25 Feb 2012

Life without boundaries - Part 1

Life without boundaries - Part 1 - by P.K.Odendaal.

Dedicated to Marisma on her twenty third birthday.
This article was written for people who have a cramped life or lifestyle - cramped by senseless artificial, emotional and social constraints.
We do not realise it fully, and if we do, we find it very difficult to break free from these 'surly bonds of earth' and slavery and become really free.

In a previous article I have espoused the elusive idea of freedom and how we are looking for the wrong kind of freedom, the kind that brings conflict with authority, which is maybe not such a bad thing, but is meant for activists, and not for pacifists like us.

What we are really looking for is freedom from ourselves - from the chains that bind us personally.
We were meant to have life abundantly, but somehow we cannot attain this, due to us being our own enemies.

Yes, we have to start off with these boundaries from our youth - those that protect us from the snares of life, but we need to stretch this envelope of artificial prison walls and become really free. It is only a fight against our worst enemy, ourselves, that have lasting peace.
To digress briefly to spiritual things.

Scripture says : Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; v:6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Let us start with the period when we learned to walk. It was very difficult and we fell very often. Our parents restrained us from standing up against tables, lest we pull the tablecloth with all its precious ornaments onto the floor thereby breaking everything - or they restrained us from pulling on the electrical cord of the boiling kettle thereby burning ourselves. We were restrained from climbing steps or falling off beds, but ultimately these restraints had to vanish as we endeavoured into bolder feats of walking, learning how things work and what endangers our lives.
Similarly we walk this life, and we never seem to learn what restraints we need to respect and stay away from, and what not, and these restraints rule our lives, if we do not make a conscious effort to overcome them.

This process is called learning and development, and most people cease this activity once they leave school, and some even earlier. I am pursuing this activity even at my matured age, which I won't tell. Someone told me recently that I will never stop to learn, and whilst I was surprised at the remark, I realised it was the truth in my life. Was it good? Abundantly so - yes.
It is also very dangerous to ford these unknown streams, but if one goes slowly and test each one by dipping our toes in it, we will learn and become free.

The other side of the coin is so vividly and profoundly described in the book of Oscar Wild - The picture of Dorian Gray. In this book Henry lives this life of uninhibited freedom wisely, as he has learned the consequences of everything, but he meets a beautiful young man named Dorian Gray, and he teaches Dorian that life has no bounds. Dorian cannot handle this freedom and ends up as a murderer, killing himself ultimately - or was he only killing an image of himself? Read the book or go and see this excellent play - very popular even a century after it was written.
We cannot be like Henry from the start - we need decades to learn the consequences of things. We also do not want to be a Dorian Gray who cannot escape the consequences of the unfettered and unabashed exploitation of his freedom, as he sheds his inhibitions far too soon.

Whilst we should be aware of this degeneration of our moral qualities, we should not be afraid to set out on this journey of self exploration and of stretching the boundaries that restrains us.
And what are they and how do we shed them?

We have to start and look at our attitudes and idiosyncrasies - it is exactly they which are the restraints. How often do you say : I will never do this. This is dangerous or risky. One is not supposed to do this. How can you even think of this? Many people got hurt here. Conventional wisdom says stay away. I am not going to expose myself to his ... or that ...
To really become free, I need to shed my attitude of shame and blame and expose my vulnerabilities to really connect with people and things.

I started off my flying career with thousands of rules and constraints, until I pushed the envelope of flying so far, that today I can fly upside down and backwards. How far have we stretched our life of flying and can we handle upside down or backward manoeuvres?
Let us take this path of learning and exploration - you will be surpised how easy it is to become free.

5 Feb 2012

Friendship - Part 2

www.odendaal.com/documents/friendship - part 2.pdf

Friendship - Part 1 - My Contacts

My Contacts - or where have all my friends gone.

I am struggling to get to grips with the classification of people I know. I think that they should not be classified, but somehow I am forced to do that, because my email has folders for family, friends, contacts, etc. - and so has my cell phone.

How am I to classify them if I do not have a formal system to do that, because, if I am not really careful, I may classify a friend as a contact and not find him under the friends category when I want to phone him, specially when he has improved in his status towards me in recent times, having remembered by birthday, but it also works the other way round.