In The Meantime

Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Yesterday walking up the moist front steps Tammy sniffed some mineral earthy air that her memory associated with the white quartz.  

‘Let’s rent a car.  Take the day off.’ Tammy offers Malik to agree with her fresh idea as she walks in the front door.

Malik stands up straight from his work desk, takes in a big breath and looks her dead in the eyes.

‘Tammy ..?’ His voice, simply saying her name, went through a 2 – part process of getting her attention with a strong ’T’ and dipping at the end trying to bring her back to earth.  Her spontaneous whims always threw him for a loop.  What’s wrong with planning? He says with his eyes.

‘Malik ..?’A It’s-all-part-of-the-package look was how she responded to his need for a plan.

After a two hour drive out of town the next morning they set off on a five km hike into the forest following the curving river lined with attentive cedar and spruce.  On the riverbank the cedars’ gnarly roots suction themselves to the iron infused sedimentary rock that frames the river.  On the forest side of the river bank tree roots delve quickly into the forest floor littered with spongy, green rock cap moss.

It’s a good 5 degrees cooler under all the verdant trees where the river quickly narrows and drops four feet through the effervescent rapids.  Just past the brief rapids as the river widens again slightly is a massive white quartz.   Although radiant and striking, it is so ensconced in the place it can be confusingly easy to miss. Tammy can’t remember how they found out about it.  Malik remembers and relishes holding the mystery. 

A mystery that the quartz holds is its size.  The carpet of bright green moss acts like a receding hairline on the top and also grows on one side hiding where the quartz meets the riverbank rock.  The outlines of the massive white boulder hinted that the beautiful crystal extended some metres beyond what was visible.   In his enthusiasm to find out how far it reached Malik confused it with the pockets of snow clinging to winter under the tree skirts; playing hide and seek with the invigorating rays of the spring sun.  

They came to dwell with the quartz, to remain in its presence, seeking to be transported deeper within and higher up.  The quartz made you wonder. Wonder with confidence. Wonder up.   The massive cool fresh quartz engages you as if you were on time and up to speed on your life trajectory.  It draws your truth out of you.

They agreed to eat lunch in an hour and served themselves some steaming tea.  They sat cross-legged on their yoga mats 10 metres apart on the river bank.  Once settled in, breathing and clear of mind Malik found his faculties subtly intrigued.  He was being pulled to grasp what was going on:  it was the rapids.  As the rapids bounced the water all over the place, they were challenging the river, asking the river how important the flow of water was to it.  The river, regaining its composure a few metres downriver, always answered the same:  I may bend but I will never break.   

Tammy didn’t like a sudden burst of her bubble of connection when they were in nature.  Malik knew that.  But the words just popped out.

‘I don’t think nature…,’ Proposed Malik, impacted by the electrical wash of the huge quartz. ‘… knows the concept of: in the meantime.’  Hearing himself speak he realised he had broken the connection bubble but for him this was a pretty deep thought so he just kept going. ‘Nature is always in the here and now…never waiting… endlessly passionate.’  Malik liked how his poetic kites floated into the early afternoon cool air.  Soaking up the moment with his sense of transcendence he sought, Malik breathed in deeply.  

Tammy, chill, aware and reflective in the robust, rewarding afternoon was shaken by Malik’s declarations.  Hearing him utter in the meantime jolted her out of her cozy emotional vacation and dropped her into an unsettling mental state.  Tammy went from cupping the thermos cup of green tea to strangling it.

In six year old Tammy’s mind meantime was what she called the episodes of her parents arguing.  She instinctively recoiled under her bed in her and Shelly (her half-sister’s) room. Her bookshelf was empty.  Her story books were in piles under her bed.  Tammy lay among the dust bunnies and socks turning pages until the yelling and screaming stopped.   She found a corporeal focus that completely blocked out life in the meantime.   Fifteen  year old Shelly wasn’t around so much so Tammy ended up being the flag bearer of her own safety.  It seemed her parents first had to be mean to each other before they could approach her smiling saying:‘Don’t worry sweetie, come out from under there. Everything is going to be ok. Mommy is happy.’  Nine months and two police visits later there was no more meantime.

Short Story Excerpt – Blue Spruce

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Hey, What the hell are you doing?!!  

What the hell is that loser doing?  

Get off my property!  

Hey – He’s got a knife.  Said the guy as he jumped down the 4 concrete stairs to get Joe. 

Joe, scared shitless, dropped the bulging scab of fragrant sap he was cutting off the trunk of a gnarly blue spruce tree on these guys front lawn.    Joe bolted from underneath the comforting skirt of the blue tree.   Sprinting he glanced at his car parked across the street.   After 4 blocks Joe stopped running, bent over heaving for breath and sweating in the cool November dusk. The sticky of the sap on his hand stuck the knife to his hand. In the panic of being hunted down he hadn’t dropped his knife. 

Laura closes the door to their apartment after her shift at the restaurant.

Hi babe, um I need you to get my car; pick up my car.  I had to leave it on McIntosh Street.

Joe didn’t even give her time to take her coat off.

You know I don’t have a license.’ Laura rattles her head.

You know I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t important

You know you have a brother you can ask to do this.’ Laura reminds him

You know I can’t

You know I have no idea what is going on.’  Laura deflates.

Joe explained his suburban sap stealing catastrophe.

You know you totally could have just asked those guys to…, to harvest their sap for your fabulous incense collection.  Just fuckin knock on their door.  Right?   Laura bristles.

You know I know that.

You know…’  Laura stopped herself as she could feel the rock hard tension in her shoulders and sense the futility of generating a modicum of conversation.  Laura’s instinct kicked in and said to her – You know if you don’t leave this moron right now you are a bigger moron than he is.’ 

Laura redid up the same three buttons she had undone on her coat while Joe was ordering her to get his car.  

Her last ‘you know’ still hanging in the air like a silent fart in an elevator.  

With her coat now done up she texted her brother Sam right then and there, ‘I’m done with this clown.’  

Three weeks ago Sam was dropping Laura off at her and Joe’s basement apartment downtown.

‘Listen Laura, it’s your life and I respect that they are, basically, your emotions.  And, and I am not going to even attempt to control you or anything.  But with that said.‘That guy is a fucking clown.’  He was so infuriated he included the ‘g’ on fucking which not many people do.  ‘He’s an angry, angry clown.’  

Laura loved the protection love of her older brother for his sister as compared to some random boyfriend love jacked up on lust and of anti-loneliness.  

Sam is awesome.  Laura wants a boyfriend like Sam.  His wife Bernadette obviously is awesome because she married Sam.  Joe got wasted at Sam and Bernadette’s wedding.  It was a classic, long August day and dusk and night.  The wedding was at a lakeside resort where Sam had done some renovations so he knew the owners.  They had wooden cabins painted white with green trim in a three season resort.

With Laura now staying at his place Sam knocked on the door to Joe and Laura’s (former) apartment and realized there was no point so he walked right in.

‘Dude – it’s over.  Laura’s not coming back.  Sam emptied Laura’s drawers with Black Friday abandon.  ‘I Will be back on the weekend for her furniture.  We both know most of it belongs to Laura.

Sam left the now bare drawers of Laura’s dresser sagging open and took 2 large suitcases without even offering a ‘later loser’ or anything to Joe.
Joe, unable to process the moment using his smartass outlook, stood in the abyss of a  lonely minute, turned around to face nobody, then he got high.  Joe had a unibrow you could see from space but only an emerging moustache so soft you could have used it as a dust brush for your Lp records back in the day.  He had jet black hair and grey eyes that everyone commented how they seemed to change in the light. That was what had won over Laura 11 months ago.

Next excerpt of the short story – The Coffin

Photo by Ramazan Tokay on Unsplash

‘Or’  Gord, trying to ease the blow of any rejection coming his way said ‘Maybe I have too much time on my hands’.  Being retired and widowed it wasn’t exactly untrue.

‘Wow GG!  That is cool.  I like that.  And I get to choose my own phrase?’

‘Yes!  Of course you write it’

‘And my object’

‘Yes that too.  But.’  Gord put up his right index finger to emphasize his point.  ‘Preferably it is not your phone.  You know something organic.  I suggest a crystal.

‘So the process I go through is write down on a piece of paper the name of one of my children, get out their crystal, then I list some of their good qualities and dwell in them’

Normally he leaves his washed dinner plate in the sink, and puts the electric kettle on. While the water was boiling he would put on his pyjamas and get out his crystal set.  He kept it in a shoe box in the drawer in the cabinet in the dining room. 

Sitting at the dining room table with his cup of chamomile tea, cozy pj’s and comfy socks he would choose one of the three crystals.   Today was: Sue – Rose Quartz.  It isn’t everyday that he does his crystal ritual but the last time he did, it was Phil’s turn: Phil – Amethyst.  After today the next one would be: Martha – Larimar.  

‘Sue got the rose quartz because apparently it helps to enhance self-love.  And Sue needs that.  She has always needed that.  She kind of fell in the space between your grandmother and me.  She didn’t want to impose on anyone but she got so good at it you forgot she was there.  The one time that Phil and I go out for a beer to watch the hockey playoffs at the pub is the night Sue was going to prom so I wasn’t home to see her in prom her dress and meet the guy and do all that dad protecting his daughter stuff.  This was in the era before cell phones but I still don’t know how I missed that.  So when I got home my wife didn’t know what to do with me.  I had finally gone to spend time with my only son and I missed a once in a lifetime event for my daughter.  My point is I am aware that I was not the steel to Phil’s flint.  He wanted to light up life, get stuff done.’

Gord felt cleansed having explained his reasons and ritual to Cedar so she could see the importance of her role and be strong in case anyone tried to minimize the activity (Phil), take ownership of it (Martha) or just take the crystal and put on her windowsill and call it a keepsake of dad.’  As Gord mentioned each of his children’s names his body would contort in such a small, unconscious reaction to how they lived in his mind.  Thinking of Phil, his back would straighten.  When talking about Martha his head would tilt upwards and with Sue his shoulders would drop.  With Phil Gord felt a challenge between men more than a sense of being a guiding elder.  Martha she had always had big ideas that could make you wonder.  Sue wasn’t fat but Gord’s body gave way to the weight of her lack of initiative.

‘Intense – there is a lot going on.’ Then came another pause.  Gord was relieved to see Cedar processing the idea.  He might have been surprised by the dichotomy of her feelings in the moment. She was amazed by her grandfather’s creativity.  Yet at the same time Cedar was confused about why he was making such an intricate ritual instead of just talking directly to his children.’ 

Gord was happy with himself because he felt he was right in explaining his anchored vision to Cedar first before approaching his children.  She could be his marketing department.  Her mother was in the marketing business so Cedar would have it in her blood.  By skipping to the next generation there would be less rejection than with his own children – Gord had figured.  At this point he seemed right.  He assumed his children would listen to Cedar.   And Cedar loved being chosen.   

‘Where in the world did you come up with this idea GG?’

‘Well at my stage in life and … with your grandmother passed away I just started reading about, you know, life.  Death, what have you.  It’s not fair, that if someone wants clarity and preparation about death they come across as a cold funeral director.   When my time comes I want things to be ready and clear so all the emotions like sadness and grief, disbelief and regret, love and appreciation, admiration and forgiveness and acceptance don’t get absorbed by funeral arrangements.  That’s not fair to the person or the process.’

‘Hmmph’  Cedar was getting overloaded with new info, powerful concepts and the emotion they were connecting to.   

‘So’  Gord continued,  ‘So my idea is really not that new.  In the past, I have discovered,  people have used the mind to heal and travel and see things in other parts of the world.  And I came across this whole idea of epigenetics from a guy named Bruce Lipton talking about genes, DNA and belief.’  Gord’s hands were carving the air as a means to capture the impact of what he wanted to transmit.  

‘It was really, really amazing to hear and challenging to read.  Did you know what the word generation says? It says gene – ration.’

What?  

Yes, the word generation can be split into two words – gene and ration.  So …’

Cedar had reached her maximum of what she could take in.  She pulled up the blanket and didn’t hear a thing Gord was saying.  

Her mind quickly wondered what her inheritance would be, just hypothesizing it was in the next 2 years or so, she could go travelling before going to university.  Her mom had studied marketing and it seemed cool.  But stressful.  Marketing and all that was super important in the moment but rendered meaningless days or weeks later by the same market that had made it vital..  But Cedar liked the psychology part of trying to figure out why people do what they do and seeing if you can be in the future of their own decisions before they are.

‘I can see your mind has gone elsewhere, Cedar.’  Gord observed

‘Oh sorry, so sorry GG.   Cedar sipped her tea and looked Gord in the eye to show her sincerity.    ‘I am just…  Well I am really surprised by all this and it’s a lot to process.’

‘I agree.  Death is a funny topic.’  The cool air of Gord’s house turned cold as the afternoon aged. ‘ It’s an even funnier experience.’

‘Wait, how is death funny GG?’  Cedar says not really ready for more information but a little insulted.

‘Well death itself isn’t funny.  I agree with you.   You are right.’  Cedar hadn’t said anything about death not being funny but Gord was using his sales techniques to put himself, and his goal, on the same page as Cedar.

‘What I mean is how we react to death, the passing of the person, the emotions of the past and next steps.  It is a process that we all go through – so in that there is no freedom of choice.  But.’  The right index finger appeared again.  ‘There is a complete freedom in how we think about it.  And this is what led me to this idea of an anchored vision thing. Gord threw on the ‘thing’ word at the end as a kind of hook to make the concept less heavy.  More portable. Gord still hadn’t explained why he said death was funny but Cedar didn’t want to get into it.

‘I need to go to the bathroom.’  Cedar announced as she put down her mug of tea, grabbed her phone from the kitchen table, stretched her arms and neck and walked down the hall from Gord’s kitchen. She loved this house where they had spent years of Thanksgiving Sundays and Christmas dinners.  

Linda and Gord never renovated their home like lots of people in the neighbourhood did.  By the time they had the money Linda didn’t see the point with their children on their way out.  It would be just the two of them living in the house in a few years.  The one thing Gord insisted on was putting in a door from their bedroom to the bathroom so now it was an ensuite washroom that continued to have access from the hallway.  

And for a guy who had his own freakin’ plumbing supply company, why did he still have one of those antique porcelain sinks?  Gord figured Linda wasn’t into modern bathroom fixtures.  So he simply took the best sinks and bathtubs when other people renovated their bathroom.  Linda saw the satisfaction in her husband when he salvaged (with the help of a few of his plumber friends/clients) the best old school taps and faucets and towel racks and tiles.  So the taps in his bathroom had the black letters H for hot and C for cold on the little white porcelain cap. In between them was the cast iron fawcett.  It was white tile with a black tile border throughout.  Elegant but sturdy, just the way Gord liked it.  

To the right of the fawcett was a short tumbler with a single bamboo toothbrush.  Another gift from a grandchild.  To the left of the fawcett was the small yellow box of baking soda Gord used as toothpaste.

In Cedar’s absence Gord thought how he saw the anchored vision was an expression of the Art of War.  The Art of War, for him, was to secure peace and harvest the opportunity that peace provided.  Which is exactly what Gord wanted.  Some peace.  It wasn’t like his life was hectic.  On the contrary.  He woke up every morning without an alarm and made coffee.  When it was light enough out he would go for his walk around the neighbourhood.  He had two routes.  The short loop which he would do if it was raining or cold or that was the energy he had that morning.  The second loop meant he had to cross at the traffic lights so he could get to the park and see people with their dogs and smell the earth and leaves.

Back at home he would make breakfast and read and follow up on emails.  The afternoon included a nap and some kind of outdoor chore around the house for the fresh air and as a strategy to see one of his neighbours for a chat.  He spaced out his day with activities so he could never get too lonely or get caught spiralling down into a funk of missing Linda.   It has been almost 3 years since she died.  An x-ray of his sadness would have revealed that he was not missing Linda that much anymore as a person but of having the role of her husband.  Of being of service to her well being as his wife.   What didn’t let him live in peace was some feeling that he should have or could’ve done more in their marriage.  Should have taken the time, could have filled out the moments. 

Rare Earth: What is it?

 

This is a brief look at the phrase ‘rare earth’ from three different angles.

The first version is the well known economic sound bite we see on the internet.  The second is a petition to your instinct to recognize the planet earth for what it is.  And the third is a bit of a stretch. 

First …

Rare earth elements (REE) is a funny saying. These are the minerals; Neodymium (Nd), Cerium (Ce), Europium (Eu) and 14 more that are used in the manufacture and function of cell phones, big screens and military components among other technologies.  

The term rare earth was coined when an unusual black rock was unearthed by a miner in Ytterby, Sweden, in 1788. The ore was called “rare” because it had never been seen before and “earth” because that was the 18th-century geological term for rocks that could be dissolved in acid. (www.sciencehistory.org)

The term ‘rare earth’ has taken on new meaning.  Specifically in relation to the need we have prescribed them.  We need these minerals to make our cell phones and we are cranking out a lot of cellphones.  As of 2021 there are more than 12 billion cell phones out there.  More than 1 per person.  So we have created a need for a lot of minerals.  And of course there are always shareholders to appease and answer to.  So it seems the rare part of the term has morphed to be in reference to the ease of getting these elements to market.  Which actually means they are discovered in places that are far away from the manufacturing sites and shopping centres.  On top of that it is rare that they are found in concentrations that make extraction commercially viable.  

Rare earth elements are an essential part of many high-tech devices. The U.S. Geological Survey news release “Going Critical” explains:

“Rare-earth elements (REE) are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products, such as cellular telephones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and flat-screen monitors and televisions. Significant defense applications include electronic displays, guidance systems, lasers, and radar and sonar systems. Although the amount of REE used in a product may not be a significant part of that product by weight, value, or volume, the REE can be necessary for the device to function. For example, magnets made of REE often represent only a small fraction of the total weight, but without them, the spindle motors and voice coils of desktops and laptops would not be possible. (https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/what-are-rare-earth-elements-and-why-are-they-important)

Peering down at these elements with our economic blinders we are gasping at the reality that the process to extract them from their home – in ore – is costly.  So the elements indeed are rare to the human ‘make buck – I don’t give a f**k’ mindset.  They are not rare to the planet.  They are her elements after all.  

Second …

Another way of looking at the phrase ‘rare earth’ is that indeed, the planet Earth is rare.  There is only one.

We tear up, heat up, and dirty up the planet Earth to sift out what is of use to us so that we can post a photo on Instagram of what we are having for dinner.  Modern technology is not bad; it is amazing the speed and precision and applications where it can be used.  The price of producing the technology can be quite damaging to the life of the planet, rivers, animals, planets and people.  That is not good business.  That is robbing Peter to pay Paul.  It is stealing from tomorrow to be comfortable today.   The extraction and processing of these minerals is labour intensive and has several toxic by-products.  

This disposable mentality we have slid into is defining our relationship with the earth.  This attitude of needy ignorance could be seen to parallel our outlook on the ‘rare earth’ of the human.  Specifically the higher human faculties of mind and soul.  Territories that are known to exist however found to be difficult to access and apply into daily life.

Third …

The third look at the term rare earth shines light on the territory of the higher human faculty.  This is not a topic we cover in our education systems – though it’s a potential experience for each breathing person.  These are the realms of human purpose.  Human purpose being considered the merging of the mind according to soul categories to have the leverage to join the spiritual trajectory.  It is rare that many people gather on this level.  The spiritual pioneer Jidduh Krishnamurti, who died in 1986, was someone who wanted people to do this kind of work for themselves.  To have this natural experience of self elevation so they can be drawn up into the trajectory of spirit.  And so he shared what he had learned.  And it has benefited the world in small yet indelible way,  

From https://kfoundation.org

Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organisation, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection…

Krishnamurti was concerned with all humanity and stated repeatedly that he held no nationality or belief and belonged to no particular group or culture. In the latter part of his life, he travelled mainly between the schools he had founded in India, Britain and the United States, which educate for the total understanding of man and the art of living. He stressed that only this profound understanding can create a new generation that will live in peace.

Burn My Coal!

Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

Our collective human race behaviour imposes a pervasive impact on the well being of planet Earth. 

If someone insults us or a loved one we become instantly indignant.  Can we overlay that indignance onto our role in the quality of life of the planet?  Can we use our emotion for how we want to be treated and share it with the planet?  It might cause us to elevate our action of compassion.

If I said to you that someone is really ‘burning my coal’ what does that mean?

It means my past is being made more important than the present and the future.  

Let’s back up a little bit.  60 Million years, more or less.  Coal used to be a tree.  The coal we burn is getting power from dead plants and animals.   That tree died and during decomposition mixed with other ingredients as it was covered by successive layers of organic life.  

Plant Some Trees – Burn Less Coal 
Breathe More Air – Live Your Life

That tree is now participating in the transition of carbon into petroleum.  To us that petroleum is used for gas to run our cars, tires so our cars can move/planes can fly, our plastic pill bottles, synthetic fibres in clothes and vaseline.

To the planet, what is petroleum?  As we keep withdrawing petroleum from the viscera of the planet – her temperature has risen?  What’s the correlation?  Is it the burning of carbon that is the reason?  Well, we can say yes.  

Without diminishing the need to transition to renewable energy sources there is also another consideration.  That the planet had its own carbon offset program – by design.  More accurately the planet had control of its own thermostat by being able to cool itself.

Is it possible that the planet’s ability to remain cool has been impacted by the extraction of her coolant?  Is it possible?  We don’t even know?  

Perhaps petroleum is to the planet what HFC 134 (this gas replaced freon) is to your fridge.  Perhaps petroleum is to the planet what freon is to your air conditioner in your house.  Imagine your car on a hot summer day with the windows up and you have a leak in the hose from the condenser to the vents in your car.  It’s going to heat up pretty quickly.

Perhaps petroleum is to the planet what blood is to your heart. Imagine your heart with diminished blood flow?  That’s called a heart attack.  Is it possible that is what we are thrusting upon the planet?  Cardiac arrest!  We don’t even know?!

Let’s plant some trees so we can breathe fresh air.   Let’s use our past as a foundation for perception about what tomorrow needs.  Let’s align our satisfactions in our current Life Stage with our many communities (family, marriage, business, soul, body).  This way we can translate perception accurately so our actions today are congruent with a human development journey.  By definition a development journey is congruent with respecting the Great Mother, planet Earth.

Update Yourself With The Significance Of Your Name

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Before the butterfly can fly it was first born as something very different: a leaf munching caterpillar. Although they are the same creature they show very different natures. The caterpillar is pedestrian and the butterfly graceful. The caterpillar cocooned itself with the genetic knowing it will be reborn into a colourful butterfly. The beautiful butterfly is reliant upon the survival of the slow caterpillar. All three stages (caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly) are equally and uniquely valid.

As we grow our lives are layered with the residue of our experiences.  Each of the three names can accrue a greater potency as we learn which of those experiences direct us in the direction we want to go.  As we grow we discover how best to work in the world, refine what we want and how to live accordingly.

When you seem to have an unclarity of what you want or how to get it, that is a good time to reflect on your resources.  Or if  there is a feeling of having lost direction or connection it is time to pause.   It is very useful to review the role of each life within you that each of the three names represent.  As you grow so does the pertinence of your history.  As a child life decisions were made for you.  Now as an adult you make them.  This updating process  highlights the value of your attitude and vision to extract meaning from your past and apply it to your development.

This process of updating helps to find purpose in the daily striving and the life long journey.  It can take a load off of you in the moment to see the continuity of your life and harvest the life lessons and crystalize emotion of your experiences.  There is healing available in case we need to reframe a difficult childhood.   With a view to update your youth that now supports a development journey we can convert that difficult childhood from a wound into a strength. It can become the forging of a knowing that no matter the situation you find yourself in you bring unique value to the moment.  

In the wake of peace from 15 minutes of meditation or walking in nature consider the following:

Foundation Name – The function of your family growing up, companionship in school and playing/sports/trips, learning new skills. – Breathe in the reality that those experiences support your growth now.

Synthesis Name – The importance of your unique way of upholding the human experience including: your style, sense of humour, attention to detail.  Know that this is your fingerprint on the energy of life that you attract by the fact of your initiative and your human pedigree.

Mystery Name – Being creative with ways to stay curious about the pathways of energy: in the mind, of your high emotions, of the planet Earth and beyond.  This elevates into clarity of what is happening in the moment as it is unto itself (as opposed to things are happening to you).  This means you can load your elder life with your desire to be of service to your communities

In the updating process we will likely have many memories that make us happy, sad, angry and long for days gone by.  We can take advantage of the awesome attribute of the mind called memory.  It causes us to picture and feel our life history.  We can generate appreciation for those times and make them into the strength of our foundation for what we as an adult and elder want to do and be.  We can be grateful for the functioning of the body and its faculties for their accuracy of functioning in constant support of our life. 

The Evolution of Your Name

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I think my parents were going to name me Catherine if I was a girl.  If their child had been born a girl or had been given a different name, the same fundamental process of life still awaited the baby.  The name we use to identify ourselves is a label more for the other people in life than for oneself.  

Your name might resonate with you, as it fits your personality.  Your name might be the same as your dad and implying you are the junior version of him.  This is looking at names from a management or cultural view point.

Thinking about names from a viewpoint that humans are on a development journey that requires us to respond to many influences from the planet, people and unseen sources of energy.  These unseen sources include the energetic changes that are associated with each new stage in life.  We are quite possibly a very different person within a few years of having passed the threshold of youth into adulthood.  

Some cultures have their elders provide a ‘sacred name’ to the child to be a reminder and guide throughout their life.  Along those lines below are ideas for taking charge of your own name and thus your life.

The name you are given

Child – What you are called – the name your parents gave you.  Recognize and appreciate the foundation that resides in that name that provides the leverage for your growth as a man.  This is your Foundation Name.  It encapsulates your birth, your hunger for learning, your child’s love of life and the awkwardness of growing into your body and identity.  This name stays with you through all of life’s stages.  It is like a fresh mountain stream that is the clean source of your memories.  It is the holding name for your initial connection with your life’s trajectory and your authenticity with that signal.  

The name you choose

Adult – What you want – the name that you decide reflects your synthesis of the inner and outer experiences, feelings and sensations.  This is your Synthesis Name.  You are a nexus of so many currents and threads, stages and lives, directions and levels, needs and wants.  All of this is happening while you are tasked with being an integral member of many communities that include your marriage, family, neighbourhood, manhood, soulhood and a passenger on planet earth.  Synthesising is you thriving in the moment of the current life stage you are living so that you derive satisfaction from how you live everyday life.  That way your wife does not become responsible for your lack of satisfaction you feel because you were too busy with paternal/family/professional responsibilities.  Then, as an elder you have a sense of accomplishment and of having contributed to the learning, growth and development of your communities. 

The name that chooses you

Elder – What you represent – to the continuance of the human story, to your communities, to the planet, to your soul accompanying your spirit into the universe.  Your significance to the planet may be difficult to know while you are in the middle of striving in daily life to make a living and find meaning.  So that name can be elusive.  And that is why it is called the Mystery Name.  Even if we don’t know what is always happening it is important to highlight the ideas and qualities that you feel resonate with your Mystery Name.  This sensitivity to recognize what fits with this next stage of life is a real challenge that can be frustrating and seemingly have no progress.  As you encounter success, challenges and failures in all stages of life you are in an ongoing process of consciously sowing the seeds of your eldership.

Seek and Offer with Liz Taylor

In addition to her Foundation for AIDS and more than 40 movies plus television shows, the generational movie star Liz Taylor squeezed in 8 marriages from 7 husbands.  This shows Liz Taylor was into recycling before most people on your block.

In her personal life Liz Taylor sought what her heart petitioned.  To love and be loved; to receive and be received. In a personal relationship Ms. Taylor offered insecurity (when you are a good friend of Michael Jackson your life currency includes high frequency ego)  and warmth.  In a man she sought not only romance but a source of stability.  She had a need which she felt would be satisfied by a solid relationship.  Taylor wanted a marriage strong enough to support her as a woman yet flexible enough to be able to handle the whims and intrusions of Hollywood. 

In the classic movie Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Taylor plays the empathetic yet tempestuous wife to Paul Newman as her failing husband.  The 1958 movie could have been called ‘Lost and Found’.  Newman’s character Brick Pollitt was lost in life and Taylor’s Maggie desperately wanted him found in her life; in her heart.

What you seek is almost certainly available in the person you seek it in.  Ms Taylor probably found some of what she was seeking in Richard (twice) at some point, Conrad, Mike and Michael.  After the proverbial honeymoon was over they may or may not have wanted to offer it up to her.  Once she felt her man couldn’t, or wouldn’t, offer Liz what she wanted then she needed to look for it elsewhere.  In one of her marriages it was only a matter of months before Taylor’s marriage had become unfulfilling . Although it makes sense that when the love is gone then why stay married, but it would be costly in divorce lawyers.  

Maybe Liz didn’t know how to ask to be loved the way she wanted to be loved.  Maybe the men she chose weren’t up to the job.  A few of her relationships definitely were complicated by drugs and alcohol. 

Unfortunately a common conundrum for a man is not knowing how to love his wife.  He wants to but can’t understand what expression that takes.  Love gets contorted by our handling of the emotional unpacking of our inner lives, life stages and development urges, professional success, physical health.  So it is easy to understand how two confused adults can fail in a relationship.  Especially if they had no guidance from their parents.

Without simple yet deep conversation sprinkled with wisdom we end up with men who are in fact lost with no idea what they seek and what they offer.  That is frustrating for everyone.  And can be dangerous because the man can think anytime he is being asked to do something it is because he has done something wrong.  Which is incorrect.  He is being asked because it is his responsibility to participate in a relationship and family.  

Also, if he is being asked it says he is capable and can be relied upon based on what he offers as a man.  We get this good reputation by doing a lot of small things, day after day.  This repetitive signal that upholds our marriage is a practical way to seek love.  As we grow and learn we can refine our seeking.  Refining our seeking means that we use our experience and intuition to know where, when and how to seek.  It means that our spouse can feel that embedded in our seeking is an offering of love and support for her as a woman.

What you seek can be found in what you offer.  It’s almost like saying you already have what you seek – you just want it reflected back to you.  And is reflected back to but just like in a mirror, it is reversed and is based on what your spouse seeks.  You seek honesty and so your spouse delivers the truth; you seek happiness and your spouse offers laughter; you seek companionship and your spouse offers you conversation.

If you don’t get what you seek then perhaps before pointing a finger it is to ask if it is clear to you what you seek and offer.  That can be as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper:  3 things you seek in your relationship and 3 things you offer to your relationship.  Is one contingent upon the other?  Yes and no.  It isn’t tit for tat at the moment.  We all have to put up with our spouse in the bad days and relish the good days.  And they provide you the same service.  However a living relationship needs the give and take of seek and offer to have a flow between both people that continue to define and refine their mechanism  for loving and being loved.   

By persisting in what you offer to your wife, offering her safety and your sentiment for her happiness, it will help define what you seek.  Meaning you know what you want as a man and as a husband that is valid unto itself while at the same time strengthening the marriage.  This requires understanding what satisfies you as a man and making yourself responsible for it.  This involves learning what fulfills your spouse and supporting her in that endeavour.  You seek being loved and someone to love.  

Obviously not at all costs.  With dignity for the person and their stage in life. 

A Poor Excuse for Real Initiation

To highlight the reality of the ongoing stupidity of hazings that still occur in university fraternities and sororities there is a new TV program just released.

https://www.oxygen.com/true-crime-buzz/from-timothy-piazza-to-jordan-hankins-real-hazing-deaths

Dying to Belong is the name of the program. And it hits the nail on the head. We all want to belong but humiliating people and endangering their lives to generate a sense of exclusivity is juvenile.

Hazing is defined as the imposition of strenuous, often humiliating, tasks as part of a program of rigorous physical training and initiation. So the greater the humiliation then the club you are being initiated into should be that much more exclusive. Or provide a transcendent feeling of belonging. I am not sure that university frats get to that level of, well fraternity. Basically it is supposed to earn you a loyalty towards you when you need it. And your loyalty to your fraternity will be asked for when it is needed. In the meantime you have the status of saying you belong to this or that frat.

The thing is people die in these hazings that new recruits or pledges are submitted to. Why? Why does it have to dip to a level of life threatening humiliation?

To belong to the Jeep driver’s club all you need is to make a down payment of a few thousand dollars to buy your Jeep Wrangler and then keep up with your monthly payments. And as a result every time another Jeep drives in the opposite direction you get a cool and subtle wave as you drive by each other in your Jeeps. It’s silly. But it provides a sense of inclusion/acceptance/belonging in and among all the random traffic. And it is warming not demoralizing. It is simple not nefarious.

Initiation is the process of crossing the threshold into the next stage of life. And in some cultures they can be extremely demanding rite of passage like a vision quest. Or it can be a celebration like a bar mitzvah.

The idea of initiation is to create a mark that a person is entering into a new possibility in their life. Witness it. Make the ceremony and the person being initiated important. Generate in them the concept of upholding their dignity as they pass from child to young adult; or from adult to elder. So when we cross the threshold of death, from elder to ether, we have had practice knowing how to cross into the next realm and what is of value there.

While initiation helps the same person elevate in their development trajectory a distinct aspect of their life is being accessed in this new platform for life that encourages curiosity and perception.

If you are not religious then recognition of the next life stage might not be so ceremonious. It can be conversations to show appreciation of the person for what they have become up to now based on their challenges and opportunities. Appreciation coupled with respect for their version of responsibility as they grow. Reminding them to harvest from their past the milestones won by the vigour of their youth. Merging these lessons with the awareness being petitioned of each person to grow into the unknown.

Simple ‘Sistem’ To Write Your Own Story

The message is simple – the execution not so much.

Robert Downey Jr. is Peter Highman in the 2010 movie Due Date. He ends up in a car travelling with the ideosyncratic Ethan Tremblay played by Zach Galifiniakis.

The movie is painfully hilarious. It showcases the talent of both Downey and Galifinakis. I imagine the director Todd Philips gave them a clear idea of where he each scene needed to get to and then let the actors loose.

Downey has had a very successful acting career becoming well known for the Iron Man trilogy. It feels good to see him accepting he is so talented and sharing those talents. It feels even better knowing he had to get over some pretty serious addiction issues at a young age. After being in and out of prison as a result of his reckless lifestyle he finally was able to rehab himself and re-construct his life and career.

No doubt he had to ask forgiveness from his wife and of himself.

As highlighted in the book Satisfaction (link below) an effective way to forgive, yourself or others, is to move on. To have something better to do than regret the past. To connect to some task that is stronger than the pull of bitterness from feeling hard done by. To rise above the inability for personal growth in the moment and accept that we can always be growing.

A very concise and effective mindset to participate in writing your own story is the Sistem Mindset.

Quite simply it is: Resist – Insist – Persist.

Resist the lower levels of life that want to rob you of your energy. That means resist pettiness, revenge, grudges, assumptions.

Insist on dignity. Yours. Theirs. Of a man. Of a woman. That means asking questions to understand why. This is coupled with finding a way to be understood for what you want.

Persist in growing. Grow as a man, as a family member, as a professional, as a human. This means knowing your focus is valuable (which is why Facebook/Google make so much money off their ads) and put it where it gives you a fulfilling result. Persist daily in your morning routine. Wonder out loud what is possible – you never know what your wife or children might have in mind. Read a book you already read to see what you didn’t grasp the first time; investigate on line classes, minimize something from your diet you know isn’t good for you and introduce a new vegetable you haven’t tried before.

Who knows what these three pronged Sistem might cause in your life.

The thing is the more we Persist in growing the easier it can be to Insist and Resist.

Link for the book Satisfaction: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1777691109

The New You Series – Advice – Guidance and Wisdom

There is a well known adage that perhaps was coined by Confucoius or is alluded to in the Bible.  Either way it goes like this:

‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.’

It would appear to hold true. This is very much the Rich Dad/Poor Dad juxtaposition.

Perhaps, in hindsight, there is a line missing:

Forget to demand respect for the planet from the man and he will destroy fish stocks and end up giving his children farmed fish full of chemicals. 

Let’s look at the adage through the lens of: Advice, Guidance and Wisdom.

At the level of advice is ‘give a man a fish’

At the level of guidance is ‘teach him to fish’

At the level of wisdom is ‘demand respect, from yourself and others, on behalf of the planet’  

Advice

Is for guys

Application is to work life, guy life, ego buoyancy, for not looking stupid, to the now

Forms of Advice – tips, sayings, phrases, guyisms, answers, encouragement

Advice provides timely ideas for someone to make decisions to get results.

Advice for any person, at any age in any stage in life.  It is useful to daily life and can stand the test of time. 

Provenance – brain

Relevance – bridging the moment with what you want

Photo by Anaya Katlego on Unsplash


Guidance 

Guidance is for men.

Application – Guidance is a resource for learning to deal with fear, for growing awareness, for understanding others, for facing the future.

Forms of Guidance – story, map, the legend on a map, questions, challenges

Guidance hints at the man you become if you listen to it and let it impact your life

Provenance – heart

Relevance – love, the need to love and be loved

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Wisdom

Is for The New You,

Application is for participation in service to something bigger than you, curiosity and reflection

Forms of Wisdom – crystalized, dense yet light in its transmission, mysterious and confusing and settling

Wisdom is the language of the instinct talking about finding meaning and integrating it into life

Provenance – soul

Relevance – magnetizing to the truth and electrifying to action

Practice all 3 (Advice – Guidance – Wisdom): Know the difference so advice doesn’t get passed off as guidance; and wisdom doesn’t get reduced to guidance.

Demand advice from your peers, guidance from your parents and wisdom from your elders.

Tidy: Profile of The New You

Photo by Scott Blake on Unspla

“Hey”

Turning left out of the restaurant, MJ and I walk south along John Street.  I know I hear some running footsteps but, so what.  You never know who is asking for something so I put my arm around MJ’s shoulder and keep walking.

“Excuse me”

I look over my shoulder between me and  MJ and see this guy waving his hand and running towards us.  The guy was wearing black pants, a white shirt and a knee length white apron.  It’s our waiter from the restaurant.  Maximum 25 years old as he ran with ease towards us.

“Crazy” the waiter says, landing a few slow down steps as he reaches us.

“Look.”  He only takes two breaths to speak normally after a 2 block sprint.

“I think the bills stuck together.  I don’t think you meant to leave a $40 tip on a $29 tab.”  The waiter tentatively offers two twenty dollar bills.  The bills were probably just printed and put into circulation.  I had just got them out of the bank machine earlier in the day.

“I thought they felt funny.” I say putting my hand out tentatively as the waiter goes about half way.  

“Thank you very much.”  I extend my appreciation and my hand to receive my overpayment.  

“Right on.” Waiter says. There is a brief gap in the moment; and then he spins to jog back to the restaurant.  MJ  and I look at each other.

“Wow.  You don’t see that too often.  Someone running 2 blocks to give you money you didn’t know was yours.  Actually, in the moment I thought to give him 1 of the twenties.”

MJ says “I could tell you hesitated.  You could’ve.”      

Standing in the same place, slowly folding the 2 twenties, I look at MJ and declare “That’s honesty”.   Feeling proud to have been a part of that street vignette, I almost feel I deserve some of the credit.

MJ holds my gaze for a moment, then she says “That’s tidy.” 

TIDY

Tidy is living life with minimal loose ends.

Tidy is not military.  It is clarity of scope of any intention.

Scope refers to what you are going to do when and how.

How refers to the quality of your work and ‘the 2-stage hand off’.

The first stage of the ‘hand off’ is you receiving from the previous person what you said you needed in order to get started.    The second stage is you delivering what you said you would. That way the next person knows what to expect when you are finished with your part. Essentially ensuring the next stage 1 for the next person includes what said they needed to get started.

So if the person before or after you is not tidy, life now has drama that we aren’t paid for.

Being tidy is a reflection of self respect; It is an expression of understanding others and having the arts and skills to be understood.

Tidy is a great way to run your life.  

Like someone runs their business. 

You do what you say you are going to do.

You make commitments, make a plan and invest in the project.  Then people quit, get fired or screw up.  So being tidy can be a great hypothetical ideal but the daily reality can make your work anything but tidy.  Because someone on your team quit means now you can’t deliver your products on time. So you have to advise others that your delivery is going to change.  That’s business.  That’s life.

Sometimes there is a pandemic and materials or staff are scarce or expensive and your price changes and the customer isn’t happy or wants to cancel all together.  These are some of those changes that fit into the ‘you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up’ category. 

So many obstacles can get thrown your way making your work, and life, untidy.  You can’t control others.  You can manage yourself.  Your work is subject to outside influences.  When everything is going sideways, that is when you need to insist on being tidy in your mind.  Meaning understanding who is responsible, or to blame, but with an eye to moving forward.  

The New You Profile is: 

The man a young man strives to be;

The gentleman a man can feel he is becoming.

The scope of that gentleman’s life is:  deep, expansive, growing, challenging, intriguing.