clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


1 Comment

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?

silhouette-person1080p

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.

Advertisements


2 Comments

The Revolution has begun

Saturday, January 22, heralded the beginning of a new era in the United States. Within 24 hours of a new figurehead ensconced in the White House, millions of citizens took to the streets of major cities and small towns in nearly every state, to show an incredible solidarity and strength in numbers as they marched, sang, shouted, carried signs, and gave impassioned speeches. Not since the era of Civil Rights and the Vietnam war have so many people joined together in the streets to protest their government’s abuses of power and rhetoric. Welcome to the era of Love.

The Women’s March on Washington, accompanied by hundreds of Sister Marches worldwide, brought out everyone who cares about humanity, equality and justice for all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, economic class, educational level, or any other factor by which the US government creates statistics. Although it was organized and focused on Women and in large part was created as a response to the disgusting, disrespectful attitude of the new president during the election cycle, the marches and rallies were much more. Combined, it was a major show of support for the vast majority of humans who live, work, raise families, receive education, and contribute in myriad ways to our society.

Here in Denver, Colorado, the march and rally brought together a hundred thousand people, according to organizers. Denver is not known as a protest town, and the sheer numbers of people who showed up was extraordinary. Only Broncos football games bring huge throngs of people out into downtown Denver, so I am extremely proud of this community, joined by many from all along the Front Range area, for showing up to be a part of this movement.

For indeed an authentic, organized and strong movement has now begun in earnest within the United States. The past years have seen the beginnings of it with the Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, Idle No More, NoDAPL, the Keystone Pipeline protests, and the supporters of Bernie Sanders, among many other justice movements. All of these together have worked to raise our collective consciousness and awareness of the extreme injustices being carried out daily by the heads of our government system, backed by powerful corporate interests, for their own benefit at the expense of most of us. No more, folks. With Trump now in office, the movement for a complete renovation of the system is on the menu.

gty-womens-march-washington

Americans during the Women’s Protest March: The New Normal?
Actress America Ferrera told the Washington crowd, “Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. … We are America, and we are here to stay.”

What changed it so dramatically to bring millions of Americans into the streets during Saturday’s march, is that people have begun to understand that it’s no longer about isolated groups, causes or incidents, but that it’s about ALL of us. The new “president” (he’s not my president, no es mi presidente was a popular slogan at the marches) has succeeded in angering, disrespecting and inciting the majority of people from all walks of life, before even entering the White House. We are in for an interesting time to come.

In my view, the presence of Trump in the White House marks a turning point for America, from decades of apathy and ignorance, which only worsened and grew over the Obama administration, to this moment. People may still be addicted to their smartphones, but at least more and more are reading and watching stories about their new supposed leaders, and seeking out what is true, rather than continued reliance on corporate-controlled media outlets. They will continue to lose support and audiences as more people wake up to the lies being fed to them. The numbers of those protesting prove it: the People are waking up and they are finally paying attention.

The civil liberties and many laws designed to protect American freedoms are at greater risk of being lost than ever before. At this moment, it feels like there is smoke in the forest, and it could break out into massive fire. No one knows what will happen within the next hundred days, let alone the coming years. But it is clear from the protest marches across America and the world, that people are no longer content to let the status quo continue unabated. Many of the speechmakers spoke of the great need for continuous action on the part of all of us. That means Everyone, Every day, Doing Something. Putting our energy into thinking, talking, writing, and showing up to participate. Democracy is a verb, after all, as well as a noun. It is a living, breathing organism, made up of all of us. The only way to change a corrupt system is to clean it out, get rid of what has become diseased, and open it up to the clean air, water and life forces that will create a new, healthy system.

Dear Readers, if you attended a Women’s’ March and rally on Saturday, I applaud and thank you. If you supported them through your attention and prayers and energy, thank you. And if you weren’t there, weren’t aware of it, and would like to learn more, you have a great opportunity and journey ahead of you. These are the times we came here for. We are the ones we have been waiting for. The time is now: Step up. Show up. Speak up. Tell others. Together, we are changing our world.

 

 


4 Comments

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.

LightBeing-1

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.

 

 


2 Comments

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?

scoutcloudlee_quote

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.


1 Comment

Election Eve musings

As I write this tonight, the United States presidential election is only a few short hours from being decided. By the time most of you read this post, we will know who will be taking the reins of this country’s government for the next four to eight years. This election cycle, begun by presidential hopefuls over a year ago, has been particularly painful to watch unfold. Painful for its lack of authenticity, and for the lack of any human whom could be considered a true leader to the end. It has been bitterly contentious to the extreme, and very tiresome.

Whoever wins the coveted title of Supreme Leader of the United States of America come 2017, I wish them much inner strength, fortitude and integrity for the difficult road ahead. Our country has seen bitter opposing sides on issues before, but never before have the problems that we face been so enormous and global in scope. Never before have the People of Earth been facing the possibility of world-wide catastrophe on the scale that we are now going forward into the future. The problems that we face, as Americans and as world citizens, are in fact so large and dangerous, that no one single human could possibly have the skill, courage, heart and intelligence to navigate them. So in essence, the person who next sits in the Oval office, although with considerable power, will not have the last say in regards to most of the situations they will be facing very soon.

Which leaves the rest of us, dear Readers. If you haven’t come to it quite yet, I am confident that you eventually will realize that the fate of Earth, our beloved home planet, and everything upon Her, including the humans, rests quite literally in our hands. All and each of us. Every single day, the decisions that we make, the thoughts we think, and the feelings in our hearts and souls determine what goes on in our world. This has always been true, but never more so than now. You don’t like what’s happening ‘out there’ in the world? Tired of people destroying the environment, of killing and hating one another? Tired of seeing people sleeping on the sidewalk as you pass by, like so much rubbish? Sick of animals being abused and slaughterd by the millions so humans can buy cheap hamburgers? Fed up with people lying, cheating, torturing, abusing and violating each other? The list goes on and on.

What can we do about it? First, it should be obvious to all but the most naïve, that electing yet another political pundit is NOT going to change the world for the better. That said, what can you do to change this world, to make it friendlier, cleaner, more sustainable, more safe? To reduce hatred, greed, power-grabbing, ignorance, ugliness? How can we make this world more equitable and fair for all people who live here, not just the ones with money and supposed power?

DSC_0893.JPG

The answers are perennial wisdom of the ages. We end hunger by feeding those who need to be fed. We end lying and greed with truth and generosity. We end war by becoming peaceful. We end disparity and smallness with equity and largess of spirit. We end hatred and fear, by finding love and peace inside ourselves, and sharing it with everyone we meet during the day. We recognize our common humanity rather than turning away in fear, shame, or disgust. We open our hearts in all the thousands of ways we can, and we embrace the simple fact that we are very fortunate to be alive, to simply breathe in air, to feel the sun. We become grateful for every single good thing in our lives, without exception.  This is how we change this world. We take full responsibility for our part in creating it, every single day. We care. We are kind.

The world will go on, without a doubt. Whether Clinton, Trump or Tinkerbell is sitting in the White House matters not nearly as much as what you, yes small, insignificant you, are thinking, feeling, and doing each day that you live. As you realize your true worth, your actual significance, and how much each and every human being matters, you will begin to grow up and become the person whom you aspire to be, no matter how old you are. It isn’t and never was, outside of you. The others are merely reflections of your soul. I am you and you are me and we really are all together, as John Lennon once wrote. We are in this together, and it is time to really, deeply understand this fact.

light-darkness-quote

So no matter who wins the presidential election on November 8th, rest assured that our work continues. Becoming truly Human is the real work of being alive. I see the Light that you are, whether you can see it or not, and I honor it.


Leave a comment

The Cruelest Holiday

There is a waning crescent moon outside my window tonight, reminding me that there is still a sliver of light within even the darkest night. Tonight is the eve of the rather ubiquitous Valentine’s day, a holiday that, more than any other which falls within the calendar year, serves to remind one of the folly and pain of love for those who are not currently in a hot relationship or happy with their partner.

Working inside my local and very mainstream American grocery store today, everywhere was decorated with products emblazoned with pink and red, while roses, chocolate covered strawberries, hearts, flowers, and every other kind of kitch imaginable to sell shoppers this holiday of love is on offer. Ugh. The whole thing made me want to run screaming away (as I do so often while working, but especially so today.) Another marketing extravaganza for the great American consumer society to lap up. And lap they do. In the cheese shop section of the store where I work, many slices of creamy, sexy (?) brie cheese were bought by couples, as well as many other delicacies for their lovemaking weekend of bliss. Now, before you, dear Readers, think I am just an old sourpuss for not thinking it is sweet or fun, please know that I understand all too well just how sensual and wonderous food and wine can be, especially in concert with other kinds of sex and romance on just such an occasion. Back to my original point, which is the pain and folly of romantic love for some of us humans walking around the planet this weekend.

For the handful of you who read this blog, a few may remember that when I started writing, I was living with my Danish love in the country of Denmark, a bit lonely for my homeland and friends, but in love nevertheless. That was back in 2012, which feels like ancient history by now. Fast forward four years, and here I am on Valentine’s day eve, with no lover to dip strawberries into whipped cream and drink champagne with, among other delights that I won’t go into but instead will leave up to your imagination. It has been a long time since I have written honestly about my personal life on this blog, since I decided that it seems more important to write about what is happening in the larger picture of Earth and humanity than my own small life and problems. But. Tonight I am indulging myself in a bit of emotional processing for my own sanity, and you are invited to either read along, or delete this blog post. Your choice, as always.

Love Day, once a year?

This evening at work, I heard a couple of co-workers’ stories in short form. One, a woman about my age and a New Yorker through and through, described her life as a series of interesting jobs, a failed marriage, leading to her life completely coming apart, a brief stay with her father in southern Florida, meeting a nice man, working with, then moving in with him, and one day about a year ago, getting on a plane with him and coming here to Denver, where they remain to this day. There was a lot in between the lines of her story that I intuited, which involved pain and suffering. Then I heard another story, by a man who started the same week as I, who told me that ten years ago he was on track to finish his degree for becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant), when suddenly out of nowhere, the financial aid woman told him he’d borrowed his limit of money for school, and cut him off. He had only 4 courses to go to finish his degree. Zap, just like that, there he was with a big debt, no degree and no CNA career ahead.

I am guessing that, were I to interview others who work at that big, highly corporate grocery store, I would find many more variations of the same theme: people who have gambled with their lives and mostly lost. It is a kind of land of broken dreams that I now find myself in, and I admit that I fit right in with the other lost and broken dreamers. I too have gambled with my life and lost, many times. In fact, I could make the case that I have mostly lost everything that mattered to me at one time or other. Sometimes I get very down about this fact, and feel like a real loser in this game we call Western Contemporary Society. I see others who look like they are winners, and I feel badly in comparison. Now, some of you, dear Readers, may want to tell me to just change my attitude and raise my self esteem and everything will be just fine. Well, maybe. On the other hand, when I look around and hear fellow travelers’ stories, I have to shake my head. There are many of us who have not ‘won’ in this game we are forced to play. Very often I have only wanted to escape, and somehow find another way to live that doesn’t involve winning and success in order to be happy. I have had glimpses into these other worlds, alternative lifestyles, or ‘off-the-grid” living situations. They seem nearly ideal to me, and I have wanted to be able to stay there for the duration. But never was I able to do that, something or someone always pulled me back into mainstream life again. So here I am, summoning my will strongly each day I have to go into that job, putting a smile on and asking folks if they want to sample some cheese. I am a cheese pusher now.

Tonight before I left work, I caught the last five minutes of the Republican debate in South Carolina. I heard three of the candidate hopefuls give their last pitch to the good old conservatives of that state, to try to convince them to vote for him in the primary election. Each one of those men said very similar things, and the gist of it was as follows: “I will be the man to help get our great country back to being great again, to having its values restored of one man and one woman marriage, of having God be our authority and not the government, to getting rid of Obamacare, to abolishing the IRS (granted this is not a bad idea), to keeping our enemies afraid of us, and most of all, to once again being the most successful country in the world.” After each candidate spoke, there was a burst of applause as the audience obviously agreed and liked each man’s words. What I realized from hearing these speeches tonight, is that we are still very divided in the United States between the folks who want to keep things as they remember them being for much of their lives, and don’t like the idea of anything changing (this is obviously a very large topic), and the folks who are at the completely other end of the spectrum, like me, who are very much wanting things to change radically for the betterment of humankind, starting with better laws, much greater equality between classes, races and economic divides, more honest and progressive people making decisions for the rest of us, and of course, a lot greater protection for our environment and all the beings living here. For folks like me, the concept of “winning against our enemies” does not exist, it is about quite other issues entirely.

How can we humans possibly resolve the gaping split that divides us? How can we meet and agree upon the most pressing issues of our times, when half the population simply wants to pretend that we can keep doing business as usual, and even return to pre-catastrophic times here on planet Earth, just denying and not even being willing to see the state that the planet, the country, and many many many of the people are actually in? Just right now, on this rather depressing evening before Love Fest 2016, it is feeling slightly impossible. Then again, I recall my dear friend’s admonition to me: “We’ll do the possible today, and the Impossible tomorrow.” Tonight I can only say, We’ll see.


3 Comments

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.

slide_406576_5083186_free

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!!


1 Comment

Negotiating the Rapids of Our Times

Today is a holiday in the United States, a day for remembrance of those who have gone before those of us who walk the Earth now. Some remember the soldiers who fought in wars, others remember people they have loved who have passed back to the spiritual world. Remembrance is a two-edged sword; it brings up many feelings that can bring us pain and sorrow, as well as joy and warmth.

Today I walked along the river again. The water level is high, due to all the rain we have been receiving this month. It is gorgeous there now, as green as it ever gets in the prairielands of Colorado. I stood and watched the water gracefully flowing around a group of old willow trees, taking in the simple, wild beauty of nature all around me. A little ways above where I stood, there is a waterfall that flows under a foot-bicycle bridge. As has been the case for many weeks, the water was mightily and majestically falling from the higher to lower section of the river. Above it, the water was smoothly and calmly flowing, then suddenly rapids, with foam and spray and swirling, and then the river again became calm and smoothly flowing downstream to where I stood.

How do you navigate the rapids when they appear?

How do you navigate the rapids when they appear?

This spectacle seems like a perfect metaphor for our lives now! There is so much energy flowing and swirling all around us throughout the course of a day or a year, it often feels that we get caught up in the rapids and must do whatever we can to simply negotiate them until we can again find a calm place to flow. No matter who we are, our station in life, or where we happen to be standing upon Earth, there are cycles of smoothly flowing and periods of rapid change. It seems completely unavoidable.

Franz Kafka reminds us, “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
( http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/franzkafka134853.html#E5CZPUs2jwwHbPQf.99)

Given this unavoidable conundrum, the question then becomes, How do we navigate the rapids when we arrive at them? Again, there are no simple answers for this (although some may feel they have THE answer to it), but there are certainly choices we can make that will determine the kind of experience we will have there. If we take the metaphor of the river, then it becomes clear that there are a few ways to traverse the rapids. One, if you see or know that they are coming up soon, you can try to  get to shore, and simply walk or climb alongside the rapids until you pass them and return to a calmer place to get back into the water. Two, you can make sure your life jacket is strapped on tight, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and go screaming down the rapids. Or three, you can just get out of the water before they hit, and sit on the shore indefinitely, refusing to continue. Are there other choices to navigate the waters of our life? Probably many, but you get the idea. Perhaps a key to navigation is reflection and planning ahead for what you will choose to do when the time comes. Or perhaps you are the sort of person who just takes it all as it comes, and can strategize on the fly. In any case, what we know for sure is that you will face those moments, with varying degrees of grace.

As I was watching the water falling over the rocks a few days ago, I was delighted to observe a friend on the other side. Mister Heron was standing on the edge of a large rock, watching the cascading water with his keen eyes, contemplating the fish he was sure to catch. I sat on my side of the river and watched him for a long time as he patiently watched the water, and waited. Sure enough, eventually he stretched out his neck very far and peered closely into the white water, then in one sure and quick movement, snapped his needle-like beak around a silvery fish. He stood erect and quickly swallowed the fish whole. He seemed very happy then, and after a few moments, flew up to a nearby cottonwood tree to rest and digest. Delighted for him, I stood up and clapped my hands, congratulating him on his expert fisher prowess. It was an inspiring moment.

NightHeron-763816

If I could choose what creature to be on Earth, it would surely be a heron. I have long admired these beautiful and graceful water birds, that can stand for so long, waiting so patiently for the perfect opportunity to catch their fish dinner. They are magnificent to watch flying low over rivers, and have such a spirit of grace and harmony about them. And they love to stand near white water, enjoying the rush of the spray and the force of water around them, utterly fearless. To me, the heron represents a kind of ultimate freedom while living on Earth, a creature of air and water and land: The best of all worlds.

Dear Readers, I wish you all a peaceful and happy time as you find your own ways of traversing both the calm and the rapids of your individual journeys. I honor each one of you for your contribution to the whole of humanity’s slow but sure rise in evolution. Each one of you is precious and important, and I thank you for being here. I see the Light and Love within you, and I honor it.


5 Comments

the Greatest Happiness

“The reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.” –The Dalai Lama

For the Tibetan Buddhist, peace of mind is a fundamental lifetime goal. They are taught to value contentment, fulfillment, and mental peace above all else, since one’s state of mind is believed to be the only possession that survives from one lifetime to the next.

Ignorance leads us to see everything– ourselves, others, all phenomena—as solid and separate. It keeps us from realizing that everything is actually very interdependent and connected– that our well-being depends upon the well-being of everything and everyone around us.

Compassion is at the core of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. They believe there is no greater vehicle than compassion and forgiveness to counteract the suffering caused by the self-grasping attitude.

They believe that using compassion in the face of conflict or aggression is to decide to act without the motivation to harm or retaliate– to act in a way that will best serve all individuals involved.

From Tibetan Portrait, by Phil Borges

Tibetan-girl-Phil-Borges

As the wheel of the years continue to turn, I see more and more clearly the wisdom of the Tibetan Buddhists, summarized in the passage above. Anger and hatred, both stemming from fear and the illusion of separation, are the real enemies of humanity. The evidence of this kind of thinking is everywhere present in our world. The challenges humanity now face are enormous. Self-grasping and self-concern are destroying our earth at an unprecedented pace.

Until the majority of humans living upon Earth realize the simple truth of “what I do to my brother I do to myself,” we will be unable to reverse the huge disaster we have created. The native American tribes have a saying, All living things are our relatives. It does not get any clearer than this.

Please take the time to teach compassion and forgiveness to whomever you can in the course of a day, in whatever ways are most appropriate. There is not a moment to waste.


8 Comments

The thin rope between emotional states

Balancing between the old life and the new is big work, dear Readers. I don’t know how many of you are feeling somewhat the same, but if you are, I have total empathy for you. There are several things I could choose to write about this evening, as my life now is full of so many impressions and thoughts and ideas within the course of a day. But tonight I find myself wavering yet again, even as I am walking along that dangerously thin rope bridge which hangs so high above the vast, bottomless abyss of the unknown below me.

Denmark pulls at my heartstrings again tonight, calling me to remember moments there when I was happy, when Danish was in my ears, all around me, and even though it nearly constantly frustrated me with its difficult intonation and impossible pronunciation, I grew to love it in some strange sort of love-hate-love relationship. Three years and more of living in any foreign country has got to rub off on a person, after all, and those Danes got under my skin in a particularly fond way, I admit. I miss my friends there, and the kids that I taught at the little school. Of course you all know that I miss that man who remains there,even as I am now thousands of miles away on another continent. The other night I wrote that I was ‘way beyond self-help books by now,’ — well, I guess that was not entirely the truth.

What I meant by saying that is, that reading books and hearing phrases and even listening to others telling the ways to overcome one’s neuroses and issues and stuckness is all well and good, but until I take the words and make them my own reality and truth, they remain just nice words on the page.

walking_alone_by_pix_cel-d4pky45In other words, I can tell myself that Today is a New Day! Be in the present moment, don’t live in the past or the future. Be mindful. Remember to breathe. Let go of the past. Focus on what I want now for my life. Go beyond the little me, embrace the Divine Me! And so on and so forth, til the cows come home. But. What I am learning, every single day, in a hundred small ways, and a few big ones, is that I simply HAVE to honor where I am at NOW: in Each Moment of my life. Some moments I am really so fine, smiling, embracing the divine me, walking along, even singing a tune for no particular reason other than I feel glad. And then, at other moments, some trigger will get tripped, and the next thing I know, I am in pieces again. This is not the same as wallowing in self-pity for long periods of time, or anything like that. Perhaps I am finally comprehending the Buddhist exhortation to simply Be what you are Now. Whatever that is. If you feel angry, Be the anger. If you feel sad, Be the sadness. Don’t push away the emotions as they rise up, instead allow them to come, feel them completely, and then let them dissipate again. I am finding that this is the most useful method for dealing with all these emotional states I find myself in. Those old masters definitely knew their stuff.

Recently I read a highly enjoyable and wise novel, called The Humans, by Matt Haig. It is the story of a being from a faraway planet, which is based purely on mathematics and logic, who comes to Earth to fulfill a certain mission. This book is screamingly funny, and also poignant and very, well, human. Haig is a master at showing ourselves our human frailties and absurdities. One thing that has stuck with me from it, is that he (the otherworldly being) makes the observation that on Earth, everything is apparently a Test of one kind or another. The being cannot go anywhere or do anything or meet anyone, without being tested in some strange way. I really am in agreement with him about this. In some very real ways, Life on Earth truly is a whole series of tests and quizzes, designed to see if a person can jump through enough hoops and perform enough tricks well enough to ‘pass’ and so go on to the next level. Kind of like one of those computer games that are so popular, where the player must go through all sorts of dangers and enemies, in order to proceed to the next level. Trouble is, we really have no idea what actually exists on the next level, although it is a good bet there will be more of the same, only even trickier, once we get there.What a tiring game this thing called human existence is, all too often.

I watched a fascinating Youtube video the other night, by a man named Matt Kahn. Regardless of what you might think of him, he certainly made some salient points about human nature and the reason for being alive. At one point, he told the audience, so calmly and clearly, that our lives are really all about learning How To Live. That we actually do not really know how to live, and so we are here to learn how to do it. I have pondered this statement, and I agree with him. Our overall mission here is to learn How to Live as a human being. After so many lifetimes, you would think that we would have figured it out by now. But no. For I believe that if we had, life would not be nearly so difficult. Or confusing. Or painful. Or would it?

Related:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kSnt5n4ADw  (the Divine Plan by Matt Kahn, worth watching!)