2011 July

Archive for July, 2011

18 Jul 2011

Dial Your Inner Lama

2 Comments Humor, Relationships, Self Development and Transformation, Technology and Change

“ …???… ”
-Dalai Lama

It might have been the most profound experience of my life.

But it wasn’t.

I could have been inspired to change my life, to view the universe from a different perspective, to grow, or heal or both!

But I wasn’t.

In fact going to see the Dalai Lama speak yesterday at the UIC Pavilion here in Chicago was a grave disappointment.

No, it’s not due to the things he said, as I’m sure they were profound and probably facilitated all the marvelous things for others I would have welcomed for myself.

It is due to the simple fact that I could not understand a thing he said. Literally.

I sat for two hours straining, squinting, sighing, and looking around the room for a sympathetic eye. Nada.

Seems like the old pavilion had a sound system problem and the speaker in my section not only offered faint wisps of the Tibetan spiritual master’s message, those wisps were garbled like the sounds coming out of my first clock radio in 1976. Ever listen to Wings from a clock radio?

I was instantly relieved to find a growing number of similarly frustrated spiritual seekers in the lobby, displaying their credit card receipts and noting that any similar event where the fans couldn’t hear the band would have led to a riot. I suppose angrily waving one’s ticket in the face of a woman selling mandala T-shirts is better than a riot.

It’s funny, really.

The notion of seeking out someone else in order to enlighten us is as old as humanity. We have sought after seers and prophets, gurus and rabbis, shamans, teachers and talkers throughout our time on this rock, always hoping they will offer us the nugget, the kibble, we need in order to propel us to the next level of our spiritual unfolding.

I am certainly no different. I have spent more than twenty years seeking, traveling, paying and prostrating in the hope that a teacher will inspire me to understand yet another shadowed sector of my consciousness.

The silliest thing about it is that I learned long ago that I could not rely on any one else for spiritual sustenance. If I am to learn, grow and transform my consciousness I must not only find the right rock in the desert, I must find the right holy staff and then hit it just right…

Sure, it’s great to get support from others, especially those whom I admire and who have apparently passed a similar marker on their own journey of transformation. I suppose I still hang out with the guru/shaman/teacher folks because it is the reminder and reassurance that I, too, am on “the Path” that I appreciate while in their presence.

And yet, at this point on my journey, the things they say are typically things I have heard others say in the past. The words are words I, too, have read, written or translated. I suppose, in a lot of ways, there is little different in the messages of most spiritual teachers and religious leaders I have encountered.

Once you turn the sound down, all you see is a sweet, friendly person in robes chuckling to themselves. It’s all a great reminder for me that when it comes down to it, if I turn the sound down on myself, what am I really saying? What’s the message of my actions, movements or expressions? Who am I being on the most basic level?

Maybe I won’t ask for my money back after all.

10 Jul 2011

Your Relational Revolution

1 Comment Relationships, Self Development and Transformation

“… if you think true love looks like Romeo and Juliet, you’ll overlook a great relationship that grows slowly.” Revolution – in business and in life – often starts with a small step.” Derek Sivers

I have enjoyed probably more than my fair share of relationships in my life. In fact, I REALLY squeezed the juice out of most of my relational experiences over the years which is undoubtedly why I have made relationship counseling such a significant part of my career. Yes, I have trained and studied the various theories and approaches with regard to relationship optimization however none of this (expensive is an understatement) professional tutoring has come close to the level of utility as my own forays into coupling, tripling and well, you get the point.

When I coach a couple who is struggling to make heads or tails of their committed partnership, it is rarely a text book I refer to in my mind as I encourage certain approaches over others. It is typically a personal experience that I rely on to support my encouragement for a particular route that individuals can take in order to make lemonade from the sour fruit they are sucking on. Is this clinically sound? Should I pull the books down off the shelf in order to substantiate my advice? If I could, there would be an author out there making billions of dollars.

The truth of the matter is that what makes me a good relationship counselor is the simple fact that I have used my own relationships as learning experiences from which to teach others what works and what miserably fails. For better of for worse, the brilliant scientist typically first injects herself with the serum, serving as ones own guinea pig before unleashing some solution onto the world. Well, that’s me. Remember, the line between brilliant and “mad” is the stuff of great stories!

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” ~ Swedish Proverb

So, in reality, all you need to do in order to have a fantastic relationship is what I do: build a database regarding your relationship choices, track healthy outcomes and learn from your less supportive decisions! You’re already well on your way to your own relational revolution!

03 Jul 2011

Freedom To Grow

2 Comments Humor, Self Development and Transformation, Technology and Change

I am so incredibly grateful to live in the United States of America.

Not because we have a great military and we’re not afraid to prove it whenever we feel the need.

Not because we got Osama (or have the best political marketing team in the world that is able to remove most doubt that we possibly didn’t get him).

Not because we only sort of keep out illegal immigrants because we sort of need their cheap labor, thereby half-heartedly sharing our American Dream with those less fortunate but not truly allowing them to enjoy it because they are scared we might toss them out in the middle of the night.

Not because our supermarkets are full of more foods (or the thousands of genetically modified excuses for foods) than most nations’ markets combined.

Not because our entertainment industry tirelessly pumps out the cinema, music and games that fill the world with its greatest distractions.

Not because we have some of the most dramatic physical landscapes on the planet, the most beautiful national parks and the most efficient network of roadways connecting them all…

Nope. These are not the reasons I love being an American.

I am grateful to be an American because here I have the freedom to grow. Yes, there is that freedom to grow physically into the largest human form ever known to humanity. Yet, the growth I speak of is spiritual, emotional, and psychological. In America I enjoy the freedom to simply be an ass hole if I choose to be.

Here, I have the freedom to never work on my inner emotional journey or, and this is what I’m really excited about, I have the freedom to utilize our seemingly endless resources and supports in order to create the perfect balance between material prosperity and spiritual elevation and consciousness.

We live in an amazing country for so many reasons and I really love it here. Yet, what I’m most grateful for is the freedom to do my inner work or the freedom to ignore it until the day I die. That is a true luxury.