CONSPIRACY

If you are planning to vote in the November 2024 Presidential Election, Stuart Stevens The Conspiracy to End America: Five Ways My Old Party is Driving Our Democracy to Autocracy is a simple, must read. My experience of the book is that Stevens is objective, not self-serving, and offers his work as helping Americans make sound decisions when voting this November.

Stevens contends,

The inescapable truth is that there is now only one pro-democratic party in American politics, and that’s the Democratic Party. The Republican Party has proven there is no line that can be crossed, no principle shattered, that will force the party to return to decency. If you are unwilling to hold the man accountable who sent the mob to kill you and your colleagues, what other possible transgression could merit a response…The only hope for the Republican Party is for it to suffer crushing defeat after crushing defeat so that it is forced to confront its failure. Then maybe, just maybe, it will begin to change and return to some semblance of a normal center-right party in a democratic civil society…America is so much more than a place on a map with a flag. We must fight not because we know we will emerge triumphant but fight because not to fight is to give up. And if we do that, we no longer deserve to call ourselves Americans. (223-224)

Having been raised in a small town in Northwestern Ohio, taught to embrace learning experiences, spending eight years in the military service, including two years of combat, and grateful for friends, family, and civilian careers, it is painful to reflect on America of past life and America today…and Stevens displays the contrast on each page. Some examples:

  • Culture of fear and hate vs trust, hope, and compassion.
  • Gun violence and cruelty vs virtues, values, guiding principles, and sane education and use of weapons.
  • Home grown terrorism is OK vs transcending and including others.
  • Money and power vs voting to make a difference.
  • Existence for a few vs the many.
  • Ego vs true self and individual and collective authenticity.
  • Autocracy vs democracy.
  • Destruction vs building for tomorrow.
  • Voting obstacles vs voting encouragement.
  • White supremacy and racism vs “We the people…”

Today we are on the brink of evolving from: By the people…For the people…Of the people…to: By a few…For a few…Of a few.

As Stevens offers,

We must fight not because we know we will emerge triumphant but fight because not to fight is to give up. And if we do that, we no longer deserve to call ourselves Americans.

 If you plan to vote this November, request that you read The Conspiracy to End America: Five Ways My Old Party is Driving Our Democracy to Autocracy.

PARTNERSHIP

Saying “hello” to the authentic self feels like evolution-in-process. Today it feels like the true self is like an inverted teepee that started growing in Mom’s womb, and is still growing, developing, and evolving, moment-to-moment. When the true self is responding, absent reacting to the tugs of either mind chatter, fear, triggers, attachment style, sensual experiences, physical sensations, presented self, spiritual vibes, religion, or a combination of two or more of the noted tugs, the true self can respond and behave with authenticity. Moreover, actual thoughts, words, language, actions, and behaviors are in sync with each other. An alternative is to show up as the ego, the “people pleasing” mode, the thoughts, words-language, and actions-behaviors that surface based on what is expected of us or based on social or peer pressure. This is living the actions, words, thoughts, and emotions others have offered— Mom, Dad, Gma, Gpa, teachers, monks, imams, priests, nuns, rabbis, coaches, mentors, ministers, therapists, military buddies, military brass, professors, classmates, neighbors, bosses, spouses, kids, etc. These programs are the result of our grooming since before birth simply because the conscious mind has been programming the subconscious mind to live the actions, words, thoughts, and emotions others have offered.

The challenge and opportunity are to be the true self and motor along in life as the authentic self. Being able to be present and witness ourselves in action-mindfulness and awareness meditation-is critical to growing awareness of tugs between how we show up in the world and how one desires to show up in the world for ourselves and others. Evolving from witnessed behaviors emerge tiny steps for love of self, learning communication with one another beyond the unhealthy and healthy ego, loving others, and bringing to life the mysterious collective intelligence that lives between and among us, but is not specific to any of us. With passionate intention, 100% responsibility, facing everything and fearing nothing, and action one can evolve into being a good partner who enjoys partnership and collectives.

Andrew Cohen contends,

One of the remarkable discoveries made in many years of practicing a contemporary spiritual path is that enlightened awareness can not only come alive in the interior of an individual-as a ‘Higher I’-but also in the interior of a collective-as a ‘Higher we.’ When this mysterious new kind of enlightenment emerges, it expresses itself in the space between us-and it effectively becomes the intersubjective experience of the whole group. (Manifest Nirvana: A Sanctuary for 21st Century Spiritual Explorers, 1)

Christian Larson’s message in The Great Within is clear: our sickness, disease, illness, health, wellness, and wellbeing are reflections of the language we live in; and since birth the conscious mind (5% of who we are) has been programming the subconscious mind (95% of who we are) to live the actions, words, thoughts, and emotions others have offered. These programs are the result of our past thinking and our tomorrows the result of our present thinking. We have been our mental parents, and we shall be our own mental children. All that a person does and brings to pass is a gesture of thought. What one thinks and passionately or lazily passes along to the body as a “must do” or “should do” is what one gets. The challenge is to close the gap between the authentic self, the language of integrity, and the others’ self that we have chosen to create because of what others have offered and we have chosen. The opportunity is to tell the truth.

As a perfectionist-reformer, know it all, who fears rejection, has targeted having everything right, and has rejected the imperfect for eight decades, recognizing and admitting reality about the presented self is process and invites a bunch of mind chatter. The stir of inner chaos, tantrums, avoidance, and stress is paralyzing and distracting, and generates and reinforces suffering, sickness, disease, and illness.

Yes! We are thinking, personality, character, and wellness reflections of the language we live in. Let’s live in the language of the authentic self! Close the gap between the authentic self and the represented self, the healthy ego, and the unhealthy ego. Simply one step at a time. The vision offers authentic joy, a manner of traveling with strategies as follows:

-Quality, common good, authenticity, and virtue in all we are and all we do.

-Simply model the way as a person, in relationships, socially, institutionally, culturally, and by passionately caring about and helping others.

-Meditate for healthy partnership of the conscious and subconscious minds and for mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint.

Some Resources

  • Evolutionary Enlightenment, Andrew Cohen.
  • Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One, Joe Dispenza.
  • Becoming Supernatural: How Common People are Doing the Uncommon, Joe Dispenza.
  • The Great Within, Christian Larsen.
  • How Attachment Styles Work, LearnWell Books.

 

 

 

 

ELECTION 2024

As the “run-up” to the 2024 Presidential election unfolds; and as we witness the dark divide becoming wider, deeper, and darker, contrasting candidates for political positions can bear fruit for American democracy. It appears the critical decision is to select candidates who can best close the gap between current reality and a desired vision for freedom in America.

How one chooses to “show-up” in the world can be critiqued by research, examination, and witnessing talents, skills, habits, virtues, identities, and experiences; making observations; and scrutinizing character, personality, mentality, and interests. Former President Donald J. Trump offers an excellent example of necessary candidate homework.

Research, Examination, and Witnessing[1]

A track record of business and government failures and absolute chaotic disasters: most consequential president in history; puppet of Vladimir Putin; foreign policy bullying, badgering, and destroying; has abandoned allies; personal business endeavors with several bankruptcies; North Korean nuclear weapons stockpile doubled; pandemic management and leadership non-existent (dereliction of duty resulting in an estimated 250,000 American deaths; and passed buck off to governors who became blame targets); enlisted foreign interference in elections (Russia and China); several obstruction of justice charges; numerous lawsuits; two impeachments; accepts payoffs for positions; and has numerous Trump party cronies—Lindsay Graham, Mike Johnson, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Kevin McCarthy, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, et al—who are lost souls in search of a tribe and chief. Zero leadership: no decisions made based on strategy, makes decisions on how he feels at the time; can handle small projects and sign executive orders; not able to lead projects large in scope. Orchestrated overthrow of 2020 election, bypassed Constitutional order, and directed a violent insurrection to support a coup against the Vice President and Congress. Immigration policy is inhumane and selection of judges and environmental deregulations may be legacy.  As Bernie Sanders has eloquently noted, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs.”

Observations

Donald J. Trump is a genius at networking and using the media to recruit, retain, and fire, at will, addicted surrogates, circles of friends, admirers, celebrity hangers-on, and wannabes who savor and long for safety and security sought by bonding together and identifying with a tribe to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief and clan. Mystical signs, conspiracy, trading cards, and desires of powerful spirit beings must be followed for the continued safety and well-being of the tribe. Four years of behaviors revealed the following:

  • A cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a predator, a con man.
  • Racist, incendiary, casts hate, disruptive, name caller, and divisive, mentally unfit for political office.
  • Repeatedly has disparaged the intelligence of service members: Americans who die in war are “losers” and “suckers.”
  • Tax cuts were a corporate “boondoggle.”
  • Vision for country merely to fix what his administration undermined, agitated, deconstructed, or destroyed during his time in office. Examples: intelligence, FBI, CIA, U.S. Postal Service, voting integrity, CDC, and Supreme Court.
  • Continued stoking of fear, celebrity, and brand building; and show-photo opportunity is the foundation for his rhetoric.
  • Staff selection of addicted surrogates was a disaster and revolving door; and demanded loyalty even if unethical.
  • Surrounded by fixers and “yes men”; encourages rivalries and thrives on personal attacks.
  • Protected by political party sorted, partisan, power worldview associates of the Federal government institution he and his cronies chose to deconstruct and destroy.
  • Conspiracist and guilty of political cowardice, blaming, passing the buck, and dereliction of duty; shirked constitutionally mandated duty and rewards misconduct.
  • Sexist, multiple lawsuits, and misconduct.
  • Racist: a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
  • Dishonest, arrogant, and narcissist; uses position and financial power for personal gain.
  • Creates martyr, irrelevance, and distractions; misleads, boasts, is egotistical, blamelessness of self, never wrong, and anxious to criticize.
  • People mistakes.
  • Lies, denies, blames, and spins; egotistical and self-serving; unqualified for the position and did not grow into the job because he could not.

Character, Personality, Mentality, and Interests.

  • Low-functioning includes persons who “… do not exhibit polished and polite behaviors as a mask for their manipulations…may lack the education or interpersonal skills to control and deceive. Instead, they might use threats, coercion, or intimidation to achieve their desired outcome.” (Source: Dr. Timothy J. Legg, “What Is a High-Functioning Sociopath?”, 5-28-2019, https://www.healthline.com, 1-3.)
  • Narcissistic sociopath: one form of antisocial personality disorder and is the result of environmental factors such as a child or teen’s upbringing in a negative household that resulted in physical abuse, emotional abuse, or childhood trauma. (Sources: Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough, 2020, Simon & Schuster; https://psychcentral.com, Dr. John M. Grohol, “Differences Between a Psychopath vs Sociopath,” 5-20-2020, 1-5; Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, “Psychopath vs Sociopath: 16 Key Differences,” 9-7-2018, 1-3; https://www.health.com, Rosie McCall, “9 Ways to Spot a Sociopath,” 10-4-2019, 1-7.
  • Gangster, corrupt, and behaves as if above the law.
  • A stale breath of death, hate, narcissism, chaos, fear, conspiracy, norm erosion, “dark,” institutional deconstruction, and neo-facism.

Partisan politics is a dangerous duel of limited and partial truths; and binds party sorted folks to fixed, literal or otherwise limiting beliefs and frames of minds. The trans-rational paradox is quite clear: a fresh breath of hope, empathy, virtues, core values and guiding principles, trustworthiness, leadership, “light,” inspiration, and democracy. W. Edwards Deming remarked, “If a person is not performing as expected, it is probably because they are miscast for the job.” The United States needs a constitutional provision that authorizes the Cabinet, with consent of the Vice President, to declare a sitting president unfit for office.

Pick political leaders who have mastered the authentic self and model the way as persons, in relationships, institutionally, socially, culturally, by caring for and helping others, and putting quality, common good, compassion, and virtue in all he-she is and does. America needs them today and for the evolving future of this great democratic Nation.

[1] Resources list is available with email request to JohnDeVore@aol.com

COLD PRICKLIES

A quick and dirty assessment of current reality offers that “We the people” have allowed politicians to abdicate responsibility for America’s democracy and to ignore a political revolution that led to the current, manifest consequence, “cold pricklies” administration. The painful results:  foundational core values, morals, codes of ethics and guiding principles are eroding; historic institutions are being deconstructed; and America has devolved from a democracy to a veiled aristocracy.

As the 2024 election nears, “We the people” have work to do to facilitate the election of leaders who inspire, rally, offer hope and energize folks to climb aboard the American train and actively participate in the evolution of a desired American global character, one step at a time. A nice place to start is to create a vision, of a desired future state. Here are some ideas.

INSPIRATION and EXCELLENCE through VISION and CORE VALUES

We have a clear, easily understood statement of the desired future state of America for Americans.

We have core values, codes of ethics and guiding principles manifesting morals that are life protecting and life enhancing; and that guide right or wrong behavior.

CHARACTER DRIVEN, INNOVATIVE LEADERSHIP

We have leaders who are objective, not self-serving and make decisions that are in the best interests of people served.

We have leaders who create trust-based influence relationships and accept the 100% responsibility commitment.

We have leaders who transcend, include and unify differences and diverse strengths.

INVOLVED, PARTICIPATING, EMPOWERED PEOPLE

We know that when our people put the conscious and subconscious minds to work on an issue, a solution will be found.

We recognize that people are our greatest asset.

We put quality in all we are and all we do: we are the “best of the best.”

We are good leaders and followers, empowered to make a difference and committed to active participation in evolving America’s desired future state.

TEAM ORIENTED RELATIONSHIPS and COALITIONS

We are leaders in quality relationships and strengthen alliances around the world.

We build diverse coalitions and make “equal” equal.

QUALITY ENVIRONMENTS and CULTURES

We have cultures and working environments that are challenging, exciting and fun.

We lead global environmental preservation and improvement coalitions.

PROACTIVE, LEADING EDGE SYSTEMS and INSTITUTIONS

We build proactive, simple systems and processes that are affordable and can cope with the expected and unexpected.

We have institutions that are second to none.

We have a military and space force that are well-trained, pro-active and ready.

We have respected, proactive systems that control the flow of information, methods of communication and conduct within the nation.

We have political parties and political leaders who are our democracy’s gatekeepers and are committed to improve our democracy.

We know how to win a war of competing global visions that include cyber information; space; and under water.

We have an infrastructure that satisfies current and evolving needs.

We have an economy that is thriving for all.

FLEXIBLE STRUCTURES

We have flexible structures that have qualified staff and that are dynamic and aligned to meet strategic objectives and respond to changing internal and external environments.

We are now able to develop policy strategies, followed by detailed planning of goals, objectives and action plans, that move us from current reality toward the vision. A few policy strategies might include election security, comprehensive immigration reform, affordable healthcare, free education and leading edge curricula reform, foreign relations, environmental control, taxation, economy, tariffs, financial viability, media and judicial system and processes. Let’s move from a current reality of “cold pricklies” to a desired future state of “warm fuzzies” for all Americans.

 

 

 

FORGOT MY PANTS

It was February 1973. The new boss and I were walking in the Coors Container Company aluminum can manufacturing plant. As this good Army soldier had been instructed when walking with a superior, I was walking one step to the left and one step to the rear. Above the noise in the can plant, the boss adamantly motioned with his left hand and arm and beckoned, “Come-up here and walk beside me; and next week start a program to manage your stress!” This relaxation journey, intended to quiet the busy, perfectionist mind, remains a work-in-progress! The purpose of this blog is to share a recent “ah-ha” moment of this golfer’s pursuit of tools to manage the distraction and interference of the “inner roommate” on and off the golf course.

As a self-proclaimed student of the genius of Fred Shoemaker’s work (Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible and Extraordinary Putting: Transforming the Whole Game), a cherished comment he makes, “If the point of golf is only about being good at golf, then much of the value that the game can provide gets missed.” (Extraordinary Putting, 37). Perhaps his “dose of therapy” will shed some light on why I forgot my pants.

Shoemaker offers a nice formula for distraction, or interference: SELF + INTERFERENCE = DIFFERENCE (Extraordinary Putting, 44). Having experienced that playing golf offers oodles of distraction, chaos and messages, recent efforts have been to “think” in the THINK BOX (Nilsson & Marriot, Every Shot Must Have a Purpose, 28-32) and “play” in the PLAY BOX (Ibid), with particular intent in the PLAY BOX to set up, go to the breath to quiet the mind, connect with the target, focus on the ball and on an out-breath “pull the trigger.” This has been a tough assignment because mental distraction-interference has consistently invaded my PLAY BOX; and seventy years of playing this fantastic game is offering that continued practice will reduce the distracting, “inner roommate,” swing thought chatter.

How does the “DIFFERENCE” show up? It manifests as thoughts, behavior and speech. The best witness when John’s “DIFFERENCE” is present is my wife. She comments, “Not a fun partner, judgmental, stressed, impatient, intolerant, Grumpy Old Cat…” And there is more! Shoemaker remarks, “Just two shots from insanity.”

Yes, I forgot my pants. It was a cold, 10 degree, December day in Colorado. My wife, our son, his wife and their kids were climbing into the car for a short ride to the bus stop for travel to the Christmas Parade of Lights in Denver. Before getting into the car, the temperature offered that long underwear would really feel warm and cozy during the Parade. I returned to the house, slipped the pants off, pulled-on the long underwear and returned to the car, discovering that my pants were missing. Interference had invaded and grandpa offered everyone a great big laugh…Ho, Ho, Ho. Yes, golf has a great deal more to offer than tips and the score: “A future where golfers experience that hitting a piece of rubber with a stick in a big park has added great richness to human life.” (Extraordinary Putting, 171) If allowed to invade, interference can certainly ruin an intended beautiful golf shot, lead to forgotten pants and provide good laughs for family. Life and golf are real gifts!

 

 

 

 

SIMPLE, FUN GOLF

Ever since teeing up that first golf ball with Mom and Dad at the age of eight, golf has been a patient life coach; and as the years have sped by, the sport continues to coach and counsel. Recent experiences have offered that if open and psychologically ready for the infinite messages, “simple” in golf and life can be discovered beyond sport and life’s complexities.

Christian D. Larson’s message is clear: we are reflections—thinking, personality, and character—of the language in which we live. (The Great Within) As Abel Leighton Allen contends, “Our todays are the result of our past thinking, our tomorrows the result of our present thinking. We have been our mental parents, and we shall be our own mental children.” How would Woody and Birdy Ball, Golf as Guru (www.johnedwindevore.com), use this taste of philosophy to improve the golf game?

  • Search for a meditation coach and launch daily meditation. During ritual on every shot this will facilitate quieting the mind and offer a spiritual experience of becoming one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target.
  • Become aware, understand, work with, and trust the well-programmed subconscious mind to perform. A place to start is with an easy read of The Great Within: Unleashing the Power of Your Subconscious Mind (Christian D. Larson, 2012, Crowell). Larson offers, “While directing attention upon the subconscious, the idea that is to be impressed should be clearly discerned in mind and an effort should be made to feel the soul of that idea.” (3)
  • Commit to an integral health, wellness, and wellbeing process, simply a balanced cardiovascular, mental, emotional, and physical training program that works for you. Some guides: Yoga for Golfers (Katherine Roberts), The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Golf, Third Edition (Sportsworkout.com), and Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (Wilber, Patten, Leonard & Morelli, 2008, Boston, Massachusetts: Integral).
  • Select a coach who is a good listener and will work with you to accomplish your golf goals, not his or hers. Good coach-student chemistry is a must.
  • Have equipment that fits and feels good; and make sure those clubs sound good at impact.
  • Immaculate set-up: grip, aim, POSTURE, and stance. As the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body. Posture, posture, posture!
  • Two putts per green maximum; hit the greens in regulation; and make ups and downs.
  • Stay curious and open to learn from infinite sources about the integral, evolving individual, subjective inner game; the individual, objective outer game; the collective, subjective inner game; and the collective, objective outer game. For an introduction to the integral concept see Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening, pages 27-39.
  • Play happy golf! Enjoy the journey as you create and participate in the evolution of consciousness and culture.

As Birdy offers, “Yes! We are thinking, personality, virtue, and character reflections of the language we live in. Let’s live in the language of the authentic self we desire, not the swing thoughts, chastisement, and whims of the monkey mind that keep us mired two shots from insanity.”

ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY

Through work with an energy psychology and energy healing coach the author has realized that John would have been a better child, teenager, student, parent, partner, subordinate, soldier, and leader if the 50-year self-awareness and self-development commitment had included coaching for “digging deep” into inner, buried, repressed subconscious aspects of the self. Selected literature would refer to these subconscious aspects as shadow,

… the dark side of the psyche-those aspects of ourselves that we’ve split off, rejected, denied, hidden from ourselves, projected onto others, or otherwise disowned. In the language of psychotherapy, the shadow is referred to as the ‘repressed unconscious’-repressed because we’ve pushed or ‘pressed’ it out of our awareness, and unconscious because we’re not aware of it! [Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening, Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston: Integral, 41]

The “dig deeper” coaching for authentic John and little John has led to a wish that this challenge, opportunity, coaching, and learning to “dig deeper” had begun 60 + years ago! Moreover, it offers that young adults who are considering partnership, becoming parents, having kids, and raising kids may benefit from energy psychology coaching mentally, physically, spiritually, energetically, and emotionally. The vison is that the world is exponentially, positively evolving for generations to come because our parenting is improving.

Steve McIntosh contends,

Although America is plagued with abundant problems and challenges, most of these problems have pragmatic solutions that are within our power to implement. Almost none of these solutions, however, can be realized within our current political environment. Our frustrated, stymied, stalemated, and hyperpolarized political process is stuck in its tracks, and this gridlocked condition is now beginning to cause our social regression. Hyperpolarization is really the mother of all our problems because very few of the serious challenges we face can be adequately addressed until we ameliorate the fractious and frozen state of our body politic. [Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself. 2020. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House, xiii]

The only way to effectively solve this ugly problem is to evolve our collective human condition. A judgement is that polarization can be traced back to programmed subconscious issues with our parents, our parents’ issues with their parents, their ancestors, etc., etc. Folks who are considering parenting need to resolve personal issues and relationship issues before they choose partners, opt to have children, and become parents. Choosing otherwise, the mental-emotional loop will continue, and the predictable result will be more polarization.

An opinion is that student curricula need to include the opportunity and challenge to begin to resolve personal parental relationship issues with energy psychology coaching. Energy psychology coaching can help an individual begin to identify, perk, and experience personal parental issues and coach the person through resolving the issues by uncovering and being present with the issues while at the same time learning self-restraint and “how to” tactfully coach others. The result will be better leaders and parents if the choice is to have children.

Long-term, while training future leaders for America, institutions can also be leaders in beginning to solve the polarization issue and support evolution of our collective human condition. It simply must begin with how our leaders are trained and kids are raised. The goal is authenticity and expressing love, gratitude, hope, trust, common good, and compassion felt in the heart as well as speaking truth and personally empowering reality through verbal and non-verbal language and energy. Lots of warm fuzzies, compassion, common good, virtue, and loving cold pricklies!

If you are anxious to get started, find a meditation instructor, and learn to meditate. If you are ready to “dig deep” into that shadow, look for an energy psychology coach who is a good fit, while at the same time passionately committing to a balance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, wellness, and wellbeing. Some literature that may be of interest: Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself. 2020. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House; Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening, Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston: Integral; and Dr. Joe Dispenza, You Are the Placebo; Evolve Your Brain; Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself; and Becoming Supernatural; Alone to Alive: Logosynthesis and the Energy of Beliefs, Dr. Willem Lammers, 2012,  Bristol House, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. In closing, a “make new stuff stick” process that really works for the author is allowing the new learning to perk [write about it, reflect on it, think about it, listen to the mind chatter about it, chat with others about it, sleep with it, etc.], and “simply sit” with it to experience it. It has been routine for the author to be open to receive new material and quickly move on having the new learning not stick. Along the way is important to remember to take good care of yourself because one cannot love others absent love of self. Have a good 2024!!

 

 

 

WOODY and BIRDY BALL

Golf, entertainment, fun and creative, these are just a few of the words that capture the spirit and story of Woody and Birdy Ball, the caretakers of readers who take the opportunity to experience the journey of Golf as Guru: Mind”full”ness, Awareness and Self-Restraint.

Our culture today has become driven by entertainment through media frenzies, predominantly inspired by television and social media. As the manuscript for Golf as Guru was being completed and a publisher being selected, the inspiration arose to have the book be entertaining for a reader. Thus, were born the spirits of Woody and Birdy Ball, the two golf ball characters to be discovered on the cover and at the beginning of each chapter as one enjoys the journey through the book.

Woody and Birdy were born around a table at a Mesa, Arizona Starbucks. Project participants were my dear wife, Cindy; Aubree Garrett, Graphic Designer and Illustrator (aubreeshae.com); and the author. After business and creative vision dialogue, Cindy and I turned Aubree loose to create Woody and Birdy. Initially, since she was not a golfer, it was challenging for her to create golf ball characters who were dressed like golfers and in golfing motion; however, once we gave birth to Woody Ball and Birdy Ball, Aubree was off to the races while at the same time maintaining a full class schedule and working. Weekly, as each illustration arrived, Cindy and I would grab the computer and excitedly view each illustration, fist pump, celebrate and be entertained. It was a fun project; and our hope is that you will enjoy the journey of Woody and Birdy Ball as much as we have. You will quickly note that on the cover of Golf as Guru are Woody and Birdy riding their magic carpet to The World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine, Florida. Enjoy!!

HENRY KISSINGER

Where are the meaningful political leaders? Where is the meaningful political leadership? Where are the emerging political leaders? What are colleges and universities doing to evolve political leaders? What are governments doing to evolve political leaders and political leadership?

The genius and global perspective of Henry Kissinger are alive and well in Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy (2022, NY, NY: Penguin). Kissinger takes the reader through the storied lives of Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew, and Margaret Thatcher; and offers a clear perspective of the evolution of political leadership from aristocracy to meritocracy and to the current state of visual political persons advertising and packaging via the internet and social media. Viable political leaders and leadership are absent!

Kissinger offers,

Great leadership results from the collision of the intangible and the malleable, from that which is given and that which is exerted. Scope remains for the individual effort-to deepen historical understanding, hone strategy and improve character. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote long ago, ‘We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.’ It is the role of leaders to help guide that choice and inspire their people in its execution. (416)

Some of the highlights captured from Kissinger’s journeys and genius…(399-416) are as follows:

Yes, leaders offer vision and depth of character and play the cards dealt! We need leaders and political leadership with common ground, common standards, a common frame of reference, intellect, and hardiness required to meet the challenges facing world order. A few of the essential qualities are humanistic education, academic performance earned with hard work, personal discipline developed during childhood, self-improvement in the genes, self-control and self-restraint, patriotism, self-belief, national identity, committed to common good, desire to serve people, and embodying the greatest traditions of society. We need to re-capture the growth and development that evolves when folks read, reflect, have group discussions, and experience the wisdom and inherent perspective of complex books. Today’s interferences, stimuli, and personalities are distractions and entertainment, not leaders modeling leadership and offering visions for global cooperation and humanistic evolution.

The evolution from print to visual, to internet, and to social media has created global interference and distraction dividing humanity into warring tribes offering polarity, diversity, and conformity relying on chosen group members for guidance and direction. Consequently, we are shunted into groups and the group polices our thinking. The result is that there are followers and influencers, no leaders.

The challenge in today’s world is to create thoughtful leaders with virtues and talents, humanistic education, character, reading and discussion experiences, philosophy, politics, human geography, modern languages, history, economic thought, and literature. At the top of the list are nurturing of courage, positive attributes, and achievements. Absolutes are integrity, persistence, determination, historical vision, strength in decision, comprehension of interlocking international situations, spiritual elevation, imagination, principled leadership, and tenacity. The vision is for national security and peaceful, international coexistence. This demands exemplary leaders with character, intellect, and hardiness.

Max Weber contends the essential qualities for transformative leadership,

The only man (-person) who has a ‘vocation’ for politics is one who is certain that his (-her) spirit will not be broken if the world, when looked at from his (-her) point of view, proves too stupid or base to accept what he (-she) wishes to offer it, and who, when faced with all that obduracy, can still say ‘Nevertheless!’ despite everything. (415)

Leaders show up as authentic self and model the way as persons, in relationships, socially, institutionally, culturally, and by helping others and caring about others. They put quality, common good, compassion, and virtue in all they are and all they do. Politicians who need to be packaged and advertised are not leaders, they are either tribal followers or influencers. They merely create the hyper polarity and division of today’s world.

We have a lot to get done. Start by selecting folks for political positions who are visionary, have character, intellect, and hardiness, and are committed to the fact that leadership is an influence relationship between other leaders and followers that is earned, not advertised and not packaged for visual attraction, interference, and distraction from today’s reality.

DUAL OF WOLVES

Nathanael Blake offers a pearl of insight,

Self-righteousness infects all sides of our politics, and makes us ridiculous. For many, politics is a way of showing oneself to be smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and more attuned to injustice than others. If correct politics confers moral superiority, then the wrong political views confer wickedness, and the wicked deserve to be punished. This view allows people to find in politics a socially acceptable, even applauded, outlet for cruelty and malice, as well as absolution and indulgence for that cruelty. (Mending America’s Political Divide: What Science Tells Us About Solving the Political Hatred Between the Left and the Right, Dr. Rene’ H. Levy, 105)

American identity and empathy have simply disappeared from the political arena, and the country has two wolves fighting an internal civil war. One wolf is right wing tribalism that is tearing the country apart; and one wolf is left wing tribalism that is tearing the country apart. And with continued nourishment of tribalism the associated political hatred, division, loathing, aversion, and rancor will continue; and deepened loss of empathy and absence of American identity will follow. Eventually, one of the wolves will win!

Yes! Political party sorting has divided the country, is dividing the country, and will continue to divide and deconstruct this country unless “we the people” make a definitive course correction. We the people are the problem! We need to move forward and begin to deliberately select and elect genuine leaders who are objective, not self-serving and make decisions that are in the best interests of Americans; are aware, understand, and confront the perils of partisanship; and who have a track record of leading, healing, transcending, and including, and uniting diverse groups of folks…teams and coalitions unify. We are all humans and have needs and wants and together we can make those needs and wants become reality. Each of us needs to stand in the face of power and tell the truth. Let us elect politicians who are masters of the self—healthy, true, and authentic—and who model the way as persons, in relationships, institutionally, socially, culturally, and by helping others and caring about others. We need values and virtue. Let us not re-elect or elect deranged idiots who manipulate followers to grow personal income, to retain power, and to deepen divisions and hate.

 

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction—political party sorting—is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, or as offered in Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston, MA: Integral, page 41, 92-93),

 

…the shadow or dark side of the psyche, those aspects of ourselves that we’ve split off, rejected, denied, hidden from ourselves, projected onto others, or otherwise disowned…repressed unconscious…because we’ve pushed or pressed it out of our awareness, and unconscious because we are not aware of it…But the fact that we are not conscious or aware of the shadow does not mean that it has no effect: it just expresses itself through distorted and unhealthy means-or what is typically called neuroses…safety and security are sought by bonding together and identifying (fusing) with a tribe in order to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief…emergence of a sense of self (ego) distinct from the tribe, although it often acts impulsively on behalf of its favored group.

Undoing and reintegrating this repressed and denied unconscious to improve psychological health, individually and collectively, is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self and waging an American civil war. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to detect and root out causes, acceptance of 100% responsibility, face everything and fear nothing, and just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort, individually and collectively. Yes. Simply, a good dose of mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint to unleash empathy and compassion. Let us not permit one of these ugly wolves a win.

Some resources:

  • Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening, Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008.
  • Mending America’s Political Divide: What Science Tells Us About Solving the Political Hatred Between the Left and the Right, Dr. Rene’ H. Levy, 2020.
  • We the People Are the Problem: How Americans Betrayed America, Peter Magistrale, 2020.
  • Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, 2021.
  • Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism, Rachel Maddow, 2023.