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Month: September 2017

I’ll Be Back!

I’ll Be Back!

To my dear empathyrising community. After a year and a half of communicating and building this network I’m going to take a few months off to tend to some things. I will return to take things to the next level. I will because it has been a heartwarming pleasure to connect with everyone, energetically and via the written word.

You have all been a part of the latest leg of my healing journey. Your openness and beauty have helped me to confirm and feel how many lovely people are out there; as with me, imperfect to be sure, yet filled with a strong desire for personal and global evolution and peace.

Having been a harshly judgmental person, my next level of maturation has arrived in strong part due to my engaging with you, including those who have dipped in to take exception to what I’ve presented (eg) in my Trump article. Indeed, it has been especially in communicating with the defensive and aggressive folks that I have learned the most about myself and others. It’s not an easy mirror to look into because that is who I have been.

With social media there is the theoretical opportunity for space to: (1) let things percolate before responding; to always seek out a compassionate response, regardless of what is coming your way; (2) to appreciate that there are a heck of a lot of traumatized people out there trying to make heads or tails of this existence; (3) to know and feel that the most effective path to healing, for ourselves and others, is to return personal attacks with compassion and the assumption that people’s opinions and ideas are genuine and heartfelt, regardless of our judgments.

In October of last year I had a seminal experience on Facebook that was a massive aha moment for me. I was engaging with a lady regarding Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Her first response was filled with many capitalized words and a plethora of exclamation marks. Where in the past I would invariably have matched her aggression in response, instead I was respectful and kind. In her follow-up response, she toned things down but was still very defensive. Her fear and frustration regarding the polarization that was happening in the US was palpable. Fortunately, I recognized that her aggression was not personal and I was able to take care of her in that place. Here is an excerpt of her final response to me:

“I am interested in your opinions and ideas and want to follow as you pursue your study. I like to challenge myself, though you might not know it from my comments, and want to be challenged to determine what new things I can learn to become more engaged in a broader discussion. Again, I know that a defensive response is indicative of something important to know about oneself…”

My mind was blown when I received her response. It was a revelation for me. The end result confirmed for me how I should always be communicating on social media – and in person. Of course, it’s when we are triggered in person, and how we respond in the moment, when we really know how deep our healing and consciousness actually is. I’m still working on that, and will be for the rest of my life. Nevertheless, at least in my case, I can say that it gets better and easier, which is a relief and a celebration.

Through the prism of empathyrising I have been charged with being the best available me. After all, what a hollow name empathyrising would be if I allowed my shallow, narcissistic, justified self to steer the ship? I am continually working to engage with the world at all times embodying the empathyrising ethos.

Thank you all again. Take care of yourselves and each other. I’ll be back soon. Maybe with some videos. Eeks!

Nothing Makes Up For Failure In The Family

Nothing Makes Up For Failure In The Family

“I had been divorced for five years when I saw a billboard with the dire message: ‘Nothing makes up for failure in the family.’

My immediate reaction was to start an argument with the billboard evangelist, to defend myself and the multitude of my fellow divorcés who had broken up families for what we considered the best of reasons. ‘That’s asinine! What a guilt trip! A good divorce is better for the kids than a bad marriage. And, besides that, my kids are living with me and I am ‘making up’ their loss to them. And, and, and…’ Not until I had exhausted my self-defense did I simmer down and let the full weight of the proposition sink in and think about it in a calm manner.

It has now been 12 years since I saw the billboard. My daughter and son from my first marriage are grown and lovely. I am remarried and I have a 10 year old daughter. After considerable meditation on the matter, I have come to believe that the message of the billboard is both true and prophetic. In watching my children struggle with the hurts and discontinuities that are the inevitable result of the irreconcilable differences between their parents, I have learned what many men learn only after divorce.

There is nothing more precious than our children.

In the quiet hours of the night, when I add up the accomplishments of my life in which i take justifiable pride – a dozen books, thousands of lectures and seminars, a farm built by hand, a prize here, an honor there – I know that three that rank above all others are named Lael, Gifford and Jessamyn.

In the degrees to which I have loved, nurtured and enjoyed them, I honor myself. In the degrees to which I have injured them by being unavailable to them because of my obsessive preoccupation with myself or my profession, I have failed as a father and as a man.”

Sam Keen
Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man