Thursday, May 28, 2009

people people

i really genuinely like people. i find human beings fascinating and interesting, and the older i get, the more and more compassion i feel for every person i meet. even the assholes. they're just broken hopeful children of god, like everybody else. like me.

i draw a lot of energy and feel happy and in my power when i'm teaching and connecting to people, in large groups or small. it's what i was born to do, gifted to do. when the light goes ding in someone's head as they see or realize or embrace something that will give them insight and freedom, that's as good as it gets for me.
and yet, i don't really like talking on the phone much. and i don't like sitting in my office at the warehouse just to make small talk. part of that may be that the job i have is one that demands a lot of time and a lot of mental and emotional focus; it's not a 9 to 5 job; it doesn't have set hours at all; it's free-form and i have to be responsive to people and their needs as it comes up.

so maybe that's why i have to have time during the week and during each day just to be quiet. to read or do emails or listen to music or drive by myself. pray. breathe. not be available to anyone else - or to my own to-do list.

so, am i not a people person? i think i am. cuz i love 'em. but i have to be balanced or eventually i just hate people and want everyone to die.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

why america chose kris allen over adam lambert, or, we're still a bunch of nice puritan pioneers

here's a quick note in the washington post's online news update this morning, regarding why kris allen won american idol over adam lambert. adam lambert, who is not like other human beings; he's at the level of the great gods of rock and blues, already, at least in terms of his power as a performer and arranger. adam lambert, who is really in some ways beyond american idol's level. adam lambert, who ... didn't win. or did he? because - he's now the guy who "didn't win and when he's successful it's going to be great vindication." and, he will rule the world, so that's good.
anyway, re the reason kris allen won and adam didn't? here's the quick blurb in the post, and i think there's something to this.

Headlines: Kris Allen is your new American Idol, having won in an upset over the flamboyant rockerdude Adam Lambert. Lambert was so good that when he and Allen sang "We Are the Champions" with QueenFreddie Mercury's enormous shoes. And Mercury was only one of the all-time greats among rock-and-roll frontmen. Allen, on the other hand, could maybe fill Jack Johnson's flip-flops. He's got that light, easygoing style, sort of like Jason Mraz, who was one of about a bajillion guests on the show. He did a duet with Keith Urban, who seems like a heavyweight next to Allen. Lambert did his duet with KISS and just killed it. So what happened? Allen had the cute thing going on, whereas Lambert had guyliner and black nail polish on. Allen, the pride of Conway, Ark., is married to somebody who looks a little bit like Reese Witherspoon. The L.A. dude Lambert is, you know -- flamboyant. Allen seems like the kind of guy who'd help your grandmother with her groceries. Lambert might scare the bejeez out of nana. Never discount the power of the senior vote! And maybe the music-loving GOP strategist Todd Harris was onto something when he said yesterday: "You've got these more liberal elites who live on each coast, represented by Adam, and then Kris represents what those on the coast refer to as the flyover states." Though, you know, that John Mayer-ish brand of breezy pop-rock plays on the coasts, too. America loves the mellow. Anyway, the look of disbelief on Allen's face in the photo above says it all; he's as shocked as the rest of us. Or maybe he's just reacting to Queen Latifah's bodysuit during her duet with Lil Rounds or, perhaps, Fergie's hooker get-up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Eddie Izzard on which animals made it

Eddie Izzard is one of our absolute favorite actors/comics/thinkers/historians/social commentators. Here's part of his retelling of the Noah and the Ark story. His question? How do you know which animals weren't good enough to be put on the ark?
This man is wonderful. Brilliant. Smart. Gentle.
and, yes, he's a transvestite. Which makes him even cooler.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

this is what journey is all about. and it's true for your tribe as well, whatever it is.

you may not have 17 minutes to watch this - although i wish you'd try to at least watch some of it - but even just skip through and see if there's something in here that reminds you of the tribal movements that matter to you - and the ones that, well, don't.
move from factory, to tv, to tribe. journey is a tribe with many tribes. and it's a movement. hallelujah.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

that awareness helps. a LOT.

so, i'm an ENFP. but that's not the only way to understand or categorize who i am as a person.
i'm also a native texan. i'm a male. i'm a first child. i'm a first grandchild. i'm a first son. i'm a product of families with patterns of addiction, emotional illness, sexual abuse, depression, borderline personality disorders, and dysfunctional dynamics. i'm a child of divorced parents. i was a child in the 1960s. i'm an american. my parents were both raised in texas. i have a younger sister. i have had one stepmother, three stepfathers, and more stepsiblings, seriously, than i can remember or name. my lineage includes stoneworkers, carpenters, farmers, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, engineers, and manual laborers. both of my parents were raised southern baptists. i am heterosexual. i lived in 18 different homes by the time i graduated from high school.
and so on.
all of these are factors that psychologists and personality tests and psychiatrists and self-help tools would take into consideration.
none of these are factors that a biblical understanding of the human experience would be aware of.
none of these are factors that would be apparent to someone just having a conversation with me.

i didn't see how a number of these factors had worked together in my childhood and youth and young adulthood had contributed to the person i was becoming. i didn't know birth order had an effect on the kind of person i would become. i didn't know emotional illness and depression and addiction in my ancestors had an effect on the kind of person i would become. i didn't know that it was part of an ENFP to want to learn everything, and not to process details, and to avoid conflict, and to be naturally adept at interacting with people, and to be prone to internalize negative feedback.
but throughout my adulthood i've been learning more and more how these things aren't just pieces of data, but that each one had an effect on my work habits, or the way i saw myself in relation to girls or boys, or how i handle stress, or how i understand love and sex and ambition and illness.

i just thought i was responsible for everything that i felt, and everything that i chose, and that when i failed or made mistakes - or when i FELT i had failed or made mistakes - it was because i was (and my labeling or understanding at the time depended on what phase of my life i was in) a sinner, lazy, a fuckup, weak, stupid, ADD, male, not working hard enough, or just not getting it.
i'm aware, now, that there are an uncountable number of components that contributed to the the kind of person i've become, many of which i had no control over, and many of which told me things that weren't true.

and that awareness helps. a LOT.
i don't feel so crazy. i don't beat myself up so much. i mean, i still do, but not nearly as much as i did for years and years.
and knowing these same sorts of things about my wife and about other people helps me see them not through the lenses of my experience and models and expectations, but as people with their own lists and their own models and their own stories and their own truths. and so i honor them, and seek to understand them, and have compassion for them.
which comes from honoring and understanding and having compassion for myself.

you have your own list like this one.