4. Invisibility: Finding the Passion

Hi Arthur,

I wanted to provide an update on my progress.  I think the legitimacy and joy exercises are taking root and going pretty well (albeit rather slowly).  I feel like I am a stronger, more confident person than 2 months ago.   I am drawing firmer boundaries in my relationships, and interestingly, even family members who used to criticize me appear less willing to do so.  We still have our battle of wills, but it’s at least easier emotionally on my part.

That is a nice distinction.  Some battles go deep, others stay out of the most sensitive zone.

The good news is that these uncomfortable/confrontational situations have allowed me to practice being conscious of my inner self.  Through the Personhood lessons, I started noticing that my mental self shrank around older or dominant people.  I could almost feel my spirit folding into a tiny box.  Even my body language reflected how tiny I tried to make myself.  I knew this wasn’t healthy, so I started putting myself on alert before any encounters and purposefully expanding my inner self.  (It’s difficult to describe but I try to mentally push out that inner self with confident emotions and remind myself that I have legitimacy and value.)  I also correct my body language to reflect a more confident, strong posture.  It seems to be helping.

Well done.  A lot of small choices add up.

I am doing better on the permission front.  As the idea that God wants me to enjoy life (versus the thought that God ordained a life of hardship for me personally) sinks into my soul, I can feel myself embracing the joy that feels like an indulgence.  It’s giving me a greater sense of validity as a person and I can feel my spirit expanding.  I can also see that much of the way I viewed God was a reflection of the way I saw some other people in my childhood.  I am still trying to fully see what it would look like to know that God is always for me and not against me and that He wants to give me good things.  I’m trying to know what full abundance is in Him.  I am still working through emotionally separating God from man, but I think I’ll get there one day.

One interesting tidbit that I discovered hiding under the strong layer of permission is that my resistance also appears to stem from the disappointment and pain of letting joy go.  The bigger the joy, the bigger the pain I experience when it inevitably passes.  I hate it every time. I’m not sure why I resist it so much since logically, I know that I can recreate joy…but there’s something very deep, sad, and nostalgic about the end of a joyful experience that puts my brakes on whenever I want to start feeling joy.

So let me say it back to you.  There is an emotional push/pull.  You have two different emotional messages going on and conflicting.  There are a lot of possible sources of that, but I wonder if this one is an AHS.  Have you listened to the two albums on alien human spirits?  I think that would be a good next step if you haven’t.  

Another obstacle that is creeping up now that the adrenaline of immediate progress is wearing off is fatigue.  My body just feels like it’s wearing down because of my commute and work schedule.  Fighting the feeling of futility and purposelessness in my work is wearing me down emotionally.  I am trying to keep a positive attitude of faith that these things will pass.  But some days I am just so tired.  And it takes more effort to get those good feelings flowing.  I’m having some issues compartmentalizing my other joys so this underlying struggle with futility does not dampen my other experiences.  It has been very difficult though because it feels like the little joys don’t really matter if I don’t have purpose.  I know that’s not true, but waking up to the same situation can be so hard.  I almost feel like if I could just have purpose, everything else would be easier to enjoy.  Is there an exercise or technique that can help in this area?  Again, I know that true victory lies in finding joy in desperate situations, but I could really use guidance in this area.

I think you need to hold two truths in tension here.  First is the fact that lack of purpose and lack of fulfillment are BIG emotional drains in our lives.  And it is OK to acknowledge that.  So yes, small joys don’t compensate for the big pain.  If you have +5 about seven times during the day, but you are at -50 for the fulfillment that day, you net out in negative numbers.  So the small joys only blunt the edge of the lack of fulfillment.  They don’t change that reality.  

On the positive side, all of the practice you are doing now on the small things will add up in the future, so it is worth it to keep on reaching for the small joys when the big pain is not overwhelming.

I think my inner self likes multi-tasking while experiencing my joy, so that technique has been helpful.  It’s been allowing more, longer opportunities to experience the small joys of daily living without worrying that I should be doing something more “productive.”

This is a random bit of news, but I also felt a small prompting to speak against any mountains standing in the way of my job situation because it contradicts God’s will for me according to Jer. 29:11 and John 10:10.  This was new for me because I usually ignore small thoughts like this and I never really thought about speaking against situations because it was not God’s will for me.  (I think working through the Personhood series helped me to embrace this new perspective.)  A few days later, I received an email for a job interview.  It was my first interview in many years, and it was with the Agency that I had administrative obstacles with in the past.  I am not confident in my performance during the interview, but I am using the same technique of speaking God’s good will and purpose over my life and embracing it with faith for a good outcome.  I am choosing to trust that God is bigger than my shortcomings.

That is good news indeed.  Some of the invisibility is shifting.

So how to go forward?

Have you listened to our material on the redemptive gifts of individuals?  This would give us a template for your basic fulfillment zone.  From there, I could ask some additional questions and refine what you were made for.  If you are pretty sure of your gift, write SandyLandry872@gmail.com and see if she agrees.  She is our resident authority on the gifts, and it would be lovely to nail it down for sure.  If this is a new topic for you, then dig into the album.  Once we get the basic frame settled, I can help you refine it.

Fulfillment is a function of design.  I look at football and can’t comprehend the joy in it.  Why would I want to line up across from some bruiser and get thrown to the ground every 30 seconds or so?  I can’t quite find the fulfillment in it.  However, give me a riddle to solve – like you! – and it gets my juices flowing, whereas someone else would feel powerless and panicked in the face of the kind of riddles I deal with happily.

So let’s work on identifying your design, then we can extrapolate where fulfillment will be.  My experience is that visibility is highly related to passion.  When someone absolutely believes in what they are doing, it causes their spirit and soul to be unleashed, and they become much more visible, even when they are not saying anything.  Simple picture:  Sally Nobody is working at the back desk in a big, crowded office.  She is unseen, unloved, not hated, ignored.  Just a nameless, faceless paper-pusher.  

But let her fall in love and become engaged, and even though she says nothing about her romance, it will so turbocharge her spirit and soul, that people will begin to notice her. 

I think you have dealt with the basic negative stuff pretty well.  Now it is time to move into plus numbers and find you a cause that will fire up your passion. 

Copyright April 2016 by Arthur BurkFighting Futility

From home


3. Invisibility: Enjoying Joy

Lauren wrote some time back, but I am just now getting around to responding to her email.  Here is a portion of what she wrote about her joy exercises.

In terms of my joy sessions, I’ve been hitting around 2-3 joyful experiences a day.  I realized that I often had to consciously create experiences because enjoying moments didn’t really come naturally.  I knew it was an issue, but it was just interesting to see how much effort it took to ensure I had the requisite number of experiences on a daily basis.  Some days I had to backload my joy experiences at the end of the day because I would come home and realize that I hadn’t experienced any joy until that point.

I was also surprised that I had to focus so much on letting joy in.  There were times when I was doing something that I knew I generally liked, but it was as if my mind was running on autopilot.  I knew I liked/preferred those things, but I couldn’t really feel it (the exhilaration, happiness, etc.).  I had to stop and mentally focus on what I liked and let the feeling in.  Sometimes it would take a bit, but I consider it a positive work in progress.  

One issue that I consistently encountered was enjoying the joy without rushing the moment.  I frequently wrestled this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I was taking too much time enjoying my joy.  I felt like I had so many things to do on my task list that I felt guilty for savoring the moment for too long.  So while one part of me wanted to be still and enjoy the joy, another part of me resisted it.  Because of that internal struggle, there were many times when I felt like my whole person wasn’t fully on board experiencing the joy.

I’ll keep practicing this assignment, and I imagine that many of these issues may work themselves out with time. 

First of all, Lauren, look at the issue of assets.  You don’t have a natural joy package yet.  However, you learned from childhood to be diligent and to push through the emotional discomfort so you could perform according to a check list.  This made you emotionally flat in a sense, because you were powering through.  Now you are taking your strong skill of disciplined focus and are using it to build a good neurological and experiential treasure.

This is an excellent picture for everyone else watching your story line.  Even in our junk, there are often treasures that we can use to achieve greater treasures.  So well done!  You are on track, using your liability as an asset to leverage greater assets in the future.

Second, I am glad you caught the fact that you struggled to let joy in.  The issue here is “permission.”  Part of the journey involves your giving yourself permission a lot of times to enjoy your joy.  Now here is where we shift from brain to soul.  Your brain experiences something that it likes and asks for permission to escalate the emotion.

We do this all the time.  I was at an event last night and something funny happened.  I felt the humor in it, but my soul grabbed a hold of my brain and choked it off, because it was not appropriate to laugh out loud in public over that issue at that time.

You are well familiar with the childhood constructs that demanded that you keep an even keel emotionally.  Thousands of decisions to stifle all sorts of emotions has created a pretty strong control habit in your soul, so you have to wrestle with the past in order to release your soul into the present.  For now, I don’t have any fancy tools to give you.  I think that just fighting 100,000 little battles and winning 80,000 of them will get you where you need to be.

I think that this is a huge part of your mantle of invisibility.  When someone is choking off a lot of who they are, other people feel a bit uneasy.  That emotionally blank, dependable worker that you were asked to be in childhood helped you survive there, but in the marketplace, people actually will promote the more emotionally engaged individuals ahead of those who are competent but flatlined.

That said, why don’t you think about what it would look like for you to enjoy someone else’s joy at work.  How is that done by others now?

I realize that your work place is a proper, stuffy, buttoned down, white collar bastion of propriety.  I doubt anyone whoops with joy and offers a hard smacking high five when something goes right.  But there has to be some level of celebration allowed somewhere.  Can you celebrate a new hairdo for the receptionist?  What happens when people get a raise or a promotion?  Is there some form of peer praise that is allowed or not until they are in the bar after work?

I think that at the end of the day you can envision past or future celebrations and “see” yourself doing them.  So “Fred” scored recently on the Jones project.  What happened?  How was it announced to the company that he concluded successfully?  Who said what to compliment him?  What could you have done to share his joy?

Then look forward.  Judy is going on vacation.  She will (we hope) come back all joyous.  What is the corporate context for asking her to share her joy?  What would it look like for you to enjoy her joy with her?

You need to figure out what works in that culture.  I just don’t know how locked down they all are emotionally.  You might have to ask Judy to go out to lunch with you to share the high points, or to send you some pictures of the most fun days.  You figure out what is viable there, but basically take your game to the next level.

It is usually easier for someone with the mantle of invisibility to enjoy someone else’s joy than to announce your own joy and have everyone yawn.  Very humiliating when no one wants to enjoy your joy with you.

So that is an assignment you can move on immediately.   Since you like metrics, I will suggest that twice a week you find some way of sharing the joy of someone in the office.  Your first objective is to learn the skill set of inserting yourself into the conversation comfortably, and the second step is finding how comfortable you are in sharing other people’s joy.  At present, I am not raising the bar on intensity – just activity.

If the best you can do is say, “That’s cool, Judy” then that is fine.  If you can draw her out for three minutes or engage on Facebook or whatever else, then fine.  Your call.  So I don’t care about skill.  Let’s just do something twice a week to start the process and let me know.

Third, on the issue of rushing joy, you can often beat this by multitasking.  Can you allocate some time that is already “productive” to enjoying your joy?  What about in the shower, or while driving, or while folding the laundry, etc.  I know from other correspondence that you do motion well when you are thinking.  Will the inner policemen chill out if the whole time you are being productive with folding laundry, you have permission to enjoy your joy on a single issue for the whole 15 minutes?

Let me know.  If not, we will use some other tools to find a block of time where you have permission.  It is hard to enjoy your joy when the Grinch is standing there looking at his watch every five seconds making horrible faces at you for being so naughty as to impinge on his emotional atmospheric responsibility.

So, sneak some time when the Grinch has a headache and celebrate #1.  Work on #2 so you can report back and tell me what your starting point is, so I can coach you with more skills and techniques.  And let me know whether #3 works or we need a better tool.

Copyright February 2016 by Arthur Burk  Generational Blessings SLG Coaching blog

From JFK, between flights



2. Invisibility: Legitimizing Joy

Lauren has been working on the Office of Personhood album for a couple of months now.  One of the things she brings to the table is a terrific work ethic, so she plows deeply in whatever I give her to do.  Hence, the blogs on this theme of her becoming visible will be quite sporadic, but I anticipate huge change over time because she walks in stark reality and invests deeply.

Listening to the album made things markedly worse, in that she now realizes the problem is much larger than simple invisibility.  She is not even remotely in the office of personhood.  She grew up in a controlling environment, joined a profession that is quite rigorous in how they dispense legitimacy and is in a city that competes savagely for their flavor of legitimacy.

So on every level, she was commoditized from childhood especially the devaluation of being a woman in a man’s trade.  She received the message she would always be less than, but if she sacrificed deeply to make the men around her successful, she would be allowed a small place on the playing field.

Being a hard worker, she worked hard to become the best commodity out there, only to find that her best was not good enough.

She listened to the album, made a list of a few things that brought her joy and proceeded to try to figure out how to walk this out.  She is still in a variety of contexts where the pressure on her to conform to the look and the ideas of most of her communities is quite large.

So, Lauren, here is my strategy for now.

First of all, you have made huge progress in discovering that you were designed to be “quirky” as you described it.  And you seem to be pretty OK with that discovery.  That is huge and valuable.

Your art form at present is to enjoy your joy privately until there is a large enough imprint on your spirit, soul and brain to deal with the outside world.

Here are some examples from my life.  My home town has a train track through it with active trains.  Most people hate it, and the price of housing goes down the closer you are to the track.  I happen to like the sound of the train whistle and the thunder of the train as it goes across the one bridge.

So when I am in a grocery store, surrounded by strangers or with my wife, I might hear the train whistle in the distance.  I do nothing externally.  But internally I smile and enjoy the sound.  I call that “being alone in public.”  I am enjoying my joy in private, inside, even though I am in public and my wife is trying to decide which avocado is going to be ripe in two days.

Here is another.  I enjoy odd juxtaposing of clothes that actually work.  So sitting on an airplane, watching people board, I am casually watching the people coming by.  Most clothing is boring, stupid or ugly.  But when I see that college athlete come in wearing that impossible combination of clothing that actually WORKS, the artist in me smiles and savors and enjoys how he pulled it off.

Most of the time, the things I enjoy are not what other people enjoy.  So I have learned to enjoy my joy widely, privately, even though it is not socially acceptable to do so publicly.

So start there.  Let’s do two things.  First, can you send me three illustrations of your quirkiness that you like and how you enjoy your joy there?  I would like our tribe to have an opportunity to enjoy your design with you.  Then, start keeping a record and see if you can hit 20 joy sessions a week.  That is three times a day that you consciously gave yourself permission to enjoy your joy and you did.

Now, in the bigger picture, we have massive challenges with your outside world.  Your family will possibly never come to enjoy God’s workmanship the way you do.  You might move someday to a different city that is a bit more laid back.  You might not.  You might get a different job, but your trade is pretty stuck in a rut in terms of not being joyous or quirky.  So how you live life as yourself long term needs a bunch of conversations over time.

But right now, we are going to choose not to have those conversations.  First, you need to be solidly reconciled to yourself.  You need to come to immense peace with the person God designed.  So start with what you have on your list.  Learn to celebrate “alone in public” and let’s build some good stuff into your being.

I look forward to your e-mail with three of the quirkiest things about you that you love, and how you do on your first week of keeping track of enjoying your joy.

Copyright January 2016 by Arthur Burk  Office of Personhood SLG Coaching blog

From the Hub

1. Invisibility: Defining the Source

“Lauren” wrote me about work.  She has not been able to get a good job for a long time.  She is well qualified, but simply gets no traction in the marketplace beyond survival jobs.

That was a fairly unwelcome problem to solve because the root could be so many places, but she agreed to do several rounds of emails as I floated possible rocks for her to look under.  She was mercifully concise in her answers, so we got through the process reasonably unscathed.

I eliminated the seven curses, generational curses, birth order curses, curses on time, trauma bond to land and a few other things.  In the end, it turned out to be a mantle of invisibility.  In her childhood there were some contexts where she was not physically or emotionally safe.  Her survival mechanism was to become as still and invisible as possible.

When that happens early on, it causes a disruption in spirit, soul and brain, which means that all three have to be addressed in order to restore her right place in the business culture.  She can’t just break a curse or remove a mantle.

I said it would probably take a year of work on her part, I would coach her, but she needed to let you look over her shoulder so we get maximum mileage out of the time I spend flogging the keyboard.

She bought in.  So you will be seeing irregularly sporadic blogs on this topic as she trudges through the restructuring process.

I decided to start with her soul.  The Office of Personhood will serve as a good tool for expanding the dynamics of her soul.  I choose this because it should give some quick results.  She assures me she has the discretionary time to invest in the project, so working through the exercises in the offices of personhood and daughter should come quickly and produce measurable, verifiable results.

Then we will work on rewiring the brain.  And finally dig into the spirit.  Along the way, each of these will be developed in the context of her being seen naturally and generically in the community.

Each person’s journey is unique, but I think there are a whole lot of Laurens out there who could tag along and transform your own lives.

Copyright November 2015 by Arthur Burk

From home