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Category: UN-SEEING

questioning assumptions, cliches and group-think, different perspectives

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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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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GO OUT AND PLAY (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

GO OUT AND PLAY (An Un-Seeing Exercise)

I just stumbled over a quote from the amazing Maya Angelou that resonates with me enormously, especially during this time of lockdowns and disconnection:

Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that,

the quicker we will be able to treat life as art.”

The lady knew.  To become fully human, we have to go out and play.  Then we need to come back inside and tell each other our stories.

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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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ALL OF US ARE FREEDOM’S SLAVES

ALL OF US ARE FREEDOM’S SLAVES

“Freedom’s slave.”

This phrase is fascinating to me.  The words evoke a sense of mayhem and magic, and of paradox and painful lessons.

A world-traveling friend gave the words to me as a gift.  (He knows I collect such things.)  He told me he had seen a tattoo of that phrase two different times in his many years of travel.

One of the tattoos was inked on the forearm of a fellow traveler, a scammer and nascent chaos-hound traveling through Southeast Asia.

The other one, which he saw years later, was on the chest of a European refugee living in Ecuador and working on stabilizing a life for himself and his lady who was earning large as a mercenary soldier in some Middle Eastern skirmish somewhere.

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UN-SEEING: Mastering Surrender

UN-SEEING: Mastering Surrender

So, I’m sitting there grousing about how dizzy I’m making myself trying to get a handle on the paradoxical concept of “Surrender”.

The Light of My Life does his Mysterious Mystic grin and tells me, “Surrender is the seed of beginning to see that you are the source of your world.  IF YOU ARE FIGHTING AGAINST YOURSELF, YOU LOSE.

My jaw dropped.

He retells one of my favorite stories, about the time when he was a youngster living in a palapa on the beach for a few months at Playa de los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta before it became a tourist destination.

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TO YOURSELF BE KIND (Another IPS)

TO YOURSELF BE KIND (Another IPS)

One day I happened to overhear a good friend of mine – one of the most generous and selflessly giving people I know – beating up on herself unmercifully.

She was spazzing about how she had fallen down off her (very high) standards-of-conduct bar because she had not stopped to listen (yet again) to a high-maintenance friend’s continuing saga about how everybody was picking on her and how not-right everything in her life was.

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BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

BEYOND STUFF-LOVE (Part 4): On Wabi-Sabi

As a Perfectionist in remission, I am here to tell you that wabi-sabi — a Japanese way of seeing the world — works as an antidote to the never-good-enough, shiny-new-thing madness induced by the classical hyper-focus on perfection and the kind of seamless orderliness that arises from the mathematical, mechanical precision that evolved in the super-industrialized Occidental West where more is always better.

I grew up in a pineapple plantation camp on Molokai.  Many of my neighbors were Issei, first-generation immigrants from Japan, who brought it with them from their homeland.  I was marinated in wabi-sabi.

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