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In a movie entitled The Lottery of Birth, I got a fascinating glimpse of modern American existence as it relates to some very key topics, including: Education, Entertainment, Obedience, and Creativity. It focused on the importance of maintaining the status quo in the United States, and how some of our major institutions are complicit in accomplishing this.
One notable example was how the story of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the New World is portrayed in the classroom. There, kids are taught that his arrival was a momentous occasion, worthy of celebration. While it’s true that Columbus’ arrival was momentous, it’s celebratory aspect would be diminished if the unedited story were told. Columbus and his men saw the natives, who had welcomed them with gifts and goodwill as threatening savages. They then wiped out a large number of the natives in a large-scale massacre on the natives.
Thus began the inauspicious beginnings of our cultural hegemony, a long-standing American tradition which continues today, even among its own citizens. The movie also illustrates how many aspects of modern American life are controlled by agendas created by external, faceless and even nameless entities, e.g. “the Company.”
9-to-5ers, for example, who spend five days a week working in myopic, highly controlled worlds have few freedoms, including prescribed bathroom breaks and meal times, and personal leave and vacation time allowances.
Restrictions are also placed upon news or magazine copywriters, whose content must fall within strict management-defined guidelines, while school teachers may create their own teaching methods, but with no curriculum deviation.
Next, the film details how and why higher education today has been scaled-down to eliminate graduates’ expectations of establishing careers, which greatly reduces both individual knowledge and wealth. Further, students won’t develop the analytical skills or sufficient requisite information to question society’s leaders, the thinking being that those who don’t know to ask, won’t.
My Silent, Silent Partner, I realized, has been my intuitive guide. As the grade school kid who knew something was up, but could not put his finger on it, I now understand its importance. So, even though my classmates seemed to function well within the highly-regimented classroom, I never accepted those limitations for myself. So, while others were busy “fitting in,” I was comfortable in playing the role of “odd man out.” In this I not only refer to college, but to all my classroom experiences.
Social Alienation is the best way I can explain being the “odd man out.” In essence, it meant those who did not accept someone else’s agenda as their own – like me – would effectively be omitted from all social interactions. What’s more, the nonparticipant – me – appeared stubbornly responsible for choosing not to participate in something with which I did not agree, but could not articulate. Even so, the status quo repeatedly tried to draw me back, believing that it’s insidious tactics would eventually bring a “nonconformist” like me back into the fold with everyone else.
In stating yesterday that it’s taken me a lifetime to realize that my thinking was misguided and even a copout, I realized this morning the benefit of questioning the validity of my lifelong attitudes. Happily, guided by my grade school intuition, my self-representation as being someone who thinks differently was spot on.
So, while I spent a great deal of my youth alone, I never thought of myself as a loner. Nor did I live a passive aggressive existence, standing quietly yet defiantly on a shifting, sandy riverbed as the world flowed around me. Instead, my Silent, Silent Partner unwittingly and adeptly handled my worldly contradictions, and freed me up to just be a kid.
That said, I wholly defend everything I stated in Shaking the Invisible, Guiding Hand, save for one key aspect; the motivations behind my thinking processes. My thinking is not – nor ever was – misguided at all but, in fact, spot on. As a kid, these concepts were over my head; I had no sentient thoughts on the matter.
However, as my thoughts matured, my subjectivity often conflicted with the largely objective world. Moreover, after college, there were even fewer people with whom I could share my pro-individualistic thoughts. Interestingly, I never questioned my thoughts until yesterday, when I really examined them. My sudden, 180-degree reversal yesterday, I now realize, was that of a man who’d grown weary of searching for a way to “fit in” to a world that would not have me. For a fleeting moment, the status quo almost had me.
Thankfully, I now see that my world is at odds with me and not the other way around. And, while I’m still not a loner, I still sometimes feel alone. But thanks to The Lottery of Birth, I know I’m in good company – and not alone – in threatening the status quo through my own independent thought.
Even so, the status quo has little to fear from free thinking people. It’s probable that, like me, other independent thinkers are a disjointed group of individuals, destined to never meet and to share our beliefs. What’s more, most don’t have the luxury of time as I do, instead opting for socially responsible pursuits, such as having a career, paying a mortgage, and raising a family. Such pursuits virtually require complete surrender of both our time and attention, and the status quo is thereby effectively maintained.
Those who differ with the status quo – as I have – may sooner or later discover their true selves. Whether it’s because of the words of independent-thinkers like Chomsky or Zinn, or anyone else, I shall always believe independent thought is something for which we should all be proud to have, and be willing to share. Long live creative individual expression and independent thought!

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Many say that our lives are an endless journey, unfolding before us as we go until we reach that fateful day until we, well, stop. As I continue on my own journey toward that day, I’m discovering an increasing number of things about myself that have been there all along. Most recently, it’s what I’ve always thought of as my “uniqueness.”
For better or worse, it has certainly kept life interesting. Moreover, though I never knew it was there, I’ve always known something was up, though I never could put my finger on it. A recent revelation, though, has finally begun to shed light on it. Despite the fact I’m unable to explain it fully, I’ve given it a name: My Silent, Silent Partner. It has always been there, an alter ego asserting its influence wholly without me even being aware of it.
Though it has taken many forms, my silent, silent partner has had one powerful, primary driving force behind it. Its inauspicious beginnings began like so many other things in life – when I was just a kid. At first, it was relatively quiet, and masked by so many things associated with childhood that it went completely undiscovered. From childhood to adolescence to college graduate it followed me, as influential as it was invisible and, therefore, hidden.
In retrospect, though, I could have seen it if only I’d known where to look. But it’s something that’s easy for me to say now, given everything I’ve had the chance to learn about myself over the years. But, of course, it hasn’t always seemed that way.
How I viewed myself relative to my world has always been in question. Like many kids, I wanted to fit in. But where? It was a question for which I never had an answer, though it wasn’t for lack of looking. Nor was it a coincidence, for no amount of searching would help me find something that wasn’t there. But though I was a resilient kid, I gradually realized I’d probably never find a place to fit in and eventually gave up. And, though I felt confused and hurt by this, I set out to find something new to take its place.
While my confusion was understandable, my only real injury was a bruised ego. In sizing things up, I decided to take the position that I was someone who thought differently than everyone else. I said it with all confidence, fully believing that my newly declared uniqueness was something for which I should be proud. It provided a handy – and lifelong – reason why I never I fit in to anything, even if it was only me that needed convincing.
A secondary benefit of this was that it could never be questioned. After all, who could doubt such a claim? What’s more, I imagined – à la Walter Mitty – that I might be viewed as a martyr of sorts, whose quest for uniqueness might even be worthy of unconditional support from the nameless multitudes who shared my cause, but were too afraid to set out on a quest of their own. In my mind, I would be their hero, allowing them to triumphantly albeit vicariously wave the banner of individualistic action and thought on their behalf.
“I’ve always acted and thought differently from everyone else, and I love that about myself,” became my mantra, one I’ve repeated for decades now. In reality however, I now see that those brave words for what they were; an excuse to explain how I did not fit in to a given situation. However, my attitude behind those words may have been the very reason I didn’t fit in, for if I found something not to my liking, it was all I had to say to explain myself. Since nobody could doubt me on this, it became the perfect copout, one that was so convincing that even I bought it.
Eventually, however, I could no longer deny or ignore it; my thinking had been grossly misguided, though it has taken me a lifetime to realize it. Interestingly, unlike my lifelong search to fit in somewhere, the true nature of my statement about being “unique” was the one thing I actually did find. It doesn’t mean, however, that my life has been wholly meaningless. Rather, it has given it a new purpose, this time from a completely different perspective.
My efforts now will be directed towards learning more about this once mysterious aspect of myself that even I had overlooked. I’ll make it a priority to articulate my findings as they arise and begin to make sense. I believe this may be helpful, to say the least, to anyone who may find himself in a similar position. For now, however, I cannot help but marvel at the thought of having an alter ego operating beside me all my life, with no awareness of its existence at all. It makes me wonder what else time might shed light upon that I am unable to see as yet.

I’m a firm believer that there are no coincidences, and that everything happens for a reason. But this doesn’t mean that when something noteworthy occurs, we recognize it for what it is, or even understand the reason for it at the time. For over nineteen months since my accident occurred, for example, I had been wondering why. In fact, a long list of Why questions arose in my mind, for which I never had an answer. Why did this accident occur at all? Why did I survive it? Why is everything so painful? How long will it be this way? Why, why, why? And on and on it went. Clearly, I knew deep down there must be a reason for what was happening, but I never seemed to have a reason why. I became very, very frustrated, to a point where I was ready to give up many times. It never seemed to make any sense, experiencing these repercussions from my accident-the pain, arrogant doctors, and a general inability to do things I took for granted only a short while before, etc. To my credit, at least I kept asking and wondering Why, as if I knew there was a reason but didn’t yet know what it was.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve begun to pick up some solid reasons for what was happening. Understanding them has accelerated my healing-and minimized my most painful symptoms-just by being present, even though I don’t yet know why they’re there. And maybe I never will. But this didn’t happen by accident. For several months, there has been a succession of positive people introduced into my life, too many to mention right now, really. Their names will likely pop up here and there in this blog over time, but what’s important is that they are there for me now. In fact, we are all there for each other, and therein lies our strength.
At first, I didn’t think anything of it; one or two friendly people coming along here and there didn’t seem all that unusual. Then three or four more, then five or six more. Suddenly, I realized there were now several new people in my life, positive and powerful people who, though I didn’t know it then, would be the foundation upon which I could build a new life. As I said about how I now see my post-accident life in an earlier posting, “my adventure can now really begin.” And it’s true.
When it comes to uncovering truths about yourself that have been there all along yet you have failed to see them, it’s hard to describe sudden awareness of any of those truths as a revelation. After all, they were there all the time, but they just weren’t visible. But, as a close friend mentioned just the other day “when the student is ready, the teachers will appear.” For me, the most prominent and powerfully positive person in my life is my wife, Kami. She has long been a conduit of my energy-both good and bad, (often the latter, I must admit)-and it’s no coincidence that she introduced to me-or should I say re-introduced to me-a notion that had long been established in my mind, back in my mid-20s. That is, considering the limiting and toxic role shame has played in my life.
Growing up, I was immersed in shame. Mom and Dad had their share of shame issues, and these spread like wildfire through our house, to a point where it was our norm, our reality. Shame had such a remarkable influence and played such a powerful role that it, or more precisely the fear of even more shame, defined our lives. Though I think we were all too close to see it, the driving force behind all of this shame was Fear. We were always afraid, afraid we couldn’t afford this, or hold onto that, that maybe we weren’t good enough-or deserving enough. There was always a palpable fear of what could happen. Naturally, in the midst of such an environment, true joy and gratitude for what we actually had went unacknowledged and unappreciated. Fear was the dominant, driving energy, cloaked in the insidious disguise of Shame.
What we didn’t know then was that everyone experiences shame, that no one is immune from it. Nor should we be. There are many good reasons for the existence of shame in our world, such as the role it plays in humility (read modesty) that keeps any one of us from believing we are an all-powerful, living deity of sorts. But in our family, what we did not realize was that everyone’s shame-each of us individually- seems to us like the most shameful thing imaginable because it is our shame. But, for now, what I intend to address here is how shame concerns me personally.
Suffice it to say that my parents, both very productive people in their own right, had created a home that largely duplicated the homes in which they’d been raised. I believe they learned, as kids at home, that the conflict that accompanies fear-based living, in this case through shame, was a normal part of every day, family life. And so it was before them, then later for me and my siblings as well, and there is no fault to be found in that. My parents, being the goodhearted, well-intentioned people they are, simply did the best they could with what they knew at the time. Beyond that, their time was highly divided between work, raising a family, running a household, and all those other things that are part of everyday family life.
In this sense, they were probably too busy to see the real root of conflict within our family, even if they knew to look for it. I certainly didn’t, for there were many, many times in which good, and truly positive times existed, enough to keep us from questioning those occasions when life was less than pretty. Eventually, as I approached eighteen, I prepared to move out of the house and into the adult world. I had spent my final and most memorable years there as an awkward, self-conscious teenager. And just as the last song you hear can stick in your head long after it’s over, I similarly replayed many of the same experiences from my childhood, and it left me feeling particularly naked and exposed within my new world.
As I said, our own shame is paramount in our lives, for we are the ones who are most aware of it and therefore, the most vulnerable to it.
But, one evening a few weeks back, Kami made mention of a book by a man named John Bradshaw, who I knew earlier (from my early 20s) as the author of a book called Homecoming. Then, I saw him as just another best-selling author who was heavily promoted on PBS during pledge drives. It made PBS lotsa money, and garnered Bradshaw a considerable amount of attention as well. So, while I may have picked up a thing or two about his book-and even met him briefly as a volunteer answering phones at a local PBS pledge drive-I took little else with me then.
But as I said, there are no coincidences-there is a reason for everything. Kami brought to my attention a more recent bestseller by John Bradshaw, this one entitled Healing the Shame That Binds You. Suddenly, a light went off in my head and I thought, “A-ha! It is shame that has been my nemesis all of these years and that’s what I need to resolve if I am to ever make my life my own. Immediately, I purchased the audio version of the book and digested it hungrily, page by page, and chapter by chapter. Each section, it seemed, contained a parallel to be found with what Bradshaw mentioned and what I had experienced. Sometimes, it seemed as if he described verbatim my experiences.
And even though I said before that it’s hard to consider something that was within you all along a revelation, reading that book was a revelatory experience for me. The answers had been right there, under my nose all along, perfectly positioned in a place where I could not see them. But now that I had, it was truly liberating. I woke up the following morning feeling liberated-I felt so much energy, mostly gratitude and joy for finally coming one step closer to answering the question Why that I had been asking for so long. It seemed there was so much to think about and so much to do about it that I hardly knew where to begin. Nevertheless, I’d never felt more confident that this was possible, and I continue feeling this today.
Within a matter of days, an influx of people and events took place that raised my self-awareness to previously unimaginable levels. In fact, I have recently been so busy with these activities that it wasn’t until just now that I made this observation.
In addition to the influx of positive people that had already been showing up, these new events suddenly brought groups of such people into my life. The first of these to come to mind was the opening night of an eight-week-long program entitled A Course in Miracles. There, I was surrounded by like-minded people in a safe and sacred space. There, we were encouraged to articulate what we believed to be our best personal course of action for surmounting the sometimes overwhelming obstacles and/or toxic attitudes residing within us that served to block our progress.
Enter another “a-ha” thought, and I was off and running, this time in the right direction.
The following weekend, a Hay House conference event-named after its founder, Louise Hay-entitled I Can Do It took place in Denver. There, I experienced two days of immersion and concepts that all served to promote gratitude, joy, and positivity. The focus was upon how these concepts could manifest themselves in our everyday lives in consistent and pervasive ways. Kicking it all off was an engaging and enlightening two-hour presentation by multiple best-selling author Dr. Wayne Dyer. His personality shone through as he made point after point regarding some of the more noteworthy events of his 74+ years of life on this planet. While I’d heard of him, I’d never read any of his forty-three published books, nor heard or saw any of his broadcast interviews or presentations.
However, while standing in line before the show to pick up a few bottles of water, Dr. Dyer strolled past the line and through the crowd, as if a man without a care or worry in the world. Seeing this, a man who is touted as a rock star in the world of self-improvement and healing, strolling through an audience before the show as if it were nothing-made me love him immediately. I mean really, what are the chances we would ever see this happen with pro athletes before a big game, or musicians before a big performance, or even the President of the United States prior to making an address to the nation? In my experience, the chances are nil. Yet this modest man through all his humility, made what was perhaps the most indelible impression upon my mind as to the power of change that one person can bring to this world.
The following day, Dr. Roger Teel, the founding minister of Denver’s nondenominational Mile Hi church-made a thought-provoking presentation of his own, followed by an afternoon presentation by Kate Northrup concerning the psychology of personal finances. Just as important, we were surrounded by friends throughout, not to mention thousands of other like-minded souls who just as easily would have been willing to share their experiences with us as we would with them. It was a wonderful event, filled with possibility and positivity, gratitude and joy, and education and enlightenment.
Being immersed in such an environment, I realized, could not undo a lifetime of immersion in a lesser environment. But it was not meant to. Rather, the primary focus was upon living in the here and now and in anticipating and building a life based not on Fear but in Joy. And while I was something of a sponge there, soaking in many of these details presented to me formally for the first time, my learning curve was very steep and I felt like a kid in a candy store. But, it seemed, most everyone else did, too.
We are all, as I came to realize, a work in progress and life itself is a learning process that continues forever.
For all of the tangible points I encountered during A Course in Miracles and the I Can Do It seminar, the final remarkable event (for this posting, anyways!) in which I participated was a John of God prayer circle two nights ago in Boulder. Sitting in a darkened church meeting room, nearly two dozen of us basked in front of a candlelit altar upon which varying likenesses of ten entities were displayed, among them Archangel Michael, Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Mary, Dom Ignacio, and several others.
Since this event was about faith-as well as the exponential power of prayer among a group-it’s easy to describe. That is, everything that took place was of an ethereal nature that simply must be experienced to be understood. In fact, although I experienced it, it’s safe to say I don’t understand it. But then again, that’s how I define faith anyways, and that’s what this event was all about. All I know is that when I left the meeting, I felt enervated, healed-at least from the pain in my hand, and that’s what I’d been praying for, and that I had several new and positive people that were now part of my life.
Note: John of God is a healer who lives in Brazil, in a location known as The Casa. The basis of his healing is simple, but sometimes difficult to find in our everyday, manic worlds-Love, that is. If you are interested for whatever reason, I highly encourage you to research him online, in writing, or in whatever manner suits you best.
Finally, please always remember that every entry I make in this blog is created with love and gratitude and joy. The Love and the Joy comes from my heart and is directed both from the place inside me where my words gather for eventual presentation to you as well as for the powerful feeling I get from writing. The gratitude I have is for you, the reader, whom I hope will take something positive from what I have written here, even if-maybe especially if-all you take from it is a smile