Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Simon's hit some trigger happy nerves out there...

Poor Simon! :) He's gone and jumped, both feet, into one of the sacred cows of the "civilised" world. And he's not only done it once but twice within a matter of days.

After the horrible slaughter of people this past week in the USA, the debate is raging yet again about Gun Control.

It seems that the issue rates barely a mention in any country where they HAVE gun control whereas for the United States...certain groups are very vocal indeedy about their guns and their "right" to own them and use them how they see fit.

Saying that perhaps smacks of being really "Anti-American". I guess in this one instance I am a little.

I do NOT understand the American passion for gun ownership! I never have and I probably never will. To me it is blind selfishness and total paranoia. I realise the history of this goes waaaay back for the American people. It still doesn't make any sense to me.

I respect guns for sure. I was once in the Australian Army Reserves and have had a lot of experience with powerful rifles, sub-machine guns and the like. I do not like guns though. I find them distasteful devices that spell D.E.A.T.H. for any living thing they happen to be fired at. One can respect the power and the responsibility of owning and using a gun in say a sport like Clay-target shooting or where the farmer must destroy vermin who ravage his crops and livelihood, but owning one for any other reason than these is to me hypocritical. Of course being in any legitmate Defence Organisation like the Military is a no-brainer...war is ugly but it will always be with us unfortunately. Guns are married to that whole war thing naturally and intrinsically. I won't argue that point anymore here.

Of what PURPOSE could having a gun in ones home for "self-defence" serve? To me, it breeds mistrust and what you believe you will eventually reap.

If you believe there are people "out to get you" and that your family is only "safe" if you have your gun "by your side" ... then the liklihood is that that is exactly the culture you will breed around you. Mistrust breeds mistrust and blood spills yet more blood - be it animal or human.

I'm sorry.

This is probably the most vocal on any subject I've ever been here before. I do not wish to offend my American readers. I hope and pray that the ones who do bother to read this blog are also saddened and at a loss as to why their beautiful country has become so awash with such a mentality and sheer passion for gun ownership.

It's spiralling ever futher out of control from my perspective too. The more passionately fearful and paranoid people become in their homes and communities, the more likely it seems that the death toll and injury rate increases through the use of firearms. Safety? Of what use is safety if the very culture itself is fraught with such fear in the first place?

As for those who are beligerent about their right to bear arms, then please note that here in my country it would be an offence for me to do so and I also follow the "rules" of my constitution. There can be no gain in trying to convince me that the right to own a gun is justifiable until you prove you/they are in the Military, or the member of a clay-target shooting club or are a farmer protecting your country's food supply. All other reasons will have no truck with me.

Poor Simon. He has had to field a lot of comments this past week for his vocal dislike of lax gun laws. It may be a matter of personal perspective...then again it also might be the voice of a moderate calling for some sense in a sea of insanity.

Religion, Politics and Guns seem to bring out the polarity in all of us. We are either for or against and never the twain shall meet. It's hard to sit on the fence with any of these topics and it is kind of sad really that consensus will never actually exist because one side is either right or very, very, wrong anyway.

Rhythms or Routines

The other day I posted about my work day having a kind of gentle rhythm to it which flowed well like Jimi Hendrix playing...fluid, loose and oh so cool on the guitar.

Perhaps it would be good to explore further this concept of Rhythm and Routine.

I have routines. A routine in the strictest sense of the word is a regular but fixed set of processes that achieve a goal. I do all sorts of things that might be considered routines.

However, I balk at anything being static in my life. I don't like feeling trapped or being stagnated by my own routines!

So I've watched myself "doing" my routines and have found they aren't really routines so much as Rhythms. A rhythm is more flexible and fluid in its expression. I may do my usual daily activities out of sync but they still get done all the same to my own inner rhythm.

There is something freeing about set routines becoming rhythms. I get more done when a task or an activity is based on rhythm rather than dogmatic routine. There is a kind of ebb and flow to rhythm that is absent from mere routine. Mere routine is mundane and mindless, a kind of "You Must Do This, THIS way, All the Freaking Time" thing. I hate that! I will not be told what I must do by anyone - least of all by my own dogmatic consciousness! :)

But when those dogged, rigid routines flow like the gentle rhythm of the tide in an ocean; when they move, change, morph, and transmogrify; when they define by loose and flexible "might do" attitudes - then that appeals to me and I will follow when and if I feel like it.

Its like a flowing dance of choice with ones "stuff to do" rather than a mantra that must be recited daily in precise and contingent order.

So I have Rhythms to my day even though to you they might look like mere routines :)

How you live your life - even in the details - is always your choice.

Monday, April 23, 2007

gentle rhythms...

well! actually they are probably not so gentle really! :)

I'm listening to Jimi Hendrix "Band of Gypsys" in the car right now.

This one album - to which I have come VERY late in life it seems :) - combines nearly all my favourite genres of music in one strange and magical mix of rhythm, blues, jazz, fusion, soul, funk and pure rock.

The more I listen to it the more I can hear in it the bands I "usually" listen to. Obviously this particular Jimi Hendrix classic inspired a legion of future music icons.

I just like its groove. It is absolutely the coolest music to play in the car! :) And the fact that I am considered pretty "cool" for my music tastes, by my teenage son's mates, is a bonus I might add *wink* :)

Playing it on the drive home from work today felt completely right for the way my day transpired; with the steady rhythm of daily routines played out fluidly, a kind of gentle flow to my working day. They came with a dash of the unexpected thrown in to make them refreshing and "different" from the norm. That unexpected stuff worked with the routines today and didn't seem to throw me like they might have six months ago.

It seems that sometimes, work can be played at like Jimi played his guitar. Of course, there are times when I find work very hard and my heart and soul are not in it at all. The routines become like battles to be fought and won. There are - thank goodness - days like today too, when work flows from one process to the next in a groove that feels just right.

Jimi played his guitar like it was the easiest thing to do in the world. He made his guitar sing for him as an extention of himself. He brought his unique Gift and Genius to his guitar playing that made it stand out and shine among a plethora of other guitar players of his time.

Work can be like that if we let it. When we master the routines and they become less chores and more a kind of dance or a song, it becomes well...! Not really work I guess. There is a blending of both learning and natural Genius at work when one is at work like this.

Jimi had to learn his guitar! He had to practise at it. He got the basics down and from there he was able to build his repetoire into what I hear on this CD.

When we finally know the process instinctively...we can turn it into magic and add some sparkle to it so it isn't mundane anymore. That spark is our own natural gift blended in with the common knowledge of the work at hand and that combination of practical skill and individual Gift is what can make our work play like Jimi plays the guitar!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

best laid plans..

Well! I had good intentions today.

I had this big list of things to do while my wee family went off to Melbourne to the footy.

Included in my lovely list of things to do was a big chunk of time devoted to writing! I didn't particulary care what I wrote really so long as it was something "Story-ish".

So what have I done?

Everything on that list BUT writing something "Story-ish" - and this blog post doesn't count in that equation.

So why didn't I spend my day of blissful solitude cosied up to this computer and cracking out some words?

I guess I am just not in that zone right now. Other tasks got done and I even spent a lot of down-time too doing recreational things - I just didn't really do any writing. It felt like procrastination too, like I didn't really want to put the effort into doing it. And yet... I love to write! I love being able to sit down here and churn out word after word that builds into some kind of coherent whole. It just felt like I "had to" today because I promised myself it was the perfect opportunity.

Because I applied that "Have to at all costs" label to doing some creative writing today, it suddenly lost its appeal. It became an expectation and perhaps like a performing seal, I couldn't get interested until I could smell the fishy rewards!

So moral of this story for me... whenever I think there is a good time coming to write, focus on the benefits at the end of writing rather than trying to build up the desire to begin writing. All else is just go with da flow :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Leading from within.

My good friend Martin Spernau wondered if my recent thoughts on "Pah!" actually cast aspersions on those people who Lead From Within.

So okay! Before I explain further, what does it mean to Lead From Within?

There are people gifted at leadership. They exude a kind of wonderful charisma and if coupled with intelligence and wit can woo any number of persons to follow them along any number of paths. Of course there is leadership where the leaders are not actually gifted but have enough wealth and political power to be in leadership positions. Genuine leadership skills can be learned but there is that Born-to-lead X Factor in the best leaders.

We tend to think of Leadership as someone out front of the crowd; the outspoken, confident and knowledgeable guide to the path that lays ahead. All gifted leaders rally the troops, build morale, map out the course and focus the collective energy toward successful completion of the goal.

There is another kind of Leader who does these very things but is rarely known or seen by the masses. They are the gentle niche guardians of encouraging spirit, surreptitiously guiding and leading others - usually one-on-one or in small clusters rather than the whole collective - toward better things and places. They ARE leaders but they shun the glare of the public spotlight, preferring instead to wield their power in a more Behind-the-scenes kind of way. They support the main players and above all, encourage the whole team. They are empathic and generally sanguine and usually years ahead of their time in their attitudes and thinking.

Whereas popular leaders rely greatly on their support team in order to do their magic. Those who Lead From Within tend to bring their own magic! They seek not power nor glory, and sometimes are not that interested in fiscal rewards either although they do enjoy receiving acknowledgement for their unique contribution to the team effort.

Martin's query that those who Lead From Within might be indulging in "Pah!" highlighted my need to make another distinction between Arrogant Pride dressed up as Humility and unselfconscious serenity that doesn't need attention focused on it in order to feel better about itself!

Those who Lead From Within any group or organisation can and indeed do indulge in "Pah!"! We all do it at some point or another. Whenever we feel powerless and less than the sum of our being, we seek recognition and admiration in order to fill our psychological bellies with a sense of personal well-being. We want to be proud of ourselves as much as make others proud of us. Our human nature - our intelligence - has all sorts of tricks to get recognition and power. It's just a normal part of the human psyche really and nothing to be alarmed about. There are few human beings in this world who are never subject to a hurt pride!

But... Leading From Within is not necessarily "Pah!" itself! Those who LFW are generally more honest than that actually. It is confidence that is the difference between those who do "Pah!" as a matter of course and those who don't. "Pah!" is about puffing up the self, LFW is simply doing ones job to achieve the best outcomes for everyone.

LFW may appear to be just leadership with an "I'm so humble! Look at me!" label but if that be the case then the person isn't LFW. Effective leadership requires one to STOP thinking of the Self and focus outwards toward the OTHER, be it another person or the team.

It takes someone with basic innate confidence to accept their skills and apply them in context without seeking extra rewards or public recognition. Those who are LFW might want to be acknowledged for their skills but they don't necessarily believe its a right either. They just DO their job and bring along their particular magic to make that job sparkle and shine!

It can be hard to spot "Pah!" by the way! Some get very good at it to the point they even dupe themselves about it and never truly learn the basic truth about humility. Humility is unselfconscious confidence focused outside of the Ego. It is pride but not Pride! It seeks not to gain status for the Self but rather to support the egalitarian goals of the whole group. With "Pah!", the difference lies within the person and their attitude toward themselves and their job. What appears to be humility on the outside may in fact be "Pah!", then again it may not.

It's not a question of "dissing" anyone who maybe LFW and dumping them with this "Pah!" stuff! Martin is exceptional at LFW! :) Whether he believes he is indulging in "Pah!" is for his own introspection and not one for any of us to judge.

We can't know people's thoughts so accusing someone of "Pah!" could be very cruel. It's important that we allow people to express themselves in their own way. "Pah!" is a personal thing. We might notice it in some people and raise our eyebrows at them in judgement but in fact, "Pah!" is simply a cry for personal recognition; to be loved for who we are, as we come.

Yes it is true that "Pah!" is manipulative and dishonest and it is most certainly not true humility, however I believe it also true that it's a whole lot more common than people will admit. So before we pass judgement on anyone for indulging in "Pah!", first let's make sure we aren't looking for the same thing they are. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

flies in the buttermilk...

Life is Good!

There are however some things I need to throw off my chest that are causing me some niggling angst.

1) I don't have time or inclination to write Stories right now. Ugh! It's getting me down. I long for that sweet zone where inclination and intention meet with Time Squared! To write stories that flow from my fingers and onto this screen with ease and sustained progress. Where time becomes a non-existent quantity, at once both slowing down and speeding up somewhere between the seconds and the hours. I think I was born to write... I just need SPACE across the spectrum of human identity; aka Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual (a goodly dose of Psi would be nice too :))

2) I have a sinus infection that is clinging to my physical body like a leech. It should be gone by now...after nearly 4 weeks of treating it via non-traditional means. Alas it seems that a trip to a "Modern" Medico is now required to bring out the big artillary in germ warfare! Yes! I am suspecting anti-biotics! *sigh* I so wanted to avoid that but I cannot tolerate the lethargy, the head-pain and the sheer fatigue anymore. I whine! So deal! I am GRUMPY!

3) I haven't done any exercise for two weeks! Oh well... maybe I have walked once or twice but nothing really that could be called "Exercise". I miss moving my body.

4) I absolutely and completely must learn to love doing the Bookkeeping! :) Repeat after me: "I love Quickbooks Pro! I LOVE Quickbooks Pro!" *sigh* I do! Really! I do!

5) I miss Coke. Drinking it silly not that other stuff! I'm trying to clean out my body with a detox diet of sorts so I can heal from the various ailments I am currently suffering (see above). It means no caffiene for 14 days minimum! I'll get used to it although right NOW I'd really like to have that taste in my mouth! Ahhhh! I can dream.

So there you go.

Weeny, tiny little gripes of no real consequence to anyone but me. Life IS good at the moment and I have a lot to be happy about and to be grateful for. A whinge is boring if its held inside a rigid world view of depressing anxiety. These wee flies in my buttermilk above... are just that ...wee flies. They too will pass. Sometimes just saying them makes me feel a whole lot better though too.

Time for Bed! Bliss! :)


Thursday, April 05, 2007

To Gratitude and Beyond!

I'm feeling very grateful right now :)

It's the Easter season. The day before Good Friday actually, as I write.

Good Friday is.....well.... you either "get" Good Friday or you don't! Those who believe in Christ and know Him well totally get the whole concept around Good Friday. Those who don't know Him quite so well make an effort for tomorrow and that is a good thing too :)

Lots of people I know who barely see the inside of a worship centre will acknowledge in small ways, Christ's sacrifice on Good Friday.

Some do this by choosing to eat fish for their meals on the day. It's a nice notion although it surprises me to learn that many of those I've spoken to about it believe that this tradition was set in concrete in the Bible! It wasn't!

No where in the Bible is it decreed that one MUST eat fish on Good Friday. The eating of fish is a man-made tradition assigned as a mark of respect for Christ. There is no blood in fish so the tradition of eating non-blooded foods on Good Friday accentuates the impact of Christs blood shed on the cross. It is a fine tradtion but really meaningless if you don't understand the rest of Easter!

I don't mind eating fish on Good Friday but nor do I make it a religion either! If we decide to have a barbeque with lots of other kinds of meats then we do. My faith is about the function of belief not its forms! I have no tolerance for rituals that lose their meaning and become mere habits of religiosity. Faith is a dynamic relationship not a religious exercise of habits and rules!

I digress... :)

Gratitude for this season runs deep in me every year. I may not always go to worship on Good Friday (however, I am going tomorrow so far as I know :))... and I may not always observe all the strictures applied by mankind to the day.... but it IS a day of great personal meaning for me and I am humbled and awed by it every time.

I am, as a result, deeply grateful for the many other things in my life beyond the fact of Good Friday. I have an amazing family, a wonderful bunch of friends and all manner of comforts and needs met that right at this moment astound me.

Life is Good despite its sucky bits. I HAVE what I need for this time.

May you find such joy as this when you survey the blessings you have around you too :)

Have a safe and wonderful Easter Season.