Here and Now

There is an Abundance of Self-Worth Available for Us to Offer Ourselves, But First We Must Feel Worthy Enough to Accept the Offer (Conclusion)

Fresh Perspectives Harvested

I rely on my intuition to guide me in matters of introspection and personal reflection. When my body, mind and spirit are in agreement concerning any new learning experience I’ve gone through, my intuition informs me that it is time to reflect holistically on that particular experience. Subsequently, I’ll often journal those reflections while remaining focused on any changes of perspective, and any new behaviors or actions I’ve initiated as a result of those changes in perspective. Some experiences take more time than others to process internally. The experience of working my body to the point of heat exhaustion for minimal reward, has been one of those experiences. My intuition will often need to remind me that it takes as long as it takes to work my way through an issue or experience. Through personal growth, I’ve learned not to rush the internal processes, nor try to force my body, mind or spirit to give up the proverbial goods before all three have achieved a harmonious balance. The common misstep of rushing to conclusions usually leaves me dissatisfied and displeased with my own performance in moving beyond the experience, and eventually, I imagine it could deprive me of food for the soul to the point of spiritual starvation. When any one of us sends out our intentions and then follows through with the actions required to bring them to fruition, we are not only influencing the direction of our own life trajectory, but we are also bringing change to the lives of those within our sphere of conscious influence. Intuition has informed me that it is currently time to finalize the internal processes and bring to an end the self-discussion of my experience with heat exhaustion in the here and now.

Work Before Play (1984)

In the first journal entry on this subject, I implied that the reasoning behind the acceptance of this menial labor job was complicated, and in fact, maybe it did appear to be complicated then. Now that I’ve processed the experience, I know that my reasoning was quite simple and easy to describe, but I was merely evading the self-worth issues involved, by attempting to dismiss them as complications. The problem with that strategy is that it affords very little potential for positive growth. With my intentions now set on laying this whole thing to rest, I’ll start with the simple reasons that I applied for this job.

I physically moved from Allentown to Savannah less than two months ago, but I had been searching for, and applying to, a number of jobs in this area since early June. For whatever reasons, the companies I’ve applied to were not responding to my applications. My ego kept trying to sell me on the idea that I was too old to be of use as an employee and that these companies were passing me by in search of younger bodies. While it is true that age discrimination exists, I prefer to live happily in the self-delusion that it does not apply to me. I like to imagine that I know my physical capabilities well enough that employers will be compelled to perceive my strengths simply by reading the confidence expressed in the cover letter I’ve attached to the resume. I know, laugh out loud, right? The other, more likely scenario, and this one has actually been brought up during recent interviews, is that I am overqualified for the positions I’m applying to. I’m inclined to believe that this is the issue that I’ve been up against, and if it has been, I had not previously been able to achieve clarity on what strategy to take in order to circumvent it. During the past fifteen years I’ve worked in an extremely specialized industry, namely the fine art sculpture casting industry. I’ve reached a high level of expertise in sculpting, molding, casting and finishing fine art sculpture. During the planning stages of making the move from PA to GA, I conducted a number of searches for sculpture production facilities in or near Savannah. Those searches were unsuccessful. So, while many of the skillsets involved in sculpture production are directly transferable to a wide range of design and manufacturing positions, they are so specific to the industry, that they are also a mystery to the majority of employers who are considering my employment. One way that I’ve attempted to resolve this issue is to pursue job positions that I perceive to be related to the skillsets and level of expertise that I’ve acquired, while also requiring that I upgrade my skills to include the specific range of expertise for the new position. To many, this may seem like a reasonable solution to my dilemma, but it falls short when I include the purpose of my moving to Savannah in the first place. I came here with the specific intention to attend a graduate program at the Savannah College of Art and Design starting in the fall of next year. It would be entirely deceitful for me to approach an employer under the premise that I am interested in learning the specific skills of their trade, with intentions to become a valuable employee, when I know from the start that I would not be there long enough for their training investment to pay off. There was a time in my life when I was willfully dishonest, but thankfully those days are far behind me. My moral compass is now set on a course toward progressive growth and healthy choices. I will continue to experience setbacks, I’m sure, but each time I recover from a setback I’ll expect to attain a clearer vision of the pathway ahead.

Myrtle Beach 2011

When I made the decision to apply to this warehouse job through a staffing agency, I did so with a few simple principles in mind. First, I concluded that a temp agency was the way to go because I was only committing short term. That, after all, is the nature of a temporary work assignment. Second, I wanted a position that was primarily dependent on my physical body with very little thought involved. I reasoned that I could use the bulk of my intellectual energies towards journaling every day, continuing my creative pursuits in growing the Alt Unity, and in making manifest the Grand Providentia Projection. And the last consideration, one that was primarily subconscious, but also of equal importance, was that I wanted to remain completely available and able to cut ties quickly in the event that one of the preferred employers that I had applied to earlier were to call on me to commit. Here is where synchronicity stepped in to validate my reasoning. Last Thursday, during my second week at the warehouse, I was contacted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, regarding an application I had submitted back in June. Following an initial phone interview with a staff recruiter from the college, I am feeling quite confident that this position would be ideal for forward movement on all fronts. I’ve not heard back from the college yet, but I know through experience that if it is meant to be, it will be. When I hung up the phone at the end of the interview, I immediately began to prepare for the possibility that SCAD would offer me the position. My first thoughts were concerned with my current residential location with regards to its proximity to the college. The SCAD campus is spread throughout the beautiful Historic District of Savannah, housed in a number of significant historic buildings in that area. It was my first choice to find a room to rent in the district, but I was unable to find a suitable room that was affordable within my budget. Right now, I’m located about twenty minutes away from the Savannah Historic District, so I am hopeful that an offer from the college might open the door to opportunity, making it possible for me to live in that vicinity. Between the time I finished the interview on Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning, I was putting out intentions based on my desire to live in the Historic District. And on Saturday morning the Universe cooperated again! My current roommate approached me with the offer to move out and follow her to another apartment complex that was about ten miles further away from the site of the college. She told me that she was dissatisfied with the apartment we were living in, and she wanted to move back to the complex where she had previously resided. Two aspects of her offer were problematic for me, and I knew by the time she finished her pitch that I would not be able to accept. Being aware and present in the moment that she was asking me, was key to my seeing the two issues so clearly. I could not imagine relocating further away from the place that I had intended to move toward, and I also couldn’t go along with her intentions to go back to a place where she had previously been. So now, I’ve begun the search for a new home closer to my heart’s desire!

For those of you who took the time, and had the patience, to read through this trilogy of entries based on my experiences during the past two weeks, I am sincerely grateful for your presence! Hopefully, now that I’m recovered from the self-inflicted illness, I’ll be able to get back to a steadier routine of writing on this site. Thank you for reading here!

Here and Now

There is an Abundance of Self-Worth Available for Us to Offer Ourselves, But First We Must Feel Worthy Enough to Accept the Offer (Continued)

Practicing the Art of Self-Worth (Part Two)

During the second night of my new job in the warehouse, I crossed the threshold of being a dedicated company employee and passed deep into the territory of being a foolish steward of my own sacred temple (body). I was now suffering from heat exhaustion. When I left the warehouse last Tuesday at midnight, I remember thinking I would be okay, everything would be okay, I just need to get home and get a good night’s sleep. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. When I crawled into bed after a cool shower, I was so disoriented, nauseous and dehydrated that I never really had a chance at getting even a few hours of sound and restful sleep. Instead, I just kept rolling around, trying to find the magic position that would ease the throbbing in my overheated head and body. I barely slept that night. On Wednesday I tried to recuperate some energy and hydration by drinking as much water and electrolyte sports drinks as I could stomach. Having cut way back on my sugar intake during the past few years, I needed to seek out something other than Gatorade or any of its overly sweet sports drink lookalikes. I’ve learned quite a bit recently about how to take care of my physical health, and that makes last week’s unhealthy decisions even more upsetting. I should not have gone in on Wednesday night, but again, I did.

“Angry Eyes” from the Hope Mill collection

When I arrived at work on Wednesday, I was well prepared with lots of water and energy drinks, pain medications, and the types of food that my intuition told me I could handle without feeling nauseous. But the one thing that really made a difference was that my outlook and attitude had changed between the moment I fell into bed the previous night and 3:30 PM the following day. Somewhere during those hours, I saw through the conditioned insanity of my wage worker mindset. I had been trying to prove myself to the company and all of my new coworkers, and I’d even been trying to prove to myself that I still possessed the physical prowess I once had, and meanwhile I had somehow forgotten to take care of the physical body that I had been using like a machine to try to prove myself. I am so grateful to be able to recognize the madness in some of my behaviors these days. It took me many years to see with any kind of clarity, the dysfunctional and self-defeating qualities of my own actions and intentions. For me, it has always been extremely helpful to write through the issues I’m up against, so once they are laid out before me, I can pour over them, looking for the moment where my thoughts began to lead me astray. I have almost entirely recovered as I’m writing this today. I’m still feeling some lingering adverse effects from the partially self-inflicted illness which came on a week ago. It looks as though I’ll be continuing on down the winding pathway in this wonderful journey, we call life!

“The Path” 2011 by Scott Joseph Moore

To finish off this exploration into the irrationalities of my own self-defeating behaviors, I would like to make an attempt to move to a higher level of self-care. I’ll do this by touching on the other situation that happened toward the end of last week (the one involving family). Here’s the gist of it. A member of my family, someone that I’ve grown to love and respect, made a series of unhealthy choices and ended up in the hospital. It was a motor vehicle accident. As you would expect, there were attempts at denial and the shifting of blame by this family member, even from the hospital bed, but it was obvious to everyone around this person, that the bulk of the responsibility for what happened was on their shoulders alone. How does this relate to my story about suffering from heat exhaustion? Because we both knew in our hearts that we were making these unhealthy choices, and yet we made them anyway. We can offer ourselves as much self-worth as we want. We can tell ourselves that we are as worthy as anyone else. We can even fool ourselves into believing that we are more worthy than others. But at the end of each moment, we can only accept the amount of self-worth that we’re feeling we deserve.

Here and Now

There is an Abundance of Self-Worth Available for Us to Offer Ourselves, But First We Must Feel Worthy Enough to Accept the Offer

Practicing the Art of Self-Worth (Part One)

If you are one who has never wrestled with low self-esteem, and if you’ve never felt unworthy or even felt a little less worthy than others, the topic of discussion in the following blog entry may seem trivial, and quite possibly, utterly meaningless. As such, it may be frustrating to read this in its tediousness. If it annoys you or you simply cannot relate to it, then it must mean that it isn’t time for you to read it, or at least not in this moment it isn’t. You are always free to surf away to another site, as I’m sure you are aware. The freedom of expression that I enjoy as being the sole author on this site is, in my own estimation, earned by being honest with myself and you all. So, this journal entry is where I intend to earn some of that freedom.

There were two separate occurrences that arose during the past week and each of them pointed directly to my continuing struggles with self-worth. I’ll only be discussing one of the two situations in detail on this blog, because the other one involves personal family matters, and therefore, private relationships. The peculiar thing is, that the family issue that happened later in the week, pointed to how far I’ve come on the journey toward healthy self-esteem and the other one, at the beginning of the week, showed me how far I have yet to go. Due, in part, to my history of painful experiences in dealing with self-worth issues, I’ve apparently adopted the automatic expectation that the events should have transpired the other way around. In other words, first would come the uplifting circumstance, and after that would come a lesson in humility to knock me down a couple of notches. Put me in my rightful place, so to speak. I’m beginning to understand that humility and self-esteem are not mutually exclusive, though. A person can have a high and healthy self-esteem, while also being humble in spirit, thus feeling no better and no worse than anyone else.

I chose this photo and the one at the top of the page because I felt as though they were representative of times when I was feeling good about myself and thinking that I had overcome all the problems concerned with low self-esteem. Read on, if you want to know my true feelings about these particular photographs. Podcast note: See www dot grand providentia united dot blog for photographs.

Let’s back up to early last week. I started a new job last Monday as a second shift employee in a local warehouse. I arrived on time at 3:30 PM, because I’ve been conditioned to believe that promptness demonstrates overall integrity and an upstanding work ethic. Being prompt is also a courtesy that I asked for from the people that I employed at Moore Art Expressions. More often than not, I didn’t have to say anything about being on time though, because we had so much fun being there and being creative, that most employees preferred to come in early and leave late. At least, that’s the way I remember it. And yes, I am allowing myself that short digression. Now, back to last Monday. I was having some serious misgivings about accepting the warehouse job during the hours and days before I walked into the building, but I chalked that up to dreading the actual labor and fearing that I was too old to handle such a strenuous job. I am about to be fifty-nine years young, after all. In the past several months, I’ve remained focused on eating well and stretching and exercising daily, and as a result I’ve been feeling better physically than I have in the last decade. As I am writing this down tonight, I can see where my dread and fear were not only well founded, but more precisely they were intuitively realistic. The job description online didn’t attempt to gloss over any of the gory details of the work, so I knew reasonably well what to expect. I would be unloading boxes by hand from overseas containers, some in excess of 50-75 lbs., and loading them on to a conveyor belt in a non-climate-controlled environment. Many of you may be wondering whether I’ve lost my mind. Wondering why I would accept a menial labor job like this, especially considering the expertise I’ve attained in the molding and sculpture casting industry. As it often seems to be, the answer to that question is complicated, so I’ll come back around to it after describing what happened next.

Photo: Chris, Morderchai and Fred worked tirelessly in scorching Florida heat with me to cast 100 of these life-sized dog sculptures. It was a difficult learning curve to master the process, but we each became extremely skillful at performing our individual tasks as part of a unified team. In retrospect, I must conclude that each of us personally enjoyed certain aspects of working on the project and we each considered other aspects of it, well, not so enjoyable.

Monday, my first night working at the warehouse, went fairly well, all things considered. The air inside the shipping containers was much hotter and more humid than I expected. The hot sun of the Savannah daytime hours had really settled in on the interior of the steel box, and the seawater that had seeped its way inside and saturated many of the cardboard boxes had no place to evaporate to, so as soon as I started moving, I started sweating. I kept moving. I was trying to pace myself, but I was also trying to prove myself. The conveyor belt was demanding to be fed and I kept feeding it. I unloaded 1,400 boxes to empty the first 40-foot container in about three hours. There were many times during the first load that I needed to cool my body and hydrate, so I walked outside the box and just inside the warehouse to take 30 second breathers. It was still very hot inside the warehouse, but rather than 110 degrees Fahrenheit it was more like 90. I finished off the shift on Monday moving from one container to the next, sometimes with help from coworkers when the boxes were oversized or heavy, and sometimes moving them on my own, until at last, the midnight hour arrived. I drove home for some highly anticipated sleep.

Photo: Another contract that I truly appreciated for seven enjoyable years during the Moore Art Expressions days, involved the restoration and upkeep of patinas on 24 monumental bronze sculptures for Raymond James Financial in Saint Petersburg, FL. The bronze sculpture photographed here is titled “Invocation” by the sculptor Buck McCain.

I returned on Tuesday afternoon, a little bit tired but still determined to prove my physical abilities to the team. As I got busy moving boxes, I had to keep reminding myself of the lessons I’ve learned over the course of thirty years in the blue-collar workforce. Lessons learned about keeping a reasonable pace no matter how fast others appear to be moving; about not comparing myself to others around me, they have their strengths and shortcomings just as I do; about not needing to prove myself to anyone other than myself; and most important of all, about taking breaks as often as you need to when you’re performing strenuous work in extreme temperatures. All of these thoughts were running through my mind, but my body seemed to have a different strategy it was running with regardless of my mind’s considerations. My body continued to lift and release boxes onto the conveyor belt. As many of you may have already surmised, I was soon overcome by heat exhaustion. My head was spinning, and I nearly passed out a number of times before they rang the bell for lunch break. I ate a little bit of food, but it tasted like poison, so I stopped eating and lay down on the picnic table bench for the remainder of the break. When my thirty minutes were up, I went right back to unloading the container where I had left off. Looking back on this it seems like complete foolishness. I was already having all of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and the potential of dying from heatstroke was growing more likely by the moment. I would like to report that I informed the warehouse managers of my condition and then I went home for the rest of the evening, but I did not. I would also like to tell you that I didn’t understand what was happening to me; that I did not know about heat exhaustion or the type of symptoms one might experience when they’re suffering from it. I would be lying to you all, if I made those false claims. Having worked in southwest Florida in extreme heat conditions for over a decade, I am fully aware of the symptoms and potential health risks that come along with heat exhaustion. Even having all this first-hand knowledge, I continued working hard until midnight and went home to get some rest.

I suppose this is a good place to end the narrative for today. Tomorrow, I’ll finish the story and explain why this incident and the other one involving my family were not only interrelated, but they seemed to be fully entwined, and together they rang out a resounding wakeup call to my body, mind and spirit.

My current feelings about the top two images – The top one was taken during the peak of our successful times at Moore Art Expressions. I had nine team members working with me to help raise us to that level, so I always felt a bit uneasy about being the public spokesperson when the media asked for an interview. As for the second photo – I swear to you, it was the photographer’s idea! I would have never agreed to it if he didn’t suggest that I might become endowed with superpowers following the shoot! In all seriousness though, I look back on those times with sincere gratitude and appreciation for all the good times we experienced together in the MAE studio!

Here and Now

On Setting the Intention to Exercise Your Free Will

Gathering Awareness – Entry #13

If we’ve already perceived that our personal will power is truly free, and in the light of that perception we’ve made a conscious decision to accept its guidance in the directing of our daily affairs, then why does it seem like such a drain of energy when we practice the use of this so-called free will? In my limited understanding of the concept of free will, I intuit that the majority of the resistance we encounter while exercising it, is arising from within ourselves. We’ve been conditioned in one way or another, to believe that being willful is somehow wrong. Many of us have been institutionalized by authoritarian systems of government who, in an effort to gain power over our freedom of will, have taught us that any expression of personal willfulness is indicative of a character defect which they’ve categorized as “nonconformity”, and they’ve placed this defect beneath the broader category of “undesirable selfish behaviors”. Quite a few of the world’s organized religions teach that our free will should be, at the very least, sublimated to the will of God, and at best, completely forsaken for fear of following your will into eternal damnation. For those who’ve adopted these theological doctrines to motivate the curtailing of their own free will, I would ask – Why would an omnipotent God create human beings with the capacity to express personal willfulness, if there was never any intention to let them practice it, freely? Surely, a benevolent Creator would have had your greatest earthly potential in mind. The God of my understanding apparently takes great pleasure in my individual expression of free will. Otherwise, why would I feel such incredible joy when I practice the art of personal willful expression? My will must be free!

“Serpent Sublime” Copperhead photo taken in Blue Ridge, GA.

The Snake, the Frog and the Freedom of Will

Whenever I’m experiencing an emotional hardship or spiritual tribulation, I feel the urge to take a walk outside. I’ve learned that a long walk alone in the woods is usually more healing to my soul than any other activity that I could choose to engage in. Nature, it seems, can absorb and transmute my human suffering, then reflect it back to me in the form of a natural panacea for whatever is currently troubling me. And so, when I am in pain, I immediately feel the need to take a walk.

On one such occasion, I was walking along a path at the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida. On this particularly beautiful, blue-sky, sunny-day, I remember being deeply absorbed in my own troubled thoughts. My marriage of twenty-plus years appeared to be coming apart at the seams, and the pain of it was, I had no idea how to sew it back together. But walking wasn’t working, and thinking was working less than walking, so I was becoming more miserable by the step. That was when I heard it… A small but clearly distressed voice, saying “Help Meeeee!” I stopped walking so abruptly that my thoughts seemed to wrench free from my head and continue up the path, unconcerned that they were leaving my body behind. I looked self-consciously around me, completely startled and thinking someone might be playing a prank on me. Surely, I was just being punked. I half expected to see a child of the corn come running out from beneath the mangroves, giggling and carrying on, cheerfully singing “I got you! I got you! I got you!”. Instead, I saw no movement at all, but I did hear the voice again “Help Meeeee!” It sounded like the voice of a terrified tiny gnome, yelling as loud as possible in an effort to get my full attention. When I finally managed to gather my wits, I was able to zero in on the source of the voice after two or three more pleading calls for help. There, on the top of a wooden sign attesting to the exploratory genius of Hernando de Soto, was a garter snake with a leopard frog sticking out of its mouth. On closer inspection, I could see that the snake had already consumed one of the frog’s rear legs and the other one was bending backwards as the snake slowly swallowed its prey. As I watched, entranced by the unfolding drama, the frog let out another pathetic plea. “Help Meeeee!” Even when I was looking straight at it and fully aware that it was a frog and not a person, I still heard a distinctly human voice. That voice was begging for my help.

Frog Friend in the Studio2011

I quickly made the decision to enforce my own will on the situation. I bet many of you are thinking “Who in the hell thinks like that?” I mean the very idea of enforcing one’s will on a frog and a snake engaged in a struggle that has been played out over and over, without human interference, for many a millennium. Nonetheless, I really wanted to save that poor frog. After apologizing to Mr. Snake for what I was about to do, I grabbed hold of his ample head just behind the lower jaw and pulled the snake’s writhing body from the wooden signpost. Recognizing its vulnerability, the snake released the frog’s leg to free up its needle-sharp fangs with hopes that it could then sink them into my fleshy fingers. As soon as the frog had its leg free, it hit the ground jumping. Big happy leaps, seemingly. And I seemed to sense an amphibious gratitude left behind along the arched trail of its departure. As for the snake, well let’s just say that it wasn’t impressed by my heroic actions. I set it down cautiously, once the frog had a good head start, and the snake gave me a cold and disdainful look as it slithered away into the tangled mangrove forest.

I’m sure that certain environmentalists would likely chastise me for this behavior, claiming that I had altered the outcome of an important environmental event – namely the predator eats prey event. And certain well-to-do socialites would say that my actions were repulsive and that I should wash my hands thoroughly after handling those disgusting creatures. But, in my final analysis of this true story, I prefer to take a more philosophical approach to describe the nature of my actions. I chose to enforce my free will in a situation that shouldn’t have concerned me at all. I did it with the intention of changing the future circumstances of both the frog and the snake. I have no idea what the outcome of my intentions were, regarding the life of the frog or the snake, or the world for that matter, because you know what they say about the butterfly effect, but I do know that it was me intentionally practicing my free will. And ultimately, I know, that exercising our free will is a very good thing, to practice!

Here and Now

Can, Unity of Presence = Unity of Intention/Purpose?

Gathering Awareness – Entry #4

Absolutely, it can! If we are open to it.

Some of you who have read the previous three entries on this blog might be wondering where I’m going with all of this discussion about present awareness and joining together in the moment. Well, here’s the explanation for the invitation – This current moment, right now, is the one and only commonality that links every human being on this planet, and that commonality expands outward to include every plant, animal, rock, drop of water, grain of sand and molecule of oxygen within the Earth’s biosphere. Furthermore, the moment of now, is a commonality that we share with every mote of stardust at the outward reaches of our perceivable Universe. Of course, I am quite aware that our perceptions of distant galaxies and celestial bodies are not yet experienced by humanity in real-time, but I believe that one day they may be. More on that discussion later! Let’s get back to the invitation. The proposal is as follows – If one human being, one who is consciously aware and present in the moment of now, can put forth an intention to initiate change during future moments, and that human being is rewarded with a positive outcome or suffers the consequences of their ill-intent, then how much more effective would those intentions be if they were sent out by a multitude of human beings who were sharing a moment of common intent? This is the question which will drive a search for meaning and purpose during the remaining moments of my personal journey here. I have an abiding ambition that it will also include as many fellow travelers as are willing to take part in this synchronistic momentary exploration of conscious awareness. All are welcome here. There is no exclusivity in the now!

Granite Remains – From the Hope Mill Collection