Big Picture, Little Picture–Managing My Realities

little bead people imageOkay, so I let life overwhelm me once again. I’ve been working on several major projects and taking on more (what was I thinking?). It is harvest and canning season and the pump house still needs mud. What I’ve noticed about me is when the big picture gets too big, I have to go micro. My “therapy” for being too busy has been to work with drilling rocks, forming tiny bead people out of wire, attaching the wire, and . . . and . . . and

These little creative projects seem to be helping me find balance. When I am twisting a bit of wire, the huge systems I’m working with and their multiple issues seem to fade into background and even disappear for a while. What I realize is that every act is just a twist of the wire. In reality there are no small acts and big acts—there are only an endless stream of small acts that link and hook up and become big acts.

Working with big complex working systems has shown me a lot this past year. I see beautiful people acting in ugly ways. And the sad thing is that they don’t even realize that they are being ruled by the oldest part of the animal brain that only knows the very basic rules of survival. Eat or be eaten.

angstHere is what is on my mind. Do people realize how much energy they waste in focusing on other people, worrying about what may or may not happen, blaming others, wondering what people think of them, and holding anger and frustration when others don’t comply with their map of the world?

Do they see what all that wasted energy could become if directed into one small creative act? And then another and another and another.

A wise man once said, “The only thing we have to give is our own state.”

Milt would say I am beginning to ramble. When he reads one of my posts he likes the stories best. So here is a story.

Today I was in a room with about half a dozen key personnel for a very large organization. As I was working with them, I realized several patterns playing themselves out. I’ve been thinking lately about Virginia Satir, a great family therapist and systems thinker. In her body of work she identified or observed five ways people deal with the world. She called them “postures”. During the meeting today, I saw all five postures playing out in great detail before me.

Here they are. (I plan to play with drawing them into pictures sometime soon):

The Blamer: We have a problem and it is their fault. If they wouldn’t . . .

The Distractor: Uses jokes, laughter, and diversion to avoid looking at real issues.

The Placater: Wants everybody to be happy. (Not great when this person happens to be in a key leadership role.)

The Computer: Goes cerebral and/or into small technical details that nobody understands

The Leveler: This is the posture Satir wanted us all to aspire to. This person has clarity and congruence, is not afraid to ruffle feathers, looks at systems and not people, and has a solid core strength, etc.

If I had been a caricaturist it would have been fun to sketch that meeting with everybody in their designated “postures”. Of course I was trying to take the role of Leveler, but I make no claim to holding that posture in a sustained way—but I do aspire to.

I was completely aware of how amazing this group of people could be if they stopped holding so tight to those postures and began forming a real team that knows how to get things done in a good and fair way.

So, how to shift the tide of human thinking and acting. No small question. Guess I’ll just go and twist some wire, drill some rocks, and smile at the small and beautiful result. Let me know if you would like to wear one of my tiny creations–I’m thinking of changing careers and wandering the world like a tinker.

I am calling this new line of Bead People “Little Charmers.” They are very friendly!

As always, feel free to share this post and invite others to subscribe. I find it funny that my last post was on “Flow”. You may want to read that one, too.

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Big Picture, Little Picture–Managing My Realities — 7 Comments

  1. Yep, it’s true – I like stories. Scott Hall mentioned that to me today. Said I was very fond of stories. I can’t help it – just the way I am. Anyway, I liked your story. Very good.

  2. Love this, Jamie, and am happy to hear you are doing more “therapy” with rocks and beads. It is so relaxing isn’t it. Thanks once again. This was a great day for you to remind me to relax and stay where I am.

  3. Some of those “postures” are so easy to adopt when playing with facebook during the presidential “season.” Guilty. I agree that turning to creative efforts is a great “leveler”. My wire twisting is trying to twist the wires on a cello. Also, I think anything can be a story if written well, which you always do.

  4. Oh, Jamie! You’re always on target — whether with stories or thoughts. New bead people . . . how special and comforting these little ones are. They lift our souls and make us all smile!

  5. Hi Jamie, I like your story too. It corroborates the story I’ve been listening to/telling myself/using to explain my experience of reality lately, which is that most human behavior in our present society is driven by our suppressed or repressed emotions, which we continue to suppress/repress by imagining that what we feel is due to the actions and events of the world and people around us. Rather than understanding that those events are merely triggering things that we carry around with us un-consciously… I love to focus on tiny details of something seemingly mindless, to the extent that it allows me to come in contact with my inner landscape, and if I’m not distracting myself by thinking about how the world is “making” me feel a certain way, and how I should try to change the external world to avoid feeling that way…

  6. Dear Jamie,
    Thank you so much for this post and your earlier posts. I sense in you a kindred spirit. Several years ago I became aware of a series of books in a very interesting and novel way. They are “The Betty Books”. At one time, I thought I would write a book to re-introduce these books to this generation. However, I discovered that “someone” else had already done this on their website. Here’s a link to “Ronnie Pontiac’s” writings:

    Your “playful” and “joyous” creation of “bead people” reminds me of a passage from one of “The Betty Books”. Here’s the passage from the book “Across the Unknown” by Stewart Edward White.

    I wish you a wonderful “Labor Day Weekend”



    INVISIBLE: What we are trying to do is to indicate a method of overcoming spiritual awkwardness. To put it roughly, the contagion of youthful beauty of body, loveable, universally adored, must somehow be translated into your spiritual youth. It needs more “puppiness” on your part, more careless play with its sensations. The development of the higher perceptions brings to you sympathy and understanding and compassion, but also at first a somewhat amateurish handling of life. The only way to strengthen and be comfortable and assured in these higher faculties is secretly to romp in them, humorously to perceive that you are rather flat-footed in them. For example, however absurd in some aspects this may appear, however unaccustomed and ridiculous, try momentarily to enter the sensation, recall the childhood memories of progressing light-footedly, the skipping just above that gravitation-weight which comes later in life.


    BETTY: I’m having such a good time! I’m just skipping and tripping along the top of the Sierra Nevada. The sky is deep blue—and it’s such a nice touchable sky! I can swirl the glistening snow around, and feel the sting of its warmth. I’ve got such unbreathed air, too. It is pure life, containing all substance—new and exciting. I like having access to high peaks. I love that warm sun and blue sky and crisp snow….

    And now I am pacing shining sands in the full strength of a runner. There is no effort to it at all, and the sands are hard and fresh-scoured by the drained-off waters. The air is all glinting, too, and quickened with purity. It hasn’t had dust thrown in it yet.

    I’ve got to leave it now….

    INVISIBLE: If occasionally you could play some such game of light-footedness, it would be the greatest possible technique of comfort in continuing your spiritual progress. You must not deny your rainbow soul its playtime. If you only realized what wings grow during this playtime, and how glad you would be to have them!

    BETTY: The whole thing is to prance more when you find yourself becoming super-solemn. It’s tremendously important, because almost everyone in our stage of development falls into the danger of utilizing his expansion straight ahead alone, instead of also sideways and circularly. That doesn’t mean we should abandon our forward-reaching consciousness and enter a world of mere pleasure and vapidity. But we must cultivate our enjoyments and hobbies and enthusiasms: they safeguard the ease and grace of our true direction.

    Always remember there’s a twofold dimension to it: perpendicular and horizontal.

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