Archive for February, 1998

n2: on sleeping in meetings

A while ago H was talking about people sleeping through workshops and meetings and the fact that she was at first bothered by the fact and wanted them to leave, but she came to the realization that it was worth them being there if the chance existed that they wight wake up for just a second and hear something that would change them.

I wanted to talk about sleeping in meetings, because I remember sleeping through a Saviors of God workshop last year sometime and I did it deliberately and semi-mindfully. I disagree with the assumption that people who are asleep are doing something mindless.

For the longest time I have been working through the assumption that I have to act a certain way or put on a certain face in order for other people to accept or associate with me. The Kaz. workshop was a valuable experience for me because I got to see that even if I don’t play the same game as everyone else, so long as I don’t hurt them it’s ok. For me, most of “the work” is not something that I get from a book; it’s not about ideas. For me, it is mainly about experiences, and I think that I got more from the experience of sleeping through the workshop because I could say, “I don’t have to act a certain way for these people to like me; I have some freedom to be me.” It’s impossible to say for sure since I wasn’t awake for the workshop, but I know that it was an important experience for me and not one to be taken lightly.

Eric was there and I remember distinctly his good nature and kindness. Just a random memory…

I think that the world is a fairly complex place, and a very difficult one to make judgements in because so many possibilities exist.

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samurai story

H got to the story off of the LT listserv before I could send it out. =) I like parables. This is a story that I read a while ago from a collection of essays called The Awakened Warrior: Living with Courage, Compassion, and Discipline edited by Rick Fields. It’s a cool book as far as I have gotten into it; Fields does a good job of providing a variety of perspectives, an interview with Dan Millman called “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” (Millman has written several books on the concept of the “peaceful warrior”) is followed directly by an essay called “There Are No Peaceful Warriors” by Ambrose Redmoon which includes the wonderful quote “[the concept of warriorship] is being usurped by certain whispery types who couldn’t qualify as a pimple on a real warrior’s ass.”

Anyways, enough of that, here is my story. It comes from “The Warrior in his Fullness” by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette…

“There is a story about a samurai attached to the household of a great lord. His lord had been murdered by a man from a rival house, and the samurai was sworn to avenge his lord’s death. After tracking the assassin for some time, after great personal sacrifice hardship, the samurai found the murderer. He drew his sword to kill the man. But in that instant the assassin spit in his face. The samurai stepped back, sheathed his sword, and turned and walked away. Why?”

^ This is self-esteem stuff. Cool. Anyone know why? |

-Will

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lent disciplines

Hey everyone, here is the preliminary plans that I have for my lent disciplines. There still in the workings, I have another 12 hours or so, right? =) All the time in the world. I would appreciate help in holding up to these. I don’t think that it’ll be very hard, when I get in my healthy eating mode anything that isn’t super healthy ceases to be at all appetizing and not eating it is not a problem at all.

As for the other stuff, I haven’t figured it out yet, so that’ll be a surprise. =) Thank you.

-Will

From:	TTU::WJH3957      "W.J. Holcomb -- Mr. Happy =)" 24-FEB-1998 17:26
Subj:	lent disciplines

I am still ironing out which disciplines I am going to do, but several foods that are not healthy like chocolate and deep fat fried stuff are going out for lent. Also, I am breaking the season up into 4 10 day periods and I am developing harder disciplines for each of those. I am planning to do the no talking again for one of those and I have some other ideas as well.

The general theme is getting rid of some of the waste in my life; cutting back on time that I just let slip by. I recognize that it doesn’t have to be this way and I can get more from my time with not a whole lot more work. So in general I am going to work on disciplines that focus on time management; like going to bed at a descent time and getting up and working out.

That’s where I stand.

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lent disciplines

I am still ironing out which disciplines I am going to do, but several foods that are not healthy like chocolate and deep fat fried stuff are going out for lent. Also, I am breaking the season up into 4 10 day periods and I am developing harder disciplines for each of those. I am planning to do the no talking again for one of those and I have some other ideas as well.

The general theme is getting rid of some of the waste in my life; cutting back on time that I just let slip by. I recognize that it doesn’t have to be this way and I can get more from my time with not a whole lot more work. So in general I am going to work on disciplines that focus on time management; like going to bed at a descent time and getting up and working out.

That’s where I stand.

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homework reminder

Hey everybody, this is Will from the Honors 402, I’m just writing to remind everyone that we had homework due for tomorrows class, just in case anyone forgot (as I am oftentimes apt to do.) =)

Anyways, the assignment has three parts:

  1. Post your introduction to the BBS. (Preferably in the introductions forum. To get to that, at the BBS prompt type forum 3 and then type thread 2 and then type post and tell all of your wonderful classmates all about yourself.)
  2. Post your thoughts on Jellaludin Rumi’s poem “The Guest House”. (That thread is the first one in forum three.)
  3. Post your thoughts on Jellaludin Rumi’s poem “The Clear Bead”. (That thread is also the first one in forum three.)

See everyone in class. If anyone has misplaced their copies of Rumi’s poems, just drop me a line and I’ll send them to you. Bye for now.

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committment quote by Goethe from the LT listserv

Until one is committed, there is hesitance,
the chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness concerning
all acts of initiative (and creation).
There is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which kills
countless ideas and splendid plans:
that the moment one definitely commits oneself
then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never have otherwise occurred.
A whole stream of events issue from the decision,
rousing in one's favor
all matter of unforeseen incidents,
meetings and material assistance,
which no man would have dreamed
could have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream,
you can begin it. Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it. Begin now.

		Goethe

This sounds like alot of stuff. I am reminded of the metagenic field stuff that the Celestine Prophecy woman was talking about in the workshop. Literally bringing things into being, it is a cool idea though not one that I have much observation to support.

I think that in general, I don’t need anything beyond the realm of my ordinary experience to relate to what Goethe is saying. He is simply noting the ways that committment shapes being and the way that being shapes reality. I like the “Begin now” at the end.

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n:3: the world's too big

I just got through with an interesting experience. I was working helpdesk and I sent a letter to a girl that I know who is considering coming here and I was talking about all the different thoughts that I have been having about compassion and love and relationships and everything. It has been a year since we talked in depth and I was telling her how I have changed. Writing about all the things was having an affect on me. I was moving to the place of love and compassion in myself.

After I got off of work I went to the office to pick up my SEE tapes and as I was going in John Slemp who just broke up with his girlfriend was sitting on the steps talking to someone and I could see the pain in his face and then I went into the office and J was there and I was completely at a loss. I wanted him to know that I was there for him, but I didn’t want to be insincere and all of the turmoil from reading what he wrote was right there with me. I just took my tapes and left. Then as I was leaving I saw John again and there was such pain. I heard myself say “this is all too big for you. The world is too big for you to love.”

I don’t even see why that comes up right now. I am not doing that great a job of loving people. I certainly think that I could have done better just now. It is not in how I am acting, but in how I am opening myself up. I expect pain and vulnerability to be a part of loving and they are not there. I think that I am hiding from them.

I am questioning whether I can develop a stable relationship with a girl or not. I want alot to try out my ideas about emotional attachment and committment (which I keep telling myself I should be able to do with friends, but it isn’t the same.) But I am just so unstable. I move to a place of compassion and then it is challenged and I crash. I guess that it is getting stronger, but I don’t want to wait to find a girlfriend. It frustrates me that I am doing real work which is making me unstable, but which allows me to make deeper more solid commitments, and because of this I am superficially less attractive. In short I think if I chucked all the “growth” stuff I think that I would be more attractive for a relationship, in the short term at least, from the model I’d eventually crash probably.

-Will

I am afraid that I’ll get involved with someone and go mindless again as soon as the pain isn’t there anymore to drive me. I’m afraid that if I ask a girl out then I’ll have to force myself into a certain model of acting and be false to myself. Or rather I’m afraid that I won’t be able to sustain a relationship because I won’t be stable and I’ll refuse to be false to myself. And also I think that I am capable of maintaining alot of stability if I put my mind to it. I suppose only time will tell.

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j:2: people being heard

Okay, I am going to try to clarify the journal that I sent out earlier. I have gotten several different responses on it, none of which quite understood where it was that I was coming from. I am going to try the cataphatic path now and define my potion from how it differs from everything that I am hearing.

For different people I am going to be paraphrasing so you can see how I understood what you said and if I get your impetus wrong let me know.

A:

‘Not doing the sharing of experiences was a judgement call and perhaps it should have been put up to the group for a vote. Dealing with V and SRHC was an important issue for most of the group and I think that it served as a matrix for discussion of interpersonal relationships in general that I think are pertinent to the group as well.

‘It is not feasible for everyone to all dump out all of the issues that they are dealing with; there isn’t time. If you needed to talk badly there are other avenues that you could have explored; finding someone after the meeting or catching someone some other time. “We simply didn’t have time.”

[So long as I’ve got A’s voice, I’m gonna have some fun. Though I know how to use a spell check. ;)] ‘”Am I missing some part of the point here?” Usually your thoughts are coherent. This statement seems unrealistic in what it is asking. Surely you understand the time constraints.’

C:

‘Why didn’t you get to talk to the group? Should you have been more aggressive? Should I have figured it out? Where does that responsibility lie? I don’t think that there is an easy answer to this. “I’m sorry I wasn’t as conscious of your needs as I wanted to be.”‘

MM:

‘I think that by the way we have things set up, talking about V was a part of the sharing experiences time, so we didn’t really skip that.

‘I do not think that all meeting will go like this last one did. It is not possible for all 15+ people to get to say all that they are thinking about.’

‘Maybe we should have done the meeting differently, but the past is the past and there is no sense dwelling on it. Let it go. This is just one meeting. Just for one meeting you didn’t get to say all that you wanted; big deal, you’ll live. I’m not saying forget about you issues or subliminate anything, but this is not that important.

‘I hope I wasn’t too harsh.’

H: (Watch for heavy projection here. I’m gonna let it flow. Either I’ll be empathic or really clouded.)

‘As MM said, we did do the sharing time. We were just focused on a specific issue and the people who weren’t sharing were working at supporting. [Stop focusing on yourself and support other people.]

‘I could have used some support, but I moved my issue. [You can to, you are being selfish.] I think that you are doing a victim drama where poor pitiful you is done unto in horrible ways by the world and you feel justly victimized and weak rather than coping healthily. Do you see this?

‘I again agree with MM; this meeting was not a usual occurrence and you need to maintain that perspective.

‘I think that you are doing victim dramas, would you check that out?’

(Well, it didn’t really flow, but there is some of the process that I label as projection though the clinical definition disagrees with mine.)

D:

‘I think that you had time to say something right at the end of the meeting. I was frustrated when people started to leave when I had my hand up, but they stopped. “Its not our job to take care of you and to remember exactly what Will wants to have done.”‘

D:

Let’s see, where to begin. I think that I’ll start with D, since I have heard her perspective before and it is one that I have been arguing about since Christmas. I disagree with you that you don’t have a responsibility to help me. That is exactly what I was saying about me and V last semester; “I am not responsible for him. What he does is what he does and it is not my responsibility.” I think that I was wrong.

From an absolute perspective, yes I have no inherent responsibility to V or to anyone. I do what I do and they are responsible for themselves. That world is a disconnected and unsatisfying one for me.

This is one of the things that I picked of over Christmas that is about love and connection that I haven’t been able to get into words adequately. In short, when I turn my back to my responsibility to love and care for and help other people I do myself damage that can only be overcome by accepting my responsibility. I have choice in the matter the same way that I have choice to breathe.

From an absolute perspective there are no inherent requisites on my existence. I do not have to keep on breathing, but I am going to because I do not want to die. In the same way I am going to continue to work at respecting my responsibility and connection to other people because I do not want to die.

No, I do not want you to hold my hand and do it for me, but I want respect and I don’t think that I should have to be rude in order to get it. I could have told everyone to shut the fuck up (I’m getting angry) but why can’t we respect each other enough so that is not necessary.

I don’t think that it would run perfectly all of the time, but I think that it could be surprising how well we could work as a group and how supportive and connected we could be. (anger is 93% gone)

H:

The victim drama is there to some extent though I am not sure that it is the one that you are looking at. I could be playing, “look at how everyone got what they wanted but me; boo hoo.” But it is more “look at how everyone else is messing the connection up. I’m trying to connect to the group and everyone else is being stupid and messing it up; poor me. If only they understood like I do; boo hoo.”

And what can I do to stop the drama? (well, stop, duh) I am trying to express what I see to other people so that either I can see something that I am missing or maybe someone will find something in what I am saying. I hear you talk about connection and sangha; do these things just happen? I don’t think that they do. I have a whole new concept of interpersonal connection than I did two months ago. It is still in process, but I am doing as good as I know how to do. (There isn’t victim there, I just checked.)

I think that I have a different perspective than I am seeing in most other people. I want to see cor come together as a group.

One of the things about support is that while the members of the group have to be willing to support they also have to be willing to be supported. I have been trying to open up and commit to the group. I don’t think that what I was asking was unrealistic. I didn’t want to take half an hour and tell all about everything that I had been feeling and thinking for the last week; I just wanted a minute or two to say a couple of words about a really taxing week that I had and get a little bit of support. I didn’t even want to hear anyone say anything, I just wanted a couple of minutes to speak. Could everyone have had a couple of minutes? No, not with the time that we had. Did everyone need a couple of minutes? No, last week was the first time that I have ever come into a cor meeting wanting to say something and hoping to find some support. If everyone were to fall apart at the same time, then conceivably we could have problems, but if that happens we would probably need to extend the meeting anyway. =)

About moving issues, I moved the issue of not being heard after it happened and then I moved it back to write about it. I am getting better at such things. I wrote about it not because it is eating at me, but because I am not sure that the fact the I had to move it is a right one. I still ask if this type of support is something that we as a group are about working towards. If I get some commitments from people then I am going to continue to work at supporting and being supported. If not, I want to know so that I can think about it.

This is very hard for me to do. People scare the bejesus out of me and opening up to them is a constant fight, but I see potential in this group. I really do think that we can do it. I haven’t figured out exactly how yet, but one step at a time, right? =)

MM & MC:

I think that the difference in what I am saying and what you are hearing is that you are describing a situation where everyone is talking about everything that they are currently dealing with. I am talking only about rare incidents where I or someone else has an issue that is important enough that they want to be supported on it. For me this doesn’t happen that often, at least not to the extent that I would inconvenience the group to ask for it, but when it is there I think that it is important enough to run late or whatever.

Isn’t being inconvenienced to help someone else all of what we were talking about at the last meeting? I ask again, are we about that? Are we connected to each other and responsible for each other or are we a bunch of strangers who do things together and who meet once a week, but when you get past all of the superficialities are essentially separated? I think that it is a choice.

And I don’t even think that it is necessary to run late most of the time. I guess that it could come up on occasion, but for me, connection to other people and working on relationships is one of the main reasons that I am in cor. I can learn new ideas anywhere and for most meetings (this last one being an anomaly) the only thing that supporting the members of the group would cut into is some discussion of ideas. I love to argue and to think and that doesn’t bother me at all.

My personal best picture at the moment is asking at the end of the meeting if anyone has anything that they have to say and if someone, realizing the repercussions of inconveniencing other people, thinks that they have an issue that is important enough to warrant hearing then they talk about it. If someone decides that they have higher priorities that they must attend to than they can leave. I don’t think that this would be an issue all that often, but I like the picture of the group that is willing to accept that inconvenience rather than saying, “oh, it’s 7:00, that means that our little bit together for this week is finished. Bye everybody.” How connected are we if that is how it works?

I would also like to have some pictures of what it means to run 10 – 15 minutes late. As for me, I can certainly handle it. Even when I have a ton of stuff to do, even half an hour isn’t anything I can’t overcome if I stop whining and buckle down. The stop whining thing was not an attack. I start to whine when I don’t want to work. =)

C:

I liked C’s response the best because it didn’t start with the assumption that there is a problem with me asking to be heard. In H’s it was a victim drama, in A’s and MM’s it was unrealistic because of time, and in D’s I had a chance to but didn’t. I thought that C looked more at the issue of why I didn’t speak and also he was involved with me. It wasn’t all my fault and it wasn’t all his fault. I liked that.

Close:

Thank you to everyone who sent me replies and thank you to everyone for reading this voluminous e-mail. I think it is neat that I am recognizing and seeking to fill emotional needs such as support. I am somewhat afraid that I am building unrealistic pictures of what I can do in relation to the group and what the group can do as a whole, but I’m watching and if anyone sees anything let me know.

Also, I have some questions as to how open to other people’s perspectives in this response. I didn’t change my mind very much, but I also didn’t see many people really addressing the exact issues that I was dealing with. It’s another thing for me to watch for.

Thank you. -Will

I would like to hear from some of the more T people, am I being fuzzy and stupid? That’s a neat perspective.

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j:2: yesterday's meeting

Here’s my new idea for nomenclature, in response to the trouble that A was having ascertaining the importance of our messages simply by the subject header, I am going to try giving a quantative measure of my perception of the importance of the message. It’s a nice thought at least though I am still uncertain how well it will hold up in practical applicability. Wait and see I guess.

I have a question about yesterday’s meeting and my involvement in it. To begin with I came into the meeting and I had several really neat experiences last week that I wanted to share, but we skipped over that talking time. I thought about it some and decided that I could just write my stuff out and that I didn’t have to talk there, though I would have preferred to.

The second issue is more serious for me, and I would like to hear some opinions. When we were going around and talking about our issues with V I said that I had some things that I wanted to talk about but to keep the discussion focused I would wait until after some resolution had been come to on the SRHC issue before I would talk, but that I did want a little space to talk. When the SRHC stuff was done everyone came up and out and the meeting ended. I was disappointed.

The question for me is what kind of group is cor. If I have something that is important to me that I want to talk about is cor the place to do that? Or is cor focused on certain issues and if my personal issues are not in line with what the group objective is, then I should hold my peace?

Another really big question is if I am asking too much to be heard? Should I just get over the fact that I didn’t get an opportunity to speak? Or does the group have some kind of responsibility to me to listen; is that part of what we are about?

I see the potential in this to degrade myself and say that I am not worth being heard and if I ask if that is what we are about then you will all see me as being needy, but I am doing a good job of not going there.

I do have the need to be heard though and to communicate and I don’t know right now how to handle that in the context of our meetings. So, I am asking. Anyone have an answer?

-Will

What I did yesterday was come in with the need to be heard on some of the stuff that I was working on. When it needed to be moved so that we could discuss SRHC, I moved it saying that I would get to it at an appropriate time. Then I just left it sitting.

I think maybe the issue that I am working on with the group is trust and if I come in with unrealistic expectations (which “they will listen” may be) then when I act according to those expectations (allow myself to desire to be heard) and that expectation is not in tune with reality (we are about dealing with certain pertinent issues) so, misunderstanding what we are about I move the desire, trusting that it will be dealt with and that it is important, when I leave it I have broken a trust with myself.

I certainly would prefer if we were open to whatever issues were coming up, but if that is not important to the members then I want to know so that I can act accordingly.

Am I making sense?

Am I bitter?

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elephant poem

Here is an oldie but a goodie. I looked it up the other day, thought that you might want to read it again. It’s one of my old favorites.

-Will

The Blind Men And The Elephant

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall !"

The second feeling of the tusk, cried: "Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!"

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, "I see," quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!"

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain," quoth he;
"Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree."

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; "E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!"

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
"I see," quothe he, "the elephant is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe (1816 - 1887)
from the collection of "Best Loved Poems of The American People"

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