clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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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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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.


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Forgiveness is a process

“It is very important for every human being to forgive him or herself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, ‘well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all. If we all hold onto the mistake, we can’t see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror, we can’t see what we’re capable of being. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don’t have that, we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.”– Maya Angelou ( http://en.thinkexist.com/quotation/i_don-t_know_if_i_continue-even_today-always/9187.html)

What hasn’t already been said on the topic of forgiveness? It is intricately connected to our deepest heart, our most painful wounds, our most intimate places. We are human, we make mistakes. It is impossible for us not to err while we are in these limited human bodies, using our human minds to muddle through our lives. We know the old adage, ‘to err is human, to forgive divine.’ Actually, though, to truly forgive is precisely what all of us need to learn more about while in human form, as the practice of this art is one of the greatest assignments of the times we are living through.

Nearly every day, it seems, headlines appear of yet another covert scheme which has been uncovered, another wrongdoing exposed, another human being admitting their deception and lies, another scandal unfolding. Whether the mistake or misjudgment was huge, affecting many thousands, or small is simply a matter of scale. The issue remains the same, that of recognizing human frailty and human error, with the same opportunity: to forgive.

This is a tricky business in many ways. A typical human reaction to pain is to want to strike back, usually with anger. Another is to run from it as quickly as possible. We come up with all sorts of ways to continue the fight, with many justifications for our response. No one wants to feel they were wronged or mistreated, so we invent all sorts of reasons why we are right to be angry, to pass harsh judgement on another, perhaps to hurt the other in kind. It truly takes a larger perspective to turn away from wanting some kind of vindication or revenge from our tormentor.

be-kind-quote-tumblrHumans have created a world filled with heartbreak. One small example comes from the local Danish newspaper, which ran a story about a family of refugees from Kosovo, who came to Denmark in 1999, when Serbians began a horribly violent campaign against their neighbors. About 2800 Kosovo-Albanian refugees came to Denmark to escape the violence. Of those, over 500 gained asylum. This particular family stayed in Denmark for a year, and then in 2000, it seemed that things had improved in their homeland, and they were offered a package by the Danish government to return to Kosovo, in the form of some funds and a promise that they could return if things went bad again. So they returned, finding their home destroyed and their city in a shambles. Then they discovered, to their dismay, that it was impossible to get back to the larger city in order to obtain visas and return to Denmark. The mother of the family, Florie, told the reporter that nothing functioned, everything was in chaos, and the officials would not give them permission nor passports so that they could get their Danish visas. They were stuck in Kosovo with nothing and no possibility for more help from Denmark, or the EU.

Now it is twelve years later. The family somehow manages with very little money, and still misses Denmark, longing to return. Even though there is formally peace there again, the Kosovo-Albanians and the Serbians do not live in harmony. There was too much bloodshed and violence. Florie told the reporter that in 12 years, the Serbians have never apologized for harming their children and raping 20,000 of their women, whom will never completely heal and be human again. She said, “We are trapped. Kosovo is a little closed land, that the EU has abandoned.”

How do people forgive each other for such extreme trespasses against them? For raping, harming, hurting one’s family, one’s children? Conversely, how does a person live with himself, ‘look himself in the mirror,’ and forgive oneself for the pain he has wrought upon another? To my mind, there is only one way, that of compassion. Only through coming to a heart awareness and sense of the other’s pain, can a person find the place of forgiveness within. The story of the Kosovo-Albanians and the Serbians is an extreme, though sadly not uncommon, example of how humanity abuses itself through unawareness. It seems an unfortunate fact that humans learn best through experiencing pain. The act of forgiveness is a radical one because, if done completely, it will give total freedom to one’s soul. Yet, complete forgiveness is difficult to achieve for most of us, and it takes practice and patience. Wounds go so deep that one can live for many years without being fully aware that they remain, until one day something happens to reopen the wound. Though painful, this is actually very healing– what was festering for so long can finally be soothed and cared for, much like a physical sore which has been left for too long, enabling it to heal.

mistakes-forgiveness-peaceA powerful process for healing is to practice looking at yourself in the mirror, without judgment of any kind, just gazing…. and softening as you do, breathing deeply, until you can see yourself for who you truly are: a flawed human being who is nevertheless beautiful and holy. If you practice this, in time you will be able to have much more self-compassion, which in turn will enable you to have more compassion for all others. As Maya Angelou says, ‘If we can’t see our own glory in the mirror, we can’t see what we’re capable of being.’

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Life gives you what you need

“God doesn’t give you the people you want, He gives you the people you NEED, to help you , to hurt you , to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be…”– anonymous

Hello again, Dear Readers. This morning the sun is shining and the sky is blue overhead. There can be no denying that Spring has finally come to Denmark. Thank goodness.

Many thoughts are spinning around in my head today. I wish to try to write something cohesive but please bear with me if it comes out a bit of a mess. Guess my soul is in a process right now (is there ever a time when it isn’t?) If I had a life motto, it would be, Work in Progress.

Last night my husband and I watched a movie by the filmmaker Robert Altman, called Short Cuts. It was made twenty years ago. The story takes place around Los Angeles and Bakersfield, and is filled with many characters who are neurotic, dysfunctional, angry, lustful, bored, frustrated, and just trying to get by in this crazy life. There are stories within the larger story, and they are woven loosely together through their relationships to one another. There is much irony in this film, just as there is in life. It was a long story, three hours running. Within this time, we witness people living in the middle of modern life’s sicknesses and excesses, trying to cope with themselves and each other. All the large themes are present: love, jealousy, avarice, lust, deceit, vengeance, desperation, despair, death. People living lives of not so quiet desperation. We watch, helplessly, as the characters hurt one another, lying to each other and themselves, without much compassion. Few of them are innocent, and the one character who is blameless (the good wife and mother, played by Andie Macdowell) is rewarded by having her just-turning eight year old son get hit by a car, go into a coma, and die during the course of a couple of days. This film takes no prisoners, there is no redemption for these people; only the continuation (for most of them) of this endless, sometimes utterly senseless and absurd theatre we know as Life.

The film did what all good stories ought to do; it showed us ourselves in the rough, without gloss or soft lighting. Whatever else you can say about life in a human body, you can also say that, shortly put, we’ve got issues. We’ve ALL got them, there is no one walking the planet today who is immune. We are in turns small, scared, angry, frustrated, guilty, guilt-ridden, loving, sweet, selfish and selfless. We toil, endure endless drudgery and suffering of many fools, not the least of which is our own self. We suffer, and suffer some more. We make decisions out of need, desperation, and desire for relief. What helps, what heals?

Facing the trouble, whatever it is, is a help. Naming it, speaking it out loud, seeing that we are not, are never alone in it. No matter what the trouble is, no matter how ashamed or filled with pain and remorse we may be, we must remember that we are not alone, not the only one with that heartache. On the contrary, there are many others with that same wound, carrying that same pain as us. Rilke once wrote that ‘perhaps all the dragons of our lives are simply princesses who are waiting for us to see them for who they truly are.’ My interpretation of his words is that even the most dark and terrible secret that a person can hold is something to help us learn how to love, how to become more human. The holes in the heart of one can and are healed by sharing them with another. It is painful to share these, yes. It takes time, maybe many years, for the healing to happen. But it CAN happen, it does happen, the miraculous thing is that by sharing one’s wound with others, instead of hiding it away, the wound can be cleansed, dressed, cared for, attended to, healing balm applied, sunshine and fresh air given it until it becomes smaller and smaller, and finally is gone.

We all want healing. We all have wounds and broken places. We are all of us singing over the lost bones of our lives, singing them alive again, calling them back into being. Yes we have lost our way and forgotten totally who we actually are and where we come from. Anyone looking around at the current state of the world will readily agree with that. The question is, are we lost forever? Will we continue sleepwalking through our lives, unwilling to feel or see that others’ pain is equal or perhaps greater than our own? Will we succumb to our own feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, letting the weight of life’s cares crush our spirits and smash any small sprouts of hope?

sometimes all you can do is laugh....

sometimes all you can do is laugh….

There is no one solution to this problem of living, but there are wise ones who have found some tools to help. I have a slip of paper (one of many) at my desk that states, “Practice looking at each situation in your life and forgiving everyone and everything throughout this lifetime, and most especially, yourself.” This is ongoing, daily practice. And it makes good sense, because if I cannot forgive myself for the messes I have made and the hurts I have given to others, then how can they ever forgive me? We are our own judge and jury in this life, ultimately. As in the Robert Altman film, each of us is walking about trying to keep our heads above the swirling waters of insanity which are all around us. How can we cope, unless we begin with self-forgiveness? And after that, forgiveness of everyone else, as difficult as that may seem, is really essential. We cannot possibly change this world into something kinder, more loving and peaceful, as long as each of us still carries hatred, greed and revenge around in our souls. In the movie, there is a woman blues singer who sings at a jazz club every evening. One of the songs she sings talks about being a ‘prisoner of life.’ You could say that this idea is the main underlying theme of this film. It is so easy to feel this way! I have, a thousand times over, and have felt quite justified in doing so. And yet. I am realizing more and more, that if I am life’s prisoner it is because I myself have been my own jailer. Realizing this makes finding the key to unlock the door much easier.

In the end, it is true that Life gives you what you need to grow and become a better, not a worse, human being. In the kitchen last night, after the intense experience of watching the three-hour long film, my husband and I spoke together. He mused, “I actually suffer much more than you do, however I carry my suffering with a lot of dignity.” I gazed at him a moment, and then replied, “Yes, you certainly do. You really have a lot of dignity, and it is one of your most beautiful qualities.” He was pleased to hear my words, and I meant them sincerely. Carrying one’s suffering with dignity is extremely important. So is the ability to laugh at the craziness of this life.

 


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A day in the life

Got up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head… someone spoke and I fell into a dream.” Lennon & McCartney

In the story Starbook, by Ben Okri, a maiden from a tribe of artists falls in love with a dying prince. She has never met him, only dreamt of and so made a wooden sculputure of him. She becomes obsessed with her image of this prince, and dreams each night that he comes to her, stares at her mutely, and eventually goes away again. Again and again she waits for him to speak, to say anything to her in order to know who he is. Yet he can only stare. Eventually,

“the maiden understood the stare of the prince. He was looking at her with complete love, complete adoration, a love without beginning or end, a love greater than humanity, a pure love; but it was a love without knowledge, without understanding. It was a love without mystery. A love too pure for a creator. For it was a love without life, without suffering, without tears, without blood, without pain, without history. It was a love without time, without a story, without a journey, without complications. …In fact, it was a love that did not know itself, that had not grown, had not evolved, had not lost its way, had not stumbled and dwelt in the dark.

It was a love that did not know what it was like to live without love, how hellish, barren, deadly, dry, forlorn, how miserable, cold, lonely, empty, useless, bitter, agonising, tormenting, twisted and how ugly it was to be and live without love.

It was a love that did not know the ecstasy of one who finally comes to know, after all the darkness, what it really means to love, to have love in the heart.”

 

Sometimes we tend to fantasize about love, to attach a kind of idealistic and other-worldly importance to the concept “Love” which I think is what Ben Okri is warning us against in his story. We throw that word around so often that it is in danger of losing its real meaning. We use slogans like “Be love” and “I am love, you are love” “love is all you need” “love is the only thing which is real,” etc….. but honestly, dear Readers, who of us FULLY understands and knows what love is?

I so appreciate Okri’s passage about the prince who loved the maiden purely and without any knowledge of what love is, without having ever experienced the reality of love from a human perspective. When we come down from our lofty and often careless expressions of it, and feel the real, raw, and often excruciating pain of love from within these bodies, then the word ‘Love’ takes on a very different tone. Okri expresses it so aptly when he compares it with the experience of living without it: how hellish, barren, tormenting and ugly it is to live without love.

And, how hellish and tormenting it can also be to live with love’s pain within the course of a day. I want us to stop sugar-coating all of this feel-good lovey-dovey stuff, and get real about our lives. I, along with many others, can easily fall prey to the ‘just don’t think about anything bad and it refuses to exist’ strategy. Of course I don’t want to look at ugliness and horrors and bad news about what governments are doing to people around the world, to name just one small example. And normally I don’t, I simply do not let that kind of ugliness and horror into my consciousness. But sometimes it comes knocking anyway. Case in point: this morning.

Today my husband and I had planned a bus trip up to a city north of here, a water-town called Holbæk. It is Autumn Holidays week here in Denmark, so all the schools have a week off. It was a humble day trip to shop and do something a little special. All fine, so far. But. At half past 8 o’clock this morning, as I was sipping my morning Earl Grey and attempting to wake up before we got out the door and over to the busstop, my husband decided that I needed to hear yet one more news item about the latest evil wrought upon the American citizenry by Obama, that acolyte of Hitler. Ignoring my pleas and groans and even threats to not join him for our outing if he didn’t stop, he prattled on regardless of my feelings in his rant about the evils of the president and how he is the worst ever, far worse than Mitt Romney, for example, and ranking right up there with the worst fascist dictators the world has ever known. All this while I was attempting to eat my little breakfast and acknowledge a new day of my life! I suppose it is easy to guess how my day progressed after that non-auspicious start. I did accompany him to Holbæk, shopped for our groceries and sundry items, then took a walk along the harbor, which goes out to a fjord and is quite lovely. Yet I fought my own feelings all day long: fear, anxiety, foreboding, anger, frustration, more anger, helplessness. I told myself to focus on love, and peace, and forgiveness. I brought in white light. I sat with my anger and sorrow at the injustices and humiliations of the weak against the powerful darkness. I went through the wringer today, folks.

Of course I forgave my husband for his foolishness and insistence upon thrusting ugliness from the outer world upon my morning. But the damage had been done. And isn’t that really how it is with us humans? We unwittingly, for whatever reasons we can justify in the moment, hurt each other. As Okri writes, a love without life, without suffering, without tears, without blood, without pain, without history. It was a love without time, without a story, without a journey, without complications. …In fact, it was a love that did not know itself, that had not grown, had not evolved, had not lost its way, had not stumbled and dwelt in the dark. This kind of love is not one grounded in experience or the nitty-gritty of living. Let us acknowledge the labyrinth of love’s intricacies and strive to understand as deeply as possible that our questing for human evolution involves suffering, it is messy, it is painful, and sometimes dark and lonely. I read blogs which are so focused on ascension to higher levels of consciousness, and some saying all the time that the Great Moment is nearly Upon Us! When we will all be somehow magically saved, lifted into the higher realms, far away from all this pain and suffering, evil and darkness. When that magic day comes, nobody will ever suffer again, my friends, no! It will be a new Earth, a new Jerusalem, we will have reached some plateau of salvation and all the evildoers will be whisked away into some dark moon planet somewhere and dealt with accordingly. Well that is all well and good enough, but frankly, I don’t think so. I am not trying to be cynical nor skeptical, simply practical. Love isn’t some magic carpet ride to the Pleiades, it just isn’t. (well, okay I admit I don’t know if it is or not…. ) But. If we humans really want to make a better world, a more loving, just and free society of humankind, well then we have to accept that we are all learning how to do it one day, one heartbreak, one mistake at a time.

Will Obama receive his just desserts for signing horrific laws into being which utterly destroy any last vestiges of constitutional rights for Americans? Will Mitt Romney rot in hell for being an utter idiotic fool and puppet for much more darkly intelligent beings than himself? Nobody really knows. Our ideas of justice are a bit, well, in the toilet about now. Face it, we have got a real mess on our hands in the year 2012. Yes, focus on the Light! Absolutely work to bring more light and love to this dark world we are living in. It’s great that the Sun keeps blasting us all with intense rays of electro-magnetism, I say Bring it On! We Need It NOW. Please, send those bloody bastards to the dark moon to rot for eternity, they more than deserve it! Let the prisoners of conscience go free, jail the Wall Street criminals and all those corrupt politicians and lawyers and judges, and follow the lead of Iceland, the most sane society on the planet at the moment. They fired their government, said No Way are we going to pay for your greed and evildoing, and had a revolution. If Iceland can do it, well…..

It has been a long and wearisome day, dear Readers. I love you all, tonight from dark Denmark. Thanks for keeping your lights burning.