Articles

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.

Continue reading “Quality of Character is So Much Better Than Success”

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.

I’m just thinking about this because I’m walking through environments where I am treated as evil and ignorant indirectly, and if I disagree or speak openly about my own basic experiences, regardless of judgment, it would make that confrontation VERY direct. It’s a soul crushing part of the path to be dedicated to good while surrounded by people I can’t really ever be open or vulnerable with. I’ve been walking close to the edge and I don’t know if I can actually build a foundation to defend myself in time for when people decide to ostracize me.

This is the first time where that ostracism carries real weight, because it is so pervasive to the culture around me and is especially dominant in youth advocacy. I’ve also lost so many friends this last year and have witnessed profound betrayal from someone I thought I could rely on more than anyone else, who I was close friends with for a decade. Of the few people I’ve told about my current struggle in a nearly cult-like environment, none of them really, truly understand and they sure as hell don’t have answers. Some of them find it hard to believe is even real. It’s a painfully lonely path, and only one other person I know has actually been through it. Before I said even three words she knew what I meant.

If you want to do something truly, profoundly good in this life, it means two things. One, there will be some kind of brutal and harsh trade off you must choose between- what can you endure and what you cannot afford to lose. Two, you will be closely confronted by the most disempowering evil and tragedy that you have aimed to heal or transform. You cannot slay dragons if you don’t venture to their caves, nor can you understand dragons or have the opportunity to make peace with them.

 
More than anything else in my life, I just wish for people who would be willing to see me as I am and accept me even if they disagree. The loneliness of all-encompassing ostracism and lying in the big picture builds walls so we can’t be vulnerable with each other. Yet I have to operate in this environment that REQUIRES social closeness and vulnerability to get anything done, so I’ve been living on the edge both miraculously and dangerously for about 3 months. And I don’t really know what will happen if I just start openly disagreeing or sharing what I actually believe, even in cases where it’s important or advocates for our clients.

I’m very low on the agreeableness scale, I usually test at about 5%. If an outlier like me isn’t speaking plainly in these environments, more agreeable people may have no concept of proactive honesty and disagreeing at all. The main reason I decided to be quiet is because I concluded most people who express astounding hatred and cruelty towards people like myself have no desire to empathize. At least, they sure as hell parrot sociopathic hatred. Yet it’s possible that some people pretend to believe the same things out of self-defense. Akin to the villagers pointing fingers at someone else being the witch, so the accuser is not the victim of the witch hunt themselves.

Sadly, those very actions ensure the environment rapidly degrades even faster, until everyone has ostracized each other, and what’s left is a wasteland. Only at that moment could some people wake up and realize they had been at war. At war with reality, with honesty, with courage, autonomy, and thus consciousness itself. I’m at a stage in life where as far as I perceive it, ALL corruption at the archetypal level is rejection of consciousness. When you are that far on the path of ego-corruption you willfully reject wakefulness with life itself, you may not even know what you are rejecting and how much you imprison yourself.

 
And because I am so isolated and alone on this path, existing pulled in totally opposing directions between warring tribes, everything I say might not make any sense. But I’m tired and lost, groundless without answers. There is no person in my life who has an idea of how to gain wisdom or deal with this environment properly because it is so toxic. Perhaps all we have left is surrender to cultures and economies falling apart. Maybe then more people will realize what their beliefs and actions are actually doing, but I’m not betting on it. While I’ve gained wisdom in my own life, many people around me have descended into dangerous territory of nihilism and hatred of life and people. It’s far bigger than me, and no, I can’t save the world. I can only be open enough to really see it, and write about it, and maybe someone in the future could learn from that.

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.

“One thing we know for sure about anxiety and depression is that they correlate strongly with people’s sense of control or lack of control over their own lives. Those who believe they are in charge of their own fate are much less likely to become anxious or depressed than are those who believe their are victims of circumstances beyond their control…the data indicate that young people’s sense of control over their own destinies has declined continuously.” – p. 16

“Twenge and her colleagues analyzed the results of many studies that had assessed locus of control with groups of college students and children age 9-14 from 1960 to 2002. They found for both age groups that over this period, average scores shifted dramatically, away from the internal toward the external end of the scale, so much so, in fact, that the average young person in 2002 was more external (more prone to lack of personal control) than were 80 percent of young people in the 1960s.” – p. 16-17

“Free play is nature’s means of teaching children they are not helpless. In play, away from adults, children really do have control and can practice asserting it. In free play, children learn to make their own decisions, solve their own problems, create and abide by rules, and get along with others as equals rather than as obedient or rebellious subordinates…In school, by contrast, children cannot make their own decisions; their job is to do as they are told…children who felt most pressured by their parents to achieve in school and were most frequently shuttled from one extracurricular activity to another were the most likely to feel anxious or depressed.” – p. 18

“research psychologists… conducted a study of happiness and unhappiness in public school students grades 6th through 12th…participants filled out a questionnaire indicating where they were, what they were doing, and how happy or unhappy they were at the moment. The lowest levels of happiness by far occurred when children were at school, and the highest levels occurred when they were out of school and conversing or playing with friends.” – p. 18-19

Free to Learn by Dr. Peter Gray, published 2013

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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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Transmutations of Deep Dark [revisited]

At the end of 2016 I had my first dissolution, what many people see as ego-death. After that I wrote in one go a short book called Transmutations of Deep Dark, still unpublished. The idea is, Deep Dark is the place so ugly, gross and horrifying, when you encounter it you run away before you even know you’re running. A song I wrote shortly after that, my second ever with lyrics, goes like this:
 
“run from fear you do, fear is the running, chasing translucent desires, anaerobic suffering… under the underneath, thunder from your heartbeat, close your eyes and you will see, the shadow will set you free… go around the world, there’s nowhere left to run”
 

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Intrinsic Abundance and Economic Empowerment of Youth

I just got accepted to the Northstar Youth Worker Fellowship 2019-20! This is one of the most profound breakthroughs in my life, and absolutely in the last 3 years. It’s equally a miracle that I have this in the aftermath of one of the most insane destructive houses I’ve lived in, on top of my 2 new jobs in the field. The following article is relaying half of my replies to the application questions (the relevant ones). I just reread everything and put it all together in the bigger picture, realizing that the research topic I’ve chosen overall is based on the practical study and application of my universal philosophy, Intrinsic Abundance. It should become apparent as the story unfolds that this isn’t just a profound opportunity for me, but for so many more people.

It is the potential for astounding transformation and opening gateways to self-determination that even I can’t imagine.

I’m not letting anything get in the way of my unrelenting dedication to exploring this philosophy. 

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because your presence alone is a miracle.

I know the feeling of showing up and feeling stagnant, feeling lopsided, uncomfortable, pain, being overwhelmed. I know the tension of showing up vulnerably in person after being scarred. I know that after self-isolation for not long at all, even a day or two, it can feel like absolute shit to go out in the world and be with people. To show up in the midst of the storm, off-center, confused, distracted, deprived, can feel dumb, meaningless, as if it’s just not worth it.

But I’m here to say that’s an illusion. When you show up and feel these emotions and physical disruption, it’s shaking up what’s been stagnated and becoming aware of what’s already there. In fact, self-isolating, numbing out, escaping in the same pattern, over-indulging, hedonism, that’s what actually creates this junk residue within you. Getting out in the world awakens feeling, and you actually begin the hangover- the detox.
Continue reading “because your presence alone is a miracle.”