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Posts Tagged ‘life’

On Divorce, Relationships, Society, and Human Progress

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Iris & Jarome Bali wedding photo
My blog has been quite vacant for many years.
How to write about the challenges of moving to a culture completely opposite to your own, and the process of your life falling apart, your failure after a decade of trying, in denial, to fix problems that were unfixable and loss of the chance to be with your son you had waited so long for and to suffer the same fate as my divorced parents?

In 2013 I finally accepted defeat, I had waited over 10 years to have a family, and spent 6 gruelling years and every penny I had trying to adopt a child only to have him taken away by my ex when she decided to move back to Canada in response to my ‘year of patience’. I won’t go into the complicated and confusing details. The most painful and difficult time in my life, yes, but I don’t blame her for what happened, or myself, this was a failure of society.

Shoghi Effendi said, “A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome…”

There are dark forces at work in our society, suffering is far too common as a result of ambitions for profit and this has become a distraction to solving common health problems that are destroying families and taking lives.
We are witnessing the collapse of its social structure and the functional, healthy family. Proof of this is in the fact that even amongst the Baha’i community, one that is the utmost authority on unity and healthy community building, over 50% of marriages are failing, This is by no means because the Baha’i system doesn’t work, it is working to unite vastly different cultures in over 200 countries, but it is not immune to the deeply rooted problems in our society that eat away like a cancer at our communities, families, relationships, our lives, our human progress. Their source is al the things our culture prides itself on most: individualism, materialism, self glorification, apathy, and mediocrity. These poisons are alone enough to destroy any marriage and relationship never mind hope for a healthy society that is progressing forward. That is not to say progress is not being made, it is just being greatly hindered.

There is a major and essential component of our education missing that is required to heal this cancer, that is the ability to have healthy and effective relationships with other human beings. Simple right? Absolutely essential for our lives, correct? And yet, where did you have a chance to learn this properly? Did your parents teach you this essential skill? Were they successful in exemplifying this? It should have been taught in middle school, but did you even have a chance to learn it in university? We are not taught the most essential skills required for a healthy and effective life. The only place my ex and I probably ever had a chance to learn this was in a Baha’i study that was a few paragraphs long, the topic of effective consultation that is free of ego. A longer course on the topic is coming, but this is not a task for the Baha’i community alone, it is something that should be taught as early and as often as possible. ‘Effective Relationships’ is an essential skill every human needs to be a master at to have a healthy life and be a community building member of society! But most of us never have a chance to learn this.

I could go on, but a similar disturbing example of our delusions about education in essential skills is the fact that we think that as human beings, because we have the ability to procreate, that we know how to parent a child. Parenting is not something we innately know how to do effectively it is something we need to learn through research and insight from those parents who have raised children that are well balanced, successful, helpful members of society.

These two points about being educated to relate well with others are interlinked, how can we effectively raise children if we cannot relate to each other and pursue healthy relationships? We cannot be naive and think that because we live on a planet with millions of other humans we are innately great at having healthy relationships with each other! We’ve well proven that not to be true. Without these dark forces influencing every aspect of our lives, and a spiritual education at a young age, maybe, but right now that is not the case for most of us.
Without a daily spiritual practice that reminds us that we are created by something greater, spirits in a material world, a world designed to help us grow and develop, our egos WILL take control of our lives, which means we will NOT be in control any longer. Human society cannot progress in this animal state. As long as our egos are in control, there is no hope for happy marriage, well raised children, and healthy society! When our ego is in control, it’s hard to learn or even accept we need to educate ourselves or improve.

Abdu’l-Baha said…“we must be willing to clear away all that we have previously learned, all that would clog our steps on the way to truth…The principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples is ignorance. Today the mass of the people are uninformed even as to ordinary affairs, how much less do they grasp the core of the important problems and complex needs of the time”

Now don’t get me wrong, hope is not lost. My life itself has been rejuvenated, I have a wonderful Chinese wife and we have started a new family together. Every day in the world, there are undeniable signs of human progress and advancement the likes of which we have not seen in a thousand years.

The Baha’i Universal House of Justice said:

“Yet there is reassurance in the knowledge that, amidst the disintegration, a new kind of collective life is taking shape which gives practical expression to all that is heavenly in human beings. Have hope. It will not always be so.”

Maybe your reading this and thinking, “What’s he going on about? My life is pretty good and everything is great!” Well I’m not talking about how to keep things going the way they are, this is about advancing civilization, probably a few hundred years process in my opinion.
I could go on, but I think I’ve said more than enough to get the thoughts that have burdened my mind for years out in the open to hopefully benefit someone like myself.
So in conclusion, If your reading this and have children and don’t want them to end up in unhappy, broken, divorce affected lives, you have an obligation to educate them to relate effectively with others of all races, classes and personalities. This may mean transforming yourself as a parent first. This starts but should not end with virtues:

“Give them (the children) the advantage of every useful kind of knowledge. Let them share in every new and rare and wondrous craft and art. Bring them up to work and strive, and accustom them to hardship. Teach them to dedicate their lives to matters of great import, and inspire them to undertake studies that will benefit mankind.” – Abdu’l-Baha

(accustoming children to hardship is so key, my spoiled western upbringing has given me unrealistic expectations that are way too high, a problem most pre 2000 Chinese don’t have)

This is one of the most important principles of the Baha’i faith that attracted me: The principle of universal and compulsory education.
Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play their part in maintaining a healthy system. Similarly, harmonious relationships among individuals, communities, and institutions serve to sustain society and allow for the advancement of civilization.

As long as 2 people are willing, There are more and more resources out there to help us reduce the number of relationship casualties. I assisted Baha’i artist Elika Mahony who has been married over 20 years  put together a page dedicated to relationships and marriage here.
http://www.elikamahony.com/home/love-marriage/
John Gottman has also done amazing research to help people with all types of relationships
https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/
He says, to make a relationship last, we need to learn how to manage conflict and ‘keep it calm’, generate greater understanding. Baha’is are often too idealistic, thinking they can accomplish today what may take many years to master in eliminating conflict’. Sometimes we need the practical, scientific approach of research to make realistic progress.

I only wish I new as a child or even 20 years ago what I know now. Everyone should have that chance before they embark on their life journey!

A new way to get what you want in life

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

I’ve been studying a lot about how to get more of what I want out of life over the last few years, mainly because I really haven’t been getting that despite every effort. One person that has started me on that path is an amazing person and artist, life coach Laura Harley.

But as I studied all the Ekhart Tolle’s and ‘The Secret’ and such famous resources to get back to the important things in life, I still felt something was missing, because these things didn’t seem to work even when followed completely. I met many others who said the same thing, so I knew it wasn’t just me…
I’ve been getting fantastic results from a specific expert in guided meditations recently, Kelly Howell, and I found the answer I had been looking for in one of her Theatre of the mind podcasts called “energy from within”.
Without getting into a lot of detail, The podcast featured a guest speaker who had read pretty much all the help books that exist, and came to a revelation which I will reveal in point form:
– your energy level determines your happiness, success & effectiveness in the thoughts you manifest & wether those thoughts become the things you desire. This is not physical energy, but something more mental or even spiritual.
– its not enough to just think positive thoughts & practise the secret famed ‘law of attraction’, you need to have the positive energy to make it happen
– certain things drain this energy & other things replenish it. This is different for everyone. This is called ‘energy metabolism’
– gratitude lists, positive thinking, books, and most other self help techniques cant work when your energy tank is low, if things are going wrong in your life despite your every effort, you need to replenish it and you will see things will start to happen
– inspired, effective spirit focused meditation is one powerful way to alter your energy metabolism, just like your food metabolism
– replenishing your energy is as simple as reducing the things that suck your energy (certain people, activities) and doing more things that you love that give you energy back (hopefully, your work, music, nature, good friends, and other activities)
– in future, good doctors will measure this & tell you how low you are, and help you raise it through specific activities suited to your needs
(for now, you’ll have to go to a life coach like Laura Harley)

Here’s how to start:

  • Step 1: start realizing who and what gives you energy & what drains it.
  • Step 2: eliminate all unnecessary energy drains (unfortunately some are unavoidable). Replace with those that replenish them
  • Step 3: start your day with 3 easy simple things that make you feel good and do them.

Make no mistake, this information is huge! It works, and if you use it, it WILL transform your life!

So now whenever life takes a nosedive, I quickly turn to some of those things that build up my energy again, and I find I’m able to survive some of the most extreme situations, and come out not only functional, but successful.
I’m still working on it and trying to get there to this place I aspire to despite many challenges, but at least now I have ALL the tools needed to do it!

What kind of things would bring you the energy you need to get where you want to go?


The End Of Control: Waking Up From Life’s Illusions

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

For most of my life, like most people, I’ve gone to great lengths to control my things and make sure everything turned out the way I wanted.

Things never really turned out the way I wanted though at all, and I realized that my desire for control over life was exactly why I wasn’t receiving all the benefits I deserved!

I decided to start doing something totally different: Let a higher power have control, recognize and trust my instincts, and just accept things that come into my path. And amazing things started to happen! Amazing people and opportunities I never could have imagined started coming into my life, and they still are. My life is taking a very different path, and I’m heading towards fantastic things and a new balance and happiness that never would have been possible without relinquishing control, and waking up from the illusion of needing to be in control of everything in my life.

So you want to try it? I read a great blog post that will help you with this if you feel your ready to make some big changes in your life to have the amazing things that elude most people.

Zen Habits: “How to Give Yourself to Whatever the Moment Brings, and Forget Stress”

Here’s another great post about changing your life:
Derek Sivers: “Doing The Opposite Of Everyone Is Valuable”

great quote that reflects my beleifs

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

“It is not enough to criticize society without offering a workable alternative.”

– Jacque Fresco


The Quest for Balance in My Life

Monday, April 6th, 2009

For the last couple years, I’ve been on a quest for balance in my life. Just basic things like a couple days off a week and the time necessary to create the best work possible regardless of budget elude me.

I’d like to argue that a decent income can no longer get you a bit of savings and a roof over your head due to the poor planning and selfishness of previous generations, but when it comes down to it, I have taken on far more than I should financially making it so that I need to work constantly. This has little to do with me being a workaholic, being inefficient, or not charging enough, the amount I work is basically out of necessity to cover expenses.

Seeing the now famous documentary ‘The Story Of Stuff’ again recently was a reality check for me. I couldn’t stop thinking, how did I become one of those people, that in their quest for stuff they thought they needed, (no matter how ‘necessary’) had sacrificed balance in life? Sure, I deserve to have a nice car, and own a great home, but the reality of the world, where I live in North America anyway, is that it’s not really possible for most people if you want to have balance and freedom in your life.

I’ve realized that having time, for myself, and things important to me besides my work is not only essential to helping me be the person I’m meant to be, but it is more important to me than any of those things that society tells us we need, or think will bring happiness. In fact, I’ve started getting rid of as much as I can, starting with things that are worth money, including big things like my new car, and my home. And before you think I’ve lost it, I’m not the only successful business owner to do so, Derek Sivers, founder of the largest indie music retailer in the world wrote a great blog about doing just this called ‘Ahh, to own nothing’.

Getting rid of stuff that ties you down is so freeing and liberating!

And I’ve started to build my businesses with the same philosophy, so I can operate anywhere, without being tied down to one place. It’s a monumental task, but thanks to developments in management techniques, outsourcing and technology, It can now be done.

Next, I’m focusing on the 20% of my actions that are actually effective, and reducing or eliminating the 80% that aren’t. A great book I just finally read that is helping me with this ‘The Power Of Focus’.

At this point, I’m working on getting a few days off a month. By the end of the year, I expect to have a 5 day work week like most of the planet…

So what has helped you achieve the balance you want in life?

Has fear made you the walking dead?

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Many who know me know I have no problem taking risks, and strongly stating my opinions and beliefs. In fact, right now i’m taking one of the biggest risks I ever have with a new venture that I’ll be blogging about in detail soon…

That’s mainly because I feel that if you have to live on this insane, corrupt, self obsessed planet, you have to make the most out of it, and live it to it’s fullest. Not because this is ‘it’, far from it! This life is just to get us warmed up and prepared for the worlds beyond. I take risks because as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said, if you live life in fear, your not really living at all, your already dead:

“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.
You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.
You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.
Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.
And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
You died when you refused to stand up for right.
You died when you refused to stand up for truth.
You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.

Great quote about the new world order

Monday, September 1st, 2008

“The world is changing, and our outlook needs to change with it, because old models don’t cut it anymore…”

– Blake Ross, co-founder of Firefox web browser, downloaded over 300 million times worldwide