Weekly Thoughts

05/20/2017 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Practicing our Development – Process AND Content  >>
Spring is the ideal time to expand our awareness, welcome new ideas, meanings, and understandings. This month I introduce my thoughts “on process,” which is, our need to ensure we include practices in our daily lives that support our cognitive learning. Practices in addition to studying great theories and reading good content. Here’s one of the simplest yet most powerful practices I know:  Let’s allow ourselves to pause, breath deeply in and down, which gets us centered and grounded. Then, with the exploratory instinct, meaning, our curiosity, take an interest in ourselves when we get upset, reactive. Inquire of ourselves, “What’s driving this reaction, and reflect on what we know about our particular personality pattern, our habit of mind. Determine next what’s at the very core of the perceived threat, the emotional stress I am experiencing. Have compassion for what surfaces. Then and finally, as we relax the suffering within, “choose” a response that’s most suitable, most present, and most constructive for the situation at hand.


05/04/2017 | Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Sensing the Self Leads to Sensing an Other  >>
When we take the time to pause, get centered, grounded, and present, we can deeply sense others as well as ourselves. By developing a “somatic awareness,” a sensations-of-the-body awareness, we develop our ability to really sense and understand ourselves and others, and we develop the ability to respond to each other authentically, rather than just acting something out. To gain somatic awareness, we need to witness our thoughts and feelings and physical sensations. Without somatic awareness, we miss out on the invaluable cues of our body’s vital intelligence. Becoming “whole,” becoming “aware,” involves all three centers of intelligence and our close attention to the sensations, feelings, and thoughts we generate at any given moment in time.


01/29/2017 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Knowing What Really Counts  >>
What really matters to you? What makes a difference? I suggest it might be generosity of spirit, a bounty of love, the tenderness of touch? Your closest relationships? A great job? A warm home? A loving partner? What about a bigger picture? Like, the safety and security of others? The acceptance of all races of peoples. The preservation of our resources? Our continued ability to live and thrive on this divine planet? What do you suggest? What moves you and tells you what really matters? Take a few minutes each day to reflect on this for at least several minutes, doing your best at recognizing, and then living, what really counts in your life.


01/09/2017 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Love Lives On  >>
We become forgotten after our passing. Who amongst us knows the story of our great, great grandparents? Their origin? Their loves? Their children may know, their dearest friends perhaps, the colleagues they reached out to with love and support. This is our immortality. Our task is to cultivate love in our lives, which is what carries on, generation after generation. By adopting the “5As” of the Universal Growth Process, we enrich our personality’s type structure with its higher qualities of essence – with love.


12/17/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< What About Us is Remembered?  >>
Take a moment to reflect upon what you most cherish about your parents and grandparents. What you may find is that what comes up for you is their qualities of being, more than the recounted content of their lives. Realizing this, taking stock of our own qualities of being in turn becomes that much more important. That may include our nurturance of others, our presence, our receptivity, our awareness, our compassion, our joy, our generosity, our hopefulness, our kindness. What else is it about you that you think might be remembered by those who you have touched in your life? Take some time to reflect on this.


11/25/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< The Path to Personal Freedom  >>
We are all captured by the patterns of our personality and its effort to ensure a satisfying life. But without a good self-observer, without a good “inner witness,” so to speak, we can be rendered prisoners of these personality patterns, no matter how free we think we might be. Becoming aware of our reactivity, the patterns underlying our reactivity, and what the pattern is trying to accomplish is a critical step in coming to know ourselves, and then, in coming to free ourselves. Only in the recognition of the patterns can we develop more sustaining alternatives to the patterns, release from being enslaved by them, and thus, actually begin to experience utter freedom and true joy.


10/30/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Integration: At the Core of Our Wholeness  >>
Integration means bringing together distinctive, separated parts into a single whole. In Enneagram speak, this so beautifully refers to the interweaving into our personality structure our inherent virtues and the Holy Ideas. For this integration to happen, we need to be able to get grounded, present to ourselves, and openhearted. In this state, we can observe our thoughts, our emotions, and what is coming up as true and real, in our soma. This allows us to explore the meaning embedded across the activity of our three pulsing centers of intelligence, which is how we carry out the work of personal development.


09/12/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< The Power of Pausing  >>

When we are able to take that precious pause, breathe in, connect with self, and become fully grounded in the present moment, we can find enough safety and holding to open our hearts, and to access our own “receptive energy.” Once receptive, we find that we are simply “there,” for self and other, as we are neither afraid nor resistant. In time, with practice, we literally find ourselves grounded in our own being; it’s a place that unifies all of us, to each other, and a place that unifies each of us, to our selves.

 


08/22/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< The Abiding Self  >>

For years I’ve lived by the stance, “We are all temporary renters on the planet.” We cannot take our physical possessions with us once we leave this life. We can only take with us what we remains, what abides in our hearts. Bring your attention to what is within us, that truly defines us – our love, our care, our contribution to the greater good, our kindness. This I believe is what is immortal and everlasting; it persists long past our physical existence and far beyond the worldly wealth we may have so successfully garnered. Focusing on our material wealth distracts us from our connection with dying, and with our ultimate reality. It occupies our energies to the point that it can take us away from what is truly divine, truly abiding, and truly virtuous about us. Take a moment to acknowledge as well as express the divinity within you, today.

 


08/01/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Opening the Heart  >>

We all need to “open our hearts,” which means, to allow ourselves to feel kindness and a gentle compassion. Start with breathing down and in, at a slow pace. Pay attention to our hearts and then remind ourselves of times in our past when our hearts were open to the experience of gentle compassion and kindness, both to ourselves and from others. We need next to sense this in “our soma,” in our bodies. An awareness in our soma helps to create and sustain a flow of receptive energy and personal care that nurtures both our selves and others. It’s this energy that can change the world, both the world within us as well as the world in which we live.

 


07/09/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Compassion Versus Compression  >>

When we just go through life “on automatic,” we live a life of compression, meaning, we live a life contained in automatic, habitual behaviors, thoughts, and feelings which are well within the confines of our definitive personality structure. But, when we take the opportunity to build an active and compassionate self-observer, we build the capacity to open our hearts to ourselves. Thanks to the development of care and kindness, we create the capacity for compassion. Deciding to live a life “beyond” automatic takes a personal commitment and is a tender process. I invite you, all of us, to pursue the development of our self-observer, of our own loving self-witness. Pursue the opening of our hearts, even if it scares us at times, because that’s the path where compression dissolves, and we awaken…


06/04/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Forgiveness Gifts the Foregiver  >>

Not forgiving is a penalty dealt the non-forgiver. Because, what cannot be forgiven stresses the mind, heart, and body — over and over again. Furthermore, withholding forgiveness limits choices and opportunities. Forgiveness never means condoning, capitulating, or concurring with the “unwanted” behavior. Rather, when we forgive, we return the energy of our lifeforce to ourselves, to our capacity to experience a full life, one that is full of choice and that is not exhausted by holding on to that which doesn’t belong to us.


05/26/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Looking Under My Anger, What’s Been Triggered in Me?  >>

Oftentimes, it’s hurt and pain that we find beneath our anger. Some of that pain, might actually be shame. Shame is a deep-rooted feeling driven by the distress of banishment or expulsion. Anger is an emotion that allows us to focus outwardly, which perpetuates the unexamined, unwanted pain or shame felt within. Anger can be a substitute of sorts for a variety of unwanted, hard-to-face feelings. Rather than dealing with the pain rising within and resolving any associated shame, we get angry. The key is to get below our anger, and connect with what’s there. That’s “doing the work,” and that’s what puts us in deeper contact with our authentic self. We may still find we need to act on our anger, as in resolve a conflict, confront a situation, set a boundary, but we’ll be able to do so, thoughtfully, consciously, and with a deep compassion for the more vulnerable side of ourselves that which now feels held and heard. Connecting to the feelings and unpacking what may be under the anger in the first place is the key.


05/05/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< How Anger Both Serves Us and Disserves Us  >>

Anger occurs with the subjective experience of personal violation. It’s a physiological experience that we can manage, but we first need to pause, breath down and in when it occurs, and allow ourselves to get grounded and receptive to the anger and what it’s trying to alert us to… Staying “present to it,” we can ask ourselves honorably — with genuine curiosity — what is this anger all about? Anger floods the system so rapidly that we really need to learn how to recognize the early clues of our anger inside of ourselves, as it tends to focus outwardly immediately, on the seeming “external” cause. It’s a vital energy source, anger, and learning to work with it constructively and healthfully can make a world of difference within ourselves as well as in the world outside of us. Everything that has been accomplished violently has a non-violent counterpart, a non-violent option. Learning to “stay present” when anger rushes through us helps us to release the stress of it, and helps us truly grow beyond being prisoners of our anger and a slave to acting it out unconsciously or mindlessly.


03/07/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< My Anger? What is that About?  >>

We all need to recognize that much of the anger we are privy to, and the associated violence, is sanctioned – killing in the name of war, the death penalty, spankings for children (yes, this is violence), isolation from others as in ‘time outs,’ domestic abuse, etc. Anger always gets our attention. It can lead to an offensive stance toward another person, the recipient of the anger. And in this stance, we get rewarded. What is that about? Though aversive and often destructive, anger has its place and has a value. Checking in on its value, on “the what its trying to tell us,” is incredibly important to discern. To do so, it’s really critical to pause, get grounded and present, and reflect on what’s going on. What does this anger tell me? So much of what we attempt to accomplish with anger or worse, violence, can be accomplished just as successfully, peacefully. Take that into consideration…


02/05/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Anger: The Great Force and the Great Cover >>

Oftentimes, it’s hurt and pain that we find beneath anger. And sometimes anger hides shame. Shame is a deep-rooted feeling driven by the distress of banishment or expulsion. Anger is an emotion that allows us to focus outwardly, which can perpetuate the unexamined, unwanted pain or shame felt within. Anger can be a substitute; rather than dealing with the pain and resolving any associated shame, we get angry. The key is to get below our anger, and connect with what’s there. That’s “doing the work,” and that’s what puts us in deeper contact with our authentic self. We may still find we need to act on our anger. We may still decide we need to go and resolve a conflict or confront a situation; but having done our inner work, we’ll be able to do so, thoughtfully, consciously, and with a deep compassion for the more vulnerable side of ourselves, that which now feels held and heard.


01/09/2016 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Looking for the Positives, and Believing in Them >>

In general, with threatening experiences having ten times the power of positive experiences, we all need to deeply experience the positives about ourselves, others, and the world on a daily basis. It’s important that we do this, so that we can build more beneficial and heartfelt lives. Yes, this how we enable the energies of love, care, and support to then flourish. Take a little time each day to experience “your positives” and that for which you are grateful.It’s a great way to start this new year.


11/24/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< One of the Saddest Things on Earth >>

Not understanding that anger can be expressed in constructive, non-violent ways pains many of us greatly. It pains me deeply. As Will and Ariel Durant said in their book, The Lessons of History,”everything that has been accomplished through violent action has also been accomplished through non-violent action. Anger deserves to be heard and expressed, but in such a way that we don’t act out recklessly, violently, mercilessly. Regardless of anger’s tendency to be socially approved of, how we wield it makes all the difference in the world, including prevents arguments, allows for constructive conversation, prevents wars and can surely, save lives. Do visit my latest Blog, just posted: Understanding Anger, the Socially Acceptable Emotion.


10/25/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Where Is Someone “Really At?” Four Critical Levels of Adult Development… >>

There are four main levels of adult development: (1) Personal impulsivity or “ego-centricity” = A person that just thinks about what the self wants; (2) My group (my religion, my culture, my race, my tribe) or “ethno-centricity = My group is OK but yours is not); (3) Self-aware/other aware or “world-centricity” = I am inclusive of myself and others and hold an understanding, an appreciation of both; (4) Integrated and unitive or “universe-centricity” = on the path to personal evolution and lives valuing the oneness of all. Getting to world-centricity is a human’s developmental goal, and do to do with compassion, understanding, presence, and awareness is the process. It means, working especially on cultivating the first “3As” of the Universal Growth Process, which starts with receptive presence in awareness, openhearted acceptance, of self and others, and an appreciation of both self and other. Sounds simple, yes? But, it’s not necessarily that easy. This requires an understanding, firstly. And a lot of practice and process to follow. This is the process of becoming an integrated, enlightened human. The Enneagram system, as it happens, provides us with the substance, the content, to help to get us there.


09/16/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< What About Us Lives On… >>

It’s inevitable that we become forgotten after our passing. Who amongst us knows the whole story of our great grandparents? Their origins? Their loves? Their children know some of it, their dearest friends have known a bit, the colleagues they reached out to with love and support might have another part of their story. This is our mortality. But the one thing that marks our immortality is our love. Cultivating love across our life is the legacy we do in fact leave behind. How do we do this? Start by self-knowing. Study your personality structure, using the Enneagram as the tool it is for such an endeavor. Adopt the “5As” of the Universal Growth Process, which is a guide to the steps we need to take to make richer our responses to life, to ourselves and to others. Study your higher qualities and practice bringing them to the world that surrounds you and to those you love. Leave behind the side of you that loved, gave, nurtured, and cared.


08/26/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< The 4 “Rs” to Wholeness: Reactivity, Receptivity, Reflection, Resolution >>

In this amazingly fast-paced world we live in, the path resides in the “4Rs.” We must first befriend our reactivity, our upset and defensiveness, which is manifested in our soma — in the sensations we have in our bodies. As, it let’s us know what matters to us. The sensations in the body show up before any cognition takes place. Next, we need to breath in and down to get grounded within ourselves, present to our “being-ness,” and receptive. This places us in a stance for reflecting and inquiring with an openhearted kindness, which does not mean we condone our own or another’s behavior. It means we allow ourselves to receive the other person, just as they are, and accept where they might be at any given moment in time. Then resolution can take place, that which honors self and other and moves us toward the wholeness for which we all yearn.


07/10/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Loving and Being Loved >>
Love is manifested through receptive, grounded presence interwoven with non-judgmental acceptance. It’s an unconditional open-heartedness that does not imply concurring, condoning, or capitulating one’s own or another’s behavior. Love involves a commitment of the will to further the well-being and growth of self and another in all domains: physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual. Love is fueled by thoughtfulness, kindness, and gentleness and by the exploratory instinct, which is the unrestricted and genuine curiosity to deeply know and experience the heart of one’s own self and that of another.


06/17/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life << The Greatest Integration of Our Lives >>
Integration means the interweaving of the differentiated elements of the self with each other, not the raising of one element over another. Spirit, referring to our inherent, higher essential qualities, need to be integrated into our functional personality structure, so that we can enhance our experience of being in the world, and our ego structures won’t have to work as hard to manufacture those qualities we’ve become fearful we might not possess. When we develop the capacity for receptive, grounded presence, we can begin the process of bringing our personality structure and our essential qualities together. Once this takes place, our capacity to experience love as well as serenity, humility, hope, equanimity, omnipotence, faith, constancy, powerfulness, and connection from within ourselves expands exponentially, which then expands our capacity to experience love and interior “peace” in an incalculable number of ways in the world around us.


05/28/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< A Life Fulfilled is Each Day Lived in Presence >>
Since any given day could be our last day, but unknown to us as such, decide to start and end each day as if it is THE day of days. To live this simple stance is to live in presence. It’s to do our best to embody a present awareness, combined with receptivity and an open heart — no matter what activity or endeavor in which we engage. Breath deeply, down into our bodies, feel your aliveness and vitality. This is the beginning of getting grounded in self. To become receptive, know that you will be okay and that you can handle with ease whatever comes at you, consciously relax your fears and resistances. To open your heart, recall a time when you have been in a loving, kind state, remember the warmth and serenity of that moment. Live each day in a state of presence, receptivity, and loving kindness, the state you would naturally find yourself if living your very last.


04/14/2015| Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Getting Present, Accessing our Essential Qualities >>
When we are “present,” meaning, we have attuned our sensory experience “to the now,” and allow ourselves “to receive” what shows up, also called becoming “receptive,” we can then, from this state of being, integrate our divine, essential qualities into our personality and hence, our daily experience. Essential qualities may include faith, hope, love, serenity, honesty, acceptance, humility, courage, omniscience, surrender and innocence. Essence is that which underlies all external manifestations of a human self. It is thought to be permanent and unchanging. Our essential qualities lie deeply within us and are a constant and unwavering resource for our personalities and for the experience of our lives. Learning to readily access these qualities is one of the results of personal awareness and transformation.


03/30/2015| Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Using Love to Work with Anger >>
Anger, one of the three basic aversive survival emotions, whose function is to protect our well-being and assure our worth rises instantaneously, making it an emotion difficult to readily observe or witness. It’s a physically driven energy that wants to act. Feelings of love and compassion, at least for the moment, seem to go offline. Therefore, we need to notice anger’s early cues – the tension it creates in our bodies, the intensity that overtakes us, the rise in core temperature. Pause and take a deep breath, buy yourself some time. Take a moment to do some personal inquiry, what is at the core of the perceived violation? This allows us to better manifest conscious conduct, to stay present, and to allow a state of love and compassion to align with our need to self-protect, speak up, or attend to our unmet needs.


03/05/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Love, the Energy That Governs It All >>
There is only love. All there ever was and will be is love. Brilliance comes from this inner experience. By love, I mean the connection felt between humans in body, mind, and heart. It is the experience of human souls, experiencing together in a kind of harmony, states of gratitude and reverence and compassion. Within the notion of love, I include the power of touch, the importance of bonding, connectedness, and consensual lovemaking. When “love” is present, everything radiates and beautiful, kind, supportive, wonderful things happen. When love is present, we are not so easily captured and held hostage by the defense structures of our personality, by our opinions or our judging mind, by our fears or by our projections. When love is present, we create a different kind of cause and effect, we get the most powerful chance to co-create trust and understanding, collaboration, cooperation, and respect Choose Love. Watch what happens.


02/18/2015 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Reflect and Get Receptive, to Our Self >>
Several times a day, stop, take a deep breath, and ground oneself in reflection. This is the kind of reflection that takes stock of where we are and how we are feeling. What’s really there, within me, right now? This is the practice of getting “receptive” to ourselves. Once in a receptive state, we can get honest. We can get present to what’s happening in another person. We can witness ourselves going on automatic and getting reactive. We can open our hearts and take a new approach to a feeling we don’t want to feel, but are feeling. Practicing being receptive to ourselves is one of the greatest, most-often neglected gifts we have available to us. It’s the most powerful tool for positive growth and personal development we could ever learn to master.


HAPPY NEW YEAR! | 01/05/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Liberation Requires the Interweaving of Process and Content >>
The Enneagram provides great content as it gets to our core beliefs, the ones that are the promise for a satisfying life and hence, what drives our habit of mind and the energy that’s activated. Yet, if development simply was a product of good content, we could read one of several good books and change. Great process, such as is found in the “5As” of the Universal Growth Process, is ineffective by itself. Rich content without effective process, without method and practice, will not bring about the development, the liberation from old patterns of mind, or the freedom from the limitations on our lives. Great cognitive content must be accompanied by due process in order to create new thinking and behaving pathways.


12/9/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Intimacy and Touch, How Important Are They? >>
My latest blog post speaks to Intimacy and touch. Intimacy is defined as close association, contact, and friendship that is accompanied by the expression of one’s deepest nature. And, affection and “touch” can play a significant role in intimate experiences. Infants do not thrive physically or emotionally if not held, touched or cuddled, even when fed adequately. Human babies cling to their mothers, which nurtures both mother and infant with oxytocin and dopamine, the bonding, feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters. All mammals engage in a form of “care behavior” often demonstrated through touch and play. Touch, which contributes to attachment and bonding, is considered a biological imperative. Visit my blog and share your thoughts, would love to have you contribute to this conversation.


11/20/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Bringing the Future Into the Present >>
We humans are so immediacy oriented. Thanks to our evolution, we don’t pay enough attention to the future consequences of our current behaviors. We respond to hunger, thirst, conflict, and even perceived rejection in habitual ways without bringing the future into the psychological present. This leaves us trapped in our own reality (our beliefs, our feelings, our sensations and behaviors) as associated with our type’s pattern-of-mind, which are non-conscious strategies to get our basic needs met. Those needs include a sense of self-worth, security, and connection. It’s time to wake up to how our thought patterns determine and define our future. Gaining presence to this truth is the key to our individual path to liberation and personal fulfillment.


10/29/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Gratitude Practice >>
“What am I grateful for today?” Each morning, right when you awaken, ask yourself that very question. Is it for the privilege to be alive? For the air you are breathing? For the food you have to eat? For the love you receive? For the love you are able to give? Is it for the chance to contribute to a better, more humane future? What is it that you are grateful for, today? Let this simple, powerful question start each day with you…


09/24/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Hope Must Not Die Within Us Before We Die >>
The loss of Robin Williams, which I just talked about on my recent blog, brought this home to us all, in such a profound way. Without hope, we lose our basis for life. Hope fills us with positivity for the future, with the energy to search for true love, with the pursuit of personal growth, and with a sense of the well-being in all. Hope sustains us through difficulty, through pain, and through loss. But for hope to reside, it needs to be imbued with love and faith. Hope must not die within us before we die. Suicide occurs when the utter loss of hope for a positive future takes over; suicide happens when the pain being felt obscures our contact with hope, for hope is the most powerful of elixirs.  Consider how you bring hope into your life, today and everyday.

Visit my blog for more about my thoughts on Robin’s passing.


09/04/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< The Biological Gift of Appreciation >>
When we let others know we appreciate them, oxytocin — the feel-good, bonding hormone — goes up in both the appreciator and the “appreciate-ee,” making it a great physical as well as emotional benefit to both. Each day, remember to share what you appreciate in others, for both their sake and yours. Giving appreciation, authentically from the heart, nurtures us as much as it nurtures another. Be sure to appreciate someone today.


08/13/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Harmonizing the Three Great Energies >>
It’s important to our development to bring into harmony receptive, active, and balancing, also called reconciling, energies. These three energies are the very basis of the Serenity Prayer by Author Reinhold Niebuhr, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (receptive energy), the courage to change the things I can (active energy), and the wisdom to know the difference (balancing energy).” Working consciously with these three energetic qualities is a key part of our path to personal wholeness.


07/10/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< We Can’t Really Live With Someone If We Can’t Live Without Them, No Matter How Much We Believe We Love Them >>
While this may sound harsh, and we can deeply grieve the loss of a loved one, this saying represents what’s at the core of healthy relationships that thrive. Why? Because, if I’m dependent on another as a result of avoiding a healthy dependence within myself, I may be hesitant to fully express myself, be myself, risk growing myself, or may have difficulty confronting conflict healthily. If we make another our very own oxygen supply, I may cling to that other in any way I can for survival, which could manifest in unhealthy ways. And if another has made me their oxygen supply, they may do the same. In such a case, neither of us are free to flourish, grow, and most importantly &#8211 truly and unconditionally &#8211 love.


06/18/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Our View of Cause and Effect Depends on Where We Seem to Cut Into the Fabric of Life >>
There’s great meaning in looking at “perspective.” If we cut into the fabric of life in one place, it looks like I’m the cause of what happens. If we cut into the fabric in another place, it looks like you are the cause. The truth is, each of us is always at cause – whether it be ten percent (10%) or ninety percent (90%). It all depends on perspective. It depends upon where we see ourselves cutting into the “fabric” of life, i.e. a situation, an argument, a dilemma, a challenge, an upheaval or a triumph. The perspective we take affects the responsibility we assume. The responsibility we assume is where our freedom lies. We all can do something to make a difference. Each of us taking responsibility for our part, for our tear or seam in the fabric is what infuses us with our own energetic hope, inspiration, of possibility, of making a difference, and of empowerment. I choose to cut into the fabric, where I can see my affect, knowing then I have some opportunity to make an impact and make a conscious, responsible difference.


05/29/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Recalling Curiosity >>
Genuine curiosity, a key component of what makes us thrive, is based on a combination of two positive activities – to seek and to play. These two activities and the corresponding positive emotions generated are experienced by all mammals. We might even call curiosity the great exploratory instinct, which is reflected in the deep desire to know, understand, and grasp the meaning of life and the experience of it. All children are driven by curiosity, but it can often recede into the background as we develop individual strategies to adapt to the world. I have found it important to revive this incredibly life-giving, non-judgmental resource, welcome it, and nourish it. Especially, when it comes to bringing curiosity to our relationships with others as well as to understanding our own behavior, feelings, and beliefs. Devote time each day to exploring life, curiously, bring it to both your outer world and your inner worlds.


05/09/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Befriending our Upset, our Reactivity >>
We all get upset, another word for reactive, which includes hurt, anger, and defensiveness, in little or big ways each day. When we grasp that our upset is pointing at something important, that what’s underneath the upset REALLY MATTERS, we can begin to befriend upset and instead use it as a source of exploration. What does this upset mean in my life? What’s at the core of this upset? In so doing, we build the opportunity to release ourselves from entrenched, no-longer-useful, pain-driven beliefs in order to reconstruct more creative solutions that are more fitting “to the now,” that better respect both self and other. Automatically repeating engrained behavioral patterns, reactions, over and over again is limiting and oftentimes even self-defeating.


04/24/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< My Bad Behavior is a Result of Circumstances. Yours is a Result of your Character >>
This is the basis of Attribution Theory, which was originally developed by Fritz Heider. It simply states that we often ascribe our own behavior to external causes where as, we attribute others’ behavior to causes related to their character. Thus in conflict, we see others as causal, as “perpetrators” if you will, and ourselves as simply responding to circumstances, as “victims.” Attribution Theory even explains things like the Cold War, where the USA saw the USSR as the destructive force and itself as the victim, forced to defend. Ironically, the USSR had painted the same picture, only with themselves as victims. It’s an important practice to look at how we ourselves cause or trigger others’ behavior, others actions and responses. This is not to elicit guilt, but rather self-awareness, understanding, and hope.


04/09/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Integration of Personality and Our Essential Qualities: The Interweaving of Differentiated Parts >>
While integration can take many forms, such as the integration of the three centers of intelligence, the key is coming home to the quiet of receptive, openhearted presence. This allows for the integration of our virtues, our higher qualities, into our personality structure. We can all come home to these qualities but do so more powerfully by integrating them into our daily lives. We really do have so many opportunities each day to give it a try.


03/22/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from DavidWhat Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Today’s Version of the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as They Would Have You Do Unto Them >>
The more widely known version of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as YOU would have them do unto you,” is,  if you consider it for a moment, somewhat of a narcissistic approach. In order to carry it out properly, what we really need to do is become aware of other’s wishes, wants, and needs and then do our best to be present to them, and fulfill them. The exception is of course, when another’s need violates a fundamental value in us. How did the Golden Rule get off track, so to speak? Well, it actually began written this way: “Do NOT do unto others what you DO NOT WANT done to you.” That’s starting to make sense, yes? The “NOT” was taken out over the years, which led to the meaning slightly, well greatly, changing. The now-popularized version shows the importance of open-hearted presence in our lives, with that presence being the key to relating to others. Take a moment to reflect on this.


03/12/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from DavidWhat Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Open Hearted Kindness, Forgiveness, and the “3Cs” >>
Why is it so hard to forgive others, and even harder, to forgive ourselves? It’s hard because we are not embracing the key role of openhearted kindness toward self and others. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we condone, capitulate, or concur with our own or others’ behavior. But the fear that forgiveness IS those things is why we don’t forgive, and hence, we continue to suffer. Grasping and living the practice of openhearted kindness opens the door to our ability — and willingness — to forgive. Forgiveness is the answer to so many of our woes, anguish, and resentments.


03/05/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Grounded Presence: The Universal Emulsifier >>
This starts with my favorite Victor Frankel quote: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” We need to have the ability to notice the stimulus our reactivity and upset provide in order to stop and come back to grounded presence. Our grounded presence is the great emulsifier – it’s the substance that can occupy the space between stimulus and response and reconcile divergent views and states. Here in resides our path of growth and freedom. Do take time to reflect on this and absorb this truth into your being.


02/15/2014 | Weekly Thoughts from David | What Really Matters, David’s Views from Years of Life
<< Ultimately, All There Is, is Love >>
Love is manifested through receptive, grounded presence interwoven with the acceptance of non-judgmentalness and unconditional open heartedness, which does not imply concurring, condoning, or capitulating to one’s own or the other’s behavior. Love involves a commitment to further the well-being and growth of both the self and another. Love is fueled by an exploratory instinct, which is manifested in unrestricted and genuine curiosity to deeply know and experience the heart of ones’ self and of that of another.