Reach Out and Hold Someone's Hand

I’m sitting with my amazing friend Mandy Straight and she is pushing me off my block. You know, when you feel you have a belief or paradigm that you have held for your whole life and the person is looking at you like your crazy and that you can’t see the light before your eyes…and you still refuse to budge.  

In this case the paradigm I am clinging to is "there is no true altruistic act."  Of course with Mandy it is always much deeper than that.  Don’t get me wrong, I am following her, I just don't want to accept it.  Accept what?  I feel when I help people, which I am drawn to do like a moth to a flame, I do it because of the resulting joy I get when someone says “aha!"  

She is trying to show me that my motivation is so much more.  I feel like I am sitting there with my arms crossed over my chest leaning back and giving no ground.  What’s weird is I actually hate that about myself, yet I feel like I need to protect this castle of paradigms I have created.  Mandy is assailing the castle and I am taking shots at everything she throws at me.

Even though I am not on the walls watching, I realize Mandy has not given up on her assault.  I am watching a TedxBerkeley talk by Tiffany Shlain recommended to me by Mandy. During Ms. Shlain's talk, she plays this short movie she made on the Declaration of Interdependence I begin to compare the differences between her proposed Declaration and the US Declaration of Independence.  I begin to think about what she is proposing: a world where we have the inalienable rights to connect and bond - but not only with US citizens, but with citizens of the world.  At that point I realize the film is a Trojan Horse!

My world flips on it’s head.  Mandy's assault on my paradigm breaks through.  I can not hold onto my paradigm any longer.  It is clear I have this overwhelming need to connect and bond with other people.  It is as pervasive as my need to think, breathe, and assimilate patterns.  My desire and the resulting joy I feel from “getting” to work with others is fed not by the resulting joy (as I have stubbornly held onto for years) but the ongoing feeling of connectedness and my need for interdependence, which is inherently human.  

This shift opens my heart in ways I can not even fathom at this moment. The paradigm of independence has shifted to interdependence, selfishness to compassion, from lonely to lovely.  Thank you Mandy for having the strength of soul to assail my castle.

So my friends, if you are ready for a shift that will shake the walls of your castle, examine this - We Are All Interdependent.  We do not need to be selfish to feel joy.  Maybe we just want to connect.  So go forth and CONNECT WITH THOSE IN YOUR LIFE!  I know they too want to connect and bond.  Just reach out and hold someone’s hand.


Find Your Instrument and Play!

Stop keeping your thoughts and ideas to yourself! To begin, you should know something about me. For most of my life I bought into the American culture of individualism. Even then, my core being was yelling at me that we are all interdependent and connected. But I still filtered everything through the paradigm of the almighty individual. I repeatedly refused requests to share my thoughts, ideas, and words with the masses.  I refused to share with more than one person at a time.  

However, jumping into the arena has required that I reaffirm and rely on my talents; and for me that means sharing, collaborating, and contributing with the collective. My pre-arena self would say, “these thoughts are mine and I only find joy in sharing them one-on-one.”   Well today I’m here to say that sharing with the whole world, whether in writing, words, or actions is essential not only for individual growth, but also for the human race.       

Let’s start with just one person.  Of course sharing with everyone, as I mentioned in Let the Show Begin, requires letting go of the need for the illusion of control, courage, and vulnerability. But even beyond that, sharing requires a new level of introspection. For me, I connect with and relate to others easily so I can quickly grasp their nature and allow them to see characteristics about themselves.  I have found that most of us really like taking personality tests.  But why? Probably because it gives us that rare insight into who we are and maybe why we act and think in our own particular way.  Well, that is what I do.  

On a very simplistic level, I am a walking personality test.  Writing about and sharing my thoughts has reaffirmed my talents.  Which has motivated me to spend even more time working with people, helping them to see their own potential and make positive changes in their lives.  As an added bonus, just by sharing, all the ideas I have been examining and the paradigms I have assimilated over my life have became clearer, and my desire to learn has risen to new levels. I have become an an epiphany addict. Just by sharing we become more in-tune with ourselves. 

So, yay!  I am growing, learning, helping people, and full of joy…yada, yada, yada. I am truly pumped, but seriously, how is that good for the human race as a whole?  A thought or idea held by one person and not shared is like a tree in a pot - it can only grow to the size of the pot. Right?   Check this out...I am watching a web clip by Jason Silva, where he shares the concept that ideas can have sex (originally presented by Matt Ridley). What? Did I say have sex? Yep. Matt Ridley says that, “human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.” For the human race to actually solve the difficulties we are currently facing, we must give birth to new ideas and new paradigms or we will become stagnant and perish. The sharing of ideas allows each of us to take them and give birth to new ideas, essential ideas, ground shaking ideas. And it is with these ideas that the human race will flourish.  

So we are all collaborators in the gigantic project known as the human race. The human race is like a giant symphony and the music holds more depth of soul and becomes more magical, as we all pick up our own instrument and play. So go forth and FIND YOUR INSTRUMENT AND PLAY!  We need you. 





Let the Show Begin

Done! First blog post is completed and I am pumped!  I am ready to publish it to the world!  And then it hits.


Am I suppose to be making this available for others to read? Hmmm…that makes my skin crawl.  I feel like a giant alien just reached in through my lower back and clamped down on my spine.  I can wave my arms and scream, but I am unable to free myself.  That effin’ hurts!!!  I can’t even reach around to do anything to stop it.  Oh my, this is not what I want.  I start to cry. 

Breathe Rob.  This is just an emotion.  As I think, I realize that some deep-seated need to control what people think about me is sending waves of panic coursing through my body.  As if I have any actual control over what anyone thinks!   But even so, my brain is doing it’s best to stop me from making a horrible mistake.  It screams at me:  "THIS WILL NOT TURN OUT WELL”, “PEOPLE WILL KNOW YOU ARE A FRAUD”, “THEY WILL JUDGE YOU”, “THEY WILL LEAVE YOU”, “YOU SHOULD STAY IN YOUR SHELL WHERE YOU WILL BE SAFE”!  

Well, I’ve decided that I am going to allow people to do just that.  I am coming clean.  Feel free to judge to your heart’s content.  As Brene Brown said, “We must dare to show up.” “We must walk into the arena with courage and the willingness to engage.”  So, while I don’t feel like King Leonidas facing the Persians at Thermopylae, I am showing up and jumping into the arena [arms raised in triumph].  I may dodge and skip around and  at times you may see tears running down my face, but I am here to stay until they carry me out feet first.   Who’s ready to jump into the arena with me


And yes, my brain is still yelling at me to run and hide; "THIS IS CRAZY!”  But, I can’t wait until I am perfect or bulletproof.  I will never be either, so into the arena I go with very few skills.  If you want to join me, I will fight by your side to the end.  But if you want to jeer at me from the stands, well I hope that some day you too will be able to jump into the arena and test your skills.  But for now, I must focus on what’s in the arena.  I, for myself, am tired of squandering my time, my gifts, my purpose, and the unique contributions that only I can make.  


P.S.  For those people in the stands - please do not throw objects at the participant or make weird noises.  He has a phobia of being paralyzed by giant aliens.