Living Life in Growing Orbits-Sample Pages

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 https://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?