Monday, October 27, 2008

Right Equals Wrong

During a recent visit to the Boston area, I had the pleasure of visiting the Plimoth Plantation ( with my family. It is a must see for both children and adults. What is truly impressive is the museum’s ability to re-create the experience of both the native Wampanoag and the English colonists of the 1600s. The actors playing the different parts are so believable that you’ll truly feel like you are having an out of time experience! Before I walked through the plantation, I thought I knew what to expect and I am truly delighted to say, I was wrong! It is amazing how one’s views change when one is placed in another one’s situation or walked in their shoes. In this case, I was expecting to be sympathetic towards the Wampanoag and harshly critical of the colonists. How else could you be, after all the English were responsible for the killing, spreading of diseases, taking slaves and obliterating native cultures. At least, that’s what’s been written in the more accurate recordings of the history of that time. But a visit to the plantation and the experience of living and talking to the colonists in addition to the Mayflower museum, gave me a better feel for what it was like for the English. Imagine having just left Holland on the Mayflower and traveling for 2 months over the Atlantic, losing your family members, getting sick, not knowing where you are going or what to expect, leaving the comforts and convenience of the Europe of 1600s (the cobble stone streets, brick houses, fashionable clothing and furnishings, culture, etc.) to arrive in an “uncivilized” land, facing people of a different color, language, little to no clothing, pierced and tattooed with different customs and having to start life from scratch. They wanted to create a world they knew and had liked for the most part. After all, if they had stood up to the Catholic Church, then they could certainly battle a few natives in this strange land. And so it goes…

Now, this is certainly not about early American history and who did what to whom. I am merely sharing a story that has been told many times from different perspectives and narratives to illustrate how easy it is to lose sight of the big picture. Seeing the big picture is only easy if you are not in it. Hence, this is the reason why companies and corporations have off site team building meetings and retreats facilitated by well paid consultants and trainers. Whether they know it or not, they are creating a space where their managers can now see the bigger picture and interact with their colleagues without their personal agendas, learning to cooperate through friendly games that enhance cooperation and team work. For the most part, these meetings are successful and the decisions made are sound and for the good of all. That is until they all come back to work and try to implement whatever was decided on. Now in real time, and in the middle of the picture, much is forgotten or lost. So what happened?

What happened is what happens in most conflict situations. One party believed that their version of the story is the truth and the other party’s is not. Since the question of who is right and who is not, cannot be answered especially if the intention is to find the “wrong” party, it is best to accept that both are “right”. Yes, it is possible for both to be “right”. In the case of the Wampanoags and the colonists, they were both right in their perspectives. But what didn’t exist was the possibility that both truths could have existed side by side. If they had stopped trying to convince each other or worse yet, convert each other, history might have turned out differently for the native Wamponoags. This suggestion here is not merely a “why can’t we all just get along” side by side. It is a shift in consciousness that no one has to be wrong. In fact, it is possible that there is no right or wrong. And the sooner we stop trying to find the guilty party, the sooner we can solve the problem together.

Since humans are the ones who created this concept of duality in order to make sense of the world and themselves, it is also possible for them to deconstruct it. We are at a time in our history and evolution where we are running out of the old standard sources of energy, tensions and conflict are building up everywhere in the globe while corporations and businesses are becoming global, and fear is prevalent which disallows candid and open dialogues without agenda and preconceived notions. Fixing the symptom, is at best fruitless in addition to the fact that there is no time. Human consciousness needs to make a huge leap in order to expand and survive. It is time to keep our egos in their place and to realize that what worked thousands of years ago doesn’t any more. There is no wrong or right, we have to work together to make sense of this world and to provide a safe place for our children and theirs. It is time to re-examine our belief systems and make the appropriate changes at the true source of the problems and not somewhere downstream, where we’re bound to keep on repeating the same mistakes. It is time for our self-righteousness and our egos to take a back seat to our creativity, cooperation, and sense of being connected to each other so that we can solve our problems together. It is time for change, real change that can only come about if we can change our beliefs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Manifesting Balance

When I look into what got us to this place, I hear chants of “more, more, more”. In fact, it is a chant that has been yelled and carried out by mass consciousness for decades. I hear it in the corporations who want bigger numbers year after year. "If we don’t produce, the consequences will be dire: no bonus, no pay increase, or even loss of a job". And of course, the consequences are always worse for those at the bottom of the totem pole while those at the very top are barely touched except for by their own cancerous desire for more. So, if I had to tell a story it would go something like this: there was once a giant that had been afflicted by a disease. The giant did not quite understand how he got this disease, nor did he care about why he felt the way he did. It is as if he forgot he even had a disease! He kept on demanding more from the little slaves that served him. The slaves ran around like armies of soldiers obeying their orders: “more, more, more” yelled the giant. The slaves were very good at getting the giant what he wanted and managing to save some for themselves. They were afraid of the giant and never questioned his demands. This went on for years and years, the giant got bigger and bigger and more demanding than ever. The slaves were bigger too, but they could not do any more, they started running out of food because instead of looking for new kinds of food or planting new seeds or inventing new things, they were eating the same food until it ran out. Now, no one had any food, not the giant, nor the slaves. The story has not ended yet, the ending is yet to be written.

If you step even further back from this story and go to the core reason for the giant’s disease or unconsciousness, it has to do with a flawed belief. It comes from the belief that you don’t have enough and only if you had more you’d be satisfied. It comes from a lack of trust in oneself and one’s own sovereignty. Now, I am not saying that we are all 100% self-sufficient, obviously we have certain needs and desires. Also, there is a healthy hunger to advance in life which is not what I am writing about either. I am writing about when the healthy cells turn cancerous and out of control and when we hear the news about corporations and CEO's and their salaries and lifestyles in comparison to what any human would need, we can see the disproportionate insanity of it all. And again, this would all be just an experience in greed except that it cost even those CEO's their concept of SELF. How truly powerful and sovereign are you if you need all that wealth? And they passed on this lack of self-trust to those under them and on and on it went. The giant and the slaves believed that they did not have enough and there was not enough. In one sense they were right, there was not enough. Not enough of what they wanted anyway.

In my practice I see marriages falling apart at an unusually high frequency. However, what is even more surprising is that these clients are actually happy. They are happy that they don’t need this other person anymore. They are free, even if the consequences include: less money, no security, unknown future, etc. Now that they are liberated from the chains of a dysfunctional marriage, they finally feel free to be themselves. They are free from the self-imposed need to be with another. And I also hear from friends within my community, open and honest conversations among people who would have never admitted to troubles in the past. There is a sense of freedom that is emerging from the destruction of the systems that we so loyally trusted. Perhaps it is an existential realization that we are more than what we have, who we are related to, and where we live. But we are not all at the same place in this journey. There are many of us still, panicked and holding on to the rubble and the illusions of the past, hoping to blink ourselves out of a bad dream. Fortunately, awakening to the reality of who we are and how truly powerful we are, is not an illusion and it is happening right now. With every ending there is always a new beginning. However, what the beginning is all about, is up to us to decide. Many slaves could survive the dead giant, and through this process learn that they don’t need the giant. Nevertheless, many a revolution has ended up in giving in to different fears and creating structures that freed us from our past but chained us to something we did not really want. It is highly crucial to create out of the rubble a new consciousness that supports our divine and human need to be happy. This moment could be about creating systems and structures that support our inherent desires to be fulfilled while providing the supports for others to feel the same. This is a tremendous opportunity to start from scratch and create with our true heart’s desires for the quality of life we really want, that is if we can remember what that is!

Quite a few of my fellow coaches, facilitators and I feel that this is the best time for revolutionary change that would benefit the whole planet. However, it is also the right circumstances for re-creating other frightful scenarios. I hope that we all find the awareness required to make significant changes that will bring us back to our true humanity. In other words, I hope that we somehow find a way to live without a giant, that we can come up with our own creative solutions to express our sovereignty and our true inner leadership, so that we do not continue being chained to petty illusions.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Manifesting Detachment

The global economic crisis is doing a number on all of us. Some of us are affected directly by losing our jobs, savings, homes, etc. Some of us are in fear of losing those things. Some of us are losing our livelihood as a consequence of others losing theirs. And on and on it goes. Many of us are panicking and are angry at the injustice of it all. Those of us in the U.S. who are facing an election are now looking at the two choices we have in a different way. Regardless of ideology or political affiliation, we are asking ourselves who will be more likely to get us out of this mess and bring us back our sense of security and prosperity. Some just want things to go back to the way they were, as if this never happened. Some are questioning the whole system and wondering how this could have happened. Some want justice done, and someone to pay for their loss.

It really is no different than a typical and traditional family drama on a grand scale with many involved. In a family drama, there are the directly involved members and those who are involved by association, family bonds, or just a sense of righteousness. The only people who are immune from the drama are those who know about it, are in the middle of it, but are not attached to any one side or outcome. They are the objective observers. They are the ones who can see how this happened, how everyone participated in it, and how no one person is to blame because it is a collective contribution to the drama. Usually, in a family situation, the person(s) who is not attached is known as the wise one(s). The one(s) everyone wants to get on their side, because they are the ultimate vote so to speak. That wise voice is the one everyone listens to and respects. The wise one(s) can even look at the drama as an opportunity to change the way things were, create new, more meaningful relationships, communicate to those we never did before, etc.

Who are the wise ones today in this crisis we are facing together on the planet? Who is being an observer detached from the outcome(s)? Who is not blaming any one side, but sees this as a collective participation in creating the grandest drama of our times? And more importantly, who is looking at this as an opportunity to create something truly grand for the good of all? Who is willing to not point fingers, but take responsibility to change and start from scratch to create a system that makes sense? Who is going to change the way they’ve always operated and thought about things in order to live a more balanced, responsible and fulfilled life? Ultimately, no matter how you look at what has happened, it is a result of many imbalances in the system. If we all commit to living a balanced existence on every level, take responsibility for ourselves, our needs and our shortcomings then collectively we are bringing balance into the consciousness of the planet. This huge personal act on every person’s part can only help in the evolution of consciousness. It is time for us to live responsible lives regardless of who we think we are. This situation is affecting all of us, and so all of us need to change to make a collective contribution to the change we want.