5 10, 2013

Working with Shame

October 5th, 2013|dealing with life, emotions, love|3 Comments

Shame is something that permeates our culture. Advertising preys on shame of one’s body. Dr. Gabor Mate, who works with the heavily addicted, says shame is the “one constant among addicts of all types“. It fuels much avoidant behavior such as procrastination and can be the prime impetus behind relationship breakups and lack of intimacy.

This year I have looked into my own shame and doing my best to directly experience it. By that I don’t mean jump into “healing”, which is often the attempt to get rid of it. Years ago, when I wrote and said thousands of daily affirmations of my worth and inner beauty, I ended up feeling worse about myself. To me, that kind of healing leads to feeling ashamed of one’s own shame, a feedback loop, which is unfortunately pervasive given the prevalence of pop psychology and the “quick fix”.

But what is shame? Joseph Burgo defines same as the sense of internal damage. I define shame as the following:

Shame is the feeling or body memory that you cannot be connected with others, or yourself, so long as a part of you is present. It’s the sense of a split within one’s self, the feeling that a part of you shouldn’t be there.

Say you grew up, as I did, in an emotionally repressed family where there was a heavy reaction to an expression of anger or a “go away” message. If I rejected my mother, either by saying I didn’t like something she did to me or that I didn’t want to talk now, she would react by pushing me away violently, even implying the relationship might end. Even showing this emotion on my face without vocalizing it provoked a reaction. This was her own hurt, but of course as a young child I didn’t know this – I internalized it. It became part of my body and brain.

There are times I find it hard to even feel that energy; it ended up being blocked from my consciousness, with sometimes severe internal reactions and symptoms as a result. Connection with my family was more important than self-connection, and this created pathways in the brain short-circuiting that energy. Though I’ve done much work with myself, I still feel shame regarding this; my body believes people will cut me out of their lives if I let it be visible.

This can happen in shame-1251333-1280x960work too: a friend of mine was talking about procrastination in learning a new skill for a client. There was a deadline for getting a project done and she needed to become adept in a new software utility that she hadn’t used before. For years she had been used to being highly skilled in what she did; the sense of not being an expert already was very uncomfortable to her, and it was far too easy to avoid that discomfort by procrastinating. Even when she devoted time to acquire the new skills, the learning was slower than when she had been a student. Upon talking about it, saw the basis of this behavior was the sense that she needed to be an expert to be worthy of the connection with the client. Not knowing everything, being less than perfect, was not acceptable – the client might drop her. The connection wouldn’t be there. There was no quick ability to not feel this, so the easiest thing to do in the moment was to focus attention anywhere else, rather than wade through the emotional quagmire of shame.

Sexual attraction is another magnet for shame. It’s something that easily cross-reacts with inadequacies of beauty or worth. I still have feelings that my partner may cut off from me and end the relationship if I fully admit, beyond an intellectual confession, that I feel a serious attraction to someone. So in the past, rather than admit it fully, I have intellectualized it or numbed that part of me, which led to distance and lack of trust. Another option for me that many do (and I’m glad I haven’t) would be to act it out – rather than admitting or feeling the shame, I could try to act on the attraction and start something while not showing it to my partner, thus trying in an unconscious and unhealthy way to not numb a part of myself while still remaining connected to her. It’s the shadow side of trying to resolve shame. If anything happened, I would likely feel more disconnected from her because I would have to hide more and more parts of my life. If I confessed it after time, the anger she would feel upon discovery, mostly based on the deceit, would be tied to the original shame and add to it. Thus shame grows.

The movie “Shame” made in 2011 with Michael Fassbender depicts the shame underlying sexual addiction amazingly well.

The dark side of the growth of psychology and this culture’s lack of time and space for just feeling things as they are is that we want the quick fix. Feeling any shame that’s there doesn’t make it immediately better.  Culturally there’s an incredible discomfort around it, which can lead to a subtle ostracising.  Rather than being present with shame and giving space, we ask loved ones to “see someone about it”, to find a solution by thinking positive thoughts, or make more rules so as not to bring it up. But since the source of shame is from feeling disconnected, what we deeply need is the experience of being connected while feeling shame and the original source.

What brings on this feeling of connection and working with shame? From my experience, we need to first truly feel the shame and whatever is bringing on the shame, without intellectualizing or compartmentalizing it. It has to be brought to the surface, in our bodies, face, voice and breath. This means going beyond any kind of sit-down therapy structure. Then, someone needs to be there and be open for a connection without any kind of attempt to resolve the source of the shame. There needs to be space for the emotion, thoughts or impulses with no action to change them, while truly being there and available. This is itself a form of meditation.

A couple months ago, while in a very emotional state (I won’t go into the trigger here), I called my girlfriend Kirsten for help. It was an agonizing decision for me, as I grew up feeling I should be the one supporting others, but at the time I truly felt lost and knew I couldn’t move anything alone. She dropped everything and came. As soon as she was next to me, I started bawling. I confessed how ashamed I was of asking for support, and then how ashamed I was of feeling shame, like I needed to do something to make it better so I could be a healthy person. She was simply present with me. I confessed I felt like there was always a price for support. Inside, I was feeling that I needed to please others in order to be worth getting any kind of love, and sex had been a major part of that with women, giving them pleasure when I didn’t necessarily feel into it. I told her I didn’t want sex now, and felt so much shame at admitting that, continuing my bawling. She simply listened. She backed away physically when I wanted it, and held me close when that felt good to me. She was absolutely wonderful at remaining connected without any price. I didn’t need to heal, say the right thing or make it worth her while to be there for me. She was a friend. She wasn’t even playing a role of “healer”, breathing the right way or watching what she said. All she did was show that mattered to her – me, not the role I played in her life.

This was a pivotal shift for me. As it turns out, I didn’t want sex for close to a month afterwards while I processed the internal shifts – which related to past sexual abuse, being treated like a “thing”. That in itself was very unusual for me. It made it easier for her that we are in an open relationship and she could, if she wanted, fulfil needs elsewhere – another dynamic which has helped me work with shame. But that, along with other experiences, brought the body knowledge that I could still be connected while revealing shame without having to play a role of strength, humour, health or comforting others. This has led to a huge foundation of trust and friendship. It’s amazing how many sexual relationships don’t have that.

I’ve also had dyads with a number of people. This is where you sit in a meditational manner facing each other, being present for 10 minutes or so before talking, connecting to one’s breath and body, and each person taking turns asking a simple question and listening. When it’s your turn, you speak slowly and with self-connection about your experience and insights while the other listens and is present in their own self. One of the questions asked was about the “sense of self in relationships”. That’s a prime question related to shame – when do you lose that sense of self-connection, where you’re not hiding or altering anything inside? When do you feel you’re walking on eggshells, controlling everything coming out because you feel it would harm the relationship? And it was wonderful just practicing revealing myself without guile, showing how “imperfect” I am and getting to a place that this is just fine. It doesn’t need to change.

It’s also led to a different place in being there for others. Largely arising from my narcissistic mother, I had felt that I needed to be playing a role when giving support to others. Internally I had the belief that had to suppress my own issues, not feel anything “unsupportive” like anger or resentment from my past (even if unrelated to them), in order to be helpful. This made me far from present and created a tense feeling; because I was not relaxed, I couldn’t help friends be relaxed. Not being in a state of allowing with my own emotions at the time, I could never truly convey that their emotions were just fine as they are. I was saying the “right things”, which probably made them feel like they had to say the “right things” in response. While I don’t have any scientific data, I think this is what the vast majority of therapeutic sit-down relationships are like this. So many healing achievers!

The lessening of shame has led me to more feelings of joy because by not disconnecting from myself, there’s more wholeness. I can joke around with it more, even bring some clownishness. What a feeling of freedom that is. And I’m just getting started.




26 03, 2012

Writing again

March 26th, 2012|dealing with life, listening, love|4 Comments

Here I am again, writing after a year or so. I could have let the domain name expire, but felt at some time I would feel like writing again. And now I’m back.

I stopped writing because I felt that how I wrote (not what I wrote, but how) wasn’t helping me or others. Sure, people said lots of great things – when my blog was on myspace (remember when people actually used it?) at one time each post got around 100 comments. It gave quite a buzz; I don’t think I got one really negative comment. I had thought carefully about what I created and some of the thoughts were unconventional. Hell, I even got a few dates from some local women that perhaps thought I must be a great guy. But it became more and more effort and less rewarding. The praises felt empty, and it wasn’t self-fulfilling.

One really big reason is that I wasn’t being that real. I of course didn’t want to show how f***ed up I am, who I dislike, my own neuroses – and perhaps that I was trying to escape from my own problems by playing healer to others.

That last one is IMO probably the most common motivation for everyone in the healing, counseling or personal growth field. It’s so common it is generally overlooked. So much ‘help’, in whatever form it comes in, does little more than convince the ‘helpee’ that they are being helped and then prop up the egos of both sides. The Bowen family systems theory called this the “overfunctioning-underfunctioning” dynamic. It’s a form of connection that seems to feel good to both sides at the time, but reinforces the escape from deeper issues. From my experience, I think the writer gets to feel admired and like a ‘healer’. The reader gets to think they’re improving and doing good work – but all at the cost of ignoring some deeper voices.

I read a lot of Alice Miller a couple years ago, and this quote stuck with me:

“In the last few years I have learned more than ever about the situation of the child in our society and about the blockages in the thinking and feeling of psychoanalytically trained persons.  These blockages often result in patients being subjected to lengthy treatments that cement the blame that had been leveled at them as children, a process that can scarcely lead to anything but depressions.  The most successful means of escaping such chronic depressions is to enter the profession of psychoanalysis oneself; this permits a continuation of the cementing process by using theories that protect one from the truth – but now, of course, at the expense of others.”

– Alice Miller, Banished Knowledge

If you’re a regular reader of personal growth writing, ask yourself if any of it really helped with the inner shame and blame that you might have. I’ve been to a number of counselors, coaches and other forms of healing in my search for inner peace and harmony, and I had to admit (after months of reflection) that they were generally counterproductive. I went there because subconsciously I thought something was wrong with me – there was something that needed to be solved in me. Fixed. Gotten rid of. Perhaps it was pain, or maybe that a normally quiet voice inside me suddenly screamed “NO!!!” at certain times when I was supposed to act ‘normally’ or when I needed to follow through with something. And so I wanted the quick fix; within a few session I wanted to be able to relax, not get in my own way, feel better, and succeed. Even if I knew it didn’t exist, I wanted The Quick Fix. But part of this inevitably meant that I thought a part of me – the part of me that resisted or said no – was bad. And so I increased my shame. I reinforced patterns of suppression and avoidance, not listening to the part of me in pain, which lead over the years to physical symptoms.

Now, in all honesty, I hate any sort of ‘healing environment’ which advocates pushing through barriers through some sort of peer pressure, firm rules and groupthink. It may get things to move in the short term, but that sort of forcefulness always has violence of a form in it, and violence is never the road to peace and harmony.

I stopped writing because I felt that I didn’t want to pretend any more. I didn’t want to play healer or imply I could help others. I didn’t want to hide my own traumas and symptoms out of fear of judgment or that it meant I was worth less or that I shouldn’t be listened to. You don’t always know the reason you do things at the time – it just doesn’t feel right or true. Writing from the same place didn’t feel true. I edited my thoughts way too much before they came out. It was the same editing I did as I child, walking on eggshells to make sure I didn’t say the wrong thing and a blow up would happen.

Now I just want to let go of all that. I don’t want to review my postings, combing words for ways I could be judged. It turned my mind into fog and exhaustion from the effort. Literally.

So here I am, and I think I’ll keep writing, but from a different place. I don’t think I’ll review it too much, so it might not be as smooth. But perhaps you’ll be able to relate to me a little more.  Even if I get judgments or suggestions of people trying to heal me (which now I realize are the same thing) I think I’ll be in a better place.

30 12, 2009

A feeling of power achieved by surrender

December 30th, 2009|beliefs, dealing with life, Self, transformation, wholeness|1 Comment

I think everyone’s life can be summed up by a few sentences.

This may seem limiting. A label. Not to me. It’s like saying that every life is a poem. The words aren’t always a prison, but instead are a beacon, a lighthouse, a cry that lets others know what the rallying call is. It’s like an archetype that brings in the numinous. It’s both a lesson and an energy source to the deepest soul. It’s like the recognizable “hook” in a song or a symphony. Beethoven’s Fifth has thousands upon thousands of notes and progressions, but we all know it by just four notes. Those four notes conjure up an entire world of emotions and ideas when we hear them, even out of context. To me, a life’s phrase can be like that.

One of my inner rallying calls is, “Power is achieved by surrender.”

At first this sounds trite. It’s a common spiritual aphorism. It’s simple and may even be simplistic. But that’s also what archetypes are — through the simple we can access the numinous. It is easy to take words as limiting rather than accessing the preternormal. I first heard this concept that power is achieved by the deepest surrender before I was ten years old. I heard it without thinking about it at all. I saw more of the energy behind it when I watched the movie Gandhi in my teens. Something ineffable touched me in the moment when I saw how powerful that man was. He invited others to show the violence in themselves upon his own body, surrendering to their physical power but in the process bringing forth something exponentially more.

Gandhi had shown me a different side of Power, but at this time it was limited to an intellectual concept. It lacked any sense of the sacred, that access to thaumaturgic change that touching something transcendent can bring. This took time to access for me, through my childhood into my adult life.

In my childhood I was surrounded by family members who seemed overly powerful — at least to a child. My mother was a very aggressive person who didn’t respect boundaries at all, and even took them to mean a personal attack. “I’m your mother!” she would yell, as if that meant she had rights over every aspect of me. Every aspect of me: my body, my space, my mind, and my emotions. I was her life.

Acting powerful in an outward sense did not help. Screams or a stubborn “NO!” made it worse, even to the point of threats of being kicked out to the streets at a young age. So I became a bit of a martyr; I gave in before conflict could arise. I split myself; a part of me would be the mother-pleaser, The Explainer, who would present me to the outside world in a logical, sensible fashion with no rough edges. The appeaser. The rest of me could be screaming, hurt, or could be feeling any other emotion including joyful ones. I was still there, but unconscious. I was filled with a kaleidoscope of exploding emotions, but through The Explainer’s voice those emotions came out as reasonable and confident, and explained things so they wouldn’t trigger much in the people around me. There were times when the glass walls around The Explainer wouldn’t hold, but largely they did. I survived.

This was the beginning of my focus on Power. This was an intensely disempowering state. I walled away much of myself — and thus my power — in order to be safe.

After I left home, the sense of imbalance related to Power was palpable almost all the time, like a steady drop of acid within my stomach. I accumulated skills through universities and I learned more about social interactions and transactions of status. I studied the times when I felt powerful and when others felt more powerful than I. I wasn’t interested in being upwardly mobile or accumulating money — I simply wanted to experience what it felt like to feel powerful, irrespective of what others did and irrespective of what importance they accorded me. This was what made me notice the difference in a few spiritual teachers, such as Krishnamurthi and Ramana Maharishi, whose ashram I stayed in for a while in India.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

– Walt Whitman

One of the barriers I felt was simply in how little I connected to myself. I explored my splits, the cuts I made in myself. These were the subpersonalities in me, or even sometimes what Jung would call a complex. These are far, far more common than we think. Who is truly whole within themselves, in all their selves? For me, The Explainer excelled in mathematics and computing, the dry emotionless presence that could be as close to a computer as a humans can be. I grew up in an autistic household — it seemed natural to me. Other parts of me also wanted to feel powerful, so my inner protector emerged that could ward off others by planting bombs that scared them away.

But other parts of me also wanted to come out and play. I studied acting to give expression to many other emotions and the selves connected to them. I studied monologues that helped bring these aspects out. The abandoned child raging for a connection. The schizophrenic looking for something solid to hold onto. A man stepping off his heavy-trodden life and starting anew, boarding the nearest ship that would hire him.

Surrender in an Indian dance

My teachers never taught it as such, but I would say now that great acting is all about surrender. It takes great surrender in order to let a very real but different self to come through. This was why I was never a great actor then — only a good one. I wanted to drill holes in my psyche to access myself, tight steel lustrous pipelines that would erupt emotion on command, like a geyser. Others were supposed to feel that it was real, and feel awe. But something made of steel is always built around control. To surrender would have been to turn the world upside town, to bring the underworld into unbounded air, not to send emotions through a rigid pipeline. Surrender would have meant not treating the director as God, but treating being real as God. Truth is God, whatever it may be in that moment.

You can see the idea of surrender appear here in my life. Surrender is connected to acting for me because this is where I was first taught it on an experiential level. My best example was through a clowning teacher. I saw many spiritual teachers, read many books, and got involved with many groups such as Gurdjieff and the Michael Teachings, but surrender goes beyond any teaching. It’s like diving off an airplane.

My idea of surrender has changed through time. It ranged from the physical, to the emotional, to the conceptual. That is, it held the ideals of ultimate relaxation, peace, and seeing all sides and beauty in everything. But these were ideals, and so The Explainer clung to them and protected the inner selves in the only way it knew how. Words can be a defense when they protect you. They don’t have to be at all, as I’m learning.

Now I’m going to another level of surrender: the surrender to myself. To allow the different selves in me, that label of subpersonality, to dissolve those glass walls and roam free. And it is scary, like all freedom is. Going to London Drugs in the post-Christmas rush, did I really know if I would bring someone out from inside me who panics under that Group-Think rush to buy? I looked down and noticed my arms protecting the shell of my chest, but I didn’t feel like screaming.

Part of me resists: “I am a teacher. I can channel great wisdom. I can help others. I can see others clearly. The labels I put on what is underneath imply that I am screwed up for the rest of my life, and I refuse to be that.” We think teachers should conform to a definite image.

So now, if I feel like a drowning man within my ocean of emotions, I let myself feel it and cry desperately to be saved even if another part of me knows it is already perfect as it is. It is All That Is. It’s about the experience, not desperately clinging to the part of me that truly does know. I already am the teaching I seek — but there’s more wisdom in letting go to the unknowingness.

This is how my life has shaped around that phrase, “Power is achieved by surrender.” Saying that to myself has as much power as the mantra “I AM”. Or for the gnostic Christians, “I AM THAT I AM“.

What are some of your life phrases?

5 03, 2009

The Most Important Being in Existence

March 5th, 2009|dealing with life, emotions, love, non duality, Self, spirituality|Comments Off on The Most Important Being in Existence

It’s been a long, long time since I wrote anything here. Quick update: yes, this illness is still going on and there are many times I can’t write, and some times I find it hard to speak. It’s also intensifying the inner journey and transformation. So it’s not a bad thing.

Here’s another confession I have: I dislike affirmations. Like the following:


I am important. I am the Most Important Being in Existence.

This is so because of the oneness of All That Is.

What’s there to disagree with? It goes to the heart of what humility is, what false humility is, and addresses that the perception of separation is what creates problems in the first place. It’s not about arrogance, but about letting go.

The problem is that it’s nice in theory, but the execution of getting to truly know this has its own problems.

My first taste of affirmation was as a teen. I was in a fairly screwed up family dynamic: the pushy, British stiff upper lip Borderline Personality Disorder mother (not to use labels or anything!) and being expressive, I showed my pain. This was uncomfortable for those around me, so I was sent off to healers who of course focused entirely on me. One of them, a rebirthing therapist, actually helped by doing rebirthing (conscious, connected breathing) gave me an experience of what it was like to feel intensely without too many labels. Yet another thing she did was to send me home to do affirmations. 30 of each one, handwritten on paper.


All of them were positive, like above. All of them sounded good. Yet they also felt like punishment. Like what teachers made you do when you did something wrong.

That’s just how it was introduced to me, of course. But it’s also the essence of what an affirmation is.? It is the intellect telling the heart and body to learn something. “Hey, you! There are problems here! Learn this so the problems can go away.”

But how do you learn about the oneness of the universe and the importance of Who You Are, if you treat parts of yourself as separate from others? By shouting a command from my mind, I was treating my heart as subordinate, as the one making mistakes. And of course my heart retreated. Nothing likes to be given orders like a punished child.

919567_innerpeace_1There are, of course, ways to talk to the heart. And to the body. Ways in which speaking and listening become the same thing. Talk without words. Desires without expectations. Paulo Coelho calls it “The Language of the World”, the universal language. It’s the same language that enabled Siddhartha in Herman Hesse’s book to understand the universe from the sound of a river, by understanding it through this language.It’s the language of the trees in the wind when your mind stops and just observes and feels. When the mind feels and the heart thinks, and you are completely present in your body. It’s the language of Being.

So now, when I tell myself “I am important” the sense of the affirmation above, I deeply listen to the reaction of my heart. I’m not telling myself to do anything. I know I’m not mistaken or wrote in the perceiving that I’m unimportant, or even the times that it seems like this statement is a complete falsehood. I am opening myself up to Truth, which means opening myself up to my heart as well as all the reactions that come. It’s the big-T “Truth” that encompasses all the little truths, such that my heart feels pain when I really let in that possibility.

So now a conversation with my heart may look like this:

I am important. I am the Most Important Being in Existence.

Are you sure?

No. But I know it’s Truth, and I want to live it.

I know it is too, but I’m here to make sure you know it.

Is that what all this confusion and pain and believing the opposite is about?

Sure. You have to what’s not the truth before you can see the truth for yourself. For ourselves.

Even in this conversation, it is implied that my heart is something separate from who I am, and that’s obviously not the case. But that’s part of the journey of life here: we experience something as separate so that our mind can grasp just a little part of what the universe is.

It’s not equipped to see too much. But this helps us look at the little truths with more passion. The truth of the dandelion swaying in the wind. The truth of childlike wonder in running through a summer’s sprinkler and pointing it toward others in play. The truth of our own hearts. The Language of the World.

That sort of exchange is more of an affirmation of life than any exercise from an external source can be.

The bottom line is no one can truly know their importance, in an ultimate sense, until they also know that they are the universe. That is the nature of Being.

2 08, 2007

navigating the trials of life

August 2nd, 2007|allowing, conflict, dealing with life, suffering|Comments Off on navigating the trials of life

NipTuck? : How does one know if they are being irrational or acting logically when something that seems to be unfair towards them drives them to anger and voicing such w/out insults but vehemently?

First of all, acting within the confines of reason is simply a straightjacket. Living this way, you will never avail yourself of the immense resources you have at all times in terms of intuition, emotional support, passion, and a pure sense of play. Life leaves a lot to the imagination, as it was meant to. Allow that to blossom. If you feel like being “irrational”, do so! In ways, of course, that do not restrict others to also blossom.

It’s taken me a long time to see that everything within me is undeniably a blessing to the world. Yes, everything, without exception. The same goes with you and everyone on earth. And yet people can perform actions that are extremely hurtful and cause immense sufferings. There is a paradox in this, of course, and seeing through it is essential for finding self-love.

Consider, then, two scenarios to help understand this dichotomy, which could arise from being close to a man who quite obviously is in a lot of pain. In the first case, he considers you the cause of his pain and frustration. He expresses this with rage and helplessness, making it clear that you’re the problem, and your denials cause him to react with more vehemence because he needs you to help get rid of all his inner problems. He keeps verbally attacking you until you either walk away or attack back. This quite obviously can cause suffering and distrust between you.

The second scenario is when the man is feeling great pain and frustration, some of which you triggered, but considers you the witness only. The rawness of the pain is shown directly to you, and helps you see that he too has a tender heart, can easily be hurt, and can believe in his own smallness. It could be shown indirectly, by screaming at pillows and launching attacks at them – which of course they’re less apt to believe than you! It could also be shown via prose, poetry, or even in song. But in the doing so, you are helped in seeing the innocence both of the other person and of yourself, for you too have these elements in you. The next time you encounter them in you it will flow easier, and this experience helps bring you closer together, even if you are not in a conventional relationship.

Now, there is no difference whatsoever in the pain and anger in the person between the two cases. The only difference is in the expression of it, the projection (or lack of it), and the vulnerability allowed. In the second case, there was no desire to avoid the intensity of the emotion whatsoever, and hence no projection. This is ultimately self-love, and helps bring love out to the world. It is not a rigid “I must face this and deal with it” attitude, which is an avoidance in itself, but a gentle allowing that has you as a witness.

So how to get there? Above all, be gentle with yourself. It’s good to have practice; if you have pain and hurt towards someone where there honestly isn’t enough trust to be vulnerable like this, take care of yourself and back away. Know that by not being a punching bag you are taking care of yourself, which is a part of self-love. Find a friend to be vulnerable about it first, or express it creatively by being vulnerable with yourself. Ultimately the more self-love you have to yourself about your own pain, the less tendency you will have to make it the fault of others.

NipTuck: More specifically, how does one handle the world in general?

Say, Insurance adjusters, office mates, peers, rude people who cut in front of you, try to cut you off in traffic… how does one react?

There is this paradigm it appears to me, where if one does exert some resistance (vocally) in others intrusions,they are considered trouble makers. Whereas if one does not say anything, one gets run over by the world at large.

? How does a person survive in this world? Allow others to run you over, or get angry. I speak up when people do this and then I feel guilty. It’s almost the survival of the fittest I feel. Everyone has become so narcissistic that I feel the continual need to avenge myself.

As someone vocal myself, I strongly notice when speaking up means I’m considered a “trouble maker”. So I take care of myself by stepping back if I feel if there is no openness whatsoever to anything opposed to preconceptions that exist. I have no problems speaking up, but there is no value in bashing needlessly against walls.

But really, the question is: what do you want? Do you want to be in the game of oneupmanship with others? Do you want to endlessly compete, in traffic and other things? Or do you simply want a feeling of peace and contentment in your life? If it’s the latter, then affirm that. Try to live that in traffic jams, in the office, with rude people. Different priorities bring different results.

There’s a saying in the Tao Te Ching that says “The sage does not compete with anyone, hence no one can compete with him.”. It applies here.

That said, even if you do desire well-being above everything else, of course there will be triggers. There will be people pissing you off. There will be people who require you to set firm boundaries. This is part of life, and expecting otherwise will lead to more upsets. But at the same time, there are ways to live in this world (and among such people) that are ultimately loving to yourself and others, even in trying circumstances.

Learning how isn’t a short term matter. If there are emotional minefields in your life, where you’re easily triggered, then it’s certain life won’t be peaceful immediately. However, it’s the direction of the next step that’s always most important, rather than the war zone you may find yourself in. Taking even one small step closer to peace may not feel like much at first, but it causes ripples both in yourself and those around you. Like I said above, everything inside ourselves is a gift. Allow it, value it, and try to find ways to let your honest self out – including honest emotions even if you think they are “negative” – in ways that do not make fault with other people . Blogging can be great, as you know! But above all, allow your feelings and reactions in such a way that doesn’t make anyone else wrong.

So yes, I do like questions that are on the flow of this blog. They’re very much welcome!  And if you like my writing, you’re welcome to share it in some way. Use the “email to a friend” link, send an email, put a link somewhere, anything is appreciated. Thank you for reading!