More on Power

One of the things that I’ve noticed about Power since writing my last blog entry (interesting how distinguishing something makes it more present to your experience, isn’t it?) is that the different roles I “play” require different forms of power for me to “produce” results.  This is something that I need to continue to get clear about and practice daily to effectively be love present and experienced in all my environments.  It may not always be this way, but what I’ve noticed about love present and experienced is that the form power takes is very much outside of my “self”.  It occurs as an outside power where I am the space where other’s power occurs, I’m the reflection of their power.

Being or “playing” different roles often calls forth what you would expect from that role, given your cultural set or world view for what that role entails.  I am many, many different roles throughout the day and each of them are just that, roles.  I wake up as the role of my self, then I notice who I’m next to and I’m the role of husband and as my kids come down the hall I’m the role of father.  When we all get in the car and pick up the other kids I’m a neighbor, a car pool driver, a law abiding citizen, or not depending on how on time I am.

Two roles that I noticed today were my current job role as an Identity and Access Management Infrastructure Engineer Lead and my job role of the future as Independent Organizational Consultant.  Inside of role #1 (current job role) I was also co-worker, employee, client, and customer to name a few.  Who I was being inside of those job roles was not always the possibility of love present and experienced.  I am still on the hook, and mildly excited, to provide the current solution that I’m currently working on.

Being in the position to get something done as co-worker, client, and customer in my current organizational environment left me calling forth some behavior that doesn’t have anything to do with who I am.  Who I am allows space for other people to be magnificent and I get the opportunity to interact with them as the magnificence that they are, which has a timeless essence to it with no constraint on place or time or even result ultimately.  The result is what’s so in the moment, with perhaps a declared result in the future.

Organizations as designed, with the roles they assign to people seem to draw out behaviors that are more in line with the role than with who the human beings are.  In my role as Infrastructure Engineer Lead the behavior that is drawn out is more in line with my “being smart” attribute developed in the spring of the second grade on the grade school parking lot.  This is an automatic way of being cultivated over many years, similar to my already described way of being funny.  While it is useful to be smart and it works well for me, the aftermath often leaves others being less smart than me.  I am expected to have answers, and most of the time I do.  These answers are right.  Other people’s are wrong.

Opinions and knowledge radiate from my being and they spray the less knowledgeable with their fragments and all the while who I am, though not experienced, is loving people.  When you have a vendor from out of town on site who’s only there for a short time and you need to have a system deployed in a short period of time knowing things “seems” to be more useful than allowing space for others magnificence to occur.  If I let that magnificence occur, and I’m not saying it won’t, my deadline appears to be toast.

Much of this, I assert, has more to do with the organization as it’s designed, and the roles that others are in as those roles are designed, than anything to do with the actual people involved.  It’s as if we’re all puppets being controlled by an invisible hand…not from above, but from below where it’s really difficult to notice.

With the training I’ve had in group development, personal development, being with people, Social Constructionism, Appreciative Inquiry, Complex Responsive Process, Intentional Change Theory, Experiential Learning and Emotional and Social Intelligence I know that I can work through the various layers of organization and all the individuals involved to come to a more fluid working state.  I know that we can come up against the same tasks we’re working on and perform them with grace and with ease and with affinity for each other and ultimately with love present and experienced.

Time and space limit one’s ability to impact the immediate past immediately.  I’m three days into this engagement and at least the first phase of it will continue through the middle of April.  Many of the groups I’m currently working with will have done their part (one way or another) and I may not work with them again for a long time.

Toward the end of the day today I began to consider some different ways of being with people, outside of the role that I normally play.  I began to walk around more and communicate more and be present to people more.  Pretty obvious to me as Organizational Consultant…what else is there.  But within role as Systems Engineer Lead, that’s just not the way things get done and it’s not what people expect.  It’s a strong pull to be what’s expected when you’ve been a role as long as I’ve been this role, but making sense of the day through my other role has given me the opportunity to attempt some radical alterations tomorrow.

I’m going to keep turning this role on it’s ear and see what happens.  Maybe I’ll be in that Independent Consultant role sooner rather than later.  Or maybe I’ll start generating some miracles and love will really be present and experienced.  It is all just experiential learning anyway…as long as I’m open to the learning.

With Love,

Ed

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Power

I’ve been at a loss for a few weeks now about what I really wanted to communicate next.  It’s not that I haven’t had ideas and it’s not that I haven’t started drafts, but they haven’t quite been what was at the forefront of how I wanted you to know me.  After all, it is my intention that this blog is not just a personal space for sharing who I am, or a professional space for creating dialogue with potential clients, rather I intend the blog to accurately reflect all of these things.  If I’m being true to who I am and really being authentic, there will be no difference between personal and professional me.  At the same time some conversations may not seem relevant on one level or the other at least in the current “terministic screen” of social media.  As a reforming technologist, I do believe that someday there won’t be an online me or a real world me, there’ll just be me.

This entry then is about power.  First off, power has scary connotations to it, especially when I tell you that I want more power.  If I want more power, in today’s worldview, it’s implied that I will be drawing power from you leaving you with less power.  This is where being love present and experienced makes a difference in our relationship.  If I have more power, you also have more power.

I want you to know that I want more power.  I want power to share your experience with you so I can be left altered by the offers you’ve made me (as my Improv OD friends would say) and I want power that comes from you allowing me to exist with you within the space that you occupy.  I want power that comes from you granting me gracious listening where I get to be larger than I could have ever known myself to be without your love and power.  With that power and love, you get to be larger than you’ve ever known yourself to be.  This is the kind of power that can only be created within the conversations that we generate with each other.  And given that this blog is a one way dialogue I want to say enough to pique your interest without creating too much of a persona.  In time, we’ll need to speak with each other to create who we are to each other.

Currently I’m reading a book called The Boundaryless Organization about making hierarchical structures more permeable and it speaks to many of the kinds of power that we experience within organizations and the way the existing model of power really limits our ability to be innovative, flexible, quick and integrated within business and how much of this model comes from the natural hierarchy that occurs within families.  It’s an older book, but as usual I’m finding many insights into many of the phenomenon I experience in my day job, in my side businesses, and in my family and other relationships.

Concepts such as Complex Responsive Process and the amazing Patricia Shaw book Changing Conversations in Organizations which I read prior to my Europe trip a couple of months ago were laden with these aspects related to power that I’ve been attempting to articulate in conversations with people for quite some time now.  The groundwork that is laid by the concepts for organizations being nothing more than conversations that have occurred and are currently occurring should be required reading for all human beings.

Obviously, or maybe not so obviously, my first foray into this type of thinking came from my exposure to Werner Erhard’s work when I was nineteen years old.  I have received a great deal of conversational opposition throughout the twenty odd years since I first participated in that conversation from people close and not so close to me and I believe that opposition explains much of my current participation through academia seeking a different way to frame what was so obviously learned from that participation that seemed so difficult to explain.

Power.

I want you to consider that you want more of it.  If you’re alone right now say it out loud.  Go ahead and say it.  “I want power. I want lots of power.”

It’s why we chase status, money, relationship, religion and sometimes when we feel like we’re just not getting what we need we chase things to numb our powerlessness.  When our relationships aren’t working because we don’t have enough power we go outside of them, and when we’re not getting the power we need at work we find new jobs, and when we’re not getting the power to take care of our families we band together and occupy something.

Unfortunately, many of the ways we seek power within our existing worldview are still playing by rules created by the people who have power in that worldview.  I’m fairly certain that I’ve been able to generate some access to power in ways that don’t fall within those rules.  I know they’ve been working for me and I need to start to find out if it’s possible to share those with other people.

If you’re interested in having power and want to have a conversation with me about creating it together send me a message.  I’d love to chat about it.

With Love,

Ed

Socially Constructed Reality

This story will appear to be about me.  This story is about we.  When we are blind to the context we are born into and nobody makes us aware that no matter how much it appears to be the way it is, and we are all making up the way it is, we are left feeling trapped and not known.  This is a story from my life where I constructed reality and became funny and trapped.

This story occurred when I was three or four years old, maybe one of the earliest incidents that I recall in life.  At this age I would consider my Self as close to a “pure being” as is possible in human form while still having some use of language and memories that I might recall. 

I remember sitting up on the kitchen counter with my Dad who was leaning on the counter next to me drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.  He would occasionally let me have sips of his beer and I recall that he did let me do it this time.  In the next part of the memory, one of his friends, a Cleveland cop, is parked in the driveway in his police cruiser and he and my Dad are talking for some time and drinking more beer while they talk. 

Eventually, I remember coming back into the house through the front door and through the entry foyer with my Dad, and my Mom is in the house, not very happy about something.  What that something is has no bearing on the memory, which is good because I can’t remember what they were fighting about, if I ever knew.  What I do recall is a vivid feeling and desire to explain to them how none of what they are fighting about is important.  What is important is that there is love. 

It would be easy to trivialize this incident and say that I was just a little kid, and I was afraid about my parents fighting, and I wanted to make everything ok.  But the memory is so vivid of the perspective that I was watching them argue from, and thinking, even as a little kid, how foolish they were being, and how they didn’t even know how foolish they were being.  It was not a childish, self-surviving experience of love that I was trying to tell them about, but a deep sense of why we’re all here to bask and relish in the amazing gift of love and space and being that we all are.

Now, I am much older than I was at that time, and I have a much larger vocabulary than I did at that time, and I am so much more worldly than I was at that time, yet those things do not seem to make much difference in my ability to explain or talk about this sense of, or presence of love that I was attempting to express to my parents.  It may be that no words exist to express it fully.

What happened was that I tried explaining it to them and they even stopped fighting for a little bit to give me the opportunity to try to explain it to them, but I didn’t do it any justice and they resumed arguing.  I was left with a sense that no matter what I did I wouldn’t be able to get them to understand, and my parents would continue to fight.  They continued fighting, on and off, until only a few years ago when they finally divorced officially, a year or two after my Dad was diagnosed with some form of dementia.

That day though, I do recall that eventually my parents did stop fighting.  After I had given up explaining to them something that I could not properly describe, I did somehow get them to start laughing with some silly childish method which I don’t remember.  I don’t recall what I did, but it was effective in getting them to stop fighting for a little while.  As a result of that failure to presence love for and with my parents, and the subsequent “good enough to get them to stop fighting” response, I spent a good part of the next 20 years or so perfecting the art of well-timed methods for getting people to laugh, since I couldn’t get them to really understand me. 

Until very recently, I believe that a lot of people that know me would say that I’m pretty funny or have a good sense of humor, but not a lot of people would say that they had a very good sense of who I am.  The way it occurred for me, as a phenomenon, is that the majority of people never had any idea who I really am.

Eventually, all that wise cracking in life, school, and beginning work life started to take its toll and my life had become a lot less promising than it started out to be and was definitely not fulfilling because nobody really knew me and I didn’t know myself.  It was around the time of my 19th birthday that I had my first exposure to a model of integrity that allowed me to realize that I wasn’t really being true to myself.  Just recognizing that altered the course of my life significantly in many ways, and without knowing it I spent the next half of my life seeking that which I couldn’t explain, mostly because I still couldn’t remember that incident from my childhood. 

I did have some luck in explaining that unexplainable sense of love to the woman that would become my wife and we created a relationship and a family based in that. 

A couple of years ago, I took a course at the University of Rochester that had me recall that initial incident or that “break” with my true Self.  Since then, I’ve been living my life coming from that place of love and finding a way to turn that into something meaningful in the world.  After all, it wouldn’t make any sense to me to know the secrets of the universe and not attempt to share them with everybody else. 

This blog is one avenue to expand the presence and the space within which we exist. 

See if you can recall a time in your past, perhaps when you were very young, where you made a decision about yourself and have been living from that decision ever since.  This is a socially constructed reality.  You began by creating that reality with yourself and in time everybody began to know you from that reality.  Today they would tell you, “Yes, that’s just the way you are.”

Maybe it’s not.

With Love,

Ed

Bridging/Correlation

Consider that the first four posts in this blog – Truth/Love/Aletheia – are the pre-requisite reading for creating the context of our relationship.  Given the wide range of people that I’ve met in my life I have a sense that you’ll be left with a wide range of responses or reactions to the pre-requisite reading.  I don’t intend to speculate on what those reactions may be but I want to provide this entry as a bridge.  This bridge is pre-requisite reading as well.  It begins to create the framework for my expression of being love present and experienced in the world.

Truth/Love/Aletheia just is.  We’ve created the world as we know it today on top of, or from, that existing state of Truth or Love or Aletheia.  It’s quite paradoxical, and that paradox is much of the reason that we can’t often see Truth/Love/Aletheia, that our current world as it appears to us is created from Love.  There appears to be so much hatred and ill will, warfare, and genocide, not to mention non-stop political and social bantering that is primarily aimed at crippling or destroying others just to prove that one point of view is more “right” than the other point of view.  Today these opinions are created not to even prove a point of view but just to drive increased numbers of clicks to increase traffic.  From this fishbowl of reality in which we swim we’re left blind.

One part of the paradox is that you can’t “really” do anything with Truth/Love/Aletheia.  It just is.  It’s a place to come from, if you’re aware of it at all, or in the best case if you’re present to it.  Coming from that place of Aletheia gives you the full spectrum, the entire opportunity set or range of possibilities, of available actions as a human being.  Some evidence of what I’m referring to is pointed to by this research I’ve found on the website for the 2011 NeuroLeadership Summit “In the final session of the 2011 NeuroLeadership Summit, Philip Zimbardo, creator of the renowned ‘Stanford Prison Experiment,’ (www.prisonexp.org) suggested we all have the capacity for evil behaviour—that is far greater than is widely understood – and an equal or greater capacity to be heroes.” View the TED talk at TED.

At the other end of the paradox is that truth/aletheia can’t be proven, it can be pointed to or suggested, but truth occurs for each of us in our own way and in our own experience.  I present the example above only as a pointer for you to begin to inquire and distinguish what is, to unconceal and reveal Aletheia.

Walking around in the world, or as I like to say Being in the world, as the space where Love is present and experienced is a great way to live.  My wife refers to it as me “living in the clouds”, Katrina referred to it as walking on sunshine…but, because it can’t be used for anything I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years studying the experience to fork the jello.  It’s slippery, this particular jello, because the moment you try to do something with it or use it for some purpose or grasp it as an in order to do something else it ceases to be what it is and you end up sliding down the slipperly slope that leaves you with dashed hopes and expectations and dreams which lead to resentment and envy and jealousy usually culminating in hostility, righteousness, warfare or blogging for political gain.

With that in the background I want to point to an orientation that I’ve found to be a useful place to build from Truth/Love/Aletheia.  I’m not proposing this orientation as “the” orientation, or the “right” orientation, it is only an orientation. 

Social Contstruction is a theory (dangerous to use any word to “describe” what it is) or movement (danger) or orientation (danger) that, if used coming from and present to Truth/Love/Aletheia can provide a framework for developing meaningful actions from Truth/Love/Aletheia.  This Bridging/Correlation entry is not intended to explain Social Contruction rather it is intended to be a conversational bridge between the realms of being and doing.  If you are interested in a brief overview this will give you the ten minute rundown (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVVWmZAStn8).  Thank you to the good doctor’s for creating it.

Truth/Love/Aletheia is a state of being, an ontological realm, temporal in nature.  Because of it’s temporal nature it will never be experienced in the future or developed or planned to occur in the future.  For Truth/Love/Aletheia there is no future, there is no past.  There is only right now where Love is experienced as a presence.  It isn’t even really a thing – as soon as I call it Truth, or Love, or Aletheia or Truth/Love/Aletheia it ceases to be present.  Mu.  No-thing.

Experience shows that it can occur as more than just an individual phenomenon however. Truth/Love/Aletheia can occur for groups of people together sharing space.  From and in that space conversation occurs and new social construction and meaning can develop from that place where Love is experienced.

Social Constructionism, understood by groups who are present to Truth/Love/Aletheia can create future realities that seem unlikely or impossible today.

Reality as it will be experienced without any notion of Truth/Love/Aletheia or Social Contructionism can, I assert, take on a shape in the future that is closer to Truth/Love/Aletheia by developing interventions now that alter the range of possible futures by creating social constructed realities from Truth/Love/Aletheia today.

Long ago we created meaning and somewhere along the way we stopped inquiring into that meaning, where it came from, how we decided that this means this and that means that.  A notion of Truth was developed by Plato and Socrates (from what we’ve been told) and we’ve bought it and the conversation goes on and on.  Question Truth from the being you are prior to language.

Let’s create ourselves, our organizations, our world from that place.

With Love,

Ed

How Can I Love You If I Don’t Know You?

In a previous post I’d mentioned that many people probably react to meeting me, in their heads, with “Yeah, well you don’t know me.” after I’ve explained to them that I love them.  This article will attempt to explain the apparent paradox of loving somebody that I don’t even know.

Most of what we traditionally know about loving another person has been given to us through what we’ve learned in books, or what we’ve heard in love songs, or what we’ve seen in television or movies about love, falling in love, being in love, how torturous love is, etc.  So the first thing about that is that you may want to consider the question of “How did I come to know what it is I think I know?”  And not just in regard to love, but in regard to knowing period.  That’s a topic for another post but in this case, consider the question “How did I come to know what it is I think I know about love?”

As mentioned above there are a number of sources of this knowledge.  You may have witnessed or experienced love from your parents, other people’s parents, family, friends, God, movies, TV, books, love songs, sad love songs.  Perhaps you’ve “fallen in love” as we like to say in our culture.  You just knew that you loved that person because of the way they made you feel, or said more accurately, the way you felt when they were around.

Maybe you both shared common interests such as competitive kick-ball, or eating sloppy joe’s by candlelight.  Because of this common interest you knew you loved that person.  Certainly you’ve had friends that you’ve loved and you knew you loved them because they thought similar things as you, or were there to pick you up when you were down, maybe they helped you get over that other person that you loved so much.

What I’m not about to do is to tell you that those things aren’t love.  They may or may not be.  What I am about to tell you is that love is much more simple than that.  Love is much more simple than that.

Love just is.  The reason it shows up in all those examples above is because it’s already there and in those situations you’re open to it.  You’re willing to receive love as a presence and then you experience love.  Now, there are cases where you continue to call something love because love used to be present as an experience and it isn’t present anymore.  Often that experience comes in the form of somebody breaching the integrity of the relationship.

So what?  Right?  I mean really what’s the point here.

The point is that I’m an opening for love being present and experienced.  Sometimes I’ll get hurt being this way, I know, because there’s no better way to get hurt than to make oneself entirely vulnerable with another who is unwilling to make themself equally vulnerable.  It’s worth the risk.  Often, what shows up is people’s magnificence.  Sometimes it takes a while, I do occasionally have rough patches and I find myself closing down, not willing to be vulnerable anymore.  Then I notice that my life is quite a bit less grand than it used to be.

What I do in those situations is identify what is covering over or concealing love.  It’s not so much that I have to do anything, because it’s there whether I uncover or unconceal it or not, but I can’t experience it when something is in the way of it being present.  Usually I’m holding on to something and unwilling to let it go, or not saying something that I need to say, or I was expecting something to happen that didn’t.  Once I say it, or let it go, or give it up love is present.

Given that, when I used to meet people, I used to wait for something from them to indicate that I could or should love them.  Rarely would I get it from them.  As soon as I gave that up and just started loving them that’s what started to happen.  Love would happen.  Sometimes it takes a while for their reality to match mine, sometimes it never does, but my reality is so beautiful.  Imagine loving everybody you meet.

Then love everybody you meet.

With Love,

Ed

If We’d Met Previously

There are many people that I’ve met in life prior to knowing “who I am” and as a result I may not have been true to myself and very likely, not true to you.  Now, there are many people, those that I hold closest to my heart who were able to get to who I am anyway.  These people are generally my family, my closest friends, and even others who’ve known me even though I didn’t know myself.  This entry is not about them, it’s about all the others who I haven’t spent enough time with for you to get to know me and me to know you.

For those people, the first order of business is most likely an apology.  Now, I wasn’t always a jerk to you prior to my knowing who I am, but the odds were increased considerably that at one point I may have been.  So, I apologize.  I hope that you’ll consider this apology deeply and accept it with my promise to be true to myself, to uphold my word regarding who I am, and to begin again with you.  After all, I know now that I love you.  That you’re perfect exactly the way that you are and exactly the way that you are not.  Even if you don’t forgive me.

However, if you’ve read my apology and you’ve gotten all your questions answered about it, and who I may have been that had me being the way I was in our relationship previously, and you understand who I am now and that I can say with utmost integrity that it is who I am, and you can’t or won’t accept my apology we may be better off parting ways.  To maintain the relationship in that state is to hold the past in place, to not allow me to be who I am in the eternal now (and now, and now, and now).  I can be ok with that.  But what I can’t be ok with, is you continuing to be who you were for me when I was who I was.  Not forgiving and not letting that go holds who you were in place as much as it holds me in place.  I know that you’re much more than that.

There are some of you out there and we’d only “met” in passing.  There’s the guy in the parking lot at Peaches Record Store in Old Brooklyn when I was about 8 years old who drove by and asked me, “What are you looking at”?  Or those kids that asked me if I wanted to go to Jim’s house because, as you said, you were going to go beat him up. There are also countless people I’ve passed in the hallways at work, or high school, or just out on the street.  We had the opportunity, for one brief moment, to really be together.  To take just a second out of what I was reflecting about and be with you, and share some space, and some time, and some love…that’s what I apologize for.  That I wasn’t present enough to create that for the both of us to share.  Me in your world and you in mine.  Just for a moment.

There are others that I’ve met where no apology may be necessary.  I may have been known to you as “that funny guy”, or that “really smart guy”, or that really persistent boyfriend who just couldn’t let it go, or that kid who was so competitive that even when you won you felt like you lost.  But I was never really mean to you, not really. To you, the apology is still offered but it’s more of an apology for not really and fully getting to be with you.  I was, essentially, a front or a mask or a facade.  I mean, parts of the real me may have come out, but mostly I was pretty busy protecting myself (from what now, I don’t know).  I wasn’t really authentic with you.  Sure, I was funny and I told you the truth as I knew it, but it wasn’t coming from the place where truth comes from.  It was coming from the place where people come from when they’re trying to protect themselves and survive.

I’m over that now.  And I’d like to reintroduce myself to you.

Hi, my name is Ed Malinowski, I have 3 kids and an amazing wife, and I work as an organizational consultant and coach.  But what I really want you to know about me is that I just love people.  So I want you to know that you don’t have to be any particular way with me, and that I already love you.  I love you exactly the way you are and exactly the way you’re not.  And, I want you to know that I know that you love me too, whether you know it or not, and it’s ok either way.”

It may be a little strange interacting with me now since some of the “ways of being” I’ll be won’t be what you’re used to or expecting.  But I’d like you to consider that those weren’t me anyway and from how I was being you weren’t you either. 

And if we pass in the hall, you may wonder what I’m so happy about, or you may get the feeling that I know something that you don’t know or that I’m up to no good.  That’s just me present to love, with you.  Strange as it may seem.

The true gift that comes from me being who I am is that you get to be who you are.  I can’t wait to meet you.

With Love,

Ed