Archive for the ‘Love’ Category
Monday, December 19th, 2011
Visiting San Quentin State Prison, and What I Didn’t See Coming
A few weeks ago I got the chance to visit San Quentin and speak with a community of prisoners who are working on personal transformation. What a surprise.
Unexpected thing #1: At San Quentin state prison, men with life eligible sentences play doubles tennis on the yard. Unexpected thing #2: These men (who have at some point killed another person) and I? We are more alike than I previously ever imagined. Unexpected thing #3: They are engaged in a year long program to become non-violent persons and peacemakers, and have taken a student peacekeeper pledge that many people ‘on the outside’ can partake in. (more…)
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Are people giving you only a fraction of what they are capable of? Do they go home early? Yawn in meetings? Seem disheartened?
Here are the top 5 reasons people don’t want to work for you:
1) You are unclear on what you want, so it’s impossible for anyone to be successful. You subconsciously believe that people should be mind readers. The corollary to this is you keep changing your mind or changing direction, or find it difficult to progress projects forward. This is exhausting for a team, as there is no real progress or accomplishment to point to. (more…)
Friday, November 18th, 2011
So, it’s that holiday time of the year again.
Back in 2008, when the economy had begun to tank and we were doing a lot of conscious work on ourselves, we decided that the best thing we could give each other was more connection and support.
We wanted the same level of depth and dialogue in our family circle (our kids, then ages 6 to 23, each other, our parents) that we were getting with strangers in the classes we were taking. We wanted to express gratitude, wonder and appreciation at the year gone by, to connect and communicate with those that we love, to help each person clarify their own intentions for the coming year, and to let each other know what we needed in the way of support.
So we set aside one of the holiday afternoons when everyone was gathered for a new tradition: a family inquiry and promise circle. We asked each person to spend some time alone in the morning doing some kind of vigorous exercise to clear their head: hiking, bike riding, dancing. We asked for all devices and electronics to stay off all day. We set up a snacky buffet and an art table with magazines and glue and markers in case people wanted to do their books visually… then we paired up in unlikely pairs, and handed out the promise booklets with the questions in them, so people could work side by side on their answers and really give them some good thought. (more…)
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Continued from Grown Up School Part 2: Self and Other
There are 4 aspects on this continuum between Freedom and Restraint.
Freedom: I can feel deeply, I know what I am feeling, I don’t push feelings away. If I can’t feel deeply, I am shut off from myself, from the universe and from other people.
Restraint: On the other hand, I don’t have to act on those feelings, or react to them. I can hold myself until my expression of the feeling is good for myself and others. If I can’t hold onto myself, I am a drama queen, an unstable force in the community.
Freedom: I allow myself to want, and to name the things I want. If I don’t allow myself desire, I am sleep walking to the beauties of the world.
Restraint: However, I can delay gratification and even deny gratification if it is better for myself and the world. If I can’t delay gratification I risk gluttony, overspending, or a mentality of disposability- not valuing the very thing I have prized.
Freedom: I can fully express my creative force. If I can’t express my creative force, in some way (words, love, music, art, action, building, sport) I am denying a core element of my humanity.
Restraint: I can do it in such a way that doesn’t step on or impinge the rights of others. If I express it with no regard to others or without restraint, I take advantage of others, and cross their boundaries.
Freedom: I am open to new experience, I see adventure. If I’m not open to experience, I become ritualized and limited, stuck in my ways.
Restraint: I am equally able to ground and be steady, not grasping for the next high. If I am an experience junkie, I’m unable to be content with what it right now.
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Over the summer, Taylor Milsal and I committed to hosting a weekly salon with the sole intention of creating a community of people connected through a common desire to non-dogmatic spiritual and emotional thriving, and to creating more love in the world, starting with themselves. The idea was to meet every Wednesday night, for supper (breaking bread together and hanging out), create a framework for real connection, offer a focused discussion topic presented by a guest speaker or member of the community, and do some meditation together- and usually offer some amazing music. Thus LoveSpring was born.
It’s been running for a few months now, and it’s a beautiful group of people are showing up, from 20 to 60 in any given week. We’ve covered non-violent communication, relationships, meaning/mission, gossip/right speech and more. We’ve had TED speakers, authors, adventurers and filmmakers and former inmates from San Quentin. We couldn’t be more thrilled at the response.
We knew it had a place in the world, and it’s hitting some sweet spot for many people. We’re now working on adding more structure to the topics, a more deliberate skill development and practice component.
Please take a look at what we’re up to, and if you find yourself in San Francisco on a Wednesday night, please join us. We post audio and transcripts of prior events, so they can be more widely shared, even if you’re far away you can participate by getting and commenting on the content.
There will be groups starting up in LA and NY soon, too. If you’re looking for something like this, let us know, and we will connect you with other local people.
Love is the most powerful transformative force in the universe. And I like love most when it’s used as a verb, not a noun. Loving can be learned, and practiced- just like a tennis serve or making the perfect cup of coffee. Loving itself isn’t always soft or easy- living from love encompasses fierce honesty, broad acceptance, core strength, and a kind spirit- because to live from love you have to be able to take in the world in all of its contradictions, and not fight it. From love, we see the soul in each person first, not their utility- we put this seeing before judgement. Putting loving intention first makes everything easy, whereas the absence of love creates immense suffering. That’s something worth investing time in.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
In October I did a talk on Making Meaning & Mission, which is shared here as an audio file.
You may also want to try the prompts we used in small groups in your group of inquiring friends:
- Where do you derive meaning? What matters to you most?
- What desires are underneath the things you do in the world?
- What problems in the world are you attracted to working on?
- What problems have you been able to see, or have insight into, due to your unique life circumstance- how has your life experience itself prepared you to serve?
- Where are your deepest values and actions aligned now, where do you want more alignment?
- Where are you acting on someone else’s (culture, parents) values, not your own?
- If you are living your purpose, how did you arrive in that place? What can other people learn from you?
Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
As a preface to this: This is a personal account, told as bluntly as I can tell it, and because I hope that others will be helped if I narrate my path. Also, I have come to completely love, accept and forgive anything in my family of origin- and I really loved my dad. That doesn’t change the truth of the story.
I had a mad dad. When things didn’t go well, he would bang and break. He would bully sales clerks and support people with his analytical brilliance. There was usually a low level of exasperation and sighing in his presence. It was this way before my mother died, and continued until he was well into stage 4 cancer. My stepmom wore her jaw down by clenching it over many decades, and although she’s a very cool and aware person now, I can remember her kicking her foot through my plywood bedroom door, because I had locked it and wouldn’t come out. I never understood their anger, I just learned to get out of the unhappy way, and wait for the good part of them to return. I would run, hide out, dream, and wait for the wave to pass. But the loneliness and fear in these moments didn’t stop me from growing up and doing the same kind of thing in my own household. (more…)