Category Archives: authenticity

Enlightenment

 exploding_sun image by schnuffibossi1

In my former worldview and system of thinking, I did not believe in Enlightenment, aside from the common, everyday use of the term. Gradually, I have begun to experience more and more what feels like capital e Enlightenment. This article by Barbara-Lynn Freed put a lot into words that I hadn’t actually verbalized.

She suggests that there are 5 ways to cultivate enlightenment:

1. Taking Personal Responsibility
2. Trusting Your Inner Authority
3. Being Authentically Vulnerable
4. Cultivating Unconditional Love and Forgiveness
5. Developing True Compassion

The first one of these that I understood was forgiveness. Way back when the big kids were little, I read something about the difference between saying “I’m sorry” and “I’m sorry, Will you please forgive me?” Asking for forgiveness allows us to be authentically vulnerable by humbling ourselves, and allows the one being asked to intentionally offer forgiveness.

Our culture is RIFE with “I’m sorry,” and yet it is often an empty formality. “[I’m] sorry you had to wait thirteen extra seconds for your fries.” “[I’m] sorry I forgot to call you back/rsvp/return your widget/answer your email.” Not every instance of “I’m sorry” must be followed up by “Will you please forgive me?” In relationships, many times an apology followed up by a request for forgiveness quadruples (at least) the power of the apology. As hard as it is for some to say “I’m sorry,” there are many more who have never uttered the words “Will you please forgive me?”

The next step for me was to begin to understand the value of listening to my own inner authority. In small group one evening, another young mother, Kristin, listened to me explaining how I had been listening to myself and acting based on what I sensed my inner wisdom telling me. Kristin longingly expressed how she wished she had such a thing, that she never seemed to know what to do.

Although my first exposure to the idea of taking personal responsibility was dear Viktor Frankl in “Man’s Search for Meaning, it was Tony Robbins who showed me the power of taking personal responsibility. Have you ever noticed how often in movies and television, a character will say, “I had no choice.”? Au contraire, tiny one, I always want to say. You did have a choice. Our most amazing choice available is that one which comes with every single experience. We get to choose how we are going to respond to it.

Last week in the court, the first defendant was a 19-yr-old developmentally delayed man. He was in jail on domestic violence charges against his aunt, who had been housing him. The only person he had as a possible replacement caregiver was a distant great-uncle. He has no other family, no friends. My heart broke for him. That may not be compassion, as much as it is sympathy, but I think it’s in the right direction — seeing him as a worthy and valued human who is capable and lovable, as well as someone who, like all of us, thrives when in an environment where we can express our capabilities and experience love.

Imagine a world, or a community, or a family, or even many individuals who take personal responsibility for their lives, who take the risk to trust their inner authority, believing that authentic vulnerability is actually a strength that benefits all of us, and who give and receive love and compassion and forgiveness. I can begin to imagine it, because I am seeing it in my own life. I want to be part of sharing and igniting this vision in other people. Won’t you join me?

We Interrupt This Program to Bring You This Fearful Interlude

Well, dag diggity dog. Thrice I started a post and thrice I have now lost it.

While writing the lost post for the third time, a question burrowed its way into my brain.

Is my blog just self-indulgence?

I looked around. Who’s asking that question and why?

Self indulgence :excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s own appetites, desires, or whims

Perhaps this is the resistance of which Steven Pressfield speaks in “The War of Art.” Perhaps this is an old thought pattern which arises when “someone” thinks I’m trying to be a tall poppy.

Thing is, I do blog for my own enjoyment, in addition to creating content that I hope will inspire, amuse, resonate with my readers. Doesn’t every writer write at least in part for him- or herself?

And if I can’t be unrestrained here on my own damn blog, then perhaps blogging is more of a performance and less of a creation.

Am I performing? My heart says no. I am sharing myself through this blog. Most people aren’t going to be interested, but that’s ok. Continuing to persevere, refine, practice, ship, is making a difference in my life.

I think what might be going on is that so far this has all been really, really easy. And the time might be coming when Life will ask me to actually do something uncomfortable either by blogging even more authentically, or stepping into another form of sharing and expression. Maybe Life will ask me to do something that could potentially impact individuals, one at a time. All I can think about is the two spectacular failures I have had when I tried to step into personal training and life coaching.

Dang it.

I’m reading “What to Do When It’s Your Turn” right now, so I pulled it out while writing this. I’m trusting:

“Not everything has to be okay. 

Perhaps it might be better for everything to be moving. 

Moving forward, with generosity. 

Moving forward, with a willingness to live with the tension. 

Moving forward, learning as you go.

The person who fails the most, wins.” 

(What to Do When It’s Your Turn, Seth Godin, p 23)

image from geneenroth.com

Just saw this and had to add it.

What if we Still Received Report Cards?

What kind of grades did you get in school? In college? How important were grades to you?

Imagine if we still got graded as adults, receiving a report card periodically:

Here are my subjects/categories for this day:

  • Showering the people I love with love
  • Keeping Important Stuff from Becoming Urgent
  • Following the Path to Excellent Town
  • Living and Telling my Story
  • Being a Real Bunny
  • Stepping Over the Edge
  • Yowch!
  • Shipping News
  • Tiramisu for my Mind
  • Watching and Listening to Ahs for my Soul
  • Sharing like a Big Girl
  • All the Diamonds in This World
  • Be Careful, Little Hands, where you Put Your Stuff!
  • Doing the Best Version of the Job
  • Walking My Theory Feet into My Action Shoes
Maybe this is a different way to approach the values clarification discussion. I cared about my grades. They helped me see whether I was doing the work.

These days, teachers and professors clearly define what it takes to achieve a certain grade. I’m my own professor now. What would it take for me to get an A in my subjects? Here is my grading scale.

10 self-defined Standards per Category/Subject

Number Met
Grade
10
Yeah, BABY
8
Getting There
6
Meh
4
Uh
2
Let’s Try Hella Harder

Could this work? Would it be too cumbersome? Is it worth a try? [yes] The act of defining the standards in itself creates a more intentional lifestyle for me.

I decided to go ahead and create my lists for these categories. So, I’m trying to distract you in case you would rather not read them. They are probably not all that interesting to anyone besides me. You are welcome to read them for edification, education, erudition, exclamatory expressions, etc. But feel free to skip them as well.

What categories/subjects would you like to receive grades in?

Showering the people I love with love
Telling those I love that I love them, every day. 
Sending monthly letters and packages to my away loved ones.
Getting gifts and cards shipped and mailed in time to arrive on or before the special date.
Being on the lookout for small tokens/gifts to show my love and appreciation
Taking good care of myself; speaking well of myself
Receiving compliments graciously
Being affectionate with the ones I love; touching them
Keeping the pantry stocked with their favorite foods
Making sure the bathroom is clean
Getting up at a reasonable time and being productive
Keeping Important Stuff from Becoming Urgent
Bills are paid on or before their due date 100% of the time.
Online payments are initiated in time to process by the due date.
All tax payments and estimated taxes are paid by the due date.
Gifts and cards for special occasions are mailed/bought in plenty of time.
I complete jobs by the date I commit to
Arriving at appointments on time without speeding like a maniac
Allowing myself extra time to accomplish anything
Using the library without incurring fines.
Paying off credit cards every month
Grocery shopping on a set day every week.
Following the Path to Excellent Town
Doing the most I can in a situation
Making and keeping regular checkups
Making my bed every day
Taking pride in my appearance
Taking pride in my home
Eschewing all fast food, but especially Wendy’s, Boston Market, Kroger fried chicken
Finding out how to clean my house efficiently and regularly, and doing it.
Overcoming set-down disease. 
Cleaning as I go.
Embracing the messiness of being human.
Living and Telling my Story
Blogging daily
Reading The Message of Me as committed
Setting goals for sharing my story in at least one speech
Connecting with a person face-to-face every week
Looking for opportunities to share my story
Finding a way to observe or practice improv
Act on impulses which urge me to action
Be willing to fail
Complete the storyline exercises
Write for a set time every day with butt in chair
Being a Real Bunny
Looking people in the eyes
Asking about their lives
Giving the person I am with my full attention
Keeping my phone away when I am with someone.
Saying yes when I mean yes.
Saying no when I mean no.
Acknowledging my feelings, aloud where appropriate.
Asking for what I need.
Being willing to receive help even if not at death’s door.
Not engaging in activities I think I “should” do
Stepping Over the Edge
Saying yes when I mean yes
Saying no when I mean no
Acknowledging my feelings, aloud where appropriate
Asking for something I want without assurance of getting it
Shipping/blogging about things I am not completely comfortable with
Stepping boldly into bigger things as they arise
Finding times when I can do something other than play it safe
Trusting people I have been afraid to trust
Trying a new activity/group/way of thinking
Doing the most I can
Yowch!
Limiting or eliminating my cat naps
Making healthy choices about food
Going to bed and getting up at a set time
Fighting through negative thoughts to get to the positive ones
Saying no to what I need to say no to
Experimenting with outgoing behavior in group settings
Limiting or eliminating credit card use
When tempted to Fight or Flight, STAY and ENGAGE
Learning to delay gratification 100x better than I do it now, or
even 1/1000th better
Going outside and walking no matter the weather
Shipping News
Blogging every day
Getting the blanket supplies by March 1
Making a weighted blanket by March 15
Surveying moms of boys with Down syndrome about special clothing needs by March 1
Attend the Lifestream of SisterGiant (3/28-29/15)
Create list of 20 for ScaryClose group by March 8
37 Fling Boogie 3x week Feb 20-26, 2015
Revive profiles on elance and odesk by March 4
Create outline for Down syndrome presentation by April 1, 2015
Continue discussion with TL about creating Improv group
Tiramisu for my Mind
bloom, a memoir
The Message of You
What to Do When It’s Your Turn
Infinite Jest
Blog posts by fellow UTYC members
Blog posts by Martha Beck, Geneen Roth,
Reading good stuff every day
Responding in writing to some of what I read
Do more creating than consuming
Read book club book and interact with it
Watching and Listening to Ahs for my Soul
Define what it means to feed my soul
Drunk Ex-Pastors every week
Marc Maron WTF podcast once a week
Limit episodes of Netflix shows to no more than two per day
Reflect on what I am listening and watching
Create a list of shows and movies worth watching for this purpose
Create a list of questions to ask about a show or movie
Write about my musings
Listen to ebooks and write reviews of them on Goodreads
Walking at the park and looking around me
Sharing like a Big Girl
Volunteering in Kepler’s classroom
Spending quality time with Kepler doing the 3 r’s
Help people throughout my day as I meet them
Do more creating than consuming
Celebrate others on social media
Ask my sisters and mom how I can support them
Reach out to JE on a daily basis
Continue discussion with TL about improv class
Blog daily
Contribute in the schools in the ways that nourish me as well
All the Diamonds in This World
Print out texts and comments that are meaningful and supportive
Freely ask for help even if not at death’s door
Say yes to generosity from others
Drink in compliments
Receiving with gratitude the lessons the School of Life presents me with every day
Trust that others can be responsible for their own feelings
Focus on the joy that DB gets out of clearing our driveway
Keep the good energy moving — take it in, give it out
Asking for what I need or want
Stepping boldly into bigger things as they arise
Be Careful, Little Hands, where you Put Your Stuff!
Manage clerty clothes by hanging, laundering, or folding
Keeping track of charging cords, lip balm, glasses, purse
Regular joyful clearing space for joy by decluttering
Processing email every day for [20] minutes (OHIO)
Pick up living room every day — have Kepler help
Share my extra things with others
Create to-go lists/bags for each outing, esp for Kepler
Fix house stuff within one month of noticing, or have plan by then
Clean: K-Mon, LD-Tues, FStrs-Wed, OK-Thurs, MBR-Fri, Ba-Sat
Laundry start to finish one day per week
Doing the Best Version of the Job
Putting folded clothes away where they belong
Washing up the broiler and griddle same day
Create and use OHIO system for my paperwork
Practice making decisions NOW
Schedule my day a little more
Do the work (It’s always my turn)
Persevere and finish what I start
Put my stuff away when I come in the house, first thing
A place for [every]thing and [every]thing in its place
Spend time thinking about what result I want
Walking My Theory Feet into My Action Shoes
Actually do the things on my list of things that make me feel better
Fulfill what I commit myself to
Take care of myself by scheduling appts for myself and kids
Have a spending plan and carefully adhere to it
Find my yes in the uncomfortable no’s
Do what it takes to stay in a good brain space
Commit to paper the results that I want
Let go of something every Friday
Practice Making Decisions NOW
Join the Mobius of Giving/Receiving