Take your Life off Cruise Control

Many of us are bored. All of us are living at less than our full potential, and substituting overscheduling for activity infused with meaning.


Materials: A mirror and a curious mind
Clothing: Optional

  • Stand in front of the mirror.
  • Take a quick look at yourself. Body, mind & spirit.
  • Spontaneously think what you find appealing.
  • Ignore critical thoughts. They’re just useless detritus.
  • Look at your reflection while you take ten long breaths.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Breath in and out slowly 5 more times keeping them shut.
  • Do a quick inventory of your life. What’s working best?
  • Recall positive watershed moments that invigorated you.
  • What facilitated the events of your happiest flashback?
  • Open your eyes quickly.
  • Smile, hug yourself and blow a kiss.
  • Take one long deep breath then go out and seize the moment.IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE CHANGES - THERE'S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

Another mini Mind Acrobatics exercise:

  • Grab a pen and pad of paper.
  • Spend 15 minutes writing in pure stream of consciousness.
  • Capture every realistic and seemingly outlandish wish and desire you’ve ever had.
  • This is not a “bucket list” but rather a compilation of all that excites you.

Affiliate. Organize. You’ve been isolated by your culture, but so have all those people you’d like to connect with.

David Kanegis

Lessons from Scandinavia

Why do the Scandinavian countries have the highest standards of living and best quality of life in the world?

The video makes 2 main points

  • When opportunity for education and employment is equal, talent is not wasted, and jobs can be filled with people most suitedto those jobs.
  • It is far cheaper to provide decent living and working conditions for everyone than to pay for ‘security’ measures to protect the haves from the desperation of the have-nots.

In America, how much of our GDP is spent propping up those dividing walls that protect privilege, in the face of opposition by the majority who recognize those walls as unfair?

 

Money story

In the winter of 1981, I was privileged to attend a series of personal growth weekends with a remarkable group of people in the Boston area. We were fortunate to have two inspired, creative leaders and a group member who shared his large house with us, including several acres bordering a lake. Before anyone outside Seattle had heard of Starbucks, Ron had been heir to a different coffee fortune.

I had been wondering about the role of money in my life. After years of living as an itinerant piano teacher on about $4,000 per year, I had jumped to $9,000 when I took a half-time job at Physical Sciences, Inc, doing contract research for the Department of Energy. $9,000 was below the per capita GDP in 1981 America, and it was less than half what a factory worker might have earned. But I had been accustomed to communal housing, the Boston Food Coop, and bicycle transport, and to me $9,000 felt like money to burn.

I was looking for creative ways to give money away, supporting charities to which I had no particular connection, putting $5 bills in envelopes and mailing them anonymously to friends, using an out-of-state postmark. At the same time, I was bitter about capitalism, heartbroken that so many Americans were living in squalid conditions, and I felt like a victim. Yes—even as I had more money than I knew how to spend on myself, I felt that the system had cheated me, and I was aware of the ironic contrast between these two perceptions of my economic status.

1981 was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and Prosperity Consciousness was among the trendy New Age religions. The idea that just managing one’s attitude, one could be as rich as one wanted to be was a double-edged sword.

I brought a paper bag to the weekend workshop with about $200 cash, mostly in ones, but a few fives and tens and twenties intermixed. My idea was to burn the money in Ron’s marble fireplace, to stimulate me to explore my feelings and perhaps to help others in the group who might also benefit from the ritual. I convened a sub-workshop with that intent.

If I remember, there were about six or eight of us in the room, feeding dollars into the fire. It had a more dramatic effect on the others in the room than on me, even if their feeling was mostly bewilderment rather than transformational epiphany. But one person in the room couldn’t tolerate what we were doing, and protested that it was wrong, wrong, wrong. Ron actually reached his hand into the fireplace to retrieve the larger bills, and attempted to blow out the flames.

Image result for burning money

Today, I spend more than $9,000 per year, even in 1981 dollars, but I don’t feel richer, and the idea of burning money seems almost as alien to me as it was to Ron. I still like to give away money at all levels, but mostly in small, unexpected ways. I go through periods when I am anxious about money. I can’t say that I’ve outgrown the magical thinking of Prosperity Consciousness, but I’ve adopted a more generalized and amorphous belief that my needs will be provided. 

— JJM, 1/26/20

The mothering you wish you had had

The psychotherapy that offers the deepest healing is the perfect mothering you missed the first time around, according to an Aeon article by Elitsa Dermendzhiyska.

(There are other useful modes of therapy (123) that address symptoms, and can change your life more quickly, if less deeply.)

(Others promote guided psychedelic journeys as a shortcut to spiritual transformation and an unexpectedly effective remedy for despair.)

The faith to feel sadness, and the Reward on the other side

Poignant transformations emerge from the depths of despair, but they result, if one is fortunate, in the heights of renewal. Certainly this was true for me, and many of the people I’ve known or worked with. What could be more precious than the gift of liberation from crippling despair, of being freed to pursue what deeply matters? What could be more critical than participating in – really grappling with – the rescue of one’s soul?

Yet what I’m seeing today throughout our culture is an increasing tendency to skip over this grappling part of the equation and to shift abruptly to the transformational part.

Today, how many children [not to mention adults] are encouraged to work through their torment – or even to supplement their medication with an emotionally supportive encounter?

The most popular [psychological therapies] today, such as medication and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are often short-term and have a mixed record with regard to effectiveness. The emerging view is that they are helpful for relief of symptoms such as negative thoughts, poor appetite and phobias, but questionable when it comes to complex life issues, such as the search for meaning and purpose, and the struggle with love.

Kirk Schneider goes on to describe the transformation that is sometimes available when people have the support and the patience to work through their grief and their fear to a renewed elation and sense of wonder that is larger than our suffering.

Read the rest from Kirk Schneider at Aeon.co

 

Remember that moment of clarity?

At some point in your life you’ve experienced at least one moment of clarity. Maybe it was just a little bit of clarity, maybe you got reamed up the third eye by The Whole Enchilada, but to a greater or lesser extent you caught a glimpse beyond the veil of mental bullshit that most of us tend to experience in our day to day living.

This is just a reminder of that moment of clarity, and an assurance that it’s just as real and true now as it was back then.

Maybe it happened when you were a child, before the grownups had fully managed to teach you how to be crazy like them. Maybe it happened while you were under the influence of psychedelics. Maybe it happened while you were seated in meditation. Maybe it happened after everything in your life went to hell all at once and it felt as though God Himself was taking time out of His busy schedule to urinate on you personally. Whatever the antecedent, and for whatever reason, the usual mechanisms of stress and confusion and mental perseveration just sort of fell asleep at the wheel one day, and you experienced a moment of clarity.

And then what happened? If you’re like most of us, it vanished from sight as “real life” came crashing back in. How weird is that?

Read more from Caitlin Johnstone

 

The essence of government is forcing people to behave well

The Indian Men when young are Hunters and Warriors; when old, Counsellors; for all their Government is by Counsel of the Sages; there is no Force there are no Prisons, no Officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment.—Hence they generally study Oratory; the best Speaker having the most Influence. The Indian Women till the Ground, dress the Food, nurse and bring up the Children, & preserve & hand down to Posterity the Memory of public Transactions. These Employments of Men and Women are accounted natural & honorable, Having few artificial Wants, they have abundance of Leisure for Improvement by Conversation. Our laborious Manner of Life compar’d with theirs, they esteem slavish & base; and the Learning on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous & useless.

— Benjamin Franklin
http://www.wampumchronicles.com/benfranklin.html

If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself. The more prohibitions you have,
the less virtuous people will be.
The more weapons you have,
the less secure people will be.
The more subsidies you have,
the less self-reliant people will be. Therefore the Master says:
I let go of the law,
and people become honest.
I let go of economics,
and people become prosperous.
I let go of religion,
and people become serene.
I let go of all desire for the common good,
and the good becomes common as grass.

— Lao Tzu, from the Tao Te Ching