12-15-16

Chaos and Grounding

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Chaos theory is the idea that someone sneezes in Tokyo and a tornado strikes Toledo.

The US is living through a very chaotic period. I’m finding yet again that the Wisdom Wheel is the place for me to go when the chaos overwhelms me. It grounds me.

At school, I’m working on a project with some senior students on the basic electrical energy transfer. Using fundamental equations, we’re demonstrating how electricity flows across computer circuits, but also in the Universe.

It’s a lot of fun to go back to the basics. Many years ago, an old friend HJ Josephs stated, “We must get back to bedrock principles”. I do that with electricity and I also do it with the Wisdom Wheel.

Sometimes, I struggle to understand my decision-making. I realize that my ego and its Shadow side reject some of the wisdom within the Wisdom Wheel.

I feel most alive when in a spirit-to-spirit connection with someone. This is the Law of Right Relationship in Right Action.

With the chaos all around, I can gain Clarity and using the Law of Choices to get back into Balance with my own life. Sometimes we forget to take care of those nearest and dearest to us as we worry about the state of the planet. As I take care of myself, am I being a good husband? Am I Aware of my wife’s issues and challenges?

I’m certainly not perfect, but seeking quiet amid the chaos around me the Wisdom Wheel is the perfect model for the Journey into old age. May my inner and outer life be in harmony and balance with each other.

The pulls of external machinations of life are minimized every time I think of the Wisdom Wheel. May the wind blow and the people sneeze, I will remain calm and tranquil (for at least most of the time!)

12-07-16

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

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A former rugby player, I truly enjoy watching England play rivals this time of year. Watching England competing against Australia on YouTube was a treat. England won which, you can imagine, made me very happy. London’s fans have taken as their anthem Swing Low Sweet Chariot, a spiritual written by Wallis Willis, a negro slave of the Choctaw tribe, in the 1860s. The words evoke a deep sense of mourning and sadness, tinged with the glory of God.

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
coming for to carry me home
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
coming for to carry me home

Hearing it from the Twickenham stadium brought a great sense of pride and a few tears welled up as I remembered my own rugby career. I thought of the changes in my life, what the song means to me now in light of the Wisdom Wheel.

What is my chariot and where is home? When I look at Journey on the southwest side of the Wheel between the Teachers and the Healers, I sense that home is in that deepest place of who we are. A man must embrace the goes-within-place of the west, the feminine, to reach Integrity in the north.

In the song, home is Heaven. For me, it is the deep inner place of the soul, where complete acceptance of Self is the ultimate acceptance of others. That is what I like to call Heaven on Earth. I do not have to die to get to heaven.

If you get there before I do
comin for to carry me home
Tell all of my friends that I’m a-comin’ too
I’m comin’ for to carry me home

How do I connect with others? Can I share the glory of the Journey around the Wisdom Wheel to home, where we’ve learned to Surrender to Enlightenment? No matter the struggle, no matter the Shadow that looms on my Journey I will continue…

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
coming for to carry me home.

11-29-16

Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Despite its dubious history, it reminds me of the better aspects of living in the US, even in these turbulent times. This year is no different.

There is so much to be thankful for… The farmers who grew the food and raised the turkeys, I salute you. And a gentle hand across the table to thank my dear wife for her goodness and beauty and efforts.

When a tricky situation arises or a tough decision must be made, my wife often says, “Take it to the Wheel”.

The Wheel feels like a guidance system, pointing me in the right direction, in this complicated world. It feels intuitive to seek Balance, my Higher Purpose, and embrace Right Relationship.

The role of the Sacred Witness is so vital to me, yet we’re all being pulled toward the future by uncertainty and back to the past by echoes of pain and suffering. Cell phones and computers keep us out from that inner abyss, although for many it is a place of tranquility with no “dangerous shards” around to harm us.

I feel so fortunate to be working at the private school and I was thrilled to give a poetry class to some students recently. We did a free write and some of the angst I read later was rather poignant.

“Life is like a river of endless beauty
full of dangerous shards at the bottom
I drift like a leaf dancing upon the water’s surface
until I slip, and crash into the depths, enveloped…”

11-15-16

Behind the Scenes

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This Sunday, I went to work to address some behind-the-scenes computer issues. I don’t think anyone is aware of these particular issues, but as users they recognize whether a system works, or doesn’t.

As I started up my computer, I heard signs of life in the building, so I went to investigate. Turns out, it was the cook. He explained to me that he comes in most Sundays to take care of things and prepare for the week. Again, all folks know is that delicious food is served everyday, they don’t always realize the preparation and the people behind it.

As our world becomes more complex, fewer of us understand the Process by which things get done. Whether it’s the networks and systems at the school I work, or the restaurant kitchen, so much is hidden behind the scenes. The Law of Cause and Effect asks us to understand Process and how it relates to all things.

The cook told me that 80% of what he does is never seen by his customers. He cares and I care so we do all this invisible work to ensure that the food tastes good and the computers operate as expected. My heroes don’t reside in DC or Wall Street, they live in the quiet places, behind the scenes, taking care of business without fanfare, because they Love what they do and they care for the task intrinsically.

Here is a poem I wrote a few years ago saluting those folks who work behind the scenes.

Heroes
There are no heroes
just quiet men of confidence
who drink from the deep water of the soul
held in a well of trust
tainted not by hubris intent
but scented by the shared experience
the sweat of hard work and perseverance.
Yes, heroes step forth in the heat of battle
but it is in those moments of tranquility
when peace reigns, quiet times
it is then that the foundations are fixed
so when the fight begins
uncertainty, indecision, ignorance
these are the foes to be vanquished
and so they are by the pride, the camaraderie
esprit de corps wins the day
team work and relationships are the victors here.
It is this group, buoyed up as one
they are the heroes
in the innumerable battles
we face each day.

Malcolm Davidson, October 22, 2013.

11-07-16

Integrity and the Pyramids of Egypt

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Recently I read a trending article about an anti-Trump Republican, attacked at a Trump rally in Nevada. Some members of Trump’s audience kicked, punched and choked him.

Trump was rushed from the stage for protection. This is in sharp contrast to similar situation when someone heckled President Obama. The President defended his heckler’s right to free speech and castigated the crowd for booing him.

It has been stated, “To know someone look at their friends”. To know a candidate, look at their supporters. I think on Tuesday the battlegrounds will be drawn not by Democrat and Republican but rather more by Bravery and Fear, or Connection and Separation.

Integrity is on the north side of the Wisdom Wheel. Its Balancer is Trust in the South. Hillary Clinton may be a flawed individual but I believe her vision and intent is to bring the country together.

When I consider a pyramid, I think of a solid core, a robust shape, one very difficult to overturn. They remind me of people with Integrity, who are not necessarily people, but who can acknowledge their feelings and uncertainties. They try to embrace the truth and can be trusted. These are the brave ones.

Alternatively, flip the pyramid upside down and you get instability and fear. This represents all of the things I observe in Trump supporters. Why fear difference? Because it threatens my uncertain perspective on life.

For our Sweat Lodge ceremonies each month, we build a pyramid of stones for the fire. No matter how many times I’ve done it I remember the power of the pyramid.

The Egyptian four-sided pyramid has five sides, if you include with the base. For me that represents the Balance center stone and the four cornerstones, Right Action, Trust, Higher Purpose and Integrity. Embracing all four quadrants helps me to feel robust like the pyramid. In this way I can accept difference and maybe even embrace it.

Being open is a quality of Integrity, real integrity. In those pyramids of Egypt there are secret tunnels where various Pharaohs were buried. Like my fears buried away deep inside am I ready to find them and bring them into the light like the discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922.

11-02-16

Chopsticks Across the Ocean

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I experienced mixed emotions this week. I was happy to be with friends visiting from China, then sad, to see them leave. While they were here, we shared wonderful stories and great meals. Our dinners were joyful although sometimes the only sound was the clacking of chopsticks and chewing.

However, I was pulled out of these warm memories by the news of a young Chinese Frenchman, beaten to death in France.

Recently, I mentioned I believe that people are good. Am I wrong or naïve? What is it that propels young men to beat up and kill someone different from them?

In my momentary grief I swore at those men and called them cowards. But that makes me as guilty as them, in a way. It’s the easy way out, but it takes Courage on both sides to Forgive and learn why such behavior exists. Often, I feel that people just want to be heard.

10-25-16

Whistle While You Work

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The other day, I caught myself whistling “Deck the Halls” in the school corridor. I stopped half way through, when a memory from the 1970s struck me.

It was 40 years ago, yet it seems like yesterday. I was living in London, working in an open office, designing circuitry for a new telephone exchange. One of my older colleagues was drinking a cup of tea when he suddenly began convulsing. He put his cup down and ran out of the office. I had no idea what was going on.

I later learned he was having a panic attack, from PTSD. Someone’s whistling in the corridor reminded him of the German V1 rockets. These rockets reigned terror on London and south east England, killing thousands and injuring many more. They were known for their whistling sound, followed by a moment of silence as the motor stopped and then the explosion.

When stress and violence are meted out, we have no idea what the impact will be over the long term. Whistling may be a trivial act for some, but it had unforeseen consequences for my former colleague. What else do we do innocently that hurts others?

No more bombs, whether they’re bombs of deceit, or bombs of hypocrisy. From now on I’ll send boxes of roses and kindness to my friends and acquaintances. Explosions of understanding and love.

The Law of Love is the master Love. Love and all of other laws seem to unfold seamlessly.

I’m not sure if I’ll whistle at work again; there are many other ways to share joy. Maybe next time I’ll try singing.

A photo by Anna Dziubinska. unsplash.com/photos/mVhd5QVlDWw

All Man is Evil

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The other morning while at work at school, I saw a quote pinned to the wall that read, “All man is evil”.

I asked the teacher if it referred to men or humankind. She informed me that it was a quote from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I remember reading the book and seeing the movie as a teenager.

Right now, I am tired of the negative aspects of men in the media. I do not believe that man is evil.

As a poet, I like to play with words and I’ve been toying with the word “Mothering” recently. If we do not accept our Self, the Me in Mothering, we end up removing the “M” and end up with “Othering”: the process of seeing others as separate and apart from ourselves and our tribe. There is a lot of othering going on right now.

When I sit circle around the Wisdom Wheel, I often focus on the South quadrant. As we pass the Law of Eternal Present moving through Trust we eventually must to look at our Shadow. It seems there are many people who cannot be present for it increases the likelihood that Shadow issues will come up. It takes Courage to be able to be present to our own Shadow.

Men and Women, Mankind, Womankind, Humankind are inherently good. Surely we are all a mixture of good and bad. Learning the Wisdom Wheel has enabled me to become a better human being. I am more accepting of what is, rather than spending my time wishing for things that didn’t exist.

10-11-16

The Red Cross and the Red Road

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Today, I was supposed to be in New Hampshire helping friends cut some felled trees. But the steady rain from Hurricane Matthew cancelled out those plans. My heart goes out to the thousands in Haiti, where Hurricane Matthew has wreaked unimaginable havoc. No doubt the Red Cross, among other charitable organizations, will solicit donations for the victims.

I think back to Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and the outpouring of funds in its wake. Apparently, the Red Cross collected well over $500 million, however, much of that money is unaccounted for. The Red Cross refuses to share details of how the money was spent. Non-profits’ books should be open to the public, in my opinion. Haitian government officials claim they never received sums near that amount. But local governments also have spotty records when it comes to dispersing aid dollars.

When I think of the “Red Cross”, I envision just that: a red cross. It corresponds to the red road indicating the four quadrants of the Wisdom Wheel: Integrity, Higher Purpose, Trust and Right Action. If the Red Cross adhered to these laws of the Wisdom Wheel, I suspect they’d be a very different organization.

Perhaps there are more transparent agencies we can donate our money and time to. But the only thing I know for certain is that Haiti needs our help, now more than ever.

A photo by Vadim Sherbakov. unsplash.com/photos/osSryggkso4

Inter-operability

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I’m still settling into my new IT job at the school. The other day, someone from the administrative staff came up to me and said, “My Printer doesn’t connect to the wireless anymore. Can you fix it?” It may sound easy in principle, but it’s a harder problem to solve in reality.

As systems become more connected, they also inherently become more complex. Thus, the likelihood of problems greatly increase. Unfortunately, many designers fail to take into account who will use their product and how.

I often weigh the Law of Right Relationship. This law is part of the inner circle stones, and I think it’s one of the most important laws, whether we’re dealing with people, objects, or problems. We must break down complexity to a point where we are in Right Relationship with the information in front of us.

When trouble-shooting I strive to be Eternally Present to the data I encounter. Armed with technical know-how and optimism, I gather information.

In this case, the printer was an HP. What model? What version of software was it running? What about the wireless signal? What type of encryption was being used? As you can see, there was a lot of information to gather, verify and test.

When I attempted to connect the printer…it failed. “Printer failed to connect to Wireless network”. That is all, nothing more, no details. I continued to trouble-shoot and after 10 hours we identified the problem: the wrong version of software in a module of the wireless provider.

There are other issues to deal with, but this one illustrates how challenging technology can be today. A degree in electrical engineering is a qualification for this job, but I think more in terms of skills like “paying attention” and “perseverance”. The Law of Integrity provides a good base and the Law of Commitment is a powerful reminder that once you begin to fix a problem, your goal (Higher Purpose) must be reached no matter what. In my case I will fix the problem, resolve the issue. I will do whatever it takes.