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    Respect My Oh-thor-ah-tie

            What does the word “Authority” conjure up for you? Take a moment and reflect on that. See what I just did? By telling you to “Take a moment and reflect on that”, I sounded authoritative. At least, I felt so. Did you? Did that phrase sound bossy or pushy? Or did it come off as just a simple request? Whatever we brought into this little exchange regarding authority colored our experience in that moment.
             Because I have a significant problem with authority, here’s what happened for me. The moment after I wrote “Take a moment and reflect on that”, a voice in my head said “Don’t tell people what to do. That makes you sound like a pushy, overbearing jackass. Just like all authority figures. And you don’t want to be that.” So I have this piece of me that was so wounded by people in authority that he views all authority figures as the Anti-Christ. He hates being told what to do so vehemently that he can view a request as a command and immediately go on the war path. Just as significantly, this part is hyper-vigilant and paranoid; he’s going to make sure that I never become an authority, and therefore never an authority figure, because that’s the worst thing I could be.
             So, in his misguided way, this part of me is protecting me from becoming an overbearing asshole. He’s trying to help me. His methods are twisted, but he’s trying to prevent me from becoming that which he most loathes. In doing so, however, he taints my experience. If I feel as though I’m being the least bit authoritative, I hear his voice. And then I struggle with sounding too much like an authority. Even if I know what I’m talking about. Unless I get mad. Then I have no problem being authoritative. And ironically, it’s then that I have the potential to become that bossy jackass. All on my own, I’ve internally created a bit of a conundrum.
             It’s what I bring to the situation that has the most impact on how I experience it. The other person may not view my actions as authoritative at all, and even if they do, may not have a problem with authority. Regardless of how they feel about authority, it is my attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, and old tapes about authority, not theirs, that determine my experience in that moment. But most of us aren’t aware of that while it’s happening. Some of us aren’t aware of that at all. Ever. I call those people “family members”.
             When I know what the hell I’m talking about, my inherent nature is to be authoritative and confident, but not cocky or overbearing. If I bring all of myself to the experience, I’m compassionate and helpful at the same time I’m providing firm guidance. Or solid information. I’m asking you to trust me, because I know what I’m doing. I know what I’m saying. Listen to me on this. Follow me down this leg of the path. I know where I’m going, and we can both get there together if you have some faith in me.
             I’m a teacher. I’m a healer. And the best teachers are themselves students in the same moments they are teaching. The best healers are themselves being healed as they heal others. Inherently, I see and I understand the symbiotic, synergistic, give and take relationship between student and teacher. Between healer and those who need healing. I know that all of us are both. It’s just that some of us become over-identified with one role or the other. We get stuck in the notion that “I am the teacher, you are the student, and thus the information and the learning flow but one way: from me to you.” In that lies the potential for the classic authority figure who abuses their authority. That’s what many of us saw growing up. That’s what many of us still see. But we can choose to shift that paradigm. First within us, and then out in the world.
            In this blog, I share my heart and ask you to listen. I do it because I want you to know me. If I go deep enough, I’ll see that ultimately I want you to love me. But it’s even bigger than that. I’m asking you to trust me as I attempt to re-introduce you to your own heart. If you already know you’re own heart, I’m asking you to go deeper. I’m asking you to follow me. To come with me. Share part of your journey, if you like. In that way, I have the opportunity to follow you. Take the journey however you want. However works for you. But take it. Go. There is in fact no destination. But the lessons and gifts along the way are priceless.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and an authoritative number of Wrongs) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (2)

    You have posed such a conundrum, a veritable conflagration, and a conflict of consequences. Teacher. Respect. Authority. Are they related or mutually exclusive? Can you be a teacher without being authoritative? Can you maintain authority and respect simultaneously? Is a teacher always respected? Three things come to mind.
    1. Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.
    2. You don’t gain respect, you earn it.
    3. Question authority.

    Can I love you if I don't KNOW you? Would I follow you if I don't respect you?

    My solution? Hold hands. Tight. If you hurt me, I might not hold hands with you next time.

    Trust. Where has it gone?

    April 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGlen Carliss

    Good questions, Glen. Thank you. Trust begins with self trust, something most of have in short supply, therefore trusting others remains difficult. As I grow, I build trust and faith in myself, so I become more trusting of not only others, but of the universe itself. Like a garden of the soul, this needs constant care and vigilance. When I hear voices inside of me, I'm getting much better at determining which ones to pay attention to. Which one is my intuition, speaks my truth, and is trustworthy? Which ones are my old tapes, sub-personalities, and hurt children? The former voice, I take counsel with. The later, I spend some time with after the fact, find out what they're afraid of, and build a relationship with. That's how I quiet them down so I can be clear. Sometimes I can do that, and sometimes I struggle with it. A work in progress. Just like me. Just like you. Just like all of us who follow our path. Better to struggle along the road of growth than diffuse in the mires of unconsciousness. We're either getting better or we're getting worse. Growth is not linear, but it's in the right direction.


    April 14, 2009 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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