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The Extrovert – Diary of A World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.”

…Anais Nin

We’ve all grown up in this western cultural mindset that told us it’s great to be bold, to be sociable (think about Social Media). Extroverts love to get out there and meet new people, crank up the stereo, race to the finish line, tackle assignments quickly. Which means we’ve lost sight of who we really are.

But, did you know that one third to one half of our population are introverts?…in other words, one out of every two or three people you know.

That was astonishing to me! Could I actually be an introvert?!! So I did some research. And here’s a very interesting story that exemplifies how our North American culture evolved into the rise of the Extrovert Ideal…

The date: 1902. The place: Harmony Church, Missouri, a tiny dot-on-the-map, village in small-town U.S.A. Our leading character: a good-natured but insecure teenage boy named Dale.

Skinny, fretful, unathletic, Dale was the son of a morally upright but constantly bankrupt pig farmer. He loves and respects his parents but is horrified that he might end up like them. Dale worries about other things too. Thunder and lightening, having a date for his high school prom, and being tongue-tied at crucial moments.

Well, one day a very captivating speaker comes to town. You know the kind…with the ability to mesmerize an audience. And, he fascinates young Dale with his rag-to-riches story. How he went from a lowly farm boy with a bleak future, to how he developed a charismatic speaking style and took to the stage. Dale hangs on every word he says.

A few years go by and Dale is again impressed by the value of public speaking. He is now in college and he observes that the students who win the campus speaking contests are viewed as leaders, and he is determined to be one of them. He signs up for every contest. He practices every night at home. Again and again he loses.

Eventually though his efforts begin to pay off. He transforms himself into a speaking champion and campus hero. By the time he leaves college, students are seeking him out for help in speaking, and corporate America is booming. J.C. Penney, Sears Roebuck, Woolworth are all household names.

Well, this new economy called for a new kind of man…a salesman, a social operator who had a ready smile, a great handshake. You know the kind. So, Dale joins the ranks of those salesmen, heading out on the road.

Dale’s last name as you may have guessed by now is Carnegie. The rest is history. His book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” was one of the first best-selling, self-help books ever published. His story is also the rise of our cultural evolution that reached a tipping point around the turn of the twentieth century.

So, here’s what happened. We shifted our focus from inner goodness and integrity to outer seductiveness, magnetism, and charm. We went from a Culture of Character, to a Culture of Personality. And, we opened up a Pandora’s box of personal stress and anxiety from which we have not yet recovered.

And, it’s bizarre given the fact that most of us are actually introverts, who have learned how to adopt extroverted behaviors in order to succeed. But, at what a cost!! We have now reached epidemic levels in depression, and mental health issues. 

The solution is simple. But, most people have dismissed it with a wave of their hand and then carried on with their very busy lives.

What we ALL really need to do is to learn how to get still once again. We need to embrace the silence that is within us.  For it is there that we will receive great wisdom. Look at it as a sanctuary for our busy selves…a time when we can just “be” without having to impress anyone else. And, it’s very, very important that we discover this sacredness again.

It truly is an inside job. A training of sorts where the payoff won’t be in lining the pockets of those who are already “fat” from profits, but rather, a return to the riches of our own soul.

That, my friends, is priceless.

 

 

How To Go From ‘Why me?’ To ‘Why not me?’

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“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
…Ryunosuke Satoro

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I am only now getting over this cold thing that has taken hold of me and held on for dear life! Needless to say I have not been at my best, most optimistic self.

I’ve had nasty, negative thoughts. A mean-spirited disposition. There didn’t seem to be anything that could rally me out of these doldrums. And, that is when I realized that Holy Cow! I must have some vile toxins inside this body of mine.

And it was then, that I decided to surrender. You see, I was fighting this cold. I was resisting what my body was telling me and I just kept going. Those toxins needed to get out. They were interfering with the harmony and natural balance of my energy system. So, I hunkered down, holed up, and listened to the whispers of my own body.

And, these words came back to me. Whatever you fight you strengthen. Whatever you resist, persists. And, whatever you fear, you draw near.

I initiated that first step when I made the choice to surrender and allow myself to heal. The Universe then reciprocated, opened her arms and….

gave me my daughter who helped me to heal by just being there with me.

For, it wasn’t until my daughter called and told me she was on her way over that I actually started to feel better. We spent the afternoon picking out a tree for the holidays. We baked Christmas goodies. We ate dinner by the fire. We drank wine and watched a Christmas classic. And, when I ran out of steam, she took over.

We forget sometimes, when we are down on our luck, or tired of all the insanity in this world, that we are not alone. Ever. Sure, we can sit there and wallow in our own misery. But, that just keeps us forever drowning.

It’s not until we consciously opt to do something good for ourselves, without knowing what the outcome will be, fully aware that there are no guarantees…that we can really reap the  rewards for not only ourselves, but for all of humanity.

I know that there is more I certainly need to do, but there is a stirring happening out there. I am a witness to all this insanity sure, but I am also seeing a growing enlightenment. I know this much for sure. We are all connected. And, we need to collectively clear away that which is no longer serving us through our own individual efforts ie. planting or making a sacrifice to Mother Earth and, by coming together and taking a stand for the land we live on wherever we are.

People are restless and the establishment is imploding. Consciousness is peaking through and for some it’s like a light switch has been thrown on!

I know too, that if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to others.

There are many people now bringing their wisdom forward to help further consciousness. And, I am very thankful for that. It’s working. It’s epic!

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How To Find Happiness When It Seems Like Your World Is Falling Apart

Credit Photo: Christian Rey

Credit Photo: Christian Rey

“There’s no life without humour. It can make the wonderful moments in life truly glorious, and it can make tragic moments bearable.”
…Rufus Wainwright

I’ve just received some tragic news this past week. My most favourite Aunt in the world has just been diagnosed with cancer. This has happened quite quickly and already she is in Palliative Care so it really is just a matter of time before she leaves this world.

So, in I go to visit her. A huge sadness enveloping me like a dark cloud. And, I trudge down the hallway psyching myself to put on a brave face when I see her…feeling, with every step I take, that sad, empty energy of those morbid hospital halls start to close in around me. Consume me.

But, then something magical happened…

As I approached her room, I saw this person that I thought I recognized but was not quite sure. She was doing the same thing. And, then we locked eyes and both my aunt and I broke into enormous smiles.

I was so happy to see her…that beautiful aunt of mine who commanded attention whenever she walked into a room. She was not only beautiful to look at, and she was definitely that…she had this charisma, this twinkle in her eye, this joy of life that emanated from her and made you just want to rub up against her so that maybe some of that pure joy might rub off onto you.

It was a bittersweet reunion. But, for some reason these words seemed to tumble out of my mouth before I could stop them.

“You’ll be seeing my sister soon.” I told her.

“Yes. I will.” She replied. “I will say hi to her for you.”

Then I looked at her and said “I want You to send me a message too.” Her heartfelt response was “I will do that. If I can.”

And, with that the conversation was over. I felt a profound sense of calm wash over me because I knew then that she was ready for the next part of her journey.

Her sons, my cousins came back into the room. We chatted of family things and it felt important to me to see her laugh once again. So I used my own children’s escapades as a leverage to do that. It worked. Both my cousin’s and my banter back and forth created this wonderful glee inside that gloomy hospital atmosphere. It felt like sunshine after a summer’s rain shower. And we laughed.

A while later, when I reached work and walked back into this tiny cubicle of an office I sit in every day…four walls, no windows, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I looked up. I saw a butterfly fluttering from a bookshelf and landing on a basket in the room. I smiled.  “Hi Pam” I whispered.

My sister, you see had been with us all the while.

I also received this video about “Aunt Chippy” when I reached my office that day and because it made me laugh out loud, I thought I would share it with you too. This reminds me of my aunt only in that she loved to laugh. I hope you do too.

Have a lighthearted, hilarious, side-splitting, gut-busting, rib-tickling week.

 

Walking Meditation – Tip #9

A simple way to bring awareness into your life is through a walking meditation.  You bring your attention to the actual experience of walking as you are doing it, focusing on the sensations in your feet and legs, and feeling your whole body moving.  As with practicing mindfulness, it is never quite as easy as it seems.  We are hardly ever just walking.  Walking meditation involves intentionally creating an awareness to the experience of walking itself.

Mindfulness Awareness – Tip #7

Another way of putting this is to be mindful.  This means that you see things in a non-judgemental way.  You are un-biased.  You see what is there.  As you become more conscious of your thoughts, movements, and actions, you become more aware of your own nature, and you gain insight into others and into life itself.  To be mindful is to be in a state in which you are attentive and aware of your movements, thoughts, and breath.  You learn to accept yourself seeing both the positive and negative qualities.

The Web of Life – A Huge Life Lesson I Learned This Summer

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My summer was a murderous one.

Strung across the softness of a Globe Cedar in my back yard, a web had been spun. I came outside that beautiful dog-days-of-summer afternoon and, not giving any thought to what I was about to do, I plucked that spiral with my bare hands from its home nestled there in my cedar. I continued on with my day without giving the spider nor, his web another thought.

I expressed a fundamental lack of compassion in those moments, a villainous disregard for the better choice. Why? Is there an instinct within us to destroy something without reason? Without consequence? Was I thinking that I was destroying that web in the interest of health and cleanliness? Or was it that dark mystery that wraps itself around nature herself?

Whatever the case, when my child came in later that day, he marched into the kitchen and demanded to know if I had done anything to the spider web in our back yard. Feeling as if I had been caught with my hand in the proverbial cookie jar, I somewhat sheepishly confessed to my destruction of the wee little home.

For the most part, I do not understand this child of mine. He genuinely loves people and he knows and talks to all our neighbors at great length. Yet, this wonderful soul does not get the social cues that most of society adheres to. The nuances of the English language seem to totally escape him. If I kick him under the table in warning to be quiet about something, he will look at me and say, with everyone present, “Why are you kicking me?” He kind of reminds me of Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory”… frustrating, while at the same time very endearing.

On this particular day though, my young man asked me if I would like it if someone came and tore my house down? I replied “No, I would not like it at all.” And, he was somewhat comforted by the fact that I did not actually foist the ultimate act of death upon the spider…

The next morning to my surprise and excitement, a new silken spiral had miraculously formed over darkness of the previous evening. That little fellow had worked hard throughout the night and I felt marginally better about my primal actions of the day before.

Later, my son came in to announce that “Hunter” had a new home and that he was alive and well. Hunter??!!! When had that creature become the new family pet? Apparently, as I was to learn, when my other son declared that he must have a name.

I vowed that I would never do something so unnecessarily cruel again. I didn’t bother to think. Henceforth, I would think first, then act.

In hindsight, I realized that what I was imposing on myself was a form of mindfulness.

And, my beautiful son, the one who does not comprehend the graces of society, gathered his family together around his understanding of the Universe… to honor all creatures great and small.

Huge lesson indeed!