Who am I to tell you how to live?
I started a conversation with a friend of mine online tonight, Joanne, when I said:
just wanted to touch base Joanne… feels like ages… hope you’re stepping out there and creating that free life that sings in your heart
I said this because the last time we spoke, Joanne told me that she was feeling very stuck in her 20 plus year marriage, and that she was in fact in love with someone else, and that she wasn’t giving herself permission to live the life that she really wanted to live.
Oh boy… can I relate to that!
Not so much the thing about being in love with someone else, but about being stuck in a relationship for 15 years that was suffocating the life out of me. I stayed in it for those 15 years primarily for our daughter, but also for pleasing and looking good to everyone in our families and the extended community.
I was afraid of becoming a single dad, and having my soon to be ex-wife take away all our properties. Well… naturally everything I was afraid of happening, actually happened in 2008 when I walked out.
I lost all the properties, she took them, and I became a single dad, because she didn’t/couldn’t be the parent our daughter needed.
Ultimately, I had to sell my business, go bankrupt, and go through many other dramas that continued to over those 5 years as I fought for my way to freedom, at all costs.
I got it deeply in the very depth of my stomach (from my mothers death in 2007), that if I was going to live (because at that time it was about life and death) I was going to need to risk everything, put it all on the line, to win back my life. I got that my daughter actually needed a dad who was alive, and not some pathetic “pleasing zombie” pretending to be good and nice to everyone.
I can see how my ex-wife literally threw everything at me, everything an identity would object to, my ex-wife threw at me. And the pain burned so deep, that it dragged me into the depths of anger for years.
Only now, 7 years after the whole collapse/rebirth, have I been able to come back to having conversations with my ex-wife. For so long the fires of hate burned. But with each passing year, they got less and less. Until finally this year, after all the breakthrough I went through in Mexico, I no longer felt anything at all, it was all totally washed away, and I was finally free. And so we could speak again.
The past 8 years have been quite the journey, and it ain’t over yet.
So yes, I know the terror leaving the safety of the life that one has constructed so carefully.
I know the terror of losing all ones friends.
The terror of telling ones families the truth. The hard bitter truth, and having them reject you.
I know the terror of losing ones finances, all that wealth one has worked so hard to protect.
And yes, I lost all of that (and more!).
And yet, I’m here to tell you, it was worth it. The price of freedom is truly worth losing everything that we hold dear. Because in truth, there is nothing that ever have, and therefore nothing that you can ever really lose.
Now… the surprising bit to me came when Joanne posted these messages (below) to me after she read my last blog post, which I invited her to read. I sent it to her with the aspiration that it might offer some encouragement to help her have the confidence to lead a life of greater freedom, rather than continuing to live inside the lies of pleasing people and continuing on a path of not being truly authentic to the depth of ones being.
I find that when people try to show people how free they are, it is huge game of ‘look what I can do”…you should try it too
and this has absolutely nothing to do with non/duality.
can you choose your thoughts?
is it YOU that is doing anything?
How to take credit for anything?
sounds like you think there is a purpose somewhere.
and that you have this special role to share with ‘others’ out there ???
that you are even more free than freeom itself…hahahha
sorry, i don’t buy any of it.
but im sure there are some that may my friend.
no offense of course
[ME: what don’t you buy? I’m a little confused? please don’t hold back]
You ran away from something, huge in the life.
I sense it.
a responsibility and now you call yourself free.
just something i ‘saw’.
that you are hiding something
and you think you are above others.
and that you think you should ‘teach’ others.
its a trap
but i hope it is okay to share that with you being that you are so free…..
Firstly I want to congratulate Joanne that she shared her truth with me!
She didn’t hold back! I love people to share what they really think, and I invite them to tear through “my” opinions. Please, reveal to me any bullshit that you see me writing about! Or living!
Thank you Joanne for helping to clarify and inspire me to write all of this (something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time).
Now, let’s look at the primary points she raises.
Why? Because when discussing “the appropriateness” of discussing the topic of freedom, I think it’s important to get straight on what all the issues are.
Firstly, right off the bat, let’s get real that everything I represent and write about is taboo.
In our society we are not allowed to be free.
Not truly, completely free in any of the multitude of ways we might want to be.
We can only be free in the ways that our society deems appropriate.
If we do create a truly open sense of freedom, we certainly can’t exclaim or share this too loudly.
Most importantly of all, we can’t be too intense about any of this, we can’t be too excited.
Here are the main issues, as I see them, that Joanne raises and has with how I live:
- That I’m showing off about being being free, and that this type of freedom is “better” than anything else
- That this “freedom” I speak of has nothing to do with non/duality
- Do “I” really think that “I” am doing anything here?
- That I think there is some purpose somewhere
- That I think I have a special role to play
- That she “senses/saw” a responsibility that I have run away from
- That I am hiding something
- That I think I am above others
- That I think “should teach” others
- That what I’m in is a trap
I love to go through things and unpack them.
I think Joanne is right about a LOT of this, but probably not in the way that she thinks she is right.
Let’s also keep in mind that the human’s number one goal is to be right.
Typically each person in an argument wants to be right.
It’s how the identity lives. “Being right” is the ego/self/identities oxygen that keeps it going.
That’s why I welcome this kind of criticism of my life. It’s why I share so freely. Because it helps to further deconstruct any notion of a self that likes to raise it head continuously throughout the day.
I remain 100% committed to what I am sharing, and how I see it. And yet… I want to be proven wrong. Please, show me that I’m wrong. At least then I have learned something. At least then I have knocked the ego off it’s high horse once more.
I’m now going to go through each of these 10 points she raises:
1. That I’m showing off about being being free, and that this type of freedom is “better” than anything else
As I’ve often said, I don’t think my extreme way of living is “better” than everyone else’s way of living. Heck, I’m down to 2.5 bags! I “get” not many people can, want, or even should do that.
And yet, every week I write and share about how wonderful this lifestyle that I lead is…
So yes, by definition by constantly writing about how wonderful my life of endless travel is, I am 100% showing off about it!
Let’s be clear about that. I am a show off about my life. You only have to look at this blog and Facebook page to see that. So, I must think that what I’m doing is pretty neat.
And yet, I don’t think that my is better than anyone else’s way of living. And yet, to be 100% honest, by mere definition of choosing to live this way, I must therefore think that my way of living is better than everyone else’s. Otherwise I’d be living the way they do!
How can this be? It doesn’t make a lot of sense…
Too right it doesn’t make a lot of sense. There’s a fair few paradoxes going on here.
You see, I want to show you, and as many people as I can, that I don’t think they have even thought much at all about how they’re living. I don’t think that many people have even assessed whether their own life, THEIR OWN LIFE, is the best type of life to lead.
In fact, if most people were honest, they’d probably say that the way they were living is NOT the best possible life they could be living, and that they’d love to live another way.
It’s just that they have no clue on how to even start to live a life that they would love.
They don’t know where to look. And in fact, wherever they look, they just see more stuck people like themselves. There are no real models of freedom, other than the celebrities.
And so, I like to show my life as a model, to demonstrate that there other ways to live, beyond the cookie cutter of being a worker unit ant paying your bills and taxes, and towing the company line.
So, THIS is precisely my point. THIS is why I write about freedom and travel.
To SHOW you that there are other ways. Heck, to show you that you can actually live a life that you love, if you’ve got the guts and the intelligence to actually think about what all this all means.
Which is nothing, other than the meaning you give it.
To give up on the lies that have been force fed to you by the media machine, and all the “friends” that tell you what is “real life”, who are feeling as trapped as you are, who have also not thought much at all about whether the life they are leading is the “best” possible life for them.
I have thought about this. A LOT.
For over 20 years I planned and plotted a myriad ways to free myself from all systems. And so I educated myself and travelled the world and did things that would turn most people’s stomachs, all to train myself to become as free as possible. Freed of the constraints that this current human society says we should live within.
Why would I choose to go another way? Simply because I don’t like the way the majority live.
Not because my views are better than everyone else’s (although, clearly by definition of me thinking them as my views, I must think they are better! yes, another paradox) but simply because working out how I wanted to live, with as much mobility and flexibility as possible, was simply my preference.
And yes, I still have plenty of preferences. So did the buddha.
Did I just compare myself to the buddha! Yikes! Watch out for the ego maniac 😉
2. That this “freedom” I speak of has nothing to do with non/duality
Right. It doesn’t. I’m not talking about non/duality here at this point.
At least, not yet I’m not. Non/duality is a topic dear to my heart, and it represents where all this 100% freedom thing is going. But I haven’t started to talk about that yet.
But given that it’s been raised, I think what Joanne is pointing to is this – true freedom cannot be found “out here in the world”. That in fact, there may be no “true freedom” OR rather, there is only ever total freedom all the time.
I 100% agree. If that is indeed what she meant.
And yes, all of that makes no sense, and is full of paradoxes.
The ultimate freedom is living with the truth, which could be expressed as:
- Freedom from conditioning
- Freedom from constraint
- Freedom from suppression
- Freedom from the desire to control
- Freedom from the desire to judge
- Freedom from all forms of belief
- Freedom from suffering as suffering (this does not mean free from pain)
- Freedom to truly face the truth of this moment, whatever that may be
- Freedom to feel everything in the body and be open to anything that is arising in the mind/body
- Freedom to feel all of ones emotions and not judge anything that arrises in oneself or others
It could be said, we are all always free. That there is “no where to get”, that “you are already home”, because there is “no separate you” to be free in the first place.
And yet, I can tell you now, if you go and ask most people on the planet “hello sir/madam, are you feeling 100% totally free in your life right now?”
I hazard a guess that most people would say “no, I’m not”.
And if we asked “would you like to feel more free in your life to do the things that you want to do?”
I hazard a guess they’d say “yes I would”.
And that’s what I’m talking about here in this website. The practicality of ordinary people feeling the freedom to do whatever they please that comes from their hearts, without feeling impaired by the rules and structures of others.
And yes, that only represents a very superficial level of freedom when compared to the quantum field, or freedom from the totality of everything.
But surely we have to start somewhere, and if you aren’t even feeling free in the very gross/superficial levels of your life, in your body, in your society, with your money, and in your real relationships, how are you going to really feel free in the heart of your spirit. I assert that without a true depth of authentic freedom in those areas, you are probably not going to feel a depth of freedom in your spirit (whatever that is!).
3. Do “I” really think that “I” am doing anything here?
Given that I experience that there is no separate “I” going on here anyway, I know I am not doing anything here. And yes, that whole sentence is full of paradoxes and makes no sense!
It’s because I know that “I” don’t exist that I have that sense of freedom to play full out, to say whatever I want, to welcome criticism, and talk about taboos.
I get that these words are flowing through me, they want to be expressed.
Why? I have no frigg’n idea! And yet, here they all come.
“I write therefore I am” ???
I doubt it. Writing these words is no proof of a separate identity. And yet the “myself” every moment that arises tries to claim ownership over these thoughts, these words. It even tries to claim ownership over the inner battle that says there is an I/self or there is no I/self. This inner and outer argument just spins around and around, without much point.
And… it literally hurts my head. So, the best thing I can do is just feel into my body. To feel into the inner struggle that wants to believe there is no self, a self that wants to claim ownership of believing there is no self!
Jeepers… shut up already. When you start looking at this stuff, these are just all these separate crazy thoughts spinning around, trying self reference themselves into believing in a separate I/identity/ego. It’s a magic trick, a slight of hand.
And I have seen through that slight of hand. Once seen, never unseen.
4. That I think there is some purpose somewhere
I find it more fun to live thinking there is a purpose somewhere.
Do I know what it is? No.
Do I really think there is a purpose? No.
Then why think it? Because it’s just a more fun way to live. It’s like a game.
I think in actuality, it is just profoundly empty, empty with the most insane intensity that one could possibly imagine. There is a force behind all of this that operates with a level of intensity that can obliterate/create anything.
What is it’s purpose? Why does all this operate?
No idea. These are the questions we’ve been asking since the dawn of time (interesting phrase… right?).
There is no answer to them. There is no answer to whether there is a purpose or not.
There is just this. And I have no idea what THIS is.
And yet here it is.
And given I have to get up after I wake and start each day a new, I live inside the listening that helps direct me what to do. This stops me from going insane, and makes my days very easy.
There is no control. I can abdicate everything, and just listen. Thank you…
5. That I think I have a special role to play
Just like the previous answer, yes I do. Why? Because it makes the game of each day more fun to play.
Do I really have a special role to play? No, there is no “me” anyway. There is no role. There is no game.
But given that I don’t get the instruction to kill myself, I just surrender to keep living each day, and therefore I’m sent messages of what to do. And so yes, that occurs as a “special role to play in this game called life”.
Do I think I’m right about any of this? No.
It could all be rubbish. All of it.
And here’s he joke (it’s all a joke).
I even write ALL of this because of ideas that pop up within that say “I’m special”. Yes, I was conditioned from my early childhood to think I was special. And yes, my parents spent their whole life telling me I wasn’t, while my grandmother and uncle told me I was. For some reason (part of the bigger mission) deep down I always knew my parents were wrong, and that I was special.
The only difference now is, I know this is a joke. And yet, the conditioning still plays out.
So, like it or not, for some reason I carry this nonsensical habitual way of thinking.
I actually quite like it, as it helps me get things done, and seems to make life more enjoyable for me and others, and generally everything runs a lot more effectively than it would if I thought I wasn’t special.
Isn’t that the funny bit here. What if you think YOU DON’T have a special role to play.
Isn’t that just as crazy? Who is to say you do, or you don’t.
It looks to me, that by the mere fact of your body/mind system existing, you do a have a special role to play. Perhaps this game is about tuning into what that is.
6. That Joanne “senses/sees” a responsibility that I have run away from
This one is interesting. Joanne doesn’t know me at all. She’s had one conversation with me, and she relies upon her psychic “seeing” of “something” to tell me what I’m doing.
Now, she may very well have that power. Some people do. Like, they really do!
And, Joanne really might have this power. Like seriously. But I don’t know her, so I can’t say whether she does or does not.
Two main points come to mind when I encounter people saying such things.
POINT 1. I think it’s always interesting when someone, uninvited, points the finger at someone else saying that what they are doing isn’t right, that perhaps they are egotistical because they are declaring that they are the know it all. When surely, if you are saying this sort of thing to someone off your own bat, you are doing the very thing you criticising them of doing, telling them that you know better. And so it always makes me laugh a little. How can one delusional self, tell another delusional self that they are wrong about anything, and expect to be right? How? Because that is what the human conditioning does, it seeks to make others wrong, and be right as often as possible.
Heck, I’m probably doing it myself right now! This stuff is sticky, and hilarious.
POINT 2. What exactly is that I’ve run away from?
Did I run away from an old life in Australia that wasn’t working for me, that I spent about 17 years trying to figure out how to get myself out of? From a certain point of view, yes I did.
You could say that anytime you make a big change in your life that you are “running away” from your old life. You could say that anytime you begin something you, you have “run away” from what you were doing before.
You could also say, that you are “boldly going where you haven’t been before”.
Or, that you are “stepping out of your comfort zone” or “standing up for yourself” or… there are as many different judgements on why someone is doing something as there are people.
The main thing here is, “should” one leave one’s old life? Is leaving your old life is appropriate? At what point is it “ok” or “appropriate” to start afresh?
Most people are forever spinning their wheels, waiting to get all their ducks in a line, to get everything totally tidy and complete before they would set off on something new.
There is no perfect. There is no order. There is no “right time”. There is no one watching or judging, only yourself and the other fellow humans.
So what happens when someone boldly steps out there and starts declaring and living a life that they love? They become a threat to the status quo.
My very lifestyle is that threat. It’s a trigger that causes others to react. And the more loudly I speak, and the more compelling I make this message, the more people will most likely react.
The main BIG question is, what would Joanne rather have me do?
What exactly would she (or anyone) like me to do?
Perhaps they’d like me to shut up! No problem, you don’t have to read what I write 😉
For whatever reason, my inclination is to write to inspire others to step out of the straight jackets that they’ve put themselves into. It seems like a fun topic of endless possibility to me. And I get positive feedback. People like hearing this stuff! Plus… it looks to me like there are plenty of people not too happy with the lives they’re living.
Maybe it wouldn’t even hurt if they DID run away from their “responsibilities”. Who’s to say. Who’s to judge. What if someone’s responsibilities are killing them, eating away at them. What if they are on the edge, and just want to get off, but feel they “can’t” because otherwise people would judge them for “leaving their responsibilities”.
I tell you, it’s this very judgement that keeps millions of people trapped in lives they hate. They fear the judgement of people like Joanne. I know I used to.
I’m just so glad I stopped caring, and started living.
When I saw my mother die in 2007, I knew it was time to start living.
This ain’t no dress rehearsal folks.
7. That I am hiding something
If you read all the blog posts on this site, you’ll see I’ve shared just about everything. I’ve shared a lot, lot more than most people ever would.
I’ve even put my Skype and email address out there in the public, so anyone can ask me anything they want. But, I guess for some people that is still not enough.
Am I hiding something? Sure… lots of things!
I don’t tell you about the kinky sex I get up too. Or perhaps I don’t. Do you really want to know? 😉
I don’t tell you about the argument my uncle has had with me, and why he will now rarely speak to me. Now you’re really wondering what is going on! What happened between Barnaby and his uncle??
Do you really want to know? It all started the day I called my sister about my grandmother…
But seriously, do I have to share absolutely everything? No. Would anyone. I doubt it. Would Joanne share everything? Is she hiding something? I’m sure she is! It’s all a joke.
The main thing is, is the act of sharing everything actually necessary, is it efficient, and do people actually want to hear ABSOLUTELY everything. And if they don’t (which they don’t) then what is it that should be shared? And who is to judge any of this anyway?
I think if Joanne really looked, she’d see that she has a bias as to what she thinks should be revealed, and what she thinks should remain hidden. As though there is a list of appropriate things that one should be responsible for, and appropriate things one should share.
And perhaps there. The problem is though, this is actually different for every single person. So… said another way, there is no way to please anyone or everyone.
It would seem that Joanne is not happy with my level of sharing.
If she (or you) would like me to share more on anything in particular, then please, ask me a specific question, and I will answer it 🙂
8. That I think I am above others
It sure would look that way given how I write and what I share!
From reading how I write, seeing the photos I share, and how I “show off my lifestyle”, I get how all this really pushes people’s buttons. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I do this by design 😉
I want to shake you up. I want to show you just how crazy my life is. Here’s the funny bit. I only share about 10% of what’s actually going on! It’s way WAY more amazing and fantastic than anything I currently write about. Why don’t I share more? Because people simply wouldn’t believe, or they would be truly put off by my “showing off”. So yes, I do dial it down, only share the minimal parts that I think would be enough to inspire people to look at life a bit differently.
Even so, many people reading my stuff would think that I think I’m above others. So, Joanne is not alone in this.
In fact, my parents thought this about me my ENTIRE life while I was living with them!
I promptly moved out as soon as possible (at 19) to avoid aggravating them any further.
Am “I” above anyone else? That actual question is totally ridiculous. There is no “me” to be above anyone. And even if there was, who would possibly be the judge of this. And if I am the judge, then it’s a pretty small court, all happening in my own mind. Living like that would be such a boring waste, to truly walk around believing that I was better, it would actually be so exhausting, and definitely no fun.
But I don’t think this is even the main point here.
The point is, it sounds to me that Joanne doesn’t want me to share the way I share. Perhaps it’s too flamboyant, to exuberant, to showy. Maybe it is. And I’m sorry if I offend (not really).
My intention (and I do believe that peoples intentions are the best thing to go on) is to inspire and help people rise out of the struggles that they’ve found themselves in.
I want to empower them to make better, clearer, more effective and honest choices for their lives.
There is no point in me shrinking back and “hiding” myself from the world. Who benefits from this? I have long loved this quote, and think it is appropriate at times like this. I can think of no better way to say it, than like this:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
I simply feel the freedom to let my light shine, and I want to encourage you to do the same. And yes, I know that it will attract criticism and the darkness that lies within the critical minds of others. But that’s ok, it’s just how the world works at this time.
None of that need stop any of us. We need not fear those who oppose us. I love my enemies, as they call me forth to be who the world wants me to be. Even though at times, acting like this may make me look like I think I’m better than everyone else, it would only be fault of my ineptness of communicating with that particular person. And, like I said before, there is no way to please every single person.
9. That I think “should teach” others
Like most of these points, I don’t think I SHOULD teach others.
It’s simply the instructions that I’m picking up from this thing called the game of life. I tune in, and it says share (or some would say “teach”).
If it occurs to me to do something different, then I’ll do that.
Again, I think this harkens back to Joanne’s point earlier where she thinks that I think, that I’m better than everyone else.
The real doozy here is, thinking that there is anything wrong with all this thinking that you are better than everyone else anyway. Who is judging any of this? Who actually knows the right way to think, and the right things to think? Doesn’t thinking just happen? Isn’t conditioning just playing out? There is no control. Thoughts just come.
Given that, is anything wrong with thinking that you should or shouldn’t teach anyone?
There is nothing wrong, period.
Life just is. It’s not fair.
Horrible/yucky things are happening (and that’s all open to judgement).
Wonderful/beautiful things are happening (and that’s all open to personal preference).
I know stuff others don’t. It’s true. And others want to learn it.
So I share it. They come. You could call that consensual teaching.
Does that mean that I think I’m better than them… maybe???
Anyone who doesn’t want to learn, can go away.
Anyone who disagrees, can share their opinions and try and tear me down.
Please. I’m all ears 🙂
10. That what I’m in, is a trap
Yes, I have several friends who have taken robes as buddhist monks in the hills of exotic Asian countries. And its’ true, I once longed to be just like them.
I thought that getting out of this whole “showing off” thing was THE thing to do.
Is it? Can you prove that sharing your life and helping to inspire others is truly a trap?
I get that it is a trap if you believe there REALLY REALLY is some important purpose to life.
I get that it is a trap if you think there TRULY TRULY is the RIGHT thing to do.
Like my born again Christian father thinks, he knows we’re all wrong, and he’s right. Maybe we are, maybe he is. Just doesn’t look like a fun way to play life to me.
I get that it is a trap if you think there REALLY is an identity that could even be trapped in the first place!
But, given there is no identity, there is no right thing to do, there is no purpose to any of this, other than what we say there is (because it’s all made up) – then I do not feel trapped by it.
In fact, I feel free to do as I please.
I’m a good writer. I know that. People tell me that.
I’m inspiring. I know that. People keep telling me that.
Is any of that true? No. Does any of that matter? No.
Will I be forgotten? Probably about 30 days after I’m dead.
If you don’t like what I’m up to, great.
I’d love to know a better way to live.
Explain to me with logic a better, more appropriate way to do life.
Please tell me, what should I do?
What would you like me to do?
How would you like me to live?
I know I push your buttons.
I know you don’t agree with my lifestyle or how I show it off.
But how does my diminishing my skills, diminishing my magical powers, not offering my gifts to others, how does not doing those things help anyone?
Surely the more powerful, the more influential, the more loving, authentic, skilled and clear I become, the more useful I am to the planet.
And that is my only inclination. But then, perhaps my logic is not sound.
I know there are teachings that I will share that will eclipse everything discussed so far in this website. I know that the deeper freedom is WAY deeper than the freedom of travel, money, power, or influence.
The more profound and remarkable freedom, is the freedom to feel. To truly open up and feel everything flood through your system, through your body, without any judgements. This is true power. An inner freedom that burns brighter than anything else. The freedom to feel oneself fully is the leading edge.
And I get that how I live my life can make people jealous. Does this mean I should not make people jealous? Am I in fact making anyone jealous? Do I have that power? I don’t think so.
If I am off with any of this, please tell me. Otherwise, join with me, and let’s have fun figuring out how to bring more freedom (of every kind) to more people.
My own personal interest is… I seek only to know the truth.
I want to pull apart everything that I have written, and I want you to show me the delusions under which I live. Thank you.