by StevieAnne Minner
Egos. We all have them. In fact, egos have become a subject that more and more new-thought leaders and spiritual teachers are focusing in on – inviting us to separate from, transcend above, and live without.
A personal fan of introspective, spiritual work myself, I can appreciate the works of Eckhart Tolle, Debbie Ford, and many others who have written about observing the ego, which swings like a pendulum between inferiority and superiority. It mirrors my faith in Christianity which points directly to the conflict we’ve all experienced since the beginning of time – PRIDE.
The ego, as suggested in many works, is perceived as our “identity.” And while my Christian faith calls me to be “in this world, not of it” I have to regularly practice ways to express myself gracefully. Though there are numerous ways to define and understand ego and prideful positions, why not add humor to such humbling practices?
A crass and comical way to observe the ego head-on from a place of neutrality and even lightheartedness. When we see our egos as more of an “activity” taking place within these “God pods” we are scooting around in, we invite in observation and inquiry versus self-judgment and criticism of others. Egos, much like farts, are simply a part of the human experience. Clearly, God has a “sense” of humor also.
This new idea of “conscious” living is far more than just being mentally “here” – it is about being spiritually “present” and mindful of how we show up and express ourselves in each fleeting moment, cognizant of how to speak to those around us, as well as, internally to ourselves.
Awareness around one’s pride is the quickest way to experience resolve. To make this practice of mindfulness easier to “digest,” here are a few brief theories that will help you identify the activity of ego within you and others. No different than the sometimes abrupt and offensive activity of farting, egos share a very similar M.O:
- We all have them, and it’s easier to tolerate our own than others.
- We have our own unique brand – some “digest” information or experiences better than others. Some environments can be extremely offensive and upset those who are highly sensitive to specific topics.
- Clearing the air can be difficult after either is “aired,” typically putting a significant distance between us and our loved ones/friends/fellow beings.
- Both are known to cause a set of rosy cheeks – only with ego, they are topside. Expressing either can cause embarrassment – for all parties involved.
- They both share the ‘Silent But Deadly’ expression! C’mon, we know that ‘stinkin’-thinkin’’ internal dialogue we all have that we are “better than another” or “not good enough.” Both can be toxic and held back when not able to express them in a safe space.
- Often, when we express either, we are likely quick to blame, not to claim.
- All too often we point out and laugh at others for their abrupt explosions of fury or flatulence, but rarely do we acknowledge openly and humbly in the times that we have done the same, owning “It was me.”
- Pffttt… Just hot air. You know, those moments when you think there’s solid proof of someone’s incompetence, yet really our perceptions of them are proven completely inaccurate. Sometimes, whether it’s an ego or a fart, it expresses as nothing more than hot air.
- Sharting is possible with both. Ever had one of those moments, when you swear you have self-control and you won’t explode; however, you just can’t take it any longer, and you get diarrhea… of the mouth (always a mess to clean up). This often happens when we have held back our opinions, rather than sharing them over time, then wind up expressing it all in an explosive rant.
Letting both go creates inner peace. As human beings, we are meant to express. It is human nature. Both activities of farting and ego chatter are necessary to fully experience this thing we call “life.”
The invitation here is to consider filtering before we fire. This act of observing the ego and allowing discernment before discharge is deemed “Conscious Cropdusting” and may just be the answer to world peace.
Here’s to expressing ourselves through many unique forms in a loving and less-offensive way, creating an environment that is less toxic and more tolerable for all humankind.
Till next time, StevieAnne x
Channel Nine Superstar Jo Munro and powerhouse Marketing expert Regina Pascuzzi are joining forces in an exciting new enterprise in 2018. The dynamic duo are set to transform the lives of people as they enter the media industry. Ponderings got to hang out and palaver with these two and find out what makes them tick and we find out if David Campbell really is the nice guy we see on TV.
As we sit together in the kitsch setting of Novel Kitchen in Williamstown, the friendship between these two women shines through with inside jokes, grins, and full, hearty laughter. They are infectious, and I can’t help but admire their path to this point.
Regina, fondly known to us at Ponderings as Reggie, has had a successful career in marketing and PR back in the day assisting the likes of Tina Turner (she told me an awesome disaster story of lost wigs on an Ansett flight during an Aussie tour), Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer then on to the fashion shows of Melbourne. Reggie is the founder of boutique fashion agency Miss Scarlett Did It. A lingerie fashionista and advocate for the curvy girl Reggie is a wealth of business knowledge.
I know I am in the company of awesome when a 30-minute interview becomes 2 hours of stories shared. It is hard for me to draw breath! Our cafe table has become a lively discussion seasoned with knowing nods.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Jo and Reggie. A road of turmoil, discovery, and realizations have driven the two to the point of epiphany- integrity, wisdom and experience can be welded together in a way to help others ready to shine.
So what inspires them?
Regina: people who make a difference inspire me. Those that live their truth and are aware that there is a need in the world, then actually DO something about it. Action people, not necessarily the “celebrity” but the ones who are getting in at a grassroots level, often unrecognized but actively and positively impacting the world. PR for example, while it makes for great stories now, was such a long time ago. My career in marketing, communication and as a businesswoman is my “now” and I love it! I meet those grassroots folk that inspire me most.
Jo: People who can see what others do not see inspire me. The ability to see the gaps. When a solution is so simple, and yet it is blindingly obvious that no one has thought of it before is inspiring. Those that think differently inspire me, they see an opportunity that no one else may see, a vision that comes from a different angle!
2017 was a big year for so many people, what did it teach you both and how has that prepared you for 2018?
Reggie: 2017 taught me my worst, so many events happened during the year, and a lot of it was difficult on every level. I discovered I am much stronger than I thought I was. I had to fight for what I believe is right. Thankfully I have some strong-willed and wonderful people in my life that were there for me in that dark time. It was a time when I was questioning my worth in the world. What was I entitled to in life?
Getting to the understanding that there is no obstacle to achieving what you want to. We can be so held back by limits others can place on us, and you can choose to let that disable you, but you are much more capable of achieving whatever it is you want in your life.
2017 was big! Now this year is clearer. I like unicorns and rainbows, but sometimes you have to make a stand for yourself and others to protect what is important, to uphold integrity, this is what I take into 2018.
Jo Munro: The theme that ran through my head- It was the best of times and the worst of times. 2017 presented amazing opportunities, and I also had awful things happen. Both of which occurred in equal amounts, testing me down to the soul.
Those fantastic opportunities make you look like the luckiest woman in the world! Yet the personal fortitude I had to grasp, to step into the land of sink or swim, that never-never place- was a fear to be grappled with. To say to yourself you’ve got this can be scary stuff! But I am riding that wave and if I can influence other lives in a positive way, I am doing it!
Jo’s success as an author alongside her popularity as The Savvy Shopaholic lead to her current career on television, lighting up the screens with bubbly enthusiasm. Aussie audiences know her as the Queen of Luxe for Less, bringing shopping tips that are en pointe to bargain enthusiasts. She is a TV presenter on Ch9’s Today Show, A Current Affair and is The Carousel’s resident shopping expert. Also recognized as an expert in corporate leadership, business, and channel strategy Jo Munro is a force to be reckoned with.
This is all the stuff that echoes the word impressive for sure, but there is something other than this well earned success that strikes a chord with me, Jo Munro is an exception in the crowd.
Why? It is not often you meet a person who is profoundly professional wearing intelligence like designer perfume that is also warm, caring and fun. Those big eyes look at you, and you know you are in the presence of someone with a special edge that says I AM HERE with a certain elegance and grace, reminding me of the likes of an Ita or an Isabella.
Her beautiful friend shares that X-factor. Regina’s background in media and communications is fascinating. From her work for 7Up Lemonade to bringing salads into a famous Pizza company, or what about hanging out with the likes of Michael Jackson? I’m looking forward to seeing the next chapter reveal itself and how all of this translates into helping other people. I know this lady and her service to others and dedication to helping those she believes in screams of real.
KM: Reggie, Michael Jackson was one of my childhood heroes. I could moonwalk with the best of them; I still have the glitter glove! I get so excited when we talk about who you have worked with.
What was working with and knowing celebrities like?
Reggie: It is so funny, because in fact everyone has a remarkable life, and at the time you don’t think they are remarkable, because you are in it. It was the heyday of the eighties; I was in my twenties. You have no fear at 21 because you don’t know the consequences! Michael was like a child, asking are we there yet? The incident of Tina’s wigs on an Ansett flight… a whole other story. (Some parts of this interview remain off the record- haha.)
This is a woman who loves and radiates a great sense of humor. Her eyes always look like they have some cheeky joke hiding in them waiting for fun. So I asked Reggie what makes her laugh the loudest?
Reggie: Clever people make me laugh the loudest, a play on words will do it. I am not a slapstick person, I appreciate someone’s brain, like Stephen Fry. People who can take the Mickey out of themselves is another. Wit. Your Cats make you laugh.
One thing I have noticed, is these two make each other laugh, a LOT.
Jo, what about you?
JO: What makes you laugh the loudest? Definitely intellectual humor. Graeme Norton or Stephen Fry at the BAFTAS: hilarious! No slapstick for me either and I am not into the American roasting style. Again people who look at the world from a different angle with humor makes me laugh. Smart people who call people out on their silly comments. Cats make me laugh too.
I become more than aware that cats are coming up in conversation, could I be in the presence of crazy cat ladies?
Jo, I know you were a dance teacher and performer: what makes your foot tap now?
Jo: I struggle to watch ballet; I get frustrated with technique. I love musicals and stage shows! (Grins inserted) In fact, we went to see Dreamlover to watch my gorgeous co-worker David Campbell. He is beyond talented! An all-encompassing talent. His voice is not light on; it’s full on and in one word: Amazing. His energy fills the theatre, and he is an all-rounder. He is a darling man. He is adorable and sincere.
So tell me about what you are doing this month? I heard whispers of a media-savvy workshop for up and coming folks is that right?
Jo: Our new project is Media Savvy workshops. When I got started, there just was not a Course with those insider secrets and tips. Things like what to take, what to ask, what to expect, interview styles, what happens when a segment runs long or short? How to get invited back! So we are rolling out these workshops to give people exactly that! So they can be ready and prepared, that opportunity to promote their brand, expertise, their product on TV, Radio and Print can be done with confidence.
How good does this sound Ponderers?
Well, I am excited about these two beautiful humans, and we wish them all the best. The first event I have heard this weekend is nearing a sell out (no surprises there) with another coming in May, but Jo hints there might be one to two tickets left.
For more information about Media Savvy go to:
The final part of my interview with Fr. Rod Bower, we talk heaven, kingdoms, Shakespeare and prophetic wisdom.
Kirsten: So Father Rod, heaven. What is is all about?
Fr. Rod: We get obsessed with the how do we get to heaven thing? It’s become a Christian obsession!
Ultimately Jesus was only essentially concerned with one thing. That’s what he called, ‘Kingdom’. The Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven depending on which gospel you read, and that has nothing to do with the afterlife at all. People make that mistake. He’s a first century Jew; he doesn’t care about the afterlife and what comes with it. We have a system on how to get to Heaven and such, but they don’t.
Kirsten: So, it wasn’t relevant at that time at all.
Fr Rod: It’s become a Christian obsession. It certainly wasn’t in the first century Jew or even possibly the modern Jew. First century Jews had this concept of time, which was the current time we are in, and the time that is to come. And for them, that was one of the post-Messianic time. They were very caught up in the Messianic stuff. So, the world has a future of being that is different to what it is now, and that is in part only brought about by living it and saying, ‘the kingdom of heaven is here.’ It’s kind of almost here, and you can reach out and touch it, it’s kind of here, but it isn’t yet. So for me, part of that manifestation of the Kingdom is the social ethic stuff and how do we do things? And that’s the big question he’s asking.
Fr. Rod: I’m quite orthodox. I mean what I find with the conservatives who try to drag me down from time to time, is that they have an idea that there’s an orthodox theological line in the sand, you’ve crossed that, and therefore you’re a heretic. Many don’t have a deep questioning of what that particular doctrine REALLY looks like, where it came from, why do we have it, what did that mean in the 3rd century?
Kirsten: Yes, the cultural context of the Bible, do you find that people tend to generalize and they take it for today, and it has nothing to do with today?
Fr. Rod: Oh yes. Take the sexuality debate; it’s a classic example. The modern Bible translates a word as homosexual. It’s not; you can’t translate that word like that. The whole concept doesn’t exist in the first century. And so people are thumping and turning up on your doorstep with their Bibles open to 1 Corinthians or whatever text they’ve found, and they’ll point and say, look it says ‘Homosexuals.’ And I say, No, it doesn’t!
Kirsten: Yes, it’s fascinating that people can take ancient text and wrap their agenda up within it. We’re such complex psychological creatures with so many different layers and levels; it’s a narrative between the line of virtue and excess, I suppose? Jesus was by all accounts a disruptor that challenged the status quo at the time, by asking those questions. I come from a bit of both Anglican-Lutheran hybrid, and in my experience, the Anglican Church can be very stoic and stiff upper lip, in many ways, and we haven’t always seen eye to eye, lol. You come across as an incredibly warm and engaging person and very progressive. Has this always been a part you or is that something that’s evolved through your career? How have the heck have you gotten away with it?
Fr. Rod: My parents were graziers from country NSW in the Hunter Valley and so I grew up with a very conservative, nominally Christian Country Party environment, and indeed I was very politically conservative for a long time. I know that Tony Abbott referred to me as left wing, as he was wheeled out to counteract what I said about Mr. Dutton. But I certainly would reject that. I certainly am not a left wing. I’m a centrist. I grew up with very conservative beliefs. I remember there was a rejoicing in my family in 1975 when Whitlam was sacked. My father said, ‘if he hadn’t been sacked, the communists would come and take everything and blood would flow in the gutters.’
(Laughs) But I grew up in the Fraser Liberal years, and I became more aware of a centrist conservatism when I was in my early twenties.
Kirsten: Oh wow, that’s very passionate conservatism. So how would you describe yourself now?
Fr. Rod: I’m a fiscal conservative and a social progressive in that sense. My passion for marriage equality is not at all a progressive thing; it’s a very conservative thing.
I think marriage is important.
Kirsten: I have noticed that the message you’ve put across to people is to remember the very fundamentals of Christianity and if you do this, you’ve got the rest sorted out. It looks after itself, doesn’t it? Hospitality and kindness and you know…
Fr. Rod: Justice!
Kirsten: Yes, justice! So marriage equality, talk to me…
Fr. Rod: Yeah, I have a very conservative view of marriage. I think it’s important; it’s one of the cornerstones of our society. And therefore, it ought to be available to any two adults who want to form a life together because I think it’s good for society.
Kirsten: I know for many leaders in the church you are held to account by your parish, you can’t just suddenly start jumping around changing things up. The church can be very staunch and unchanging and “color within the lines” so to speak in practice. So you must have a wonderful balance of respect from supporters within the Church community for you to be able to live-stream and be the way you are out there in social media- would you say this is true?
Fr. Rod: It’s been a very long evolution, and then you need a long period of creating trust and evolving together in mutual respect, to a point where the congregation can do what we are doing.
Kirsten: When they go, he’s got this?
Fr. Rod: Yes, but we’ve had a small number of people leave. Over the last 4-5 years, as we become much more vocal on social issues, although we have had many more come. The congregation has grown substantially.
So I have a congregation that doesn’t blindly follow what I say. They will question, and they will challenge, and they will say, ‘come on, maybe that wasn’t such a great idea.’
Kirsten: Wow, so this means they’re really invested in the Church. That’s wonderful. There’s a relationship there.
Kirsten: So when was the first time you decided to put a sign out the front?
Fr. Rod: June 2013, Dear Christians People Are Gay, Get Over It, Love God.
It went viral and gave us a platform. Our facebook went from 150 to 3000 likes, and we thought that was a lot then! We have weeks of 2 million hits now.
Kirsten: This is both extraordinary and wonderful what made you decide to put that up?
Fr. Rod: It was a specific event, I encountered a gay man and went to give him the last rights. The idea that the family was afraid that I would judge this man, so disturbed me. Their fear of my judgment. I felt I needed to say something about that. It was a watershed moment, and it was a profound moment. It went crazy, and it hasn’t really stopped being crazy.
Kirsten: Your brave move to disrupt and create waves… it takes courage to do that. I am in awe of your bravery, within your backyard and the greater community. It reminds me a little of someone…
Fr. Rod: Well, you know it’s the prophetic voice. A prophetic voice is a disruptive voice. Traditionally in the 8th century, prophets, they were social commentators, they came into town they looked around and said if you keep going down this track, this is where you are going to end up. So it is a disruptive kind of ministry.
For example with refugees, if you keep treating them like this you re going to damage your corporate soul. You can’t do that; you just can’t.
There are three aspects to that kind of prophetic ministry.
1) You have to be prepared to live on the edges of your community, and I do, I live on the edge of the church.
2) You have to be really clear. You can’t prevaricate. You are not the academic that sees both sides of the argument, that’s a different kind of ministry. You have to be entirely clear on what you are saying.
3) You need to be prepared to be outrageous to be heard, and stand out. But it’s not about standing out for yourself. If you do that, you will come crashing down very quickly. The only reason you want to stand out is for the sake of what you are saying.
Kirsten: I think it is so important for religious leaders to do this, as it may encourage other people in positions of power to speak out. Right throughout history, religious leaders have been the social commentators of moral guidance don’t you think?
Fr. Rod: Absolutely. Look right back, to the civil rights movement, Martin Lither King was a, Christian minister, South Africa has Desmond Tutu, an Anglican bishop, Oscar Romaro Maro, Gandhi… Go back into the anti-slavery movement that came with John Newton’s journey with Amazing Grace, he was an Anglican Priest, there are SO many. St Francis is another, hey even the boss himself! There’s a long tradition of the meddlesome clergy. I love a bit of Shakespearian reference. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?
Kirsten: And that dear Ponderers, is how I made a new friend and a new found respect for leaders with beliefs who are brave enough to speak out about moral imbalances and injustice. For it is this attitude and dedication to truth that keeps the balance, provides safety and clears the dark corners from shadows. You see I have come to believe that any areas in this world where power exists has the potential for personal shadows to invade and commit acts that are wrong. When light-bearers speak out and bring the glow to those shadows, goodness has a chance to prosper. Any organization where power exists, be it economic, personal, sexual or cultural there needs to be a leader of light to keep the moral compass firmly in position and help keep people safe.