I want to Write the world. I want to spread ideas through simple letters, share them with people who can understand them, who will share my vision, and help create the world that the two of us imagine. I have so much to say. I often put it out in the wrong order. Some of it I am afraid to put into words.
I spent the last several years trying to find my place in life. I began searching for it through the Church; in allegiance to God, I sought to be a servant. I searched for it in other people, entertaining them, serving them, and knowing them. And I searched for it in myself, only to find that one of the reasons I couldn’t find my place was due to what this society deems a neurological disorder. I was damaged, unfruitful, and unable to function properly in society without continuous medication and treatment.
I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder earlier this year. The truth is that I don’t believe in ADD in its most popular form. It’s not that I don’t believe in it exactly, I just don’t consider it a disorder. A “disorder” is considered to be anything that would impair the way you operate in a “normal” society. I guess the question has to be, “what is normal?” For me, normal has been considered modern American Capitalist/Consumerist society.
There is little compassion in normal society. There is little fairness, justice, or peace. If I can’t function properly in this society and don’t mesh with society’s desires and systems, maybe there is another one in which I can. And for that, I must explore. Through all of this searching to understand God, others, and myself, I have realized that I may never find my place if I don’t continue to search. The answers I’ve been given so far have not brought me peace.
This is an excerpt of The Rucksack Letters by Steve McAllister. Buy your copy of the eBook on Amazon.com.
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In the Hero’s Journey, one of the most significant stages is the Meeting of a Mentor, that sage advisor who acknowledges, supports, and spurs the hero onward. Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan and Yoda. Bilbo and Frodo Baggins had Gandalf. King Arthur had Merlin. The Karate Kid had Mr. Miyagi.
But a mentor can be more that a wise old man with a flowing white beard. Though the textbook adventure might paint him as such, the mentor can often be found in those we least expect. I’ve talked to many parents whose children have offered them unparalleled wisdom. Sometimes, even the challenge from a would be enemy can spur us on and help us to realize our full potential.
Additionally, few of us are given a singular mentor for we are often on multiple journeys without even realizing it. For each role we fill, we are faced with new challenges and have the capacity to act with heroic abandon. In our roles as parents, employees, employers, artists, athletes, statesmen, we are given abounding opportunities to both accept the help of mentors that we meet and to serve as mentors to others who are on their own hero’s journey.
There is an old axiom that states, “Every man is my teacher and every man is my student.” As we go forth on our journeys of excellence, let us be thankful for those who share their wisdom with us, and let us also be open to encourage others on their paths. A big part of being a hero is being a mentor.
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Erik Erickson devised his own stages of Human Development and is known for founding the term “identity crisis.” Erickson theorized that every person goes through eight stages of development from birth to death, each of them marked by confict, the resolution of which determines progress to the next stage by learning the value of virtue. He stated that in each stage an individual must come to understand each extreme of the conflict to find this resolution.
Trust vs. Mistrust
Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt
Initiative vs. Guilt
Industry vs. Inferiority
Identity vs. Role Confusion
Intimacy vs. Isolation
Generatively vs. Stagnation
Ego Integrity vs. Despair
The first stage of development, according to Erickson is the confict between Trust vs. Mistrust. According to his teachings, this is when the infant leans to belive in his caregivers, optimally gaining the virtue of Hope. However, I believe that in every endeavor we undertake, we start a new life for ourselves. And in each new situation, we face this same conflict about the people with whom we share our journey.
Do you have Hope in the journey that you are on? Have you grappled with the ideas of Trust and Mistrust in your coworkers, employers, or employees? How about with your customers? Or your family and friends? Do you have Hope?
Image of Gale Fulton Ross
A few years ago, I was approached by an artist by the name of Gale Fulton Ross. She said that she wanted to write a book that could serve as a guideline for artists who wanted to make a career of their craft. She called the book Artists Must Play CARDS, the anagram representing the five things that the professional artist needs in order to be successful.
I will be discussing these elements more in further blogs as I find the Solitude to work on my own art. But suffice it to say that I marveled at the idea and was almost instantly drawn to how her concepts (minus the Solitude) aligned with the four cards of the regular playing deck.
Furthermore, I was engrossed in the idea of how these aligned with the four elements of material being.
I began to see how these four concepts further aligned with the four aspects of humanity
I was drawn back to the concept of cards. Though it recommended that I fear and shun it as a young Christian, the deck of the Tarot cards have been a source of much wonder for me. Though there are many different styles out there, I’ve tended to stick with the classic Rider-Waite deck. I find the artistry in the cards very telling, the way they interpret both the numberology and the meanings of the suits.
Looking into the many self help gurus and business consultants, I began to see more of this occurance. For instance, Wayne Dyer has his Pathways to Mastery.
Stephen Covey discusses the four modes of creativity
As well as the four styles of leadership…
And the four human desires…
To Leave a Legacy
The actual CARDS book will be out soon, but these four principles, in whatever words describe them, are also the basis for my new book The McAllister Code and I am very grateful to Ms. Fulton Ross for making me aware of them. Go to www.themcallistercode.com now to be a part of the adventure.
The Way of Four
Shame is the lowest stage of consciousness, completely devoid of truth. It is the first thing Adam and Eve felt when they betrayed God by eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. As they were punted out of Paradise, their consciousness spiraled downward and felt the full fury of evil, Shame.
This is the state many of us feel when we are attacked by our former wrongdoings, be they intentional or only erronious. This is the state of mind which engulfs us when we are so embarrassed by our own actions that we despise who we are. This is the stage where we are most unaware of who we truly are, beings made in the likeness of God.
Each of us have lived in these moments at one time or another. Some of us live in it entirely, that feeling of not being worthy of the life we long for. Shame is often used by those in power to subdue others into abdication, by religions, by governments, by employers, even by friends and family members. It is an awful, hopeless state in which to live.
Regardless of what any of us have gone through in the past, regardless of the actions we have taken, this is a new moment in time, full of all new possiblities, especially the possiblity of redemption. Move in the direction of that.
Power vs. Force
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In Kabbalistic teachings, the mystical aspect of Judaism, the actual being of God is beyond understanding. However, he is represented by a collection of traits known as the sefirot into what is commonly called the Tree of Life. There are ten sefirot that make up the Tree of Life, each of them playing off of each other in triads and as methods of achieving balance as phases of God revealing Himself to man. They are the building blocks of creation, the archetypes of existence, the traits of God, and the primary values of the world.
The Ten Sefirot are
Chesed (sometimes referred to as Gedolah or Gedulah) (mercy or loving kindness)
Gevurah (sometimes referred to as Din (justice) or Pachad (fear)) (severity or strength)
Tiferet (harmony or beauty)
Hod (glory or splendour)
Yesod (power or foundation)
Keter Elyon is the highest of the Sefirot and the one from which all of the others are formed. It is understood to be beyond all existence and is nonetheless the cause of all existing things. It is the hidden potentiality of divine wisdom before it is revealed. It is called the Supreme Crown and represents Will, that which inspires creation even before thought.
Will is the greatest power that we have. When we realize our will, we begin to conjure and manifest ways with which to achieve our goals. Through our will, all of the other aspects of our soul are brought into alignment to meet our desire.
Keter, or will, is most fully explained in the quote, “the end is buried in the beginning.” For within the will is the vision of its goal, and it generates every aspect necessary to achieve it.