Tag Archives: living purpose

617. To Be A Part Of

 

Sharing about developing empathy and nurturing my life experience in my community.

I had quite a shift during my day yesterday where I consider I finally understood what was missing in my life experience before, wherein I used to be very ‘utilitarian’ in a sense and judge things based on them being useful for something tangible or not and within this, write off a lot of experiences that had to do with what I judged as a waste of time like getting together in a concert to presence live music, or going to the movies, or seeing a play, or attending a conference about some kind of creative process.

I actually considered that the ‘click’ of realizing this emerged yesterday with a series of small moments of contact and connection with people that renewed this understanding that I’ve actually been expanding on throughout this first half of the year for the most part and getting to genuinely enjoy my human experience – at last – lol.

If anyone has a recollection of me, I defined myself as a Grinch, the person that hates family reunions, large crowds, having to ‘deal with people,’ would rather be alone and isolated from everything that didn’t just ‘make sense’ or ‘agreed’ with how I view things or would be zero productive in a utilitarian sense. I stopped watching anything entertaining and only focused on sucking all kinds of information I could and placed myself in a higher ground where I believed that ‘everyone else that seemed to be enjoying their life were fools and disingenuous about reality.’ Well, the joke was on me, because I truly got bitter and lifeless to say the least, and it was only through a decision to challenge this ‘me’ mindset that I’ve been – slowly but surely – cracking open from that hardened shell.

Now, this is something that I would not have been able to do alone at all. Yes, I had to make the decision to – as they say – put myself out there and actually give myself the time to stop moving from ‘task to task’ for a moment and give myself some time to stop and ‘smell the roses’ so to speak. For example, I’m so used to taking a walk everyday for over a decade now, and I had the phases where I’d do something ‘productive’ in it like taking pictures and videos and so forth – then It was just me walking, going to get things somewhere and come back, have the least contact with people throughout that and be quite generally ‘lacking’ something in my life in doing that,  yet being very disciplined about it and believing I was achieving some form of self mastery in doing so.

Well, from the past year I decided to not only do the walk but actually use the time to also get to interact with others and actually establish relationships through that. It all started with opening up to enjoying listening to music in the street and standing there enough time where I’m not in my usual ‘rush’ of having to leave the place or having this race against time, but genuinely set myself to enjoy observing ‘life passing by’ which is something I had avoided doing – again – within the mindset of: ‘Oh this is just a waste of time, no one is getting anything out of it, I’m not getting anything done’ etc. But over time, I realized that it was through that sort of dedication and openness that I got to connect more with people in my environment and stopped seeing it only as a nice ‘background’ or ‘scenario’ to look at or walk by, and instead I decided to be more a part of it all, to actually stop seeing myself as an outsider, as someone that will most likely ‘leave at any time from here’ and actually grow some roots as I heard someone in a documentary I watched yesterday say.

Man, it’s been such a change and I don’t mean to turn my bleak view on the world into a suddenly rosy everything is fine now mindset, nope, because in actually getting to create relationships with people, getting to know more about their lives and relationships, one does realize a lot of messed up things going on, which have also opened up my eyes tremendously to realize how much I was sort of deluded into just blabbering these higher than life principles but in reality there was no actual decision from me to create an actual Empathy with people, to actually connect, to actually step out of my misanthropy and get to really connect and decide to care about others. That’s the change that I’ve been working on and has definitely changed my life experience in quite a significant way and I’m only starting with this.

How did I got to this? By deciding to grow roots, to finally settle in and ‘go out there’, and instead be more present, be more HERE which I thought I was doing by keeping myself in a semi-monkish way with little to not distractions and very few interactions that I could be perturbed by. I avoided people, that’s the reality – and now it’s sort of the other way around and it’s not a 100% change, but  I definitely now push through to show up to meetings and places and family reunions that I would usually talk myself out of, giving myself certain excuses like being able to use the time for something ‘more productive’ apparently.

Looking back, I can see all the many things that I cut myself off from, like cousins that had kids and I wasn’t there at all when they were baptized or born or had their first birthdays, I always said no to any of it. Now that I’ve been rekindling those relationships, there is a bit of sadness about having missed out on all of that growth and now I see them with 12, 18, 5 years old and missed out on all of their initial developmental phases, including that of my direct nephew and niece because I was in such mindset of detaching myself from everything and everyone and believing that way I would not ‘be hurt’ if I had to leave this place that I live in. I deliberately created detachment to things and that definitely wasn’t the way… and yes, I’ve also gone through the route of being resentful to myself for making such decisions, looking back at ‘all that I didn’t do’ or that ‘could have been different,’ but, at the same time I’ve deliberately decided to not beat myself up for it, to make peace with it because that was me back then, having a very rigid mindset going on about my life and what I should do and how I should think, and yes I deliberately separated myself a lot from virtually everything around me, I was like an alien living where I am but not really TRULY seeing myself as a part of it all, I was just like an observer, a temporary observer. Of course this may sound like I didn’t connect ‘at all’ with people, I remember having had equally enjoyable time when being in art school, but once that was done, I did isolate myself quite a bit.

How did I come to open this up today at last? I was listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast, which is something I’ve been listening to for several months now and I’ve genuinely nurtured myself from it because I find that it is through people’s lives and experiences, the challenges they create for themselves that they create successful and enjoyable lives that do not come easy, they come with hardship, but see the benefit and satisfaction in doing so. So, yesterday’s podcast was about a guy that went to live with a certain kind of monks – not Buddhists – for 15 days and the stuff he gathered from it, and as I was listening to his description of how the monks lived, I realized that for quite a few years I lived like that, I’d like to say these past 7 or more years I sort of did that kind of detachment and unwavering discipline for certain things where one is living in the world and believing one is cultivating certain things – which yes I probably did – but are not really going ‘out there’ and really being a part of the world. I did this detachment for several years and I didn’t have to only go and live somewhere else in a similar seclusion for a year to do that as part of this process, but I sort of continued living that way even when coming back and I consider that was entirely my comfort zone and – still is in many ways – to not challenge myself further, even if I know that doing so is the most supportive thing to do.

Here I want to leave things clear that no one told me to do this but myself, that’s how I saw ‘the way’ to become a better person in this world, by not participating in a lot of what I considered useless, a waste of time, harmful, pointless, brainless, etc. And with that, I lost touch with actually being in reality and being able to enjoy and savor the various seemingly ‘meaningless’ living experiences.

I have to say that I actually have benefitted a lot from the various years I’ve spent going to documentary festivals now, like Ambulante festival here in Mexico, it was through that that I got back to seeing how people are living in the country I live in, the things that are unfortunately going on around me and that I was fully oblivious of, because I was focusing more on expecting some kind of world-reset-overnight-change in the economic and political level and a somehow miraculous ‘saving’ grace for this world to the point where I wasn’t concerned or rather interested at all in what was happening at a local level. It was through the documentaries and actually showing up to the screenings that I started getting ‘in touch’ with people in my community, it was a matter of deciding to care and push through the idea that it was pointless, that it was just entertainment and not judge it as that, and place myself there, learn to watch/hear/see the stories and kind of allow the idea to sink in that this that I am watching is not just some fictional story for entertainment, these are people’s lives.

It’s been such a nurturing process and it has assisted me a lot to finally develop that care, consideration, empathy and – god I will dare to say – affection for people. I never thought I would say that! Lol ‘so out of character’ and sure it damn is! It is as if the center of my being is finally ‘opening up’ in reality, not at an intellectual level in which ‘I thought’ that I cared about people and life on earth…. Seriously? By me having this constant ‘fighting’ mode and bitterness from the moment I’d step out of my home?   No way, how could I have in fact been ‘best for all’ with that sort of misanthropy exuding from my pores? Nope, yet I thought I was the most caring and self aware person walking on the streets…

This is what I was chatting about with my partner today, how much I have benefitted from art or artistic expressions actually, specifically documentaries and going to screenings and start getting to know of my community, and start seeing people that are presenting their work and realize I know them from another contact and getting to see their work and what their interests are and their different views on life and things… it has assisted me a lot to slowly but surely be stepping out of this rigid mentality where I thought that ‘everyone has to be like me’ or ‘think the same way I do’ because ‘it makes sense and it’s best for all,’ and instead, realize it’s about me being open to the myriad of living-ways that each human being represents, each one has got fascinating stories to tell in their own way, their own struggles and motivations to live and with their own purpose. I am now definitely interested in getting to know them, and savor it, and enjoy it.

This is me here writing it out at last, but this has been an accumulation process of several years now, like 3 at least where I noticed that I decided to step out of this ‘Grinch’ mode and started opening up to few things here and there and currently I am a lot more settled into this ‘newly’ found enjoyment and interest in being a part of a community, which I just didn’t care at all to do before.

Yesterday I got to confirm and kind of finally realized why I started being so drawn to these activities like going to watch documentaries or certain live acts downtown and through that developing a kinship to people that are more involved with this kind of activities, people that I had always just ‘passed by’ that I am now deciding to actually talk to and get to know and possibly collaborate with. I went to this short film festival from locals and it is so out of character for me to say this, but it was heart-warming to see some of the youngsters share their story of why they got to do certain works like an animation – which I personally didn’t ‘get’ much – but I got a lot more from seeing the nervous-stricken guy tell the story about his dad leaving home to do some PHD and having certain legos left with him that he got kind of an obsession with and developing an entire animation with them which surely must have been a LOT of work to do, but it was a way for him to deal with that sort of situation of how he lives his life, his own ‘isolation’ if you will and how genuinely happy  – to the brink of tears – he was to be able to show his work, his many hours of production to the people in his community, to his co-citizens, as he called us and at that emblematic place that is built for that kind of local reunion to watch certain acts live – music, theatre, movies, etc.  His words were a way to finally ‘put words’ to the reason why I also showed up, it is a form of care and interesting in other humans and their lives and creations.

Lol, I kind of finally ‘got’ why art is relevant. I laugh because I ‘studied’ it and practice it, but I had not truly given words to the reason ‘why’ it is relevant.  And this I also got from listening to someone in a podcast or so say that we need kids in this world, newborns, that will grow up to be the next inventors, the next artists that enrich our living experience – and that hit a core right there. See, I had no ‘clear’ idea why I would like doing art, or watching movies now on a regular basis as part of my time with my partner and going out to be a part of a communal show like it is to go to the movies, or going to the documentary festivals which I also very much enjoy as those activities that have genuinely made my life better, building myself as a part of the world through these activities. Showing up to all of these is a statement of ‘hey I’m here, I want to commune-icate with you, you are part of my community, we’re all here, let’s connect and support each other’ which to me, is becoming ‘the’ thing that moves me and drives me in my life: developing these relationships and connections with others.

This is quite a big change because I like being productive, there’s no way around it, I ‘dwindle’ if I just place myself in non-action consuming only information or watching something and not ‘doing’ something at the same time, which is why going to the movies is almost a requirement for me to watch something and be still, and it also forces me to go out, to meet with others, to be ‘part’ of a community for a moment, even if I don’t get to speak with the rest of the attendants, I’m there, we’re there and sharing a moment.

I guess that’s what it also boils down to. I was so glad to arrive yesterday to downtown’s theatre and see this long queue of people waiting to come in to watch these 4 short films made by locals. Sure, it could have been that each one of them invited all of their friends and family, but so what! It was such a nice thing to witness and again, be a part of, where I decided to make that time of my day to meet up with these other hundreds of people, fill out an entire auditorium to watch these emerging film makers that share the same city with us. It certainly isn’t the same as watching foreign films, because these are people around you, growing in the same culture, moving through the same spaces and seeing that on film kind of creates a form of bond that I had completely disregarded as ‘pointless’ or a ‘mind thing’ before.

I’ve talked about how I realized the actual care and enjoyment of people around me nowadays and how I went from hating crowds to enjoying the moment of standing in a crowd and watching musicians play, or being sitting around many that are there watching documentaries, and enjoying their laughter and their sadness which at times comes with watching these stories and knowing that we all got that experience right there to stay with us. And that’s – I guess – the power and purpose of the art sharing experience, or simply sharing experiences through film, music, seeing some visual art… but even more so, I get to enjoy hearing the voices behind those creations, that to me is essential nowadays. Yesterday I got to see that as well how some of the things that I watched were just ‘meh’ or not ‘my style’ but hearing the story behind it, about the connections they had to create to have it done, the challenges, the dedication, the effort, the resources pulled for it, that definitely became interesting and inspiring as well.

I was also very much touched by a guy that told his story of how he initially started his documentary wanting to share about how much he loathed his family – lol – because of a treason situation his uncle did, but through making the documentary and getting to know his friends’ stories about their relationship to their family, he realized that his initial premise for the documentary was going to be shitty and not inspiring at all. So through the making process, he literally said it was an act of forgiveness and him realizing the importance of family even if one feels like the ‘odd one out’ which I very much could relate to, so this documentary definitely spoke to me quite a bit because I had been so reluctant about family, family gatherings and such and it is only now throughout these past months that I’ve come to enjoy it and cherish it for what they are and represent, and this documentary also made me realize there’s plenty of people that felt like me, some that are still in that detachment phase – which seems to be related to being a young adult – and others that accept and have come to make peace with the variety of characters that a family represents yet, sticking together for the network of support and community that it is.

It was very cool for me to see this in the shape of several stories linked with this common denominator, somehow seeing people from your same city talking about these things turns a moment into an enriching experience where I felt a little more ‘connected’ to everyone around me and within that, taking one further step out of my bubble. Even with hearing another person next to me laugh at the same situation I could personally relate to from the documentary, became an ‘Ah! I’m not alone!’ type of realization, even if it is very obvious that we live in a city with lots of people and we barely communicate to each other – yet, it is in this kind of gatherings where to me the movie is a bridge to connect with each other, and that’s awesome. I’ve made a couple of friends now this way because of seeing what they created and wanting to get to know more about them and finding that kinship within their drive for this kind of creation.

After I went out from that whole after-film discussion, I was walking down the street with my partner and we saw one of his friends playing at a café, there was barely anyone there so we decided to join in. The sheer fact of seeing him see us decide to come in and drink a cup of coffee while listening to him play was enjoyable in itself, a decision to say ‘Hey I’m here, came to see you!’ and it surely was also enjoyable and ‘out of routine’ to do this kind of decisions, sitting there for a moment and share about our day became such an enjoyable moment as well, where we could later talk with his friend – our friend I’d say now – and get to give him some ideas of how to get out of a rut he was stuck with and impulse him to test out other ways to use his kills and make money out of it. It was a short meeting, a ‘moment’ only if you will, but to me this is the kind of substantial bits that make my life experience a lot richer… and it would not happen if I didn’t take the time to be ‘out there’ and actually have the disposition to connect with others too. I’m grateful for the connections like this that I’ve been able to make through my partner who is also very much linked to the local community and I am appreciating the benefit of having that starting point to be able to relate to many more people. In a way, I’ve come to definitely no longer enjoy myself only being ‘isolated’ and not having this sort of connections around others, and realizing more and more how no man is an island and when I pretended to be so, I definitely sank in it.

One thing I realized as well is that it’s not about creating ‘best friends’ with all kinds of people, but definitely relating to many more and being open to the variety of people in a community is part of what living life is… a complement to the rest of the personal doings, productive ways and personal achievements. I am opening my eyes to see how I definitely want to become a participating-part of my community and use the ways and means I have to start doing so, starting relating to others, instead of living like a hermit even when surrounded by people.

So, it feels like I had some kind of writing constipation for several months – I’ve certainly been processing several things and rerouting a bit my life and deciding to ‘grow roots’ here, which I am finally doing and looking forward to continuing developing.

I also realized that the most important thing is to share my story, how I’ve changed, what I’m busy changing, instead of wanting to come here and stand in a moral highground about how things should be or could be – I’ve been there and done that – so, there’s a tendency for me to want to end this with a note of ‘find your passion’ or ‘find your way’ to enjoy life, to genuinely get to experience that your life, your presence, your words, your doings are creating a form of meaning to you and others that is supportive, that is nurturing and expansive.

I am finding and developing that in ways that are very simple currently, as I shared in my past blog, that still stands and continues to be developing where the sheer process of getting to know one person and having that common stand point of creating a relationship in a way where living together becomes enjoyable and supportive IS worth living for, and seeing how that ripples out into the lives of others, without even ‘wanting’ to have an effect on them. That’s quite the remarkable thing I’d say and not to adjudicate any credits here to myself or anything like that, but simply seeing the effect of deciding to be a part of something and dedicate time to it, dedicate willingness to it, that’s quite an enjoyable thing to do.

This is currently the path for me, but I also understand it’s not everyone’s -and thank god for that, what would be the point if everyone would think or do the same things? – It’s all about being able to challenge ourselves, our ways, our ‘views’ and ask a very honest question: if we are dissatisfied about something in our lives, then what do we need to change and stop doing to stop making them shitty, meaningless and feeling miserable? And then dedicate the effort, time and actions to change that. I know the obstacles, I know the doubts, I know the fears, so, just taking the first steps over time is all I can say will open up new paths in how to get to enjoy living and seeing the benefit of it. I definitely am grateful to all of the people that have decided to share their music, share their films and documentaries, their stories with me and with many more. I get to enjoy my life more ever since opening up more to them and that’s great, otherwise, life would be too bland as I used to experience it.

Thanks for reading.

 Ambulante Puebla Marlen

 

Join us in our process of Self-Expression as LIFE

 

 

 

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567. I Matter: 1,2,3 Change!

Or how to short-cut ‘the process of change’ by seeing straight into the words ‘I Matter’

It’s been quite interesting to open up this point of ‘I matter’ in the past days and generally getting a sense of what the words together mean for different people, which can be read in a group chat we had yesterday here: I MATTER – what does that practically mean? – 31 May 2017 – I had an idea about it until today that I listened to a broader explanation of it in this and opened up a different aspect of what these words mean in fact.

I’m not a native English speaker and I’ve basically used English to also integrate new meanings, words and points of change in my life which has been quite supportive considering that it was almost like a ‘new platform’ for me to start creating on. The word ‘matter’ and its immediate association within me is in relation to the ‘prime matter’ or that which we are all made of, life itself, what we ‘consist of’ and also a bit of a connotation in relation to ‘problems,’ but I had not personally looked at the meaning of saying ‘I matter’ as in – for a lack of a better meaning –‘I am important, I am relevant’ type of association, which now I see in the past I could have had some reactions to as well considering that in my younger years, I truly saw ‘no point’ to my life or existence and was in a way ready to give up on myself/everything, which I am glad I never actually acted up on, but I can definitely know how it feels to believe that there’s no relevance, importance or ‘meaning’ ultimately to one’s life.

So, currently my experience and relationship to these words ‘I matter’ is much more of a physical relationship of being able to see within me ‘who am I as matter’ as this body/mind/being that I am existing as in any given moment and within that, prompt myself to see if that’s what I want to be expressing and living as ‘matter’ as the matter that I am – meaning as the body, the thoughts, the actions, the intent, the words that I am living – in any given moment and from there, see if I can make a decision to change, to imprint a new direction, initiate movement, create a point of expansion.

Another way to associate the words ‘I matter’ to me is to see myself in a moment, and if what I exist at the moment is a ‘problem’ or is an experience that I’d like to change, then I associate the words ‘I matter’ to both realizing myself as the problem AND the solution existing within me at the same time – how? By directing myself in practical actions in the moment to change my experience.

A basic example here: if I see myself drowning in a point of inaction or laziness towards doing something, that’s where I can ask myself ‘what am I existing as and imprinting on, living/expressing as ‘the matter that I am’ in this moment? And if this is existing as procrastination, then what do I know? I can decide in the moment to change into actually getting to do what I was ‘tempted’ for a moment to leave for later. That’s a very simplistic way of looking at this whole point of self-change, it can happen in the moment and it doesn’t require a ‘lag’ to eventually ‘be ready’ for something – it can be done in the moment by deciding to just do it, willing myself to it and give myself the direction for it. I matter = 1,2,3 change!

See this is what I found most supportive from the following interview I listened to today here Practically Defining “I Matter” (Part 2) – Atlanteans – Part 472 of which I will of course share as well all the precedent ones that explain step by step this fascinating point of transforming the notion of having a ‘purpose’ in life into this starting point of ‘I Matter’, and I noticed how upon looking at the words ‘purpose’ yes, my mind goes into this grandiose idea of it, something to be done ‘in the future’ and to build up on day by day yes but still somewhat unreachable, not entirely ‘here’ as something that I should apparently ‘attain’ much later on in life, which leaves one in a way ‘waiting for’ or ‘wondering’ about what such purpose is supposed to mean, which translates into inaction and lack of direction.

One can also decide to live purpose on a daily basis in the same way that one can take the words ‘I Matter’ and make the changes of habits, patterns, make the necessary decisions and alterations to our day to day and make it more supportive for ourselves. We all know the points we’d like to change about ourselves, and if one doesn’t know, well! That’s an opportunity to start writing out what kind of changes would be great to implement in one’s life.

The awesome thing about this is that in saying ‘I matter’ to me it shortcuts a lot of the perceived ‘processing’ needed in order to change and instead, I can see straight to the point what I need to change, to let go of, to implement, to direct, to ‘dare’ to do, to push myself to move and create, to say things when I feel I should ‘keep quiet’, to transcend the fear to ‘make a move’ and instead do it and see what happens, what opens up, what I can learn about it and the list can go on.

All of these moments are here in our lives, every day and I can now decide to remind myself of ‘I matter’ in order to embrace the potential that is already here as myself/my life/my physical body/my mind/my decisions/my actions and the totality of what I can act upon and yes, invariably of course as a result of doing this affect and create an impact on the rest of the matter that is also here as myself, which is ultimately life, this world, people primarily and the relationships that I decide to create, nurture and grow with along with myself.

Check out the awesome series of recordings that will assist a lot in understanding more about this ‘I matter’ point if you’re the kind of person that like myself and many more have struggled a bit with considering ‘life’s meaning’ and ‘my purpose in life’ – time to simplify it and get our hands on the matter or on the matters at hand

 

I’ll continue sharing more of a personal point in coming blogs that opened up within looking at the difference between purpose and ‘I matter’ in practical sense.

Thanks for reading

 

Artwork009 Green


556. Transcending Inequality One at a Time

A story of how to be the starting point of getting past social and economic statuses through changing our relationships towards one another

I read the following article today Commercialisation: the antithesis of sharing by Mohammed Mesbahi and I find some supportive aspects he looks at when it comes to realizing that the obstacle to sharing are our individual desires to succeed at whatever cost above others, above nature, above common sense and how this way of thinking in a very egotistical manner has permeated into the nature of commerce itself, in how we exchange goods and services and so the nature of the system as we see it and live it on a daily basis.

I’d like to share a more personal perspective and experience as a way to walk through a potential solution in the seemingly realm of the ‘impossible’ when it comes to stopping the current nature of this system – which is entirely OUR human nature embodied in the ‘nature of the system in itself’ –  so that one can consider the effect that we can have within the decision to stand in certain living principles and decide to take on processes of self-change that precisely stop the antagonism, the fight, the constant hidden sense of blame towards ‘a few’ in the system as the only culprits to where we are currently in this massive inequality, because! It always takes two to tango and so we are all equally responsible for what’s here.

Invariably so, whatever consequences we face from this economic-outflow as damages are the ultimate wakeup call – just like any other consequence – for us to start looking back at ourselves as the source of the problem and so realizing the solutions we can embody if we also decide to put on some of our very own  

If I look at what I had to deconstruct and redefine within myself individually through walking this process with Desteni in order to embrace the equality of all people and all things – therefore of everything that’s here – I have to first start off by saying how it’s not as easy to simply ‘speak the words’ and right away live such equality as life. There are massive layers of mental conditioning that were accepted and allowed by myself throughout my entire life based on the totality of my  environment, family, social and economic context, information, education that I made my own and that I learned to start acting out on as a young person in this world.

An example is how in my early teens upon having access to magazines and some ads on TV, I was starting to get very much focused on wearing certain brands on my clothes, being quite ‘picky’ in relation to the social and economic status of the people I would be friends with and generally being more cautious and concerned about the role that money plays in creating relationships between people, in choosing friendships, in choosing where to go and hang out in or what one can afford to buy as clothes, entertainment, trips, luxury time, restaurants and the rest of it.

At the time – and this being when I was 12 or 13 years old – that was a source of insecurity as well when being in a school where people with a good amount of money went too as well. I am quite aware that my parents did their best to keep me grounded and not be impressed by the amount of money I saw some peers had, but ultimately it does affect one when not being ‘equal’ in that sense, especially during my early teenager years where upon seeing that I could not ‘follow up’ with their lifestyles or feel that I could ‘fit in’ entirely according to their hobbies, their likes and preferences and ‘affording’ them, a resignation emerged within me where I simply ‘gave up’ even trying to ‘fit in’ in certain groups of people. I’ve never been in a rich family, yet was fortunate enough to have access to very decent education which I am also grateful for, but that came also with witnessing quite an array of lifestyles that I simply was not going to even ‘try’ and match because I simply couldn’t and eventually I made myself entirely believe that I didn’t want it either.  

In that ‘resignation’ also came a definition of myself as ‘never being able to reach a higher economic status’ and so, building a sense of resentment towards those that were ‘richer’ than me, where I used intellect as a way to compensate for what I perceived was a ‘lack’ of traits that these other people had, like the money, the looks, the expensive things, the access to things and places that I simply gave up on even trying to get or fit into, which was entirely my decision as well because I am aware my sisters – having been in the exact same family context as I was – managed quite well to be part of that and not having to exist in an ‘urge’ to have more money or anything like that, which was cool. But in my case I became more like  the critical-eye to the lifestyles of my peers, demeaning them, judging them and being over-critical on what they would spend money on. The interesting thing is I made friends with them as well and as much as we could relate to each other as ‘human beings’ and ‘peers at school’ there was always an underlying point of separation based on me not precisely ‘having’ that which most of them had in terms of money and common lifestyles.

The bottom line is that I allowed this money-factor to determine ‘who I am’ in relation to others while going through junior high and high school, wherein as much as I could get along with everyone, I also in a very subconscious and conscious manner separate myself from them ‘by default’ due to the money-factor being an ever present point of comparison within me. And I have to say that I masked this quite well by taking a more critical eye to all things capitalism and the sheer desire for money and going into the judgment of it all as being ‘bad’ or ‘selfish’ as well, which I would blurt out at any opportunity I could.

I created a form of resentment towards money itself as well because I simply went into the resignation of ‘never’ in my life possibly been able to get to have their position, their status, their family benefits and the rest of it, which fueled more my antagonistic personality in which I gained a sense of power through in fact feeling powerlessness and inferiority/being less than when standing next to people that I knew had a lot of money, even denying the possibility of me having a boyfriend at the time of such friendship circles due to me believing that I was simply ‘not equal’ to them and at the same time, yep! There were some cases where some may have arranged relationships and marriages between ‘similar families’ to re-create the same elites they’ve always been a part of. Now that I look back at this it’s quite funny that I got to see firsthand how elitism works within a school context and how I accepted and allowed myself to get affected by it because I frankly saw it as impossible for me to ‘stand fully equal’ to the power of money that others portrayed in ‘who they are’ as personalities, as the stuff they own, as the positions they had in society, which I consider is entirely the same process that we all get conditioned through with either being on the ‘have’ or ‘have not’s side.

So, what I am aiming at here is looking at how each one of us recreates the acceptance and allowance of inequality through accepting and allowing money to define ‘who we are’ and so proceed to assess that one is ‘inferior’ or ‘superior’ to others for example in the context of ‘who has more or less money.’ And I’m also aware that not every single person defined themselves according to the money they had, maybe to some of them it was just a second skin they could not differentiate themselves from to the extent that there was no reflection upon it.

But in my case it did become a silent source of inadequacy, questioning and resenting elitism – while I made it quite a part of myself as well through judging, criticizing and antagonism out of spite – and at the same time creating a denial to ever conceive that ‘I could ‘belong’ to that’ – yet, would I have actually wanted to be part of that? At the time it wasn’t really so, but who knows if I had been born in what I call a ‘golden crib’? I bet it’s quite hard to distinguish ‘what’s normal’ or ‘the standard’ when all that you’ve ever lived in is comfort, luxury, benefits, VIP status wherever you go and frankly, I consider it will take a long time for all of these points to change, because it actually begins with us debunking the notion that money gives us ‘power’ to our persona, that we become in fact ‘more’ with the more money or control over others we get to have, and because we get so used to the comfort that money brings and because ultimately, we all would like a good and comfortable lifestyle, the problems are the extremes in it all where we’d have to learn how to be moderate yet not judge money as ‘evil’ in itself, but see through that veil to continue working on our potentials, on or purposes, what we can do in order to benefit more of life with money, instead of continuing to recreate the same parasitical patterns fueled by ego-driven desires.

I have also been on the side of directly creating hatred to a fellow peer in school – that later on became a good friend of mine by the way – where I would challenge his ‘wits’ that I considered were the result of having lived in a business family where he already was ‘hard wired’ to think in money and business-making ways, where he knew that getting more money wasn’t about ‘wishing money’ and that’s it – he understood that it all starts with creating the relationships, having the motivation of yes ‘making money’ but creating a suitable ideas for businesses.

At the time in my teenage years, I was getting to be more conscious/aware of capitalism and the system in itself, where I became his faithful opponent whenever he’d speak out his opinion that was geared to seeking this personal benefit through actions that would ultimately lead to ‘winning,’ to ‘being successful’ even if that meant stepping on top of others. One can imagine this kind of back and forths during class discussions over readings like ‘The Art of War’ and how I could simply have a hard time conceiving having to consider so many difficult moves in order to ‘win’ over someone else and me questioning that, which yes ultimately turned out to be quite ‘naïve’ when it comes to knowing ‘the ways of the world’ at the time.

I also had a very moral-based view on life at the time, where I was placing myself in this ‘good side’ of the equation, while not even being aware how we in fact have to consume life every single moment in order to exist and I didn’t even consider that as a factor that outflows into this world-enslavement that we’ve co-created, yet I was very quick to judge his Machiavellian ways and challenge his positions in what would end up in heated back and forths in front of the whole class. I definitely am aware I wanted to debase him and treated him as if he was only an egotistical rich dude that I had to expose at the eyes of everyone else, but eventually we walked a very realistic forgiveness process in our mutual relationship over time.

Situations happened in his life where somehow he probably realized how some of his views were separating him from more and more people – as in being disliked, hated, etc. – and he started being more considerate, flexible and that’s when we actually started having constructive discussions where we eventually found a common ground and I could learn more from how he was ‘wired’ to look at things in his mind, which was quite awesome by the way in how he could look at solutions and ways to ‘move’ reality to create a particular outcome.

In the school context, I was able to then take advantage of his skills and ways to even relate to teachers and we’d work in teams together when it came to school projects and such, it was quite the collaboration for our two last years of high school where I knew my ‘strengths’ and I knew his and we’d made a good team to get things done in a win-win way – which of course in school terms translates into good grades or passing exams and projects etc.

So I share this because it was quite a cool process to walk through after having had some two previous years of constant conflict with each other. But in order to create that, we both had to work with our personal issues as prejudices or points to transcend – like perceptions and opinions about each other – that had been primarily shaped according to and through money, defined according to his family name and social position and my own which was of a regular middle-class person that had to let go of a sense of inferiority towards him in order to start rather appreciating and developing more awareness on who he really was as an individual, behind this ‘façade’ that I had always seen him through which ‘oozed’ superiority at my eyes and possibly at the eyes of others. I had to apply humbleness and I know for a fact he did as well.

Later on I got to know who he was in a more in-depth manner which was actually very different to the myriad of prejudices or ‘first impressions’ that I had gotten from having heard a few of his opinions about just anything he could express, which I guess bothered me so much because they also reflected back to myself how opinionated I became to ‘counter act’ him and so, it was eventually kind of interesting how similar we ended up being when stepping out of our own egos. From ‘hating’ each other’s’ guts, we got to appreciate each other as friends and collaborators at the time.

Even though I had shared about this friendship in blogs before, it’s certainly the first time that I bring through the dimension of money, social status, ego and power as a reason for me to exist in a form of ‘inferiority’ towards him, while I also got to discover how he got to ‘make up for’ certain more personal inferiorities through the power, connections, relationships he could build through and with money itself. I actually got to see this more ‘real’ aspect within a few people in the same environment, and I had not reflected how interesting that part of my life was when it comes to being able to see people for ‘who they are’ as equals to me, with the same kind of ‘personal problems’ or insecurities, yet how the notion of money or certain status became a veil for me to see them as ‘unequal’ and ultimate a way for some to ‘cope’ with more personal issues – which is the same that I did with using intellect as a way to compensate for my sense of inferiority in terms of the ‘lack’ of money compared to others or how I didn’t have the ‘perfect looks’ and how I didn’t aspire to become a super-rich person as I initially thought I had to do when I had some ideas earlier on in my life of becoming a financial advisor and follow through that same kind of lifestyle that I saw others were aspiring or already having around me.

The greatest thing from this all is that I could see people through the façade, through the amount of money in their wallets or awaiting for them through their family, and I got to see who they really were as fellow teenagers, struggling with the same peer-pressure that we all collectively created towards one another and that it would only be through a directive decision within ourselves to ‘let go’ of those superficial values to really establish a point of equality, a common ground – even if not ‘in its totality’ – at least as a way to establish a consideration towards others and not just focus on ‘oneself.’

Who knows, this might also in my case be a result of having been in a Jesuit school that did inculcate some of those ‘serving others’ principles in various practical ways, which I am sure my peers also got to learn from and I realize that as much as I had initially despised the whole ‘set up’ in that school, I got to test myself in very specific ways in there when it comes to being in the midst of how elitism is brewed, inculcated and ‘knitted’ through relationships that begin in a simple place such as a classroom and how they build up to become the very people and relationships that later on stand interconnected in leadership positions in businesses, politics and schooling systems which continue shaping these specific circles of concentrated power from generation to generation.

So, what can I learn from this? What is the actual key to start ‘rewiring’ the fabric of our unequal society? It’s definitely not going to be through expecting people in elitist positions to sacrifice their benefits. My friend always let me know that he wanted to do good but of course with also getting his big piece of the cake along with it all, and I found this as acceptable because I knew that him and people like him would never give up the privileges that they have for the benefit of the majority. However there was an emergence of a consideration to not be so ‘obsessive’ about power, to create some modesty and moderation around it while also considering something that is beneficial or for ‘the greater good’ and that being linked to a purpose in his life. This is the last thing I got to know of from him some years ago when I last saw him after several years of having last been together in high school. And the key here is to understand what he decided to go through in order to ‘moderate’ his very ingrained ‘power-seeking’ ways, and that was linked to a personal process where he saw himself devoid of purpose in life, going to therapies to ‘seek the meaning of life’ and assisting himself with regular visits to psychologists, it’s commendable that he sought his ways.

It was then that I understood how maybe people like him are more common than I thought, people that may ‘have it all’ but still seek a meaning to their lives or lose a ‘sense’ for their lives even though anyone else would crave to be in their financial position as well. He didn’t stop having some political and business aspirations at a bigger scale, but those aspirations included doing something that’s beneficial for people, creating something of quality and common good that gives him sufficient money to live well off, but at the same time without leaving others aside from his plan. And I consider that this is the kind of self-change that we can encourage within each other whenever we have an opportunity to do so, through personal example in our relationship with others.

I’d like to think that I may have influenced his potential to see outside of the box he had been entirely geared to and consider greater benefits, but ultimately that would be my own self-interest speaking. I frankly have not established any contact with him as of late, but I made a deal with him that if he’d become part of the local politics as some of his family members did, that he’d call me to create some social projects to assist people in learning more about themselves, their mind, their ability and capacity to live better within themselves, while also considering ways in which people can both contribute economically to a society and benefit directly from the fruit of that cooperation, without the fear of losing a job, without the ‘barely making it through’ experience and limitation. That’s yet to be seen J but hey! at least I had the idea and he got to know how serious I was with all that I dedicate my life to.

Therefore, I consider we have a great lesson to share here, me and in the name of that friend of mine where we both had to step aside from our social/economic conditioning in order to find the common ground and a middle ground as well where I am not ‘battling against’ people in higher social statuses or continually criticizing them as reckless and egotistical, because I also got to be aware of how it takes hard work to build any long-lasting successful business and so, long-lasting source of money as well. The problem is surely when a never-quenching thirst for money/power and control ensues in an individual and that’s where the personal moderation and measure comes in, and that can only be a very individual decision that maybe each one of us could influence or affect through sharing stories like this or decisions we’ve made within ourselves to stop defining ‘who we are’ through the amount or ‘value’ of things we own, or what we dress or look like or the amount of money we have in our bank accounts – while also stopping ‘fighting’ against a perceived ‘reckless’ elite, but instead find ways to cooperate, one by one, to stop the antagonism and rather use each one’s strengths to collaborate and create a more sustainable system where we can forge win-win solutions.

This is then how I’ve also decided to no longer fuel that personality that stands as an apparent ‘victim’ at the hands of the ‘all powerful ones,’ because once you get to know people like that, you can’t really keep up a straight face and not acknowledge their effort, their focus and dedication to get what they have. Ultimately, we are all equally responsible for the way that we currently function and operate in the system, we cannot blame others that were clever enough and possibly had some intrinsic ‘wiring’ to think in business-terms while some of us were more ‘slow’, ‘detached’ and judgmental when it comes to money, because of not understanding it as a life-enabler but still seeing it as an ‘evil’ that we had to get rid of, which is something I surely will still have to work on in my own life in order to equalize myself to money in all ways, to use it in a way that can benefit more people and at the same time dissolve any remnant of ‘inferiority’ and ‘superiority’ based on my past experiences in certain social-circles and situations where the ‘money factor’ was a source of inferiority for me.

And this, my friends, is precisely what I see we all are aware of, we all can ‘feel it’ and ‘be it’ at a very silent agreement, this intrinsic inequality and separation that we’ve created toward one another through the eyes of money, of social status, of ‘positions’ in society with our peers, in our day to day lives and with new people we meet.

So! That’s where focusing on who we are as equals, getting past the notions of money, status, richness and poverty comes in – without fighting it or desiring it – but instead understanding the current consequence in which we all are currently existing in within this ‘monopoly game’ that we can also one by one and so collectively start recreating into an ‘Equapoly’ game and learn to use each other’s’ strengths to cooperate in creating a more best for all scenario in terms of our world economy; it is possible, and I’ve just shared how it boils down to the very kind of relationships and people and purpose that we decide to cultivate within our lives and so in our societies.

Let’s never underestimate the power that standing by principles has even in the face of the seemingly ‘stubborn and righteous’, we all have that same potential to wake up and change, starting with and focusing on ourselves first and living forgiveness towards others and our consequences, learning to work together and focusing on doing and creating what’s best for all.

Thanks for reading.

 

 Equapoly

Image by Joe Kou for EqualMoney.Org

 

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