Introduction

Introduction to the 2015 Edition

I guess you could say that the book in your hands is the result of our endless moments in Costa Rica. As you’ll see from the other Introductions, this is the third revision of this project.

2015 was a banner year for sales for the last revision of Living Life in Growing Orbits, and that’s interesting, because this book has only been available from http://www.phoenixcentrepress.com, our publishing website.

That was solely due to my decision to format the book for a full, 8.5 x 11 page, making it awkward to publish as a paperback on Amazon, and impossible, (due to the old, table format) to publish as an ebook.

Anyway, I was sitting at the rancho, talking about my books with a new friend, and began to idly wonder what this book would be like with a “regular” format—6 x 9—to match the rest of our books.

And then I thought that some rewrites might make the content clearer.

In other words, I came up with a project, as sitting around watching the breeze move the water in the pool apparently wasn’t enough for me.

I like this book, so I’m even hoping this will be a fun edit!


Introduction to the 2008 Edition

While I was writing my 2005 book This Endless Moment, a couple of my editors made requests for exercises, so they could experiment with what I was writing about.

I resisted for a bit—then I gave in, and included a group of exercises in This Endless Moment, as well as creating a small, downloadable handout with another 20 projects.

I think I resisted because I’d written Living Life in Growing Orbits in 1998, and it’s nothing but exercises. Then I realized that it had never been polished and really needed work.

So, in 2008, I decided to have another look at Living Life in Growing Orbits.

Readers who followed through with the exercises reported that they “got” what I continually talk about. The only real problem I could detect was that the layout was a bit odd, and some of the writing needed punching up, or clarification.

So, I did a re-write and redesign of the book. While the book is still quite close to its 1998 “parent” version, there are subtle changes to the language and presentation.

I hope you will like the revision, and will gain much from following along, day-by-day, for the next year.


Introduction

Wholeness is an ephemeral thing. For most people, it seems to be an unreachable goal, something best dis-cussed as a philosophical concept as opposed to an achievable reality. Given the continuing effort that moving toward wholeness entails, most people choose to settle for “average.” And the world suffers because of this choice.

You have decided to find an alternative to average, to settling, to simply getting by. Over the next 52 weeks, you will have opportunities to think deeply, to focus both inward and outward, to evaluate your choices, and to broaden your horizons.

I would not, for a moment, suggest that this work will be easy. There will be moments when you will feel like giving up, putting this book aside, thinking, “This may work for other people, but not for me.” Let me assure you, this is a normal, even predictable response.

When this happens, stop. Allow the feelings associated with stopping the process to wash over you. Then, write them down. Think about them. Notice what story you are telling yourself—how you are stopping yourself. Read the chapter, “Making Tea.” In the pause, as the drama dials back, clarity will occur, and you will choose to continue.

Working your way through this book represents a new beginning on a life-long journey. If you are wise, you will repeat this reflective process, in some form or another, for the rest of your life. This is either a delightful challenge or not, depending upon your perspective.

~ * * * ~

As to the way this book works: Each week is a separate chapter and begins with a thought for the week. These thought pages might suggest some form of writing, ob-serving, or data gathering. You then turn to the day pages. Each day contains a “Word from Uncle Wayne,” and a “Task for the Day.” Both are intended to keep you focused, moving along, and aware.

It is not enough to simply read along. You must actively participate, both by doing each activity, and by writing.

To get the most benefit from Living Life in Growing Orbits, you will need a workbook—an additional pad of paper or a spiral notebook. Use those blank pages to work through the questions raised in the ‘thought for the week.’ You will also write in your own workbook as the daily tasks dictate.

Let us begin, then, by simply being open to the possibility of a shift in direction. Let us walk together, with our eyes, ears, and minds open, available, and present.

There is no
greater challenge
than beginning

Rock—Week 1

Rock is the firm footing upon which we build our world. If possible we dig foundations to bedrock, so the things we build have the best chance of staying upright.

Rigid foundations necessarily resist movement—and it is the same with foundational thoughts.

Little children know nothing of the world. Adults and “tribes” teach the children what each tribe decides they need to know. These culturally accepted lessons of life, which each of us learn at others’ knees, become our foundational truths, and help us to establish a firm footing in the world. In a sense, without such teachings we would be autistic. We would exist, but we would not be able to define ourselves or place ourselves.

The foundational truths we learn are, however, subjective. Even more important, we have likely forgotten that we totally accepted, and are governed by, those foundational truths. They are that deeply embedded.

Foundational beliefs affect, as does nothing else, our world-view. A bald example: a divorced mother tells her daughter, age three, “Never trust a man. They’ll all leave you.” This one statement has the potential to colour all future relationships the young child has. And that’s just one statement.

Of course, you will see the problem here. We incorporated these “truths” because, when we were small, big people (who had power or authority over us) demanded that we structure our being and behaviour according to these “truths.” We incorporated them into our being, and they have framed how we under¬stand reality from that point on.

Unfortunately, however, some of these “truths” are non-helpful, or non-functional. We must begin by raising such “truths” to consciousness. Then, we can evaluate them more objectively—in a sense deciding if they actually work.

~ * * * ~

Make a list of all of the foundational truths you know about yourself and the world. As a hint, think about broad categories of things. For example,

  • Think of people of different nationalities or races. What comes immediately to mind?
  • What are your “truths” about men? Women?
  • Business?
  • Religion?
  • Political parties?

Carry on from there.


Week 1 - Exercises

Day 1

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

What you believe you were told

dictates who you are.

Look at the list you just wrote. Do any of the “truths” seem to be causing you harm?

Often, we feel guilty for violating such a truth, even though we are not sure why we believe it. Think about the result of each belief you listed. Find those with negative results. Circle it or them.

~ * * * ~

Day 2

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

Reality Bites. Or not.

A guiding principle is your most basic principle. It directs who you think you are, and how you behave in the world.

Which item on the list is your guiding principle? (If you did not write it down on the first go, do it now.) Mark it “Guiding Principle.”

~ * * * ~

Day 3

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

What would your life be like if you chose?

Define yourself according to your guiding “truths.” Complete this sentence: “According to what I have been told, I am: …”

~ * * * ~

Day 4

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

No one knows you like you know you.

Using your best “parenting” or “helping” skills, give yourself a brand new, helpful, healing, guiding “truth.” Complete this sentence: “If I were to choose to be whole, I would be: …”

~ * * * ~

Day 5

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

Not everyone (including members of your family of origin) has your best interests at heart.

Some (all?) of the items on your list of “truths” may now appear to be false. List a reason or two that people might have told you an “untruth.”

~ * * * ~

Day 6

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

A wise old fish once said, “Learn to spit out the hook. Then, learn not to bite in the first place.”

How do you continue to hook yourself with your “un-truths?” Think of someone important in your life. Write down how you proceed from a disagreement with that person to being “hooked,” and then to acting in ways that never work—that make the situation worse.

~ * * * ~

Day 7

A Word from Uncle Wayne:

With understanding comes both

freedom and responsibility.

What would happen if you committed yourself to choosing to change the rules you live by? Remember, if you do, that you are entering the “scary unknown.” What, do you imagine, is the worst thing that can happen?