Less important is where something happened, and more important is why something happened. Why did someone named, Robert take action that others might be empowered to change the world? The answer to this may indicate if I am any sort of role model for others to follow.
I grew up very meek and introverted. I count this as not a quality of role modeling. I had no sense of inner resourcefulness or empowerment. The pain of living each day in uncertainty brought me, time and again, to a place of questioning why I am here and whether I have to stay here. Life was vaguely fun at times, but mostly a scary place run by god-like adults who controlled every minutia. I believed surely they must know what is good for me and where the world is going.
As a teen I had inklings that the adults didn’t really know what they were doing. Surely though, there is a source of wisdom on planet earth. Surely, somewhere in the great religions they have answered the questions, why are we here, where are we going, and how are we to be fulfilled. So then, Robert, with no good role models of his own, decided to embark on a journey of self-education, and guided by this one assumption, that an answer must be out there.
Ten years of religious fervor brought me again to a familiar place. The adults really don’t know what is going on. Everyone seems stuck in their small world with little courage or ambition to look at the big universe. Still did I take on studies of health, physics, spiritualism, behaviorism, education, communication, child development and permaculture. And still I arrived at the conclusion that most people really don’t know what they are talking about, or don’t know how this connects with that to make a change in the world. Exceptions to this rule are the last three on my list: communication, child development and permaculture. Marshall Rosenberg connected feelings with communication with changes in the environment. Joseph Chilton Pearce connected many environmental factors with the inner life of a child and with the external life of humanity. Michael Pilarsky “Skeeter” is my role model, who in his special way, intellectually sees the intricate workings of humans in accord with nature, and then integrated this awareness with the community environment to create an education process, and ultimately, an effective process to change the planet. To save the planet.
All this reading and study and classes engaged my intellect and my interest. However, spirituality was not left behind. Neale Donald Walsch wrote the books, “Conversations with God”. Neale connected this life with the bigger, universal picture. Life is a journey from human confusion, pain and desires, to a place of realizing purpose, to a place of activating the power within us. The possibility of a solid moral and spiritual code pushed me onward even when my old feelings of meekness and weakness crept in to swallow up any belief in myself or tomorrow. Email messages from Neale always seems to hit the mark, pushing me. I took a leap and believed the impossible true. I might actually do something meaningful.
What to do with my life? At 56 years of age I was asking what am I going to do with my life. I wanted something that might have meaning to me and to others. Girlfriends, church, and learning had not resolved the issue of finding wisdom and meaning. So what is it I could be part of that would bring a sense of fulfillment? It would have to be something that grew knowledge not from ego, but from a place of humility and understanding. Knowledge also needed a place of connection.
Mind you, I could not verbalize my need at the time. Instead, my subconscious brain went to work piecing together my experiences from the works of Neale, Marshall, Joseph and Michael. My subconscious pulled together many bits of wisdom, together with determination, to do an unknown something, and very contrary to the personality of Robert. At times I remembered the lesson from Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of The Story”, where entrepreneurs, though badly beaten, found in themselves the wherewithal to rise again, to try again, to succeed.
Most of what came next was logical thinking. There is a need to reach many people, and globally, and cheaply. Therefore, fulfilling this need would happen using the web (I knew almost nothing about the web.) The site would ask people to find their inner resourcefulness rather than me trying to tell people anything (I had no idea how to direct people to their own wisdom). The information and decisions of the global community would have to be organized in a practical and easy manner (Again, I had no idea how this organization would turn out). However, I realized that if many people were voting on ideas, materials, and actions, then their votes could organize the best on top (A year later I discovered crowdsourcing and crowdfunding). The logical thing to do next was to find programmers who could put this together and get it on the web. Again, I had no idea where to turn.
My Naturopathic Physician recommended Alex Altotsky to do the programming. This was after I had failed with some goofballs from the local college. Very nervously, I met with Alex in Portland, OR. Signed papers. And Robert’s project, a place he might find meaning and fulfillment, was underway. Still, poor Robert had no idea what he was in for. Maybe this was for the best because, had I known, I might never have taken the leap. What was imagined to be several months work took over two years just to get the basics in place. What was imagined to be a three-person job should have been maybe thirty people on the project. We got by with about six.
Why so complex? The concept for the project was vague. The implementation of the logic was organic. Thank goodness for Sarah and Marina to instilled some sanity into the flow from me to Alex. Even with their help the complexity was tormenting. Well over a hundred thousand lines of code written from over two thousand stories describing the functions of the site. Each story on Atlassian Jira could include a description, an assignment to the next person, images, comments, links and values (a complexity not unlike our own website). An additional layer of complexity was necessary to make the site appear simple and user friendly. Perfect logic was needed in my mind, and perfectly conveyed to the team. Where this did not occur, the web page failed, and the story came back to me for revision. This added expense and time was frustrating for the whole team. In mid stream, the web technologies were being updated by their creators. Our site followed suit, updating the programming. The team learned new skills.
I learned new skills. Or were my thought skills developed in me because I spent so much time digesting Neale’s books, the Bible, and A Course in Miracles. Behaviorism and study of child development had turned my ideas of humanity upside down. Perhaps the development of a complex web platform was simply the next step in my own mental evolution.
Is any of this a role model for other’s evolution? I could only guess. I’m guessing many others would benefit from book study, classes, and counseling such as I went through (Don’t I wish my parents had done so!). Might anyone benefit knowing that inside me, unseen, was a lengthy process of tormented decisions? Yes, I took the time to take care of myself. I would take the time to study. I would make the effort to put my learning into action and into new thinking. But know this, every decision was a result of choosing courage and risk over comfort and safety. This one decision, unseen, is what I regard as my attribute as a role model. Being intelligent, skilled or gifted, I can’t say I had these to give to others. At 56 years of age I used courage to pull together the little that I had. Then I spent my savings believing in the possibility that others would want to engage their own courage to bring their own dream into action.