There are only two paths to take in my life at any moment: opening up to and closing down to.
Closing down is a kind of steeling myself for battle. It is the suit of armor that I taught myself to wear long ago. Numbing myself is closing down.
Opening up to is dropping my guard, opening my heart and shifting into wonder. I let go of already knowing in favor of observing. I look without belief or opinion. I am defenseless.
Essentially, I am talking about being open hearted versus closed hearted. I think that the world taught me to be closed hearted but oddly, I have found, being defensive provides no more security in this world than being defenseless.
And when I drop my defenses, my judgments and my certainty, I open myself up to a profound connectedness and deeper knowing.
Opening up to the world seems to be scary. It’s certainly not how I learned to be a man as a young teenager. But there is a posture of defenselessness beyond the small, uptight, pinched off version of me that I had learned as a young warrior.
Opening up to each moment fully is the practice of the mature warrior.
There is no where to go to and nothing to do.
May you enjoy the peacefulness of nothing today, the quiet of nowhere.
When I was younger, I spent a lot of time achieving and proving myself. Proving myself to whom, you might ask. Yes, to whom. To myself, in the end.
I was supposed to succeed like the other successful people. But why?
How much can I get and still not have it be enough?
The pinnacle of success is not to be recognized by others but it is to recognize yourself for who you truly are and to grant yourself the bold courage to be exactly that way.
They say that life is short and that you shouldn’t waste it. But first of all, this life isn’t really mine. It belongs to the wind, the trees and the rocks. I am here in this place and at this time to take my place in the order of all things.
I come from the rains and my life runs to the ocean. I may be the captain of my ship but the river is the master of me.
Some speak of fate but I write of desire. De-sire means literally “of the sire”. My desires are not mine really but come through me from a higher source.
True, I have choice. But my choices are to follow the flow of the desire that runs through me or else to resist it. All the while heading back out to the ocean anyway.
The source of all peace is within me.
Facts and truth are no longer useful within the social conversation. How we organize, plan and move forward as a collective body was informed by something that we called “the age of reason” for about a 500 year period of time. That time is now over.
There is no such thing as facts and truth. There is only “my” facts and “my” truth. The certainty that I have about possessing the facts and the truth is the biggest clue that, in fact, I don’t.
For example, if history is any indicator at all, another 500 years forward from today almost everything that we know about medical science will be shown to be wrong and outdated.
For example, if you read the news sources on the political left and the on the political right every day, you find out that there are millions of people who share a different view of what is going on than other millions of people. The simple notion that “the other” millions of people are “wrong” and that “my” millions of people are right might have worked fine in grade school but it doesn’t help move the social conversation forward now as adults.
Facts and truth are not useful within the conversation. They make for a fun game, like NFL football, but come Monday morning nothing has actually changed.
Leaving behind “the age of reason” is an evolutionary step forward in human consciousness. What’s next? I don’t know.
At the moment, we are sort of stuck clinging to the elementary school notion of a right and a wrong. The idea that I know what is right (me) and what is wrong (them) is a great reveal to the limits of human thinking.
Galaxies are colliding with other galaxies right now. Down at the frog pond, Billy frog mounted Mary frog last night and, boy, did that cause an upset with the other frogs. But you won’t see any of those stories in the news today. All you will see is an almost identical version of “what’s going on” as told yesterday. The best that we can do is to tell virtually the same story about reality as we did yesterday with maybe one small new wrinkle.
Who we are is the story that we tell about ourselves. That story is ever changing but at a pace that is almost imperceptible on a daily basis. Without the story, we are empty blank spaces of consciousness. “Reality” is only what the story says that it is at the moment. Facts and truth only exist within the story as it is being told.
Without the story, there is no suffering. Without the story, there is nothing wrong. Without the story, the universe is functioning perfectly, all without my help or opinion.
People will pay a lot of money and shed a lot of blood to defend their own version of the story. The empty space of pure consciousness is an uncomfortable place to hang out. It’s the most powerful place to be but it requires a lot of intention and focus to stay there. Certainty is a whole lot more comfortable than uncertainty. But the only thing that you can be sure of is nothing.
No thing and no where. Space, peace and light. That’s the truth.
For most of my life, I was in drama filled relationships. I was addicted to drama. It’s very popular. Everybody’s doing it. You can’t have a movie or a tv show without drama, suspense, power and control. Or an election.
I’m still in withdrawal. I mean, I’m not doing drama filled relationships any more but once an addict, always an addict.
The high of drama, struggle, loud words or no words is all about power and control. It feels good to feel really alive. Nothing like a few hits of drama over your lover, your mother or your choice presidential candidate to make you feel like you are really living.
I’m like a kid in a candy shop who is trying to not eat candy, these days. What a temptation. There are so many people to judge, disagree with or talk about. But I’m trying to keep my hands in my pockets and out of my mouth.
My guidance system is “my business”, “their business” and “God’s business”. As long as I can be clear about which is which and also about which of the three above is my business then I’ve got something strong (and clear) to work with.
A year ago, I tore out this wall so Carole could see what it would look like to open the kitchen up into the living room. It’s been about ten months of brainstorming, reviewing various design options, having plans drawn, discussing with the neighbors and going in front of the Planning Commission for architectural review in an historic district. Some things take a whole lot longer than you imagine.
In the end, we probably have the best design with the most functionality we could get for the dollar. When its done, we’ll have a fully modernized kitchen walking out onto a large deck and the lower level master suite will look like it was part of the original construction. We will celebrate the historical design of the house and simultaneously prepare it for the next 50 years.
In the meantime, both Carole and I have done a lot of personal growth work individually and as a couple. I love old house renovation and I am also committed to old heart renovation. We both come from pasts – past relationships, habits and patterns. But as I say, the past isn’t the past until it is. Without an intense level of interior renovation, the past becomes your future. Left on autodrive, there is no such thing as free will. You wind up choosing the same thing over and over again.
Creating a future from what you already know is called repeating the past. So we took some time to draw new plans, to modernize the way we do relationship. We brought in a relationship architect to coach us on getting clear about the future of our dreams.
What do I want? Like really. What is the romantic partnership of my dreams?
What do you want? What is the life of your dreams?
Does it make sense to build it together?
Are we each willing to do the hard work of interior demolition?
When creating a new old house, I love to acknowledge and pay homage to the past. But I had best stay rooted in the vision, the dream for the future. Old house renovation is informed by the past. But it is driven by the future that I am creating.
Over the years, I’ve used a lot of coping strategies to deal with the discomfort of being alive. Running and working really hard are two that come to mind. Meditation, alcohol, pot, extreme athleticism outdoors in the mountains and on the rock are others. Being in drama with or about someone else is a more subtle escape (hint: presidential election). Being in drama with myself.
But in the end, I’m left with the fact that living is an uncomfortable event.
So I’ve taken on a process for myself: lean into the discomfort. Instead of grasping for the illusion of happy, got it all together, getting numb or sticking my nose into your business, I’m exploring what it’s like to just hang out raw and vulnerable on my leading edge of being alive.
What’s that meme? “Shit just got real up in here.”
Instead of trying to fix myself, get better, or get more … instead of distracting myself or getting numb … I’m hanging out in the feeling of uncomfortable, not sure and whatever emotions come up, as they come up.
And I might even tell the truth about it, to myself and to others, as I am feeling it.
Your dream is your dream, you can’t escape it. Either your living it, struggling with it or stuffing it back down. But either way, your dream is going to keep clawing its way out of you.
Actually, your dream isn’t yours. Passion is a spiritual force. All that talk about free will is misleading. You are here on this planet to be a conduit, an agent, for the passion to express itself through you.
Desire is “of the sire”. It is the will of a higher power moving through you.
Your only “choice” is to go with the flow of the passion running through you or to resist it. But either way, that river continues to move downstream.
Having spent most of my life learning to get “stronger” and safer, it’s still a little weird learning how to open up and become more emotionally exposed and vulnerable.
I call it a posture of defenselessness. Giving up the idea that there is anything to defend. As I have found, all of my defenses were ultimately forms of attack. Keeping people away. Being right. Winning.
It’s counter intuitive and counter culture. It goes against most everything the mainstream culture seems to teach. But while being defensive might be “strong” it’s not powerful. Being defensive is numb. Being defensive is half dead.
Defenselessness … raw, open and vulnerable … now that is the doorway into true power. That is the path of the awakened warrior.
The people on the field are playing the game.
The people in the stands are talking about the game.
Talking is never playing.
And the talking has no impact on the field.
Teddy Herzog received his training and certification as an Integrative Holistic Coach through the Legacy Training Institute. The 6-month program requires the completion of five weekend Legacy Seminars with a minimum of 1500 coaching hours.