Who’s Driving The Bus?

To be or not to be?   Why do we spend so much time searching for the reason for our existence?

We ask and the ego answers.

I consider the ego as psychologist Carl Jung described it – a mask, or persona, that we present to society. Things can get confusing when we take this persona too seriously.  We need our ego to negotiate the world, but things get tricky when we give it too much power.

The ego is always searching for a reason to exist. It needs constant confirmation that it is the most important part of a human being. If we accepted that we are living our ultimate purpose now – that we have come to life simply to live it and that life takes on the meaning we give it – we wouldn’t need our ego nearly as much.

Our fragile ego, defined and defended by our wounds and confusion, needs drama in order to survive. It is in our mask’s best interest to scream and defend itself.

This Art of War has been perfected by humans from the time that time began. Everyone we know has been trained in its tactics and strategies. Our lineage has taught us well.

Like with any other part of our human selves, offer your ego compassion. What a horrible way to live…always filled with dread, in the most basic, reptilian way. Your contempt makes it fight harder.

You see, it is perpetually terrified of one thing…its death. Keeping us freaked out about protecting it – for any reason other than the simple one – keeps us in fear mode – the only home the ego knows. It lives in fear.

I consider my identity in an artistic manner…it is mold-able and fluid, like clay. I invented myself, so I can reinvent myself. If I allow my mask to solidify that is when things get tricky. The key is to remain open and accepting of change, to go with the flow, and not take things too seriously.

Accepting that the ego is part of us, a poor driver that we allow to sit at the back of the bus, puts an end to war. It positions us above the battleground where we can understand the actual function of this part of us and not give it any more importance than is absolutely necessary.

Keep in mind that we have the choice of who drives the bus.

Hope in The Realm of The Possible

HOPE.  It is a powerful word.  What does it mean to you?

Is it the belief in something not of your own making?  Something that is beyond human comprehension?

Does someone or something have to bestow hope upon you?  Or can you find it within yourself?

Can you save your own life?

Hope is the acceptance of everyday miracles.  It is the anticipation of the Something Colored Beautiful moments in life.  These are the moments wrapped miracles that are always present in life, the warp and weft that make life engaging and inspiring and awe-filled.

These are the moments that fire artistry.

Without the energy of anticipation and acceptance, h-o-p-e is just four letters strung together.  Like everything else in life, hope takes on the meaning we give it.

The letters strung together exercise

This is an exercise I created in order to explore my inner sanctum and discover things about myself.  I use it with any word I wish to explore on a deeper level.  HOPE works if we are willing to engage this energy, because it engages Possibility.

What is required of us?

Help

Ordinary

People

Excel

Where is it required?

Here

On

Planet

Earth

How do we prepare?

Have

Our

Plan

Engaged

How is our plan engaged?

Heal

Offering

Positive

Energies

What can we expect from this activity?

Have

Ordinary

Peak

Experiences

What must I do to truly offer HOPE to others?

Hand

Over

Power

Every day

This is power as you understand it.  I call it Inspiration. 

Keep in mind that the greatest gifts to humanity have arrived on this planet as a result of inspired action.  We cannot be inspired if we are all that is.

Think of it as a matter of belief.  As an artist, you offer the world your obsession…you Crazy Believe…only then will you begin to know…

To know it is to live it.

I believe that Creativity and Inspiration are our birthrights as human beings.  We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born.

It is way more than enough because we are way more than enough.

When the world takes what it will…when nothing else remains, there is always HOPE.

It is the role of the artist to bring these offerings to life.

 

Practically Uncivilized – Chats With My Constant Traveller

I met a wild woman yesterday.  A woman with fire in her eyes and an unquestionably wicked grin.  The kind who offers a firm hand, a quick peruse, and a thorough greeting.

She doesn’t give a crap if her towels are not lined up on the shelf in her bathroom, or if her bloomers match her brassiere.  In fact, she may have decided that today is the day that she doesn’t wear either.  She’s as comfortable chillin’ in her jammies as she is commanding the stage in her power suit.  As confident soft-loving her partner as she is litigating in a courtroom…or flexing her muscles on a world stage.

This woman has run the gauntlet and survived.  It is an activity that she has long since given up, but she is not inclined to brag.  Instead, she models her disdain for such barbarous convention by not engaging in its proliferation.

Her strength may be intimidating.  Or it may invigorate.  She has learned to work the rule book for the very purpose of knowing when to throw it away.  Don’t ask her a question unless you are comfortable with her answering you.

Either way, she doesn’t give an F… what you or I think.

This wild woman may not know me, but I know her clan.  We are kith because she resides in the most tender, meaty parts of every woman alive.

The parts that are feral.  Fierce.  Practically uncivilized.

Flashes of Brilliance

My flashes of brilliance have been tattoed on my memory.  Great-white pulses that sliced through the chatter and stunned me to silence, their shock waves so intense that I had no choice but to pay attention.

Yep, flashes can be a tad disruptive.  Back then, it was the only way my Constant Traveller could get my attention – even as I stumbled along in awkward silence, dazzled and confused, she made me yearn for more.

I think of it like a beach ball being held under water.  The effervescent creativity that is innate in a balanced human being who is confident in her abilities bursts through in moments when we are caught unaware.  I caught glimpses of my own when I let down my guard.

Those were the days…when I viewed my deficiencies as more important than my abilities by the attention that others paid to them.  What I valued, what I found delight in and would engage in as a young person for hours and hours, was metered out under the rules of limited acceptability:

I could be a lover of literature, but only of another’s work;
I could be a lover of music, but only of another’s compositions;
I could think grand thoughts, but only in the tradition of the Masters.
I could dream as long as my wildest, most disruptive dreams remained in Dreamland.
In those days, real life meant giving up my extraordinary dreams.

In those days, I lived my wholehearted agreement.  It took me more than a few decades to learn how to elegantly disagree.

In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of the point in our society when being a genius became more valid than having genius inside of you.  That was a very sad day for humankind.

A test developed by Dr. George Land for NASA to determine the creative ability of their scientists and engineers, and administered to 1600 4 to 5-year-olds – revealed that a shocking 98% tested in the genius category for imagination.  However, by the time these same children were tested as 10-yr-olds, only 30% now fell into the genius category.  Tested as 15-yr-olds, the percentage plummeted to 12%.

Dr. Land also tested a lot of adults.  By the time we are adults…only 2% have retained our creative genius. 

I believe that may be the most tragic statement ever written.

 

What the F…?

What this research has revealed is that parents, family, and society as a whole have not provided the tools with which to nurture extraordinary.  In fact, we have been taught to consider the divergent, the outlier, the creative, the wild… as, at our most benign, an eccentric, and at our most potent…a threat...to relationships, family structure, and civilized society.

What could a culture founded on obedience and conformity teach but conformity?  How can a society based on ordinary values demonstrate the value of extraordinary?

Those who hold special as sacred may be the most seriously mystified, as they unwittingly empower the aspects of human development that limits genius from expressing itself.  They, in their zeal, know not what they do.

Deep waters…

A couple of years ago, I had a dream where I was floating in a prone position, traveling feet-first on an ocean.  I was full-body immersed in its dark evening surf.  Looking back I could see the lights of the colorful tropical island from which I came grow smaller and smaller.  The water surrounding me was calm, dark, and deep.  As a general rule, deep water scares the crap out of me, but this time I was cool with it.  Looking forward, between my toes, I could see a shadow-land coming into view.  It was dark, but I could tell that this land was vast, with towering mountains that rose in ebony contrast against an ever lightening sky.

I was content to let those waters take me.

Growing up, I felt like I was forced to fit into a society that didn’t fit me, or my dreams.  In those days, I agreed to speak the words of my dead ancestors – some words of love and kindness, certainly, but what I remember most were the words of ignorance and fear, especially when it came to those who weren’t like us.  I accepted other people’s visions, walked their paths, and dreamed other people’s dreams.  I believed my dreams were not as worthy as those who were revered by my clan.

I walked for decades in dead man’s shoes, not even dead women’s shoes.  I was so insulated and ignorant that I was not even aware of the pain of those who walked beside me.  So concerned with keeping in step with the clan, or running to catch up when they threatened to leave me behind, that I couldn’t see the suffering at my fingertips.

The voyage has been eye-opening, for sure. I have come a long way from believing that walking to the beat of a different drummer is an insult.  It is the Nobel Prize for Dreamers!

Our 2% Wild Ones

It takes an extraordinary dreamer, one who dares to dream, who is willing to push away from the shore and venture into unknown waters – confident and content to be carried by the current to an unknown shore – one who is willing to take on the role of a castaway.  A wild heart who understands that, at some point, the willful castaway inevitably becomes the resourceful explorer who brings the fruits of her explorations back to the clan.  One who is willing to draw the map for others to follow and isn’t afraid to dance with delight when they offer their unique revisions and expansions…

She offers herself to others through full-body immersion in her Mother’s Nature, blending the elemental taste of the ashes of her former self with the firestorm of her effervescent personal genius.

We, as women, have a lot to overcome.  It is time for fierce and feral wild ones to bare their teeth, not in aggression, but in a wicked grin that equals any man’s.  A wicked grin that teaches our daughters and sons to value their dreams, as well.

Through our instruction, this precious resource…our genius 98%...our future…can learn to value the wonders of their nature and safely deliver those sacred gifts into adult life.

I am certain that I met a few 2% wild ones yesterday.  Let’s show them what it means to be practically uncivilized.

 

The Real Meaning of Mind-Sparks, Tears, and Goosebumps: Chats with my Constant Traveller

If your thoughts automatically converted to an actual slap in the face, or, an all-in, don’t-care-who-is-watching hug, would you be surrounded by friends, or would you be locked in solitary confinement for assault?

We woke up this morning in the midst of a revolution.  It is a quiet rebellion that has been evolving for decades.  For those of us caught mid-stride in the struggle, it is sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees, because this revolution is an inner conflict.

We know that mental health crises and loneliness are pandemics in our culture.  However, I believe that there is a third pandemic, one that has caused confusion of epic proportions.  It is what I would term as a crisis of creativity.  It may, in real life, be the cause of the whole tragic else.

The roots of this pandemic lie in disenchantment.  Those of us who have chosen to question the status quo, or for those of us who have turned our focus from the institutions whose leaders have told us where to stand, what to say, and what to believe – those of us who find ourselves cut adrift from the conventional moorings that once served to anchor its people in a churning sea – we are the ones feeling this crisis.

We may not be aware of what is happening.  We may or may not feel like we have invited this crisis.  Regardless of our resistance, we find ourselves in transitional times.  Times in which we need our creativity more than ever.

One of the most interesting things about human nature is our ability to know what we don’t want but not know what we do want.  And even if we choose, many times, we have second thoughts about that choice.  Why is that?  Choice can be scary.  It can be uncomfortable.

An honest perusal of our inner landscape would have us admit that it is easier to have someone else try and fail at something – to have them work out the basics – before we take up the task.

If mental health issues, loneliness, and lack of creativity are symptoms of a society in crisis, what could be the cause?  I offer that our slow and steady movement away from the organized, hierarchical institutions that served as the guide for our personal spirituality is the major cause of this crisis.

An inner landscape made up of what it isn’t, isn’t a landscape at all.  There are no navigation points.  There is no map for the mountains and valleys.  No trees and streams and grassy meadows and lazy rivers…no moss-covered sunshine-dappled glens that delight the weary traveller.  No bright blue sky.  No lighthouses or spotlights or Borealis or Dog Star to guide us.

It is like we woke up this morning only to find ourselves in the Bermuda Triangle, without a compass that reads true north.  The landscape shifted and became indistinguishable while we were busy being busy.

I believe that this is a natural movement that has turned into a revolution.  It can be what is termed as a dark night of the soul, as Thomas Moore describes it, a transitional time when we must learn to navigate new terrain and sail in new waters.

Transition is an aspect of our shared humanity.  Humanity, by our very nature, must respond to this deepening of awareness.

But what happens when we wake up every morning exercising a well-established resistance to all things sacred and mystical?  When did our go-to response become HELL, NO!?  When did chanting what we don’t believe become our new version of prayer?

Or have we awakened once again to a world where the questions you are asking echo back to you from grey concrete walls and iron bars?  Do we ready ourselves for the barrage once again by girding our loins with the weaponry of conflict, don our headphones so as to cloak ourselves with a joyless sound wave, strategically designed to drown not only the voices of others but the voice of silence in its churning cacophony?  From our first waking moment, do we fill our minds to overflowing with the desperate sounds of struggle?  The repetitive white-noise vibes of data-driven pride?

When did we become such willing victims of noise?

Of course, this would lead to depression.  Naturally, this would contribute to anxiety.  Clearly, it has led to epidemic loneliness.  As a matter of fact, this must lead to a creative wasteland.

Would it be fair to say that you don’t want to be told what to do, but you don’t know what to do?  Am I hearing that you don’t know how to surrender and admit that you really don’t know?

Can you consider, that by this confusion, you are committing to a life of struggle and pain?

When we live a life based on what we have thrown away, what does that say about what we keep?

Where is your sacred?  Is this it?

Those mind-sparks, tears, and goosebumps

I invite you to recollect a moment in time when you experienced a WOW! moment, one of those moments when the words of wisdom you heard, or what you were learning was so compelling that you got shivers, or maybe goosebumps, or perhaps even had your eyes mist over with the revelation.

I call those mind-sparks.  They are flashes of brilliance, bolts of inspiration so delightful that for one moment your mind lit up like chain lightning in the dead of night…

These are the promptings of your inner spirit, your highest Self, your Constant Traveller.  The wisest among us have learned to not only listen to these promptings and to follow their lead, but they have made it a sacred ritual to anticipate and celebrate each and every one.

My relationship with my Constant Traveller is communicated in symbol and silence.  Her trail of light is illuminated by the trail of my tears and the urging of my goosebumps when I hear and feel and follow her lead.

When I embrace elegant Paula.

This can be termed as following your bliss.  Understand that following your bliss is presented in many forms, but its confirmation can be understood as mind-sparks, tears, and goosebumps.  Perhaps this is their real meaning?

The day of the infallible guru, shaman, and priest may be behind us, but we cannot leave our inner landscape devoid of inspiration and nourishment.  That is, if we choose to follow our inner promptings.  That is, if we wish to be the person we came to life to be.  That is, if we wish to be happy.

The quest is begun by choice.  The Sun that lights the day, and the Borealis that lights the night are created by fearless faith, focus, and fortitude.  We bring bliss to life through the navigation points of mind-sparks, tears, and goosebumps, aka inspiration.

You create the map that will serve your best life.

The choice is yours.  This aspect is a solitary endeavor.  You must be willing to embrace your spiritual inheritance that is creativity.  You must be willing to follow those mind-sparks of inspiration that will lead you into dialogue with your own Constant Traveller.

Where to begin…

To transmute is a term that is most often used in reference to the ancient art of Alchemy.  It is the term that my Constant Traveller, mySelf, requests me to use (gotta love those mind-sparks!), because, I see, it means to alter and adapt, but it also contains the word, mute.

Stop the music.  Shut down the apps.  Silence the white noise.  Suspend your disbelief.  Anticipate something coloured beautiful.

Our inner voice speaks to us in silence.
Silence is the language of feeling.
Feeling is the language of childhood.

You must be willing to reunite with your eldest child (perhaps your only child) – the one inside of you so you can feel like a child again and stop resisting your own impulse to question, explore, to create…to do some serious playing – to learn to play all over again as an adult.

We have the research that indicates that the cure for depression, anxiety, and loneliness is connection.  We have the ability to apply the cure for this pandemic right this moment…by reframing it.  Let’s make creativity pandemic!  Let’s dare to dream of a world where we have the freedom to choose something other than the status quo!  Where imagination and innovation form the mountains and valleys and rivers and oceans.   Where we not only discover a safe harbor, but we design the boat, and the dock, and the harbor!

I wanna sail with that crew!

Krishnamurti said, Life is relationship.  It was a WOW! moment for me when I first read these words of wisdom, and has served as the catalyst for many deep conversations with my Constant Traveller since then.

I would never have found it if I hadn’t been looking.

Imagine your best life.  This is your precious, sacred dream.  It is sacred to you and you honor and grow it by your attention to it.

Today is the perfect day for some serious play!  Perhaps it’s time to connect with your inner kiddo and make a play date?

Hell Yeah!  Seriously.  Play.  🙂

Give ‘er and Live ‘er – Chats with my Constant Traveller

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only
to be understood. Now is the time
to understand more, so that
we may fear less.”

This quote from Nobel Laureate Marie Curie defines what it means to be fearless. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911).

Madame Curie exemplified the creative, adventurous mind.  She was willing to blast out of her comfort zone and boldly go where no Marie Curie (and no woman) had gone before. The key to her success was curiosity.  Which is, as a matter of fact, a quality of human nature.

In this way, Marie Curie was no different than you or I.  She created a vision and worked towards it with determination.  That she has become a stellar example for every human being, regardless of gender or circumstance, is a testament to her application of what I call the 4 F’s of Effective Action – fearless faith, focus, and fortitude:

  • Fearless—because when you practice doing something you fear, you begin to fear it less and less. This is the genesis of confidence.
  • Faith—that the wellspring of inspiration is open to all, always and in all ways. It is through inspiration that you create the vision of your best life.
  • Focus—the result of inspiration that sustains your intention and attention as you advance with confidence towards the vision of your best life.
  • Fortitude—as, expressing the spirit of a Michelangelo, you keep your eyes on the prize, chipping away at the block of stone, gradually revealing the work of art underneath—the work of art that is your life.

It does not mean having no fear – it means acting in the face of fear and doing it anyway. I have found, through personal experience, that when you do something you fear you begin to fear it less and less. As it turns out, our fear of the unknown is the greatest obstacle to a best life. Our tendency to back down and “hole up” in the face of an emotional or physical challenge is how we choose comfort over personal growth.

Comfort is the enemy of success and real, lasting happiness.  Those who have enemies will always find them.

I define faith in two parts – trust in the wellspring of inspiration; and friendship with our Constant Traveller.  Inspiration is not only the domain of those we define as artists, but it is also the birthright of every human being who woke up today on this side of the grass.  In this manner, we are all artists, as we express our personal artistry through every day living.  Your Constant Traveller is the voice of your true Self, the person you came to life to be…the person who is waiting to embrace you, once you release the luggage you have agreed to “lug” along the way.

It takes courage to boldly go where no you has gone before and to examine the values, beliefs, and assumptions with which you negotiate the world.  We will be traveling in the domain of heroes and warriors.  However, the more you do so, the more curious you become.  The more curious you become, the more fearless you become because, through practice, the unknown is becoming known.

This exploration takes focus and fortitude, the fruits of inspired action, that keep your eyes on the prize and sustains your energy and attention as you proceed in the direction of your goal.  This is how, as Henry David Thoreau, states, you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.

You will find that you are stepping into your own…reuniting with the person you came to life to become.  That person is your true Self, your Constant Traveller.

One of the primary gifts of being human, those I call 1st Nature gifts, is our ability to connect the dots. When we connect the dots and equate our comfort zone with our fear of the unknown, we have made real progress towards our best life.

In my part of the world, when we want to encourage someone we say, Give ‘er!, meaning give it your best shot!!

This is your time.  This is your opportunity.

Give ‘er! and Live ‘er!

 

Accepting Other-Wise – Chats With My Constant Traveller

Do I value my freedom if I do not value another’s freedom to choose otherwise?

Have you ever said something like, I would never say that to someone?  or I would never do that to someone?  Generally, we respond in this way to something someone else has done that we have judged as being thoughtless or shitty.

Sometimes we say it in response to something truly heinous.

And you and I would be in agreement.  We would never say that hurtful thing, or we would never do that destructive thing.

It is obvious that you or I would not share the same belief system as a person who would say or do “that thing.”  You or I think differently.  Obviously, they think otherwise.

However, that person, you, and I have something in common – we all have a belief system.  Some are more cooperative and optimistic; some are more contrary and pessimistic.  Some are hateful and destructive.

While chewing on this idea, my Constant Traveller offered me an example of true other-wise.  My recognition of their foibles is my opportunity to consider other-wise.  As in, other wisdom, another perspective on the situation.

Consider, she reasons, that your response may be an ego engagement.  Perhaps you are so focused on the idea that, We are One, or that you are more spiritually mature than that other person who sees themselves as separate and angry, that you don’t see yourself as being in agreement with their perspective.  If you didn’t see yourself as separate you wouldn’t entertain the idea of separation.  You would be one with them.  You would see with their eyes, feel with their heart, and hurt with their pain.  Can you do that?

Can you accept that on a level unknown to you, you and that person are in agreement?

If you truly wish to be cognitively, emotionally, and energetically mature you will accept their promptings as an opportunity to extend yourself further, as it is an indicator of your limitation, not theirs.  Use this knowledge as a prompting to live in the gap between stimulus and response. 

You will still “see” and “listen” to others as part of this world’s pact.  You are who you are.  But you will use this stimulus to understand yourself on a deeper level.  This is the practice of accepting other-wise.

Research an alternative perspective through Toltec Wisdom, Ho’oponopono, or A Course In Miracles to more fully understand this thought – you are all in this together.  

Understand that you demonstrate your version of freedom every time you deny another theirs.  In this web, both of you are held captive.

Do you truly wish to be free?  Engage the remedy…

When you see others, gently correct your thoughts – I am you and you are me.

 

Who Writes Your Permission Slips?

Things your story doesn’t stop you from:

  1. Exercising
  2. Learning to meditate
  3. Focusing on wellbeing
  4. Drinking enough water
  5. Creating a morning and evening routine
  6. Asking for help when you need it
  7. Figuring out your primary motivators
  8. Becoming extraordinary
  9. Dedicating yourself to excellence
  10. Reading
  11. Learning
  12. Being kind
  13. Being compassionate
  14. Working towards a better future
  15. Imagining possibilities
  16. Listening to others
  17. Getting a good job

 

You are free to do these things.

 

However, your story also does not stop you from:

  1. Complaining
  2. Giving up
  3. Eating junk food
  4. Worry
  5. Self-abusing yourself with negativity
  6. Attacking at others, verbally or physically
  7. Being lazy
  8. Making excuses
  9. Being arrogant
  10. Being selfish
  11. Being hateful
  12. Judging others
  13. Procrastination
  14. Indulging but hating your inner critic
  15. Staying stuck
  16. Hating your job
  17. Continuing to be depressed or anxious without asking for help
  18. Refusing help when it is offered

 

You are free to do these things.

 

You don’t need permission from anyone or anything to do these things.  Could it be true that YOU are the one writing your permission slips?