Women & Men: Ending We & They, Us & Them

What’s madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?” ~ American poet, Theodore Roethke 

I ended my last post saying I would tell you the how of becoming a counterbalancing force to misogyny. Whew! Was I silly in making that promise! We all know what human decency asks of us. Yet more is needed to genuinely act decently, particularly when daily pressures are typhoon- and tsunami-like.

The online Oxford English dictionary defines misogyny as “the hatred of girls and women”. Seemingly there is a corollary: misandry. Misandry is defined as “the hatred of men by women”. The thing is, words are neither the thing nor the process named. The hell with words: the reality is, we (all of us) behave, at times, in inexcusably non-loving and diminishing ways. The norm in the cultures of the world is one of unjustifiable cruelty to women; and one which denies women, one-half the world’s population, their standing and voice. Our cultures also emasculate men. Aware or not, each of us contributes to this. Aware or not, we are deeply at odds with these normalized circumstances.

There is a little known reality that Life cannot hate Life. We cannot and do not hate girls and women, nor boys and men! Rather, we hate, if we do, certain events and circumstances, and the things people do, or not do. To believe we hate another person or ourselves is a profound misunderstanding and misapprehension of who and what we are.

We confuse actions with identity. We are NOT what we do! Whatever it is that we are is entirely distinct from our thoughts and actions. Distinct too from the things that have happened to us. Our actions and our qualities of character reveal ONLY two things: 1) the degree to which we have healed, grown, developed, and evolved; and 2) whether we have directly experienced the non-physical and non-psychological merging with the Human-Mystery-Membrane. (Humanity’s point of nexus with the Central Organizing Force of the Cosmos. It is the prerequisite for Enlightenment, if there is such a thing. More on this in a later post.)

The dictionary defines objectify as “to degrade to the status of an object…a material thing that can be seen or touched”. We have normalized the objectification of ourselves and others. A primary consequence? A loss of intimacy with self, others and Life.

I repeat: We are not our physical bodies! We are not our personalities! Not our psychologies. Nor our minds, thoughts or actions; nor our imaginations. Knowing this conceptually is insufficient. When we genuinely do the disciplined work of learning to love we foster the possibilities for directly experiencing our non-objectified selves, and the non-personalized, non-relational Awareness. 

One of the ostensible benefits of objectifying ourselves and others is that we can blame others with impunity. Intimacy is such an impediment to blame and objectification. Where can love come in? Oh, its belongs to those with beautiful or handsome features. Perfect bodies. Those with politically and spiritually correct language and behavior…or does it? Are these examples of objectification?

Privately, we silently fear or judge ourselves to be priggish pricks or scolding shrews. We judge others too. We declare others the bigger bastard or bitch: It can’t be about us, right? We constantly feel disbelief in seeing the actions of those bastards, those bitches, yet, whew! at least we’re not that bad. Admit it or not, this is the most pervasive drama on the human screen.

Even the least developed, evolved, or in our contemporary vernacular — least spiritually aware — of us have acknowledged that a global shift has occurred. Some journalists call it The Shift. In addition to the global difficulties we all know about, there is another less obvious change trumping all others: a mandate for becoming personally responsible for the experiences, events and circumstances of our lives, all of them. This is done by managing our inner personal and spiritual ecologies. (I will write more on this in other posts.)

I regret that many New Age people have diminished and misdirected us from what is genuine and substantive. Nonetheless some New Age soothsayers have been giving us the heads-up on the personal responsibility thing for years. Now the drill is to attend to our inner personal and spiritual ecology with a relaxed rigor and self-discipline. Consider this: The earth’s evolution via tectonic shifts are but hiccups compared to the leap possible for us and future generations — if we take on all that personal responsibility entails. And yes, we also have the choice of ending life as we know it on the planet.

As for becoming counterbalancing forces, remember that diminishing girls and boys, women and men is at odds with the nobility of our souls, if we have souls. I will drill down into specific and necessary actions in upcoming posts. Even though we do not know the how of all these things, each of us possesses sufficient capacities to be increasingly gracious, compassionate and kindhearted with ourselves and others.

Half the Sky

“When sleeping women wake, mountains move.” ~ Chinese proverb

Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power is on book shop shelves now. I find it heartening that an American political person has honestly turned his attention to the most pressing issue of all time: ending the subjugation of girls, women and the feminine.

The People’s Republic of China Chairman Mao Zedong pronounced that “women hold up half the sky.” Though his intent was putting women in the labor force, girls and women have benefitted hugely. This proclamation has become a Chinese proverb. I mentioned this to my partner who reflexively – without judgment – responded “I wonder who holds up the other half.”

Of course conditions for girls and women remain untenable in China, yet so too the world over. We, Western or Westernized peoples, need not gloat, our women’s suffrage notwithstanding. For we continue perpetrating unconscionable horrors on girls and women daily. Those of us regarding ourselves as just and compassionately aware are ourselves unwittingly complicit in perpetuating misogyny’s grip.

Contemporary civilizations, cultures, religions and institutions are predicated on dishonoring the feminine. Those who fail to see this are yet in the grip of the denial of our enculturation. We like this part of our upbringing for we learned to fear change. To see – to genuinely apprehend the horrors girls and women routinely experience will change you irrevocably. Once changed you will have think and act differently or live painfully in dissonance.

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn wrote the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. It’s a must read. Brilliant writing and structure yet you will need to buck up as it is graphic. I ricocheted round a myriad points of outrage, deep cathartic grief and heartening possibility.

If you value being alive. If you want your life to be better. If you are of a bent for living decently, for growing and awakening psychologically – and spiritually, for making a positive difference in the lives of others — if you want to change the world — if you want to love and be loved, you begin by becoming an individual embodiment of a force which counterbalances misogyny! (By the way, the world does not need changing!)

The Mystery continually invites us to change, to morph, to unfold, to expand. Becoming a countervailing force to misogyny is a means of connecting with the central organizing force of the cosmos – Love. No one can do this for another.

What does counterbalancing misogyny mean? 
It is the honoring of girls and women and the feminine. It is recognizing their dignity as Living Beings, as people; it is acknowledging, valuing and standing up for their human rights; it is seeing their innocence, standing, voice, place; it is honoring and respecting that they themselves own, are free to choose and decide and control what they do with their bodies, and what is done with or to their bodies.

It is honoring and valuing the Life and right of a girl or woman to have her full expression on this planet. It is honoring and respecting their personal psychologies, their thinking minds, their mental, feeling, emotional, physical and energetic needs, expression and processes. It is recognizing, respecting, supporting and welcoming their personal power, and their participation and contribution – their promise – in our lives – our world.

Counterbalancing misogyny requires that each of us individually think and act with the disciplined intent of ensuring that girls and women are safe with and safe from us. It is honoring the feminine by giving girls and women clean undemanding, respectful and honoring attention. 

How to become an embodied counterbalancing force to misogyny is the topic of my next post. 

In the interim I invite you to read The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

Breaking Bad

All of us have habits. We can’t help it. With them we need not engage awareness. Nor consult thought or experience or others. In short we need not choose. So we don’t. We continue sleeping away our lives deploying our legal opiate, our defense to the fierceness of daily life. Habits are perilous.

When I provided conflict resolution services to individuals and organizations there were always specific questions asked: Are you biased? Are you impartial? will you remain impartial? neutral? 

I responded: I am never neutral! I am always biased. I stand on the side of human dignity. The side of decency. I respect everyone who is a party to these issues, these conflicts and honor your dignity. I do so with my states, my presence, my thinking, my speech and actions, and the models and processes I use. 

There were also clusters of unarticulated questions: most unconscious. Some not. Always communicated though not in words. They included:
• Am I safe with you? (Will you protect me from those on the other side? from myself?)
• Am I safe from you? (Will you protect me from you?)
• Will you see me? (Can you see who I am? the one behind my fears and these circumstances?)
• Are you honestly sensitive to my own, and our collective plight? my and our needs? (Do you respect life? Do you love humanity? Me?) 
• Can, and will you help the others see me? (Can you help me see myself?)
• Can, and will you help the others remember that I have place? that I belong? 
• Can, and will you help me remember that I have place? belonging?
• If these processes capsize, do you have the will and capacity to save me? the others?
• Can we go beyond we/they? us and them? (Can you help us with this?)
• Can I stop fearing difference? (Though I like what is like me, am I safe with and from difference?)
• Can you further the mending of my heart?

This is asking so very little of ourselves – in any of our moments. Really, it is! Though we are loath to admit it, choice is ours in each moment. We can do things differently moment to moment.

There are impediments of course to such kindnesses. To being gracious.  

We can however develop the capacities to override the momentum of our obstructive bents. For starters we can:
• respect and love Life.
• define ourselves by our grandeur rather than our foibles.
• know the value – in our raw experience – of being compassionate. Gracious. Kind.
• practice self-disciplined and relaxed awareness – presence.
• override the embodiment of another’s habits, those we have mistaken for our own.
• act graciously, unfolding the compassionate intelligence extant in the center of our genuine natures.
• Be just. Decent. Powerful. Stand strongly. Give the moment what it asks,without flinching. Never injuring intentionally.

Am I naive? Perhaps! This however does not invalidate this proposal. There are other ways of being and doing. Life affirming ones.

Remember the line from the American poet Mary Oliver? “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” 

Poetry: 2013

Picture

Canyon Walls

Contemporary ones 
not yet stone
though equally sheltering.

But from what?

Whose story
am I etching?

©2012 Stephen Victor
Photos by Stephen Victor


Anger – 3


(First posted February 17th, 2012)

In writing this, my third post on Bert Hellinger’s seven-forms of anger, I am reminded that anger is a messy topic. I know of no one who is free from feeling and expressing their own, or experiencing another’s anger. No one wants to be regarded as an angry person, nor is it pleasant to be in the presence of another’s anger. Expressions of anger are feared, and people who are fierce in their anger are generally judged harshly … as though our judgements can insulate us from our fears.

Simply, it is politically incorrect to be angry, yet many of us are angrier than we admit. So too, many of us are angry without being aware of the anger we exude: Feeling angry has become an unconscious a way of life, a habit. Unreconciled anger can lead to ill-health, and being a recipient of another’s anger, through time, is psychologically, energetically and physically damaging. Recovering from these injuries requires much effort.

The topic of this post gives rise to compassion in me, which, in my world, is a proper response to those who express problematic anger. Compassion does not however absolve those of us expressing anger of our responsibilities. We need to become aware of the impact of our actions, and to stop injuring ourselves and others. So too, when others are expressing problematic anger with us, we need to learn to compassionately and intelligently push back without attacking the other. Everyone has responsibility in these matters. It begins with learning to go beyond our aversion to conflict.

Hellinger defines the type of anger that is the subject of this post as anger that is “a substitute for the expression of love.” This anger functions similarly to the anger in my last post, yet differs in two ways: Its root is distinct, and is only directed to those you love.

Instead of expressing the love you feel, you express anger. In this model, this type of anger is a consequence of an infant’s or young child’s physical, emotional and energetic attempt to “reach out” to its mother or father to receive or give love. The intended connection of love never occurs and the “reaching out movement” incomplete. This results from the parent either being physically present but energetically and emotionally absent, or from the parent being physically absent. Both render the child’s “reaching out” incomplete.

Without proper remedy we express anger to those we love throughout our lives. The intensity of this type of anger increases through repetition. Many of us end up with increasingly angry partners. Compassion is called for. So too is seeking right and competent assistance.

I maintain that we live in a friendly universe. This notwithstanding, life circumstances repeatedly render great pressures for the purposes of changing and advancing our individual psyche. Think for a moment about babies born prematurely: infants tucked away in isolettes where physical touch is all but impossible, say nothing about emotional and energetic connection.  Think too of birth trauma and the child’s ensuing medical attention. As consequence, the child is physically, emotionally, and energetically distant from its parent.

So too, what of those countries which prosecute one or more wars in every generation…absent fathers…fathers who return to their families carrying the weight of combat…many are unavailable to their children. In more recent years, women too are in the fray. They too return burdened.

What about parents with unhealed injuries about which they may have little or no awareness? So too, those parents facing extremely challenging life issue without workable models to guide their way? These parents are physically present yet energetically, emotionally and psychologically inaccessible to their children. No wonder anger is expressed in love’s stead. Again, I suggest expressions of compassion are warranted.

I am not asking you to learn to calibrate these various forms of anger. Rather, I offer these distinctions to spark, nudge and speak to the unconscious healing motion inside you that awaits your conscious awareness. With such awareness, you can take action to further your own psychological awakening. Spiritual and energetic awakenings are ill-fated without honest growth, development and the opening of your personality, mind and heart. Understanding alone does not bring change; yet, we are thought-based people and we require words and conceptual understandings to bring things into our awareness – those things asks for healing attention from ourselves and competent others.

Most of us are spontaneous and highly skilled in expressing anger. It is imperative to become equally or more skillful and spontaneous in expressing our compassionate intelligence. The cosmos consists of forces and counterbalancing forces. As individual people, our task is to let go of models and understandings which do not serve – the ones no longer working. We need instead open to an informing universal wisdom that lies beyond our understanding. It is this wisdom that will inform our push back – for we too need push back in our lives. Yet, we need do so without attacking the other. We need do so compassionately, intelligently and wisely rather from fear and pain.

To this end, open your heart and mind to the following: 
    •    How can I push back against another’s anger without attacking them?
    •    What form of push back communicates that I will no longer tolerate anger directed to me?
    •    What are the right moments to push back?

Questions to direct your attention:
    •    How can I be more gracious with myself and others?
    •    How can I see the beauty, dignity, innocence resident in each human life? In me too?
    •    How do I know of my own beauty, dignity, innocence?
    •    How can I be strong in myself yet compassionate, creative and powerful?
    •    How can I be centered in my belly, grounded to the Earth and feel stability in my bones?
    •    How can I be relaxed and equal to circumstances in my world?

Anger – 2
In my last post, Anger – 1, I wrote of a positive strengthening and enabling anger: In itself, it exists without emotion. It is an energetic force accessible to assist us. Generally, and unfortunately, this positive anger is mixed, contaminated, with forms of problematic anger: those which conscript our attention and emotion. Therefore, we rarely experience or express this type of anger cleanly. Although it does help us, other unnecessary issues arise. In the follow-on to the seven posts I write regarding Hellinger’s model, I will speak to other approaches to taking action.

The topic of this post’s exploration is of a type of anger that is harmful and serves no life affirming function: No one benefits and its consequences grave. It is an anger entangled with emotion. Some years ago a large percentage of my work involved providing conflict mediation to leadership, departmental and project teams in business and government. The anger addressed in this post is one of three, possibly four, types that pervaded those workplaces.

This post is the subject of Bert Hellinger’s second type of anger: An anger that is a substitute for an action you could have, or ought to have accepted, or taken, or asked for, or, demanded from another. Instead of asserting yourself and taking what you needed, you became angry with those from whom you ought to have taken, asked or demanded from. This anger is a substitute for action and arises from inaction. It has a paralyzing and weakening effect that lasts a long time.

Please take note of this reminder: Models are no more to be believed than are theories, dogmas, proofs, facts and narratives. Rather, appropriate working models are useful as point our way.  We cannot get on without them. Too, like theories, they are often mistaken as truths. The beauty of working models is in their underlying intent: They are to be altered, as necessary, to fit the constantly changing and diverse worlds we inhabit.

In reading my examples below you will find that I have altered this model a little: Not only is anger substituted for actions you could have asked or demanded from another, but asked or demanded from yourself. How many of us after failing to do what a moment asks, have gotten angry? Nearly all of us have experienced this.

Lets look to examples: When I was thirty I wanted a radio-cassette player to replace the AM/FM radio in my car. I found the one I wanted yet bought a less expensive brand. After twice returning it to the manufacturer and having it malfunction yet again, I was beside myself with anger. In a cloud of profanity I walked to the dumpster behind my apartment and fiercely threw it in the bin. I was unaware at the time of being angry with myself, yet I was. Too, there were other co-mingling forms of anger present then, but those types are subject to other posts.

Some time ago I outsourced a marketing project. Having received a bid, I contracted the job. Over the course of the project the contractor was angry with me. Eventually he stated that he had given me a discounted fee, and too, that the project was taking more time than anticipated. As consequence to his failing to pencil out his costs, he had unwittingly substituted anger for actions he could have taken: He could have asked for a proper fee. In failing to do that, he could have attempted to renegotiate his fee or the project’s scope. That would have taken courage on his part.

I have done similarly: During times of high rapport with another who asked my fees I have understated them. In failing to change my state of being from one serving social interaction, I created consequences I did not want. Anger was but one. The action I ought to have taken was to change to and embody a state serving my company’s interests. When angry these days, I ask myself: “What ought I have done?” and “What should I do now?” Then act accordingly.

In workplace hierarchies many people frequently and unwittingly act unkindly or disrespectfully to those reporting to them. The myriads of things driving their behavior are beyond the scope of this report, yet, the anger of those in subordinate positions is, if only as example. Many of the mediations I facilitated in executive suites and conference rooms were to redress such issues. Generally however, the executives and managers I worked with were ignorant of their actions: Nor did they initially grasp that their actions largely contributed to their troubling workplace environments.

This anger too is substituted for actions one ought to take within couple and family relationships. No further example here warranted as this practice is commonplace.

I remind you: My intent in these posts on anger is to prompt our awareness; In doing so, to invite us to interrupt our habitual anger. So too, to prompt us to respond with actions right for the moment: those which serving self, other and the moment.

The following questions are asked of ourselves. The answers are irrelevant. Simply ask:

In what contexts have I used anger as substitution for actions I ought to have taken? Should have taken? Asked or demanded from another? Of myself?

In what other contexts have I done this? Are there specific people with whom I regularly done this?

What patterns do I find in myself?

What patterns do I find in those closest to me? At work?

In what situations do I need to assert myself effectively?

In my next post will highlight other forms of anger as substitution. I end this post with a few words from William Blake on anger. (Please keep in mind: How you speak to another concerning your anger is the difference that makes the difference.) Thank you Gregory Bateson for this phrase.)

A Poison Tree
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water’d it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.

Poetry: 2012

(First posted in 2012 on Stephen’s previous website.)

Picture

Reading Anais

Forty-three years
of her erotica on
bookshop shelves

yet

only now
we rendezvous.

I read unutterably rapt,
pixilated

her paradoxically
penetrating portal
entitled

The Diary of Anais Nin
Volume 1 1931 – 1934.

I am roused. Arrested. Awakened.
In awe, I hold my breath.
I watch
this profoundly wise and
fecund woman
seeking congruity of
personality and essence.

Moving to free herself from
a caricature of self.

Though much fleeced
–  – censored –
–  what remains is substantive.
–  Raw. Honest. Enough. 

Oh, to write brilliantly!
Oh, to climb from the
labyrinth of
inanity, taboo, constraint.

To become free of cultural
fundamentalism…
the rigidities of others’
thought,
and my own.

Free of
 enculturation’s perils,
and
its cruelties of ignorance.

To breathe again.

To relax and swim
with the
sentient turbulence 
in Life’s Pantheon.

To creatively express.
To articulate.

To move freely with the
poetic exuberance
of energy, body, mind and spirit.

© 2012 Stephen Victor



In the mid-1980s I lived three months in the French Alps. This poem points toward the Grace of a late afternoon/early evening mountainous return trek to my village, in which I was blessed with heavily falling snow and lightning.
Provender

Stealthy winds whisper
through nearly behemoth
Vercors’
Alpine trees,

who,
– otherwise –
silently witness
my steep descent.

Darkness privileges itself.
Profusions of snow pixels
– plenteous –
cavort en mass.

Yet too,

slowly submit their fates
to gravity’s seducing insistence.

Lollygagging,

these crystalline architectural marvels
are refectory to a
lightning’s fare
of soul candy.

Thunder pounds the rigidities
of my domestication.

My rousing sentience
drinks deeply
on these Earthly
and atmospheric
libations.

© 2012 Stephen Victor    

Anger – 4

(First posted March 2nd, 2012)

This post, my fourth in a series on Hellinger’s model of anger brings us face to face with ourselves – well, rather, our actions. Hellinger describes his fourth type of anger “as a defense against your guilt for having wronged someone.” This anger is a defense against the consequences of your actions; further, you make the other person responsible for your guilt. It is a substitute for appropriate action you owe the other person and yourself. Substituting anger in situations of having wronged another ensures that you will remain inactive, as this anger paralyzes you. It makes you weak for a long time.

To free yourself from the consequences of this anger, I offer the “what” of what you can do. It is beyond the scope of this blog post to detail the “how.” Yet, for many, being reminded of the “what” will be sufficient to clean up your relationships, and dissolve this type of anger. Here is the “what.” Honestly, genuinely, in a time and place that workably allows the person you have wronged to listen, hear and receive what you have to say, tell them:
• “I have wronged you.”

• “The guilt, burden and weight of my wrong belongs to me and me alone. You are innocent of these circumstances. I am responsible.”
    
• “Please give back, to me, the guilt, burden and weight of this wrong.”(Receive the energy of the wrong.) Then state:
    
• “I offer you my heartfelt remorse.” (Then give it!)

The person you have wronged owes themselves and you the following: They are to receive your acknowledgement, take back the guilt, burden and weight of the wrong, and to take the remorse you offer. They may or may not do this; or may or may not do so immediately. Sometimes a bit of time is involved. Whatever the other’s response, having acknowledged your wrong and taken on its weight, revel (allow yourself to feel the joy of relief and clearing of the former stuck energies), then move on attending to other things in your life.

As those of us who have wronged others appreciate our responsibility; as we remain strong, centered and grounded while cleanly, without blame and judgement, sincerely and genuinely, acknowledge our wrongs, we will not only clean up our relationships, we free ourselves from anger. In addition, we cease to wrong, or wrong others less often.

If saying these statements to someone whom you have wronged seems daunting, feel free to find someone who is competent and compassionately intelligent to assist in doing this process safely, and respectfully, who is also mindful of the dignity of all involved.

Cleaning up wrongs can be this simple. Yet, was it not Albert Einstein who said: “Man [and woman] cannot live by simple means.” So what’s up? There are two things:
1) We have forgotten to remember that we are neither our actions nor our past, and

2) We have been trained to feel discomfort with difference.

Regarding people being “neither our pasts nor our behavior:” This is a belief worth having for it is a model that produces positive results. While contemplatives and behavioral scientists struggle to identify what human beings are, I, in the interest in being practical and doing what works, offer the above model to mark out what we are not: We are neither our actions nor pasts. So, let’s get on with our lives in ways that work.

Whether due to ignorance, naivete, foible or by intent we wrong others. I suggest that it is our behavior that is to be judged rather than who we are. Our human dignity and value as life forms is to remain intact, whole and unsullied. Our actions are at issue rather than our beings, and identities. This model does not absolve us from our need to take responsibility for our actions; nor, of being accountable. Being accountable and responsible is one of the markers of a healthy psychologically individuated adult. We owe this to ourselves; and others benefit as consequence.

We like that which is like us. When meeting another person with whom we share common experiences, values and interests we are comforted: We like them. We may feel relaxed with them. This is normal. It is natural too. Too often, however, when meeting people with whom we share neither experiences, values nor interests, we feel an absence of comfort; an absence of relaxation and ease; we may dislike them, or be indifferent to them, or prefer not being in their company. We have normalized these responses in ourselves.

Yet, our discomfort is unnatural. We need not feel this way. While like likes like, and like orients around like, like can orient around difference without fear or discomfort. We can learn to be okay and relaxed in the face of that which differs from us: to be comfortable.

Something similar applies to relating with ourselves. As we open to knowing that who we are is distinct from our actions and pasts, the acknowledging of our actions concerning our having wronged another will be less angst producing. We will no longer think less of ourselves. Instead, we will see that our actions might need changing, yet who we are is okay.

In closing out this post, I share with you that my intent for this series has nothing to do with enhancing our understanding about anger, although that may happen. The American mythologist Joseph Campbell reminded us that we are not here to find meaning in our lives but rather to experience the rapture of being alive. Five of Hellinger’s seven types of anger are what I refer to as problematic forms of anger. They impede us from “experiencing the rapture of being alive.”

My intent is to provoke our movement into becoming the “I” in the “I-Thou” relationship. (There is the only relationship available to us. Perhaps we best get on with it.)

• How have I wronged myself?

• What do I need to change so I can resolve these things in myself?

• When will I sit down with myself and with self-respect, strength and clarity resolve these things within myself?

• What are the names of those I have wronged this month, and have yet taken the actions you owe them and myself? This year? This decade? In the past?

• What do I need to change so I can resolve these things with them?

• If needed, who possesses the compassionate intelligence and skill to properly facilitate these processes for me? To help me clean up these wrongs?

• How can I open to seeing myself as distinct from my actions and past?

• How can I open to seeing others as distinct from their actions and pasts?

• How can I be okay with differences? That which differs from what I value, know and prefer? 

• How can I push back against the forces in my life without attacking others in the process?

Lesley Hazleton

(First posted August 20, 2011)

If you see your path in front of you, you know one thing for certain: It is not your path. Your path is made with each step you take.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Campbell informed that we see our path when, at life’s end, we look back acr

oss its arc and then see the orchestrated confluence of circumstance, events and expression, of our path. Perhaps there is something to be garnered by looking to another”s path.

Look to the writer Lesley Hazleton. Along with her great writing prowess, she is a researcher extraordinaire: One who synthesizes disparate complexities scattered across ethnic, linguistic, national, cultural, religious and millennial borders. When her research reveals differing constructions of events, she provides them rather than offering a homogenized representation.

In providing multiple perspectives, she models an integrity that may well enable future generations to behave differently than those who came before. So too, she possesses keen and astute insight into human psychological process. This enables her to reveal the qualities of character and the many internal dynamics behind the actions taken by those about whom she writes. This too gives us insight into our own processes. Further, in reading the multiple perspectives she provides, we can more easily let go of our many false and diminishing misunderstandings – those punctuated through cultural bias.

British-American Ms playing pokies online Hazleton has described herself as “a Jew who once seriously considered becoming a rabbi, a former convent schoolgirl who daydreamed about being a nun, an agnostic with a deep sense of religious mystery though no affinity for organized religion.” She lived in Israel, worked as a psychologist, a reporter – now a researcher and nonfiction writer living in the USA.

Though in the early autumn of her life, I look only to the macro events of her public life: In doing so, I believe it possible to see the Mystery’s orchestration: she had Jewish, Christian and Islamic experiences, she lived in the West and the East, and she worked as a reporter and psychologist. These circumstances have changed, shaped and positioned her in her flowering enabling the brilliant harvest she gathers for us and those who follow.

So too with you and me: Our future is unknown. What is knowable are the moments when we are here now presently centered and grounded to the Earth. So too, we need bring compassionate intelligence into the foreground of our actions, the changing our states of being, and choosing processes . Doing these things furthers the likelihood that we too will produce a bountiful harvest for those who will follow.

We each might do well to ask ourselves? What is the single intent of my life? Then too, what is my heart’s love and creative expression? Not the false longing society has configured for me – the one issuing from the false heart, but rather, what is the creative expression that is mine alone to make?

The following link provides a listing of Lesley Hazleton”s books and other available media.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesley_Hazleton

So too, look to http://accidentaltheologist.com/ for her blog.

If you want to expand your models of the world, give her a read! Her harvest is here to nurture all of us!

Anger – 5

(First posted March 16th, 2012)

It is our nature to help others. It is the nature of all of life to foster and further life. There are those of us who are largely unaware of our bent on helping as it is hidden under ancestral and cultural burdens, or beneath our personal injuries and the impoverished maps we acquired – those we use for navigating our lives. In others of us, the desire to help is front and center. In most circumstances, it is correct and right for us to help others when we feel moved.

However, there are people for whom, and specific circumstances for which we are not to involve ourselves in “helping.” We are not to interfere as it is neither our place, nor do we have the right to help. In these situations our “helping” is meddlesome and problematic in the other’s life. It too is a problem for us.

There are times and circumstances when we believe that our “helping” actions are useful to another, when in fact, our actions serve only ourselves. Additionally, many of our “helping” actions are unhelpful and sometimes harmful; yet, we do not know this and continue acting naively, ignorantly.

The subject of this post is about an anger arising in those of us who have accepted and taken the help given to us. It may or may not have been right and proper for those who gave to us to do so, yet, we took what was given.

Hellinger’s fifth type of anger is one in which anger is substituted for your indebtedness to another – the compensation you owe them. Someone gave to you a lot. So much, that you cannot, or believe you cannot repay the debt. You become angry as a defense against your indebtedness, and the obligation you have to compensate them.

To yourself, you owe your consent to your indebtedness; you owe your accountability and responsibility for the debt; you need to give to the other, and do what it takes to reconcile and balance what you owe. In this, you owe your acknowledgement, appreciation and gratitude to the one who gave to you. In some cases you owe more.

In our failing to do these things, anger is unwittingly substituted. This is a particularly paralyzing form of anger and it leaves you feeling empty. This anger is expressed in three principal ways: blame, depression and long lasting sadness.

If you are continually blaming someone, feeling depressed, or carrying a long lasting sadness, consider these feelings as prompts to rouse you to action. These feelings are inviting you to sort out whether you owe a debt, and to whom. These feelings may have been around a long time becoming part of your landscape – the one you no longer see. Yet, it is time to act.

Chronic long lasting sadness arises too if you owe gratitude and acknowledgement to someone who is no longer in your life. The separation can be due to a dissolution of a relationship or marriage, a geographical move, or, in particular, if the other has died. Anger-driven sadness arises too when you have yet to acknowledge your guilt regarding the one who left or died.

Parents can give their children too much. For example: gifting them their attendance at the best colleges, graduate or professional schools, and assisting them in establishing and positioning themselves professionally. When these adult-children are blameful, depressed or saddened, it is likely that they unwittingly carry a sense of their inability to compensate those who have given to them.

Spouses who postpone their educations, careers, or having children while they themselves work at jobs enabling their partners to prepare and credential themselves for good careers, may receive anger rather than gratitude. The gift given them is huge. The receiving spouse may feel unable to reconcile the generosity and give adequately to the giving spouse. Spouses who have taken the most and given the least, may feel the need to leave their relationships as they feel incapable of repaying their debt.

What of those women who marry men and learn their mate does not want children, yet, they themselves do? Yet, they remain in the marriage forgoing children. The gift they give their husbands is incalculable. So too, men may want children and women not. The point: This giving is huge and so too is the debt owed. Compensating the spouse for remaining in the marriage without children must occur to give rise to the possibility of the having the relationship thrive. What of mentors, friends, relatives, or those in our places of work who are extraordinarily generous with us? We owe them.

In our absences of giving what we owe, our anger compromises our relationship with the other. Of equal importance, it distances us from being in the flow of our own life’s moments; the path of our own creative expression. Feelings and expressions of problematic anger impede our relationship with power, our ability to connect with each “moment” in our lives, and too, from consciously entering into the only relationship that exists, that of “I” and “Thou” – self and the Mystery.

• How do you decide whether your helping impulse is fitting?
• With whom, and in what circumstances, has your help been an interference? A meddling?
• Who have you wanted to help, yet, deep down knew the “helping” was about you and not the other?
• Who do you owe acknowledgement and gratitude as compensation for their generosity? 
• Do you owe them more?
• Who owes you? 
• Have you stopped giving to those who already owe you? Those who are angry with you? Or, are you burying them more deeply in debt?
• Regarding those who have failed to acknowledge and give you gratitude for your generosity, what do you need to change within yourself to hold and regard them with compassion?
• What do you need change within yourself to only give when appropriate?
• What giving is each human being entitled to receive? 
• What giving is right for each being to give others and life?


Humility

(First posted August 20, 2011)

I have long awaited having a blog. Too, I had intended two posts a month. I didn’t keep my promise. So tardy have I been that I removed the promise from the few lines of intro on my site.

Further, I experienced a fair amount of spam. As consequence I removed all comments…even the delightfully heartening ones…until my webmaster and technician quells the flow of spam’s silliness.

The chief impediments however revolve round two issues: My own reticence to reveal to the world what I write. Well, that isn’t quite right. Disclosure is okay, its my fear of consequences that has been the rub.

Second, how the hell do I communicate what I believe relevant in short pieces? The movement into honestly living one’s own life is not supported by sound bites nor by the hurried latte-in-hand models of psychological or energetic awakening.

Since my last post, I have been molting repeatedly. One set of feathers falls out, then slowly new ones arrive. Then, after a few takeoffs, short cross-country flights and landings – my newly acquired feathers fall out again. New ones then come forward.

The net effect of my molting is this: My current plumage will no longer take flight in the fear-predicated life I was previously living. As I open to the currents of my own life, I see that I am letting go of the fears – and other constraints. Ahh! There is a bit more spaciousness now as I approach my freedom!

So, too, I trust you are leaving the designs and intent of others and increasingly moving into your own life. Here is an instrument to gauge your movement: Ask yourself? Am I fearing the judgments of others? Am I fearing my own self-criticisms and self-judgments? More, importantly, am I restricting my motion in response to these or other fears?