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Spunky Collins

Spunky Collins is a fictional character invented by Pamela Gehrig.  Collins is an environmental stewardess that stands for change and serves to deliver a new perspective to the masses with universal wisdom, hope, and inspiration.

Concept:
 

This column is intended to address love and relationship issues from a new perspective.  This perspective supports the be me magazine philosophy, welcoming readers to respond with questions, comments, and opinions.  Be me magazine may or may not agree with Spunky's opinions, but it certainly understands the importance of provoking thought and consideration on a topic as important as love. 

 

People are challenged more and more in everyday life. They seek answers to their need for harmony and happiness. There is a clear trend towards wellness and alternative therapies. This indicates the desire for people to find comfort and understanding as well as their need to evolve. The world is at a critical point for change. A new perspective on how we look at our lives and loves is needed in order to adapt our behavior and thinking.

See several Spunky columns below.  And, don't forget to respond.  Spunky wants to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with her or not!  Send your response(s) to Spunky Collins via email at katie@beyouproductions.com.

As you read the columns, don't miss the ***Book Announcement*** below!

Columns:

The Domino Effect

Speaking of relationships on a general scale, it seems to be beyond time we all check ourselves on how we treat others and to what degree the affect our actions have on the rest of the world. 

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the experience of being left hanging at some point for someone to show up for a meeting, who doesn’t, or for an email to come into your mailbox, that doesn’t, or any other form of promise that just gets brushed to the sidelines—no looking back and no questions asked. The saddest thing about this mounting bad behavior is that it’s contagious. What one person does another one perpetuates all in the name of an unconscious mind. What this creates in the end is a negative premise upon which we live our lives. Change starts with you—not your neighbor, not your friend or colleagues, but YOU.  

What I’m trying to get across here is that everything you do, say, think or feel is energy that spreads out into the world and, if it’s negative energy, infects the rest of us good folks. Every single relationship, no matter the basis or parameters upon which it’s built, is a relationship between two human beings or more who deserve the respect and honor of your word and/or integrity to keep it flowing in a positive direction. False claims, careless actions and empty promises break trust and a world without trust is well … comparable to the same affect the bank’s actions had on the near total global financial disaster.  

Ask yourself this: What does it take to say you’re going to do something and then actually do it? Is this an easy task to fulfill or a difficult one? If it’s easy, keep up the good work. If not, why not? For those of you who find this difficult go one step further and ask yourself how you think your failure to do what you say you’re going to do affects the other person you made the promise to. Did it cause them to wait unnecessarily on you? Did it cause them emotional anguish? Or, perhaps the result was even worse—it caused them to lose their trust in you? Then ask yourself if it was worth the loss.

 Lack of commitment and integrity is the sort of unconscious behavior and thinking that this world so dearly needs to transform. One such broken promise leads to others and so on and so on. It becomes an unbroken chain that multiplies beyond comprehension.

 To put it in other terms:

Actions such as lack of respect for another’s time caused by you’re inability to keep your promise, regardless of the excuses, serves to create a negative energy that expands outward and eventually touches us all. It’s like creating little piles of dirt everywhere you go. The unenlightened mind says, “Well, everybody does it, so just get over it and move on”. The enlightened mind says, “No, it’s not OK. I will let that be known in the most enlightened way possible, but I won’t sweep it under the rug because there is no evolution in that.”

 It is time on the Earth plane for a new energy and it is precisely such unconscious acts that stagnate evolution for all humanity. This energy connects everyone and in the end harms everyone particularly now as we move into a new era of energy (ascension).

 So, as you move into the new year 2011, make an unbroken promise to yourself that goes something like this:

 I will endeavor to respect and honor all relationships by giving another cause to keep me in their trust and through this, I in theirs.

 Move forward consciously and know whatever you choose, you’re responsible and your actions do affect everyone else in their wake.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


Truth or Consequences

People love secrets. We’re intrigued by their mysteries and our desire to reveal their hidden truths. What happens, however, when such secrets are applied to love in the form of indiscretions? Today’s relationships are challenged more than ever by this very theme. What can we hope to learn from our misguided ways and why is it so prevalent in our society today?

 I read an article in the newspaper recently about a “discrete” dating service that encouraged people to have romantic rendezvous outside their current relationship. There was a quote from a psychologist in the article referencing the affect such behavior has on our own personal psychology as well as on our understanding of the role society plays. Basically, it challenges all areas of trust and truth within us and society at large.

 Let’s look at a quasi case study as the circumstances of indiscretion begin to unfold and destroy a family and a newfound love:

 Imagine a family of four. Things have not been going well with the husband and wife for over a year. Frustration and anger caused by a variety of reasons lies at the core of the wife’s emotions toward the husband, which eventually leads to an affair with another man. But, not just any affair; it is true love. This means it’s not something she can just walk away from. It also means that making the right decisions for the sake of all concerned is seriously challenged. As most of us know, love is blind, and when in love, our actions can be clouded by confusion. We tend to do things we would otherwise not do if not under the drunken affects love has on our being.

 What happens next is … lies, deceit and bad decisions. The wife is under the illusion that it’s less painful to lie and cover-up the affair than to come straight out with the truth. We all tell ourselves this somewhere down the road at some point in our life that lying is easier. The truth in our view is much more painful than the lack thereof.

 Next stage follows … the husband finds out, but not from the wife. It comes at him from all angles—work colleagues, neighbors, friends. He realizes he’s been deceived, and not in any simple way, but through a web of lies over months of indiscretion.

 The wife now has to come clean. The truth gets told. Angers flair. Pain and suffering begin for all concerned. Is there a way out and what is the path forward?

 Once we choose our actions it is too late to turn back. We’ve made our bed and now we have to lie in it. As the process of suffering begins to unfold we’re caught up in our own self-reflection of what we did wrong and how many we hurt along the way. There is no going back. The newfound love is also now in jeopardy. Can it survive the suffering of those left in its wake and at what price?

As one experiences the moment of truth about the actions and choices that now belong to the past, one searches for meaning, help and understanding.

If you find yourself there is a similar situation, ask yourself this: What is this life experience trying to tell me about myself and my choices? It’s individual for everyone. Look for the truth behind the suffering. This is what leads to understanding and the end of suffering. When you can answer that question, you’ve understood the purpose of the experience. What truth is driving the entire experience? There is one there, perhaps quite deep, but it is there.

This question can then be applied to society at large. Why do so many of us suffer under similar circumstances of our own indiscretions? The answer as I see it is that life is changing and the way we’re living must change as well. Suffering is a sign of the times. Lies and deceit can no longer survive in this new era that is now upon us. We simply must change our ways. Those who don’t will suffer the hardest.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


The Value of Relationships 

Sometimes we’re so busy with life we fail to notice the importance of the people in our lives. We can get accustomed to someone and overlook the real value of the relationship to our own personal growth. It’s often too late to go back and change things once we’ve gone too far down that road of unconscious behavior that leads to the end of a good thing.  How can we be reminded of their value?

Sometimes it’s right before we break the camel’s back, so to speak, that we notice perhaps we’ve gone astray in our appreciation for another. Habit begets mindless actions and this is the point of no return in many cases. That’s all the more reason to keep a mindful-eye on your style and manner of how you treat the one you love or even the one you don’t. What does that mean? It means all relationships, whether love-based, platonic or business oriented need thoughtful care to remain on solid ground.

If you’re living consciously, life has its own way of reminding us of value. These are moments that are truly precious and are a gift from the universe, so when they happen, notice them, take in the learning, and be grateful for having had the experience. Let me recount one such learning for you now:

I wanted to sell my bike to a friend, but had no idea of its value. It was a top of the line model, only a couple of years old and had hardly been ridden. Since it was a gift, I had never known its worth. I, therefore, did a bit of research on the Internet, found the manufacturer and thought I had found the exact model. The price was quite high, I thought, and therefore I felt I could get a good deal from my friend. Of course I was going to discount it 50%, but at least now I knew where to start.

 As it turned out, my research wasn’t too good. He was able to find the exact model and component parts which all added up to less than half the value I was expecting. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed. At that point we had not yet finalized the deal, but I knew where it was going.

 Later that day I attended a luncheon where a group of women made a presentation about a foundation to support the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear incident. They were in need of financial support for students who wanted the possibility of an education so that they’d have a chance at a future outside their devastated region. What they presented astounded me. For less than 800 dollars a sponsor could support a student for one full year of studies at a university. For less than 800 dollars one of us more privileged citizens could change the life of another human being.

 The value of the 500 dollars I had previously considered too low and not enough suddenly took on new proportions. The value of a life and the ability to make a difference in the life of another was then and there a conscious wake-up call for me about the value of all relationships.  

In conclusion, it is thus with all lives with whom we have relationships that we should remind ourselves of their true value. See them in new proportions so that you may know what you truly have.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


***New Book Announcement!***

Dear Readers,

 This month’s column is actually an announcement for the release of my new book:

 The Book of O, and the Ring that Scratched the Face of Truth

 Available now for purchase on Amazon.com or directly from the publisher, Wheatmark in their Bookstore section of their website.

 Here are some details about the story:

O is on a life-changing journey of transformation and discovery, but she must first endure her self-induced sufferings and denials along the way. In a world consumed with greed, ego and fear O is forced to look deep within herself for the answers.

 The Book of O is an inspiring story of both fiction and nonfiction based on real life events. It’s a story submerged in symbolism, the mysteries of life and the hidden messages that serve to guide our souls.

 With the banking and pharmaceutical industries serving as the playground for the characters, they are a reflection of our modern times and exemplify the need for change in every aspect of our lives.

 The unique graphic concept utilizes both colors and character names to emphasize the important symbolic nature of life itself and how it operates in our own lives. Insightful wisdoms underline the text and offer a deeper meaning to the complexity of the story.

 This is an Art Book with an important message. It also makes a great gift.

I hope you’ll purchase it and I wish you insightful reading. Many thanks for your support!  

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com

 

Decisions Decisions

 With so many changes upon us in the realm of relationships, how does one best approach decision making of a life-changing kind? This is a theme that will touch all of us sooner or later. Let’s take a look at some basic decision making criteria in order to get a foothold on our future outcomes.

 Let’s take an example of a couple that has had a relatively happy marriage over a period of seven years. They have two small children and have always envisioned themselves as the perfect family. Their dream together is to stay together and there has been no cause to make them think it would be any other way.

 Then, slowly things start to become a bit out of sync. Their lives start to move in different directions, for one reason or another. One partner needs more personal attention and the other needs more freedom. They have discussions, they talk, they think they understand one another, but somehow in the end—they just don’t. Time marches on. Grievances grow deeper until they reach the point of no return. The damage is done and they cannot find their way back to their happy, planned future as the perfect family. The spell is broken.

Now decisions need to be made. What do we do about our marriage? Do we stay together for the kid’s sake? Do we separate first, divorce later, or maybe come back together for a second try? Or, do we got straight for the inevitable and divorce? There are so many considerations about the kids, their schools, the house that’s taken years of dedication and money, the living situation, together or apart, etc., etc. Where on earth does one begin?

 I can offer, as my very best advice, this statement: Take a different perspective on who you really are and what your purpose is in this situation. O.K., what does that mean exactly? Well, if we are to truly understand ourselves, then we must be willing to understand the nature of our Being and the purpose of our existence. Taking a step to the left (the far left that is) we can entertain an entirely different possibility about life and how such difficult challenges are really about our evolution as souls having a life experience. Hope I haven’t lost you yet. Here we go…

 Imagine if you will, that we are all souls on a life journey with one purpose in mind—to evolve. We’ve come here with a particular objective and a particular challenge, which will play out diametrically opposed to one another in order to offer the opportunity to evolve our soul as we desire. Now, this might sound a bit lofty and perhaps you don’t see the point yet, but be patient. It’s coming.

 Now, with that understanding in mind, that you have an objective that will be challenged by a life situation such as a divorce, try to imagine that the divorce is serving as nothing more than the catalyst for your growth and evolution. That you and your partner are in on the whole scheme together—a divine contract was formed—and you’re both living it out through the great and wonderful playground called life.

 So, how does that help you in making decisions you ask? Well, what could be more of a guide, a resource for decision making than knowing the purpose of all that suffering? That, being known, should allow you to follow the next steps—namely; “How can I benefit most from the nature of this turmoil I find myself in and how can that benefit all concerned?” Ask yourself then, what would be the best decision to afford this opportunity of growth and evolution of your soul? And lastly, how can this be the journey of my desire if it hurts me so much? With this last and final question, let this thought come to your mind:

 All decisions are about the act of creation. With each one I make I’m creating the future before me, as I desire it to be. This is a fact, not a comment. I am in control of ALL things in my life. Not anyone else, not any other source, not life, not pending death. Nothing and no one but me, myself and I. That’s it. Period.

 If this is all still too difficult to grasp, then here’s one last thought to help drive home the point of making decisions in critical moments in life:

What would I do if I could do it all over again? Would I change myself, would I change my choices? How about this answer: “I would do it all exactly the same way because somewhere deep down inside of me I know my way and I know my journey is about the creation of this very moment in time. All is perfect exactly as it is. Know this and it shall set you free.

 Decisions, in conclusion, are, therefore, about understanding our purpose in the great big world of life, because without them we simply could not create ourselves in every moment of our being. And, it is the creation of ourselves for which we live.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


Future Love … The Masculine Side of Things  

 Picking up where we left off last time with regards to the change taking place in our relationships of all kinds with society, the planet and ourselves—let’s take an in-depth look at the changes from the man’s perspective.

 What is a man to think and do in this modern world where women are becoming a force of their own? Though this is nothing completely new, women are making major advances in many areas that were once predominately ruled by men. I’m thinking of such professions as airline pilots, politicians and surgeons. Women are making more and more of a presence in these male-dominated worlds. But where else is this happening? On the home front, of course.

 So what is actually changing on the home front in terms of relationships where men are concerned? Men, for one thing, are no longer the breadwinners. This has been slowly evolving over the past 20 years, but today in our modern society it’s more the norm than ever before. What does that mean for men? It means they can no longer rely on being the “hero” of sorts who comes home after a hard day at the office and expects to find a hot home-cooked meal on the table. Men are now an integral part of the home-life, chipping in with such tasks as laundry, cooking and ironing (thank goodness!). Fifty years ago, this was unheard of!

 What else is new for men in this modern world? Well, how about the way they socialize. Men no longer are the only ones to approach a potential love interest. Women have entered the picture there as well. The traditional role of women sitting back and waiting to be pursued is simply no longer, well … pursued! Women are just as free and likely to do the pursuing as men were once upon a time. So, does that change anything really where men are concerned? It certainly does, would be my answer to that. Men need to take a step back and review where their identity got lost so that they can reinvent themselves anew. Do they continue to be the aggressive one in terms of searching for a partner, or do they now take the secondary role and wait for the woman? Perhaps both will operate in our world with some degree of success. But, the big question that now arises is this: What is men’s place in the world in the 21st century if so much has changed about how they used to define their roles in society, in relationships and toward themselves, in particular?

 The future for men, as I see it, is that they will learn to be a more well- rounded species. They will rediscover their feminine sides, lost years ago to machoism and allow for the natural state of evolution to take place. Why? Because, quite frankly, they have no choice. Women are coming to the forefront—and there’s no stopping a rolling snowball. Men will have to be willing to take a backseat, so to speak, and allow for the rising feminine energy now coming into being. They will not fuss or fight, they will succumb to a process that has been in the making longer than we know. But, this is not an attack on the masculine world—not by any means nor intention. This is a truth about the future of the man’s world and quite frankly, I think they’re going to love it!

 The pressure is off! Men can behave as they’ve secretly always wanted to. Meaning, they can cry if they want to cry, they can cook and sew if that brings them joy, or they can relax and kick up their feet and allow their female counterpart to be the breadwinner, without the guilty conscious. That’s right, men finally have an opportunity to be, well, more like women! And what this means in the end is that they have an opportunity to be more like themselves—loving, warm, caring and nurturing—that which we traditionally have always expected from women.

 The conclusion to all this is to see that life is taking on much more balance in our modern world. Balance desperately needed for a world lacking thereof. Balance is the key to a happy future, not just for men, but for all of society—and that includes women (wink). The future is indeed at our doorstep. Won’t you step forward?

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


Future Love 

Why are so many relationships experiencing change and what can we learn from this? Understanding the Earth changes may very well help us to understand relationship changes and how they correlate with one another. In fact, they actually reflect one another.

 This is a very challenging but exciting time to be alive. Many of you already are aware of the awakening process taking place on Earth. For those who are less informed you need only awaken your perception to life’s current events. The answers are everywhere; pregnant with symbolic overtures of the changes we’re facing as both a society and a species. 

With so much going on that needs our attention, such as the tainted drug and food supply, the rise in cancer cases and the frightening rate of obesity in the United States, it’s time we took an honest look at ourselves. At the top of that list is the abominable state of our environment—compliments of us, its human inhabitants. Life is desperately trying to convey to us something about the sad state of our relationships. Do we suppose humanity can face such monumental Earth changes without facing personal changes in our relationships? If the number of broken loveships, partnerships and marriages is any indication, I’d say both are in danger of extinction. Life is shining the spotlight on our relationships of all kinds not only with the Earth, but also with our self, society and other Beings.

As these issues are begging to be examined, it’s clear change is on the horizon. The question is, however, what direction will change take, or better yet, what direction do we need change to take to lead us effortlessly into our future as individuals and a species.

Here’s one example of how love relationships could evolve from the women’s side of things. Weigh this in your mind and see how you feel about it:

In the future relationships will no longer be based on support of one sex for another. By that I mean women will be fully independent in the same way men are currently. The work environment will be far more balanced. Though this shift already started back in the 50’s with more women entering the workforce, equality will become more and more pronounced in the years to come. How will that further affect relationships? Women will choose committed relationships for different reasons than in the past. Though family will continue to be a theme, they are less likely to marry, for example, just for that purpose alone. In addition, women will be financially secure enough to have a child without the husband as a part of the equation and many more women will go this route.

Another area of criteria for women will be to have a life partner who fulfills their personal needs much more than ever before. Women will be more confident themselves and they won’t seek a partnership unless it truly adds quality to their life. They’ll be much more discriminating. Dating and meeting people will be more likely without serious life-long commitments as the number one goal. Marriage, of course, won’t die out entirely, but the shift will be to non-marital status with partnerships sought out as supportive roles and less for the long-term.

With the shift in the consciousness of humanity comes change on all fronts. This is just one of the ways relationships might progress in the future. Next time we’ll look at the man’s side of things. Stay tuned. 

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


Relationships Under Fire

I’ve recently been asking myself a lot of questions about relationships and what they’re all about. Here are some of them for your contemplation. Perhaps this will lead us both down a path of better understanding, or perhaps we’ll continue down the road of confusion. I’ll let you walk your path of choice. Mine is still in question.

What is it that we all want from relationships? Are we even conscious of what that is? Do we all have to want the same thing? Is there only one acceptable course of action between couples when it comes to behavior and expectations? Must one follow the social norm?

What about people who are already in a relationship who go astray even when they seem to be happy? Is it denial of the problems with their partner that they simply don’t want to see? Could it be the obsession for newness or for that natural high that causes one to constantly seek a new sexual encounter with someone? Is it the same type of obsession as with gamblers or free climbers? Could it not be equated to that?

Here’s an example to consider: I had a friend once who was married and afraid of meeting someone she might like and fall in love with so she avoided any social opportunities where that could happen. I asked myself what her thought process might be behind that logic: stop talking to someone she found appealing, deny their existence, deny her feelings and just run away? “I think I’m starting to like you too much that means I have to pretend I don’t have feelings for you and pretend I don’t know you anymore.” Why? “Because I’m afraid that I’ll start liking you more than I “should” and the fact is I’m married. I can’t talk to somebody I find interesting and attractive that I could fall in love with. This would be a horrible thing! I’ve made a promise and I’m going to stick to it, no matter what, even if I’m miserable.” That’s at least the dialogue I imagined she had running through her fearful mind.

Where do we draw the line? What’s acceptable and what isn’t? Why are so many marriages not working anymore? Is monogamy right for humanity? Do we call someone who has fallen in love with another, even though they’re already in a relationship, a bad person? A scoundrel?

Does love need a contract to be kept? Must we put our love in a cage and block out all other possibilities because we perceive it as wrong? Why do we persist in trying to control our heart? Something that is totally futile. Or, is it our mind we’re trying to control and in so doing forgetting about our heart? Could this not be a definition for marriage—a contract for controlling our head, heart and actions?

Does it make us bad people to want to share our love?

What it boils down to is what we choose to DO—what actions we undertake with the agreements we have in place. It’s the lying and deceit that’s hurtful, that destroys a partnership or trusted friend. How we choose to conduct ourselves defines who we are. Is it not, however, the love we blame for our confusion—feelings we claim we shouldn’t have? Should those feelings be corralled, lassoed and tied to a post? What do we do with them if they suddenly overcome our sense and sensibilities?

What is it that we seek as humans in human relationships? Or, should the question be: What is it that we as spiritual Beings seek in human relationships? Maybe the problem stems from asking the wrong question in the first place!

We are spiritual Beings having a human experience. That means, as such, we are here to do just that—have an experience! Can it not be that we’ve come to experience love, because that is who and what we are? Can it not be that as spirits having a human experience we desire to know the many faces of love? Why can’t we look at love and life that way? Why not try to simply enjoy the gift of loving another human being while accepting the fact that it’s OK to do that without putting a judgment or label on it: wrong, bad, or otherwise.

Should it not be that we accept ourselves as Beings who want to evolve through whatever life experience we choose as individuals to have? Let’s stop comparing ourselves to every other culture, every other religious believe, every other doctrine taught us by parents, teachers and theologians and simply choose whatever the experience is that we want to have and then live it out without comparing, labeling or judging! What would be wrong with that?

There are those who make promises who cannot hold themselves to them either because they never really wanted to in the first place or because they were simply going along with the societal norm. It could also be that they never intended their promise as a long-term commitment, but rather a temporary one. So, they try the promise out for a while, but sooner or later choose to have another experience forcing them to lie to cover their tracks.

What do we have to learn from these “failings” as many of us would judge them? But then, doesn’t it depend on who’s doing the judging. A Mormon would have no problem with multiple love relationships. A Japanese would have no problem with sex outside the marriage, but traditional Christian doctrines would condemn both such behaviors.

What would happen if we just left it up to every individual to decide for themselves what kind of an experience they would like to have?

The problem occurs when two people of different opinions and doctrines come together without agreement or integrity to adhere to their own individual convictions that lie behind their desires. One agrees, but not really. Another tries, but denies their real wants. The fear to go against the norm, to be different, or to be misunderstand lies so deep in us that it drives us to create an experience which isn’t at all what our heart desires.

As long as we refuse to be honest with ourselves and our mate with regards to what we’re willing to give and accept in a relationship, we will continue to speak at cross purposes. We will continue to suffer disharmony and continue the lack of understanding over why the other could not live up to their end of the bargain. 

What if we simply worked it out in advance? Found common ground based on honest intentions and on our own individual desires. Then, when the time comes for one or the other to realize the bargain was too difficult to fulfill, to simply call it quits, move on and in that moment ACCEPT the fact that it’s time to part ways without blame or flame of dramatic episodes, but rather with gratitude for having had the experience in the first place.

There is always something to be learned about ourselves to further our evolution in every relationship we experience. That is, if we’re open and willing enough to see it.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


Cyberlove

In reflecting over the past year, I have to chuckle. There were some moments of “love confusion,” as I like to call it, which struck not just myself, but my friends as well. One such case involved Internet dating. Come to discover, there are certain dynamics one should keep in mind when having a cyberspace relationship, which can change the rules of the playing field.

Take for example a girlfriend of mine. She met a potential partner through an Internet dating service. After a month of exchanging emails and text messages, they agreed to take the next step and meet each other for a coffee.

Their first meeting turned out to be very encouraging. They found each other attractive, shared stories about their past relationships, and all in all had a comfortable visit together. Both left the rendezvous feeling excited about future possibilities, at least that’s what she thought. By all indications he was single and available. They continued their correspondence during the weeks that followed as they looked for another opportunity to get together, which wasn’t all too easy since they lived about two hours drive away from one another.

My friend, who is by nature an extremely giving person and who goes out of her way to help others, decided one Saturday morning to drive to the town where her internet partner lived and surprise him. That morning they had exchanged several mails so she was able to determine that he was home and thinking about her, as he wrote. Great! That was confirmation enough to carry out her plan.

Keep in mind that, women being women, my girlfriend had already imagined a marriage and kids with her potential life-partner, which inevitably leads to expectations and disappointment.

When she arrived she went to the bakery and picked up some goodies for breakfast, bought a rose and then sent the big surprise text message, “I’m outside your doorstep”, fully expecting an excited response and a warm reception. But, there was a delay in his reply. After several minutes of waiting, he finally responded that he was actually at the gym (with his phone in hand?). A bit surprised, she wrote back that she’d wait for him and to just let her know when he was done. So, she waited. And she waited some more. After spending the next 3 hours walking around town killing time, his reply never came. She finally headed home, her heart shattered.

What on earth happened? He professed his endearments to her again and again. He said he was available and missed her and couldn’t wait to see her again. She was completely distraught and confused over the entire ordeal.

It seems this “nice, honest” guy was at home with another girl at the time. The gym made a convenient excuse, but backfired when she offered to wait. His only way out was to hide.

I recently read an article about the negative influence social networks (computer games in particular) can have on the mind and our sense of reality. The Internet serves as a buffer zone between real life relationships. It’s a safe haven—far less scary than dealing with a real Human Being face to face. It gives us courage to share thoughts and emotions that we might otherwise not have the courage to express, and perhaps it enables us to exaggerate a bit more with our feelings. It’s a cyber-culture that we relate to as real life. The problem is people forget that there are consequences to our words and actions in real life and these consequences can be quite painful when we become careless and treat real life like cyberspace.

My girlfriend’s experience is an example of this at work. It was all too easy to get caught up in the terms of endearment and expressions of affection through the net and to take them to heart. The warm and fuzzy feelings he extended misled her into thinking he really stood behind those intimate words he shared with her.

This is not to say that cyberlove has no place in the world or always ends badly, not at all. On the contrary, it is part of our modern day cultural experience and is likely to keep expanding in this direction as we continue our love for technology and distance ourselves from face to face human contact.

The moral of the story from my perspective is to remember that we’re neither machines nor computer games where the person we kill comes back to life. We are real people with emotions and in this day of social networking, it’s vital that we stay in touch with our true Being. Spend time with someone, in person, face to face. And, while you’re at it, put your cell phone or blackberry or laptop away and give your friends, colleagues and loved ones the gift of your full attention and true heart. This is what the world needs more of.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


The Improbity Virus  

In assessing the overall status of relationships on a general scale in today’s world of chaos, it seems a new epidemic is running amok that has infected our ability to keep our word and which puts the future of our trust in others in peril. The epidemic I’m talking about is what I call, the Improbity Virus.

As I was searching for the opposite of the word integrity, the thesaurus offered improbity, which could be better defined as: breach of promise, trust or faith, inconstancy. My dictionary tells me integrity is “the quality of being honest and having high moral principles.” The point I particularly want to make in reference to these terms has to do with ideals as they apply to the reliability of our word.

I’ve been given cause of late to question what has happened to our ability to keep our word to others, to do what we say we’re going to do and to follow through with our original intentions. In reviewing the last several weeks of broken commitments I’ve counted a grand total of 13. Thirteen people who didn’t write, didn’t call, didn’t come with, didn’t visit, or didn’t provide a simple reply after having stated they would. (Had I made bets with the universe as to whom would be the next to breach their word and perpetuate the epidemic, I could’ve earned myself a good income.)

I remember some time ago (18 yrs. or more) I was in a restaurant somewhere in Utah. The waiter was admiring my black and white Virgin Records baseball hat. He thought his girlfriend would love it and desperately wanted to get her one. He made me a proposal that if I’d buy him a hat and mail it to him, he’d promise to send me the money. I took a leap of faith, as I try to believe in the goodness of even perfect strangers, and thus, I agreed to send him the hat. So, when I got back to LA I went to Virgin Records, found exactly the same hat, put it in a box and within a couple of days had mailed it to the waiter who was counting on me to come through with his wish. Within a short time I received the cost of the hat and a thank you note from him and his girlfriend. What stunned them both was that a perfect stranger would actually turn out to be a reliable source in which to put their trust. I was equally surprised when I got my money back. This was a rare example of trust at play that I find even more profound between two strangers who had no rhyme or reason to believe in the actions of the other. No doubt we both felt we’d done something good, if not simply to share and perpetuate the experience of trust. Why has trust become a rare exception rather than the rule in our lives today?

Being a person of my word makes it difficult to relate to cavalier commitments. Do others care so little about their own integrity? Do they not take in consideration the person that they’re inconveniencing or disappointing? Is it selfishness that leads to breaking their word and leaving others hanging? In searching for comfort I could blame the chaotic nature of the world around us—too much to do, too little time, work, work, work—but I can’t really put much value in that either, because in the end it’s a decision that each person makes every time they give their word and then break it. Of course, things come up; accidents happen, people forget, plans change. That’s life, right? But, thirteen times? How many and which excuses are valid enough to continually accept this behavior? Could we blame our lack of integrity or commitment on LIFE or is this simply the nature of the Improbity Epidemic—a virus that we should simply accept without a moment’s contemplation or reprimand on those infected with it and who continue to spread it around.

Malclom Gladwell, author of the Tipping Point has some very enlightening words to say about epidemics. He illustrates his point with the Law of a Few to explain how just a few people can start a trend. Social epidemics are driven by just a handful of people, as he explains. In terms of the epidemic I’m writing about, it seems we’ve reached the Tipping Point—“the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”, as he defines it. Breaking our word has become epidemic and the sad thing is, no one seems to care or to notice. We’ve all become so complacent with the status of our dysfunctional behavior that we simply say, as one family member told me, “That’s just the way it is.”

In looking at the long trail of tattered and torn trust agreements in the world at large, we can see the results of this epidemic at work: The trust we had in the financial system which gave rise to an almost complete economic collapse, in the scientists who continually claimed global warming was a myth, in the government and media who blew the H1N1 Virus completely out of proportion, in the real estate market that fell flat on its face, in just about every system in which we’d naively bestowed our faith the systems failed to live up to their agreements and have since irrevocably shattered our trust. What are we to believe in anymore? As the journalist, Simon Jenkins, wrote in a recent article “it’s a short step from don’t believe to don’t care.”

As long as the Improbity Virus continues to thrive where then does that leave those of us who still value our word and the words of others? Is this a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” Should I be content with breaking my word whenever it suits me without a care as to how that may inconvenience the other person I’ve given my word to and simply chalk it up to life? I’ll come back to that answer in a minute.

The Improbity Epidemic became distinctly clear to me the other day when I opened the newspaper to find a picture of a soldier with an automatic rifle in hand, not at the war in Afghanistan, but in our airports! How is it that it’s come down to this? Doesn’t this serve to illustrate the pathetic degree to which we can no longer trust one another. It’s this very lack of trust—born out of fear—that leads to war. This is the sad reality of our world today. What then can we believe in if not in our own word and that of our fellow man? Where do we end up if we can no longer count on anyone to do what they say they’re going to do? The earthquake victims know the importance of this. They are counting on the world to bring them aid, food, water, shelter, medical supplies, all the things they’ve been promised by other nations. What if the other nations broke their word? What if they just put it off, postponed, procrastinated for a more convenient hour like so many of us do in our daily lives and daily promises instead of keeping our commitments.

It’s not only to others where our word falls short. How many commitments have you denied yourself? How many of you break your word to yourself on a regular basis? The diet you’re going to start, the smoking habit you’re going to kick, the visit with a dear friend that you just can’t seem to keep because another day would be better. The Haitians know the importance of another day, of doing what we say we’re going to do now and not waiting for some unknown time in the future. For that day may never come.

Why must we all wait for extreme circumstances to touch our lives before we’re able to recognize the need for change in our self-defeating ways? It would serve us well to ask ourselves often these three questions: “What are my values? Who do I care about? And, how am I going to express that to those who are important to me?” Then, live those truths every single day.

So, the next time you tell your little girl, or your teacher, or your colleague, or your husband, or your best friend, or an acquaintance, or your grandson or the homeless person on the street that you’re going to do something, consider carefully the integrity of your word before your break it, because on the other side of that promise is a potential broken heart full of hurt and disappointment. Think about the other one so there will be fewer “next times.” A little altruism goes a long way in the world today.

Coming back to my earlier question, should I be content with breaking my word? Join the forces of the epidemic? Give in to defeat?

On the contrary, I plead the Fifth.

Authors Miguel and Jose Ruiz have defined five agreements in their new book, The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide of Self-Mastery, the first of which goes like this:  

“BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

I honor this concept. It’s a good one. As Malcom says, “the Tipping Point is the point of potential change and the power of intelligent action.“ With the Law of a Few and the potential for “tipping” the status quo in the other direction we could even start a new epidemic … of the Fifth Agreement kind.

Won’t you join me?

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


The Gift of the Present

It’s holiday time and for all you single folks out there, don’t your thoughts just dwell in the romance of the season with the hopes of meeting someone new at a holiday party or someone special to kiss on New Year’s Eve? Oh, how our thoughts can lead us astray.

It starts out so innocently. Perhaps you’re standing alone at a party, and an attractive stranger approaches you. You strike up an interesting conversation and share the usual personal details about yourself, such as age, marital status, children, profession, family, etc. It’s all quite normal in the realm of small talk and potential love interests, and oh what fun it is! At the end of the evening before you depart, you exchange phone numbers, hoping the other one will call.

What happens after that first meeting is a process worth reflecting upon:

You compulsively review the conversation in great detail over and over again; what you said to them, what they said to you, how they looked at you, if they smelled good, what they were wearing, how they smiled, etc. It’s at this point where we often get ourselves into trouble—you begin to fantasize about a variety of scenarios regarding your future together. You imagine meeting them a second time, what you’ll say, what you’ll wear, where you’ll go to dinner, what’ll happen after dinner, how they’ll kiss, what sex would be like, if you’ll move in with them and eventually get married. Between your two-hour conversation and the night that follows you completely exhaust yourself, not to mention lose a couple hours of sleep, over the hyper brain activity your thoughts are producing; thoughts which are now swimming like a fine wine through your system, caressing your hopes & dreams for the future.

Then, if you haven’t gotten yourself completely wound up from that, you begin to worry! Worry? Sounds ridiculous right? But, it happens. “Oh dear, he’s a cop! I don’t think I can live with a cop. I’m not cut out to be a cop’s wife”, or “Yikes, she’s got two little girls, I don’t even like kids. I’m not sure I’m ready to be a dad.” All this worry about someone you may not ever see again!

So, now that you’ve carried yourself way down the path of potential futures with a virtual stranger, worried about all kinds of nonsense scenarios, they actually call you up and ask you out. Does nervous strike a familiar cord? Yep, all that thinking and worrying have set the tensions high for the next meeting, so when you finally see them again, you’re so uptight you can hardly be yourself. You put on airs to influence who you want them to think you are, or barricades to keep them at a safe distance until you’ve decided it’s safe to let your guard down, all the while knowing that you’ve already had sex with them in your mind and have decided how you’ll decorate the house once you finally settle down together, so they better like it.

To save all you once-happy folks out there from this mind boggling, heart-wrenching exercise during such a joyful time of year, I have a bit of advice—STOP! Just stop, before you get yourself too worked up over a hypothetical future that may never be. My advice is to simply enjoy the experience for what it is, in this very moment, and all the wonderful feelings that go along with it. Let the worries of your imaginings and stress over the future fall by the wayside. Should you meet again, relish the experience! It is, after all, the experience we seek as humans that’s important. The nerves may still be there, but not because you’re worried about whether you could be a cop’s wife or not. Spare yourself all that pressure undeserving of a second rendezvous.

Dwelling in the future is a bad habit too many of us indulge in, which only serves to blind us from the gift of the present. And here’s the season tie-in: The PRESENT. Let the present (moment) be your present to yourself this holiday season and beyond. You’ll be a lot less stressed for it.

Something to think about until next time …

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com


Through the Eyes of the Soul

We all face conflict at some point in our relationships. It’s what we do with it and how we perceive its value that evolves our souls. Becoming aware of the healing opportunities of conflict can help ease the pain of the experience.

It seems life these days is filled with conflict of all kinds. We’re confronted with difficult people or personal crises at an ever increasing rate. Every time we encounter such situations we have a choice in how we relate to the matter emotionally and that choice can make our experience either very unpleasant or very insightful depending on our perspective and our willingness to do the necessary work.

For example, let’s say you have an ongoing problem at work with your boss. Now, you could complain that they’re never supportive enough or don’t give you clear instructions and, therefore, you blame them for the misunderstandings. Perhaps you’re even right, but the problem is they’re the boss and may not see it that way … ever! So, what do you do? You’re being blamed for something that’s not your fault, which is enough to make anyone miserable at the lack of justice behind it, but you still have to get up every morning and make the trek to work. Well, you could quit your job, of course, run away and hope for a better situation at the next job. However, run now and pay later. Rest assured the situation will follow you. Why? Because the lesson that lies within the conflict still needs to be learned. It’s your lesson not theirs. This is where the insight comes in.

Whenever you’re faced with conflict in a relationship you are being shown that which you need to work on in yourself. In understanding this point, you can learn to look at conflict from a perspective that teaches you what aspects of yourself you want to evolve. That is to say — choose to look at conflict through the eyes of the soul. Conflict is the indicator. Your choice should be to look within and not to blame someone else (including yourself) or to make excuses. This resolves nothing and will lead to the same situation, repeatedly, until you get it! Ever wonder why you keep getting the same lessons over and over again? That’s why. Your soul is trying to tell you something!

The soul work takes place at the point of conflict. Take time out to investigate what the source of the problem is. It goes much deeper than you and your boss not getting along. Take a look at the emotions it stirs in you. Reflect on other situations that stir the same or similar feelings. Ask yourself how you feel in this situation and then try to determine the origins of the emotion. This is the key to resolving the repeated experiences. Did it come from a painful childhood experience, the relationship with your parents, a teacher, of a friend? Dig deep. You may need to sort through several layers before you actually get to the seed of the problem.

Once you’ve determined what sets the situation off, then you’ve identified your buttons. These buttons may be pushed by many different people, but it’s your boss who is in your life, at this point in time, to show you that which your soul wants to learn. When looking at this situation this way, through the eyes of the soul, you learn to turn your emotions around from victimization and suffering to compassion and gratitude. Be grateful for their participation in your evolution. We all have the power to do this at any time and in any situation of conflict. This perspective will not only give you insight into deep seeded issues that are in need of healing, which you’ve carried around with you your whole life, but will make the situation of conflict far less painful.

Conflicts are opportunities for personal evolution and healing. The choice to learn or continue to suffer is up to you.

Something to think about until next time … 

—Spunky Collins
Sharing new perspectives with the world
www.spunkycollins.com

***Where did the rest of Spunky's columns go?  We're in the works of archiving all of her wonderfully thought provoking ideas!

 
 
 
 

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