Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Metaphor 3

So here I stand at a junction in my mind with my soul in hand, or so it seems. Many confusing and contradicting messages seem to be presenting themselves and I feel confused. Now through this fog of imagery there is a sense to one particular way. It is not marked by anything in particular, and actually it feels just a little scary to even consider going down that road but there is a sense of something that wafts down this way of doing things that is definitely different. If peace and good order have a smell about them, then it is here.

I look to my left and see many other opportunities I could venture out into, some very familiar, heck, I could walk through some of them with my eyes shut. In fact, I see many of the old gang beckoning too me to join them in the old ways. I feel my heart strings tug on this one. I look down this old and familiar road and I can see pain and despair hiding in the ditches just waiting to jump out at me. I see me depending on me, and my “magic friends” to gain relief from the attacks. I now know that the relief I will feel is only temporary. As I see my old friends I have to ask myself who is my friend and who is my enemy, really? Who has the false faces on today? I notice my life is littered with the castoffs of my efforts to avoid my legitimate hurt and pain.

I want ‘different’. That path way to the unfamiliar looks different. I notice others up ahead. They seem to be walking with a spring in their step, they seem to be walking toward a place called ‘different’. They are whom I want to join. We all carry heavy packsacks with us, and some of us have yokes about our necks too but I notice that their steps are light and the look upon their faces is peaceful. A sense of renewal comes upon me.

The old gang raises hell and bangs their pots and pans. They really don’t want me to go. They shout promises, and falsehoods and even try bribery, offering all sorts of freedom and wonderful experiences if only I would stay. It is tempting but I don’t hear the ring of quality in their voices, I remember what I have learned in the first two steps, in fact if I am honest with me I have to notice that the ring of quality it was never really there ever. I choose the road of unfamiliar and different.

Those greet me who have gone on before. The warmth and presence deep within grows deeper and richer. Gratitude becomes my experience not my lip service. I experience not being alone. I experience the presence of my Higher Power acting with me as I go through my day, as I walk upon my path.

. . . Experience Has Taught Me That . . .

There is a power great than me, and I can have it in my life but only if I ask and only if I surrender into it. Then it will heal all in my life that needs to be healed, including me.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Metaphor 2

Over and over, I have followed my own advice on what I think I should do and how I think I should do it and each time it came up the same, I have failed.

There are times when the desperation inside of me becomes so overwhelming; I don’t think I can go on another moment.

But as I quiet my mind and close my eyes I notice, for the first time in years, that there is a part of me that remembers the truth of whom I am. It speaks to me in a voice that is neither male nor female and reassures that all is not for naught.

Imagine that, from deep inside me, a Voice of sanity, reassurance, comfort and truth. This is a voice that I recall from my childhood, soft and certain, it reminds me of my Maker and It tells me I am part of all that is. One with! I am part of the plan too and I belong, no longer left out.

"No Child of God, can be less than perfect."

There is warmth and a comfort that comes over me as I sense this presence deep within me. Oh, it is hard to discern at first, but each time I acknowledge it to be alive and well within me, I feel it grow and become more pronounced and defined, and more a part of my life.

I feel the pieces of me beginning to come home from their hiding places and take their rightful place within me.

The missing parts of me are beginning to fall into place, as if some giant hand is now beginning to put me, the jigsaw puzzle, back together again.

. . . Experience Has Taught Me That . . .

I know that I have many avenues open to me and it really is a simple decision.

A or B

Choose the new and unfamiliar, take the risks and begin to experiment with something that I have discovered within me, something totally new and unfamiliar or

Do it the old way and take one more step towards death.

Which will I choose.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Had New Shoes… KML

I had new shoes. Not brand new, but fairly new. I had worn them a few times and thought they were worn in enough to wear to work. They weren’t. It takes me 30 minutes to walk to work and by the time I arrived I had a blister on my foot. Since I spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer, the blister didn’t bother me much. But each time I walked through the office I wondered if I should find a bandage. It was a busy day and by the time I left work at the end of the day there was still no bandage.

About a block from the office I was in real pain. I thought about catching a bus, but it was one of those crisp, clear winter days, and I was so looking forward to the walk home after being cooped up inside all day. I decided to forge on. I could take it easy, slow down, hell, maybe even take advantage of the opportunity to go the scenic route. So I changed direction and hobbled on, and hobble I did. The pain was searing.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take another step, I turned the corner and there in front of me lay the harbour with the sun setting behind the hotels that line its edge. I was at once engulfed by the beauty of the sight. The colours, light, architecture and water created a scene that was overwhelming and tears filled my eyes. I felt as if I had stepped inside a painting and had suddenly become part of it. In relation to the magnificence I was seeing, the pain in my foot seemed so insignificant that I was able to walk on.

I was surrounded by beauty and at the same time a part of it — and I knew there was nothing else but beauty. And I knew this as fact — as truth. I knew that what I was seeing was life as it should be seen – life as it truly is: colour, light, radiance — a spectacular world that was more than just three dimensions. I felt its intensity with every fiber of my being. I drank it in and I poured myself into it at the same time.

When I reached the edge of the harbour the sun disappeared behind the buildings and I felt a slight sinking. The light was fading and so was the intensity with which I was viewing the world. At that moment I had the urge to turn my head and look up in the opposite direction. There in the air just above me was a blue heron, gliding past in complete silence. I was again overwhelmed and began sobbing at the beauty, the magnificence that was God. I quickly looked around and realized that no one else had seen the bird there in the dim light of sunset. To me his silent flight had been a message from God, and when I looked in the direction he had flown, he was gone.

I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing so I didn’t try. I wondered what people thought as I walked past them sobbing. They couldn’t know that I was seeing God and he was seeing me and that we were one.

As I continued to walk the light gradually dimmed and as it did the feelings subsided. What had at first seemed like a picture had become my reality, and now what I saw seemed like a black & white photograph: two dimensional and without colour. I felt strange at the flatness of it and desperate at the loss of radiance. A depression swept over me as I returned to my “reality.” How could I get that feeling back? Where had it gone? Where was that world I had just visited? How could I get back to it? I have glimpsed that world more than once since, but just for a moment each time before something inside me closed the door to it. But I know it is there.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Read this every day ... then write about where it takes you

I fell from the sky.

It was an accident.

The horses and the men were raiding the village.

They took most of the children and some of the women.

I was scooped up in the confusion.

But I was not one of them.

I fell from the sky.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ask yourself whether you are happy?

Then notice that when you do, you cease to be so ... The Laws of Paradox at work!

A long time ago long before I ever considered writing these lines, I made an interesting discovery. At the time it was more of an observation then discovery. It took all the intervening time for me to realize I had made a discovery, I suppose it was the slowest epiphany on record. What I also discovered was that most people in some way shape or form have been aware of it since the dawn of time. Yet, I think the word discovery is appropriate, because even though well known, I had never come across it described or theoretically explained by the relevant branch of higher learning, which in my case happens to be psychology.

So, directly and indirectly I spent the intervening 20 or so years, nearly a quarter century, investigating this elusive phenomenon, directly or indirectly in my practice of psychotherapy.

What I had noticed a long time ago was that happiness is not something that happens at random fault.

This thing has form and it follows rules and they seem to be:

o Happiness does not happen because of good luck or because the fickle finger of fate picks you out for some grand event. No one is special.

o Happiness is not something that can be purchased nor can it be controlled or for that matter caused to occur on command by some grand authority.

o Happiness particularly does not depend on the world about us, although conversely the world about us can affect some of the various outcomes of it.

o Happiness seems to be more an interpretation of the world both about us and within us, all taken in some sort of strange mix or recipe that is constantly changing and is difficult to replicate.

o Happiness, in fact, seems to be a condition that we must be prepared for, that we must cultivate, and then be prepared, if necessary to de¬fend, but not from a place of unity but rather from a place of deep privacyas an individual.

o It also seems that people who learn to work with inner experience(s) will in fact be able to determine the quality of their lives as it relates to having or not having happiness, which, it seems is as close as any of us can come to being happy.

o It also seems a given that we cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it. The very effort of trying to search for it seems to defeat our every effort to have or possess it.

o Happiness cannot be owned; it can only be experienced.

o Happiness seems to be the process of being fully involved with every detail of your life, subjectively not objectively.

o The key statement in describing the process of being involved in life seems to be as completely as possible, and completely as possible does not seem to depend on any opinion or definition of what is good or bad or how those cognitive markers are held in the mind of the beholder. Just because you are prepared to fight to the death for your beliefs doesn’t mean they are true.

o Happiness seems to occur because of the intensity of the involvement with life and not in the outcomes that intensity seems to want to provide so that it could be easily seen and judged by others.

o Degree of intensity of the involvement necessary to induce happiness will vary from individual to individual as well as situation-to-situation. Thus it follows that degrees of intensity i.e. very intense to mildly intense is not a marker that can determine the outcome of creating happiness. It is just a necessary factor that varies from time to time.

o The Laws Of Paradox seems to effect the outcome of having some or not; for instance: don't aim for it because the Laws Of Paradox will tend to cause you to increase the size and shape of the target you have set for yourself and then at the same time cause you to miss with greater frequency. Something like Chinese handcuffs, the harder you try the more difficult it becomes.

o Happiness and success cannot be pursued for their own sake.

o Happiness and success, to be most effective must sneak up from behind and envelop us ... It is something that happens to us while we are busy doing something else … as the inadvertent, unintentional after-effect of our efforts to simply get on with the business of being ourselves and by doing whatever is next simply because it is there and needs to be done. Then this seems to need to be taken into consideration with the effort made by the individual to be willing to work in the shadow of his or her spiritual self and then deliberately attempting to work with the spiritual forces of the Greater Way of Things.

o Again paradox. The Art of Trying Not to Try.

So how can we reach this elusive goal that cannot be attained by a direct route? My practice and practices of the past 20 or so years has convinced me that there is a way.

It is a circuitous path of going nowhere the long way in search of someone who was not lost and there all along … you, and it can only begin with a willingness by the participant to want to make the journey.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Metaphor Part One

It has been my belief since my earliest memory that “I am alone and my world is a dangerous place”. My life seems to affirm this to me daily. I have found that I only can acquire the relief and happiness that I think I want by doing something or getting something. There are times when I feel I am so desperate, lost and alone.

I have learned that when my best efforts fail me that I have gathered habits along the way that I can depend on. These habits are creations from outside of me and they are "magical". They take their form as substances, actions or facilities, things that I use daily just to get by on. I know that I can always reach out to them and they can be relied on. It is sad but true that these “magical” chattels are my addictions, obsessions and/or compulsions.

As I still my thoughts and close my eyes, I begin to realize that I have placed the scant shadow of my faith in a place and on activities that are misbegotten.

I am beginning to admit to myself that my beliefs really are not true. The various forms of my beliefs, my addictions, obsessions and/or compulsions are devices that have only brought me pain.

I am admitting that I have no control over them, in fact I have given them all my power.

I also notice that they have no power of their own. They sit there like lifeless forms, shadows or ghosts, awaiting only the wind of my restlessness to stir my soul and scatter them.

I admit that I have been insane and I begin to wonder about what may lay before me as I begin my journey toward finding the world of my sanity.

. . .Experience has Taught Me. . .

That I am out of control and I know I am not happy.

That my Beliefs have not and can not make me happy.

I know I must find “different” to be happy.

Where will I look?

What will I see?

And who will help me?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Metaphor A Workshop

Course Description

Cost $365/weekend Friday 7pm/9pm Saturday/9:30 am/4:30pm Sunday 10:00am/4:oo pm Visa/Master Card/American Express/ Bank Cards are accepted ... contact neiltubb@shaw.ca for further details

There is a truth that needs to be understood for life to be seen as it was intended to be seen. All life is sacred. All life is God’s Gift. One of the basic natural consequences of this simple truth is: we are all sacred too ... Most of us have to learn this. It is God’s Gift that we are sacred, but it is not God’s Gift that we know this for ourselves. The journey of spiritual awareness is the passage from immature to mature for the soul and it is in this process where we come to understand that God’s Gift is a fact for us.

On Being Who We Were Meant To Be.

That is life’s task.

We all have the stories of our past, and they can help guide us on our journey. There is far more to be learned in those stories than what we might have expected.

We all have a curriculum to follow. It is an independent, individual curriculum. It is a curriculum for the soul not the personality. The personality is the curriculum and it is tailored perfectly to your soul’s need.

We medicate ourselves, we do processes, and we hope that they will keep us connected to the Way of Things. These processes don’t awaken us, but what they can do is help us be awake and safe (to a certain degree) so we can get on with the spiritual journey when we are ready.

For the deeper agendas to awaken the maturation process, we need to tell our stories over and over again ... and at the same time find different ways of looking at what happened to us.

The Concept of: I am the Diamond. In the telling of the tale sometimes over and over again, the deeper message(s) can slowly seep to the surface. The Concept of: I am the Diamond ... I have hundreds if not thousands of facets, ways to see out into my world and I choose to use but a few. And those few that I do use are chosen by me as a direct result of and limited by my early life experience(s).

Primary Focus on the Weekend:

The Concept Of: I Am The Diamond: How I see and hear ... then ... How I can see and hear differently. It is in the telling of the tale that the deeper messages “can” (will) slowly seep to the surface. I used the word “can” seep to the surface carefully. And if the process of “seeping to the surface” is encouraged properly ... then ... it always responds. This stuff does not want to be trapped in us. The truth of the matter is we just don’t know how to let it go.

What I Need To Do To Stay Hooked Up To The Universe ... The One I Was Born Into ... Not Necessarily The One I Imagine ... See life for what it is ... not how I pretend it is. Then taking time to be with my maker. Then realizing that if I am spending time with my maker, that I can actually ask questions of my maker and here is the interesting point, I can expect answers. They might not come from where I expect them to, or they may not be what I want to hear, but I will get answers.

Learning How To Use The Most Immediate/Simple Tools for self-discovery and growth: meditation, journaling, storytelling, dialoguing, using focused listening; this workshop offers fresh perspective on the Art of Living. It provides easily learned but necessary insights into how we can get on with the business of the spiritual journey and at the same time have the life we were meant to have and not get lost in the process.

Understanding the first tenant of Buddhism: “Life is Difficult”, does not have to be a restrictive factor for me having a loving life. Learning how to access my sense of inner strength and then applying that forward into my day to day-ness and into my creativity. This is not about what I can get out of life this is about what I can give. The getting will happen all by itself.

Understanding That Life Does Not Necessarily Work The Way I Think It Should ... Always ... and how I can use my experience(s) as a guide. Learning that I can augment my ability with my primary insights and to be able to combine who I am with what I doing in the world and again, not get lost.

Learning How To Pass It On ... Knowing when my experience, strength and hope will benefit others. And more importantly learning when it won’t.

Learning Where My Personal Pitfalls Are: and what to do with them if I fall in.

The Essence Of The Change And Spiritual Journey Of Awakening Is The Absolute Necessity Of Seeing What It Is That I Have Been Blind To For Most Of My Life.

Tools of the Trade and Reference Points for the Weekend: See Other Published Material.

This weekend retreat/workshop is based on life’s work of Neil Douglas-Tubb:
Condensed for the purpose into:
The Metaphor:
A Poem on Life.

The Facilitator

Neil is the recent recipient of the Louis Volks Humanitarian Award for his work in South Africa.

Neil is in private practice as a Registered Clinical Counselor (0396) in Victoria British Columbia.

He is an active member of the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counselors, and he has sat on the Standards and Ethics Committee.

In the early days before Neil was into any of this “stuff” he was a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service. He worked in Counter Espionage during what was considered the height of the cold war. He stepped out of that world just over three decades ago and into this world to search out his own past and his own ghosts and to dust off his own future.

Michael Poole, documentary film director/maker and author, in his book Romancing Mary Jane: A Year In The Life Of A Failed Marijuana Grower described Neil as a “rumpled old sage of a guy who has experience with what he does.” see pages 137/142

Neil says that he is not exactly sure what Michael meant, but it sounded good at the time. Neil’s best description of himself is: A man who works with spirit and the awakening process … he says he provides the opportunity for those who choose, to see themselves differently.

Neil is a widower, a father, a grandfather, a photographer /artist, a divorcee, a therapist, a writer, a humanitarian and world traveler and a man who has had to open his own doors to his own issues. Then do something about them. He speaks from experience.

He was born in St. Thomas Ontario in 1947.

Neil taught at and was Associate Director of Student Services at Twin Valley's School in 1979/1980 (TVS), Wardsville, Ontario (Alternative to the penal system for young offenders ... TVS was loosely connected to Findhorn in Scotland.)

Neil, in 1982/83, along with a number of other people, was a co-founder of Barnabas Center (Counseling services for street youth) in Edmonton, Alberta.

Neil is in private practice as a Registered Clinical Counselor (0396) in the Province of British Columbia since 1988.

In the fall of 2006 Neil was inducted as a Honorary Member of The Golden Key International Honor Society via the University of Victoria for his work within the community and his humanitarian work in South Africa.

Neil received in 2010, the Louis Volks Humanitarian Award from the Lions Club of Tableview; the highest award the Lions Club of South Africa awards, for his work and support of the Lions Club projects in Jo Slovo and Vissershok districts of the Western Cape in South Africa.

Neil is published and has authored, co-facilitated and facilitated a number of different workshops and seminars on spiritual development and life 101.

His passion has turned to writing. All, save one theme, are variations on the theme of healing. That one lone theme Neil is developing is turning into a trilogy of fiction … the great Canadian spy story and the first of three is called “Sharbot … A Spy Story”.

Other Published Material

Experience Has Taught Us --- 175 Missing Pieces: An Explorer’s Guide to Developing A Handbook on Life —Book One

Experience Has Taught Us --- Searching for the Willingness to Change

Zen and the Art of Lost and Found --- A workbook

Zen and the Art of Walking Lightly --- A workbook

Zen and the Art of Seeing Clearly, Perhaps for the First Time --- A workbook

Zen and the Art of the Five Principles of the Journey – A workbook

A Step Four and Five Guide

Publication Pending:

Into the Light: Healing from the Human Condition ...

The Door --- A Workshop on Inner Self Discovery

Understanding Me While Being We ... A workshop/couples/work situations/team building

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Most Important Thing(s)

I Have Learned So Far

The most important thing I have learned in doing my life and paying attention as I did it is:

When I come to the edge of my known universe, when I come to the end of where the light shines for me. It is from this point on that I have to be a risk taker. It’s when I have to go blindly off into something or someplace I have never seen or been before. Of course the alternative is possible. I can shrink away from moving forward—I can shrink away from exploring God’s Gift.

What I have discovered is: when I step off into my darkness and it is the darkness of my unknown, it is then that I grow. It is then that I come to know. It is then that I notice the light.

This happened for me truly for the first time when I went to South Africa ... oh I thought I had other experiences that were risk taking ... but my experience with the kids, and Vivian, and Vissershok school opened me to a thing; an experience that truly placed me somewhere where I could see my world differently.

Once it is experienced ... seen ... differently ... then it all changes ... it can't be reset once you know ... this is not about what I am seeing ... this is about how I am looking... this is where I saw spirit at work ... Vivian ... Gisela ... The Teachers at Vissershok School ... Darla ... and her children ... Joanne and her Idea ... Cleone and her help and her ideas ... to all those people who just paused for a moment or a week or a life time to risk and take the time do what needs to be done ... really.

I have been lucky in my life ... some who know my story, might not say so ... but I am ... everything I have experienced has coupled together to allow me to see life differently and here is the important part ... when I notice a "lack" I have the choice now to do something about it ... sometimes it does not seem like much ... and sometimes it seems mountainous ... but it is just what I can do to fill the "lack" ...