It happened again!

dishwasher-clipart-free-clip-art-images-SsODq5-clipartIt happened again, and I am happy it did. Why? Well, since I’ve posted the The dishwasher challenge blog post I became aware of a lot of things related to the point of forgetting to close the lid of the dishwasher.

When yesterday morning my partner just informed me she just turned on the dishwasher I did not experience the same f**k moment as usual. True, the situation is slightly different as it was not me to find out that I did not close the lid. I actually was surprised by the neutrality of the tone my partner communicated this fact. As a normal household communication, no emotions attached.

My partner also could see what caused me not to finish this task as we had a small emergency where we found out the dog had peed on the floor just before I was to finish my routine.

Still to investigate is my reactions to this specific situation of not having closed the lid. I felt a quick but noticeable relief when my partner was apparently not upset when she found out and she concluded that she also did not check if the dishwasher was running before going to bed. So the questions I see here are:

Why do I feel a relief when I open the lid in the morning and I hear the reassuring click of the soap dispenser lid flipping open?

Feeling a relief implies I had a fear related to the act of opening the lid of the dishwasher. What kind of fear? Fear of being judged and being seen as incompetent, not fit for the simple task, not accountable, not to be taken seriously. A lot of self blame and self judgement going on here.

Why do I wait to close the dishwasher lid in the first place? Am I afraid I am forgetting to put in a last glass or cup?

Interesting point I am not really able to answer. Something deep inside cautious me to wait until I am very sure EVERYTHING that needs to be in the dishwasher is IN the dishwasher. But what is everything and what happens if something is left out because a family member forgot to bring it to the kitchen? NOTHING! The worst case might be I or someone else has to clean it by hand.

Why is the possibility I will forget to close the lid higher when I am distracted from my routine? Am I too much on an automatic pilot and not really ‘here’?

Another question that requires me to observe myself. Ever tried to observe yourself when you are semi awake and doing your routine on an automatic pilot? I wish you luck! So, if I start observing myself, implicitly making sure I am monitoring thus aware of what I am doing, I am solving this part of the problem. Voilá!

Why do I feel I need to come up with excuses when it happens? Am I ashamed I let it happen (again)? Do I want to hide the fact I might not have done all I could? Did I fail on taking my responsibility on this simple task?

Tricky one. It requires me to be really self-honest. And yes, I am ashamed of myself, at least that is what I am creating as an image in my mind. Ashamed because I failed. I, the caretaker and father figure of a family, the strong foundation of the whole system, I FAILED! “Don’t be so hard on yourself” I hear myself saying. But that is what happens in my mind. I am using this very thing to have an excuse to judge myself and to tell myself I am worth nothing as I am not even able to perform this very simple task in a constant and reliable way. What a mind f**k!

So, wrapping up, I am good in self-judgement and telling myself how bad I am where the whole issue can be solved by accepting this happens and taking my responsibilities by making sure I am always aware of what I am doing in every moment. Actually I am asking myself to be the best I can in any given moment. Sound as mission impossible? To me it kind of does, yes. But I know what I have to do. Find out why I see it as impossible to be the best in any given moment as this should be the norm, that what I   should be able to do all the time without any extra effort.

The truth is I am creating all kind of mental restrictions that limit my ability to live my full potential. Memories, experiences, thoughts, feeling and emotions, all are part of an intricate system that is compromising the real me and waits to be unravelled and debunked in a process of learning to know myself and my origins. This is my process to freedom.

My relationship with money

Since I am struggling with time without seeing real improvement in the way I manage to perform all the tasks I plan to do I started to look at the the causes.

The first cause is obvious, making a schedule that is too tight to be real. Why I am doing it? Because I wish I could do everything I plan. Why this drive to do as much work next to my other family and home related tasks? Money!

I am taking as much work as I possibly can (or hope to be able to manage) in order to make enough money to make a living out of it. Most jobs or projects I work on are time consuming because they need research, preparation or are just a lot of work for little money. And I do not feel I have the choice not to consider these ‘lesser’ jobs because of my need for money.

Apparently there is something structurally wrong here. I should make a MC on this since the money issue is teasing me for quite a while. Let’s go back in time. The first time I had to deal with a lack of money was when I decided to leave my job at IKEA in order to dive into the promising business of selling water filters for a Company called NSA. It was not a normal business, it was a MLM organization. After a couple of meetings I was convinced by my brother who got involved and managed to convince me to follow his example. Why did I decide to participate, to invest money first buying products I never managed to sell and to find myself jobless and broke after a couple of months? During the meetings of NSA the main topic was about making money, large amounts of money. So the answer is: Greed!

As I saw that I did not have the right living style to meet large numbers of people and talk them into MLM I was not able to grow my network, I started looking for another job that brought me back into a situation of stable income again.

Strangely enough and although I had a stable income, it seemed I never managed to have the money I needed to keep up with the facts of life. SInce I met my partner S. everything seemed to speed up and within a short time we got married, bought our first home. A couple of years later we bought a larger home since our second child was on it;s way, together with a larger (second hand) car. If I looked at others around me I always wondered how they managed to have a brand new car, all kind of equipment and could afford nice trips abroad at least twice a year. I was practically jealous without knowing it.

To make things even more complex and because of not wanting to see my real situation that was not very stable income wise (I was self employed by then) we decided to more to Italy to escape from a series of things we should have addressed properly instead of running away from them.

Financial misfortunes added up when we had a buyer for our house that was not able to pay even if he already signed, we started a lawsuit, won it but never got a single penny, we only spent a lot of money for the lawyer. In Italy the foreseen amount of work was quickly becoming less and less and I had to move myself into other area’s of activities in order to make some money.

I realize I am still in the process of stabilizing myself. I still do not manage to have a stable income and the economical situation is not making it easy to find a job that takes care of that. I am now in a better situation then last year when, for the second time in my working life my contract was suddenly terminated because the company had to decrease costs. Now again the company I do part time work for is not making that much money, leaving very little for the last one that joined the club: me.

I need to investigate the mechanisms behind these jobs that all tend to end prematurely. Sometimes there is a voice in my head that says: “What if you never quit your job at IKEA? Maybe you still worked for that company.” and again: “You decided to leave HP to join a small company in the hope to have a more challenging working life and make more money”.  Either it was an end of contract or a personal choice that caused me to change jobs. What has my real motivation been in the occasions I decided to quit and what did I manifest when I found myself without a job? Was it only money? At the time, for me the motivation was often that I got bored in a job and needed to change in order to stay ‘awake’.

A couple of years ago I would not have been able to even start considering these points. Now, with the tools of Desteni, I am able to face myself and to systematically work to the very starting point, the origin of thoughts and facts that lead to where I am now. Only by knowing yourself in complete honesty will allow me to become stable and expand myself  being here, now, breathing.

The solution to my money issues? An Equal money system!

My daughter’s messy room

Every time I walk into my daughter’s A. room I have feelings of disgust. Besides a narrow strip that is leading to her bed the whole floor is filled with a wide variety of objects like pencils, dolls, doll dresses, Playmobile, Lego, and tons of dust since the room has not been cleaned for months.

We helped A. to clean the mess on a couple of occasions but she never managed to keep it tidy. Here I have frustration popping in. Frustration because I see there is an issue pending with no apparent solution. Frustration because every time A. makes a progress in the way she is dealing with her life there is no change to the situation in her room.

We’ve been avoiding to put pressure on the issue in the previous months because of A’s middel school exams. Now summer holidays have started several weeks ago and the situation is still the same. We have had the whole story with D. and connected to it we’ve established A. had lived in fear and depression for a while. Now she’s working on the outflow of this experience but nothing leads to changes in her room. I was left speechless when asked about cleaning up her room A. answered with no hesitation that it was not something she planned to do during summer holidays.

When tonight again I entered her room to collect a cup to put in the dishwasher I was confronted with this messy room. I made a comment on something that was still dropped (to my opinion) on the floor and A. said she will take care of it later. “later” is for me the same as never, since she uses this word just to make me happy and make me leave.

I am possessed, obsessed by this room. I need to work on this and let it go. The physical situation in the room is not my problem, the reactions I have are indeed. I really need to work this out because I feel that a part is reflecting my own shit. On the other hand I know that A. is dealing with big time resistances and only when she has dealt with those she will be able to clean up the mess. Imposing or forcing A. into action might lead to a clean room, but it will return to a mess in no time if the source of the problem is not adressed.

Quite complex to separate the emotions from the facts. Besides feelings I also see my ego that tells me it is not fair A. can go on with this behavior without consequences. If in a specific situation the outcome is she was wrong in saying or doing something a simple “sorry” is all she gives before going on with her life as if nothing happened. Big time ego here that is suggesting revenge, punishment to make sure A. understands that she is not allowed to do that. A. needs to be more aware of the consequences of her actions but it is not up to me to judge what the consequences should be. They will be there anyway.

I am very allergic to the mess in A’s room and any kind of mess she leaves for days, weeks, months just laying somewhere in or around the house. You can ask A. repeatedly to collect the stuff and bring it to her room with no result for many times. A curious thing is again the frustration connected to the fact I can justify why I am not doing certain things, too busy with other more important stuff while A. is either watching a movie, sleeping in until late, making a drawing, playing with a girlfriend, doing nothing.

The toughest part of this is that it is a mirror to myself. I too have a lot of mess to clean up, not physically so visible as in A’s case but my resistances are equally tough. Meanwhile I am struggling with the question to what extent we can accept A’s behavior in the context of our small family community like leaving her stuff for days, weeks and sometimes months somewhere in the house with no apparent goal or motivation. Stripping as properly as I can this question from any feeling or ego related matter I still see a couple of points we need to agree on within our family context.

So, wrapping this up, I need to work on finding the starting point of all this shit so I can clean up my own mess. From the practical side I am going to propose an agreement between all of us about how we should deal with our stuff in the house and in our own rooms/studio’s, within the context of our small community. Meanwhile, the most effective thing I can do is being an example. This morning I started to clean up one of the tables in our garage! Immediately started to develop a feeling of hope this will influence A. immediately and motivate her into action… I have a lot of self forgiving to do here!

The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Normally  a TV series comes with max 1 episode a day. On YouTube there is no such limitation, you can watch as many as you like/can/manage. Both my children have been watching one episode after another since one of them discovered a series that apparently is very funny. They both are at about episode 16 of the “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” series. The series ends after 57 episodes. I could not help myself when I asked if they were planning to see them all in the next two days.

Until yesterday A. was working on a DVD cover art work and J. was busy making his funny video’s. These and other active activities suddenly stopped to be replaced by this addictive activity of watching this series. So, what is in this series that makes it so terribly appealing my kids are unable to resist from it? I decided to listen for a while to an episode while A. was watching. All I heard were very short sentence dialogues full of ‘funny’ words and sounds that should trigger your laughing. To make the effect even stronger every few words you here the laughters that are added to the sound track in a very smart way. A and J. will laugh occasionally but at a much lower ratio than suggested by the sound track.

The fact I see my kids diving in this activity, or better, this inactivity, is triggering all kind of reactions within myself. So, what is it that is disturbing me about the fact my kids are having a great time? Is it jealousy because they can spend the whole day watching the series and I have to do all my mandatory tasks? Or is it sadness because I see my kids entering a pattern they have been caught in before and knowing it leads to nowhere? Is it the fact I do not see how I can tell them they are wasting their time and even worse, feeding their mind construct with all kind of messages and triggers? Especially with A. it is clear to me she is seeking for ways to avoid continuing her process she is going through after the episode with D.

As a frustrated father I’ve made a couple of comments during the day and tonight, all waved off with reactions like: “I can’t hear anymore what they are saying.” and “Shut up with your stupid comments and leave me alone”.  For the moment the only thing I can do is leave it the way it is until I first work out where I stand in this situation and only then I can eventually address the issue with common sense, stripped from all emotions and feelings.

Both S. and I see a pattern here with A. A support chat that should have been the next step in the A’s process, has been postponed for several days now due to technical reasons. But not only; when asking A. if she wanted to do the chat earlier so it would not conflict with other activities she rigidly sticked to the late night time schedule and suggested to do it a day later. The longer it takes for the chat to be rescheduled, the more A. will get stuck in this pattern. To brake the pattern S. decided to continue with the assignments in A’s process independently from the fact she can have a support chat or not.
J. is in this pattern too but has a lesser urgent need to walk a specific process.

To me this episode is again an experience within real life and an occasion to observe, recognize and take care of this kind of situations with the tools provided by Desteni and the DIP course.


Paralyzed by fear and by possession

I feel fucked, fucked-up, betrayed, nervous, possessed. What is going on? A lot of things that are at the end all related to each other…

The fact: A couple of nights ago I decided to monitor the activities of my daughter and the YM (young man) who’s sleeping over regularly for practical reasons related to work. My decision was triggered by a sum up of the many signals mainly given by my daughter during the day. What I found out was confirming my darkest suspicions and as a father I can tell you it has a blowing impact. While hearing sounds of intensive kissing (and who knows what other activities that produce the same sounds) I felt paralyzed. I knew I had to go into the room next door to stop that what was going on. I could have woken my partner, but I did not. I only managed to listen while my heart was racing. I did it for hours apparently, because when finally my daughter left the room to go to sleep it was 4:30 in the morning.

It took me hours to calm down and with no effective sleep I got up in early morning to do my things and to have some distraction. Only much later I managed to concentrate on my work, but I could not go around the consequences of what I lived that night.

Looking back I see that I had been fighting with many thoughts. I asked myself if I could make it to interrupt what was going on. I heard A. giggling and that somehow reassured me that she was OK and apparently having fun. No need to brutally interfere there and to create a negative situation of something that might have been positive. This actually was a justification for not coming into action since I was not able to move.

While having breakfast with my partner S. we actually started together talking about the same thing. I told S. what I experienced and heard that night while shaking wildly with my arms. It was again clear to me that the whole thing had a huge impact on me and S.

In the previous days I started paying more and more attention to my daughter’s and the YM’s behavior . Every time I entered A’s room she was clicking something away on her laptop. I decided to check this out and was able to trace google search terms that were used within our home network environment. Besides searches like “the 10 strangest things you can do with a condom” the one that triggered my alarms was “how does it feel to have your pussy licked” in Dutch. Teenage curiosity or preparing for some action for the next time our young man was in the house?

I am not against experimenting on sex but with all necessary precautions. A girl aged 14 and a man aged 20 is not a very happy combination. I saw my daughter being pulled into a situation that was far beyond her real way of life which is to me still very childish. Also I never experienced A. trying to be attractive sexually with attitude or clothing.

Many questions however remained unanswered. Since we are not sure to what level the two manage to stay responsible for their actions or be aware of the consequences we do not know. When S. checked the sheet that was on the sleeping couch she found two big stains. Here again we wanted to know for sure there had not been a situation in which A. risked to get pregnant.

At the end we had the full story from A. One thing emerges very clearly, she was afraid of the YM already for some time. His behavior grew slowly to a more obsessive way of acting. Very subtly he managed to have A. sitting close to him, not because A. was liking this so much but because he managed to pull her towards him all the time. The same for the so called chasing games that gave him the opportunity to touch her inappropriately.

We are very aware of the fact that A. might have giving encouraging signals that unfortunately were generated out of fear. It is amazing to see how fear can lead to actions that seen from the outside seem to be perfectly normal or even giving the exact opposite signal. This, however, is not justifying the YM’s behavior. He has not been able to sense or understand he was dealing with a girl that was not ready to answer his sexual needs.

Having put this part back into a manageable perspective we prepare for a proper wrap up of the whole situation. With the help of the Desteni tools we will work things out so we understand the starting points and the consequential outflows of our actions and lack of action.

We will work out a practical way to deal with this new situation in which we decided that for the safety in our family the YM, at least for a while, might better not be our guest anymore. He will have to understand first what happened to him, what he accepted and allowed to happen and what the extent of the consequences of his behavior are. Until now, despite of intensive coaching, he has not really showed progress on his practical day to day behavior, he improved only technical related matters that nevertheless allowed him to produce some nice work.

Until we are ready working out our points we will reduce collaboration to the minimal necessary to finish ongoing projects. For the next month there are no big projects to work on so there should be plenty of time for hm to work on some points.

Almost possessed by anger

This morning, while driving A. to school for exams, we had a black car in front us having a uncertain driving style, fast on straight tracks, slow in curves. At a certain point I saw the driver threw a cigarette out of the window and I cynically was waiting for the package to follow. Instead of that a white paper napkin came out of the window. Apparently the driver finished the ‘pasta’ (see picture) and wanted to get rid of useless things.

At that point I felt anger coming up. Why? Why was this person throwing out all kind of stuff in nature? My mind was racing to find ways of revenge, but did not manage to come up with anything suitable other than overtaking the car and stop it. And then? Spitting my rage over a person that is probably not aware of what she is doing (later I saw it was a young lady)? Useless.

The way I felt the rage coming up was scary. I almost felt that if I did not manage to control it I might have lost myself in that anger. I was aware of what was happening to me and I could quite easily remain in control. I was surprised this time by the ease a situation or trigger could so easily lead to an escalation within me. The next step was becoming possessed with the anger and the consequential outflow could have been a series of actions aimed at this person until I could make MY point. Pointless, if you look at this from where I stand now.

These situation happened before but I’ve never managed to have such a clear view of what happened to me. I can now address the issue properly and start working out the causes. Nice example of my ongoing process!

Beware of the EGO

Although I am very aware of what is happening in terms of the ego from my own perspective and the difficulties I already have in dealing with it myself, it becomes even more challenging when you have to deal with someone else’s ego.

A couple of days ago I had a meeting with my colleagues. The main point on the agenda was the feedback from the accountant on the business financial situation. We discussed the figures and saw a positive trend. We even talked about distribution of extra’s in November. This was clearly a polarity since within seconds, when the topic changed to the actual figures of customer conversions there was apparently an issue. We had very little conversions the last month and in order to keep the business running the way the accountant pointed out we needed to make more money.

The cause of the lack of conversions was quickly found. Me. Since I am the sales manager and responsible for the first contact with potential customers I had to be the cause why only five conversions were generated out of 88 registrations. I was surprised by this conclusion but as a system started to doubt myself immediately. Have I done everything I could to convert as much as possible? Did I spoil occasions to convert. Was I paying too little attention to potential customers? Have I been not convincing enough to talk new customers into our services?

All these questions where amplified by opinions about the way I do my job. My colleagues have no idea how I perform since we do not see each other very often since I work from home most of the time and tend to limit the calls to customers the few occasions I am in the office to dedicate my time to other issues we have to address as a team. We agreed that we should see each other more often and to analyse more in depth the reasons for the low conversion rate in April.

Only later I asked myself why we did not speak about the previous months. March had been the best month ever in terms of turnover. Apparently there is a reason why everything focuses on April. A day later I received a mail from the business owner proposing to take back partially the sales work alternating customer contacts with me. He proposed to see who was able to make the most conversions and if I managed to do 5 in May he will take back all the doubt he expressed about my performance as a sales manager.

Since I felt fucked by this and was not going to agree with the terms I had my back chat shooting all kind of possible discussions in high speed in my mind and my ego trying to suggest I should become angry and tell the fucker to shut up with his stupid allegations of me not doing my job properly. While writing this I still feel some adrenaline going through my veins… a typical reaction of me against unfair situations and feeling unable to do something about it.

Later on the day we discussed the whole matter again and reached an agreement that is kind of acceptable for all. The big challenge however, besides the real fact we need to address the low conversion rate, is to tackle the starting point that consequently manifested into this time consuming discussion instead of being just a fact we had to address professionally. My focus is now to bring the whole back to just the fact and to separately deal with the ego and back chat part since this is a perfect situation to analyse in order to understand myself better.

I also see I can be a living example in this and will discuss the situation with both colleagues to see if I can create some awareness on what really are the trigger points and the consequences of allegations, accusations and idea’s based on nothing else than thoughts that are expressed to another in words. Another interesting point is the polarity I saw clearly when talking about the business’ future. There is a growth (hurray) BUT in order to keep this growth we need to keep working hard (bummer) and not make any wrong decision (That is what the accountant said). This apparently caused some fear and consequently a quick analysis of the actual situation (and not the whole picture) causing some panic, a search for a cause to justify why the results are not what they are expected to be.