GOLF JOURNEY ONE

Gowf is a mighty teacher never deviating from its sacred roots, always ready to lead us on…And I say to ye all, good friends, that as ye grow in gowf, ye come to see things ye learn in every other place…Ye’ll come away from the links with a new hold on life, that is certain if ye play the game with all your heart.

Michael Murphy

Many persons have pointed the way to the goal of evolution of consciousness and culture in golf and life. Special thanks to Dad and Mom, first golf partners and caddies, then and now. It was December 1, 1948, that launched the beginning of the golf journey: Dad wrote a check for $100 to purchase share #124 in The Buckeye Golf Club Company, doing business as Orchard Hills Country Club, Bryan, Ohio. I was eight years old. The family took lessons from Shorty Stockman, Head Golf Professional; and shagging golf balls and playing golf became a part of life, then and now.

How did Doug and I get started in the game?

 The author grew up in Sherwood, a small town in Northwest Ohio, fifteen miles from the Indiana state line and 27 miles from the Michigan state line. The town was all of 500 folks where Dad owned a family operated hardware store. Customers were hard-working corn, wheat, oats, and soybean farmers.

Other than work or church, Orchard Hills Country Club, Bryan, Ohio, was a frequent “place to be” for Dad, Mom, my brother, Dan, and me while Dan and I we were growing up as kids. Dad closed the store every Thursday afternoon and played golf with Harry Gardner, the hardware store owner in Bryan. Golf is in the genes.

The first golf clubs were Wilson Staff, a brassy, a five iron, and a putter in a nice light brown. canvas bag. These clubs were to last through son Doug’s backyard days in Colorado. The second set of golf clubs was a set of Wilson Staff Sam Snead matched woods and irons. This set of clubs was passed along after they became too heavy for Dad and he began to use Mom’s clubs, a set of Wilson Staff Babe Didrikson Zaharias matched woods and irons. The set of Sam Snead woods and irons were partners at West Point, made the trip after 1962 graduation to Winter Haven, Florida, in the trunk of a 1962 Corvette, made several trips across the United States during the U.S. Army career and found a home in Arvada, Colorado during a business career at Coors. An interesting story. During Ranger School the Corvette was kept in a parking lot at Fort Benning, Georgia. During the swamp phase of the training at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the Corvette was stolen and recovered from a swamp near St. Augustine, Florida. Other than parking the car in water covering the floorboards, the thieves were kind enough to steal only the tires, rims, and camera from the pried open trunk. The golf clubs remained!

A note of thanks to son Doug for keeping the golf fire buring: he wanted to learn to play golf in summer 2004. He was 31. The first lesson with Doug at Indian Tree Golf Course, Arvada, Colorado sparked wife Cindy’s interest in learning to play. She took lessons from Tom Thorne at Indian Tree and has been a fearless, patient golf partner, and favorite instructor ever since. Daily, I am grateful for her endearing smile and voice, wisdom, faith, hope, patience, and love, on and off the golf course.

The golf rocket took off for Doug in 2009. In 2007, at the beginning of the recession, Doug had chosen to relocate to Arizona and attend the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, subsequently working for Ride Now, Peoria; Bourget’s, a custom motorcycle shop, Deer Valley; and a Harley-Davidson dealership, Scottsdale. One evening in late 2008 Doug called and indicated he needed to change professions. Because of the recession, the motorcycle business was struggling—Harley-Davidson had laid off over 7000 employees—and he was considering changing to the golf industry and contemplating attendance at the Golf Academy of America. Absent zero research, Dad’s thinking was that this sounded like fun and something Dad wanted to do with Doug. And the golf fire was re-kindled.

While attending Golf Academy of America-Phoenix for 14 months, Doug and I chose to live in the Fairview Apartments, Chandler, adjacent to San Marcos Golf Course. This course was created in 1917, is proud owner of the oldest green grass greens in Arizona, and is site of an Al Capone historic house.

The Golf Academy was a blast: weekly competitive golf with classmates, great practice, books, study, instruction, exams, friendships, and parties. Following graduation in 2010 Doug landed a position with Sunland Village East golf club, Mesa, working for the course superintendent. A next career move was to Desert Mountain, Scottsdale, with seven Jack Nicklaus courses. Initially, Doug managed the maintenance crew for the Outlaw course, moved on to manage the maintenance crews for the Renegade and Chiricahua courses, added a third course, Cochise, and finally, a fourth, the Seven course. Most recently, he works in the Engineering Department managing the Custom Woodworking Shop and facilitating golf club member activities. Golf and Desert Mountain have been good for Doug and his family. My Dad would be proud that passing along the golf genes was a good idea. Yes, golf has been good for both Doug and Dad; and the journey continues.

 

 

BODY-MIND

A fascinating dimension of the golf journey has been an evolving search for a connection between a golf stroke and meditation.

The goal of a golf shot is for the golf ball to hit a target; and an available golf shot strategy is to create peak performance conditions by becoming one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target. The puzzle is how one can deliberately create that “spiritual relationship” with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target, resulting in a golf ball at a chosen target. A conclusion is that the puzzle can be solved by creating conditions for oneness of the physical body and the mind.

Basic meditation guidance offers, “…posture is like a foundation and is quite important for a resting mind: as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body. Good posture facilitates the easy flow ofthe breath, too.” [Dr. John Edwin DeVore (2006). Sitting in the Flames: Uncovering Fearlessness to Help Others. North Charleston, South Carolina: BookSurge. Appendix A: Basic Meditation Instructions, 199]

Recently, Track Man golf lessons offered the author needed serious work on posture—video told the complete story, upper back, shoulders, and head tipping forward during set-up. After some work during lessons, at the gym, and on the course, playing experiences were noting that the golf game was at its best. A couple mornings ago it dawned on the author that perhaps the answer to the improved golf game could be found in the relationship between set-up posture and a quiet mind, “…as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body.”

 Pre-shot Routine[1]

The Pre-shot Routine ensures that the goal of every shot is crystal clear, and that the motivation is created to sustain the desired result. The typical golfer wants pre-shot routines to be the same for each type of shot from one shot to the next, and each time you go through the routine, you want it to take approximately the same amount of time.

Two tools for pre-shot routine are attention and intention. Attention is the tool of the mental body and is the what of our focus—single-pointed attention on the picture of the physical body in an environment swinging a club at a ball that is moved to a target. Intention is the tool of the emotional body and is the why of our focus. The quality of each shot experience is determined by how consciously attention and intention are wielded. The challenge is to be present to consciously use these tools to serve us physically, emotionally, and mentally for every shot—ground the physical body, elevate the emotional body, and focus the mind.

After typical shot preliminaries—relaxation techniques, target selection, checking the lie of the ball, planning strategies for wind direction and strength, estimating distance, and making the club selection—a sample pre-shot routine might look as follows:

  1. Stand behind the ball on the ball-target line and make practice strokes to clear a busy mind and subconsciously program the swing necessary to move the ball to the target.
  2. Walk to the ball along the ball-target line mentally embracing the club, the optimum swing, the target, and the ball arriving at the target.
  3. Go to the breath to activate awareness. Focus on the in-out breath and begin to quiet the mind, release tension, and create space for awareness and trust of the well-programmed, subconscious mind.
  • Grip. Hands act as a single unit, not too loose and not too tight.
  • Aim. A right-handed golfer steps forward with the right foot and positions the clubface behind the ball perpendicular to the intended ball-target line.
  • As the clubface is aligned behind the ball, the golfer bends at the hips and engages the torso keeping the back straight with the back of the head aligned with a visualized line extending from the lower back to the back of the head. As posture is completed, parallel flow lines[2] of feet, knees, hips, forearms, and shoulders are aligned parallel with ball-target line.
  • Fine tune ball position, distance from ball, and dance to feel static and dynamic balance. Experiment with either weight on heels or on balls of the feet. A personal preference is weight on balls of feet for putting and on heels for scoring wedges and long clubs.

You are now ready for action with your unique ritual.

 Ritual

A good athlete can enter a state of body awareness in which the right swing-stroke or the right movement happens by itself effortlessly without any interference of the conscious will. This is the paradigm for non-action, the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can’t tell the dancer from the dance.[3]

 For every shot, the golfer needs to evolve a ritual for creating a personal teepee where the mind becomes clear and quiet[4] and the programmed subconscious is given absolute trust to deliver a shot. In 1929, legendary Bobby Jones remarked,

 The golf swing is a most complicated combination of muscular actions, too complex to be controlled by objective conscious mental effort. Consequently, we must rely a good deal upon the instinctive reactions acquired by long practice. It has been my experience that the more completely we can depend upon this instinct—the more thoroughly we can divest the subjective mind of conscious control, the more exclusion of all thoughts as to method—is the secret of a good shot…After taking the stance, it is too late to worry. The only thing to do is to hit the ball.[5]

It could be argued that pulling the trigger to make the shot is the most critical of all elements of the shot cycle, and it may be the simplest and yet possibly the most difficult because it must be done without thinking and with absolute trust of the subconscious to perform to expectations. As we settle to create the space bubble—the state of relaxed concentration—we are deliberately breathing. The ritual is automatic and is the one distinct stimulus that will trigger and coordinate all the elements that facilitate emergence of the peak performance state. We are empty and the trigger is absently pulled.

This evolving master skill is individually unique and is the state of being present, tension-free, with that which is intended for as long as intended.[6] Summon the inner artist for a remarkable and often indescribable zone experience of spiritual oneness; and be witness to freedom and an intuitive unleashing of a unique, creative, synchronous flow of human physical activity. Simply relax and put your awareness where your deepest natural breathing originates—sensed image approximately 1½ inches below your navel. Let breathing be deep and full, shake loose any tension in the muscles, and trust that as center is experienced, there is seamless unity of body, mind, and spirit, setting the stage for “sweet impact” and zone performance. Well-practiced actions will result naturally without effort. A quick and dirty ritual checklist for every shot must include the following:

  • Ground. Take a couple of deep breaths and visualize energy circulating between your feet and the earth below you. Feel static and dynamic balance and sense a balanced and solid foundation and the environment surrounding you.
  • Take three to five short, explosive breaths into the upper chest to activate the sympathetic nervous system, increase oxygen, and intensify subtle energy currents. Charge the whole body, physically and emotionally, preparing for the exertion to come. Make a final visual touch of the target.
  • Relaxed focus. On an out-breath, one-pointed concentration on the point of impact of club with ball(mindfulness), channeling all body energies into a laser beam of relaxed, focused concentration, letting go of everything (self-restraint) and sensing the synchronous, flowing swing to impact with a ball creatively floating to the target (awareness).

Squeeze Trigger. With absolute trust, subconsciously trigger the tension-free swing.

Good set-up posture and a quiet mind can create conditions for optimum performance, “…as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Design pre-shot routines that work for you. This routine is offered as only input.

[2]Pelz, 100.

[3] Mitchell, S. 2006. Tao te ching. New York, NY: Harper, viii.

[4] Shoemaker uses “clear and quiet state-of-mind” in Extraordinary Golf. This concept has also been referred to as relaxed concentration (Gallwey) and flow state (Csikszentmihalyi).

[5] Gallwey, 19–20.

[6] Shoemaker, Extraordinary Putting, 8–10.

WORLDVIEW

Reflecting on the January 6 Committee hearings, two impeachments, the Mueller Report, the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell, a couple of fine reads—The Betrayal (Ira Shapiro) and Fascism: A Warning (Madeleine Albright)—and recent shootings in New York, Texas, and Oklahoma is cause for alarm! Coupled with escalating political hyperpolarization caused by the conflicting ideologies of traditionalists, modernists, and post-modernists, a strong message is that American democracy is in danger. Witness the absence of civil discourse; domestic terrorism and targeted violence by extremist groups; possession of assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines by a growing number of citizens; continued fanning of the flames about the lack of election integrity; widespread proliferation of misinformation and conspiracy theories; a Senate in need of new rules and new leadership; and public trust of the press and integrity of the First Amendment has eroded.

Folks, we have a great deal to heal and get done in the battle for the roots of the Nation. Our fellow citizens are not our enemies; and we are not “Red States” and “Blue States.” Let us be open to the infinite potential, opportunities, and possibilities for our great country, move forward, and evolve. We are all Americans, and we each have a daily choice to transcend and include others. For dialogue, a “draft” worldview of our “mighty task” might look something like this:

WORLDVIEW

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

Strategies

  • Evolve with solid core virtues, values, and a philosophy of transcend and include others.
  • Limited government for citizens. The Supreme Court, the Senate, the House, and the Office of the President have solid leaders and followers who have moral compasses, and are objective, not self-serving, and make decisions that are in the best interests of America.
  • Voting system integrity and elections are free and fair.
  • Fiscal responsibility; economic stability and equity; and long-term financial security.
  • Public safety for all Americans, respect for law and order, no one is above the law, and all citizens are held accountable. Domestic terrorism and targeted violence prevention measures include coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and community authorities.
  • Universal background checks, license to carry, red flag law, safe storage law, and weapons of war are kept on the battlefield. It is illegal for a citizen to purchase, own, or possess assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.
  • Federal, state, and local journalism infrastructures are strong and public trust of the press and integrity of the First Amendment is strong.
  • Open dialogue and free exchange of ideas is fostered.
  • Education processes are the best of the best.
  • Pandemic preparedness and top ten healthcare system with integral health, wellness, and wellbeing at the core.
  • Programs, processes, and coalitions to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Controlled business ethical and moral issues.
  • Avoid war with strong military and space forces, global allies and networks, and dialogue.
  • Professional State Department and alliances coupled with reasoned foreign policy.
  • Helping others and caring about others: churches, individuals, groups, institutions, and the government.
  • Justice for all; and judges are objective, uphold the Constitution, and have core virtues, historic values, and guiding principles, and satisfy evolving cultural needs.
  • Marriage and children: citizen’s choices and model culture’s evolution.
  • Respect for science.
  • Environmental awareness, control, and self-restraint.
  • Strength in diversity and humane immigration laws and regulations. Boarders are sanely managed.
  • Respect for democracy and decentralized culture with empowered citizens.

It is time to evolve and move forward from the chaos of hyperpolarization being created by conflicting ideologies of traditionalists, modernists, and post modernists that is being pontificated by politicians and respective tribes. A good cultural worldview for America can facilitate dialogue and transcendence.

IT IS TIME!

Truth and trust matter; and truth and trust are an inseparable duo!

Truth connotes in accordance with fact or reality, or belief that is accepted as true; and trust is about reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of a person, place, or thing. Moreover, it is about confidence in a person, place, or thing. A personal contention is that trust is a result and is earned; and   it seems to be intimately related to honesty, respect, and one’s capacity to influence others to willingly move toward common purposes. In a discussion of leadership for the twenty-first century, Rost (Leadership for the 21st Century, 1993, Praeger, 102) suggests that leadership is a trust-based, influence relationship between the respective leader and the self, and among leaders and followers who intend ethical changes that mirror their common purpose.

During a stint with corporate America, a beautiful person by the name of Hyler Bracey, president of the Atlanta Consulting Group, became part of my life. When Hyler was twenty-eight years old, he drove stock cars. One evening during a race, he was in a serious wreck, and his car exploded into flames. He suffered burns over 40 percent of his body. Today, Hyler is severely scarred, his face is scar tissue, and his deformed hands with stiff bent fingers remind one of brittle burned twigs in a campfire. The amazing thing about Hyler is that in moments after meeting him, one sees through his scars and trauma and is connected to his heart.

All this is by way of sharing that Hyler helped me appreciate that building trust is hard work and a result of action and that single violations of trust by the self and others are difficult to repair. His teaching was that trust is the fruit of a three-step process. First, over time, the parties in relationships make agreements and commitments and keep these agreements and commitments. Second, the mandatory critical first step in relationship maturation leads to the development of credibility and respect; and third, steps one and two create an environment of openness, honesty, and space for willing transformation and change. The fruit of these three interdependent steps is trust, a vital ingredient for quality relationships, honest dialogue, and transformation. Absent truth and trust, trust becomes conditional.

Yes, truth and trust matter; and truth and trust are an inseparable duo! Hyler and three of his consulting associates and friends—Jack Rosenblum, Aubrey Sanford, and Roy Trueblood—have written and published a wonderful book, Managing from the Heart (1990, Atlanta, GA: Heart). The power of positive, heartfelt choice is infinite and can clarify intention, unlock facing everything and avoiding nothing and beckon accepting 100% responsibility for evolving environments on all levels. Listening to the conscience and telling the truth are wonderful gifts; and trust is the earned result. America, it is time for universal background checks, license to carry, red flag law, safe storage law, and a commitment to keep weapons of war on the battlefield. It needs to be illegal for a citizen to purchase, own, or possess assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

VIRTUES and VALUES

Let me know how we can make this better!

Reflecting on the recent shootings in New York and Texas, coupled with escalating political hyperpolarization caused by the conflicting ideologies of traditionalists, modernists, and post-modernists; absence of civil discourse; domestic terrorism and targeted violence by extremist groups; doubts about election integrity; widespread proliferation of misinformation; and erosion of the First Amendment have given rise to thoughts about the dire need for leading, evolving, transcending and including, core virtues, values, and worldviews. Today, it feels like a nice place to start is with virtues and values.

Concerning virtues and values, Steve McIntosh offers,

Virtues are traits of moral excellence or strengths of character whose practice can lead to both ethical living and satisfying happiness. Although the concepts of virtues and values are interrelated, there is an important distinction. As we’ve seen, values are magnetic, they provide the aims and goals that attract us toward that which is more perfect, more real, and more right. Values represent the improved future conditions we desire. Virtues, on the other hand, represent the good qualities we presently possess; the acquired attributes of excellence that become engrained into our basic nature through commitment and practice. Values are the best of what we want, but virtues are the best of who we are. Simply put, values are headings and virtues are habits— “habits of the heart,” as they’ve been called. (Steve McIntosh, 2020, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself, St. Paul, Minnesota, Paragon House, 130-31)

After contemplating the difference between virtues and values, it was interesting to work through McIntosh’s process (Appendix B: An Exercise for Practicing Virtues: Creating a Personal Portrait of Good, 179-189) and come to grips with a list of virtues associated with perceived obligations to the self, others, and transcendence. With a goal of “peace-of-mind” and purpose and connections created on a foundation of compassion, here is the list of obligations with respective virtues, and am certain it will improve:

  • Transcendencegratitude, compassion, and hope-trust.
  • Others…courage and honesty.
  • Self…prudence and integrity.

Some values that quickly surface are 100% responsibility-life happens because of me, not to me; leadership; model the way; common good; show up as authentic self; mindful and aware; self-restraint; self-discipline; face everything, avoid nothing; process perspective; passionate intent; generosity; patience; skillful means; help others; care about others; quality; true self; practice; transcendental wisdom, et al.

 Today, personal virtues that need work are gratitude and courage; and the nice thing about values is that they are life’s work-in-process, simply “aims and goals.”

 Folks, we have a great deal to heal and get done in the battle for the roots of the Nation. Our fellow citizens are not our enemies; and we are not “Red States” and “Blue States.” Let us be open to the infinite potential, opportunities, and possibilities for our great country and evolve. We are all Americans, and we each have a daily choice to transcend and include others. Marching forward with core virtues and a desired cultural worldview can create a hope filled picture. A worldview of our “mighty task” might look something like this:

WORLDVIEW

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

Strategies

  • Evolve with solid core virtues, values, and a philosophy of transcend and include others.
  • Limited government for citizens.
  • Voting system integrity and elections are free and fair.
  • Fiscal responsibility; economic stability and equity; and long-term financial security.
  • Public safety for all Americans, respect for law and order, and no one is above the law. All citizens are held accountable. Domestic terrorism and targeted violence prevention measures include coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and community authorities. AR-15 semi-automatic weapons are manufactured and sold for military use only. It is illegal for a citizen to purchase, own or possess an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon.
  • Federal, state, and local journalism infrastructures are strong and public trust of the press and integrity of the First Amendment is strong.
  • Open dialogue and free exchange of ideas is fostered.
  • Education processes are the best of the best.
  • Pandemic preparedness and top ten healthcare system with health, wellness, and wellbeing at the core.
  • Programs, processes, and coalitions to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Controlled business ethical and moral issues.
  • Avoid war with strong military and space forces, global allies and networks, and dialogue.
  • Professional State Department and alliances coupled with reasoned foreign policy.
  • Helping others and caring about others: churches, individuals, groups, institutions, and the government.
  • Justice for all; and judges are objective, uphold the Constitution, core virtues, historic values, and guiding principles, and satisfy evolving cultural needs.
  • Marriage and children: citizen’s choices and model culture’s evolution.
  • Respect for science.
  • Environmental awareness, control, and self-restraint.
  • Strength in diversity and humane immigration laws and regulations. Boarders are sanely managed.
  • Respect for democracy and decentralized culture with empowered citizens.

It is time to evolve from the chaos of hyperpolarization being created by conflicting ideologies of traditionalists, modernists, and post modernists that is being pontificated by politicians and respective tribes. Solid core virtues and a good cultural worldview for America can facilitate transcendence. Your feedback to JohnDeVore@aol.com is invited and encouraged. Let’s compare notes, improve this message, move beyond the hyperpolarization, and evolve for the good of Americans and the world.

SARA

Some memories never fade!

It was May 16, 1955, early morning, and my dog, Chum, was barking, non-stop. As the family slept, my Pekinese Chum’s bedroom had always been in the kitchen by his food and water on a leash with the red hand loop around the doorknob of the kitchen-basement door. Chum’s non-stop barking was not the norm!!

From the North, upstairs bedroom, I sped quickly downstairs to discover that the kitchen light was on, and the closer I came to the kitchen door, awareness screamed that there was a problem. On the kitchen cupboard counter to the right of the refrigerator was a half full glass of milk, the refrigerator door was open, and Mom, in her nightgown, was lying on her right side on the floor in spilled milk with her head resting against the counter door and the bottom ledge of refrigerator door opening.

Immediately, I beckoned Dad, moved Mom to the middle of the kitchen, and began artificial respiration. Dad went immediately to the telephone and called an ambulance; and, as the two of us traded turns doing artificial respiration and checking Mom’s pulse, we knew it was too late. Dad’s wife, love and partner, and my mom had passed away, suffering a pulmonary embolism. She was 46.

Dad cancelled the ambulance and called the coroner; and when a hearse arrived, Mom was taken to Carlson Funeral Home. At the time, my brother, Dan, was 10, I was 15, and Dad was 46. Life would never be the same for the three of us. Reflecting on the transition after Mom’s death, it has always felt like there were too many things that needed to be done and grieving would come later; or, perhaps, we did not know how to grieve.

My grieving process would not begin for some 20 years later, 1975, at the Personal Arts Center, Golden, Colorado. Visits to the Personal Arts Center had been initiated during transition when my seven-year-old daughter from a previous marriage had come to live with my current wife and me. The topic for one evening was grief. To start the session, participants were seated in a circle and our facilitator requested that we each share an experience of grief. My sharing was of the death of Mom some 20 years ago; and the facilitator immediately detected the anger in my voice about Mom’s death. His request was for a volunteer female participant to play the role of my mom and for Mom and me to have a conversation. In front of the group Mom and I sat on a couch, and with the help of the facilitator, Mom and I began a conversation with her in the casket and while she was doing the Tuesday weekly, family ironing. Wow is all I can say! This conversation had waited for 20 years and was well overdue; and the grieving process concerning Mom’s death was underway; continues today; and the frequent conversations with her are therapeutic and offer a sense of peace and comfort. I miss her physical presence; however, it always feels like she is here with me. Today it feels like proper, timely grieving is essential for peace-of-mind.

In 1987 a work associate shared the SARA grief cycle at breakfast. The associate openly admitted that he was grieving because I had been selected for a position that he felt should have been his. Our conversation was quite moving as he shared that the “S” was shock, the “A” was anger, the “R” was rationalization, and the last “A” was for acceptance. As one grieves, we cycle, and recycle, through the four emotions, each in our own way and each in our own time, often moving from shock to acceptance or from rationalization to anger, and the other combinations of SARA. Awareness of the process and being with emotion experienced is critical for grieving, simply sit in the flames of the tortuous emotion being experienced.

Mindfulness and awareness of the personal nature of the “slinky-like,” SARA grieving process has been fruitful for Mom’s death and other lost ones. Whether it is shock, anger, rationalization, or acceptance, the objective is to be with the experience of the created emotion. Sit in the flames, face everything, fear nothing, and do it in your own way and in your own time. SARA works! Grieving is definitely individual, process, and essential.

CAN DO

Hyperpolarization 101!!! Roe versus Wade, inflation, southern border, Ukraine War, and associated, unfolding midterm elections, political chatter, these have been our recent headlines. An analytical glance will establish the least common denominator to be hyperpolarization accompanied by social regression and anger. Steve McIntosh offers,

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…The only way to ameliorate this “wicked problem” is to effectively grow out of it…Although further regression is certainly a possibility, the fractured state of American society also has the potential to catalyze a cultural renewal that can lead to a new era of political cooperation and progress. In other words, the difficult work of overcoming hyperpolarization can lead to a renaissance in American culture. (Steve McIntosh, 2020, Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow into a Better Version of Itself, St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House, xiii)

Integral Worldview

…this project of cultivating cultural evolution reveres and integrates the values of traditionalism, modernism, and post modernism, and seeks to facilitate the unique kind of progress offered by each of these worldviews. Moreover, this evolutionary program also seeks to bring about a new and inclusive integral worldview that can effectively include the best and transcend the worst of America’s three existing cultures…It is thus by restoring our common sense of higher purpose and collective destiny that we can grow into a more advanced stage of cultural maturity and thereby save our democracy in the process. (McIntosh, 168)

America!! We have a great deal to heal and get done in the battle for the soul of the Nation. Our opponents are not our enemies; and we are not “Red States” and “Blue States.” Let us be open to the infinite potential and possibilities and unify our great country. We are all Americans, and we can each choose to transcend and include others. A vision of our “mighty task” might look something like this:

  • Evolve with solid virtues, core values and guiding principles.
  • Limited government for citizens.
  • Fiscal responsibility; economic stability and equity; and long-term financial security.
  • Public safety for all Americans, respect for law and order, and no one is above the law.
  • Top ten healthcare system and pandemic preparedness.
  • Programs, processes, and coalitions to dismantle systemic racism.
  • Controlled business ethical and moral issues.
  • Avoid war with strong military and space forces, global allies and networks, and dialogue.
  • Professional State Department and alliances coupled with reasoned foreign policy.
  • Caring about and helping others: churches, individuals, groups, institutions, the government, and individuals.
  • Judges: objective, uphold the Constitution and guiding principles; and satisfy evolving cultural needs.
  • Marriage or children: citizen’s choices, current need, and level of culture’s evolution.
  • Respect for science.
  • Environmental awareness, control, and self-restraint.
  • Strength in diversity and sane immigration laws and regulations.
  • Respect for democracy and decentralized culture with empowered citizens.

Current Reality

As the “run-up” to the 2022 midterm elections unfold; 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 political leaders who can best close the gap between current reality and a desired vision for freedom in America. How we humans choose 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.

In the hyperpolarized environment there are a bunch of tasks that need to get done: non-political voting rights management, women’s rights, technology building, inflation management, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, jobs creation, healthcare, childcare, immigration reform, countering systemic racism, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, minimum wage, climate control, confronting home grown, white supremacy, terrorism, fair share tax reform, sanely evolving through COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics, education re-tuning and funding, sane gun control, policing in communities, foreign policy, et al. As the two Japanese characters for crisis offer, with danger comes opportunity. The danger is continued and expanded division and autocracy…control; and the opportunity is to work on our unhealthy personal and collective issues, participate in interactive dialogue and coalitions, and get done what is good for all Americans…freedom.

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction—political party sorting—is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, the unhealthy self, 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 our psychological health is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self, making excuses, spinning, blaming, and telling stories. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to face everything and fear nothing, just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort and give birth to penetrating insight and skillful means. We are simply witnessing the evolution of the human condition, and with patience, persistence, education, compassion, learning, and spirituality, we can move forward together, not further divided, and closer to autocracy, more lying, zero leadership, an orchestrated overthrow of elections, bypass of constitutional order, accelerated division and violence, racism and white supremacy, direction of a violent insurrection, and committed students of Vladmir Putin and his Ukraine disaster. Individually and collectively, we can grow common good, compassion, mindfulness, awareness, virtue, and self-restraint, and quiet the insatiable, unhealthy ego; and the dampening of anger, egotistical pride, jealousy, envy, doubt, ignorance, attachment, and fear can begin to free energy to nurture peace-of-mind, a foundation of compassion for purpose and connections, and a sense of happiness and joy. Let us get this job done for all Americans, not just a select, partisan few. Casts, conflicting political messages, and deliberate, negative words that separate, attack, and divide are simply wrong.

Gap Closers (Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics, 169)

Commitment to unfold personal contributions to the evolution of the universe.

  • The practice of learning, teaching, perking, mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint.
  • The practice of appreciating and creating.
  • The practice of devotion and service.
  • Reading: Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics and Developmental Politics, Selected Bibliography, 209-214.
  • Investigating some of the integral interviews and podcast available online.
  • Investing the time required to learn this new philosophy and share it with others.
  • Practicing the virtues of faith, hope, love, prudence, courage, justice, and temperance to evolve our character and consciousness.

Simply create a vision, objectively assess current reality, and generate gap closers to move current reality closer to the vision. We can do this!

HYPERPOLARIZATION

Roe versus Wade, Ukraine War, Russia, Vladmir Putin, Donald Trump, inflation, COVID-19 and midterm elections, these have been our recent headlines. An analytical glance will establish the least common denominator to be hyperpolarization accompanied by social regression and anger. Steve McIntosh offers,

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. This can commence by selecting politicians who are leaders. As we do our homework for midterm elections, leadership qualities can be identified.

Core Values, Virtues and Guiding Principles

  • The Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all.
  • Our core values are truth to power, honesty, integrity, hope, love, and morality; and we put quality, compassion, and common good in all we are and all we do.
  • We do not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those amongst us who do.
  • We respect law and order.
  • We are committed to “walk the talk,” to action, and to the concept of 100% responsibility, life happens because of me and not to me.
  • We are objective, not self-serving, and make decisions in the best interests of The United States of America.

Leaders

  • Have a track record of success and building coalitions and are trusted.
  • Have a history of putting quality, common good, compassion and virtue in all he-she is and all he-she does.
  • Understand that great leaders have been good followers and that leadership is an influence relationship that energizes earned power and willingness to achieve mutually defined goals.
  • Are master of the authentic self, mind”full”ness, awareness, self-restraint and integral life practice; and model the way as persons, in relationships, socially, institutionally, and by helping others and caring about others.
  • Have high standards with respect to morals, ethics, guiding principles, virtues and core values that are plainly manifested in personality, character, mentality, and magnetism.
  • Are visibly committed to health, wellness, and well-being personally and for all Americans.
  • Are well-qualified, compassionately listen, inspire hope, have faith, and are empathetic.
  • Know where the country is and what it needs.
  • Will be surrounded by exceptionally well-qualified associates who are leaders.
  • Will diligently work to create and maintain a compelling worldview vision and action strategies and plans for the country.
  • Will lead the development of policies and programs to evolve the country for all Americans.

Leadership

LEADERSHIP is an attribute of an individual’s brand; and is an earned, trust based, influence relationship between the respective leader, other leaders and followers who intend ethical and moral change that mirror common purpose. Some key qualities are as follows:

  • INTEGRAL ETHICS: The concept of integral connotes comprehensive, whole, balanced and “best of the best” and the concept of ethics is sincere private commitment to doing what it takes to grow into a life of full integrity: “walk the talk” in every area of life and “model the way” as individuals; in relationships; and when skillfully helping and supporting others. It is an opportunity for happiness and freedom and embraces 100% ethical responsibility for cultivation of care, compassion and awareness in the world and the globe: the range and depth of ethical choices that includes conscience, intra-psychic ethics—health, wellness and wellbeing, behavior, cultural relationships and systems and the environment. Ethics includes the full spectrum of morals, values and principles and is the art of being a good person and practicing goodness in everyday life. It includes all ways of being truthful, intelligent, authentic, and courageous that constitutes integrity: coupling intentions, promises and commitments with actions and behavior. The fruit of everyday ethics is humility and deep self-respect, a meaningful and lasting integrity that frees the person from living in denial, self-division, and self-contempt. Good leaders provide clarity about institutional ethics, morals, values, and guiding principles and behave consistently with these organizational beliefs. Ethics can also be the common values of a specific group.
  • MORALS: Judgments made by an individual and concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness and badness of human character.
  • VALUES: Determine what a person pays attention to and how the person acts. Examples: trust and trusted; integrity; direct; open; honesty; caring; compassionate; moral; health, wellness, and wellbeing; financial viability; leadership; hope; and peace-of-mind.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLES: Core values that are articulated. Examples: Do not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do. Objective, not self-serving and acts in the best interests of the people and organization being served. Committed to the concept of 100% responsibility: life happens because of me and not to me. Does not blame others, learns from one’s own experiences in an intentional and self-directed manner and applies that learning to new challenges. Sets a good example for physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, spiritual awakening, ethical behavior, and integration of hidden, denied, and repressed reflections manifested in the world. I am a student of life. I am silent self alone. I do everything with love. No matter what I am experiencing, it is arising in the awareness I am-the Universal Self.
  • PURPOSE: Reason for existence. Examples: Exemplary student of life. In the service of global health, wellness, and wellbeing, to embody, celebrate and study the ever-greater depth of awareness, humanity, and life.
  • FOLLOWERSHIP: The actions of someone in a subordinate role. The intentional practice on the part of the subordinate to enhance the synergistic interchange between the follower and the leader. Team players committed to team play.
  • INTEGRAL VISION: Comprehensive, compelling picture of a desired future state. Leaders create and communicate a world centric vision, strategies and direction for the organization and persons led. Articulate a worldview for the Nation and the globe and possesses an integral understanding that allows the leader to be aware and understand other persons thus opening greater mutual understanding and openness to innovative, harmonious resolution; and more intelligent and appropriate responses to conflicts faced.
  • MISSION DRIVEN: Peace-of-mind with purpose and connections built on a foundation of compassion. Has a bias for action, for trying new things and for getting things done. Aggressively pursues objectives and sets high standards for self and others. Takes calculated risks and makes personal sacrifices to get things done.
  • EXECUTIVE MATURITY: Acts appropriately in business, social and political situations. Displays control in complex, ambiguous or stressful situations. Identifies with persons, shares their values and beliefs and is comfortable with them. Works toward mutually carved-out, worldview goals.
  • HUMAN NEEDS SATISFACTION: Is “in-tune” with mental and emotional needs of others, cares about people and puts action plans in-place to create an environment to improve the quality of life and personal productivity that is beneficial for persons. Links recognition to accomplishment and shows appreciation and expresses pride in the team’s accomplishments.
  • INTEGRAL THEORY and PRACTICE: Student of integral theory and integral life practice—physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening—that includes a pluralistic and multicultural composite map of the human territory and ways to include the important dimensions of being to enable growth, awakening and development to fullest capacities. Integral theory does not dictate how to practice or how to live. It offers new perspectives on practice and life, new possibilities, and new horizons; and it opens minds, thus hearts, to a more inclusive and compassionate embrace of the Cosmos and all its inhabitants. Leaders who push the edges of their discipline do so by taking perspectives with more depth and more span than most others.
  • INTEGRAL COMMUNICATIONS, TECHNOLOGY and ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MASTER: Integral communications translates the way an individual speaks to others’ perspectives while still being an authentic self. Simply keeps persons informed and creates communication forums and diverse coalitions to give and receive information and ethically manage perceptions. The spectrum of communication expertise: intrapersonal, interpersonal, person-to-persons, mass media, social media and associated technologies that optimize communication needs and strategies.

Artificial Intelligence: The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence-visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translation between languages.

  • QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS and INFLUENCE: Develops, uses and sustains strong, cooperative relationships with persons. Uses effective listening and interpersonal skills to achieve mutual trust and respect. Accomplishes tasks and objectives by resolving conflicts and influencing the actions of others. Is seen as a change agent; and makes a difference when involved.
  • STAFFING and STAFF DEVELOPMENT: Attracts and selects people with innate talents and learned skills. Assesses the short and long-term needs of the institution and develops plans to improve the overall structure and talent and skills strength of the institution.
  • TEAM LEADERSHIP: Achieves results by motivating and inspiring a unified, winning team. Builds commitment to common goals by communicating a sense of mission and by energizing the team. Creates an environment where differences are valued, where systems work equally well for all and wherein persons can retain uniqueness and contribute at their full potential.
  • BUSINESS and FINANCIAL SAVY: Has a worldview perspective and is aware and understands the implications of changes in the globe. Has “street smarts,” sizes-up situations quickly, is practical, and knows the right things to do and when to do them. Plans, communicates, monitors and controls, establishes risks, solves problems and makes sound decisions concerning economic and financial performance.
  • HANDLING COMPLEXITY: Analyzes and solves complex problems. Deals effectively with large amounts of data, changing conditions, incomplete data, or uncertainty. Understands how seemingly unrelated issues interact and affect one another. Gets to the essence of complex issues quickly, generates a variety of alternative courses of action and makes effective decisions.
  • IDEA LEADERSHIP: Open to input, change and new ideas. Implements breakthrough and innovative ideas, programs and processes that make a genuine difference.
  • INTEGRAL POLITICS: is aware and understands the inadequacies of political parties because of limited and partial views that do not address the complex issues facing the world today.

Individuals matter, leaders matter and leadership matters. If democracy is to prevail, we must select good leaders and hold them accountable for high quality leadership!! The evolution imperative of wholeness and inspired, growing awareness of the human condition, coupled with helping others, can change the daily headlines from an underlying sense of fear, chaos, and domination to love and freedom. Leaders can be grown who create a vibrant civil society where people continue to be free, to live as they choose, to speak their minds, to organize peacefully and to have a say in how they are governed. Steve McIntosh contends, “…the fractured state of American society also has the potential to catalyze a cultural renewal that can lead to a new era of political cooperation and progress. In other words, the difficult work of overcoming hyperpolarization can actually lead to a renaissance in American culture.” (xiii)

MIDTERM ELECTIONS

As the “run-up” to the 2020 midterm elections unfold; 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, Mitch McConnell, 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, 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 (example QAnon) 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 definitely 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

2022 BINOCULARS

Let us take out our binoculars and peer down the road, and simply be objective, not self-serving and visualize what would be good for America today and for future generations. America is at a crossroads, a fulcrum, a tipping point, between a democratic republic—freedom—and autocracy—control. As Americans, we each need to decide what type of country we desire; and what each of us can do to facilitate the strategic, competitive, common-sense battle with our principle global competitor, China. Some folks will pitch-in and make things happen; some folks will watch what happened; and some folks will wonder what happened.

There are a bunch of tasks that need to get done: non-political voting rights management, technology building, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, jobs creation, healthcare, childcare, immigration reform, countering systemic racism, LGBTQ rights, minimum wage, climate control, confronting home grown, white supremacy, terrorism, fair share tax reform, sanely evolving through COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics, education re-tuning and funding, sane gun control, policing in communities, foreign policy, et al. As the two Japanese characters for crisis offer, with danger comes opportunity. The danger is continued and expanded division and autocracy; and the opportunity is to work on our unhealthy personal and collective issues, participate in interactive dialogue and coalitions, and get done what is good for all Americans.

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction—political party sorting—is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, the unhealthy self, 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 our psychological health is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self, making excuses, spinning, blaming, and telling stories. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to face everything and fear nothing, just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort and give birth to penetrating insight and skillful means. We are simply witnessing the evolution of the human condition, and with patience, persistence, education, compassion, learning, and spirituality, we can move forward together, not further divided, and closer to autocracy, more lying, zero leadership, an orchestrated overthrow of elections, bypass of constitutional order, accelerated division and violence, racism and white supremacy, direction of a violent insurrection, and committed students of Vladmir Putin and his Ukraine disaster. Individually and collectively, we can grow common good, compassion, virtue, mindfulness, awareness, virtue, and self-restraint, and quiet the insatiable, unhealthy ego; and the dampening of anger, egotistical pride, jealousy, envy, doubt, ignorance, attachment, and fear can begin to free energy to nurture peace-of-mind and a sense of happiness and joy. Let us get this job done for all Americans, not just a select, partisan few. Casts, conflicting political messages, and deliberate, negative words that separate, attack, and divide are simply wrong. If open to the challenge, ready for the opportunity, and in need of a boost to get started: 1) In her Mindfulness Journal, Catherine Price recommends, Buy a pack of small stickers—any kind will do—and place a dozen or so around your home and office in noticeable places, such as your bathroom mirror, your computer, the back of your phone, the wall behind your kitchen sink, your alarm clock, or the cover of (your) journal. Every time you see one of these stickers, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BREATHE, AND BE. 2) Locate a credible meditation instructor, learn to meditate, uncover the silent watcher, and resolve to create self-restraint. 3) Two questions for reflection: What unlocks compassion? What manifests happiness, joy, and peace-of-mind?

There are no regrets in life, just lessons!

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