Strange Days...

"People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say, dependent on form. They don't realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn't have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that is always already here, that lies beyond what is happening or not happening, beyond form." A New Earth

As many visitors here know...we have a friend with spina bifida who has been in the hospital recovering from back surgery. He is doing fantastic and I said hi to him from all our blog friends and others ...he is cracking jokes and sleeping a lot...all good signs of healing! Actually...I landed up sleeping a fair bit of the day on the couch next to his hospital room...between his meals. The poor guy has to stay lying don and so he needs help eating...and if that wasn't bad enough...and the pain...morphine doesn't kill the pain of arthritis so he is sore in his knee. He hasn't even complained.

Meanwhile...on some bizarre cosmic level...perhaps as often happens surrounding life and death (?)...Stagg and I have found that the last few days we have encountered some major emotional and spiritual observations.

It's as if the universe has conspired to play tricks on Stagg and I and has enlisted the use of public transit, family members, the Oprah book selection, and several past conversations with friends. If some of the moments hadn't been so painful...the whole last few days would have been a complete comedy.

We're not sure why...why this week or why under this weeks circumstances that we found ourselves having "aha moments" after "aha moments" about so many social situations and personalities in the world and in our life...but we have. It's been an absolute crazy few days...spiritually. I'm serious. There is no way else to say it.

There have been tears there have been laughs. And I'll tell ya, when Stagg says "aha moment" sheesh...when any straight guy uses the concept "aha moment" in observation you know that the universe and karma is a powerful motherfucker.'s like we're on Oprah and we're looking around for hidden cameras.

Speaking of Oprah...Tweetey Has a post on her blog about reading the recent Oprah book pick. She wrote an amazing review of one of the chapters...her post completely relates to stuff happening around us this week!

I suppose because of the great attitude of our friend after painful surgery...the seriousness of his surgery and health concerns with his wonderful positive attitude have brought to focus some negative behaviours in others. When you see someone with a life or death issue ...with bravery be so gracious...the motives of others can become transparent.

Yes...maybe that's what happened this week...some motives and behaviours became transparent. In many has been a gift because both Stagg and I feel like we learned so much...oh my...and the week ain't even over!

The Oprah book selection has come to mind this week because it has helped to highlight the motives of some of the challenging social dynamics this week (and in general). The book A New Earth is a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen. So here is a little from the Oprah selection book...Even very very nice people...sometimes people we work with or have relationships, maybe even ourselves! can have low-self esteem and control's never too late to improve your emotional life!

Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego

An ego that wants something from another-and what ego doesn't- will usually play some kind of role to get it's "needs" met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or specialness, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play. They are those roles. Some roles are subtle: others are blatantly obvious, except to the person playing it. Some roles are designed simply to get attention from others. The ego thrives on others' attention, which is after all a form of psychic energy. The ego doesn't know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside. It is not the formless attention which is Presence that the ego seeks, but attention in some form, such as recognition, praise, admiration, or just to be noticed in some way, to have its existence acknowledged.

And here is a list that might help you recognize signs that your own ego...or someone in your life...may have a controlling personality

How to recognize a controlling ego:

1. Think about your own actions. Do you often find yourself altering your own personality or views to fit someone else's, even if you are a strong person? If so, you might have been dealing with a controlling person.
2. Keep track of your relationships. Sometimes a controlling person will try to cause trouble between you and your family or friends. They may even go as far as embarrassing you. This is in order to isolate you from others. Be sure to stay aware of these traits.
3. Be on the lookout for moodiness. People with moody personalities are often unhappy with their own lives and try to improve their situation by controlling others.
4. Consider if you are often expected to change your plans for this person. Let's say you have your day all planned out and then you receive a phone call from a friend, and you tell them your plans. The person wants to join in with your plans, with the exception that your time doesn't work well for them, or maybe that isn't the place they want to go. The next thing that you know, your plans have totally changed. You end up seeing a movie that you didn't care to see, at a time that you didn't really care to go.
5. Listen for compliments. Often people with control issues are not very good at giving sincere compliments. They do not want you to feel good about yourself because it may take control away from them.
6. Watch out for controlling people if you are very attractive, for they can make your life miserable. Your looks will become a handicap in a controlling relationship, for they probably have a jealousy problem too.
7. Be on the lookout for not only moodiness, but temper outbursts by the other person when you disagree with them or don't do exactly what they want you to do. In their minds, you are challenging their authority over you.
8. Remember just because someone is opinionated doesn't mean they are controlling. A good test to tell the difference between someone who is just very opinionated or controlling is if they willingly accept or tolerate differences between you and them and don't try to change any part of your core person or personality.
9. While relationships are not democracies, neither are they dictatorships; seek a balance you are comfortable with.