Reflections on life, truth, faith, love, introspection, and transformation.

Personal Values

I generally hold certain values near to my heart and mind. The list sometimes shifts; but generally they are curiosity, love, faith, authenticity, and abundance.

I've learned over time that some values I hold because they are natural to my being, while others I hold because I'm afraid I might lose them, and others I hold because I feel they are lacking.

Here is where my values currently stand in that sense: Curiosity – natural to me overall but I want more passion and energy behind it Love – present with my immediate family, but I want more intimacy in my life Faith – mine has never been stronger, in part due to recent life struggles Authenticity – I believe this is an area of natural strength for me Abundance – this is my newest, and least developed value

Abundance used to be important to me simply out of fear of its opposite, scarcity. But when I hold a value out of fear of its opposite I'm not holding much of anything but the fear itself.

Are any of your values rooted in fear? Which values are most natural to you and which are growth areas?

Catching a Glance of My Shadow's Center

My shadow follows me, carrying a deep truth far from the edges. The edges that define my shadow distract me from the interior. I have spent years exploring my shadow, nearly all of them at the edges. To date I have only caught a glance at shadow's center. Constantly I have been pulled to the edges. I have discovered cultural stories, familiar mythology, and personal wounds. At these edges I have found more than enough to explain it all. Yet I know there is more to my shadow that these edges. I continue to explore, that I might better know myself. I hope and pray that one day I will catch more than glance of my shadow's center. ...and I am afraid. Most of all when I won't admit it to myself.

Transition, Transformation, and Remodeling

For some time I have been awaiting a suitable metaphor in order to describe transition and transformation in life. I came across one today I quite like.

Transition brings with it the need to remodel my life, not unlike remodeling my home. Transformation occurs at the depth of the remodel.

A fresh coat of paint is always nice, but when I get down to the framing of the walls I find myself engaged in far deeper change.

Forces of transition, whether at the start of the remodel or in the middle of it, make it clear when more depth is required. The depth of the change, provoked by the transition, is the actual transformation.

I recently planned to repaint a room, and then upon closer inspection found a slight rot in the wood that requires me to replace portions of a doorframe. Similarly, in my life I planned to get a new job and upon closer inspection found that it is time for a deeper change to my professional approach.

It should be said that if I start by tearing down all the walls then I am likely to be rebuilding that which was perfectly suitable without replacement.

Where are you painting a wall that is rotted beneath? How might you welcome the forces of transition so as to more authentically transform?

Fire that does not consume

I was recently reminded of the story of Moses and the burning bush. What made the fire stand out to Moses was that it burned without consuming the bush. In other words, this flame defied the laws of physics. It was feeding on something beyond early understanding.

Moses was confused, because he had no reference for a fire that does not consume. But isn't our own life energy a similar miracle?

Sure; I eat food, drink liquids, and rest. But where do all the dimensions of my life force and energy come from?

Where does your fire burn without consuming?

Leading from Stillness

I have a stillness practice that brings peace to my heart, body, mind, and soul. I love it.

I have long had an activity practice that runs away from this peace and toward doing, producing, moving, and accomplishing.

These days I'm exploring how I might embrace both practices in a more integrated fashion. The phrase “leading from stillness” seems to capture these efforts nicely for me. I should mention that I am a firm believer that leadership always starts with self-leadership!

Where might you be able to start leading from stillness?

Presence and Awareness

My concepts of presence and awareness are differentiated by time and structure.

Presence is the state of being in the present moment. This means observing that which is present through sensory input, feelings, thoughts, and intuition. Presence is merely the observation of what is present in the simplest way possible.

Awareness is the practice of imposing meaning of some form into presence. It might be data or story, but awareness begins to take the present moment and place it into some structure that makes sense of it. Awareness need not be a cognitive exercise. It can be the connection between sensory input and feeling, feeling and thought, sensory input and intuition, etc.

The sensation of my toes in the sand would be presence, while observing happiness due to the sensation would be awareness. Feeling that happiness would be presence, while observing how that happiness changes my mood would be awareness.

So in a sense presence is input and awareness is processing the input. Put another way, presence is the simplest form of awareness and awareness is the most complex form of presence. It's more of a gradient than a line in the sand.

Where do presence and awareness dance together in your life?

Love and Parenthood and Humanity

There is something special about being a parent. Nothing can change the relationship I have to my child. I am their father, and they are my child.

In a world where relationships start and end based on romance, geography, politics, and more; It is refreshing to know my parenting relationships is unwavering.

But is this any less true for siblings? Cousins? Distant relatives?

Perhaps proximate genetic relationship could be a reminder that we are all genetically human, and thus in relationship with one another. In that way, my love for my child can remind me to love others. I hope I am a good enough parent to somehow teach that lesson!

Opening the door for another... so that they might open the door for you

Everyone gets upset sometimes. In intimate 1-1 relationships there are inevitable moments when both people are upset at the same time. In these moments, it is as if two people are trying to fit through a small doorway at the same time. One pushing, one pulling; and no one getting through.

What would it take for you to open the door for your partner? To let them through first, so that they can hold the door for you in exchange once they are through?

Dimensions of Self

Here are a few ways I've learned to disaggregate myself for reflection:

“The Greek Ideal” = Mind, Body, and Spirit

P.I.E.S = Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual

3D personality = Clint (serious), Gandhi (loving), and Curly (funny)

Thoughts, Emotions, and Sensations

Thinking brain, Wise heart, and Instinctive gut

How do you prefer to think of the many dimensions of yourself?

Conditioned Mind

Habits. Programming. Behavior patterns. Cycles of activity. These are all ways of describing what I've been recently calling my “Conditioned Mind”. Some people personalize this aspect of themselves, calling it the “Maximizer”, “Task Master”, “Automatic Self”, or even “Possessed Self”.

My Conditioned Mind has been hard at work for years determining course of action based on environmental rewards and punishments. It can be very useful for task completion, but not so useful for self-engagement, authenticity, or awareness.

I have discovered that my Conditioned Mind seems to feel quite anxious most of the time. There is a sense of “must”, “have to”, and “need to” that comes from a place of scarcity. It has felt odd, but liberating, to check in with this anxious feeling and let it pass instead of indulging it's orders with activity.

What is the emotional tone of your Conditioned Mind?

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