I was extremely lucky to be born when, where and to who I was. When you think about the possibilities of 2 ½ billion+ souls on this planet in 1947, I was born into one of the best places on earth. That needs to be fully appreciated. It still boggles my mind that in my lifetime we have gone from 3 ½ billion in 1970 to nearly 8 billion people on this planet. What this means is any ones guess. Our numbers are certainly straining the planets resources, but at the same time it is creating a much larger and diverse gene pool of intelligence to address those challenges. I have found in most situations both the challenges and the gifts exist in the same moment. The way it unfolds is largely up to us.
I want to acknowledge my core family and the community I was born into. My mother, father, brother and sister helped me many times through challenging situations and celebrated with me when something wonderful happened. Also, the pleasure of witnessing the next generation of our family tree growing up in Neal, Lou, and Ridge. Each an interesting young man in their own right and great representatives of the family line going forward. And now (Cal)vin. Who would have thought? Family dynamics can also be a source of some of our deepest wounding and I am not saying we were perfect by any means, but later when I heard others family of origin stories; our challenges seemed somewhat less in comparison. I thank you all for that.
I also want to warmly acknowledge my significant intimate relationships. It is said that you are lucky to experience true love once in a lifetime. Then I must be extremely lucky because I experienced it five times with Anita, Jessica, Jane, Joyce and Jennifer. Each in their own way for the chapter of my life we inhabited together, a great love. My remembrances of these relationships including my three step children can be found in the appropriate chapter in which they emerged. Each contributed in their own way to me being a better person.
When: Before I arrived this time, the world had just emerged from a global war for the soul of mankind. Thankfully, the forces of freedom and democracy won. The US had also pulled out of the great depression. People were back to work, capital flowed again and abundance emerged in our part of the world that would make it possible for me to pursue my wildest dreams.
Where: To be born in the United States made me a participant in one of the grandest experiments in living the positive human qualities I cherish. Not that the US experiment has ever fully lived up to its promise, but so far I believe it is still the best system humans have yet invented that allows each individual to achieve their full potential and collectively offers the world the innovations that guide us forward as humans. And I was born in San Francisco CA, one of the most interesting cities in the US.
Fortunate indeed. The colorful Bay Area/Berkeley environment would shape me in so many interesting ways.
There were four qualities of this life that emerged for me over the years that in a sense were the times I felt most human...
Engaging in some contemplative practice that leads to something larger than yourself. For me this meant sitting meditations of both emptiness and relational traditions. It could also include walking meditations.
Communing with nature. This was one of my mother’s favorites and certainly when things got tough for me or needed reflection I would go for a walk or hike in nature. This is where I truly first found God, in the complex manifesting of the physical and the energetic world.
Creating something new. Creating something from nothing was one of my guiding forces. It was truly a part of the joy I experienced shared with some very talented co-creators in this realm.
Relating with others. Take the time to talk, laugh, consider with people you love. This is a related world. And we humans are, if nothing else, relational beings. Studies show that humans isolated for long periods of time can go crazy for lack of contact with others. In the whirl of my modern life, it was sometimes easy for me to forget my relationships.
Why Do Things Happen: Before we get into my actual stories I thought I would do a quick reflection from my experience on why anything happens at all in these lives that we inhabit. For as long as humans have reflected on the meaning of life, there has been a debate between people that believe our lives are predetermined (by some force, human or divine) or others that believe we have complete free will.
My experience is that it is both in differing quantities in any given moment. We can do all we can as individuals, but we are also a part of the collective experience (8 billion souls) that also shapes what emerges. Sometimes, one individual can truly make all the difference. In other moments, the collective story leads the way. There is also the question if there is a larger force involved. I will leave my experiences with that for later but I will say this...
I’ve had the experience of tapping into something (an idea, a feeling etc.) that seemed like it was already present. It was like lighting a torch in a darkened cave and revealing the pictographs on the wall. Is that predestined? I have also experienced creativity in the flow of the moment that seems to be something that truly emerges in real time. Is that free will? In any case, it seems to me that between destiny and free will, my life unfolded.