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

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Dialetheia* by Anil Menon

Dialetheia* by Anil Menon.

 

Great short story which gives a taste of a certain abstract reality that I like to write about…

Sharing with Love,

Ed

via Dialetheia* by Anil Menon.

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.

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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

I Live A Charmed Life – By Design

“… sound doctrines are all useless… you have to change your life. (Or the
direction of your life.)… wisdom is all cold… you can no more use it for
setting your life to rights than you can forge iron when it is cold… The
point is that a sound doctrine need not take hold of you; you can follow it
as you would a doctor’s prescription. – But here you need something to
move you and turn you in a new direction… Once you have
been turned around, you must stay turned around. Wisdom is passionless.
But faith is what Kierkegaard calls a passion” (Wittgenstein, L. (1980) Culture and Value, introduction by G. Von Wright, and translated by P. Winch. Oxford: Blackwell, p.53).

Yesterday was my first official day running the daddy day care, as the experience has been called. More formally I began a twelve week “family medical leave act” leave of absence from my traditional work to continue the care of my now 4 month old son.  Just to clarify, I was off throughout most of the month of December using vacation time performing the same task and assisting him in his journey from around three months to four months.  The difference now is the amount of “at cause-ness” that went into taking three months off from a day job that I’ve held for over ten years.  The difference is the value that I’m noticing in trading my not too shabby salary for an irreplaceable experience.  Isn’t this really what defines value – what you’re willing to give up for one thing in order to experience another thing?

From what I’ve been told, I am part of the 3% of American men who take the incredible oppoortunity that the FMLA provides. Would I say that I’m special for being part of such an elite number? Is that the point of this post, to indicate what a great American man I am, what a dedicated father, what a groundbreaking thinker and life live-er?  Well, I am still housing this ego so maybe partially.

Sharing this story is also partially a tribute to “my old man” (as Springsteen may have said).  It’s an acknowledgement of the context in which he, and many of us fathers, live our lives as the provider, the bread winner, income earner.  Trading these experiences of being there with our children who we love so much that we would trade the time that we would have with them to go out day after day and provide for their survival.  The money that buys the food, water, shelter that allows our species to continue on.  As a child I had a sense that was how it was for my father, sensed that he didn’t particularly care for the 6 am to 3 pm, five days per week for 35 years blue collar life.  But I was clear that he did it for his family and for that I knew I was loved even if it wasn’t verbalized.

It’s also an acknowledgement of the shifting context that enables women to work (for equal pay, maybe?), be the primary income producer in a family, and provide value and meaning into a working world equal to what it is that they’re giving up to fight that fight and endure that struggle, and equal to what they’re leaving behind.  I see my joining the 3% as the seldom noticed back of the hand of that struggle.  Yet, you can also hear the “speaking from” the current paradigm exhibited here and that’s the real point.

The intended value of this post – you trading your time to read it for what you may get out of it – is in noticing the privilege that this opportunity is for me, and then noticing that it’s part of a carefully laid out plan for producing results consistent with living a life equal to the opportunity that living life is.  A once in a lifetime shot to live fully in the one and only life that I have.  Living a life that is equal to the opportunity that living life is does not just happen.  I like to say that I live a charmed life, which I do.  It isn’t charmed in that it just “magically” happens however.  I live a charmed life because I take the stand that I live a charmed life.  I say that I live a charmed life and then I produce results consistent with living a charmed life (or I don’t).

There was a great deal of build up, tension, uncertainty and ambiguity in getting to this point, living a charmed life does not mean living an easy life by any stretch.  Which is why I write this post today, rather than a few weeks ago.  I will occasionally share the massive failures in not producing the results consistent with living a charmed life – the ratio of 3:1 – 5:1 positive to negative must be maintained in this blog as a matter of maintaining the authenticity of it.  The results have been tallied in this exercise and it looks like we’ve made it.  The build up began over a year ago while I was still in the MPOD program, in the early stages of executing the formal plan, which has all been part of the overall plan, the sound doctrine.

While one is in the midst of any major change initiative it is often difficult to measure whether any change is really happening.  Changing the course of one’s life toward a previously unimagined future is often the most challenging of all change initiatives to measure.  When it is your life that is changing you’re just too close to it to know if it is “turning out” as envisioned.  Following a path that is being created as each step is taken is like navigating a thick forest on a moonless night.  You have your compass and you use it, but until you emerge from the brush as the sun rises above the clearing you’ve “entered”, created really, you can not know if you’ve navigated rightly.  Attempting to measure in the midst of the trees and darkness is a futile endeavor, orienting your steps with presence and purpose and letting your physical intuition be your guide is useful yet mis-steps are likely to occur.  It is only in looking back at that forest in the daylight that you can fully appreciate the steps that had been taken, the risk that was navigated.

Building some competence through practical application of causing intentional change allows your muscles of intuition to strengthen, your resolve to walk your own path is refined, and your willingness to trust yourself, to have faith when the common, everybody knows the way it’s supposed to work, wisdom of the world is butting up against the stand that you are.

Look, I know that I’m just taking time off to stay home.  Millions, billions of people have done this.  For me, it’s not something that I’d ever considered, not because I didn’t consider it like I thought I couldn’t do it but because it never even showed up for me as a possible option that life could present to me.  In the spectrum of possibilities that life presents it was always there.  I didn’t see it.  I wasn’t open to looking to see what I wasn’t able to see.  It was concealed.  Then, along my path of continuing to question everything, to be a space where truth can show up, it revealed itself, unconcealed itself.  Aletheia.

My son caught a cold over the holidays.  He was a snotty, moaning, sickly mess on my first two days of daddy day care.  I’ve had sick babies in the past but I’ve never experienced them the way I did my son today.  In the past, these things were my wife’s concern, my mother-in-law’s, the baby sitter’s – I didn’t have a clue how to comfort a sick baby and I was going to be at work anyway.  That was the way it occurred within that context.  Yesterday and today, I experienced the complete privilege and satisfaction that goes along with being only of service to a sick little baby, even when all that service can be is to hold them and comfort them as they moan with that raspy sick little baby voice.  No room for my petty concerns, just room for being the space for comfort.  Charmed – by design.

From Love,

Ed

Love Telemarketers

Junior just happened to fall asleep in his swing while I was making the coffee.  I couldn’t seem to shake the grog out of my head this morning so the only solution seemed to be some heavy duty fresh ground coffee.  Emerson goes in the swing for a couple of minutes, brew the coffee, maybe even eat some Cheerios to reduce my risk of heart disease.  Simple plan.

Ring, Ring.  Sears on the caller ID.  Hello.  Yes, this is him.  This guy wasn’t trying to offer me a car loan from India like most of the telemarketing calls I’ve been getting since I attempted to get some financing for a car I bought for somebody over a year ago on bankrate.com or whatever it was – never use them, ever.  He was kind, fairly well spoken and wanted to send somebody over to give me estimates on any of the eight kinds of services they offer.  Would it be replacement windows, an overhang of some sort, kitchen remodel, maybe a finished basement (he didn’t mention that one, but I made it up when he asked his next question).

“Sir, if you had twenty thousand dollars what would be the first thing that you would do to your house?”, he asked.  Up until that point, even though I had not yet hit the “on” button on the coffee grinder/brewer, I was interested in having a powerful, meaningful relationship with this random caller on the phone.  Even though the phone rang, potentially destroying my opportunity to eat some Cheerios, I still knew that love could be present and experienced with this guy from Sears.  That’s who I am after all.  It’s the purpose I was born for, so I say.

Evasion was the tactic I chose.  Two options came to my mind.  If I had 20k laying around that I didn’t have any purpose for (and I also happened to have another cool half million laying around that I did have some purpose for because if I had 20k laying around I’d have some purpose for it.  In fact, the money was not the issue. Using the money to do whatever to my house is not what I’ve been figuring I’d do with the 20k that I have laying around) what would my next project be.  What first came to mind is some windows in my sunroom because the builder used just about the worst possible windows that have ever been manufactured in my sunroom.  I knew it would be cooler in there with all those windows but nothing like this.  Or, finish the basement.  I’ve been wanting to do that for a while, wanting to do it myself really for the “fun and enjoyment” of such a large home project undertaking, but since I haven’t gotten “a round to it” for so long, if I had the 520k laying around, I’d have somebody finish the basement.

I didn’t say either of those things.  I said I don’t know.  I wasn’t forthcoming with the information that his question elucidated from wherever responses to questions come forth from.  Yeah, ummm, I’m not really sure.  He pressed on, even gave me some other questions that brought to mind the same responses.  I knew I was being evasive at this point.  Love was out the window.  Not with this guy.  Not here on the phone while the baby slept in the swing.

There isn’t much required to have love present and experience.  The simplest things in life are often the most elusive.  Imagine your day to day life if there was love present and experienced with everybody you came across.  Imagine your work.  Your home life.  Your visits to the grocery store.  All of those billions sharing the same affinity for themselves that they share for you.  Babies wouldn’t be all that special anymore with their baby magic that makes you want to be around them.

LoveModel

Models are only as useful as the results they allow you to produce.  Here’s my model for having love be present.  I’ll need to expand on the three aspects of presence, vulnerability, and trust at some point.  But use what you think they mean and play around.  I’m pretty sure it’s all that is necessary.  Try it with your spouse, your friends at the holidays, your mother-in-law…see what happens.  Write a blog entry that doesn’t make much sense.  Be vulnerable when they’re being aggressive.  Be present when they’re not.  Trust that if you give them the answer that you’d probably get your basement finished if you had 20k laying around  that your relationship will deepen, become more meaningful, and the slightest hint of “something” will arise.  I call it Truth/Love/Aletheia. 

I didn’t go for it with the telemarketer.  I still haven’t quite mastered being vulnerable in one area when it will affect trust or presence in another area.  Let me know what you find.

With Love,

Ed

Love Present

The premise of this blog and of my work is quite simple really.  It is this.  There is love.  It is everywhere, all around us, in us, through us, connecting us, aside from us, outside of us, everything that is and is not occurs in the context of this love.

That’s really it.  So love.  Each other.  One another.  Yourself.  Experience it.

That’s also where it gets complicated.  The first complication is that love is a word and like all words it is a symbol for something, though it is not that something.  So love (even with a capital L) does not capture the something.  It doesn’t properly explain it or identify it.  As a word it’s open to interpretation, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, understanding.  Due to this complication I call it Truth/Love/Aletheia.  Aletheia may be the best word I’ve found for the phenomenon, at least as Heidegger uses it in the context of the rest of his Being and Time.

Mostly the phenomenon is concealed from our experience.  This is the second complication.  This causes a whole host of additional complications which I won’t attempt to go over.

Given these two basic complications, my work has been challenged to take root.  My work is to have love be present and experienced.  That’s it.  Mostly I get in the way.  Since I’ve really only experienced the phenomenon a dozen or so times with people outside of my “close circle” and even mostly have difficulty with my work with those inside my “close circle” it’s been a challenge to really put a finger on the components of having the love that is always there sort of “arise” in the space of experience.

One year ago today I, for the first time, intentionally caused love to be present and experienced with people that were, only a few days before, complete strangers.  Something shifted in the space of myself and these two guys that I was having the conversation with, creating together the phenomenon and clearing the space for love to be present. In the end I was left different and known.  They were left known, or something, as well. Honestly, we still haven’t fully made sense of what happened, what occurred.  But we did all agree, many months later that something happened. There was a presence of being known or loved or connected or something unlike anything we’d experienced before, at least with random people that we’d only just met.

And I should point out that we’d been drinking Belgian beer all night.  Then, after we experienced love as a presence Sinterclause showed up.  And then I got really drunk so I could get inside the head of this incredible guy I know who jumps off of stuff, to get a better understanding of what that is for him.  The night ended with me drunken facebooking.  The morning began with severe pain.

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Since that day, really the day after, when I found myself “barfing more” I’ve not made a lot of sense out of it all.  Much of the experience has concealed itself again and I’ve found myself trying to recapture or recreate the event.  Which I of course know is about the best way to not have it occur again.  So, today I guess I’m just reminiscing about Truth/Love/Aletheia.

With Love,

Ed