USA Trip May-June 2016

My USA trip was a real zinger.

Coming on the beginnings of a new relationship with a generous, caring, successful, playful and creative woman, conferences, courses, projects, visiting with my son, and chilling out, was interspersed with lengthy viber or skype conversations that were flirty, jokey, intellectual, dissonant, honest, vulnerable, happy, and teary.

The Landmark Global Transformation conference, my entry event in San Fransisco, rode on the theme of ‘Wonder’. One of my all time favourite topics, wonder would anchor the whole trip and come back, specifically, again during the Alba Emot Course in Asheville, North Carolina, a couple of weeks later.

Although Global Transformations took the ‘Wonder’ theme, it was a wondering about leadership that took my ear. Gladly, presenters I had met a couple of year ago, facilitated a couple of beautiful engaging structural movement communication work. I attended those sessions for my work in dance and it gave me another access to my hearing on leadership. Initially that hearing on leadership was all about what I need to be a leader of my rEvolve project. As my trip comes to a conclusion, that has transformed into rEvolve being the possibility of a leadership training program, ‘Moving into Leadership’.

The idea of moving into leadership is a more clear consolidation of the work I am doing around sustainability and climate change, men’s culture, and dance, into an integrated work, a leadership training program.

From San Fransisco, I flew over to Denver, Colorado, for a few days, to catch up with my friends in Art as Action. Staying at an Air BNB nearby, I was able to ride a hire bike into the city, and even on the light rail to Jefferson County where I could ride to hiking paths. As with my previous experience in that part, life at one mile high can make the legs ache in bike riding unusually earlier than at my home altitude in Australia of half a mile. I learnt how to use Lyft.

It seemed that each time the past two years I’ve seen my friends in Art as Action they have been grieving over the loss of a loved one. Last year the grandfather of the director had passed away. This year one of their music/dance colleagues and his partner were killed in a car accident. I want to make some bigger sense of this coincidence. It only mattered that I could be some community of listening around the grief. Sarah Leversee welcomed me into her Reconnect Class based on Dance for PD and it was wonderful to see the liveliness of that ‘older’ dance class.

It was a special treat to spend a few hours over lunch with Wayne Gilbert, performance poet, retired literature teacher, and recent (having Parkinson’s Disease) dance performer with Art as Action. Wayne is a volunteer poetry teacher to the State prison to the north of Denver. His experience of the attraction of poetry to some hard men, has been profound. At one of his earliest classes, having delivered a poem on Parkinson’s Disease, he was astounded that a hand immediately shot up. The owner said, “Yeh, I get that poem. It’s like how I feel about being in this prison.” I find myself amazed by the nature of the human being around their limiting circumstances, their authentic relationship with those limitations, the access they find to some expansion of those circumstances and they contributions they choose to make, nonetheless. There is some inspiration there, for all of us, and I store that idea away for a way to provide access to that inspiration for everyone.

It was great to spend a week chillin’ at my son’s place in Riverside, California. We had a number of social outings together including a Baha’i meeting. We played an hour of table tennis every night. I got a little heat stroke doing a hike in the desert hills at the back of his place, and the effects of that took quite a few days to remedy, reminding me, among other things, that I’m not as young as I used to be. It was lovely to spend a sedate four hours with my son in the UCR library while he played with an assignment for his masters degree in social work. Sometimes I think I should be in conversation with my son, seeing that we can’t see each other much across the seas, but I profess one of my greatest joys is just to be in proximity.

The next phase of my travel was to spend a few days with Sue Blythe on the Sustainable Farm, Hampton, Gainesville, Florida, around her Future Flash Climate Change Project. Sue’s work has expanded to engage commitments from some fabulous environmental players in Florida, including the manager of the ‘Sustainable Floridians’ volunteer training program out of Florida University, Lanny the Earthman, Actor Jan Booher, and Dave Room San Fransisco based creator of Pacha’s Pyjamas. As I write this I’ve just finished a Skype conversation with Dave Room, opening the way for his work to find expression for children environmental education in Australia.

From Gainesvile to Asheville to the Alba Emot course with Laura Bond. What a fantastic 9 days, learning and training in primary emotional expression, Feldenkrais movement, and exploring related experiments in life story, text, voice and dance with an extraordinary teaching team. So much to bring back to my dance and theatre work but also into the possibility of leadership training.

And so, this week another chill out and exercise at my son’s place in California. It’s a hot summer week in the desert, 113 F early in the week. Time to meditate, play with movement training (God I need it), and have dozens of small conversations with him around his life. He became an American citizen while I’ve been here. Looks like another feather in his global citizen’s cap.

Two nights ago I woke in sadness. My time here is slipping away. Today, I’m prepared for a great weekend with my son, at the beach, in LA. It is time to go home.

Mastery of Life: Being Out Here!

OR Ways Ordinary People can reach World-Class

Robin Sharma, Author of the #1 International Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”, has a list of 51 ways to reach world class. Here are the one’s I feel especially important to develop in my own way of being:

    1.  Clarity is power. I have been on a lifelong journey for clarity. On some things I am clear and confident, on many others – not so much. I have Landmark Education much to thank for showing me ways to access clarity. Shortly Landmark graduates around Cairns will commence the Landmark ‘Wisdom Course’. This is an exciting development for this transformative education community. What is the Wisdom course? Well, I’ll be able to tell more after I have experienced it, however, the message that popped out of my introduction to it was, “to communicate as an adult”. Well, I figure, at 53 years, that would still be none to late.

    2. Become the most passionate person you know. Being passionate has not been a forte. In the spirit of protecting myself from just about everything and everyone, I play a great game of life-poker. Before I attended Landmark Education course, I was embarking on a role to facilitate the fusion of performing arts with my local rural community discourse. Since doing Landmark courses I have become a contemporary dance facilitator. This process has challenged that whole ‘pker playing’ way of engaging with life. I am yet to Be the most passionate person. Anxiety with myself and of others is like looking at a thousand choices, many of which I cannot decide, most of which require no decision at all. My life has increasingly become being aware of how I am being and occurring to myself, in order to live out there where creativity and dance and the exuberant exploration of life, lives.

    3. When you transform your fitness, you’ll transform your business. Fitness is a characteristic and an outcome of dance. Through common life’s adventures as a youth, and my manual work as a physiotherapist, I am troubled bu chronic spinal pain with more recent shoulder pains. A few years ago I began scull rowing which has provided some major breakthroughs on my spinal pain. And now I am appreciating that my goals to be a mature aged contemporary dancer is creating fitness, strength and balance levels that are encouraging for returning to a leaner, versatile me that I can wear into my older years.

    4. Every time you do what scares you, you take back the power that you gave to the thing that scared you. And so you become more powerful. As the quintessential scardey cat, I was once too scared to even be able to read seriously a concept like this. Now I can engage with it, openly, with some confidence. Well, to be clear, I can now separate out individual anxiety from what was once just a morass of background noise. In making the distinction of what I am anxious in this moment, that fear can be addressed directly. Gradually I am finding that my more habitual responses are loosing engagement, allowing more choice.

    5. When you push through a difficult project, you don’t get to the other side. You reach The Next Level. Here I am working on small but foundational projects. I get this although it takes a lot of effort not to just give in to my little voice saying, “Oh well, why bother, you don’t need to be dancing, creative etc. You can do fine without it.” Until I really look at what that ‘without it’ future really looks like, and it is, frankly, rubbish.

    6. If your not being criticized a lot, you’re not doing very much. Ridicule is the price of ambition. My ambition is for contemporary dance to become an ordinary rural community art in Australia. A few others are emerging from the community with interest and enthusiasm, and that is great.

However underpinning all these characteristics of ‘best’ is the nature of Being itself.  In a 2011 presentation, Werner Erhard, described the process of mastery. “One critical point about being a master in life is getting yourself clear that “who you have known yourself to be” is not who you are. “Who you know yourself to be” is simply one way of being that is available to you, and you are not stuck with that way of being.” “Your only way of impacting the world, others, or yourself is by acting. Remember that acting includes speaking (this includes speaking to yourself about yourself), and speaking also includes what is said by your actions (as in the saying “actions speak louder than words”).”It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act.” “From moment to moment, your way of acting and your way of being are consistent with each other.” “HOWEVER OUR WAY OF BEING DOES NOT CAUSE OUR ACTIONS – Our Way of Being and our Way of Acting come together as though one thing.” “What is going on in our brain that generates our conscious thought to act and generates our physical action happens in a very different way than the way it appears to us at a conscious level.”

The world of mastery is constituted by a unique “conversational domain” (linguistic domain), from which a master lives and interacts with life.” What makes a master a master is simply the way he or she interacts with life.” “What You Are Dealing With” includes: 1. The circumstances on which you are acting. 2. The circumstances in which you are acting. 3. The way in which you occur for yourself in acting on whatever you are acting on in the circumstances in which you are acting. When you are engaged with life there is nothing else to be dealt with. Those three things are all that there is.” What occurs for you is what is going on out in life. That is, what occurs for you is 1) objects and situations out in the world, and 2) other people and yourself out in the world – all these occurring as a whole (a holistic unity). Note that when you are engaged with life, you occur as an interactive part of the whole, not as something separated from (distinct from) the whole.

The answer to the question – “What is the source of my way of being and acting in life?” – is absolutely critical to your being a master in life. The source of a person’s way of being and acting is that their way of being and acting is correlated with the way in which “the circumstances they are dealing with” occur for them.” “Llanguage gives you access to the way in which “the circumstances you are dealing with” occur for you! Specifically, the way in which “the circumstances you
are dealing with” occur for you is sometimes constituted in language, and when it is not, it is at least colored and shaped by language, and is in any case always accessible through language.” “Your choice of language (what you say) about
“the circumstances you are dealing with” provides you with actionable access to yourway of being and acting in life.” “The way you choose to speak to yourself and others about 1) the circumstances on which you are acting, and 2) the circumstances in which you are acting, plus 3) the way in which you occur for yourself in those circumstances, determines the way in which each of those occurs for you. And, your way of being and acting is correlated with that occurring.” ““It turns out that if you change how people talk, that changes how they think. If people learn another language, they inadvertently also learn a new way of looking at the world.” “The structures that exist in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality [the way in which what we are dealing with occurs for us]” “The one thing you have complete dominion over is what you say and what you listen to.”

“Masters distinguish between the facts of “the circumstances they are dealing with” (what is so independent of language) and any story or interpretation added to those facts. Then, they use language to create a context for “the circumstances they are dealing with” so that “the circumstances they are dealing with” occur for them such that their naturally correlated way of being and acting is one of power, freedom, full self-expression, and peace of mind.” WHAT A MASTER DOES IS “HONEST THINKING” “for a master this is coupled with the use of language to create a context (what exists only in language) for those facts that allows the master to see possibilities that empower and enable the master in effectively dealing with those facts while maintaining a high quality of life.” “If one lives from this possibility, and does experiment and practice, that is available to any of us. This is called achieving mastery through “live and learn”.”

“A master encounters life as it is lived, and as a consequence deals with life as it is lived, and holds his or her theories, beliefs, knowledge, and memories, above himself or herself so to speak, so that they don’t act as a filter, but illuminate what is encountered.” “Our experience of seeing the world and others actually happens for us what you have called “out there”.” “What you are referring to when you say “I” or “me” does show up for you, with all the rest of life, in the clearing for life that you are.” “As life is actually lived, who you are is located where what a master calls “out-here” – out where life (the world, others, and who you are referring to when you say “I” or “me”) actually happens for you. This is where a master  lives: out-here, living where life actually happens.” “ou – the one for whom life shows up “out-here” – are not located either “here” or “there”. You, the one for whom life shows up out-here, are a clearing – the clearing in which life shows up.

“By taking a stand on yourself as out-here, you will actually experience yourself being out-here, and interacting with life where life actually happens. THAT IS WHAT MAKES AN ORDINARY PERSON TO FUNCTION AS A MASTER”

“To say that either “in-here” or “out-here” is the truth is not true.  Rather we are saying that you have a choice. People who practice being aware of where their experience of objects and situations in the world, and of other people in the world, is actually happening, report a breakthrough in their effectiveness in dealing with the world and with others. This allows you a certain DETACHMENT from your automatic way of being that leaves you free to be. When you are practicing being out here, what is going on with you internally will stop being who you are for yourself. And, you (the you that you refer to when you say “I” or “me”) will simply be one of the things that shows up for you in the clearing for life that you actually are.” “Who you actually are is: Out Here!”

Africans walk out on their children again.

Having become a fan of Dambisa Moyo’s work, I am viewing the walk out of African nations from Copenhagen as the petulance of spoilt children rather than a serious reflection on the dialogue that representative are there for. Rather than developed countries ‘aiding’ African nations to build green economies, African nations should only be provided support to the extent that they are able to develop accountable governance.  As Moyo asserts, the reason why a country like Australia has better services than a country in Africa, is less about the inherent resources in those nations and more about the failure of a government to be mandated by its citizens on the basis of a set of policies. In democracy, the better the democracy, the more likely a government will fall when they fail to solve the problems of the people of the day.  In an externally supported totalitarian or even quasi-democratic society,  the people have no power because their leaders are not accountable at all. Leaders get wealthy off foreign aid, and if the services aren’t provided, it is the fault of foreigners. African leaders are rorting their countries and ours. I suspect some foreign powers are quite happy to keep African nations poor and weak and dying by feeding their leaders aid, making them policy dullards and tyrannical against the citizens they should be leading to a more progressive state.  So if developed countries start talking about paying Africa to green up, we can believe that Africans will be far worse off in twenty years, and further in debt to the developed countries than if they decided to take over self management today. It is time to stop feeling sorry for Africa and start jeering their pretense to nationhood. And continue jeering until the people get feedup with their systems of non-governance and start demanding proper leaders among them, take the reins.

The African representatives who walked out of Copenhagen talks have walked out on their own children, and they seem to have a habit of doing this.