Last night at my men’s group, I got in touch with a foundational level of sadness that has been with me at least since I was 8 years old. All of my “adult”, success, achievement and whatever has, over the years, been built on top of this level of sadness.
I think that most of us spend most of our lives “getting motivated”, reaching for happy, being successful or otherwise getting distracted in a way that has us avoid the what’s going on deep down below inside. There’s a cultural agreement around me that happy is good and sad is bad. Just be happy. (Hat tip: Pharrell Williams)
But I am an excavator. (By the way, the photo below is a new garage in the Berkeley Hills that we did close to Indian Rock. Huge views of the Bay too.)
Right now, I am a whole lot more about getting real and reaching for peaceful. The path towards peace walks straight through what is real.
“Happy” may happen on top of sadness like a new varnish over an old oak floor. But peaceful and joyful are deeper underneath. The only way out of the sadness is to go through it.
I could give you stories about the personal experiences that are at the source of my deep foundational level of sadness. But more so, I think that I learned it from the adults around me as a kid. If I want to, I can get triggered back to it everyday watching the “adults” running the world together today.
In my 20’s and 30’s, I was quite content to operate on top of and to varnish over the unfinished emotional business hidden down below. But as I like to say, many of us are scheduled for a mid-life transition right around 42 years of age. “Happy” and “successful” just isn’t real enough anymore. It is time to go deeper.
That’s what makes me a great coach for deep emotional work. I am willing to go there and I do go there myself.
I can’t do much about “the problems” of the world “out there.” But I am able to take a deep look at “the problems” of the world inside of here. I can get real with myself. I can dive deeply into the currents of my own emotional world and tell the truth about it.
I am a deep see diver. Again and again, I go down deep within myself to feel what is real. Again and again, I am willing to take a real good honest look.
As I’ve found for myself, there’s not much I can do about the world “out there.” But there is plenty that I can do about my world “in here.” To the extent that I follow or gossip about “the news” and “them”, I am in fact distracting myself from the real work to be done deep within myself.
You know what, I probably will listen to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” today. And I will also take a deep look inside at the deep foundational level of sadness that I’ve been living on top of for over four decades now. I know that there is something below that has been waiting for me to find yet again. But the way out of the sadness is through it.
My mastery in old house renovation relies in part upon the knowledge that I can accomplish far more with the soft tap of my hand than with the hard smack of my hammer.
My mastery in old heart renovation as a relationship coach similarly relies upon the ability to encourage rather than to persuade. You can’t coerce, entice or manipulate a flower to blossom. You can, however, allow a flower to blossom.
Nothing or lasting value ever came from persuasion, coercion, enticement or manipulation. Forcing something breaks it.
“At this level of awareness, a major transformation takes place, with the understanding that one is oneself the source and creator of the experience of one’s life. Taking such responsibility is distinctive of this degree of evolution, characterized by the capacity to live harmoniously with the forces of life.
All people at (lower levels of consciousness) tend to be powerless and see themselves as victims, at the mercy of life. This stems from a belief that the source of one’s happiness or the cause of one’s problems is “out there.” An enormous jump — taking back one’s own power — is completed at this level, with the realization that the source of happiness is within oneself. At this more evolved stage, nothing “out there” has the capacity to make one happy, and love isn’t something that’s given or taken away by another, but is created from within.
This level is not to be confused with passivity, which is a symptom of apathy. Acceptance allows engagement in life on life’s own terms, without trying to make it conform to an agenda. There’s emotional calm with Acceptance, and perception is widened as denial is transcended. One now sees things without distortion or misinterpretation; the context of experience is expanded so that one is capable of “seeing the whole picture.” Acceptance has to do essentially with balance, proportion, and appropriateness.
The individual at the level of Acceptance isn’t interested in determining right or wrong, but instead is dedicated to resolving issues and finding out what to do about problems. Tough jobs don’t cause discomfort or dismay. Long-term goals take precedence over short-term ones; self-discipline and mastery are prominent.
At the level of Acceptance, we’re not polarized by conflict or opposition; we see that other people have the same rights as we do, and we honor equality. While lower levels (of consciousness) are characterized by rigidity, at this level, social plurality begins to emerge as a form of resolution or problems. Therefore, this level is free of discrimination or intolerance; there’s an awareness that equality doesn’t exclude diversity; Acceptance includes rather than rejects.”
from “Power vs Force” by David R. Hawkins
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.