I Am Moved

The Universe moves me.

Whether I am looking at the clouds
flying across the blue canvas that drapes our planet,
or I am looking at those specks of light
scattered across the darkness, billions of light years away,
day or night
I am moved.

I stand still,
completely still.

As I stand and reflect on existence and the Cosmos,
I am moved.
Still, yet moving.
Another of life’s mysterious paradoxes that brings me such joy…
that I can be as still as can be,
and, at the very same time, I am moving at speeds and rates unfathomable.

Literally moving.
1,000 miles per hour, the Earth spins on its axis.
67,000 miles per hour, our planet soars around the Sun.
515,000 miles per hour, our neighborhood – eight planets (or nine if you count Pluto) and our star – meanders through our galaxy.
1.3 million miles per hour, The Milky Way makes its way through space.

And lest you still might be under the illusion that we are actually able to stand still…
The entire Universe is expanding,
moving outward at a rate of 68 kilometers per second per megaparsec.
In order to help your mind grasp the ungraspable,
A megaparsec is roughly 3 million light years.

Yes, I am moved.

Literally
Emotionally
Figuratively
Spiritually

Moved.

I am moved by the divine reflected in and through all of creation,
from the mystery of subatomic particles that appear and disappear at whim,
to the supernovas that while being the death of a star,
are actually a rebirth of matter and energy into something new…
a resurrection of colossal scale.

Oh, sisters and brothers, are we moving!

Nothing unifies us more than this.
We are moving together.
Brown, black, white,
regardless of sexuality,
regardless of gender identity,
Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist,
American, Mexican, Russian, Iranian, Palestinian, Chinese,
human, mammal, reptile, amphibian, birds, and sea creatures
trees, flowers, forests, oceans, lakes, rivers…

We are moving.

On this rock we lovingly call our planet,
we are ALL hurtling through space together.
We are on this journey together.

The Universe is the great equalizer.
It cares not about perceived divisions.
It is unity.
It cares not about perceived power.
It is power.
It cares not about perceived constructs.
It is beauty.

It is.

So, fellow residents of the Universe,
stand still with me.
Stand still and know that you are moving…
moving at incomprehensible rates without even taking a step.

We are moving forward.
Continually called forward together by the divine movement.
Together.

Yes, in my stillness…

I am moved.

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©Derek Harkins 2018

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The Enneagram. The what?!

Some of you may know what the Enneagram is, but I would guess that many of you might not. This certainly isn’t a comprehensive review, but more of a teaser that might encourage you to delve deeper into learning more about it. A large disclaimer – I am not an expert. I am still most definitely a novice with lots to learn and will continue to share as I learn. I will be sharing several resources that I find helpful in a following post (which you can find HERE.)

The Enneagram, at its very basic understanding, is an ancient personality typing system – a sort of compass that helps you find yourself.  Enneagram literally means in Greek “The drawing of Nine.” It asserts that human beings are drawn to one of nine distinct personality types. These personalities are thought to be a bit of both nature and nurture. Something in us is predisposed to a personality, but we also take on a personality type very early on in response to our experiences. Our personality is a way that we human beings learn to interact with the outer world and still keep our inner-self safe. It is argued then, that our personality is not truly who we are, but it is a defense strategy we put up to protect our true self. We learn very early in life that our true self isn’t safe in the world. Our personality is who we are, but then again it isn’t. It is the walls around the castle, but it isn’t the castle itself. Our personality, our type, helps us navigate through the world. It is how we interact with others. It is how we make decisions. It is how we handle and deal with conflict. It is our subconscious habits and routines.

By understanding our type, our predispositions, and reflecting on our self, we are able to gain some self-awareness and begin to move beyond our personality and into our true-self. I will now give you a brief run down of the nine types, and will provide a link for each type for further description. I will include a picture of each numbers ‘Totem Animal’/ ‘Spirit Animal’ as well for something fun.

  1. The Perfectionist

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The One is known as The Perfectionist or The Reformer. These names fit the One well. Ones are able to see what’s wrong in the world almost immediately. They can determine what needs fixing in a situation, in a relationship, at a job, in an organization, in others, but mostly in themselves. Ones get a bad rap, because who wants to be criticized all the time, but Ones are actually incredible people to have close to you, as long as you are willing to be open to self-reflection and growth. Ones demand an integrity that holds the people around them accountable. They are honest and forthright. Every One will tell you that they have a literal voice in their head that they name ‘The Inner Critic.’ Learning how to navigate and relate with their ‘Inner Critic’ is probably the most difficult, yet the most important task the One has. An integrated healthy One will have figured out how to use the ‘Inner Critic’ as a tool to better themselves and the world, but they will not allow it to hold them captive. A disintegrated One allows the ‘Inner Critic’ to run the show. It becomes the loudest voice in their life. Nothing and no one is good enough, especially themselves. Ones tend to be hardest on themselves. This leads them to live their life in resentment and anger. Ones move to a Four in Stress/Disintegration and move to a Seven in Health/Integration. Find out more about Ones HERE.

  1. The Helper

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Twos have a deep-seeded belief that in order to be loved they have to earn it. Because of this belief, Twos then feel driven to help, care for, and support others whom they want to love them back. Twos will always care for others before themselves. They are extremely intuitive emotionally and are able to tell what others might need, and then they work tirelessly to provide that need for them. Many of us love Twos for this, because they give us love and attention and are willing to do almost anything for us. However, Twos also have the ability, especially in disintegration, to come off as intrusive and manipulative. They can insert themselves into relationships and/or situations that they haven’t been invited into. The greatest challenge for Twos is focusing so much on helping others in order to be loved that they never help themselves. An integrated Two will have learned how important self-care and self-love are. Twos move towards an Eight when they are in Stress/Disintegration and move towards a Four in Health/Integration. Find out more about Twos HERE.

  1. The Performer

 

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Threes believes that the path toward being loved is paved through success and accomplishments. Image is incredibly important to Threes. They literally believe that if they perform well enough then they can make themselves lovable. They are extremely driven and can be quite charismatic. They are able to assess a situation or a room of people and figure out what/who they need to be in order to be seen in the greatest light. Because of this, Threes are known to be able to put on many different masks depending on the situation or context that they are in, which makes it difficult to actually know who the real Three is. They have a competitive drive that makes them want to win at all costs. An integrated, healthy Three has the power to do an incredible amount of good in the world. Threes move towards Nine in Stress/Disintegration and move to Six in Health/Integration. Find out more about Threes HERE.

  1. The Romantic

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Authenticity is what Fours crave. They need something real and meaningful. They are always seeking and searching for something more, something deeper, something more momentous. They want their life to have meaning and their relationships to have meaning. In their need for more, they can have a tendency to be jealous, seeing what others have and being upset or disappointed that they don’t have it too. “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence” can often be their mentality. In disintegration they can come off as self-absorbed and dramatic, but in health they can be incredibly empathetic, creative, and real. Fours are deeply in touch with their feelings. In Stress/Disintegration Fours move toward the Two and in Health/Integration they move towards the One. Find out more about Fours HERE.

  1. The Observer

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Fives have a tendency to live their lives inside their head. They are detail oriented and information driven. In many ways they fear the experience of the world and the pain that it can cause, so they build walls of protection by withdrawing into their mind. The more information, statistics, and details they have, the more they feel that they are in control. Others might feel that Fives are disconnected from the world, over-analytical, and overly private, especially when in stress. If Fives let you into their lives and into their world, it is a great honor and privilege. In Stress/Disintegration Fives move towards the Seven and in Health/Integration they move towards the Eight. Find out more about Fives HERE.

  1. The Loyalist

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A little bit like the Five, the Sixes find safety living in their head. Sixes, who are also called Skeptics, have a deep distrust of the world and find the world to be dangerous. They question everything and seek certainty. Safety and security are their number one concern. Because of their distrust, they tend to question authority. Even though the Six might doubt and distrust you, they are people you can trust and develop deep friendships with. They are great problem solvers, but can be perceived as controlling and challenging. In Stress/Disintegration Sixes move toward the Three and in Health/Integration they move towards the Nine. Find out more about Sixes HERE.

  1. The Enthusiast

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The Seven is all about living life to the fullest. They believe that life should be lived and experienced through positivity and with as little pain and drama as possible. They have an extreme FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and are constantly looking forward to the next adventure or experience. The problem is, this often causes them to miss out on the present, because they are so worried about the future. The idea of being bored might be their biggest fear. Sevens, especially in stress, can come off as self-serving and unable to commit to anything. Yet having a healthy Seven as a friend or loved one is a gift, because they will take you on adventures you never dreamed of. The Stressed/Disintegrated Seven moves toward the One, while in Health/Integration they move towards Five. Find out more about Sevens HERE.

  1. The Challenger

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Eights find protection and safety in power and strength. They exude confidence and use conflict as a way of communicating their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Conflict is not a negative experience for Eights, but simply a form of expression. They have strong feelings and beliefs and have no problems pushing those who they disagree with. They are direct and focused on action. They do not like to be controlled and will fight for others if they are being unjustly controlled. Eights can come off as being impulsive, stubborn, and difficult to work with. However, Eights also are able to advocate and get things done in ways that the other could only imagine. If an Eight is on your side, you will have an advocate and friend who will work tirelessly for you. If an Eight is against you…look out! Eights move towards Five in Stress/Disintegration and towards Two in Health/Integration. Find out more about Eights HERE.

  1. The Peacemaker (my number)

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Harmony is the goal of every Nine. Mostly inner harmony, but in order to have inner harmony they need outer harmony. Conflict is the Nines’ greatest fear, because of this Nines avoid conflict at all costs. This usually leads to Nines being agreeable, easy-going, go-with-the-flow type of people, because they don’t want to rock the boat. If someone else has a strong opinion Nines will generally defer to them. Nines have the gift of seeing all sides and can empathize with everyone. They are inclusive and want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. A healthy Nine holds great power, in that they are able to relate to everyone yet they also have a great understanding of themselves. A disintegrated Nine will most likely be unable to tell you who they are or what they believe. They are so busy appeasing others they have no idea who they are themselves. Nines move towards Six in Stress/Disintegration and move towards Three in Health/Integration. Find out more about Nines HERE.

 

There is my very brief overview of the nine numbers of the Enneagram. What number resonates with you?

©Derek Harkins 2018

Reaching Out – Part 2 of 3 on Fear

(If you didn’t catch Part 1 of this series check it out here)

Fear has the power to overtake us.

In fact, I think more than anything what our country and our world is dealing with today is an epidemic of fear. It’s a virus that has infected us all. Everywhere I look I just see fear – the news, the Internet, television, billboards, social media…the most fearful place I experience regularly is Facebook. Even the speech that I hear us speak towards one another is full of fear, and it is no longer just in private that we hold these conversations with one another, but I hear them spoken out loud in public.

Just the other day while at a workshop on migration and refugees, I experienced a scene where a woman got offended by the presenter. The woman stood up and began to berate the presenter, quite literally yelling at her in the middle of this public forum with 20 other people looking on. She gave the presenter a two-minute ‘dressing down.’ This woman was angry, but, underneath it all, I believe she was filled to the brim with fear. After her ‘speech,’ the presenter thanked her for sharing her opinion and then tried to engage her in dialogue. Not even one sentence into the presenter’s response, the woman walked out of the room, not allowing for any dialogue or conversation, even as many of us in the room were calling for her to stay and engage in conversation. I have to add that this was a church sponsored workshop. Everyone there belonged to the same church denomination. The church most certainly is not immune to this fear, but it actually perpetuates fear in a very real way. Sadly, this experience is not rare. I believe we are getting conditioned towards experiencing these types of interactions. They are becoming normal.

Everywhere I look everything is saturated in fear. Fear of change. Fear of the other. Fear of losing oneself. Fear for our families, our loved ones, our country. Fear of changing ideals. Fear of losing power, status, and position. And this fear binds us.

It makes us small.

We retreat inside of ourselves thinking we will be safe inside the fortified walls of our box that we have fashioned. And we think as long as we keep everything out that we will be safe and secure. Stronger borders do not create safer people, just as more guns do not create more security. Not only does it create an environment that threatens real safety and security, but it imprisons us. It is living bound by fear.

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And the fear is choking us.

It is boiling over. Do you know what fear boiling over creates?

Hate.

Fear creates hate, plain and simple. We entrench ourselves so deeply that we dehumanize the other and hate arises. The truth is that it has gotten so out of hand that we cannot even have civil conversation anymore let alone debates about issues that truly matter. Not in families, not in classrooms, not in churches, and certainly not in public spaces without hate being spewed from every side. Honestly, as a 9, it makes it almost impossible for me to want to try to have a substantive conversation, because I know it will lead to some conflict.

We are so incredibly polarized today.  It isn’t that having differing ideas or opinions is bad. That isn’t it at all. We are all unique, with unique perspectives and experiences that make us who we are in this moment, at this time. We could learn so much from one another if we could only have a conversation. But we cannot even have a conversation. No dialogue. No learning. No growing. The only thing I see happening is entrenchment.

Our fear dictates our beliefs and opinions, and it’s perpetuated by the advertising and media we surround ourselves with. We entrench deeper and deeper until we can no longer recognize someone with a differing perspective as a human being. Our walls and defenses are firmly in place, and the ‘other’ has been designated an enemy. So instead of engaging with someone that thinks differently than we do, we attack. We use anything we can to tear down their personhood and their being. It leads to the injustices and sins that are Racism, Sexism, Classism, Homophobia, and on and on. We degrade our fellow human beings by hurling slurs and insults at them, tearing them down both verbally and physically. We tear them down in order to, what – build ourselves up? Justify our own personhood? Make ourselves feel more human or more worthy? Some of that is true, but the root of it all, in my opinion, is…

Fear.

If we engage with the other, we might change. Our views might change. Our opinions might change. My being might change. Who I think I am might change. The constructs that I have found my self-worth and identity in might change, and then what?! Who am I then?! Change is damn scary!

And so we entrench…further and further.

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We see the results all around us. The polarization is everywhere. Left/Right. Democrat/Republican. Gay/Straight. Black/White. Citizen/Refugee. Old/Young. Baby Boomer/Millennial. Christian/Muslim. The results are a maze of walls that we have constructed in order to keep human beings who are different away from us.

Unless we can find a way to truly see one another from the commonality that we are ALL beloved creatures, it will only get worse. And that is my fear. A real fear. I fear for my children. I fear for the church. I fear for the country. I fear for the world. It paralyzes me. How do we move forward? Is there a way?

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One step at a time.

If we can summon our courage and open our fortified gates, lower the drawbridge, and step forward out of our box towards the other, I have hope. If we can have true conversations and dialogue with people who disagree that doesn’t end in shouting matches and belittling one another, I have hope. If we can begin to build relationships with others who look, act, believe, and think differently than we do, I have hope.

Fear cannot be conquered by retreating towards the safety of the known. Fear cannot be overcome by entrenching ourselves trying to feel safe and secure. Fear can only be defeated by stepping forward, towards that which you fear – recognizing that fear, owning that fear, claiming that fear, and then stepping forward telling that fear…

You will control me no longer!!

We need to be a people that builds bridges, sisters and brothers, not walls. Jesus was a bridge builder, THE bridge builder. If I have learned anything from Jesus, it’s that bridges are not built with fear, hate, judgment, or condemnation. Bridges are built with love, humility, grace, mercy, and service. Bridges are built through relationships. Bridges are built by stepping forward, reaching out, and openly embracing the unknown. Bridges are built when we are open to change.

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(This is the second of a three part series on Fear. You can find part 1 HERE)

©2018 Derek Harkins