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!

Servitude verses Service

The distinction is in the mindset.

Being of service is a fundamental impetus in all of us. To be useful. To be necessary. To be part of something larger. To serve a purpose.

The smallest of acts serves a purpose but so often gets dismissed and ignored because of the apparent insignificance. Yet for want of a horseshoe nail the kingdom was lost. Finding the comfort of meaning in the minutiae lends courage on the path to larger acts of service. Taking pleasure in the daily routines of maintenance or rituals of support brings satisfaction to the most menial of tasks. Never more than in our present global situation has the importance of service been so clear.

Servitude is a mindset where the person being of service, or the one being served, feel entitled to the interaction in some way. Either the person receiving feels they are above doing the deed, that they deserve to be waited on, or the person providing the assistance feels in some way obliged to do so. Truly, they both may BE deserving and obliged but choosing to occupy the feeling of obligation or entitlement is to lose an opportunity for intimacy. Obligation and entitlement are states not conducive to making Moments, but every second of every day in any role in any place is an opportunity for a Moment. Serving is an incredibly fulfilling experience if you choose to embrace it as the powerful and necessary role it is.

Even if you perform the same act one thousand times each day, you are what determines if it is an act of service or an act of servitude. You can choose to find meaning and satisfaction in the sameness while watching for opportunities to get what you need, since Synergy makes sure you have available to you the resources you need when you need them.

Finding satisfaction in service brings pleasure to both sides of the equation and opens doors to opportunities for greater service. Sincere service floods both parties with gratitude for the service rendered and the opportunity to serve.

Have you felt it?

Have you experienced a Moment when someone made you truly feel blessed as they completed an act on your behalf, like it was their honour to be a part of your journey?

Or the reverse, feeling humbled as you gave support to someone whose authenticity and character made you feel you would do anything for them?

Be the horseshoe nail. Take pride in being of service knowing you may seem insignificant or invisible yet Synergy knows your worth. Every act we do is important and an opportunity to share a Moment with ourselves, with Synergy, or with others.

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.

Contempt, Compassion, and Empathy

Empathy really is a buzz word nowadays. It’s held up by many as the standard of excellence in emotional functioning and the antidote to contempt. Empathy is seen as a higher level of awareness and the solution to social ills. But there is a problem with this ideal.

Empathy is feeling someone else’s emotions as if they are your own. Although on the surface this would seem a noble and compassionate thing, especially when held up in contrast of contempt which is judgement of someone else’s emotions, to feel someone’s emotions is…well…immature, selfish and in fact a form of contempt!

This is not to say understanding someone’s feelings is inappropriate, not in the least. That is the root of compassion, which is a healthy respect for and awareness of the emotions of others.

But in its truest form, empathy is an example of someone with poor boundaries who is unable to distinguish between themselves and others thus feels a strong need to fix the problems for others in order to find peace themselves. Many empaths talk of being overwhelmed and taken advantage of, which is a way of blaming others for their failure to protect themselves by establishing healthy boundaries. To act to change someone else’s circumstances can often be a form of contempt because the message is you know better then they, the victims, do.

Contempt and callous disregard for the feelings of others is an easy target to disparage and the narcissist easy to blame for society’s ills. The person exhibiting contempt is demonstrating rigid boundaries with complete distinction between themselves and others, which is viewed as toxic and dysfunctional. True, there is an imbalance present in this way of coping and to reach authenticity and enlightenment a shift needs to happen away from a focus on the judgemental coping mechanisms into wise and compassionate processes. Yet empathy is not the answer either.

The empath is also often toxic and dysfunctional yet in a way deemed acceptable to society because the appearance of helpfulness and caring, yet the drive is just as internally motivated as the actions of the narcissist. There is an imbalance present here, too, and a shift away from the emotional coping mechanisms into wise and compassionate processes needs to happen.

Compassion does not mean your are suffering with the people you feel compassionate towards. They are not you and you are not them, their emotions are not yours to feel. But compassion does elicit discomfort when imbalance, injustice, or negativity is witnessed. Compassion involves the desire to see balance restored, in whatever form the victim might feel it needs to take. As soon as you decide what form restitution or balance must take, you are no longer being compassionate, you are being contemptuous. To demand anything on anyone’s behalf except your very own, is to show contempt of that person’s or groups’ ability to determine their own needs. And unless they asked for your help, you disempower them by taking up their cause unless you yourself are directly affected by the imbalance.

Don’t mistake activism for compassion and empathy for support. Those without voices do need to be heard, but unless you are one of the voiceless, your sounds will drown out the meaning of their silence. Speaking from a place of experience is the only way to drive change, and listening from a place of compassion if you are not the victim, is the only way to support change.

The Brighter the Light, the Darker the Shadows Cast by it

The more positive, joyful and playful you get, it seems the more resistance, opposition and negativity you encounter.

This makes sense.

Shadows only exist due to light and the more intense the glow, the more defined the shadows become. A glimmer does not cause sharp edges in the dark.

But shadows are always behind the illuminated surface so often out of sight of the one casting the shadow. People are often unaware that their response to enlightenment is one of fear and resistance. The questions they have make sense to their judgemental brain and sensory mind, because they are so immersed in the matrix of the material world they can’t imagine an Eternal realm. Your surrender to childlike wonder simply seems childlike.

There is no right or wrong, good or evil. There is surrender or resistance. Joy or pain. When shadows form, it is resistance. Acceptance lights a candle within that banishes the shadow. The glow covers 360 degrees and although it might flicker and dim at times due to the external environment, that flame is Eternal. Like a trick candle, the substance it’s made of has the ability to reignite from within.

The sun doesn’t choose who to shine on. Even when the Earth’s surface is obscured by clouds and storms, the sun continues to spread warmth and energy. Even where there is no apparent target, the sun still shines…and that light reaches the darkest corners of the universe eventually. Not one bit of its glow is wasted.

Shine.

Always.

Even if shadows form, even if clouds block the faces of those around you, even if no one and nothing seems to receive your glow. Your warm energy reaches someone somewhere at some time, whether you are aware of it or not.

And sometimes an unexpected message in a bottle will tell you just how far your glimmer made it.

Playful Communication

It’s infectious, irreverent, and irresistible. The most serious of proceedings can benefit from a judicious injection of wit and humour done with a deft hand. Subtle word play and artfully deliberate vocabulary selection makes the most tedious dissemination of information nutritious and delicious.

Saying what you need to say in a satisfying way creates a Moment with your audience that transcends the mere message content. Communication is not simply transmission of information.

The most beautiful, inspiring and motivational words are meaningless if written in a dead language.

Even the secrets of the universe will disappear when written in the sand.

The most profound of concepts are dismissed when tumbling out of the mouths of babes.

Communication is not just the message. It is the the synergy between the message, the medium and the minds of the sender and receiver. It is the sum of these parts resonating until the tumblers of understanding slide into position and open a direct connection between the mind of origin and the mind of recipient.

There’s an art to it. No less so than the choreographed moves of a ballet or the finessed strokes of a sculpture, the ebb and flow of effective dissemination requires fine tuned awareness and mastery of the nature of the message, the medium, and the audience. A virtuoso is a pleasure to behold in any field, including the orator who holds an audience spellbound during the most mundane of proceedings.

There is a vulnerability inherent in allowing your personality and humour shine through in your communication. It is a risk, to open the window into your playful self and expose it to judgement and critique. There will always be those who seek to dim luminescence and cast a pall over playfulness.

Be brave. Be artful. Be memorable. Be fun. Set a tone which reverberates through your words and into the hearts of those reading them, the sensation of which lingers long after the content has faded.

Because playfulness is a gift from Synergy and the words that tumble out from it are pure joy to behold. No gift should go unopened!

Unadulterated

Funny word. It looks made up, especially in our #hashtag world. It sounds rebellious and childlike.

Yet the Oxford definition makes absolutely no reference to maturity levels, state of mind, or adulthood whatsoever.

Un·a·dul·ter·at·ed/ˌənəˈdəltəˌrādəd/Learn to pronounceadjective

  1. not mixed or diluted with any different or extra elements; complete and absolute.”pure, unadulterated jealousy”
    • (of food or drink) having no inferior added substances; pure.”unadulterated whole-milk yogurt”

Concentrated and pure.

That’s what unadulterated means.

If you asked a child to compose a definition for the word, it would be something like “without adult influence” or “not grown up”, possibly “immature”.

And truthfully, a child embodies the word in its dictionary definition and any other possible interpretation of it. They are pure, concentrated energy. As they spend time exposed to adults, their magical wonder gets diluted and dispelled until, for some, little remains by age 17. We adults mix them up with our thoughts, judgements, opinions and information so they become…well…adulterated.

The wise mind is pure, unadulterated wisdom. Straight from the source, Eidolon’s database of the collective observations of the nature of the universe. Stored free of any different or extra elements like judgements or feelings. No inferior components.

Being childlike is pure. Looking at the world without filters gives concentrated experiences of it, leading to intense awareness of how it works.

Become unadulterated.