Power Needs Surrender

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I remember one interview where Bernard Poolman talked about how one’s greatest weaknesses are in fact one’s greatest strengths. And, what he said made sense to me, because I think that possibly the major point that I have a difficulty dealing with in my life is fear, and what I see as its’ derivatives, like anxiety and doubt. I live these emotions very strongly, I don’t remember a day in the last years where I didn’t experience these emotions at some level. These emotions have taken a toll on me physically, they tire me, and I even have a chronic disease which is caused mostly by stress and anxiety. So, I do live so very intensely, anxiety and fear, very very intensely. This intensity at times transforms into a form of deep despair… but I feel like little by little I have been recognizing more and more another part in me that coexists with this fear and anxiety. There is something inside me that feels so powerful, so big, so so big and powerful, so strong! While I outside can feel weak at times, inside I feel this…thing, that is so strong inside me. I really have no other words but those three: strong, big, and powerful. Inside me there is this little space, when I am silent and calm and I can appreciate this space in me, where there is this strength, and force, and power. So, I see how my intense fear coexists in me with this intense power and courage. And, I think that from the mix of these two (fear+power and strength) is born: Courage.

Courage, to me, is a state or an expression of someone who tries to overcome a fear, to surpass fear. And courage to me needs two interesting things to exist: one is the recognition and the appreciation of this power we see and feel inside us. And the second thing that I think courage needs to exist, the second key to courage, is vulnerability. Vulnerability, contrary to the first key, is what I have had a greater difficulty developing and expressing in my life. This is due to many factors about my upbringing and many other things that I will possibly discover later, that I don’t see yet. But, I realize that when I have dared to go for something, to overcome my fear, to take risks, to be courageous, in those moments I have been vulnerable because I was willing to trade off my fear of being seen as fearful and weak, for me, for the strength in me, for living this strength, for getting rid of this for me, it was all for me, my expression. So, I think that one of the thing that limit us and prevents us from being vulnerable and therefore courageous is our ego, and, again fear! because we fear how others see us, we fear being seen as weak, we fear rejection, we fear being humiliated, seen as less, and at the same time our ego wants us to show a strength, but it is a strength that is fake, it is very very fake, because it’s not the real one that we feel inside, the real power and greatness that we have inside. Real power and greatness are extremely vulnerable, extremely. They do not try to be power and greatness, they just are. You will see many people for instance speaking in front of audiences, and some of them seem confident, but they can be dealing very strongly with fear inside, while other speakers tremble on stage. Those that I see as trembling in front of an audience for instance, are those who are trying to overcome this fear of speaking in public, but are still being bombarded and tried to be brought down by their fear of rejection, of humiliation, of judgement. But these people that you see trembling on stages, if they give themselves that opportunity to keep trying and practice speaking up again and again until they overcome the fear, they will be very good eventually. I think that many great speakers went through that. But it is until one decides to be vulnerable and accepts the trembling on stage, that then one can discover the great speaker and orator that one has inside. So, it’s all about vulnerability, really, I think that it is the most difficult and challenging key. And even if I have had a difficulty with being vulnerable for a part in my life, I think that at least recognizing this is a big step…a big step towards vulnerability.

For more perspectives on vulnerability, listen to René Brown, she’s great!

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Early Childhood Origins of Violent Behaviour by Richard Tremblay

Some lessons and conclusions:

  • 1- “Humans do not learn to physically aggress, from their environment they learn alternatives to physical aggression.” – What does this mean to what I call “the art of parenting”? I think that this conclusion implies that, first of all, parents (this term includes teachers, guardians, and adults who care for children) must accept children’s early displays of violence/aggression as relatively normal. This is because this is part of their development and of their process of understanding and interacting with their world. It could even be argued that it is healthy for them to express what we can easily tag as “antisocial behaviour”. It is therefore a mistake to rapidly judge them, reject them, and even ostracize and segregate them. Our role as parents then becomes that of educators, educating through instruction and through example. Being the example as parents is probably the most important form of education to children, as they will copy and repeat even the subtlest aspects of our behaviour, things such as voice tonality and others that even ourselves aren’t completely aware of. So, can we ask: how can I be a peaceful example for my child(ren)? What alternatives to aggression can I teach them? Am I representing this alternative?

 

  • 2- “Environmental effects on development of physical aggression, like genetic effects are strongly intergenerational, and highly linked to maternal development. If this is true, prevention of chronic physical aggression, should probably start at conception, at the latest. And I say that in the sense that I have been talking about males, having these problem behaviours, but at the same time talking about mothers having problems and having males who are on that physical aggression trajectory. And I think that we focus too much on the males, and we need to help the girls get their act together, so that they will, when they become pregnant, take better care of themselves. And, the better care they will give to themselves will have an impact on the development of both their daughters and their sons.”

 

  • 3- Early intervention to prevent chronic physical aggression and delinquency is more effective and interestingly less expensive than interventions at adolescence and later, which not only cost more, but often, according to research findings, have the opposite desired effect.

 

  • 4-“The best predictor of success in school in children, from all the studies, is their mother’s education”*

 

  • “Unless you give infants everything they want, they cry and get angry, they even beat their own parents, and nature prompts them to do so. But they are not to blame, and are not evil, first, because they cannot do any harm, and then because, not having the use of reason, they are totally exempt from duties. If they continue to do the same things when they grown up and have acquired the strength to do harm, then they begin to be evil and to be called so. Thus an evil man is rather like a sturdy boy, or a man of childish mind, and evil is simply want of reason at an age when it normally accrues to men by nature governed by discipline and experience of harm. Unless then we say that men were made evil by nature simply because they do not have discipline and the use of reason from nature, it must be admitted that they can  have greed, fear, anger and all the other animal passions from nature, but still not be made evil by nature” – Hobbes

  • “It is always easier to forget good habits than to forget good ones” – Erasmus

The Stress, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks of my Generation: The Education System Failed Us

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“Nothing says you’re in your early 20s like a good ole’ fashioned panic attack about your life choices and the fact that every move you make is extremely critical to what path you’re going to go down for the next 5 or 10 years but i mean it’s whatever.”

I found this quote on the Internet, and I initially laughed thinking “Hah, well, I see that I am wasn’t the only one!” but then I thought about something:

Since our early childhood, most of us are placed in institutions which are supposed to be preparing us for the future, to give us the tools and knowledge we need to get along in this world when we grow up. We spend many many years learning stuff, or, should I say: memorizing and repeating what we are told. Anyways, we come accross a lot of information and we spend a lot of time in these institutions. But, interestingly, when we are faced with important decisions such as deciding what university program and career to pursue, many of us feel petrified. This usually happens around the late teens and early twenties.

But think about it, before reaching this point we have become accustomed to following the crowd and being classified by other people into grades/levels/groups, we rarely took important life decisions for ourselves. In other words, we were completely separated from the real world. Yes. Unfortunately, around this same age we realize that things weren’t that easy in this world, and this realization may hit us harder depending on the country we live in and the social class to which we “belong”, and thus the challenges that we have to face. We may feel angry, bothered, irritated, and even betrayed. The truth is that our education system failed us, because many of us didn’t get the proper information about how to get along in the real world, in other words: how to survive and make and use money wisely. I see it as if we were initially little birds, taken into cages, and overfed theories and a lot of abstract information, we became accustomed and comfortable in this cages, and then we are suddenly left to fly into the wilderness, without having learnt sufficient practical information about for example budgeting to make the best choices in the future.

I once met a girl who went to a private and expensive high school in Canada, she told me that there she had taken classes of economics and even law. In her economics class she had a long lesson on budgeting and saving, in which her teacher taught her class and gave them tips on how to budget and spend wisely on a very low income. Many of us, especially from public schools didn’t receive this kind of practical and useful information.

What do the panic attacks, fear, and anxiety about the future of my generation tell us about our education system? What if schools were also graded on how much confidence they helped their students to develop? What if schools failed as well and didn’t pass some tests? What if we regulated them to make sure that children will be more confident and less petrified when they graduate?

I mean, after a decade of learning and learning information…we should be able to at least know where certain career paths lead us! Like what the day-to-day of a doctor or a lawyer looks like for example, we should be more connected and aware of the real day-to-day world, in that way, I believe we would be less petrified and would feel more confident, as we have a clearer idea of what awaits us!

This is my share of the day. My thoughts revolve a lot around education, as I believe in the necessity and inevitability of an “education revolution” in order to change the world into a better place for all. I also am very inspired by children and the youth.

Thanks for reading.

The Corporation by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott

I was inspired by last publication about the documentary I watched on human trafficking, I saw how simple it was as an exercise to watch an interesting documentary and to write something about it. I thought that if for every documentary I watched that showed a problem, and then I try to find a solution for it, or simply question it, try to find its bias or highlight something that I had never realized before, then this simple exercise could make me develop my creativity, analytical skills and critical, objective thinking. I now have the time to do it, since I took a year off school. And almost everyday I am satiating my curiosity to learn something new, I proposed to myself what about committing myself to make sure that I learnt something new before I go to bed? Like, even having a checkbox in every day of my agenda that I can check before going to bed and say to myself “ok, today I learnt something new”. It can be a simple new word, or a more developed idea.

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So, yesterday I watched the documentary “The Corporation” by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. 2 words: Must & Watch. I felt relieved to be able to understand a little bit more what today’s power dynamics are all about. For some periods in history it has been (and still is) important to understand how certain establishments function like the church, the military, monarchy and feudality, etc. These still play an important role today, but understanding how corporations work today   is essential to understand power.

One of the most significant moments of reflection for me as I watched this documentary was when a CEO was talking about the time when he didn’t know how to respond to his client’s questions when they asked what his company was doing to protect the environment. He was looking for ways to revolutionize his company and develop an environmentally-friendly vision, and said: «but I didn’t have an environmental vision». And when he said those words the first thing that came to my mind was schooling.

I thought about our current “education” system as partly responsible for environmental decay in the world. Yes. Many children and young adults today in “developed” countries have spent at least half of their life time, excluding sleep time, in a classroom setting, far from trees, plants, animals, and simply the view of the sky sometimes. I do not remember ever learning the names of the trees that surround me for example, nor watching any documentary or getting any simple explanation about how the agricultural industry works and the process that it takes for my vegetables and my meat to get to my table.  After school, if I want to play outside (of course if I live in a secure and natural place), as the years pass I have less and less time to do it with the amount of homework increasing.

So, I thought: Yea, this is a serious problem, because now those who will for example get a MBA, and I don’t want to generalize, but I could say a big part of graduates, as they get to the end of “school” have lost almost all contact with nature throughout the years and understand very few about how our natural environment really works. So, many educated people in business are miss-educated/non-educated about the environment! And therefore it is obviously more difficult to create something that doesn’t harm the environment!

Then, I thought about a possible solution and some “crazy” ideas, because I saw the cases of many business people that had never visited the factories where the products they sold were made : What if one of the conditions to obtain an MBA was that every graduate should travel to and visit various corporations’ factories around the world, where they will have to make a report on working conditions (hour pay, length of daily shifts, hygiene, break time, treatment of employees, etc.) as well as on environmental conditions and public health conditions around those factories, for example soil and water toxicity, death rate, air pollution? I wonder what the effects of this idea would be in a country where it was implemented in every university…

The Price of Sex by Mimi Chakarova

I haven’t earned any degree in political science, economics or sociology, I am not a political analyst or  journalist, but I believe that everyone can have common sense and be able to analyze a social problem and propose solutions.

I propose one solution to sex trafficking, and it is the implementation of an unconditional basic income for everyone, because the real problem behind sex trafficking, which allows it to continue and keep growing is poverty.

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The Price of Sex by Mimi Chakarova is a documentary about human trafficking, the organization of this crime for the purposes selling sex in Eastern Europe. The most prominent feeling I see throughout the film is hopelessness. Almost everyone, either fighting against or protecting this industry, said that this problem is unstoppable and out of our hands, the solution seems unconceivable, the industry is a monster. A man that was interviewed said that a major reason why the situation of sex trafficking in Eastern Europe isn’t changing is corruption. Throughout the film I couldn’t conceive any other solution to this problem but the implementation of a basic unconditional income for everyone.

A woman said: if a girl was given the option of becoming either a nurse or a prostitute, she wouldn’t be a prostitute. The reason that pushed all the interviewed women to move out of their country, and that made them so naive when traffickers proposed them “well paying” jobs in Europe, is because of their necessity. When one is in need and lives in constant fear and worry about the future’s uncertainty, one can be very naive and trust anyone who could make the future seem more secure. But what if these women weren’t afraid of not being able to survive? What if these women knew that no matter what they did in their lives they would never struggle to find food and to meet their basic needs? Will they prefer to be prostitutes in a foreign country among the thousand other options of occupations they could invest their time and bodies in? Well, in that case, if I was asked the same question I would prefer a nurse and to have a loving and caring sex partner.

Reflection of the Day: Understanding Why Some Children Drop Out and TechnoTutor

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It’s incredible to see how one can get discouraged from continuing to read a book due to a lack of vocabulary – I am reading a mind-blowing history book which I recommend: Tragedy and Hope – As I read the first 50 pages I was happy like a little kid because I understood most words was finally understanding the history of capitalism…then I got into the banking/finance part and begun to yawn and feel stressed until I wanted to give up on reading it because I didn’t understand words like “bonds”, “securities”, “credit”,etc. – It’s crazy to see how radically my attitude towards the book changed only because of a lack of vocabulary – now imagine how children must feel in school when they get into higher educational levels without having built a strong vocabulary!!! if they don’t persist most will drop out! — Fortunately I have two superb tools: the Internet ( with video-tutorials like these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEDIj9JBTC8) and TechnoTutor to integrate these words with ease.

I planned to finish this book by the end of the summer, but I rather read it WELL and understand every word in it than to leaf through it and eventually have to come back to these terms which I will inevitably face in university lectures.

– Gift your children the tools to build their vocabulary = Gift them tools to build their future.

Gabor Maté – What Promotes Positive Health

The Biopsychosocial approach to illness explained by Gabor Maté and the importance of social interaction

DR. GABOR MATÉ: The body has many ways of saying no: almost any symptom, a stomach ache, a back spasm, a headache, nausea, dry mouth, poor sleep, muscle tension. I’m talking about relatively minor symptoms. These are all ways of the body saying no. As of course are the more severe conditions, like psoriasis or ulcerative colitis, all the ones that I’ve already mentioned. These are all ways of the body saying no.

We need to, first of all, to say and pay attention to what the body is saying to us. So if we have a symptom, don’t just go to the doctor and say, “Take this symptom away from me” — yeah, ask for help — but also explore what the body is saying no to. Usually you’ll find that in your life you’ve taken on too much, you’re suppressing yourself, you’re trying to please others too much. You’re living life along patterns that don’t express who you really are. So the symptom or the disease ought to be not just something that you want to get rid of; it ought to be the beginning of an exploration and investigation of how you live your life and how you might possibly live your life differently, in a more healthy fashion. – http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/13560-dr-gabor-mate-on-the-stress-disease-connection-addiction-and-the-destruction-of-american-childhood