Author: martin (Page 1 of 31)

To Nurture Self

As I reflect on the third step of developing inner relational awareness and connection – that being, Nurture, which follows the first step of Notice and the second step of Name.

Notice what is arising. Name to identify. Nurture to foster inner care and compassion.

I see that it may be helpful to discuss this third step as three distinct elements or movements.

  • Acknowledge
  • Appreciate
  • Accept

All three equating to Nurture.

In Inner relational awareness we practice attentive, non-conditional Withness. Being with what is.

For example, we can, with each  and every inner voice, inner part, inner sensation:

  • Acknowledge – I see you
  • Accept – I understand what you’re doing for me
  • Appreciate – I thank you

When we do this, we give each part, our attention.

Attention that affords each part of us: The Right to Be, and The Right To Belong.

When one part of us is at odds with another part or several parts have competing agendas – we become caught in an internal struggle – a never ending battle of competing voices. One wanting to cancel the other.

For example: in a three way debate – one part is always wanting to do better and achieve more and is never satisfied, vs another part that rationalises and invalidates, telling us we’ve achieved plenty and ‘should be’ happy vs another part that looks back at all opportunities we missed and is worried we will keep making the same mistakes, thereby reducing our confidence in making grounded decisions about our future.

When we seperate out these parts we can make some interesting observations:

  • curiously, each of these three parts has our best interests at heart
  • each one is protective by nature
  • each one is motivated by a core belief that is based in a past hurt or fear
  • each one is protecting a vulnerable part of us
  • each one believes it is right
  • each one operates independently from the others
  • the debate and struggle continues to loop and by perpetuating causes a level of disturbance, upset or unhappiness
  • each part wants to heard and validated

Understanding this is powerful.

Understanding that if we are to help these parts we must connect with them. This is integral. When we give them our attention we let them know they are seen.

Through connection, compassion and time with, ultimately, we can invite each part to work with us and with one another.

Our self leadership is integrative. Our seperate parts are invited to work in partnership. None are extinguished or banished they simply find new roles to play, with one another, not against one another. We afford them the third human right: The Right to Become.

This all comes about through our ability to Be With What Is.

To Notice Name and Nurture.

Nurture, being to: Acknowledge Accept and Appreciate each and every part.

Perhaps it might go like this:

WelcomeI see you. I understand what you’re doing for me. I thank you. 

And over time.

What I would like to talk to you about, is exploring a way we can work together to help us feel fulfilled and content. Are you open to this? What do you need from me? What do you need me to know? What could we do together? Who could we be together?

With love

Martin

 

Martin © 2022

A Fresh Approach Was Necessary

The part of me that I describe as ‘rational mind’ (RM) prioritises the type of thinking that is pragmatic, logical, linear, reasoned and cognitively sound. And is ever able to articulate, explain, and make sense of the world in accordance with these priorities.

RM looks at the world through this lens and this lens only.

It privileges what appears ‘sensible’ over what presents as ‘emotive’. Rejecting what it can’t explain, make sense of, or reduce to logic, RM feasts on empiric data, conclusive proof and indisputable evidence. It assumes itself to be a vital aspect of my human experience, if not ‘the’ vital aspect.

No doubt it has good intention. However, there’s a downside.

If allowed to run unchecked, the mystery of what exists outside empiricism and logic does not reveal its gifts. Matters of the heart move to second place. The valency of deep human connection becomes diminished. Exhaustive explanation is preferred over quiet and sustained observation. The Knowing Knower trumps Beginner’s Mind. And regrettably, justification cancels grace.

This friends, has been my past experience. And after several personal jolts and a significant wake up call, I decided a fresh approach was necessary.

Given RM’s privileged position and preferred role of Overlord, I chose principally to work with it and not oppose it, my approach was one of respect and appreciation.

By ‘work with’ I mean; engage my Organising Self through empathy and oversight, to invite in other faculties and human functions to facilitate a kind of internal partnership.

RM did not see it working this way at first, however through encouragement and persistence, RM began to appreciate there was much to gain working alongside certain balancing agents. Agents such as: curiosity, objective inquiry, humility, curiosity, and compassion, with timely contributions from imagination and creativity.

Depending on each situation I noticed  how the role of each agent could temper or assuage, support or align with RM’s most articulate and singular force.

And when able to catch the moment I saw how I could call on the good governance of my Organising Self to guide us toward inner partnership and integration.

In navigating life’s challenges and opportunities this way, I’ve witnessed a creative dance unfold: rational integrating with emotional, logical dancing with imaginative, control and judgment making room for curiosity, clinical embracing compassionate and so it goes.

I acknowledge that I’m a work in progress; happily I can share that as the partnership evolves I’m encouraged by and reminded of the maxim – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The benefits of inner partnership are delivering a kind alchemy;  where 1 plus 1 equates to 3.

Curiously and with good humour, RM can see the logic of this.

 

 

Martin © 2022

Instrument of Music

As the reed, as the string, as the bow
As I bend, as I breathe, as I grow

There’s nothing to be held or confined
And no need to state what is mine

There’s freedom in love and life’s song
And harmony in where to belong

A joy listening and rising to muse
As she heals those thoughts that confuse

To be an instrument so bidden
My gift; to give what is given

To rest and release in the flow
And know,  just when to let go 

 

Martin © 2022

Dissolving the Finite Loop

 Setting the Stage for Inner Dialogue

An unhelpful Pattern can be described as a finite loop. It keeps going around and around. As the cause of recurring rumination it becomes a drain on personal energy.

It leads to a feeling of being stuck. Stuck in a never ending internal debate, where two or more inner parts are at odds with one another.

To share a personal example: Consider the part of me that judges others in the way they behave, versus, the part that wants to rationalise and explain away their behaviour.

In this cycle of depleting energy I experience diminishing returns. I struggle. Vigilant and armed for defence in a mindset of scarcity.

Acting without oversight and connection from my Aware Self, the Judge and Rationaliser continue on with their individual agendas. They are independent operators. Believing theirs is the singularly best option for my self preservation, they become righteous adversaries against unfairness, being misunderstood, and many of the hurts I carry. They do not see as they face out to the world that they inadvertently turn their backs to these hurts.

These hurts are memories. Conscious and subconscious memories held by my little ones. The younger parts of me who in their day were not able to see the world in the way of an adult. See the world in the way of reason, explanation, and big picture. If some misadventure or environmental failure occurred, it was on them. They did not know the way of grownups.

And so today, the Judge and the Rationaliser continue to pursue their separate agendas, one wanting to cancel out the other. And all the while the young one that carries the memory of unfairness is not held. Is not seen. As such, there can be no reprieve.

Until.

My aware and compassionate Self, steps in. It welcomes and connects to the Judge and to the Rationaliser. It thanks them for what they bring. And turning to the young one carrying the memory, carrying the hurt; offers comfort, compassion and connection. The younger part, is seen, and over time relaxes and releases into the arms of inner loving kindness.

And with this, the loop begins to dissolve. Space opens. Internal debate falls away making room for new ways of seeing. From my Aware Self a question arises: who can we be, together?

As such, the stage is set for internal dialogue. And so continues the journey toward inner partnership and personal transformation.

Martin © 2022

On the Day that Worry Danced with Me

I have worry
It comes most mornings, on first waking

Stirring in tangled ways all through my middle
it creases up my brow

Staying for hours, sometimes days
We career and struggle between this disturbance and that

Between us there is tension
Worry’s concerns, are the ones, I am trying, not to have

The more I wrestle or push it away
the stronger it comes back at me

And so it has been for many years
Almost a daily routine, until

One morning in meditation 
an angel spoke to me 

It said – why not greet Worry – thank it
see what it has for you

And taking this suggestion
I made attempt at inner conversation

Gratefully I can tell you, 
As if in surprise and wonder; Worry relaxed 

And to my amazement
almost instantaneously, it beamed 

Wonderfully, in that moment,
released and joyful

We began to dance together 
In exploration of trust and alchemy 

And weaving as we stepped,
came a pattern, mutual and beneficial

A Pattern I can today repeat
A Pattern steeped in listening, 

Where noticing and
regarding due concerns, has become

A dance of discovery and
Of mutual solution

A dance of love and lore.

Martin © 2022

Finding Peace in The War Against Myself.

For my children, my grandchildren, and for all of us

I wanted to share with you that for a long time I’ve been struggling in an internal debate – been stuck in rumination, fear, and anxiety.  One part of me wants to trust life. Accept things as they occur. Be in the present moment. Another part is afraid to let go. It worries that if I stop worrying about the future I won’t be prepared for worst case situations.

When things don’t work out the way I want them to, I give myself a hiding. I’m really hard on myself. Blame myself for trusting someone or not seeing it coming. Blame others. Kick myself down the spiral staircase into the basement. That place in me where fear, blame and shame live, I reckon.

This war against myself has been going on for years. The opposing factions of trust and fear rise and fall depending on what’s happening at the time. If things are going well it’s relatively calm, although part of me never really stops worrying. When things aren’t going well it gets really intense. In a funk, I become debilitated – completely stuck. Go really quiet. Go dark.

I’m happy to share  that recently things have started to get lighter. There’s been recent success in bringing the factions to the table for peace talks.

Wanted to share with you that I’ve recently and successfully discovered a critical move.

It begins with the invitation. The welcome.

I’ve discovered it’s about how I hold myself, how I ask the questions, how I bring the different parts of me to the table. You see they all play a role in my self preservation.

The invitation has to recognise and honour all the voices. Let each one know they’re valid.

Let’s say one of them has a voice of ‘Trusting Life’ and another one, the voice of ‘Fear & Control’. To work with them I see that I need to invite them to the table with respect, with gratitude and compassion.

They’ve got to trust and feel that I mean to hear and hold what they have to say. When I show up with non-conditional positive regard they sense and feel this and I’ve noticed they’re more likely to open up.

When I do this, amazingly, I often hear things from them I didn’t know or had forgotten. They feel heard. I get to understand them. And we start to work together.

Listening to a sample of an internal conversation at one time you might have heard something like: “I’m worried you’re not moving fast enough“. Followed by: “Yeah, you’re failing, lift your game.” To: “Do not share this with anyone.” To: “You’re going to fall behind on this.” and on it would go.

Now, you’d be more likely to hear words like: “OK , I hear you. Tell me more. What are you worried about?” “Let’s work through this.” “It’s all good, you’re doing your best, maybe if you need to, ask for some help.” “All right, what can you do? What do you need?”  It’s a completely different experience.

I also find somewhat miraculously the different parts of me begin to listen to each other. And before I know it they’ve stopped fighting and are working together on a pathway for peace.

As I reflect on this, it dawns on me that the change itself is not derived from seeking change. It hasn’t come from setting an agenda or clever negotiation. And it didn’t come from trying to suppress one or rationalise the other.

It came through the nature and quality of relationship. A relationship formed through compassion, curiosity, non-conditional positive regard and a genuine desire for connection.

There was no bargaining just real listening. Competition replaced by connection.

I’m finding that as I show up to the parts of me this way they in turn are able to show up to one another in the same way.

I’m happy to share that while the questions are not all answered and the work goes on, the war is over and the conversation continues.

Lightness is coming in and I can safely say that the part of me that wants to trust, the part of me that carries the fear, and the part of me that wants to go dark are all committed to showing up and working it out together.

I gotta say – I’m all in for the keeping up the practice and the prayer for ongoing loving internal relationships. To seeing this flow out in turn to others and to all that becomes possible in the loving relationships we can have with one another.

 

With love
Martin  © 2022

Self-Leadership as Inner Guidance

What part of me do I call on in times of reaction, , impatience, fear, shame, contraction, resentment, or injustice? How do I show up to my ‘Anger’, ‘Judger’, ‘Blamer’, ‘Perfectionist’, ‘Competitor & Comparer’? Who do I call on? What part of me do I find when I’m gripped by fear, bombarded by ruminating thoughts, flooded with doubt and worry? How do I meet the vulnerable parts that I know as: ‘Alone’, ‘Helpless’, ‘Impossible’, ‘Terrified’, ‘Shut down and Numb’?

If, like me, you have these questions, I trust the following contemplation is helpful.

As I show up in the day to day, I’m coming to discern a direct and proportionate correlation between my inner experience and my outer experience.

For example, I notice that: As I am kind to myself it supports me being kind to others. As I am compassionate with myself, I am more able to be compassionate with others. And as I am courageous to face certain uncomfortable truths about myself, I find courage to face certain uncomfortable situations that arise from time to time.

And then conversely; somewhat painfully and sharply I’m struck by the realisation that when at war with myself the world is at war with me. And as I sit in harsh judgment of myself there is little doubt that I am doing the same to others, and on it goes.

What arises is a deep desire to know the part of me that I may call on to guide and help me make constructive, life affirming choices. To live in the former and not the latter.

I start with the understanding that when at peace with my Self I am indeed, at peace with the outer world. I also see that when my centre is known to me, being centred helps me navigate all weathers.

What follows in this contemplation is the understanding that Self Leadership as Inner Guidance comes about from an ability to listen and receive and then to follow and trust. Which inevitably leads to making grounded choices. Is it intuition? Is it the first thought? Is it inner knowing? Is it a still small, yet powerful voice speaking simply and plainly? Is it the voice of the soul? Perhaps the answer is yes to all. I think of it now as my inner guidance system. An Inner Guide.

I notice that when I truly listen to the Inner Guide I am unshakeably at the heart and centre of being true to My Self.

From this I see that being True to My Self is couched in the ability to have an honest and clear relationship with all the parts of me.

When disturbance comes, when disruption arrives, when discomfort rises, when fear strikes: when I am caught in the question of what to do and how to show up. I am learning to turn to my True Self as the Inner Guide. There is space and spaciousness and quiet wisdom here. I am committing to strengthen a relationship with this part of me as I sense it is a most critical piece of self-leadership and dare, I say, self-love.

To follow the logic: to Love my True Self correlates to putting more Love into the World. And if ever there was a time for this, it is surely now.

As I choose to love, so may I give Love. As I choose to listen, so may I be guided. As I choose to lead, so may I follow.

For GMGB
With love.
Martin © 2022

Contemplation on the Movement from Ego Mind toward Eco Mind

For Zach B

This contemplation begins with four questions.

>  What becomes possible when I move from the frame of ‘I want’ toward the frame of ‘what is wanted of me’?

>  What happens within me when I shift the focus from ‘I need’ to ‘what is needed?’

>  What energy manifests when the patterns of: want/don’t want, should/shouldn’t, must/mustn’t, begin to shift toward the manifestation of acceptance, and the ability to simply ‘be with what is’?

>  What occurs when the ‘I’ of wanting becomes the ‘self’ of listening? Listening for what is needed in readiness to respond.

My lived experience of this movement is in the early stages. Initially I notice relaxation followed shortly after by a grip of angst. At first the contemplation brings spaciousness and peace. Then after only a few beats I notice the grip.

I sense this grip to be the ego-mind fearing a loss of power. It kicks in and uses an instinctual survival lever in an attempt to maintain its primacy and the status quo. It does not believe it can have its needs met unless it remains in a perpetual state of readiness to defend itself and/or take what it needs.

It assumes the ‘I’ as seperate from the whole and that it will not be taken care of, unless placed at the centre of all eventualities.

And so I set out to reassure it with the following:

As I stay longer in the state of listening I notice greater spaciousness, ease, and peace. In a state of listening I see clearly that the frame of ‘what is wanted’, is inclusive. In any given situation ‘what is wanted of me’ could well be: to assert a boundary, to take up a cause, to take care of self, to let go a hurt.

Shifting from an ‘ego’ mind toward an ‘eco’ mind moves away from fragmentation toward connection. Away from the central assumption of separateness toward the understanding of wholeness. With Fear driving separateness and Love informing wholeness, the felt experience of the former and the latter show up in remarkable contrast.

Eco Mind does not imply homogeneity. It does not imply abandonment of survival instincts. It points to the understanding that the source motivation for all action and movement can be an attuned response at the deepest level, to what is arising, to what is needed.

The doorway to the experience of Eco Mind appears to open in me as a state of presence. As Being and Doing align I am able to be in a state of ‘Withness’. Able to: Be With what is arising.

I see clearly that if I’m caught in Psychological time – past or future, the rumination of Ego Mind, be it anxiety or fear keeps the doorway firmly shut. The finite loops and patterns of rumination equate to an attempt to solve problems with the same thinking that created them.

In my understanding and continuing practice, what becomes possible in the movement toward the frame of ‘what is wanted’ ‘what is needed’ and the ‘Self of Listening’ is the opening of a doorway to an infinite field of potentiality. A connection to Life energy itself. Toward, as a dear friend once shared, ‘an ability and the choice to Trust Life.

Martin with Love. © 2022

Our Inner State Creates Our Outer State – The World is the Way we See It.

As eternal souls, we exist in singularity with the universe.      Zach Bush

When we pause our inner battle of self criticism to work with all the parts of us that desire equal voice;
When we cease the inner struggle with self limiting beliefs that occur in the name of self preservation and in so doing, lovingly question their efficacy;
When we fully realise that all interior battles reflect and play out in the outer world, and that our world is what we make it to be;

We can find ourselves called  to a movement  towards ‘Being With’.  Being with What is – as it is.

We know this to be an evolutionary and universal imperative. Indeed, we see that our very survival depends upon it. Stated plainly: to ultimately survive as human kind we need to move away from, or rise above, a solely survival consciousness.

This is not to suggest an outright rejection of Survival Consciousness as this state is vital when our physical survival is under threat. It is more to recognise when a Survival Mindset is all prevailing and all pervasive, keeping us in a fixed an inflexible view of the world.

The movement towards;  ‘being with’ attunes us to the whole, and in attuning, fosters connection, as does the fact that we are far more likely to thrive, by being true to ourselves and true to one another.

To undertake a movement toward ‘Withness’ is to embrace a movement toward a consciousness of inclusion, connection and shared humanity.

A whole system stance being: ‘we’re in this together’ / a separate system approach being: ‘every person for themselves’.

The former, an eco mind. The latter, an ego mind.

To move towards ‘Withness’ connects us to the whole. Natural Systems, First People Systems, Micro and Macro eco systems exhibit ‘whole system’ consciousness.

In any system, segmentation, separation, and fragmentation where parts of the whole turn ‘against’ one another, become the hallmarks of breakdown and entropy. This is true in biological terms, in familial terms and in socio-political terms.

When we understand, experience and fully realise that everything is connected, that everything is governed by one source, we are able to see that each of us can play a role in the way we practice ‘Withness’, within the system we inhabit.

Roles can include being:

Stewards of care and connection.
Healers of internal breakdown.
Uniters of fragmented systems.
Guides towards conscious awareness.
Modellers of Inclusion and Acceptance.
Facilitators of connection and safe spaces for dialogue.

The list can continue.

What is foundational to all these roles and any we deem necessary to add, is the movement:

⁃ Toward inclusion and away from exclusion
⁃ Toward acceptance and away from alienation
⁃ Toward eco mind and away from from ego mind
⁃ Toward the light of generativity and away from darkness of disconnection and dissolution.

As we move away from Separation and ‘Being Against’, toward, Withness, Integration, connection and ‘Being With’, we experience the whole. Not separate but one with.

From against, to with, to interbeing.

 

#interbeing

Martin @ 2022

No Birth No Death | Thich Nhat Hanh

Interbeing: If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

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