Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ancestors: Not Entirely Human

   Connecting with our Neanderthal ancestors seems kind of out there. In fact, the average European, or Asian, DNA is three percent Neanderthal. Let’s explore our spiritual connection to these ancient cousins.

We used to think that Neanderthals were a completely separate species. Now, most scientists agree that they are our evolutionary cousins. Neanderthal physiology was extremely well adapted to cold climates. Which explains their prevalence in northern Asia and Europe.

The persistence of Neanderthal DNA has significance. We have ancient ancestors who were on a different evolutionary path. They have been preserved in us so that we can benefit from their unique experience. We first met in Asia, starting about 140,000 years ago. Our last mingling may have been as late as 40,000 years ago. They understood how to survive in harsh, cold, climates. They may be the reason that we learned to.

I went for a run last February in the mist, and drizzle, of a Vancouver winter. As II sank in, I was connected to  a current of powerful ancestral energy. It took me some time to realize that it wasn’t exactly human. I believe that it was my Neanderthal ancestors coming thorough.

As I ran, the world around me seemed to grow colder, more wild. I felt heavier but moved at a fast pace. I felt the mist on my face. I heard sounds form the ocean to my right, and in the forest to my left. It was a powerful connection to someone whose blood flows in my veins.

I have been trying to make sense of the experience for some time. Then I discovered our relationship to the Neanderthals.

Their ancestral energy is more intense, it sharpens the senses. You can honour your Neanderthal ancestors by placing bone carvings on your ancestor altar. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for something special to add to mine.

Can you see the significance of our connection to our non-human ancestors? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Connect with Brian

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Relationships, Stress, and Opportunity

Whether beginning, or ending, romantic relationships create tremendous stress. They also present an opportunity to put our lives into perspective.

Times of great change are a source of stress for most of us. Our emotions run high. We add an extra layer of complexity to our busy lives.

Hidden under the stress is an opportunity for a more realistic view of what’s most important in our lives. There are more important things than our workaday routines.

The end of a relationship is clearly stressful, even if it is long over-due. We must deal with our emotions, restructure our lives, and think about moving forward. Most of us easily put aside work to deal with these kinds of personal crises.

The beginning of a new relationship is pure delight. Its highly charged emotions also create stress. New love can open up new outlooks on what’s important. We maximize the time we get to spend with the new person in our lives.

The source may be different. The potential for healthy new viewpoints is the same. Anything in our  personal lives that demands our immediate, undivided, attention can help us shift our attitude towards work.

The demands of our jobs don’t suddenly disappear because we are in the throws of change. We, correctly, place our personal lives at the top of our priority list. This shift of perspective is extremely powerful.

While in the midst of a shift it may be impossible to look at the big picture. Wait until things start to settle down. Then look at how much time you suddenly found. Do it before old routines start to take hold. Did your work suffer? Probably not. Did your business collapse? Of course not, you wouldn’t allow that happen.

Grab onto the time you’ve just found. Find something positive to do with it. Engage in a long lost hobby. Try something new. Spend more time with the important people in your life. Use your transition time to create a different kind of life for yourself.

Can you see the potential in using times of transition to create life-balance? I’d love to hear why, or why not.

Connect with Brian

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Age, Wisdom, and Destiny

In our youth-obsessed culture we have lost touch with wisdom, but, wisdom is the essence of Destiny. The deepening of wisdom is the whole point of our journeys here.

Wisdom can only be developed through the use of knowledge, over time. Knowledge itself comes out of experience. We need a lifetime to really achieve our destinies.

Instead of honouring and integrating all of our years of life, we chase after youth. We end up missing some of the lessons that are available to us. Youth has its place. Its joy and exuberance are worth hanging on to. Embracing the aging process and the wisdom, and wrinkles, that comes with it, allows us to grow throughout life.

We under-estimate how much our culture has lost by devaluing the wisdom and perspective of age. The pace of change has accelerated to the point that older people seem out of touch. Even the difference between my 14 year old nephew, and my tech-savvy self, is striking. When I compare him to my parents it is hard to believe they come form the same culture.

The question becomes, how do we integrate the wisdom of our aged population into lives that are being lived in a drastically different context? Perhaps in the same way that we use an ancient African philosophy to guide our modern lives. Rather than dismissing everything that our elders bring to the table we can look for value in their perspective, and apply it to our won context.

Just because grandma doesn’t understand the internet, doesn’t mean that her insights aren’t worth anything. Older people, with good character, can teach us a lot about being good people. They can help us balance our depersonalized world. They can remind us that people count. They can teach us how to use technology in ways that are uniting rather than alienating.

Don’t you think that our elderly relatives, and mentors, have more to bring to the table than the 20 somethings that are ruling our culture? Can’t they teach us about bringing substance back into our lives? I’d love to hear what you think.

Connect with Brian