I am readingEleanor Roosevelt: The Early Years right now. It’s awesome. I’ve always drawn upon Eleanor Roosevelt (ER) quotes, and have seen biographies about ER, yet reading the book has given me much more to consider, and to reflect upon. Powerful.
If you’ve not read much about ER, here are some of my favorite quotes, and a cool American Experience interview I highly recommend with Vernon Jarrett.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Though the four had lived in a world full of change, they did not feel it, nor did they think much about it. Their lives had been, up to this point, rather monotonous.
Not like the days when their ancestors lived in the four corners. Those days were full of change even the catalysts felt. For a catalyst to actually feel change, it must be on a global scale.
What the four didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that the seeds of change, they, were about to embark on a journey for the ages. One that would have even concerned their ancestors.
Unlike the East, the West was hot. Very hot, and dry, not wet and humid like the East. No, the West was a dry, arid, desert landscape, with rolling sand dunes, and distant mountains, which surrounded the Valley of the Sun.
It was in this Valley that Lorel, and the People of the Sun lived; and, where the Castle of Sand was located. Like Sheldon, Lorel was the Mage of the East, and as such, fulfilled their obligation to the People of the Sun.
Unlike Sheldon, Lorel preferred to live alone. No Quara running after, nor house servants picking up after them. Just Lorel. Well, Lorel, and Hok, Lorel’s falcon, who, like Lorel, had lived in the Castle of Sand for generations. In fact, Hok’s ancestors had served Lorel’s ancestors for as long as anyone could remember.
Lorel was in their study at the top of the Castle, when Hok flew in and perched themselves just over Lorel’s shoulder.
“What’s the matter, Hok?”
It was just then that Lorel sensed it, them. Lorel quickly made their way to the window overlooking the vast dunes to the East. Sure enough, five riders were making their way to the Castle.
Surrounding the Castle were hamlets, many of them. The hamlets were where the People of the Sun lived. Lived, and thrived. Even though the People of the Sun didn’t take care of Lorel and the Castle proper, they took care of all of the surrounding landscape and hamlets.
And, though no one took care of Lorel and the Castle, there was one in particular, one tribesperson that looked in on Lorel regularly. Talom was their name, and their dedication to Lorel was complete.
Talom was a senior advisor among the People of the Sun, and was known for their great intellectual prowess. Even Lorel considered Talom one of the smartest people they had ever met.
As the riders approached the hamlets, Talom readied themselves for conversation.
The first rider was young. Younger than Talom expected. The rider gave off waves of arrogance, not surprising Talom in the least. The other four riders stayed back, while the youngster dismounted, and approached Talom on foot.
The hamlet’s inhabitants spilled out into the narrow streets that connected the small homes constructed of sand, sticks, and brush. Children and teenagers raced up to stand behind Talom, while their parents yelled at them to stay back.
The young man approached, and said “Who are you, old man? We’re seeking Lorel, Mage of the East. We’re not interested in talking to the likes of you. Simply point the way, and we’ll pass in peace.”
Talom snickered inwardly. The arrogance of such a boy to suppose he could simply ride up to the Castle of Sand, and speak with Lorel. Funny. Absurd. Talom gathered himself, breathing slowly, patiently, and just as the boy was about to speak…
“Who am I? Why, who are you, young master? We are the People of the Sun. This is our hamlet, which lies in the shade of the Castle of Sand.”
The young horse rider paused, grinned, then stepped back, looked over his shoulder, and said, “Seems like we have an issue here. This old one will not let us pass. What should we do boys?”
While the young horse rider was speaking to his fellow riders, Talom could sense something. Yes, it was Lorel communicating with them through the fire pit just to Talom’s right. Fire was the Mage’s Art, and they could do just about anything with it, including using it to communicate.
“Talom, what’s going on? Why is this boy here with four other men, and those infernal horses? What do they want?”
Talom still breathing slowly and patiently, answered back, “Master, I don’t like these horse riders, there’s something wrong with them. Not sure what it is, but something is amiss.”
Just then the boy advanced toward Talom at an amazing speed, drawing a throwing knife as he did so, and as he was about to throw, a curtain of fire erupted between the rider and Talom. The horse rider almost ran right into it, yet stopped just in time.
The boy stumbled back, tripped, and tumbled to the desert floor. Now scrambling back towards his horse and the other rides. And, doing so quickly.
As the boy was retreating, Lorel came walking down the narrow hamlet streets towards the wall of fire. As Lorel passed the gathered children, they brushed their heads and shook hands of parents and caretakers, young and old alike.
Lorel then made their way toward Talom, standing right beside them. In that same instance, Lorel withdrew the wall of fire. Hok was sitting just over Lorel’s left shoulder, on the top of one of the hamlets, taking in their Master’s poise under pressure.
“What do you want? You don’t belong here, and are not sanctioned to be away from the Center. The Center is where you live, and where you are to stay. The far reaches of the West is no place for you. Now go.”
The boy stood up, brushed himself off, and called to one of the other men to bring him the pack.
Pack, what pack, Talom thought. Talom didn’t like this at all.
One of the older men brought the pack over, handed it to the boy, then made his way back to his horse.
The boy said, “We were tasked with delivering this to you. It was not an easy journey. Several died. We are what remains of the dispatch. This is for you.”
Lorel took the pack, opened it, and upon seeing the contents, stumbled backwards, almost falling over.
What in the world was the East Mage’s Book of Change doing with these men, and that infernal boy? What was it doing in the West, about as far away as you could get from the distant East? And, oh no, what about Sheldon?
Ever thought about the power of language? Yes, no? I hadn’t until about three years ago. Why? Well, as I’ve mentioned in many of my posts, about three years ago I began to develop myself, really develop.
And, when you work on yourself, from the inside out, which is the only real way, you begin to understand the power that we, you, hold within you. It is a vast power, and language is a part of that power.
Before we begin to look at the power of language, let’s start with a definition.
NOUN 1. The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.
Alright, pretty straightforward, right? Do you read anything in there about the power of language? No, me either. However, it’s there, believe me. Let’s take a look then at 4 reasons why language is so powerful.
1. Language is what we use to create meaning
As I’ve written about in other posts, human beings are meaning-makers. We continuously construct narratives, or stories, about life. We take in information, a stimulus, and we convert that information into a patterned story about how we perceive ourselves. Then we respond.
We respond from the space of the story. From the beliefs we hold about who we are. Can you see the power in that. Pretty powerful.
For instance, if we believe we are limited, because someone told us that when we were little, we will respond from a space of limit. Without thinking about it. Important.
In this example, it’s not as if we are consciously thinking about these limitations. These limitations live in the stories we tell ourselves, and others about who we are. They operate independently. Aware of them or not, they are there. Powerful.
Imagine deciding to not do something because someone told us not to do that thing when we were little. If we really sit inside of this concept, it may fill us with sadness.
Know, however, that at the end of this article we will discuss how to get in touch with the stories we have. Why? Because when we are aware of them, even though we don’t know all of them, we can choose a different response. We can create new stories.
2. Language is what we use to communicate
Though verbal and written communication are not the only ways we communicate with each other, they are two of the primary ways we do so. We take that which we know to be “true,” drawn from the stories we have about ourselves, and use it to construct language to communicate with people.
Further, when we communicate with people, and they do or say something to confirm the story we have about ourselves, that story becomes more codified.
These stories, then, have been “confirmed” over years and years of inner-dialogue, and are also “proven” by those we interact with. Complex. And simple.
For instance, if I believe that I am limited, and act that way, then those around me, after time, will stop asking me to do things that stretch me, or make me uncomfortable.
Not because they don’t want me to stretch and grow, rather because I always say no. I confirm for them my own self-perceived limitation. And, in return, they confirm that limitation in my mind by not asking me to stretch and grow.
Thomas Cooley wrote about this concept over 100 years ago.
“The looking-glass self describes the process wherein individuals base their sense of self on how they believe others view them. Using social interaction as a type of “mirror,” people use the judgments they receive from others to measure their own worth, values, and behavior”
And, then sociologist Erving Goffman took Cooley’s work further.
“The term ‘symbolic interactionism’ refers, of course, to the peculiar and distinctive character of interaction as it takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists in the fact that human beings interpret or ‘define’ each other’s actions instead of merely reacting to each other’s actions. Their ‘response’ is not made directly to the actions of one another but instead based on the meaning which they attach to such actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning of one another’s actions.” (Blumer, p. 180, in Paul Gingrich)
Therefore, how we think is how we act, believe, and perceive. And, those around us do the same. Have you ever had an interaction with someone that didn’t know you, and they interacted with you in a way that didn’t fit the story you have of yourself? Yes? What did you do?
Did you align with your own story about the person you believe yourself to be? Or, did you act in a different way? Most of the time, people will continue to behave as they have, which is consistent with the actions, beliefs, and perceptions they have of who they are.
Reason? Because to act, believe, and perceive otherwise is incongruent with their perceived identity. And, all of it, the actions we take, and the beliefs and perceptions we have first of all live in language. That is powerful.
3. Language is what we use to make sense of the world
When you look out your window, what do you see? A tree? A bush? The sun or moon? Whatever you see, and the words you use to describe the world all live in language. All of it.
Think about the word sun. Where did that come from? Well, let’s take a quick look.
“Old English sunne, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zon and German Sonne, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek hēlios and Latin sol .”
And, even cursory searches of the internet will show that the roots of the word sun cross cultures.
“This is ultimately related to the word for “sun” in other branches of the Indo-European language family, though in most cases a nominative stem with an l is found, rather than the genitive stem in n, as for example in Latin sōl, Greek ἥλιος hēlios, Welsh haul and Russian солнце solntse (pronounced sontse), as well as (with *l > r) Sanskrit स्वर svár and Persian خور xvar. Indeed, the l-stem survived in Proto-Germanic as well, as *sōwelan, which gave rise to Gothic sauil (alongside sunnō) and Old Norse prosaic sól (alongside poetic sunna), and through it the words for “sun” in the modern Scandinavian languages: Swedish and Danish solen, Icelandic sólin, etc.”
Yet, is the sun, the sun? Or is it a star? Same with a tree. Is a tree, a tree? Or, is it something else. The point? That the language we use to describe the world becomes just that. The world we see. The world we know.
When we see a tree, we don’t question the fact that at some point a tree was not called a tree. Nor was the sun called the sun. They were called something else, or nothing at all.
The relationship we have with the language we use to describe the world we see and perceive as our reality, is therefore extremely important, and powerful. It must be.
4. Language is what we use to create our reality
Yep. Truth. Language is what we use to create meaning, to communicate, to understand the world, and to create our reality. In another post, I wrote something like, there are 7 billion different realities on this planet. Truth. How’s that?
Because we all understand our reality as we understand it. Yes, based on the stories we are told about who we are, the stories we then create to fit these stories, and the conformations we get from those around us that codify our notions of the stories we know to be true about who we are.
And, that is creating our reality. One thought, belief, and perception at a time.
However, because language, and our interpretation of it, is so powerful, we can also use language to create a different reality, with different stories, beliefs, and perceptions. Yep, we can.
As with most things, first you need to be aware of the power of language. Check. Then, it is about learning to notice when you are creating a reality that consistently fits the story of who you think you are. If that is what you want for your reality. Awesome. Done. If not?
Once you are aware, and notice how you consistently continue to create a response to a stimulus that is in alignment with, let us say, limitation, you can begin to choose a different response.
A response that aligns with the reality you now want to create. A reality without limits. Powerful.
Phew, that was a lot. More than I expected in this one post. Yet, because language is so powerful, there is a lot more to write about. A lot more.
Yet we will leave that to a future post.
Language is powerful. We can use language to confirm all the things we think about ourselves, given to us by someone else, and continuously confirmed by ourselves and everyone around us. OR.
We can use language to disrupt that which we believe we know about ourselves, and use the power of language to create a whole new reality for ourselves. And, guess what?
Everytime someone chooses disruption over the status quo, everyone benefits. All of humanity does.
Vulnerability is a wonderful gift. When we choose vulnerability over fear, we open ourselves up to learn more about ourselves and all of humanity.
For a long time I chose fear. Not so today. In the spirit of vulnerability, here is a video I created last week on the importance of being vulnerable.
I am inspired by everyone in my life, and everyone I meet. All of them. This past week, I was particularly inspired by a colleague of mine. Terri Houde is a Corporate Trainer, works on our team, and created the following video about an upcoming video series. Check out vulnerability in action. Inspiring.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” – BRENÉ BROWN
What’s the difference between an attachment and a healthy relationship? And, why does it matter? Well, it’s only been in the past year, really, that I can really make this distinction. What does that mean?
Well, I hold a degree, actually two of them, that stipulate that I know about this distinction. Yep. And, while those pieces of paper are in frames, and the person writing this article does have intellectual information about the theoretical differences between attachment and healthy relationships, that is not knowing.
Alright, you are doing very well, stay with me. One more distinction.
Holding intellectual information means that you have a grasp, even expertise, in understanding a particular topic or subject. This is a true statement. Does it then follow that because you have intellectual information about a subject or topic that you also know about that topic or subject? No. Why?
Because to know something, really know it, in your head and your heart, you must have lived through it. It is the only way. It must be experienced.
While many people can theorize about the difference between attachment and healthy relationships, they only really know the difference if they have lived through something that has shown them that difference. Which is why I have only recently learned, and now know, about this distinction. And, it is an important one.
Here is a good example.
intellectual The adjective intellectual describes something related to or using the mind or intellect. Your creative pursuit of singing in a rock band is different from your intellectual interest in 16th-century drama.
In the above example, singing in the rock bank is known because it is being done, lived, it is real. While the intellectual interest in 16-century drama is purely theoretical, made up of ideas. The person that has intellectual information of 16-century drama can never know what being in a 16-century drama is like. Phew. Okay, I think that covers it.
Now let’s create the distinction between attachment and healthy relationships. The distinction between the two is important because many people believe they are in a healthy relationship with someone, when they are actually only attached. They are not really in a healthy relationship.
Attachmentand Healthy Relationships
It is important to understand that we are all attached to people, things, and objects. Attachment is a deep feeling we have for someone or something. These attachments will correspondingly drive our behavior, whether we are aware of it or not.
Because our attachments will drive our behavior and reciprocally our emotional state, they can often be destructive, especially in adulthood.
And, especially in relationships that don’t work so well. Why?
Because when we have a deep emotional attachment to someone, we will continue to stay close to that person even when it is unhealthy for us to do so. Think about the relationships you’ve had, or may have right now.
Do you have any that don’t work so well, yet you continue to stay in relationship with that person? We’ve all been there. That is attachment at work.
Of course, you can love someone, also be attached, and still not be in a healthy relationship. Also important to understand. Often people also confound love, and the attachment that comes with that love, with a healthy relationship.
It is particularly difficult the longer you are with the person; and, can be extremely painful when you finally make the choice to leave the relationship.
In effect, attachment can cloud our decision and choice-making process on leaving relationships that we are better off leaving. Difficult.
What Can We Do?
You can notice how you feel, how you think. Do you have an inner knowing that your relationship is not working, yet you stay?
Remember, if your inner-knowing acknowledges the relationship as not working, it is not a demerit. It happens to everyone at some point in their life.
When you know, you have a choice. You can stay, and continue to feel and think one way, yet act in a different way. However, know that when we feel and think one way, and act out of accordance with this knowing, we will be out of balance. Leading us to have more anxiety and frustration.
And, of course, when we have more anxiety and frustration, we are not being healthy to ourselves, or our partner. Really.
Know also that you can love someone completely, and still know that leaving is needed.
Quara’s commitment was clear from a very young age. Take care of Master Sheldon, that’s it, period. Sheldon and Quara had a strong relationship, built on trust and mutual respect, over time. Many envied Quara’s post, Wiki believing that they should rise higher in the Caste system, and take on more responsibilities. Yet that’s not how service worked.
Service was handed out by the tribal elders at birth. As a child grew, they were given instruction over three areas – general education, their service training, and, understanding their patrons Art. And, as Quara was the one selected to serve Master Sheldon, their training in the Art was that more extensive.
Quara moved down the spiral staircase towards Sheldon’s rooms, cautious to be ever so quiet. Cautious and quiet as this was Sheldon’s meditation time, not to be disturbed under any circumstances. On their way down they noticed a shadow playing on the outside of Sheldon’s main room. Light was flickering from inside the room, displayed by the fire in the hearth.
As the shadow moved back and forth, Quara froze in their place on the stairs. Waiting. Breathing slowly. Moving now again, slowly like their breath, one step at a time towards the Master’s room.
One step, two, three, and suddenly the Master burst through the room, rushing past Quara and up the stairs to the main hall. Quara stumbled back against the wall, sank down, and sat. Waiting. Breathing slowly.
Sheldon dashed through the main hall and into the library. Sheldon’s library was extensive, generationally handed down. There were regular books, tomes, articles, and every imaginable script on and in the history of the world.
Sheldon moved quickly. Rifling through the books, grabbing a few, then to the tomes, flipping, blowing off dust, then to the articles and manuscripts doing the same, selecting the ones needed.
They moved all the items gathered to their desk, sprawling out the papers in an array to get the best look. Sheldon lit a couple more candles as the day was dank and dark, as it was often in the East at this time of year, well, at most times of year.
Meanwhile, Quara, catching their breath, hurried up the stairs, through the main hall, and into the library after their Master.
Quara burst into the library and said “Master, what is this all about? You nearly knocked me down the staircase. You gave me an awful fright!” Sheldon did not respond, and continued to study the papers, and books strewn out all over the desktop. Concentrating. Breathing, slowly.
“It’s not hear, I cannot find it, Quara!”
Quara, of course, had no idea what Sheldon was talking about, so probed, “Master, I don’t know what you are talking about. You are supposed to be in meditative practice. I am confused.”
Sheldon continued to search through the papers, combing books, tossing them aside.
“I know it’s here, Quara. It has to be.”
Quara stumped, decided to take a different approach. “Master, why don’t you sit down for a moment, and breathe. You know that it will come to you then.”
Sheldon, not fully hearing Quara, yet sensing reasonableness in the docile way Quara was approaching them, sat down on the floor, closed their eyes, and breathed. Slowly. In, and out. In, and out.
Quara stooped down, sat on the floor across from their Master, and did the same. Concentrating. Breathing, slowly.
5 minutes, turned into, 10, which turned into an hour.
Sheldon opened their eyes, looked at the strewn papers and books littered across the library floor, looked over at Quara, who was still eyes shut breathing, and sighed.
“It’s no use, Quara, I cannot remember where it is. All these years, the Book of Change has been in this library, and now, it is gone. Poof. Gone. I don’t understand it. Cannot understand it.”
Quara slowly opened their eyes, looked at their Master, and also sighed. “Master, I know not where the Book of Change is. Surely it is here. It must be. Where else could it be?”
Sheldon sighed again. Rose to their knees, stood up, and walked over to Quara, lending them a hand, pulling them up.
“Oh, Quara, I am upset, and concerned. That the Book is not here is unsettling, and I fear, not the most unsettling thing that has occurred today.”
Quara looked at their Master quizzically, “Master?”
“In my meditation today, the light brought me a Vision, one that I dare not say overmuch about. Yet know that, though I do not feel change as others do, there are great changes coming, Quara. Changes that will affect the entire world. Nothing will be the same. Nothing is the same.”
Quara started to shake. When the Master had a vision, which did not happen often, something was definitely wrong with the world. “Master, you are frightening me, and I do not understand your meaning.”
“No matter, Quara. It is time. Time to visit the West, and see Lorel.”
Now Quara was more than concerned. Was frightened. “Master, you can’t really mean that. You’ve never travelled to the East. In all the years you have been Master of Castalistidom, you’ve never traveled to the East. Not ever. Oh, Master, you are truly frightening me.”
Sheldon began picking up the papers and books from the floor, organizing them on the desk. They stopped, hands braced on the desk table, sighed, head hanging.
“Of course, you’re right, Quara, and yet, it is my duty to do so. There are only 4 Books of Change on the entire planet. One in the West, South, North, and, well, one that used to be here in the East, yet is no more. We must travel to Lorel. We have no choice.”
Quara, still confused, looked their Master in the eye, chin tucked in, back straight and said, “Very well, Master. I will inform the staff, and get your affairs in order. When do we leave.”
Sheldon smiled, maybe grinned.
“Why, Quara, we are leaving right now.”
Quara, head hanging a bit now, sighed again, picked up his head, and said,
Phew, what a week. All across the country we are still seeing rises in the COVID-19 virus. As I’ve mentioned, most of my extended family lives in Los Angeles, and the virus incident rate is particularly high there right now.
It’s a lot for everyone to bear right now.A lot. Know that even when you feel like you are the only one feeling anxious, sad, confused, angry, frustrated, or any other emotion that arises; you are not alone.
Repeated. You are not alone.
We all feel. We all feel the same emotions. They come and go, here one moment, then gone the next. Normal human experience.
This week I was feeling particularly blocked. No real writing ideas were forthcoming. Frustrating. And, as I’ve written about in other posts, this happens to us all. You can insert whatever medium you like here, arts, science, it doesn’t matter. We all get blocked. Stuck.
You know what it was for me this week?
Mm. Took me about two days to figure it out, which means that I continued to do my day like always, feeling overwhelmed. For me, the first indicator something is going on. Then it occurred to me. You’ve not cried at all this week.
You may be saying, jeez, it’s only Wednesday. Yet, as was aforementioned, we all have a lot to hold, handle, and deal with right now. Letting out those tears then is not only needed, it is necessary. For everyone, and especially those that live their life from a creative standpoint.
Creativity becomes blocked when we hold onto our emotions. Yep. What did I do? I cried. And, guess what? Almost immediately I had several new insights, which I am currently writing about, including this blog.
It is so interesting to write about the importance of doing our inner work, being with our emotions, probing into them, really feeling them, letting them go, and still continue to get stuck holding onto mine. A Paradox? Yes.
It is the reality of the situation. Humanness.
Happens to us all. It is part of being human. It is the pain, and WONDER about being human. It is also the continuous learning about being human.
Learning from ourselves and each other. Beautiful.
On this Wednesday, then, I send you peace and love; and, knowing that your emotions, which may be erratic and more complex than normal due to our current reality, are not abnormal. You are just like me. And, I am just like you.
When you need to cry do so, and see what comes on the other side of those tears that are ready to pour forth.
In the past day or two, I’ve written a couple of posts on vulnerability. I am constantly amazed at the importance of recognizing and participating in our own vulnerability.
It is in those spaces, where we find our most vulnerable selves that we also find wealth beyond measure. For me, it is not money, or prestige, I’m after, it’s creativity and innovation.
And, to create and innovate, you must be vulnerable.
Here is me being vulnerable with you right now. Though I’ve never really liked to read poetry, I like to write it. Not often, just here and there. And, here is one, I’ll share it with you now.
The seed looked up at the sky, and the sky said, sow.
I’ve never before shown this poem to anyone. Actually, I don’t think anyone knows that I like to write poetry. Vulnerable. Actually, this poem can be written another way, which I just thought of, so let’s put that one in too.
The seed looked up at the sky, and the sky said, sow?
Funny, and fun. Just a short few years ago, I did not possess the vulnerability necessary to write poems in a post like this, or in any other forum.
However, as I’ve written elsewhere, vulnerability, like any trait, can be practiced.
And, when practiced, you get used to doing it. For, it is in the actions we take, that we become more comfortable doing those things that make us uncomfortable.
Writing in itself is a rather vulnerable pursuit, like any other art form. This is why creativity and vulnerability are so closely related. In order to be creative, and to develop a creative outlet through any medium, one must be willing to be vulnerable.
What I’ve recognized these past two years is that when we are vulnerable, we get back so much more by doing things that we once might have declined to do, or resisted doing.
A sense of accomplishment, yes, and a visceral understanding of what it is like to live through the experience, rather than through thinking about experiencing something. Experience is everything. The ultimate knowing.
What can you do? You can be vulnerable. How, you ask?
Here are a couple of suggestions.
Do something you’ve been planning to do, yet have made excuses and justifications for why it is not necessary, or it’s not the right time. Just do it. No pun intended.
When a friend asks you to go somewhere, or do something with them, and your natural inclination is to say, no, because you are too tired, or have something else to do that you think is more important. Do it anyway.
The next time you have a thought or insight about doing something artistic, or creative, don’t put it off or make excuses about not being creative. Express your creativity.
Just a couple of suggestions. Whether you try those out or not, please remember one thing.
We are all creative beings, every single one of us. Humans are naturally creative.
Some say it is our highest quality. Not sure. Yet, I do know how it feels to be vulnerable, and to be creative. It feels scary and uncomfortable, and exquisite and amazing all at the same time.
So, if writing is your thing, write. If it is art, then do art. If you don’t have a creative outlet yet, do some research and pick a medium. There are many.
It matters less what the medium is, than it does that you create the space for yourself to be the creative being that you are. And, it takes being vulnerable to get there.
Alright, so I am going to start working on this book again, and am going to share it with you here. I had another site, of the same name as the book, yet it was just too much to manage, so I redirected the site a month or so ago, and am now ready to start working on it again.
The chapters are rough, and in an iterative state, yet it will be fun to engage with all of you through this narrative.
Be well, read well, and stay well. -Jeff
The 4 Catalysts
Catalyst – a person or thing that precipitates an event.
Change – the act or instance of making or becoming different.
Chaos – complete disorder and confusion.
Seed – the cause or latent beginning of a feeling, process, or condition.
They were catalysts, and didn’t know it. How could they? When life is full of change that you precipitate, it all seems the same. Change is only seen as occurring differently when there is a normal by which you measure such change. Normal is not a word, or a way of being, that they knew. No, change is what they knew, constant and ever present. Their normal, their every day.
Chaos on the other hand they knew well. Chaos is everywhere in the world, yet humans believe there is an order to things. Time is a good example of a seemingly ordered set of principles, and people rely on it immensely. Yet, time is not ordered. Time is, in fact, very chaotic. Time changes, and precipitates events, and also creates disorder and confusion, hence chaos. We put stability on time, time is not stable. And, this they knew.
They were seeds, and this everyone knew. Seeds of chaos and seeds of change, hence the catalysts.
Known – recognized, familiar, or within the scope of knowledge.
Being – the nature or essence of a person.
“The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured. Those special people who speak out in such a way as to shake up not only the self-assurance of their enemies, but the complacency of their friends, are precious catalysts for change.” -Howard Zinn’
It was a day like any other day, chaotic, and ever changing, yet they knew it not, as normal was equal to change in every way and in every part. The winds change, the tides change, the moon changes, yet people believe they are static – for the sun is in the sky surely it is static, not moving – not true.
True to them, was the everyday occurrence of defying the traditional societal model. Pushing back on the status quo. This was their work. Their life work, in fact.
There were four of them. One in the east, one in the west, one in the south, and one in the north. Connected by a deep inner knowing, not by physicality, not by geography, but by a knowing. Knowing, familiar, recognizable, and within their sense of being.
Their being was their calling. Their mere existence was catalyst enough. No action necessary, though in action were all four, always. People, events, even ideas were attracted to them. And, inside of each of these people, events, and ideas even, were the seeds of change. Seeds that were drawn out and exercised by the four.
One person, event, and idea at a time. And sometimes, on rare occasions, a person, event, and idea coalesced in such a way that the confluence of which created change across the globe.
Was where Sheldon was located, atop a mighty castle stretching to the very bounds of the heavens, in the nether regions of the continent, tucked away in a hidden forest overgrown with hundreds of years of growth. Trees and bushes dripping with dew from the continuous rain showers that plagued this area of the globe.
These forests were also home to many small tribes, all of which paid homage to the heaven stretched castle known as the Castalistidom – the catalyst.
One such tribe, the Wiki, were sworn to care for the Eastern catalyst and had been doing so for thousands of year, generations upon generations. Nestled within the forest all around the Castle, they tended the crops, raised the cattle, traded and barded with neighboring tribes, and of course, took care of the Castle grounds and Sheldon’s estate.
Within the Castle there were several Wiki, some cleaned the Castle, some prepared and cooked meals, some counseled Sheldon on affairs of the estate and neighboring lands, and one Wiki in particular, Quara was always with Sheldon, whether at home or afar.
Quara was old, very old, and had been serving at Castalistidom their whole life. Generations of Quara’s family served in this same capacity, and though difficult, Quara would not have it any other way, for Castalistidom was the way of life, the only one, that Quara, and their people, knew of.
Sheldon was in their room, which was at the very center of the Castle, below the main floor, where it was often dark, just like Sheldon liked it. For it was in this darkness that Sheldon found the light.
The light that was inside of the meditative practice, Sheldon’s Art, the gift given so many generations ago. Given by whom, no one knows. No one dare asks, for it was given at a time of great upheaval in the world, an upheaval not seen since.
Generally, peace was the edict of the day, yet that was about to change.
The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is not something that we are born with, though we are all born with a set of emotions. Emotion, like thought, taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell are one of our major senses.
It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve been working on getting in touch with, or, rather, understanding my own emotions. Many people believe they are in touch with their emotions, yet they are, in fact, simply covering them up with other things.
For instance, I used to cover up my emotions by overeating and drinking too much.
Of course, at the time, I was not aware that I was engaging in those destructive habits as a way of denying, or refusing to accept, my emotions.
And, like many of you, I was not aware of nor was educated about my emotional self. For instance, I was not aware that when anger arises, today at least, it typically means that I am suppressing another emotion, which is usually sadness. Sadness, and the desperate need to cry.
I have read, and have taught, about masculinity in regard to emotions, and have commonly said, little boys are not taught how to deal with their emotions.
In fact, they are taught to suppress their emotions.
I thought at that time, I was in touch with my emotions, because I was able to theorize the accuracy of the information about masculinity and emotional intelligence.
However, theorizing about a subject, and actually knowing and understanding that subject on a visceral level are not the same thing. At the time I was teaching on masculinity and emotions, I was severely overweight and drinking heavily.
Not in touch with my emotions at all.
Fast forward two years, and I am now just beginning to get in touch with my emotional self, which is both a painful and liberating process. Doing so has taken seeing someone once a week, and doing the internal investigation necessary to understand my emotions, and the events in my past that I am still holding onto.
Creating EI then is an intentional process of inquiry and investigation into parts of ourselves that we may want to leave well enough alone.
Yet, what I am beginning to understand is that inquiring into, and investigating, our inner selves is part of being human, and our shared humanity.