more easily perceptible. My sense of loss and my associated sadness, though prompted outside my Awareness, are very present this morning. My crying released my response to this date’s content, changed me, changed my energy and body chemistry. I feel greater ease. Lighter. Happier.

Consider the story of the happy woman in light of this story: A person repeatedly asked herself Why am I so unhappy? Why am I so unhappy? An insightful other responded saying it is because all you do is think of yourself and there is no self.

If there are truths, that answer may point to one of them. However, in the here and now in a practical sense, unhappiness may well ensue from content stored in the energy we have become inured to whether carried within ourselves or resident in the places and locations and borders and dates we frequent or inhabit.

Is it time to return to our senses? To inhabit and live in our body again. To know and sense our body’s sensory experience and allow ourselves to directly experience our experience? To give our selves over to Life’s flow? The one our body knows? The experiential flow that will then inform our intellect via the Wisdom of direct experience?

A long time ago I watched my brother instructing his young daughter to stop crying—it’s not to be done… Hmm?

Workshops December 7 & 8, 2019 in Ashland, Oregon

To Love Completely, Irrespective.

“May you know joy irrespective of circumstance.”
Bert Hellinger

Dear Friends,

Among a myriad other things, we humans get to experience Life Beckoning–Life’s continual invitation to change. To become. To be more than our upbringing and culture suggest. My work has always been in service to these ends…

Though I promise that my December workshop will be exceptional and Life Changing, it is no exception. It will be a mix of permissions and entitlements furthering the changes you desire. Furthering your abilities to manage well in today’s world.

My December workshop is my last one in the States. I am leaving Southern Oregon. Life is Beckoning me to other seas and ports of call.
Please join the intimate beauty of the long term circle I’ve been privileged to work with on December 7 & 8 in Ashland. It will be Life Changing and heartening. I promise.

“To Love Completely, Irrespective” is not a hollow abstraction nor the dribble of a hoped for new age pursuit. Rather it is an opening proffered by the Mystery that is utterly and irrepressibly relevant in its embodied and applied forms. In our daily actions.

  • What does this mean?
  • How might this look?
  • Is it possible?
  • If so, how can this be accomplished?

Note: We do not have a life. Rather, we are Life.
Oh, Life is Love.

Come join the fun of this heartening and awareness expanding workshop. You will be delighted to have done so. I Promise.

“Bring ALL your challenges,

bring ANYTHING you have NOT been able to shift and heal all your life,

bring the BIGGEST most important questions about your life,

bring that which no one else managed to help you with and Stephen will do that with grace and ease.”

– Adele Adonai

WHEN: December 7-8th
WHERE: The Siskiyou School – 631 Clay Street Ashland.
TIMES: 9:30am – 4:30pm

REGISTER NOW

Click here to register for the two (2) days $295

Click here to register for one (1) day $195

For more information call (541) 531-5756 or email info@stephenvictor.com

View the full event flyer here:

Workshops – September 21-22, 2019 in Ashland, Oregon

Stephen Victor will lead two days of workshops on September 21-22, 2019 in the Ashland, OR area.

REGISTER NOW – Call: (541) 531-5756 or email: info@stephevictor.com or click here to contact us

Click the image to see more details.

The Much that Calls for More

                                                                                                                           The Red Boats by Claude Monet

 

“The much that calls for more.” — Margaret Fuller 1810-1850

There are moments when The Mystery, through circumstance, opens the ledgers of our life revealing its accounts—the credits and debits of experience and expression—our daily commerce. At these junctures we are best served to sit well in our body—relaxed, body-centered, connected to Earth’s center and attend to here and now via our direct experience.

In this we are to allow non-intellect- and non-imaginative-based awareness to inform our understandings. In this we begin the accounting The Mystery is asking of us:
• Is my commerce buoyed on the agency of my resounding “Yes!” to Life?
• Or—is my “No.” leaving me subsisting in the wake of another? of circumstance?
• Is my commerce predicated on Awareness? Right Attention? Clear Intent? Mutuality?
• Or—does it ensue from my solitary impoverished self-interest? albeit unawares?
• Am I in love with Life?
• Or—do I favor the psychological over direct real-time sensory experience?
• Do I allow others into my inner circle?
• Or—do I hunker isolated behind rigid ramparts of my own making?
• Is my commerce suffused with me being gracious–with myself and others?
• Or—do I impose anguish or vitriol—though unawares—on those in my sphere?
• Am I giving myself love-based treasure which provides charge to my daily life?
• Or—do I rely on the currency of my cherished resistances to give charge–which of course I remain oblivious to the taxes doing so levies on me? on those near me?
• Am I equal to circumstance?
• Am I equal to the moment?

In this accounting we remember we are much.

In this accounting we can detect calls for more.

 

The Winds of Fate by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

But to every mind there openeth,
a way, and way, and away,
a high soul climbs the highway,
and the low soul gropes the low,
and in between on the misty flats,
the rest drift to and fro.

But to every [woman] man there openeth,
a high way and a low,
and every mind, decideth,
the way [her’s] his shall go.

One ship sails East,
and another West,
by the self-same winds that blow,
’tis the set of the sails
and not the gales,
that tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
are the waves of time,
as we journey along through life,

’Tis the set of the soul,
that determines the goal,
and not the calm or the strife.

Workshop Series – March 8 – 15

WHERE: Shanghai, China

REGISTER NOW – Call: (541) 531-5756 or email: info@stephevictor.com

Workshop Series – February 23 – March 3

WHERE: Taipei, Taiwan

REGISTER NOW – Call: (541) 531-5756 or email: info@stephevictor.com