Saturday, October 14, 2006
In my last two posts on change, I covered the Eight Variations on Change and the Six Conditions Needed for Change. These were prepatory articles for the main point I want to make -- that change can be approached and experienced as an initiatory event, as ritual. In this post, I present the basic idea of change as conforming to the structure of ritual and initiation. In the next post, I will take a more in-depth look at the change process Don Beck and Chris Cowan describe in Spiral Dynamics contextualized within the structure of ritual and initiation.
Change as Ritual
Throughout human history, certain events have been marked as moments of change that not only are worthy of notice, but are so significant that people are no longer the same for having gone through them. These events have been referred to as “rites of passage” and include birth, puberty, marriage, becoming an elder, and death, among others. Nearly all rites of passage are marked with rituals among those cultures noting such events.
As first identified by
The first stage (separation) involves symbolic behaviors representing the severing of ties to the “old” state of being, and with it all the cultural definitions and expectations that accrued to that particular state. In cultures that celebrate puberty rites, this separation may include removal from the family of origin, stripping of clothing, stripping of name, painting the face or body, shaving of hair, and other techniques that symbolically sever ties to the previous identity of the young person. In our modern world, we no longer celebrate puberty rites (the Jewish traditions of bar mitzvah and bas mitzvah are an exception, but only barely), but young boys and girls still find ways to mark the transition, including the move to middle school or high school, the first date, the first kiss, sharing of Playboys among males or make-up among females, and other attempts to try on “adult” behaviors. The lack of adequate ways of helping young people make the transition from child to young adult has resulted in the proliferation of gangs and in books like Robert Bly’s Iron John.
The process of separation is common for adults as well, yet there is little training in how to deal with the situation when it arises. One may leave a relationship, a job, a city, and so on, all of which are often conscious choices and less traumatic than forced transitions. But what about the person who is fired, dumped, loses a parent or child to death, or in some other way is rejected or forced out of an established identity and way of life? There is no structure or training for coping with these events. One is often told to “get back on the horse,” “they’re in a better place,” “time heals all wounds,” “you’ll find something better,” and so on. These attempts to comfort with clichés are futile at best and often experienced as insulting to the pain one is experiencing.
When a person experiences some form of separation scenario, either consciously or against his/her will, the individual has become marginalized, existing in liminal space (“betwixt and between,” as Turner described it). During the liminal period of ritual, the individual is without strict identity, possessing none of the attributes of his/her former life and none of those s/he will have earned upon completion of the transition. In many cultures, entry into liminal space is a symbolic death, and may even involve ritual burial, change of name, or a permanent separation from the birth family. According to Turner, “transitional beings,” while in liminal space, have “no status, property, insignia, secular clothing, rank, kinship position, nothing to demarcate them structurally” from the others who are undertaking the initiation.[iv] A modern individual experiencing liminality isn’t completely stripped of all vestiges of her/his life in this drastic way, but they may feel as if their world has been completely “turned upside down.” The reality of the situation is quite challenging for most people.
In the industrialized, and now post-industrial, informational world, human beings have much more highly developed ego structures than the members of primal cultures studied by van Gennep and Turner, among others. With greater ego development there is a greater sense of personal identity and a greater need to keep the self-sense intact. The ego can create a variety of defenses in order to keep identity intact (Freud made his career, in part, by identifying the ego’s defense mechanisms and finding ways to circumvent them). Liminality initiated by a major life event, or even by unconscious processes in the psyche, has a tendency to poke holes in the self-concept and to reduce the solidity of one’s self-sense. The ensuing internal chaos can be mildly disturbing or intensely frightening, depending on the ability of the individual to comprehend what is occurring.
The final stage, the return, marks the re-entry of the individual into the culture as a new person. The individual assumes the new identity and adopts behaviors consistent with the new role. A boy having completed a puberty rite may now be given a new name, signifying his adulthood, a weapon with which to hunt, a hut in which to live, and so on. He is now a man in the eyes of the group, though he may still have years of training and future initiations to undertake before he is permitted to take a wife, hunt on his own, and be given other rights by the group.
When a western person successfully completes a transitional period, the individual may make certain changes in how s/he is perceived by the world, including clothing, occupation, name, and other “structural” changes, while also adopting less obvious traits such a new perspective, greater depth of identity, more comfort with ambiguity, less rigid thinking, and so on. Because transitions are not socially acknowledged in the west, there are no agreed upon ways to act following a major transition, or ways to regard someone who has completed a transitional period. Even the “ritual” of a hospital stay following an operation or serious illness has been eliminated by the HMO and managed health care systems. The only real tradition still intact for modern human beings having completed an important life transition is the honeymoon, and even that is a waning tradition.
The studies existing on this topic are fascinating, but the anthropological data is of less importance in understanding the change process than possessing a working knowledge of the basic structure of transition -- how to recognize it, navigate it, and use it as a growth experience. Although most of the literature involves traditional rituals, this same structure can be applied to all forms of transition or change. Carl Jung and his followers were among the first to see the benefit of viewing the psychotherapeutic process as a transitional process conforming to the structure of ritual. Jung’s followers, including Joseph Campbell,[v] have done well in bringing this idea into public consciousness (at least among those who care about such things). But it is possible to see the process from an even wider perspective, one that views all forms of transition, including illness, personal growth, meditative insights, job loss, depression, divorce, therapy, surgery, and so on, as conforming to the basic structure outlined above.
[i] The Rites of Passage was not published in English until 1960, despite his early identification of the pattern.
[ii] See The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure.
[iii] Turner, Victor. The Ritual Process, page 94.
[iv] Turner, “Betwixt and Between,” in Betwixt and Between, edited by Mahdi, Foster, and Little (1987).
[v] See The Hero With a Thousand Faces (1949) for
Tags: change, initiation, Victor Turner, Arnold van Gennep, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, ritual, liminality, Robert Bly, Iron John, Spiral Dynamics, Don Beck, Chris Cowan
I want to try something a little different with the links this morning, just for the hell of it -- and because it's Saturday and I have more time.
~ iVillage has a calories burned calculator that can estimate the effectiveness of your exercise.
~ Kim and Bob, the trainers from the Biggest Loser, are offering weight loss tips.
~ Dr. Joseph Mercola posts a study that links eating chicken to antibiotic resistance. Always try to eat natural, drug-free chicken (and other meats, as well).
~ Kalsang Dorje of The-universe-is-all-in-your-head takes a look at ego & death.
~ Mugo at Moving Mountains takes a look at Beating Karma? He's discussing a popular TV show that sort of deals with karma.
~ Jay at The Zero Boss wrote an excellent post on what came up for him after receiving an invitation to a high school reunion.
~ Ronald Cowen at MyInsights posts on Intersubjective Psychotherapy.
~ Bill at Oaksong's Nemeton offers up another personality quiz.
~ Lin Jensen of Tricycle blogs on How Civilization is Made.
~ CJ Smith of Indistinctunion has Some Further Thoughts on Benedict & Latin Mass.
~ Sean at Deep Surface likes Family Circus - Vastly Improved -- must be the Nietzsche thing.
~ Joe Perez of Until has something to say On the term Christianists.
~ The Zero Boss, among others, takes a look at new allegations that Bush isn't overly fond of the evangelicals he manipulates whenever Rove gets a wild hare up his arse.
~ Will at thinkBuddha.org is thinking about The Meaning of the Meaning of Life.
~ Ken Wilber's blog has posted the Foreword to Fred Kofman's Conscious Business.
~ P2P Foundation offers Links for 2006-10-13 [del.icio.us].
~ More from P2P Foundation: Democratizing the state, rather than smashing it, Is there a P2P approach to the state?, YouTube: How videos are signs, watching is social
~ Grist links to an energy economist's seven-point prescription for using energy more efficiently.
~ The Globalist has a good post on Society and Globalization -- it's a fact sheet of sorts.
And that'll do it. If you like the new format, please drop me a note -- and if you hate the new format, please drop me a note.
Passage of days grows damp and dull, lost
amid fallen leaves, pine needles on the sidewalk.
A squirrel skull sits atop the fence post, white
bone almost radiant in thin autumn sun.
Late October, feminine curve of new moon
glows above western horizon, cold morning.
For a moment, I stare into dark holes, wonder
what the small eyes see now, where they gaze.
My own eyes are caught by a young crow riding
the crest of a red cedar swaying under its weight.
Some message in this day, the way elements merge
in a single instant, a conspiracy of meaning.
Friday, October 13, 2006
October 13, 2006
DUMB: Stealing an $80 windshield from a golf cart... while wearing your police uniform. Lamar, S.C., Police Chief Mike McDonald was charged with petit larceny and misconduct in office: "I messed up, your honor. It's embarrassing for my position. I know the news media is here, and they're going to have a field day with it," he said. Bingo!
DUMBER: Stealing a pair of pants from a department store is dumb. But secretly returning them and stealing a different pair that fit better is dumber. "Department store assistants were surprised to find the trousers that had been stolen on Sunday when they took stock after the business hours on Monday evening - but another pair of trousers of another size were gone."
DUMBEST: Defending a fellow Republican by listing all of his misdeeds is probably not a good idea. On Face the Nation Rep. Ray Lahood of (R-IL) provided the worst imaginable defense of House Speaker Denny Hastert: "I give Speaker Hastert high marks for strong leadership. He took care of Tom DeLay, his best friend. When Tom was having ethical problems, the speaker went to him and asked him to leave. When he appointed Duke Cunningham to the intelligence committee, he went to Duke and made sure he wasn't on the intelligence committee after it was disclosed he took 2.3 million dollars. And when Bob Ney was appointed chairman of the House administration committee, he was appointed by Speaker Hastert. Speaker Hastert went to him and told him to step down from that committee after the Abramoff disclosures."
Honorable Mention: Ottawa County, Michigan, will pay about $40,000 to reprint 170,000 ballots to fix an embarrassing typo on its Nov. 7 ballot. The "L" was left out of "public."
|You Are An INTP|
You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can.
Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge.
Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat.
A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.
You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the INTP type (and all other types).
Here is the RED manifesto:
Here is a clip from CNN in which Bono talks about the RED initiative:
This is worth doing -- and it isn't a handout, it's buying what we would already buy. And with GAP clothing, many of their products are made in Africa by the people whose lives will be saved.
Found this at Bhikkhu Samahita's blog:
The Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, The battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment Inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
Mel Gibson Acquires Nuclear Weapon
Malibu Nuke Test Raises Proliferation Fears
The elite club of nuclear powers gained a new member today as the actor Mel Gibson conducted what he called a successful nuclear test in Malibu, California.
With all eyes on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and his nuclear ambitions in recent days, the international community was stunned to learn that the controversial Australian actor had been quietly developing a nuclear weapon of his own.
But after digging a massive hole in the beach at Malibu and then detonating the nuclear device underground, Mr. Gibson held a press conference to say that he had initiated a nuclear program to guarantee his own security.
"There are a lot of people out to get me, and I think you know who they are," Mr. Gibson said.
Moments after the actor's announcement, the Malibu nuclear blast became the topic of heated debate in the United Nations, drawing strong words of condemnation from Danny Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the U.N.
"Iran getting a nuclear weapon was one thing, but this Mel Gibson business will not be tolerated," he said.
Davis Logsdon, director of the Nuclear Proliferation Institute at the University of Minnesota, said that Mr. Gibson's acquisition of a nuclear weapon casts "an ominous cloud" over the prospects for world peace.
"The fact that Mel Gibson now has a nuke is going to inspire other angry celebrities to acquire nukes of their own," Mr. Logsdon said. "Is the world really prepared to see nuclear weapons in the hands of Star Jones, or Liza Minnelli?"
Elsewhere, Jennifer Aniston says that she and Vince Vaughn have not broken up, according to a story published today in "Yeah, Right" magazine.
Approach Of Winter
The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
where the salvias, hard carmine—
like no leaf that ever was—
edge the bare garden.
~ Image of the day is "Autumn," by purrrze.
~ Will at thinkBuddha.org takes a look at Holy Books after seeing Richard Dawkins lecture on his new book. This is an interesting post with some good Buddhist history.
~ ~C4Chaos has discovered the source of the Big Mind process in the work of Hal and Sidra Stone. While Genpo Roshi turned the voice dialogue technique into a states exercise, the original process is one of the most potent forms of shadow work I've ever encountered. I've written about it numerous times in this blog.
~ Links for 2006-10-12 [del.icio.us] from P2P Foundation.
~ Timbomb of He’s Just Had Coffee has a follow-up post ( More on recovery ) to his earlier On reintegrating earlier stages… This is good stuff.
~ Ken Wilber is doing a book signing and reading at Boulder Book Store -- for a mere $28 you get to see His Baldness and a copy of the book ($22.95 cover price). Hmmm, in all the years I hosted book signings in book stores, we never charged admission.
So, in other news:
~ Mark Warner doesn't want to be president, which leaves the Dems a bit skewed to the left in 2008 -- Slate has a look at the situation (gotta click through the ad).
~ Oprah and Bono have teamed up to help fight AIDS in Africa -- by introducing a clothing line and a new, special edition iPod.
~ PBS's NOW features An American woman's startling tale of life in Iraq -- the story of Filmmaker Laura Poitras and her struggle to make her movie, which got her labeled with the highest possible threat rating from the Department of Homeland Security.
~ In health news:
* Mindless Eating Makes You Choose the Wrong Foods All the Time.
* Gyms are getting creative in what they offer to get you in the door.
* Some creative ideas for a "cheat" workout when you need a break from structured programs. (Crude language warning.)
~ In Earth news:
* Grist offers The history of tree-hugging, and the future of name-calling.
* Check out Breathing Earth, a real-time look at CO2 use around the world. Just move your mouse over the country to see its stats at the bottom of the screen.
* National Geographic looks at Earth's "Wobbles" Spurring Cycles of Evolution and Extinction?
And that's all she wrote.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Integral Buddhist RecoveringThe post they are riffing on is from a while back. Still, it's cool to be the target of some good fun.
Written by Miso
Tucson, Arizona, Integral Buddhist practitioner Bill Berryman is recovering in an area hospital after unwisely integrating his daily meditation regime with mixed martial arts.
"On the surface, meditation and mixed martial arts seemed a entirely valid hypothetical synthesis of cognitive and non-cognitive pan-cultural awareness-seeking," explained Berryman. "In practice, though, I totally got my ass kicked. I think I lost a tooth."
Berryman is unwilling to discuss the precise circumstances which led to his injuries, which doctors say ranged from a mild concussion to several cracked ribs."No, no: it's all too embarrassing," said Berryman. "It's back to yoga for me."
U.S. Questions Size of North Korean Nuke Blast; Kim Jong-Il Says Size Does Not Matter
'The Earth Moved,' Claims North Korean Dictator
Just days after U.S. officials expressed their doubts about the size of North Korea's recent nuclear test, North Korean president Kim Jong-Il lashed out at his American doubters today, releasing a terse statement from Pyongyang asserting that "size does not matter."
On Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measured the North Korean nuclear blast at a magnitude of 4.2 and released the following statement: "Based on our measurements, what Kim Jong-Il actually has is much smaller than what he claims he has."
This statement drew a fierce rebuttal from Mr. Kim, who said that the size of the blast did not matter, adding that other factors such as "strength and endurance" must be taken into account when evaluating a nuclear test.
Those comments did not go unanswered for long, however, as the USGS responded that the blast lasted only 2.3 seconds, adding, "That may have been good for him, but it was not good for us."
Those remarks from the USGS only seemed to inflame the mercurial Kim, who then issued the following statement: "The undeniable truth is that the earth moved."
Moments after Mr. Kim made his remarks, however, they were refuted by White House spokesman Tony Snow, who made the following dismissive comment to reporters: "The earth may have moved for him, but we were not feeling much on this end."
Elsewhere, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) defended his decision to take two congressional pages with him on a three-day camping trip to the Grand Canyon, telling reporters, "They were safer there than in Congress."
Form begets form,
an acorn dropped to earth
contains so much potential
and I remember nothing.
From dust to dust,
the meager hope of breath
animates all flesh
and refuses to mean anything.
From grave to cradle,
feathers fallen from a nest
revive dreams of flight
and it's despair that we die from.
~ Image of the day is "Serenity" by Alex Teselsky.
~ In a concession to traditionalists, Pope May Loosen Latin Mass Restrictions. I like the old Latin Mass -- when I was a kid, the Church my father sent us to still did Latin Mass sometimes (in spite of Vatican II) and it always felt magical.
~ Apu: America's Favorite Hindu. Gotta love the Simpsons.
~ Matthew Dallman posts AGAINST SULLIVAN'S "CHRISTIANIST" ARGUMENT. This post is in opposition to equating fundamentalist Christians with fundamentalist Muslims by using terms like "Christianist." Important topic to explore . . . .
~ Bodhiwater of Ambhoja...... water born ... seeking light posts a blurb and the trailer to a new movie coming out soon: Film: The Giant Buddhas.
~ Aaron at Anxious Living has a nice post on Social Anxiety and Self-Esteem, a topic near to my heart. I see a very strong correlation between self-esteem and social anxiety in my own life.
~ Joe Perez at Until took issue with my Random Thoughts on Spiral Dynamics post -- this is his reply, also left in the comments on my blog. I hope to respond later today.
~ Joe also posts on A few notes on standardizing integral terminology, in which he says he will adopt Wilber's newest terminology. This is a sticky area for many of us who are moving away from the jargon so as to make integral theory more accessible to the non-initiated and less bogged down in sectarianism.
~ Some other linkfests:
* He's Just Had Coffee
* P2P Foundation
~ Problogger offers 10 tips to increase comments.
~ Some environmental news:
* Here in Tucson, bats seem to be draining hummingbird feeders.
* National Geographic offers a video tour of Florida's Suwannee River, which faces increasing threats.
* Grist takes a look at E.O. Wilson's new book, The Creation, in an article called God vs. Science.
~ Some health news:
* Christian Thibaudeau gets a few things off his chest -- great info for serious gym rats.
* ABC News says that Daily Weighing May Keep the Pounds Off. Or make you nuts. Okay, I added that last part.
* Just in case you didn't already know, Decaf 'does not mean caffeine-free'. Why would anyone want decaf in the first place? Mmmmmm, caffeine.
Okay, that is all I have this morning.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The Far Field
I dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.
At the field's end, in the corner missed by the mower,
Where the turf drops off into a grass-hidden culvert,
Haunt of the cat-bird, nesting-place of the field-mouse,
Not too far away from the ever-changing flower-dump,
Among the tin cans, tires, rusted pipes, broken machinery, --
One learned of the eternal;
And in the shrunken face of a dead rat, eaten by rain and ground-beetles
(I found in lying among the rubble of an old coal bin)
And the tom-cat, caught near the pheasant-run,
Its entrails strewn over the half-grown flowers,
Blasted to death by the night watchman.
I suffered for young birds, for young rabbits caught in the mower,
My grief was not excessive.
For to come upon warblers in early May
Was to forget time and death:
How they filled the oriole's elm, a twittering restless cloud, all one morning,
And I watched and watched till my eyes blurred from the bird shapes, --
Cape May, Blackburnian, Cerulean, --
Moving, elusive as fish, fearless,
Hanging, bunched like young fruit, bending the end branches,
Still for a moment,
Then pitching away in half-flight,
Lighter than finches,
While the wrens bickered and sang in the half-green hedgerows,
And the flicker drummed from his dead tree in the chicken-yard.
-- Or to lie naked in sand,
In the silted shallows of a slow river,
Fingering a shell,
Once I was something like this, mindless,
Or perhaps with another mind, less peculiar;
Or to sink down to the hips in a mossy quagmire;
Or, with skinny knees, to sit astride a wet log,
I'll return again,
As a snake or a raucous bird,
Or, with luck, as a lion.
I learned not to fear infinity,
The far field, the windy cliffs of forever,
The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,
The wheel turning away from itself,
The sprawl of the wave,
The on-coming water.
The river turns on itself,
The tree retreats into its own shadow.
I feel a weightless change, a moving forward
As of water quickening before a narrowing channel
When banks converge, and the wide river whitens;
Or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent
And the yellowish-green from the mountainy upland, --
At first a swift rippling between rocks,
Then a long running over flat stones
Before descending to the alluvial plane,
To the clay banks, and the wild grapes hanging from the elmtrees.
The slightly trembling water
Dropping a fine yellow silt where the sun stays;
And the crabs bask near the edge,
The weedy edge, alive with small snakes and bloodsuckers, --
I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.
I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.
The lost self changes,
Turning toward the sea,
A sea-shape turning around, --
An old man with his feet before the fire,
In robes of green, in garments of adieu.
A man faced with his own immensity
Wakes all the waves, all their loose wandering fire.
The murmur of the absolute, the why
Of being born falls on his naked ears.
His spirit moves like monumental wind
That gentles on a sunny blue plateau.
He is the end of things, the final man.
All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
A scent beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree :
The pure serene of memory in one man, --
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world.
Wal-Mart Endorses "Homosexual Agenda"
Happy National Coming Out Day! The right-wing nuts are going, well, nuts. Wal-Mart is sponsoring LGBT Diversity Week at Boise State University in Idaho--October 9 to 13--and once again, the American Family Association is apoplectic. The group's action alert on the issue makes entertaining reading: "Wal-Mart has given its full endorsement to the homosexual agenda and homosexual marriage," the AFA fumes, noting, with trademark far-right salaciousness, that one of the event's other sponsors is a purveyor of sex toys (the "Pleasure Boutique"). But the conservative loons realize that when Wal-Mart supports a cause, it has become truly mainstream; that's why they're particularly upset that one of the (Wal-Mart-sponsored) events in Boise offers information on the campaign to defeat a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Idaho.
It's joyous to see elements of the conservative coalition falling apart. Why not join the fun by countering the AFA campaign? Write to Wal-Mart (use the AFA website, but "edit" the letter provided) and tell CEO Lee Scott you think it's wonderful that the company is funding decency and human rights in Idaho. (I just did this. I also checked a box on the same page agreeing that "I will pray for Lee Scott.") Now, if Wal-Mart would advance decency and human rights in the Philippines, or behind its own cash registers throughout the United States, that would be better still. But we'll enjoy one victory at a time.
This was the Daily Om a couple of days ago. I've been waiting to post this to try to figure out what I want to say about it. I still don't know for sure.
Honoring Life ChangesFear is a big part of change -- fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of isolation, fear of [fill in the blank] -- but as the article points out and Pema Chodron has often written, the only way out of fear is to work through it. This can be more passive than active.
The Wisdom Of Fear
Anything worth doing will always have some fear attached to it. For example, having a baby, getting married, changing careers-all of these life changes can bring up deep fears. It helps to remember that this type of fear is good. It is your way of questioning whether you really want the new life these changes will bring. It is also a potent reminder that releasing and grieving the past is a necessary part of moving into the new.
Fear has a way of throwing us off balance, making us feel uncertain and insecure, but it is not meant to discourage us. Its purpose is to notify us that we are at the edge of our comfort zone, poised in between the old life and a new one. Whenever we face our fear, we overcome an inner obstacle and move into new and life-enhancing territory, both inside and out. The more we learn to respect and even welcome fear, the more we will be able to hear its wisdom, wisdom that will let us know that the time has come to move forward, or not. While comfort with fear is a contradiction in terms, we can learn to honor our fear, recognizing its arrival, listening to its intelligence, and respecting it as a harbinger of transformation. Indeed, it informs us that the change we are contemplating is significant, enabling us to approach it with the proper reverence.
You might wish to converse with your fear, plumbing its depths for a greater understanding of the change you are making. You could do this by sitting quietly in meditation and listening or by journaling. Writing down whatever comes up-your worries, your sadness, your excitement, your hopes-is a great way to learn about yourself through the vehicle of fear and to remember that fear almost always comes alongside anything worth doing in your life.
We don't need to DO anything. We can just sit with the feelings in meditation, or simply acknowledge the fear when it comes up, greet it as an old friend rather than something to be afraid of.
My life is in the midst of a huge transition. There is certainly fear that comes up, and it comes in many forms and of many things, not least of which is being alone for the rest of my life. But this is a normal fear that is trying to tell me something about who I am.
If I am afraid of being alone for the rest of my life, my psyche is telling me that relationship is important to me, no matter how much I might reject that idea rationally, or how much I fear I will simply fail again. I need to be in relationship with another, to have someone to love and who will love me in return. I can try to reject that feeling, but the fear is a clue to what really matters.
We can listen to our fear. We can learn from it. When we are going through change, our fear can be a guide to what is important to us -- if we really listen and get beneath it.
~ This photo is from a National Geographic story a couple of weeks ago about a new cave discovery in California's Sequoia National Park.
~ We begin today with Deepak Chopra's Seven Practices for Peacemakers. Chopra has a lot to say about peace and its current lack in the world. Here are the seven practices, and he goes into detail in how to do them in the article:
Sunday: Being for Peace
Monday: Thinking for Peace
Tuesday: Feeling for Peace
Wednesday: Speaking for Peace
Thursday: Acting for Peace
Friday: Creating for Peace
Saturday: Sharing for Peace
~ There have been a few news items in the last couple of years about elephants getting unruly in parts of the African continent. A New York Times Magazine article details some of the alarmingly violent and abnormal behavior.
~ Brad at Hardcore Zen starts out a post by giving it this title: ZEN WRAPPED IN KARMA DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE , a line from some stupid commercial that I truly despise. The post gets better from there.
~ A couple of other linkfests:
* He's Just Had Coffee
* P2P Foundation
~ Steve Pavlina's Personal Development Blog takes a look at Soulful Relationships. WARNING: some of what he says comes from his reading of the Celestine Prophecy, one of the worst books in the history of the world -- but, hey, I'm a book snob.
~ Albert Klamts blog at Zaadz (he's German by the way) looks at Forbes Magazine naming Dr. Angela Merkel as #1 of Most powerful women in the world.
~ Outsider Kiran Desai wins the £50,000 Man Booker with The Inheritance of Loss, becoming the youngest woman to take the prize. (This is the British equivalent to a Pulitzer Prize -- it's a big deal).
~ Some health news:
* Rich and red, tomatoes may help cut your cancer risk
* Study links women's fashion sense to ovulation
* Fresh water? Not any more -- this is actually an environment story, but it will directly impact our health.
~ Finally, get hypnotized by this cool website.
That's a wrap.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I've been thinking about Spiral Dynamics Integral of late, probably because I have started reading Wilber's Integral Spirituality and he is skewing the model again to look non-integral.
I think that one of the things missing from the original book was an acknowledgment of types. Many people reduce the stages of SDi to types of people -- Blue people, or Yellow people. What I mean is personality types.
Chris Cowan and Natasha Todorovic have actually addressed the enneagram in relation to Spiral Dynamics. They make it a point to be clear that the enneagram talks about types of people (personality types) while SD looks at how people evolve in a dynamic way in response to life conditions.
The enneagram, I'm sure, is a nice model that works for some people in helping make sense of their lives. However, SD has built into it a system of types that is represented in the color coding. This is how Cowan presents it:
Among the problems caused by each level, we find the individual/collectivity dialectic. One system favors the expression of the Self and the next system sacrifices the Self to the needs of the community. Too much individualism creates problems that human beings try to solve by fitting into a group. After some time, that creates frustration and difficulties and the pendulum switches back to an individualistic level.This works well at the cultural level, but individuals are less easy to pin down. Rather than self and group, we might better distinguish between agency (self-preservation) and communion (self-adaptation). The warm colors in the spiral (red, organge, yellow, coral) are agency-based stages. The cool colors in the spiral (purple, blue, green, turquoise) are communion-based colors. (Beige is too bogged-down in survival needs
to exhibit either agency or communion.)
[Speculation: at second-tier agency might become thantos (self-dissolution) and communion might become eros (self-transcendence). I could be totally wrong on this -- haven't thought it through.]
Don Beck mentioned in the SDi training I did that some people move through the spiral in mostly the warm or cool colors, barely touching down in their opposites. For example, I might be primarily a warm color person, focused in agency, and as I move up the spiral I might only touch down in the cool colors long enough to create the necessary dissonance to propel me into the next warm color.
From this foundation, we could easily see how the nine types of the enneagram would each move through the spiral in a different way. The Jungian typology (Myers-Briggs) would also produce varied styles of progression through the spiral.
Adding in types would make SDi even more integral.
One last point: Wilber makes a point of saying that no amount of study of SDi will produce satori. Damn, who woulda thunk it? Well, no amount of studying AQAL or IMP will produce satori either. Dumb argument.
Wilber's new IMP model claims to allow for an inside and an outside view of a holon for each of the quadrants. He says SDi does not:
Meditative understanding involves preeminently a methodology of looking at the "I" from the inside (using phenomenology); Spiral Dynamics involves studying it from the outside (using structuralism). (page 38)True, but partial. In the same way that meditation allows for a look at holons from the inside in AQAL and IMP, it can do the same in SDi. There is no reason I cannot sit down using the Big Mind process and look at "being green" from the inside. Wilber's argument is false.
Once you drop SD into the quadrants, all the methologies of IMP can be applied to SDi.
Recently, Key 23 friend (and cultural writing superstar) Douglas Rushkoff debated in NYC with 2012 and Breaking Open the Head author Daniel Pinchbeck. DJ Lanphier of Spiral NYC was nice enough to record this debate and has upload two of the four files to Google Video.
There is a part four as well, which has not yet been posted.
The discussion has a lot to do with psychedelics as tools for mind expansion and how that might or might now work for personal and human evolution. They also get into identity, post-modernism, cultural deconstruction, and the coming singularity. Each video clip is about 30 minutes or so, but the discussion is interesting. These are two very astute post-modern cultural observers.