Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Your Transcendent Mission

Today at our wholeness ethics meeting we talked about ourselves as part of a story, what Kenneth Taylor calls the "narrative self." I had asked the men to write down their transcendent mission statement in life: What is the big thing that you want to do or be?

There was a time when I didn't know what this was. My mission was very now-centered. I just wanted to escape suffering and boredom. I wanted to be entertained. Then I started asking if what I was serving was worthy of me. Was it big enough?

This question goes to the heart of how we define ourselves, what part we write for ourselves (or allow to be written) in the Big Narrative. Do I see myself as a healer or a victim? Am I writing my own part or do I feel others are writing it for me?

Ironically, even here in prison, where it might seem like my part is being written by others, I feel like I'm writing it more now than ever before.

As I listened to some of the men share their mission statements at the meeting today, I was moved to see men who had made destructive decisions, yet were not allowing themselves to be defined by those decisions or by their current circumstances.

Retributive vs Restorative Justice

There are 2.2 million people locked up in America right now. We have been told that vengeance and retribution are virtues, but they are not and never have been. 

Retribution is no more good as a form of official justice than it is as a personal practice. Here's what it looks like next to restorative justice.

Go wholistic by practicing and supporting restorative justice. You can learn more here.

Advice for Crap Collectors

In the most beautiful park in the world you're bound to come across some dog crap now and then. You might even step in some in a moment of absent-mindedness. If you have a certain type of personality you might be tempted, when this happens, to pick the crap up and carry it around with you. 

It's true. You might even want to show it to your friends and random strangers. My advice is: Don't do it. If — no, when — you see it, because you surely will, just step over it and move on. There's a reason it's called "droppings." If you've stepped in it, wipe your foot off as best you can and get back to your business. Don't be a collector.

I say this because at one time in my life I felt compelled to pick up every turd I came across in the park of life. I collected them as evidence to support my contention that the world smelled like crap. I shared my collection and my contention with anyone who would listen. "See, the world is crappy," I would declare, pulling great handfuls of the stuff from my deep pockets and waving it under wrinkled noses.

Sometimes I'm not too bright and this was one of those times. It took me a long time to recognize the obvious: that the world might not smell so bad if I stopped picking up every pile of crap I came across. I tried it and it worked. My world is smelling much better nowadays. Of course, I still come across a pile now and then but when I do, I leave it lie. If I find one in my pocket (it happens) I get rid of it immediately.

So there you have it. If your world is smelling a little crappy, you may want to check your pockets.