0629 – remember to go upstream

I just re-watched Tony Robbins: I am not your guru. I’m not sure if I wrote my thoughts the first time around, but here they are the second time around. I think Tony is pretty legit. I don’t think he’s legit for everyone, but I don’t think anybody can be legit for everyone either. I think he’s legit to his tribe, to his people. That’s the best you can ever do, anyway. You put out a clear signal so that your people can follow it back to you. That’s what he’s done, and that’s why he has this great staff that’s so committed and focused to contributing, and that’s why he draws so many people to him (who are then so nurturing and helpful to one another).

I’m trying to model the questions he’d have asked me.

// Why are you here?

I’m here because I feel like I’m blocked.

// Why do you feel blocked?

I feel like I could be doing more things with my life, like I could be moving faster, contributing more, shedding old bullshit, changing more. I AM doing these things, but progress has been really slow. It feels like I’ve made a tiny crack in a big dam, and now there’s water trickling out. I need to break the dam altogether. I’ve never done this before. I believe it’s doable but I haven’t done it yet.

// What is the dam? What’s blocking you?

You know, I’ve done a LOT of reflecting on this, but I really don’t have a straight answer. It seems like the answer changes depending on my mood or my circumstances. I guess the problem is that I don’t have a strong frame, then. The problem is that I allow myself to be swept up in all these currents. A part of me enjoys it. But another part of me knows – a deeper part, maybe – knows that I can’t live like that.

// Why is your frame weak?

I don’t know. How do you have a strong frame? Nobody taught me how to have a strong frame. Few people in my life could be described as examples of people with strong frame – and with the exception of my boss and a colleagues, I found ways to dislike or despise anybody with a strong frame. At least, I did when I was younger. I hated authority figures, I hated teachers, parents, all that sort of thing. I just wanted to be left alone to my own devices, to be free to do whatever.

But I also recognise that when people didn’t leave me be, it was because they didn’t trust me to be left alone, and there’s a sort of love in that. People don’t want me to end up a burden on my family, or on society, some derelict hobo just lounging around doing nothing.

I have to earn the right to be left alone to my own devices. There’s a responsibility there, a “price of admission” that I need to pay. I haven’t fully, properly internalised this and I should reflect on it more.

// Whose love did you crave the most?

My siblings would probably unanimously say that I was the favourite child of my parents. And I suppose they’re right. I always assumed that I would have my mother’s affection. My dad’s too, in his own way, but my dad wasn’t so warm and sentimental. I don’t know. I don’t actually know my parents nearly as well as I assume I might. My dad’s a bit of a reckless man, a bit impulsive, a bit of a Clint Eastwood type. I don’t know the specifics of the challenges he faced when he was younger, but I imagine he was ambitious. I think he wanted to be a wealthy businessman who could show off, grant favours and things like that. He was the sort of guy who would go to court over a parking ticket and then argue his case. A bit of a rascal, a bit of a mischievous type. He would’ve been a joker. It’s sad to think on hindsight I suppose that I never fully got to see that side of him – as we never quite get to see who our parents are before they become our parents.

Anyway – I guess I would’ve craved his love more. He was the worldlier one, it seemed.

// Who did you have to be for your father?

I can’t remember the specific of how it felt back then, but vaguely overall I think my dad wanted a bit of a trophy kid – someone who would do really well academically and then end up a lawyer or some sort of bigshot. He was definitely thrilled when I made it into the GEP, and definitely upset when I was asked to leave. And he wouldn’t have any of it when I suggested maybe going to Poly instead of JC. And I’m recalling now that there was some point where he was very persistent in trying to persuade me to take a military scholarship of some kind. So clearly there’s something there about what he wanted for me that I never quite fully articulated – I mean, I saw it as something to run away from, or run circles around, and it didn’t occur to me then to sit and try and make sense of it all. But it makes sense – my dad’s a bit of a smartass who likes to run his mouth. He would’ve been prone to making strong claims and statements… he would’ve wanted sons who were driven, high-functioning, accomplished and so on.

But one of the tragedies of life maybe is that it’s so easy to get in the way of the things that we want. So we end up stifling the very thing that we want to have. That’s a common loop that I seem to run into.

// Who did you have to be?

It was a sort of contradiction – I had to be a trophy kid, and at the same time I had to be moderately sociable, and not a total moron. He’d mock me for some things in a subtle way – like how I had odd eating habits, and when I was young that was always a source of embarrassment for me, I think. Having “dietary restrictions” in the form of “sorry, I won’t eat that, it looks gross.”

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