Gary Stokes

Gary Stokes is the author of the book, Poise: A Warrior’s Guide.  He maps the universe of poise on his blog

Planning for the Life You Want


I haven’t always been as intentional about the life I want to live as I am now. And I haven’t always been as successful at getting what I want. Now I know that simple old-fashioned formal planning about my life makes getting what I want much more of a sure thing.

Earlier in my life I probably could not have easily identified what I wanted. For instance when I had been married 17 years the first time, and I had three teen-age children, I was depressed, confused, and adrift with no vision or strategies for my life.

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Dad, Show Us How to Change

dad show us

Fathers can show their children how to change by pursuing their own emergence. But my dad did not know that we are emergent beings in an emergent universe. He didn’t know that our assignment in life is to grow and develop. To emerge. To change.

Dad never spoke about wanting to change anything about himself. He almost never spoke to me about wanting me to change. Dad never changed, so he didn’t give me a model for addressing my weaknesses, for turning personal difficulties into opportunities to learn, or for examining one’s life.

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My Victory Over Fear

victory over fear

I was the recipient of some bullying as a skinny young kid. One older boy in my neighborhood entertained himself with me occasionally by trapping me in our garage and threatening to beat me up if I tried to get out. Later, tougher kids would chase me home from school, I wasn’t actually hurt very much, but I became afraid of being beat up.

Even though I became an athlete in junior high school, the fear of being beat up persisted.

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Emergence and Sustained Poise


Feeling sorry for ourselves about certain elements of our lives, we invent victim stories that place the blame for our anger, irritation, impatience, and wounded self-importance on other people or outside forces. Victim stories are always lies, a life stance that avoids responsibility for the life we are creating. These victim stories are bad explanations for what is going on, and they keep us circling in an eddy. We cannot emerge.

Our emergence requires that we sustain our poise, embracing life no matter what is happening. When we live in the sublime state of sustained poise, we are present, connected, grateful, creative and light-hearted. Our cup is filled to the brim, as Carlos Castaneda said, and anything you give us is more than we can take.

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Where Should We Look for Our Own Emergence?


“We’ve discovered that the universe is not a place; it’s a story, a story of an irreversible sequence of emergent events. For a long time we thought that the universe was an established realm that had its major creativity happening only at the beginning of time. We now understand that the universe is an ongoing creative event. Stars came forth, galaxies came forth, planets have emerged, life burst into existence. This power of emergence could also be called ongoing creativity. In some ways, it’s the greatest discovery in the history of the human sciences—that the universe as a whole, and each being within it, is permeated with the power of emergence.” – Brian Swimm, Cosmologist

How can we tap into our own power of emergence, move toward our great potential, and live a vibrant life of joy and practical advantage? Swimm gives us the answer when he tells us that emergence in the universe is always given the energy it needs. Further, he says, anything that blocks emergence is destroyed. If we are “permeated with the power of emergence,” then we will be given the energy we need, unless we resist our own emergence—obviously a dangerous thing to do.

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