Speaking Out Loud – Unleashed


The Bodhisattva and the Pride Parade

Michael Shaun Conaway
Publishing Editor
June 26th, 2023

Over the past 54 years since the Stonewall Riots, the world has become more inclusive and diverse, a progression symbolized by the emergence of pride parades. At PROOF, we wholeheartedly support the full spectrum of human identities and stand united in the ongoing quest for justice and equality for all. We envision a future where embracing one’s sexual orientation and gender identity is considered a natural part of personal development and self-discovery. To achieve this, we must strive to raise our collective consciousness. Unfortunately, numerous regions worldwide still have cultural, societal, and governmental systems that wrongly presume the authority to dictate the parameters of a fulfilling life. We all have a right to discover ourselves and our unique paths to fulfillment — full stop.

What is a fulfilling life?

Somehow it seems that culturally we have lost our way. Have we traded fulfillment for ambition, fourteen hour work days, side hustles, endless scrolling comparison culture? The answer is a measured no. Yes all of these things can hold us back from a fulfilling life but they don’t necessarily keep you from a fulfilling life.

So then what makes a fulfilling life? And what does this have to do with a Bodhisattva and Pride?

Discovering who we are is essential to our personal development. This includes our sexual orientation and gender identity, the way our brains work — including neurodiversity, our health and fitness patterns, our traumas, our preferences and so on. Some of these are considered by the dominant culture to be normal and typical and others atypical. For you, what matters most is that you have an open and unfettered chance to discover who you are for yourself, no matter what it takes.

Discovering who you are is life altering, suddenly all of the dots connect and you feel at home in the world — for the first time for some of us.

Once we discover who we are, then we can really settle in to be who we are. This is when we build a life for ourselves including all of the diverse aspects that make us so unique. There is no fulfillment in life if we are thwarted in being who we are. Within bounds, personal freedom to express ourselves is a large part of social justice. Collective accountability is essential in preventing harm and injustice in our societies, which encompasses acts of violence, abuse, and crime. One of these harms is the suppression of one’s true identity, preventing them from fully embracing who they are

The next step is to invent or generate who we are. In becoming we embrace who we discovered, now we have the chance to grow beyond who we are into who we are becoming. You are not a fixed object. You can’t discover who you are once just like you can’t step in the same river twice. We are constantly becoming, in every moment of every day. If you are fortunate enough to build a life based upon who you are, you will likely discover that that life is not always fulfilling. Maybe you have a wonderful relationship but don’t have a career you love. Maybe you have skills in your physical health but feel isolated from the larger community. Once we uncover the areas of life that aren’t working for us, we can imagine a new future for ourselves and consciously grow and evolve to that new future.

In my own case, I used to feel disconnected from people in the larger world. I am introverted, neurodivergent and can feel awkward in social situations — what am I doing here? My wife, Alex, on the other hand loves people and being social. It created tension in our relationship. And I could clearly see that what brought me discomfort brought her joy. I decided that I would evolve to the kind of person who was fed by social situations.

It took about a year for me to discover the key for me, which was about finding my purpose in every conversation. My purpose is to illuminate people’s true nature, give insights and tools for awakening, and to generate a thriving future for humanity. And key to this becoming was the idea that people have a true nature. To me that is a true nature that is wise, compassionate, loving, courageous and generous. Now when I go out in social settings, if I am resourced, I simply look at every person I meet with the eyes that sees their true nature. And I fall in love with the beauty of their humanity. That feeds my heart and I am uplifted. I have become someone who is fed by being with people. That doesn’t mean that I am no longer introverted (maybe now intro/extrovert) or that I am no longer neurodivergent. I am that and more. And, as I said, if I am not resourced (regulated) then I lose access to this part of me until I get resourced.

Once we are free to be who we are and can become who we want to be we are free now and in the future, then we can really open ourselves up to the most important element of having a fulfilling life and that is service or contribution. You see, as long as we are struggling to take care of ourselves, get our needs met or build a life where we are free to be ourselves, it is very hard to be those things for someone else. Conversely when we have reached the point in life where we are free, then we have the most miraculous capacity to be of service and help others.

This is where the bodhisattva comes into the story. A bodhisattva, from the Buddhist tradition is one who has promised to end the suffering of all beings. This includes animals and even magical beings from other realms. It sounds like a promise that has a steep cost as it requires that you think about all beings in the day to day living of life, and do something. The irony is that that promise creates the conditions for fulfillment — being of service is the most fulfilling act a human can make. Quick disclosure here, I took the bodhisattva vows in 1991 in Bouddha Nepal where I was living at the time as a Tibetan Buddhist student.

Back to the Pride Parade: I am so thankful for those who made pride possible, starting with the ones who stood up in the Stonewall Riots, and ones that organized the first parade in NYC in 1970 one year after the riots, all of those who have ever marched in or cheered on Pride. Pride reminds us to be who we are, to become whatever we imagine ourselves to be, no matter what it takes. It also reminds us that when we take a stand for the rights of all, we serve the best parts of humanity.

We march in solidarity and march in love. I can’t imagine something more fulfilling.

In the meantime, we’ll be looking for PROOF of a thriving future for humanity.

The Generative Futurist
Editor PROOF

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Proof 51 – Speaking Out Loud – Unleashed

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BOLD.LY NOW is a movement of co-creative up-levelers who have a burning desire to step free of our collapsing world & take the most daring leap forward to a thriving world.

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PROOF is a Generative Futures Initiative Project

The Generative Futures Initiative
Generating a Thriving Future for All

PROOF is a digital magazine published by Bold.ly NOW and the Generative Futures Initiative.  The mission of the magazine is to shine a light on people, organisations and ideas that stand as Proof of a Thriving Future.