I haven’t been active writing for you, I’m picking up energy and hope to come back soon enough. In the meantime I would like to share with you a prayer that came to me, from a good friend, and it says:
Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. [Please add your own intentions] . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.
In the same message, Rohr reflects on the following Viktor Frankl quote:
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
When someone says or does something offensive, there is a space where we can decide if to take offense. When we take offense, our reaction can harm others as much. Freedom comes when we can perceive the space between action and reaction, and decide to break the cycle from “our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair.”
I wish you a good week, and please even for 15 minutes, go out and enjoy of nature.
The power of Intention is not what you want to get; it comes from why you want to get it.
Earlier today, in a conversation with my friend Georg, we discussed the power of Intention. We mused about Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and others to explore their legacy despite their perceived defects.
Steve Jobs and his despotic approach to other people is still criticized. But as you know, his main intentions survived him, and their results are enjoyed by many of us today. His methods, mistakes, successes died with him and today are annecdotal.
How to find my intentions? Let me use this opportunity to do the exercise by myself:
1. In the context of your work or professional life, why do you do what you do?
My purpose is to learn and share my learnings with others. I want to use my life experience to become the best version of myself and help others achieve the same.
2. Why do you think that's something you want to do?
Many thoughts come to my mind, but I believe I want to be helpful to others, be accepted, become a source of inspiration.
I would like to discover something that could help millions. I think I want to be part of something really great!
3. So how would you formulate your Intention?
I want to be free to accept myself as I am and succeed in life. I want to aid others that share with me the same Intention.
4. Can you see a secondary intention you would like to formulate?
Yes, I want to prove that it is possible to be who I am and enjoy our modern world's opportunities. Counting with enough resources and money is important for me. I like traveling, trying different food; I enjoy gadgets and technology.
5. Where do you see yourself in your path of Intention?
I asked some friends lately what do they believe my Intentions are. They said something like that: "Jose, you always do what you like and your way," "You are raising your kids to be open and authentic," "You inspire others because you are different, and you persist despite the problems that generate for you."
So it looks like I'm well into the process, but I still need to find ways of communicating my intentions more effectively to connect with more people that can inspire me and others I can influence.
Now, if you arrived until here, you are officially challenged to answer the five questions for yourself. If you wish to share that with me I’ll be glad to share my comments with you. And, if you have some feedback on my answers to the questions, please write me.
I’d like to share with you a summarized version, with some modifications, of a lecture I delivered for the Roxbourg MBA program Here it goes:
The process of life is unstoppable. Let me explain.
I had an epiphany, a realization that will most certainly change my life.
The personality can't survive death, but the essence of a person, their Purpose, the consequence of their actions can. I am a continuation of my ancestors, and so on.
From a perspective, I can see two aspects of human life: our essence and our personality.
In our personality, we host our sense of identity, experience, knowledge, fears, thoughts, and behavioral patterns.
Our essence is a freer, wiser, simpler, purer version of ourselves. It is what we enjoy, the why of our efforts, the inspiration, and the motivations that keep us ticking. We can see others' essence when they laugh, when they rejoice, share, or play.
If I mainly listen to my personality, I can get trapped in my own ignorance, prejudices, the limits imposed by my culture, etc.
In contrast, if I mainly listen to my essence, I might find myself without a job and finally vulnerable to adverse circumstances.
We all need a balance between ideals, dreams and realization.
Of course, my personality is there to fulfill my essence's desires. There is a codependence between these two aspects.
If I mainly listen to my personality, I risk ignoring the reasons why. Many of us dream of a well-paid and stable job to enjoy a happy family. But keeping that job often becomes a reason why we can't share time with them.
If we all do the same, that is, to listen to our personalities, aren't we going to feel "stuck in a system that doesn't work for us anymore"? Aren't we all going to feel like everything else is a threat? Aren't we going to feel always defensive and in competition?
If I feel stuck, disempowered, vulnerable, someone else can offer me safety and abuse my disadvantage. My mind will convince me to submit, sacrifice in the name of a possible better future.
To me, being aligned with our purpose happens when we listen to the voice of our experience with caution, while we constantly remind ourselves what matters the most. We know our past experiences can be desceptive, our perspectives limited, our thoughts biased.
How can I balance my personality and my essence? Is there a middle point? Is our society capable of balancing its collective purpose and culture?
To me, a life where personality and essence are in balance would look more peaceful, energetic, impactful, and confident.
That person would work to fulfill goals, visions, and dreams but would not forget why.
That person would understand better that failure is just an opportunity to change direction, not a circumstance to be far from what really matters.
Collectively, a balanced society that cares about human development would never justify war in the name of peace nor injustice in the name of a stable economy.
To me entrepreneurship isn’t much about money, it is about learning to live free of limitations.
When the day to leave comes for me, I know that my mistakes, my shortcomings will die with my body. And I know that in the heart of the few that came to know me, my essence will remain and that will influence them in one or another way. My essence will continue despite my personality.
So, what do I have to do until that day? I want to make my essence shine brighter, be more obvious. I want to live a life where my personality serves my essence and not the other way around.
Making an analogy with a computer:
My personality is like my operating system. My fears are there to protect me, but if misunderstood, they can become dysfunctional, breaking the balance, making me paranoid, pessimistic, disempowered, etc. Misunderstood fears are a bug in the system.
My essence, my Purpose, is like the computer processor. It can make amazing things if the operating system works well without bugs.
When both work in harmony, they are at their best potential all the time.
Do you know someone who lives in balance with their Purpose, despite their fears, still managing to provide safety to themselves and their family?
Imagine, discuss, and dream what the impact of:
You being more in balance with your Purpose (less Fear)
Is your society being more human-friendly, inclusive, supportive?
Why live with the torments of our own fears if we can enjoy living our Purpose every day?
I wish this message gives you some food for thought. If you get into something interesting and wish to talk about it, you know how to reach me out.
My father passed the past Friday afternoon. Just a few weeks ago, we, his family, came together as a unity to support his passing and to support ourselves.
I remember clearly when one of the doctors said to us that our objective is to take care of only one patient. He meant that the family around my father was vulnerable to the tension his disease creates. We could end up in conflict, depression, and even illness.
A few days later, I fought with my sister. I don't remember a similar situation; we both were uncontrollable. The adrenaline was palpable. The reasons for our discussion illogical.
After deep reflection, I realized that each of us was fighting as if our survival was at risk. We projected our father's life to our own. We harmed ourselves, disturbed the peace around our dad in the name of love. How is that possible?
In trying to answer that question, an idea emerged. Our mind tries its best to interpret our deepest intentions, and in doing so, it makes us believe that our conclusions and actions are the best possible. We close down to other possibilities. Our sense of responsibility, duty, love, and compassion end up misinterpreted; they can become harmful.
As I experienced my father's death, I learned that our most profound and purest intentions need no interpretation. The love that fuels our intentions has power. In the end, it redeems the effects of our actions with infinite compassion. The vulnerability of the human body, the fragility of our life, makes it all possible.
I will never know if the support I gave my father during his last days and hours was enough, was appropriate, right or wrong. His latest smiles, the purest I've seen on his face, were to me the evidence of his soul forgiving my perennial human ignorance compassionately. My father's love purified his life and ours. His death was the end of a complete cycle, perfect, unique.
When the time comes for me to leave, I know now that my vulnerability, my love, will clear my mind and open me to the deepest understanding in the face of the inevitable. I'll see, even if for a millisecond, that I return to the beginning, I'll close the cycle purified with compassion for my own misinterpretations and ignorance.
I feel no reason to fear death now, and while the feeling lasts, I vow to keep my intentions clearer and see my actions with compassion. Death is an idea, and it is yet one more interpretation of our mind.
"You would not cry if you knew that by looking deeply into the rain, you would still see the cloud."
― Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear
I wish you and everyone facing the passing of a loved one, a brotherly hug.
I would like to share with you a personal story that I'm currently living. It is intimate and universal, especially now.
My father's birthday is the second of February, and mine is the fourth. I was scheduled for later on, but my dad's party celebration accelerated my birth. He was celebrating his 25th summer when I arrived.
Almost a week ago, he achieved his seventy-third year on Earth. With that came a surprise, a sudden and fast decline in his health. And me, ten thousand kilometers away.
My family assumed a resolute attitude. We all instinctively united to fulfill what dad taught us: “Support your mom, keep serenity, respect the dignity of life.”
A few days ago, in a short moment of clarity, he said to my sister that he never doubts us, as if he knew we were following his will with the best of our abilities.
I'll be traveling to Lima in a few days; it is a challenge I share with many people.
While in the middle of this drama, I got invited to participate in a group chat with school friends, where I observed some remarkable situations I'd like to share with you.
Two friends shared news of close family members dying, a few more going through the nightmare of finding a hospital bed for their loved ones, and some experiencing the difficulties of intercontinental journeys in the middle of a global health crisis. I'm definitively not alone.
But most importantly, I've witnessed how my school friends supported each other kindly, with unconditional generosity. I received the diligent support of one of them; he helped me find the best route to Peru considering regulations, flight connections, red lists, and other unique circumstances.
Drops of gratitude
It feels like beauty and love.
Daisies bloom in spring.
When we see others' suffering and manage to relate to their emotions, we activate the gravitational force of empathy. It inevitably attracts human connection, compassion, gratitude and generates a sense of community.
We do not need to Deconstruct Fear alone.
Gratitude is the candle, and love the oxygen that fuels the fire. Our will is the spark that lights the candle. The light is awareness, and the dark is what we don’t know yet.