excerpt from field notes: “the battle of slave and sovereign is underway. what is this – day three of hell? i lost my focus, my muse, my creative edge. i’m stuck in an addictive pattern, my mind is spinning and traveling down well-worn pathways. i can feel that i’m no longer in flow. the curiosity & joy that was underlying this activity has been replaced with a burdensome drudgery. i’m “trying” to say the right thing, i’ve lost the thread of purpose underlying it. there was something that used to feel exciting about this….. what was it? i was in a position of self-authority, of creative flow. things felt effortless. now i’m running on some script, caught in a repetitive loop of thinking and/or behavior. even writing this now feels false. i feel a fear and panic that everything i’ve written so far was delusional. exposed, foolish. i need to switch gears. i need to disrupt the pattern. i need to relax. but the mindset that’s even trying to “figure out” how to break the pattern is the same one that’s creating it, so that won’t do. i need to transcend the mind’s limited viewpoint. i’m trapped in a limitation, and any logic within this frame is not going to work. 1/ the mind that got me here is not the mind that’s going to solve this 2/ move to a view that opens the possibility space i can actually feel the feeling of tunnel vision like a pressure on my temples that’s squeezing my view of reality into a narrow slice. i no longer feel connected to that spark, that essence, that feeling of “wholeness” that made things seem effortless. i’ve entered a state of separation. i can feel when it’s authentic creativity, being generated moment by moment, and i can tell when i’m forcing it, and it feels stale, regurgitated, uninspired. the mind that “tries” to be creative is slightly embarrassing. it wants to be clever & impactful, but its approach has no heart, and no matter how clear its message, it somehow doesn’t ring true. it despairs and feels frustration, & seems to hang on even tighter even as it acknowledges its own inefficacy. there’s a control pattern at play that’s preventing spontaneous creativity. the mind has an expectation of what it wants to do, and what the result is supposed to look like. it wants to manage the process. there can be no self-governance if the mind lays down those control structures.” *** Continue reading
a big part of my work over the past year has been to transition from an emotional and intellectual dependence on external authority to a strong sense of living life from an inner authority.
this was a challenge.
it was unclear to me what it would mean to not rely upon something outside myself for guidance or validation. frankly, it seemed like more accountability than i was prepared to handle. who could i blame for things not working if i was responsible for all my choices? what would it mean when i inevitably failed?
when the concept of responsibility was reframed for me as “response-ability,” a sense of enthusiasm and resolve began to replace what otherwise felt heavy and overwhelming.
in the simplest language, to be “response-able” is to have the ability to choose the way you respond to a situation.
seems straightforward enough. or is it? Continue reading
Constructing a New Narrative
We are in the process of trying to cultivate a new world. This is a daunting process and oftentimes it seems absurdly ill considered. Yet, reflection consistently indicates that it is our task whether we like it or no. And so . . .
The discussion thus far has identified the central importance of “sensemaking” to the formation of effective communities. In a (potentially futile) effort to break this massive task into bite sized pieces, I’ll try to separate it into a series of “smaller” posts. In the present post, I’ll try to quickly sketch out more fully the nature of sensemaking, how it develops and how it fails. In the next post, I’ll attempt to map out the parameters of what an optimal (or at least “much better”) sensemaking environment might look like. And then in the third, I’ll begin proposing concrete initiatives that have a reasonable chance of implementing some of this optimal sensemaking environment in the near term.
i used to identify with the competing voices in my head. i used to think the seat of my consciousness was in my thinking mind, and therefore that insane asylum of characters must be me. they represented all the conflicted forces within me.
some more in charge, others cowering and obeying. some told me what to do, some mercilessly beat me up, some sat in a defeated pile in the corner, some were children wistfully dreaming.
as i’ve traveled through the process of awakening, i started to bring sharper awareness to these entities. i wanted to get very clear about their patterns of behavior, the principles and beliefs they ran on, the emotions they triggered within me. i wanted to see who was in there running the show. Continue reading
When embarking upon a journey to the unknown, it is wise to equip oneself with the tools to face the unexpected. To dig deep and locate the source of one’s inner strength, so that when a challenge arises, we may respond from our core: open, flexible, relaxed, and present.
There is a tendency in life, however, to lose touch with this place. We inadvertently take on other people’s stories, and behave as if we were a supporting character in their drama, instead of the lead in our own. In so doing, we lose our center of gravity.
It behooves us then to identify those stories and their origins, to understand the parts of us that are running on someone else’s script. When we can shine a light upon that, we create the possibility of moving past it and reclaiming ourselves.
*** Continue reading
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next.” I said to the pixelated Japanese face at the other end of my Skype call. I could feel the strain in my voice as I struggled to mask the restlessness and frustration inside of me.
He looked back at me with an expression of compassionate amusement.
“You need to learn to live with the reality that you don’t know what to do next. And that you don’t know why you don’t know. Be with the not knowing. Make yourself the quest.” Continue reading
A Kickstarter for A New Civilization
A few days ago, my friend Liam Sharp sent me this video from the British Television program Charlie Brooker’s Wipe.
The gist is this: there are profound powers of control out there that have enormous influence over the Narrative — the stories that we tell in order to make sense out of the world. As a result, we can’t make sense of what is going on. Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? Who did what to whom and why? What is important and what is a distraction? Its become nearly impossible to have any real confidence in the answers to any of these questions.
If you’ve looked at my foundational assumptions, you will remember that I believe that the only viable path forward for humanity is a “hard reboot” of our total social architecture. As a consequence, this video does not strike me as odd or even challenging. In fact, I find it a bit refreshing. So — we can no longer trust any of our institutions of authority? Our organs of political, journalistic and even scientific truth-formation are fatally suspect. What are we to do? Clearly — reinvent new ones.
This will, of course, be difficult. And if you believe that it is possible to simply muddle along under our current architecture, perhaps with some modifications or reforms, my approach will feel (far) too risky and you might want to stop reading here.
2014 has been a year of reinvention. A new outlook, new behaviors, new friendships. And exploring a new style. Transitioning from a cozy three bedroom colonial in upstate New York to a modern beach condo in southern California gave me a chance to reimagine how I’d like my environment to look and feel. Here’s a list of 10 sources that gave me inspiration as I’ve been nesting into my new home, and some top picks from each.
This content is an excerpt from a book I’ll be publishing soon, documenting my journey of personal transformation and experiments in life design over the past year. If you’re interested in knowing more about that, feel free to send me an email at emergentbydesign [at] gmail.com.
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