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?


Anger – 6

(First posted March 30th, 2012)

Hellinger’s sixth type of anger is one that is taken on, felt and expressed by someone other than the originator of the anger. This is “assumed” anger. Another carries it. Taking on another’s anger occurs when someone in the family or group has

suppressed the anger felt toward someone else. It is taken on by the weakest person in the system.

“Weakest” refers to a person who is the youngest, or least physically strong, the least intellectually facile, the one occupying the lowest professional position in the group, or the one who, in a political sense, is marginal, or possessing the least relevance, significance or standing. Taking on another’s anger is unconscious occurring outside awareness.

This anger has several expressions:
1. Groups: The weakest person in the group becomes the target and recipient of the unexpressed anger toward a superior. No one, for example, has the courage to tell the boss of their resentments, so the weak one receives the others’ anger. 
2. Families or groups: When anger is not expressed, the weakest person becomes angry expressing someone else’s anger believing it to be his or her own. There is no obvious cause or reason for the weak one’s anger.
3. Families: The weakest person in the family becomes the target and recipient of the unexpressed anger that one parent is feeling toward the other. Everyone in the family is angry with this child.
4. Families: The weakest person in the family takes on the suppressed anger one parent feels toward the other. The child believes this anger to be their own. For example, a mother is angry with her spouse but says nothing. The daughter becomes and stays angry with her father. So too, a son may take on the suppressed anger of his father expressing it towards his mother.
5. Families: A son or daughter has taken on the anger one parent has suppressed towards the other. The child then expresses anger toward his or her own spouse, falsely believing this anger to be one’s own.

Anger that is taken on is easily identifiable as it is expressed with self-righteous indignation. It is a prideful anger. It renders the person expressing it ineffective and weak. Those who are victimized by it feel strongly in their righteous indignation, yet they remain weak and ineffectual; and their suffering, at the effect of this anger, is pointless. Neither they, nor those expressing this type of anger benefit from it.

In my own healing I learned that I had carried my mother’s suppressed anger toward her first husband, and toward my father. In addition, I carried the anger of the ancestors on both sides of my family. On one side the suppressed anger toward the inhumanities of Protestant Christianity – even though many were believers. On the other, the anger toward Catholicism, the constraints of which my grandparents so wanted to distance themselves. The relief of freeing oneself from carrying the weight of these angers is staggeringly palpable and freeing, for everyone.

Long before I knew Hellinger’s model I saw “assumed” anger in people in the professions around me. I intend no indictment of the persons, professions nor issues these examples reflect. Rather, I offer them to inform us about “assumed” anger.

Police and Deputy District Attorneys prosecuting defendants for crimes involving assaults on women and children often carry the anger of the victims and their families. Social workers may carry the anger of those they help. Trial lawyers can carry others’ anger regarding the institutionalized injustices of our system of justice. Public defenders too.

The anger of many environmentalists is indignant and self-righteous. “Assumed” anger is commonplace. Choose an issue arising from acts of cruelty, ignorance or oppression; note the people suppressing their anger, and we find “assumed” anger in those around them. Nurses often carry the anger of the nurses who came before them: Those whose schedules and duties have long been manipulated by the demands of administrators and physicians. Note too, that their contributions have been little acknowledged.

Look too at the Arab Spring, or to the “we and they” or “us and them” of the “ninety-nine percent and the one percent.” The peoples of the West have suppressed their anger toward those running their country’s central bank and the dominant financial institution; so too, toward the governments in support of the “one percent.” Have you been to Israel or Palestine, or Turkish or Greek Cyprus? “Assumed” anger is part of the landscape.

The examples I have given are abstractions for most of us and are the last places and issues that warrant our attention. Rather, our individual attention is best placed on our own personal, and specific, individual circumstances. In attending to the moments of our own lives, we can learn what each moment is asking of us individually. In each moment we are to ask ourselves what concrete action is this moment asking of us. In this moment ask: “What can I do? What actions can I actually take here and now?” We must state what we are going to do and do what we say. In taking these actions, not only are we changed, individually, everything changes.

By each of us taking actions individually, actions which are informed by the moments of our own lives, the world is changed. If what we are doing is not working, we must do something else. Anything else. We are to keep doing so until we get the results the moment is directing us toward. As each of us individually bring ourselves to bear in the moments of our own lives we change everything.

Hellinger Family Constellation change methods facilitated by individuated and compassionately intelligent facilitators offer a lovely approach for freeing ourselves from carrying the anger of others. This modality is available around the globe. Once you open to and learn the method for releasing this anger, you can do it without trained assistance.

Ask yourself:
•Am I self-righteous and indignant in the expression of anger?
•Have those close to me commented about my indignant and self righteous anger?
•Did, or do, my parents suppress the anger they feel toward their partner?
•Are people in my place of work angry? 
•Are the weakest one’s recipients of others’ anger?

Hunters and Lions

(First posted June 13, 2011)

I had little interest in history, national or world, until I read Howard Zinn’s: A People’s History of the United States. From there I was drawn to historical accounts of US courts awarding corporate entities more legal rights than we hum

an persons are granted by our Constitution. Too, I read of class, labor, gender and racial injustices in the USA during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Three years ago I began and continue to read Eastern and Western accounts of the Crusades and subsequent events in the Near and Middle East. Reading (or hearing) historical accounts of events three thousand, or three minutes ago, I am aware of the African maxim “When lions have chroniclers, the story of the hunt will be different.”

This awareness notwithstanding, I tend to have little interest in the specifics of what “we” and “they” say; rather, there are larger patterns of greater importance present. One pattern: Whether the hunter is regaling us or the lion, what is being revealed betrays the teller’s desire for a favorable future, and if necessary at the expense of the other.

Recently while reading Lesley Hazleton’s After the Prophet I apprehended for the first time that we contemporary peoples are behaving as brutally as those who came before. The intellectual understandings of such things I had previously entertained paled with this new visceral awareness.

Other patterns: I see too that the same divisive skills were deployed then as now: Eloquent rhetorical narrative and pretext, the skillfully feigned congruence of orators and writers, and a reliance on the continued self-effacing and diminishing conformity of assent by leadership’s various publics.

A final pattern: It is neither we and they/us and them! Nor does proffering good and evil suffice: Both exacerbate and confound our circumstance. The pattern I point toward is my failure and your failure to move into the place of the individual sovereignty of our unity.

I wonder:
• What can I let go of that perpetuates a diminishing of self and other, and my own brutal thought and action?
• What movements can I begin now and thus weave a narrative cloak of such life-affirming warmth that my heart thaws from its closed stasis?
• What can I move into believing that gives rise within myself to the qualities of character on which human decency, kindness, compassion, patience, the appreciation of difference has expression in my daily life?
• What other movements await my consent?

Maybe it is time to take a discontinuous leap into a different future!

Anger – 7

(First posted April 13th, 2012)

Most people would characterize the topic of this post not as anger but rather as instinct. Those who classify certain behaviors as instinctual, regard them as innate and hardwired into the being. The force Hellinger identifies as his seventh type

of anger issues from beyond one’s body, mind and personality. It is a helping force of the Mystery. This force is anger without emotion. It is virtuous and beneficial. This anger is aggression. It is pure strength, strong, wakeful, centered, grounded, assertive. When appropriately directed it is enlightened and courageous. With this anger you are capable of facing up to powerful adversaries, and when necessary, harming them; yet, you are neither angry with those you harm, nor are you emotional.

This anger empowers you to do what the moment demands. This anger does not come to everyone. It comes to those who involved themselves in a long discipline and practice, e.g., martial arts; yet too, it comes easily to anyone capable of it. Its embodied deployment reduces the likelihood of you succumbing to peril.

One unfortunate consequence of New Age thinking is the existence of the seemingly pervasive delusion that if people simply connect to the abstract goodness resident in being live, all will be well. Further, were we to open ourselves to the inherent beauty of life, all peoples will get along well, and that safety will abound. Maybe in two hundred years but not now.

In my world, the universe is truly a friendly place; everything in it is love. Yet, this love presents in a myriad of forms ranging from an incomprehensibly fierce, or harsh and difficult grace, to one that is unimaginably profound, buoyant and hearteningly gentle, and beautiful.

Although we seldom acknowledge it, we humans are animals. No matter the distinctions we imagine and attribute to our own or to another species, we share certain realities. As with other animals, for us too, there are members of our own species with whom we can share a habitat and those we cannot. There are individuals or groups we are safe with and from, and there are those with whom we are not.

There are compassionately intelligent ways for our human diversely to live peaceably on this planet. To date, we have yet to embrace them. We have the opportunity to transition into such an existence. We may or may not avail ourselves of it. We will see. The starting point for doing so is consenting to the reality of our differences. Consenting to “what is.” This requires the letting go of our New Age naivete and the self-deceptions we cherish.

In this context, many people have misunderstandings regarding aggression. It has earned a bad reputation as it has been confused with hostility, which is a learned behavior, a sibling of cruelty. Aggression has no cruelty in it. It is without emotion. Aggression is a natural archetype. A force that comes to the prepared and those capable of embodying it when the moment warrants.

When a lioness fiercely defends her young, she deploys aggression. This is the same energetic force that Hellinger identified as his seventh form of anger. Any capable human mother will embody the same force when the moment asks. This is Hellinger’s anger without emotion. It is brilliant life affirming aggression.

At the risk of loosing you, I invite you to see the beauty in this virtuous and beneficial anger embodied by lioness or woman defending her young. It is a positive and good anger. It serves life. This anger is distinct from the first in Hellinger’s model, which too is positive. The first one is accompanied by emotion. This is not. This anger presents solely as a powerful force outside of your awareness. You simply act as this force lends its agency to your own.

As a child I lived in a rural farming community. Twice I heard of women accomplishing Herculean feats: One involved lifting a tractor from her husband – he had been repairing it. In the other report, a woman lifted a car after it had fallen from its jack onto her husband. Perhaps you have heard of similar things. This anger comes to those capable of embodying it.

As a young adult working in law enforcement, I experienced and embodied this anger myself; so too, I witnessed it in others in life threatening situations. Once I watched a woman police officer (who had a second degree black belt in Taekwondo) being attacked. She acted with fierce aggression controlling the large man attacking her. There was no emotion on her part, simply a fiercely powerful force. It passed and the woman’s gentle nature returned.

On another occasion, I saw a police officer drive his hand through the side window of a locked car to rescue an unconscious woman needing medical attention. For a final example, a friend, who had served in Vietnam as a Marine, told me of his combat experiences. As he talked I knew this empowering anger had kept him and others alive. You too may know this anger personally, have witnessed it, or heard of another’s harrowing feat in which this anger was present.

I have two purposes in writing this post: to present the last in Hellinger’s model; and, to invite you to remember that we are not alone. The Mystery, in its loving intelligence, offers potent helping forces to those of us who are open to and capable of collaborating with Her.

As with all things, initiating movement from stuck circumstances, requires and begins with our consenting to “what is.” Acknowledging reality as it is. Most of us are loath to acknowledge our own anger. We instead squander our attention and lives by wishing and hoping for change to come from outside us. This will not happen!

If we are to live with compassionate intelligence we must consent to our anger, clean it up and move on. As stated in an earlier post, there is a time when humanity will move beyond anger’s useful and destructive forms. Doing so is up to each of us individually. The time to begin is now.

In my next post I offer final perspectives and then a recap of Hellinger’s anger model.

On Point

(First posted August 29, 2011)
When I was younger I sentenced myself to two concurrent endeavors: working as cop and attending university. When I left police work, I asked what I loved most about it. I found I loved “being on point.” I loved giving myself over to the demands of the moment. These were the events requiring that I be fully present – in real time – during which I relied on my own resources. While on point, I alone was charged with the responsibility of introducing appropriate change into circumstance.

My work-life unfolded into one of providing process facilitation and mediation services. Too, I trained and coached others imparting consultancy to leaders and managers. I entered my vocation because I could not NOT do it. The pull was extraordinary. I found the same love in this work. Doing so simply required that I give myself completely to the moment, to the point that is my place of motion.

Recently, a friend talked about kiteboarding. He said the activity requires much from a person. He explained the process of transitioning from stillness to movement at the water’s edge. He spoke too of the variables and complexities requiring the kiteboarder’s attention. Further, he regaled me with the sport’s delights and perils.

As he talked I was taken to a heartening place of awe, gratitude and excitement. I told him I believed the greatest genius of people lies in our ability to engage complexities, to flex and be moved: to be changed into one doing what we otherwise could not. For a kiteboarder to leave the beach, she or he must become amazingly nuanced and finessed with their attention, timing and actions. These abilities do not issue from others – nor from thought. They instead come from the energetic fields of the moment. If engaged in thought, the moment’s field that informs is not perceived.

Kiteboarding is but one brilliant example of the genius we humans are capable of. Your genius – in any circumstance – requires two initial movements: The first is letting go of the thinking and experience born of the stories of your culture, family and personal history. The second motion requires you to deploy your attention at the behest of the moment – in confluence with Her guidance. (To be accurate, it is becoming one with the movement of the moment. It is the aware conscious deployment of your attention. It is remaining centered in the belly of your physical body and simultaneously being grounded and connected to the center of the Earth – and at the same time – executing the motion given you by the moment.)

Everything in postmodern acculturation and training has taught us to attend instead to our conceptual understandings – those garnered from others. So too, we are to attend to the things we tell ourselves about our direct experience. We are taught to disregard, to forget our direct sensory perceptions – to remember instead the thinking we craft around them. So too, we are taught to center ourselves in our rational conceptual intellect. To only give credence to the measurable substantive realities about us sanctioned by others.

In doing what our culture asks, we give up our genuine center. We give up our ground and the stable base of our sovereignty. In doing so, we render our attention untethered. We neuter our otherwise innate creative resourcefulness. In doing so we render ourselves incapable of doing something of genuine consequence.

We are peoples who have dissociated ourselves from the concomitant gentle stability within the spirited and vital motion present in the fields of ourselves and lives. Expressed differently, the societies and cultures we have made for ourselves have disconnected us from the Life of our lives. We meet life from a “safe” distance. We are the James Joyce protagonist “…who lives a short distance from himself…” This has been our inheritance. It is what we tender. It is what we pass on as legacy.
When I was younger I sentenced myself to two concurrent endeavors: working as cop and attending university. When I left police work, I asked what I loved most about it. I found I loved “being on point.” I loved giving myself over to the demands of the moment. These were moments of being fully present – in real time – during which I relied on my own resources. While on point, I alone was charged with the responsibility of introducing appropriate change into circumstance.

My work-life unfolded into one of providing process facilitation and mediation services. Too, I trained and coached others imparting consultancy to leaders and managers. I entered my vocation because I could not NOT do it. The pull was extraordinary. I found the same love in this work. Doing so simply required that I give myself completely to the moment – to the point that is my place of motion.

Recently, a friend talked about kiteboarding. He said the activity requires much from a person. He explained the process of transitioning from seeming stillness to movement at the water’s edge. He spoke too of the variables and complexities requiring the kiteboarder’s attention. Further, he regaled me with the sport’s delights and perils.

As he talked I was taken to a heartening place of awe, gratitude and excitement. I told him I believed the greatest genius of people lies in our ability to engage complexities – to flex and be moved: to be changed into one doing what we otherwise could not. For a kiteboarder to leave the beach, she or he must become skillfully nuanced and finessed with their attention and action. These abilities and acts do not issue from others – nor from thought. They instead come from the energetic fields of the moment. If engaged in thought, the moment is missed.

Kiteboarding is but one brilliant example of the genius we humans are capable of. Your genius – in any circumstance – requires two initial movements: The first is letting go of the thinking and experience born of the stories of your culture, family and personal history. The second motion is deploying your attention at the behest of the moment – in confluence with Her guidance – to the moment. (To be accurate, it is becoming one with the moment. It is the aware conscious deployment of your attention. It is remaining centered in the belly of your physical body and simultaneously being grounded and connected to the center of the Earth. It is at once and at the same time – executing the motion given you by the moment.)

Everything in postmodern acculturation and training has taught us to attend instead to our conceptual understandings – those garnered from others. So too, we are to attend to the things we tell ourselves about our direct experience. We are taught to disregard, to forget our direct sensory perceptions – to remember instead the thinking we craft around them. So too, we are taught to center ourselves in our rational conceptual intellect. To only give credence to the measurable substantive realities about us – those sanctioned by others.

In doing what our culture asks, we give up our genuine center. We give up our ground and our connection to the stable base of our sovereignty. In doing so, we render our attention untethered. We neuter our otherwise innate creative resourcefulness. In doing so we render ourselves incapable of doing something of genuine consequence.

We are peoples who have dissociated ourselves from the concomitant gentle stability within the spirited and vital motion present in the fields of ourselves and lives. Expressed differently, the societies and cultures we have made for ourselves have disconnected us from the Life in our lives. We meet Life from a “safe” distance. We are the James Joyce protagonist who “… lives a short distance from himself…” This has been our inheritance. It is what we tender. It is what we pass on as legacy.

What I am pointing toward is the presence of an ongoing invitation from Life Herself. The one offering Her assistance to move away from the prosaic existence granted to each of us by our culture. To open instead to the poetics of truly living your own life. To open to the Life that is available to each of us on this planet – irrespective of circumstance. To find the equanimity enabling you to give yourself over to the moment. To shift your attention away from thought and ideas…away from personality and body. To place your attention on the unfolding field of the moment present around you.

It is feeling and seeing the moment’s movement and being moved by it. This is the difference observed when the dancer becomes the dance rather than being the one dancing. It is the musician who has become the music rather than the one performing. Each of us has witnessed these moments if not experienced them personally.

In deploying your attention to the field of the moment, you are moved rather than defaulting to the motion of your cultural programming. When motion is initiated from within your local self (body or mind/memory/personality), you are the dancer rather than the dance. You are the musician – not the music.

Right motion moves you. Right motion begins in and comes from the moment rather than from your story and habit. When moved by the energetic moment – rather than the one you imagine – you are giving yourself over to your own resources. You are connecting to something beyond your local self. You are, in these moments, living out the poetics of your own life.

The cute adage “You must loose your mind and come to your senses.” has relevance in our lives. It counsels us specifically to stop thinking! To leave your thought-based process at precisely the right time. To get out of your imagination. This maxim directs your attention instead to the field of the moment…to the point that is your point of motion…to give what is yours to give.

What you believe to be your own thinking and experience are instead artifacts of your upbringing. They are productions of your acculturation. They are NOT your own! They are but the rendering of the culture’s lyrics expressed through the instrument of your personality – and it – your personality – is of the culture’s intent, design, engineering and crafting.

It is when we give ourselves fully over in collaboration with the field of the moment…It is when we go on point – in real time…It is when we move the motion that the moment hands us…Doing this one draws on one’s own resources. This then, is living out one’s own life! This is when we are being and living genuinely the autonomous life that is one’s own. This is when we are embodying our sovereign unity.

Each moment is different from all others. Nobel laureate physicist David Bohm informed that all knowledge and thought are past tense. If they were ever relevant, that time has past. Insight is what is needed and it comes from the Order beyond our thought, dogma and story. Insight itself only has standing when acted upon in the motion of the moment. Then it too need be released.

I contend the Mystery is beckoning to each of us in every moment. She is asking us to become Her Consort: To become Wisdom’s Consort. In doing so, we become a recipient of Her Creativity. Doing so enables our creative resourcefulness. In giving ourselves over, we express our grandeur. Failing this we merely parrot what society has programmed.

Our greatest strength lies in letting go of the stasis of our upbringing and education. It is the letting go of our acculturation and experience: Going out beyond our thinking…giving ourselves over to the Mystery’s moment: Opening our receptivity and partnering with the Mystery’s brilliant creative Grace. She gives us direction. Whether this occurs while kiteboarding, writing poetry, painting, caring for an infant or taking leadership decisions involving millions of lives…our grandeur awaits.

There are three stories regarding Pablo Picasso. Whether true? I don’t know. If apocryphal, they yet have value for they invite us to remember something important that we have forgotten to remember.

Story one: Pablo Picasso once said: “When I am out of red, I use blue.” (It may have been the other way around…I don’t know.)

Story two: A farmer once asked Picasso: “Why do you not paint portraits like everyone else?” Picasso replied: “Do you know how many of those I had to paint before I could paint these?”

Last story: A woman approached Picasso while he was seated in a restaurant. She asked if he would sketch her. He put pen to napkin and seconds later handed her his rendering. She asked the cost. He responded: “5,000. Francs.”

Aghast, she declared: “It only took you seconds!” To this Picasso replied:”Madame, I have been drawing that my entire life!”

How flexible are you?

What have the “portraits” of your past prepared you to render now?

What have you been “drawing” your entire life?

What moments await the giving of yourself?

Have you let go of the culture’s designs for your life?

Are you living out your own life?

What are the poetics of your own life?

Is there a “Picasso” within you?

Perspective Shift

(First posted May 21st, 2012)

Angers rise in Westerners as passions escalate in the sordid menage à trois of governance, finance and commerce. The abandon with which leadership acts out its wantonness has consequences for us all. It appears that a tipping point has been reached. As a result many of the adversely affected are occupying various rendezvous sites attempting to interrupt the indecencies of this affair.

Those doing so are boldly following the lead of the Arab world as it began its renunciations of the long-standing amoral and immoral affairs of state in their countries. For they felt they were loosing the last vestiges of their dignity. They too longed for sovereignty. They too longed for genuine community. For decent and dignified leadership.

Whether through occupancy some of us intend to prompt an interuptus in the bordellos of governance, finance and commerce there is something of equally and greater import. Attending to things outside ourselves is of vital importance for many; yet, our real nemeses are the voices inside our heads. Those which serially condemn ourselves then arrogantly inform that we are superior to others.

These voices tell us that our beliefs, our ways of being and our actions are better than another’s. Then again our ego’s voice hastens to chastise, demean and diminish us. This cycle repeats interjecting various pronouncements in which it projects fierce judgments and harsh criticisms onto others, in justification of our biases and fears. These voices incite us to anger, rage and attack. Then, they belittle us.

The greater our differences from the other, the harsher our judgement, the more intense our fear. So too, the greater our arrogance and implacable bent. What we regard as nemesis out there will only be transformed by transforming the only true nemesis, the one within ourselves. It is time to re-constellate the love-hate affair within ourselves.

If we are of a mind to occupy, it is the rape of self by self that we need to interrupt. The one repeatedly perpetrating indecencies against ourselves, our internal nemesis. It is this affront that must be stopped. In clearing our internal debris we can genuinely occupy ourselves and the sovereign life awaiting each of us. It is through doing this we can have the creative expression we long for. We can be more relaxed in navigating the becalmed or turbulent waters of our lives.

A friend used to say: Freedom ensues from discipline. Of course I understood intellectually. I must confess however that only now years later, I apprehend and have a visceral awareness of the wisdom of his words. A tipping point has been reached. No aspect of our individual or collective lives can sustain ourselves in the context of the consequences our individual internal nemeses have rendered.

Human decency, accessing and acting with wisdom, self love, love of others, community, and living peaceably begins with self discipline and willpower. The discipline for each of us to develop and posses the abilities to consciously deploy our attentions on what serves ourselves, others and life, not at another’s expense, but rather, in confluence with the outcomes of others. There is space for each of us. There are sufficient resources to go round. This does not mean we are to befriend and engage all others. Rather, it is important to recognize there are those who differ from us. We are to discipline ourselves to let go of fears of difference. We can live differently from another and share this planet.

We have reached a stage in the evolution of consciousness where we need to consciously direct where we place our attentions, being aware of on what and on whom we give our attentions. We need to cease allowing our attentions the pleasure of behaving as though they had minds of their own, as though their habitual patterns of orienting around problems serves us. They do not. We need instead to consciously direct our attentions on creative alternatives, to that which serves life, that which is life affirming, to our individual promise, and the untapped creativity available to each of us. These are the places to direct our attentions.

So how might we transform the seemingly tireless internal critic? the nemesis bent on our downfall? To begin with, let’s remember that our mind, intellect and personality are but a fraction of who and what a human being is. There is much more to one than mind, body and spirit. There are other realms of ourselves that the world’s perennial wisdom has always informed. Aspects of ourselves known to mystics, poets and Earth-based peoples.

Our unfolding consciousness is making increasingly available our access to information, wisdom and awareness beyond our psychology and mind. The internal critic is but a tiny yet robust aspect of our personalities. It is this aspect, the critic, that psychologists endeavor to skill off. I suggest instead that our task is to transform it. To conscript its great prowess. To assign it life-affirming duties, and align it with our highest and best potential, our individual brilliance, creativity, our dignity, beauty and innocence.

In a following post, I offer “how-to tips” enabling us to progress in our efforts to befriend and transform our internal nemeses. I will give tips on shifting and deploying our attentions in ways that serve us and Life. In the interim, I leave you with these provocative questions: 
• What would you do if you did not fear punishments and delightful rewards?
• How would you live? 
• What would you attend to? what would you do if you stopped criticizing yourself?
• What would you do if your internal nemesis was transformed into one who supported your self confidence? if it simply reminded you moment to moment of your great prowess and promise?