Category Archives: self-development

Everything – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Sage – RDP Sunday

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Photo: nlooie.blogspot.com

 

“He who does not answer the questions has passed the test.”  Franz Kafka

 

Everything

No words came,
just silence in the presence
was enough,
nothing was fixed,
but everything fell away.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul, pvcann.com

13 Comments

Filed under Five Lines, Free Verse, life, meditation, mindfulness, poem, self-development, Spirituality

Fragments Of You – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Splinter – Word of the Day

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Image: huffingtonpost.com

Fragments Of You

I remember,
as a child you were
sometimes so terrifying,
your anger could splinter my whole being,
and now, years later,
you are gone,
the terror long subsided,
my self more complete,
now I am trying to put together
the fragments
of you.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

36 Comments

Filed under Free Verse, life, mindfulness, poem, Quadrille, self-development

Life Is Never Solitary (Despite The Hype) – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Accomplish – Word of the Day

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Photo: the top of Bluff Knoll, it had been on my bucket list for decades, and with Jon, made it to the top in 2016, an accomplishment relished.

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It looked like this for 80% of the climb, a hard slog.

“Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.”  Marcus Aurelius

 

Life Is Never Solitary (Despite The Hype)

Would you always have it easy street,
or would you face the slough and slope
as opportunity?
Crags as character,
crevasse as challenge,
boulders as mirror to true the Self,
where anger becomes a fading rhetoric,
and tears release without remorse,
with confidence at twenty-twenty.
To place the pitons of trust,
as you negotiate, transversely,
the rugged terrain of relationships,
sometimes forsaken,
sometimes embraced,
while fear merely companions,
urging you on to greater feats,
if you would but grasp the rope,
to finally reach the top,
and see the scope of the venture,
knowing that the accomplishment
is worth everything,
but that it is never a solitary
achievement.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul, pvcann.com

26 Comments

Filed under Free Verse, life, mindfulness, Mountaineering, poem, quote, self-development

Question

Imperious – Word of the Day

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Darth Vader, an example of imperiousness, and one of many fictional characters who exemplify arrogance, control, dictatorial behaviour, tyrannical behaviour and so on.

 

Question

Strange,
how the small minded always get on a high horse,
and how the over-inflated so easily shrink,
or how the mindless swallow empty verbiage.
And all the while,
the world suffering the arrogance of
hollow gesture and the prattle of meaninglessness.
But who am I that I should blame another,
when I should, with all integrity,
reflect on my own imprint on life,
and make amends?

©Paul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

23 Comments

Filed under life, poetry, politics, self-development

Self-reflection

Mirror – 5 Lines

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Photo: cdn.notonthehighstreet.com

 

Self-reflect

Mirror, mirror on the wall, help me discern my noble call
who am I, I desire to know, I’ve read a lot and talked till dawn.
I’ve roamed the world and compassed wide,
but in the end experience shows that
reflexive praxis deeply speaks.

©Paul Cannon

 

Never, ever discount soul companions or journalling in deep reflection on life and direction.

 

Paul Cannon,

pvcann.com

9 Comments

Filed under Five Lines, life, mindfulness, poetry, self-development

That Place

Debilitate – Word of the Day

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Debilitating

To be held prisoner in
that place we dare not speak its name,
that dark tower
with manacles of indecision,
and misguided discernment.
Plausible voices of “what if”,
the self-flagelation of inaction.
That tower where my heart is
captive to my doubting mind.

©Paul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

14 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, poetry, Quadrille, self-development, Uncategorized

John Adams

Independence – Word of the Day

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Eurasian Coot, Big Swamp, Bunbury. Alone again, naturally. This one had set a course for herself, away from the others.

The stories of other nations and communities are always interesting to me, how they evolved and what are some of the key historical points that have become the DNA of the nation, and who are some the characters in nation building.

It is July 4th, the celebration for Americans of their independence from Britain. One of the things that always intrigues me, is the story within the story. Eventual political independence came as a result of independent people. One such person was John Adams (1735 – 1826).

Britannica.com describes Adams and his wife Abigail as fiercely independent. Adams was an early advocate for independence. His father had hoped he’s follow in his shoes as a church minister. Adams trained with that in view, but on graduation from Harvard spent three years teaching at a grammar school. He eventually determined to do law, and set up practice in Boston. It was while in Boston that his independence came to public prominence. Eight British soldiers had fired on a crowd in Boston – the Boston Massacre -and were on trial for murder. John Adams decided to defend them. He believed that they had the right to legal representation (and for a fee no doubt), and his view was that the soldiers had been provoked. While it was an unpopular thing to do it showed that Adams was a principled person, and it also showed that Adams was one who could think and act independently.

In 1765 Adams wrote a dissertation against the Stamp Act, He went on to oppose the Townsend Act (import duty). In 1774 he was elected to the delegation to represent Massachusetts at the First Continental Congress. In 1775 he published his “Novanglus” essays arguing that Britain had no right to legislate for the colony. He attended the Second Continental Congress in 1776, and was nicknamed “The Atlas of independence” surely an irony? He dominated debate and made crucial nominations – George Washington as comander of the Continental Army; and Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Independence. His list of achievements is long, and include a term as ambassador in both France and England, two terms as Vice President, and one term as President. While his political philosophy is much debated and some of his views unpopular, Adams has been hailed as a patriot and revolutionary who spurred a colony to nationhood.

No matter what you think of him, you can’t deny that he was indeed and independent thinker and activist who worked for the nation’s own independence. Perhaps in that light we might say that America’s independence is an outworking of the independent-mindedness of its founders, especially John Adams. I note though, that Adams was not a one-man-band, he ably delegated, deffered, and encouraged others to do their bit, not wanting to hog the limelight, but rather to share it. Independence doesn’t mean solo, or maverick, though it doesn’t exclude those labels those labels are not the principal defining behaviours, it means appropriate dependence and independence in synergy. A bit like co-dependency is not all bad, we all have a positive level of dependence and co-dependece in our lives, if we didn’t we’d have sterile relationships and bland communities and not a lot would get done. We also need a positive level of independence in our lives too, without it we are not an identity, just a name, alone. I like to think I have a bit of John Adams in me, an independent thinker and activist, but also one who can function in and for community. I hope you do to.

many fine new branches
a multitude of blossom
the trunk is solid

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

30 Comments

Filed under community, Haiku, history, life, mindfulness, politics, self-development

Take Courage

Exposure – Word of the DayIMG_0134.jpg

Augusta, the town jetty, and Blackwood River rising.

Fortunately we had raincoats and we knew the rain was coming, but nonetheless, with the wind whipping the rain along, and the cold air pressing in, we felt more than a little exposed. But, because we were prepared we enjoyed the walk. The tide was very high as predicted by the Weather Bureau. There was also a lot of flow from up-river after three major rain bearing fronts have been through and local flooding was expected. You can’t tell from the photo but the timber decking of the jetty looked as if it was floating as the water was touching the underside. We haven’t seen it like that for a while.

Weather exposure can be very serious, hypothermia or sunstroke, the risks are great if you’re not prepared. Preparation means covering up, sunblock, hats, raincoats, warm clothes, appropriate footwear. So that whatever the weather we put on what is necessary to be comfortable and to protect ourselves. However, we know not to wear winter gear in summer and vice versa, and usually we’re good at that.

We’re not so good with emotional exposure. We’re trained, or we train ourselves, to overprotect, and sometimes we wear the wrong emotional gear, like using the mask of happiness to cover depression, or the mask of confidence to cover fear. Rarely do we let others in, we become invulnerable, strong, a veritable fortress. Yet the best possible way forward, the only true way to wholeness is to trust others with our inner world. Of course, it goes without saying, you don’t grab a megaphone and announce your life to the world, but there are people in our lives we can talk to, take off our masks, and be vulnerable with.

As Brene Brown has said many times, in our society vulnerablity, to be exposed, is to be seen as weak. Brown counters this with “vulnerability is our greatest measure of courage.” Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” It is an opening of the self to another, whereby empathy becomes the healing counterpoint or the supportive staging point, depending on what we are going through. Brown’s research is thorough, and in it she discovered that every courageous act was underpinned by vulnerability. That tells me that we can only really flourish when we are able to speak our truth and take off our masks and be real with others, then we are whole and not just pieces or segments. The fortress life may serve us well but to really floursih we need to let the drawbridge down from time to time, otherwise we not only defend ourselves against the outsider, we imprison ourselves from the world. I’d rather be open than be a captive! Take courage.

cherry tree winter bare
cold has stunted many new buds
the wild branch has fruit

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Haiku, life, mindfulness, nature, psychology, quote, self-development

Fawlty Rage

Conniption – Word of the Day

The wonderful thing about comedy, especially satire, is that it tells the story of what is really going on inside. Take this scene from Fawlty Towers. John Cleese in conniptions, ranting at his car which has broken down (because he hasn’t had it serviced, he’s been avoiding the responsibility – which is a major theme in the show) and he, naturally,  blames the car. It speaks to the times we have been frustrated with our car or similar object. Computer perhaps? It reminds us that we sometimes internally rant, we might also mentally pick up a branch and thrash the car, threatening it to get it to start. We might not physically do it but we think it, well, some of us might, and that’s why satire is so funny, we know it.

One of the main points of Fawlty Towers is that Cleese’s character Basil is constantly feeling victimised, or frustrated, by others. His blind spot is that he cannot see that it is his own behaviour that is his downfall, not the behaviour of others. His lack of attention to detail, his choice of builder, his innability to get the car serviced on time, his failure to prepare for a health inspection and etc. etc. The show was also an outworking of the therapeutic relationship between John Cleese and his therapist Robin Skynner (1922 – 2000). Skynner was a family therapist and specialised in communication process, Fawlty Towers deals with communication issues in a number of relationships, and looks at self deception, as well as our unwillingness to deal with our own stuff.

Conniptions, rage, hissy fits, whatever, we deceive ourselves if we don’t look deeper and own the roots of our frustration or anger. Why beat the car if we’ve failed to take it to the dealer for its scheduled service? Why blame others when the fault lies with ourselves? (Of course there are a number of well honed answers and a body of research to answer those question) The beginning of conniptions is the time to take stock and attend before damage is done to a relationship, or the car,  besides, beating the car verbally or physically (or a person, heaven forbid!) won’t work. Dealing with our own stuff does actually  work.

the wind buffets
branches madly flail about
but stillness bears fruit

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under Haiku, life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development, Therapy

Scale Back

RDP – #31 Scale

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Looking through some of the online resource for anger scales I did laugh out loud. One set has “Call 911” which is dramatic, another had “Stop!” I mean, who’s going to just stop? Wouldn’t you have already done that if it were possible? The last thing you’d want to say to an angry person is “Just Stop.” That’s likely to further frustrate the angry person. By far the most concerning are those scales that say “Out of Control.” After all the work of the seventies to get people to see that anger is a feeling and that the feeling is not an issue of control, but rather an issue of being aware and attending to it, we’re still inducing fear of anger.

Actions that stem from anger are not the feeling themselves, they are a form of expression, anger looking for a form of outward expression. It would be wise to say put down the sharp object to an angry person, but not – stop being angry or control yourself.

It took a long time in human development to arrive at the idea that feelings are okay, they are simply feelings and that feelings are neither right or wrong – they just are. The other bomshell was that no one makes you angry – a very hard concept for some people to grasp, especialy as we often want to locate the rise of the feeling in someone or something and apportion blame. People can be irritating, there’s no doubt, but how we respond to them is actualy up to us, how we work in our feelings is up to us. We are all responsible for ourselves when it comes to feelings.

Anger is something we can work with. Numerous professionals in the field of counselling have written about how anger is an energy that can be transformed into positive action, and that results in our transformation from anger to reasonable. But by far the best way to transform anger is to reframe. By talking to someone, using I statements (I’m annoyed when I can’t … I’m angry when you say …), naming the feeling and acknowledging it. Naming it simply opens us to reflection, and doing that helps us with perspective, we reframe our situation and look on our feelings and process it, most often stepping back. Overall, I find meditation and reflection really help in my equilibrium.

One of the best resources I’ve encountered in recent years has been Pixar’s “Inside Out.”

 

flames sear my heart
my head is thrumming with noise
mantra is joyful

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

18 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development