Ongoing Emergence

Copyright: tdoes / 123RF Stock PhotoEmergence is an ongoing process. As we learn more about ourselves, our goals, our vision, things change. Priorities change. Focus shifts. And we emerge again. It is ongoing.

Lots of things have been going on over the past few weeks; I needed a break from writing. I also felt a bit lost – like I was simply flinging around my opinion with nothing to back it up. Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s just not how I like to convince people of my point. So I stepped back.

Last week I picked up a book called “How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass“. The title is misleading, but it certainly caught my attention. The subtitle is “A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions”. And after having read about half of it, I understand why I was drawn to it. It’s reminded me of the basics of creating a well thought out argument, and it’s providing the blueprint for how I’m going to move this endeavor forward.

While I plan to share my ideas using a more formalized structure going forward, I’ll still throw in personal observations and thoughts.  I just won’t spend most of my posts like that anymore.  I’m looking forward to the ongoing emergence, and appreciate your willingness to hang in there with me.

Complaining for Results

Complainer QuadrantI am not a fan of complaining.  For years really, I’ve always felt that complaining failed to deliver any results.  It was essentially a pity party.  And while I still believe that there is a lot of useless complaining going on, I have found a benefit to complaining.  I call it “Complaining for Results”.  As you work through your Emergence, you will likely find things you don’t like or don’t understand and you may decide to complain about those things.  That’s fine – just be sure you’re complaining for results.  The first step in complaining for results is understanding who you are complaining to, and whether or not they are in a position to help.  Depending on who and where they are, you can expect different outcomes.  As a consultant at heart, I found it easiest to show this in the 2X2 grid.

The vertical axis represents who the recipient is by gauging their level of interest in listening or helping the complainer.  People high up on the interest axis hopefully include your friends and family – lower would include acquaintances, random strangers, and tax collectors.  The horizontal axis represents the recipients ability to help address the complainer’s grievance.  Where the recipient lands on this axis is related to the issue at hand; its perfectly possible for the same recipient to have a low ability for one complaint and a high ability for another.

  • Low Interest, Low Ability: If the recipient is in this quadrant, the complainer gets nothing out of the effort other than reinforcement.  Restating his or her complaint over and over again reinforces how untenable the situation is, making it harder and harder to change it.  The complainer wallows in self-pity and gets nothing in return.
  • High Interest, Low Ability: Here, the complainer gets quite a bit of sympathy from the recipient.  It’s in this quadrant that we cry in our beer with our friends, get lots of “it must be awful” or “it will get better” commentary – but very little in the way of practical solutions.  The complainer may feel better during the exchange, but the situation doesn’t change.  The bar bill, on the other hand, continues to grow.
  • Low Interest, High Ability: The recipient can definitely help address the complaint or issue, but couldn’t care less about it.  Here, the recipient gets pity – and only a small amount of it.  The recipient knows how to solve the problem, and ends up feeling bad for the complainer because the answer is so obvious that the complainer must be dim to not see how to solve it.  And because the recipient doesn’t have any interest in helping, the pity doesn’t last long before they just walk away and the entire interaction ends never to be repeated again.
  • High Interest, High Ability: The recipient is able to help, and has an interest in helping.  It’s in this quadrant that the complainer will get results!  And because of the high interest level, the recipient also gets results!  It’s the win-win quadrant.

I hope this is helpful to you – complaining can lead to results if you are considerate.  Before you even think about complaining, figure out who is interested and who can help.  Once you know who to complain to, the next step is complaining effectively.  More later.  As always, I would love any feedback you care to offer.

How to Emerge

Image credit: velkol / 123RF Stock PhotoSo how do I push?

  • I do something small each day.  As they say, the easiest way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  Sometimes the effort is to draft ideas for a post, sometimes to write one.  Other times the goal is to simply see things differently.  But each day, I try to do something.
  • I strive to have my thoughts, feelings and behaviors align with my beliefs.  People are inherently good, even if they’ve buried their good and their gifts deep within themselves.  I strive to see that good in everyone, and let them know that I’ve noticed it.  Seeing this and acknowledging it is easy most of the time, but is sometimes extremely difficult.  I find it a bit easier since I’m willing to believe that everyone is doing the best they can at any particular point in time, and that the “best they can” changes frequently.
  • I talk about Emergence.  If people ask me about my thoughts on Emergence and why I’m doing this – I tell them.  I don’t care if it’s during a job interview, casual discussion with friends, or a person who has found me online.  I want everyone to know, because knowing my inspire them to start asking questions and searching on their own – or better yet, along with me.
  • I learn.  I’m open to learning – I feel like I’m on the right path to change the world, but I’m open to the possibility that there are many ways to go about it.  You may have seen a comment from Aaron Z on my “Oneness” post.  He called me out on my thinking; I did some research, responded, and continued to think through his point.  I’m grateful for the discussion and the learnings it allowed me to experience.  And in the end, I believe that I’ve been able to incorporate his point of view into my thinking.  Pretty cool.
  • I listen.  There are opportunities around me each and every day; sometimes they are opportunities to learn, sometimes to expand my business, sometimes to make a new friend.  I never miss an opportunity.

Can you do these things?  Absolutely.  It just takes a firm commitment to Emergence.

Meaning for All

PhoenixRegardless of your beliefs – devout follower of any religion, spiritual but “unaffiliated”, atheist – the story of Easter and Jesus’ return to Jerusalem offers insight.  The story to me is about ultimately confronting the things you’ve buried behind, unearthing them, and becoming more than you thought you could be.

  1. Jesus returns to Jerusalem, a place he left a few years earlier.  He left because his teachings weren’t well received and he wasn’t really having the best of times.  He knew though, that to complete what he had started, he had to go back and deal with it.  He returned confidently and very publicly.
  2. In dealing with his past, he was crucified.  The crucifixion represents our ultimate decision to deal with what we’ve buried and the challenges that we may encounter as we are dealing with it.
  3. Having unearthed the good in his past, and having dealt with the outcomes of that unearthing, Jesus is reborn.  He moves beyond what was a limitation into new existence.  This is Emergence.

It’s our story.  We know we all have unfinished business – hopes, dreams, wonderful things we’ve put aside.  And yes, sometimes not so wonderful things.  When we deal with them, challenges will arise.  And in the end, we end up better people from having gone through the process.  We Emerge.  Know we will face challenges by unearthing our good, but also know that dealing with those challenges leads us to a better place.

Don’t get hung up on the characters, the names and the literal interpretations – see the story for what it is.  It is our story – everyone.

Reasons for Emergence

Image credit: pixelsaway / 123RF Stock PhotoWhat are my reasons for emergence?  I’ve been reflecting quite a bit over the last few weeks on what I’m trying to do here.  Actually, not so much on the “what” but more on the “why” and “for whom”.  I’ve talked a lot about mission and vision type approaches, and how understanding your vision for yourself helps to pull you forward.  I believe that completely, and yet I feel that the reason behind the vision should also be explored.  I think that each of us has our own reasons for emergence, but I want to focus on my own – so please excuse me if this is a little more “personal” than some of my other posts.

So why?  In short, to change the world.  I know that’s grandiose, and yet anything worth doing is worth doing BIG.  I believe that the world is ready for a change, that people want to take a step towards improving themselves and their relationships with others.  I think all it needs is a little push. And I think there are others out there that are also pushing.

Who am I doing this for?  Honestly, when I started on this journey I was doing it for me.  I thought – I believe this, and there is fame, fortune, and glory in getting others to believe it.  But over the last few weeks I’ve realized that the fame, fortune, and glory are by-products.  Yes, I still want those things.  And I’ll get them.  But I’ll get them only by helping you.  My Emergence has to help you.  If it doesn’t, I’ve failed.

My Emergence, I hope, benefits those around me in two ways.  First, they gradually come to see that I have nothing but love and respect in my heart for them – and they see this through my actions.  Second, when I lift myself up it lifts those around me.  I didn’t see the movie and hear it wasn’t very good, but for some reason the phrase “Hope Floats” keeps popping into my mind.  I think that for me it means that by my showing that love and respect, others will feel comfortable expressing those feelings for others.  Or at least be open to feeling those things for others.

My Emergence also benefits those that I don’t directly interact with.  Through my postings here, my talk at Church (and others that I believe are coming), and discussions that I’m getting involved in over on LinkedIn I believe that others are getting exposed to my feelings.  This exposure, I hope, gets people thinking differently.

More on the “how” of Emergence later.  In the meantime, I would really appreciate your thoughts.  What brings you here?  What are you getting out of it?  What else could I offer?

Reclaiming Oneness

Hill CountryIf Oneness is indeed buried through fear, then the way to reclaim oneness is through acceptance.  When we accept things as they are today, there can be no fear of those things.  When we accept that tomorrow is still unwritten and that our attitudes and actions affect the future, there can be no fear.  When we accept that yesterday is done and leave it in the past, there can be no fear.

Our memories of yesterday are always colored, and the past rarely occurred the way that we individually remember it.  Our memories are affected by our current situations, the discussions we’ve had with others, and our hopes for the future.  Get two people in a room, and get them to accurately recall the same event – both will have different memories.  The past is a remembered past, not an actual past.  And so any fears we have of the past are created in our mind.  By accepting the past as we remember it we can move past it and it no longer holds us in a fear-based relationship.

Our hopes for the future are a possible future, based largely on our current wants or needs.  Many fear for the future, and are concerned about what it will bring.  Fearing the future, however, does nothing to alleviate the fact that the future will come.  When we accept that the future is inevitable, we move past fear into a conscious planning for what we want to have happen next.  When paired with the vision that I’ve discussed previously, the future becomes an exciting frontier that we can create as we see fit.  We understand that unexpected or unplanned things will happen in the future, but rather than being afraid of these things we know that our plans will flex to accommodate.  And whatever happens, there is always another day.

Living in the moment though, absent fear and knowing that all is well, is the key to our oneness.  We reclaim oneness by focusing on the present and sensing the connection with others.  I find this easiest to do when surrounded by nature, and so I find it easiest to reclaim oneness when I am outdoors, preferably in some remote location.  It is here that I can see how all things are connected.  It is here that I am at peace.

Where do you go to banish fear and reclaim oneness?  I truly hope you have a place.

Fear buries Oneness

Image credit: nikolaev / 123RF Stock PhotoThere seems to be many reasons why we bury away our understanding of Oneness.  In the end though, I believe it is fear that buries Oneness.  Whatever reason starts us down the path, I believe it can be traced back to fear.  Fear is the one thing that can make us powerless.  It can drive us to make decisions that separate ourselves from others.  It can turn life into a “me or them” existence.

Fear buries Oneness.  There are potentially many fears for us to deal with, but there are a few that are directly related to our Oneness:

Fear of Ambiguity: We are afraid of not being able to explain ourselves, and so we struggle to find a way to define ourselves.  Ask someone “What are you?” and they are most likely to answer by telling you about their job, their spouse, their interests.  The question, however, isn’t “who” but “what”.  And the answer, to my way of thinking, is simply “I am”.  The fear of ambiguity drives us to define ourselves in ways that confine us.  When we are one with each other, ambiguity falls away.

Fear of Rejection: This fear starts early on.  Looking different from others, acting different from others, or thinking different from others can be extremely stressful early on in life.  We are social by nature, and so rejection carries a high price.  Maslow has suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation.  According to Maslow, all humans, even introverts, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy.  In order to avoid rejection, we start to try to fit in.  We fit in at school by liking what the other kids like, or doing things exactly how the teacher says.  Later, we fit in our social circles by “following the herd”.  Hopefully, we’ve learned to differentiate ourselves by mid to late high school because if not, we end up choosing a career or next steps in life that align to others expectations of ourselves.  When we know we are one, rejection becomes moot.  The faster we forget our oneness, the deeper we bury it under the fear of rejection.

Fear of Lack: The fear that we don’t have enough, won’t amount to enough, or simply aren’t enough is a deep seeded fear.  My sense is that, in many cases, the more we have, the more we fear.  When we measure ourselves based on external factors, lack becomes a concern.  Keeping up with the Jones’ is almost a national pastime for some, and it’s a losing game.  When we know our oneness, we know that everything we need is here for us now.  There can be no lack in oneness.

What fears concern you?  How would those fears change if you take on the belief that we are all One?

Oneness

Image credit: styleuneed / 123RF Stock PhotoOneness, as I hope you remember from my previous post, is a higher level knowledge than synchronicity or connectedness.  Oneness is the concept that we are all the same; not just parts of a greater whole – but that we are the whole.  This may get a little hairy, so I’ll try to make it manageable.  As always with these things, I find the best way to start is with a Cloud Cult lyric:

Maybe for the moment, you and I should both be infinite.

– “A Place”, from “Lost Songs from the Lost Years”

It’s not possible to be infinite for a finite amount of time; once you’re infinite that’s pretty much it.  If you can wrap your head around that lyric, you can get the concept of Oneness.

Synchronicity is the idea that seemingly unrelated events may, in some cases, be related through an acausal relationship.  This can not be possible without some level of connection between minds.  This led, indirectly, to the concept of Connectedness – which postulates that all things in the universe are connected or part of a greater whole.  There are lots of examples of this in metaphysics.  I think that the way we will eventually explain connectedness is through Oneness.  The level of connection demonstrated almost requires that the items under consideration are one.  Instantaneous state changes, the ability to stop decay in particles – all are, in my unscientific opinion, only possible when both items are one.  The appearance of separateness, which requires that things appear connected to explain these findings, is only due to our perspective and understanding.

Consider the concept of being a “part” of Spirit, Christ, Yahweh, God, Buddha, Bahaulla, Hashem or any other name you through around.  There is a common belief that Spirit (the word I choose) is omnipresent, all-knowing, all-powerful.  If this is true, then an individual who is part of Spirit would be somewhat less than Spirit – most everywhere, most knowledgeable, and most powerful.  But the definition isn’t big enough.  Spirit isn’t omnipresent – Spirit is omnipresence.  Not all-knowing, but knowledge; not all-powerful, but power.  Spirit is source.  And therefore, being a “part” of Spirit doesn’t make sense – one can’t be part of knowledge without being knowledge.  Remember, you and I can’t be infinite for the moment.

So, since being a part of Spirit doesn’t make sense – you either are or are not Spirit.  If you are not Spirit, then your time on Earth is simply marking time doing what’s best for yourself with no calling or higher purpose.  You may choose to believe this; I do not.  Therefore, I am Spirit.  And I believe you are too.  So finally, you and I are One.

We are One

Image credit: objowl / 123RF Stock PhotoAfter spending some quality me time in a coffee shop this weekend, it noticed a strange thing.  If you sit quietly enough in a public place and listen, you will sense a growing attachment to those around you.  At least I did; a powerful reminder that we are one.  I noticed it mostly in the ebbs and flows of the noise and conversation; they reminded me of water coming in and out of the shoreline.  Noting that we are one is nothing new to many of you, and yet when we forget that it causes us to again bury our good.

Jung coined the term “synchronicity”.  He felt it gave credence to his ideas of the collective unconscious.  His definition of synchronicity was one that concurrent events which appear to be unrelated may in fact have an unseen relationship.  What appears to be coincidence may not be.  I believe synchronicity is an example of our oneness.

Connectedness is another term that gets thrown around.  Connectedness comes in a number of forms.

  • Clifton Strengthsfinder: Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force.
  • Personal Acquaintance Measure (PAM): There are six ways to measure our connectedness to others.  Duration of relationship, frequency of interaction, knowledge of other persons goals, physical intimacy/closeness,  self-disclosure to the other, and social network familiarity.
  • Bell’s Theorem: Two particles which appear to be unrelated are somehow tied together as evidenced by measurements being taken on the first having a demonstrable impact on the second.

And yet, something is still missing.  Beyond synchronicity and connectedness is oneness.  Oneness is a state of existing where all energies are part of the same whole.  Connectedness implies separation, oneness implies wholeness.  When we forget that we are all one, we bury our good and greatly diminish our strength.  How often do you sense a connection with someone, understand something you’ve never thought about, or have a gut feel that you fail to act on?  Happens to me all the time.  And I’ve noticed that when I ignore this, I tend to have a problem later.  I believe that sense, which I sometimes ignore, is my underlying knowledge of our oneness trying to come out.

My advice?  Listen to that underlying knowledge more.  We are one.  We should act like it.

Need to Fit

Image credit photostocker / 123RF Stock PhotoThe need to fit in and follow the path of least resistance is strong.  It is ingrained in us from a young age, and is an important part of our journey.  However, if we continue to feel a need to fit in and be part of the herd, we lose out.  By continuing to express the need to fit in, we not only rob ourselves of our good but we rob others of the benefits of our good.  What starts out as a helpful tactic turns dark; a “lose-lose” scenario.

The need to fit in starts out as a positive.  Fitting in gives us, from a young age, an understanding of where the societal boundaries are and what is acceptable.  I do not, however, feel that “fitting in” includes teaching children that they should all think the same way or express themselves in the same way.  I do think that explaining, demonstrating, and encouraging the rules is helpful.  Without these rules or boundaries, children have nowhere to start from.  Once the boundaries are set, we have the playing field defined and we’re good to go.  The analogy to sports is a good one – as players we need to know the rules so we can fit in and understand, and yet as we progress and get better each of us develops our own style.

We bury away our good when we stop on the path of developing our own style.  When we become concerned with outer appearances, with what others think of us, and of how we measure up – we lose our good and our way.  We stop being who we are meant to be and focus on being who everyone else thinks we should be.  And this causes everyone to come up short.

So, how do we move past the concerns of others and allow our good to flow?

  • Learn to take our cues from inside rather than outside.  Janet Hagberg, author of “Real Power”, outlines six stages of power.  The first three are drawn from external sources ( Powerlessness, Power by Association and Power by Achievement).  The second three are drawn from internal sources (Power by Reflection, Power by Purpose, Power by Wisdom).  The key to moving into the more advanced internal stages is moving through “the wall”.  This is where we learn to take the cues from ourselves rather than others.
  • Know our passions, talents and vision.  The combination of these three sources of strength point us to where we buried our good.  Like the proverbial “X” on the treasure map, the intersection of these three strengths marks the spot where we need to be living from.  It is at this spot that our good emerges.
  • Embrace setbacks and failures.  “Try and try again” is the key to living a good life; there will be setbacks, disappointments, and outright failures.  These are external circumstances; as we move towards our good and draw strength from our internal sources we realize that these very external circumstances that can stop others in their tracks have no real power.  We have the opportunity to learn from everything when we are working to find, or living from, our good.

How have you found your good?