Human Being vs Human Doing

This morning, I took a “reset”.  a Ctrl-Alt-Del.

Every morning when I wake up, I look out my window and notice things in the world around me.

I imagine the area around my home, with no buildings, no cars. Just earth, air, clouds, grass, trees. I remind myself that this is the basics, like any other animal on this planet. Everything else we made. The work, the school, the relationships, the posessions we value so much like cars, nice house, boats, and work.

It can be easy to get caught up in the human doing instead of the human being.

Does your day start like this? I need to get the kids up, grab the dry cleaning, make breakfast, rememer to grab that letter, walk the dogs, blah blah

Does your day ever end? Or is your mind always racing. What’s it racing for? What are you trying to go after which causes this stress?

We made this world, we made these things, we decided and put this on ourselves. We become the human doing, always doing, always trying to achieve, get the next car, promotion, house, accomplishment, validation.

Get grounded. Go back to basics, slow down. And let go of trying to please everyone, including yourself.

Intimacy is NOT sex

“I was intimate with someone”

When we hear amongst society, we equate this to mean “I had sex with someone”.

Intimacy is about sharing ourselves with someone, and has nothing to do with the physical act of our bodies.

When we’re intimate, we share ourselves with someone. There are multiple ways to do this:

  • Mentally
  • Emotionally
  • Spiritually
  • Physically

In a relationship, many times we get these mixed up… Out of order. When we share ourselves physically without the other three, it can feel empty. The fourth item does not create the other three. (there are exceptions – my friend Amy openly shares her experience).

When we  have sex with someone, it can be easy to think we’re building the first three items.

Does this sound OK to you:  “My wife and I have been so busy this week, we’ve barely seen each other. If we have sex, this will bring us closer”.

“Make you happy”

MyJobToKeepYouHappy

This came into my newsfeed, and its a great example of how we think we can make someone feel a certain way.

Here’s an easy example:  ever ordered pizza with someone?

“So, what do you like on pizza….”

Would you answer this question differently if this was a first date, or if it was with an old buddy you knew since high school. Be honest. If you’re like most, we’d say “oh, whatever you want… I’m easy” or “I like everything!”  This may be true, can you think of another situation where you really did care, but didn’t say anything?

This is a pretty minor example, but many times we vary from what we want, what we’re OK with, to try to keep that person happy — or to like us, to want to be with us.

Its not your job to make someone happy. We control someone’s emotions, or to change what’s OK or not OK for us because we’re trying to make them happy.

I just had a good friend go through a breakup, after a long period where they were being cheated on. She knew it, and knew in her gut she couldn’t be with this person. But she stuck it out, out of fear of being “alone”. Eventually, her heart and gut told her to make the right call. When I found out from her, it was weeks later. I was surprised she hadn’t told me earlier. Her response?

“You’ve been so happy lately, I didn’t want to make you sad”

First off, no one can make you feel anything. Second, its OK for me to feel sad. But this person was so concerned with my needs and feelings, she put it ahead of her own needs – to have a friend to talk to.

Back to the pizza, or trip, or “what do you want to do tonight?”…

What *is* OK is to share our preferences… I would prefer sausage and green pepper, would that be OK? Could we not get anchovy on the entire thing?

We can’t make a person feel a certain way, only they can do that. Our words can trigger feelings, and we can use them carefully… but if they get upset at hearing what we prefer, what we like, what we want… its something with them. Not us.

And if sharing what you like and don’t like is going to make a person upset, you need to reevaluate your relationship with that person.

Luckily we can order half’s on our pizzas…

How’s your Now?

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” ~ Unknown

A good friend of mine would often come up to me, when he could sense I was bummed out about something, and ask “Hey, how’s your Now?”

I wanted to smack him sometimes, which would be a great indicator to me I was angry about something….  and i’m thankful for his simple and gentle reminder:   to pull myself back to the moment.

Sometimes we can spend so much time and energy worrying about the future, or living in / trying to clean up the past, we lose total sight on what’s happening now. The value of right now. Being in this moment.

When we live in the past, it often brings pain. We feel sad by past events, missed opportunities, they way we handled something or treated someone.

When we live in the future, constantly worrying about things that may or may not happen, most of which (when you REALLY think about it) you have very little control over.

Living in the past = Pain. Living in the future = Fear. To quote Buck, “you can’t live in two places at once”.

Now = what we can control, where we can pull our focus back to. Now, we can make the decision on how we’re going to spend our energy, we notice the people and the environment around us, be appreciative for what we have, and help guide us on the next best thing to.

See my other post on enough – are you always are pushing for more:  we don’t have enough, aren’t good enough, don’t have enough.  We push for that next promotion, the additional degree, the drive for more money and success, thinking then these things will make us happy. And we totally lose sight in the moment.

I know when I’m feeling pain, I’m holding on to something I can’t control.  Usually something from the past, an event or memory which I can’t possibly change.

Society tells us to hold on. Buddhism teaches us to let go. The more we let go and turn our will over, the more peaceful we can become.

When I was on a recent backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon, I experienced some breathtaking views. Rather than worrying about taking a photo and try to capture the moment , I chose to enjoy that moment, the Now.

Be present, hold these precious moments in your memory, be in this moment, live in the Now.

I can’t help it!

WornPath2

I took this photo at a stable near my home, where horses walk. Notice how narrow this path is compared to the size of a horse; if you watch a horse closely when it walks, you’ll see its feet stay close together and it will walk a fine path.

As I explain to people the struggle to stop using porn, booze, etc., I describe it as an analogy of a grassy field.

Imagine a field of grass as far as you can see. Lets say you push a loaded wheelbarrow across that field.  When you make it to the other side, if you turn around you could probably make out the path you took. The next day, you take that same path with the wheelbarrow and it becomes more worn. After a few weeks, that grass will probably be gone, and the path would be easily visible. The path is getting pretty well defined, and might even sink lower than the rest of the ground, like the picture above. In fact, its probably so well engrained that if you tried to push that wheelbarrow out of the grooved path, it’d be a real struggle.

Unfortunately, our brain works much the same way. Once we go down a path several times, the brain remembers it. And it can be tough to change. This is why habits can be so hard to change, like well worn path.

The worse news is:  when we get stressed, we REALLY stick with that path.  We go to what we’re used to. For many, we can go to thoe things which provide us comfort, or something avoid feeling that stress. Ever had that long day at work, or a tough project you just couldn’t get started on? Had an argument with significant other? What is a common reaction — I need a cigarette, or I need a drink. I need to get high.

That getting high could take many forms:

  • drinking
  • smoking
  • gambling
  • facebooking
  • porn
  • cheating / affairs
  • a person / relationship / stalking
  • eating

“Damnit, Andrew!  No matter how much I want to, I JUST CAN’T STOP _____________________ !!”   (fill in the blank)

It’s that damn brain getting in the way again.

 

Boundaries

Up until a few years ago, I didn’t know “boundaries” were.

Simple way to define boundaries, of where I end and you begin. Applies to friendships, romantic relationships, families….

– This is what is OK, not OK

– This is what I want , don’t want

– This is what I like, don’t like

Enough

What is enough to you, how do you know when you’re good enough, smart enough, rich enough, happy enough.

Is this relationship good enough? Is my job good enough? Do I work enough? Do I spend enough time with my kids, my family, my siblings, parents, or friends?

Or, for me, the bigger question is — am I enough?

We’re often stuck in this loop of “fantasy”. I know I have been. We imagine and make things up in our heads we want, how much better things can be, and pursue those objects of our fantasy.  Material things like cars, boats, vacation houses, a person or relationship to give us the rush we crave.

Live in the moment.  Whenever I ran into a friend, he always asks: “how is your now?”

We can discover joy in everyday moments, remind ourselves of how happy and content we can be living in the now. In this moment.

Struggling with how to do this?  Send me an email, lets get starting living in your now…

You’re doing it wrong

As I’ve been getting this site up and running, I have caught myself in the “you’re doing it wrong” trap. I’ve been wanting to get that posting worded perfectly, and not have to go back to revise it.

Why? Because this site keeps track of the number of revisions to the blog, and will even publically post when it was revised.

I realized this morning I am trying to get it right the first time, purely so my revisions numbers stay low. I don’t want anyone to know I don’t think I’m the best writer. I hear myself telling myself “you’re doing it wrong”.

I realize this goes right back to messages engraved in my mind. In my family of origin, it wasn’t OK to be wrong. When anything went wrong in the family, someone had to be the blame. Someone had to pay.  Often it came out in yelling, shaming, don’t discuss it, don’t feel it…. and, boy, you have better look like you were sorry for what happened. Maybe this sounds familiar to you?

I know its all about expectations and validation to me. If I can keep my revisions down, and get it right the first time, then I’m a good writer. And a good coach. And if my revisions are low, then more people will take that vulnerable step and reach out to me for help, because I’m perfect and everyone wants perfect.

Gawd, as I read those thoughts in my mind I shake my head. But I am honest and acknowledge when they are there. And that is good enough for me.

Not any more. Revisions to me now represent refinement and enhancement. More value and perspective I can offer to the world.

Maybe you can relate? Please share if you can (or, if you can’t!)

Scrambled Eggs

I was looking at hotels when booking a trip recently, and found one where they give you the free breakfast in the morning.  And I hate paying $8 for a breakfast, and of course it is the most important meal of the day! (thanks, mom).  I save a few bucks, take care of my health…  Yeah I’ll stay there. I’m in. On this particular morning when I head past the front desk and into the buffet area, I notice the eggs and sausage has been particularly picked over. I make sad puppy dog eyes to the nice lady who is working the area and responsible for replenishing the munchies, and she sends me a gentle “its OK, more food is on the way” as she heads into the kitchen. I get my coffee and doctor it up with cream and sugar. As I’m stirring furiously with the undersized plastic straw, I glance over to her coming out of the kitchen with a jet trail of steam following her. She stops at the bar, opens the lid to the scrambled eggs and sets down a large, clear bag full of yellow something. She begins to squeeze the bag and squirt out substance into the container marked “Scrambled Eggs”.  It comes out as one solid chunk, and she grabs the serving spoon and proceeds to smash it up into something that resembles scrambled eggs. So, I made the assumption (four agreements violation) the eggs were made there, and came from a real chicken. After seeing this I pretty much lost my appetite. I took another sip of my coffee, now even questioning the source of my java, and headed back to my room skipping the breakfast completely. I couldn’t help but reflect on the things we do daily where we are putting things into our body, without really knowing the sources. Yeah, sure, food is usually  an easy one to point at. But what about the other things we allow inside ourselves? Poisonous comments from coworkers. Thoughts we make up about someone commenting on our appearance. A rogue posting on a Facebook share. The woman who throws herself at us, when we are in a committed relationship.

Do we allow these it into our mind?  Are we aware of how they affect us?

What’s your scrambled eggs? Share your thoughts…

Red pill or blue pill?

If you haven’t seen the movie The Matrix, there’s a key moment in the movie where the main character Neo is asked to make a critical decision…. he can either continue living in the artificial world of the Matrix, or decide to leave the made-up world, and get into reality.  morpheus

When I view the process of understanding what we do and why we do it, you can begin to see the world as it really is.  For people in a recovery program from an addiction or dependency — Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, Eating, Relationships, Codependency, etc., this becomes very real, very quick.

Males in this world are taught many things, by society, other guys thinking they know the answers… by our fathers who may or may not have known themselves. We dudes have many expectations of ourselves, by others or by what we believe. The reality is: an awful lot of these expectation are bullshit.

We can choose to stay in The Matrix. It’s easy to keep doing what we’ve always done, to blend in and take the easy route, not make waves, conform to what others expect. Eat the steak, even though its not even real.

cypherWithPieceOfSteakTheMatrix

We can take the journey of clearing out the plaque that clogs out lives, understand why we’re doing the things we do. When we do, we can get closer to the real us, the “authentic” self, the essential self.

So which pill do you want to take?  I hope the red one, and just like in the movie, its doesn’t always look great, but its real.

 

A guide for healthy, authentic living