Friday, April 13, 2018

FAILURE GOES BIG

WHO AM I?
    I am the Being of Failure. My minions are Legion; meaning that my operations are highly diversified and my product line EXTREMELY well accepted. This era is one of my favorites. LOT of failure to go around. By whose standard are you a failure?

    99% of the Twitter, Facebook, and Social Media posts tell you that you are a failure according to one or another research poll. “Research”, that’s the magic, scientific-sounding word.  Admit it, you don’t feel rich enough, smart enough, happy enough, or have a relationship that is PERFECT.

    So, you are a failure by somebody’s scale. Researchers create these polls and scales for self-promotion - to get greater “re-tweets”, “likes” or “shares”. You feel bad and justify your failure because so many other people are failures, too. Then you “share” and pull somebody else down and help them realize they are failures because they don’t do this or that, or because they DO do this or that.

    Multi-level failure marketing. Nice. Helps failure continue to be used by the largest Corporations, Brands, Megalomaniacs, Potentates, Clans, Governments and Religions.

     Was I worried there for a moment?  Nah, not really. Failure goes big.



WHY AM I HERE?

     Failure is a communications motivational model used in Economics, Religion and Politics worldwide. It’s called an “Injection” model because we “inject” fear of failure into ALL situations.

     Economically fear of failure sets up motivation. You buy stuff and do stuff to compensate for an inner felt lack. For example, an 87 year old Mother-In-Law might buy “ANTI-AGING CREAM” from QVC in gallon buckets. Or, you might buy new i

Gizmo. Or dip your tootsies into exotic beaches because... you have to prove to yourself you are not an economic failure! Nice.

     Religiously, failure means, once again, you failed! You have got to get control of yourself. Try harder. Be better, do gooder or else... JUDGMENT! Ah, Judgment. My old theocratic friend.

     Politically, fear of failure means you will vote the candidate who is promising you what you want, not necessarily what they can or will deliver: better life? Better job? Lower taxes? A safety net? Kill your enemies? Keep you safer (whatever that means)? Yes, you will vote for the one who makes sure your COUNTRY is rich, powerful, beautiful, young and NOT A FAILURE!  (See how this works?)



WHAT DO I WANT?

     The last thing Failure wants is to fail. But, what is GENUINE success to Failure?

     If I have GENUINELY succeeded - not just the spin-offs, but GENUINE - you feel SHAME.

     Not the “fake shame” that 99% of those polls, or “authorities”, bosses, bullies try to use to manipulate you, into buying something, following the rules, or voting for the fear monger; Not that.

But, GENUINE, deep down inside, cheek-burning shame. Soul chilling, heart dropping, tear creating Shame. The Shame which is related to a part of you which goes deep inside. This Shame awakens you to yourself. Helps you become aware of your self-illusions, self-deceptions, one-sidedness, ignorance, egotism, vanity, and other truths we have been hiding from yourself.

     Your reality. Hit that Shame, and a specific, genuine weakness emerges to stand beside you and confront you. “Hey! Did it again, didn’t you?”

One by one as you go through life, they will emerge. They are real. Feel the Shame. Get the wisdom. Correct those weaknesses one-by-one. 

That’s what Failure wants – to be useful, genuinely.

Oh, and, here are things you CANNOT FAIL AT: Being tender. Have self-compassion. Practicing Fortitude to face each weakness.

One final thing? Could someone please help that 87 year old Mother In Law to trowel those gallons of ANTI-AGING CREAM from those buckets onto her house? The paint is peeling. ;>)



© Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
All rights Reserved

@threesimpleques FAILURE GOES BIG - I am the Being of Failure. My minions are Legion. My product line is accepted well. Check us out! http://goo.gl/Jw9Ooh

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

REPORT OF TEACHING RUDOLF STEINER’S ”SIX SUPPLEMENTARY EXERCISES” IN MY LOCAL JAIL - RUTLAND, VERMONT 2015



Dear Readers -
Sorry to break the form of the blog but
I wanted to share this with you.
--Jean 
BACKGROUND:
“A Call To Arms on a Vermont’s Heroin Epidemic” – NEW YORK TIMES, February 27,2014
The New Face of Heroin”  ROLLING STONE, April 3, 2014

REPORT OF TEACHING  RUDOLF STEINER’S :”SIX SUPPLEMENTARY EXERCISES”:
TO JAIL INMATES IN RUTLAND, VERMONT 2015

                In February 2014, the New York Times and regional television news channels unofficially dubbed Rutland, Vermont (my hometown) the “heroin capital” of the U.S.  Like many areas, loss of jobs, bad economic times, and other social factors, made our area easy prey to dealers. This was not news to us who were residents of Rutland, but we were shocked to learn how bad it really was. We were naïve and “asleep”.
My son who moved in with my wife and I that February asked me if I knew what was really going on with frequent, short stops by cars at my neighbor’s house. I had to admit I didn’t know.”  My, son, who had joined us after his own “rough patch” at age 29 who lived for months in a ghetto in Florida, informed me that it was a good bet that the boy next door was selling drugs. I was stunned.
                Within a year, the community reacted to this apparent epidemic and began a large-scale effort of police, city policy wonks (housing), everyday citizens, business people and mental-health workers to attempt to change the dynamics within the community. A project “Vision” was launched which is underway today and. I have been a volunteer in this effort since it was launched. Everyone has been encouraged to get involved in any way. 

SIX EXERCISES – EIGHT WEEKS
                We moved to Vermont from Michigan a number of years ago. When I lived in Michigan, I taught an 8-week introduction Steiner’s “Six Supplementary Exercises” to inmates in maximum security prisons. In April 2015, I proposed to offer this program at our local jail in Rutland, the Marble Valley Correctional Institution (MVCI).  I use the pamphlet, “Self Development In The Penitentiary” by Fred Janney, Board Chair of the Anthroposophic Prison Outreach (APO) program sponsored by the Anthroposophical Society in America.
                This time I was to incorporate material from David Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Kahneman put important scientific research “wheels” under Steiner’s exercises in that Kahneman articulated two systems within the human psyche: System 1 (S1) an “automatic system” for thinking, feeling, and willing. S1 is our automatic “set-up” practices about which we are casual. And, research identified System 2 (S2) an “effortful” system by which we challenge our in-built, automatic system. Steiner’s exercises are all about moving from S1 behavior to S2.
Steiner offers something Kahneman doesn’t - specific exercises for S2 thinking, S2 intentions, and S2 feelings, S2 openness, S2 positivity. The exercises represent the kind of an “architecture” which actually gives inmates meaningful experiences of change which in being different – no matter how briefly. The six exercises are like spokes on a wheel which revolve around a central hub of personal integrity – a subject of much conversation – how to have a chance to change and rebuild a life.
The architecture was identified by the late John Davy many years ago when he compared the six exercises to Kűbler-Ross’ steps to recovery in Death and Dying:  denial requires new thinking, anger is a rebellion of the will, bargaining requires equanimity, depression is healed with positivity, acceptance needs openness and hope comes from harmony. Certainly, the men incarcerated will go through these steps at some time, consciously or not.
                Jail is different from prison. In prison men are incarcerated for years. In jail, weeks or months.I had 25 inmates over the 8 weeks. Five of those completed all eight weeks and were given “certificate” of completion which may have value in their parole process.  The ages were as young as 20s and as old as 50s. Most crimes were non-violent.
                The weeks were:
(1) Introductions / Overview, “Rules Of The Road”,
(2) Control of Thinking – practice in concentration, focused thinking, overcoming “flighty” thoughts, distraction and finding an undisturbed period.
(3) Control of Intentions – mastery of impulses, regularity, accomplishment.
(4) Control of Feelings – tolerance, forbearance, equilibrium and equanimity.
(5) Positivity – looking for the good, the true, and the beautiful in each situation. (The guys said to me, “Are you kidding, Jean? We’re in JAIL!” So, I replied: “Okay – what’s your option? Look for the bad (evil), the false and the ugly? Lots of that around here. Your choice.)
(6) Open mindedness – the ability to not let the past dictate the future, staying flexible, meeting other minds.
(7) Harmony / Balance – repetition of exercises.
(8) Maintenance - Creating choice architecture which eliminates S1.
                The weekly sessions became opportunities for men to discuss the experience of incarceration and how to make choices to improve their experiences – inside and out of jail. Shared problem solving emerged regarding all sorts of issues: recovery, dysfunctional family dynamics (“That teenager just pushes my buttons!) and internal jail pressures were handled within Steiner’s framework.
                Following the 8-weeks, I conduced a follow-on 4-weeks of “Communication Skills” which added listening, questioning, and presentation skill building. Written evaluations of the 8-week program were provided to Jail Administration and we intend to repeat the program on an ongoing basis.
                I encourage each of you to get involved where you live. By teaching these very simple exercises, we get to practice them again and again, and some of us (me) need that. Are they really “supplementary”? “Supplementary” to what? These ARE the exercises.
-          Jean Yeager. Rutland, Vermont
-          Jwyeager2@gmail.com
 
THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, Daniel Kahneman, Farrar Strauss and Giroux, NY, 2011
SIX STEPS IN SELF-DEVELOPMENT The Supplementary Exercises, Rudolf Steiner, Selected by Ates Baydur, Rudolf Steiner Press, 2010
HOPE EVOLUTION AND CHANGE, John Davy, Hawthorne Press, 1990

WE ARE ALL ON THE BORDER


WHO AM I?
     We are all on the border. We are all moving from who we once were and where we have been into the future. That puts us all on a threshold, or border.
     Between being trapped or threatened to being free.
     Between addiction and recovery.
     Between failure and success.
     Between unemployment or underemployment and meaningful work.
     Between being denied and being encouraged.
     Between illness and health.
     Between doubt and death and hope and life.
     Between being a child and growing up, or mature and dying or between death and a spiritual world.
     We are all on a border.

WHY AM I HERE?
     Crossing borders is never easy or without confrontation. There are always Guardians for that new place we want to go and their job is to challenge us and keep us out if we are not "qualified" to be there.
     The first “guardian” – called the “Lesser Guardian” of the Border" - is ourselves. When we begin considering crossing a border, are the first one holding ourselves back or protecting us from taking serious risk is our own doubt, fear and hatred.
     “I doubt I can do this!”, “I’m afraid of what they’re going to do to me!”, or “I hate them for doing this to me!”
     First we must realize that our "problems" at the border are directly related to our likes and dislikes. To overcome this Lesser Guardian of the Border means changing ourselves inwardly. Resolving these three challenges is required before we approach the actual, outer border. The more time we spend exploring what this “guardian” likes, dislikes, and so forth, we learn about ourselves.  Border crossing “problems” are always as a result of ourselves as the problems seems to rise up to meet our shortfalls.
     Next is the Outer Guardian of the Border who is the keeper of the outer “rules” and “regulations” required by the realm which we are seeking to enter - which we are now "foreign" - (national, legal, social, health, etc.) - the Outer Guardian is an “objective” judge who looks you, your background and the situation over with a penetrating sense of discernment and wants you to prove who you are?, why are you here? and what you want?
     This is the next level of confrontation we experience on any border.

WHAT DO I WANT?
About 25 years ago, I tried to go to study at Emerson College in Sussex, England and was confronted by a Outer Guardian of the U.K. Border who looked over my documents and said “No!” to my request for “leave to enter the U.K.” and issued me deportation papers back to the U.S.
     In an instant, my hopes, dreams, self-image, months of preparation, etc. were literally crushed. The problems rose up to meet my great preparation.
There is a “Mission of Stuckness” about which I have read in “Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. In these moments when the border has you stuck, you MUST be able to control yourself (your Lesser Guardian) and STOP. Get rid of the past hopes, thoughts, fears, emotions, dreams, plans, EVERYTHING must be crushed in order for you to be able to move into the future in a new way – maybe not your way at all.
In the Gatwick situation, the Guardian of the U.K. border overturned his deportation ruling on appeal.
If you’ve ever had such an experience of being denied at any border: national, employment, health or otherwise; by your own Lesser Guardian or an Outer Guardian, you know that you are thrown back upon yourself and it is a VERY, VERY lonely place.  This also happened to the Christ on  Golgotha. As He did, you also may have sent a prayer for help to the unseen powers you hope can help you.
     I wish that all the prayers and silent pleas for help from all who are struggling at any border – inner or outer - could be colorful and visible. That way the rest of us who, for the time being may have some emotional, intellectual or experiential band-width available, might be able to recognize the situation and at least be available to accompany those who feel so alone in their stuckness on the border. This is something we all need from one another.

© Copyright 2014 Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved
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