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As a good mother, Synergy quietly and unconditionally nurtures, protects, and challenges us with opportunities to learn and grow. She puts choices on the table in front of us when we are truly hungry, a roof over us when we are exposed, and paths in front of us when we are ready to explore.

It’s up to us to choose to partake and she will accept and love us whether we accept her gifts or not, whether we show gratitude or not, and whether we even recognize the great lengths she’s gone to orchestrating our potential satisfaction or not.

A mother gives to her children because she brought them into existence. Yet her ultimate joy comes from letting them find their own road into understanding her gifts and her love.

Sometimes those gifts appear to come on command but that is part of the learning process because breaking through the illusion of control and surrendering to her will is an important lesson to teach.

When a child is born, they have no social constructs programmed in their minds, and are creatures of pure feeling.

Physical discomfort. Emotional discomfort. Intellectual discomfort. Satisfaction. Like animals, they have simple needs and simple joys. Hunger. Pain. Insecurity. Comfort. Satisfaction.

Children live in the Moment.

Their only means of communication are cries and caregivers respond to those cues with feeding, burping, changing, cuddling, and playing. The child makes demands on their environment and the parent either successfully provides satisfaction or does not.

Parenting requires living in the Moment.

A parent rarely can feed, comfort or change a diaper in advance of the need because infants do not have the ability to delay gratification or bank it in anticipation of future need.

That is a learned response.

Grown ups will will eat when not hungry, sleep when not tired, exchange things that are not soiled, and take action to avoid future problems.

All of these behaviours take you out of the present and ignore what you truly need, what you truly desire, what is actually available for you at that Moment. You can only demand satisfaction for what is a sincere need but you also can only express the need, not command the solution.

A famished newborn suckles what rubs at their cheek. An exhausted infant falls asleep in any position. A bored baby finds entertainment in their own hands and feet.

Examining the urge to eat when not hungry, the habit of sleeping when not tired, and exchanging when not soiled can give clarity and yield greater satisfaction by saving those behaviours for Moments of true need, and allows you to identify what you have authentic need of in those Moments of substitution.

From a very young age we learn artificial timelines and routines which drown out the internal voice of our wise mind. Children move from being fed on demand to being fed on a convenient schedule. Their lives begin to revolve around the ticking clock and their needs accommodate the lifestyle rather than a lifestyle accommodating their needs.

This is how associations get made between basic needs and inappropriate satisfaction, when we stop living in the Moment and stop recognizing our needs, substituting something else in an attempt to feel satiated.

There is value and comfort in schedules and routines, especially when outside connections must be maintained. But inside our own homes and lives, living an On Demand life where needs are met as they arise rather than because lunch is served at noon allows a return to a more direct link between feeling a need and taking action to satisfy it.

The Grapeseed and the Acorn

Photo by Laura Stanley on Pexels.com

An acorn and a grapeseed landed close together on the forest floor. The acorn, as acorns do, began to sprout straight up toward the sky. The grapeseed, as grapeseeds do, began to sprout along the earth. The sapling quickly grew tall, reaching for the stars. The seedling quickly grew long, reaching for supports. The grapevine encountered a blade of grass and whispered “May I lean on you?”

The grass answered yes, but when the vine wrapped its runner around the shoot the grass toppled over under the weight. The vine continued growing toward other plants on the forest floor, asking each one if it could lean on them, and each one buckled under the weight of the vine.

Finally the vine touched the sapling with one of its runners. By then, the oak had formed its heartwood and was strong and stable. The grapevine whispered “May I lean on you?”

The oak sapling rustled “Yes,” and the vine wove its runner around the trunk of the tree. The tree did not topple, and the vine began to grow strong and flourish, as did the oak tree.

The grapevine and the oak tree shared the soil and the rain and the sunshine, and bore fruit. The grapes on the vine were lush and delicious while the acorns on the tree were rich and nutritious.

The oak tree whispered to the grapevine “Come, rise up toward the sky with me.”

The vine trembled and said “No, the sky is not safe for a grapevine. Please can we grow North?”

Seeing the vine’s fear, the oak tree replied “Yes, we can grow North. I will support you.” And the oak tree grew a branch facing North. Together, the vine and the tree grew further North than any oak had ever grown before. The vine wrapped its shoots around the branch and both enjoyed the view. The oak tree delighted in the Northern animals the grapevine attracted with its abundant fruit, and they were content. Years went by.

The oak tree whispered to the grapevine “I would like you to come toward the sky with me, now that you see how well I support you in the North.”

The vine shook and said “No, the sky is too big. Can we please grow South?”

Seeing the vine’s fear, the oak tree replied “Yes, we can grow South. I will support you.”   And the oak tree grew a branch facing South. Together the vine and the oak grew a branch further than any oak tree had ever grown South before. The vine wrapped its shoots around the branch and both enjoyed the view. The oak tree delighted in the Southern animals the grapevine attracted with its abundant fruit, and they were content. Years went by.

The oak tree whispered to the grapevine “Look at how strong, true and tall my heartwood grows in my trunk as I reach for the sky. I would like you to grow there with me and keep me company.”

The vine shuddered and said “No, the sun is too bright in the sky and will burn me. Can we please grow East?”

The oak tree saw the pain in the vine and with sorrow said “Yes, we can grow East. I will support you.” And the oak tree grew a branch facing East. Together, the vine and the oak grew further East than any oak tree had ever grown before. The vine wrapped its shoots around the branch and both enjoyed the view. The oak tree delighted in the Eastern animals the grapevine attracted with its abundant fruit, and they were content. Years went by.

The oak tree once again whispered to the grapevine “I support you in the North. I support you in the South. I support you in the East. Please do not be afraid to join me in reaching for the sky. I am getting lonely as I grow taller and taller away from you.” The vine once again trembled and asked the oak instead to grow West, and the oak grew a branch to the West.

But this time, the vine was not content. The vine looked at the trunk of the oak tree. It saw how the bark of the tree was not even visible because the vine surrounded the entire thing. The vine looked at the branches to the North, the South, the East and the West. Only the vine was visible, the branches of the oak itself were not. Only the leaves of the vine, and its bunches of grapes, graced these lower branches of the tree. And the vine grew angry.

“You do NOT support me, oak tree. I support you. Look at us. All to be seen down here is me. My leaves. My grapes. My vine. I hold you up, oak tree, as you try to reach for the sky. I support you. You are nothing without me. Look around you, oak tree, and see the truth, that you are nothing without my support.”

The oak tree did look. The oak tree did see that the lower trunk, and lower branches, were completely shrouded by the strong, abundant, and productive grapevines. And the oak tree was puzzled. Was the vine truly holding up the oak tree from the outside, or was the oak tree supporting the vine from the inside? The heartwood inside those branches died at that moment, losing their identity and strength. The branches no longer bore sap, no oak leaves grew on them, and no acorns graced them. The oak stopped asking the grapevine to grow toward the sky with it, but still strove to touch the stars and still spread higher branches, filling them with abundant leaves and acorns. Neither was content. Years went by.

A sharp crack and terrible cry reverberated through the forest one day. The North branch dropped to the ground.

“Why did you do this, why did you drop me?” the grapevine cried to the oak tree. The branch had rotted and crumbled without the heartwood inside to support it, and had given way under the great mass of the grapevine with all its leaves and bunches of grapes. “What have you done?”

Then the South, East, and West branches snapped and tumbled to the ground, taking the grapevine with them.

“How can you do this to me? How can you let me fall?” the grapevine said to the oak tree.

“But you said you were supporting me,” the oak replied. “How did I let you fall if you were the one holding both of us up? It’s ok, though, grapevine. I still have all these branches growing toward the sky if you want to join me. I will shelter you from the sun and wind. I will support you as we reach for the stars. I understand that you are a grapevine and you grow as grapevines grow. I am an oak tree, and I grow as oak trees grow. But we can share like we used to, when you kept me company and brought me beautiful animals with your grapes, and I held you up so you could feel the sun on your leaves. I grew broader and stronger than any oak ever has before. And you produced more grapes and grew stronger and broader than any grape vine ever had before.”

The grapevine considered the oak tree’s words. It looked at the branches on the ground which appeared to be grapevines but deep inside had been supported by the oak.

The oak tree whispered one last time “Please grow with me toward the sky.” And this time the grapevine felt no fear, wrapping its shoots around the strong oak and reaching toward the sky, securely scaffolded by the oak tree. They were content.

50 First Dates with Life

Hi, my name is Tom…

We classify things. It’s in our core nature. We also judge things. It’s in our core nature.

Satisfying or unsatisfying.

Balanced or unbalanced.

Safe or unsafe.

Yes or no.

Classification allows us to quickly and easily respond to opportunities as they arise in our environment, and the recall of classification status can be of great benefit.

…the last time I drank tequila I bruised my head so I won’t drink it because I expect I might do it again…

…the last time I ate at this restaurant I loved it so I expect I will enjoy it again…

…the last time I met this person they hurt me so I expect they’ll do it again…

Where problems arise is the generalization of classification status to all individual examples of the class, or if the classification inhibits the experience in the Moment by placing expectations on it from the past. Even if the classified object has been consistent in its classification every moment in the past, if you are truly living in the present Moment then you must allow opportunity for a adjustment in classification. You can be ready for what you expect to happen, you can be prepared for consistency, but your actions every moment need to allow for change. Need to be open for growth and acceptance. Need to hold hope.

Expectations are only meant for preparation not perpetuity.

…the last time I drank tequila I bruised my head. I will observe my consumption this time and see if I still need protect myself…

…the last time I ate at this restaurant I loved it. I will observe my consumption and see if I continue to love it…

…the last time I met this person they hurt me. I will observe my interaction and see if I still need to protect myself…

Our classifications and judgements are about keeping us safe and getting our needs met. They are information used to predict the potential of a situation to hurt us, help us, or hinder us, and we rely on a script built on the pattern card for the classification we’ve assigned to our past experiences. Yet, if our boundaries are sound and our faith solid, we can throw away those recipes for survival and instead trust our instinct for success and our universe to provide for our needs.

Every Moment should be a blank page ready to be written rather than a worn script being re-read. Each interaction should be an exploration of options rather than a rote recipe; even if the ingredients are the same, you can have different results by changing up the mixture.

In the case of the WWF players, classifying a Scammy Sammy involves a judgement of the patterns and characteristics typical of the fraud-minded users. Recent start date. Low average game score. Low average word score. Interchangeable first and last names. The fact they challenge in the first place. And most tellingly, the speedy chat attempt. Based on these ingredients, the classification as Scammy Sammy makes sense and engaging appropriate defense mechanisms is understandable.

Except…those same mechanisms should be in place for all interactions no matter the classification! The rule of no expectations, only boundaries applies at all times. If you are consistent in your boundaries then you are safe no matter if you’re in the lion’s den or the games room. Everyone you meet should be treated with the same respect, courtesy, curiosity and interest while maintaining healthy boundaries. Even Scammy Sammys are human beings behind the script and feel the barbs of judgemental contempt if levelled at them.

Accept the information your classifications give you, hear the options your emotional and judgemental minds feed you, but don’t act upon either until the Moment of choice is upon you and then act from compassion not from fear, because very rarely are you in true danger if you live inside solid boundaries.

If someone hurt you in the past, but are not hurting you in the present, then enlightenment demands you treat them according to the present Moment. If someone previously fit one of your class groupings but is not demonstrating those traits today, mindfulness demands you give the benefit of the doubt while maintaining your healthy boundaries. If someone you have never met before seems to be falling into one of the classifications, observe the interaction but reserve your judgement and give them the benefit of the doubt while maintaining your healthy boundaries until a moment of choice arises. If your boundaries are working properly, people’s behavior will not catch you off guard since you have no expectations!

Live it like Lucy.

Lucy wakes up each morning with no recall of recent events in the Adam Sandler romantic comedy 50 First Dates. A brain injury destroyed the connection between her short term and long term memory. Her core personality remains intact but she cannot consciously add new experiences to her life history. Once she falls asleep, which is when healthy brains compile the day’s adventures, her slate gets wiped clean.

She truly lives in the Moment. Not as profoundly as poor Tom who has a ten second recall, but she cannot consciously remember the days after her accident, good or bad.

Enter Henry, a man who lives for variety and challenge so cannot commit to relationships. Normally a girl like Lucy would never keep him, and would never fall for his ploys because she would catch on after one day. The next time she saw him, he would be classified as unable to meet her needs thus unsafe to engage with.

Yet those needs were based on the woman she was the day before. Her classification is based on historical data rather than the current situation. Her judgement is flawed because the woman she is does not now need protection from the man he is. Yesterday she may have told him he had one day to win her trust and then she’d be done with him.

Except now Henry always has one day. He gets to know Lucy inside and out, one day at a time, and learns how to be everything she could ever want while not being judged for who he is. His insecurities, his passions, his core self are not vulnerable in this relationship because any mistakes he makes are erased and he gets to start fresh the very next day. She doesn’t remember what happened the day before and he chooses only to remember the good parts.

Both are truly living in the Moment and both loving it. Lucy has no expectations of Henry, while he has none of her, yet both maintain their personal boundaries.

Until Lucy starts leaving herself notes. Judging Henry’s satisfaction with the relationship based on her values and experiences. She stops living in the Moment and relies on her thoughts and feelings about the contents of her journal, ultimately breaking up with Henry. Her conscious attention to her classification of the relationship as unfair to Henry thus inconsistent with her core values ignored the sincere joy both she and Henry felt. She felt like a burden on him and her family and admitted herself into a residential facility. There she figured she’d forget about Henry.

She was wrong.

Although her thinking mind and her feeling brain could not recognize the person in front of her or put a name to his face, her wise mind knew that face and missed the bond between them which was deeper than the events of each moment.

When we truly let go of the past, or at least the emotions associated with it if not the information collected from it, then we can start each morning with a clean slate and let those around us be free of judgement and classification while still keeping ourselves balanced and satisfied.

With our eyes wide open and full of acceptance and curiosity, we see only what we need to see.

Trojan Horses and Gordian Knots

No strings attached?

Look that gift horse in the mouth and examine every strand of hair in its mane and tail looking for threads which may inextricably bind you before accepting unsolicited gifts. Or unsolicited acts of service, for that matter.

Generosity is an aspect of sincere compassion but like all behaviours can be used for control. Extricating yourself from negative billing on an uninvited gift or service can be incredibly tricky. Have you ever sat on the phone navigating the layers of red tape required to cancel that free trial you signed up for on a whim…and you knew what you were getting into there!

Providing unexpected gifts or services is a common behaviour in those struggling to reach emotional stability. It is a way to secure connection without a risk of personal rejection – our society tells us it is churlish to turn away someone bearing gifts or who does nice things for us…until the moment where the words ” After all I’ve done for you…” come to haunt you.

There is no shame or dysfunction in choosing to involve yourself with someone who engages in dysfunctional behaviour if you do so with conscious compassion and joyful intent. Just like accepting an offer of a free trial book of the month club gives you a chance to see if you like what you get, if it meets your needs.

A gift horse does have value even if long in the tooth. A Trojan army can only overrun your boundaries if you are unprepared or weakened. Every interaction, unsolicited or not, with another human being is a bid for contact, an attempt to get a need met, an effort to find stability. Greeted with receptive curiosity, these threads of connection can weave beautiful patterns not possible without the tension created by the variance in personalities.

Understanding yourself and your needs and motivations will allow you to examine the details of Trojan horses to determine if acceptance is worth the cost. Awareness of your strengths and defenses will provide you with certainty as you decide to allow entry or reject the offering presented to you.

Knowledge of the patterns and personality of the gift giver will inform your decision; don’t trust anyone but love them anyway by having hopeful assumptions. Trust Synergy to keep you satisfied and in balance as you endeavor to meet your needs while being of service to others.

Even if they seem to be trying to pay you in advance.

That behaviour, being generous, is sincere, as is the motive, getting needs met. What makes the interaction insincere and thus unsatisfying is the lack of clear expectations. Perhaps because of a history of rejection and manipulation, they feel they must use passive means to meet their needs. Maybe they’ve experienced helplessness or hopelessness and are attempting to cultivate relationships in advance so when they need support they already have a line of credit with you.

With all unsolicited bids for contact, especially those involving gifts or acts of service, you are able to make an intentional and deliberate choice to accept the gift and its possible knot of hidden obligations, or choose to block access to your energy by turning the gift away at the door. Feel no shame or guilt in saying no because your boundaries still apply even in the face of apparent acts of generosity. Since Synergy gifts us with what we need each day, we are programmed to receive and resistance goes against our very nature!

You will feel the Moment a truly compassionate gift or act is bestowed upon you, and anything less than that sensation will have some degree of transaction involved, some measure of score keeping. When in the Presence of sincere compassion, the taste of satisfaction and gratitude will be unmistakable and you will feel compelled to accept out of sheer joy.

Money in the Now

Cash rarely has Presence in the Moment

Because a Moment is rooted in our Wise mind, which is not grounded in the physical world, rarely does money have relevance. Money is a tool to be used in the quest for satisfaction, and it of course offers leverage when prying open puzzle segments in the escape room which is your life, but it does not meet your needs in and of itself.

Except the sensations of security, power and control.

Those are actually sources of imbalance because if you surrender to the moment you are living in total insecurity. You dwell in Schrodinger’s Box where all possibilities exist simultaneously until the Moment of choice comes where you have a chance to commit to one option. You relinquish control to the universe and allow its power to course through you as it will rather than attempting to bend it to your will or resist it.

Money is not something you need. It is a resource to be used at the right time. Were you to receive five million dollars right this instant in your bank account, it would require action on your part to convert that financial windfall from digital delight into satisfaction.

Think about it.

What would it translate into? And how long would it take to bring actual change in your level of satisfaction and contentment? Paying off your mortgage doesn’t change your home and the only time you really need that money is the day the bill is due. Otherwise, a need for money is a feeling, and feelings are not facts! So, paying off a mortgage only affects the Moment of payment, which is one or two days per month. If today is not that day, then thinking about your mortgage or rent means you are not living in the present.

Need a car? Is that what you would do with the funds?

Why?

If you need need to get to work, THAT is your need, not the car. Truly understanding what the problem is – getting to work – as compared to obstacles – lack of a car – will open your eyes to opportunities for meeting your need that get overlooked because you are only seeing obstacles. You focus on getting the money to buy the car and lose the opportunity to connect with your interesting neighbour who works on the same street you do and would love your company on the drive to work.

Visualize how you would spend every last dime of an unlimited bank account. And then examine the underlying need behind each purchase. Understand yourself better.

And realize that it is not lack of money preventing needs from being met. Everything you need will always be available to you in the Moment you truly require a specific resource.

Today, right this instant, what need is not being met? Our basic need for food and shelter is actually subservient to the need for psychological safety.

Emotional homelessness, the sensation where it is more comfortable to be without an address or a family or contacts, can happen even amongst those with copious funds in the bank. Freedom from the perceived injustice of social expectations can drive someone from the comforts of home into apparent privation but the safety of the mind overrides the safety of the body. An extreme example of living in the Moment, where feelings of imbalance turn a life upside down yet the person living it feels more stable in the uncertainty of the street than the certainty of a unsatisfying life

The universe gives us what we truly need but we tend to get wrapped up in or distracted by what our emotional and judgemental minds tell us we want.

We may feel like we want money and think that we need it but we know we don’t.

Behaviour Blame Shifting

An exit strategy

Receiving a no, with or without explanation, can lead to a battle of wills as the person seeking to meet a need attempts to obtain it from someone who is not offering to do so.

Leave judgement behind and forget about wrong and right. In the Moment, there is no such thing. There is only need and satisfaction. This is how the defense of temporary insanity arises, when the emotional monster overwhelms a wise mind for a moment and seizes control attempting to overcome an obstacle in the way of an unmet need. Needs are valid, but forcing someone to meet them against their will is not.

When you remove the lense of judgement from evaluating behaviour, and accept that unmet needs are the driving force regardless of your personal opinion on the veracity of the need, then you will be better able resist attempts to dominate your will since emotionality and judgement are not part of the operations of a wise mind.

But resistance is necessary when your boundaries are at stake, and understanding your needs and boundaries gives stability to your defenses.

Some people will try to smash those walls, breaking themselves in the process. They may go to great lengths, driven by uncontrolled thoughts and emotions, to bend you to their objective. They may become someone they don’t even recognize in their efforts to make you into what they need.

And then they’ll blame you.

Upon reflection, in a convoluted way it is your fault. You did not follow the script in their head and they responded to your failure to meet their need. Your boundaries drove them to greater heights attempting to scale them. If you hadn’t been so strong in the face of their desperate need, they would never have gone to such lengths to win you.

Understanding this rationale will allow you to recognize how and why blame shifting happens thus letting you accept it without defending yourself, justifying your boundaries, or arguing how you actually did nothing wrong!

What you did was watch as a scaffold was constructed right outside your door. You listened as the rope was strung. And you waited as they mounted the blocks telling you you’d put the hangman’s noose outside your boundaries. Telling you if you don’t let them in they are going to die. Telling you they are in distress and only you can fix it. You didn’t stop them from building their own downfall. Because you held your boundaries, you were to blame for letting them hang themselves. Using Fear, Obligation, Guilt, and shame they shroud the scaffold in a FOG smokescreen and convince you it doesn’t exist and your walls are to blame for their distress.

We are not truly responsible for the actions, thoughts or feelings of another and our own past emotions have no relevance to the presence. We are not obliged to stop them burning their own bridges or jumping under busses. We do not need to surrender to their needs any more than they are required to meet our expectations.

Back to our WWF friends. They have a need. It is to earn money. They are exploiting an opportunity to connect with potentially vulnerable targets, in an effort to redistribute wealth. The need is real but the ends do not justify the means. In fact, were these Scammy Sammys given the opportunity to put their energy toward a legitimate enterprise, their obvious wits and flexibility would make them incredibly successful. Leaving judgement aside and meeting them with curiosity, you develop compassion for the situation they are in while also recognizing it is not ok to take advantage of people.

And they are aware. They know exactly what they are doing and take pride in a job well done until they feel judged or ashamed. Although we often hide the truth from ourselves, we all know what we are doing. We all make choices. We all have moments of clarity where we sit inside our wise mind and hate what our monsters have made us do. Then we either embrace change…

Or we shift that hate onto the person who made us look in the mirror.

“Look what you made me do.”

Relevance

What matters right now in the escape room which is your life?

There are countless things to think about. Yesterday’s events. Tomorrow’s promise. Where you are. Where you’ve been. Where you’re going. Where society’s been. Where it’s going. All very important.

But are they relevant?

Do you need to consider these things right now, in this moment? Does the identity of the person who keeps stealing your lunch from your work fridge matter on Saturday afternoon? Will pondering the global economy make a difference in your spending habits today?

Filtering important thoughts from necessary ones protects and focuses your energy and grounds you in the present. Putting topics on the back burner is not dismissing them; in fact the most delicious scents emerge from simmering pots and you know they’re ready to be enjoyed when the smell gets so tantalizing you can’t resist opening them up.

We have all we need in front of us each day. But we are bombarded with stimulation from the larger world. Whether our street, our municipality, our region, our country or our planet, very few of us actually have an impact at any given moment. If we dedicate our time and energy on finding solutions in our very own limited present, ideas for the future will percolate through our wonderful mind all on their own.

That is what acceptance does. Resistance is futile.

When you accept everything – including the worrisome, the painful, the toxic – then you stop worrying, you stop feeling pain, and you stop acting toxic. Our world is what it is today. It was something else yesterday. It will be something different tomorrow. You can make a difference only by living in the Moment and taking action that is available right here, right now.

In taking action to meet our own needs we ensure we have the strength and stability to meet the needs of others. Place your own oxygen mask before assisting others with their survival lest you suffocate while saving them.

You can be an anchor thread which changes the global picture but only by whittling away distracting thoughts and irrelevant feelings to leave behind a clear perspective on what is possible in this Moment.

Clear Expectations

They bridge the space between.

Being of service requires truly understanding how to be of service. Asking someone directly is an effective and straightforward way of determining if what you have to offer is indeed what is wanted or needed. Clarifying expectations and setting boundaries is a necessary part of being of service yet is often inhibited by our discomfort in asking for expectations and articulation of boundaries. Without these invaluable guidelines one or both parties get disappointed, exploited, or otherwise dissatisfied. The space between gets clouded and murky and connection becomes strained.

On the boundaries side, it starts with the offering. The more information you provide about what you are willing to give, the less chance of misunderstanding. But you must balance this with the fact information gives power and power gives control.

If you are actively offering a good or service then providing extensive details in your description saves you and your prospective customers time and energy. You don’t have to field the same question dozens of times while they don’t waste their time asking. If you really want to sell, you voluntarily share all the details. Doing so generates an intimacy which simulates trust, which is exactly why the WWF Sammy Scammys overshare! In these days of digital fraud surrounding marketplace advertisements you as a seller must be alert to scamsters too and the lack of details provided in their queries will often be the first clue to the insincere purchaser. Of course, reading an invalid URL as in the example below will also reveal a scam attempt.

On the recipient’s side, articulating expectations ensures that you are going to be satisfied with what you obtain from the transaction. Make no mistake, every single interaction with another human being is a transaction in one way or another. Except in the case of acts of true compassion, where nothing is expected in return.

It’s the currency and the outcome which determine if it feels mercenary or rewarding or simply a daily task. Pretending that our interactions are not transactions does not change that reality and in fact creates the phenomenon of generalized dissatisfaction in society. Many people experience a nebulous discomfort as they go about their day, a sense of being unfulfilled and cheated yet they can’t put their finger on it. Because we feel guilty saying no, we feel uncomfortable denying someone when they express a need but also because of the legitimate confusion which exists within the ambiguity of social interactions. Our WWF Scammy Sammys consistently exploit the very name of the program, insisting that since you accepted a game and chat, you are their friend and must meet all the responsibilities and obligations inherent in THEIR definition of friendship even if you did not actively agree to a working definition of friendship.

Intentional business transactions drive global finance. Personal transactions drive global society yet we do not give intentionality to most of our human interactions. Even acts of compassion are only effective if the need is understood. Without intentionality, we don’t get what we really want nor give what we truly meant to.

Sincere and intentional communication can not only be used as protection against exploitation by controlling data mining but also ensures interpersonal transactions remain satisfying while even becoming a delight in and of itself.

Saying what you want is satisfying. Indicating what you are willing to offer is comforting. Avoiding either can be a sign of a power play but assuming the best is what Synergy wants us to do as we seek to meet our needs.

Data Mining

Tell me about yourself…

Curiosity is a natural and wonderful sensation. It drives toddlers to ask why and impels much of our daily lives. Those who aren’t feeling satisfied with their situation often are failing to engage their sense of wonder and intrigue. Discoveries are made and inventions generated by the engine of inquiry.

Even commonplace items and experiences can become delightful explorations if you remove the filter of complacency and look through an intentional lens of curiosity. Asking questions polishes away dusty assumptions and any buildup of judgements. Old becomes new when you are present in the Moment using wise eyes to see.

Data mining is an extension of curiosity. Information is power and fuels the momentum toward satisfaction. Sincere questions and interest open opportunities for service by identifying needs and interests. Every single interaction has a purpose for the participants and to dismiss the gift is to ignore the chance for satisfaction for both parties.

Data mining itself is a natural impulse and when performed with pure intentions leads to fulfillment. Questions coming from innocence and authentic interest leave both parties feeling satisfied. But probing queries driven by ulterior motives, even unconscious ones, feel uncomfortable and distasteful.

People can use data mining in insidious ways and if you have been exploited by those who gain power and control through weilding information against you, you develop an aversion to sharing. If as a child you were compelled to give control to a data mining parent, you may fall on the other end of the spectrum and find yourself oversharing.

Back to the scripts used by Sammy Scammys on WWF, where data mining not only fosters a sense of intimacy but verifies the traits of a vulnerable target. Seemingly benign chitchat has a sinister edge because the ultimate goal is bilking the victim of funds. The fact you play the game implies you may be lonely or bored. Alert predators will watch your play habits since your speedy response to a move implies you have time on your hands. If you claim to have a spouse and family yet are a frequent visitor you may have family conflict you are seeking to escape.

If you respond to flattery you may be vulnerable to exploitation. Using your name also creates intimacy because it feels like they are paying attention to your little details.

Depending on your time zone, if you are mostly active during your evening you may be susceptible and also likely employed. Asking where you live narrows this down. A strange question that often comes up with Sammy Scammys is where are you originally from. This likely arises from the idea that people emigrated to North America, and is a key indicator that it is Sammy on the other end since those born in North America don’t tend to ask where someone is originally from, they ask where you grew up.

A frequent question is about your work, couched in various ways, but the motive is to see if you earn money while again testing your boundaries. If you overshare because they overshared, you are a more likely prospect. The more information you give, the more avenues they can travel down trying to drive you toward emotional entanglement and financial exploitation.

The script of a data miner is similar whether they are benevolent, benign, or malignant. Like passive behaviour, asking questions is not toxic in and of itself and indeed is the hallmark of an open, curious, and enlightened mind. When you live in the Moment everything and everyone around is fascinating and delightful. It is the underlying motives behind the investigation which trigger your sense of discomfort or connection.

Awareness of the scripts and your unconscious vulnerability to probing will allow you to intentionally respond to questions and avoid intrusive data mining both online and in real life. Standing around the water cooler, data can be the currency and your life events the game pieces laid out, so recognizing a harvest for what it is protects you from the imbalance of a violation. If you don’t mind being the one people talk about, you can make the conscious decision to share instead of feeling betrayed by unintentionally feeding a data miner’s curiosity, mistaking it for interest in who you are.

Each of us is interesting and worthy. Data mining is how we build connections and intimacy between each other but opens the doors to misuse if we don’t recognize the patterns.

No Explanation Required

Stop justifying boundaries!

Sorry, I am washing my hair so can’t talk to you.

Our instinct when we say no, when we assert a boundary, is to give our reasons. This drive is so deeply ingrained that we will lie when we say no just to avoid judgement of our real reason for refusing something or someone. We feel the need to provide an excuse, information meant to ease their pain.

Rarely does it do that.

But worse, information is power. Power is control. Control is an opportunity for imbalance through judgement, exploitation and manipulation.

Our healthy boundaries are valid for us. And when we say no, our reasons are our own. To tell them to others is to hand them power over our boundary and invite them to debate our internal limits.

Synergy provides no explanation when she denies us what we think we want. She does not justify, argue or defend. She offers what she can, and it is not our place to question her. Since we know she won’t answer, we may try to fathom her reasons but we don’t attempt to change her mind.

Unlike our fellow humans.

We regularly engage in campaigns to get our way. Overt intimidation, covert manipulation, wheedling, cajoling, and bribing are all efforts to turn a no to a yes. And the more information we are armed with, the more effective our battle strategies. Admittedly it is satisfying to get our way and not taking no for an answer does have its place.

So long as that place does not steamroll the rights of another and violate their fair and reasonable boundaries. A no may feel unfair and unreasonable to us, and at times it is, given that inappropriate and unhealthy boundaries also involve the word no! Someone exploiting you is going to emphatically tell YOU no when you tell them to stop violating you!

If you are moving toward sincere joy and satisfaction, then examining a no with curiosity and openness should reveal Synergy’s reasons for the obstacle. Asking questions is part of the journey, as is accepting the answers.

When you assert a boundary and say no, you do not need to volunteer your rationale. You do not need to give the other person control of your boundary. Your sense of security is not up for debate.

But it is open to investigation, fair game for fair and appropriate action. Respectful curiosity is what Synergy wants from all of us, including pointing it at our own emotional mind. Do YOU know why you are saying no? Do you understand what aspect of the situation makes you uncomfortable thus prompting a rejection? Have you given intentionality to your boundary or is it just a knee jerk response from habit or training?

When someone probes your boundaries with gentle analysis, it can feel frightening and possibly invasive, which triggers a greater sense of discomfort. But if we don’t understand why we say no when we say no we are not only doing a possible disservice to ourselves, but perhaps losing the chance to serve the needs of others, a core imperative in our design.

There are times to explain yourself, when an opportunity for service is present and both you and the other party have sincere needs and authentic reasons for your positions. In those moments, intimacy can grow as you offer the vulnerability of an explanation, giving the power of information to the other party.

Sharing your reasons is an act of intimacy. Of surrender. It generates a Moment of connection. That is why we feel the need to explain ourselves. But to jump the gun and offer unsolicited information is to force intimacy. Allowing a give and take fosters more depth of connection. If you do all the giving and don’t allow reciprocal giving you have missed a moment. And if there are unhealthy motives, allowing give and take to flow naturally will shine the light on them.

Try it on WWF! The Scammy Sammys volunteer their life story – invariably a poor widowed father who doesn’t get on the game often so wants to meet on Google Hangouts. This disclosure of information is intended to generate a sense of reciprocity and intimacy yet comes uninvited! When you do not offer a similar level of disclosure, when you say no and enforce a healthy boundary, you will come under attack!

Some people will simply leave you alone when you say no, blocking you out of their life with no explanation once they realize you have clear boundaries. These are Scammy Sammys who like easy prey.

Others will attempt to shame you and make you question your boundaries. These Scammy Sammys enjoy the negativity where a no triggers contempt.

While yet others will try to find ways to circumnavigate your boundaries, testing your defenses from various angles until they find a weak spot in your armour. To them no means convince you, and they delight in a challenge. They use an arsenal of strategies to reach their goal. Your weak spots will be either insincere or unhealthy defenses. In your analysis of your boundaries you will recognize some areas needing work and reinforcement. Proactive reflection will keep you safer by preventing intrusions.

Fielding the constant attacks of these types gets exhausting and is the most dangerous to you core self. Every hit weakens your walls and if enough volleys hit home you eventually crumble and fall victim to a violation.

Boundaries form the walls protecting our wise mind and helping to keep our monsters subdued. Boundary violations trigger Moodasaurus and Logiticus to patrol our perimeter and unhealthy boundaries confuse those two lovely beasts as well as the targets of their defenses.

We do not need to justify our boundaries to others…so long as we have justified them to ourselves.