Saturday, February 21, 2009

5 Random Thoughts On the Expression of Human Potential and Spirit

On the Tensions and Bigotry Between Ways of Believing:

This is where the work begins and ends. To be able to continually make distinctions between what is sheer bigotry and cultural megalomania disguised as religious integrity and practice, and what is truly a part of effective human perceptual evolution... that part of each religious tradition that in fact does deserve respect and nurturing.

There is something of a winnowing out that has to take place with a constant vigilance or else we stand to lose some of the daring heights and depths of how the species has come to broaden and account for our own peculiar manner of perceiving ourselves on the planet, in the cosmos. Without it, god or no god, we deprive ourselves of the basis upon which we must go forward or die. Secularism, atheism, formalized agnosticism belong in this pool of what has been called religious/spiritual as well... because, on a transcendental level, there is not enough difference between the highest renderings of our way of seeing ourselves in the world to bother with.

Questions to ask during this winnowing search process: What has been useful but is no longer useful? What continues to serve evolution and survival of the whole species that has been in place but is threatened with extinction (and what can we do about it?)? What changes in our beliefs about "the other" do we need to invent and institute to survive? What about our collective belief patterns increase the friction between beliefs and what enhances our transcendental unity?

Here-in Lies the Difference

Here-in lies the difference between the expressions of the highest aspirations of humankind side to side with its lowest denominators of cruelty, mass murder, violent bigotry and hate. That both ends of the spectrum are contained in a single human attribute, its penchant for religious spirituality, is typical of almost every aspect of human life on this planet. It is why Tony Blair's recent foray into support for religion can never be taken as seriously as the bombs and murder he unleashed upon the unwitting and innocent who may have been praying the most genuine prayers available to the human heart. It is why the religious who go forward with no ability to poke fun at their own foibles, and who cannot see the damage from their most megalomaniac collective actions, are at the root of most of the collective sins that humans can muster; and it is why those whose belief in atheism is so religious that ultimately they commit the same errors of ethics, morality and cruelty of thought and deed they speak so vociferously against.

On The Error of Thinking Society Can Go Forward Without Coming to Terms and Facing the Consequence of the Past

A refusal to come to terms with the past and acknowledge the wrongs done... as well as ask for some kind of atonement or indictments for the worst of the guilty by first familiarizing oneself with the details of what must not happen again in order to truly move forward... is a tactic used by uncommitted alcoholics and other "stuck" personalities and systems that believe that they can move into the future without doing an exhaustive inventory of the past and how one got where one got.

Those who practice these kinds of refusals are more interested in bringing their enablers firmly over to their side than they are in instituting real change. They are terrified of being abandoned by the people who wittingly or unwittingly support them in their personal and/or systemic failure to change, in their addiction to patterns of behavior that are destroying them. And they are just as terrified of the change itself. The addictions (in this case to what? Oil? Big Money? perceived loss of control and power? Deep guilt by complicity? Cars? Mass murder and torture? Hiroshima ?) have a biochemical, electrical, systemic, hold on them. They are terrified of the vacuum of a monstrous unknown that they, perhaps errantly, perceive must follow a true commitment to change.

This refusal to look to the future while concurrently carrying and reading the completely open book from the past is a faulty and manipulative excuse to maintain, consciously or purposefully unknowingly, the unexamined tactics and habits of the past that are patterned into a system of avoidant and repetitive failures. It is exactly how and why the system or person ends up, time and time again, back where they started.

If you are not familiar with, and have not gathered extensive evidence and research about, what went wrong and why, from, in particular, the people and other systems your actions have damaged the most, then you are not really committed to moving into the future unencumbered by the same self-defeating patterns from which you claim to want to be loose.

Pay attention campers. Leaders who refuse to judiciously and, in a democratic system, publicly, examine and autopsy the systemic diseases that have felled us are not as much interested in developing a cure as a major characteristic of how they move forward as they are interested in putting a new mask upon the unrelieved symptoms. They are not much interested in moving forward at all.

What Pushes Us Forward Starves Us.

History shows that people/cultures who migrate, live and grow into desert areas, or into areas otherwise balanced in a precarious climate, soil and geological combination, often fail quite spectacularly... and often for the same reasons they had initial success. The laws of evolution hold fast here: cultures, like species, that cannot change as fast as the environment around them fail and die, or migrate out, supplanting, conflicting with, and/or integrating with the cultures they find in their new residence.

I was just talking to a friend about relatively minor climactic changes that were largely responsible for the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror. Two years of no growing season due to a mini ice age (only two years!) immediately prior to and concurrent with the rumblings of large scale social change pushed the masses into full scale revolt.

Let them eat cake? How shall we arrange it on the platter around your head?

It simply does not matter what kind of climate change we are talking about, or what we name it: it will take very little change, in relatively short durations, in climactic terms to change the face of human society beyond recognition. How do we charge this kind of change with evolution as opposed to devolution?

One Strength of the Species

One strength of the species is the manner in which it adapts to changing surroundings, threats, landscapes and climates. This has been key to the survival of the species. Part of this mechanism lies in refusing to adapt beyond any phenomena immediately felt and perceived to be 'at hand'. Humans are gifted, and cursed, by this evolutionary adaptation.

They are gifted in some ways at making quick "getaways" and flights or fights to stay alive, but they cannot manage, biologically and mentally, to change behavior and approaches to the landscapes that have not arrived yet, in the future, somewhere else, no matter how predictable.

Failures in almost all world political systems are something of a proof of that... ie: the collapse of capitalist systems due to the dismantling of safeguards put in place during the last global crisis in capitalized systems is indicative of a species that is unable to respond to crises that cannot be "felt" in the here and now, no matter how predictable. Can this phenomenon, perhaps encoded, be used to our benefit?

The True True Creation Myth

Oh come on now... we all know humans were birthed in a stream of the effluent of Kharpi, that most peculiar of the warlords of HarHar! Why else would we wear spikes on our sunday shoes? Why else would the fish in the nether spots resemble Katharine of Aragon?

It is high time these scientists and the hopelessly lost bible creationists realize that without the Yarmalooks of Treeza, our skyscrapers would be the size of your dog biscuits. Its time to reclaim the history of humankind, as we sprung from the adam's apple of the saints of pleebahahahaha.... everyone in my advanced reading group has come to that conclusion and the trees answered yes yes... "you are the children of the toilet brush and the descendents of the toe nails of Koookash! Rejoice!" The truth is now known here-abouts and also in the thundering water closets of your aunt Silvie.

So, with that in mind: Remember we shall all someday be taken up into the tundra of Blooobeefun... that day when we have reached our perfect toe nails and no longer need to stand in line for the Twittertwatter. Hallelujah! All the great mysteries are solved. No need to think or diet. Let's have some bangers!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why Would You Choose Me to Be Your Coach?

Over the twenty-five years I've worked in the human service, counseling and life coaching field I've discovered my innate understanding of the multi-faceted nature of human personality and human relationships. This seems to me to be more of a gift than a learned skill… or at least less learned in a purely academic manner.

That is not to say that the application of that gift is automatically useful to me or anyone else who has it… that is where developing and practicing skills comes in.

I can confidently say that the work I have done in recognizing and establishing professional boundaries between my needs and the needs of those I serve has resulted in a level of expertise that is flexible and compassionate, but also respectful of the maintenance of the kinds of boundaries that are the most useful in the effective, affecting, productive, goal-focused coaching relationship. As I have often stated: my goal is to help my clients become their own coaches.

What personal attributes and perspectives do I rely on to keep my coaching relationships healthy and moving forward?

  • Self awareness of the nature, extent and limits of the gifts that brought me into coaching in the first place.

  • An understanding that coaching cannot be seen as a way to exert control over others or bring others over “to my side”.

  • Good supportive family and friends that offer outlets for human relationship outside of client relationships.

  • Willingness to always be in a state of learning. Each client brings an inner textbook of norms, talents, gifts and processes.

  • A willingness to eschew what has worked in the past for what can and will work in the future.

  • An ability to disconnect my own process from expectations of others’ process.

What makes me a great choice as a coach?

  • I am empathic by nature, but have married empathy with various learned and practiced interaction and interviewing skills that make what I know on an empathic level more apparent and useful to progress forward in others.

  • An ability, due to experience and hands on learning in the helping professions, to make quick assessments related to the nature of the processes and essential coping strategies that people, couples and families/groups use… and then to employ them in the manner in which I work with people to help them see, understand and employ them toward positive change.

  • Good sense of humor used liberally and in appropriate doses

  • A good solid understanding of the difference between my needs and my clients’ needs

  • A refusal to be maneuvered into the role of the least favorite parent, or the voice of that parent, in my dealings with my clients. I routinely ask my clients to be a better parent to themselves than their parents may have been to them.

  • The insistence that my work with people be centered on strengths, kindness and gentle persistence, and that it is their responsibility to take a tough stance against any persistent lack of follow through, once identified, not mine.