My children are my real legacy. They are the most unique, individual, incredible group of human beings that you could ever imagine. They are creative, inventive, resourceful, reliable, responsible, loving, fun and thousands of other positive adjectives. I have not blogged much about them but I decided to leave them my best ideas as a legacy that they may or may not accept. I must also add that we have four amazing great grandchildren, who call me GiGi, for Great-grandmother. I love being grandmother to two grandsons and one granddaughter and great grandmother to four children of tomorrow.
In this post, I want to tell you about one of these five children, my son, Dr. Ed Robinson. Ed has a Ph.D. in computer science, his mind is a fountainhead of original vision, genius notions, and incredible determination. He is also a musician and songwriter. We play every Sunday at our band hall. He plays drums and I play piano. We are loud. We have fun. We play blues, ragtime, and old WWII dance tunes. He indulges my tastes and my limitations. Sometimes we are joined by daughter Kaye or grandson John. Daughter Anna has played with us, too. All are welcome to come play along.
Out of these play sessions come inspired ideas. One of those came from Ed who gave me the idea of creating Pocket Grandmother. This is sort of like you can have a loving, caring grandmother in your pocket. She will be there for you and she believes in you. So, we have reserved a domain and I am starting some little “Pocket Books” written by Grandmother. Today, I give you a sample of what she will be sharing with you. I hope you enjoy it and that you start your own “Idea Legacy”:
A gift from your
This subject, CHANGE, is interesting. I notice that people seem to speak about the present situation, whatever it is, as if it is set in concrete. “I can’t believe we are still in such a mess !” Poverty, climate change, violence, greed, and all the awful problems feel like they are permanent, static, fixed forever. I remember my relatives talking during the great depression as if this was the way of it and, implied, ever it shall be. Whenever we go, there we are, and the idea that something better (or worse) is around the corner is not exactly the dominant thought.
Maybe we don’t really believe in evolution in motion. We don’t seem to be able to grasp the nature of flow. We think of things, circumstances as being solid and real. One example, when I was a child I never really conceived of the changes that have actually happened. I read Buck Rogers funny books but such possibilities were pure fantasy and not ever to be for real. The fact that we had no money seemed like the reality of forever. Now we do all those Buck Roger things-flights in space, communication devices– in real time. Big Changes. I remember President Dwight Eisenhower warning about the change that was on the horizon—the growth of the military-industrial complex and the possibility of corporate greed. It didn’t seem real at the time but here we are living in the results of that change. Faith in the future would suggest that we will change to something beyond and better than the current situation. Can we move into that optimistic kind of faith?
Old structures really do die away and new structures form to take their place. According to Nobel Prize winner Illa Prigogine’s theory of dissipative structures, the new structure is a transformational improvement on the old that is dying away. Slavery was once the norm and now it is no more, but when it was the norm, it seemed like a permanent reality. Males and females, were for centuries locked into role definitions based, unquestioningly, on gender. Gender evolution is worth examining from the viewpoint of change being a given. Add optimism rather than pessimism and the future holds bright possibilities.
Part of the flow of change is that consciousness itself evolves. I think of consciousness as awareness and the more it expands, the more elastic and evolutionary our thinking becomes. Life is profoundly different from when I was 10 years old. Just the technical developments alone are incredible. I am a product of vast changes (chemistry, technology, plus social consciousness). My life span includes the reality of intellectual-physical-spiritual change and most of that change seems for the better. I have experienced and seen in others, the expansion of consciousness into deeper meaning . I can begin to comprehend the reality of unending change. We are not stable, we are process in motion. And the process may truly represent progress. My new view is that the change is spiral in shape, getting evermore higher and broader as it circles through the turns of the journey.
Looking through evolutionary eyes, consider the highest vision you have of yourself as a real possibility. Living in a consciousness of possibility rather than an assumption of limitation is what I have discovered as truth. I do believe truth is subjective, too. There probably is no objective truth. What seemed true in 1400 appears simplistic compared to what we allow to be true in 2013. (Turns out the edge of the ocean was not there; therefore, the earth must be round, not flat.)
Our brain-mind systems are still operating on an old model with fight or flight as our answer to many contrasts or conflicts. We could center our awareness—our consciousness—more in the frontal lobes instead of the reptilian complex. Then we might discover that we are operating in an era where we are not just surviving, or avoiding predation. Predation is the fear of being eaten by predators. Nature knows no such fear. Martin Seligman wrote a lovely book about our going beyond mere survival. The title is “Flourish” and he is saying that we are capable of doing much much more. Our patterns, our habits, are still fixed in the time of long ago when we needed to survive and assure the survival of our species. Part of those old habits are revealed in our resistance to change. We want to know. We are not comfortable hanging out in the unknown. We hold on to our certainties because they make us feel safe, secure, familiar, and predictable. We even argue for these outmoded certainties rather than risk the vulnerability of questioning our assumptions.
Guilt and shame are two emotions that remain our fall back position. Both are rooted in fear. The main fear is that we are not enough. We are not nice enough, strong enough, kind enough, helpful enough and on and on. Therefore we feel fear, shame and guilt and that awful sense of inadequacy. When we are trying to shift perspective and live from the vantage point of being creators of the future that wants to emerge, we often get into the trap of fear-shame and guilt. None of these emotions serves us in our spiral of growth—they trap us in the old operating system of fear of survival. Becoming conscious, seeing our old habit patterns is paramount to evolutionary growth. The shadow is that part of us that C. G. Jung, the great psychologist described as the dark story we made up about ourselves and often project onto those around us. If growth is your goal, listen to the words you say, observe your tone of voice and your gestures-movements-postures. Your words will reveal whether or not you live with courage, compassion, and resilience. Your explanatory phrases are clear messages as to whether you are struggling to preserve some old outmoded resistance to change or whether you are embracing vulnerability and change—the movement of evolution.
e.g. Listening to a young woman describe her loveless marriage. She did not blame her husband, nor did she feel sorry for herself. Her explanatory style was more objective, describing the way both of them acted, the words they spoke, the facial expression, tone of voice. She spoke of her life as unfolding with the mystery of what might be happening in the future. Another woman, describing her marriage as a hell to which she had been condemned and from which she saw no exit. Her marriage hell was permanent, unchanging. The second woman lives in fear and her explanatory style does not allow for any possibilities that don’t have bad outcomes. Someone said, wisely, it all depends on how we look at things. We see what we look for. The first woman chose to look for the silver lining.
Mother Nature, in her evolutionary wisdom, doesn’t go into fear, shame, guilt, or inadequacy. She adapts and she moves on, creating conditions conducive to life. We are part of Nature and we have the same capacity.
I think evolutionary change comes whether we see it or not. Our own imagination, our creativity, and our attitude of optimism invites consciousness that is on the spiral of evolutionary growth. It may be as simple as knowing that thoughts are the means by which we create our reality. Therefore, our reality is an outpicturing of our thoughts. I am reading yet another book on near death experiences. This one quotes many verses from the Bible. I like threee verses from Thessalonians that say, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!” The next one says, “Pray without ceasing” And the final one says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” What if life was meant to be enjoyed (not just endured)? What if every thought was a prayer? And what if gratitude was a part of every response? Then, in my opinion, we could create a glorious future that wants to emerge.
I saw a bumper sticker on an old Volvo station wagon. It said “Oh! Evolve!” and I laughed because I think it really means “Wake up! You Will Change”…..change is the one thing we can count on.
We are process, not product. We are becoming, not there yet. We are evolving, not static. Our world is spiraling upward and, if we don’t blow ourselves up, we will move into new ways of being that are beyond my reach. The highest, grandest, most noble dreams of the future that I can cook up are still pale and small compared to what is probably around the corner in the next few centuries. I have lived from a time when we lived without benefit of electricity, plumbing, telephone, television, radio, or computers. I am wide-eyed with awe and wonder at the miracles of my every-day life. Instant communication, comfort on demand, ease of transportation, and knowledge available from a world-wide-web. What an amazing world! If it has changed that much since 1929, what possibilities are ahead for you who will live into the next century?