Monthly Archives: November 2012

REMOVING OBSTACLES

REMOVING OBSTACLES

October 4, 2012

Happiness is a skill,
emotional balance is a skill,
compassion and altruism are skills,
and like any skill, they need to be developed.

Matthieu Ricard

As the turning of the year brought me into my 57th year, I was filled with excitement and enthusiasm.  It felt like this was going to be my year to take wing and fly high.  At last I would know some success in that which I’ve been endeavoring to achieve for some long years now.  I’ve been the seed lying dormant in the dark earth.  I’ve been the seedling emerging.  I’ve had my summer in the sun, growing, sweating, toiling.  Now it is time for harvesting.  Now it is time to show my true colors.  Feeling healthier, happier, I was deeply engrossed in my writing and preparing to step out from my hermit cave to once again share my teaching skills in the area of Restorative Practices and the Peace Circle process.  Time for me to fly!

On my birthday, I awoke from a dream where angels (or some sort of Light Beings) were singing to me—and I neverhear music in the few dreams that I manage to remember!  They were singing “I can see clearly now, the rain has gone.  I can see all obstacles in my way.  Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.  It’s gonna be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day!”  I felt pure bliss.  I was sure this meant it was going to be a golden year for me.

In 2011 I had come to understand at a deeper level my calling, or life purpose if you will, to be that of a Remover of Obstacles.  Through my writing and my teaching, through my study and sharing of knowledge, through the testimony of my life, through my desire to give generously in financial ways—yes, I would help to remove those obstacles that hinder others from moving forward in their lives.  2012 would be the year when I would finally take wing and succeed in all that I had been trying so hard to achieve.

I made it to the evening of my birthday before crashing full steam into a huge obstacle of my own ignorance, damaging several relationships in the process.  As the year has unwound itself, I have bumped and banged into one obstacle after another, tripping over my own Ego and wrestling every Monster that has ever haunted my path.  It wasn’t until nearly six months after that shining morning seranade that I finally understood the message.  I can see clearly now…I can see all the obstacles in my way.  The dark clouds that had me blind have dissipated.  The song does not say that the obstacles are gone.  Only that I can see them clearly now.  It is no longer dark and I am no longer blind.  Therefore, I can remove them.  How else could I expect to become a Remover of Obstacles if I do not first remove those that hinder my own life?

Of course, I feel just a little pissed off about this.  I mean, this journey inside has gone on and on and on and on and on…is there no end?  When will I fly free?  …And I immediately know I willfly free the instant I spread my wings and take off.  There is no cage.  There is no tether.  There is only my fear that holds me back.

I mean, haven’t I done enough work by now?  Shouldn’t I be healed by now—body and soul, mind and heart?  …And I immediately know I am healed.  I’ve been healed for some time now.  I just haven’t lived like I am.  Like a cripple with her crutch, afraid to let go even though she is mended and whole again, I keep hobbling along.

As the year is winding toward its end, I smile with satisfaction at the pile of junk I’ve heaped up: obstacles in my life that I have been steadily removing, month by month, week by week, day by day.  I am discovering that it is actually true that our success and happiness really are a result of our attitude—how we think and therefore what we believe—even if unconsciously.

In need of more cash flow, this week I started a little side job caring for two young children two days a week: a 12 month old toddler and his four year old sister.  Five hours into day one and I ran face first into yet another “brick wall” I built once upon a time.  My Ego took center stage decked out in old habits of thought, old and crusty anger, and a whole lot of attitude about what is and is not important to be spending one’s time doing.  True to my prophetic birthday song, I could see clearly the obstacles in my way.  I just had to be willing to remove them.

During Day Two I asked myself a different set of questions than I’d been asking myself the previous day.  Whereas those questions had primarily to do with “What the hell am I doing here?”, on the second day I asked: “Would you look at this little boy and see his innocent, pure spirit shining through his blue eyes?  Would you allow yourself to consider who the Soul so recently incarnated into this sturdy little body might be?  Might it be a privilege, rather than demeaning to your education and “status” to invest some of your life into these two little ones?  When his angry wails pierce your sensibilities like someone running their nails down a chalkboard…can you see in him your own raging tantrums when you, like he, feel powerless to make Life give you what you want?”

Following him at a snails pace down the front sidewalk while he investigated twigs and maple leaves and bugs, I wondered if those Beings who have chosen to serve humans by guiding and protecting us—Beings of much greater evolvement, intelligence and ability—look at us like babies; helpless, ignorant, demanding, needy babies.  Do they ever feel completely exasperated as we flail and scream and demand what we can’t have?  Do they ever tear their hair out when we make yet another mess in the world?  Are they ever totally bored with us?  Do they…no, they don’t.  I doubt it.  For the very fact that they are more highly evolved, living at higher frequencies of Light (information), Love and Joy.  We might in some ways be like babies to them, but if so, I’ll bet they are devoted to us.

As I pursued these thoughts, I felt everything shift.  No longer angry and resentful of having to take this job, I felt gratitude and with that came ideas for all the things I could do and give.  I went home with my heart filled with peace, and the faces of my new teachers, a smiling, dimpled baby and a little elfin girl filling my thoughts.  Another obstacle removed.

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A CALL TO ARMS

A CALL TO ARMS

Monday, September 17, 2012
My mind is so filled up with thoughts I cannot release them quickly enough.  My heart is so full of feelings they are backing up and flooding the terrain of my inner landscape.  “Write!”, that whispered directive comes again.  And again.  And again.  But when I sit down, the thoughts and feelings tangle up so that I don’t know what to release onto the paper…

I hear the blowing of the shofar, calling us to arms.  The split between the polarities in our world is widening, the dark is becoming deep and murky; the light is radiant and intense.  Those who are awake, alert, and aware look unflinchingly at the destruction and suffering we have collectively created—whether by intention, complicity, compliance, passivity or ignorance.  Helpless, angry, we wonder why those to whom we gave the power to resolve these problems are failing us.  We read.  We talk and rail.  Some sign petitions.  Some march.  Some strike.  Some do political work.  Some advocate for causes—there are hundreds of causes.  It all seems a drop in the bucket.
We are invited to fine-tune our listening, for we may hear a call to arms of a different kind: weapons of love, forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, joy, courage, kindness.  The real battles we fight are in the mind fields where thoughts are the bullets and the bombs; better thoughts of love and healing, than hatred and destruction!  With this new way of warring, sieges of our cities are done with random acts of kindness and with the proliferation of projects that heal our Earth and one another.  We end this war by raising the energy vibrations of ourselves and one another and the very Earth and restoring balance in the energy fields of Earth, of Sea and Air and all who dwell within them.
Re-creating a world where all may thrive will only happen if each of us is first willing to call a cease-fire within ourselves.  It takes just as much commitment and work and courage and perseverance to “fight” from within the Light as it does for those on either side of the line battling with the same weapons with the goal of destroying the “other”, or at least the work of the other.  The two have very different outcomes, however.  Battling against ego with ego, fighting hatred with hatred, raging against what we name “evil” from our fear; nothing changes no matter which side has their King on the Hill and their day of Occupation and Victory.  But entering the battle with weapons of love, like the Sun burning off the fog, the Light begins to replace the Darkness.
I like the idea that time isn’t linear because it has taken me years to fully wake up, and more years to fully grasp the concepts of what it means to let go of Ego, to love my enemies, to root up old, toxic beliefs that tainted the Love that flowed through me.  It is taking me even more years beyond those to lay down new habits of thought and belief and action that are grounded in gratitude and joy, compassion and forgiveness.  But gradually this noisy gong and clanging cymbal has quieted and is now willing to not only enter the river, but to become the river—the River of Life, which is Love, which is Light.

November 7, 2012

REFLECTIONS ON ELECTIONS

Last evening I sat for a long time at the table with my ballot. Feeling the privilege, yet also wondering how free we really are; how much are we being manipulated into thinking we are free? If there are so many lies that are blatant, how many are sliding silkily through our lives undetected? Did I want to vote for the Justice Party, a party that reflects my deeply held beliefs? Was that really throwing away my privilege as some have said to me, or was this what this privilege is really all about? Talk about an undecided voter!

I thought about my commitment to walk the path of Love. If I am going to be one who bears Light in the world, if I am going to keep my feet to this pathway of Love that I have chosen, then I have to once again lay aside my fear and my cynicism and my judgment. I have to see the light in others, no matter how obscured, to see their goodness no matter how it has been twisted up in fear or buried under cruelty. In the same way that I must be willing to challenge my ignorance and make amends when I realize that that ignorance has caused harm, I must see the precious value of others who do harm because of their ignorance…and hope that they too will find their way to greater light.

I finally picked up the pen, and with gratitude for the privilege to be sitting at that table without having had to wait in line or suffer harassment; and with gratitude that I held a legitimate ballot; and with gratitude that even though I wish for a much different kind of political system–at least we still have one…I gave my President the benefit of the doubt and voted to give him four more years…and I filled in the circle that asks my Representative to please pack his things and go home–he’s done enough harm…and I firmly said No! to the convoluted message that would pass itself off as “righteousness” when every syllable of it’s message drips with arrogant judgment, separatism and superiority, and deeply biased ethnocentrism being packaged as the will of a Supreme Being. And one last No! to the thinly disguised attempt to suppress this very privilege I have to sit here and fill in this circle on this ballot.

In the dark hours of the new morning on the day my Dad would have been 85 I listened to my now and future President encourage us to view our political system with its fierce arguments and differing opinions and sheer (stinking) messiness (I had to add stinking!) not as something awful, or broken, but as what indicates that we are a people who live in a nation that is free. We get to argue. We get to debate and disagree. We get to “duke it out” so-to-speak. We get to sit at tables or step into booths and cast a vote for a man or woman or for or against an issue. We get to have and to express our opinion. Interesting perspective. I wonder what my Dad would say about all of this.

As he did four years ago, President Obama talked about working together to solve our problems and to build our nation. May it be so. May it be that we will learn to move beyond the privilege of holding onto our precious opinions and argue until we all grow old and die. May it be that we learn to listen. To listen deeply to one another. To open our hearts and minds to the solutions that will heal our Earth and one another and our world.

And may we rise to the call of our President…that our work, my work, your work, does not end with the closing of the polls and disposing of the yard signs. Our work has just begun. The time for arguing is finished. Now we work to create solutions and to heal all that our fierce fighting has destroyed and recreate the world so all may thrive. It begins within our own hearts. It must.