What the games people play now…

When I was 26 my  University professor gave me a book to read: Eric Berne:  “The Games People Play”. This was one of the milestones in my personal development. Up to that point I was convinced that I was a profoundly good and honest person, that I was genuinely attempting to create good and whatever else an unconscious self-image tends to tell us, and we are more than ready to believe all that.

I have the habit of reading books by referring everything to myself, trying it out in my own skin, you would say. So, by reading attentively the many games people play, I found more than one in which I had been habitually engaging in. What a shock.

What are these GAMES?

In case you don’t know the book – you really should read it, it was groundbreaking in the 70’s for contemporary psychology in many ways (Get it HERE) I give you a short explanation:

The term “game” refers to the behavior of individuals in a group, from the family up to the whole society, which is governed by certain rules. The rules are not necessarily conscious in the same way as we don’t know the rules of our own mother tongue. In fact, most are not, but that doesn’t hinder us from playing our games according to them. These games which we are “playing” in our lives are not really fun and delight as the term might suggest, although some are while many can  lead to negative and even tragic outcomes.

Here a video from the 60s about the book

Where are the exit-rules of the games we are playing?

Since the time I read that book I am in research to find a possibility to exit these games. The characteristic of them is that they normally don’t have an exit rule in the initial set of rules. Once you are in you are in, there is no easy way to get out again. I learned a lot about psychology and how therapists try to explore ways with their clients about how to get out of their games which are troublesome or dangerous for them, from addiction to violence, destruction of all kinds or just inadequacy in facing the life challenges which inevitably arise. Do they find the exit rules? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Why and why not?

Psychotherapy and the mindset change

Basically, what therapists try to do is open up the client’s mind to realize how restricted their view is of their world, how limiting the beliefs they have about themselves, the others and the world. If the client is open and courageous enough – and if he/she has enough trust in the guidance, then, slowly, they can become available for different ideas and able to adopt them. This often is connected with the uncomfortable feeling of loss, the painful  need of giving up cherished ideas and convictions which were so habitual and “easy” to dwell in, while the new mindset is still new, uncomfortable and feels awkward.

People like the Easy Button

Woman behind computer, happy
It’s easy! I get it at once!

In order to avoid the feeling of being endangered by the new, people are much more likely to believe and trust in those “mentors” who promise the easy way, the way that allows us to behave badly whenever we like, by feeding us the illusion that we have a right to do that. “I am the victim of other people’s actions”. No need to check out the game we are playing with them. It is enough to assume that THEY are playing dirty games with us and we are the righteous “saints” with only good intentions. (As I said before, this is what I once believed firmly for myself. I certainly know how that feels and how I unconsciously had created my saintly victimhood!)

Politics and Ideologies: a Game or “Just A Game”?

4 cards with words: just a game
Life is just a game?

I realise that the present discussion on gender identity, equity, “metoo”, patriarchy, immigration and what not, are all falling into this overall game the rules of which are to be made very clear before we even can think about finding a solution. What game are the radical feminists playing? The social justice warriors, the neo-nazis? What game are the politicians playing from whatever point of the spectrum? What game are we “normal” people playing when we enter into the discussion – or when we avoid taking a stand and stick our heads in the sand?

Some games are quite obvious, the more people present themselves in a radical way the more we might be right in guessing what the rules are which they use and try to impose on others. We are the others. So how do we respond? Either we accept the attribution of their rules on us – then we play THEIR game, not ours. Or we refuse to play their game and that can be much more difficult and painful than just “follow the flow” and avoid confrontation.

Whose game do we play?

If we haven’t learned to set healthy boundaries, we probably will choose the first pathway and be swept away into a flow of events which can lead into some dark place which we hadn’t foreseen and we wouldn’t have wanted. But once we are in, it is dangerous, almost impossible, to get out again. As a German, born shortly after WWII I certainly know about all those people who found themselves part of the machinery – because they didn’t take a stand when there was still a possibility to push back against the malevolent development. By a generations-long training in obedience most people were unable to stand up against what they rightly perceived as “not right” in the hope of getting away with it. Understandable, but not good! They accepted to play “their” game, the game of the manipulators and power-hungry individuals and they gave their own power over to them.

Back to the question: how can we exit the game?

Symbol for EXIT
Fight, Flight or Freeze?

First of all we need to realise that we are a player in the game, that the reality we perceive is not just as it is, inevitably, but that its unfoldment is following certain rules.

Second we need to uncover the rules which are fundamental for the game and find out if there is an exit rule available and then use it to get out

Games without exit rules

They seem to behave like a train without brakes on a slope: rolling down by itself with increasing velocity until the final disaster. What possibilities do you have? Jump off the train and don’t care if others will save themselves or not? Or will you run and look for the emergency break and save everybody with what you are doing? Fight, flight or freeze? What is your habitual unconscious response?

I know, this is a very tricky question. These mechanisms exist in our biology to protect us from unpleasant surprises and threats of danger. Today we often don’t run away physically, but we flee into our head, into our imagination instead of facing reality. We freeze by repeating obsolete beliefs and actions and we fight like Don Quichotte against the windmill. Overwhelm and mental overload lurks around the corner, despair, depression or over-activism tell the story of our attempts to face the challenges.

Exiting from our own games – and now? 

We might have succeeded in exiting the most fatal games in our own psyche and understood what we as humanity are doing. That brings us to the next round: how to spread the knowledge and inspire people to join us, to exit their private games in order to become able to together exit the global game of collective madness.

 

All boils down to these questions:

  • black background with colored words around ethicWhen will we humans, who have become conscious of ourselves as living beings, become conscious of our responsibility as co-creators of the world in which we are living?
  • When will we adopt the courage to stand for and embrace life in all its forms and commit to enhance it and to work to overcome the shadows, the ignorance and short-sightedness which is still weighing on us with ever more destructive potential thanks to our technological intelligence?
  • When will we find a practical world-ethic which allows us to live and grow together in good will and joy?
  • What do we need to be and do, to successfully exit the seemingly eternal games which are played by we individuals, in our communities, among our nations and wherever humans are involved?

 

Why can people become unreasonable, rebellious and destructive?

Rebellion is part of growing up

2 girls protesting for free energy
The “normal” form of protest

It is normal that in our youth we rebel against the the structures which have been imposed on us by our parents and our immediate environment. It is part of the developmental process and it is necessary to begin our own personal journey of individuation. If this rebellion persists and reaches levels of real violence as opposed to the “normal” teenage hassles, we need to ask ourselves what the reasons are for it, especially when property and people are wilfully damaged.

The “fashion” of “fighting” against the “establishment” began in the late 60ies, at least in Germany, where I grew up. The demonstrations in Berlin ended in shootings, providing to the political left some hero for further use in their ideological war against the state and all people who were suspected of holding power. The radicals pretended to be cool and tough by shouting slogans, burning flags, sometimes cars, and by fighting with the police. But, then and now, are they really what they pretend to be?

 

The Story of my Ex – Fighting Against (what?)

In the early 70ies I was newly married to a young man who was lucky enough to already earn good money as an architect. But his head was still full of these strange ideas and beliefs which he had picked up in University: the need to “fight against the establishment” and for the “proletariat”. Being the son of medical doctors, he himself actually was part of the “establishment” that he pretended to be fighting against by – stealing! Stealing from the office, from restaurants and hotels and in bookshops – where he finally was caught by the police. You should have seen this “righteous” man when he came home and confessed what had happened. No hero anymore fighting for the oppressed, but trembling with fear of being punished and of his future career being impacted by being sentenced.

bookshop
The temptation to act out the erroneous beliefs

Nobody was really damaged greatly by his deeds, it was first of all the ethical component in his thoughts and behavior. My warnings had been dismissed for years that stealing was just not right, even when a bookshop has an owner who earns some money by selling books, or even when a boss gets more money than a young employee. His black-and-white thoughts created his arguments to justify his own misbehavior and he extracted a strange “right” out of the income-difference – and “Class difference”, of course, – to damage others. It even seemed to be his duty to do so, in order to “help the lower classes”, the same shallow arguments which we hear today, again.  Well, no, these were only rationalisations for a game which he should have played in earlier times, as a boy at home, but not as an adult in society.

 

Why do people adhere to fascinating, but wrong ideas?

So what makes people believe such weird things and act with extreme radicalism against property and people without any sign of recognition that what they are doing is WRONG, unless they are caught and convicted, and maybe not even then? They are not at all interested in helping the people which they pretend to fight for. They are acting out – dangerously – what they have missed in their own childhood and youth.

 

Very interesting in this regard is the conversation of Stefan Molyneux with an ex-Antifa fighter who openly talks about his story, his upbringing, his attraction to the radical left. He describes the culture and the actions there and his long journey to arrive to the understanding that they were, by no means, justified and “right” as he had been willing to believe before, and for so many years.

 

Boys Need Fathers

Boys need the guidance of men when they grow up. Boys coming from families without fathers or with dysfunctional fathers are much more likely to become extremist “heroes” than those who had fathers to teach them to be men.

a men swinging a boy in the air
Fathers and their sons

The liberation of women – which I really appreciate – and the subsidies of the state for single moms have created a situation where many women prefer to raise their children without their fathers. And that is a bad idea, at least as regards the psychological health of the children, males and females alike. I don’t say that a woman needs to stick with the father of her children no matter what, as it was for such a long time. What I DO say is that – understandably – women in their new freedom exaggerate in egocentrism and don’t properly consider the psychological needs of their children. They actually continue adhering to the very traditional belief that only the material needs are important to be met in a child’s life – while they are thinking to be very progressive and evolved. Not reall

 

The Fatherless Generations

3 soldiers with hands up
After the war how to live now?

Coming back to my ex-husband. He was born in the first years of WWII, no fathers around and the mothers busy finding ways to survive. His father came home from war, but probably, as all people of that generation, unable to elaborate his own tragic experience. So the physical presence of a father in the house was not a guarantee for the children to have a “father” who would play the role they needed for their healthy development. A whole generation grew up fatherless and so they didn’t learn what is “right and wrong” in life, the classical role of fathers. Children need to know where the boundaries are. When they haven’t learned that when young they have a lot of problems in adult life which we could roughly describe as either depression or aggressivity and violence.

 

What Steve Reports About Antifa

That’s what connects the stealing of my ex-husband with the Antifa terrorists and the Social Justice Warriors: they have never learned to find their rightful place in society and they are full of illusions about themselves, the world and their power to do whatever they want to do.

Colored Spiral: The Levels of Development
The Levels of Development

In terms of “Integral Theory” or “Spiral Dynamics”: they are stuck in the “red” egocentric warrior stage. They haven’t learned to adapt to society – which is a necessary stage in the growing-up process – and so they never could transcend it and grow out of it into a person who has integrated the rules, without being any longer totally conditioned by them. In other words: they never have grown into a true rational stage where they would be able to properly decide what to do and what not. Instead they use rational language to justify their irrational behavior. This phenomenon is called “rationalization”. It means roughly that: you find a string of arguments after the fact to make your actions appear “right”, but you didn’t think your behavior thoroughly through before you acted it out.

 

Missing or unhealthy stages in personal development: the reason for disaster.

If it is the ultra right or the ultra left or any other group ready to use violence against objects, animals and people, they basically are children in their psychological development and their belonging to the group gives them what they lacked otherwise. They do everything to belong and to be valued in that group, hence the absurd violence in speech and action of the individuals. Their behavior is the response to what they didn’t get in childhood: belonging and recognition as a human being. It is as easy as that to understand, but surely not to handle and heal.

 

True Rationality Allows Freedom of Choice

a scale
The possibility to chose: seeing both sides clearly and the weight and impact they have for the future

For those who actually have succeeded in arriving at the rational stage of their personal development, like the guy named Steve in the above interview, it is possible to understand what is going wrong in the group and to find a way out. This certainly is very difficult and often dangerous because fundamentalist radicals don’t joke and bully and damage those whom they label “traitors°. History is full of evidence of that.

Congrats to Steve that he managed to get out of the group prison and to spread the word and inspire others to follow his steps – for their own personal good and for that of our society which has enough trouble with many other things apart from crazy dangerous never grown up children.

PS.In a future post I will try to outline the difference between men and women in their path to radicalism. The lack of the father seems to be more important in the boy’s socialisation, while women have still other dragons to slay.

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Do we realise how precious LIFE is?

Life is precious, right?

How would our world look like if we really knew how precious LIFE is?

We are so much used to take life for granted, only

a seedling
Life is manifesting itself

when a baby is born we get excited about the miracle which coming into life represents; or, maybe, we get excited when we observe seeds sprouting and growing into huge plants. The enormous potential which enfolds in front of our eyes; yes, we might still have a sense of awe and wonder.

 

dry leaves on green gras
Autumn – the metaphor for death and rebirth

Then there is the other side, the end of life, and we don’t want to go there too often. We try to avoid thinking about death and dying and only when we are directly confronted with it do we give it some attention, the minimum possible. For fear of being “pulled down” we neglect our human duties towards people at the end of their lives. We don’t go to visit them, we deny them the comfort of not being alone in this difficult transition time because we do not want to be reminded of our own inevitable end. By not thinking about it we imagine that the “problem” will disappear magically, that somehow we won’t die, anyway…

How we pass our life time

As a consequence we have little chance to become aware to what extent our life is precious. We live it, daily, dealing with all sorts of distractions, often disguised as “important”, we are wondering how the next day will unfold: will it be as hot as today? Will it finally rain and end the severe drought? Will the President finally become a reasonable person? Will the terrorists attack again? Will I be safe? – Never ending questions which keep our thoughts and emotions occupied. We put our attention mainly on what doesn’t work, what should be better – and often we have a naive and sometimes also a can-do idea of how we can create a better world for ourselves.

 

So most of our time we are occupied – and preoccupied. And most of our time we don’t really LIVE our lives in the sense of being fully present to ourselves and our experience. We try to get out of the “experience” as soon as possible, especially when it is a bad one, and then we have something to tell to others.

By telling our stories we, again, most of the time are not present to ourselves and our precious lives. We bridge the waiting for the horrible hours, days, months or years to end – by finding something which replaces the direct confrontation with LIVING.

 

two people on two nearby benches
Waiting Alone Together

I wrote about the many ways of WAITING which seems to be the main occupation of living creatures as soon as they have some sense of time. (Read it here). Then there are some moments when the stream of waiting is interrupted: a sudden smell of roses,

a rose fence
Passing by a rose fence re-evokes pleasant past times

a flashing image of a happy moment in the past, a short and meaningful eye contact with somebody,  a musical line filling you with joy, the awkward attempts of a baby or young animal to walk: many snapshots which can wake us up from the dull routine of the passing hours until tonight, tomorrow, next year, some distant day from which we expect salvation.

Becoming more present – but not too much, please!

Yes, we can learn to be more present to ourselves and what our experience is, but it actually is a necessity that for the most part of our days we are acting on autopilot. We couldn’t live otherwise.

a desihn of a person walking, falling, getting up again
Walking, falling, getting up again

Imagine if you needed to pay attention to every movement of your body, to every step while you walk. When you try to do that, just for fun, with intense attention, you end up stumbling over your own feet. It makes a lot of sense that we automate much of our behaviors, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to be attentive to what is going on around us. And even there: we are continuously making choices regarding what we notice and what not, what is important enough to pass through our perceptual filters and what we can ignore – which actually is most of what surrounds us. Not being able to ignore irrelevant things, like not being able to forget, is a curse to humans which makes their lives miserable by the overload of endless input into their sensorial system.

 

So let’s be grateful that we are not always aware of everything.

 

This doesn’t mean, though, to push away those things which are important to be included in our awareness. And maybe the biggest one is the recognition of the preciousness of life and the gratitude we need to nurture for being alive, still alive and able to enjoy and to suffer, to give and to receive, to be a full human being.

That’s what inspired me to write this post:

A badger lying on the road
The badger on the road

The reason for this post was a brief experience of the past few days. Last Sunday we went on a bike ride. There was a badger lying on the road. I hate when cars run over animals when lying dead on the road. This one was at the side but we wanted to put it into the nearby field and give it the due respect by this mini-ritual of a burial. Coming nearer we realized that it was not dead. It’s breath moved his chest, up and down, it seemed to sleep peacefully. But it was hurt, obviously, and destined to die.

What is the RIGHT thing to do here?

What to do? From an ethical point of view, but also from a practical one? The mind says: the best thing is to end its suffering. But how? Would you be able to roll over it with your car? Yes, I know, at the moment it is fashion among the terrorist to run over people with their trucks. How can they do THAT? And could you do it, even if it is “only” an animal? Well, we didn’t have that choice while traveling on bike. What else? Hitting it with a stick? I once tried to kill a badly injured duck, and I did it so unskilfully that it haunted me for months because of the extra suffering I had created for the animal, despite my intention to help.

 

An opossum showing its teeth
Better not get bitten by teeth like that!

We didn’t even dare to lift the badger up to carry it away, to a shady place, to die without being burnt by the hot summer sun. We feared that it could come to life again and we would become the target of its defense. Would you risk the bite of a strong wild animal? Obviously, we decided to let it be there, breathing quietly lying on the shoulder of the road in the hot sun – and I felt a wave of compassion for this creature and the impossibility of helping.

 

person in armchair, depressed
Sometimes we need to let go

It is not easy, at least for me, to have to tolerate the idea that there is nothing I can do and that I need to let other creatures, whether animals or humans, go through their destiny path, no matter if self-created or not. It is not easy to watch people run into their misfortune which you, from the outside, can see as not inevitable. But how can you tell them, or help them, to change, to come out of it, to embrace life again by transforming their habits and belief systems? I tried it once, desperately, with an ex-husband, until I finally understood that there was nothing I could do to change his life. The only thing I could do was to change my own life which had become quite miserable while I lived within that relationship. I had to let go of the sense of duty, the idea that I am responsible for the other person (a trait which many women cultivate) and that the best thing for both of us was a total separation with no regrets.

 

Butterfly on pink flower
A butterfly – the symbol of transformation into something alive and beautiful

Easily said, not so easily done. But fortunately I had many experiences with animals here on my farm,  similar to that one with the badger, and so I knew I could do it. I have chosen LIFE over a covert death while still alive. And I have also understood how the fear of our physical death brings us into situations where we do not live our lives, where we are caught in tragedy and distraction which keeps us away from the really important things in life: compassion, love and presence to our experience.

 

Fifty years later: Making Peace with Christianity

My personal experience with religion

I left the Lutheran Church at 21 after I had lost my faith at 14 because of a minister who was a total failure, unable to respond properly to the questions of a mind that was entering into rational thinking. He certainly isn’t the only one, then or now, who have not the least ability to awaken and maintain the interest of young (and older) people in the transcendent reality. Otherwise, religion and Christianity wouldn’t be so denigrated and undervalued in the West as it presently is.

I am coming to a deep understanding of my roots embedded in Christianity now, after 50 years, thanks to a person who can explain these things in ways that people grounded in rationality can understand and realize with awe that we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. There are so many things to discover which help us understand ourselves and the world as it presents itself today!

Children like the biblical stories!

Drawing Biblical stories
Biblical stories

Like many children, I was attracted by the biblical stories. They were fantastic, like fairy tales, and children adore this kind of thing. At 12 I had to go to the preparation lessons for the confirmation, an initiation ritual of the Protestant Church which you don’t want to miss as a child. For the first time in life everything is about YOU, relatives from all parts of the country come together in their best clothes, they watch you when you “perform” in the service where your heart beats when being officially admitted in the congregation of the adults, and, well, the many gifts you get that day. I got enough money that day to buy a tape recorder, those huge and heavy things which were the technical highlight then. So no wonder that I didn’t really have the choice to not go to the preparation lessons although I disliked them and the minister. The previous excitement about the Bible turned into aversion and the desire to get away from all that and as far as possible.

Goodbye to Religion

What was intended the first day of belonging to the religious community turned out to be my one and only day there. Many years later I led the choir of the German church in Rome. When, after a long time, they found out that I was not an official member of their church I was pushed to become one again. I compromised myself by doing it in order to be able to continue my job there, but the negativity I felt as a 14-year-old arose again, strongly. It certainly didn’t foster my relationship to religion and Christianity and it continued to keep me in ignorance about the foundations of the religion.

Christianity is at the root of our Western Culture!

During my early adulthood, Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation became a fashion among us “different” people. It seemed to be normal to become a Buddhist but I always hesitated. It didn’t feel right to me, although I couldn’t articulate why not. Later, in the 90ies, I began to learn meditation and many other “esoteric” modalities. It was very useful for many reasons. I had been very interested in Psychology and only very slowly did I discover my yearning for Spirituality. But still, the fashion was Eastern Spirituality. Western religion seemed old and odd and had nothing really to offer which could have attracted me.

Detail in a volt
Art born in Christianity

Nonetheless, I was sure that, whenever I would dive deeper into religious thought or belief, it would only be possible with Christianity. It has completely formed my culture, we Westerners have breathed it in from birth, if not with “church” so with all the achievements of our culture, from art to music, philosophy, science, architecture, everything. Adopting another cultural system seemed interesting but certainly, wouldn’t bring me to my roots. How could it.

Making Peace with Christianity

So I remained “homeless” religion-wise until I discovered Jordan Peterson. He gives me back my religion. He can explain the things in a way which makes complete sense to me without returning to “belief” as the traditional religions do. He is opening my mind to an understanding which really blows me away and leads me to a deep gratitude towards our ancestors and their relentless attempt to reach understanding and wisdom – by telling stories.

This is what helped me to integrate my culture more fully

The awe started in the first talk of his lectures on the Bible called: Introduction to the Idea of God. God is an idea, not a “reality” of any kind, let alone the old man with a beard sitting on the cloud.

Video Cover on Youtube
Jordan Peterson’s first lecture: 337.000views in only 3 weeks! People yearn for this message!

And yet, I began to understand why “He” is represented this way: it is the attempt of wise people in their time to tell a story which couldn’t be articulated in any rational ways. Rationality had not yet emerged, as we know from integral theory. This happened in the Renaissance fully, but the Bible is so much older than that and needed another way of explaining: telling a mythological story.

I certainly cannot summarize with half a paragraph a 2-hour lecture and maybe for you, something else stands out when you watch it. But I want to tell you about another big insight I received when listening to the third lecture: Christianity seems to be based on different principles than Buddhism. So far, to me, both seemed to be completely different. InGod and the Hierarchy of Authority” Jordan Peterson comes to a description of the Trinity in Christianity which seems to match the basics of Buddhism. He defines the three elements in the Trinity as such: “God” is the infinite space of possibility from which all form arise (the ground of being which I heard mention so often in meditation practices). The “Holy Spirit” is Consciousness itself and “Christ, the Son of God” is Consciousness in its specific form in space and time, the embodiment of possibility.

Understanding what we have ignored – a huge gift!

I hope I got that right with these few words. Listening to Jordan Peterson’s thoughts is a continuous “click, click” in my understanding, and history is opening up to me in an unexpected way. I begin to appreciate the past, the endless endeavor of humankind to understand life and how best to live it. The dismissal of previous times which is an underlying thread in our Western world, the arrogant feeling of absolute superiority of our present world, which declassifies everything else as “primitive”, has been dismantled and transformed into recognition and appreciation of the past. We are the result of thousands and millions of years of endless attempts to evolve a culture where we humans can find meaning for our lives on earth. We don’t just “begin” with our birth as a blank slate where we can write our life story at our own individual will. “It is more complicated than that”, using Jordan Peterson’s words. We, modern people, want to have everything easy and simple. But life is not like that. And striving for the easy button and believing that we are separate entities, independent from others, from the past and future and only existent in our physical reality deprives us of the richness of existence and the depth of experience. And most likely it causes us to fall into deep pits because of our self-induced blindness towards the complexity of existence.

Presently we humans dwell near the border of a self-created abyss. If we continue to ignore the lessons of the past as well as reality which is not based purely on the material world but which includes the invisible and transcends our being, we have a good chance to fall into that abyss and we will have a very hard time finding our way out again. Maybe hundreds or other thousands or millions of years depends on how good we are in understanding the real threat we are facing: the destruction of our culture without envisioning any alternative. Humans are capable of total destruction, you and me and everyone else. Unless we dig deep into our own psychology and understand this force in ourselves, we inevitably act it out in the opportune moments without then having the possibility to stop what we are doing.

Wordcloud with important words for growing up
Speaking the truth – important for all aspects of life

We need to grow up and to wake up to the whole reality of being in this world. Deliberately ignoring one part or the other leads to any sort of fundamentalism with all its destructive powers. We need to learn and understand and hold the space for multiple perspectives. Then we need to step up and speak “the truth” about what we see and understand. No longer believing in doctrines and ideas which transform us into “innocent” and ignorant sheep, victims of who knows who. And seeing the Bible and Christianity with new eyes we can learn our ancient innate knowledge about the psychology of humans – which hasn’t changed very much, after all, during the last some thousand years.

When the week begins like that – when 2017 begins as it did.

One Monday in August 

It is Monday afternoon. If I was an employee I could go home in an hour or so. But I AM at home, the whole day.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? To be able to stay at home! I have never known before how frustrating it can be! Not the fact to BE at home, but to try to WORK from home.

Cat helds arm working on computer
Video editing with the help of Sunny

I am taking seriously – finally – to create a business online. So far I thought I was, and hoped that other people did the work for me, websites etc. Yes, I would create the content, but I really feared the tech side like the devil fears the cross.

The Need to have a website – the necessity to learn

So my websites napped away, very few visitors, even less subscribers. But why? Don’t they see what I can offer? – Well: how could they? Nobody finds the sites, so how can anyone want to contact me in order to work with me?

So, for some time it dawned on me that I have to learn all this tech stuff, too, after having learned Google and Hangouts and Youtube and, and, and. NOW WEBSITES and how to manage them, how to write content in the right way and how to rank them on Google.

But I get stuck with many preliminary things. Today I spent hours – again – to chat with the support of one service provider and write emails to the other one which doesn’t even notice that I have already done what they suggest – and it didn’t work: two of my main websites are down for a week. HAPPY MONDAY!

Struggling to learn the Know How

screenshot my-cat.org website
The website: My-cat.org where I tell stories about my cats and host other people’s stories about theirs

Then, naturally, I want people to share my content on my fun website about cats.  I use it to practice all that, what I am taught in the amazing community (where I finally learn how to create websites). And I end up struggling with the plugins. It is easy to upload and activate them, but why don’t they do what I expect them to do? Means in this specific case: share the posts with the pictures instead with a huge gray head (not really attractive!).

hand out of the water with the word "help"
That’s how it feels like, sometimes

So the rest of the day passed by with chatting with very helpful people of the community who do their best to resolve all the weird things which show up in every single day in my new tech-friendly (?) life.

So, Monday is almost gone and no tangible results. Is this a good or bad sign? Does it mean I will get it straight tomorrow? Or better give up, because “it will never get better” (and many people say it won’t)

So it is a matter of CHOICE. What do you choose? Well, I will sit on my computer, but at home, sweet home, for other 3 hours or so until I will be so fed up – or have a success moment. Whatever, tomorrow is another day. Tuesday, I guess. Sometimes I forget which day it is, they seem all quite alike…..

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This post was first published on branded.me  on August 8th 2016

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February 2017

Half a year has passed since I wrote the above text. And a lot has happened since then. Learning to do my own websites was one achievement I gained. I am able now to project and do everything needed for our broadcast series at The Wisdom Factory, on the Integral Ageing website and, of course, my favorite and heartwarming project, the website about cats. All are using different themes and I have learned a great deal how to use them properly. 

Now it is time to address the last two projects before thinking to seriously go for business: the website for the NonProfit “Paradiso Integrale” and the membership site for the relationship course work. Some more time to spend learning while sitting on the computer….

How do humans work? How does learning happen?

two faces, colored background, black tree
The mystery of Human Life: How can we create understanding?

Talking about learning: what is really interesting to me is not so much the content of what I learn – although it is quite useful, – but more the meta level: How does learning happen? What strategies do I use to learn? Which ones are better and better for what? Where do they work and where not? And why not?

Life as Meditation

With these questions in the back of my head, the work I am doing becomes almost a meditation. There is an observer who continuously monitors not only the content of what I am doing but also

  • the single steps,
  • the ever changing colors of mood (success joy versus failure disappointment in many degrees),
  • the procrastination moments,
  • the ignition by some input by others (humorous posts, insightful talks and conversations etc.)
  • the influence of positive (but more significantly negative) news about the world situation
  • the coping mechanisms and strategies to “survive”
  • the changing states of the body, the subtle feelings and sensations
  • the emotions

How to deal with big emotions?

Emotions are a big one, not only for myself, I guess. In this period of time the emotions overboard all over the world. People try to make sense of the chaos which we are slippering in, the sudden awareness of not having noticed the signs in time, and the fear of the unknown and the possible disaster.

Anouk Brack
Anouk Brack

Many people begin to contribute trying to figure out what is going on and what can be done to get on in a reasonable way. For instance this article of a friend, Anouk Brack And this is the good thing which the present situation can evoke and create: People stepping up and coming together to co-create their visions and oppose the forces which want to bring our culture back into times of civil war and even medieval practices of torture to assert the power of a few over everybody else.

The Metaphor of Monday

The Phoenix arising from the burning chaos
The Phoenix arising from the burning chaos

To close the circle: Monday, the beginning of the week, can bring a lot of difficulties and slow down the fresh energy with which it began. But we can find a way to work through the difficulties. We can reach out to others and make the things work again – and even find new and unexpected ways in which our world can unfold. 2017 has begun with a huge drum beat, an earthquake which made many of us tremble. We need to work through it, day by day, and find a way to allow the phoenix to arise out of the ashes.

PS: See also my previous post about the necessity that we WOMEN step up and let our voices be heard in the world