The Outrage Cycle

outrageOutrage is a byproduct of being diseased with fear, anger and pain. It permeates our minds and bodies and looks to infect others, exacting the same cost to them that we are suffering with. This disease creates delusions, judgments, gross generalizations and a rabid hunt for evidence that proves the outrage right. No matter what, whether we are offending others or recruiting others with our outrage, we are serving the disease more than the cause we are championing. We are spreading outrage. We are infecting with fear. Sadly, we are creating more sadness, pain and violence. It is a terrible cycle. Look and you will see this. It is likely how we became outraged in the first place, being infected by the outrage of others.

I hope I’ve been through enough outrages in my life and paid enough of a price to not be fooled by them any longer. All of my outrage did little but put me in the middle of more outrage, often much more than I could handle.

To all those outraged, I send love and understanding for the pain you are going through. It’s terrible to be as upset as you are. I trust you that your outrage is for a good reason and I understand that sometimes it seems like there is no other way.

I promise, outrage is optional and it’s just not very effective for anything other than creating more outrage. It couldn’t be more effective at doing that.

The only thing we can do with outrage that is in line with our hearts and intentions for a world of peace and understanding is to feel it. To feel the pain of tragedy, of injustice, of unfair dealing. You are exquisitely human. Love, however difficult it seems, that you are sensitive to the pain of knowing something that you see happening is not in line with our better selves, that we function in this miraculous way. Then, if you are still called to a cause, go do something, take committed action for your cause and leave the against and the outrage behind.

Think, for a second, what if those we were “against” could do this too?

Be the first one. Spread that.

Last Night’s Relationship Circle – 7/22/14 Arlington, VA

hands

We had a fun and social evening at Piola. It was great to see some regulars and a bunch of new people. I keep forgetting, people want to meet people!

When we got to talking about reactions we have to each other’s behavior on dates (applicable to all situations), it got lively and very interesting. We looked at interpretations and frustrations that are very common and get in the way. But when we started looking at ways we can dissolve the effects of these reactions, by asking questions and finding out if we upset each other, by taking responsibility for the upset (which does not mean we were “wrong”), we create a safe and vulnerable environment for acceptance and for really allowing each other to get to know the real us behind the interpretation they (and we) may have created.

As human beings, we’re going to be challenging to figure out, to understand each other’s reactions and interpretations and if we can’t help but make a big deal out of them when they show up, be ready for some emotions and feelings that might make the person seem unsafe to us, or might make us feel like we messed up the experience or that we won’t get along. If we allow each other to just be human, perfectly imperfect, fashioned from a unique set of experiences and how we related to them, we see that just about everything we do makes sense.

Speaking of trying to make sense of things. A new member, Sam (our Buddha of the evening last night), suggested that we talk about expectations in relationships. First, I think it’s awesome that Sam took the initiative to suggest the meetup on the page and emailed me personally about it (YOU can do that, too)! Secondly, this is a great topic and I’m looking forward to the session. Right now, Sam and I are working out a date that works for him, but if you RSVP early, before we even have a date and time, it will indicate interest in the topic and of course I hope the date will eventually work for you, too.

RSVP HERE: http://www.meetup.com/The-Relationship-Circle/events/196592672/

Lastly, I just want to say thank you for becoming a part of a growing community of people interested in creating extraordinary relationships and learning about ourselves and growing in the process.

Love,
Gregg

Feelings (woah, woah, woah)

indexThe greatest tyrants of this world are not people.

They are feelings.

Feelings always win. Feelings are relentless.

If the feelings we relate to as negative don’t attach themselves to some action of destruction that you actually execute – of the competition, of your rival, of those we perceive that have hurt, disappointed or threatened us – they wage a war inside and win, because you are now the one trying to hold them back.

They steal your health, your vitality, your joy, your freedom, your life. Can you feel it right now as you read this?

This even happens with “positive” feelings. Joy and love not felt fully fight with us inside as well. We cut off those feelings all the time, fearful of feeling too good. Our fear of being hurt (again) comes up and often cuts them off. They want to happen, too. Can you feel the cut short love, joy and happiness inside of you?

You must be a worthy companion of your feelings and the feelings of others. They just want to be felt fully. They have a purpose, to flow freely and you can master them, you just need to be aware of their primary purpose and facilitate it. You absolutely do not need to attach any actions that hurt others to facilitate feelings. You just need to let them express themselves all the way to their end.

This is worth spending as much time and practice on as possible. Journal, put it into your workouts, vent to a trusted partner, scream into the pillow, break something you can afford to break, have a good cry, doodle the feelings, purposely put yourself in front of art that has you feel things. And understand that this is what other people need too and just let them have their feelings more often without correction. Try to keep from making agreements and taking words too seriously that are coming from emotion. Try to keep from fixing the person because you are uncomfortable with the feeling they are having. Try to keep from judging the person by the feeling. Their tyrants are running the show and will not be stopped! If they finish, the person will probably come back pretty soon

Small, But Not Too Small

blackholeI was watching Cosmos last Sunday. At a certain point, we were traveling towards the center of a black hole (called a dark star today), where gravity is so great that nothing, not even light can escape it’s pull, it was suggested that entire universes could possibly be found within the center of a black hole, that our universe could conceivably be within a black hole. At that moment I felt so small I got scared. It was a jolt.

I looked over at Demetrius and found myself relieved that he was asleep. I wanted to protect him from feeling as small as I felt.

Interesting instinct, right? Let’s look deeper.

Feeling small is part of the human experience. Our fear mechanism, that something can threaten us, helps keep our fleshy, vulnerable bodies alive. In some ways it creates an arrogance, that we are important enough to keep living. And then when you think of it, this mechanism going wild is the root of why we don’t get along very well, too. This self-importance. The idea that what I want, see, think, feel is most important right now, the source of conflict.

So, overall, it seems like we need to feel small, that it’s integral on an unconscious level. But not too small. Too small creates a whole other set of problems. Existential fear. We desperately need order to our lives if we become aware of how insignificant we are and how being subject to forces indifferent to us create our whole existence. This is what creates the desperate need for god and the drive to create science, the need to congregate in groups for security, to create our parents as omniscient, to focus on the threat of the “other” (it makes us feel more secure to have good and bad, right and wrong). If we had no order to things, nothing that makes sense controlling how things go, it becomes impossible to keep the illusion of our importance going.

This importance thing isn’t seeming all that important anymore, just a fear-based construct. I’m going to peek inside this insignificance more, allow it. It seems way closer to truth than the order I’ve been assuming that I live under. This is not to say that I’m just going to drop everything and forget order, but it seems valuable to see the strings that keep this thing held together, so we don’t need to limit ourselves to their constraints.

Does this bring up anything for you?

You Are Not Your Behavior (and neither is he/she)

I don’t remember where I first heard that, but when I did it started a powerful process of forgiveness and understanding that is still ongoing. At a certain point, when we are ready, we can finally see that the things we did that got us scolded, corrected, that bent others out of shape was not who we were and we ultimately were not being scolded, just our behavior, but neither us or the scolder could likely see that at the time. We can start looking objectively and releasing ourselves to the world from behind our common and habitual behaviors.

Our behavior so often meets others at their behavior. But because we run our lives without this distinction between our behavior and ourselves, we build narrow relationships, whole systems of punishment and ideas of identity that balance on this faulty evaluation.

People become related to and labeled as drug addicts, womanizers, criminals, self-centered, lazy, etc.. The person becomes synonymous with our mental or cognitive illnesses or issues as well. We are not very good at seeing the person behind the behavior, because we don’t want that behavior present in our lives, it makes us uncomfortable or threatens us. The best way to keep it out is to slap the label on and then fight the behavior or avoid it altogether. It’s also the best way to perpetuate the behavior, because that person’s sense of disconnection from others grows. For all of us who got the idea stuck in our heads that we were bad kids, do you remember how that label affected you? How it still might?

We defend our behavior as ourselves. Our parents did when we built up the umbrage to question them on their ways. Do you remember what it was like when you were in full swing of being critical of your parents? How right you were, how uncomfortable it was to see them keep doing or saying that thing? It may still drive you bananas. Their behavior was not them either. More often than not, their love for you met their fear for your safety and well being and that is just rarely a pretty place to come from and so largely misunderstood. The fear comes through most of all and we are impacted on a visceral level. We are either seduced or repulsed by each other’s fear. You have long-standing issues with them or other people in your life, but are you any more willing to disengage from your own behaviors and look objectively at whether they really work for you, your commitments and your relationships?

It’s a rare person who is willing to have their behavior questioned, rarer still to find someone willing to question their own without it being part of some old self-flagellation ritual (the bad kid). No one is really up for looking when it hits a place where the hurt that birthed these behaviors was so bad, so clear to the person either consciously or unconsciously (the hurt and the automatic behavior coming up without us even noticing it). The reaction, defending will always show up loudly and clearly. It takes powerful practice to keep going after self-defense kicks in and just look, without stopping from feeling made wrong or dominated.

See your heart open when you notice your pull to judge someone and you just allow that to pass and try to get present to the person. We’re judging all the time. You can try this on line for coffee, riding the subway, sitting down for a meeting, looking at photos of people you’ve heard of on magazines or the web, when your caller ID pops up and you know who’s calling. All of their behaviors that helped you form this judgment, all of the ways it worked or didn’t work with you and your reactions has us staying at this level of engagement with others, with ourselves. It scuttles the possibility of freedom from behaviors that reinforce pain, fear, disconnection, lack of intimacy, acts of violence. It keeps us chained to fear, to avoiding discomfort and to self-defense.

The stress benefits alone from not getting caught up in judgments and reactions is worth it. Try it and get back to me. It takes practice.

From love,
Gregg

Acclimation – A Powerhouse Relationship Skill

ford-marshburn-hadfield-google-hangoutOne of our greatest assets as human beings is our ability to acclimate. I was thinking about this and looked up an article about what it’s like to acclimate to gravity after months in space. Apparently, it’s no walk in the park.

Trusting your power to acclimate can make life drastically different. The thing is that when we’re talking about our lives and relationships, we need to be on purpose about using the power of acclimation.

Acclimating to feelings is a great place to start. Feelings unconsciously have us make decisions that may not serve us. If only we could acclimate to the feeling, we might take more decisive action towards our goals and interests.

I encourage you to practice acclimation on purpose. Look at an area of life where you could be more powerful, like asserting your leadership. If you understand that you will be acclimating to speaking up, for instance, over the next month, you can speak up as a practice and see how you are doing at making this a more normal part of your workday. As you acclimate, more of your power will come through and your fear will lessen.

You can do this with so many parts of life. Codependents who are looking for a change need to acclimate to not helping in ways that hurt them. If we want to wean ourselves from technology’s hold (or any addiction), we need to practice acclimation. Changing eating habits requires acclimation. All behaviors that we exhibit that we want to let go of, we need to acclimate to life without doing that thing (like cutting people off, half-listening, listening for forming your rebuttal, always voicing the most alarming possibility, pushing away from the unknown, etc.). When you remember that you have this power and practice it, you can broaden your horizons vastly.

Part of acclimation can include getting support. If you let people know what you are working on, they can hear you as a student and help you with feedback as you move from fear to comfort.

http://www.space.com/21290-space-station-astronauts-nasa-hangout.html

Your Awesomeness Does Not Require Agreement

If your will to be yourself, to express yourself authentically is affected by the sense of agreement you feel around you, then you have let your awesomeness become co-opted by your needs. Identify your needs and resolve that you can be responsible for them. Hello, we’re talking about awesomeness here, it’s worth it!

When you detach your awesomeness from your needs and attach them to your commitments and to the experience of life you want to create, your awesomeness can take on an eternal quality. You become bulletproof. With commitments, we get used to a lack of agreement. If there was total agreement, there would be no need for the commitment. Also, your awesomeness then is powerful, directed towards what matters to you.

By the way, your awesomeness can just be, too, without purpose, attached to nothing in particular other than just experiencing the joy of your inherent freedom (and we don’t need to even be aware of that!). We’re born with that freedom and with full on awesomeness. We train each other and ourselves out of it with our judgments and reactions and by giving those judgments and reactions so much weight (imagine sound effect of a jailhouse door slamming shut here).

The best use for lack of agreement is feedback. Maybe there’s something available in the lack of agreement that will make you more effective. Maybe it’s just a pile of crap that someone lazily wants to give you, too

Jedi Tip #471

One of the keys to living a powerful life is raising one’s ability to tolerate the fear and discomfort we and others are going through without it taking us over and unconsciously choosing our next word or action for us.

When we’re/they’re upset (uncomfortable, scared, annoyed, angry, etc.), all of that yuck is constantly being broadcast outwards to the environment. All of us do this broadcasting when we’re upset. When two people are going through it together, they’re just throwing it back and forth. You can feel it even when you’re not directly involved, when you’re just in the room with that kind of energy, right?

Normally, we react and try to change the situation so we can get back to our normal, familiar and more comfortable state. There’s no future in that approach, though. It’s all we’ll ever do and it’s what we can’t stand other people doing to us.

Raise your tolerance. Practice allowing the reaction in yourself that comes up when you’re in the middle of that signal of upset coming from others (or ourselves). Initially, it won’t feel good. You won’t want to. It takes practice.

Over time, you’ll notice a powerful rise in your ability to tolerate this energy and a greater freedom will show up. The ability to be present in the midst of this is the power I’m talking about. It’s the ability to transcend the emotional conditioning we are all partly formed by and truly be ourselves.

What do you think this would bring to your relationships (Mom, Dad, sibling, boss, co-worker, kids, spouse)?

May The Force be with you

We Exist in Different Universes

We exist in different universes.

No matter whether you’re strangers or know each other all your lives, you exist in different universes, because we each are the creators of our own universe.

This is something we know without knowing it, because we constantly try to have other people live inside our universe with us. That’s the essence of conflict. The closest we can get to fully relating with each other is acknowledging that all we have is our own universe and this is what others have to work with as well. From there we can be curious, understanding and forgiving.

You can be coached when you see a destination that you want to reach that seems somewhat or completely outside of your universe, but you’re willing to have the parameters of your universe change in order to get it. But when you hold fast to the definitions of your universe, expect familiar results.

You can truly be in relationship with others when you can allow their universe to exist alongside yours, where you’re well aware that sometimes these universes will not agree. When you do this, you have the best chance of relating to another person, because the threat of needing them to see things as you do goes away. This is the environment where ideas can be fruitfully exchanged and considered. Otherwise, all we are doing is defending our universe…