Posts tagged ‘choice’

fault and change

The challenge Day 32, by Carlos Miceli: [Think of all the things that are not working in your life. That job you don’t like, that relationship that’s not working, those friends that annoy you. Now turn them all on you. Imagine that everything that’s not working in your life is your fault. How would you approach it? What would you work on to change your life to the state that you want it to be?]

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The devil may wear Prada, but I am rather naked than gutless.

   ”Could you come into my office, now?

I was abruptly disturbed from my daydreaming by the voice in the intercom speakers. It was the voice of my boss, an arrogant woman with a charisma of a black widow spider in heat.

   ”What now?”

I dragged myself out of the chair, out of the office room, out in the corridor and in front of the closed-door. My hands were shaking a bit and I hesitated to press the button under the name I hated – Ms. Agnes Halliwell, CEO. There was absolutely nothing “Agnes” about her. I knew her name meant “chaste or holy”. She talks about it every Christmas party when she has the speech of the year to the staff. And what about her surname – Halliwell? She was far away from a “well of holiness”. Ms Agnes Halliwell was a stinking puddle of envy, wrath and greed. Wonder what aspirations her parents had for her, did they feel touched by God to have a baby and how then could she grow up to become such a despicable person? She was a cold-hearted woman and most people I knew at work despised her. She degraded my colleague in front of the rest of us for no reason whatsoever than that she had the power to do it. I pulled myself together and pressed the button and the light showed green which meant I could enter.

Sit” she said and pointed to a chair in front of her desk and signed that I be quiet. She was talking on the phone at the same time with someone else and was upset and angry.

Now listen to me, I don’t care who did what to whom or if you just got the information five fucking minutes ago! You work for me and I am the one that feeds your disgusting little children. I want it fixed within the hour,” she ranted and I watched her walk back and forth in the room.

She was impeccably dressed; black tailor-made dress, white shirt, pearls in her ears, fantastic manicured French nails and high-heel black Manolo Blahnik shoes. A conspicuous woman, in deed, but she was made of stone. She never exercised compassion or kindness. I couldn’t remember if I had ever seen her smile. She was beautiful but such a pain in the ass. She hung up the phone, sat down and grabbed her bag and pulled up her lipstick and refreshed her lips with a flaming crimson colour.

Take a look at this. I want to hear your opinion” she said and threw a pile of paper on the desk. I picked up the pile and started to read a business report. It was about a business deal about an acquisition that had its flaws but all in all it showed a good and sound business model that with some adjustments could be great.

Time is money, you know. The deal is not happening so I want you to tell me whose fault it is. Whom am I going to hang for this poor execution?” she said and looked at me with a stone cold face. She wasn’t going to let me off the hook easily.

Excuse me?” I said and couldn’t believe what I just heard.

You heard me. Don’t play stupid. Whose fault is it? Who’s to blame?

I have heard about her interrogations and pestering before but I haven’t been called into her office myself.

Don’t stall. Give me an answer. Now.” she said and reached for her mobile phone that announced an incoming text message.

“What do you want from me? I don’t think it is only one person’s fault if something goes wrong” I said and wondered if she was going to eat me alive. I put down the papers on the desk and hoped that she was content with my answer. I looked at her and could tell that she wasn’t.

Do you have an idea what it takes to run this business? Do you have at least some brain cells in there?” she hissed and pointed to my head. She made me feel like a squeezed lemon. I tried to look firmly into her eyes without yielding but I couldn’t. I gave way to her hard glance. I picked up the report again and started to look through it. There were some irregularities in the presentation, but they were minor and could be adjusted with some calculation wizardry.

Why does everything have to revolve around fault and guilt?” I thought and looked at her again. I noticed that even if she was a beautiful woman, she had a sort of thin tight upper lip, which made it easy, with little imagination, to turn her into an old ragged witch with a wart on her nose. That picture almost made me smile and I felt for her at that moment. I saw a very lonely woman who assumed that to be powerful she had to use the tactics of coercion, to threaten with reprimands for anyone that opposed her or failed to carry out to her satisfaction. I filled up with unfamiliar self-assurance. She couldn’t make me inferior unless I let her. She was actually in need of anyone or me to give her power.

I do have brain cells and they tell me you are making an unnecessary assumption. You look at business as fault and entitlement. But mistakes can be rectified and success is relative. ” I said and surprised myself that I managed to sound so calm. I looked straight at her and put down the pile of paper. She stood still and looked at me with the same stone cold face she had all along.

Why does someone have to hang if the deal isn’t going to happen anyway?” I asked.

Because as long as one or two persons are held responsible for a mistake or misfortune in our business, the rest of the team can go home with illusion of happiness and come back tomorrow and be better workers than they thought they could be the day before” she answered without hesitation and sat down.

But that’s just scapegoat mechanism and isn’t sign of strong leadership. It’s just bullying. It’s scare tactics.” I said and anticipated her to start arguing. The intercom speaker crackled.

Ms Halliwell, there’s a call on line two

Debby, what is it you don’t get? I’m in a meeting. Take a message and don’t disturb me

Yes, Ms Halliwell. I am sorry, Ms Halliwell”. The speaker crackled again when the nervous secretary hung up.

Well, it’s interesting to hear what you think leadership is all about. Now let me tell you what I think” she said and stood up and walked around her desk and stopped in front of me. She had a malicious smile on her face. At least it was as close to a smile she would have I thought and felt uneasy having her so close to me. I was certain she could smell my growing nervousness. I was her prey and she got ready for the kill.

I don’t need people to like me. I need people to do as I say. I do business. I do it well. I make huge profits for the company. People get paid well. People are happy. But when things go wrong, and it always does. You’ve heard of Murphy’s law, haven’t you?”

Yes

Good. Then you know that if anything can go wrong, it will. So when it does, people need to see that they aren’t the ones that caused it but someone else. Then people can continue to be happy. So they obey and do as I say. I am the one that have to make that call. Strong leadership is the necessity to send someone to be hanged and held accountable for mistakes so the show can go on” she said. I knew she was uncompromising but I didn’t thought that she could be like a piercing winter storm on the tundra. She was relentless.

I think responsibility for one’s actions is important, but I can’t help but wonder how constructive ‘fault’ really is? At the end of the day, you are the one that is responsible for it all, for the company. So if someone fails, you fail. You think in terms of mistakes. What if the mistakes can be looked at as opportunities instead, opportunities to do better?” I said and watched her when she laughed out loud. It was a scornful laughter. I felt ridiculed but I decided to not yield into her bullying. She was pitiful.

Oh dear Lord, you are one of those. Do you really believe in an idealistic world where you’re in service for the betterment of others? People only serve for the betterment of them selves” she said and an air of attentiveness flew over her. She sat down and watched me.

There is a Chinese saying that says if you point a finger towards someone else, three point back to yourself” I answered after a while hoping she would get my metaphor.

Oh is that so? All I have to say to that is only if you believe in mumbo jumbo like that.” she said and leaned back in her chair. She looked like this amused her; as if it has been a long time she had a hunt like this, a prey that actually gave her a fight. I felt as if I just was bit by a venomous spider and could only wait for the paralysis to kick in.

Are you going to proclaim it’s my fault then?” I said and felt my courage disappear. It seemed I had nothing to gain by trying to resist her habitual accusations and blame games.

Oh no, that would be too easy and no fun at all. No, my sweet Ms. Clueless, you are going to do the finger-pointing for me. You will step into my shoes.” she said and for the first time I saw her actually smile. My god, even her teeth were white, straight and immaculate. Her soul, however, was suppressed to the extent that it seemed totally absent. Then I felt a flood of tremendous force, a courage and strength I haven’t felt before. I stood up and straighten my back.

No, I won’t. I will not point out a person to carry fault and blame alone so the rest of us can pretend everything is okay and fine. That’s your ball game. Not mine. When I walk out the door, I will never come back. And I feel for you, you know. You are one of the loneliest persons I have ever met. You carve your name in marble because you don’t know what a heart is. I will leave you with one thought to ponder, when you die, and you will, who will attend your funeral and from their heart say they miss you because you were such a loving and caring person. Who?

I turned around and walked out the door. I was tempted to look back to have a last glimpse of her to see her reaction. But I didn’t. I knew she was knocked right out off her Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Fault turns easily in to a blame game. Human societies are founded upon myths of sacrifice, to hold a complex structure of power together, so we habitually oppose force upon another. As long as the receptive community accepts it, the balance of power is kept even if one side lose more than the other. It goes something like this: “If you do work for me and serve the needs of the greater group (like a workplace) I will protect you and what you produce”. The scapegoat mechanism is part of that power exchange. If something goes wrong, force of coercion is used to keep people on track and remain in power. Hence someone has to ‘pay’ and made into a scapegoat and held responsible for the misfortune, and that scapegoat will carry the fault alone and relieve the larger group from the burden.”

I read a wonderful short novel “They that leave Omelas”, by one of my favourite writers Ursula Le Guin, on which I took the inspiration for this prompt. In that she writes about an invisible child that has to suffer awful abandonment, isolation and cruelty for the sake of the village’s happiness. The inhabitants were aware of the child, but thought as long as that one child carried fault, guilt and blame they could continue to live in blissful ignorance. But there were a few people, who couldn’t bare the knowledge of placing guilt upon one single child, and left the village to never return. They chose to enter the uncomfortable but liberating realm of responsibility of one’s Self and one’s actions.

So I don’t think fault is constructive. Mistakes are lessons in disguise. Do I place blame and fault upon others? Yes, sometimes I do and on myself too. Because my narrow-mindedness makes me believe I see the whole story. But however I justify the fault, or what I believe I am right about, never makes me happy. It always leaves me aware of my ignorance. It takes a lot to have 360° vision but I work to have one. I believe that what might be one man’s vulnerable wilderness is another man’s theme park. Fault never tells the whole story. But if we change our view or at least have the courage to hear other versions of a story we might get a wider perspective.

 

10 year text

The challenge of Day 30, by Tia Singh: [Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?]

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Thanks Me! I was spirited away by this writing event and shown my talents. I know that nothing can be hidden in the light, so I will continue to write and do what I can until my destiny is revealed. I am another you – In’Lakesh 🙂

 

 

 

courage to connect

The challenge of Day 23, by David Spinks: [Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.]

@Cindy A Pavlinac at Sacred Land Photography

Wow, I struggled a bit with this one. I’ve had many ’dreams’ about having a dinner party where I meet interesting people to talk with, meet personally and discuss life, universe and humanity. I would invite pioneers, healers, filmmakers, artists, politicians, children, teachers, scientist, inventors, activists and even dictators or fictitious characters, you name it. Imagine a conversation between Adolf Hitler and Nelson Mandela. Yeah, I know…a fantasy! But if I could put my loathe towards Hitler and admiration to Mandela aside, it would be a fantastic situation to have a close conversation. I am curious about people and their outlook on life. But there isn’t a person I would be ‘dying’ to meet. Then it hit me: There is one invitation I would like to send out and it isn’t impossible to make it happen.

I invite you, fellow adventurer to a ‘Marga’ meet-up, as a walk-about in Life.

Joseph Campbell wrote about ‘Marga’ in his book “The Hero’s Journey”; “Marga is from a root word ‘mrg’, which refers to the footprints left by an animal, and you follow that animal. The animal you are trying to follow is your own spiritual self. And the path is indicated by mythological images. Follow the tracks of the animal and you will be led to the animal’s home. Who is the animal? The animal is the human spirit. So, following the elementary ideas, you are led to your own deepest spiritual source.”

MARGA – a path of self-discovery and empowerment. Are you ready to experience a spiritual, emotional, and physical metamorphosis?

What? We create a self-reliant open-space meet-up where we explore the possibilities of our potential, help each other to tap into the human spirit that resides in us. An ‘Open-Space meeting’ is a format that allows the participants to formulate their own questions, get response from the others that attend too. So it would be as we write down our own prompts but have the extraordinary opportunity to get feedback and other perspectives in person. In between the sessions we could have seminars from some of the participants on their subjects, for instance I could talk about the archetypal language and symbolism in our lives and power, or marketing or leadership, someone could talk about healing or writing or mediation or Tai Chi or how to have a digital sabbatical, de-cluttering, healthy food and exercise…the possibilities are endless. 

Where? Hmm, yes, that needs some consideration; I would like to be at a place with sacred energy (I’m not talking from a religious perspective). There are many places that I think of; Black Hills, US or The Labyrinth in Chartres, France or Stonehenge, England …many places qualifies to emphasize serenity and wholeness. Any suggestions?   

When? Let’s meet year from now. 21 June 2012. (Next summer solstice) We would have a four-day (maybe longer?) interaction where we create the experience as a group. I would be happy to take the responsibility for the arrangements. If you know someone who would be interested, spread the love. If not, that’s fine too. I have no clue if this will take off but it sure would an exciting adventure, don’t you think?

Price? The factual cost I don’t know yet. But the experience would be priceless. That’s why the meet-up would be a year from now. I guess most of us would have to start saving to afford it. But I will look into it, if I get 10 or more people report their interest.

Are you interested and/or do you have suggestions to where the meet-up could be and/or some thoughts about what we could do please contact me and I will seriously work to make it happen:

Michi Lantz

Website / Facebook /  Twitter / Email: michiatfacebook@me.com

Ps. if this doesn’t resonate with you, it’s totally fine. I thought it would be great to invite you, as an act of gratefulness for being part of my somewhat shaky steps towards self-reliance.

In’Lakesh, Michi

alternative paths

The challenge of Day 14, by Jonathan FieldsIn this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, [“What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.]

The Asian wise man considers that a path is neither good nor bad. One can and must develop one’s potentialities. The first step is to thoroughly know oneself.

I am a seeker and what I find is important but it’s not a goal in itself. It’s a result of the search. Even more important is the questions I ask. It’s like I am called to go out on a quest to find truth and meaning. You know the old X-Files slogan: The truth is out there. That’s me. I believe that it is and I should say that ‘out there’ might as well be ‘in here’ (pointing to my heart).

I find new things every day, about myself and the world I live in and the people in it. I can see more of myself in a person I hardly know than in my children sometimes. And that’s so extraordinary to be able to do that. But however, some days I feel it’s like looking myself in the mirror when I hear my children talk, walk, laugh or being angry. But we are like snowflakes, similar and yet exquisitely unique. Still I’m amazed how little I actually deliberately process of what I find. Is that ignorance or is it some sorts of mindfulness, a word I’m kind of tired of these days btw?

Because I do register the breeze on my cheek, the neighbours talking, my restlessness because I want to be outside in the sun instead of completing my business duties, my somewhat stressed thoughts of what-are-we-going-to-eat-tonight, my arrogance when I find people being dorks, my aching lower back, the love that I feel in my heart, my secret envy of people I think getting things done and wow-when-did-these-love handles-put-themselves-around-me and so on.

And yet these always present thoughts pass through me and disappear back/up/forward/down into where? I don’t know. But they impact me anyway and yet at the end of the day they are not really important. But I think these types of thoughts. I think, I react and I perceive, all in the speed of light. It is said that a person has over 60,000 thoughts every day. And 90 % of these are the same as the ones you had yesterday and the day before, leaving little room for new thoughts. No wonder life can seem tedious at times. So am I that repetitive?

It’s like humans are capable of gigantic uploads and downloads of energetic exchanges in non-audible communication. That means a lot of same-shit-different-day thoughts are circling around in human psychic space. I have all this vast ocean of choices and opportunities in front of me, and yet I can only make one choice at a time. How do I discern what choice to make? How do I choose differently in this huge flow of sameness?

Sure I can say that I could have chosen to “pull myself together” and force myself through the experience of darkness. Who wants to stay in the dark for long?! But the choice I made was to not resist. I could say that I have the opportunity to not react as a meltdown when I deal with monetary parasites in my business, but I do and it takes a toll on me every time. I can choose to start going to the gym, since my body and my self-image need to feel and see myself much more athletic than I am. I can do all these things. And yet I have obviously chosen otherwise.

Do I bother? Yes, in terms of my love handles I bother. A lot, I want to look and feel physically good! The rest? No. I am what I am, a unique snowflake that realises in this very precise moment that I have surrendered to who I am. I have surrendered to where I find myself.

To really stretch myself in this prompt and try to see what I don’t see, in a state of absolute presence, I take a breath, sit still and listen. Then I hear a tiny frail whispering voice from within. It’s opportunity that points to another direction. I hear and slowly I see another way to look at things, another way to choose. So in this very moment I write this, I would have to say that the insignificance and emptiness I feel is just a chimera, but it’s part of my process, part of my personal search of what life is all about.

I didn’t see this before I sat down and wrote. I didn’t know this. I chose to see it. I chose to see the opportunity to see myself differently. There are two ‘musts’ in life – we must die and we must choose. The rest is pretty much choices. So what we have to remember is to stop and let the opportunities appear and make the choices show themselves so we can see what we don’t see and embrace what we think is not there – the power to change.

So I say to the transforming caterpillar I am; dear love you are called into a mystery and have to become a butterfly. You chose to answer that call. Own it. Persevere. You made the right choice.

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