Skip to content

Positive, Dynamic Solutions

I’m not feeling at my best today. A rather negative way to begin an article but really, we all have that feeling at some point or another. I guess you know what I’m talking about.

When I feel this way, I search for escape. The problem is though; I have a nervous system illness that is irritated when the air pressure drops.

Finding my way out . . .

Chronic pain is extremely distracting there is no doubt, and so far I’ve not managed to find a way erase it. That said, there are ways to push it into the background so I can get on with my life.

Adopt a growth mindset. I read and engage with the work of Deepak Chopra and many others. Deepak said research has shown that when adversity strikes, happier people tend to see creative opportunities, while unhappier people see adversity.

“It’s programmed through childhood through a phenomenon called mirror neurons,” he says. “If you saw people complaining all the time when you were a kid, that’s what you do. Your neurons mirror the behavior.”

Going back to 1999 when I had the accident that started this illness, I adopted a mantra and repeated to myself whenever the going got tough.

Positive, Dynamic Solutions

When it went off the1 to 10 scale, I searched for something positive to distract and distance myself from the pain. Sometimes I failed, there were times when I stumbled but I always picked myself up.

The Internet was a shadow of what it is today but there were opportunities and I seized a few and developed an ‘eZine; ‘ I guess you might call it a motivational blog. Writing positive articles was life changing; the positive comments from almost 5000 readers were almost secondary to the learning I experienced through researching and writing the articles.

A visit to the doctor one day slammed my positive attitude so hard that I fell into a deep slumber for several months. He increased the so-called pain relieving opiates to the maximum dose and staying awake during the day was a challenge in itself. He also told me it was “unlikely” I would ever walk again. The diagnosis forced my employer to retire me.

Nevertheless, I changed my drugged mindset, stepped away from the problem and looked for opportunities by increasing my input to KEYZine, my online blog. It wasn’t known as a blog yet, that term hadn’t surfaced.

I also decided to engage the enemy by learning everything I could about the illness. I started to accept it and get on with my life. I engaged what Deepak calls the “unfriendlies.” He talked about them as people; my unfriendlies were an illness causing debilitating pain and a society discriminating against me because I couldn’t participate as expected.

It took a while but with lots of study and incredible support from my partner and our family, I am back on my mountain bike and skiing Pyrenean slopes when the snow falls. I have dozens of books to write and thousands more to read. Medication is necessary at very low levels and like today, following a long journey yesterday evening, the pain occasionally resurfaces only to be forced back again after I engage and challenge.

Deepak Chopra said,

“Adopt a growth mindset

Engage the “unfriendlies

Read”

I do those things every day and they have led to Positive, Dynamic Solutions

 

Investigating my own experience II

What do you want to be when you grow up? How many times I heard that question from well-meaning relatives I dread to think. For sixteen years I had only vague ideas about my future although I was well aware of my parent’s expectations. Their expectations didn’t match mine, of that I had no doubts.

Thanks to a local youth worker, I did begin to put a couple of plans together. The first was thwarted because they wouldn’t employ people under eighteen and the second similarly so. I would have to wait until at least twenty-one and gain more experience. It doesn’t matter what my goals were although I must say they were nothing outside the ordinary. What did matter was feeling like I had been stuffed into a glass box. I saw well enough but only to look, not to experience.

My family seemed to be getting what they wanted. A son working in local industry, finding a partner, getting married . . . That was their path, not mine and although I had a good time at British Aerospace, I used the opportunity to save toward a few years travelling. The glass box had to go, my path was clear and it was far from traditional or expected. It resulted in estrangement from a family who couldn’t believe that I threw away an amazing job in favour of travelling to ‘who knows where.’

Now here’s where I step right outside the box and I know I am not alone in this. Not that it matters. As a young person I never easily came to terms with the way society ran. Go to school, get a job, find a partner, mortgage, life insurance, family, etc.  I’m not an anarchist and realistic enough to know that at this time, that is the way of the world. Driven by money and controlled by a minority. This used to cause me no end of stress because I saw where I was and it wasn’t where I wanted to be. Change needed to come and I knew I had to be the agent of change, beginning with me. So off I went to unknown shores with an open mind to see what I could discover about people of the world and my place therein.

You can read other instalments of this investigation at Sue Vincent’ Daily Echo and in The Crazy Mind Interview More will follow here . . .

Lost in our own stories

Greetings from here, a stunning autumnal day in the south of France.

In my last post, I talked about freeing ourselves from the need of regular selfish desires and transforming our thoughts and desires to the needs of others.

I didn’t expect those comments to raise such a wonderful rush of chatter on various social media forums and I am pleased they did.

One person said, “Thank you so much Steve for bringing up that which stops us from experiencing constant, intrinsic and unconditional love – the illusion of individual needs and desires. The illusion of individuals.”

While another said, “When we get out of our own head our attention immediately turns to others (or donuts). The question to ask is “how can I help?”

I love that reference to donuts (even though it should be doughnuts! Ha ha) but it is rather sad, like, ‘my works’ done for the day so that person who seems lonely, lost . . . can wait until another day, I don’t have time for that right now.’

Not a day goes by without a tag being added; today (10 October 2017) is World Mental Health Day. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with ‘depression’ a label that was difficult to come to terms with, and then add the other odd things that kept surfacing. Thank heavens’ for the person who noticed, she pulled me out of the mire.

How often do we take the time to look around at our fellow humans? Sometimes they can’t reach out when they need to because they don’t have the capacity or, nobody is listening.

“Is seeking pleasure what is hindering us from realizing who we are, or is it just a matter of mistaking transient pleasure (TP) for authentic pleasure (AP), which is inherent in consciousness?”

I wonder if seeking pleasure through the various aspects of our lives can be a hindrance, especially if an element of risk or fear is involved. Consider the confidence it takes to ask somebody you don’t know too well if they are okay. The ego steps in and raises doubts while our intuition gently asks for attention when it tells us it’s a good idea to say hello or offer a coffee to someone within our radar.

We have to love the ego, it can lead us astray, it often protects us but we must also listen to our intuition. The TP, such has having the latest phones aren’t AP.

TP = Ego, AP = Intuition, soul . . . If we only know authentic pleasure, we have stepped into the light and whilst still there, our ego and intuition are as one, looking after and guiding us as we travel along our paths.

Here’s what another commentator had to say,

“Good Morning varying versions of shared Self:

Sitting here observing and experiencing the miracle that is the freely gifted daily morning waves, sunrise, birds, dolphins and all…all thought seems superfluous to optimal being.

I am intrigued and guided by the latest neuro science from the Max Planck Institute where by connecting individuals to a new type of brain scanner and giving them a series of multiple choice questions…they could accurately forecast each thought 6-7 seconds before the thinker had it.

What they were unable to do is to say accurately where each thought originates yet the tests do point to the strong possibility that there is something invisible at play.

From this human perspective the only way is to view life as one ‘qualia program’ being directed, written, produced, experienced and ongoingly informed by the Only One Formless Being – and holding the knowing that I am that Being….feels all that is needed to be known.

It feels that we confuse & reduce via distractive thought when there are birdsongs, waves, breezes through the trees, children’s laughter, Mozart, Bach, sharing, caring, tender, playful, creative, inclusive, compassionate & wondrous other unlimited experiences to be lived and felt.”

Each day I learn and grow, through life, meditation other studies and leisure activities.

Is it through meditation that we can take great strides forward? Can meditation affect the thoughts of people not meditating? There are arguments we are connected in such a way. Put like that it sounds so simple. Of course it’s not but getting people to the same page is part of our journey and to do that, we have to notice them.

Despite the darkness that all too often drifts into the light, we were born in love and our universal love is something to be cherished and shared.

If you would like to join the debate, try one of these forums at Discovering Your Cosmic Self where you can discuss these issues in a supportive and challenging environment.

I will leave you for now (or maybe not) with a poem by David Whyte

The Bell Ringer

Consider the bell
ringer as an image
of the human soul,
he stands foursquare
on the stone flagged
ground, and surrounded
by a circle of communal
concentration
searches in his fixed
aloneness
for a world
beyond straight,
human,
eye to eye
discourse,
in this case
above him,
the collision of metal
worlds chiming
to each bend and lift
of the knees,
letting his weight bear down
on the rope,
creating out of the heave
and upward pull,
a hollowed out
brass utterance,
a resonant
on-going argument
for his continued presence,
independent
of daily mood
or the necessities
for a verbal
proclamation.

***

Let him stand there
then
for the human soul,
let his weight
come true on the rope,
the way we want to lean
into the center of things,
the way we want to
fall with the gravity
of the situation
and then afterwards
laugh and
defy it
with an upward
ultimately untraceable
flight,
a great ungovernable
ringing
announcement
to the world
that something, somewhere,
has changed.

Consider
the bell ringer
as one of us,
attempting some
unachieved,
magnificent
difference in the world,
far above
and far beyond
the stone-closed
space we seem
to occupy.

Below
we’re all
effort, listening
and willful concentration,
above,
like a moving sea,
another power
shoulders
just
for a moment
the whole burden,
lifts us
against our will,
lets us find
in the skyward pull
a needed antidote
to surface noise,
a gravity against gravity,
another way to hear
amid
the clamor of the heavens.

(Everything Is Waiting For You)

French Connection ii

Reserach for Beyond The Pyre took me deep into the pyrenees where it must be said that the lifestyle is far from typically French. I’m not going to analyse that now, suffice to say, it is very different up there. When I visit, I can feel it, it is a wonderfully spiritual feeling and life there is certainly not a breeze for many.

Like many places, there are myths and legends. Who knows, some of them might be true. If not the entire story, there might well be messages within.

Jean de l’Ours or John Bear is an old French legend that originated from a village in the French Pyrenees. Traditionally told by word of mouth and passed down through the generations. I have read and reread this story; there are so many possibilities of meanings and interpretations. What do you think?

Once upon a time, a woman meets a large bear in a forest. The bear takes the woman into a cavern and prevents her from getting out by putting a large boulder in front of the entrance.

The woman and the bear have a child named Jean de l’Ours, and he becomes very strong. One day, Jean pushes the boulder away from the entrance, and he and his mother leave the bear’s cavern.

Then, Jean works for a blacksmith, but the blacksmith doesn’t pay him well. So, with some pieces of iron, Jean makes himself a cane and leaves on a journey.

Jean eventually meets three strong men: Roue de Moulin, Coupe Chêne, and Porte Montagne. The four men travel together and find a castle in the middle of a forest. They enter the castle, and on the next day, they decide that three of them will hunt for food while one will stay home and prepare dinner. Once dinner is ready, the person will ring a bell to tell the huntrs to come back and eat. They will alternate who will stay home at the castle every night.

Roue de Moulin is the first one to stay at the castle, and he is preparing soup for dinner. He hears a noise coming from the chimney. Then, a hand, an arm, an ear, and a head fall down the chimney like hail, and they form together to become a man. This man is the devil, and he asks Roue de Moulin to light his pipe. However, Roue refuses, so the devil beats him up and prevents Roue from finishing the dinner or ringing the bell. The others come back to the castle without hearing the bell, but Roue fabricates an excuse and doesn’t reveal what really happened.

Coupe Chêne and Porte Montagne have the same experience as Roue de Moulin when it is their turn to prepare the meal.

A few days later, Roue, Coupe, and Porte are out hunting, and Jean stays at the castle to prepare dinner. When the devil comes down the chimney and asks Jean to light his pipe, Jean hits him and puts a large boulder on top of him. Jean prepares dinner, and he rings the bell to call everyone back to the castle. Before they get back, the devil escapes from under the boulder and goes down the water well next to the stove.

Jean de l’Ours tells his friends the story about the devil and that he has escaped, and the four men look around the castle. Eventually, they see the water well next to the stove and the rope that the devil used to escape. With the rope and the bell, Roue, Coupe and Porte follow, but they get scared and ring the bell to signal they want to get back to the kitchen.

Then, Jean takes his turn, and finds a castle at the bottom. An old woman there tells him she is the devil’s wife who introduces him to the devil. He gives Jean three treasure chests and three princesses. Jean rings the bell, and he and his friends use the cord to lift the chests and princesses to the surface. When they get the chests and princesses to the top, Jean’s friends run off with them and leave Jean at the bottom of the well.

Jean talks with the devil again, and the devil gives him a white eagle that’s locked up in a cage. The devil tells Jean that if he gives the eagle raw meat, it will fly. So, Jean gets on the eagle’s back, gives it some raw meat, and they begin to fly back up the well. However, Jean runs out of meat before the eagle brings him all the way up. So, he cuts off a piece of his thigh, gives it to the eagle, and they continue until they reach the top.

Then, Jean goes to the city with his cane in search of his former friends. When Roue de Moulin, Coupe Chêne, and Porte Montagne see Jean, they jump out of a window, run away, and Jean never sees them again.

Jean de l’Ours marries the youngest princess out of the three given to him. He uses some of the money from the chests to buy his mother a horse-drawn carriage. Jean, his wife, and his mother live happily ever after in the castle in the forest.

%d bloggers like this: