The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: April 2013

Pathwalking 69

One of the most often used phrases people throw around is “forgive, but don’t forget.”  While many are champions of applying this to others in their lives, this is somewhere many of us fail at when it comes to ourselves.

What do I mean by that?  We are good at forgiving but forgetting when others do wrong by us, but not so good at this with ourselves.  When it comes to our own mistakes, errors, stupidities and such, we are more likely to berate ourselves than forgive, let alone forget or not.

As a part of Pathwalking, forgiveness is tremendously important.  I am choosing my own path, making my own way, and if I err in the process, I have to forgive myself and move on.  But not forget –so that I do not repeat the mistake I have made before.

But I also know that I am my toughest critic.  I am harshest with myself, and more likely to hold onto the things I am less fond of, the mistakes I have made, the screw-ups I am responsible for, than to forgive myself for being only human like everyone else.

And I am well aware that I am not alone.  It’s a part of our nature to judge ourselves harshest, and thus be less forgiving of our wrongs.  But forgiveness is necessary for the sake of advancement.

How do I forgive myself?  That’s the question.  When I make a mistake, when I fail at my plan, when I am the cause for someone else to feel hurt through my actions or inactions, how do I forgive myself?

What does it mean to forgive?  Dictionary.com defines it thusly:

verb (used with object)

1. to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.

2. to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).

3. to grant pardon to (a person).

4. to cease to feel resentment against: to forgive one’s enemies.

5. to cancel an indebtedness or liability of: to forgive the interest owed on a loan.

verb (used without object)

6. to pardon an offense or an offender.

To absolve, grant a pardon, to cease resenting, to cancel that feeling of liability – this is what forgiving means.  We pardon ourselves, we let go of that negative feeling that comes of holding onto what we are not forgiving.

No, this is not easy (is any of this EVER easy?), but it is vital and necessary.  Holding on to that negativity, remaining angry, resentful, unforgiving of the self prevents us from making choices, keeps us from choosing paths, and does not let us be who we want to be.  So forgiving is very important.

You still haven’t explained how this is done, you may be thinking.  I have to be honest here – I am still working on this notion myself.  I am guilty of not being forgiving when it comes to myself.  But I am striving to do better.  These are some ideas on how.

Reflection.  I pause, and reflect on the offense, consider what it is I am not forgiving myself for.  I examine where it went wrong, how much of it was in my control, and examine what I might do differently in the future.  Key here – I don’t reflect on all the “what ifs” of the situation – that would be counterproductive.  Reflection is the first step towards accepting the thing that I need to forgive myself for, and not a time for an examination of all the means by which I could have avoided what has already transpired.  Which leads to the next step:

Acceptance.  I have to accept that I did whatever it was that I am unwilling to forgive myself for.  I have to accept that it does not make me less of a person, I have accept that I am not a bad person because I did something I consider wrong or off or whatever for which I am being unforgiving towards myself.  I have to acknowledge that I am not a bad, lesser, unworthy creature because I did something I am displeased with myself over.  It takes time, it takes work, it takes accepting my flaws and imperfections…but acceptance is a necessary step.  Which leads to:

Forgiveness.  It is much easier to forgive what you have reflected upon and accepted, difficult though both of these steps might be.  But I find if I do some reflection, accept what is, and realize I am not less of a person for my error, I can forgive.  It’s no different than forgiving someone ELSE for a wrong – this time it’s just a matter of forgiving ME.

There are other means, other processes, more specifics.  Journaling can go a long ways towards expelling and analyzing what is in your head.  Meditation can provide insights and ideas towards forgiveness.  Sometimes its reminders of the good things you do.  Different fixes for everyone, but I think having the steps in place can be a framework for everyone.

I’ve touched on the “forgive” portion, but not the “don’t forget” aspect.  Next week I’ll take that next step, and continue this.

How do you go about forgiving yourself?

 

This is the sixty-ninth 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.

Do not let them win

Do not let them win.

Who are they?  They are the people who are against us.  They are the people who are working all the time to do whatever they can to change how we live, and more – to have us live in fear.

This is not just about the horrid people who would set off bombs in public and murder innocents.  This is about the world in which we live, and our increasing willingness to sacrifice how we live in the name of “
“security”.

I am about to make what many will consider an ugly statement.  However, none has proven me wrong yet.  After the events of 9/11/01, the terrorists scored a win.

Since that terrible day, we have fundamentally changed the way we live.  We have allowed the violation of civil liberties, and we have turned a blind eye to profiling and racism all in the name of so-called national security.  We have fears that were not so raw before this event.  And now these new awful tragedies, terrorism or otherwise, will increase the nation of fear we occupy.

Fear is how the people in power, no matter how ignorant, foolish, obviously corrupt and unfit, or corporately owned, remain in power.  The government currently running this nation is what the founding fathers warned us to avoid.  The banks and corporations have control, and the puppet government only acts in the best interests of their future campaign financing.

Security is important.  But security that violates our fundamental rights is not security.  And every time something bad happens and our reaction is automatically to clamp down on group ‘x’ or ban object ‘y’, this slaps a bandaid on a far larger, less easy to repair problem.

I believe there is a solution, however.  And that solution is to not let fear win.  We cannot let fear of the next mass shooting or fear of the next act or terror dominate our actions.  Feed the fear, and more things to be afraid of will surely manifest.  What we need to do is acknowledge the bad thing, mourn those who are lost, and then shift our focus on education, on love, on abundance and peace and harmony.

Hippy new-age bullshit propaganda, you might think.  I do not believe that is so, and let me explain why I think this IS the key.  In a world where we are divided by class, divided by gender, divided by race, education, wealth, religion, and all kinds of other artificial separations – someone is allowed to become so desperate, they only way they can see to effect change is to violently lash out.  Somewhere in their psyche, they believe that if they shoot up a movie theatre, or blow themselves up in a public market, or blow up a night-club, or climb a tower and randomly pick off passers-by, they will change the world.  They get it in their head that they will make those they see in opposition to them react to them.

I am not making a political statement here.  I am trying to get across the idea that demonizing and blaming and subsequently fearing those who are different or the unknown or what-have-you changes nothing.  If these terrible acts of violence and terror fundamentally change who we are and how we live, then that proves this awful means achieves the ends.

But it doesn’t.  Not really.  Slapping that bandage onto the sucking chest wound may slow the bleeding, but it certainly won’t heal the wound.  Bans and military strikes and eroding separation of church and state and violating civil liberties to spy on our own feeds the fear and paranoia, but does not repair the damage.  We have to look past the short-term guttural reaction, and start acting in our better interests.

The gaps between us need to be bridged.  Education needs to be about learning, not about meaningless testing.  We need to help the mentally ill, not stigmatize, traumatize and even imprison them.  We need to stand for the rights of all, not against the rights of those different from us in whatever way, real or perceived.  We need to reach out to one another and work together, not erect fences and further the divides between us.

Which is more constructive, building or destroying?  Which do you think goes further to heal our wounded nation, our bleeding world?  How can each of us do anything in the face of overwhelming, seemingly out-of-reach issues?

Do not let them win.  Do not let fear change how you go about your day.  Do not focus on the horrific images of terrible acts of violence, do not feed the fires of rhetoric and hate and anger.  Mourn as you need to, grieve as befits you, but don’t let these awful things change your life on a fundamental level.  Do your part to build trust and love and peace and all the rest of that hippy bullshit stuff, because all of us, no matter where in any divide we fall, are the same.

We are all grains of sand on the beach, drops of water in the ocean, and as unique as any individual is, we are all the same.  Fearing those we perceive as different from us is really fearing ourselves.

Do not let them win.

Pathwalking 68

I want to walk my own path, but there are multiple goals I want to achieve.  How do I choose?

While it is possible to head towards more than one goal at a time, I find it often necessary to prioritize.  Sometimes this is purely organizational, sometimes its to prevent putting the cart before the horse.

An important thing we need to acknowledge and take into account before this discussion goes much further – Pathwalking is about the path.  The journey is of equal or greater importance than the goal at its end.  This is a large aspect of why we choose to walk our own Path, because we want greater control over the choices we have and make.  And while this is directed at the goals, the path cannot be denied or ignored.

Isn’t this a contradiction?  Simply put, no.  Yes, I am choosing a path I care to walk, and in all probability there is an end goal in mind – but I am choosing the PATH to the goal.  And that’s important to acknowledge.

This can of course take on a number of different forms.  For example, choosing how to get to point ‘a’ from point ‘b’ is going to make a huge difference in the path you will take.  If I want to get from New York City to Chicago, there are a wide variety of paths, and how much control I have over each.

If I fly, my path is shortest.  New York to Chicago is a couple hours.  The biggest choice in this path will be which airlines, non-stop versus connections, and from which airport I fly to/from.  The fewest options are available here.  For the purpose of Pathwalking, this is the direct route.

If I choose to go by rail, once again there are some variations – I can choose to make different stops, and there are some route variations.  But again, I am limited by the tracks that have been laid between the two cities, and it will be a longer trip than flying.  For our purposes, let’s consider this the semi-direct route.

But if I choose to drive, now my path has a huge number of variables.  Which highway(s) do I take?  Do I choose to stop along the way, drive straight through?  What if I see a sign on the road, and take a detour or another route altogether to check something out I had not planned on?  Do I travel the speed limit, or drive faster and take my chances with getting a ticket?  And there are many more options of course.  This is the indirect route.

Each choice of path has its validity, but the path is none-the-less important.  And this is entirely true of the paths I choose for my life.  But this is something you have to give serious consideration to when choosing a path.

Sometimes the shorter path is utterly valid.  If I want to learn how to swim as soon as possible, I need to take swimming lessons.  If I take a lesson a day I will know how to swim a lot faster than if I take a lesson a week or even a lesson a month.  Either way, like flying, this is the most direct route.

Let’s say I want to get a job as an accountant.  In order to do this, I have to get my CPA.  There are several choices of school available for me to do this, but once I make a choice, and get my certificate, now I can seek an accounting job.  Limited routes, limited tracks – this is the semi-direct route.

And then there are times that the goal can be achieved through a number of means.  I want to be a writer.  So I choose to write this blog, I have short stories and novels and journalism I work on, and I am constantly seeking new outlets and venues to get published, taking different jobs and opportunities along the way, while submitting proposals to agents for representation for my fiction.  Maybe I even self-publish some of my work as well.  I become a writer, in numerous venues and through numerous routes, but this is most certainly the indirect route.

And these three options are the key to prioritizing multiple goals.  Can I achieve each via multiple direct routes, semi-direct routes, or indirect routes?  OR do I need a combination of the above?

If my end goal is to have a great career, an amazing relationship and a lot of money (my personal definition of wealth) for example, the means to the end are going to be many and varied.  I probably need an education of some sort for a great career (more-or-less the direct route), dating to find the amazing relationship will probably be the semi-direct and/or indirect route, and acquiring a lot of money will likely be totally indirect.

Which comes first?  What if the initial career I choose is less than satisfying, and I decide on a wholly different direction?  What if the relationship I thought was perfect fails?  There are always going to be tangible and intangible variables along the path, but having choices is not a curse, it is the gift that lets us Pathwalk.

Prioritizing the path for me involves choosing if my route will be direct, semi-direct or indirect.  Likely it is in that order that I will proceed with multiple goals.  And yes, I recognize that my direct route COULD turn indirect (planes do get re-routed and even crash from time to time) but that does not change my choice of walking my own path.

Yes, this is a complex, multi-faceted, ever-evolving, often convoluted process, this Pathwalking.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Because while choices can be hard to make and filled with different consequences, they are still MINE, and still chosen.  And thus I am choosing the life I most desire, and choosing to walk MY own unique path.

Do you choose your own adventures, or let you life’s circumstances dictate the paths you are on?

 

This is the sixty-eighth 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 67

If Pathwalking is about choosing a direction and walking a path, what do you do when there are multiple goals you seek?

I have been perplexed by this very question pretty much all of my adult life.  And when I was younger, this actually tripped me up frequently.  I wanted to do and be different things that were not necessarily congruent with one another, which made my choices even harder.

For a long time, I was an expert at explaining how NOT to approach this.  In fact, for the longest time I was extremely proficient at learning how NOT to do certain things.  I looked at my errors and my mistakes and my failures, and while I learned from them, I missed probably the most important lesson from them.  I would step from one path to the next, completely and totally, and try anew.

While there are times that’s a good idea, it is amazing to me now how many times that’s not the way to do it.  Ok, I failed…but while I didn’t necessarily give up, neither did I try again.  I chose a wholly new path.

BUT – and I cannot stress this enough – more often than not what I chose was a less challenging path.  I would choose a path of least resistance, and as such spent over a decade letting life live me.

I dreamed of becoming a DJ.  I spent college practically living in the radio station (for which I won an “award” senior year), even though this was not my major.  I made a couple attempts to get into radio professionally, but didn’t get very far.  And then, out of the blue, my dream job appeared.  I interviewed for it, did everything right, yet did not get it.  While that episode of my life led to a relatively bold choice (I remained on the East Coast rather than return to the Midwest as I’d been preparing to do) I would never again try to get into radio.

I could have chosen other avenues to get into radio.  If I had been willing to take risks, apply to small markets in out-of-the-way parts of the country, been willing to utterly step out of my comfort zones, it’s possible I could have gone somewhere in the industry had I taken such a step.  But I didn’t.

I majored in theatre in college.  No, I didn’t want to be an actor – I wanted to be a director.  I had one professional gig in an off-off-off Broadway (as in New Jersey) theatre company, working as an assistant to the managing and technical directors.  I learned from this that I was unwilling to make the sacrifices that professional theatre demands (you pretty much eat, breathe, sleep whatever show is in production – social life be damned).  After this episode, I determined theatre was just not for me, and have not worked in the art (save writing some reviews) since.

I wrote my first full-length sci-fi story when I was nine.  It’s fifty pages, illustrated by me, and I have to wonder had a child psychologist seen this at the time if they’d have locked me away.  I would continue to write through my teen years, stopping in college.  I started again in my mid twenties, and completed along the way several novel-length works.  I got the first book in my series professionally edited and sought representation.  Unsuccessfully.  After numerous rejections, I stopped seeking an agent for that work.

These are just three of the paths I have started, but abandoned in my life.  While I often looked at this as having not chosen at all (since all involved risks I either minimally or did not at all take), I NOW have a much broader perspective on this.  I do not lament what might have been, I do not regret my choices or lack of choices along the way.

What DO you do when there are multiple goals?  I used to get so caught up in what I called the “crossroads” that I would often make no choice at all, and let life live me.  However, as Pathwalking has taught me, no path is singular.  There is no one choice, there are always many.  And there is no reason you cannot take more than one path.

Remember, the goal is of less import than the path itself.  That’s so very easy to forget, especially in the goal-oriented world we live in.  But the path is really where it all lies.  Life is about paths taken and not taken, and Pathwalking is about choosing those paths.

Paths are not a track you are trapped upon.  You can choose a path that will lead you to the relationship, career, and ultimately happiness most desired.  The toughest part of this is simply making the choices themselves.

We will not walk the same path all of our life.  And we are only restricted by the restrictions we place on ourselves.  I can be who I want, do what I want, and ultimately find happiness in my life.  Even with multiple goals, I can attain them all.  It is a matter of choice.

I have explained that you can have multiple goals and Pathwalk, but I have not explained how to prioritize and actually work with them.  This is an idea that will be utterly different for me than it will for anyone else – but I think we’ll explore that further next week.  Pathwalking is a work in progress, and part of my personal path is to share how I am walking it with you.

Have you chosen your paths, or avoided making choices in your life?

 

This is the sixty-seventh 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 66

Is there anyone who does not want freedom in their lives?

Don’t we all want to be free?  Free to do what we want, free to live how we want, free to explore this world and love and laugh and find peace and happiness?  Doesn’t nearly everything we choose have to do with having freedom?

Pathwalking is an expression of freedom.  Freedom of choice, freedom from oppression and a dull, pointless existence – freedom is part of why I want to choose my own path.

What exactly does freedom mean?  Well for that, let’s turn to dictionary.com:

free·dom  (noun)

1.the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.

2.exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.

3.the power to determine action without restraint.

4.political or national independence.

5.personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.

A lack of physical restraint, exemption from external interference, power to determine action, personal liberty – it all sounds like the reason for Pathwalking to me!

I need to state, once again, that if being a cog in the machine makes you content, satisfied and happy with your life- that’s great!  If this choice brings you what you want out of life, then I could not be happier for you.  Pathwalking is different for everyone.

For me it’s more dramatic than that.  I do not do well as a drone in an office, I am not good at working under an oppressive, number-crunching micro-managed system.  That’s not my path, but I certainly cannot deny it could well be anyone else’s.

I need to feel free.  I need to be free to choose as I would choose, live as I want to live, find love and happiness according to my thoughts and plans.  And what works for me is not going to work for anyone else.  And that’s perfectly ok.

Please take note – freedom is NOT choosing to do NOTHING.  Freedom does not come easily, it takes considerable time and work.  Freedom is not about a lack of work and contribution, and that is the mistake many people make.  Freedom is about choice.

What for me is freedom for another is chaos.  What I see as constraining others are going to see as open.  These things are completely and totally subjective, and no two paths are alike.

So how can Pathwalking be for everyone?  Simple – it’s about choice.  Pathwalking is about choosing my own way to get out of life what I want.  This is my means to the ends, and my choice of paths to learn all I can every day.

As similar as the days can be, no two days are ever alike.  Pathwalking is about not getting caught up in the hum-drum sameness of the days, but to see and experience what makes them all unique.  Pathwalking is learning new things, experiencing similar things in different ways, and discovering the joy and love and happiness of not just the goal at the end, but the journey along the way.

That is why Pathwalking is an expression of freedom.  I make the choices, I am able to express myself, share my ideas, and walk the paths I choose.  This life is not the makings of some other – it is mine and mine alone to experience, whether I choose to share that or not.  My path is not yours, and your path is not mine, but that does not mean we cannot travel together.

Does Pathwalking help you feel free?

 

This is the sixty-sixth 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.

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