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Category: Skillful Means

skills and tools for developing mastery and fostering creativity

UBUNTU (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

UBUNTU (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

The stress of coping with the effects of the global pandemic in 2020 and beyond – social distancing, forced quarantines, and travel restrictions as well as the awkward and unsettling changes in day-to-day living and the resulting changes in our accustomed lifestyles — led many of us to re-examine what makes our own lives meaningful.

I suppose it should not come as a surprise that making connections with other people and working on keeping these connections going and growing will always play a large part in adding meaning and richness to our lives. 

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DIFFERENT-BUT-SAME (Un-Seeing Exercise)

DIFFERENT-BUT-SAME (Un-Seeing Exercise)

Lately I’ve been stumbling over books and assorted other offerings by shiny people and various sorts of life-advisors parsing out all the advantages (plus some of the disadvantages) of “being different.”

If you do this, they say, you will stand out.  You will be an “interesting” being.  You will be a Winner-with-a-capital-W.  Maybe you’ll even get to be rich and famous.  And isn’t that a cool thing?

The problem, as these life-advisors will also tell us, is that “being different” can turn your world into a battlefield.

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BE YOUR OWN SANCTUARY (Another IPS)

BE YOUR OWN SANCTUARY (Another IPS)

“Sanctuary” is a word derived from the Latin, “sanctarium,” which means “a container that keeps a cherished or sacred thing safe.”  The word, as used by the Greco-Romans referred to places of holiness or safety.

Even though the word is often traced only as far as the Greek and Roman empires and their temples, the concept of a place of refuge is universal.  It appears in almost all of the cultural and spiritual traditions from all over the world and has been around for thousands of years.

city-of-refuge
“City of Refuge” by Intangible Arts via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Some say the idea of giving people a space that provides them safety from the persecution of their oppressors or gives them a respite from their troubles is derived from the most basic features of human altruism.  We are, after all, hardwired to help other people during the hard times.

displaced-populations
“Displaced populations at Bangui Airport” by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
In these post-modern times, we’d probably call it some version of “paying it forward.”

We might provide this space for others in the hope that if, at some point, we are in a bad way there will be someone there to offer us help.  Often, too, the act of providing refuge is an acknowledgement of having received such help when we needed it our own selves.

It occurred to me that if “sanctuary” is a container for the sacred and the cherished, then whatever is put inside a sanctuary is, according to the definition, a sacred, cherished thing.

elder-woman-in-temple
“Elder Woman in Temple” by Sergio Carbajo via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Hmmm….

THINKING, THINKING, THINKING

Here are a couple of harsh truths:  The world can be an uncertain and fearsome place.  All humans are fragile and can break.

portrait-of-a-daydream"
“Portrait of a Daydream” by Fouquier [CC BY-NC 2.0]
Sometimes the cavalry just ain’t coming and often refuge is hard to find.  The only choices you have then are either to duck and run or turn around and deal with what’s in your face.  (In either case, you might die…but, then again, maybe not.)

And here are another couple of truths that are not so harsh:  All humans are a conduit for the power of the Creative and each one of us helps to build the world in which we live.

late-night-problem-solving
“Late night problem solving” by Cambridge University Dept. of Engineering via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
And, perhaps, in those latter truths there may be a way to get on with doing your own walk through the world.  Maybe there is a way to be a sanctuary for your own precious and sacred self.

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  an understanding that you can make a sanctuary for yourself that endures.  [The price for that is developing yourself into a person you can trust to meet whatever comes at you the best way you can.]

OH, NO!  NOT ANOTHER SAPPY WOO-WOO INJUNCTION….

Yeah, yeah, I know.  It sounds like that other ubiquitous bit of advice that’s slung around willy-nilly about how you’ve got to love yourself before you can love anybody else.

That’s sort of a truth.  The real is that even though you don’t love yourself very much, it’s likely that you’ll know something about how to connect with other people around you and maybe you’ll love them dearly even if you can’t show it very well.

Saints and other blessed sorts do it all the time.  So do lots of ordinary folks and those who habitually tweet or spend half their time on Facebook doing silly selfies and food snapshots.

facebook-icons
“Facebook Icons” by Kuningmas Auto Care via Flickr [CC BY-SA]
(It’s another human thing.  We very often do the best we can with what we’ve got.)

Most of us, though, have not been taught how to love ourselves. Often we’ve even been discouraged from doing so.  (It is more than possible that we’ve never even been introduced to our own selves and we don’t even know where to start.)

This 2020 YouTube Video, “Why You Need to Stop Trying to Be Loved But Love Yourself Instead,” was published by English author, nutritionist, hypnotherapist trainer and motivational speaker Marisa Peer to introduce her book, I AM ENOUGH:  Mark Your Mirror and Change Your Life.”

Peer is the creator of “Rapid Transformational Therapy,” which she developed over her thirty years of working as a life coach and advisor for “royalty, rock stars, actors, professional and Olympic athletes, CEOs and media personalities,” it says here.

I’ve included it in this post because it does give you a good place to start on building your own trust in yourself and appreciating your own self-worth.

Peer does a really good job of delineating the advantages and benefits of embodying the idea that you are “enough.”

If you know that you are actually “enough” and if you can consistently work on learning how to deal with the world on your own terms, then it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to make yourself into that person you know you can trust.

You’ll probably be better able to accept whatever help you might receive along the way as well.

THE TRICKY THING ABOUT TRUST

Trust is all about knowing that somebody’s got your back.  It is earned, that trust.  A trustworthy person will consistently act in a certain way that works for you.

You can’t trust someone you don’t know or someone who you have not seen being tested by challenging circumstances.

trust
“Trust” by Lex McKee via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
It stands to reason, then, that you will probably not trust yourself if you don’t know how or why you stand and move as you do or if you’ve never allowed yourself to face and resolve trying situations.

If you get blindsided by your own shadows and demons every time you step out and try something new or different, it is unlikely you’ll even WANT to step outside your own comfort zone.  And if you never do anything new or different, that comfort zone is going to be mighty small.

courtney-and-bridge
“Courtney tackles her fears and tries the bridge!” by Kate Webster [CC BY-ND 2.0]
How are you going to dream a dream and make the moves to go get it if that dream is different than what you already know?

Trusting yourself is actually a prerequisite for being a person who knows what they really want.

Trusting yourself also means giving yourself permission (and the desire to develop the ability) to go towards the dream you want even if nobody else believes in it.

everyday-big-adventure
Every day is a big adventure for my little boy. Gotta remember to live more like he does each day….” By Hyunwoo Sun via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
You’re going to need all that when you go for your dream, you know.

FINAL THOUGHT

This 2018 YouTube video, “You Are Who You Are Looking For” features motivational speaker and spoken word poet Adam Roa.  It was uploaded by Goalcast.

You can learn more about Roa’s work by clicking the button below.

click-hereHere’s a poem:


TIGER EYES

There are tiger eyes in the mirror

Staring back at me,

Calm, alert to all around them,

Wells of warm placidity.

 

There are tiger eyes in the mirror

And I just have to smile.

They tell me now I’m strong enough

To deal with this world’s guile.

 

There are tiger eyes in the mirror,

Loving and serene.

Trusting the beast once hated

Seems to be transforming me.

Created by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Sunrise: Life at 10,000 feet” by Mattie B via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

 

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JOURNALING 201 (Mind-Mining)

JOURNALING 201 (Mind-Mining)

Journal-keeping and diary writing – tracking daily events and happenings in some sort of record book – has been going on for centuries.

Except for wanna-be smarty-pants and wise guys (i.e., the “intelligentsia”), poets and writers and Creatives of every stripe, and young girls teetering on the brink of woman-ness, the keepers of these journals mostly recorded daily events and happenings with an exterior point of view.

People with a visual orientation did sketchbooks.

Most everyday journalers used their ledgers, record books and such to document and track their doings in the world, stay on top of their obligations, commitments and schedules, and note the progress made and the results of the actions taken.  

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WHICH SELF? (Another Un-Seeing Exercise)

WHICH SELF? (Another Un-Seeing Exercise)

I bet you’ve heard it more than a time or two, from moms, dads, assorted other relatives, besties, advisers and counselors of all sorts.

“Be yourself,” we’re urged, and the person telling us this stuff usually has a kind of self-righteous look on their face, as if they’ve imparted some grand wisdom saying or other.

You’ve probably even given out this specious piece of advice your own self – usually to someone who has been plucking at the one single nerve you’ve got left, after you’ve been all empathetic and compassionate and caring in the face of all of their self-doubts and whining and moaning about how unsure they are about getting on with walking through some social situation or other that is new to them. 

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CHOOSE YOUR OWN GOOD FIGHT

CHOOSE YOUR OWN GOOD FIGHT

Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that every human in the world has at least one thing in common:  We, all of us, struggle.  No matter who we are, struggle seems to be a fact of life.

Some of us have great obstacles to overcome and some of us have more massive ambitions than others do, but, every one of us does have some sort of difficulty making it from where we are now to where we really want to be.

Sometimes we’re struggling with other people walking through our worlds.  Their ideas or life views might not mesh with our own and there will be bumping and grappling involved when we try to get to a meeting of the minds.

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THE BIG S.L.O.W.

THE BIG S.L.O.W.

For years now, I’ve heard about the “Slow Movement.”  The ideals of keeping to a human pace, puzzling out and enjoying inherent creative processes, caring about human interactions and needs, and savoring life’s little moments one by one have always resonated with me.

But, hey…I’ve been busy!  As the consensus-world kept picking up speed and going hyper, all kinds of interesting things were popping.  The razzle-dazzle got brighter, and the pyrotechnics were grand.

Busy, busy, busy was the order of the day.  I felt like the littlest cousin again, chasing after the big kids yelling, “Hey, guys!  Wait for me!”

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CHOOSE A STANCE AND CHANGE YOUR PROBLEM

CHOOSE A STANCE AND CHANGE YOUR PROBLEM

One of the most-quoted (often illustrated) inspirational bits hanging about on the Internet platforms and in assorted posts and books is this one:

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination. For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.”

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MINDFUL ROAD-BUILDING

MINDFUL ROAD-BUILDING

Lately I’ve been stumbling around after tripping over a mind-game construct called “doing a mindset reset.”

Apparently, it’s based on pretty recent neurological studies that the guys and gals in lab coats say reveal the inherent “plasticity” of a human brain’s ability to control our body’s functions, actions and all that.

There are all kinds of big words and dizzy-making charts and boring numbers and, as usual, my poet-brain goes to sleep when I try to think on them.  The best I can do with all this stuff is to come up with yet another story.  So, here goes….

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DO WHAT YOU CAN

DO WHAT YOU CAN

In the spring of 2020, world paradigms changed.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared that the Novel Coronavirus Disease, Covid-19, was a pandemic.

This came after China reported in December, 2019 that there had been more than one instance of a weird life-threatening respiratory illness in Wuhan, the capital and major industrial and commercial center in Hubei province.

The health-care professionals at WHO watched how the new disease spread and the effects it had on people wherever it popped up around the world.

The media, social platforms, and assorted rumor-mills went into overdrive trying to figure out what the heck was going on.  Panic attacks and near-terminal confusion ensued.

Almost immediately after the WHO pandemic declaration the world-as-we-knew-it shut down.  The rules changed and they still keep on morphing. 

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