Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Type of People I Want In My Life

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I had a conversation with two different friends yesterday. These conversations led me to reflect on the type of people I wish to have in my life.

A little over a year ago I became involved in a local community of men after participating in the New Warrior Training Adventure offered by the ManKind Project. I first heard of the ManKind Project a number of years ago. I recently received an email that enumerated "principles" of the ManKind Project. I am sharing these below as well as offering some of my own commentary (in italics) on them.

Principles of the ManKind Project

MKP didn't invent these - initiated men became aware of them, and choose to live by them. These principles are unchanging and absolute. The intention is to follow these principles always, and to be aware of, acknowledge and learn from those times when these principles are forgotten.

Responsibility -- I am responsible for my life--my feelings, my choices, and my actions. I choose my reactions. I use "I" statements.
To be fully responsible for your life on a consistent basis is, as I understand it, to choose each and every day to live in and from your personal power. Being a fully responsible person is the antithesis of living out of a victim identity. Just following this one major principle alone can seem quite daunting. I myself have previously struggled with feelings of victimization. We may indeed experience horrific victimization in our lives. But the choice to seek to transcend undesired circumstances is always ours to make.

Integrity -- My choices and actions are consistent with my intentions, mission and commitments. I keep my promises. I do what I say I will. I walk the talk.
Another word for integrity could be alignment. A daily practice of examining our actions and how they do or do not align with our core values can help us to live lives of integrity. A current primary focus of my own healing journey is my intention to clear out my heart space of psychic "debris" such as sadness that took up residence in my heart as a child.

Self-awareness -- I examine my thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I am aware of "shadows", patterns, and limiting beliefs that compromise my integrity with these principles.
Self-awareness can be a difficult one to cultivate. I am aware that I have had a pattern of thinking in my own past that was filled with cynicism, anger and a sense of victimization. Though I have healed from the anger and rage I once carried I still am attending to more subtle emotional states that are also unfortunate to carry around.

Accountability -- I "own it" when I am out of integrity with another person. I acknowledge the consequences of my actions, and the choices and intentions behind them. I learn and grow from these lessons.
Accountability is a big one for me. One of my primary issues in my own life was being very genuinely victimized by a number of individuals and institutions when I was a child. It became easy for me to be cynical. I often struggled with what I often interpreted to be some very adolescent sounding interior monologue: "Why should I be a person of integrity willing to be held accountable for my own actions when so many individuals who were influential adults when I was a kid were very dysfunctional and even dangerous?" Becoming, and wanting to be, a responsible adult can be very difficult when you had few positive examples close to you as a child.

Clarity -- I seek understanding. I know what I want. I know who I am.
I sometimes think that clarity is a lifelong process of discovery. I am finally starting to become very clear on what I want and need. If we want to be effective people in the world who use our energy and skills wisely we would be wise to continually seek clarity about who we are and what we need and want.
Mission -- I seek to discover my true mission of service and choose to live in integrity with it.
Mission is what serves as the guiding director of our lives. If we were to imagine our individual life as symbolized by a boat our personal mission would be the steering mechanism. Without a clear mission we can end up living aimless lives marked by confusion, loneliness and ineffectiveness.

Action -- I take action to live my mission and fulfill my commitments. I ask for help when I need it. I ask for what I want. I move through my fear. I take risks.
Moving through fear can be a real challenge. Every day we are presented with any number of opportunities to say 'yes' or 'no' to many things. How much of our lives is dictated by fear? Taking concerted action reminds me of another big issue from my own life. Some of my deepest wounds I carried were due to the inaction of others. I made up a deeply painful narrative that people from my family of origin that supposedly care about me would do more than they did to protect and nurture me.

Authenticity -- I am sincere and honest in all my dealings. I am aware of and own my feelings. I speak my truth. I come from my heart. I am genuine and real.
Authenticity seems to be at a low ebb here in the United States of America. I look around and find myself craving more honest people. I believe the deep seated problems confronting the nation of my citizenry cannot and will not be resolved until we honestly examine the issues at hand. Such honest exploration requires we do not avoid issues, minimize them, deflect our own responsibility in them and so on.

Directness -- I speak clearly to others of my perceptions, feelings and judgments towards them. I neither practice nor tolerate sideways comments and gossip. I am loyal to myself and my brothers and sisters.
I have become a much more direct person as a result of my own personal growth journey. As time has become more precious to me I have come to feel I have no time for the mind games and drama that others get involved in.

Trust -- I trust the process. I am worthy of trust. As I live these principles and values, I learn to trust and respect myself.
I sometimes wonder if there is a person alive who doesn't experience some degree of difficulty in trusting. If we have been wounded I think it's only natural that we will develop some reticence in fully trusting in the future. So how do we trust? That's a good question. I live with that question every day.

Unconditional Love -- I love and accept all others, without reservation. I value and celebrate our differences. I love and accept myself as I am, right now. I achieve a life of love by raising my consciousness to the level from which all love flows.
As I understand it the practice of unconditional love requires that we do not try to change other people. By definition loving someone in an unconditional way means we do not place requirements on them to be or behave in a certain way. Love is not the same as approval. Valuing and celebrating all people is, in my estimation, a central piece in the possibility of creating an enlightened planetary civilization. Is such a world possible? I believe that it is. Some people might consider me a fool to believe in such a possibility. But hasn't that been the way many people have viewed those whose beliefs were ahead of their own time?

Compassion -- I see all behavior as a statement of love or a cry for help. I see and seek to heal the wounds behind "negative" behaviors. I look for the positive intent behind all behavior and strive to forgive of myself and others.
Compassion has always been important to me. If there is one gift I have received (or did I have it inside and simply cultivate it myself?) due to the extensive wounding I experienced it is my capacity to appreciate and empathize with the pain of others. 

I intend to be a better man. I am well on my way.

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