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.

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.

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.

Predator as Prey

Passive behaviour allows predatory control of relationship dynamics.

What so incredibly confusing about passive behaviour, why it is so seductive and successful, is that Synergy only meets our needs via passivity so we are preprogrammed to seek it out!

Synergy speaks to us through our environment. She guides us with clues. She supports us secretly and with delicate subtlety and it feels like a delightful escape room puzzle when you discover the solution which was staring you in the face. She gives us all we need and leaves it up to us to put it together.

Just like a passive personality.

We were designed to search for cues and synchronicities, created to listen to unspoken commands. When someone gives them to us it feels like we are driven to act on them because we are!

Passive personalities are doing what Synergy does.

Passive manipulation of one human by another is following the design of the universe while simultaneously unbalancing the parties involved if creating an injustice. That red flag which goes off to indicate something isn’t quite right is not actually alerting you to the manipulation, but rather, the unfairness of the outcome.

When Synergy moves us through passive actions and subtle gifts, we feel profound satisfaction and peace. When a benevolent human moves us through passive control and gentle guidance, we also find stability and gratitude. But when hidden agendas take us out of our comfort zone, our alarm arises from the lack of grace in the perpetrator and the lack of peace in the results.

Unfortunately, each time we are victimized by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, we get sensitized to sheep. Over time we begin to feel that passivity itself is the source of our pain and we lose the ability to differentiate between the genuine generosity of Synergy or her agents, and the artificial phishing attempts of those seeking to get their own needs met by disguising their motives.

A passive personality may create one of the most frustrating dynamics you will ever encounter. Passive communication elicits intense impatience and resentment because of the layers of subtext to filter through, searching for meaning.

Passive behaviour in and of itself is not toxic. The outcome determines the degree of dysfunction. A predator will leave prey shredded and dumbfounded while an agent of Synergy provides support and blessings without claiming credit.

The lesson to pull, the skill to refine, when dealing with passivity is observation. Like working with Synergy, who cannot say a word, the passive individual also cannot say a straight word. Yet like Synergy, they have much to say and are worth listening to. Maintaining curious regard is difficult in the face of frustration but it is practice for peace.

Enlightenment does not come easy and requires listening to the quietest, most passive voice in the universe!

Satisfaction is Gratitude

Synergy doesn’t need your thanks.

Make no mistake, she appreciates it when we shower her with sincere praise and glow with gratitude but like all good mothers she is taking care of us because she loves us, not because she needs to feel good about herself!

Selflessness is in her nature and her reward is seeing your satisfaction with the banquet of opportunities and blessings she provides.

When you open your cupboard door and see the plethora of gadgets there, and it feels satisfying to think you have a choice of what delicious meal to prepare using nifty devices, don’t scorn her gift by feeling ashamed at the idea that someone somewhere does not have those blessings. Not only is it not your fault they are without, but rest assured Synergy is doing everything she can to change their circumstances to give them what they need to be satisfied.

And also don’t compare your requirements to those of another thinking they couldn’t possibly be satisfied eating the same thing day after day. To assume their sources of satisfaction are the same as yours is hubris.

Fairness is not about treating everyone the same. It is about meeting each person’s individual needs. Yes, there is unfairness in the world and people with unmet needs but if we try to speak for those people when we are not those people, we are taking away their dignity and we are blocking Synergy’s connection to us and to them.

Each day, each of us has what we need right there in front of us. And we also have the opportunity for satisfaction every moment of every day. Finding satisfaction, taking pleasure in what we have, is all the gratitude Synergy needs. And if that satisfaction happens to overflow into joy or outright blissful gratitude, then she’ll be smiling along with us.

Today, the world is exactly what it is. Right or wrong, here we are. Reflecting on your blessings and comforts is good practice if it brings comfort but if there’s guilt and shame in doing so, realize Synergy doesn’t want that for you! She gave you everything you have because that’s what was necessary.

But if there are things in your life which do not bring you satisfaction, then offering them to others just might. The items you no longer find pleasurable, the books you no longer read, they reflect the person you were yesterday. Don’t judge that person or the things they found satisfying. Don’t question why they bought that car or wore that watch. Just accept the opportunity to share those unneeded items with someone who will take greater satisfaction from them.

If you measure the value of objects by the satisfaction you receive from them, then you will find them easy to exchange. Before looking at market values, trust your instincts to tell you what figure would satisfy you and then accept Synergy’s will. A house, a car, a painting, a watch, their cost is immaterial if they give you no satisfaction.

Satisfaction is priceless.

Synergy knows this.

What you have to hunt for will not satisfy you. Synergy knows that. She doesn’t play games or tease you. She will present you with what you need when you need it, but opportunities to achieve satisfaction can seem hidden if you are not present in the moment. You do not need to seek satisfaction, you simply need to notice it.

If you are not paying attention you will miss the connecting thread dropped by your neighbour when you are seeking a job. Don’t ignore the bulletin board posting in your apartment when you need a vehicle. And don’t allow a boundary violation to proceed when an opportunity for the satisfaction of safety can be taken.

It is very satisfying to feel safe. Saying no is one way to feel safe but often it triggers negativity in others. Receiving a No answer is definitely not satisfying which is why some people become enraged when they hear a no! A No is a boundary you have set, such as your valuation of an item, your personal space, or your tolerance of a behaviour.

Obtaining satisfaction through the violation of another’s boundaries, entitlements, or feelings is not ok! Exploitation and manipulation are not part of Synergy’s basic designs for us, but there exists temptation to use them to find satisfaction. Resisting the impulse can be difficult. Especially if a pattern was established long ago.

Synergy resonates with us when we feel sincere satisfaction. To her it feels like gratitude. But the satisfaction – and there is no denying it is satisfying to take, to exploit, to win, to conquer – those things do not ring with joy or bring balance so the satisfaction is artificial and quickly replaced with guilt and shame which then drive a pattern of negativity.

Satisfaction comes from accepting what is, from truly seeing what is present in your life and how it meets your needs. Allowing yourself to be satisfied with what is creates gratitude and invites more of what you need.

The Culmination

Mindfulness and faith propose that every moment is exactly what was meant to be and that you should surrender yourself to each moment and accept the reality of it. From that acceptance, peace will flow, satisfaction will arise, and joy will blanket you.

But if we follow that philosophy outwards from our limited perspective as an individual, we must also accept and embrace ALL circumstances as having purpose, as being necessary, as part of our requisite circumstances to grow as human beings or the human race.

Mindfulness and faith espouse not judging what is, simply acknowledging what is and reflecting on how that reality influences your satisfaction with the moment and how in turn this moment can be influenced by you.

So, to truly and completely embrace this concept, we must embrace and accept what is present in the world. Without judgement or fear or thought or emotion. And act only upon what we can do in this instant, in this immediate environment, with the tools present and available to us. To do anything else is to leave the moment.

An example is to see the conditions of 2020 without emotional trauma. Yes, the conditions have victimized many and are not peaceful, pleasant nor desirable. But feeling victimized, traumatized, or devastated does not change the circumstances of this moment. Judging any of the political, social, environmental or biological circumstances of 2020 does not make this moment better.

Today’s world is the outcome of cumulative events. Although the impacts of these events are profound and far reaching, which can be overwhelming to consider, the most important focus is here and now. The causes of our situation are irrelevant in this moment, but awareness of the imbalances that led here may be important for you.

Or not.

You are exactly where you need to be. Regardless of how you got here or where you are, you also have everything you need to get where you want to be.

Look around you. What do you need TODAY? What is essential to your survival in this moment and what action can you take today to obtain it. Not future actions or future goals. Here and now is all that counts and is perfect to take you into your next moment.

Our decisions and the impact of the decisions of others creates our situation. But Synergy puts in front of us the tools to change our situation and opportunities to do so if we are patient, present, and persistent.

She’ll be with you in a Moment if you quietly wait, watch and believe.

Monsters Within

All of us have monsters inside. Some people keep them on tight leashes, harnessed to pull them through the drifts and banks of stormy environments and haul them out of ruts.

Others hide their monsters so deep within they forget they have them until the creatures escape, wreaking havoc as they rampage out of control on the unsuspecting people who happen to be nearby when the walls crumble.

Yet others have caged them, letting the monsters see all the world but not allowing any freedom to work off the energy fed to them. The monsters shake those bars, and grumble and howl, but rarely do they get satisfaction thus neither does their master no matter how well the person seems to master their world.

A final group of people hide behind one or both of their monsters, never letting their true selves show so all the world experiences is the fierceness with none of the authenticity of the spirit within.

Monsters are a part of each of us. They need feed and care because their purpose is to protect us and work for us. There are two kinds of monsters inside our two material brains but none live inside our wise Eternal mind. Our true selves need their protection while tied to the Mattersphere and shed those skins when we leave the material world behind.

Logiticus, the cold, cruel calculating robot, lives inside our logical brain. Lacking emotions, this terminator comes out to defend perceived wrongs, avenge betrayals, and correct imbalance. When harnessed properly, Logiticus is an effective tool to operate successfully in our physical and social environment with its rules, laws, customs, and norms.

Moodasaurus, the wild animal, resides in the emotional mind and runs rampant in response to threats, fears, and pain. When harnessed properly Moodasaurus keeps us safe from danger, protects us from exploitation, and helps us navigate our physical and social environment with its rules, laws, customs, and norms.

Both exist for a reason, to help us. With proper training and exercise, they can be man’s best friend but mistreatment can lead them to bite the hand that feeds them. The first step in responsible ownership is to acknowledge their existence and become familiar with their needs. And then a productive partnership of mutual respect and admiration can begin.

Monsters are only monsters when you don’t understand them. Once you know them, you begin to love who and what they are and embrace them. The beast within has a beauty of its own.

The Fourth Is Strong in This One

Faith is an all or nothing state because you either totally embrace the belief framework or not, there really can be no in between. When you doubt, you doubt all of it not just the particular tenet against which you resist…no matter how much you might argue, doubt is insidious and infects everything when it has hold of you.

Like Yoda says, there is no try. Do. Or do not. Believe or believe not. The concept of try exists only because we have a concept of future and past. Notice people who are successful keep failing until they succeed? Failure is a ‘did not’ success is a ‘did’, neither of which is a try. In a Moment, you do or do not.

Only humans doubt. Only humans try. Animals don’t have faith nor do they question their purpose. Their purpose is to exist and they do it with utter belief in their existence. Only because of our short circuit of self awareness do we find uncertainty and fearfulness.

Trust is personal and individual. It does not require the corroboration of others, nor does faith demand use of an existing framework. Both exist inside your head and do not need the support of community belief to hold you. Only you can choose to believe and what you believe is entirely up to you.

May the Fourth be with you.

Whittling

Each day is a raw, rough, heavy block of wood. Or stone. Or clay. You’re the artist, you pick the medium.

Your job is to feel it, to sit with that substance and gauge its spirit, then release it. Craft something beautiful out of the material you have to work with.

Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what you make of your day has absolutely no need to meet someone else’s approval. Even if you work for someone else, when you let go of your self-expectations and simply feel your potential, things tends to fall into place to meet your obligations incidental to your ultimate purpose.

Whittle away at the extraneous. Carve out the core which aches for expression that day. Look at the grain and heart of what is in front of your eyes and surrender to its shape. Smooth out rough edges, buff it to a shine, and sigh with satisfaction as you admire your handiwork of the day.

That could be as simple a task as a well-made bed or as momentous an endeavour as launching a satellite. Since the value and satisfaction is assigned by you and only you, both are of merit. Satisfaction comes from finding balance in your day, not accolades from outsiders.

Synergy gives us what we need each day to survive and flourish. No matter our starting point, the raw materials for the day are there to be honed into something satisfying. We must look with our wise mind at what we are given, opening our eyes to the limitless possibilities available to everyone who knows how to perceive them.

Manufacturing Gratitude

It’s ok not to be grateful. Especially for something you never asked for. Especially when you do not feel grateful. Especially if someone is telling you to be grateful.

Shame on them.

Gratitude is an emotion. Emotions happen when they happen, not when you tell yourself to feel them. You are sad when sad, glad when glad and mad when mad. Emotions simply are. A product of the material world, they are a sensory response to the current social environment. You can’t tell your fingers to feel warm in a snow storm. You can’t tell your face not to feel hot in the sun.

Why do you think you can tell your feelings to experience gratitude?

Gratitude bubbles up from inside you when conditions feel balanced and satisfactory…TO YOU. Your personal definition of balance or satisfaction may be wildly different than someone else’s, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with your perspective. Being told you should be grateful is being treated with contempt. It is telling you to judge yourself and your feelings, and find yourself guilty.

Beware giving yourself that same message! When you ponder your feelings and determine you shouldn’t have them, you are being unfair to yourself. Try telling your hand not to feel the burner under your palm. Same task, but because we fail to recognize our intangible emotions as an extension of our nervous system, we treat them like a part of our soul.

Emotions are information. Not actions nor facts.

Gratitude is a breathtakingly glorious emotion and it’s understandable those experiencing it want you to feel it too. Fake it til you make it, practice gratitude, choose thankfulness. Great ideas, but missing the point.

Manufacturing a facade of an emotion does generate pathways of practiced nerve patterns. Acting out routines does create habits. This much is true. But the emotion of gratitude is spontaneous and joyful, not habitualized and mechanical.

Funny thing, when it wells out of you, you realize it doesn’t want to follow those practices, routines and habits! Gratitude wants to playfully take you out of your comfort zone into your curiosity. It drives you to tears with its intensity but not to acts of creating lists.

You are grateful, or you are not. There is no try. And that’s just fine.

Dissatisfaction is a sign you are ready to grow. No matter how well-appointed the nursery might be, every child reaches the stage of needing to experience more, explore more, discover more. Gratitude and satisfaction go hand in hand, with imbalance chasing both of them away.

What imbalance exists that is pressuring for change? Curiosity demands an exploration when gratitude is nowhere to be found in a situation. And in the Moment when the source of imbalance is revealed, appreciation will flow through your veins because suddenly the game is afoot and your journey will begin!

So embrace a lack of gratitude as being the summons to the post, where you are to begin a steeplechase toward a higher level of understanding yourself. From discomfort comes growth and after growth comes gratitude!