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Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:14 PM

 

Finding the Gift

I've been working on these ideas for a few weeks, and finally pulled them all together into one article. I hope you find it interesting.

Finding the Gift



Those of us who have been following the unfolding global crisis - the converging, interlocked "wicked problems" of energy, the environment, economics and social justice - have become intimately familiar with the painful progression through the Five Stages of Grief described by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross.

1. Denial — "This can't be happening! There's been some stupid mistake."
2. Anger — "This is simply not fair! Who is to blame for this?"
3. Bargaining — "I'll do anything for a chance at a few more years. Anything!"
4. Depression — "I can't do anything about it, so why bother with anything? What's the point?"
5. Acceptance — "Well, I can't fight it, so I may as well prepare for it."

As I have worked within Stage 5 for the last few years, I've come to realize that Kübler-Ross stopped one stage too soon. There is an important stage even beyond the clear recognition and acceptance of What Is Really Happening. Often when we arrive at acceptance we are so relieved just to be free of the pain of our grief that we stop looking to see if any new possibilities may have been revealed.

There is a fundamental principle in deep inner work that the greatest gifts are always found in the darkest places. The acceptance of an inevitable ending, whatever it is, can clear our vision and allow us to see previously unnoticed things that become the launch pad for new growth - for a kind of rebirth.

The bigger the change, the greater its potential gift, if we can just look at it with new eyes. We may find ways of moving beyond our old habits, expectations and judgments. We may realize that our old ways of seeing the world held us back. We may give ourselves permission to live authentically, as our true selves.

As a reminder to keep looking for those opportunities, I invite you to add a sixth stage to the Kübler-Ross model:

6. Finding the Gift — "Wow, look at the opportunities this change opens up! I may not be able to go back, or even forward in the direction I wanted, but just look at all the other possibilities that have suddenly appeared!"

At first, I wanted to change things. I hoped to help put out the “fire on the roof of the world” or at least show people how that might be done. Later on, I wanted to wake people up to the fact that the roof was on fire in the hope that they would find a way to act. Both of those hopes have turned out to be forlorn.

Now I have turned my attention and energies closer to home – to my immediate circle of community and my own inner preparations. My involvement with the global aspects of the crisis has largely shifted to watching it unfold, to making sure that any new developments are seen and understood by others, and generally acting as a shamanic witness to humanity’s transition.

If we follow this shift in our attention and values, we will discover the opportunity to explore the sixth stage of grief, and we will begin to find the gifts that such great challenges always hold. These gifts include:
  • Understanding that humanity is a special animal, and that both our specialness and our animal nature must be a factor in all we do;
  • Realizing that we are a part of nature, not apart from her;
  • Learning that our sense of control is an illusion born of fear, and that the fear itself is an illusion;
  • Recognizing our personal and collective limitations, and reorienting our action within them;
  • Awakening to the fact that change is not the enemy, but the nature of reality;
  • Accepting that what humanity faces is not a set of physical problems, but the turmoil that always accompanies a transition from adolescence into adulthood.
It is time for us to stop thinking in terms of fixing things that can’t be fixed. It’s time instead to begin imagining the best ways to live happy, caring, cooperative, altruistic, mindful, joyous, and even sacred lives in the midst of a world we have defaced forever.

In closing, I would like to say that there is a very good reason that the concept of Surrender is at the core of all the world’s sacred philosophies. Unlike the Western interpretation of the word – “the acceptance of defeat” – this use of Surrender asks us simply to accept that there are indeed some things that cannot be done. If we surrender to the truth of our reality in this way, we are suddenly released from our attachment to the impossible, free instead to do the very best of those things that can be done.

In this surprising reversal of meaning, surrender becomes synonymous not with final defeat, but with the opportunity for true victory. That opportunity is to find the gifts of insight that wait hidden in even the darkest corners of our experience.

Grant me this day
The courage to change those things I can,
The serenity to accept those things I cannot change –
And above all, the wisdom to know the difference.


May your journey be filled with hope, joy, liberation and love.

Bodhi Paul Chefurka

13 replies, 2566 views

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Finding the Gift (Original post)
GliderGuider Sep 2012 OP
kimmerspixelated Sep 2012 #1
Howler Sep 2012 #2
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #3
Howler Sep 2012 #4
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #5
Howler Sep 2012 #6
calikid Sep 2012 #7
felix_numinous Oct 2012 #13
felix_numinous Oct 2012 #8
GliderGuider Oct 2012 #10
kimmerspixelated Oct 2012 #12
magical thyme Oct 2012 #9
GliderGuider Oct 2012 #11

Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 12:44 AM

1. Absolutely wonderful!

Thanks for posting. Something to read repeatedly.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 10:11 AM

2. GliderGuider .

I always look forward to you posts!!! Rare but priceless! Thank you.

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Response to Howler (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 10:55 AM

3. Thanks kimmerspixelated and Howler

 

Yes, my posts here are very sporadic - I try to confine my drop-ins to topics that I think could be of general interest here. You don't need my depressing harangues about the imminence of the collapse of civilization, but the spiritual response to such darkness sometimes yields surprising bursts of light. I'll cop to being very proud of this piece, and I wanted to share it with friends who are on its wavelength. There aren't many places on DU where such musings would be appropriate, let alone welcomed.

I'm glad you resonated with it.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 11:02 AM

4. Well

I think you should post what ever you want too I would read your rants about the decline of civilization and the further dumbing down of the masses.

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Response to Howler (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 11:22 AM

5. Here's something I wrote just before "Finding the Gift"

 

Making an Impact

I recently received an email promoting a Huffpo article advising us, yet again, how we might best "Make an Impact on the World." And that got me thinking, which of course is a daily hazard for me. Here's what came up:

The topic of "making an impact" has been on my mind a lot lately. It occurs to me that our desire or need to "make an impact on the world" is precisely the reason we're all in this unfillable hole.

There are seven billion people on the planet, each with an ego-driven desperation to prove their existence, to proclaim the indisputable fact that they have an inside track on the Truth, to show they are smarter/more insightful/wiser/stronger than the average bear, to paper over their fear of death, or whatever other dark needs they wrestle with at 3:00 a.m. All of them are frantically beavering away to "make an impact on the world".

Well, it appears to have worked.

But how well is "making an impact" working out for us? Or for all the other life forms that share this verdant globe, but who don't share the "luxury" of our combination of self-awareness, egos and opposable thumbs?

Perhaps it's time to try something different.

I recommend adopting this as a mantra: "Don't just do something - sit there!"

Stillness has an awful lot to recommend it, I find. Not least is the chance to discover who we really are, below all those layers of programmed needs and fears. We may even find that we don't really need to "make an impact" to feel at home in our own skins. What a delightful, restful, harmonious idea.

I'm actually not writing too many totally depressive harangues these days. It's not a kind or positive thing to do, either to myself or others. Instead, I'm tossing out ideas that come from a different direction than most people are thinking. The classical environmentalist approach of "Don't give up hope, shoulder to the wheel, we have a responsibility to fix this thing, we can innovate our way out of the crisis!" is the dominant theme of the discussion these days. I'm exploring psychologically and spiritually positive ways of walking away from that position.

One person's "positive impact" is another person's "negative impact", and vice versa. I'm promoting the idea of having less impact, and there is a major spiritual component to that position.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:38 PM

6. YESSSSS!

Being instead of Doing. Sorta like going back to the Native american school of thought when it comes to the environment and leaving has little traces of ourselves on it has possible.
Also meditating and going into the silence to listen instead of prayer and action. I can see that.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 06:39 PM

7. This part reeeaaally resonates with me, I like it!

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 05:29 PM

13. This reminds me of a teaching

of Siddhartha, how he found the middle path, which was moderation in all things.


A String Too Tight, a String Too Loose

So Siddhartha left the castle without saying goodbye to anyone, even his wife and newborn child, with the intention of finding a way to escape the suffering of life2. He began his search for enlightenment with Asceticism3.He was an Ascetic for many years, and fasted severely. He, supposedly, ate only six grains of rice a day, and was so thin that you could poke his spine through his stomach. However, this did not aid him in his search for enlightenment.

He decided on meditation next. He sat under a Boddhi tree meditating for a long time. Then a musician4 who was passing by was overheard by Siddhartha. He said 'If you make the string too tight, it will break. If you make the string too loose, it will not play'. Eureka! Siddhartha had found the wisdom he had longed for5.

http://www.h2g2.com/approved_entry/A2163205

~~~

I wanted to add--that in our fast paced world (getting faster all the time) it is natural for us to have a very active mind, and we match the high frequencies with more and more activity--which puts us out of balance. Unlike Siddhartha, these days we need more contemplation and stillness and peace in order to reach balance (generally speaking).

Thank you, actually what I post is often just what I needed too!!

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 03:40 PM

8. I just found this thread~

and it is a gift to me today!

Meeting life with a sense of wonder and amazement leaves open so many possibilities--and it feels to me like a retrieval of innocence, a soul retrieval of the inner child. I visualize these stages of grief (stages of change?) as a spiral that we travel on, if we allow it, and there is no destination (just a pace to be set). We are eternal beings and this is how we relate to this heavy world, we fall in love with it, attach to people, places, memories, and then have to adjust to the inevitable change.

Thank you for writing here GilderGuider

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Response to felix_numinous (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 13, 2012, 10:04 PM

10. The spiral is my model of life too.

 

I've noticed that as I go through life, the same "stuff" comes up over and over again. Each time it does I work to resolve it, but apparently I can only resolve the aspects of it that are (visible from / relevant to) that turn of the spiral. Then later on I encounter what turns out to be the very same stuff, just on a slightly higher level. So I resolve that manifestation of it, and then later on... And so it goes.

When I first noticed this pattern, I felt a terrible wash of despair - it felt like none of my lessons were staying learned. But that just turned out to be another piece of "stuff" that needed work. Now I notice the same thing about recurring themes in my life, but my perspective on it is different - I'm a couple of turns further along the spiral.

Issues never seem to get fully resolved, they just deconstruct into more and more subtle forms, in order to teach slightly different and subtler lessons.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #10)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 12:46 AM

12. Profoundly put.

I like this GG! The subtleties of spiraling lessons.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 05:45 PM

9. my gift, when I lost Algiers, is Dahli

 

I had wanted to respond to this thread earlier, because the timing was so perfect. I had come to the realization that she was here to fill the "hole" he left in my heart just days before you posted this. I had intended to give her back to her breeder, who had never wanted to sell her, and give up. But when I contacted her breeder, I learned she has since gotten cancer and is trying to rehome all of her young horses now and stopped breeding a couple years ago.

Now I can add that Algiers lives on through Dahli, in that everything he taught me is guiding me in teaching her.

Since you have written in here about the coming end of civilization, this seems like a good place to state what I have accepted as my "big" assignment for the final third of my life: I will be helping to save the true arabian horse. I 'saw' myself in my old age caring for a herd of arabians some years ago. I have had a recurring interest in the Bedouin breeding of the "asil" (pure, with bloodlines traceable back something like a thousand years) arabian. The Bedouin believe the arabian was a gift to them from god, and that it was their assignment to care for and maintain them. As their region continues to decline and their way of life is destroyed, they have increasingly lost their ability to do that. In fact, sadly in Syria right now their horses are being slaughtered and eaten. I am keeping my eyes open now on the US preservation groups. One of the groups I watch is headed by a Syrian economist who works at the world bank. He reported a few weeks ago that a stallion he'd been watching to breed his mare to was slaughtered. He has lost family members there and keeps saying he won't cry for the horses. His home town of Aleppo is now being destroyed...one of the oldest cities in the world. Anyway, here in the US there are several young mares and a stallion or two that I am interested in. I don't know exactly how it will play out, although I have spotted what I believe is the real Magical Thyme Farm a few hours to my north: a small, 4-room cottage on 10 acres with a spring-fed stream and mixed pasture and woods. I suspect the 2-car is really a barn, which is the case with many antiques around here. I will be trying again to put my current minifarm on sale, although I realize that things will play out in their own way and time.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #9)

Sat Oct 13, 2012, 10:23 PM

11. Wow! That's quite an undertaking you've made.

 

I was in tears reading this last night - Aleppo is about as close to hell as this world comes. When I think of all the beings caught up in the crushing horrors of the human world, the ones I grieve for most are the animals. I feel especially hurt by the plight of the trusting, domesticated animals that have been bred to depend on us for protection and sustenance. I have to close news articles or FB links about animal abuse without reading them, or I become too overwhelmed by grief to function.

You are a brave, compassionate person to do this, and I hope your vision of the Magical Thyme Farm is true. While I don't pray in any traditional sense, I will say that I've mentioned your intention to the Universe.

PS: In 1957, when I was very young, I spent a year in Holland where I was introduced to a local delicacy called paardenrookvlees. I fell in love with the flavour, and found it years later in some Dutch delicatessens in Canada. It takes a lot of compassion to forgive one's younger and less aware self for eating that. I mention this mostly as an act of contrition, and in acknowledgement of all the creatures that have died so that we might live.

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