19/24 – Will I be redundant?

linchpin

Are you afraid of Artificial Intelligence? Does it scare you that soon, computers and robots seem able to do just about everything?

I don’t go down that road, deliberately, as I don’t want to live a life out of fear. Fear for myself, for my children and grand-children, for work – will there be any? -, for being extraneous and redundant.

So. I actually try to do that which only I can do (i.e. be me) really really well, letting my onlyness flow freely into the world, sharing what I see, do, feel, know.

And work will never be scarce. Having a job might be a thing of the past, sooner than we think, but work. I get to do work that matters every day. That’s my prerogative. And your’s as well. Life. Work. There’s no difference. Or at least, there doesn’t have to be.

Living a life that matters means doing work that matters.

What are you doing with your onlyness?

Reflection #19 of 24 from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

DAY 4 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: Create personal door signs

For today’s prompt, write and/or draw three signs that you would hang on your home door, work door, or even your forehead to let others know what you allow and don’t allow in your life. For example, a sign might be, “No Gossiping” or “Please Knock First.”

Now write about your signs and how you will enforce them, or how you already enforce them. Are there ways you can communicate your signs without actually posting them? Or should one or more of them be physically posted?

stay out door signs

I am taking part of the MITx #ULab MOOC and one of the things that has really struck a cord in me have been the voices of judgement, cynicism and fear, that Theory U talk about as detrimental to deep listening. Listening to these voices are effective road blocks hindering you from being able to drop down into presencing.

So how to enforce them? Do I need to print these out, laminate them and post them around the house? Well. That might not be a bad idea actually… But is it a necessity? Well no. Not really. I am lucky that I have created a setting whereupon I am around people who remind me of when I do listen to, or talk from a place of judgement, cynicism or fear. My coach Carla does a great job, constantly reigning me in to self-compassion and other-compassion, for instance. Friends in my MasterMind-group and in #skolvåren hold a space where I can voice thoughts stemming from these emotions without being condemned, while gently reminding me of my why, and how I want to show up in the world. Having that ”safe space” where I can rage against the world and perceived injustices is a great outlet of frustration, and getting it out of my system makes it easier to get back on track faster.

I am a great help myself in keeping the voices of judgement, cynicism and fear out, as I have gotten so used to observing myself. So I am better at noticing when I am judging, being cynical (which probably is the one of these emotions that pop up the least for me) or acting out of fear. That opens up for asking myself whether or not it’s in service to me to continue to entertain these thoughts or if I should show them the way to the door.

What really make a difference though is to tune in to the energies of people I am in conversation with. Where are they coming from? Is it the voice of judgement, cynicism and fear speaking, or are they speaking from an open mind, open heart and open will? If it is, and I can spot it, it’s much easier for me to refrain from stepping into judgement myself. Rather, empathy is invoked in me, because I know full well what it’s like to come from the place of judgement/cynicism/fear. Sometimes, the conversation can take a sudden turn to something deeper when I drop down to a deeper place of listening. Sometimes. Not so. And I’ve learned, the hard way, to step out of that type of interaction if there is no shift in energy or awareness. There is neither giving nor receiving in those instances, and hence, I bow out. Politely if I can, silently at times, and hopefully, very seldom with a tiny jab in the back. Because that’s not who I want to be in the world. 

What about you? What would your three door signs look like?

Criticism from a loved one

Criticism from a loved one. Cuts so deep.

Holding a larger weight, coming from someone close to me, than remarks from a stranger or acquaintance. The thoughts of loved ones about me matter more, than the thought/belief others more distant might or might not hold of me. Sometimes it’s not even criticism, simply an observation or a wandering though being voiced. But I take it as criticism, I turn it into critique in my inner monologue.

When I get lost in the criticism from loved ones, my fear of losing the love of those closest to me, losing their respect, grows and grows, the more I value that unique individual. The greater the importance I place upon that someone, the greater the fear of having them disappear from my life. And if/when they critique me, that is what I fear the most. That they will leave me.

And it is odd. Because this means that I don’t hear what they say. I don’t hear the possible truth or message there might be in what I’m being told. I shut down, stop truly listening, my love for me and them seems to dissipate and my fear takes over. Fear of what might be, of what it might mean.

Often, arguments follow. Or sulking.
Sometimes what started as an innocent remark can escalate into what feels like an outright war.

getting lostAnd guess what.
I just realized, I am that loved one once in a while as well. I am not solely the one being critiqued, I also give critique to others. It doesn’t seem too farfetched to suggest that it works the same for them, as it does for me, does it?

But what would happen, when critiqued (that is, when I perceive that I am being critiqued!), if I stayed in love, rather than jump headfirst into my deepest fears? What might I learn? Is there learning for me there? About me? Or about my loved one? Learnings that I turn my back on, all because I lose my way, and get lost in the dungeons of my fear landscape. Dark. Cold.

What if I simply stick to love instead?

Afraid of otherness?

I listened to Parker Palmer giving this commencement address to the graduating class at Naropa University, and several times I got goose bumps and shivers. For me, those have become telltale signs that there’s something important and/or very true being shared.


The six suggestions Parker provides on living a life worth exploring are simple. And powerful. So powerful I followed my urge to split this recommendation into six consecutive blog posts. You can read my thoughts on the first and second suggestion here.

BoldomaticPost_As-you-welcome-whatever-you-fThe third suggestion is: As you welcome whatever you find alien within yourself, extend that same welcome to whatever you find alien in the outer world.

There is no other, that is not also a part of you.

I’ll write that again: There is no other, that is not also a part of you.

So be hospitable, curious and meet the world with the same sense of adventurous journey of discovery that you hopefully have embarked upon within yourself. There is no need to be afraid of otherness. Or rather, you do not need to act upon the fear. You can see it, witness it, and let it pass through. Because you are meeting yourself, when you come across someone, something, which you do not recognize, that feels new and different and unknown to you. That is how to grow. That is how to benefit the world. And that is where my hope for the future lies. Just imagine what will be made possible when we no longer fear otherness. I can see it in my minds eye. Can you?

Showing up is a choice

How do you show up in the world? What’s the energy you bring with you, into that which you are, and that which you do? It’s interesting that, how energy shows up, how the feeling behind the words matter so much, often more than the words themselves.

I stumbled upon a quote by Marianne Williamson the other day about this:

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson is also the lady behind these words (wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela), which you may have seen before:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I am getting to know myself, light and darkness alike, and find it interesting to ponder the way I do show up in the world. When do I let my light shine? When am I immersing myself in my darkness? And what difference does it make for you and the rast of the world, in how I show up, when I come from light versus darkness?

I don’t know. Or rather, I know how it feels within me. I know what the difference is, to me, for when I come from the light vs darkness within me. Now, I actually believe there is a great deal to learn from both those sides of me. Both, by the way, makes it sound like I have one light and one dark side within, when it’s likely millions of sides within me, constituting my light, and my darkness. Constantly shifting, evolving, moving. Sometimes expanding. Sometimes shrinking.

Showing upBut all the time, whether expanding or shrinking, influencing how I show up in the world. And that’s just it. I want to show up, as I am, in any given moment. Nowadays it’s more rare for me to try to pose, put on a show, act as something which I am not. It happens though. And it’s very familiar to me, since it’s something I’ve struggled a lot with.

You see, I used to believe that my worth lay in the fact that you liked me and believed I was knowledgeable. That’s why I pretended to know everything. Putting on a show of being in the know, even when I wasn’t.

Now, less and less. It still happens, probably on a daily basis if I’m being honest. But it’s no longer my default mode, pretending to know. Because really – I don’t. There’s so much I don’t know, and today, that doesn’t frighten me the way it used to. Because that’s what that show was all about. My fear of not being worthy. Believing my worth lay outside of me.

That’s no longer the place I come from. It’s no longer how I show up. And I enjoy it, but it’s also very uncomfortable at times, let me tell you. Sometimes I really want to let rip unto the world, some injustice I believe have been done unto me. But many times, that urge quickly falls away, because that’s also something which I’ve gotten better at, namely to act, rather than react.

Hm. Perhaps that’s the biggest factor in how I show up in the world today, now that I come to think of it. I act. Much more deliberately.

That might sound as if it’s even more of an act I put on by being deliberate, but really – no, I think it’s the opposite. Because by giving myself that pause, that moment to look at where I am coming from, I am neither slave to light nor darkness within me. I get to chose how to show up in the world. And so do you. Ever given it any thought?

Fear begets fear

In the movie Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore there is a short clip on fear, making a very poignant statement on the fact that fear begets fear. See for yourself:

It’s a dreadful story, but really…. what it says is this:

Within the reality of fear, fear is what you will get.

And that might not make a whole lot of sense, but let me try to put it closer to home.

Ever lost your keys? You search and search for them, checking in bags, pockets, the laundry basket, inside cupboards and drawers, in the ceramic bowl where you normally put them…. but to no avail. Gone. Nowhere to be found.

Know the feeling?

And then, all of a sudden…. your friend/spouse/child looks in the ceramic bowl, and says Here they are!

And you are dumbfounded. HOW is it possible? I LOOKED THERE, I promise I did.

Or, second scenario when your friend/spouse/child isn’t around, and you search and search, and finally give up. You go do something else for a while, and then go to pick up another key from the bowl…. and lo and behold, there the lost keys are as well!

And you are dumbfounded. HOW is it possible? I LOOKED THERE, I promise I did.

Ever experienced something similar to this?

This is the thing:
Within the reality of ”my keys are lost”, your keys are lost. Within that reality, you can’t find them. But within the reality of your friend/spouse/child your keys weren’t lost, they were simply not found. And within that reality, the keys are easier (unless you’ve really lost them) to find. And the same goes for the second scenario; when you leave the ”lost keys-reality”, you enter another reality where they can be found.

The same goes with fear. Within the reality of I am so afraid, you will not find comfort, safety and security. You need to shift from that reality to another one, where comfort, safety and security can be had. The good news about that is that just as the keys could be found from another reality, it’s entirely possible for us to switch realities (if you object to reality being used here, call is state of mind, call it my experience of life, call it the human experience), because the reality I experience is created by the feelings coming from the thought in my head.

And the switch only have one thing stopping it from happening, and that is if I cling for dear life to the current one. That very effectively stops a new thought (and hence a possible new reality) from showing up, and then I’m stuck.

So you have a choice: stick to the existing reality of the problem you’re currently facing, or let it go, and have a possibility to find whatever you are looking for?

I’m so sorry

I am so sorry, so very very sorry.
For the way it has become.
For my part in it.
For whatever it is that made it this way.

I’m also very tired. Tired of carrying the feeling that there is something to be on the look out for, and that something doesn’t contain any niceties. On the contrary. In something there lies harsh words, needles causing tiny pin pricks, at times just one or two, other times loads of them; sometimes very general, othertimes oh so easy to tell that I’m at bull’s eye and the dart arrow hits right smack in the middle of it, or at least that what it feels like.

Perhaps more than anything, I feel sad about the entire situation. Because I just don’t see the sense in it. And perhaps that affects me more than the rest?

I used to want to make sense of the world, order and structure it to suit my liking, because that made me feel safe and good. I’ve let a lot of that go, but in this instance, at least right now, within my current state of mind while writing this (and who knows if I’ll ever publish it?), I would like to make sense of it.

Won’t you please tell me? Why the animosity? What’s with the pin pricks? What within you makes you believe that’s the way forward? What value do you get from this behaviour? How does this serve you?

I know it doesn’t serve me, at least not in a glaringly obvious way. Perhaps deep down on an unconcious level it does somehow…. what do I know? But it sure doesn’t feel like it does me much good. It drains me of energy. And it’s made me go off one of my favourite pastimes. And that’s a shame, because I really liked hanging around there. Not so much nowadays.

I struggle to make sense of it, and cannot. I uncover a fear or two, that I think can be contributing causes, but, seriously, this has gone on for too long, there has to be more behind it, than just a small fear or two.

coming close

So maybe I did get really close? I certainly let you in, and perhaps, in my loving, I did touch you? Maybe I came close enough to make you see something within you, that perhaps scares you even more? Can that be it?

Well, what do I know?
I don’t. And it’s really not for me to find out either.
I just wish it would stop. I would like to be friends, but barring that, friendly or at least civil would be a great start. More than anything I would like to prove this isn’t how it has to be:

“People want to be loved; failing that admired; failing that feared; failing that hated and despised. They want to evoke some sort of sentiment. The soul shudders before oblivion and seeks connection at any price.”
― Hjalmar Söderberg, Doctor Glas

So what do you say, won’t you please take my outstreched hand and together we can turn a new leaf, start afresh from here, forget what has been and be in the now?