Enlightened Conflict

all sins are attempts to fill voids

February 26th, 2017

dog bacon thoughts desires

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“I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.”

 

—-

Sylvia Plath

 

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“All sins are attempts to fill voids.”

 

—-

Simone Weil

 

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Well.

stop trying to convince

 

We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.

Or maybe they always seem to be overcompensating for something.

Or even that they know they are ‘not as good as’ and spend far too much time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.

 

We like these people because we like the overall sense that someone is dissatisfied with the present person and seeking a better person.

 

We don’t like these people because we don’t like the overall sense of desperation and the trappings that often come with it.

 

We look at these people and … well … we think about ourselves and the crazy shit we do.

 

Let’s face it … Life makes us do a lot of crazy shit.

 

Okay.

 

It doesn’t actually “make” us … just full-throatedly encourages us to do some crazy shit.

 

It does so because it makes us desire  a shitload of things that can chip away at the better version of ourselves. And by better version I don’t mean external stuff but internal stuff … soul, integrity & character. But life has a nasty habit of encouraging us to think more about external stuff than internal stuff.

 

The size of your bank account.braver he who overcomes own desire achievment soul how winning victory

 

How you look and what you wear and whether you sport Gap or Brooks Brothers.

 

The size of your house and whether you have gold drapes or Pier1 window hangings.

 

This kind of crap can screw you up let alone destroy you.

You can get so caught up in what Life is whispering in your ear as what is important … well … over time that is all you can hear and see.

 

Life becomes almost a parody of itself.

 

‘Less is more’ becomes the mantra of everything but you personally where ‘more’ just seems to look less & less. Life can twist you into a pretzel trying to match up with all the external trappings of what it suggests you should desire.

And as you get twisted all it really does is squeeze out character & integrity & principles drop by drop as Life twists harder and harder.

 

And as you get this squeezed out of you … you will naturally get thirsty. Therein lies the big Life choice … what do you drink?

 

What do I mean?

 

Remember that kid you knew growing up who was always the bully, always the exaggerator, always the one trying so hard to show everyone how great they were … at some point they realize that they are thirsty.

Either thirsty for more or thirsty for what is getting squeezed out of them.

And don’t think Life is standing by silently.  All the while Life will whisper sweet nothings in that kid’s ear telling them what to drink to stay on their path to a ‘better person’ <and it is most likely the sweetest, least healthy alternative>.

 

Look.

 

At some point we all get thirsty … even that young bully … and your Life gets energized by what you drink <and I could suggest you get addicted to what you drink at a fairly early age>.

 

 

always more and more life desireThat said.

 

What I do know is that almost all of us end up being constantly nudged to believe we neither have enough nor are we enough.

 

And it is within those ‘not enough’ spaces, the voids if you wish to call them, in which we commit our sins.

 

We commit our sins most often as we overreach.

 

Okay.

We are tempted to overreach … in our words, our resumes, our successes, even our recaps of our ‘what we did today’ lists.

 

Some overreach more than others. But we all get tempted. And, just as I noted above, it is explainable and understandable. When Life is trying to constantly tell you ‘not enough’ you will constantly be trying to showcase ‘more than enough.’

That is a natural response.

 

And this is where people separate themselves into two basic generalized groups … those who define how they matter <enough> by an internal balance sheet versus those who define how they matter <enough> by an external balance sheet.

I am not suggesting it has to be 100%, internal or external, because most of us figure out how to commit a few ‘sins’ as possible and try and manage what they desire in a way they don’t ultimately get destroyed by their desires. Most of us figure out our ‘best version’ is pretty good … maybe less than some but more than others.

 

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“And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.”

—–

John Green

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not good enough trying

But some people truly do end up in the 100% column.

 

It is quite possible someone like the Pope is close to the internal 100% judgement … but I imagine a lot of people actually slide close to this Life self-framing. It comes with some external expenses but a shitload of people are willing to sacrifice those things because they know the gold curtains fade, the money can be lost and the houses can burn down. External trappings can only provide so much comfort.

 

On the end of the spectrum are the … well … hollow people. They look glitzy. They sound confident <if not arrogant or blowhards>. They have all the trappings of success. But their sacrifice is whatever internal compass that can guide goodness or true fairness as well as empathy & compassion.

They have sacrificed counting internal cues … because external cues are all that count.  All the while they are trying too hard, seem to be overcompensating for something and … well … spending a shitload of time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.

 

All that said.

 

We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.

 

This is the person who desires the things which will destroy me in the end.trying human being

This is the person whose sins are attempts to fill voids.

 

This is the person we know … wish we could change … but is quite possibly the most unchangeable person we know.

 

We all have voids.

We just need to be very very careful that what we fill that void with doesn’t destroy us in the end.

believing in your own gravity

November 2nd, 2016

  gravity-falls-breaks-sound-life

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“She believed in her own gravity, and she never considered escaping it.

 

 The world isn’t improved by reading the personal tragedy that unfolded afterwards, but there’s also no fighting it—the power that lies in hearing her words is in the totality of its acceptance.”

 

—-

Spencer Kornhaber

<slightly edited quote>

 

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“As long as I know what I’ve done, I’m not gonna worry about what other people say or think I did.”

 

 

because only I know the truth

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… believed in her own gravity, and she never considered escaping gravity-is-in-my-bonesit may be one of the strongest lines I have read.

 

 

Understanding yourself … who and what you are … is difficult.

 

Accepting yourself … who and what you are … is difficult.

 

Which, inevitably, makes believing in yourself extremely difficult.

 

Accepting less than perfection … or accepting the fact you have imperfections … is difficult.

Knowing you have flaws … and even some destructive flaws … is difficult.

 

If you bundle all of those up … well … that is your gravity.

 

For some reasons, some good and some bad, we always seem to want to fix or change our gravity <which seems … well … as I type that … kind of impossible and somewhat silly objective>.

 

Some people dislike their gravity and fight it … try and escape it … and some even suggest they want to “fly” as a version of showing their dislike for their own gravity.

 

To be clear <part 1>.

 

This gravity discussion is different than a “come to the edge and fly” Life discussion. That is about risk and trying to see what you are capable of.

This gravity discussion is about who and what you are. What grounds you day in and day out as part of what makes you … well … you.fear-of-gravity-fall

 

To be clear <part 2>.

 

Gravity can be defied.

 

Well.

Let’s just say that you can learn to jump, fly or elevate <but you will inevitably get pulled back at some point>. So you can defy your gravity for moments in time.

 

But gravity is … well … gravity, i.e., it remains no matter what as part of Life.

And, while everyone faces gravity, your version of gravity is different than someone else’s.

 

You may like someone else’s gravity. Shit. You may dislike gravity. It doesn’t really matter. You either believe in your own gravity or you end up fighting gravity your entire Life.

 

And that is where that opening quote is so powerful … such a strong Life idea.

 

If you believe in your gravity, flaws and destructive qualities included, and do not try and escape it … you use what you have to the bet of your ability rather than fight it.

 

You believe in your gravity, the good and bad, as part of what can create some space in the world for you and no one else.

 

genaertional attitudes powerlessYou believe in your gravity, and understand it, and accept it, and believe it is what inevitably guides your feet down some path in Life.

 

By the way, this does not mean you are unapologetically comfortable with yourself … you may actually even find yourself slightly uncomfortable with your gravity … you just accept it … and believe it inevitably makes you who you are.

 

 

And, in the end, I imagine if you do not try and escape your gravity you stop looking at other’s gravity, you stop listening to people telling you to try and change your gravity and … well … you decide to use your gravity to become the hero in your own story.

 

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She needed a hero so she became one.

 

—–

Unknown

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the reality of overcoming shit

October 13th, 2016

 tattoo-overcome

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“You can overcome anything … short of death.”

 

Abi Ketner

 

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I tend to believe most of us are pleasantly surprised by how well we overcome shit.

 

shit creek survivorThe reality is … well … 99.9% of the time we overcome anything thrown our way.

 

Well.

 

That is if you assess success as “short of death.” If you do not then overcoming gets judged on a variety of fairly creative measurements.

 

But if you strip away everything but ‘death’ as the only failure measurement … well … that means if you recognize you cannot be destroyed, you actually recognize you can overcome just about any and every thing.

 

That affects how you make choices & decisions.

 

 

That affects how you feel about yourself.

 

That all sounds good … and relatively simple … but it is relatively difficult to embrace as a thought and attitude.

 

I actually do not believe this is a Life lesson.

 

I believe it is something we simply struggle with throughout Life.

 

We gain & accumulate things as we grow older. Life experiences, titles, professional experience, money, things and acquisitions … oh … and family.

 

That is reality.

 

And reality hates … absolutely frickin’ hates to be destroyed.

 

We face shit everyday … some big shit and some small shit … and as we face it we view it through bifocals — what reality will be destroyed and how do I protect against it and … well … what do I really want to do.

 

If you focus solely on the latter you will feel really really good about yourself <in Bad 27 7 doing shita semi selfish way> but I can almost guarantee that doing so will come at the expense of some reality in your life. It may be a small expense and it may be a huge expense … but an expense it is.

 

If you focus solely on the former you will most likely have a fairly comfortable reality but I can almost guarantee that doing so will come at the expense of some moral relativity <sense of self stuff> in your life. It may be a small expense and it may be a huge expense … but an expense it is.

 

That is why I said this is a constant struggle for us in life.

 

We know most of the decisions and choices we make will not kill us … but we have to weigh what that choice & decision will kill in our reality.

 

On this one topic I can actually share some personal experience.

 

I have shed the former stuff at some point in my Life & career. I dropped the titles, the compensation, the career, the responsibilities <I do not have a family> and all the past stuff <as well as I could>.

 

Now.

That doesn’t mean that simply destroying it all meant it went away mentally.

Just because destroying everything you feel like you have earned <not deserved> doesn’t translate into some personal ‘slotting’ from that point on – I had that salary so anything less is bad, I had that title so anything less is bad, I had that type of home so anything less than that is bad, etc.

 

That mental aspect takes some time <at least it did for me>.

 

But once I reached a point where I recognized that the only way I could actually be destroyed was death itself … well … doing the right thing and doing what I wanted to do became a shitload easier when trying to overcome shit.

 

I admit.

While not a luxurious life … it is a luxury not many people have.

 

But to attain this luxury I almost had to destroy reality. That sounds kind of extreme. I imagine there is another way to do it <one would hope, wouldn’t one?>.

 

Ok. Look.

 

That isn’t really the point.  It isn’t because I am certainly not suggesting people ditch their reality just so they can always make their decisions based on what would make them feel good as a person. Reality comes with some responsibilities which deserve to be acknowledged.

 

 

I imagine my real point is that more of us should recognize everything is overcomeable. Your worst day, your worst decision, your worst choice, your worst anything … if it doesn’t kill you, can be overcome.

 

I say that because far too often in the moment where the worst is occurring most of us aren’t thinking about the fact we cannot be destroyed … we are worrying about being destroyed. That in and of itself most likely puts us in a position in which we are much more likely to make the worst worse <and, at best, make the worst as palatable as possible>.

 

do what you must by YoshiteruShit happens. That is a given.

 

But not all shit is created equal and not all shit outcomes are created equal.

And while all shit can be overcome … if you are a little more fearless when the shit hits the fan, a little more inclined to believe “what the hell, I am not going to die,” I would argue you may actually be more likely to come through the shit not only alive & well … but not as stinky.

 

And even better? Whew … you will sleep well that night knowing you had destroyed what may have destroyed you without destroying your soul & character.

 

unapologetically comfortable with yourself

October 2nd, 2016

 reminder-unapologetic

 

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when youre unapologetically comfortable with yourself, people really dont know what to do with you.

 

—-

 

from monochromaticblack

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people get mad when they don’t understand the source of someone else’s confidence. lol thats wild.

 

 

from monochromaticblack

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Well.

 

projects-complete-finish-progress-businessI loved both of these thoughts written by a young African <Nigeria I believe> woman on her tumblr site.

 

I love them because they do not mean you don’t want to improve <in fact most of these people acknowledge they are work in progress which actually is the foundation for their confidence and comfort with self> but rather espouse a strong belief in self – or being comfortable in your own skin.

 

I say that, yet, most people see these things as cocky or not willing to listen or be accepting constructive criticism.

 

They are wrong.

 

It is just a reflection of a strong self-awareness. And an awareness of what is going on around them. And a willingness to adapt to the situation at hand <therefore each situation aligns with the appropriate confidence rather than trying to stay a square peg and face a round hole on occasion>.

 

To me … this type of discussion around self awareness driven confidence is almost like discussing the difference between the actually appropriate “I couldn’t care less” versus the more common less appropriate phrase “I could care less.”

 

They clearly mean different things and, yet, misused so often they are misheard and misinterpreted.

 

But … about the self awareness the quotes suggest.like-thought-bubble

 

 

I like the stubborn kind of love of thyself.

 

I like the semi-unconditional love of who and what you are.

 

I like the persistency and acceptance of the undeniable compass that resides within.

 

I like the understanding and almost commanding hold this belief has on someone’s character and behavior and attitudes.

 

I like the fact it leaves someone nowhere to go and, yet, at the same time enables the ability to embrace some type of expanded self.

 

 

I like the sense that this is a different type of self love which one can never escape no matter how hard you may try <because Life suggests you should ‘escape it’>.

 

I like the thought that it remains a version of a good friend to rely on regardless of the time of day, situation or crisis.

 

I like the fact it suggests a version of ‘home’ regardless of how far you may be tempted to stray.

 

I like it represents a source of healing from which one can replenish who and what you are … no matter what happens.

 

I like the sense of true companionship strength <thru thick or thin>.

unapologetic-false-world-real-person-pain-life

 

I like the unapologetic faith in head, heart & humanity.

 

 

I like the … well … consistency … and the flexibility. I call it a consistent flexible personality.

 

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.

If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

 

 

Friedrich Nietzsche

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I like the idea someone can change innumerable times, yet in each iteration, will remain fundamentally the same.

 

I like the idea that the personality & character doesn’t change for, basically, functional reasons.

 

 

I like the idea it maintains the attitude of ‘the self’ and continuing to change, constantly aligning itself to changing world and what it learns.

 

And, I imagine, what I like most is that this type of self-confidence and belief in self insures that no matter how often Life and the shit it throws at you tries to put an end to its existence … you exist.unapologetic-power-go-on-scared-life

 

The dictionary tells us you cannot ‘put an end to the existence of something’ more than a single time. I would argue with the dictionary <which is surprising because I like unequivocal truths>. Life can, and does, put an end to the existence of lots of ‘self’ things. Sometimes for good but more often for the bad.

 

All I would say is that if you are unapologetically comfortable with yourself you are more likely to insure the existence of what matters and put an end to the existence of that which does not matter … when it matters.

 

People may not know what to do with you but you will always know what you can do.

 

a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me

September 6th, 2016

 

 fear bird fly fall never do life

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“What I fear I avoid.

What I fear I pretend does not exist.

What I fear is quietly killing me.

 

Would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me, what is lost in me.

 

Let the light in before it is too late. “

 

 

 Jeanette Winterson from “The Green Man”

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There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.”

 

 

Andre Gide

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Ok.

liar fear

 

 

There is no such thing as fearless and a fearless person is a … well … lie.

 

Oh.

 

Maybe there is with those badass guys who do special forces and know mental voodoo which enables to kick the shit out of people and not die.

 

 

But for most of us schmucks?

 

We all have some fear about something. And we are lying if we do not admit that. Now. It is quite possible we hesitate to embrace this thought because … uhm … it implies we have some coward within us.

 

Wow.

 

That sounds shitty.

 

Who the hell wants to ever say that about themselves? <answer: no one>

 

But maybe what helps us get over that cowardly angst is the recognition that it is actually fear of fear which probably causes more problems in our lives than fear itself.

 

That said.

 

I am not suggesting that makes it any easier in practicality just that maybe recognizing a monster is half the battle to killing a monster.

 

 

Anyway.

 

brainsnacks 5 fears we all have

………… brainsnacks 5 fears we all have ………..

 

Some smart psychologist at Brainsnacks suggests there are 5 basic fears that everyone has:

 

 

Fear of failure? Read it as fear of ego-death.

Fear of rejection? That’s fear of separation, and probably also fear of ego-death.

The terror many people have at the idea of having to speak in public is basically fear of ego-death.

Fear of intimacy, or “fear of commitment,” is basically fear of losing one’s autonomy.

Shame and guilt express the fear of—or the actual condition of—separation and even ego-death. The same is true for embarrassment and humiliation.

 

 

I thought that was interesting but most of us think about fear in our own ways, read books on how to deal with it and we either figure it out or we don’t.

And honestly … some do and some don’t.

 

I will suggest that facing fear is probably the biggest impediment to success <even beyond poverty, existing circumstances, etc.>.

 

We often give our fears far too much power by believing they are bigger than they really are.

 

Look.

 

I am not suggesting that fear doesn’t exist I am simply suggesting we often permit fear to take on superhuman powers and intergalactic sizes in our minds.

 

If you agree with that thought then it appears seeking to be successful may mean not actually eliminating fear … but simply making it into bite sized portions more easily swallowed.

 

 

Or maybe … would there were a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is coward in me.

 

Regardless.

 

Choose however you elect to deal with fear. But choose.

 

Because you don’t choose at your own peril <what I fear is quietly killing me >.

 

fear of suffering worseHere’s the deal.

 

All people fear failure.

 

Everyone.

 

And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

 

There is no such thing as a fearless person.

 

It’s just that some people set it aside and go forth striving to seek something that lies somewhere beyond the fear.

 

Across the chasm as it were.

 

The French call this  “l’appel du vide” in French< compulsion to jump from high places or “the call of the void”>. But the truth is that ‘some’ does not equal ‘most.’ Not many people are truly tempted to jump from the edge into a void.

Most of us just talk about it <and we like talking about it>. But most do not do it. Not because they aren’t tempted by the challenge but rather because they fear what comes from stepping out into the void.

 

Do most people mind being challenged <attempting to do that which they have not done>?

 

Absolutely not.

 

The majority of people do like meeting challenges and that satisfaction which comes from meeting the challenge. I believe it is because you have not only ‘bested’ the challenge but you have also ‘bested’ the fear you couldn’t meet the challenge <even if it was only an inkling of fear>.

 

So there is certainly a level of personal satisfaction of ‘dealing with fear” … or maybe better said ‘facing the unknown’ that all people like.

 

However.

 

What about that ‘good fear.’

That big fear.

Stepping into the unknown fear?

 

Ok.

 

Remember.

 

Fear is defined as the emotional response to an actual or perceived threat of immediate or imminent danger or pain <or some derivative of the five I listed above>.

The capacity to experience fear is part of human nature that has been hard-wired into us.

 

Hardwired or not … the ‘big fear’ <whatever our personal fear monster may be> is debilitating to most people. It is a fact that a large number of people suffer the often debilitating impacts of fear and anxiety. They suffer a sense of being overwhelmed and helplessness leading to an inability to take action or make changes.

 

Interestingly I believe we tend to tie bravery and courage with being able to overcome that helplessness brought on by fear.

 

Well.

I don’t think that’s right.

 

In most cases it is more about having the ability to see <or conceptualize> what is somewhere across the chasm and using that as the focal point to step toward.

More often it is the ability to see the fear as … well … fear of fear and nothing more than that.

fearless controlling fear

 

Regardless.

 

That’s not courage … that is simply focusing on what is important. Or, let’s say, an ability to focus.

 

I guess I find some support in my belief in that most individuals we look to as brave or courageous people openly admit that they were not free of fear when they faced the unknown <death or simply stepping into the unknown>.

 

They simply kept going with their plan of action, in spite of feeling scared, because they were generally resolute in their decisions, knew the risks attached to what they were doing and in many cases believed that their actions served a larger cause for a greater good.

 

People like that don’t lessen the fear … they simply accept it.

 

Patton once said this about equating bravery with a lack of fear:

 

“If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man.  All men are frightened.  The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.”

 

Anyway.

 

Fear is a real issue. As real as poverty, lack of education or some disease.

 

It is a real issue because, simplistically, the inability to overcome fear translates into a lower quality of life.

 

No shit.

 

Quality of life <and, me being me, I have some proof to back this up>.

 

Someone called fear the “…nameless, unjustified, unreasoning terror which paralyzes needed effort.”

 

And according to a psychologist quoted in a 2009 Psychology Today … “the inaction that stems from excessive, irrational fears or fear-based thinking often shows up as a decision to live life from a “safe” position and not take risks, even if that means forsaking opportunities that might provide greater joy and expansiveness to one’s life.”

 

No shit.

 

I tend to believe we lla sense that fear holds us back but also have a tendency to shrug our shoulders and say “if it were meant to be I would have done that something” as a justification for not facing our fear.

 

Well.

 

Maybe think about that choice a little harder next time.

 

The cost is high if you decide to not face your fear.

 

So.

 

Circling back to the beginning … people who have overcome fear have learned to focus on what is truly important … they have either faced their monsters or decided that they were less important then what they really wanted.

 

And I actually believe most successful people have done exactly this … these have faced their inner demons, monsters, and have asked them to come along for the ride instead of hiding from them <or being safe>.

 

Or.

 

They have had a festival for my fears, a ritual burning of what is BurningBridgescoward in me, and found what is lost in me.

 

 

We all have fears. Accept it. Do what you have to do. Do what almost all of us do. Push on.

 

And know this:

 

85% of what we worry about ends up having a positive or neutral outcome. <research>

 

Enlightened Conflict