Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 17, 2019

It is always good to remember that apologies

(True, authentic apologies)

Are not automatic means to an end.

*

We cannot simply put a quarter

Into the “apology/forgiveness machine

And expect that all is forgotten,

And we go back to doing whatever it is

We want to do.

*

Real apologies take courage,

They take vulnerability,

And they come from a place

Of ownership and responsibility.

*

We are OFFERING an apology,

That may or may not be ACCEPTED.

And even if it IS

That doesn’t mean

That there won’t be any CONSEQUENCES.

*

To truly apologize

We offer the apology,

And then take

(Yes, take!)

WHATEVER WE GET.

*

We acknowledge the impact

That our actions have had,

Whether intentional or not,

And we make no demands.

*

We ask for forgiveness.

And we take what we get.

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 10, 2019

Avoid basing your identity on beliefs or things

Instead, base it on values or intentions

 

(As we walk around in life, each of us a conglomeration of identities, some chosen, mostly not, and often forgetting that we were are the sole and final authors of our identities, there are a lot of good pointers and reminders on how to best put our identities together.  The one above is nice and succinct.  Beliefs rarely are eternally solid and often call us towards attachment, clinging tightly no matter what and no matter the detrimental outcomes.  Values and intentions, however, beget multiple ways of being that call us powerfully into action that fulfill us while remaining adaptable, open to shift and always aiming towards our central, authentic, selves.)

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 3, 2019

There was a funny thing that kept happening.  We* would ask Sifu a question about some move in the Tai Chi form, usually a move somewhere near the end of the form, and he would say, “Well, go back to your Wu Ji.”

Now, Wu Ji is the first move in the form.  It’s not even really a move – you stand in it.  Translated literally, it means something like “Empty” or “Nothing” stance, though the more proper meaning is “Harmonious” stance, with the idea of bringing your body and body tension together in evenness and harmony, like a circle.  It’s the starting position.

Which is why we would usually protest.  “No Sifu, I meant this move here…” and we would demonstrate.  “I know,” he would reply, “But go to Wu Ji.”

Despite our frustration, it does (Of course it does!  He was Sifu!) make sense.  If you don’t have your Wu Ji, you can’t “have” anything – your moves are all deficient** in some way.  We are thinking and asking to tweak something on this one particular move when really a) the problem doesn’t start there b) we apparently don’t even fully grasp the depth of the problem c) tweaking that move won’t really fix the issue and d) if we can adjust our Wu Ji, then we won’t need to fix the problem because the problem goes away.  Moreover, it doesn’t just go away, it e) creates a whole bunch of positive outcomes everywhere, in every single move we do.

It is a great way to express the concept of returning to the primordial.  Whether martial arts moves or societal systems, whether cultural or our own personal views and realities, or our own identities and who we see ourselves and others to be, it’s hard to poke and prod something so deep and at the end of a long chain and have it be all that impactful.  At best we can struggle and strain and maybe keep it (or our Tai Chi structure) from collapsing.  But the issues remain, and often compound on each other.  But when we get something fundamental and come from first principles, from the primordial, and adjust our Wu Ji so that we begin from a place of proper connection and intent, then massive shifts are possible.  Everything sings, compounds harmoniously, and we come to those places of strength with ease, naturally.

All wrapped up in a simple small phrase.  Thank you Sifu.

 

* While it would happen to all of us it seemed to happen to Steve the most… so much so that it has become our affectionate running joke now (and a way for us to remember and honour Sifu)

** Not bad, or wrong, but just missing something.  Something to discover, get, incorporate, and grow.

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Philosophy Tuesday

November 12, 2019

The more time we have with ourselves


The more time we have to define ourselves


And the less we let others define us

 

(Especially unconsciously)
(Doubly especially from advertisers, social media, politics, and etc)

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 29, 2019

“Ignorant.”  We tend to throw that word around as an insult.  Rather than a simple descriptor of someone’s knowledge (or, more properly, their lack thereof), it is wielded as a club, a disparagement of their character and of a massive failure on their part.

As though they should know.  As though they are bad and wrong for not knowing or understanding it.

And with that we relegate them into a hopeless category that deserves scorn or fixing (or both).

Yet we are all ignorant of a great many things.

And, here’s the crux, not everyone has had the fortune of the experiences, information, and reinforcement that it takes to learn something.  To become aware of something.  To synthesize the myriad of different threads into a rich tapestry of knowledge and understanding.  And going beyond understanding into the realm of groking it.

Even the information on its own is not enough; it can take guidance and the proper context and mindsets, aided (and thus can also be hindered) by others along the way.

The way we learn is that we are shown.  We follow examples.  And when someone makes us aware, and invites us to go deeper, we can learn.*

What matters is to put aside our harsh condemnations and extend that invitation.  When we relate to people as a hopeless “other” then there is no opportunity for exchange.  When we are willing to listen and lead, then new possibilities can open.

It isn’t easy.  It isn’t automatic or guaranteed.  It isn’t likely to be instant.  And it won’t necessarily be fun.  But it can always be a start.

 

* It is also possible that they do know, or are aware, and continue to espouse a limited or severe view.  Again, this may be because they have never been exposed long term to someone who can help expand the view.  Either way, it becomes a different conversation than one of teaching, but a conversation that will still be more productive when coming from a place of invitation and exchange than one of scorn or fixing.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 22, 2019

“Why should I ever feel or be beholden to a view or a decision that was made by me in the past, given it was made by someone who literally knows less than I do now?

— Hank Green (Paraphrase)

This is a great quote, and a great continuation of the post from last week on being wrong.  For one, it provides another point of liberation when it comes to altering what we do in the world.

For two, and even more importantly, it provides a huge opportunity into defining who we are.  Because who we are – these identities we wear and present to the world – they are of our own creation.  They are the story we crafted and now live inside of.  They are born of decisions, often under duress, and based upon our knowledge and the breadth (or lack thereof) of experience in that moment when we were forced to make that decision.

We decide, we set our view, and we proceed into life that way.

But they are, and always remain, just decisions we made.  Inflection points.  And we can re-inflect at any time.  We can re-examine the decisions we made about ourselves, about others, and about the world, and in the light of day, today, this day, with all we have learned since then and all we have experienced since then, set aside what we decided and instead choose.

Again, it’s not that the decision back then was wrong.  Or even bad, per se.  It’s just the decision we made.  At that time.  With what we had and what we knew.

We’re not stuck with it, nor beholden to it.  We get to choose a new we.  And we get to choose that which brings us and those around us more freedom, life, love, self-expression, and peace of mind.

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 1, 2019

Let’s dive deeper into the Storytelling post from Sunday, for there’s a lot of good stuff to explore that goes way beyond the stories we find on the printed page, stage, screen, or even those shared around the campfire.  We can take the concept and begin to examine the ever-present stories and narrators that surround us every day, including the most important – the ones in our head.

Simply put, many of the things around us that we take for granted open up and take on whole new meanings when we look at the framework that surround them rather than the thing itself.

This is especially potent to dovetail it with the conversation about systems and on the notion of the path(s) of least resistance.  These systems, be they writ large or the very personal, are mostly never derived in a vacuum; instead they come about, evolve, and are kept in place by notions and narrations.  So too is the same that keeps them in place, reliably producing the same outcome over and over again, even and especially when that outcome is, to one degree or another, deleterious.

This is also a great concept to fortify against false dichotomies.  “It can only be this or this” is not only missing the vast possibilities of both our capacity but also the variations of the universe, but it is also weaponizing a tightly woven narrative that forcibly limits the conditions as to make a binary outcome inevitable.

I’ve long been fond of noting, “We talk about the economy like it’s gravity.”  That is, we talk about it like it is a, or maybe the, fundamental physical force in the universe over which we have no choice but to do its bidding.  Except, when look through a telescope at the cosmos, or when we look through a microscope at the micros, we find no evidence of “the economy” shaping things.  It is the narrative that creates the container we’re in and that turns it into “This is the way it goes; this is the way it has to go.”

As ever, little is truly inherent.  Contexts, however, can make it seem like so.  By bringing mindfulness, inquisitiveness, and a little literary wonder we can read beyond the lines to see the author’s hand at work, freeing us to see things more broadly and more clearly.  Whether in determining who we know ourselves to be as an individual, or who we know ourselves to be as a society, or as a species, the constraints melt away and we’re open, ready to write our more perfect future.*

 

* Which, of course, in turn we can, at a later time, revisit and see the additional “author’s hands” that were perhaps invisible to us at the time, letting us once again go beyond to write an even more perfect future… and on, and on, and so on.