Bon Appetit

(First posted on August 21, 2012)
Years ago in a city where I was to work, I pulled my rental car to the curb asking directions. The person responded “You can’t get there from here.” This had never occurred to me, neither geographically nor otherwise. Yet something deep within was drawing further inferences. It took years to realize there are particular places from which one cannot get to the places necessary for leading one’s own life well, for fulfilling one’s promise, personally and professionally. 

In the late 1980s I was hired to remedy conflicts within an executive team. After listening to a response during my initial data gathering, I replied “I just heard from the politician. How do you the person respond to the same question?” I received a curious expression and the same answer articulated differently. I said: “This time I heard from the administrator. Now I want to hear from you.” I was given a look of incredulity, then a blank stare and silence. 

We have long standing conventions for distancing self from self. In his 1914 short story A Painful Case the Irish writer James Joyce wrote of his protagonist: “He [Mr. Duffy] lived at a little distance from his body…” 

Are there costs for doing this? Consider:
• Believing we are the personas (roles) we animate rather than the persons we abandoned
• Living the persona 24/7, when out of public view, with spouses, children and oneself
• Forgetting to remember to cultivate the growth and development of the people we are
• Failing to realize that fulfillment at work dose not translate to personal happiness or joy
• Remaining oblivious to the reality that our individual personas are themselves only worldview enactors, irrespective of how facile the intellect at its disposal. (Personas neither garner nor deploy wisdom.)
• Our personas (roles) are places from which we cannot get to the places where we want, need or must go to fulfill our promise.

In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the author Michael Pollan tells us it is not so important what we eat; however, what we eat eats is important. Ever wonder what the worldview you were fed ate? The one sustaining your thinking and actions? Suppose its natural? Organic? Ecological? Healthful? 

I wonder whether individual thought and action, considered en mass, long sustained on the dominant worldview has contributed to, maintains and worsens our global sociopolitical and socioeconomic ill-health? 

A reminder: Rules for increasing the likelihood of political and economic health within yourself, your family, and the projects, businesses and larger systems you lead:
• Nurture and grow your own worldview, or use one that is genuinely nurturing and sustaining
• Ensure your worldview enables you to be genuine and to think and do what is right for you
• Ensure your worldview enables you to define yourself by your genuine greatness
• Ensure your worldview values experiencing your experience above your conceptual awareness
• Ensure your worldview fosters equanimity, capacities to relax, and is enabling of the creative expression of your promise
• Ensure your worldview likes that which is like itself, while never fearing nor loathing difference
• Ensure your worldview sees change as nothing to fear, but instead the fundamental motion of our universe

I wonder what leadership from this platform might foster…

Please visit www.geomancieinternational.com or www.geomancie.co.uk, my business related site.

Poetry: 2010

(First posted in 2010 on Stephen’s previous website)
One Sunday morning ten minutes before beginning a workshop in Nicosia, Cyprus, I ran out the back of my hotel to fetch a bottle of water. The street was filled with the movement of young women. The poem is what I saw in my five minutes with them.
Maid’s Day Out

Early Sunday morning
presences of liberty,
attenuating modest joy and delight,
inundate this wizened “Old Town” street.

In quiet relief, temporarily free from
contractual constraints of domestic servitude,
this panoply of petite and ebony haired
immigrant Goddesses
now exhale:
Perhaps their first in a week.

These resplendent beings
conveyed in weary young Oriental bodies
waft and wend their way
into a market’s alley entrance
whose front door
– chained shut –
directs one round the building’s side.

Having taken economic refuge and modest wages,
residing now
in this precinct of affordable rents,
infamous in its crush of nocturnal inebriation,
these feminine deities in quiet buoyancy of bearing,
find solace gathering sustaining conversation
and chaste provisions.

Within this crudely cordoned grocery
a vigilant proprietor surveils tall above this throng
bringing them to heel.
Attitudes of we and they, us and them
bespeaking:
Outsiders are treated differently.

These young foreigners
in exile, too, from their youthful promise.
Once cleaved, can it be reclaimed?
Here being judged unscrupulous
yet the toil and tenderness of these hearts
– expressions of Grace –
– in care and companionship –
minister to this island’s families and elderly.

©2010 Stephen Victor


I am a bit sobered as I look at some of these poems for the purposes of giving the reader context. This poem really reflects my internal dialogue – a mini pep-rally if you will. It’s relevant and at the same time, if you will permit me the expression – bullshit! It arises from my intellect rather than my heart…yet, this has been my path.
Stop All Else

I am.
You are
Gregory Bateson’s
“difference that makes the difference.”

Bow to falsity
and its profusion
then turn from it.

Pay obeisance
to the perversion of your
upbringing, education, training and experience
and wash it from your body and memory.

Nothing is what it seems.
Nothing!

Genuflect to the mother of all fears.
Stand on her great strength
now morphed and rendered in service to your joy.

Walk into the life of your longing!

Stand now
on Apollo’s Central Sun
emanating not His light
but your own!

©2010 Stephen Victor


Refer to the context from “Stop All Else” for this is more of the same.

Embargo’s End

The moratorium on loving
self has been lifted!

Your sovereign status
duly recognized!

The refugee you believe yourself to be
does indeed have a home!
Inhabit it now!

Your poetic license has standing!

The center of your power
embodied, grounded!

The occlusion on the aperture of your heart
dissolved!

Voice the authority
of your native tongue!

And, see!
See beyond what fear has rendered!
Consent to this world as it is!

My friend, you see all the worlds now!
Stand in Apollo’s Light.
Dance on Aphrodite’s breath.
Render up your harvest for those who follow!

©2010 Stephen Victor


I have the good fortune to be learning to fly a single engine airplane. The plane is an 1946 Taylorcraft – a taildragger – named Simply Magic. Flight touches my heart rendering me to tears often. After a flight I wrote this giving it to my flight instructor.
Heart’s Flight

Buoyed beauty delight,
airfoil, propeller,
convection’s currents and
morning’s colored light
lift our banked rolls
– Simply, Magically –
dancing through
cloud corridors

– these canyons –
consequences of consenting cumulus
passages through
tears of quiet quivering joy.

Now,
between sun and cloud,
this taildragger’s silhouette
borne within the physics of
circular rainbow

Changing headings
into Magic’s shadow we cruise
through this colored portal
round and open.

Simply Magic!

©2010 Stephen Victor


I don’t know whether what I write is poetic. I simply want to write and write poetry. Someday these “cartoon characters” will evolve into something of even greater beauty and relevance. Here, I am talking to myself again.
Joy

Unite your heart.
Listen as it speaks.

Its true character is inclusivity.
Its true nature is joy.

Cultivate its fecund kindness.
Its generous plethora awaits.

©2010 Stephen Victor


This poem turned up in the promotional copy I wrote for an evening public talk I gave. The talk did not go particularly well either – yet such is my journey as the one who makes labor of moving into my own life.
Life’s Movements

Identified your destination?
Not the one others want you to take,
rather –
your own!

And,
on whose chart have you planned your course?

Is your center placed properly?

Have your bearings?
Your coordinates?
Your heading?

Do you?

How will you find your way?
By what and whose markers will you orient?

What is the character, direction and force
of the grand winds over the
topography of your journey?

What will be
your true course?

Can you continue adjusting
and maintain attitude?

Make subtle ongoing corrections
en route your desired vector?

Come. Join other hearts
wild for their own soul’s path.

Orient anew
on how best to proceed
into your own life.

©2010 Stephen Victor


I love this poem, yet I had no business writing it. You see, I have never lived in a country while it endured a war on its soil. I do not know the affront of being exiled from your ground, home and community. I do not know the terror of loosing family to artillery, small arms and torture – or their disappearance.

I wrote this poem without the right to do so. I wrote it after five years listening to local contemptuous condemnations of those “occupying our homes,” and of the locals’ refusal to cross the now open Green Line. While buying some food in a local market, I overheard a proprietor correct a tourist for referring to those on the other side of the Green Line by their nationality. The proprietor insisted that she identify them as “occupiers.”

The energy accompanying the proprietor’s insistence tipped the scales. This poem came to the fore in only minutes.
Bivouacking

The provenance of the Green Line
lies south of the Mediterranean
a temporary improvisation there in 1948.
A political suture on lacerations rendered
in hastening desperation.

You believe the Green Line
exists on your maps
and the geography of your nation.

This is but sleight of political hand.
Emotional chicanery. Falsity.
An echo of individual and collective grief.
An attempted remedy to incursions into
the human soul.

This Green Line
lies, rather, on the topography of your own,
and the other’s wounded heart.

It is this territory that awaits truth and reconciliation.

©2010 Stephen Victor


Blessings for A Marriage

May the courage of your sovereign heart
prevail over the banal falsities culture bequeaths.

May your marriage be buoyant, enriching and tender.
May its supple contours center and cradle
the odysseys you are undertaking.

May you together surrender
your most fancied identities and selves
in the arms of the other’s love.

May you each, during this embrace,
forfeit your fears
– falling – for – forever –
in Love’s union of transfiguring Grace.

May you, in these nuptials, ripen
your practice of tending the
vows of a concurrent marriage:
that with self.

May you know the prism of biography
is incapable of refracting the
ineffable numinous light that you are.

May you favor humility, kindness and fidelity of heart:
knowing your dignity, beauty and innocence
are vital, intact and present.

May the poetics of these marriages set alight
a passion to avow yet a third:
the work of your creative expression.

May you take your muse’s hand,
and together – in this longing – watching over these fires –
render up your heart’s attention
to the freedom
in disciplining your self to your creative endeavors.

In the joyous communion of matrimony with self,
with spouse, and with creative expression,
may you – later –
look back across the arc of your life
seeing magnum opuses, poetics and abundant harvests.

©2010 Stephen Victor

The word Eleftheria is a Greek feminine gender term for Freedom. The poem came about due to the incongruity I felt regarding the staggering beauty of the Cypriot land and the unutterably architectural ugliness of Nicosia.
Eleftheria – Unreconciled

I
Straddling shifting platforms of providence,
foreign and domestic policy
remain insulated from politics.

All capital cities, as this one,
– anti-oases each –
ensue from ironies of governance,
and from the political posturing of
unseen and unloved selves.

The groom of government in its affairs of
consummating its bride of commerce
– as consequence –
fosters further folly in these precincts by
arresting and confining Aphrodite’s Beauty.

To wit, in part: Save for Sundays and Bank Holidays,
note the besieged and beleaguered
states of its fiercely frenzied citizenry,
its prickly crush and calamity on constricted infrastructure,
its nocturnal raucously revving redlining road races,
and the
attesting absence of architectural aesthetic.

Yet,
vestiges of poetic presences persevere: The
ensconced effortlessly enjoining elegant elderly eucalyptus
stand as stealthy stragglers along waterless riverbed,
bestowing benevolent buoyancy.

So too, those peopling this place
– albeit unawares –
are Beauty’s currency:
immigrant Asian domestics,
EU’s Eastern European labor,
remnants of Russians remaining
from off-shore tax sheltering days,
expat Brits, colonial legacies, every one;
and, Greek Cypriot daughters and sons.

Stretched on an historic and ideological loom
these diversely textured, charactered and colored
natural human fibers
shuttle their weft’s wave in and through
a raveling thread bare national warp of
unacknowledged falsity, commission, and omission
– and –
teeming dignity, innocence, and beauty:

Each awaits, albeit unawares,
the artistry of reweaving the tenor of
Turkish Cypriot siblings
into the tensile and palette of this Levant hegemony.

II
Beyond cityscape borders
on this isle, the yoni of Aphrodite,
in temperate winter and brutally
searing summer, the Feminine lay neither
animate, roused nor moist: She waits
as Avalon awaits her recumbent Arthur.

This once verdurous
sacrosanct soil, stone and sea
– crucible still –
arrayed in juxtaposition
on the cleaving juggernauts of
East and West, South and North.

She, high relief on Poseidon’s province,
awaits human apprehension
of her contemporary function:
chalice of human transfiguration, and,
ethnic, religious, national and human rapprochement.

It is here we and they,
beings inured to suffering,
will humanely heal human hearts hurt
in fear’s ignorance, arrogance and histrionics.

III
Will we give our heart’s attention to this possibility?

©2010 Stephen Victor

I have spent many early mornings walking in the beauty of a wildlife refuge on a friendly small mountain at the west periphery of Pyrga, Cyprus. This poem came from one such walk.
Harbinger

The Fire Brigade’s swath track
provides
conspicuous contours of relief
on the topography of local minds:

“Emancipating us from ‘fire’”
it is said.

This swath serpentines
profound and arresting beauty
– posted “Wildlife Refuge.”

This designated sanctuary
lays littered with a myriad exhausted
barely biodegradable munitions’ shells
each betraying the character of those discharging
their juggernaut in pleasure’s pursuit,
or clandestine hunt.

The formerly live cartridges – a viagra of
futility’s attempt at resurrecting the
potency of promise
yet fulfilled –
are now but spent casings.

Sun and soil, atmosphere and time
erode testosterone’s testaments to
a confounded creative expression
here flaccidly scattered like the lives of those
in estrangement’s wake.

Meters below this track
– on the side of this mountain –
reports now resound from rifles held by
encamped conscripts,
firing at this nation’s pantheon of
griefs and unrequited longing.

Another generation now entrained.

©2010 Stephen Victor


This is an early iteration of my poem “Eleftheria.” Seems it stands on its own…
City Character

Beyond cityscape borders
in this domain of Aphrodite’s birth…

On this sacred land of
unimaginable and stunning Olive Trees,
themselves
home to wizened elder being
of incomprehensible Grace…

In this fiercely beautiful arid climatic zone
of temperate winters and brutally
searing summers,

one is granted
uncharacteristic soul restoration.

This holy place, Aphrodite’s home,
is the source of reconciliation.
It is here! It is here that our work will occur.

It is here we and they, us and them
will heal human hearts hurt
by ignorance, arrogance and histrionics.

This sacrosanct soil, stone and sea,
crucible still,
awaits its transformation into
a chalice of human transfiguration.

But venture into the anti-oases of
human endeavor and residence
that is this nation’s capital,
and be confounded by profound irony.

©2010 Stephen Victor


NOTE: This is to be read allowing the piece’s own cadence to inform the reader’s

expression.

Beauty

“I know of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections, and the truth of the

imagination.” ~ John Keats

Have you yourself tended an infant? Have you observed another care for a newly arrived child? Have you watched parents from races, nationalities and ethnicities other than your own love their little one? Have you seen the elderly move with the aid of a cane, walking stick or the arm of another? Have you seen the aged from other parts of the world? Do they not move similarly?

And the beauty of the young? Do you see in adolescents their robust exuberance? What about the promise of those in their twenties? What of the thirty-eight year old who is now three months pregnant after waiting all those long years? Did you see the circles under her sleepless eyes when her child was two months old? And the new father whose ecstasy cannot find its way to the fore as the weight of new responsibility holds his
delight at bay?

Have you seen these self same states in those world round? Those in their late midlife who were spared hard physical labor yet shouldered great emotional burdens? And what of those with no means? Do you feel the weight of their soul? Or see the dignity awaiting recognition – their own or another’s? And what about grief? What? – when the one that is loved finds another to love? Or a revered one is taken from life? Do you know this in yourself or have you seen it others?

There are those whose inheritance is Christian (Protestant or Catholic), those who are Jewish (Orthodox or Reformed); Muslim (Sunni or Shiite). Those who engage in Buddhist practices (Taoist or Zen); those who live the values of the Hindu (Vedic or Bhakti); and those following Shinto and Confucianism. There are practitioners of Modern Druidism (cultural and religious); of Santeria or Gnosticism, and Native American Spirituality; there are those who genuflect at the altar of Science; there are the Animists, and there are those having declared themselves agnostic.
 
People find their way onto this planet in Belarus. In Argentina. Japan. Norway. Turkey. Syria. The USA. Cambodia. Vietnam. France. Guatemala. Mexico. Ethiopia. The Sudan. Peru. New Guinea. Those with black skin. Brown. White. Those with straight hair. Curly. Those whose eyes are brown or black. Green or blue. Some are considered physically attractive. Some not. Some have had more to eat than others. Some “educated.” Some not.

Do not the constituencies of biology and chemistry hint of common ground for humanity’s staggering beauty and imperative of our grand and myriad diversity? Might we indeed be unique expressions of one source? Might we be siblings?

Is it not the self same grief and anguish that is experienced no matter one’s age, gender, nationality, or ethnic or racial heritage when instances of horrific affront occur to a life, a dignity, our human beauty? So too is it not the self same joy and ecstatic delight that buoys a self when unexpected and robust beauty visits? And what of love? Is not another’s love for family and soil of birth, the self same love available to all?

Is it not the hand and heart of our one Earth, atmosphere and Sun, and the larger movements beyond, at whose behest we subsist and exist? And what of The Perennial Philosophy of Aldous Huxley? These rarely seen yet common and tangible energetic filaments of Wisdom that persist on insinuating their presence into humanity’s awareness irrespective of epoch, culture or continent. Wisdom is as present as our very breath! She is here now! Yet in nonchalance we slumber unwittingly and habitually distracted – “secure” within our somnolent conformity to our culture’s quiet insistence on smallness, individual insignificance and irrelevance.

Have you never read a line of poetry expressing exactly what you did not know that you knew until you read that precious sequences of words? Have you heard the music knowing that the musicians themselves had become the music? So too dancer is now the dance? Have you not been moved in the presence of a sculpture? And that time when you tasted an ambrosia such as you had not known possible? Have you delighted yourself with cuisines of the world? Tasted wine of distant regions – knowing that each was nurtured by a unique soil and sun issuing from the self same Earth and Galaxy?

Remember the joke that caused such belly laughter that your abdomen hurt? Have you seen joy and delight in another? Have you heard a baby’s giggle? Seen her smiling eyes? Watched the excited movements of her arms and legs? And the puppy whose backside cannot be stilled upon your return? And what of that lover’s touch and fragrance? And of that child’s exuberance of her in rushing to greet you?

Have you had the pleasure of standing near honeysuckle in early summer? Have you not wept a tear at the beauty of dawn coming round as the moon bursting in her fullness stays up to greet her morning’s sun? Have you not been arrested at the visage of starry sky or stood entranced by Orion or the Southern Cross in brilliant revelation above a fading mountain crest? Have you felt the sun’s generosity on a frosty morning? And the corolla of yellow in the flower’s opening? Have you drunk deeply of cool water in a midday’s humid heat or been present in a sea of wild flowers dancing at the wind’s insistence?

Do you know the breach of a whale or flash of sunlight refracted on the back of a porpoise? Have you seen the calving of tidewater glaciers and their indescribable blue deep interiors? Have you watched the dripping of meter-long icicles in the morning sun? Have you had your hands in the warm dark humus of a summer garden? What about the beauty of the flower presenting herself through the crack of the sidewalk amongst acres of asphalt and chain link?

Do you know the flower of a thistle? A dandelion giving its seed? A morning’s frost on desert cacti? Have you fallen in love with the magnificence of a tree? The movement of fields of grain in late summer? The sound of waterfalls in the distance? The noise of the breakers meeting the rocks at the jetty? Have you watched tree tops sway? Better yet, have you climbed a tree and felt its generosity? Have your bare legs been caressed by
silky strands of tall grasses while your hair was tasseled by grand gales?

Do you remember how beach sand offers the sea’s and wind’s geomancy to the curious? Recall the graceful silhouettes of Brown Pelican? The soaring of birds of prey? The dignity of the Red-tailed Hawk diving from that pole and capturing its prey? Do you know the chatter of squires? The song of chickadees? The call of raven? The aggregate singular movement of swallows?

My friend, I invite you to remember to remember. Look round. Cease your folly but for the moment!

I submit to you that the longing and struggles, the anguish and grief of loss as well as the sublime beauty of this world are themselves the Grace of the seminary that is your life. This life! Remember Walt Whitman’s prescience: “Soon there will be no more priests. Their time is done. Everyone is to become his [or her] own priest.” We have been in training. Commencement is upon us. The day of the intercessor has passed!

Humanity’s absences of love, of compassion, kindness and civility are inconsistent with the character of the human heart and our nature! Their currency perpetuates itself in the wake of our collective ignorance and haste. Nothing more! Although these absences have become our human norm, such behavior contradicts the human heart, our character, and nature; for we are, by design, brilliantly creative expressions of Universal Wisdom’s intelligence, love and compassion. Our capacity for Wisdom is wholly beyond the rational, the quantifiable. So too is our creative prowess! And did you know that cooperation is humanity’s greatest strength?

Have you been at death’s door? Whether refused entrance or directed to make your own decision…If you have endured the menace of a weapon trained on heart or head by the fears and anger of those in pain…then you know of Grace’s poetic generosity in Her reprieve. If you have seen very red blood surging from lacerated arteries at the surprised pace of an urgent heart in exigent moments, or gathered corpses after barbarous action, you know, with every fiber and filament of your being, that brutality and violence are anathema to the human heart and character.

If you have been the recipient of the cavalier vagaries of governance, business or health “care”… If you have been unjustly nicked by the authorities…if you have suffered indignities issuing from bastions of ignorance…or, if you, yourself, perpetrated a grave injustice and were blessed with the horrifying epiphany of cognizance, now knowing that you breached the very core of your integrity… you know that the character of the human heart is of love’s design and that fear and violence are the outsiders. The interlopers!

If you have not yet learned, soon you will know that your innocence remains intact – always -whether you feel this reality or not! There comes a time when you will awaken in stark relief to the reality that one’s innocence awaits nothing more than one’s own acknowledgement and remorse; and, by granting this, you enable it to come to the fore yet again! So too, you will learn if you have not yet, that neither your regal dignity nor that of another can every be debased! Although it may have have suffered sundry contusions and it longs for love’s tenderness, it is yet whole, present and strong!

So too you will learn if you do not already know that life cannot hate life! If you hate, all that you hate is the conceit arising from the distance you have drifted from your own sovereign heart’s Authority, Wisdom and Love! All pretext is falling away! We will come to love the perpetrator in ourselves and those in our communities. The only thing one can hate is circumstance! Nothing more! Its departure is imminent for we see its salutations in current global discontents.

One’s only task in this life is to consent to what is and embody Love moment to moment to moment! In the grand unfolding in which humanity finds itself – fulfilling this sacred endeavor sets the requisite attitudes and actions that prompt humanity’s magnum opus that awaits. Humanity’s boon is before us!

As for the ideological conceits of our culture? Honor, discharge and retire them. Their service is complete! These artifacts of human biography are ones of absences. Absence of knowing the true character and nature of the human heart! An absence of knowing the potency of our sovereign loving authority and creativity. An absence of knowing that Wisdom awaits our response for She has asked for our hand: Asked you to become her consort, collaborator and lover!

We have wholly mistaken our identity and makeup with something we are not! On this ignorance we hastened our pursuit toward folly’s end; we have instead worsened our circumstance. This is changing now for Wisdom’s hand is yet extended: In this marriage, we will know the staggering poetic beauty of human life and that of the Earth!

In taking her hand, and from the consummation of this love, we will learn that all things ensue! The folly of pursuit will be seen for what it is: an outcome of knackered misunderstandings and misapprehensions: the predicating of our lives on faulty thinking and static dogmas of smallness and fear. The consequences of that trajectory are being righted in preparation for this marriage, and the old folly is morphing into nurturing
compost for that from which we will succor.

In this union with the fields of Universal Intelligence’s Divine Wisdom you will place your intent and attention on the poetics of your life – the life that is your very own. No longer will you tarry in the prosaic existence another has arranged for you. Your will bring your creative expression to the fore and open to knowing joy irrespective of circumstances. You will salute the flag of being rather than that of meaning. Lastly you will know the veracity of Gregory Bateson’s words: “Wisdom develops when you can be around others and not want to change them.”

In your reconciliation with love, you will love your life, yourself, others and the Earth! Your creativity will soar!

©2010 Stephen Victor

Anger – 1

(First posted December 24th, 2011)

This post is the first in a series on anger: Anger that works and strengthens a person; and, that which renders one immobile. Anger seems pervasive. We are affected by it daily whether we ourselves are experiencing and expressing it, or in the presence of another’s expression. The prompt for this series occurred a few months ago when I was given great pause resulting from an epiphany: “People – you and I – are behaving with as much cruelty toward ourselves and others as at any time in human existence.” This is a sobering revelation for one who loves humanity.

The American writer Dorothy Allison wrote: “I would rather go naked than wear the cloak society has made for me.” This sentiment reflects a profound wisdom: The unique force that each of us are is not to be constrained or inure itself to the conforming intent of another. This notwithstanding, there is a profoundly life-affirming intent within all societies; it however is largely inaccessible. The fabric of our societal cloak prevents our access to this light. The fabric’s  yarn is made of ignorance and naivete; the warp is of dogma and belief, and its weft, of dissonance, deprivation and fear.

In our wearing of this cloak we emulate, and thus animate the fabric’s character, falsely believing its qualities to be our own and befitting us. The worlds we then create are fraught with the angst of the circumstances of our creation.

Anger binds this cloak tightly. The bindings are specific expressions of anger. Not all anger is binding. There are at least two types that are empowering. In this post I will specify one such type. Those posts which follow will delineate those that bind; so too, they possess no life affirming function. My intent with this series is to invite, through increased awareness, the freeing of ourselves from these forms of anger.

The last in this series will be a brief piece on another form of anger that which is a positive expression: One few of us are capable of accessing. I will use German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger’s model delineating seven types of anger to catalyze my articulation of this subject.

The first type of anger in Hellinger’s model is that which is strengthening and enabling. He expressed it in the second-person and I will do the same here. It is in response to an attack or an injustice against you or those in your care. This anger is constructive and enabling. It makes you strong. It enables you to take effective and prudent action. This anger equips you to defend and assert myself with the appropriate anger and rage for the situation. It does so by rousing you energetically. This anger is goal directed. It is to the point and dissolves when the goal is achieved.

Two small examples of the expression of this anger may serve. One: I watched a brief interaction of two men and a woman in a restaurant. The woman did not seem to know the men. Considering the woman’s response to them, I assume that one or both said something inappropriate. I watched as the woman’s facial expression and body language changed. Then I overheard her loud angry and powerful voice command: “In your dreams buddy! Get away from me NOW!” The men walked away.

I love this woman for ignoring our convention of politeness and powerfully expressing herself! I applaud her!

The second example: A woman had been given a traffic citation for failing to stop for a traffic light. She was incredulous with the police officer’s actions as she believed her driving just. Her outrage impelled her to defend her actions in court. She honestly remembered seeing the traffic light as green when she entered the intersection. The officer saw the woman’s earnest congruity. He wished he had not issued the citation. Unfortunately, the court sided with the cop.

To me, it is extraordinarily important that this woman defended herself against what she deemed unjust. Bert Hellinger once said: “When someone tells you what to do, you owe it to your autonomy to tell them to go to hell.” He is correct! We each need to learn the unequivocal, yet, respectful and honorable art of telling another to go to hell.

We need do this as others constantly impose their intent on us. (We also impose ours on others. We each are unique forces of the Mystery and are to be free from such impositions. We alone are responsible for recognizing, embodying and maintaining our sovereign autonomy. So too, we are responsible for our own lives and will be well served to cease wrongful meddling.

In this regard it is irrelevant that the prosecution prevailed. Given the woman honestly believed she was in the right, it is enough that she defended herself. Decency applauds this woman’s  clarity, her deployment of anger and the actions she took! I was the cop who issued the ticket. I respect her hugely!

There is a distinction I learned from the great mystic and writer Martin Prechtel: Compassion is absent of rage. It is present in outrage. Dismissing this as an issue of semantics misses the point. Hellinger’s strengthening and enabling type of anger possesses compassion. Were I to have defined this type, I would have used the word outrage where Hellinger used the word rage. Nonetheless, the women in my examples were outraged. There was no rage! There was outrage. So too, I saw compassion present in their anger.

Seldom, however, is this type anger used cleanly. Generally it is contaminated with a mixture of the various forms of anger. I will write about those in upcoming posts. When used cleanly, the type of anger that strengthens and enables is a necessary force at this stage of our expanding consciousness.

Deploying this type of anger cleanly, in legitimate contexts, will lead us to a consciousness where all forms of anger will be let go of. There will be no need for them. We will deploy only compassion in its stead. In our time, however, this strengthening and enabling anger is yet necessary; it can become an essential force for removing our contemporary and ill-fitting societal cloak. And, so too, move us forward into our task of reweaving how we organize and relate with ourselves and each other.

A few questions for you:
• What is it like for you when you have used strengthening and enabling anger?
• What is it like to be in the presence of others using this type of anger cleanly?
• How do you judge yourself in using this type of anger?
• How do you judge others using this form?
• Are you okay in the presence of constructive anger?
• Do you feel the differences between this positive anger and others?

For fun, look to this site where the Dalai Lama speaks briefly, and differently from the model I offer on anger:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7_0IJTBoNA

Bon Voyage: The Requisite Journey for the New Leader

(First posted August 31st, 2013)
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” – Mark Twain

Twain’s statement is obvious to some yet not to all. In the experience giving rise to his words moves genuine curiosity. Incurious travelers cross borders and remain closed to the value differences confer. Curiosity does not reside in these travelers. Curiosity does not operate in the company of prejudice, bigotry, or narrow-mindedness: these cannot coexist. Many thinking they are curious are confusing curiosity with interest. 

To fulfill one’s promise, to become an effective and accomplished leader requires travel, and a lot of it. Twain’s travel is of inestimable value, yet there is a more necessary form of travel for leaders to undertake. Greatness and promise mandate, of necessity, that leaders travel into their own heart, mind and will. They must travel with all the curiosity they can muster. They must travel beyond the borders of personal comfort. Must go into the humility, angst, epiphanies, and delights of self-revelation and self-awareness. 

Specific travel destinations include: one’s personal worldview, one’s beliefs, personal struggles, injuries and life challenges.  Into patterns of thought, and the habits of placing one’s focus and attention. They must go into the how of relating with themselves, and others: into the consequences of these interactions. And they must become conscious of the impacts of their actions. 

Greatness demands that leaders travel into being and living genuinely: being who they are. Into the embodiment of honest thought, feeling and action consistent with integrity and wholeness. Into patterns of emerging personal equanimity. Leaders must travel into their genuine personal power. They must embody it. Also, they are to travel into defining themselves by their genuine greatness and deep generosity of spirit rather than defining themselves by their failures or foibles, or the false ideals culture touts. So too, they must go into the creative expression and fulfillment of their own true promise, the giving of their greatness to the world personally and professionally.

Leaders who do not travel successfully into and through the realms of interior personal discovery and reclamation, whether their lives and work is borne on great intellectual capacities or not, remain merely envoys of cultural and institutional biases and interests – devoid of genuine Wisdom. Without traveling, the personas of leaders perpetuate existences rife in dispensing prejudiced, bigoted, and narrow-minded internal narratives condemning and enjoining themselves and others unwittingly. Personas not inhabited by conscious and aware compassionately intelligent people are platforms incapable of enabling and supporting genuine greatness. Leadership greatness is the province of the person, not the role. To lead a life or organization well, one must become unutterably and unrelentingly oneself! This is the inside job of a curious life long traveler.

I often describe where I grew up as a place where values run deep and minds run narrow. Those peopling this description were unfamiliar with Socrates’ sentiment: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” They had not yet learned to go meta and observe their thoughts and actions. They had not yet learned that who they are is distinct – separate – from their thoughts and actions, from their personality and body. That a worldview and its ensuing thinking and behavior can be changed to enable personal freedom, creative expression and greatness. That there is a rightness of designing a worldview of one’s own rather than living the one bequeathed you.

These unwitting confusions are also found amongst the educated and ‘properly prepared’ people in boardrooms and C-suites. Everyone has aspects of themselves that are personal. Within these personal characteristics moves a promise awaiting expression. It may or may not conform to others’ expectations or social convention. Within each promise are genuinely helpful and life-affirming movements: motion from which self and others benefit. We can ill-afford the loss of the promises of these bright people.

In 1977 I experienced my first failure in leadership. The circumstances were life threatening. A few months later I experienced another failure in my leadership. Similar situation. Life is conspiratorial in that it will nudge leaders to undertake necessary travel. I procrastinated. Pretended I had not failed. Made up that all was well. Life gave me more prompts: I began traveling. Still do. They have been difficult. Yet, not traveling would have been the more brutal of options. 

If from time to time you are slowed or stopped by the self prejudiced, bigoted, or narrow-minded voices speaking to you from inside your head, you need to travel more. If you define yourself by something other than your own genuine greatness, travel more. If you are not yet delivering your promise, find a well-traveled compassionately intelligent outfitter and guide (coach & mentor) and begin crossing borders into regions of your richness, thus furthering the fulfillment of your promise!

This is an inaugural post at www.geomancie.com and www.geomancie.co.uk. This writing is also a living system whose taproot I will follow deeply into a system of nurturing and sustaining roots, which, in symbiosis, give rise to the flowering of individual and collective promise. We must avail ourselves to this great fecund harvest and its ensuing benefit for ourselves and future generations. 

Poetry: 2011

(First posted in 2011 on Stephen’s previous website)
Spirals

The Mystery skips stones
across the surface
of my stasis.

Each rebound
an invitation
from beyond the nightmare
of the motionlessness
of my self-dissonance.

Each place of rebound
epicenter of disjunction.
I let go of that fancy. That love.
I let go of predilection, proclivity, preference.
I submit to the Mystery’s Design.
Grace moves – Love heals.

©2011 Stephen Victor


Brown Pelican

How does one speak of the
intimacy and regal
elegance of Being
– present –
in the eloquent flight of these,

Grace privileges me to witness. 

Gliding in singular unity
– rapture in repose.

Now,
nuanced aerobatics
of equanimity
and sudden stalls,

then,
 urgent high altitude plunges
into gymnasiums
of fishes.

In the presence of this majesty
the biologist’s dissociative quip
“They follow the fish.” forgotten.

Raising charged flutes
they toss back
silhouetted aesthetic head
and swallow their ambrosia.

Something else remembered.

©2011 Stephen Victor


Poetry in Pink
I
Attentions shift at Heathrow’s
Terminal 5 Tel Aviv-bound gate
as palpably potent femininity approaches.

A syncopating shock of blond curls
….and…
            oscillating hips

backbeat to the rhythm of pretty legs
under a chorus of pink flared skirt.

            (Postulating in Hebrew:)
“Watch my things!?
           
“What!?”
            (Seeing my face.)         

“You’re NOT Jewish!”
            (She exclaims in classic deniable feminine nuance.)
            
“Do you know where I can get a calling card?”

I proffer possibilities.

Pointing to four seats
            straining with “carry-on.”
She pronounces: “I’ll be back in twenty-minutes.”

I concede with a nod.

Two boarding announcements later,
she returns.

“I lived in LA six months!” She boasts.
            “I LOVE LA!!

“My grandmother is now alone.

My heart said:
‘Go to my grandmother:’
            So I go!

This is the kind of woman I am.”

II
This woman – as all women –
            are
            Divine Wisdom incarnate!

This Woman
            – poetry in pink –
only now crossing the
diaphanous divide between
child to adult – girl to woman…

Endowed…christened…ordained.
Her nature  Her character  Her birthright
She has been entrusted.

Her fiduciary charge?
             to boldly, confidently embody
                        her Femininity…

Face, hair, breasts, waist, hips, bum, legs – illumined.
                        Radiant essence of gender feminine.

No coquettishness. No come-on.
Rather,
she faithfully personifies the Mystery’s vital and 
formidable feminine force.

It is this energy’s presence that captivates.
It is this energy that shamelessly causes
            males to forget!

The feminine eschews domestication!
            Her sovereign nature is her own!

Though, too, the feminine occupies
– in modest degree – boys and men…
Her first home:
            the bodies of girls and women.

Yet too, the terror and tyranny of
            society’s patriarchal and ideological enmity
has rendered the feminine
            an enemy of the State!

All girls and women shrug
and toil
            – burdened –
            under the weight
            of millenniums of social indictment.

Nearly none
             are held
                        in the requisite
            and sufficient strength
            of a clean
and undemanding masculine attention.

Such deprivation undermines
            the coalescing of her confidence
thus rendering
the embodiment
            of her charge
                        improbable.

So too, humanity’s emancipation.

For femininity’s wildly wildly nuanced motion
            providentially
            and forever changes
                        positively
                        all who embrace Her wonders.

Profound?    Yes!
Staggeringly wondrous?    Yes!
And wildly, wildly alive?    Yes!
Untamed! and Untamable?    Yes!

III
Yes to her sovereign autonomy!
            to her dignity, innocence and beauty!
Yes to her voice, expression, contribution, participation!
            to her place in the grander scheme of things.
Yes to her inclusion!
            Acknowledging – recognizing and seeing her!

Yes to her belonging!
            to loving her!
Yes to her ruthless undomesticated fierce and gentle
            potent feminine robust Wild Nature!

Yes to girls and women!
            to her safety with and from all others!
Yes to poetry in pink!

©2011 Stephen Victor    


Londoners
I
I love the Afghan physician – here now – driving taxi:
            With equanimity informing:
            “Took eight years to get my wife here.” 
With autonomous character and humility he added:
            “Life can be like this.” 

What forces coalesced
           – reconciled –
–  centering, grounding this man!

II
The young Polish woman serving breakfast
            who brashly retorted:
“Poland not good, so I am here.” 
            Tears quickening as I reply:
“Perhaps Poland good,
            its politicians acting badly.” 
            More tearfully: “Yes, Poland good! I miss it!”

What youthful promise
is concealed as consequence
            to political conceit? 

Will she yet avow her gifts their proper prominence?

III
The forty year old Somali

 – a refugee – former businessman –
who crossed the border on foot. 
            He too providing others transport: 
“Artillery fire came too close…
            I left everything behind.”

Worrying.
            Fearing for his children
            here born and safe: How will they fare
without lessons punctuated by the struggles
            he has known?  Do they not
see the folly in their plenitude and ease?
            Return again to Somali? 
Yes, he would go – were he to believe
            his family would fare well.
Such courage in this fate’s embrace!

IV
The vigilant young Filipino –
            seven years illegal here: cleaning houses
for Pounds Sterling. Cash only.
            He is fond of saying
“My wife turned up to keep me from straying.”
            This man misses his not-yet adolescent daughter
half the world away:
She lives with her grandmother.

V
The Scot living out his adulthood here:
            Successful professional – reveling in his love for London’s
mosaic of music and culture.
Morning yoga before raising black fedora, then off via the Underground.
            He antes his love daily,
for he honestly loves his wife…and life! 
Such freedom arising from his discipline!

VI
I love the scandalously sexy sixty-plus Pole
whose irrepressible beauty and vitality
–  in constant nuanced feminine articulation – 
hips askew
whether under the red fabric of her flowing skirts
            or the very close denim of her jeans.
This business woman unabashedly embodies astute prowess,
            grand self confidence
and a plethora of playfulness. 

VII
The former cookery teacher,
then baker,
and now long time successful business solicitor! 

It is she whose fastidious prowess
            renders boon upon boon to her client’s successes.

Whilst too
providing for her Alzheimer’s inflicted mother
            in the flat affixed to her home.

What capacity!
What compassionately intelligent generosity.

VIII
The youthfully elder Irish woman
            pandering to her affair with Drink
as she inhabits this particular stoop on Islington Green:

all the while seeking a pound or two from passersby:
            The odor of Drink close to her breath.

I love how she regales me of those who ignore her
            and those who come to her aid.
I love how she serves me bits of her circumstance:
            the neighborhood’s high rents
and her long and painful absence from her beloved Ireland. 

IX
The well appointed Knightsbridge-bound guy
in the carriage across from me
            on this late night Tube ride from Heathrow:

Rolex gleaming
            as he reorganizes credit cards and foreign currencies
                        in his two wallets.
So oblivious is he
            to my own
                        and the others’ attentions!

X
I love the British Airways crew
propelling her way through passport control:
            So knackered
                        – laddered stockings –
                                    urging herself on…
                                                almost home…

©2011 Stephen Victor


London’s Women
I
I love the young Polish woman serving breakfast
            who brashly retorted:
“Poland not good, so I am here.” 
            Tears quickening as I reply:
“Perhaps Poland good,
            its politicians acting badly.” 
            More tearfully: “Yes, Poland good! I miss it!”

What youthful promise
is concealed as consequence
            to political conceit? 
Will she yet avow her gifts their proper prominence?

II
I love the scandalously sexy sixty-plus Pole
whose irrepressible beauty and vitality
–  in constant nuanced feminine articulation – 
hips askew
whether under the red fabric of her flowing skirts
            or the very close denim of her jeans.

This business woman unabashedly embodies astute prowess,
            grand self confidence
and a plethora of playfulness. 

III
I love the former cookery teacher,
then baker,
and now long time successful business solicitor! 

It is she whose fastidious prowess
            renders boon upon boon to her client’s successes.

Whilst too
providing for her Alzheimer’s inflicted mother
            in the flat affixed to her home.

What capacity!
What compassionately intelligent generosity.

IV
The youthfully elder Irish woman
            pandering to her affair with Drink
as she inhabits this particular stoop on Islington Green:
all the while seeking a pound or two from passersby:
            The odor of Drink close to her breath.

I love how she regales me of those who ignore her
            and those who come to her aid.
I love how she serves me bits of her circumstance:
            the neighborhood’s high rents
and her long and painful absence from her beloved Ireland. 

V
I love the British Airways crew
propelling her way through passport control:
            So knackered
                        – laddered stockings –
                                    urging herself on…
                                                almost home…

©2011 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?