Born to Fail

It’s so hard to be in the thick of things
Unable to see the future
Trusting that your wave is coming
And you’ll be ready to hop on board

I hate the thought of limitations
That my reach won’t save your soul
Trusting blindly in principles that have seen me through
Not knowing if they’ll work for you

I hate that I’m laying in the sun for a day
While homeless still sleep on our streets
I’m frustrated with the pace of adaptation
We’re smarter and more connected than this

Am I really doing what I can
To maximize my gifts?
Hate to see those around me struggle
Years are surely passing
Nothing is changing
My patience is wearing thin.

Enough Talking

Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
Make you crazy
The pace of the vehicle
The stops for maintenance
The fact that she needs a new paint job
It’s the desert now
A little hot
A little arid
But over those mountains
Are greener pastures
Beautiful landscapes
Let’s just keep going
We’ll make it to the gas station soon
We’ll cool off a little there
And enjoy the new views

Class, Violence, Competition, Superiority, Intimacy, Creativity, and Vomiting

Tonight just brought me a little closer to my own Unified Theory of Everything. Still not quite there, though. Apologize in advance for some rambling…

It was another “Holy shit! How did the Universe conspire (yet again) to bring the perfect people into my life at just the perfect time?” kind of night. I found myself at a training for yoga and meditation teachers who teach in jails, put on by the ManAlive (I think it stands for Men Allied Nationally Against Living In Violent Environments) group.

I have been pondering the concept of aggression and violence the past couple of months. Really, my whole life. But there’s been a spotlight on the last couple of months.

First off, I dated a man this year who referred to me as “The most aggressive woman I have ever met. Quick to get angry. Violent.” And, what do you know, I felt the same way about him! Coincidence that we have the exact same birthday (April 16)? Probably not. Anyway…

As a coach I’ve been thinking a lot about anger and violence as well. I need to find a way to give my students tools to understand how to prevent anger from turning into violence, and rather channel it into passion and creativity. They realize that violence has self-harming and community-harming effects that are counter-productive to their own success.

What I learned tonight was at once disturbing, intuitively correct, and unifying. Disturbing in that it challenged the very core values of our society and culture, and, as a microcosm, the way my family raised me. Here’s what was so disturbing & yet intuitive: The ineffectiveness of violence/competition/hierarchy, and the merits of equality/intimacy.

We’re moving that way as a country, and who’s to say it’s the wrong way?: women’s rights and equality, racial rights and equality, animal rights and equality, sexual rights and equality, and yet we still haven’t really tackled class equality (S. Brian Willson). As the teacher tonight said, if I make 25K/year, and you make 100K/year, we probably live in different parts of town, and don’t get to know each other all that well. We probably start making assumptions about the other person’s inferiority/superiority…

My home growing up was a hierarchical environment, enforced by violence. Class was an issue. Competition, pride, and superiority/inferiority were all, to some extent, encouraged as values, from how my mother/father treated each other, to how we played board games. What I am slowly learning is that this is a fear-based environment, where needs, weaknesses and pain often go un-acknowledged and control and superiority are rewarded. There is no real intimacy, with hurt and fears buried mostly unaddressed beneath calloused exteriors.

The family unit being a microcosm of society, we also see these values reflected in the actions our government takes on our behalf. We often collectively condemn our government’s violent actions against other people in other countries. This violence comes at the hands of our brothers and sisters, our soldiers, who must objectify the “opponent” in order to justify killing them. They are called gooks, or sand-monkeys, or whatever, anything to make them seem less than human. We condemn our soldiers for appearing weak or emotional. We compete fiercely in our businesses for resources.

Competition thrives on the idea that resources are limited. To some extent, in the larger world, this is true. This is where fear takes root and starts to permeate our everyday interactions. For example, there is not enough fresh water from aquifers around the world to sustain world population 100 years out at current rates of usage. Same goes with oil reserves. Time and money are somewhat limited resources. We play mock games of competition instinctively, from a young age, to prove to ourselves that we are, in fact, superior, and therefore worthy of continued existence on this planet, prepared for that one day we’d have to fight for our personal survival.

But the cold, hard truth, that no one is really talking about, is that “we” humans are not really designed to be “superior” nor “more worthy” than any other life form, in order to inherit this floating blue globe all to ourselves. The fact of the matter is that the best outcome we can possibly hope for is to sustain the entire system, sharing and working as one, for as long as we can. Because although we are well-built for competition, we also have frontal lobes large enough to “predict” that we cannot kill all the other humans and living things that compete with our resources and still hope to survive on this planet. Lack of diversity leads to quick, mass calamities in ecosystems. We are interdependent. Humans, though able to act on a large scale, know instinctively that the balance of life must be maintained to some degree. So ultimate competition, with only one winner, is not the answer.

So our base animal instincts, which tell us that we are alive and yet vulnerable to death and so to be afraid, do not appear to serve us except in very immediate, actual life/death situations. I cannot think of any other circumstance in which violence is the most effective tool for the prosperity of the species on a long-term basis. In relations with other countries, just as in relations with other people, violence will appear to “solve” a short-term situation while creating long-term deficits in trust, safety, understanding, and cooperation. Best always to “talk it out” and invest the patience and neutrality that intimacy requires, so that both parties can address their base fears without having those fears escalate into an immediate fear of loss of life. Likely, those basic fears will always boil down to this same issue for both sides: How are we going to survive in this environment with you? What do we have in common and how can we help one another? We sometimes answer this question by simply seeing who can kill each other more and faster.

The world needs to remember that we will all have the best combined chance of survival through transparency and cooperation. We’re not really as different from each other as we like to think we are. We need to set agreements and hold each other accountable to them. By uniting and treating every citizen of this planet as if they were an equal life form equally worthy of existence and entitled to a fair share of resources, we collectively win, and only then can we make intelligent decisions collectively about our uses of resources, etc. It’s a more stable game for everyone. Of course you could make an argument that those who are unwilling to negotiate intimately are actually the ones who deserve to die, because negotiating furthers the species as a whole (Homo sapiens). Am I going down the wrong path now?

All I know is that when you are number one (#1), you learn that it is lonely at the top. And what you learn is that you weren’t really that special after all, and that others are just as equally valuable as you are, just with different talents. And that you did not get there alone. And that the top is just an illusion of safety.

In the words of Rumi: “Love is the cure, for your pain (violence) will keep giving birth to more pain (violence) until your eyes constantly exhale love as effortlessly as your body yields its scent.”

Thoughts on Capitalism and Socialism in the USA

We have dual natures. We are self-serving, competitive Darwinian egoists, and we are community-dependent social animals.

Our government in the USA, the world’s newest experiment in freedom and democracy, reflects both of these natures.

FDR said: “Capitalism is where the greediest of men do the greediest of things, for the good of the people.”

But alongside capitalism, a game which comes naturally to our lower natures, we also support socialist systems, so that our collective wealth can feed back into the group as a whole to keep the society strong.

We collectively support a government through taxes, which funds schools, fire and police departments, unemployment and health services for the poor and elderly, builds roads, and provides incentives for families and businesses to make decisions which benefit the community. It does not do this perfectly.

Capitalism must be tempered by proper socialism if it is to survive long-term. Just as an individual human cannot act independently of his community without consequence, nor can businesses.

PPL & BNI Networking: Food for Thought

I find it interesting as I go around San Francisco educating people about Pre-Paid Legal Services (PPL), how many times I hear “Well, I am well-connected to enough lawyers, so I don’t need that. My lawyer friends will help me with any issue I have, no matter how small, and I rarely pay full price if at all.”

If this is you, then you already intuitively get why networking and services like PPL are so valuable.

PPL has created a network of lawyers who are willing to “help out” their “friends” in the network. “Trust” is created, not by weekly meetings and 1-on-1’s (both awesome things!), but by consistently paying small membership dues, and by submitting feedback to the law firms over the past 39 years about how well they are treating our clients.

Most people who join (and stay in) networking groups like BNI become quite well-connected in the local community. That’s the reason for joining. But how many people do you know are not as well-connected as you?

Your favorite BNI lawyer friends should be your first referrals, obviously. The trust is already there. But when you don’t have the right legal connection for your friends/family/clients in the city, or your lawyer can’t help your friends/family/clients with issues in other states around the country, think of the PPL network!

At $26/month for our basic plan ($17/month for our standard plan), getting connected to a lawyer is easy and affordable (and necessary) for every working American, and every small business (no-contract plans starting at $40.50/month).

Thanks for listening, and happy networking! Let’s get everyone connected!

Christina McKinstry
legalsf at
415.215.5126 <- look at our plan details <- company overview <- connect with me (You can find me also on Google +)

Forgive Me

Forgive me

I did not trust you

Forgive me

I’m crying tears of regret

My words spoke of fear

Of intolerance

Of not understanding

When what I meant to say was

I’m sorry

I’m listening

I don’t need your validation of my experience

I don’t need for you to be perfect today

I don’t need you to follow in my footsteps

I can love you as you are

And that love will take us both to God

Not Entirely Connected – Waste of Web

Enough recycling
It’s getting clearer
If we only could agree now
On what our purpose is
We’re still not as connected
As technology allows us
We still have needs out there
And those who could fill them
We’re not efficient yet
We could turn this economy
Around in 3 months
If every talent
Could find its outlet
Then every soul
Could feel their worth
Don’t be afraid now
To let someone help you
It’s an honor you bestow

Why Do Drugs?

I don’t understand why people do drugs. I’m pressing on my sore eyeballs right now and I see thousands of beautiful fractal patterns in moving fluorescent colors exploding from one point, like they’re little light boxes flying away. The other eye gives me a different show, like a black and white checkerboard print with morphing dark globs expanding and contracting. While making love or listening to music, I can close my eyes and see beautiful landscapes and amazing color combinations, light shows, movement like I’m flying or driving really fast, or feel emotions swirl and move all over my body. My dreams and pre-dream states always entertain and trip me out. I don’t know. I guess I just don’t really need drugs :-)