Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Check List “B”

What Is It That I Do

That Keeps Me Stuck In The Rut

That I Say I Want Out Of

Check List “B”

The Compliance Patterns

• I assume responsibility for other’s feelings and behaviours.

• I feel guilty about other people’s feelings and behaviours.

• I have difficulty identifying what I am actually feeling.

• I am afraid of my anger. But sometimes it erupts from me in Rage.

• I worry about how others may respond to my feelings, my opinions and/or my behaviour.

• I have difficulty making decisions.

• I minimize my feelings or my circumstances so I can alter, or deny how I truly feel.

• I am very sensitive to how others are feeling and I can feel their feelings and sometimes I take on their feelings as my own.

• I am afraid to express differing opinions or feelings.

• I value the opinions of others and their feelings over my own.

• I put the needs of others before mine.

• I am embarrassed to receive recognition and praise or gifts.

• I judge everything that I think, say or do very harshly, and nothing is really good enough. I am a perfectionist.

• I am extremely loyal, to a fault. I will stay in situations far too long and often I am hurt because I do.

• I would never really consider asking others for help, or to have my needs met.

• I consider myself as a lovable and a worthwhile person.

• I compromise my own values and my integrity to avoid rejection or someone else’s anger or perceived rage.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Check List “A” on Dysfunction "The Control Patterns" I Do

What Is It That I Do
That Keeps Me Stuck In The Rut
That I Say I Want Out Of

Check List “A”
The Control Patterns

• I must be needed in order to have a relationship.

• I value other’s approval of my thinking, my feelings and my behaviours over my own.

• I will agree with others just so they will like me, or to avoid conflict.

• I focus my attention on protecting and saving others.

• I truly believe that most people are incapable of taking care of themselves.

• I tend to keep score of “all the good deeds and favours I do” and I get very upset when others don’t notice or repay me.

• I am very skilled at second guessing how other people are feeling or thinking.

• I can anticipate what others need and provide it before they ask.

• I become resentful when others won’t let me help (my way).

• I stay calm and efficient in the midst of someone else’s crisis.

• I only feel good about me when I am helping someone else.

• I freely offer others advice and directions without being asked.

• I put aside my own interests and concerns in order to do what others want.

• I can only ask for help if I am ill, and then reluctantly.

• I cannot tolerate seeing someone else’s pain.

• I lavish gifts and favours on those I care about or who I want to win favour with.

• I use sex to gain approval and acceptance.

• I attempt to convince others of how they should “truly” think and how they “should” really feel.

• I perceive myself as completely unselfish and dedicated to the well-being others.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

74 On Seeing Clearly --- The Fantasy and the Reality

EXPERIENCE has taught us that deep inside each of us is a part of us that wants everything right now and a place for it to hide—something like Peter Pan and Never Never Land. In combination, this place in us and that part of us are very insatiable and very demanding. Some call it the inner child, but I have to wonder at that. I believe this to be a misnomer because it seems more complex than that. I have come to believe that this is the soul wearing the cloak of the inner child, hiding from the world it has been born into.

This place seems to be a shadowy land of the phases of who and what we were meant to be and what we are to become hopefully; who we were last time around, and who we are right now, all rolled into one.

It is like a staging area for life, and the soul is hiding there, too afraid to come out into the life it was supposed to be born into.

Facing Your Destiny Is A Difficult Business,
Yet It Seems To Be The Only Business At Hand
If You Really Get Honest And Look.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What 30 plus years has taught me:

Sage of an Olive Tree
If one can come to a point in their experience of life where their dreams are significant to them and they come to know that these dreams hold truths for them about the world and their circumstances then the dream state will deepen. It becomes a tool of awareness and perception. Their point of view of life and love and suffering broadens and deepens into compassion and understanding. Pain separates from Suffering. That seems to be The Way of Things and that much I know is true.

I have been active with this stuff since my days at Twin Valleys School (1979/1980) in one form or another ... I have been influenced by the work of Jung, Freud, Erickson, Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke, (Cosmic Consciousness published in 1901) Harman & Rheingold and many others but my all time favourite is Rass Dass, (Richard Alpert) together with a huge cast of contemporaries that runs the gambit of my experience of just over 3 decades ... and the list goes on.

One thing most of us have in common is the understanding that dreams hold truths. They do speak in metaphors to the beholder. And sometimes the beholder is frightened off by the depth of the message and the initial perception of the dream.

I borrow from Huge Prather:

Self: I have a Problem

Dream: Here let me show you

Dreams are like canvasses of the mind. There is meaning in there but so much is left to interpretation ... rule of thumb never interpret your own ... you’re too close to it. Write about it. Share it with others ... actually someone who has spent some time and effort working on this area and you will be surprised at what comes jumping out of the bushes at you.

Things I’ve noticed about dreams and dreamers and how the truth is revealed or accepted. If the beholder shows strong resistance then the dream is striking at some core issue. If the message is blatantly obvious to the observer but the beholder can’t or won’t see it, then the dream is striking at a deep and often painful core issue. Once the issue is revealed then time is the magic elixir and given time now the unconscious mind can begin the process of releasing the past in the present – in the dream - then the deeper healing from the pains of their past can begin in the present and that gives us back our future.

I always suggested to my clients to record their dreams; have a dream journal. It makes it so much easier to deal with them and the problems they bring to my door step. There also seems to be a universal problem that they bring to me in some form. It is always centered on love. What I have discovered in the process of working those themes of love and abandonment is that love is always the answer ... it really is a matter of where and how one looks. Similarly, with the business of pain and suffering the same fact is true ... it is how you are looking not what you are seeing that prompts or promotes the suffering: For Suffering Is a State Mind Not a Condition of Existence.

Friday, May 20, 2011

On Awakening

If we can learn to be open to our pain; if we can get past how we imagine our pain to be and simply be with it; then we are open to explore into our suffering ... those two places in our minds are in fact two different places but often confused as being the same place.

It is best to have guidance and support when we do this “venturing into the exploration of our suffering” business ... but at the same time this whole process can be of immense value in our efforts to work with or be with others.

When our understanding of our own suffering deepens, the natural outcome of this process is, we become more available at deeper levels to those we care for.

When we are in this place of deeper understanding of our suffering, we are far less likely to project our feelings on to others, or diminish or deny what is real for others.

As we open to the depth of the Way of Things, the natural outcome is we become much more sensitive and alert to the Way of Things and the nature of human pain.

One of the great necessities of life is that each of us has to be able to separate our pain from our suffering. Once we have broken the link between those two places in our consciousness ... we can begin the arduous task of sorting through the reality of our past to find ourselves.

Know this: it is in our humanity that we suffer ... it is in our spiritual awareness (our divinity) where we feel the pain of our humanity.

When we see life from the latter vantage point, we can see life “with eyes unclouded by longing .”

It was the Buddha who said that when we view life from this place of separation of our pain and suffering, we can see our existence with “the Smile of Unbearable Compassion.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Failure is Necessary for Success: ROSENBLUM TV

... The problem is I have to take the risk of letting those two places in my consciousness bump together
Then see what new soup materializes in the saucers of my mind.

Thomas Edison understood the concept of the lightbulb.
What he had a problem with was finding the right filament for the thing.

It took him more than 9,000 tries until he hit on the idea of carbonized bamboo - not my immediate first choice. Or second. But it worked.

The key to success, it turns out, is….. failure.
This may seem counter-intuitive. It certainly is counter-intuitive in the world of television and film – at least as we have known it so far.

Television and film are failure-phobic.
This is why, if you turn on your 1,000 channels of cable, almost all the shows are pretty much clones of one another – or repeats.

Astonishingly, BBC America, once a bastion of great risk-taking (at least in the US cable world), last week ran 8 hours of Top Gear, back to back in prime time and beyond. The pure terror that must permeate the office of The BBC in Washington…. one can only imagine.  But it is not just the BBC (though they are currently my own personal ‘great disappointment’ of the moment).

Television and film in general have a long history of fear and terror of anything even slightly risky.

This is because, for pretty much all of their histories, the very act of making a film or a TV show was so expensive, there was so much at risk, that the best way to obviate that risk was to, from the beginning, make sure that the program had a proven track record. Hence we get Nanny 911 and Supernanny; every show on Travel Channel is an iteration on the successful Tony Bourdain food format; endless medical shows, all pretty much the same since Ben Casey; The Office UK and The Office USA; Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol and the other endless spin-offs, and so and so on. This list is, alas, endless.

But no worse than The Flintsones- the movie, or (IMHO the worst and most aggregious) Matrix 2 and Matrix 3. And it is true, that once it was indeed very expensive and complex to make a TV show or a movie and so that fear was warranted, but today the memory of it is corrosive to the creative potential of the medium. All it takes to take a shot at making a film or a TV show is a video camera, some simple editng software and an idea.

The know-how to make the stuff I can show you here. The idea is your department.
But we have an inherent resistance to risk-taking, borne of years of high costs.  If every single piece of paper cost you $1,000, when you sat down to try and write your first novel – every novel would begin ‘It was a dark and stormy night’, because the pain of throwing away 40 bad pages that didn’t work out would have been too great.

Fortunately, literature doesn’t work that way. (Used to, when Monks hand wrote bibles) but no more.

So let us embrace failure as the key to success. Try and fail, try and fail, try and fail is the only way to figure out how to get something new that works. Nature has been using this method for about a billion years. It is the very foundation of biological evolution.  And now, businesses are starting to get it as well.

An article in this week’s The Economist urgest businesses to embrace failure.
If it’s good enough for Alan Mulally at Ford, it should be good enough for TruTV. No?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

29 On Appreciating Resistance

EXPERIENCE has taught us that it is perfectly understandable to appreciate how deeply ingrained are the ways our mind has been conditioned to avoid dealing with situations that have connections to our deeper lost hurts, pains, and memories.

This is particularly noticeable when we begin to examine how we resist going into those situations that appear to want to take us down memory lane, past any scary bits that have been hidden in the deeper, darker recesses of our minds.

Throughout Our Entire Lives
We Have Been Encouraged
To Do Anything We Can To Escape From
Rather Than To Explore Into
Investigate Our Unpleasantness.

Taken from Experience Has Taught Us --- 175 Missing Pieces

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Shadow, by Hans Christian Andersen 1847

The Shadow

In very hot climates, where the heat of the sun has great power, people are usually as brown as mahogany; and in the hottest countries they are negroes, with black skins. A learned man once travelled into one of these warm climates, from the cold regions of the north, and thought he would roam about as he did at home; but he soon had to change his opinion. He found that, like all sensible people, he must remain in the house during the whole day, with every window and door closed, so that it looked as if all in the house were asleep or absent. The houses of the narrow street in which he lived were so lofty that the sun shone upon them from morning till evening, and it became quite unbearable. This learned man from the cold regions was young as well as clever; but it seemed to him as if he were sitting in an oven, and he became quite exhausted and weak, and grew so thin that his shadow shrivelled up, and became much smaller than it had been at home. The sun took away even what was left of it, and he saw nothing of it till the evening, after sunset. It was really a pleasure, as soon as the lights were brought into the room, to see the shadow stretch itself against the wall, even to the ceiling, so tall was it; and it really wanted a good stretch to recover its strength. The learned man would sometimes go out into the balcony to stretch himself also; and as soon as the stars came forth in the clear, beautiful sky, he felt revived. People at this hour began to make their appearance in all the balconies in the street; for in warm climates every window has a balcony, in which they can breathe the fresh evening air, which is very necessary, even to those who are used to a heat that makes them as brown as mahogany; so that the street presented a very lively appearance. Here were shoemakers, and tailors, and all sorts of people sitting. In the street beneath, they brought out tables and chairs, lighted candles by hundreds, talked and sang, and were very merry. There were people walking, carriages driving, and mules trotting along, with their bells on the harness, “tingle, tingle,” as they went. Then the dead were carried to the grave with the sound of solemn music, and the tolling of the church bells. It was indeed a scene of varied life in the street. One house only, which was just opposite to the one in which the foreign learned man lived, formed a contrast to all this, for it was quite still; and yet somebody dwelt there, for flowers stood in the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot sun; and this could not have been unless they had been watered carefully. Therefore some one must be in the house to do this. The doors leading to the balcony were half opened in the evening; and although in the front room all was dark, music could be heard from the interior of the house. The foreign learned man considered this music very delightful; but perhaps he fancied it; for everything in these warm countries pleased him, excepting the heat of the sun. The foreign landlord said he did not know who had taken the opposite house—nobody was to be seen there; and as to the music, he thought it seemed very tedious, to him most uncommonly so.

“It is just as if some one was practising a piece that he could not manage; it is always the same piece. He thinks, I suppose, that he will be able to manage it at last; but I do not think so, however long he may play it.”

Once the foreigner woke in the night. He slept with the door open which led to the balcony; the wind had raised the curtain before it, and there appeared a wonderful brightness over all in the balcony of the opposite house. The flowers seemed like flames of the most gorgeous colors, and among the flowers stood a beautiful slender maiden. It was to him as if light streamed from her, and dazzled his eyes; but then he had only just opened them, as he awoke from his sleep. With one spring he was out of bed, and crept softly behind the curtain. But she was gone—the brightness had disappeared; the flowers no longer appeared like flames, although still as beautiful as ever. The door stood ajar, and from an inner room sounded music so sweet and so lovely, that it produced the most enchanting thoughts, and acted on the senses with magic power. Who could live there? Where was the real entrance? for, both in the street and in the lane at the side, the whole ground floor was a continuation of shops; and people could not always be passing through them.

One evening the foreigner sat in the balcony. A light was burning in his own room, just behind him. It was quite natural, therefore, that his shadow should fall on the wall of the opposite house; so that, as he sat amongst the flowers on his balcony, when he moved, his shadow moved also.

“I think my shadow is the only living thing to be seen opposite,” said the learned man; “see how pleasantly it sits among the flowers. The door is only ajar; the shadow ought to be clever enough to step in and look about him, and then to come back and tell me what he has seen. You could make yourself useful in this way,” said he, jokingly; “be so good as to step in now, will you?” and then he nodded to the shadow, and the shadow nodded in return. “Now go, but don’t stay away altogether.”

Then the foreigner stood up, and the shadow on the opposite balcony stood up also; the foreigner turned round, the shadow turned; and if any one had observed, they might have seen it go straight into the half-opened door of the opposite balcony, as the learned man re-entered his own room, and let the curtain fall. The next morning he went out to take his coffee and read the newspapers.

“How is this?” he exclaimed, as he stood in the sunshine. “I have lost my shadow. So it really did go away yesterday evening, and it has not returned. This is very annoying.”

And it certainly did vex him, not so much because the shadow was gone, but because he knew there was a story of a man without a shadow. All the people at home, in his country, knew this story; and when he returned, and related his own adventures, they would say it was only an imitation; and he had no desire for such things to be said of him. So he decided not to speak of it at all, which was a very sensible determination.

In the evening he went out again on his balcony, taking care to place the light behind him; for he knew that a shadow always wants his master for a screen; but he could not entice him out. He made himself little, and he made himself tall; but there was no shadow, and no shadow came. He said, “Hem, a-hem;” but it was all useless. That was very vexatious; but in warm countries everything grows very quickly; and, after a week had passed, he saw, to his great joy, that a new shadow was growing from his feet, when he walked in the sunshine; so that the root must have remained. After three weeks, he had quite a respectable shadow, which, during his return journey to northern lands, continued to grow, and became at last so large that he might very well have spared half of it. When this learned man arrived at home, he wrote books about the true, the good, and the beautiful, which are to be found in this world; and so days and years passed—many, many years.

One evening, as he sat in his study, a very gentle tap was heard at the door. “Come in,” said he; but no one came. He opened the door, and there stood before him a man so remarkably thin that he felt seriously troubled at his appearance. He was, however, very well dressed, and looked like a gentleman. “To whom have I the honor of speaking?” said he.

“Ah, I hoped you would recognize me,” said the elegant stranger; “I have gained so much that I have a body of flesh, and clothes to wear. You never expected to see me in such a condition. Do you not recognize your old shadow? Ah, you never expected that I should return to you again. All has been prosperous with me since I was with you last; I have become rich in every way, and, were I inclined to purchase my freedom from service, I could easily do so.” And as he spoke he rattled between his fingers a number of costly trinkets which hung to a thick gold watch-chain he wore round his neck. Diamond rings sparkled on his fingers, and it was all real.

“I cannot recover from my astonishment,” said the learned man. “What does all this mean?”

“Something rather unusual,” said the shadow; “but you are yourself an uncommon man, and you know very well that I have followed in your footsteps ever since your childhood. As soon as you found that I have travelled enough to be trusted alone, I went my own way, and I am now in the most brilliant circumstances. But I felt a kind of longing to see you once more before you die, and I wanted to see this place again, for there is always a clinging to the land of one’s birth. I know that you have now another shadow; do I owe you anything? If so, have the goodness to say what it is.”

“No! Is it really you?” said the learned man. “Well, this is most remarkable; I never supposed it possible that a man’s old shadow could become a human being.”

“Just tell me what I owe you,” said the shadow, “for I do not like to be in debt to any man.”

“How can you talk in that manner?” said the learned man. “What question of debt can there be between us? You are as free as any one. I rejoice exceedingly to hear of your good fortune. Sit down, old friend, and tell me a little of how it happened, and what you saw in the house opposite to me while we were in those hot climates.”

“Yes, I will tell you all about it,” said the shadow, sitting down; “but then you must promise me never to tell in this city, wherever you may meet me, that I have been your shadow. I am thinking of being married, for I have more than sufficient to support a family.”

“Make yourself quite easy,” said the learned man; “I will tell no one who you really are. Here is my hand,—I promise, and a word is sufficient between man and man.”

“Between man and a shadow,” said the shadow; for he could not help saying so.

It was really most remarkable how very much he had become a man in appearance. He was dressed in a suit of the very finest black cloth, polished boots, and an opera crush hat, which could be folded together so that nothing could be seen but the crown and the rim, besides the trinkets, the gold chain, and the diamond rings already spoken of. The shadow was, in fact, very well dressed, and this made a man of him. “Now I will relate to you what you wish to know,” said the shadow, placing his foot with the polished leather boot as firmly as possible on the arm of the new shadow of the learned man, which lay at his feet like a poodle dog. This was done, it might be from pride, or perhaps that the new shadow might cling to him, but the prostrate shadow remained quite quiet and at rest, in order that it might listen, for it wanted to know how a shadow could be sent away by its master, and become a man itself. “Do you know,” said the shadow, “that in the house opposite to you lived the most glorious creature in the world? It was poetry. I remained there three weeks, and it was more like three thousand years, for I read all that has ever been written in poetry or prose; and I may say, in truth, that I saw and learnt everything.”

“Poetry!” exclaimed the learned man. “Yes, she lives as a hermit in great cities. Poetry! Well, I saw her once for a very short moment, while sleep weighed down my eyelids. She flashed upon me from the balcony like the radiant aurora borealis, surrounded with flowers like flames of fire. Tell me, you were on the balcony that evening; you went through the door, and what did you see?”

“I found myself in an ante-room,” said the shadow. “You still sat opposite to me, looking into the room. There was no light, or at least it seemed in partial darkness, for the door of a whole suite of rooms stood open, and they were brilliantly lighted. The blaze of light would have killed me, had I approached too near the maiden myself, but I was cautious, and took time, which is what every one ought to do.”

“And what didst thou see?” asked the learned man.

“I saw everything, as you shall hear. But—it really is not pride on my part, as a free man and possessing the knowledge that I do, besides my position, not to speak of my wealth—I wish you would say you to me instead of thou.”

“I beg your pardon,” said the learned man; “it is an old habit, which it is difficult to break. You are quite right; I will try to think of it. But now tell me everything that you saw.”

“Everything,” said the shadow; “for I saw and know everything.”

“What was the appearance of the inner rooms?” asked the scholar. “Was it there like a cool grove, or like a holy temple? Were the chambers like a starry sky seen from the top of a high mountain?”

“It was all that you describe,” said the shadow; “but I did not go quite in—I remained in the twilight of the ante-room—but I was in a very good position,—I could see and hear all that was going on in the court of poetry.”

“But what did you see? Did the gods of ancient times pass through the rooms? Did old heroes fight their battles over again? Were there lovely children at play, who related their dreams?”

“I tell you I have been there, and therefore you may be sure that I saw everything that was to be seen. If you had gone there, you would not have remained a human being, whereas I became one; and at the same moment I became aware of my inner being, my inborn affinity to the nature of poetry. It is true I did not think much about it while I was with you, but you will remember that I was always much larger at sunrise and sunset, and in the moonlight even more visible than yourself, but I did not then understand my inner existence. In the ante-room it was revealed to me. I became a man; I came out in full maturity. But you had left the warm countries. As a man, I felt ashamed to go about without boots or clothes, and that exterior finish by which man is known. So I went my own way; I can tell you, for you will not put it in a book. I hid myself under the cloak of a cake woman, but she little thought who she concealed. It was not till evening that I ventured out. I ran about the streets in the moonlight. I drew myself up to my full height upon the walls, which tickled my back very pleasantly. I ran here and there, looked through the highest windows into the rooms, and over the roofs. I looked in, and saw what nobody else could see, or indeed ought to see; in fact, it is a bad world, and I would not care to be a man, but that men are of some importance. I saw the most miserable things going on between husbands and wives, parents and children,—sweet, incomparable children. I have seen what no human being has the power of knowing, although they would all be very glad to know—the evil conduct of their neighbors. Had I written a newspaper, how eagerly it would have been read! Instead of which, I wrote directly to the persons themselves, and great alarm arose in all the town I visited. They had so much fear of me, and yet how dearly they loved me. The professor made me a professor. The tailor gave me new clothes; I am well provided for in that way. The overseer of the mint struck coins for me. The women declared that I was handsome, and so I became the man you now see me. And now I must say adieu. Here is my card. I live on the sunny side of the street, and always stay at home in rainy weather.” And the shadow departed.

“This is all very remarkable,” said the learned man.

Years passed, days and years went by, and the shadow came again. “How are you going on now?” he asked.

“Ah!” said the learned man; “I am writing about the true, the beautiful, and the good; but no one cares to hear anything about it. I am quite in despair, for I take it to heart very much.”

“That is what I never do,” said the shadow; “I am growing quite fat and stout, which every one ought to be. You do not understand the world; you will make yourself ill about it; you ought to travel; I am going on a journey in the summer, will you go with me? I should like a travelling companion; will you travel with me as my shadow? It would give me great pleasure, and I will pay all expenses.”

“Are you going to travel far?” asked the learned man.

“That is a matter of opinion,” replied the shadow. “At all events, a journey will do you good, and if you will be my shadow, then all your journey shall be paid.”

“It appears to me very absurd,” said the learned man.

“But it is the way of the world,” replied the shadow, “and always will be.” Then he went away.

Everything went wrong with the learned man. Sorrow and trouble pursued him, and what he said about the good, the beautiful, and the true, was of as much value to most people as a nutmeg would be to a cow. At length he fell ill. “You really look like a shadow,” people said to him, and then a cold shudder would pass over him, for he had his own thoughts on the subject.

“You really ought to go to some watering-place,” said the shadow on his next visit. “There is no other chance for you. I will take you with me, for the sake of old acquaintance. I will pay the expenses of your journey, and you shall write a description of it to amuse us by the way. I should like to go to a watering-place; my beard does not grow as it ought, which is from weakness, and I must have a beard. Now do be sensible and accept my proposal; we shall travel as intimate friends.”

And at last they started together. The shadow was master now, and the master became the shadow. They drove together, and rode and walked in company with each other, side by side, or one in front and the other behind, according to the position of the sun. The shadow always knew when to take the place of honor, but the learned man took no notice of it, for he had a good heart, and was exceedingly mild and friendly.

One day the master said to the shadow, “We have grown up together from our childhood, and now that we have become travelling companions, shall we not drink to our good fellowship, and say thee and thou to each other?”

“What you say is very straightforward and kindly meant,” said the shadow, who was now really master. “I will be equally kind and straightforward. You are a learned man, and know how wonderful human nature is. There are some men who cannot endure the smell of brown paper; it makes them ill. Others will feel a shuddering sensation to their very marrow, if a nail is scratched on a pane of glass. I myself have a similar kind of feeling when I hear any one say thou to me. I feel crushed by it, as I used to feel in my former position with you. You will perceive that this is a matter of feeling, not pride. I cannot allow you to say thou to me; I will gladly say it to you, and therefore your wish will be half fulfilled.” Then the shadow addressed his former master as thou.

“It is going rather too far,” said the latter, “that I am to say you when I speak to him, and he is to say thou to me.” However, he was obliged to submit.

They arrived at length at the baths, where there were many strangers, and among them a beautiful princess, whose real disease consisted in being too sharp-sighted, which made every one very uneasy. She saw at once that the new comer was very different to every one else. “They say he is here to make his beard grow,” she thought; “but I know the real cause, he is unable to cast a shadow.” Then she became very curious on the matter, and one day, while on the promenade, she entered into conversation with the strange gentleman. Being a princess, she was not obliged to stand upon much ceremony, so she said to him without hesitation, “Your illness consists in not being able to cast a shadow.”

“Your royal highness must be on the high road to recovery from your illness,” said he. “I know your complaint arose from being too sharp-sighted, and in this case it has entirely failed. I happen to have a most unusual shadow. Have you not seen a person who is always at my side? Persons often give their servants finer cloth for their liveries than for their own clothes, and so I have dressed out my shadow like a man; nay, you may observe that I have even given him a shadow of his own; it is rather expensive, but I like to have things about me that are peculiar.”

“How is this?” thought the princess; “am I really cured? This must be the best watering-place in existence. Water in our times has certainly wonderful power. But I will not leave this place yet, just as it begins to be amusing. This foreign prince—for he must be a prince—pleases me above all things. I only hope his beard won’t grow, or he will leave at once.”

In the evening, the princess and the shadow danced together in the large assembly rooms. She was light, but he was lighter still; she had never seen such a dancer before. She told him from what country she had come, and found he knew it and had been there, but not while she was at home. He had looked into the windows of her father’s palace, both the upper and the lower windows; he had seen many things, and could therefore answer the princess, and make allusions which quite astonished her. She thought he must be the cleverest man in all the world, and felt the greatest respect for his knowledge. When she danced with him again she fell in love with him, which the shadow quickly discovered, for she had with her eyes looked him through and through. They danced once more, and she was nearly telling him, but she had some discretion; she thought of her country, her kingdom, and the number of people over whom she would one day have to rule. “He is a clever man,” she thought to herself, “which is a good thing, and he dances admirably, which is also good. But has he well-grounded knowledge? that is an important question, and I must try him.” Then she asked him a most difficult question, she herself could not have answered it, and the shadow made a most unaccountable grimace.

“You cannot answer that,” said the princess.

“I learnt something about it in my childhood,” he replied; “and believe that even my very shadow, standing over there by the door, could answer it.”

“Your shadow,” said the princess; “indeed that would be very remarkable.”

“I do not say so positively,” observed the shadow; “but I am inclined to believe that he can do so. He has followed me for so many years, and has heard so much from me, that I think it is very likely. But your royal highness must allow me to observe, that he is very proud of being considered a man, and to put him in a good humor, so that he may answer correctly, he must be treated as a man.”

“I shall be very pleased to do so,” said the princess. So she walked up to the learned man, who stood in the doorway, and spoke to him of the sun, and the moon, of the green forests, and of people near home and far off; and the learned man conversed with her pleasantly and sensibly.

“What a wonderful man he must be, to have such a clever shadow!” thought she. “If I were to choose him it would be a real blessing to my country and my subjects, and I will do it.” So the princess and the shadow were soon engaged to each other, but no one was to be told a word about it, till she returned to her kingdom.

“No one shall know,” said the shadow; “not even my own shadow;” and he had very particular reasons for saying so.

After a time, the princess returned to the land over which she reigned, and the shadow accompanied her.

“Listen my friend,” said the shadow to the learned man; “now that I am as fortunate and as powerful as any man can be, I will do something unusually good for you. You shall live in my palace, drive with me in the royal carriage, and have a hundred thousand dollars a year; but you must allow every one to call you a shadow, and never venture to say that you have been a man. And once a year, when I sit in my balcony in the sunshine, you must lie at my feet as becomes a shadow to do; for I must tell you I am going to marry the princess, and our wedding will take place this evening.”

“Now, really, this is too ridiculous,” said the learned man. “I cannot, and will not, submit to such folly. It would be cheating the whole country, and the princess also. I will disclose everything, and say that I am the man, and that you are only a shadow dressed up in men’s clothes.”

“No one would beleive you,” said the shadow; “be reasonable, now, or I will call the guards.”

“I will go straight to the princess,” said the learned man.

“But I shall be there first,” replied the shadow, “and you will be sent to prison.” And so it turned out, for the guards readily obeyed him, as they knew he was going to marry the king’s daughter.

“You tremble,” said the princess, when the shadow appeared before her. “Has anything happened? You must not be ill to-day, for this evening our wedding will take place.”

“I have gone through the most terrible affair that could possibly happen,” said the shadow; “only imagine, my shadow has gone mad; I suppose such a poor, shallow brain, could not bear much; he fancies that he has become a real man, and that I am his shadow.”

“How very terrible,” cried the princess; “is he locked up?”

“Oh yes, certainly; for I fear he will never recover.”

“Poor shadow!” said the princess; “it is very unfortunate for him; it would really be a good deed to free him from his frail existence; and, indeed, when I think how often people take the part of the lower class against the higher, in these days, it would be policy to put him out of the way quietly.”

“It is certainly rather hard upon him, for he was a faithful servant,” said the shadow; and he pretended to sigh.

“Yours is a noble character,” said the princess, and bowed herself before him.

In the evening the whole town was illuminated, and cannons fired “boom,” and the soldiers presented arms. It was indeed a grand wedding. The princess and the shadow stepped out on the balcony to show themselves, and to receive one cheer more. But the learned man heard nothing of all these festivities, for he had already been executed.

this is food for thought

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three Thoughts

You came to this world singularly and unclothed. That is your path. The others that you encounter are here on the path with you … are on the same journey … but they can only serve as guideposts for you, and they can only provide you the opportunity to find your own blind spots, that's all. There is a vast world of difference between solitude and loneliness … that is your discovery to make.

"It isn't just the pain in my body that really hurts, it's all the pains of my life that I have to pull away from; “that” which imprisons me in my impression of how I think life should be. Me, beginning to see my feelings in me just as they are, brings me to a point of seeing just how little time have I ever given to me having real feelings in my life and those real feelings included initially my pain, both physical and psychological."

EXPERIENCE has taught us that finally we can step out into the world and experience life on life’s terms. That seems to be what is called for at this juncture, and doing it knowing full well that we don’t know and that we can’t imagine all that is, even though we are intrinsically part of all that is. A part of things that we can’t even imagine, in places we could not conceive of, and in conditions that are beyond us.

But there it is, the answer, just sitting there, staring back at us. Not the one we expected, but an answer nonetheless.

My Life with the Wave ... By Octavio Paz (translated by Eliot Weinberger)

When I left that sea, a wave moved ahead of the others. She was tall and light. In spite of the shouts of the others who grabbed her by her floating clothes, she clutched my arm and went off with me leaping. I didn’t want to say anything to her, because it hurt me to shame her in front of her friends. Besides, the furious stares of the elders paralyzed me. When we got to town, I explained to her that it was impossible, that life in the city was not what she had been able to imagine with the ingenuity of a wave that had never left the sea. She watched me gravely: “No, your decision is made. You can’t go back.” I tried sweetness, hardness, irony. She cried, screamed, hugged, threatened. I had to apologize.

The next day my troubles began. How could we get on the train without being seen by the conductor, the passengers, the police? Certainly the rules say nothing in respect to the transport of waves on the railroad, but this same reserve was an indication of the severity with which our act would be judged. After much thought I arrived at the station an hour before departure, took my seat, and, when no one was looking, emptied the water tank for the passengers; then, carefully, poured in my friend.

The first incident came about when the children of a nearby couple declared their noisy thirst. I stopped them and promised them refreshments and lemonade. They were at the point of accepting when another thirsty passenger approached. I was about to invite her also, but the stare of her companion stopped me. The lady took a paper cup, approached the tank, and turned the faucet. Her cup was barely half full when I leaped between the woman and my friend. She looked at me astonished. While I apologized, one of the children turned the faucet again. I closed it violently. The lady brought the cup to her lips:

“Agh, this water is salty.”

The boy echoed her. Various passengers rose. The husband called the conductor:

“This man put salt in the water.”

The conductor called the Inspector:

“So you put substances in the water?”

The Inspector in turn called the police:

“So you poisoned the water?”

The police in turn called the Captain:

“So you’re the poisoner?”

The captain called three agents. The agents took me to an empty car amid the stares and whispers of the passengers. At the next station they took me off and pushed and dragged me to the jail. For days no one spoke to me, except during the long interrogations. When I explained my story no one believed me, not even the jailer, who shook his head, saying: “The case is grave, truly grave. You didn’t want to poison the children?” One day they brought me before the Magistrate.

“Your case is difficult,” he repeated. I will assign you to the Penal Judge.”

A year passed. Finally they judged me. As there were no victims, my sentence was light. After a short time, my day of liberty arrived.

The Chief of the Prison called me in:

“Well, now you’re free. You were lucky Lucky there were no victims. But don’t do it again, because the next time won’t be so short. .

And he stared at me with the same grave stare with which everyone watched me.

The same afternoon I took the train and after hours of uncomfortable traveling arrived in Mexico City. I took a cab home. At the door of my apartment I heard laughter and singing. I felt a pain in my chest, like the smack of a wave of surprise when surprise smacks us across the chest: my friend was there, singing and laughing as always.

“How did you get back?”

“Simple: in the train. Someone, after making sure that I was only salt water, poured me in the engine. It was a rough trip: soon I was a white plume of vapor, soon I fell in a fine rain on the machine. I thinned out a lot. I lost many drops.”

Her presence changed my life. The house of dark corridors and dusty furniture was filled with air, with sun, with sounds and green and blue reflections, a numerous and happy populace of reverberations and echoes. How many waves is one wave, and how it can make a beach or a rock or jetty out of a wall, a chest, a forehead that it crowns with foam! Even the abandoned corners, the abject corners of dust and debris were touched by her light hands. Everything began to laugh and everywhere shined with teeth. The sun entered the old rooms with pleasure and stayed in my house for hours, abandoning the other houses, the district, the city, the country. And some nights, very late, the scandalized stars watched it sneak from my house.

Love was a game, a perpetual creation. All was beach, sand, a bed of sheets that were always fresh. If I embraced her, she swelled with pride, incredibly tall, like the liquid stalk of a poplar; and soon that thinness flowered into a fountain of white feathers, into a plume of smiles that fell over my head and back and covered me with whiteness. Or she stretched out in front of me, infinite as the horizon, until I too became horizon and silence. Full and sinuous, it enveloped me like music or some giant lips. Her present was a going and coming of caresses, of murmurs, of kisses. Entered in her waters, I was drenched to the socks and in a wink of an eye I found myself up above, at the height of vertigo, mysteriously suspended, to fall like a stone and feel myself gently deposited on the dryness, like a feather. Nothing is comparable to sleeping in those waters, to wake pounded by a thousand happy light lashes, by a thousand assaults that withdrew laughing.

But never did I reach the center of her being. Never did I touch the nakedness of pain and of death. Perhaps it does not exist in waves, that secret site that renders a woman vulnerable and mortal, that electric button where all interlocks, twitches, and straightens out to then swoon. Her sensibility, like that of women, spread in ripples, only they weren’t concentric ripples, but rather eccentric, spreading each time farther, until they touched other galaxies. To love her was to extend to remote contacts, to vibrate with far-off stars we never suspected. But her center . . . no, she had no center, just emptiness as in a whirlwind, that sucked me in and smothered me.

Stretched out side by side, we exchanged confidences, whispers, smiles, Curled up, she fell on my chest and there unfolded like a vegetation of murmurs. She sang in my ear, a little snail. She became humble and transparent, clutching my feet like a small animal, calm water. She was so clear I could read all of her thoughts. Certain nights her skin was covered with phosphorescence and to embrace her was to embrace a piece of night tattooed with fire. But she also became black and bitter. At unexpected hours she roared, moaned, twisted. Her groans woke the neighbors. Upon hearing her, the sea wind would scratch at the door of the house or rave in a loud voice on the roof. Cloudy days irritated her; she broke furniture, said bad words, covered me with insults and green and gray foam. She spit, cried, swore, prophesied. Subject to the moon, to the stars, to the influence of the light of other worlds, she changed her moods and appearance in a way that I thought fantastic, but it was as fatal as the tide.

She began to miss solitude. The house was full of snails and conches, of small sailboats that in her fury she had shipwrecked (together with the others, laden with images, that each night left my forehead and sank in her ferocious or pleasant whirlwinds). How many little treasures were lost in that time! But my boats and the silent song of the snails was not enough. I had to install in the house a colony of fish. I confess that it was not without jealousy that I watched them swimming in my friend, caressing her breasts, sleeping between her legs, adorning her hair with light flashes of color.

Among all those fish there were a few particularly repulsive and ferocious ones, little tigers from the aquarium, with large fixed eyes and jagged and bloodthirsty mouths. I don’t know by what aberration my friend delighted in playing with them, shamelessly showing them a preference whose significance I preferred to ignore. She passed long hours confined with those horrible creatures. One day I couldn’t stand it any more; I threw open the door and launched after them. Agile and ghostly they escaped my hands while she laughed and pounded me until I fell. I thought I was drowning. And when I was at the point of death, and purple, she deposited me on the bank and began to kiss me, saying I don’t know what things. I felt very weak, fatigued, and humiliated. And at the same time her voluptuousness made me close my eyes, because her voice was sweet and she spoke to me of the delicious death of the drowned. When I recovered, I began to fear and hate her.

I had neglected my affairs. Now I began to visit friends and renew old and dear relations. I met an old girlfriend. Making her swear to keep my secret, I told her of my life with the wave. Nothing moves women so much as the possibility of saving a man. My redeemer employed all of her arts, but what could a woman, master of a limited number of souls and bodies, do in front of my friend who was always changing—and always identical to herself in her incessant metamorphoses.

Winter came. The sky turned gray. Fog fell on the city Frozen drizzle rained. My friend cried every night. During the day she isolated herself, quiet and sinister, stuttering a single syllable, like an old woman who grumbles in a corner. She became cold; to sleep with her was to shiver all night and to feel freeze, little by little, the blood, the bones, the thoughts. She turned deep, impenetrable, restless. I left frequently and my absences were each time more prolonged. She, in her corner howled loudly with teeth like steel and a corrosive tongue she gnawed the walls, crumbled them. She passed the nights in mourning, reproaching me. She had nightmares, deliriums of the sun, of warm beaches. She dreamt of the pole and of changing into a great block of ice, sailing beneath black skies in nights long as months. She insulted me. She cursed and laughed; filled the house with guffaws and phantoms. She called up the monsters of the depths, blind ones, quick ones, blunt. Charged with electricity she carbonized all she touched; full of acid, she dissolved whatever she brushed against. Her sweet embraces became knotty cords that strangled me. And her body, greenish and elastic, was an implacable whip that lashed, lashed, lashed. I fled. The horrible fish laughed with ferocious smiles.

There in the mountains, among the tall pines and precipices, I breathed the cold thin air like a thought of liberty. At the end of a month I returned. I had decided. It had been so cold that over the marble of the chimney, next to the extinct fire, I found a statue of ice. I was unmoved by her weary beauty I put her in a big canvas sack and went out to the streets with the sleeper on my shoulders. In a restaurant in the outskirts I sold her to a waiter friend who immediately, began to chop her into little pieces, which he carefully deposited in the buckets where bottles are chilled. [1949]

Thank you Maria   ... Hugs Neil


No matter how I turn
the magnificent light follows.
Background to my sadness.

No matter how I lift my heart
my shadow creeps in wait behind.
Background to my joy.

No matter how fast I run
a stillness without thought is where I end.

No matter how long I sit
there is a river of motion I must rejoin.

And when I can’t hold my head up
it always falls in the lap of one
who has just opened.

When I finally free myself of burden
there is always someone’s heavy head
landing in my arms.

The reasons of the heart
are leaves in wind.
Stand up tall and everything
will nest in you.

We all lose and we all gain.
Dark crowds the light.
Light fills the pain.

It is a conversation with no end
a dance with no steps
a song with no words
a reason too big for any mind.

No matter how I turn
the magnificence follows.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

3 On Seeing Simple Truths

3 On Seeing Simple Truths
Taken From Experience Has Taught Us 175 Missing Pieces
Published by Bright Star Press
Author Neil Douglas-Tubb
Available on Amazon.com

EXPERIENCE has taught us that the absolute importance of sorting through the truth of our real experiences is essential to our well-being (at all levels—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). The loss of this truth to the mythology of our defensive delusions is almost always expressed, sooner or later, in some form of grave illness.

In order to become whole we must try, over a long period of time, often until death, to discover the truth of our history, a truth that may often cause pain before we reach past it to our freedom.

If we choose instead to content ourselves with an intellectual appreciation and understanding of this loss of truth, often referred to mistakenly as wisdom, we will remain lost in the sphere of delu¬sion and self-deception.

We Begin Our Journey To Awaken With A Single Step