One of the goals of this letter is to be a conversation starter and relationship transformer. I see many other great possibilities that may result from the writing of this personal manifesto. I hope it will inspire others to really go deep into who they are, air out the closets of the mind, and open up their important, even vulnerable spaces to others. Following that intention comes the opportunity for action - creativity and service to others, both of which give rise to a world that works.
I'll make a short version and also a long version which will be for future discussions.
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I. Who I am as a creation, my Created Self:
Who I am is the World as Family. It took a lot of work and coaching, and deep insight to make this declaration. If it hadn't been for Heather Smith-McNiff's laser perception of the soul, I'm not sure I would have really known this bedrock of my soul.
The World as Family expresses my Self fully. It expresses my personal desire for affinity as well as my commitment that others experience affinity in abundance. I see my commitment as an access to create a world full of peace and joy while allowing for the rigorous and sometimes difficult conversation that is required to create real affinity. What do I mean by affinity? Affinity to me is a love that is not just expressed by agreement and sympahty or even empathy, but a commitment that others may live their best life.
I only wish I had enough energy and courage to continuously powerfully support all those I know and interact with in their pursuit for fulfillment, connection, love, and awareness. And I like most people experience break downs in my commitment to live a creative and created existence. One of my heroes- concentration camp survivor and psychologist, Viktor Frankl views creativity (as well as love) as a function of the higher self, one's enlightened conscience that is in tune with God and the universal conscience. By taking creative actions, especially amidst suffering and despair, is to spite survival and normalcy. A creative and thoughtful deed simultaneously brings your Self in line with a life goal, a reason for existence, and an excuse for using and wasting carbon.
II. My Ego, Act, It
A. Hidden /counterintentions
B. What triggers it
I am most angry, sad, and frustrated when I have failed at a commitment toward others. This is when I hide or freeze when the amygdala takes over. This is mostly inward anger, though it can be directed at others. Even when directed at others, I often try to avoid conflict at all costs. This leads me to being and being perceived as passive. When you add to this my egoic/IT's tendency for self-criticism and perfectionism, this leads to a lot of lateness and things not getting done on time. So I usually wait for my circumstances to provide me with a confidence boost address the larger tasks and challenges in life.
The avoidance of conflict is an action-memory pattern that I have made up as a strategy to numb the emotions of anger and fear.
I vowed as a child not to get into arguments, in part, because I perceived them to be very traumatic and threatening. In my family I rarely saw them cause anything productive, or have a positive outcome. So I told myself that any time there was heightened anger or fear in a discussion, that I would never engage in that discussion, because it would never resolve anything. I get triggered (my IT springs into action) by people I perceive IT perceives as uncommunicative, dominant, and unpredictable or illogical.
III. My perception of you and me and the YOU I'd like to be enrolled in.
The most common point of contention between me and others and you, K-Bru, is a difference in communication and leadership styles. From my perception, I see you as mostly authoritarian and non-consultative, and minimally communicative. I acknowledge that you do communicate, and when you do, it is mostly straightforward, but it seems to come few and far between, and sometimes necessary information is communicated way too late for there to be any meaningful discussion. For example, it was probably over a month that you responded to my emails and verbal communication about the need to create a powerful community context for the house, (bills, chores, and fun things). And by the time we had this discussion, we had a fire in the fireplace, and it seemed the only thing you were interested in was getting the bills flat. Despite the fact that I had had enrollment conversations with everyone in the house about creating a context, it seemed you had little interest in creating enrollment or context and that your sole interest was finances. By the time we got the bills sorted out, people were tired and had to go to bed. This was on top of repeatedly changing things in the common spaces without enrolling everyone in the changes. Because you rarely took the time to enroll me (or others) in making changes in the house, it seemed hypocritical when you justified the reason for not informing me of the major things of mine you were moving by saying that the people in the house had different ideas than I did - that you were young and creative and had new ideas of how you wanted the house to look. It's unfair to put me in a category of not wanting change when you've never enrolled me in change.
And I see myself having a nearly opposite style of communication and leadership, as my default is to try to have as many people involved in important decision making as possible. To me, this makes the most sense in a group house as consensus, communication, and democracy honors other people. The downside is that sometimes things don't get done on time because I wait for all parties to weigh in, or I don't put enough effort into getting people to check in.
When someone night after night goes up to their room after work and spends little time in the common areas, except to eat, it sends a message, in that it sends no message, so it's easy to make up stories. Since I don't know who you are, what drives you, what your IT is like or how IT got to be that way I had very little chance of engaging with you effectively. Mark described it as having "no space in your listening" as the phenomenon where one feels free to have powerful discussions with people, but there are a few people in whose presence there is no power or freedom to be had. I don't know what you aspire to, what lights you up, either. I would like to know.
It would be easy to say that things weren't working between us because we both have strong opinions about how things should be managed or how the space should look. But this is not the case, as I have lived with MANY people in this house and others, many of whom had VERY strong opinions, and VERY DOMINANT PERSONALITIES about how things should look and what the context should be. And past residents and I have had disagreements about these things, even when I was not on the lease, and when most of the furnishings weren't mine. And we worked it out through enrolling communication, love and fun, sometimes paired with alcohol to soften the edges. Did I make it up that you weren't into enrollment and that you just did what you wanted or sometimes you just gave up when you encountered resistance from me?
Sometimes this is all just my racket, but when I'm empowered, open communication and consensus decision making is my stand and commitment. That's why I called you that night after the seminar over a month ago - to get to know who you are instead of making it up, and that's why I've written this. So if you really are communicative, I'd love for you to include me in that communication, if you are committed to a good future for human beings, I'm all ears, I'll even lend you a hand if I can. I am ready and waiting to be enrolled in who you are and what you're doing.
Just to recap - I think you're a fine human being, and I observed that you can be stubborn and you don't tend to go for enrollment conversations - at least in matters of community. But maybe that was just while I was living in the house, and there was something in the way I was being that triggered your IT. What could I have done to inspire you to have enrolling conversations about who we are as a part of a house-community?
This is what I would like to complete.
IV. And now what there is to do is to move my belongings out of the house. From what I've heard, one month is the preferred time. Under normal financial circumstances I would agree to that. In fact I would have moved my stuff out a long time ago if I had been gainfully employed. Frankly, I don't have any financial recourse currently. My job starts in June. In the following weeks I will be searching for temporary/part-time employment so I can put money toward a storage unit.
My biggest financial concern is my car, which will require several hundred dollars just to get inspected and retitled, not including any repairs that may need to be made. Packing and moving my furniture and other belongings won't require a huge financial investment, but moving the car will. So I would like to work something out in which I get my belongings moved out first, and the car later.
One big way that could make all this happen is to hammer out an agreement around my deposit. Even part of this back could really help me get the ball rolling. What do you think?
Lastly, I was wondering if anyone in the house has reached out to X, who has confided that he hasn't filed his tax returns for the last several years. If someone would take the time to sit down with him, create a free tax return at H&R block (that's how I did it this year) or through the IRS website: He would be in line to receive quite possibly several thousand dollars, at least one thousand for the past year, as that's a standard for singles who make under a 30K. He can also file for his Pennsylvania and other state returns online, gaining even more money. I think this would be a huge victory for him, even if someone sat down with him the entire time. I would even volunteer my time if I lived near.