John Lawrence Maerz
This will be an unconventional bio. Rather than presenting a whole plethora of “facts” about how I’ve been certified, validated and approved of by organizations or individuals, I feel it will be sufficient enough to say that over my lifetime I have accumulated an extensive background in psychology, philosophy and many esoteric disciplines. I also spent eleven years in Trio Hardware in Plainview, New York which grounded me in the practical side of life. Like many of you, my childhood rearing consisted of being told who I should be, what I should think, how I should behave and what I should desire relative to the family and culture I was born into. In my early years, this “guidance” very effectively pre-conditioned me into becoming a people pleaser and a social ladder climber with the promised benefit of belonging and having the personal support and approval of my clan as a “worthwhile” individual. What I felt or intuited as an individual was neither acknowledged nor desired if it didn’t fit the status quo of the behavior that a “successful person” exhibited in their values or goals. The expectation that I should ignore my feelings and intuition created tremendous discord while also sabotaging my fledgling self-esteem and confidence. I couldn’t bring myself to yield to holding to a perspective that ignored who I felt I was as a person. In light of this, I failed miserably at staying in line for social approval and measuring up. This frustration with the world birthed in me the basic question underlying the meaning of the path that any of us might chose to follow. “Who am I?” Most of us have asked this question at some point in our lives. For me, it came early on. When we ask this question, the answer must come from one of two places: how others define us in terms of what they can see and what we’ve “contributed” to the world or how we define ourselves in terms of what we feel or intuit. For many of us, the first answer is enough to satisfy the question and allows us to blindly plunge back into “making a difference” in the lives of others. In accepting this as our life’s path we invariably end up assuming that others have been trained as we were and that they have accepted feeling obligated to do the same for us. For me, this assumption never came to fruition. What I wanted or needed was acknowledged by fewer than the fingers on my hand throughout my entire life. It left me with a hollow feeling asking, “Have I missed something? No? Then, why am I here?” When I listened very closely to my deepest feelings, I knew that this very poignant question lives within almost all of us but that we’re afraid to ask it for fear of feeling the intense loneliness that comes with realizing that we are totally alone in these flesh and blood bodies and that we are totally responsible for ourselves. In submitting to the assertion that we are all here to take care of each other, we make a tacit bargain with the “fates” allowing us to believe that others will take care of us if we fail at taking care of ourselves. This allows us to feel a sense of security however much contrived. If we don’t feel fulfilled, it then also allows us to place the blame on others since we’ve been led to believe that they should be looking out for us as we for them… It took many years for me to realize that life doesn’t really work that way. This perspective is a utopian dream. What’s the moral behind the scenario? The only security there is, is knowing that there is none. This realization will leave most of us feeling very insecure but must be accepted if we are to grow into our full potential. My articles confront and question the basic incentives underlying our indoctrinated behavior and the illusory security we aim at with our intentions. They force us to confront ourselves and clarify our motivations. In doing so, we may slowly disarm the toxic programming demanding that we sacrifice our self-care and preferences in favor of toiling as our “brother’s keeper.” But there’s a high price to pay. We must have the courage to choose and sustain our own path risking our clan’s disapproval and expulsion. The strongest power we can feel comes from trusting in ourselves and our own experience. But it requires us to be brutally honest with ourselves. All else is simply a wishful dream and an empty promise.