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Day 417: What Difference Between Yes and No?

What I like about children is that they do not define themselves according to the past, neither do they define themselves according to the future, neither do they define themselves according to what they do. For example, if you ask a child what he or she is doing, he will answer that is doing whatever he is involved with in that moment. He will not explain what kind of career he aspires to have, what future he hopes for, what kind of hobbies he is involved with. He will share himself – and as a child his attention is completely HERE.

I miss that ability to be completely engulfed in living as it takes place HERE – with such an intense presence that the past and the future dissolves. Because as an adult, I have become so used to pursuing plans, goals, careers, ideas, various abstract structures, that are helpful and do have a natural place in life, but that can block my life force when allowed to be in the foreground. Plans, goals, the past, and the future, that is not life – these are tools to live LIFE – and as tools – I decide when to use them. If my plans and my goals constantly arise within my inner mind throughout my day, and take focus from my present moment, then I am not in control, and then I have lost my childish innocence and ability to be present here.

There is a really good quote from Lao Tzu on this point:

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don’t care,
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.

Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am like an idiot, my mind is so empty.

Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless as the wind.

I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.”

What I take from this quote is that there is great peace, joy and calm in living completely HERE and not defining oneself according to the changes that is a constant in reality. And it makes sense – that if I do not define my reality as positive or negative – and I do not define the changes that occur as good or bad – I will simply deal with whatever comes my way without any particular instability. When there are no expectations, no fears, no hopes, no desires – I will be able to live without constantly looking for something more and reacting to what comes about.

When it comes to purpose, I also enjoy this quote. Some days ago I heard a philosopher that talked about purpose. He said that if you lock yourself into a room for a month, then after a while, you will get an urge to do something, and that which you want to do, that is your purpose. What I saw however was that such an approach to purpose is limiting. Purpose is not something that is supposed to control us – and purpose will change from moment to moment. It does not make sense that we have one interest, hobby or passion that is to be our guiding beacon in life – and that we are supposed to arrange everything according to this experience. Because if that is the case, we will miss everything else! There is so much to life and to ourselves, and each moment holds a gift – a present to be unwrapped.

I do not want to have one purpose – I want to be purposeful – and repurposed for each and every moment to be the best that I can be. If my daughter needs some from me – my purpose is to be there for her. If I require to do something at work – my purpose is to get it done. If I am by myself with nothing in particular to do – my purpose can be whatever I wish – I can give myself the purpose to utterly relax and let go – and for a moment – allow my body to regain its energy. And living like this can probably be seen as an aimless drift – however there is a structure and a direction – it is in every moment – it is flexible and embracing – the same as water – and shifting with whatever is required. Water can crash, it can pour gently, it can find its way through small cracks or move around objects – it always works in symmetry with its environment.

I will be like water and practice living in every moment come what may – and stop valuing what others value, or make differences between yes and no, success and failure – all of it is still only different nuances of the present moment.


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Day 416: Children of the Future

This week I have begun my mornings by stating:

“I am mother earth, I am father sky, and I am the children that will become the future of this world”

Stating this each morning has helped me to be more stable in the face of the current situation in the world – because it is easy to lose hope – it is easy to lose interest, faith, creative juice, desire and want to change and to make a imprint on this existence. It is easy to think that I am only one person, and what can one person do? Because it feels like the world is so, so big, controlled by such powerful interests, and that I am so, so small, insignificant, and unworthy.

However – what I have realized is that I am the future – in each breath, with each word, with each action, I am involved in this world, and I am involved in creating the future. It might feel as if it something that is beyond my grasp, though it is not, it is right here. And each morning when I wake up, I can either approach my day within this stance, that I am here to create a better tomorrow, or I can approach with a sullen indignation and hopelessness, thinking that there is nothing to be done. For me the choice is easy, I want the former approach. I want to make this life count, and I want to make myself count, one voice, one vote, for a better me, a better future, a better reality for everyone.

It is important to not become engulfed in the state of the world as it exist at the moment. What is here is not the end, it is the beginning. What is here has been created over centuries, and it will take a long time to change – however as with all journeys – it begins with a single step. And if there is a clear decision, a steadfastness and consistency, then time does not matter – the point has already been created and what is left is to walk it into manifestation. It is similar to making a movie – when the script is done it is only a matter of shooting it.

To be the children that brings the future – one point that must be practiced is being open, receptive and interested in solutions. I see many that loose themselves in a state of complaining, diminishing, finding fault in others and themselves and criticism. And many times they can clearly see and outline the problems – however – they do not script a solution – the remain at the stage of seeing – and that is not enough. What matters is what we do when we see. An effective response would be to investigate what we are able to do to change and bring through what is best – and then act on that. Children do not hold preconceived notions. When they see a problem, they find a solution to it – and they are open to the fact that every problem have a solution – there is nothing that cannot be solved and directed. And whereas we as adults might give up before we have even tried, because we push ourselves down harshly within our own minds, children go for it. And that is something I want to emulate. To approach the world fearlessly and without beliefs as to what is possible and what is not. Change within and change on a global level is not a dream – it is a possibility – and to get there we must begin walking.

However it is true that change will not come through by waiting for external forces to move – and why should we wait? The future is created in the small and seemingly insignificant actions that make up a usual day. We might not see it, but each day holds potential for movement, exploration, creation and expansion. The challenge is to see and even create those moments and to act. Too many adults become dull and boring – they loose touch with their wit, strength, power, playfulness and drive. For them life becomes a series of uneventful days all about survival and making it through to the next day. Their eyes become hazy and unfocused, and their voices become monotone and slack. Children are not like that. They are bustling, feverish, intense and driven, they explore and are curious about the world around them, and they make sure that not a moment is lost. They are hungry for the life that is here to be experienced and lived.

Thus, we adults, we must embrace and live the fact that we are the children that will bring through the future in this world. And each day adds a brick, in the brick wall, that is the world we share together. And either, we can approach as adults, believing that there is no chance in hell that can we do anything, or we can approach it as children, with the understanding, that what we do will ripple out into the world and have an effect. We are not alone in this world, we are all dependent on each other, and what we do, will have an impact. And even if we are not yet able to see it, and perhaps, will not be able to see it in our lifetime, the ripples are there, undeniably. As children, we must be unconditional, and create our ripples, and not accept and allow our motivation to become bound to external events – we must move from within that deep, bountiful, limitless playfulness that is the hallmark of children everywhere. That is where we will find the patience, steadfastness, drive and motivation to last for a lifetime.


Day 415: Doom and Gloom

Today I am going to open up a point of fear/anxiety that has been lingering within me for some time. It is the feeling of impending doom – and that I need to have a small does of anxiety/fear constantly in my body in order to be ready to face that eventual chaos that will enter my life.

It is not only the fear/anxiety that is problematic – it is also the outlook that something will fall apart in my life – and that it is just a matter of time until it happens. What happens when I go into such a character is that I become very defensive – in my minds eye it becomes far more rational to build up protections towards all the things that might go wrong – instead of actively looking for solutions – and ways to expand, improve and move forward. There is in particular one aspect of my life where this character comes through the strongest, and it is in relation to money. Somehow money activates this fear and outlook on life with much more intensity than other parts of my life. This outlook on life also contributes to a insecurity and a tendency to hold back when opportunities arises in my life. Instead of going for it, moving forward, and grasping the opportunity, I remain thinking about it, considering, wondering, and then when I have decided, it might be too late.

Thus, I see, realize and understand, that this personality/character is something that must be removed from my life. There is a quote from Lao Tzu that describes the problem and the solution effectively.

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

Lao Tzu

The mind will have rationales and logical conclusions as to why worry and fear is needed – as to why we have to spice our lives with a bit of negative/destructive thinking in order to see the real picture. Usually we justify our addiction to fear and worry by saying that it is us being realistic. However – reality is what we make of it – reality will shape according to how we interact with it, according to the decisions we make, according to how we approach it, according to how we feel about it. Thus – looking at reality as some inflexible truth that must be understood within a sense of worry and fear – that is not seeing that which is HERE – that is us seeing and confirming our own limitations and beliefs.

And this is a very interesting point in general – the understanding that the observer influence/create the observation or that which is being observed – and that is how we create our reality – not only with our actions – but also through our relationship to the point. An example is the tendency that exists in people in general to feel helpless and pessimistic about creating a change in this world. When solutions or visions are proposed that are strong and revolutionary, this will often be met with the comment that it will not work – because ‘people are the way they are’ or ‘the world is the way it is and nothing can be done about it’. What is not understood is that we are creating such a status quo with our own approach. Simply by stating and feeling that it is not possible – we make it impossible. And we do the same in our personal lives – we give up and give in before we have tried – and we create doom and gloom by regurgitating it within ourselves over and over again.

Thus – this is a point I want to change for myself – and practice approaching the future with creativity. When I see obstacles, instead of going into fear/anxiety and doom/gloom, I instead look at what I can do to, what I can create, and how I can move forward. Because the fact is that there is really no problem that cannot be solved – the solutions might be more or less effective – however there will be a way forward. It is when we resign to our fears, and our doom and gloom, that we will stop and kill our creativity. Most certainly that is why children are so effective when it comes to finding a way forward – they have no doom and gloom – they just look at what is possible to be done and then they do it.

Realism is not the solution to problems – being creative and open-minded on the other hand is. Thus – as part of my process in living the word creative in my life – I will walk the process of being creative in the face of problems, issues, and points that seems difficult to solve. Instead of giving in to fear, doom and gloom, I will find a way forward.


 

Day 414: Public Speaking and Creativity

During last week I was away on a 3-day course. It was very intense, with scheduled activities from nine in the morning till ten o’clock at night. One of the lectures was about rhetoric and how to speak with a crowd to arouse interest and curiosity – and that was something I passionately enjoyed. I remembered how amused I was by the creative and expressive arts, such as theater, music and painting. Those expressions are part of my nature and activities I have to give myself space and time to indulge in – if I want to experience the full pallet of colors that is me. It was interesting, that I did not really notice how my own passion and enjoyment was coming through – until after the course, when I came back to work and one of the secretaries pointed it out to me.

What I enjoy about public speaking is that there is a nerve to it, there is a performance. The thing about performances is that you have to be fully present, and you have to dare yourself to step out of your comfort zone. It is not possible to hold back, because everything depends on you. If you do not open your mouth, move your body, or do whatever you have set out to do, there will be no performance – there will be no act. I also appreciate the freedom of expression that is available in public speaking. You are bound only be the limits that you have created. One and the same topic can be approached in a thousand different ways, and it can be delivered in as many ways as there are people on the planet. Our voice can be soft, stern, sleek, whispering, or, silent. Our body language can be engaged, held back, impressive or intense. There are so many ways to frame ourselves.

However I do see, realize and understand that I am not able to practice public speaking everyday and everywhere I go – though – I still want to experience and bring creativity, inspiration and enjoyment into my life. Thus – I see that I must apply and live these words everywhere – however in particular – when it comes to speaking and interacting with people. I tend to hold myself back and fall into self-created limitations when I interact with others. And it is these limitations that I want to break through – that is what pleasures me – when I move through fears and anxieties and allow myself to express creatively.

And it does not necessarily have to be speaking with people. Creativity can be applied and lived everywhere. It can be applied in for example, driving a different route to work, adding new and different spices when cooking, reading a new kind of book, about a topic that feels as distant as Pluto. I would say that the main component of creativity is to be open and excited about trying new things, seeing how it fares, and enjoying the process – and not accept and allow fear of failure, or fear of losing control to stifle. The process of creativity is a walk into the unknown – it is about venturing into undiscovered spaces – and maybe that is why so many have difficulty bringing in creativity into their lives? They fear the unknown, the uncontrollable, the opaque – however – that is the charm. Do we really want to live a life that is in all its facets calculated, exact, without surprises, without uncharted avenues, without any sense of adventure or opportunity for change and expansion?

And that is why I will strive to bring more creativity into my life at large and explore the various ways in which I can realize this word in my daily living. And even though I have a desktop job, and most of my day is spent sitting in an office, I am convinced that there is much still to be explored. Being creative is not something that can be made dependent on the environment – creativity in itself comes from within and is something we have to nurture and actively bring through into our life’s.

I will in the coming week explore this word – and report on my progress.


Day 413: Success

I am now reading a book about becoming successful – and there are a few points I have been pondering about how we tend to view the concept of success – generally speaking.

One of the first ideas of success that comes through in the book is that success is about becoming recognized. I find that having such an idea of success becomes limiting, because, when you strive to be recognized in all that you do, how are you then able to remember and remain with your own purpose/direction/stability? Secondly, if our success is determined by whether others determine it as success by recognizing us, have we then ever really been the creators of our success, and walked the process for and as ourselves, or have we just spent a lot of time trying to convince others to like us? The dangerous thing about success is thus the tendency to become completely engulfed in the energy/experience/feeling of being seen/recognized/famous – and earning a lot of money. Because when we are in that zone – it is so easy to forget about ourselves – and forget about what is real.

In this book, the main character lives and breaths creating success/money for himself. He begins his day at 0530 by working out and answering e-mails, and stops his work day by 2200. His entire day is booked with meetings, events, and performances, all intended to increase his fortunes and broaden his influence. And in the world system – this person is highly respected and is given much attention for his abilities. However – I would like to question – why we tend to give this type of living so much attention? Why is it that we glorify hard work and earning money, when in-fact, much of the important things in life has nothing to do with work? And how come we do not give the same super-hero status to mothers, that give birth, and work long, long hours taking care of their babies, and raising them to become adults, and handle all the housework, and make it possible for their men to have glorious careers in the world system? That part of life is many times forgotten, or it is not given the same value.

I would argue that it is because we have become fooled into defining success through money and fame. If we make money and become famous, we are automatically successful. However, what is success really? When I look at it within myself, what comes through is that success is a more simple concept. Success on a base level is accomplishing and bringing projects/aspects in our life to their fullest potential. It is not about money or fame – it is about investing and giving ourselves – and moving beyond our limitations – raise our standards and create more. Thus – success can be lived and experienced regardless where you are in life – regardless of where you live – regardless of what job you have. Success for the mother that stays at home with her children is to stand as her best self and be an example to her children – and to passionately nurture and care for them. Success for the farmer is to invest himself fully in his crops and cattle, and make sure that they have the best life possible, and that he produce nutritious food.

Success is thus not about where we are at – it is about WHO WE ARE – and it is not a objective and static concept. Becoming successful is different depending on who you ask. And that is why we should not glorify any one single person as some form of master of life. Everyone has something to bring to the table – we are all strong in some aspect of our life. And – a society is only as strong as its most vulnerable and desolate inhabitants – which is why we need to life all of us up and give room in the spotlight. Because when we only place attention on the people we deem to be successful by evaluating whether they are famous or have money – we miss so much. There are many others in society that have something to show – that is sidestepped and diminished – because they do not live up to the standards of the world system.

All of us deserve to be recognized for who we are – and all of us deserve to be able to live and share our success in the world – and not feel forced to take on a ready-made definition of success that is fluctuating in the system.


Day 412: Forcefully Happy

Once every week I go to swim with my daughter together with other parents. We meet up, sing songs, swim together, and the kids learn to become comfortable with water. All in all, it is supportive and my daughter enjoys it. During these moments I made some interesting observations of parent-child relationships. One thing I see in many parents is the tendency to want to present themselves to their children as happy, positive and slightly mentally diminished. It takes on the form of constant smiling, laughing, talking with high pitched sounds, asking the children questions that we already know the answer to, and in general, behaving towards the children as if both themselves and the children have a limited capability to understand their reality.

I have asked myself, why is it that we believe we need to behave this way when we are with children? Why cannot we be natural, the way we behave with adults?

When I look at myself, and why I sometimes behave in the above mentioned way, I would say it has to do with a sense of inferiority – a belief that I am not good enough as I am – and that if my child is to have a good time – then I have to step up and be this super happy, smiling, laughing, clown type of person. I can also see that there is a belief within me that children are not able to appreciate a sensible, deep and grounded expression – and that they need some speed and energy to get going.

What I have come to realize by getting to know my daughter is that she is a real person – and that even though she does not look like an adult – she is able to perceive and interact with reality with the same depth as an adult. And just like any adult – it is not fair towards her to put up an act and try to be someone that I am not – further – it is not fair to myself. Because how can I create a real and fulfilling relationship with my daughter if I do not allow myself to be genuine? Children might look cute, and they might say things that are innocent and funny – though the depth of their experiences are the same as for us adults. And only because we have a different perspective, a broader view of life – does not make it less real, and it does not make us more than them. We are equals – yet we have different allocation points – and that is important to remember. Because it seems as if many parents forget this and act as if their children are stupid and their experiences are of less weight than that of our own.

What is the solution?

What helps me is to remember that my daughter is equal to me – and that I do not need to pretend to be someone else. I understand that even though she is smaller than me, and I have learned to master the areas of life where she is still learning, that does not make me superior – and in order to bond with her – I have to be genuine and take her seriously. I remind myself that it is not my place to teach, or show her some perfect example of what she is supposed to be later on, I am in her life to be a support, a guide and someone she can rely on – and to do that effectively – I have to stand as her equal. In practice – I push myself to speak with my normal, grounded voice – and I use adult words. I approach her experiences as real – and thus I take note of her and make sure that I communicate with her to find solutions – and I do not force my way only because I perceive I see what is the ‘right’ way.


Day 411: Connection and Leadership

Today I decided to apply the words ‘interaction’ and ‘connection’ – and these are words that I am not naturally inclined to live. What comes easy to me are words like structure, discipline and focus – words that I have mostly applied in work settings – and they are pretty far away from the soft expressions of interaction and connection – even though structure, discipline and focus can also enhance and deepen interaction and connection.

When I experimented with the word connection – I could see that it is an active movement within me to decide to relate and engage with whatever is here in my reality. Thus – it is not necessarily about connecting with human beings even though that is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of living connection. No – connection is more of a spiritual stance – a way of being. Let me give an example.

I was out in the greenhouse replanting my tomato plants. They outgrew their seedling pots and needed bigger containers to allow their roots to spread. I brought up the word ‘connection’ within me and looked at how I could apply it. And then I saw that I could engage with the tomatoes – feel them – sense them – and nourish them with the gentleness of my touch as I slowly removed the old pot and inserted the plants into their new home. And even though I was doing the same thing – replanting the tomatoes – I experienced it completely different – and remaining in that ‘connection’ also required an effort. It had to push myself to be aware, to stay connected, present, close to the plants – and unless I pushed myself – it was easy for me to lose my touch and become led astray inside my mind – by placing attention on meaningless thoughts – preoccupation to not remain centered here.

Since I started experimenting with living this word I have noticed within me a greater urge to share myself with others – it is as if I am opening up within me this relationship of giving and receiving that exists everywhere. I have realized that we all have something to give – we all have a point where we are meant to stand and share ourselves. And it is not a static point – it is a flexible and ongoing movement that depends on our context and on everyone else. When we are strong in a part of our lives – then it is our point to step in as leaders and share our insights and solutions and help finding and creating the way forward. We all have that drive make the entire group functional – to enhance the weakest among us to equalize – and to create a solid, equally empowered group, that can take on the challenges far more effectively than a single person.

This reminds me of documentary I recently saw about a horse whisperer. She explained that she had once asked a horse who was the leader in its pack. And for those that are not familiar with horses – among horse owners it is common knowledge that each pack has a hierarchy. However, the horse whisperer did not get the answer she suspected. The horse explained that the pack has no leader. Each pack member is part of a dynamic and flexible system where each member of the pack is assigned leader depending on the type of challenge that the pack is faced with. For example – the pack will have one individual that steps in when the pack is threatened by predators, perhaps, because that particular horse is the fastest, and strongest. And it will have one horse that steps in when the pack needs to find pasture, perhaps because that horse has the best sense of smell. And the competition between the horses that can be seen are only to establish which horse is suited for what positions in the pack.

And I found this perspective extremely interesting – a dynamic and flexible system of leadership – where basically – each situation is handled by the perfect leader. And it makes so much sense – why do we humans believe that is possible for one human to be a leader in every field? For example a president? He or she can hardly master each of the many, many fields and subjects that a modern society comprises. And still – that is how we do it. Another problematic aspect when it comes to humans and leadership is that we put a value on leadership – and think that the leader is more than his pack – a special individual. While in-fact – the leader is very much a product and a part of the pack – and indeed completely helpless without it. Thus – the leader serves the pack equally as the pack serves the leader. The problem with us humans is that we become addicted to the sense of power that being a leader gives us – and we miss the very point as to what it means to be a leader – namely – to share our strengths with the group and the empower the weakest to stand equal with the rest.

Staying connected to and in tune with others, and to the world, have opened up this point within me of understanding purpose, position and placement in the world more clearly – and what it means to give and receive – and what parts of myself that it is important that I share with the world. For example – with my tomato plants – I must stand as the custodian and caretaker – because they cannot do that for themselves – they are dependent upon me. And similar with the animals I have in my life – I have to be their support when it comes to food and housing. And then in my line of work – where I stand as the person that gives advice to people in pressured and difficult situations – I must be the clarity, the support, the stability and direction that these people for a moment need someone to take on. Thus – my position is a leader – my responsibility to give and to share shifts, changes, and alters depending on my environment – depending on what I and others are going through – it is not something static that can be forever locked in its current position – connection is fresh goods – it cannot become a memory because then it is not real.

I will continue exploring these words and see where they take me.