Any fighter can tell you that the more you resist, the easier it will be for you opponent to take you. The harder I hold, the faster I lose energy. The more rigid I stand, the easier it is to take me off balance. The mark of a beginner is one who attempts to use strength and force to overcome their opponent. The more experienced practitioners would give a slight smile and teach the enthusiastic beginner that, although strength is important, how it's applied is more important still.
My contemplation today has been, what is resurrection, and how have I been impacted by it?
Resurrection occurs when a thing once thought dead returns to life. A thing left in the past reemerges in the present. Perhaps even when an aspect of my being is forgotten, long ago sealed away, reappears in an alive way. For example, the characteristics of my child-self- playful, innocent, open-hearted- return again to show that they are still alive in me. In this way, resurrection is a blessing. But too, shadows of the past, the things I'd like to leave dead sometimes come back again. An old hurt I caused someone else, a time when I behaved recklessly and put others at risk, I might try to seal them away out of my memory, but they visit again even without invitation. In this way, resurrection can also be a blessing.
Something that's been up for me recently is the notion of asking for help. I'm in the midst of an inquiry around it. Sometimes I struggle to ask for help, and I mostly don't want people to know. I don't want you to know that I need help, and I don't want you to know that I don't want to ask for it. There's some shame simply in acknowledging that I need help. I wonder about that.
When I was 17, as a senior in High School, I was approached by one of the English teachers and asked to read a Langston Hughes poem for a school assembly during Black History Month. I've always liked poetry and was really into Hughes' work at the time, so I thought it was a pretty cool opportunity. I knew why I was singled out, being one of only a few students of color in a huge student body (over 2000 students). I was being used for effect, to potentially make the reading more meaningful. More specifically, my race was being used by the program director for the effect it might have on the mainly white audience.
In my corporate career, I spent the first few years learning the language, practicing the forms, and working hard to gain status and influence. This initial period was characterized by a focus on material gain and security, and it lasted for about 5 years. At a certain point, I became disenchanted with the play of things, and as a result I felt less and less engaged. Gradually my attention began to shift to alternative ways of organization and the fundamental question of what a human needs for effective collaboration.
2016 was the year of the Monkey, and we faced some truly wild energies. Unpredictable happenings were the norm this year, and the world will never be the same for so many reasons. Not the least of them is the political upheaval that put a crack in the foundation of the old establishment and left many people trembling. But just as important is the art, music, and other movements that humans produced. The quickening of the uncovering of fear and scarcity is directly related to the deepening of the awareness of Love all around the globe. The tragedy is that they are not often found together.
A few weeks ago I wrote a celebratory post about coming out called, I Get to be Here. It's about the pain of hiding who we really are, the impact on physical and mental health, and the frustration of fighting with oneself over "who to be" in order to get the love and connection we need. I call it a celebration of coming out because the process of just being me as authentically as I can feels a little like coming out of the closet. Like I had been hiding part of myself, and now moving beyond the need to do that.
As I wander intentionally down the path of self-awareness and inner exploration, I continue to find these wedged in beliefs or patterns stuck as though to the side of a gooey cave of flesh and mucous. Like a parasitic guest who lives only by my not noticing that it is there. Because when I become aware of its presence, I start to take steps to root it out.
I heard the legendary community builder Mark Lakeman say recently in a workshop, "We're so connected that we even share our sense of isolation." How poetic. Even as we sit in our boxes tapping at our keyboards and filling our eyes full of entertaining shapes, that same gnawing sense of dissatisfaction is stirring in all of us. Could it be true?
I feel like I need to point out that when I decided to start a blog, I wasn't planning to write a bunch of stories about myself. I thought it would be a wonderful way to begin sharing my ideas and visions with the world. Like my last post, The Mirror Principle. Maybe more of that will come, but for now it feels most honest to share what I'm going through. It's like I'm slowly integrating my inner world with the outer world. And I can't jump straight into the deep end, I've got to start out by wading a bit.
There's something magical that happens when I get a chance to witness the interconnectedness of life. The three dimensional world collapses, and a new reality emerges in which differences are hardly noticed, as the sameness of life takes center stage. This can happen in many ways, and for me it's usually small synchronicities that pop up as I go through my day. Someone around me says the words that are on my mind, my friend calls me on the same day I planned to call him, someone offers me the thing I was just about to ask for. However it happens, it can feel like recognizing myself in another, or simply that for a moment I lose track of any sense of "otherness".
I fancy myself some kind of risk-taker. Looking back over the last 15 years, I see how I've chased thrills in so many ways: MMA competition, climbing an active volcano, driving drunk, smoking weed in public, fist fights, unprotected sex, solo travel to strange lands, freestyle rapping on stage, crying deep wailing cries in front of groups of strangers. My 20's were lived.
Taking risks has always been important to me. In my youthful explorations I loved to feel afraid, and then fight, push, grit and sometimes luck my way back to safe ground. I wanted to see how fearless I could become. And now that I'm done with the reckless endangerment, I see the new risk in front me that I didn't have the courage for until now: leaving my job without knowing exactly what I'm going to do next.