The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: March 2013

Pathwalking 65

The Warrior of the Light does not always have faith.  There are moments when he believes in absolutely nothing. And he asks his heart: ‘Is all this effort really worth it?’  But his heart remains silent, and the Warrior has to decide for himself.”  – Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light.

I have been Pathwalking on and off for years, really.  I began to formulate what this notion was in earnest last year, and am constantly developing my approach to it.  Along the way, the mundane and the unavoidable have sometimes shaken my faith in my choice.

But even when you lose faith in the choices you make, that does not mean you should cease Pathwalking and let yourself be carried along by life.  You need to persevere.  You need to keep going.

Faith is not religion.  I have met along the way many people in this life who claim to be religious, but it is readily apparent that they have no faith.  Faith is a very abstract concept, which people forget is not an external notion, but an internal one.

What is faith, and how does it relate to Pathwalking?  Let’s turn to dictionary.com for a definition:

Faith (noun)

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone
concerning honesty
.

5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

It is the first two definitions that are most important to Pathwalking:  Confidence or trust in a person or thing and belief that is not based on proof.  Pathwalking is the thing not necessary based on proof as well as the thing to be confident about; but more importantly, it is about trust in a person – yourself.

I find myself often struggling with knowing and trusting my own mind.  Have I made right or wrong choices?  Is this path the right path?  Am I worthy?  Am I deserving?  And because much of Pathwalking is about faith, a trust and belief without proof, I question the worth and logic of this idea.

Everybody loses faith in something along the way.  I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t experienced a moment when someone they trusted did something to make them lose faith in that person, or at some time or other their religious and spiritual beliefs were called into question.  Faith is an emotion, a uniquely human emotion.

As with most of the things we encounter in life, this comes from within more than from without.  Certainly outside influences will affect your faith in regards to religion and other people, but the basis for all faith is directly in yourself.

So what do you do when you lose faith?  I have chosen Pathwalking, which is about choice.  I recognize that sometimes I will question my choices, and I will lose confidence and faith in them.  So what do I do about it?

There are many options of course.  Certainly I can give up, and return to a life where I let others make the choices for me, and let life just live me.  But I want to choose for myself, so I will find a way to reclaim my faith.

How?  What works for me won’t work for everyone else.  But these are a couple tools for this I want to share.

Meditate.  Find that place of calm and stillness to let the thoughts in your head come up and be addressed or dismissed.

Pause and reflect.  Maybe figuring out why I have lost faith will help me to reclaim it.  Sometimes determining if it’s a major or a minor issue helps to resolve it more swiftly.

Distract.  Read a book.  Watch a movie.  Listen to music.  Do something to take your mind off of that feeling of nothing and loss.  Sometimes I just need to recharge my energy reserves.

Most importantly of all – Do Not Lose Heart.  Just because faith is lost does not mean that ALL is lost.  And sometimes taking a moment to list all the things I am grateful for in my life or to reflect on all the things and people in my life that are wonderful will help me to reclaim my faith.

The Warrior of the Light continues despite his lack of faith.  He goes forward and, in the end, faith returns.”Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light.

When I lose faith, if I do not give up, I will reclaim it.  And since I see every day as a new day full of new possibilities, giving up is not something I can do.

Do you have faith in yourself and the choices you make?

 

This is the sixty-fifth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Words of Encouragement for EVERYONE

You are pretty amazing.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else tells you – you are pretty amazing!

You know that thing you do, that only you can do so well – keep doing it!

I don’t know you.  And with some exceptions, you probably don’t know me, either.  But that doesn’t make this statement any less true.  You are pretty amazing.

We all need words of encouragement along the way.  Everybody has bad days.  Everyone gets brought down because of something they read or something they heard or something someone else said to them.

Even when the encouragement comes from a random source, it can still make us feel well.  And when we think about Mondays and the return to the work week and all the things we have to do and the workload ahead and everything else that might be defeatist, encouragement is welcome.

Don’t berate yourself, don’t beat yourself up, don’t knock yourself down…remember that you are pretty amazing.  You are awesome.  You are worthy and deserving.

Maybe if we spread this message, more people will encourage than discourage.  Maybe instead of standing against one another, we can stand WITH each other.

Isn’t it preferable to be told you are awesome than to be told you are worthless?  I know I prefer to be built up rather than torn down.

There is no catch here.  This isn’t some old-fashioned chain letter where you’ll get something awful if you don’t pass this on.  This is just a message of encouragement from me to you.  And I mean this in all sincerity.

I hope today is a great day.  And I hope you know that you are pretty amazing.

Pathwalking 64

The past two posts have been discussing the topic of failure.  This week, I want to take an in-depth look at the most important aspect of handling failure – how to let it go, learn from it, and continue along the path.

As we have discussed prior – failure is NOT a bad thing.  Failure is a lesson either great or small that causes us to alter our path.

Some of the greatest achievements in history have come about due to a failure.  Many inventions were an accident, a failure of the intent set out.  But more importantly than that – failure has often been the greatest driving force in anyone’s successes.

There are any number of successful business people, politicians, inventors who have related stories of failure driving them towards greater success.  Rather than let circumstances destroy their plans, take them off their paths, they allowed for a change, allowed for the mistakes made, and persevered.  And in time, they succeeded.

I know that nobody WANTS to fail.  As we’ve discussed prior, society has come to associate failure with a loss of worth, with being undeserving.  The point I need to get across, and this is not just for you, but for me to remember too, is that failure does not make me any less than I am.  It just means I need to make a change.

I have chosen a path.  I am making my way along it, as I believe is appropriate and necessary.  But then, I find something greater than a bump, a twist, a shift in the path or an obstacle.  I find a game changer.  I encounter something small that tells me the means I am using to take this path need to change.  Or I encounter something large, forcing me to alter the path fairly drastically.

The what of this is a matter of semantics, and thus not very important.  No, I am not dismissing the significance of something that makes you completely change or chart a new path, I am merely trying to show that size does not matter, a failure great or small can be dealt with in the same manner.

I have identified the problem.  I know why, how, and where I failed.  I have to take a deep breath now, accept this, and move past it.  I failed.  But just because I failed, I am not a lesser person than I was before I was doing whatever I failed at.

And that is the key to letting it go.  You cannot dwell on the why and how of your failure, you simply have to identify it, accept it, and then MOVE ON.  Yes, this is very much easier said than done – in especial when we receive so many messages telling us that failure is unacceptable.  Truth is – failure is inevitable – so we might as well accept it.

Why did I fail?  There is ALWAYS a lesson in failure.  Maybe I was really attempting something larger and more expansive than I envisioned, and I need to scale back initially.  Maybe I zigged when I should have zagged.  Maybe I chose the wrong time of year.  No matter what the reason is, there IS a reason, and as such, a lesson to be learned.  And this is extremely important.

The lesson a failure teaches us often will reveal what we will need to succeed.  The lesson we learn from our failure will allow us to succeed.  Maybe more than that, it will allow us to succeed beyond our original intent.

Letting go of the given failure, and then learning from it will show us that it is NOT the end of the world.  We are not lacking in worthiness, our dreams and aspirations and choices are not all for naught.  A failure simply means we needed to learn something, we needed to stumble before we could walk with the utmost confidence and conviction.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”  This phrase is probably familiar to everyone.  And it is totally aimed at how to handle failure.  Do something else.  Make another attempt.  Do not let failure stop you from choosing and walking your path.

Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb.

Just because we may have choosen badly does not mean we should not choose at all.  Quite the contrary – we just need to learn lessons from the choices we make, and choose better next time.  Pathwalking is not easy.  I say that a lot.  But it is about choice, and choosing for ourselves really beats having others make life choices for us.  I can direct my fate, control my destiny.  I have free will, I can choose my own path.

Even when I fail, I can let it go after it happens, learn from it, and move on.  This will work differently for different people.  But for everyone, failure need not be devastating.

The next time you fail, remember these steps, and hopefully what you will gain will be far more worthwhile than what you have lost.

 

This is the sixty-fourth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Our society and attitudes about rape

Rapists are never the victim.

Shame on anyone who believes otherwise.  Anyone who committed an act of rape and was found guilty is a criminal.  Period.

Rape has very little to do with sex.  Rape is about power.  Dominance.  Aggression.

Anyone who is a victim of rape should receive care, should receive sympathy and assistance.  They should not receive scorn, derision, or shaming.

I am astounded that our society today leans towards explaining away a terrible crime, focusing on a lost possibility and a lost future, rather than the awful crime committed.

Of course there are false accusations of rape that occur.  Of course some who are innocent are found guilty.  But that should not lessen the nature of the crime in general.  That should not be taken into account when the evidence is overwhelming, incriminating, and unmistakable.

How dare we as a society accept the coverage of such a travesty.  The situation out of Steubenville is just one example of the unfortunate state of our society in this moment.  Victims of rape are badgered, disenfranchised, and treated as though they were the ones who did wrong.

NO ONE who is raped “asked” to be.  No means no.  Nonconsensual sex acts are rape.  The rapists made a choice – a bad choice, to violate a person in possibly the most awful manner imaginable.  When caught and convicted, they should pay their debt to society.

Blaming the victim of a rape is unacceptable.  “She shouldn’t have gotten that drunk,” “If she didn’t dress so provocatively, she’d be better off,” “If she wasn’t such a tease, this would never have happened,” “She knew the risks,” “He’s a man, men do not get raped”.  BULLSHIT.  All of these statements are unacceptable.  Unwanted sexual acts are rape.  And they are not the fault of the person who was raped.  Period.

We are all taught right from wrong as we grow up.  No one “put them in that situation” with regards to the choice a rapist made.  Everybody should know that forcing someone into an unwanted sexual act is WRONG!  End of story.

As far as our society has come in the past 100 years, we are still so male-dominated, so patriarchal, that we just accept unchanging attitudes with silence.

This has to stop.  WE have to express our disgust at this, and we need to show the media, the law enforcement agencies, and rapists that this is wrong.

This cannot just come from celebrities like Henry Rollins and politicians and activists.  This needs to come from you and I.  Men, women, EVERYONE needs to consider what we are creating, the world we are making.  We have to stop accepting what we are given that we know to be wrong, and stand up and take action for what we know is right.

Think about it.

21st Century Civil Rights – Taking a Stand

I am taking a stand for equal rights for homosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered, – everyone, really.

The topic of rights for the non-hetero population of the world has come up again and again.  Whether the topic is adoption, marriage, or general discrimination issues, this is the civil rights movement of the 21st century.

In the interest of full disclosure – I am a never married, heterosexual male.  In college I majored in theatre, so of course I was privy to pretty much every stereotype about homosexuals you can think of.

Probably the most vocal aspect of this is in regards to marriage.  Recently, the United Kingdom voted to legalize gay marriage.  This was an awesome step forward.  Here in the United States, though, there are still numerous states that have been working overtime to pass anti-gay marriage bills, so called “defense of marriage” acts.  The US Congress passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996.  The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments that question the constitutionality of this law.

Here is the question – what are we defending for or against?  Even if the bible says marriage is between only a man and a woman, we are NOT a Christian nation.  Pick a religion, any religion, you will find someone in the USA who practices it.

If two people love one another, man and woman, woman and woman, man and man – why shouldn’t they express that love by joining in marriage?  Religious arguments aside, there is a financial aspect to this.  Married couples get several benefits with regards to taxes, insurance, pensions and 401(k) plans.  There are many big businesses that, in their current tight-fisted state, will do anything to hold as much money as they can.

Some argue that gay marriage detracts from hetero marriage.  If you believe this, I have to ask you – how?  How can two people in love joining their lives together in marriage in any way detract from anyone else?

Also, historically – this argument was made about interracial marriages.  This has not been a real issue in about 50 years.  My sister is married to a man with different skin color than her – and their marriage doesn’t detract from anyone else’s that I can see.

What detracts from marriage?  How about divorce?  How about death?  How about the impulse marriage that lasts 43 minutes?  Gay marriage, though?  It does not impact ANYONE in a negative way.

I acknowledge that this is against some people’s religion.  Fine.  Then don’t marry someone of the same gender.  In the US, however, we have no national religion – so you can go to your church and worship god in your own particular way, but you cannot force others to that same way.

How about gay adoption?  There are plenty of children out there in need of loving families – if a homosexual couple wants to provide that love, then there is no reason they should not be able to.  No one raised by two mothers or two fathers has yet to come out of that a bad person.  Some, in fact, are among the most loving people on the planet.

Discrimination due to sexual preference is ludicrous.  A gay man, gay woman, transgendered man or woman is equally capable of any job as anyone else.  Why on earth should it matter where they choose to give love?  Whether in the military, in an office, at a construction site, or anywhere else people work for a living, there is ZERO reason to discriminate.

Homosexuality is a part of nature.  Humans are not the only homosexual creatures.  Bison, bears, ravens, salmon, rattlesnakes, and dozens of other animals have been observed by scientists partaking in homosexual acts.  No one chooses what gender(s) they are attracted to – it is biology.

I believe that the majority of people support equal rights.  Polls have been conducted by various news and educational institutions supporting this.  And there is no scientific or sociological reason why this should even be an issue.

As for any religious argument – I want to ask you a question.  Is God love?  The answer, from pretty much every monotheistic religion I am aware of, is YES.  As such, how can you possibly feel that hatred and intolerance are in any way a part of God’s plan?  God does not hate.  Period.  Hatred is a human creation.

Let’s take a stand.  Let us speak out and let the religious, political, and business leaders of the world know that they cannot continue to deny the rights of ANYBODY.  Male, female, transgender, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, rich, poor, young, old, short, tall, thin, fat, brilliant, moronic, theist, atheist – WE ARE ALL ONE.  We all deserve equal legal rights and privileges, and we all deserve to be happy.

I support equal rights.  Do you?

Pathwalking 63

Let’s take a closer look at accepting that failure will happen.

We all receive so many messages expressing how negative failure is, how horrid it can be, that we cannot come to accept failure can happen.

But it will.  Plain and simple.  Harsh though this statement is, it is unavoidable – you will fail.  I will fail.  In some way, failure will happen.

It might be grand, it might be miniscule, but whenever you set out to do something, there is a chance that it will fail.  The only way to not fail is to not do anything at all.  Of course, choosing to not make a choice might be considered a failure, depending on your point of view.

The meaning and scope of failure could be an endless cycle, but my point is that failure cannot be avoided.  However – failure is not necessarily a bad thing.

Let me just reiterate this point – failure may not be a bad thing!

That said, let’s explore what to do about it, and how to deal with it.

So, why did we fail?  Was it an inherent flaw in our plan, or the execution of the plan, or something else?  Did I fail due to something within or outside of my control?  Was it a total failure, or a partial failure?

Failure is going to mean different things.  Maybe what I am considering a failure is actually just a lesson I needed to learn.  Maybe this was just showing me I need to alter the course of my path, either a little or a lot.  Maybe this was actually completely unimportant in the grand scheme of things, and that is why it failed.  Ascertaining the why will help me understand the reason for the failure.

Knowing the why, we get to the how.  How did this fail?  This is usually tied directly into the why of the failure, but getting a clear picture shows me just what failed, and what that failure means to my overall path.

I know why and how I failed, now what do I do about it, and how do I deal with it?  This might be the hardest part.  I have been given all these messages telling me that if I have failed, I am unworthy.  I should hang my head in shame, hide myself from the world, and sulk because I have failed.

This could not be further from the truth!  I set forth on a Path.  I made a choice.  Just because I have failed along the way does not mean I am unworthy, or that I should berate myself for even trying.  Life is all about choice, and I chose something.  Knowing precisely what failed, there is a good chance I only have to choose a new course along the path.  Maybe the path I was on needed to be changed, and this failure will help me ultimately get where I want to go.

Worst case scenario – my Path had failed.  I have to totally start again, and choose a wholly new path because that which I was on has failed.  We all make mistakes, we all make choices that prove to be poor, even outright bad.  But like everything in life, these are learning opportunities.

What did failing teach me?  That is the question that will tell me how to deal with my failure.  In every success, in every failure, there is a lesson learned.  Sometimes it is seemingly insignificant, and other times it will change the very way in which I make choices and handle my life.  This, however, is the key to dealing with it: learning from it.

What do I do about it, how do I deal with a failure?  Once you accept that failure is a possibility, you need to not let it make you feel unworthy, work on taking it more as a lesson than as a loss, and then learn from it.

This can be really, really hard.  NOBODY wants to fail.  And no matter how much you might be willing to accept the probability that failure can and will happen, not letting it have a negative emotional affect on you is hard to fathom.  When all the messages tell us failure can only be negative, how can it be so unavoidable?

Oh look – yet another paradox in life.

This week we’ve explored the acceptance of failure, what to do about it, and how to deal with it.  This topic is far more expansive than I had anticipated, and so it will be continued.

Next week I will take an in-depth look at the most important aspect of handling failure – how to let it go, learn from it, and continue along my path.

Do you understand why failure is not necessarily a negative?

 

This is the sixty-third entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Pathwalking 62

Let’s touch on an unpleasant topic – failure.

No matter how clear a path might be, no matter how much effort I might put out, how perfect my focus might be…it is still possible to fail.

Some people fear failure above everything else.  Failure is the ultimate unpleasantness, some people feel.  Failure is viewed as the absolute testament of a lack of worth.

Failure is not an option has been a bold statement made by many along the way.  And certainly nobody wants to fail at anything they put their minds to.  And as unpleasant a notion as failure is, I have to point out that it is absolutely necessary to Pathwalking.

Let’s take a moment and step back for a broader perspective.  Now I have long argued that while there are opposite extremes in this world – good vs. evil, light vs. dark, on vs. off, for vs. against – most of us live in the colorful or grey shadings between.  Even so, we generally lean towards one or the other.  Even existing as we do between the extremes, we need to know one in order to know the other.

That being said, to know success we have to know its opposite – failure.  If we do not know how to fail, how can we possible know how to succeed?

The trouble is, our society is really big on the polar opposites.  We are faced daily with a deluge of messages telling us to be for one extreme or the other, and anyone between these is ideologically lacking.  Let’s be honest – it is exactly this that makes the US Congress non-functional these days.  But to get to either extreme, you spend most of your time in the colored or grey spaces between them.

We are constantly told that failure is terrible.  If we fail to pass a budget, there will be consequences.  If we fail to stop the terrorists, we’ll be always under attack.  If your marriage fails, you are a bad love.  If you fail to succeed, you are worthless.  And that’s the rub.  We are taught from a great many sources to fear failure.

Like most things in life, failure is not a simple, singular concept.  Failure comes in many variations and forms.  Some are pretty harsh – but some are more about lessons.  And sometimes failures are, ultimately successes.

Failed experiments by scientists have produced rubber tires and Post-it notes.  Certain drugs intended for one thing that they failed at proved to be good for another.  Technically these were failures, but ultimately they were successes.

Most failures, however, are not of this extreme.  Most failures are relatively smaller.  Examples include failure to hold a relationship together, failure to lose weight, failure to secure that job, failure to make enough money to pay that bill.

And then there is the worst failure of all, probably the one we fear the most: failure to impress others.  JK Rowlings submitted Harry Potter to dozens of agents and publishing houses, and was rejected again and again and again.  Constantly the message she received was – you are not worthy.  And yet, she persisted – and look where she is today.

This is the root of why we fear failure – being made to feel unworthy, worthless, wrong.  I don’t know anybody that wants to feel that way.  But failing, big or small, can often produce exactly this.  And this is what we all strive to avoid the most.

How do we deal with this?  What do we do when we fail?  And that is the question we most have to address – because inevitably, no matter what you do, somewhere along the way, you WILL experience failure.  The question is – what will you do when you fail?

The first thing we have to learn to do is to accept an ineffable truth – failure is unavoidable.  This is a bitter pill to swallow, because the messages we read all over tell us we CANNOT fail.  But at some point along the way, in some thing we do, we will.

However, as with all things Pathwalking, having this knowledge is hugely advantageous.  As a Pathwalker, knowing that failure is a possibility, I am now capable of choosing how I will deal with it.  Because Pathwalking is choice, and choice on pretty much every level imaginable, this, too, is a part of it.

I have witnessed and been a part of many failures in this life.  Some were fairly epic.  Some were deeply personal.  Before I began to explore Pathwalking, fear of failure has been the greatest fear in my life (followed closely by fear of success).  But as I have stated about fear in the past – fear of failure is fear of the intangible – and thus not a fear to give in to, but to be dealt with and dispelled.

Next week I will take a closer look at accepting that failure will happen.  Then I intend to explore what to do about it, how to deal with it, and most importantly – how to let it go, learn from it, and continue along my path.

How have you handled failures you have experienced?

 

This is the sixty-second entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

 

PS – If you have enjoyed Pathwalking, please consider visiting Amazon.com and acquiring the first year’s posts plus extras in book or Kindle form!

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