Sometimes Truth/Love/Aletheia Looks Like A Punch In The Throat

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Fascinating weekend in the stream of life.  Beyond questioning “What exactly am I manifesting in the world?”, I’ve sorted some random items together to put some perspective on the current, streaming-by, over the always unseen undercurrent of Aletheia.

First, a story.  I was greeted at my front door Friday evening by a heavily tattooed unsavory looking fellow (the tattoos alone did not indicate he was unsavory – it was visible in who he was being) who showed up to do me physical harm for verbally accosting his son who’d participated in some bullying, intimidation tactics toward my son the previous week at the playground next door to our house.  He punched me in the throat.  I was being at the moment of truth as I ran down the street to avoid getting punched again.

It was fascinating and unexpected.

Now I was certainly over the top in my confrontation with his son, 14 or 15 in age, not slight and not the least intimidated by my requests to know who his friend was that ran off (a resident of the development) so I could speak to his parents about their bullying of my not slight 12 year old.  Nor was he intimidated by my loud, rude and obnoxious requests to speak to his parents since he wouldn’t give me his friend’s information.  Rather, he informed me that his father would be over that night to beat my pussy bitch ass.  He waited a week – it definitely threw me off guard.

This kid didn’t even live in my development, but was a guest in my common area.  He and his friends had been admonished two days prior by my wife for throwing around F bombs, racial slurs and derogatory language about the feminine form and I’d considered blogging about that occurrence, coming weeks after the Trayvon Martin ruling and my inability to make any kind of meaningful sense of that whole affair.  I thought about writing how we needed to deal with racism at the parks where young teen men (Black, White, Hispanic, etc. – or how is it they put it on those EEO forms? – so correct politically, but so incorrect all around) grow up and learn to share what they’ve already learned at home about race and women.  My wife dealt with these kids that day because I passed by with our baby in the stroller, willing to let it go since nobody was getting hurt and I’d been one of those boys at one point in my life.  My blogging suffered the same effect – the baby has thrown a wrench lately in any meaningful production.

Great story right? which stands at this point with my waiting to hear from the police and waiting to hear back from the results of any conversation that the president of our homeowners association will have with the board of trustees next week.  I don’t have much faith that any “real” change will come of it…as he said, the teen problem will just manifest itself in them vandalizing the signs as they’ve vandalized our community center. Who are they though?  And who are we?

Along with that I was voraciously finishing reading “The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler” published in 2002 by James Cross Giblin, a book laying around the house that my wife picked up from the library for my son’s assigned summer reading.  I’d always been interested in understanding how all of that happened since the days of my youth watching “In Search of…” with Leonard Nimoy where my memory tells me I saw my first glimpses of life (and death) in a concentration camp.  It may have been some other show as my Mother always had a bit of a Hitler “obsession” – perhaps to better understand how my Father came to be or maybe for other reasons.

I found the following passage to be most worth sharing:

In Germany itself, a group of students at a university in Munich dared in 1942 to criticize Hitler’s conduct of the war.  The group adopted the name the White Rose, symbolizing purity, and, with the aid of one of their professors, wrote, duplicated, and distributed leaflets attacking the Fuhrer.  A typical leaflet, headed “an Appeal to All Germans,” stated boldly that the war was lost and urged its readers to part company with Hitler and his fellow Nazis.

“Prove by your actions that you think differently,” the leaflet said.  “Tear off the cover of indifference which you have put around your hearts. Make your decision before it is too late. Do not believe that Germany’s future is associated for better or worse with the victory of National Socialism. Criminal actions can never obtain a German victory.”  The leaflet concluded with a vision of the future.  “Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary actions of criminal terror states – those are the foundations for a new Germany, a new Europe.  Support the resistance movement and pass on the leaflets.”

At first White Rose members distributed the leaflets only to their fellow students within the university.  Then they branched out, stuffing the pamphlets into mailboxes throughout Munich and even traveling to other cities, such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Vienna, with the leaflets concealed in their suitcases.  Back in Munich, they were distributing a fresh batch at the university when a janitor spotted them and notified the police.

Put on trial for treason in February 1943, the three leaders of the White Rose – Hans Scholl, his sister, Sophie, and their good friend Christoph Probst – were all sentenced to death by beheading.  The trio remained defiant to the end.  Sophie walked to the guillotine with a smile on her face, and her brother Hans shouted, “Long live liberty!” before he died.

Yesterday I came across the short story Dialetheia* – by Anil Menon which just happened to be set in pre-World War Two Germany and amazingly and eloquently shares a “view” or “taste” of this phenomenon which I attempt to explain while attempting to catch glimpses of it out of the corner of my eye.  Perhaps I’ll have to investigate this notion of “inconsistent mathematics” that he mentions.

In reading this book, and this short story I see that we are very much still living in a world vastly shaped by the charisma and actions of this one very determined person.  The state of the world today, shaped by the past yesterday – “Time is a partial order!” indeed.

Linking that, one of my facebook friends posted a link to this video.  It says a lot, it’s worth watching and it’s worth questioning everything through the video as a lens.  Life isn’t clear cut, especially when Love is concealed and your righteousness clouds the view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsqwErd6sPg&feature=share

Finally, this excerpt from a link from the above interviewee Glenn Greenwald’s page puts a final lens on my thoughts for the weekend and really for the last few months.  “Civil rights hero John Lewis, in an interview with the Guardian today, praised Snowden for engaging in “civil disobedience” in the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi and the Civil Rights movement.”  – Read the full article here.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts brewing, for a long time, a lot of unrest – apparently like the rest of us.  I thought I’d better start blogging again to begin unconcealing.  Perhaps if I can return to, or get closer to, Truth/Love/Aletheia I’ll open my front door next time with open arms and a smile or admonish a bully with a gentle, loving approach.  Either way, living life is clear cut.  I may get punched and I still love us all.

Wounded with love,

Ed

It’s All Fun and Games Until…(This post is not for the faint of heart)

somebody shits in your sink.  Ahahahahaha.

Seriously. Both literally and metaphorically this happens every day in your town, your country, your world.  What is your response when somebody does it?

First, let me give a little background about what I’m talking about here.  By now, you should be clear that “Love is.” from reading my blog.  It’s here, perhaps concealed from your view, but here none the less.  All there is to be the “sort of person” who allows love to be present and experienced in the moment. (This is not a grammatical error – all there is to be – It wouldn’t make much sense to say all there is to do is to be, that defeats the point of being and it’s a limitation of English language.) Simple, not easy.

Second, until now I haven’t really mentioned in the blog that I own a few laundromats, du laverie automatique.  They provide me a non-stop training environment for being love present and experienced.  This, what I’m referring to, is my latest example.  Even the cop who came to check out the vandalism was fairly shocked, disgusted, and appalled with what one of my fellow human beings left as their ‘contribution’, though I’m certain it’s far from the worst he’s seen.

IMG_0284

Now, it would be easy to distinguish the source of this turd as an operational issue.  You’re open 24 hours, of course somebody is going to shit in your sink.  Of course.

I’ve long held (since getting in touch with who I am is love, present and experienced) that each of us has a full opportunity set of being in which to dwell.  Any one of us could be Mother Teresa or Thich Nhat Hanh (choose your favorite “favorite person”) or the next Osama or Adolph or Dylan (choose your least favorite “nut job”).  Most of us dwell somewhere in the middle.  We don’t shit in anybody’s sink, but we also don’t clean up the shit that somebody else left.

Much easier to lean toward the villainous side however than to take a stand for causing a shift.  There are really many more examples to model oneself after and we’re often so self denigrating that we rarely think that I am amazing.  We’re curious about these “nutty ones” and we like trying to solve them, figure them out, label them, and fix them in various “correctional” facilities or solutions.  It’s very challenging to let them be somebody who shits in your sink and love them anyway, maintaining your “always open 24 hours, vulnerable and willing to accept whatever offers you make” demeanor.

When “those people” are not shitting in my sink, they’re stealing copper, or change machines, or vandalizing in any multitude of ways.  It’s fascinating.  It’s also easy to become a reaction, put in more secure whatever, cameras to watch, drones to blow people up, whatever.  Not being a violent reaction – that’s the real work.  Not adding more hatred on top of the concealed love…man, that’s some work.

Building the capacity to allow love to be present is like climbing a mountain that has no top.  It’s synonymous with honoring your word (aka, maintaining integrity) in that there will always be some area where you are not being love present.

People will always “wrong” you in your life – the people playing much bigger games than I am have much larger turds in their sinks.  Compassionate laughter is my best friend.  What’s yours?

I love you.  All of you.

Ed

Time

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

– Pink Floyd

Coming up on 40 years since the release of “Dark Side of the Moon”.  It’s as relevant as ever.  What are you up to that’s driving you mad?

With Love (out of time),

Ed

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

One Conversation Can Change………wait for it………Everything

Of all of the “things” that I have encountered in my life, and there are a few, there is one thought, one idea, one experience, one notion, one piece of knowledge that excites me more than any other.  It is the single bit of knowing, that when I recall it, when I allow it to really be present and be fully alive for me in the moment, it immediately expands my outlook, my view of the future, my capacity for possibilities, exponentially larger.

It’s such a simple thing too.  It crept up on me.  I wasn’t looking for it, in fact I was actively resisting it when it happened.  Then, all of a sudden, there it was.  My future was instantly different.  My outlook altered.  My box expanded, or blown right off of me really.

One conversation can change everything.

Your life is going in a certain direction, a fairly predictable trajectory, and then that one conversation happens.  It may be with yourself, or it may be a “conversation” that you read, but most often it’s with another human being.

My favorite, the one that really set me on fire and put me on a new and completely unknown, unexpected, unpredictable path for the rest of my life happened with one of my favorite people in the world.  This person has known me since the day I was born, has always cared for me, looked after me and because of that I had an immeasurable amount of trust for them.

Within that trust of my listening, I was told a story about a conversation they’d had with another in which the story teller made themself completely vulnerable, at risk, and authentic.  They were willing to put everything that they had in life up until that point on the line, including the relationship itself, in the interest of having a complete and authentic relationship.

Listening to this story, and hearing the vulnerability and the willingness to risk everything for the sake of what could be, moved me.  I’d never heard a more courageous story before, and very few since.  I wanted that kind of courage. I knew in that moment that living my life without that kind of courage would mean that I had barely lived at all.  Hearing this story altered what I knew about life, how it could go, how it should go, how it would go.  It changed me.  It made possible the kind of relationships that I could have, that I do have in my life.

It was a moment of truth.  Listening to that story, sitting on the edge of my seat, I could hear a pin drop.  I could hear my audible gasp, being in awe of the power of the spoken word and its ability to evoke a response deep within the recipients of those received words.  Its ability to move me to action, to melt the most hardened heart, to presence compassion, truth, love and being in a moment in time. 

Have you ever had a conversation that changed everything?  I’d love to hear about it if you did.  If you haven’t, I’d love to have one with you.

With Love,

Ed