Over the years, I have come to realize self-awakening rarely occurs instantaneously. If it did, I believe we would have problems comprehending the value, appreciating the journey, and in turn being able to empathize with those engaged in their own journey.
The process of awakening to Heart, which means, in part, we may consciously choose Heart instead of Ego, does not mean we never hear or use our heart. I believe whenever I was passionate about a job and sought to excel in it, improve in it, and be excellent, it was partly my heart urging me forward. Ultimately, that drive for doing the best I could and finding meaning and significance in it led me to the point of self-awakening.
Just a bit of background here may illustrate what I mean. Many years ago, when I worked in skilled manual labor, I always sought to improve my performance and to institute better methods that worked for me. Even though I enjoyed seeing the work of my hands, I felt there was more and moved on. I used some of the schooling I had to work two years in the chemical industry, where I strove to be efficient and effective, but nope, that wasn’t it. (I’m leaving out pretty much here.)
Then, my ever present desire to write drove me to take advanced expository writing. Because I helped a number of classmates, my professor suggested I should think about education. Yep, that’s it. And it was for a number of years. But I wasn’t writing that much.
Well, look at me now. I feel my heart inspired all those leaps of faith, and they were that. This gradual path was akin to an evolutionary process, one in which I learned much. I now value where I am, although it is not so easy to know how effective I am. When I would restore an 18th century breakfront, I could see the results and collect my fee. Not so easy with writing.
And all of this brings me to another piece of The Fellowship of the Heart. Time to explore the gradual movement of Anne towards self-awakening. I continue from last night’s article.
Anne quickly took her mind to another place, to the day she had. She sipped again and picked up her pen.
Aug. 31, 2032
People say when one door closes, another one opens. I’m so excited about becoming a senior associate. Of course, it’s not a done deal yet, but when Paul Egan wants something, he gets it. Maybe I am ready for this new phase of my career. Maybe I’m like Paul; I’ve wanted this and now I’m getting it. I’ll have real power, real authority and be able to contribute more to the profession. I want to use the new materials technology in this project. Kathy and Ed should be useful for that — younger and familiar with newer trends. Hell! Right now I don’t really care. Do you hear this journal? I’m finally important. Will Eric respect me more? He’s been so damn mopey. He hasn’t even spoken of the possibility of becoming an associate with his firm.
Just then Anne heard Eric open the garage door.
That will do it for this evening. After I publish this tonight, I’m opening my formal doc to begin the new version of the novel. Rethinking my characters and their engagement with themselves and one another has been challenging, but it’s feeling right.
In the meantime, Anne appears to be enamored with the idea of control and importance. That’s fine if one doesn’t want peace and significance.
Choices! Consequences! How do we evaluate those in the decisions we make day by day? Know Heart and choose well. When we stay focused and continue streaming energy and action, we should expect results. Make sure it’s what you want. Not right, not wrong, just consequences. That’s it!
Okay, honesty here. I’m exhausted. I worked on the manuscript today, so that will be the bulk of tonight’s post. Who will Anne engage with to process this? Maybe this is where I begin journal entries. Yes, I think that is what I will do.
This is the way an unpublished novelist thinks!
Anne had a long day. She was looking forward to sharing with Eric how Kathryn and Edward had decided to work with her. Of course, they didn’t have much of a choice because had they declined, they would have remained glorified draftsmen as long as they worked at Paragon.
Eric, though, was not home. He had left a note for her:
Anne, didn’t know when you were getting home. I left messages for you. I’m at Land’s End. I will bring a sandwich home for you in case you haven’t eaten.
Anne opened her purse and checked her Holocom. “Shit. I forgot to turn it back on after my meetings.”
Eric would be awhile. She wanted to get her thoughts out, so she went up to the bedroom suite, changed clothes, and retrieved a journal from her nightstand drawer. She had started writing in it a couple years ago, and it still had only the first entry.
She took the journal downstairs, grabbed a pen out of the library, and went to the kitchen island counter. After pouring herself a small glass of port, she opened the journal and read the two year old entry.
January 1, 2030
I can’t believe that I’m still struggling with all of this. How can I be 35 years old, an educated and accomplished professional, and I still feel I should be doing something more important. Of course, Eric is wonderful and our life seems great — it’s just missing something. We both thought we’d have a baby by now, but the doctors have said that’s not going to happen. Eric is definitely being noticed at his firm, but at times it seems like we are growing apart. Why? What is wrong? I can’t even complain to Eric. It would look so petty and bitchy. We have this great house now. We have talked about adopting, and Eric wants a child as much as I do. But I don’t even know if that’s it. Here comes Eric now. We have our New Year’s Day planned. Just wish I knew what…Gotta go.
Anne took a sip of the port, then spoke to herself. “Wow! I forgot about this. Maybe the something I was missing is the senior associate position. I guess it’s not a child. We haven’t even mentioned that for a year or more.”
That’s all for tonight. I want to consider where her journal entry will go.
Hearts let us know when we are not listening. Emptiness of soul results from the soft, insistent whispers of love from the heart. Heart just won’t rest until we either reject it or awaken to it, and even when we continue to miss the messages, it just won’t quit. Thankfully!
Yes, Heart creates an internal conflict, but it is borne out of love.
Last night’s article included the introductory dialog between Anne and Eric Lafarnge. As wife and husband, they appear to be in different places emotionally and spiritually, and in some ways they are. However, both are filtering their world through Ego rather than Heart.
Ego can help create very determined people and help them to accomplish much. It can also sink those same people into despair when things don’t work out. For others, ego makes them retreat, draw back, and get quietly resentful and bitter about life. The good thing about Ego is when things get tough, it exposes, inadvertently, the emptiness.
Heart never insists but always whispers our personal truth. When things get bad, we are most open to hearing those whispers. Responding to them will bring us ever closer to an awakening and a lively fellowship with the heart.
In my Morning Pages this morning I shared something my heart spoke to me. I want anyone who reads this to know I am not saying people who have not heard or do not choose Heart as an operating system are wrong, inferior, dumber, or anything else of that nature. I have over many years, though, seen the sorrow, confusion, emptiness, longing, and lack of focus, purpose, fulfillment — could just go on and on, really — and I know the answer to this is found within oneself. I can’t give you a formula, but I will share the principle of engaging the hOS, Heart Operating System.
I have enthusiastically shared that, and sometimes I wonder if my enthusiasm takes on an air of superiority. I have never intended that. I care deeply for others, as I hope my writing and my many years in educating young people would show, and I want the option of Heart made clear for everyone who reads my work.
You should know this, since I have been sharing my novel, which revolves around this theme of self-awakening. Now in the novel, as well as in life, I feel, some people willfully choose ego over heart in order to grab and maintain control over masses of others. Those folks, I would still love, but I would also tell them I recognize their deceit, manipulation, and control, and that is not good. Still their choice, still loved, but as the saying goes, karma can be a real bitch.
Our best lives are possible when we awaken to core Self, our Heart speaking who that is and what our truth is. We then can determine life Purpose, co-create a vision to live our truth and core Self, and establish a mission of action to make it so. Why all of this? Why is Heart the way of joy, significance, and fulfillment? Because our ultimate purpose here is to relate to others, to life, and all of the Universe in love; it is to feel, experience, know, and show love — to live love. The beauty of it all is love is infinite, and we each have a specific, beautiful facet of love to reflect the light of eternity into this world.
Tonight, I think I will move back to Kathryn Frank and Edward Sampson after they have both met with Anne Lafarnge about joining the Riverview Canyon Bridge project.
When Kathryn emerged from Anne’s office, she went straight to the employee lounge where she knew Edward would be.
She saw him sitting at a table, and motioned for him to come over. A bit disconcerted by her appearance and public summoning, he walked slowly to the opening. He and Kathryn had been the subject of office rumors, and he wanted to avoid any appearance of anything other than a professional relationship.
Kathryn could not even wait until he was into the corridor. “Ed, what did you say? Wait, what did she say? How did you feel about her final offer?”
Edward smiled briefly. “Whoa, Kathryn! It really went well. I will be honest. I felt like she had a little different attitude, not so boss-like. I am not sure if it was her words or her body language or both. She seemed more sincere.”
“Wow, Ed, that’s exactly the way I felt. It seems she really wants us on her team. She even made excuses about why she passed me over on the convention center project. I told her yes.”
“I did, too. I think this will be a positive career step for us, not to mention actually doing the job of a structural engineer. She said she is going to start sharing background briefs with all team members.”
“She told me that, too. She even got a little friendly and asked if any of the office rumors were true about the two of us.”
Edward’s enthusiasm faded quickly. “What? That sounds like she was playing on your emotions to get you on the team.”
“God, Ed, you are so skeptical. People have to jump through hoops to gain your trust. I’m surprised you even talk to me.”
“Kathryn, I’m sorry. I am skeptical. I know that about myself, but I also know that I don’t have great feelings about this place. I am going to keep my word and do the project. If Ms. Lafarnge wins the senior associate position and I am handed my own project to run, then I will see. Until then, I will do my job. It just seems to me mentioning that sort of personal business to you was unprofessional. Were you okay with it?”
Kathryn sighed. “I was okay with Anne. It was vey natural, maybe more like girl talk. But now, well, we have no relationship, even casual, beyond the job. Now, I’m feeling suspicious.”
“Kathryn, I didn’t mean to do that. You have to be yourself. If you felt friendly, you should go with it. I have heard others speak of some of the politicking going on with this associate position up for grabs. At the very least, it’s impressive that Paul Egan is supposedly backing Ms. Lafarnge.”
“I knew that, but how did you find out? That’s usually my domain. I’m the question girl.” Kathryn laughed.
“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. This kind of stuff makes for a really negative work environment. I hope this project changes that for us, at least.”
I believe that ego causes many problems, because it’s one person trying to maintain dominance in a variety of ways — superiority, inferiority, harassment, and hundreds of other possibilities. And that’s where most of us experience it. We don’t court or contrive to play ego games; it’s just when we don’t choose heart, ego is default.
However, when ego is the motive force of an agency or government affecting the lives of many, the leaders bear distinct responsibility for how the organization functions and any negative fallout involved.
The safeguard for individuals, though, is always the heart. We can know how to respond in any situation based on Heart. We, then, can be the source of positivity, if we stay, or a beacon, if we leave any negative situation.
Yep, the hearts have it!
Ego manifests in many ways, some bravado, bragging, brash and some demurring, unsure, insecure and a thousand other ways. Sometimes, ego drives us to achieve certain goals, which can be positive, but those goals may be pursued for the wrong reasons. In such cases, we may end up with what we want but not what we need. Hearts know those deepest needs.
Tonight, I will be developing Anne’s response to her encounter with her boss, Paul Egan. Both of these characters in my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart, engaged in a short but definite ego encounter.
She processes her conversation with her husband, Eric Lafarnge. This will serve as the introduction to his character. I also start supplying some setting details. Of course, none of this may happen, but I have to get a rewrite going some way!
As Anne approached the gated driveway of the Lafarnge property, she awakened the operations center of the property. The solar and wind power supplies were fully charged, and their micro power plant could have provided enough electricity for half the little town nearest them. Upon activation, the water filtration and refinement system had filled the reservoirs.
Anne was surprised to see Eric’s car in the garage when the overhead door opened. She retrieved her briefcase from the back seat and walked with a mission through the mudroom and into the kitchen. Eric was sitting there in the waning light.
“Why in the hell are you sitting in the dark…and drinking without me?” She reached down and slipped off her shoes. “Would you mind pouring me a glass of the pinot?”
“Sure. I was just going to power up the electric when you kicked on the other systems. Do you want to sit on the deck with me?” Eric rose from the stool at the island countertop and stood in thought for few seconds before reaching into the wine fridge under the counter.
Anne tensed a bit. What is going on with him now? I know better, but here goes. “Something wrong?”
“No, why do you ask?”
“Well, you’re moving slowly and obviously thinking about something else.”
“I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately.” He handed her the glass of pinot noir, and moved toward the large set of double French doors leading to the patio.
In the few seconds it took for both of them to situate themselves in the cushioned teak lounge chairs,
Anne began talking. “You wouldn’t believe the little conversation I had with Paul Egan today.”
Why wouldn’t I believe it? You always tell me unbelievable conversations you have at work and you’re never happy about them. “What happened?” Eric stared at the horizon. Damn, why did I say that? She didn’t even ask what I’ve been thinking about.
Anne shifted to face him. Eric stared straight ahead. “Well, Paul made it clear he is backing me for the senior associate position, and he let me know I’m not allowed a moment of indecision or weakness.”
Eric sat with his eyes fixed on the horizon. “He had already discussed this with you. Why is that so shocking or any kind of deal at all?”
“Yes, of course he spoke with me about it, but the point is, Eric, he is giving me specific advice on how to secure the position he’s nominated me for.”
“Oh, I see. That’s pretty big support, isn’t it?”
“It is impressive coming from him. I have some learning to do. No indecision. No weakness. I guess that means I had better not appear to conform to a stereotypical woman. But he said something else.”
Oh, God, what else that’s so important? “What would that be, Anne?”
“He said he really isn’t mentoring me or even helping me. He just wants to ensure he wins, he gets his way over the others. He made it sound like a game. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it when he left my office, but I think he’s modeling the mindset I will need when I’m an associate.”
“Pretty big leap of faith if you ask me. I don’t think he’s that different from Jack or Peter at my firm. They play games with people’s lives. People like me who dream of becoming a partner come to that point only to realize it’s an empty, shallow game. I’m not even sure I would want it now.”
Anne leaned closer to Eric. “How in the hell did this become about you? I’m talking about me being a senior associate.”
Eric turned to look straight into her eyes. “Yeah, like I said, Anne, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately.” Without hesitation, he rose, set his glass in the sink, and headed for the library.
Anne left the deck a minute later, slammed the French door, and opened the refrigerator door.
Here is my introduction to Eric and the relationship he and Anne have at this time. Egos at play, one yearning for importance and energized by possibilities, the other sounding analytical, dejected, and contemplative of ulterior motives.
I know it has been my experience to hear my heart gradually whispering a soft breeze through my mind until I knew its distinct voice. Until then, I questioned things, much as it appears Eric is doing.
Perhaps this begins the recognition that what we want may not be what we need, and that Heart knows those needs.
I have enjoyed thinking about an alternative plot and character development in my novel, The Fellowship of the Heart. It’s not been easy all the time the last three or so days because I am writing my snippets of new material side by side with my original, and I like my original. I paid a professional editor, though, for this very purpose, so I will continue to work this and see how I feel about it. As I mentioned last night, I will be asking your opinion at some point.
I just want to have fun playing with characters, developing their personalities, and plot variations. I hope you enjoy it, too, because, ultimately, visionary fiction brings us to consider the wonders of life that open to us when we awaken to self, when we choose to hear our Heart.
Last night when I added a conversation between Kathryn Frank and Edward Sampson, I think it helped introduce both of their characters and set up plot possibilities and explanations. Edward shows himself to be more reserved; he does not allow many people into his inner space. Kathryn connects naturally and easily to others; she relates well to them because she is full of curiosity, evidenced by her propensity to ask many questions. Is it too subtle, especially the names: Sampson, being an allusion to the biblical Samson who doesn’t let out the secret that his strength is in his hair? Does Kathryn Frank’s surname indicate her outgoing, bubbly, honest, and sincere nature?
Tonight, I want to reintroduce Anne Lafarnge, a protagonist in the novel and the wife of Eric. Paul Egan runs Paragon Engineering, where Anne works.
Paul did not bothering knocking on Anne’s partially closed door. He pushed it open quickly and with three energetic strides he crossed to the plain metal and upholstered chair in front of her desk and lowered himself into it.
“Anne, have you picked a team yet to work with you on the Riverview Canyon project?”
Anne smiled. “Nice to see you, too, Paul.”
He smiled back. “You always have a way of slowing me down, don’t you?”
“Only when required, Paul. To answer your question, no, not complete. I have three spots to fill, and they are my key positions.”
“What’s the hang-up? It doesn’t look good to the other senior associates when you start out behind schedule.”
Anne snorted. “Paul, we’re not even close to having a formal schedule. Why in the hell are you pushing so hard? I don’t respond well to being pushed, you know.”
Now Paul laughed. “You think this is pushing? C’mon, Anne, you should know me better than that.”
Anne sat back in her chair. “Then why are you asking about my team? I’m waiting on a response from Kathryn Frank and Edward Sampson. In fact, I’m seeing Edward this afternoon and Kathryn tomorrow morning.”
“Great! Progress! Have you considered Stan Boyle for the third position? You know, he’s a multi-talented man — engineer, business, and some legal background.”
Anne snorted again. “He is, let’s just say, not a good fit. So, now, I answered your question but you still haven’t answered mine: Why are you pushing so hard?”
Paul’s smile was gone, he pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes; however, he spoke evenly. His voice betrayed the intensity of his face. “Okay, I’m not pushing. I’m telling you. This is done by the end of the week.”
The pen Anne had been fiddling with slid from her fingers and hit with a sharp metallic clank on the floor. She tried to ignore it. “Paul, I will have this done. I’m kind of shocked here. Is something more going on?”
“There’s always something more going on. You should know that, at least I thought you should. It’s why I have been pushing the other associates to vote for you to take the new senior associate position. You can’t afford a glimmer of weakness, not a speck of indecision. Do you understand?”
“Message received, Paul. I want this, and I appreciate the mentoring.”
Paul spoke in the same even, positive-sounding rhythm. “It’s not mentoring, Anne. It’s winning. I support winners. I win.”
He pushed himself sharply from the chair and left just as briskly as he came in.
Ego energy fills this encounter. Anne got sucked right into Paul’s power trip, and now she is a pawn in his game — a willing pawn. She wants to win, too, and it seems she is tough enough. Heart alerts us to such shallow motivation, but we must have a willingness to listen, a mind to make the slightest move towards the heart.
Much more about this later in the novel.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!