Great short story which gives a taste of a certain abstract reality that I like to write about…
Sharing with Love,
Thanksgiving day. Not much of an opportunity between prepping the food (assisting really), loading the car, arriving at the feast, eating too much. But that seems to be the order of things lately so I’d better adapt and blog anyway.
It’s been a couple of months and in that time I’ve spent reflecting I notice it’s been a year of loss. Some of the losses are tough to get over – my attachment to how things had been, wishing for that one more moment of whatever. In an amazing life of blessings, opportunities and events to be thankful for I notice about every decade or so there seems to be a groundswell of losing. Not having things go my way, having endings rather than new beginnings.
This has been one of those years.
Today then I give thanks for the things I’ve given up either by choice or by the natural progression of life. In the past (no guarantee it will be this way in the future) giving up all of those things has been a clearing of space and clutter within the space. Giving those things up has allowed for seeing who I’ve been being in those relationships, how I could have made the difference that made a difference, or enjoying the fact that I made the type of adjustments necessary for living a powerful, fulfilling existence. Giving up those things that I’ve lost allowed the clearing for the new magnificence to appear.
One thing reveals itself in times of loss – if you are willing to be bold and make yourself vulnerable. The grieving and sorrow and anger and fear of more loss are an indication of the true loss, the loss of love present and experienced. It’s challenging to trust again when one has lost, or make oneself vulnerable again, or willing to be present to the current experience in the moment. But if I dust myself off, cry when necessary or be angry when necessary, and then forgive again or let go of my attachment to how I expected it to go, the intention that I had that was thwarted, and deliver that undelivered communication what shows up in that space again is Love. Truth. Aletheia. The source of it all.
The same thing that reveals itself when we’re winning. It’s always there and sometimes we’re just blind to it. I miss my Father this year at Thanksgiving, and the others. But the presence of their love is here if I allow the space for it. If you allow yourself to experience it, I hope you sense the presence of my love for you.
With Sweet Sorrowful Truth/Love/Aletheia,
This blog is attempting to forge or carve out a (fairly) uncommon conversational space Being-In-the-World (not really new, because many have spoken from it over the centuries) it may occur to you a certain way. I’m not sure what that way is exactly, but when I’ve listened to such conversations prior to being able to hear such conversations in my past, they occurred many different ways. Gibberish was one way. Poor use of grammar and language was one way. Offensive was another way. Pretentious was definitely a way. In some cases, I would later be able to see, they occurred as a threat. I would react to them as a threat – fight or flight – the lizard brain reactivated. My ego really pissed off. Me reacting self-righteously as a response to the domination that the conversational truths were imposing on me.
I’m not saying that all of these entries are those types because certainly I miss the mark from time to time in my use of language. Perhaps I hadn’t been fully present to and coming from that place of Truth/Love/Aletheia. Truth/Love/Aletheia. Fleeting joy. When I re-read the entries later, and they re-presence now what was present when I wrote them, and it occurs as that space of freedom that Aletheia allows/creates/is and I’m recreated anew in that moment then I know I’ve honored myself. Honored us.
Being present and not, it has had the thought, “What is the point of this blog? Why do you share what you share even though it may never be read, or misconstrued if it is read? Why risk offending people, or exposing yourself or your family to any response to these posts? What makes your blog different from all the other exhibitionists out there blogging away? Who do you think you are? You do know that this is out there for the world to read. You have to continue making a living…”, it rages on, “Have you ever met a management consultant that speaks complete gibberish?”
“Why, yes I have”, I laugh to myself. The conversation clearly dis-pleased.
Today, just now, I had a glimpse of why I share. Why we all share really. A reason of sorts other than the clear Aletheia of it that, “You do, because you do. They do because they do.” It’s so fleeting too…trying to escape me even as I type. I had no intention of making an entry today, but then it was there. And now the normal interruptions of the day are attempting to flit it away.
I (We) share, because it speaks to our (I’m going to use some language here that isn’t quite it) common-ness, our one-ness, our in-common-ness, our being-ness. Even the voyeurs that share things that expose more of the Lie (that is, the not Aletheia), the paparazzi who share the dirt, the ones who gossip and connive about others to get their way and be righteous and self-serving. Those who ensnare us in their storytelling of fear (that is, the not Love).
Our machinery is much more receptive to the fear based conversation as we’re designed to propagate our own survival. Because of this design which often conceals Truth we also aren’t as practiced at speaking or sharing the so what of it. For certain we have a challenge hearing it, really letting it land in our space and alter our being. Always watchful, always on guard protecting this loosely held together story of absurdity.
It is that letting it land in our being, having our experience land in someone else’s being, as close to a why as there is a why. We want to be known. We want our experience to be known. It is our sharing that is our last gasp of hope for us revealing what we’ve forgotten. What we’ve concealed. What we all seek. What makes us who we are.
We (I) share because we are. And I want to type “because we are one” or “because we are known” but that will both illuminate and cloud what it is. We share because we are. We are you and I. We are you and me. We are we. We share because we share this experience.
Just because we appear separated by this flesh bag, this space of air or form or illusion between us DOES NOT mean we aren’t sharing this experience. Just because you’re reading my thoughts that I typed at 1:43 pm (EST) while it’s (Insert your current time and time zone here) does not mean that you weren’t a part of my experience. Your experience is my experience.
They share (those Kardashians do) because they want to be known (they want to know they are known – because they are). We watch and we listen and reflect to better know ourselves, to better know you, to better know we/I/you/me/us/truth/love/aletheia. Who we all are. Together.
They share their experience of God, their religion, their truth so you can acknowledge the parts of those truths that they’ve experienced for themselves as truth for yourself. Because the parts that are true for them are true for you. Not conceptual truth – Aletheia truth. The parts that can’t actually be spoken about.
They share their camping trip to Middle Bass Island so you can experience those truths of being family of being love of being human of being free of being fun and know that we share those things from when you have experienced those truths.
They share their political beliefs – the ones for smaller government and caring for those in poverty – to be known. Because those parts of their party that are truth for them are truth for you. Even though they appear to be separated by party lines or border lines or panty lines.
The next time somebody speaks to you verbally, non-verbally, spatially, temporally – they want to be known and they want to know. Be the space that allows knowing and being known. You already are – get out of the way and let (you) both be.
When I’m present right now. What is present is Truth/Love/Aletheia. When Truth/Love/Aletheia are present. Right now. The only time Truth/Love/Aletheia is present right now. Truth/Love/Aletheia allow our Truth/Love/Aletheia present right now to be present right now. Experienced. This is why we (I) share. This is what we share. Right now. We share it so we’ll reveal that we share it. Right now.
With Love. Right Now. With Aletheia. With Love,
P.S. If this resonates in your experience I’d love to hear comments on what the experience looks/feels like. What do you hear and what does it feel like? It’s meant to be experiential rather than epistemological…challenging etymologically. Thanks for reading. I love you. I love me. I love us. I love.
This blog and my life are about unconcealing what’s already there, getting closer “from” truth so it may be experienced, presenced and lived out of. When we’re closest from truth there is an experience of love and being loved, a foundation from which all things are created. I have no proof for this, but it is my assertion and it has been my experience. I have also experienced that when we come from truth/love/aletheia we develop and design more powerful, stable and sustainable human institutions, relationships, and futures on top of a solid foundation. Many of our common and current models of interacting with ‘reality’ leave us powerless and unstable, longing for and seeking something or resigned that we’ll never find what’s already surrounding us. It’s an experience of insatiable hunger. This makes sense to me now, having unconcealed enough of “what’s so” to be able to recognize these moments of clarity more readily. From the moment we pop out of the chute, we are afraid, and cold, and crying for survival. We go on in this confusion until we are able to settle into who we are, who we’ve always been, which had been concealed from our view.
Having said that, truth/love/aletheia is change which brings up that fear. When standing in truth/love/aletheia change is. Truth/love/aletheia is right now and then it’s right now and then it’s right now. It occurs as change to us as our memory works to process what has happened to position us to better deal with an uncertain future. This post is a start at pointing out the paradox or dialetheia that occur alongside change. It’s also about disrupting the world as we know it today and intentionally designing a future and a world that works, whether that be an individual world, an organizational world, or a whole wide world.
Change is loaded language. People know many things about change including that “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”, or that “People don’t resist change, they’re just more attracted to something else.”, or that “You can’t change, Rocky!” (did I mention yet that I’m a fan of the Rocky movies? You can hold it against me if you like or love me more because of it…either way I love them!), and on and on. Yet change from truth/love/aletheia has very little to do with knowing anything. Change is regardless of what you know or don’t know. There is however the discomfort that arises with the uncertainty and the illusion that we like to create of having some control. Especially when things are working, can we even keep our selves from wanting to keep them working? Or when they’re not working, that longing for all of it to be other than it is.
Intentional change requires knowing some things and paradoxically it’s an emergent phenomenon requiring giving up the control illusion. To be able to see that something has changed you do have to know what is now, and then you have to intend what is to be then. Change is measured from one point in time to another, based in some result or metric. The requisite of change is measuring or identifying some starting point so you can get to another point with another result and say, “Look, something’s changed.”, or maybe “Things have changed ‘the same’ over a period of time”, or sometimes, “Awww man, this stinks, nothing’s changed”, or whatever your favorite whine is.
Anyway, getting comfortable with intentional change takes practice and a willingness to play. It’s honestly pretty straightforward to do once you’ve done it with intentionality and if you haven’t an amazing model of “how intentional change happens” has been designed through years of research by Dr. Richard Boyatzis, one of my professors in my MPOD program. The model, known as Intentional Change Theory (ICT), was the most pleasant surprise of MPOD for me. I’ll be honest. I’d never heard of Boyatzis or his theory or his work with Daniel Goleman and I’d never even heard the term Emotional Intelligence prior to my coursework. I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I got into my second residency and started to read this stuff. Talk about resonance. This reading was an amazing and accurate representation of any change effort I’d ever put myself through. Quitting smoking. developing the relationship of my dreams, creating a powerful relationship with my father, building a successful IT career, becoming a Master of Active Directory, creating a laundromat empire (laughing)…all of these successful change processes followed the spiral of ICT.
My favorite paper reads currently are regarding the use of Intentional Change Theory in the development of groups that work. Which is what has brought me to this post. Because the theory is so clear, and at the same time so unknown, I want those of you who are out there struggling with change to understand a couple of phenomena that I’ve noticed. They’re not always described in the papers that I’ve read, yet they’re painfully obvious from experience.
The first of these phenomena goes back to measurement and touches on some of my other posts regarding knowing one’s Self. It points to one of our delusions that keeps us from experiencing truth/love/aletheia and it’s something that I first experienced through my work with Werner Erhard. It’s the notion of where one occurs, first for yourself as a phenomenon and then for and to others or yourself reflected from others (The meaning of the gesture is in the response – my favorite Complex Responsive Process folks say). Werner distinguishes it as the “listening” that one is, or the space, or the clearing. Since it’s a phenomenon in and of language, listening is the clearest distinction for me.
Said more clearly, hopefully, I listen myself a certain way. To use a specific example, when I smoked, I was a smoker. There was no doubt about it. I knew I loved it, I was addicted to it, every day the first thing that I’d reach for when I woke up was a cigarette, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to quit, and everything about myself occurred inside of that “listening” I had for myself. In Intentional Change Theory, this is explained as my real self. To change, I first had to invent a vision of me, occurring in the future, as my ideal self. By practicing and experimenting with different behaviors (I subconsciously had taken stock over my many attempts to quit of my strengths and weaknesses, though they didn’t seem to occur in my experience, they did) and I, through trial and error and very unceremoniously, developed a learning plan which eventually led me to stop smoking for good about 8 years ago. I sit here today as that Ideal Self, the person who knew at that point that if he could just quit smoking, would be able to do anything. Here it is, anything.
Seriously. This is anything, and nothing, and everything. It wasn’t possible prior to inventing and fulfilling that vision of my ideal self. It took a lot, there were many times that the hope generated by the vision of this future just wasn’t there. That is the individual aspect, and I think it’s pretty clear, especially in hindsight the way it worked. The Theory is a validation of the process I went through. There is a more insidious aspect to this “listening one’s self” bit though, it’s pretty well concealed and difficult to distinguish until you’re out of it, or until somebody points to it.
If you can see that we’re unconscious about the way we “listen” ourselves, you’ll recognize that we’re very unconscious about the way we “listen” other people. It’s pointed to in ICT as the “Ought Self”, as the way it occurs for us, and there are additional studies that show the way our listening imposes an outcome on others. This ought self has a pull to it which reminds me of the first attack in the movie Jaws. She was out there swimming, just doing her thing and then it came and pulled her under. She did her best to rise above it but it wouldn’t let her go and eventually just dragged her under.
Again, I’ll use the smoking example though I have more pernicious and wicked examples that come more readily to mind. In the smoking example, we all reinforced each other. See, I grew up with a group of fellows that I’d known since grade school. Many of us started smoking together in high school and we “knew” each other a certain way. Knowing people that way and being known that way is a very powerful mechanism – I mean, we REALLY knew each other. So much so, that we knew each other’s strengths and knew each other’s weaknesses. This is where much of my base experience of being loved developed…when you are loved fully for exactly who you are and for exactly who you are not and it’s never expected that you should be any other way…that is what it is to be loved.
When you are unaware of the way reality is created however, through Social Constructionism, you may find yourself stuck by the very people who love you. They certainly don’t do it to be malicious or to hold you down, because of course they want what’s best for you (except when they don’t because they do know you’re trying to change and it scares the bejeezus out of them because they think that change isn’t already happening anyway – ha – another post, on another day). There came a day though, with those friends that loved me, when I realized that if I was ever going to fully realize myself, or at the very least quit smoking, that I may have to separate myself enough from them to experiment and practice with new behaviors. To surround myself with supportive people who knew that in my Ideal Self future I didn’t smoke. My lungs are pink as my ideal self…pink as the day I was born.
I made the determination, after a while of actually pulling it off (not smoking) on my own or in my newer circle of support, that when I did immerse myself back into experiences with my friends that before I had a cigarette I would first leave where I was, being with them. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them, but I knew that, as Martin Luther King said, “I cannot be who I ought to be until you are who you ought to be.”, and that as much as they were constraining and enabling me I was constraining and enabling them.
What’s the point then? Be aware of the power your listening has of those around you, be aware of the power that the listening of those around you has on you, and never, ever be afraid to sometimes step out on your own and find some new friends. Your old friends will someday love you all the more for it.
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.
First off, I have to give props to the Truth and Cake lady. I was jealous when she showed up on freshly pressed with her pretty pictures and immediate thousand followers after only her second post. I’d started my blog unconcealing truth two months prior and had only a couple of random followers and then there she was with her cupcake eating pig, pretty face and beautiful words. Jealous. I watched to see what she’d put out there because staking a claim to truth is a big stake to claim. I wanted to be the definitive source of truth on the web. That’s the thing about truth – it’s truth whether you want it to be or not and nobody owns it. Very similar to love.
Rian‘s post titled Fail Harder is inspired reading and was the final bitch slap I needed to break me out of my funk. I’m coming off of two failures that are unprecedented in my life and I’ve been working out how to make sense of them in life and if possible, in the blog. I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I’ve been having difficulty writing my final paper for MPOD, I’ve been struggling putting together all of the pieces and writing a new policy at work, my life has been occurring as bleak and meandering, and even my recent vacation to St. Martin – while simply fabulous – did not “occur” that way for me. This blog began inside of one of the failures and it’s been a long and difficult sort of grieving and “making sense of” process. The other was simply unexpected and really threw me for a loop, threw my confidence off and made me start questioning who the hell I am to be writing about Truth or Love or Aletheia.
Which is why Rian’s post has unconcealed an attachment that I have. Failing harder is beautiful and describes what I’ve done, where I was stuck, where I’ve been invalidating myself. (It’s also pointed out that I’m very still attached to the limited perspective that there is a “self” to call my own). Failing harder is a universal truth, unconcealed Aletheia…sweet beautiful Love.
Briefly, I’ve played hard in two arenas, expecting to “win” or at least expecting to not fail. (As I type I can hear my ego still trying to find a way out of the first one, the first fail – “well, time will tell”, it says. “We won’t know for years”, it justifies.) Which is why the second fail, so immediate and definite, really brought up the shut-myself-down defense mechanism that I’ve perfected since Ms. Hein didn’t give me all the awards that I “deserved” in third grade.
I’m going to focus on this second fail for the remainder of this post as I still haven’t figured out how to be straight about the other fail without compromising other people’s space. While I am committed to full disclosure, no stone unturned, full revelation and display of my “self” for the betterment of our shared “Self” there are boundaries that I share with family, friends, co-workers, or other human beings in general where they may not be as open and willing to disclose.
Playing the game of Master’s student has been immense fun and I didn’t get into it even considering the scoreboard. I was so blown away when I saw the curriculum of the Master’s of Positive Organizational Development program at Case that I jumped on it immediately. Certainly there were a few hurdles to overcome and work out but the decision was immediate. It was why I never began an MBA program…I just wasn’t committed to what an MBA would develop me as. But this, man, this is who I already was and I’d get to claim to be a Master at it. This program would take the block of stone that I was up until that point and carve me up into David leaving me refined and powerful and able to cause change with not only profound logic and theory, but with results and data driven deliverables.
Somewhere around the middle of the program I made a crucial mistake and looked up at the scoreboard and I noticed I was winning. Other people made comments about grades they’d gotten on certain papers and I just kept my mouth shut. It was all A’s for me. I’d gotten a B on one paper but there were other assignments in the class that averaged the grade out to an A overall. Once I noticed the scoreboard all the machinery kicked into gear. The assignments started to take on more significance and I added meaning to all of my actions, more care was taken in delivering assignments the “right” way, and some of the experience of fun and love of learning for learning’s sake was worn away.
Fear slowly became the programming language of choice and it started to show up in my reality. The assignments seemed more difficult, managing “all of life” became more arduous, occurred as difficult, things started to show up in the space of life that hadn’t been there before. My created space that I lead a charmed life started to occur as a something to question rather than a place to come from. Now, a story in retrospect is always a little more dramatic than the occurring, so it didn’t necessarily seem all that bad at the time but there was definitely some undistinguished shaping of the future occurring. I continued trying to get back to Aletheia, had a harder time being Love present and experienced in the world. After all, I had all these things that I had to manage and control, and I had to perform well enough to maintain my A’s.
Failing harder wasn’t something I was planning. I hadn’t played the get all A’s game this well, this long, this hard probably since that third grade with Ms. Hein. I gave it a go on my bachelor’s degree long enough to prove that I still had what had always come easy to me and even had a couple of 4.0 quarters, made the dean’s list, and was happy to know that I could call it up if I really wanted to. But then the allure of fast cars and faster women took my focus away and I was cool with that.
This time was different though. This was like first grade, second grade, third grade. I wasn’t even concerned with the grades I would receive in the class, I just loved the learning. Ate it up…like truth and cake. When I noticed the scoreboard the experienced world shifted just so slightly based on that experience after third grade ended. The awards were handed out and I received plenty…I don’t remember which. Big ribbons for Math and Religion I believe. First Honors for everything else. And I was happy. But then, my Mom would tell me later, Ms. Hein told her that, “He could have gotten some more awards but we had to give some to the other kids.” That’s the way I remember it anyway. I was pi$$ed. What I made up that day was that there was no point in giving everything you had because you weren’t going to get what you deserved anyway.
It was a sort of failing hard by succeeding.
From that point forward my academic effort was lackluster at best. I’d approach it as a source of Power where I would only give as much effort as I wanted to. Always knowing that if I really wanted to I could be as brilliant as I wanted to and do A level work. I sabotaged much of my academic life through high school as a result of that decision made in the early summer after third grade (I made a lot of decisions that summer about people and the world…see other posts, not yet written). And as Tom Hanks says in Saving Private Ryan after he tells his squad that he’s an English teacher, “I just know that every man I kill the farther away from home I feel.” Only for me, it was that every time I didn’t give all of myself to any given challenge the farther away from Aletheia I was, the farther away from Self I was. As I’d give less effort, I’d get less recognition and I’d get more proof that I was right – that I’d never get what I deserved anyway.
Twisted what the human mind does to itself…social constructionism with two idiots. Your mind and your ego.
I’m an evolved space monkey though and I’d gotten over all of that. And I’ve given my all to these two endeavors. In my final semester of Master’s school on the only assignment that wasn’t a pretty much guaranteed A, I got a B.
Logically, I know truth. Life is empty and meaningless and it’s empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless. Logic does not make any difference. Knowing something has no impact on being. Especially when I’m being “I knew I wouldn’t get what I deserve”. The beauty of truth, of love, of aletheia is that it isn’t something you can know. It’s only in experience, in unconcealing and revealing those hidden things that you can live closer from truth.
I failed. Hard. The truth and cake lady gives me permission. Tells me I should fail harder even. And from there I’m present to Love. I haven’t met her yet, but I know I’d Love Rian. But then, I love everybody. Especially my other Epic Fail.
Leading up to and when my relationship with my wife began I was experimenting with some behaviors that were fairly new to me…ala, experimenting in the cycle of Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory. It didn’t take long until I was seeing powerful results in my relationship to warrant moving from experimentation to practice. I think what really happened is that I committed to practice anyway prior to seeing any results. The behavior I’m talking about is one of full disclosure. Sharing everything. Whether I wanted to or not. Whether it seemed like a good idea or not. Definitely whether it was safe or not. It took some time, but over the years I felt fully known by another human being. Not just sort of known, or mostly known, but fully and unequivocally known.
Freeing and powerful are words that come to mind when I think of the new space of relationship that this allowed for. It really altered what was possible in relationship and at the same time it forced me to alter who I was being not only in the relationship but outside of the relationship. Certain things that I may have tried to “get away with” in the past weren’t possible anymore when full disclosure was the order of the day. Being pushed around in shopping carts by drunken friends while totally inebriated took on a whole new meaning when truth was a commitment to be lived from and within.
Despite the fear that is initially present with it, once the possibility of that kind of relationship is revealed there really is no choice anymore. I first saw it, like a lightning flash, when somebody I knew told me about a truth that she told. She put everything at risk and told it anyway because she saw that to not tell it was just a waste of time and that to tell it, and to put everything on the line anyway, would change everything in an instant. That’s the way it works too. As soon as it comes out of your mouth everything changes. There’s no taking it back. It’s a$$ on the line, no holds barred, life at stake.
In that space and with everything on the line, relationships take on a whole new meaning and gain a whole new area to expand into. Secure, real relationship is built as long as that integrity is maintained.
Eventually, and it takes a while, a certain level of comfort develops with disclosure. One is secure and grounded in one relationship with another human being that “helps, supports, and encourages each step in the process” and experimentation begins again.
This is where I am today. I’ve been experimenting with full disclosure. With many people. Experimenting, seeing what would happen, observing, pulling back, trying again. Could I develop deep, powerful relationships with many people? Create a tribe as some people call them. Could I be so known by them that they begin to see that I am them as I see that they are me?
Somehow, it doesn’t feel like it’s being courageous when it’s just an experiment. I’m just learning after all – building on my strengths while reducing my gaps. But man is it freeing and fun.