Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Most Powerful Relationship Question You can Ever Ask

Your boss walks in and starts blaming you for not finishing a particular report "on time", even though she had never made the deadline explicit.  A simple misunderstanding?  Maybe, but if it's part of a pattern of behavior, you've got a bigger problem.

Your organization has a big "townhall" event celebrating the "successes" of the past year.  You sit quietly in the back, knowing from your insider information that many of these so-called successes were actually disasters that have been "respun" for political purposes.  The crowd seems to eat it up, yet you - and no doubt many others - leave with a bad feeling in your gut.

Sound familiar?

Let's face it - in our public lives and sometimes even in our private ones, we're often surrounded by double-speak, by words that fundamentally don't match reality. 

The upshot of all this is more stress for you.  You may even question your own sanity - I certainly did when I got caught up in dealing with my Church's financial scandal and the lies of its senior leadership designed to cover it all up. 

The real question here, though, is how can you protect yourself and maintain your personal resilience when that resilience is under silent but persistent attack by people who are foisting their personal agendas onto you?

The Most Powerful Question to Ask in Any Relationship:

Remember this: the neurotic person, the manipulative person, the dysfunctional organization, the narcissistic personality, all these will project their distorted view of reality onto you and will try to force you to comply.

They will not only have the audacity to call "white" "black" and "black" "white" right in front of your eyes; they'll also insist you do the same.  And the one thing you can never do if you want to maintain your resilience is to compromise your personal integrity by participating in their fiction, whether that fiction is a delusion or a deliberate lie.

Often the distortion of reality these people create is so great that without even noticing it, you lose track of reality yourself and begin to buy into the fiction without noticing.  And it's when you're in danger of losing your bearings that you want to ask yourself the single most powerful relationship question there is:

"What SHOULD this situation look like?" 

To expand on that, you can ask, "If this situation were reflective of all that is good, true and beautiful, what WOULD it look like?" 

Asking the question and answering it - at least in your own mind - will keep you sane.  It will keep you focused on what's real.  It will keep you resilient.  And, it will expose what's going on around you and reveal the agenda behind it.

These mind-bending situations are a lot like living with an alcoholic.  The alcoholic forces you to compensate for their behavior and turns you into an enabler.  He forces you to replace THE truth with his or her truth, and with no regard for the effects that will have on you.

If you want to maintain your resilience - your emotional health and independence - don't go there.  Ask the magic question. 

It's true that asking the question won't necessarily change the external situation.  And if you think for one moment it's going to change the person or people who are distorting reality, guess again!  However, it will protect you from that situation on many levels.

In fact, whenever you're having problems with any relationship or whenever you have to make a decision about maintaining or breaking off any relationship, just use this question.  It will clarify everything for you in minutes.

Don't take my word for it - try it!!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Time to UN-INSTALL Your Brain's Software?


Awa Kenzo (d. 1939)
Zen Archery Master

You may be thinking, "Philosophy is for geeks. What's this got to do with me or my life?"

What if "philosophy" here is a metaphor for your entire belief system, for that invisible "software" you use to run your life? Do you suppose if that software were wrong, your life could go off the rails?

The fact is, your results in life are largely governed by your beliefs, and most people's belief systems are a conglomeration of unproven assumptions they've uncritically absorbed from their parents, teachers, the media and their society in general.

What the #@!*&# kind of a basis for personal success or happiness is that????

These hidden assumptions are all around you. They apply to politics, religion, health, money, moral values, what it means to be human and to the very nature of reality itself. For instance...

My parent's generation believed that all the food at the grocery store was either good for you, or at least not dangerous. Millions of them paid with their lives for that false assumption. They also believed the medical doctor was next to God, could do no wrong and the drugs he recommended were miracle cures. Millions more paid with their lives for this one.

Many a soldier has paid the same price for assuming his political and military leadership is both intelligent and honest.

I've seen many a martial artist put on his ass because he assumed his martial art gave him an accurate paradigm about how real combat works. Bottom line...?

Real life has a way of trashing our assumptions. And if we survive the fallout, we owe it to ourselves to ask some hard questions.

RESILIENCE involves rooting out all the absurd assumptions you still run your life by, so that you can start rebuilding your life. The choice is yours: you can build your life on a web of a thousand unexamined assumptions about life (most of which are plain wrong), or they can DECIDE what "software" or "philosophy" serves you best.

Since the state of your health, the quality of your relationships, the size or your bank balance and your overall happiness are hemmed in by your belief system, do you suppose you should reexamine yours from time to time?

How many unexamined assumptions about every area of life can you spot today? In yourself? In the media? From people around you?

Master Kenzo had no room in his life for unexamined assumptions.

What about you?

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Monday, 10 May 2010

Join the 5-Day MEDIA FAST!

That's not "fast" as in "quick", but "fast" as in "stay away from it"!

A "media fast" means going without all forms of paper and electronic news media for a week. To be specific:

• Absolutely no newspapers, news magazines, TV news, internet news, etc. Pretend you've moved to Alpha Centauri and no longer care what happens on our big blue ball in space

• Absolutely no unnecessary web surfing - i.e., unless going to a particular site is essential to completing a work-related task, don't go there

Now the good news; here's what you are allowed:

• Pleasure reading, preferably fiction

• One hour of TV per day, so long as it's not the news!

"Why Should I Put Myself Through This?"

Few people have any idea to what extent media reporting deliberately manipulates their opinions, carefully plays on their fears and anxieties, and presents them with a story that's so vacuous as to be completely useless.

Just last week I had to good fortune to talk to an expert in disaster management who has inside knowledge of the events surrounding the recent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He explained to several of us in great technical detail how the media reporting of the incident is extremely misleading.

And, of course, much media reporting is simply there to serve a political agenda of one kind or another. In Soviet Russia they had only two national newspapers, Pravda ("Truth") and Izvestia ("News"). This led to the common saying, "Pravda nye izvestia i Izvestia nye pravda" - "The Truth is not the news and the News is not the Truth".

Unfortunately, for all of our self-righteous rhetoric about having a "free press", we're not always much better off, it seems.

All the more reason to "turn off the tap" in your own life. And it's tough to do because we get addicted to the input, the gossip and simply the background noise the media provides. Afraid of missing something critical? Right... that's about equal to your chances of winning the lottery.

Yet if you want to be a more effective and more resilient person, you need to take back control of the information streaming into your life. After all, why should you swallow all the anxiety the media's trying to foist on you??

If you even half of their dire predictions of the last decade had come true, you wouldn't be reading this - you'd have long since been killed off by West Nile Virus, Avian Flu, killer bees, al Qaeda, H1N1 or a stray asteroid impact. Yet here you are, living and breathing. Who would have guessed?

So I invite you to join me this week for the 5 Day Media Fast. As you go through this process, please feel free to leave your comments on the blog. My guess is that you're going to feel SO much better. Maybe even better enough to make some changes to your lifestyle ;-)

On your mark, get set... STOP!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Delicious Nutritional Fix

So I staggered into the kitchen at around 6am this morning to make breakfast, trying not to trip over the cat's bowl or, for that matter, the cat herself, who seems to have this habit of following me when she's hungry.

Do I toss some bacon into the frying pan, throw bread into the toaster or open the cereal box, like 99% of North Americans?  Nope.  None of the above. 

Instead, two bananas, some fresh and/or frozen fruit and a scoop or two of whey protein powder find their way into the blender.  Add water, hit the magic button and presto!  A highly nutritious breakfast in seconds.  Welcome to the world of...


So just what is a "smoothie"?  Simple.  It's a nutritious drink made from raw foods that are enzymatically alive and retain, as far as possible, their nutritional and energetic content.  You can use fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, nutritional supplements, and more, depending on the effect you want to achieve.

For example, I often make a second smoothie for my day, one that's designed to give me chlorophyll, the nutritional benefits of a fresh salad, and a healthy dose of high quality protein.  So I'll use parsley, lettuce or other green leafy vegetables and add some raw nuts or nut butter, and perhaps some extra whey powder or yogurt.  

"Is This Like 'Juicing'?"

Not at all.  Juicing processes fresh fruit or veggies through a device that extracts the juice and leaves out all the fiber, depriving you of a percentage of the nutritional value as well as of the digestive benefits of the fiber.  Smoothies, by contrast, give you the whole enchilada. 

Why should you add smoothies to your diet? 

  1. It's a delicious way to get the benefits of raw, living foods
  2. It will increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, fiber and more
  3. It's VERY easy on your digestive system and helps to regulate bowel health
  4. The contents are totally customizable
Obviously, improving your nutition is one key to your overall RESILIENCE and I can't think offhand of a better way to start.  And you can start just minutes or hours from now!  No specialized knowledge required.  Just a blender and perhaps a few smoothie recipe ideas.

As some of you know, Michael Morningstar has some amazing smoothie recipies.  Problem is I can't find them anymore.  Michael, since you read my posts, please send the web link so I can destribute it ;-)

Meanwhile, here are more than enough recipes to keep you busy: 


And if you have some thoughts on smoothies, feel free to leave your comments.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger