Articles

Freeing yourself from the Matrix of addiction

Getting hypnotized; The Matrix of addiction and invincibility. To forget your vulnerability and rarity, the conviction of invincibility is “here is how life is, how it always has been, and always will be” – it is blindness to Fundamental Change. That life changes constantly, and every experience is intrinsically rare. The only time it happened, the only time it ever will.

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a glimpse of fundamental rarity

My underlying motivation and value has to do with purpose, meaning, and playing a game with abundance and depth. At a certain point, I could just keep asking why endlessly until I end up in a kind of nihilistic state (if I were to go unconscious), or end up watching it all fall apart into mush and laugh about it as I usually do.

This illuminates why I define and describe life as a game- this is the answer I have for not knowing the ultimate why. There may be no ultimate why. Life arises, and we are living creatures as part of something far bigger than us. This far bigger thing may just happen, and it might not have a why or ask why the way human beings do. Who knows what it is, how it happens, and what led to us existing. Thus, in some ways, it could be absurd to ask why. Asking why might actually make no sense at all, but the human mind struggles with its own way of experiencing life, by wanting to project that experience onto everything. This leads the mind to ask why? Why am I alive? Why do I do anything? Why do anything at all?

Most of life, over many lifetimes, across many species, has spent all its time playing the game of survival. Life itself was the game. Survival was winning, winning was happening simply by continuing to live. Losing was inevitable. Thus, there are two ways to define this reality. One is the genetic game- to win by reproducing even though you will die; your genes will live on. Your legacy will continue. The other way is to recognize your life happening at all as the win, and immortality as the ruse. To live forever, to continue winning, and never lose, is not the game we are playing. It would be insanity, a denial of reality.

So the two stories of life are either to win through your legacy- what you leave behind, or win through your surrender to the experience that will not last. This is the duality of the finite and infinite, almost a paradox or an irony, considering you could embrace both of these stories. You do not last forever, nothing does. Even the audience of your story will die too, and the story itself eventually lost in the wind. So in some ways, all you have is here right now, this life, this experience. And if this is true, then everyone you meet has solely their experience here right now. And that means every moment and every person is profoundly rare- the only one of its kind, the only time it has ever happened, the only time it ever will.

When you catch a glimpse of fundamental rarity, it might scare you and seem to say life is tragic and futile. You can win many times over, but you will die, you will lose someday, a loss that cannot be undone. None of it lasts forever, it all goes away. But, this glimpse of fundamental rarity is the chance to wake up- take it as if you’ve opened the door a tiny bit, now you can open it fully and experience the wonder of IMPERMANENCE. If you are the only one of your kind, you have never happened before, and will never happen again. How could this be a tragedy? How could this be anything but a gift? After all stories are lost in the wind, all our records turn to dust, and the last of our audience has died, all that will have happened is our experience of this one and only life, at this very moment.

Here and now is what we have.
The only question left, is what you choose to do with it.

To the Job That Fired Me: You’re in a Cult

The following letter is my final public statement summarizing what happened to me in a fully fledged cult of Social Justice, in Minneapolis-St. Paul. I worked for the 2nd largest nonprofit in Minnesota- Lutheran Social Services, in a cooperative network of youth advocacy nonprofits called StreetWorks. I emailed this to 329 contacts in my field who shared some connection to the cult network, including executive directors of core youth agencies and people who knew me from when I lived in transitional youth housing years ago. You might call it “career suicide”, but this has been a long time coming. If I don’t do it, I doubt anyone else will, so here it goes.
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Fostering Autonomous, Age-Integrative Communities

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This is a research paper I recently finished as part of the Northstar Youth Worker Fellowship. It is free to use under Creative Commons Attribution (2020 – Nemo Sundry). For questions, reviews, comments or help finding references, contact me: nemosundry@gmail.com – I have many of the full papers referenced here. 

Fostering Autonomous, Age-Integrated Communities

Introduction
Youth workers have unique opportunities to design and lead youth-oriented programs with more flexibility than most adults and youth interacting across age gaps. So many age-crossing relationships are in a disempowered context. When the autonomy of young people is disregarded- be it in school, family or other programs- it disempowers the involved adults from building symbiotic relationships or programs. Therefore, any youth worker in an open-ended environment with opportunity to support autonomy can play a profound role in the design of empowering groups and relationships.
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addiction confuses the problem and solution

Addiction confuses the problem and solution. Yet we always get the last laugh because it won’t last forever, and when it comes to its end, we’ll wake up from the dream. We’ll see the damage done, see what is broken. The gift of truth that shows us what can’t be lost or destroyed.

I walk away from the pursuit of happiness and towards the experience of curious, wonder, groundless and always shifting. loss is liberation.

allowing anything to transform

violence will become healing and art, eventually, inevitably. It’s the nature of change. It happens, and is the most likely outcome. So next time you take action violently, know that you will have no power over what it becomes in the world. It takes a long time for this transformation- so don’t be fooled as if it will be easy. On a long winding path that is unexpected, confusing, painful, deeply burning. As if the phoenix looks you in the eye and says “you and I are one of the same. When you are ready, you will become me. The fire ignites when you are ready to surrender to death with no assurance you will be reborn.” Rebirth happens after the silence.

matter is neither created nor destroyed.

Nemo Sundry | Feb 16, 2020

Quality of Character is So Much Better Than Success

“As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity.”
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart

I don’t value success or frame my goals or life around it at all. I’ve never thought much about it, but in May I had a major shift where I consciously focused on “quality of character” as an alternate to success.

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to willingly see tragedy and evil

Everyone you meet has likely been through some debilitating suffering and loss. Has lived at least one moment where reality stuck them to a corner with no escape. If you’re not able to be gentle and open to each individual, the way you care is to walk away and first do no harm. You should wish the best for your enemies, because their lives impact you. If they get dragged down and corrupted, they could become the villain of your story. It’s no one person’s responsibility or obligation to save others, but likewise all human beings have the basic right to their autonomy, full and complete. No individual, no matter how much they have committed atrocities or are PERCEIVED to have committed atrocities, ever deserves to be abused or their autonomy violated.

 

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The Youth Independence Crisis: Let Kids PLAY

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I read an article about the more recognized youth mental health crisis, which is accompanied by a trauma crisis and all fall under a bigger umbrella of a epidemic decline of independence. The title alone was so blind it suggests the author didn’t even try to Google on the topic, stating “nobody knows why”. At the end, the article blames social media and smartphones primarily despite the evidence blatantly pointing towards one overarching cause: suppression of childhood autonomy, which is expressed as free play.

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How Bullying by Government is Harmful to ALL of Us [an example]

The Minneapolis City Council passed a housing ordinance that is quite surprising on one hand, but considering the politics of the Twin Cities being knee-deep in “anti-rich”/”anti-entrepreneur” politics, not really. The ordinance does three things:

1. Limits security deposits to one month’s rent
2. Bans checking credit scores
3. Restricts landlord ability to reject clients due to criminal history and prior evictions.

I’m very concerned about this. This is definitely a case of good intentions paving the road to hell. I believe one contributing factor to the housing crisis in Minnesota that has made landlords act cautiously is the deck stacked against them by the law.

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