Individual Storytelling — Shifting from Me to We

The Storytelling Species: Makers & Players of Reality Bubbles (Continued)

How Being Outside Helped Me Observe Better Mind Stories that Helped Me Repair My Lost and Little Boat Cast Adrift on an Endless Sea of Unconsciousness.

Exercising Outside & How It Helped Me Shift to We

ComE to Terms with COVID-19 & Make CRITICAL Internal Adjustments

I started bike riding outside for exercise after my gym closed down due to a national lockdown mandated after the Coronavirus began spreading in the community during March (however, hindsight shows it probably was spreading in the community much earlier). When my gym reopened in June, I went back only to discover they were allowing people to not wear masks while exercising. I was shocked and thought this was extremely short-sighted. But then, I think they knew this because they made me sign a document saying I would not sue them if I contracted COVID-19 at the gym.

Howbeit, I believe I already contracted COVID at the gym in March before the lockdown was issued; before we knew what was coming for us. I blame this ignorance, this lack of information of the American people, solely on the Trump administration who withheld it because they believed it would disrupt be bad for the economy and this would be bad for Trump’s re-election. This strategic withholding of information would prove to be fatal for hundreds of thousands of Americans. Indeed, it was a homicidal decision Trump made and has repeatedly doubled down believing it would help him get re-elected to deny reality. But, the only thing it did was needlessly increase the spread of this virus because Trump politicized it by calling it a fake Democratic ploy, by refusing to wear a mask, and by holding giant rallies where people crammed together, most not wearing masks (creating a Coronavirus’ dream domain) and telling his beautiful supporters coming to see him: ‘it’s nothing, it’s like the flu, one day: like a miracle, it will go away.’

And, Bob Woodward tells us in Trump’s own words that he knew it was a deadly airborne pathogen and he knew this in January. Woodward reveals this in his book, Rage, and backs it up with recorded interviews with Trump who often called Woodward to tell him things going on at the White House. We also know what Trump was telling the American people in January, February, and March when this pathogen could have been contained, but Trump lost interest sometime in April and swung the doors wide open in May never looking back, rather telling Woodward ominously in August: “Nothing more could have been done.”

It didn’t go away as Trump promised. One confirmed case turned into 2, that turned in 4, that turned into 8, then 16, then 32, and then 64, then 128, then 256… that turned into 13.6 million (this is how many confirmed cases of Coronavirus there are as I write this blog at the end of November 2020). And this is just the United States. Of these people who got infected, 293,000+ beloved souls have died (12/11/20). And around the world, the global infection is much higher: 69.8 million people have been infected with 1.59 million people succumbing to this deadly new disease.

And, I believe the infection and death rates are undercounts. So do many scientists and doctors because at the beginning of the pandemic we didn’t know what to look for, we didn’t have tests, and we were not told how it really spreads–through the air, just breathing. For my own possibly undiagnosed early case, my symptoms felt the worse on a Sunday night. It was very early March 2020. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and went to bed at 6 pm, which is unusually early for me. After that I’ve experienced continuing fatigue; foggy head and dizziness; sharp headaches upon waking up for no apparent reason; a feeling of restriction in my lungs when I try to take a deep breath, especially while bike riding; sometimes a usual heart rate; extreme pain in joints that sometimes makes me stop in my tracks; and slight cough. The symptoms come and go. Because of how mild the initial symptoms were, I did not seek treatment or a test (which was not available at that time even if I wanted one), nor did I quarantine or wear a mask or do any of the things we do now because I, along with everyone else, didn’t know how deadly this virus was for 1 to 2% of those who got infected (a number 10+ times more deadlier than the flu). Due to this, I have been paying close attention to people and the doctors trying to help them who are suffering with long lasting affects of COVID-19; something being called long-haul syndrome.

Also, I think someone died at my gym because of the criminal withholding of information by the Trump administration. It was a cleaning woman; an individual I’d known for over a decade. She did not know English well, but she was very kind and a hard worker. I learned from a woman who exercised around the same time and we talked regularly. She asked me if I knew this cleaning woman had died. I was shocked. I did not know. She told me she had died in January after a sudden and unexpected illness. She was not that old, but she was Hispanic and had endured many hardships. Also, she could not work from home (not that we even knew we should do this at that time last year).

Regardless of possibly already having contracted COVID at my gym, I have not returned to it, opting to stay outdoors, even in the extreme heat of summer and now the cold of winter. (Here is an article studying reinfection rates from COVID-19.) Following are some of the discoveries I made inside myself because of making this choice to stay outside. A decision to change long held routines I did not think I could survive without, but come to find that I could and this change was making me stronger inside.

He Landed on My Finger & Would Not Fly Away — Photo by Bebe

Internal Change 1: Shifting from Me to We

Seeing More of Me Helped Me See More of We

At first, my commitment to exercise outside was entirely selfish aimed at keeping me and my family safe. But as I remained outdoors, something began to shift and transform inside of me. I could feel myself slowing down and disengaging from the deeply embedded routines of my cultural programming: all those things I had been told I needed to do to be a good person and contribute to my society. But really, these were the things demanded by the economy, and I had to learn them in order to survive as a person privileged enough to be born as a citizen of this country.

I had learned the rules and played by them for a long, long time. But I had fatal flaws for the system of consciousness within which I must survive. I probably learned them from my father. Moral attributes such as when I see something that is not fair or hurting someone else, to speak up about it and take action if possible. But, this is not always appreciated in Western-based society. There are things that happened in this system that one is supposed to ignore. If I spoke up about these things, I was punished, especially in the corporate world like speaking up about a boss who is doing something unethical, even illegal. For these things, I was duly punished. It didn’t matter if I was working in a healthcare setting, a nonprofit setting, or a for-profit setting. The unstated rule was: if you don’t have power, shut and go along with the group think, the tide of that system, its workplace culture. Every workplace, educational system, and community has a culture–slight differences and preferences different than the bigger collective within which they exist–things that make each smaller system different and unique just like individuals are.

The last time I spoke up about such things, I was duly punished by the CEO who required absolute fidelity to her will. Because I had advocated for myself, I was fired for being with my father during the 10 days he lived after his heart attack. This happened a year and a half before COVID hit, but it left me deeply traumatized for just 3 years earlier, I was thrown off the corporate ship of the organization I had been working for 6 years because I had done the same, advocating for myself by calling out deceptive and unethical behaviors of individuals who needed a scapegoat or to do work that went in circles, billable work but work that milked the system. (See Fresh Air interview from 2017 with Novelist John Le Carré Reflects On His Own ‘Legacy’ Of Spying and from 2018 with Novelist John Le Carré Reflects On His Own ‘Legacy’ Of Spying who talks about fraudulent and unethical systems, including working for his own father who asked him to conduct criminal work on his behalf.)

Also, two more important remembrances of le Carré and what made him the astounding man he was capable of deep insights into what drives human character include the following remembrance of Robert Harris:

“John le Carré, master of the spy thriller, has died at the age of 89. (…) In 2004, he told NPR’s Robert Siegel that “the one thing that marks most writers is the condition of unhappiness and alienation. I went to my first boarding school at the age of five, and I think it just drove me in upon myself and made the fictitious world the real one for me, that the imaginative world was a refuge that I could retreat to when life became incomprehensible.”

— Robert Harris, a fellow British fiction writer, in NPR interview remembering le Carré

And, When he was sent away at the age of five — because his mother had left him, abandoned him — his brother was also at another school. And on a Sunday, so lonely, they used to get on a train and meet in a field midway between the two of them and just hold one another, he said. His eyes welled up with tears as he was describing this story, and I remember thinking, “ah, well, that’s why you’re always writing novels about betrayal. And that’s why you feel so angry, quite often, about society and the British establishment.” It all went back, I think, to the trauma of his childhood, which he indicated.”

— Robert Harris, a fellow British fiction writer, in NPR interview remembering le Carré

The cruelties that are an integral part of our modern economic realities are palpable, especially for individuals forced to exist on the lower rungs of the existing system of commerce. For people trapped on the lower levels of Western society, day-to-day reality is stark and sharp, particularly if they try to better their lot in life. For people who exist on higher levels of the current system of consciousness establish to keep the bodies holding the light of consciousness alive but enslaved for the use of others who have gobbled up resources, power, and control, there are modest advantages. But, the greatest advantages are reserved for the few at the very top and for anyone below them, there is an automatic amnestic inflicted on humans trying to exist on the lower levels, but not the lowest. This effect makes them ignorant of what is happening to people on any level of being below them. It takes a lot of inner energy to grow beyond this amnesia effect baked into the higher rungs of our dominate system of consciousness. To fit into this system and receive any benefits from it, an individual must remain ignorant or risk being knocked off the rung they are standing on and trying to exist. In this system, ignorance is rewarded by the collective. Intelligence growth of consciousness is punished by throwing the daring ones off the lopsided superstructure created by Westernized systems of thinking and being in the world. Because this system has gobble up most of the resources of Earth, getting thrown off it can mean physical death.

With the arrival of COVID-19, millions and millions of people are experiencing the cruel realities of the systems they are trying to exist inside. It’s not their fault they have lost their jobs. This is a novel virus running its course through the human race. It’s not their employer’s fault either for letting them go–many small to mid-size businesses are facing extinction themselves due to the massive economic crisis created by this global disaster. It’s not even the fault of our fearless leaders. This is because each and every one of them is playing a well-defined role inside our system of consciousness: the one we choose long, long ago to exist inside as individuals. (See Weaving Reality — So Many Humans, So Many Versions of Reality & How Did We Get Here?, go down to: ‘How To Make A Slave’ Author On The Advice That Changed His Writing Career, and then down to Alan Watts for what I mean by this.)

Divergence on Why Cruel Systems of Consciousness Evolved

Long ago, when humans were confronted with deadly realities abounding in the natural world, people found it tremendously advantageous to belong to a collective (i.e., family group, clan, tribe, dynasty, empire, nation). A breathtaking amount of groups emerged around the world over vast amounts of time that grew into thriving cultures and civilizations. Many ways of life have risen and fallen since humanity stepped into itself most sacred ability of all human abilities and this is living in a state of consciousness defined as a state of knowing that one knows. To accommodate this state of knowing, humans devised collective states of consciousness. This would be systems that organized conscious states of being into complex orders and arrangements that benefited the entire group. Heretofore, no collective system of consciousness has achieved perfection. And thus it falls upon the individual to struggle forward in imperfect systems of consciousness to try to help the collectivized systems of being conscious in the world evolve. There have been vastly wiser and more compassionate collectives that have existed in the world. Some still exist now. But most have been devoured by Western Civilization, which dominates the collective world order of consciousness on Earth today. It has distilled and achieved incredible heights of knowledge and understanding about this world as it has evolved. But it has also demonstrated incredibly cruel, brutal, and heinous capacities. Just like individuals, collectives exist with expansive reservoirs of unconsciousness. If this unconsciousness is artificially left in the dark and not allowed to be distilled, refined, processed, and synthesized by individuals using their individual light of consciousness, an imbalance can grow that can warp the trajectory of the entire system of consciousness towards a destructive course.

So, this is where our leaders find themselves now. They are embedded an ever evolving system of consciousness that has become warped and each are playing rigidly defined roles that have grown out of this system and have been played out many times before. In a sense, they are stuck in deep rivulets of being that have been carved out inside the system over vast amounts of time. These rivulets as patterns of thought, of behavior, and of action–each something that has been performed many times before in the earlier existence of this system. When an individual steps into a collective role, they activate powerful reservoirs of inner mental energy that has been poured into that role by all the members of they system. The outer manifestations of a high ranking collective role are fairly obvious. A CEO oversees all the operations of a corporation, a boss oversees the employees under him, a President or King oversees a nation. What we have forgotten a Modern people is that when an individual steps into a collective role, they also activate and have access to inner psychic-mental energy that all members of the society have contributed to the role. This energy is invisible, but it is powerful for it holds power over the hearts and minds of the members of the clan or civilization. Some individuals in powerful collective roles play despicable character. Others play more benevolent parts within the system. All jiggle and jive for power. When one side becomes too powerful, it can lock all roles into rigid, entrenched patterns of behavior that if left unbalanced will grow hopelessly lopsided: a condition, that if not corrected, will lead to system collapse (i.e., the system of consciousness will devour itself).

Because I have suffered cruelty inflicted by the economic and social systems dictating our shared collective reality, I have become more sensitive to the suffering of others who have long suffered the inequalities and brutalities of our current system of being conscious. It is something that I have been waking up to over decades, but this year was supercharged with the barbaric murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. My hometown in Minneapolis. I know the architecture of that city. I know its streets, its ways, its movements, its pulse and its rhythms. I felt its pain along with hundreds and thousands of individuals bearing accurate witness to this heinous, barbarous, savage reality of our modern western system of life. (See After Math: The Magical Calculus of Consciousness, Introduction about bearing accurate, insight provided by Barry Kort.)

This murderous, brutal collective reality has been normalized and thrust back into the mainstream of American society, especially in the last 4 years by the Trump Administration. >>has cumulated in a recognition that I was born into and have grown out of the cultural bowl that has given rise to the MAGA movement. I do not like or support this movement or Trump in any way; however, when I went down to film the first MAGA rally after Trump lost the 2020 election, I recognize myself in the people I was filming. I grew up in this culture. I could pass for a MAGA supporter and move within its currents easily and without being questioned until I opened my mouth and stated my opinions and beliefs. Only then would I be labeled other.

Cacophony — The Beautiful Humans of Earth

Still working on..

(see Black & Brown Live Matter) dramatically pulled my attention from my own inner suffering to be an accurate witness to this collective injustice Western Civilization has been conducting for centuries (See After Math: The Magical Calculus of Consciousness, Introduction about bearing accurate, an insight of Barry Kort).

I confronted for advocating for myself and others. I had been punished in other systems of work for not going along with the crooked warp of those who had power over me. So all this punishment meted out by the system that demanded blind obedience left me crushed with unbearable feelings of abandonment, failure, disillusionment, and despair. And so with the arrival of Corona, I had to find ways to replace the last two routines keeping me sane: going to the gym and going to the pool. Being outdoors made the most sense to me, even in the heat, rain, wind, and now cold. I found I could adapt. I began noticing all the life around me, and as I did, I felt less anxious and less depressed and more connected to life. This allowed a sense of belonging to slip back into my devastated inner world.

This feeling of consecutiveness extended beyond myself, my family, and what I was noticing. It extended to everyone and from here it was an easy jump to understand wearing a mask and maintaining social distance were easy actions I could take to contribute to a better shared reality for all of us, especially vulnerable individuals (like the cleaning lady who probably died of Corona at my gym). And after spending those 10 days with dad, I knew how hard the doctors and nurses work to save people. So, this is something I could do to help them. I also kept myself informed by listening to trusted sources of information. To me, a trusted source is a scientist, a doctor, or an individual who is deeply involved in the subject (an expert) being discussed (see Resilience Resources: Weaving Reality — So Many Humans, So Many Versions of Reality & How Did We Get Here?; go down to: The Highly Involved vs The Not So Highly Involved).

This year in particular, I have been shocked by how many of ‘my friends’ have discarded science as elitist hogwash and labeled experts as evil beings who are out to murder all of humanity, preferring to believe in and peddle stories of alternative realities. I will return to this in a little bit, but first, I will talk about how going slower helped me survive 2020.

I realized after I published this blog, it was a draft that had been incorporated into another post. Please forgive my error. Here are links to the full series:

The Storytelling Species — Makers & Players of Reality | Part 1
The Story of the Sea of Misery | Part 2
The Story of the Death of the Father | Part 3
The Stories We Tell Become the Myths We Live | Collective Storytelling | Part 4
Fake, Fake, Fake Worlds | Collective Storytelling | Part 5
Individual Storytelling — The Critical Ingredient | Part 6