The Way It Is
"This is the true joy in life -- being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances."
-- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish-born British playwright
I've been playing with FeedDemon, which I've mentioned before - it's an RSS feed news aggregator. (You really don't need to know what that is, unless you're a propeller head.) One of the feeds I read is a "Quotes" e-zine, and I decided to start grabbing quotes that I think are of relevance to Into the Centre readers. This Shaw quote struck a nerve.
Shaw points out several of the distractions that people latch onto to avoid the quite serious responsibility of stepping up to the plate and living life -- truly, completely and responsibly.
As this week's article will be a short one, owing to the "State of the Phoenix Centre" article which follows, let me summarize, in point form:
- Life is about being used, and used up. ~ Ouch. Most people think life is about having it all, being it all and being "happy." I find it ironic, then, how few are. Shaw recognized that the idea behind the game was to so immerse ourselves in passion for life and dedicate ourselves to a "mighty purpose," that we use ourselves up in the process. Thus, life is passionate immersion, not putting in time waiting for externals to "make us happy."
- Joy comes from self-approval and self recognition. ~ Notice that Shaw does not say, "a purpose recognized by others as a mighty one." I notice how many people seem to be on hold, looking for permission to get on with their lives, their passions. I remember an artist friend saying, "I'd paint, if only everyone would leave me alone." On the other hand, a fervent personal commitment to a self-declared noble goal has the power of conviction behind it.
- And lastly, Shaw parallels two common life paths - self-responsible and victim. ~ We seem to be becoming a world filled with, as Shaw describes them, "feverish selfish little clod[s] of ailments and grievances." As you know, I subscribe to the idea that, if I'm feeling something, I need to feel it, express it and the get over it. Never is it about stuffing it. That being said, adopting whining victim status as a lifestyle choice is the ultimate in wasting what we have been given.
This week, have a look at what drives you, and ask yourself what you are waiting for. Own your passions and desires, your needs and wants, and look for ways to make you life happen. The true joy of life is this: being you, living your life at 100%. And dying, used up.
The State of the Phoenix Centre - projects and ideas
It's nice to be back, having spent the last 3 weeks on a "writing holiday," as well as a slow down in our day to day living. Dar is now back to school, while I focus in on counselling and writing.
April 2003 was the 4th anniversary of Into the Centre, and that's a lot of articles. For those of you that haven't been with us from day one, do take the time to check out our archives. Often, things you might have a question about are addressed in past articles. Our search engine is powered by Atomz, and typing in words or phrases gets you not only results from Into the Centre, but also from the rest of our website.
We are at a crossroads of a sort here at The Phoenix Centre for Creative Living – not a serious one, but more of a directional one. On the one hand, Dar and I are recognizing that we are into the final 5 years of Dar's teaching career. We're looking at the "what's and how's" of the shift that will come with her retirement. I assume that I'll continue to do what I do, and yet would like to put more emphasis on writing and electronic means of doing my work.
Many of you know that we did an experiment with online counselling a while back, then put it "on hiatus" because the process was simply too kludgy. In the last several months, we've begun to do telephone counselling, which is a ton better than working through e-mail. We're exploring "chat" software that allows for voice and video as another alternative. (If any of you have experience with specific software solutions, we'd love to hear your opinion.)
I'm also in a writing phase, including an expansion of our booklet The List of 50, as well as beginning (today, maybe!) a new relationships book. In keeping with the above theme, we're looking at non-standard publishing methods, including print-on-demand and downloadable books. We're going to spin off separate websites to market the books.
Into the Centre continues to be a puzzlement. We "mail" to 800 or so subscribers each week, and hear from so few of you as to be a one-way street. Some years ago we added subscribers by using a subscription service – many of you came to us through that route. We seldom get "unsubscribe" requests – likely, believe it or not, around 2 a month. What we do get are people abandoning e-mail addresses without re-subscribing. Over 3 years we've lost track of around 500 subscribers through bad e-mail addresses.We'll likely go back to using the subscription service to boost our ranks again.
What you can do to help is to tell your friends about Into the Centre and encourage them to subscribe. And drop us a line, letting us know that you're reading Into the Centre and asking for topics.
Then, there's our Voluntary Subscription idea. This has actually been a successful idea, although not picked up upon by many of you. I think we'll all be discovering that more and more web content will come with a price tag. My approach has been to try an online newsletter, for example, and if I find things I value, I buy something – software, downloadable books, or go shopping through their link to Amazon or whatever. Everybody wins.
If you like what we do, give us a hand. Buy a coffee mug, or go through our site to Amazon for a book you're going to buy anyway. Or, really let us know that you like our work by doing the Voluntary Subscription thing once (or twice!) a year.
On to topics, and format of Into the Centre. (Have you noticed that this article is a bit different? The first issue each September is going to be a once-a-year format for letting you know "where we're coming from.") I asked for ideas back in July and received a few, mostly from my friend and faithful reader, (hey David!) now residing in the middle of the wheat fields of Saskatchewan.
His ideas dovetailed with a couple of ideas we've been tossing around. One is to provide a locus for articles from those of you with something to say. Any and all submissions will be considered for publication. No guarantees, but certainly interest on our part.
Secondly, I'm playing with adding in one or more additional columns. A few years ago I ran a "Bodywork" column with links to that section on our site. If I add columns, there will have to be links to the full articles, as I have to keep the size of the e-zine manageable. Would you like to see topical columns?
One suggestion has been to add a column on sex and sexuality. We'll add it if you want it – however, I need to know what you'd like to read about.
Lastly, Dar and I have finally decided to stop leading workshops. This has been a hard decision, given the initial success of many of our workshop concepts, but we've had too many times of setting up follow-up events and having little or no turnout. We are willing to come in and run events for people doing the planning and finding the participants. If you want us to run something, have a look at this page.
On the other hand, we're getting more and more interest in our innovative Weekend Residentials. This process is for individuals and couples, and is really a self-designed "event" – a chance to come here and work on anything you need to work on, for an entire weekend – room, board and the topic(s) of your choice. You might want to give it a try.
Well, enough for this week. Our work here is an evolving thing, and we'd love your feedback. Next week, we begin the exploration ever again. It's nice to be back!