As we grow older, it dawns on us that cobwebs have formed in the attics of our minds, preventing us from seeing ourselves clearly and authentically. We may exercise our curiosity, awareness, and compassion on others but not often enough on ourselves. If we don’t self-question, our experiences are transformed into memories and filed away, […]
Life unfolds between the polarities of order and chaos. It is important at this time to recognize these two fundamental opposites, without which the world could not even be. Another word for disorder is “adversity.” When it becomes more extreme, we might call it “chaos.”
We would prefer, of course, to have order in our lives, which means to have things going well. We would like relative harmony in our lives. Yet, that very often is marred by the eruption of some form of disorder. And, usually, we resent that—we get angry, or despondent, or sad.
Disorder comes in many, many forms, big and small. When disorder comes it usually creates a kind of havoc in our lives, accompanied by strong underlying beliefs. “There’s something very wrong, this should not be happening, maybe God is against me,” and so on. Again, we need to understand that disorder, or adversity, is inevitable and is an essential part of a higher order.
From a higher perspective, a higher level, the existence of order and disorder, or order and chaos, is a necessary part of the evolution of life.
Many people have found that they experience a deepening, or a deeper sense of self or beingness, immediately after and as a result of having endured a period of disorder or chaos. This is sometimes called “the dark night of the soul,” a term from medieval Christianity used to describe the mental breakdown that many mystics experienced prior to awakening spiritually. There was an eruption of disorder, of destruction. Then, out of that, a deeper realization arose.
And although that can be very painful, the strange thing is, it’s precisely there that many humans experience a transcendence. A strange fact is that it almost never happens that people awaken spiritually while they’re in their comfort zone. Or that they become deeper as human beings, which would be a partial awakening. It almost never happens. The place where the evolutionary shift happens, or the evolutionary leap, is usually the experience of disorder in a person’s life.
And so your life then moves between order and disorder. You have both, and they’re both necessary. There’s no guarantee that when disorder erupts this will bring about an awakening or a deepening, but there’s always the possibility. It is an opportunity, but often, it is missed.
So here we are at this time, and our mission is the same: to align with the present moment, with whatever is happening here and now. The upheaval that we’re experiencing at the present time probably will not be the last upheaval that’s going to come on a collective level. However, it is an opportunity—because although this is a time for upheavals, it is also a time for awakening. The two go together. Just as in an individual life, you need adversity to awaken. It’s an opportunity but not a guarantee. And so what looks tragic and unpleasant on a conventional level is actually perfectly fine and as it should be on a higher level; it would not be happening otherwise. It’s all part of the awakening of human beings and of planetary awakening.
To learn more about Eckhart’s teachings on Conscious Manifestation, click here.
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What have you learned so far from 2020? I think we can all agree this will be a defining year for humanity.
Maybe it’s taught you how much you value being around others, even as an introvert. Or how much you take for granted the little things like working from a coffee shop.
Or how important it is to have difficult conversations with others, to become aware of your blind spots, and to use your voice to help others.
I think the world is asking us to wake up. We’re being asked to question and revisit our values. To listen, learn, and take action.
I saw a post on Instagram that said, ‘What if 2020 was the year we’ve been waiting for? A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw – that it finally forces us to grow?’
Instead of looking at it as a complete disaster, we can think of how we’re going to make some much-needed change. And that change starts by listening to and using your voice more.
Getting clear on what matters
I’ve done a lot of unlearning and unpacking thoughts and mindsets within myself that I didn’t realize were there. I’ve been reading Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, which has opened my eyes to ways that I’ve been ignorant and oblivious to my own privilege.
More than anything, this year has encouraged me to be more in tune with what I want and the kind of world that I want to live in.
I was distant from this for a while. I was distracted from what I want this world to look like and what role I play in shaping it, beyond selfish and materialistic wants.
The first half of this year has left me thinking: Who am I when I’m unswayed by everything around me? What do I believe at my core? What would I say if I had no fear of criticism?
This past month, I’ve consumed more social media content and spent more time on the Internet than I have in a long time. I’m the kind of person who wants to be in the know at all times, but that comes at the cost of absorbing too much information. I spend too much time consuming that I forget to check-in, ask where I stand, and figure out how I want to move forward.
Sometimes you need to pause and find your voice so that you can take action from a place of alignment, while not using perfectionism and ‘perfect clarity’ as an excuse for avoiding action.
Finding and using your voice
Learn to listen to and trust your inner voice. Once you trust that, you will begin to live with more intention and clarity. Here are some ways to find and use your own voice:
One of the best ways to connect with your inner voice is through quiet stillness. When was the last time you gave yourself full, uninterrupted attention?
For a long time, I stopped meditating. It wasn’t a conscious decision. It was that I stopped appreciating how it benefits me when I practice it.
For the past month, I’ve started looking at meditating as a way to connect with myself daily. I don’t go into it thinking, ‘I need to completely clear my mind for the next five minutes.’ Instead, I think, ‘This is a way to be with myself in this moment.’
I’ve also been journaling more than ever to get clarity when my thoughts are distracting me from what matters most.
Find time for regular check-ins with yourself. Come back to your beliefs and envision new ways to assert them.
I’m a sucker for personality tests, and I’ve recently learned that my Human Design type is a Manifesting Generator. I can’t tell you exactly what that means because I haven’t looked into it too much, but I did find out that I need to visualize and ask for exactly what I want. Vague descriptions won’t work. I have to be specific and direct when asking for what I want out of life.
I encourage you to imagine the kind of world you want to live in. Think about what role you want to play in bringing that vision to fruition. Lean into what the world needs from you. This will give you clarity when it comes to using your voice and standing up for what you believe in.
“By actively asserting the role you wish to play in molding the world to come, the tests you will face in 2020 will help you cultivate new levels of inner strength as well as new skills to share with others.”
It’s easy to retreat into silence when you feel uncertain.To feel afraid of saying the wrong thing. To feel like your voice doesn’t matter.
That’s nothing but perfectionism getting in the way. You don’t have to retreat from speaking up because you don’t think you have the right words to say it.
Whatever it is you’re passionate about, speak up. Pay attention to how you feel and use that to guide you.
Speak your dreams into existence with your words and your actions. In writing and conversations. By voting, signing petitions, and donating. With your decisions to follow and associate with certain people.
Don’t shy away from difficult and uncomfortable conversations with family members, coworkers, employers, etc. You may be faced with criticism, rebuttal, or deafening silence. But your voice might be the one that explains something in such a way that it changes another’s opinion for the better, even if it’s just one person.
“People are often so scared of saying the wrong thing that they miss the opportunity to do the right thing.”
On February 23rd, Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down by two white men while he was going for a jog. On March 13th, EMT Breonna Taylor was shot eight times by the police in her home. On May 25th, George Floyd was slowly suffocated to death by a white police officer.
Right now it is absolutely crucial that white people do the work to dismantle the systems of white supremacy. We have to commit to taking long-term action. So what does that look like? Where do we even start?
Like many people right now, I’m in active learning mode.
Team Forleo and I are about to embark on our annual two-week company closure and, as we prepare for this break, we’ve been compiling and sharing anti-racism books, videos, and podcasts with each other on Slack.
At first, I wanted to share that list with you on the blog, but here’s the thing…
Black educators have already done this work. They’ve been doing it for years. It’s not my voice that matters. It’s theirs. Instead of publishing yet another list, I’d like to tell you what I’m personally reading right now, and give you a few already-compiled resource guides created by Black people.
This reading list by Arielle Grey is a great place to start. She writes, “[A]n important part of learning about racism is realizing that no reading list can do the work for you. Learning and excommunicating your internalized racism is a lifelong process that requires intense self-study and determination.”
I’m personally reading How To Be An Antiracistby Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and highly recommend it. It’s an eye-opening, powerful examination of racism in America.
If you’d like to dive deeper, Tasha K. Ryals compiled this shareable anti-racism guide. It includes suggested pre-reading, memoirs, essays, and resources on immigration, indigenous studies, Latinx studies, and more.
It has articles, definitions, terms to understand, books to read, Black educators and leaders to follow, and other ways you can take action.
Yes, it’s a lot. I understand that these lists may feel overwhelming at first, especially if you’re just getting started. But learning and taking action is non-negotiable. I encourage you to click, pick, and go. Remember, clarity comes from engagement, not thought.
If you’re feeling frozen — like you want to help but you’re afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing — here are five additional resources to check out.
How Can We Win This 6-minute video featuring writer Kimberly Jones is powerful, heartbreaking, and vitally important. If you’re brand new to the work of anti-racism, please watch this.
8:46 In this thought-provoking 20-minute standup, Dave Chapelle speaks candidly about the murder of George Floyd, celebrity responsibility, and being Black in America.
Stream to Donate Want to donate but don’t have a dollar to spare? This 24-hour hip-hop livestream by Revive Music donates all their ad revenue to Black Lives Matter.
Less Caption. More Action. Entrepreneur and B-School alum, Gabrielle Thomas, is leading an initiative to help empower Black entrepreneurs. Through her website, you can offer a free service, mentorship, education, event ticket, or opportunity on your podcast, newsletter, blog, or social media platform. Gabrielle will match you with a Black business owner who needs your skillset. And if you’re a Black business owner who’d like to be matched, click here.
Freedom Festival Magogodi Makhene and her partners created an arts-filled virtual festival that’s happening July 12-19. They say, “We want to activate everyday citizens to purposeful behavior and inspired action. Our work is rooted in love and fueled by the arts.” It features art, community, workshops, and music. Until then, the founders are also offering a free 30-Day Anti-Racist Challenge on Instagram.
There can be no significant change in the world unless we first have the courage to change ourselves. In order to change ourselves, we must first believe we can.
The importance of this moment cannot be understated.
We need all hands and hearts on deck. This is a turning point, in an infinite number of ways. It’s hard to express how profoundly I’ve been changed, and how grateful I am to be present at this time. It’s long, long overdue.
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Here’s a helpful filter to know when to worry: does something sound too good to be true, or does it sound so bad that people give up and stop thinking for themselves?
Either way, when everyone around you agrees, it’s worth asking some questions. Questions like: “What’s really going on here—and who is threatened by disagreement?”
Consider it an opportunity! When it comes to Coronavirus life, an astounding amount of groupthink is currently taking place. It’s as though everyone is taking the collective temperature (no pun intended…) before deciding what they believe and how they should act.
To be clear, I’ve said several times that the most important thing we can do is keep people safe. And as an introvert who frequently spends twenty-four hours a day by myself, I’ve also been social distancing for most of my life. (“Social distancing is the new silent retreat.”)
But whether it’s COVID-thinking or something else, if you can’t find someone who disagrees with you, someone who has another perspective—it’s time to worry. Or at the very least it’s time to widen your circle, read different media, and consider opposing viewpoints.
Speaking up as the only dissenter in the group requires bravery, but so does acknowledging that you might not be right about everything. Are you courageous enough to do so? Most people aren’t.
Fortunately, you aren’t most people … right? You are an original—so think for yourself, and don’t accept what you’re told without closely examining it.
One more thing: have you ever heard “You must learn the rules before you break them”? This is a classic gatekeeping strategy.
Just imagine: If you’re trying to break out of prison, you don’t need to spend forty years becoming a model prisoner before you hide in a laundry cart. You’ll be much better served by studying up on successful prison breaks.
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re taking care of yourself and working on something you believe in. The rest of us need you to keep going.