Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cleaning Up The Inner Toxic Environment

It's Canada Day weekend and today I have absolutely nothing that I have to do or that I have scheduled to do. Wow, it's been awhile since I've had a day like this.

It's also been a while since I've written a blog post and so the two coincide and here I am.

Now what am I going to say? I've had all kinds of thoughts and insights over the past weeks but of course they simply come and go and the details kind of get lost in the living.

One thing that has been brought to the forefront of late is a habit of impatience that I have actually had most of my life. I have certainly been aware of it for a long time but I usually just deal with it in the moment or don't deal with it at all, just let it moved on through so why the focus now? Well, I suspect it has something to do with the other focus I have had which has been on healing.

For almost three months I have been experiencing very interesting and unusual pain. It changes and morphs and moves around but mostly it has been hanging around. Thankfully it is much better now but I suspect there is a good reason for it having stayed with me the way it has. It has helped me to look at some things in consciousness that I have been rather lazy about; which brings me round to the impatience factor.

When the focus went to healing the pain in this body I naturally stared bringing lots of love and compassion into the pain and paying attention to the messages I received as I did some deep listening. This really helped. Then I finally woke up to the fact that just paying attention now and then and bringing in focused energy was not enough. A conversation I had with an acquaintance whose mother was in ICU and had experienced all kinds of hospital related problems after going in for a simple surgery really hit home. The analogy that occurred to me after that conversation was that if the inner environment of thinking and feeling is toxic some of the time, even though it is also very loving and compassionate at others, pain or problems are compounded. Fearful and impatient habits create a toxic environment even if they are only manifest in certain conditions i.e. line ups, driving, waiting for appointments, mundane daily routines and the like.

Bottom line for me is that I can no longer indulge in habits of impatience and think I am going to feel good. It's one big system and it's all interconnected. Each part is communicating with the other parts and as in the hospital analogy, if there are bugs in the system it's likely I will catch one even though I may be in there suffering from something else.

So it's clean up time. Time to get into the corners I've ignored and pay attention to it all. It's so easy to get lazy but it really doesn't serve on this journey. I'm not naive enough to think I'll change it all just because I'm aware of it but I've already experienced a big difference as I've been compassionately observing and catching myself in the act more.

We're such clever creatures we think we can fool ourselves but when you're passionate about the truth all the tricks have to eventually be revealed. Then a new trick seems to show up but that
's the journey isn't it? One foot in front of the other, one moment at a time. Life is unfolding exactly as it should and there are undoubtedly all kinds of adventures yet to be had.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I feel kind of sad this morning. I just had a conversation of sorts with a young woman with three children whose husband of one year asked for a divorce a couple of months ago. She now has to move and start over again with her three young children. Perhaps it has something to do with hitting close to home having been the child of such a situation many years ago. Perhaps there is also a remembering of all the times in my life when relationships didn't work. Perhaps another element is another conversation with a young couple who is getting married who through our conversations are just starting to realize how much of their communication is actually stilted and incomplete and could easily cause major problems in the future if not addressed.

Who knows but all these factors coming together this morning definitely remind me of why I chose to do the coaching work I do.Communication, or lack thereof, I would say is one of the top challenges not only in marriage but in work, family and friend relationships as well, oh hell, in life period.

I remember distinctly being interviewed by a reporter with the Calgary Herald many, many years ago when I had my oilfield supply business in Red Deer where he asked me what my number one challenge was and, realizing it fully in that moment, I blurted out communication. I was terrible at it and so was pretty much every one I knew. At that point I had already gone through two marriages and numerous relationships and I also knew, at least peripherally that one of the big problems for me was lack of effective communication. I remember thinking that if I could resolve that issue I could make a fortune.

Well, I've come a long way since then baby (with communication, not the fortune) and there is always more to do. That's the journey and I'm very grateful for it even though I often feel sad when I hear about people's frustrations with communication in relationships of all kinds.

So what is it that keeps communication from being more effective?

The bottom line is fear, but fear of what? Fear of rejection, fear of the truth, fear based on old programming, decisions and assumptions; all boils down to basic survival if you follow the thread far enough. Whatever we decided we had to do to survive the confusion and pain when our little brains were forming is still driving our communication today, especially if we haven't stopped to question the validity of those decisions and assumptions, and most people have not.

It isn't so much that we need to learn any new communication techniques, that's just another ineffective bandaid. What is most called for as far as I can tell is going back to the source of the problem and really looking at what we are afraid of so we can see the truth; what we fear isn't real and it rarely has anything to do with what we are dealing with in the moment. Our fears are projections of memories and assumptions that have been distorted and reinforced over time.

In order to communicate effectively we have to see through the veil of falsehoods that block us from telling ourselves and each other the truth. It isn't easy because it is so cleverly disguised but it is doable and it is worth doing.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Look at the Issue of Human Population

I just read Dan Brown's latest offering Inferno and I loved it. The way he combines history and art and beauty with real world issues and the fast past scavenger hunt is truly masterful.

I particularly appreciate his subject matter this time around which is what I consider to be the global elephant in the room, our ever increasing human population. We are so busy trying to extend lives and save everyone that we tend to overlook the simple fact that this planet can only sustain so much human life which is no different from any other life form.

I have long been pondering this interesting unfolding of population growth but like so many others I imagine, I have no idea really what to do about it so I don't tend to talk about it a lot. That may well be one of the reasons it isn't discussed more globally, we feel quite helpless in the face of the vastness of it. One thing we can do about it though is have the conversation, or at least start it. Let's take a real look at what is happening with the unchecked growth of the human population instead of burying our heads in the sand and pretending it isn't happening.

I live in an affluent community where we are used to having access to pretty much whatever we want especially in terms of food. I've been noticing in the past few months that certain produce items that I've taken for granted have not always been there when I go shopping. No big deal in and of itself but it is a reminder that here in the north we are very dependent on other areas of the world to supply much of our food, particularly produce.

In terms of population we are relatively small in number here in Canada so why would we care about it? Why not go ahead and have big families? Truth is most of us aren't any more, our growth is mainly through immigration today, but the fact still remains that we need to be just as responsible as anywhere else on the planet and maybe more so because of our vulnerability. We are consumers, in a big way, so we are using up resources far beyond what our numbers would indicate compared to most of the world.

And what of those many places in the world where population growth continues to skyrocket? There are organizations going in and trying to educate people about birth control but unfortunately those ideas often don't resonate with the cultures they are attempting to change. Then you have those well meaning religious missionaries who are also going in and telling people it is against God's will to use birth control. Really? Are they still doing that? Yes indeed, ignorance and religious zealotry by far trump the small efforts being made to effect change where it is most needed.

So that brings us back to where we started, even if we admit there is an issue with population what do we do about it? I don't know. But I'm willing explore it and to participate in the conversation and do what I can even if I end up being a lonely voice in the wilderness.

As with all things it starts with looking at our own perceptions and fears. When I started looking at what might be behind the lack of desire to deal with this issue I at first thought that it had something to do with we humans thinking we are so very important and more valuable than the rest of life on this planet. That may be what it looks like but it didn't take long to see through that illusion to the more likely scenario being lack of value. Trying so desperately to prove our value as a species is an indicator that under all the greed and despair and defensiveness and clinging to these bodies the real driver is a belief that we are not valuable at all.

When I look behind the curtain of belief in not being valuable what I see is the other mistaken belief that says we are our bodies. Oh you might like to protest that, thinking yourself so very spiritual but if you look closely, you will undoubtedly see how identified we really are to these organism. Why else would we be so desperate to stay in them at all cost? Of course the mechanism of survival is at play here but is it time now to evolve beyond survival? Is it time to be still and know that we are Life itself and face down the falsehoods that have really been driving us instead of just paying lip service to the idea?

Hmm, I wonder what might be possible then?

Let's talk. I would love to see your comments and thoughts on this issue.