Love is in the Relationship Dance

I recently read the book, “The Shack” by William P. Young a couple of the concepts presented in this book were Relationships and Expectancy.  The first talks about how God is a verb that she is constantly showing love through action and in the service of others through relationships.  The later is about how expectancy is dynamic and undefined as opposed to expectation which is a fixed “law” or absolute.  Both of these concepts have a theme around movement and not static rules.  It is in this concept of movement that I am currently pondering.

I’ve thought a lot about my relationship with God over the years and in the beginning (mine not hers), I was just trying to understand what the Church was trying to teach me about what my relationship with God was supposed to be like.  While I thought I understood that love was supposed to be unconditional and forgiving, I was confused as to why God wouldn’t accept me if I messed up.  The idea that a set of rules He gave us were absolute and unforgivable didn’t coincide with what my belief of what love was.  Even if you added in that Jesus basically dismissed having to follow these rules, you still needed to accept Jesus as your “lord and savior” to be saved and allowed to spend eternity with God.  This is still an absolute non-dynamic rule and not much of a true loving relationship.

I was always afraid of screwing up and making God mad.  Now as I’m older and nearly 40 years later, I understand my confusion as a child was completely misleading.  I now know that I am acceptable to God or The Universe no matter what.  As a matter of my belief, I don’t even believe that The Universe needs to accept me at all or even needs this as a requirement.  I don’t believe there are any requirements.  I am part of It and It is part of me. The Universe, as I see it, is completely neutral toward me because it equally an fully Loves ALL parts of itself completely and fully.  If I were to apply the “rules” of the bible toward my belief then that would mean that The Universe would have to find some part of its own self unacceptable, which is just not possible.

What I see now as I expand forth into my days, is that my true impact and legacy will be in the relationships that I form with any and all people in my life.  It’s not about worship or supplication to a god, but rather in how I treat my neighbors, my friends, family and equally as important – in how I treat strangers.  It’s the time I take to slow down and be present with them that will ultimately change the world around me.  I know now that it matters not if I claim any flavor of religion or spirituality .  It is in the relationships I build and care for that I truly show my immense capacity for love.

This Great Flow of Life in all its infinite variations continues to persist with the ultimate goal and outcomes of growth and experience.  Tragedy happens and sometimes it’s all so unbearable, but the trend and effect always moves toward learning growth.  As I look back at my life and events up to now, I see the difficult times and the joy together and not as opposites.  I see the Great Dance of my life as it manifests toward grace and love.  I cannot deny this no matter what happens.

I was watching the beginning of the Presidential Inauguration today and was listening to the invocation and the above concepts again came to mind.  The speaker was recounting some of the struggles and trials we’ve been through as a nation and world.  This reminded me of the persistence of life even though in the moment things can seem so dire and out of control.  If you know anything about history, each period has been full of these same sorts of feelings and events from the beginning.  Death, destruction, war, poverty, inequality, natural disasters, world calamities, etc.  These things feel this way right here and now, but the real truth is that even though they are present, they are really a small part of all of the massive amount of good that is happening in the world.  Really, if you think about it for a moment, there are approximately 7 billion people on the planet and how many of those people are really fighting in actual combat or killing one another in cities and towns around the world?  The number is but a tiny fraction of the total yet we perceive that at any moment we will all die or be affected by a great global or local calamity.  The perception is what controls us and is totally false.  This perception is what “those in power” want us to believe such that a form a control can be established.  The spread of fear is by far the most effective means to control a massive amount of people with very little effort.

I’m reminded of a story I read about how they train elephants and control them.  They start out by chaining their leg with a manacle and have it staked to the ground so they can’t escape.  Slowly over time the size of the chain and manacle is reduced until finally the elephant has only a simple flimsy rope tied to its leg.  Even though the elephant could easily break the rope and walk away, they don’t because the perceive they are still chained by the same force as it was before.  This same kind of concept is being done to us each and every day through how things are reported to us by the mass media.  Any event that happens in the world whether it be a bombing in a far away country or a shooting at an elementary school, it brought directly to us live and constantly for hours.  The individual tragedy is the manacle and chain and the constant repeating of the event is the small rope that binds us with fear to live life.

We are so constantly afraid of what might happen or who will be offended that we stop living a joyful life.  We are “trained” by advertising, reality shows and the news to be afraid of other countries, our neighbors and most of all ourselves.  We are trained to rely on others for approval and to be told what is acceptable.  We judge ourselves and others against this false ideal that can be broken and walked away from at any time.

What I challenge yourself to do is to see the truth of life around you.  See how much of life really flows and creates with little or no effort by you.  Look around and see how people in your community and in the places you travel treat each other.  I think if you started keeping score of all the “good” things you see and the creation that happens, you will find that a vast majority of life is positive and full of grace.  You will see that with tragedy comes understanding, outreach, cooperation, growth and rebuilding.  Sometimes the time between these things is very long, but ultimately they end with us growing as human beings, even if the growth is perceptibly small at times.

I believe that this ebb and flow of life is a grand dance in an ever changing relationship of people and the planet. I believe that the persistence and inclination of life is Love itself and this relationship is the Grand Design of The Universe that requires nothing from us.

– Dwight Raatz

I Gave at the Office

Recently a I read and article that attempted to answer the following question, “What are some of the things in this world you have a hard time accepting?”.  The author went on to talk about vast difference of wealth in the world, how we as Americans spend more on our daily coffee than others make in a whole day and how we have become apathetic to the violence happening locally and in the world around us.  Below is some thoughts on these topics.

My thoughts on the “inequalities of the world” may not be so acceptable to some.  Mainly, I think it’s been this way forever and it is the nature of being human.  The issue here isn’t inequalities, it’s in how we treat each other and our “opinions” of how others should live that are different than “us”.  I look back at the times where I’ve had judgement of others who were different than me, and there are two events that stand out with regard to someone I felt was “needing more” or had less than I and I considered them “wanting”.  The first I remember, is a story about a lady who came to me for Reconnective Healing session, she was on my table and stank of urine and alcohol and was by all appearances a “crazy cat lady” with an alcohol problem.  I felt sorry for her as she looked like a tortured soul laying there.  Then I witnessed her soul rise up from her body and greet me with love and happiness.  This was a happy soul with a chosen life and did not need pity or for someone to feel sorry for her.  The other experience is when I went to Peru and spent 8 days with a family in the Amazon Rainforest.  These people had “nothing” by our standards, but they were the happiest people I’ve ever met. These were humbling experiences and made a profound affect on my perspective of others, and how I was being judgmental.

I think the real issue is when people want to “help” but the cost for the help is telling these people how they should live and what to believe.  These people have chosen to be on this planet and they have chosen to procreate.  Sometimes they want us to feel sorry for them, yet they don’t take responsibility to stop their own population growth.  This isn’t a judgment on morals or religion, but rather economics and what makes sense from the standpoint of food, shelter, clothing and the supply of them all.  It’s fine to help, but it’s not okay to place expectations on how others will receive that help or what they will do with the resources they receive.  I also understand that some people of the world have oppressive governments, who try to live within their means and work hard.  For these people, I think the world owes them some kind of respite or chance for growth and freedom.

I have no issues wanting to help others, but I do have a strong suspicion of “organizations” out there asking for money to help the poor.  First, I really don’t know who to trust and who really has the moral fortitude to be an organization I want to stand behind.  What is the money really going to provide?  What kind of overhead do they have?  Who’s salary will I be paying when I send my check in?  I’ve heard so many stories about organizations like the Salvation Army who have been around for decades that really don’t reflect my own personal beliefs on relationships, religion and helping ALL people regardless of their sexual orientation, religion, creed, etc.  Yet they stand at the entrances of local shops and groceries ringing their bells and asking to support these viewpoints while not really spelling out their own prejudices.  I prefer to associate with organizations like Feed My Starving Children who have low overhead and I can put time into helping their cause.  The other preference I have is to help people locally.  I’ve never understood why we send money elsewhere when we have homeless, freezing people right here in our own neighborhoods.  I think helping those abroad is important for sure, but let’s not forget our own.  This is really the future in sustainable populations – each area supporting its own first, then the extra can go to other areas who may be struggling because of natural or otherwise disasters.  It is up to each person and each society to be responsible for its own actions first and to figure out how to adjust to make themselves thrive.

As for the topic of apathy and violence, this is something I was just talking with my son about this past holiday.  Everything we are inundated with in the media and to an extent society, numbs us to think what we are seeing is acceptable.  We as “the people” tend to be outraged for a few minutes and then find something shiny off in the distance and promptly forget the tragedies of only moments before.  I believe this sort of “memory loss” is directly related to what we see happening on TV and the movies.  We really don’t worry about how it ends because doesn’t everything end up nice and neat within the 60 or 120 minute time allotment? No one seems to really feel the effects of tragedy unless it happens to them directly.  I even see things that happen within a family be forgotten within a short amount of time and people go right on living life.  They see the same injustices happening right out their own front door without raising much of any kind of emotion in them.  The only way we are going to change apathy is to teach our children by examples of loving each other.  The children will see how we accept things and what we don’t.  We need to show them how connecting to that person at the bus stop or the lone child at the play ground or the elderly man who is shuffling down the sidewalk is an important action to take.  We need to show them how to stop, listen with intent, rapture and respect.  Show them how to slow down and take the time that each of us deserve to be recognized and respected.  These acts will then spread and grow with the generation and eventually take over the “culture” of the world.

I just posted something to the effect that the news media doesn’t want you to know that there is much more good in the world than bad.  That the isolated “events” of tragedy should be dealt with for what they are, but the response to these events should be from a place of active love and responsibility and not reactive fear.  Each event of violence, natural disasters, etc are horrible, but we lose connection with them because we don’t allow them to affect us directly in any way.  This is what the media, video games, movies have taught us, that we see what’s happening around us as it’s in a virtual world and isn’t real.  So when we see it on the news or in newspapers, it isn’t real there either.

 

Dwight Raatz

The Sorcerer – art by Michel Pleau

The Sorcerer
art by Michel Pleau

The story about this art piece titled, “The Sorcerer” by Michel Pleau is very interesting.  Michel was approached by Nancy who commissioned the piece in honor of  her father who used to tell Nancy stories as a child.  She tells the story of how since she can remember, her dad would tell her stories at bedtime.  These stories weren’t from a book or bought from a store, but rather he told her an ongoing story of a young girl named Mathilda and the harsh but magical lands in which she lived.  The stories chronicled the adventures of Mathilda as she grew and navigated this realm.  It was a time were everything about life seemed to be in an unstable and in transitional upheaval.  Even the earth itself was undecided about its destiny and it was a time were all beings were in this state of flux and there was a great need for direction and leadership.  Nancy tells how her father would describe how Mathilda would connect with nature as a way to become grounded and to see the clear truth of the world and herself.  Mathilda would then show others this truth and provide leadership by example for others.  Nancy spoke at length about how these stories made such an amazing impact on her life as she grew up.  They helped Nancy see how she could make a positive impact on the world around her and how to have many deep and fulfilling relationships.  Nancy tells of how Mathilda didn’t see herself as anyone special, but rather as an ambassador of life’s truth.  This truth she saw as her greatest power and this power eventually enabled her to become a very wise and gracious sorcerer.  As Nancy spoke about her father’s stories I could sense the deep impact they had on her.  She commissioned this piece in honor of her father, but it was being given to her own daughter as a gift.  You see, Nancy continues her dad’s stories with her own daughter and these stories really are a guide of the truth and self empowerment for her as well.  I have been so very blessed to have a second edition of this piece of art and I will always think of Mathilda, “The Sorcerer of Truth”.

Dwight Raatz

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Active Contentment

What does it mean to be contented?  Merriam-Webster defines it as:
: the quality or state of being contented
: feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation

Sometimes I think that being content is like giving up.  For example, if you have a relationship that isn’t fulfilling, but you’ve decided that it’s good enough.  Or, perhaps you’re being told that you should “count your blessings” and be content with what you have.  I really think this is bullshit and that a person thinking these things has given up a part of themselves.  Especially when it comes to relationships, I think we’ve all been programmed to think that once we’ve indicated that we are connected to another person in an intimate way, we need to find all our fulfillment in them.  The reality of this is that no one can be everything to another person.  We each have our own interests and passions that can certainly overlap with another’s, but why give up on the rest?  What happens when you meet that other person who is a perfect fit for some or all of the rest of what you are passionate about?  Why does anyone need to give up “the rest” out of some ideal that it would be wrong or immoral to connect with another person who can fulfill that for us?

It’s important to indicate that just because you are not finding complete fulfillment in another, doesn’t mean that there is anything “wrong” with that person or that they are “bad” in some way.  I’ve personally been married for almost 25 years to someone I consider to be my best friend in this lifetime.  However, for many years I have had a driving force telling me that I needed to expand on my experiences with relationships with others.  This doesn’t mean that my wife is “not enough” or that there is something wrong with her in any way.  I just simply means that I want to experience more things with other people.  You might be thinking that this is just a “mid-life crisis”, but it isn’t because I’ve always known this about myself, I was just not brave enough to express it until this past year.  Once you are married you are fit into a specific role that has specific expectations by society.  I thought there was something wrong with me and that I was somehow faulty or not good enough.  It has been through my process of increasing my awareness that I’ve discovered that I don’t have to be stuck in a role that I had nothing to do with creating.  I also discovered that by communicating my desires and intent to her, that we can and are, creating a new way of being together.  This is not just being content, but what I call “Active Contentment”.  Active Contentment requires a person to take responsibility for all aspects of their life and to Actively work on being Content!  This is a process of evaluating my life repeatedly in who I am and what I desire to experience, then make a decision and a plan of Action that will adjust things so it moves me toward that goal.  This process is ongoing and has no end.  After all, it’s actually pretty awesome to take control of my life in an active and pro-active way!  The other benefit of what we are doing with our relationship, is that we are both growing more independent, grounded in who we are, and focused on what really matters in our relationship.  This concept has been very confusing for some that have been witnessing our changes, and I think the most confusing part for them is that we aren’t acting in the way they would “expect” two married people who no longer live together should act.  Society most definitely wants to neatly categorize our actions and to set expectations on the outcomes, but at every turn we are causing the expectations to collapse and forcing people to re-evaluate their perception of how a relationship can be.

Another area to consider is what you do for work, whether it is a job or maybe a business you are running.  You’ve made a contract or arrangement with the employer or your employees to the work or service you provide, but if you aren’t happy with what you are doing, why not change?  I can certainly understand this from both perspectives as I’ve been an employer and an employee.  I have experienced stepping into an agreement that I will do something and then perhaps after a time I’ve find that it just isn’t working.  Then what I’ve done in the past is to start to feel guilty about changing, that I will somehow be letting “them” down if I leave my job or have to close the business.  In my last business I wasn’t getting enough cash flow to support the overhead expenses of rent and payroll so instead of shutting it down at that point, I cashed out one of my retirement accounts (at a penalty of course plus taxes) in order to fund the business and pay my employees.  The only thing this did was postpone the inevitable and drain me of a savings I’d been building up for over 20 years.  Out of a perceived “responsibility” to others, I’m the one who ultimately suffered.  I suffered the guilt, the anxiety and the loss of money for nothing.  I also see this all the time with people who have jobs that they really don’t like at all.  Rather than doing something about it, they stay, feel miserable and sometimes complain to everyone who will listen about the job and the employer.  In the end, nothing usually gets solved from the situation, the person is unfulfilled and everyone around them is robbed of having a positive relationship with that person.

For me, I’ve been doing the same kind of work for over 20 years, but never fulfilled with what I’m doing.  This has caused me to move around in my jobs hoping the next place will be the one to fulfill that need and during this time I would “suffer” this discontentment by having anxieties and depression about feeling lost in my life and career.  I would always have a reason to seek the greener grass to motivate me to find a new job or start a business.  I never spent the time to really understand what was at the core of my discontent and therefore kept re-creating the same situation over and over hoping for a different result (therefore insanity was a reality for me).  Through Active Contentment I was able to discover that the root of my issues around my jobs was in my own lack of self esteem and self love.  I never felt that I ever measured up to my expectations nor the perceived expectations of others.  My “assumptions” said that others found me lacking and that I wasn’t really capable of performing at the level which is really needed for this position or as this kind of employer.   However, the overwhelming responses I’ve always received from reviews and customers, was that I am an exceptional person.

I had a recent experience where I was talking with a former customer of mine about the business I had closed.  I was indicating to them that I had found someone locally to take on my customer’s needs and that they were very competent and capable of handling the same services I had provided.  The customer looked at me and said that I didn’t get it; that it was Me that people wanted to have as a service provider, not just someone that would provide them with a “service”.  I was stunned by this as I had never considered what I was doing or who I was as exceptional or irreplaceable.  This gave me a whole new perspective on myself that was at the beginnings of my discovery of a positive self worth.

Active Contentment means that you have responsibility, but it also means that you have the freedom to choose how you are going to feel content.  For me in my job, I’ve shifted into an active contentment about what I do.  This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on changing what I do for a living at some point, but it does mean that I’m a lot happier in the meantime.  I am choosing to love myself, to see the great things that I do and am able to do, to admit freely of things I don’t understand and to seek help without embarrassment or self deprecation.  I am choosing to leverage my employment to prepare my life in a way that will enable to me step away from what I’m doing now, to a new career or business.  I am choosing to be excited and methodical without being unrealistic.  I am choosing to discover what it is about another person that intrigues me or attracts me to them without feeling like I’m betraying someone else or myself.  I am choosing to be content but not to give up or settle.

What can you do in your life to be content without giving up or settling?

 

Dwight Raatz

Submit

Have you ever committed to something and the moment you do, things begin to change?  For me, I can reason and think about actions I might want to take, but nothing much changes until I submit and commit.  By submit, I mean that you take an action or step that commits you toward the goal or destination you have decided to attain.  This action is something that you can’t easily change your mind after submitting.  In my case, I recently went on a trip that involved quite a few things outside of my comfort zone because it was out of the United States and involved traveling to a retreat in the middle of the Amazon jungle with no connection to the outside world.

As I was on the retreat center’s web site and I filled out the payment forms, the moment I clicked the submit button to send my payment, I could feel things change and shift.  This was even compounded more when I booked the hotels and flights.  There was no changing my mind, no going back.  I committed to the journey and the Universe started to manifest my wishes.  I felt different immediately, lighter, more free, nervous, excited, focused.  Debate or worry about going on the trip ceased and a new perspective started.  I only had to decide what I wanted and it began to form immediately.  This has me wondering about all of the other things in my life that I’ve “thought” about, worried about, not decided.  I think about all the time and energy that I wasted in the space of indecision and worry that came to nothing in the end.  I can see how it’s better to make a dozen different decisions than to worry and think about one decision that takes forever to decide (if at all).  Deciding is an action that sets in motion a whole myriad of other actions and releases a flood of energy that is fully dedicated to making what you decided come to life.  If after making the decision you see that it isn’t working, then you decide something different and again set in motion more actions and energy.  The first decision loses it power and dissipates into the void (or some might say that the first decision continues on to create an alternate reality) and the new decision begins to take form.  It’s the indecision that blocks energy which can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, constipation, and other forms of dis-ease.

Submit to me also means to release.  Once you have “filled out the forms and clicked submit”, you have decided to do something and then released that decision out to the Universe to become manifest.  In my act of submitting to the retreat journey, I sent out to several organizations my intent to act and it was up to them to fulfill my intent.  At that point all I needed to do was show up!  Yes, that’s right; you can do the act of deciding and acting on that decision, but it really takes many subsequent actions to fulfill the intent for my part of the agreement.  Each subsequent decision and act continues to build a momentum of energy that culminates once you’ve reached your goal or destination.  Then the energy can resolve and complete to satisfaction, self-assurance, joy and even love.

If you’re feeling the anxiety and pressures of life holding you in place, the best thing to do is start making decisions and lots of them!

Dwight Raatz

The Reality of Fog

Fog is like the illusion of reality.  There are things that exist but are just out of site.

As I was driving in fog recently, I was suddenly struck with the feeling of isolation as I could only see about 100 feet in any direction around my car.  Every so often I would meet a car going the opposite way, that didn’t exist a few seconds earlier.  This was even more prevalent with drivers who chose not to turn on their lights whose vehicle’s would seemingly pop out of nowhere.

This observation started me thinking about the nature of perception and our reality and it reminded me of a recent trip I took to Peru with my friend Andrew.  We were standing in one of the airport corridors trying to determine which direction we needed to go to find our gate “D6”.  As we both looked down the hall toward some signage, I saw the sign hanging from the ceiling that stated gates D11 – D15 were down that particular direction and when I said to my friend that we needed to go the other direction, he gave me a quizzical look and said, no we need to go the direction of the sign that had our gate number on it.  It turned out that even though we were standing only a foot apart, from my perspective I saw one sign, but not the one he was seeing.  Nor did he see the sign I was seeing (even though they were in the same direction of the same hallway).  It was all a matter of perspective because of where we were standing and the difference in our heights.  We both saw the “truth”, but we just saw different aspects of the truth.

This observation can be related to so many aspects of life ranging from the economy, to the state of the world, to relationships, to religion, to war, etc.  Each of us has a historical life-time of experiences and influences from our environment that we use as a comparison for constructing our everyday realities.  These “perspectives on the truth” are at the very core of everything you know.  We become so convinced that our perspectives are the only obvious truth and that everyone should know or see this truth the same way as you do.  We are so entrenched in our truths that we are willing to kill for it or to even die for it.

The real truth is that there isn’t any one superior or all encompassing truth and we need to keep reminding ourselves of this each time we think we know what we are saying, seeing or doing.  Especially when it doesn’t agree with or match up with what someone else is saying, seeing or doing.  Like my friend and me, we needed to take a moment and say to each other, wait a minute, can you show me what you are seeing, because I’m not seeing what you are seeing.  I didn’t take much for me to move over and stoop down to see a completely different view of the same hallway and the sign to our gate.  Seeing the other perspective doesn’t mean that either of us were wrong, we just saw different versions of the same truth.

Like driving in a fog when you see your whole world around you, just wait a moment or move just a little bit and you may see it completely different than before.

Dwight Raatz

A Defining Moment

In November of this year, I will be traveling to Peru to take part in several shamanic ayahuasca ceremonies over the course of eight days.  Initially I was just excited to take part in a shamanic tradition that has been part of the native Peruvian culture for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  I know that there are many ways a person can experience deep connection to themselves as well as the realms beyond through meditation, journey work and other forms of energy work.  Even though I’ll be shifting into high gear during these ceremonies, I know that there are really no short cuts to this process.  I know that I will be processing and growing from my experiences there for months after.  My goals in going were simple but I also needed to focus on what I really wanted to get out of these ceremonies that would help me propel forward in my path, so I put the request out to the Universe – “Help me discover what I need to release and show me the next steps in my path.” was the request I made about two months ago.  Nothing has really come up that has given me clarity on what to focus on… that is until recently – the work has begun and the path is being illuminated before me.

 

In my last post (The Contradiction of This Day), I wrote about coming to terms with my feelings around celebrating my mother’s birth day and mourning my father’s death on the same day.  I also wrote about the feelings of loneliness that I’ve been experiencing lately.  Initially I thought that these feelings of loneliness were related to the five year anniversary of my dad passing.  It seemed to make sense, but I wasn’t completely convinced.  Then this morning many aspects of my life started to connect together in front of me, charting the course back through time showing me events and circumstances that have shaped as well as restricted me, until I reached one moment in time that stands out.  This moment is very vivid to me and is one that I’ve gone back to many times and have released the events of that day, but what I’m seeing now is a pattern of many other events that parallel this one.

 

I grew up on a family farm in south-eastern North Dakota.  If you’ve been so lucky to have been raised on a farm, you know that you grow up just “knowing” how to do things.  Things like driving tractors, vehicles, fixing things, working with animals and having a real sense of what to do next and the satisfaction of a good day’s work done.  I had all of these experiences and I also knew I was good at them all.  The “good” wasn’t boastful, just a knowing that had no doubts and I felt valued and appreciated by my family – even though this appreciation was never verbally expressed.  There came a day when my father decided to quite farming in 1978 and he made it clear to all of my siblings that he refused any of us to take up this vocation.  So, at the age of 14 I was “out of a job” so to speak.  I decided to look for work with a local farmer, but I couldn’t work at this age unless I went through special “tractor school” training to prove I could safely work on a farm, drive a tractor, backup up trailers, etc.  The training days arrived and one of the challenges was to back up a four-wheel trailer into a designated area.  While this kind of trailer can be challenging for some, I had full confidence in my abilities.  My turn arrived and up on the small tractor I jumped, and zip-zap, the trailer was in its spot.  I felt great that I achieved this easily and jumped down.  On my way back to the group of boys, three of four of them came up to me and said since I had done such a great job, I was supposed to walk across the parking lot to where a man was driving a tractor to get some kind of special task to do.  Thrilled that these boys talked with me and ready for the next challenge, off I went.  I walked right up to this man and asked what he wanted me to do.  As you might have guessed, it was a prank on me.  Then I had to make the walk of shame back to the group of laughing boys with my head hanging low.  This was my first real public humiliation and it came on the heels of a triumph I had just experienced.

 

I know that experiences like these are not uncommon for kids to experience, and in a way it’s like the many forms of bullying that kids experience every day.  What I didn’t realized until this morning was the huge affect this defining moment has had on my life.  From that day forward, I became very withdrawn and never did anything that would make me stand out from the crowd.  Even though I knew I had the skills and know how to do many things, I never put myself out there.  If I was in a group situation, I tended to let others lead – even though I would work closely with that leader giving them advice.  I was always second fiddle by design and very very infrequently allowed myself to have any fun.  Having fun means that I would be vulnerable to judgment and ridicule.  If I did have fun, it was still measured and only in the company of very close friends.

 

What I’m now discovering is this defining moment has created a ripple effect in my life creating boundaries, blocks and a huge amount of low self esteem that have lead me to anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and a tendency to be slightly obsessive to the point where I create drama where none exists.  This all came out of a pattern in my life developed from a moment in time where I lost my innocence and in a way, I lost the love I had for myself.  I doubted who I was and began to build an illusion that I was really not good enough for anyone, that I was really not worthy of anyone loving the true Dwight – because I was faulty.  So henceforth, I created the new version of Dwight that would be safer and less likely to be hurt.

 

The new Dwight lost much of his strong masculine traits like confidence, daring, rebelliousness, etc.  What come forth was more feminine traits like caring, nurturing, listening, protection of the self and connecting with others who were wounded.  I became obsessed with females seeing them as accepting and nurturing.  As I stepped more into my puberty years and on throughout college, I became preoccupied with masturbation and fantasizing about sex with women.  I saw Playboy pictures and Penthouse stories as the ideal of what women wanted and expected from a man and if I cannot deliver, then I am not a real man.  This rolled forward into my adult years where my expectations of what I was supposed to be able to do became sexual dysfunction and all the doubt and frustrations and self-judgment that have developed from that.  The maddening part is that I still have an obsession with sex, but it won’t work for me when I want it to the most.  I’ve become trapped in a catch-22 situation where I’ve sabotaged myself from enjoying sex because that means I would truly have to open up my real self to my partner.  It’s much safer to do poorly and maybe they will give up and reject me proving my belief that I am not a real man, that I deserve to be alone because I’m not worthy of love since I am not capable.  I can’t allow anyone into that protected space for fear that I will fail and be found out as less than adequate.  The funny and rather paradoxical thing is that even though I’ve done all of these things to myself, I’ve still managed to attract women into my life in a variety of relationships.  For those who have tried to get close to me or even the one I married, none of them have really ever known the true Dwight.  They may have an idea of me, or even caught glimpses of me, but no one knows the truth or that playful man that is deep within me.

 

I have those who do love me unconditionally, but I feel unworthy – I am flawed, I am a fake – Do they truly love the real me or my puppet.  I wouldn’t blame them if they left, said you’re crazy, you’re a twisted fuck who should be locked up.  They can’t waste their time with me, I wouldn’t blame them, I am broken – Imperfect

 

I’ve been my true self and been ridiculed, bullied
The walls are up to protect
Be quiet, follow orders, don’t stand out, don’t be free
You will attract attention and be ridiculed again
Protection is paramount
Acceptance is desired
Come and find me
I am alone
Who will love me?
Don’t let them know the true self
Put up a front – fool them
Don’t let them in
You may be hurt again
Must protect
Lonely

My salvation is to align myself – to no longer be trapped by my illusion.  I MUST come out – I must play without self-prejudice.  I must release the illusions and hell that I’ve created in myself or I will surely die without true fulfillment in the life that I came here to experience.

 

Dwight Raatz

The Contradiction of This Day

Today I honor two events connected to my life.  The first is the celebration of my mother’s birth day and the second is the celebration and mourning of my father’s transition to the other side of the veil.  This day reminds me of the cycle of existence in that we are born, live and then die again.  Which is parallel to the cycle of nature – Spring = Birth and Creation and Fall = Death and the Harvest or gathering in.  Often times we focus on these two events more than the other two aspects of existence which are Summer = Living and Winter = Reflection and Preparation.  Each phase is important and balanced even though it can be hard to see sometimes.

 

The emotions in me today are fluctuating and at times very tearful.  While I miss my dad’s physical presence, I can feel him in my life every day.  Today is the celebration of life and all of its phases.  Since, I believe, there is only physical death, I choose to honor my parents in the two phases of life that are of great importance; their choice to be born and their choice to move on to their next phase.

 

Lately I’ve had this feeling of loneliness and to be honest I haven’t felt lonely in decades.  Even when I’ve traveled by myself, I always felt connected to someone.  I’ve spent the past ten or so months clearing what no longer serves me from my life.  Most of these “things” have been energetic and emotional programming I’ve received over the past 40 plus years.  And some of the clearing has involved unnecessary material things that is now being donated to others in need. Whatever aspect of the clearing, it’s been a necessary step in my evolution as I transition to my next phase of existence.

 

Up ’til now, I’ve been so focused on the clearing that I’ve not spent much time on knowing what to do with the space that I’ve created.  Initially, I was wanting to fill that space with all the things that I “thought” I wanted instead.  But a funny thing happened in that when I started to fill the space again, I became uncomfortable with myself and felt like I was restricting myself back to where I came from.  This just wasn’t going to do.  So I just stopped!  I decided to let that space just be space, to be nothing at all.  What I found is that the less “stuff” I had filling my life, the more peace and wholeness that I felt.  This was going all fine and dandy, until recently this feeling of loneliness has come up.  My only thought on this so far is that it was coming up on the anniversary of my dad’s passing and also the contradiction of feelings on this day of celebration of my mom’s birth.  It’s hard to know where to go with these feelings even though I try to focus on my dad’s life and the great affect he had on me and so many in his life.

 

So, the great contradiction of this day has come and almost gone, but I think the contradiction really lives on in each day.  The contradiction of living life, being creative and expanding your awareness beyond all limitations or focusing on misery, restrictions, gloom and the impending physical death that will come for all of us.  We never know when the Reaper will come calling for us, just as you might think my dad didn’t know.  From the witness accounts of seeing him that day, he was glowing and full of life and happiness.  I choose to believe that, at some deep level, he really knew it was the day of his return Home and the literal glow that people saw was his True Self beginning to expand out from his physical being.  He would never know the pain of the crash as his Self would already be gone, leaving behind a shell of flesh and bone.  He was going Home and that is where I will see him again.

 

Dwight Raatz

Gods Among Us

Our Children Are Divine

As our children emerge into this life from the womb, they are the closest beings (aside from nature) that is connected to the Universal Divine Source. In spending time with my Grandson (pictured here eating cherry tomatoes), I am in awe of his presence and feel like I’m with someone who is not fully human, but more Divine.  As we grow and dis-connect more into our reality illusion, it is our children who are truly Gods among us.  Spend time to see your child’s simple perspective of life and know that you have much to learn from them.  Laugh, Smile, Enjoy the Succulent tastes of Nature, Love without condition, Show your emotions without shame – then Forgive and let go.  Sleep soundly in the arms of those you love, even if it just yourself.  Give love AND receive it graciously.  Help all children to stay connected and to not fall into the illusion we did.  This is how we will change the world.

 

Dwight Raatz

The Addiction Factor

There seems to be many addictions a person can have like drugs, sex, work, Hello Kitty, etc. What it is that drives us to have an addiction, that state of being that something so simple can occupy our thoughts and cause us great distraction?  How can we engineer our lives to match up that same addiction factor with what really fulfills us?  For example, I have a desire to play a guitar.  But I’ve been very successful at procrastinating on learning this very thing.  How can I take my desire and apply an addiction factor to it?  Is this “factor” learned?  Is it biological?  Where does it come from?  I think if I can crack the code to the addiction factor and apply it to any of my desires, there is nothing I couldn’t achieve.

I think that fear is the main source of our procrastination in achieving our desires, but also the main source of our addictions.  It seems those addictions we have, maintain such power over us that we will almost stop at nothing to achieve them.  Fear is the one power in our lives that rules so many people; that drives us to do many things we really don’t want to do at all.  How can we “flip” fear to work for us?  How can we trick it to take its immense power and apply it to achieve our personal, life fulfilling desires?

I think the key to mastering our fear and ultimately to achieving our desires is to truly Know Thyself.  What I mean by this is to understand that the true You is not your thoughts or your mind, but rather something much more powerful.  The true You is Limitless and can achieve all that you desire.  You have just forgotten who You really are.   To take the power of fear and flip it to your favor you must step outside of the self or the mind and see them as tools.  Your mind is a great orchestrator, organizer and very effective at achieving results.  So, when you have a goal of playing a guitar and you find yourself coming up with all kinds of reasons not to learn it, Stop and step outside of these thoughts and see them as false.  See that this is the ego “protecting” you by convincing you that you shouldn’t even try because it will be too hard or that you will be embarrassed if someone heard you play.  The True You can take control and say to your mind, “shut up!”, this is my decision to make not yours.  The power here is that You are taking control of this decision and you see your ego’s thoughts as a distraction.  This power position, once it’s fully realized, can be a source of great pleasure and passion for more.  Once you see how effective you can naturally be at achieving all your desires by directing your thoughts and mind, you will want more until you have firmly created an addiction to being You!

I am not my self nor my mind
I am much more powerful
I have the wisdom of the ages
I am limitless in potential
I need only choose and act
I am awakening to this truth

Dwight Raatz