In very clear terms he explains why the current game (the money game ) is going to falter, why it will take several more severe crises and what could take its place. I would call this the Human Game and I like his concept of the gift economy. Do watch the video, I highly recommend it!
Yesterday I watched part of the budget discussions in the German Parliament (Bundestag). In various, emotional arguments the different parties presented their differing solutions to the current eurocrisis. They all agreed on one thing: the current government, lead by Angela Merkel, is doing it all wrong. Of course they haven’t got a clue either but at least they can pretend they do as their plans will not be testes in practice. Then there are those who want to cut Europe’s budget and others (European Commission) who actually want to increase it. And let’s not forget the fierce debate about how much power each country should transfer to Brussels. Two days ago I heard a director of the Dutch central bank say what my economics teacher had told me already back in 1976: ‘you young folk need to be financially self-sufficient as it is far from sure that there will be money for you when you want or need to retire.’ The central-bank director literally said that people should pay off their mortgages faster than planned and save more money. Which is interesting in itself of course: reduce your household spending budget dramatically, no matter what, so you may have some money later on (Oh no, I’m not going to talk about where they should store that money. At some to-be-bailed-out-bank?) So money is running out in Europe (and the US) and no one has a clue where the billions in support flowed to.
I trust that you get it: the picture is far from unambiguous and the politicians are trying really hard to come up with a solution. Or better: THE solution for all of us. But given how they tick (not rocking the boat, trying to maintain the status quo, pleasing well established and well organised stakeholders) by definition it’s impossible for them to come up with what the situation requires. They’re too immersed in the game to be able to see what wants to happen. What it doesn’t require is extrapolating best practices from the past as I choose to believe the game is changing. And I mean the nature of it. Radically changing. There’ll be no need for colossal states trying to control everything that goes on within their jurisdiction. In a previous blog, I kinda touched upon this as well (https://geerthofman.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/how-politics-help/) The big institutions will crumble and they’ll get help from the inside. And I’ve mentioned in other blogs as well that this ‘one-for-all’- concept has had its day. What we are going to get is a global society, whose inhabitants share a global consciousness, in freedom. We’re gonna be free individuals who stick together as we’ll finally realise we’re all connected. We’re in this together. And yes, as we can see: the ride is already bumpy. It would be great if we get to a tipping point in the number of people that are willing to take a step back and look at what wants to happen so that it can be facilitated rather than denied and fought. And it looks that we’re gonna find the way forward together and not contract that part out to our politicians. If we are going to be free, we’d better be prepared to take on the responsibility that belongs to it as well. So in a way, we will get involved in dealing with politics or politicians, as “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato (427-347 BC)” And: Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. Pericles (430 B.C.)” One for the road: What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. Edward Langley, Artist (1928 – 1995).
Oh, and the confusion does not only take place at the political level. More about that next time.
This time I would like to share a really weird experience I had some two weeks ago. I found it weird for it’s almost identical to a scene I described in my novel ‘The Glass Dome'(www.geerthofman.comglass-dome pp 233-238). So what happened and what was the learning I finally took from it?
One night late I rode my bike home after having visited a friend. It’s only a less than 2 mile ride so that usually takes me less than 10 minutes. As I left the main street for a street in a small residential area I saw a bicycle lying on the street. Since this is not a street where cars can drive through my first thought was that some kid had left it lying there before it went inside. So I drove past it and decided to leave it. A bit further on a young man with a bike was standing in the middle of street. Approaching him I asked if all was OK. He said he wasn’t from here and that he was waiting for his cab to show up. I found it a bit weird that he would have a bike with him and then take a cab. As the taxi central was right around the corner I told him to follow me so I could show it to him. As we got there I asked again if he was OK. He said he was fine but had too much to drink at a birthday party. I asked him about the bike lying on the street and wondered if he had anything to do with it. He said he didn’t but that he thought it weird too and asked if we could go check it out. I agreed and together we cycled the 40-50 yards to where the bike was lying. I picked it up and noticed it was quite small, so not for an adult, and that its tires were flat. As I put it against one of the houses a young bloke descended the façade of another house. Of course that didn’t seem quite normal to me and I asked if the bike belonged to him. He asked me if I could show it to him, which I did but when we got there he turned very aggressive at the flick of a second and kicked the wheel of my bike and hit me. He actually dealt a blow to my head and I was flabbergasted. His kicking and hitting didn’t have much power but I was completely surprised by the scene. I stopped to see if I could help in this situation and as a result I get attacked by some youngster! I told him to stop or things could get out of hand. Mind you, I’m 6’6″ (1.95m) weigh a bit over 100 Kg and no it’s not all fat! And I wasn’t frightened. This bloke, weighing 60 kilos, must have been on dope and booze to think he could knock me out. But….he wouldn’t stop. He kept trying to intimidate me and just didn’t want to let go of me. I tried to ride away on my bike but he would pull my jacket or the bike and make me stop. And all the time he would not respond to anything I said but kept shouting orders, repeating them as if they were a mantra to him. I saw no other way out than an escalation of violence resulting in me knocking him unconscious and that is something I didn’t want to. Positive about that. I did lose my patience though at one moment. I put my bike on its stand walked towards the assailant thinking where to hit him. Immediately he backed off and immediately I recalled I didn’t want to do this. So I got back on my bike, tried to drive away and…there he was again: pulling my bike and preventing me from going home. What he was saying had stopped making sense from the beginning but now it was even getting worse. He told me he was with the police, on duty, he would call his colleagues (to which I invited him with all my heart) and he wanted to fine me for 10 or 20 euros. Now, that seemed a way out for me without getting violent. So I asked him if he would let me go if I would give him 20 Euro. 10 or 20 would do it for him he confirmed. And he was calming down. By now his buddy insisted he let go of me which caused him to get infuriated again. I showed him the 20 Euro note which he took and then they started fighting over the action. Not about splitting the loot but somehow his buddy felt it was way wrong. When I got home I started to get infuriated myself. Indeed it felt completely wrong to be attacked after offering help and then to get to pay for that privilege as well. But I managed to control my emotions and I stayed at home, trying to get some sleep.
The next day I tried making sense of what happened as I choose to believe that nothing happens for no reason in our lives and that there’s always something for us to learn. But I couldn’t. Every time I thought back of the events my adrenaline skyrocketed and I wish I could get hold of this guy, probably only to release my frustration. Not very productive at all. But I kept asking myself what wanted to manifest itself through this experience.
Then yesterday, all of a sudden, I thought back of a book that Rao Kolluru once gave me in NYC. And I knew what I had done wrong. The book is called ‘The Ten Spiritual Pillars of Business Success’. You can find more about Rao and his work here: http://www.bioxysource.com. Amongst others Rao tells the story of two brothers who stayed with a guru for some time. One day one of the two brothers, Raj, comes back from having visited the village, covered with bruises. He explained that somebody in the village was badmouthing the guru and that he had taught him a lesson. The guru said that he should have let it pass and have restrained himself. The next day the other brother, Tom, came back with a similar story. And he had let it pass with no intervention from his end. The guru asked him why he hadn’t taught the villain a lesson.
Indeed, it’s a story about the three gunas or qualities as Rao labels them: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. Very short: balance, energy and lethargy. Immediately it became clear to me that I had stayed in Tamas during the situation, where the opponent had been in Rajas and Rajas only. I also remembered a conversation where a gentleman (a Vedic astrologer) had asked me if I wanted to retire early. As there were some indications I like to retreat. Now the experience had started to make sense. What I make of it is that I have been too much in Tamas lately, thinking it was Sattva (and, fair enough it will have been Sattva from time to time as well) But hardly in Rajas and, to be perfectly honest with you guys, that has been showing in my life for quite some time now and has been affecting the business side of things as well. But I couldn’t see it until this weird experience of some two weeks ago made me think of Rao’s story again. I have started looking for ways to activate Rajas much more (including changing nutritional habits) and to reduce the overly present Tamas (well at least during day time :-)) It will allow me to get out and engage much more with the world than I did and change this attitude of wanting people to come to me (well, they should of course but until know they could see no reason for it. :-))
So after all this showed some great learning that I get to put into practice. Oh and looking back at the experience, I clearly see other ways (using Rajas) that would have ended the situation without having to knock this bloke in a coma. They all involve engaging with him, possibly also on a physical level and although I am aware of the dangers related to that (with all these armed people in the street), I’m even more aware of the dangers of not doing it. And indeed, I do keep on believing that the best way to avoid troubles is to walk away from these situations. But when that is not possible and appeasing doesn’t have any effect it is better to engage.
Again I’ve been reading in Ken Robinson’s fabulous book ‘The Element’ (http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/) In short: it’s about (encouraging) people finding their calling en living it. Towards the end is a passage that really hit home for me personally. It’s the chapter called ‘For Love or Money’ where an academic is introduced who is crazy about playing his cello and apparently very good at it too. The point that got me gasping for breath is where the academic is quoted saying that ‘calling it a hobby is ridiculous’. Bang! That hit home! For me too, calling playing music a hobby really sounds off. Although I thoroughly enjoy my professional activities as executive coach I also find myself in my element when I get to play music. And it’s no longer only playing. I started arranging songs and actually composed a few myself. Well, composed: let me just say the music came to me when I was ready for it. On no occasion did it involve sitting down and think what I should write. Playing music has given me some extraordinary moments of flow, especially during the last three, four years when I got to play with others again. With the FFB-BigBand (without having prior experience with or exposure to this kind of music) I’m one of the soloists. Mind you, on guitar, not really the first instrument that comes to mind when you think about bigband music. It was only at the second gig that our band leader asked me to play a solo. Where I was really struggling trying to keep up with what was being played! 🙂 And I have similar experience with my other bands and projects. I like to have a good time but also to touch our audience and frankly, and probably this is a result of why I play music, I want to be good at it. Oh, and equally important: for me it’s so great (and vital) to engage with other people and be on the same wavelength with them! I get tremendous support from them and I try to support all others where I can.
Something similar applies to writing novels. The first one ‘The Glass Dome’ wanted to be written by me if that makes any sense to you at all. I had no ambition nor intention to become an author. But somehow, and finally, I gave in to this urge which I felt. Or better: I had the courage to give in to it and wonder at what wanted to manifest itself through me. Again they keyword here was allowing. Allowing to let happen that which wanted to happen. No, not as a helpless victim but as a fully aware steward of those energies.
So being an author and musician goes along perfectly well with being an executive coach. following the energy creates new possibilities that seem to perfectly fit what I’m doing. Again: I thoroughly enjoy all three of these lines of activities through which I like to share my love for all and consider them to continue my element, as Sir Ken Robinson would have it. I wouldn’t want to drop any of them, nor would I want to focus exclusively on one of them.
Sometimes I find people listening to this story in awe. Like as if they would never be able to do something similar. Well, as stated in my previous blog, it probably is going to be quite an effort if anyone would want to carbon copy my life. But similar possibilities exist for all of us. We are not confined to one context to deploy the many talents that we have, to share our gift to the world.
My invitation to you right now is to find your place of stillness and ask yourself whether you are really fulfilled. If not, don’t blame yourself or anyone or anything else for that matter but ask yourself the question: what is it that I need to experience fulfillment? What is it that wants to make itself heard or seen in my life that I haven’t been able to until now. Stay with those questions for a while and allow your soul to show you the answer. And by all means: do let me know what comes out of it for you.
Today I cam across a tweet by Deepak Chopra, where he addresses the question whether we all have a personal destiny (or personal mission as he calls it) in each carnation. Here you can find the answer: https://www.deepakchopra.com/blog/view/600/personal_mission What I like about his comment is that he basically states that we all have one and that it’s not exclusively about grand themes. It’s not about touching millions of people and getting recognised for that. Rather, it is about finding yourway, or better: allowing yourself to join it as automatically your talents will flow to where they are needed. There’s no question that they’re needed. Why? Simple: otherwise you wouldn’t be here at this point in time and space.
In a previous blog I hinted at how you can start getting more open to finding your calling (https://geerthofman.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/how-do-you-do-it/) Of course, you can use (additional) approaches and tools that you feel most comfortable with, in order to get more clarity about your calling. (I’ve mentioned before that for me Alan Seale’s approach has been working very well (http://www.transformationalpresence.org/ The great thing about this approach is that it steers away from our usual intellectual and analytical approach to problem solving. And it quiets the worrying ego. But how can you tell what your calling is and how do you know you’re on the right track? That seems to be a challenge, I mean trying to find your path in life where there are no road signs. Especially with your ego shouting at you to not start doing something that would certainly get you in trouble 🙂 And then you see all these people kind of doing what you feel your life is about. Well, to start with the latter ‘issue’: everybody’s calling is unique. There’s absolutely no risk of you copying somebody else’s life purpose as long as you stay connected with your innermost self. When you think you should imitate someone else’s life….well, what would be the point? If that would have been your life, it would have come to you and not to another person.
Once you start exploring what activities in your daily life fit your personal mission, there’s one sign I’ve found to be pretty helpful. As soon as you formulate your intention and start giving attention to it, synchronicity and flow will start occurring. Events, people, information, whatever will start popping up seemingly out of nowhere, aimed at progressing and refining your quest. You will start experiencing moments of flow and fulfillment as what you are embarking on seems to fit your talents quite naturally. Of course, our mind will kick in from time to time and judge it silly what it is that we’re doing. But again: if you can stay close to your inner self, you may get a different signal. And there’s something else which I find rather interesting. Once you start experiencing flow and fulfillment, you’re no longer worried about the outcome. It is actually at this moment that you allow the journey to become the goal and therewith an endless source of inspiration. Rather than something you should force yourself to, it should be something you allowyourself to align to. Something you allowto happen through you as the results of it manifesting through you are highly desired. And will bring peace, not only to you.
For me this approach is working rather well. Of course I had doubts from time to time (and still have) whether or not I’m on the right path. The right path for me, that is and to restate the obvious: not what I would think the right path I think others expect from me. Doubt kicks in when my mind starts getting worried, e.g. about results not showing up quickly enough. But I must say, every time I go back to this point of stillness and every time I dedicate myself to what I tell myself my work is, it seems to be coming from a source of deeper knowing and peacefulness emerges, together with flow and knowing that what I’m doing (coaching, writing and playing music) is meaningful. And I hence I learned to trust to follow that soft-spoken inner voice, in spite of the loud stories at the surface.
What about you? What is working for you to find and pursue your personal destiny? How is it affecting the life you’re living?
Over the last few weeks I’ve received many questions about the main character, Peter Woudenberg, in my novel ‘The Glass Dome’ (www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome). It’s basically the same question over and again and it is asked by senior executives from various organisations: why is Peter so much about ‘love’ all of a sudden? Why has he turned into a weak, gullible character? Can’t he deal with the pressure no longer?
Every time I hear these questions I smile. And I explain why he chooses to connect to this all-encompassing force. Why he chooses to be love rather than talking or preaching about it. And that it has made him stronger. Perhaps less dominantly present than before and less concerned with the impact he is making at any given moment. It has taken him a bit of a journey but he has come to peace with it as he realises it has always been a them in his life as long as he can remember. Peter addresses it rather directly in his farewell speech to his team at the office in London.
“So I’m aware that, in my attempt to describe what I went through and how that has changed me, I’ll be using vocabulary you are not used to hearing from me. Rest assured though that I’ve not gone bananas, nor have I started smoking stuff you can find in just about every coffee shop in Amsterdam.”
Another bout of laughter rose from the audience and Peter went on.
“I have started to develop and accept a notion of where these insights will lead me, without everything being clearly outlined for me. But that’s OK. By now I have learned to trust that the required answers will show up at the right time. And again, I fully realise this must sound wishy-washy to you, especially coming from someone who was a high-ranking officer in this no-nonsense, ‘we-get-things-done’ professional organisation. Where I’ve felt everything from absolute joy and bitter frustration over these weeks, most of all a feeling of gratitude and appreciation starts to emerge.”
He looked around and hardly saw any reaction. Perhaps they were actually thinking he had gone crazy after all and were they looking at him with compassion, hoping this embarrassing situation to end as soon as possible.
“OK, here’s some new stuff, probably for most of you anyway. One of the things the conversations over the last weeks have led to is that I’ve chosen to believe we are all unique and that we all have a unique calling that has the desire to manifest in our lives.”
The audience continued to listen to him in silence. Peter wasn’t sure if they could relate to what he was saying but he really couldn’t care less. Having started to convey his actual message he felt liberated.
“I’m not done yet,” he said with a smile and feeling confident now. “There’s something else. Increasingly I feel that my calling has to do with love.”
Now some people were looking at each other, quietly exchanging short comments. That didn’t disturb him in the least and he smiled at the group.
“I know this sounds weird to you guys but I feel love when I look at a beautiful flower. I feel love when I look at a new-born baby. I feel love when I look at a masterfully crafted piece of art. I feel love when I look at a homeless beggar in the street. I feel love when I see people struggling in the corporate world. I feel love because there’s not enough of it going around, scared as we all are to let go of the illusion of separation, scared as we all are to show ourselves who we truly are and to live the life that we are called to. And to allow ourselves to completely unfold our vast potential, for our own benefit and at the same time for the benefit of all on this planet. I feel love and that’s what I want to feel.”
By now science is proving what many spiritual traditions have known for ages: everything is connected. There’s no void but a plenum, as Aristotle already knew. How this connection looks like is rather irrelevant if you to try to grasp it in terms of matter. Is suffices to acknowledge it’s there. We influence ourselves and each other every moment of the day with our attention and intention, with what we think and how we feel. When we are love our world changes right away, and for the better as I choose to believe. Dr Masaru Emoto illustrates the point quite powerfully with his water crystals (http://www.masaru-emoto.net/)
For those of you who haven’t seen this before: it’s a picture of water to which some kind of positive intention has been sent. Then he freezes it following a well documented scientific protocol. In the process of thawing crystals form with beautiful shapes like the one above.
Here’s how Peter describes to his friend Isabelle, who has accompanied him throughout an important part of his transformation, what discovering love as a main theme in his life means to him. They meet in Amsterdam, a few days after his farewell speech in London.
“What else is going on?” she [his friend Isabelle] asked. “Did you find a job?”
“No I haven’t been looking for a job yet. I guess I’m finally beginning to accept what wants to manifest in my life and am giving it some thought about how to give it a place in my daily life.”
“OK, sounds good. Tell me more.”
“Well, I have finally accepted and embraced the notion that I have a personal destiny too and in a recent conversation with my coach I’ve declared what had been hanging around for a while anyway.”
“You’re getting me all curious here, tell me more. This sounds exciting!”
“Well, I don’t think it comes as a surprise to you but at the deepest level it is about love.”
“Great,” she said softly, “so it’s official now.”
“About love as a power that we carry and that we could have carrying us all. A bond between all people. There’s simply not enough of it going around and I know the world will look totally different when we can really see each other in our uniqueness.”
Arguably most songs and stories ever we listen to are about love. It is fascinating, yes, but more than that experiencing it is uplifting, enjoyable, improving our health, bringing peacefulness, oh I guess I could go on here for ever. Let’s just stick to this Beatle title: All You Need Is Love (http://bit.ly/L84P4Q) and make our world fuller of love now than it was yesterday. It’s our natural state anyway 🙂 Love is All (http://bit.ly/4gYsF9)