Saturday, December 29, 2012

Leopards and Cheetahs

A leopard really, really can't change his spots. And, in truth, he probably shouldn't even try. Better to own being a leopard and remember that you see the world through the eyes of a leopard than to run around claiming to the world that you're now a cheetah.

Leopards are good. Cheetahs are good. Authenticity is sublime.

Old Willy S. said it best through Polonius in Hamlet:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Anti-Ranting

No one is inspired to change through diatribe. Not even a very stubborn person or a person who thinks they deserve the criticism, benefits from hearing everything that's wrong about how they're being or what they're doing. Try raising a child that way and see what sort of person you mold.

Lessons and shared wisdom tempered with gentleness and understanding, not frustration and self-righteousness, inspire miracles. Helping people see the limitless potential for growth already within them is the catalyst for change.

God bless.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Anti-Rant

I've decided I don't like rants. Recently I've begun to feel assaulted by rants. I realize there's no deliberate intent on the part of people delivering rants to wound me, but the negativity of the rants has an impact regardless, especially if the rants are being delivered by someone I respect and whose opinion I value. And modern social media makes it so, so easy to deliver those rants to a wide audience with the click of a mouse...

I rant myself. Frequently. But perhaps I now have a New Year's resolution: no more ranting. If I cannot take the time to gather my thoughts, corral my feelings, and construct a written or verbal expression of my opinion that is more substance than sting, then perhaps it's best not to express those thoughts at all, at least not publicly.

The emotion that drives rants is frustration, with anger bubbling not far beneath. What else drives rants? Lower-level consciousness: that is, the ego and arrogance/pride and an unrelenting hunger to be seen as "right" in the eyes of others.

I guess I could see these rants as a call for love and understanding, for that's most certainly what they are. I've found I really don't have the energy or need to rant when I open myself up and let go of the petty thoughts and smallness eating me that feels so HUGE in the moment. And when I can see the rants of others for what they are, it's hard not to feel pity for the messenger.

Rants don't HELP, nor do they serve ANYONE but the ranter. We sometimes arrogantly suppose or assume our rants should help, and we make all sorts of magnanimous statements about how "we only want to serve," but when statements like these are delivered within the context of a rant, they ring hollow. A rant is akin to turning a firehose on someone who is just thirsty; not only is the target not on fire, firehoses aren't meant to be used on people! A rant is ineffective, painful, and emotionally violent for those who are its target. It doesn't help, it doesn't soothe, it doesn't educate, and it most certainly won't facilitate any sort of healing, only disregard at best or defensiveness, even guilt,  at worst. Ultimately, the rant has nothing to do with a desire to help the target and everything to do with helping the ranter release pent up emotion.

So, yes, a rant does have a purpose. It's a great way to vent your emotions. It's a super way to expel/release what you've absorbed from those around you and from your environment. But the thing is, a rant SHOULD NOT have an audience. Yes, a rant can and usually does have a target, but, again, should never have an audience! Ranting is like going to the bathroom; it's something that should be done in private, behind closed doors, with the results being flushed away, out of sight and out of mind, where the stink will no longer bother anyone.

So I'm going to continue to rant, I guess. I suppose my New Year's resolution, therefore, needs to change a bit: I'll continue ranting, but privately. I'll keep those rants to myself or express them in writing and then delete them, getting rid of them forever and neutralizing any potential harm they could cause. Or if I do decide I need to speak out publicly about something, I'll spend a little time composing and editing to ensure what I put out there is intelligent, reasonable, and less hurtful than a stream of consciousness spewing forth of negative emotions tends to be.

Those of us professing a desire to serve and help really can benefit from opening our eyes and seeing our rants through the eyes of their targets.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hurt People

I recently read this post on Facebook, and it hasn't sat right with me. The focus is on weakness, not power, negativity not positivity, darkness not light. There's a blessing in every human encounter, even the most painful.
It’s reality math a lot of people don’t want to face – and this may sting a bit – but when it comes to relationships the truth is - hurt people want to be with hurt people – consciously or sub-consciously. (like energy seeks and attracts like energy) And this is dangerous of course because it’s hurt people who hurt people – thus perpetuating a cycle. Not only that - but many “hurt people” are like...
energy vampires and will suck the remaining life energy out of those who are themselves hurting and weak and trying to gather strength to become healthy and “unhurt.” But the healthier you become - the greater the motivation and drive will be to want to be around other healthy people as well. There is always hope if you allow pain – if you try to deny it, you will only know suffering and therefore more “hurt” in a cycle of hurt. But as Thoreau put it “The sad truth is that the masses tend to live lives of quiet desperation.” And it simply doesn't have to be that way. Rescuers are usually the ones in true need of rescuing.
I absolutely see that attraction to hurt in myself. It's a fundamentally human quality. But I no longer see it as a default or a flaw or a problem because I truly opened myself up to something higher in my present relationship, which in turn affected all my relationships, those with my friends, my kids, my ex, my coworkers, etc. I haven't changed the whos, I've changed the hows: how I am with those people, and it's transformed those relationships. An energy vampire can only take what you allow him/her to suck from you.

Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix is the best practical book I've read on the topic. But Marianne Williamson says it best and most simply:
When we love, we are automatically placing ourselves within an attitudinal and behavioral context that leads to an unfoldment of events at the highest level of good for everyone involved. We don't always know what that unfoldment would look like, but we don't need to.  God will do his part if we do ours.  Our only job in every situation is to merely let go our our resistance to love.

Relationships are assignments.  They are part of a vast plan for our enlightment, the Holy Spirit's blueprint by which each individual soul is led to greater awareness and expanded love. He brings together people who have the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. No meetings are accidental.

In the holy relationship, it's understood that we all have unhealed places, and that healing is the purpose of our being with another person. We don't try to hide our weaknesses, but rather we understand that the relationship is a context for healing through mutual forgiveness. Adam and Eve were naked in the garden of Eden but not embarrassed. That doesn't mean they were physically naked. It means they were emotionally naked, totally real and honest, yet they were not embarrassed because they felt accepted completely for who they were.