Same old, same old

5:59

6:00

I got you babe.  I got you babe.  Wake up campers, it’s Groundhog Day!

Look, I know it’s just a movie, but I assure you that contained within that movie are the same learning opportunities that can be acquired by reading John Shotter’s Wittgenstein in Practice and then practicing it in living, or paying 65k for the number one (average over the past 10 years) organizational development master’s program (MPOD) in the world, or cleaning up vomit from a bathroom floor, or reading (attempting at least – can somebody translate the translation please) Heidegger’s Being and Time, or walking face first into a below zero snow storm ‘coming from’ the space of love and joy, or being deployed to a combat zone, or participating in The Forum (as it used to be called), or adopting and raising somebody else’s child. 

Each of these experiences presents learning opportunities for what can be described as “transformational moments”.  I would know, because I’ve had each of these experiences, a couple of them today even.  Now, participating in all of them gives a certain kind of “multi-faceted” view or perspective that participating in only one or two of them will not provide, but this doesn’t diminish the opportunity set for the learning opportunities available in each of those experiences individually.  The above experiences are also not the exclusive set of experiences for providing the learning opportunities.  I’ve had some others and I know there are others who’ve had others.

This entry will not be a “10 lessons I learned from Groundhog Day” presentation.  You’re, as always, going to have to work a little to hear the real value of cleaning vomit off of the bathroom floor or watching Groundhog Day.  The one thing that I will point out very clearly is that each of the stated experiences provides a disruption to the conversational and temporal space in which one is experiencing life.  The taken for granted, always already ways of being in which we normally dwell.  This entry is also not intended to diminish those normally occurring day to day life events. 

Having the opportunity to live the same day in the same confined space of Punxatawney gives Phil Connors the ability to peer into the moments, in intricate detail, that make up ones day to day life.  Even still it takes him a near eternity to learn anything useful about himself at the same time he’s learning minute details about the others in the story. 

Phil realizes, shortly after he finally orchestrates the perfect day with Rita the futility of his frantic quest for the solutions or answers, the getting it right so that it will turn out.  This futility is what ultimately and finally takes him to the edge of the “self” that he knows himself to be, drives him to the depth of complete despair where he wallows for some time.  Bill Murray of course, uses the timing both comedically and dramatically to give us a look, a glimpse, at the Cartesian paradigm that Shotter references.  As a moment in time, turning to Mrs. Lancaster and answering the Jeopardy question “What is the Rhone?” is the turning point, the moment of triumph that is possible for each of us in our lives and our relationships.  This despair, no matter how thorough it is, even has its end.  Freedom to be is the natural outcome.

Phil emerges with his true being, who he’s always been, that he’s been covering up with that desire to look a certain way or do certain things to manipulate the outcomes ripped away.  There is no longer an option to pretend any more, he sees himself newly and shifts to what Shotter describes as a “relational paradigm” where “This new dialogical or relational paradigm puts the primary emphasis on our knowing of other people”.  In the Forum it was that moment when the “big it” is revealed.  In the combat zone it was that peace with knowing that one’s time will come exactly when their time comes.  And in cleaning up vomit or any of the other experiences it is that this is this.  Coming to the thus-ness of the experience…without resistance and being an opening or space for the thus-ness.

This is Truth/Love/Aletheia. Unconcealed.  Within that space there’s a freedom to play the piano, save another’s life, fall in love.  Not as a manipulation but because these are the things we do when we are freed from the constraints we showed up in.  Powerfully relating with one another. 

With Love,

Ed

Get Over Yourself

I’ve just finished reading the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  I only read it because somebody mentioned to me that the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” guy recommends laundromats as a place to start for building wealth, and, it just so happened to be in my wife’s audible book queue.  I don’t remember if I put it there, or she put it there, but it was there, it was short, and I wanted to hear what he had to say about laundromats.  He didn’t say anything about laundromats.  It was an easy listen, and inspiring at times, a little hostile at others but overall it covered a lot of the things that I’d like to make sure my kids understand about money – mainly that money is a conversational construct.  This isn’t a book review for that book, however.

Get rich infomercials at night, people blogging and hawking different “new and better” ways of viewing the world, self-help books, Self-help books, transformational seminars, positive psychology and just about anything that involves selling or marketing something tend to bring up an automatic defense mechanism for many people.  I know they do for me.  “Here they go”, I think to myself as they secretly try to not tell me that they want me to join their multi-level marketing scheme which certainly must work for some people or they wouldn’t continue to exist.  I generally tolerate them enough to sort of watch them squirm through the agony of trying to sell me on something, letting them be with themself as a salesman and be with me as a customer.  I’m not much of a salesman myself and I certainly bring up plenty of defense mechanisms for many people, mostly because I can be abrasive, and rude, and disrespectful and fairly focused on myself.  Complaining is definitely evidence of that focus since most of the complaints have a “how the world is affecting me” air to them.

Complaining seems to be something that I’m just thrown toward.  I’ve had nicknames such as “the b*tch” because of incessant complaining about things at places I’ve worked, I think I always feel tired so I’m generally a complaint about that, and I seem to want to control things around me – though I think this is more of a recently developed phenomenon than something that’s been going on my whole life (or am I just conscious enough to notice it now?).  Either way, this post isn’t about that either yet I did want to point it out so it doesn’t appear as if I’m deluded about my thrown-way-of-being in the world.  I got it…I like to complain (usually when things are out of my control).

Something that I’ve noticed about complainers, through this recently revealed view of myself and through viewing other people who complain, is that they’re really committed to something.  Additionally, while complaints often have the appearance of being about me, or about “one”, they often point to some greater injustice outside of the self – and I use the term injustice very tongue in cheek.  Taking the Appreciative Inquiry approach to complaints and finding the “unconditional positive question” (http://portal.kessels-smit.nl/files/02_Interview_With_David_Cooperrider.mp3) to that complaint opens a portal into that person’s deep commitment to something.  That’s not all that this post is about either, the complainers that are committed to something.

What is this post about.  Well, certainly, love.  That’s all it’s all about – Truth/Love/Aletheia.

Practically, what it’s about is my declaration that I’m over myself.  So listen up and get ready to relate to me in a way that may be new to you, may make you uncomfortable, may just get in your face and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, may make you realize what me really being abrasive is like, and may just have you get what truth/love/aletheia is.

Aside from the practical part, the part about me being over myself, this post is about you.  You quiet non-complainers, or super secret back office complainers, you who are so resigned that your complaints are muffled by sarcasm.  You fine people, or even better, sarcastically great people.  I really don’t know what to say to have you be straight, to stop pretending, to stop putting on the good face and start saying it like it is for you.

These infomercial guys, these authors, these transformation experts – why are they always trying to get you to do something?  Buy their product, read their book, take their course…now I won’t speak for all of them as certainly you’ll be cautious and driven by fear (can you help yourself?) and you’ll find some of them to be completely in it for themselves and struggling and miserable trying to fix what’s wrong.  But there are others, some of them out there, that are doing what they’re doing completely for you.  They write, and they promote, and they sell because they know it will make a difference for you.  They’ve done it, they’ve gotten over themselves and proven enough to themselves for their satisfaction that they’ve made it.  They got this.

Let me put it another way.  Recently I came to the conclusion that I’m done “living my life to the fullest”.  For the past twenty years or so I have been living life “from death” – realizing that my time is short here and each minute is precious and in the end they are going to lower my lifeless corpse into a hole and throw dirt on it.  I’ve studied and learned and had amazing experiences and dug deep to fully understand Heidegger’s statements such as, “When resoluteness has been ‘thought through to the end’ in a way corresponding to its ownmost tendency of Being, to what extent does it lead us to authentic Being-towards-death?”.  Then, I’ve attempted to take those learnings into practice and live them and create results “Being-in-the-world”.  I’ve studied being appreciative, and intentional change, and I’ve had plenty of experiential learning.  I declare myself complete.  My life is full. (Don’t hear this as I’m done learning, or growing, or inquiring into – oh, no not that). It always has been and my results indicate it.  Even the failures indicate it.  The truth only revealed itself after I gave up the lie however.  It’s a full life and I’ve done many things beyond what I’ve ever imagined possible.  Still I’m afraid, living within my own constraints.

Strangely, what I’m afraid of now is sounding like I’m bragging.  Being concerned that people will hold it against me if I tell the story of how great my life is or target me to try to knock me off of my pedestal.  Even while I have some really messed up things happening in my life, it’s still incredible.  Rather than buying into that fear I’m going to push it out there anyway, full disclosure, like I said.

My approach will shift ever so slightly.  Instead of living my life as if each day may be my last, I’m going to begin living my life as if each day may be your last.  My last “full encounter” with my Dad before he slipped off into speechlessness is the kind of example I’m talking about.  Being present and with you fully so the depth of our connectedness reveals itself even though our relationship is brief and in passing, or has not been this way until now.  Now, there are times when relating to my own life, and living it to the fullest, where I slipped into unconsciousness…and I’m allowing for that I probably will slip into unconsciousness living your life to the fullest as well.  However, being with you, in your world as if your life depends on it is my purpose.  It always has been – love present and experienced for each and every, now, demands it.  I can’t love you fully until you can love yourself fully and I know you don’t.  It’s why you’re afraid, why you’re resigned, why you’re cynical…it’s why I don’t get any life from you when we converse.

Noticing the truths that you dodge, and the ways that you put up with things, and the ways you’re resigned to “That’s just the way it is” and letting them slip by unnoticed, unmentioned – those days are over.  You want to talk about abrasive.  Now, I’ll do my best to be gentle, and I’ll promise to recognize if you’re just not open to it – some people are a flat out denial that This is it!  I’m ok with that…I’m not going to push it and I have no attachment to your waking from your slumber, yet I’m at least going to let you know.

Why blog about this?  Why put it out there, and annoy people with it via facebook?  Just be that, right?  Here’s the thing about all those infomercial dudes, and the people who want you to come to their thing – the ones who’ve made it – they really just want to share what they got with you.  They’ve seen that there is something concealed, hidden from our view, that’s so simple and so attainable.  So freeing, and joyous and fleeting.  Sharing it, and unconcealing for other people is the easiest way to keep it from getting concealed.  It covers over so easy you see…this truth, this aletheia.  Like cities in the desert in a sandstorm…buried.  The concealed truth is that you got this too.  You’re brilliant, vibrant and can be or do or have anything you want in your life.  I know because I am in mine and I’ve met enough people that are in theirs.  You just have to be willing to let go of the one thing stopping you from having it all.  The belief that you don’t.

You’re going to die, they’re going to put your body in a hole, and throw dirt on it.  Maybe they’ll just burn it to ashes.  What do you want your life to be about before that happens?  Visualize your body vaporizing as flame consumes it…what will you wish that you’d have done?  What are you afraid of?  What are you protecting?  Reveal it and I will love you.  Don’t reveal it and I will love you.  The only difference is, one way you experience that I love you, the other way you’re afraid and unlovable.

With Love,

Ed