Posts Tagged ‘transformation’


Philosophy Tuesday

June 26, 2018

“It never even occurred to me to take Gorkon at his word.”

Captain Kirk

I’ve really been digging that expression, “it never even occurred to me,” of late.  There’s lots of insight packed behind it’s familiarity.  It is such an acute, apt, and accurate description of how our mind and, more importantly, our experience works inside of our worlds and worldviews.

It’s not “I couldn’t figure it out,” or “I didn’t choose to do that,” or “I missed it,” or anything similar… it is, literally, “This did not exist for me in any way, shape, or form, within my reality.”

It just doesn’t come up.  And so in the same way that it doesn’t even occur to us to step off a ledge over a gorge to walk to the other side (because we live in a world where gravity exists and ow), so too do we not attempt, or even think of, muse about, or have an inkling to do things that do not exist outside of [our; personal] reality.  Nothing hits our consciousness, nor do we take any unconscious decision/action in that vein.

It’s as though it completely doesn’t exist in the entire universe.

It could be about taking someone at their word, like Kirk.  Or a multitude of other things.  Asking a particular question. Trying something new.  Pursuing an opportunity we’d be fulfilled with.  Approaching someone to talk to them.  Speaking to our kids/friends/lovers/parents/boss/clients/etc in certain more productive, ways.  Trying out for a team.  Ending something that is detrimental to us.  Wearing certain clothes.  Letting someone else “win”.  Starting a hobby.

From the myriad of possibilities out there we get narrowed down to a paltry few that may hit our consciousness.  Like touching (or more aptly no longer touching) the hot stove, we live completely inside of that we see to be real.

This is where mindfulness can be such a boon, to delve into our stories and worldviews and open them up.  To create a larger sandbox to play inside of, to give ourselves freedom.  To let those possibilities and options show up.

And, next time, we get to choose.   Really choose.  Granting us power, self-expression, and a myriad of pathways towards the relatedness, peacefulness, creativity, and the fulfillment we all want.


Philosophy Tuesday

June 19, 2018

“Travel is a good thing.  You learn things when you travel, when you meet people out of your comfort zone from other cultures, you cannot help but learn and feel a certain [kinship], you see what you have in common with people around the world… that feels good.  And it can’t be anything but good for the world the more we meet each other and move around.”

— Anthony Bourdain

Travelling (whether literally or just figuratively) outside of our comfort zones is rarely, well, comfortable.

Sometimes it can be thoroughly unpleasant.

Sometimes, though, it is also downright necessary.


Philosophy Tuesday

May 29, 2018

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been musing on a companion to the phrase/idea/distinction of “Over and Next” that Norman Lear expressed back here in this post* : “Notice and Next.”

As in, Notice what’s so, or notice what was so, and notice what’s there for you about it… and then look towards what’s Next.

“Oh, hey, I felt too embarrassed to talk about that thing back there…”

“Well, things are right now not as I’d like them to be.”

“Ugh, I did that thing again.”

“That was glorious.  Bet that was the best anyone’s ever seen.”

That’s the Notice.  And Notice is just that, a Notice.  A “hmmm” sort of moment, a taking stock that remains in that realm, and doesn’t become a further well of story spinning and interpretation and decision sentencing.  It’s a call to avoid going down the rabbit hole that these thoughts can often lead us.

In many ways, it’s a reminder to, not take ourselves so gosh darn seriously.

And then, what’s Next?

“Next time, I can and will talk about that.”

“I will institute a plan with my friend to hold me accountable to get this cleaned up.”

“I will do the notepad exercise to see what’s there, and create something new.”

“I had fun.  I will play that game again in the same spirit of fun.”

It isn’t, to be clear, that the Next is just waiting for the situation to come up again.  The Next includes inquiry and action and intention and more.  But at the same time, it is also totally about Next time.  And it might be as simple as “huh, ok, next time I’ll be this way instead.”

I think the two phrases also work great coupled together:  Notice, Over, and Next.  Notice, remember/recognize it’s Over, and look towards what’s Next – while also remembering the hammock in the middle that Norman labelled as living in the moment.  And, be in that hammock when Next arrives.

Simple and succinct, and thus far has proven to be quite empowering for me to try on, a way out of reflex self-recrimination, a release from significance, and an invitation to breathe, to practice, and to play.


* Itself a good thing to go back and (re)read anew, and get re-grounded in the idea.


Philosophy Tuesday

April 10, 2018

we don’t talk about our foibles,

we don’t go looking for our hidden biases,

we don’t dig deep into our barriers,

we don’t examine our realities,

we don’t cop to our actions,

because it reminds us

that we’re human

in the ways

we don’t like

to be human

* * * *

it doesn’t have to be

about blame or shame

but rather

about being human

* * * *

we can dig deep into things

in order to become

extraordinary humans

and radiate all the best

humanity has to offer


Philosophy Tuesday

April 3, 2018

Let’s dive deeper into Mr Rogers’ quote from last week… because it’s useful to relate to ourselves as though there are two “yous” within us*.  Or, in Mr Rogers’ terms, two parts.  Rosamund and Benjamin Zander call them your Central self and your Calculating self:

The Calculating Self is all about measurement.  It’s all about survival.  It’s looking out into the world and judging and assessing and positioning itself and looking for conditions of victory and strategizing.  In every moment, it presupposes that everything is a threat, and it looks to see how it can best position itself within a hierarchy.  In every moment, it presupposes that there is nothing but scarcity everywhere.  It’s always on edge, and it is a master at making itself heard – both within our head and out into the greater world.

The Central Self is what lies at the core of our being.  It is the authentic voice that speaks about the truth about who we really are and what we really want.  It is, in the absence of scarcity and threat, the free expression and actions of that which unites us.  Inside the Central Self resides our creativity, generosity, and, above all, our freedom.  The Central Self drinks in the world, surfs on the currents of life, and spews forth vitality and bounty.  It needs no strategies, no automatic patterns, and no identity (or identities), for it is its own pure self-expression.

The Central Self is our Authentic Self, and it is the Self to which Mr Rogers speaks to when he says, “It’s you I like,” for our Central Selves are automatically connected and related.  There, we speak the same language.

When we listen to our thoughts, it can be tough to know which Self is speaking.  Without care, we can cede control of ourselves, and our lives, to the conniving whims of our Calculating Self.  Not that the Calculating Self is bad – it’s a vital part of who we are and of our journey through life.  The key is to keep it being a part of, and not the main – or only – guide in that journey.

The more we are present, and the more we listen out there and in here and over there and everywhere, the more in tune we become with our Central and Authentic Selves.  We gain freedom and choice.  Our experience of life transforms.  And we get to know ourselves, and others, as the radiant beings we can be.

Just as could Mr Rogers.


* Though at times it sure can seem like there’s an entire committee trying to run the show…


Philosophy Tuesday

March 27, 2018

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

–Fred (aka Mr) Rogers


(I love this quote, for it reminds that everyone has as rich an internal life and story and dialogue as I do.  It reminds that despite all rationalities, sometimes we pilfer in actions and things that are weird or rash or poor.  It reminds that there are foibles, and then there is authenticity.  It reminds that even when face to face with someone of seemingly intractable unworkability, or unproductiveness, or even where there’s just plain disagreement, that there is a core to speak to.  It reminds vilification isn’t necessary.  It reminds that communication is massive.  It reminds that we can say I love to you – not the actions, whether “good” or “bad”, but to you.)

(And it reminds that Mr Rogers was a remarkable human being who saw deep into the heart of possibility.)


Philosophy Tuesday

March 20, 2018

Many of the lessons we learn early in life are of the quite black and white variety – hard fast rules that never vary.  Touching that hot stove is always going to cause a burn. Leaning too far over will always cause you to fall.  Even the social lessons we tend to learn are quite fixed, for those around us to observe and to learn from are quite limited, and hence present a rather unchanging universe.

So it comes as no surprise that, very quickly, we get the sense that the world consists, solely, of things that only ever operate one way.  There are TRUTHS and RULES, that are KNOWABLE and USABLE.  This gets reinforced even more as we begin school, and we’re literally graded and judged by how well we learn these inviolable FACTS.

And there is, indeed, many things that do operate within rather strict rules: physics*, math, chemistry, and that harsh mistress of gravity (that, natch, is also part of physics…).

Yet there is a whole lot more that does not even come close to being fixed or knowable, chiefly, 7 billion more things, and all the ways that these 7 billion things interact with each other.  People, of course, and our societies, norms, manners, systems, cultures, memes, ethos, nations, traditions, customs…

All not bound by any strict and inherent rules of the universe.

And never mind the 7 billion, this also affects the one.  So quickly, when we meet someone, can we, so eager to continue that notion that things are governed by TRUTHS that we can KNOW and they NEVER CHANGE, decide so much about that person and never give them a chance to be any other way.  Our first thought becomes (our) reality.  We limit them, grant them scant space to transform or broaden or to even have a bad day.

Nor ourselves.  For if things are fixed and knowable, then so must be I.  And with that background, we can anoint ourselves with all manner of unproductive TRUTHS, and any growth faces the extra hurdle of overcoming the impossible: changing the fundamental nature of the universe.

When we can be with that there exists both fixed RULES of the universe, and that there equally exists “rules” and “laws” made from our collective minds, we gain exceptional freedom.  In that space, we become an active weaver of our lives and of our societies, engaging in the work to craft a wonderful quilt of life.


* And even our traditional view of physics and similar laws tend to break down and not be so absolute at the various extremes…