Straddling both worlds


It’s supposed to be easy. But, let me tell you, after reading Wayne Dyer’s You’ll See It When You Believe it, experiencing The Futures Group (previously Executive Futures) course and having good friends who “understand” abundance, I am still finding it challenging. One of my clients suggested creating a T-shirt that reads, “This is only my form.” And yes, I know our souls are larger than our bodies, and yes, I know positive energy attracts positive energy — but wait a minute — how do I learn to live in the everyday world when I feel continually connected to my Higher Self, my Higher Power, and everybody else?

I’m sorry to say most of the world still operates on scarcity. For many people, the thinking is purely left brain, right-wrong, hierarchical and polarized. That means either / or rather than and. I dream in a world of intuition, paradoxes, and letting go. Many of my working colleagues believe in control — control of themselves, control of others, controlling the environment. I believe we can create conditions, facilitate, but not “produce” outcomes.

I am evaluated by others for being a “human doing” rather than a “human being.” Can’t they understand I am a process person? I think process people make product people nervous. We are always “in process.” We are always seeing the depth, the complexities, the interactions of everything with everything else. So what am I, a troublemaker?

Yes, I believe people who live in this world of “trusting the process” aren’t understood by many. We seem naive, scattered and downright wimpy to some. I still have my vision, and I hold firmly to it. Yet, I understand serendipity is part of the journey, and I am willing to let go, trust and fly by the seat of my pants when that feels right. Some people have no idea of where I might be going. Others think I have totally lost it. Still others believe I could have really made something of myself if I had applied myself correctly.

The biggest challenge for me these days is to realize I cannot live being true to myself and still appear to be a success in certain people’s eye. Control is my biggest issue, and letting go is both a curse and a blessing. When I immerse myself in my original authenticity, or as John Bradshaw calls it, my “wonder child,” family members and colleagues get nervous.

Believing we are all connected, and that both inner and outer peace is possible, creates a feeling of alienation. I find it hard to play by hierarchical rules. I don’t like to label people and I certainly don’t like being told exactly who I am. I think Maslow, my first psychology teacher back in 1960, contaminated me for life. He told our whole class of 200 that we were far too complex to fit into other people’s categories. He said we defied labeling because we wee so unique, on the one hand, and connected, on the other. Again, a wonderful paradox.

So, the problem with this new level of understanding, this totally rad (to use a modern term) way of living, is that it makes it difficult to relate to many people. It is easier to say, “Act from your center. Act and step back. Act, don’t react.” It is hard to not react to puzzled looks and negative comments from others who think you have finally “lost it.” No, as the popular bumper sticker says, “I found it. You are the one who is lost.”

So what did I find? A new, more peaceful and loving way of being in the world. A chance to realize my dreams and feel an incredible connection to all of creation. However, all choices involve some loss. Something has to go. And, as usual, I would like to pretend life is easy, and one can have it all. I tell you, that is not so. So, what do I give up for this new awareness, this new sensation of faith and unity with everything? I believe I have to give up my need to be accepted into the mainstream of society. I have to give up fitting into a legalistic, hierarchical, controlling system that motivates out of fear. I am no longer invited to certain cocktail parties!

It is difficult for me to stop complaining and criticizing. It came with my family genes. So, to adopt this new way of living in the world means giving up some parts of my former self that connected me with my family. As I see these parts slip away, I feel the loss and sadness. Being launched is not always as much fun as they said it would be.

The obvious answer is to find other people who share the same vision and want to live a love-oriented, abundant lifestyle. I know quite a number of people like that, but it isn’t always easy to surround myself with them. They are often busy with their own journeys, and trying to make a living using their own talents and skills. Because they are living this rad, new lifestyle means they often have difficulty working for others who are rigid, authoritarian, and controlling. So they are on their own, scrambling to make ends meet, creating new organizational structures.

This is where meditation and solitude come in. I find I must spend quiet time connecting with my Higher Power, Higher Self, and Center in order to feel supported in this fifth dimension. Once I realized I had to throw away the old road map, it became more important to realize the new one was not created yet, but only “in process.”

So — sometimes when I am in my regular job, with fear-oriented people, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. Some people do not understand me when I throw out non-hip words like, “spiritual center.” For others, they flash a look that says, “Here he goes again.” I have gotten more skilled at ignoring those looks, for after all, shame only works if you are willing to play the game.

The third solution to the problem of alienation, loneliness and not being understood is to love people where they are and not expect anything more than they are capable of giving. People are indifferent places on their own journeys. Some will someday understand there is more to life than making money, and others will not get it in my lifetime. Consequently, I grieve, but I also let go. I am not the first to be misunderstood, and I will not be the last. I am from a long line of people who are “on the edge” or “in the cracks” or “prematurely mature.”

Someone heard a friend and myself discussing this way of living recently and responded with, “Oh, that’s recovery talk.” My friend and I smiled at each other. “She doesn’t get it, does she?” we both said. We weren’t talking about recover, or getting healthy. We were talking about a way to be in the world, the way that made sense to us.

Dr. Dean Portinga, of The Futures Group, talks about chemicalization. This is the process that occurs when one begins to change from seeing the world as a place of scarcity to one of abundance. “People have all kinds of reactions,” he warned me about two years ago. An understatement, Dean, believe me. Some people never stop reacting, because they fear what is new.

So carry on, I bid you. Continue on this journey toward authenticity, wholeness and ultimate connection. As you let your light shine, remember that the fuel or energy has to come from somewhere — your Higher Self, Higher Power, and the feeling of being grounded and connected. Without those, we tend to flicker and burn out.

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Dr. Michael Obsatz
Dr. Michael Obsatz is an associate professor of Sociology at Macalester College, workshop and men's support group leader, and empowerment consultant in the areas of vision quest and spiritual growth. His practice is in Excelsior, MN.


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