clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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The Power and Irony of Words in the Age of Technology

Words have power. This statement is known to be true by every person who has ever read, written or studied language, including stories, poetry, song lyrics and rhetoric. Words shape our world, our societies, our institutions. Words have power to destroy worlds, and they conversely have power to heal ourselves and our world. When you think about it, what an amazing superpower is the word.

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While what I just wrote is true, it is also true that words are everywhere, as ubiquitous as grass, as sand, as leaves, as stars. We talk or hear others talking in a constant stream (or river or even ocean) every minute of every day of our waking lives. Out of all those uncountable words that we take in and give out, only a few have real power in our lives– the kind of power to change, heal or save us. What makes those particular words special, and all the others just so much static on our consciousness’ radio?

 

The internet and mobile devices have exponentially increased our global ability to use words (and images) for communication and persuasion. Here are some statistics for you (from hostingfacts.com):

Internet Statistics 2017

  1. There are now 3.74 billion Internet users in the world as at March 2017.
    This is compared to 3.26 billion Internet users in 2016.
  2. Asia is the continent with the most Internet users. Asia now accounts for 50.1 percent, or more than half, of all Internet users in the world. The runner up is Europe, with 17 percent of all Internet users.
  3. China has the most Internet users of all countries. At over 731 million Internet users at the time of writing this, China currently accounts for more than 25 percent of Internet users worldwide.
  4. As at January 2017, the United Arab Emirates is the country with the highest Internet penetration in the world — with an impressive 99 percent of its citizens, or about 9.2 million people, using the Internet.
  5. The internet influenced sales to the tune of $2.1 trillion in 2016.
  6. Over 5.5 billion Google searches are made every day.
  1. Over 2 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day. (this figure is a low estimate, and according to http://www.worldometers.info/blogs/, today there were over 4,500,000 blog posts uploaded to the internet!!

As you can see, usage of Google, blogs, social media and the internet generally is literally increasing daily. Over a third of the world’s population is online at any given moment, and undoubtedly this figure will increase exponentially in years and decades to come. This brings up many questions, such as, what are people reading on their devices? What kinds of images are they viewing?  How much of it has actual content beyond a momentary flash or the briefest acknowledgment? Out of the millions of words and images one might glance at (or even consume) in a day or a week, how much of it actually touches the human heart and mind? What influences one’s behavior, and why?

Clearly, these questions are being studied by researchers worldwide. The times we are living through now are seminal for the decades ahead. Through our ongoing fascination (addiction?) with virtual reality, we are forging a new world of partial realities:  partially flesh-and-blood, brick-and-mortar, 3-d reality, and partially a new kind of sensory reality that has nothing to do with three dimensions. This is simply what is occurring; there is no stopping this new world, it is here and will only gain in speed and intensity during this century.

Technology is the new power of the word in our world. Rhetoric, that art with its roots in antiquity, is alive and growing in the Age of Technology. But I think the fundamental questions of humanity remain and demand to be addressed, now more than ever:  What is Truth? How do we live good lives and care for all other living beings? How do we live with moral integrity, and give all people the dignity and respect they deserve?  Is it even possible in the present times? How shall we create the future world so that our planet, Gaia, upon whom we still depend for our very lives, stays intact and protected from further destruction?

We can argue about getting down on one knee in an act of rebellion towards the power-elite, spend all our money on trivialities via our cellphones, squabble all night long with strangers through facebook, and otherwise waste enormous amounts of energy and time on things that ultimately do not matter in the big picture of our lives and collective world. So, I ask again, which words have real power, and how do we find them? How shall we share them in this age? And how will we use them to create a future world that is based upon respect, love and light? How can we best use this incredible power of the word we have been given?

When I first began this blog back in 2012, I used it as creative therapy for my loneliness and sense of isolation, due to living in a foreign country where I felt completely out of sync with the people around me. For a time, I dedicated my creative efforts to writing every day, connecting with other’s blogs and finding a very small community of like-minded folks to connect with virtually. snoopy-writer1

Now, nearly six years later, I very much feel that my small, nearly inaudible voice through Clearskies, Bluewater blog is utterly inconsequential (although it’s been fun!) For the small handful of readers who have followed this blog and encouraged me through its lifetime, I am grateful for your support and readership. I feel that it’s time has come to give it up. With two to four million blog posts every single day, there is an inconceivably vast amount of words out there to explore.  And judging from my WordPress statistics page, the irony is that an old blogpost I wrote years ago, entitled “Tits and ass, cocks and bosoms, etc.” still gets the most hits from searches across the world.  I wrote that one-off as an experiment to see what kind of response I’d get: Ha! Just as I suspected, people are still caught up in that low vibrational place, looking for some kind of momentary titillation I guess.

Dear Readers, whoever of you decided to read this post, I would love it if you would also take a moment to hit the like button. And if you have found value in this blog over the past years, please comment and tell me what you found most interesting or valuable.  I’ll keep the blog alive for a few more weeks to give folks time to comment or like.  And I’ll write a final post before I shut it down.  So, if you’ve felt shy in the past, here is your opportunity to open up and tell me anything you’d like me to know!

 

 

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Blood red sun, pink moon

Today was a day out of time, if such a thing is possible. In a similar way to the day of the solar eclipse, the sun appeared very unusual throughout this day, due to the thick haze that hung over the city. Smoke and ash from the many fires burning across the western United States and British Columbia was carried by the winds here to our fair city, obscuring the sun and creating a reddish golden veil across its light.

Towards sunset, the reddish tint turned nearly blood red as the sun grew closer to the western horizon. Then the crows came. They had already appeared on our street’s tall, old trees earlier in the day, cawing loudly and aggressively. One was found dead on the easement underneath one of the largest trees afterwards. When the sun turned red, however, the crows came back in full force, crying loudly and circling round and round the group of trees at the end of the block where I live. From my upstairs apartment window I watched and listened to them, striving to understand what they were telling each other and me.

Clearly, the red sun was bothering them; they knew it was unnatural and not as it should be at dusk. Perhaps they knew other things too; about the floods and fires happening across the vast landscape. They carried on for about ten or fifteen minutes, until the sun was virtually out of sight, then eventually quieted down.

After sunset, I walked the few blocks to our neighborhood park to see what I could see. Almost full tonight, I wished to catch a glimpse as it rose in the east. Walking in a large loop, I finally came to rest at the marble pavilion that marks the center of the park. Stepping inside, I quickly walked across to the marble pillars facing west, where one can still see some of the mountains that Denver is famous for. Of course, due to the haze, no mountains could be seen. The people who were gathered here and there around the pavilion were all silent, some on their cell phones, but others simply quiet, gazing out onto the park, and the eerily whitish grey sky of twilight. After a few minutes, I left and continued making my way around the loop of the park. I kept looking to the east, knowing that the moon would be there and hoping to catch a glimpse of it. Then I saw it, coming up between the dark shadows of trees. Sure enough, La Luna was there, round and completely pink, like a man’s sunburned bald head.

After communion with a very old hawthorn tree for grounding and strengthening, I slowly made my way through the park and back home. As I walked, I reflected on this past week’s extraordinary events. Flooding of biblical proportions in south Texas. Wildfires are burning due to extreme high temperatures and no rain along the west coast from Los Angeles all the way through Washington state, where the governor declared a state of emergency in all counties due to fires and threat of fires, and up into British Columbia. Fires are burning in Montana and Idaho, and southern Wyoming. As I googled this subject for an image to share here, I found out more: 2017 has been one of the worst fire seasons in years, that upwards of a hundred fires, both uncontained and contained, are currently burning, and over seven and a half million acres of forest have burned.

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Wildfires currently burning across the US and Western Canada right now. http://wildfiretoday.com/

So much water, and so much fire. The fire needs water, and the water wouldn’t know what to do with all that fire. Except just keep raining down.

Prayer is not a refuge or shelter so much as it is an opening of arms, an acceptance of whatever storms exist in the world. You don’t really pray for your situation to change, you pray to be able to handle your situation. It’s not the world you want to change; it’s you that you want to change. –Kazim Ali

 Within a few days, most likely the haze will lessen, the sun will shine brightly again, and the people will carry on like nothing is amiss in the world. For many, to contemplate the enormity of what is occurring now in America, in Asia, and around the globe is simply too much, too overwhelming. So they simply choose to not think about it. We have forgotten how to listen to the wild, to hear the cacophony of a hundred crows overhead and be unable to hear what they are telling us. We glance at a blood red sun or a stunning pink moonrise, but most don’t give them a second glance. Many people in the cities no longer have the capacity to see nature, even when it is right in front of their eyes. This is the great tragedy of our times.

Red Sun

There is a Buddhist practice known as tonglen. The practice is described thus: “In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from age- old patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others.” (https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-practice-tonglen/)  Imagine if enough of us did this practice during times like this past week: breathing in the pain of all of those affected by floods and fires, including humans, animals, and all living beings (such as trees); and then breathing out compassion, healing, and love for them. I think it would make a huge difference to those who are suffering, if the rest of us, who are fortunate enough to not be in the middle of the unfolding tragedy, breathed in the pain, and breathed out relief.

Try tonglen, or use the power of your prayers and healing energy directed towards those who are suffering now. In this way, we can strive to heal and make sense of a world filled with chaos and unbelievably catastrophic acts of nature. We can use them as a catalyst for great, beneficial change for humanity. Just breathe with intention.

 


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Listening to your own wisdom

This month has brought a huge amount of energy to us Earthwalkers, both collectively and individually. For months now I have shared the collective experience on this blog. Tonight I would like to share a personal view.

Obviously Life isn’t always what it seems on the surface. It’s important, when given some breathing space, to take time to reflect on your life and relationships, in relation to how they brought you to Now. I have had opportunities to do this recently, and it has been helpful.

Dear Readers, perhaps some of you have also been looking back at events and periods of your life in order to understand how you have come to Now. What those experiences brought you, whether painful or joyful, were opportunities to grow and heal your soul. We often cannot understand it in the moment, and indeed some of those painful times hurt so much that all we really want is for them to be gone! Now! Forever! But, we still had to live through them, and coming out the other side we can again breathe, think, and gain understanding.

I think it’s very difficult not to have regrets about your life; what I might have chosen, had I not gone down that road, may have been much more wonderful and made me infinitely happier than the path I did choose. Then there’s the trap of guilt; had I chosen differently, I might have spared my loved ones a whole lot of pain and suffering. This is all speculation, and probably not a helpful way of thinking. After all, I chose what I chose, and my current life is the result of the cumulative effects.

I’ve had intense moments of sorrow lately about things that happened in my past. I believe they have come up again for review so I can heal and let go of them at ever deeper levels. We are really not consciously aware of how profoundly we hold our human experience: memory stored in our DNA from eons of time and vast experiences that we may only recall as a vague feeling of discomfort, anxiety, anger, or sorrow. As we continue to evolve into our multidimensional selves, we must let go of the old experiences of separation. How many times have we loved someone, only to be hurt by them? Or likewise, have hurt the very one we so passionately cared for?

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We may feel alone in the world, but in reality we are always connected with all life, both on Earth and in the starry realms.

Nothing we said or did can be taken back. The play has been performed, the actors all played their roles perfectly, and that show is done. More and more I see my life as a series of one acts, improvs and feature length films. I observe myself living my life a lot these days. Now I am riding the bus; now I am standing in the sun with these other people; now I am cooking; now I am dreaming about what happened years ago. It’s an odd feeling, like I am both in and out of my body, observing and being observed.

The events on the world stage this past month have caused great anxiety and also moments of great exhilaration within my soul. I’ve had moments of pure stillness, when I am certain that beneath all appearances to the contrary, we are fundamentally alright, we will be alright, and in fact, will enter a golden age at some point in the not too distant future. Then I have days when everything seems grey, dark and nearly hopeless, those moments when fear grips my soul so strongly that I have anxiety attacks. The fluctuations are crazy, like a lifeline; up and down, relentlessly.

Dear readers, I write these words to you all tonight in hopes that some of you may take them to heart. Those of you who are feeling similarly buoyant and despondent by turns, please know that you are not alone. Even if you feel like you must be going mad, or the only one who feels like that, you must know that there are far more of us walking upon the planet now than ever before. Together we are here to create a new world. It is time for the crumbling and destruction of the old paradigm for real: Here and Now, in all the countries and continents of Gaia. The old ways of controlling people, resources and economies no longer work. We are collectively awakening, en masse. So the struggle, or rather battle, for freedom is raging strongly at this time.

From this battleground, the fires are burning. Eventually they will smolder, and then there will be ashes. From those hard won ashes, the Phoenix will rise. It’s happened before, countless times throughout our planet’s history. And it will soon happen again. The battle of the human soul is both personal and collective. If you feel like you are in the middle of a battle of some kind or other, that is correct: You absolutely are. So take the time, as much as you can, to rest. To find stillness and peace within. The more peaceful and joyful our experience while in the midst of all the chaos, the more we can each contribute to the whole. I do not advocate drowning yourself in substances which make you oblivious, not at all. Rather, it’s all about becoming evermore conscious. But warriors need to step back from the battle, in order to replenish. Every day.

Thank you for all that you are doing to help the world, the animals, and nature. Everything counts; no matter how small, it matters not. What matters is that you are contributing to the good, the positive. Keep forgiving yourself and everyone else, and shining your light.


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Towards a year of real change for the Good

Happy new year, Dear Readers. Here we are again, standing at the precipice of what has been and what is yet to be. How are you feeling? If you are awake and breathing deeply, most likely you experience a whole gamut of emotions as we are about to embark on 2017.  2016 was one heck of a year: turbulent, uncertain, roller-coaster, full of surprises, with big doses of angst thrown in regularly. What will the new year bring to us earthlings?

Perhaps, more than ever before, we need to cultivate our imaginations. After all, the realm of imagination is one where anything can happen, where we create entire worlds, universes, and all manner of stories. We have all grown up in this world of ‘facts and reality’ that is called The Truth. We have been taught since childhood that our imaginations aren’t real, that fantasy is simply that, and often been told, quite harshly, to ‘grow up and get over it.’ But what if the greater truth is actually that what we imagine, particularly if many hold a similar imagination idea and picture, is what manifests as our common ‘reality’?  If this were true, then life could be very different for us earth walkers than the one we currently agree to be in, couldn’t it?

Dear Readers, I have written many times in this blog about the power of the imagination, and the power of Love in creating a world that is healthy, whole, and healed. A handful of those who have read these words over the past years agree with me. But when I look around at the majority of humans, I do not see this world.  Instead, I see a world that is still ruled by fear, anger, intimidation, sorrow, injustice, extreme violence, and darkness. I wonder what it will take for the majority to awaken and realize that there is another, infinitely better, more beautiful and kind world that is also right here, living parallel to the fear based one.

It is easy to be discouraged, feel small, insignificant, fearful of what may lie ahead. It is so very easy to give one’s human power away to others, to cling to the idea that you are just one tiny, powerless human being swimming in a vast ocean of humans, and that your voice, your presence, and your ideas do not matter, cannot possibly matter within the huge forces at play in this world. The majority of people seem to believe this scenario, and play it out day after day. So the world goes on, and nothing much seems to change or improve, in fact things are looking pretty bleak for the future of Earth and all of us. This is the old story, and frankly, a pretty boring one at that. Aren’t you all getting quite sick of dystopian near future worlds yet?

On the other hand, it is not so easy to stand in your nobility as a human being, to stand for strength, courage, moral high ground, integrity, dignity, compassion. These are the eternal qualities of the ones who have led humanity out of darkness since prehistory. Name your most favorite heroes, the humans who embodied qualities that spoke of divinity, of superhuman strength, of love unbound. We all know these ones, they are the saints, gods, and enlightened beings of both the ancient and modern worlds.

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Our superpowers reside within us, waiting patiently for us to acknowledge and use them.

I am suggesting that it is high time, now, for the rest of us ‘ordinary’ folk to realize that we too have the very same qualities within ourselves of these our heroes and gods. That we do, in fact, receive divine help and assistance every time we ask. That the days of the old fear-based paradigm are past. That humans full of petty ego desires and maniacal schemes to rule the world and all of the people are no one to fear or even pay attention to; that by withdrawing your energy from those ones their puffed up, negatively driven speeches and threats will blow up in their faces, will be exposed for the smoke and mirror show that they truly are. We can see the Man behind the curtain so clearly now, and he is but a small, insignificant bleep on the radar screen of this world. That is, if we use our collective imagination to envisage another kind of earth, one that is held and designed with the highest moral and ethical principles kept uppermost in mind. And why, dear Readers, would we not choose to do so?

Peter Gabriel once wrote a song with the refrain, DIY. Do it yourself. Now is the time to take up this refrain in a stronger way than ever before. Our governments have failed us and will continue to do so. In 2017, let’s make a more concerted effort than ever before to Do It Ourselves: work in your neighborhoods, communities, with your local elected officials, grassroots organizing to create the new Earth. If you are already doing it, then continue and do even more. Grow your networks, create regional organizations. Lead by your good example, for many others could use your wisdom and expertise as they learn skills and hone their talents. Let the young people show the way; they have a lot of unbridled enthusiasm and energy. Teach the children what is important, real and true, and encourage their imaginations. They are the ones who will inherit this earth, and it is so very important to listen, respect and support them.

I give blessings of peace, joy and strength to everyone who reads these words. May 2017 be the year of real change towards the Good, True and Beautiful on Earth.

 

 


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On Judgement and Gratitude

Here it is, Thanksgiving Day in America again. This holiday, more than any other, has the beautiful quality of going beyond all borders, ethnicities, polarization and ideology, if one embraces the core of what this day represents. Giving Thanks. Put another way, it is the epitome of Gratitude. What are you grateful for? Who are you grateful to? When do you feel gratitude? And, most importantly, why?

These are difficult, confusing times to be alive on Earth. At this moment, after all that has taken place over the past year in regards to world events, it is so tempting to fall into despair, anger, and judgement. Not many are feeling truly and deeply satisfied with Life-On-Earth at the moment. And for good reason, anyone who isn’t living in a cave must be aware of what a bloody mess we have created for ourselves.

And yet. What strikes me as the very most basic, important and useful thing that each of us can do, is to resist the strong temptation to judge, blame and shame another (or all the others) for our current state of the world. It is the easiest thing to do, and actually the most harmful. Blaming another, no matter WHO it is or how much you may dislike or revile them, only perpetuates the cycle of hatred, anger and fear that humanity has been living in for millennia. Judgement, like anger and all its associated mental and emotional states, stems from Fear. Fear is the Big Hook for us humans: it keeps us on an endlessly painful and imprisoned state of consciousness, from which we can be manipulated, coerced and otherwise made to follow others’ ideology and morally corrupt strategic plans. You who are reading this blog know what I am saying: the fascist regimes and authoritarian schemes created by small minded, even smaller hearted beings who rise to power do so through these tactics.

What can be done, you may ask? How can we turn this monstrous machine of human misery and suffering around? What will the next four years and beyond look like, for America and for the world? How can we cope? Who is to blame? What will happen?

Dear Readers, from where I stand, it seems obvious that the only way forward towards a world that is peaceful, healthy, joyful and abundant for all, is by moving from a state of judgement based on fear, to a state of grace based on gratitude. It is so easy, so ridiculously easy to scoff at these words and blow them off as some kind of airy fluff, to blow them off and instead hold onto skepticism, pessimism, the idea of separation, and moral indignation. That is what has been going on here on this planet for centuries. And we can see the effects of this kind of thinking all around us. Is it working for you? For your neighbors, including the ones without homes, who are taking up space in your alleys, sidewalks, and parks?  I ask each one of you to take a hard, long look inside of yourselves, and ask: Is your way of thinking, feeling and acting helping to further the goal of health, peace, and justice in the world, or helping to keep this old, ugly and worn-out paradigm in place?

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If you say it cannot be done, then get out of the way and let those who are changing the world’s paradigm do their work unencumbered. Do you really think one more human and his or her new administration is going to magically fix all that is broken in our country or in our world for the rest of us?

It is high time to stop believing that someone (anyone) else is going to save the world for us. No government anywhere can or will do that. What is needed now, and going forward, is “the kind of transformative social movement that has altered the course of history in the past.”(Wen Stephensen)  All huge, world-changing social movements throughout time worked because everyday people got so tired of what they were living in that they banded together and gained people power, then they went ahead and changed their cities, states, countries and yes, their world, for the better.

We are past the tipping point. We are now on course to change our world, the whole of humanity in the days ahead. This is no longer an isolated fight here or there, it is about ALL of Us Humans awakening to the realization that there is no savior, no ship coming down from the heavens, and no being great enough to save us all and our planet from ourselves. There is only us, each and all, every single day living and breathing upon this fragile and utterly strong planet that is our home. So what remains, on this day of Thanksgiving, is a choice: Will we continue to support fear and aggression towards each other? Or will we finally see ALL others as simply another small but powerful bit of the Whole, nothing to be afraid of, and find compassion, both for others and for ourselves?

Happy Thanksgiving to All.


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Going to summer camp

Tomorrow I leave the city for summer camp in the Rockies. Excited I am, and also a little scared. The image of The Fool, that one who, white rose in hand, bundle of belongings upon one shoulder, is blissfully about to step off the precipice into the Unknown, is my symbol tonight: About to leap, in utter trust, and hoping for a soft landing.fool

The camp I am going to is indeed for kids, from ages 7 through 12 years old. It’s in a beautiful spot, high in the mountains at nine thousand feet elevation. There is a private lake, horses, archery, canoeing, and all the usual summer camp activities. My role will be in the kitchen, as assistant Chef. This means I will be cooking a whole lot of food for hungry kids for the next ten weeks.   I have the feeling we will have a good time together, with all sorts of forest creatures nearby, cooler, clean air and water, and millions of stars for company at night.

Dear Readers, what will you do with your summertime this year? It is such a brief and lovely season, the mornings so fresh and soft, the heat radiating everything and everyone by afternoon, and the evenings so wonderfully long and warm. It is the luxurious time of year, when humans can shed outerwear and sensible shoes, women wrap themselves in sheer and flowing dresses, men wear little more than a pair of shorts and perhaps a tee shirt, everybody wears flip flops or sandals, and as the song goes, The living is easy. Generous, easy and a little bit lazy…… like floating down a slow-moving river in a row boat, swinging in a tree swing, hiking up a gorgeous mountainside full of flowers, or any of the hundreds of wonderous occupations and diversions that one can think of to enjoy himself on a sunny afternoon in summer.

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I would like to suggest to everyone reading this post, don’t be in a hurry this summer, or so set on DOING….. rather, focus more of your energy on simply BEING….. enjoying each moment as it arrives, flashes like a koi in a calm pond, and disappears again. No other time of year affords such luxury of time to simply Be. Enjoy it while it lasts, love and appreciate the people around you as much as you possibly can, and most of all, love yourself. You have been working so hard at this game of being human, it is time to reward yourself in many ways this summer. Celebrate being alive, your ability to laugh, hug and breathe the air, feel water on your skin, smell the flowers, see the beauty of our amazing planet, hear the birdsong, taste wonderful, fresh fruit and vegetables from a garden, touch another being. We are all so blessed to be alive, I hope you love it all!!


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The wild places within and without us

Spring is the season of green and rain and changing weather. For those of us who enjoy a daily walk in nature, it is an ever-changing landscape from one day to the next. Very near to where I live is, miraculously, a nature area which some long-sighted city planners long ago designated as nature preserve. Although I live in the middle of a major American metropolis, I need only walk a few minutes down to find peace and wildness, a sanctuary space amongst urban sprawl.

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Cherry Creek nature area, still wild in the heart of urban sprawl

I was there today. There is a river there, that also changes depending upon the amount of rain or snow or sun we’ve had that week. It is an unusually rainy spring here, so there is a great deal of green both underfoot and on all the trees now. This part of the country is normally semi-arid plains, and there are cactus and many kinds of hardy perennial native plants growing there. Stands of old cottonwoods and their younger offspring grow all along the river banks, as well as willow, maple, alder, ash, hawthorn and wild apple. Many North American birds spend time there as well, from robins, sparrows, larks, etc., to mallard ducks who calmly cruise the waterway in pairs or small groups. Today I watched a small, white heron fly over the river on its way somewhere. Mostly the river meanders in a great curving flow from east to west, but there are a couple of spots where the nature conservation corps have set large rocks, and underneath one foot/bike bridge there is a rather spectacular waterfall. As all of you who spend time in nature are well aware, it is the best place to go to in order to heal oneself of any and all ills a person may be dealing with in life. In these quickly changing and accelerating times, there is nothing better than taking a walk, breathing in the fresh air, and letting nature soothe and heal the soul, body and spirit. For myself, I find myself usually walking a kind of pendulum between action and resting, between having to think and focus and being able to let go and rest. It is during the resting times that the emotions well up, asking to be released. My emotional state is so fragile and close to the surface at this point that all it takes is a kind word or two, or a compassionate human standing next to me, for tears to come. I am not ill or needing to be fixed, (although it is true that in the past couple of years I have been broken completely open) it is simply that my heart is expanded and so sensitive now to life, to nature and to others that I just FEEL so much. Walking along the river bank today, I marveled at the tiny, heart-shaped first leaves of the cottonwoods. The maple leaves with their red and green patterned leaves were just so finely wrought, so delicate. The hawthorn flowers smelled heavenly. The stalks of wild grass grew so tall and straight, their flowers still wrapped up tight like a present, waiting for the perfect moment to reveal themselves. We are like this too, wrapped up inside of ourselves, waiting for the perfect moment to reveal ourselves before another. The most daring and vulnerable thing we can do is to open up, to let go of our fears of being seen, of being known, and let the world into us completely. How do we heal ourselves from all of the horrors we have inside of us, from who knows how many lifetimes of pain, of cruelty, of hurting and being hurt? We can find the answer by emulating nature. As long as there is even a small amount of water, of sun, wind, rain, and soil, nature can and will recover from even tremendous devastation. The power of nature to heal itself, to grow anew each and every spring is beyond incredible, it is truly magical. Paulo-Coelho-quote I contemplate some humans’ ability to overcome the greatest obstacles and traumas imaginable. I sometimes can barely fathom how they could overcome such terrible circumstances, injustices, violence and horrendous brutality, how did they manage to go through such adversity and live to smile again, to love again, to write books and plant gardens and change the world? I believe the answer lies in the idea that we are a part of Nature herself, and within each of us lies a tremendous will to go on, to simply continue. It may take time, perhaps many years, to heal the old scars within us. Yet with time and with care, it happens. In fact it IS happening, all over the world. People are caring more and more, for each other and for the Earth. They are helping the Earth to heal in thousands of ways and places. As we do this, we become a greater part of the intricate web that constitutes all of us, the tapestry of life on Earth that we are, each one a strand that has value and importance. When we recognize this, a profound change occurs inside our soul. Life is definitely not about getting what we think we want. But it is about finding out just how beautiful and valuable our lives truly are, with all of its pain and its glory. Happy Spring, everyone.


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Who’s leading who?

Time seems to fly by these days now, doesn’t it? More often than not, I experience my life with a kind of detachment, simultaneously observing the life I am leading as well as living it from within this fragile body. Curiouser and curiouser.

Every morning is such a gift, though. I repeat my morning routine and ritual each day, take on whatever sweater and jacket I will wear, open the front door, step outside, lock the door behind me, and walk onto the street. The trees are blooming now, wearing their new spring green so joyously, as the morning birds sing songs from their branches. The air feels soft and clean, the sky huge and still. It is the rarest and loveliest moment of the day, as the sun rises and the world is still undone.

The internal work continues. I doubt if there is anyone alive right now, if they are at all conscious of themselves, who is not dealing with any number of issues, dramas, situations, or other moments where their self, their mind, the part of them that wants, needs, is reluctant, afraid or grasps, is not demanding something, wanting the limelight, grabbing the attention. The small self is acting up just like a three-year-old, and we had better listen. What is up with that, dear Readers?

A website that I’ve recently found, www.jeshua.net/, has some interesting and wise advice concerning this phenomenon. I’ve just read an article by Gerrit Gielen, where he makes the following points:

The soul is the creator of our human personality, we as a human being reflect one aspect of our soul similar to how an Archangel represents one aspect of God. The two most important factors that determine our human reality are: 1. our soul and its intentions for us, and 2. our willingness or unwillingness to work together in harmony with our soul, the source who created us. Our soul has a life plan for us that may contain goals that differ from our ideas about what is desirable in our lives. The basic creative force in our lives is our soul and not our human thoughts. We can work with the creative force of our souls, or we can work against it. Positive thinking aimed at wishes and desires that do not comply with our soul’s plan is not effective. But positive thoughts that are aligned with our soul’s intentions, support the creation process and add a sense of grace and ease to it.

If you do not follow the way of your soul, go against your deeper feelings, and try to control life too much, you lose touch with your soul’s wisdom and you start to feel empty inside. As with most of us, you may become carried away by earthly concerns and focus your attention on matters that you think are very important, but that essentially do not contribute to your inner growth: recognition, possessions, success, money, etcetera. Thus, the angel and you follow a different path and you start to feel unhappy and lonely.

You try to solve this dilemma by working harder, by gathering even more success, money, or power, because the society in which you were raised has taught you that these things are very important. Or you try to solve your loneliness by searching for the ideal partner. You are looking for your inner angel in the outside world. That will fail, because another person can never fulfill the role of your inner angel; the result will always be disappointing. Rather than restoring the connection with your soul, you end up feeling even more alienated from it.

Often, at this point a crisis will occur that challenges you to wake up and realign with your soul: perhaps illness or other adversities such as a divorce or losing your job. It is vital that you now turn inward and actively seek to restore the connection with the angel. If you want to create a new and more fulfilling life, positive thinking alone will not help you. If your positive thoughts aim to only remove the setbacks so you can return to the life you were used to, they will fail, because they go against the soul’s intentions. And if the positive thoughts or mantras are aimed at merely eliminating the disease or misfortune, they will be a way of denying or suppressing the inner darkness that needs to be dealt with up front. Only by facing your deepest feelings and fears, and restoring the conscious connection with your soul, will a true solution arise. Your soul will create that solution for you, if you are willing to face your inner darkness and listen to what your heart truly tells you.

You may wonder why we have desires that go against our soul’s plan, or why the soul has intentions that go against our plans. The reason why this gap exists is that our soul’s primary purpose is inner growth, while we often seek external solutions to our problems. From the soul’s perspective, negative experiences are often there to guide us toward inner growth and liberation, but we generally want to avoid those experiences. We want to rid ourselves of emotional or physical pain, and it is a real challenge to open up to the possibility that this pain has meaning and leads us into deeper self-understanding. Only if we recognize the wisdom of our soul, which often surpasses our human understanding, do our thoughts really gain creative power. Only positive thinking that acknowledges the value and meaning of “negative experiences” is aligned with the divine force that creates the universe.

To know whether your thoughts are aligned with your soul’s purpose, you can also ask: “Is my positive thinking based on fear or on love?” If you have wishes and desires, it is wise to check carefully whether they originate from love or from fear. If it is fear, go inward and face the frightened part in yourself. Face it with kindness and honesty. Ask yourself: “What does this part of me really need at this time?” If you do that, you will often find that the answer refers to something internal, rather than something external: what is needed are qualities such as self-esteem, trust, the ability to set boundaries, compassion, or a sense of humor. You are often able to give yourself what you need by developing these qualities in your everyday life. In this way, you will heal the fearful part of you and your wishes and desires may change because of that. They will be based on love and genuine self understanding rather than fear. Healing inner darkness is a deeply creative feat. Facing fear and surrounding it with the energy of love is more powerful than any affirmation you can think of! The result is that you become closely connected with your soul. Your soul light begins to shine through you and it is this light that is creative. It will create an outer reality (work, relationships) that provides inner growth, joy, and happiness.

You can apply positive thinking and affirmations as much as you want, but you will still grow old. Your thoughts are powerless against the natural aging process. But now look at this issue from the perspective of the soul. Is the soul interested in keeping us young? From the soul’s perspective, we are timeless, only our bodies are aging. To connect with your soul’s viewpoint, look in the mirror: see how your face is getting older, while sensing at the same time that there is something inside you, behind your eyes, that does not change. This is who you really are. While you, the human being, would perhaps want to stay forever in this body, your soul does not. The soul knows that there are infinitely more worlds and dimensions to be experienced and explored. The soul looks beyond what our human eyes can see and knows: the universe is waiting for us. – Gerrit Gielen, http://www.jeshua.net/

Reading Gerrit’s words today has given me strength and been an excellent reminder that what is happening in my life, in all of our lives, truly has meaning and purpose– the soul’s purpose which is the reason for me being in this human body in the first place. So much has happened in my life that I simply have no good answer for the question, Why? It is a question that I ask myself often, usually without coming up with a very good answer. But when I take it to this higher level, and am able to drop the small me’s ‘but why?” through my tears and heartache, I realize the power, wisdom and strength of surrendering to my soul’s purpose. Aligning with your soul is no easy task, is it? Your angel, as Gerrit calls it, will ask you to do things and go places you probably will not want to do nor go. Ain’t gonna do it, no way, your small self protests. And yet. In the end, if you listen to your soul, your angel, or the Higher You, he or she will win out. And you will grow from it, and learn the lesson you need.

You must do the thing-EleanorRooseveltThere are so many days when I take myself in hand, make myself do the thing I do not wish to do. And I do it because I am committed to my Soul’s growth and I love Her. Once I asked an old teacher of mine about God. He replied, “You have to know what god you are praying to, as there are many in the hierarchy of Heaven.” At the time I did not understand what he meant. Now, many years and miles later, I think I understand more. Our lives and the human-spiritual world connection are complex systems with vastly greater workings than we can possibly understand in these human bodies. The times we are living in are a whirlpool of constant change. There are huge forces at work upon all of us and the planet in every moment far vaster than we know. But we feel it in so many ways, each day and night. What do you think you are doing when you lay down and sleep at night? You are very busy, dear Readers. We are off in who knows how many dimensions, working with angels, guides, councils, other humans, other life forms throughout our sleeping hours. No wonder we often awaken and feel so very tired!! Our lives are a constantly shifting, moving roller coaster ride. We all signed up to be a part of this great shift that is happening to us long before we incarnated into these peculiar human bodies during the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries C.E.,or however you wish to describe our time in history. Are you tired? Do you remember that you wanted to be here and be a part of all that is happening on Earth now? Hard to believe sometimes, I know. But we did, we all wanted this. Because without us, the Great Shift won’t happen, and our world will continue to degrade and eventually die.

a seeds greatest expression-OccelliBy each and every one of us being here, saying Yes! to life, to love, to committing to each other and ourselves that We are the Change, we stand up to fear, to terror, to pain and misery, greed and hatred and all the by-products of separation, and the world changes. It IS CHANGING, for the better in thousands of ways. We must not lose our perspective to this 3D matrix that is so cleverly spun around us, we must not let it overwhelm us. This is BIG WORK, dear Readers! There is nothing more important nor worthwhile in all the universes. We have to soldier on, whether we want to or not. The future of Gaia and all of humanity depends on the work we are doing now, today and every day for the rest of our lives. Our souls want this, we want it for each other and our great great great grandchildren, for all of the animals and nature that we love on this planet. Keep going!! Chin up. Rest as and when you can, love yourself very gently, always, and be in gratitude to your Self for all that you do. When the three-year-old is screaming and having his fit, take him into your loving arms and soothe him. See yourself in this way, and care for her as you would your precious child, for that is in reality what You Are.

Thank you for being here with me, for all the good you are and all that you do to help. I love you all.


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Inquiry into the nature of pain

Hello again dear Readers. It has been some time since I have written a post here. Following is a partial reason why. Among all of the things Life has handed me lately, I have a fractured fifth metacarpal on my right hand. Translated, this means I am wearing a splint and bandage that covers my right hand and forearm. I still have use of three fingers, while my left, non-dominant hand has had to take over the reigns of doing the work of living. Shortly said, this situation sucks. It leaves me frequently tired and needing a lot of rest.

Being a curious sort of person, I have spent quite a bit of time inquiring into this situation from various perspectives. My mind has asked, “why me? Why now? What is the reason for this happening to me now, effectively stopping me in my tracks from the path I was on?” and on a bad day, the questions take on a more whiny tone, more like, “what the fuck?” Well, you can imagine.

Even heroes get the blues sometimes

Even heroes get the blues sometimes

Being mostly an existentialist nowadays, I realize that the significance of this unfortunate turn of events has the significance I assign it. Various things come to mind: I needed time for contemplating my new life path; there is something fabulous right around the bend, which I may have missed entirely had I kept going the direction I was headed; or perhaps it is yet another big life lesson in empathy and walking in another’s’ moccasins. Had I not broken my pinky finger, how would I know how difficult people have it when they cannot perform simple functions like opening a jar, a door, or tying their shoes? We able-bodied humans absolutely take for granted our manual dexterity and the ease with which we can do all those tasks we learned in early childhood. Now I realize just how tough it is when those capacities are suddenly taken away: Poof. Gone.

could be worse, I guess...

could be worse, I guess…

The pain body is a tough one. Chronic (or acute, for that matter) pain is such a crippling thing, shutting down one’s pleasure, will and desire for most things. Life becomes much smaller, closer, and time seems to drag to nearly a halt. These past weeks have been some of the longest I can recall. It seems there is so much I wish I could do and can barely manage, or not even. Cooking, one of my greatest loves, has shriveled in importance, along with my appetite. Keeping my personal space tidy has gone way down on the priority list, even showering has become less frequent. The amount of aches and pains around and in this body has grown exponentially. I feel suddenly quite old, and it is reflected in the mirror.

Dear Readers, I have no doubt that many of you can relate to what I am writing, and have been through similar situations. I have yet to find out how much longer I will have to keep the splint on my hand, how many more weeks I will be handicapped and unable to function normally. After the splint is off, there will be some period of strengthening and readjustment. Perhaps even some therapy. I feel like the sports player who is benched for the season, and frankly, just as unhappy about it. Now is the season for gardening, which I was looking forward to since wintertime. How unfair life is sometimes!

I realize I sound like a small child, complaining. I admit I have never been good at just ‘bucking up and taking it,” and suffering in silence. So this is also a lesson in maturity-through-adversity. On the positive side, I am learning to be ambidextrous, even cutting vegetables with my left hand. That hand, through perpetual disuse, is inelegant, clumsy, reminiscent of a three-year-old’s attempts with knife and fork. This time is also a biggie in learning Patience. I have to be patient with myself, and kind. I have no choice.

And finally, I am learning that sometimes one just has no control over what happens to them. What we always have, though, is the choice as to how we handle it. I have the opportunity, many times a day, to choose how to react to my hand being incapacitated. When I find myself really down in the mouth about it all, I recall my friend Mokasiya’s words: I can have all my feelings about it, and then I can make another choice. Slowly I am learning that he is absolutely right.


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Heart wide open and vulnerable

Do any of you feel like you are on a roller-coaster emotional ride these days, Dear Readers? I know I certainly do. One day, one moment up, or at least holding steady, then the next– bam, slam, and down again. Awake again at 4 am, I finally decided to get up and at least make an attempt at something other than sleeping. The buzzing from an old fluorescent light in the kitchen kept me company until there was a horrendous crash, bringing the framed picture on the wall over said light, down into the kitchen sink below in pieces. Weird, right? Until some moments later, our landlord-upstairs neighbor and friend Bob knocked on the door, asking if we could hear a strange buzzing noise. This was just after 5 am. Sheepishly I mumbled, ‘oh, yeah it is the old kitchen light I have on, couldn’t sleep, so sorry,’ and quickly turning it off again, proceeded to sit in the darkness with only the computer screen for company. Not the best way to begin a new day.

Today was a whirl of emotional states, mostly on the low end of life’s spectrum. I watched myself go through grief, anger, overwhelm, confusion, blahness, and other such things. By the aftLove-quote-elephantjournalernoon I was so tired of myself that I walked over to the part of town where others are also experiencing similarities, known as Colfax Avenue. At least there I could see that I am far from alone in my suffering. First I went to the women’s place, which is a large three story building containing kind-hearted volunteers and helpful women who are helping other women who aren’t having such great lives at the moment. There I received information about all the various services and resources available to me, made a couple of appointments for next week, and left feeling slightly better. From there, I walked a couple of blocks down to Urban Ministries, which is a truly wonderful place. They offer help for the homeless and basically anyone who needs some humanity, in the form of a food pantry, legal aid, help with obtaining ID and birth certificates, job information, computers, the use of telephones and one’s own voice mail box, and access to other resources a person who is down on their luck might need. Today I was there to see about using their food pantry, seeing as ours was a bit empty, as well as my purse. An hour later, I had been given not only an amazing and healthy array of all kinds of wonderful food (thanks to the local Whole Foods market who gives their nearly out-of-dates and perishables to them each week), but also a very kind and friendly young woman was there to listen to my rant and my rage today. I entered nearly in tears, and left with profuse blessings on my lips.

The past weekend I attended a Kadampa Buddhist meditation and talk. The leader spoke about anger, and its cousin, aversion. She said that whenever we have the impulse of No, I don’t want this, and want to push it away, that is a form of anger which has not yet manifested outside of ourselves. As always in Buddhism, the invitation is to look at whatever it is that comes up in the soul, or the mind, acknowledge it, and then simply let it go. Simply let go. Of course, this is the tricky part. Today as I spoke with the young intake worker at Urban Ministries, I realized a kind of vehemence in my words. I had thought I was simply discouraged, sad and frustrated, yet my words once out of my mouth, told me how very angry I am, how helpless I feel. There is so much need in the world now, so many hurt humans walking around not having a clue what to do, where to go, how to fix themselves or anyone else. We are a broken people. Yet, if we ourselves are okay enough, getting by alright, managing our lives even barely well enough, then it becomes easy to simply forget our less fortunate brothers and sisters on the street. What I am finding out now, living in Denver, is that there are many people who are in need. And there are many people who are doing what they can to help. There are hundreds of charity organizations in the greater Denver metro area, working at every level to raise up our brokenness, to offer help, both material and emotional, to the youngest, the oldest, and everyone in-between.

As I walk through the streets on these mostly sunny January days, I see myself reflected back in all the faces– on the bus, in line at the grocery store, everywhere I look I see the human condition. They are me and I am them– we are all part of a great organism, we are each important to the whole. If the man on the street is without a home, money, and self-respect, then a part of me is also. Conversely, it must also be true that the ones who are extraordinarily blessed with wealth, beauty, and every material object their heart desires, also dwell within me somewhere. Inexplicably, it is much more difficult for me to experience them inside of me than the ones who are hurting. Obviously I still have much more soul work to do.

My heart is wide open and vulnerable now, more than ever before. Perhaps this is why I have days like today, where I so profoundly feel the pain of the world within my own personal anguish. Yet I would rather it be this way, than to have a closed heart and mind, unable to empathize or be compassionate. There is nothing else to do: once one’s mind and heart are awakened, there is no going back.