stand for or stand against?

Standing against creates resistance.

Resistance creates heat.

Heat creates inflammation.

Inflammation is an early step in the healing process…or,

untreated, unseen, unsupported, can lead to infection.

Infection, if left untreated, can lead to death.

I recently put my toes back in the pool of social media, specifically Facebook. A two and a half year hiatus was necessary for some essential healing of wounds that stunned me, and reminded me of many lessons I had forgotten about the realities of life in these times. That time provided the necessary space to hone my observation skills and to deepen my listening to myself and to others.

I have been watching myself and others as we have navigated the pandemic and all of its multiple challenges. Layer on top of that, the racial injustices in my country, and it appears that all of the fissures which have been in place in our societal foundation are now cracked wide open. I, for one am grateful that so many have awakened to the inequities that are pervasive in this country, and from what I can see are also present in others as well.

I am not in the streets protesting. I AM supportive of all who are. I am finding ways to provide support from where I am. We are at a necessary tipping point. Evolution is an imperative and we will either go with it or our resistance will create harm for ourselves and others. I am listening, I am reaching out to my friends who are black or brown and even though I thought I knew a lot, my eyes have been opened to so many aspects of their experiences that I couldn’t have possibly known…had I not inquired.

If we are not listening, and only talking as we attempt to defend our positions or beliefs, we cannot learn anything. Listening is scary. Why? We may see and learn something about ourselves. Our old assumptions and beliefs are challenged. We fear that deep dive into who we think we are.

There is no better time than RIGHT NOW, to listen. Listen to yourself – your fears, your assumptions. Listen to your friends. Listen without defending. Just listen. Reach out. Reach out to those in your life who do not look like you. Ask them how they feel. Ask them to tell you their stories. Listen without judgment. Do no interrupt them to try and defend a belief that you have. Remember…you are listening to THEIR story. Defending yours or your positions is disrespectful, at least.

Having gone back to social media, I see very clearly, the emotions on many sides of the issues before us as a human family. The fear is pretty intense…and sadly those who are showing it aren’t aware of it. When folks have chosen to post memes and old articles that appear to defend their positions, I used to get upset, wondering how anyone could be so separated from the realties of our collective humanity. Now I feel compassion for them and sadness at the same time.

As leaders of our lives, we choose. We choose what we believe. We choose how we listen, what we listen to and what we think or say in reaction. React is what many are doing.

As leaders of our lives, we choose. Standing up with those who are standing for their lives, is a gift of love and respect. Responding is what many are doing.

We will either work together and take the necessary steps to right the inequalities and injustices across the world which have served the few rather than the many, or we will all go down together.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

 – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I pray that light will get in; more eyes will be opened, more hearts and minds will open and we will find a way forward to honor all members of the family of beings which inhabit this planet, including Mother Earth herself.

May the fissures which are now BIG cracks, open us all to a new way of being – together, in true community. May the light begin to shine in the darkest places within ourselves – our perspectives and beliefs, so that we see old things with new eyes and can bring our best to the challenges of our times.

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.

 – Leonard Cohen

Stand for love.

Stand for light.

Stand for healing.

Stand for ALL.

Poems from the Circle — flashlight batteries – poetry

Hello everyone. The times we are all in challenge us in many ways. One of the ways I’ve been navigating my experience is to participate in a writing circle, lead and facilitated by Ali Grimshaw, from Flashlight Batteries.

I am grateful that she chose to share one of my poems on her blog. She is a wonderful poet herself. Her gentle guidance and deep listening have helped us to find something in ourselves that, at least for me, may not have otherwise easily been expressed. For that I am grateful. You will see in the post I am sharing, her offer of other writing opportunities. I encourage you to visit her site and read some of her beautiful poetry. Thank you, Ali.


we are held one moment, one breath, one heartbeat at a time. even when I feel I am falling, I am held, safely. sometimes the fire within, which most often warms and lights my next step, rages. out of control – yes – that is the rage unseen, well hidden and buried; wounds of the […]

via Poems from the Circle — flashlight batteries – poetry

poetry – reuniting

We move away, apart,

separate from…

our hearts, each other.

 

We move on, believing

we can walk alone,

do it alone, needing no one else.

 

We reach out,

wishing to build

upon the common ground

we stand on.

 

Wiser for the journey,

the space we co-create is loving,

mutually respectful

and supportive.

 

Stronger together.

 

We step into a new way of being.

 

June 2020

poetry – family

 

We are all family;

all of the colors,

all of the textures,

all of the expressions.

 

We are sad, we are happy.

We ache and we rejoice.

We cry and we scream.

 

We are family,

and we are all hurting.

 

Hold hands.

 

We walk together,

as a human family.

 

Souls together, as one.

 

June 2020

the fires are burning

 

I’ve been enjoying the deep swim into poetry, and I raised my head to look around…and oh my goodness. Our world seems to be descending further…into a darkness that I was hoping we were going to slowly transcend and into more light. I still believe in the presence of the undercurrent of this loving, peaceful energy. It is intended to restore health and healing to our wounded world and all its sentient beings. Perhaps we will see more of this descending slide before the ascending that is below the radar will be more visible.

While we are caring for ourselves, tending to our wounded hearts and caring for others, I pray we keep our eyes and hearts on the movement toward a more peaceful, loving co-existence that is sustainable for all. It will take time, and a commitment from us all to seek better ways to lovingly support ourselves and each other.

The recent events in Minneapolis have touched me deeply in so many ways. The senseless loss of another life at the hands of officers sworn to protect and defend is deeply painful to see – over and over again. The burning fires in that city carry a deeper meaning that is within all of us – even if we choose to ignore or believe it doesn’t apply to us. The fires represent a smoldering, unseen and unheard (by us) rage. We often do not hear our own painful raging – deep within – as we seek to understand why we may feel as we do. Or we project it onto those closest to us without knowing, consciously, its true origin.

As I watch the pain of the people in Minneapolis, I am also reminded of the pain in many cities and places through the world. These flash points are calling to us. They are reminding us that our role is to do our inner work – to heal ourselves and to speak up about the injustices continuing to be perpetuated by patriarchy worldwide. To not do our work and to then rage against the injustices, is to act from resistance (fear) rather than from love.

In the midst of the pandemic we have had an opportunity to slow our pace (with the exception of ALL of the frontline workers  –  medical personnel, grocery workers, food processors, truck drivers, teachers, other first responders; not to forget parents with children at home) and do some serious self examination. Have you attempted this? Have you squandered the opportunity?

The fires are indeed burning. The situation in Minneapolis and other places is an out-picturing of what we are still individually and collectively, carrying inside. It is reminiscent of Charlottesville (2017), and so many other places.

May we soften. May we see others. May we hear them. May we sow seeds of love rather than continue, from our silence, be complicit in what continues to unfold before our very eyes.

Tina Malia’s Heal This Land, came to mind this morning, once again, as I observed the state of my country and other parts of he world. I offer the beautiful poetry of her lyrics as well as a video, so that you may hear the words. The resonance of the song is hard to brush aside or dismiss. I hope you read the lyrics, and then listen or do both simultaneously.

Music can be medicine for our weary souls. Feeling the resonance of the words, the music, can begin to heal us. Feelings are the language of the soul.

Let’s go there, my friends…let’s heal this land.

 

The fires are burning

So reach for me
Like the petals of a rose
Bloom in it’s season
Gentle and slow
My body is the mountain
The ocean, the river
The sand and the soil
The life giver
So come on now, my friend
Speak to me
Help me understand
Let us walk together
Take my hand
And we will heal this land

We will heal this land

Do you hear the call?
We will heal this land

If you could only believe

leading ourselves

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.

– Helen Keller

Each of us is responsible – individually – for ourselves. We lead ourselves, whether or not we are fully aware of this awesome responsibility.

Each of us can choose to lead from a place of love and compassion for self and other – or we choose only for ourselves, without regard for other(s).

As I watch and reflect on what is happening in my country, I cannot help but wonder if it is happening elsewhere in the world. My guess is, that it is – at least to some degree. As much as I had hoped that we might all begin to find a different way forward in the midst of a sweeping pandemic, quarantining at home with some opportunity to reflect and observe; I wonder today, how much this time will have made a difference in the myriad ways we see ourselves and others.

No one outside ourselves can rule us inwardly. When we know this, we become free.  – Buddha

On this Memorial Day weekend in the US, even the opportunities to pause and reflect upon lives lost in wars past and present, seem to get lost in the fray of those who feel their rights have been violated, by the necessary quarantine. It is curious to me that at a time when a nation seeks to honor those who have died in past wars, ostensibly for the purpose of maintaining freedom for our country, we seem to be more locked down, internally, than ever.

What could I possibly mean by that? Well… I have another question.

Why do people protest about their freedoms, guns in hand? Do they believe that are not free? I wonder why they perceive their rights have been violated. Do they still have breath in their lungs? Do their hearts still beat? I wonder if they stop to consider those who have been lost in this pandemic – those whose lungs filled with disease, and were ultimately robbed of a beating heart – for just a moment?

~ ~ ~ ~

*I am not ignorant of the economic impact of the quarantine in the lives of so many people. In fact, I could write quite extensively about the many cracks and gaping holes in our fragile societal fabric, which have been laid bare in this time. The condition of our planet – the place we live – has improved and risks returning to its very sick condition – a pandemic of a different kind. We cannot look away any longer. To do so makes us complicit in perpetuating the ongoing suffering of all, from sentient beings to the living and still trying to breathe planet Earth, our home. The authentic leaders in all of us are needed…to begin to right these wrongs, to make different choices. I acknowledge this reality and am comforted by the work of communities to care for those, living at the margins, who are often forgotten and left without. Those who tirelessly stand for our planet and those who open their hearts as they reach to those who need the simplest of things to survive deserve our gratitude and support.

~ ~ ~ ~

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela

Until and unless we realize that our freedom is truly an inside job, and that no one can grant us freedom – not another person, not another organization, not another government – many will continue to suffer in their fear, wrapped in the tight embrace of their beliefs that something as important as freedom, is being withheld.

The chest-beating, gun-wielding, deserve our compassion. For they have not yet found their freedom within – inherent in the precious Life they are given to live on this planet.

I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.  – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

If we are leading our lives with authenticity (from the best of ourselves within), we take responsibility for the choices we make. We may consider the impact of our decisions if we can foresee them before we step forward. Or, if we couldn’t comprehend an outcome, we take responsibility for not knowing and we make a different choice. We apologize for the unintended consequences, if others are affected, and we move on, enriched by the experience, so that we add to our growing wisdom.

The outer world doesn’t always make it easy for us to lead our lives. There is so much noise – distracting, challenging, shaming, blaming, etc. – which pulls us away from ourselves. Why? Because we all yearn to fit in. The siren’s song of fitting in – by itself – takes from us. It is the definition of allowing ourselves to be lead by the noise of the outer conditions and files narratives about what is valued.

We abandon our true essence for the shiny objects of money, power, the biggest and best anything, all for the purpose of fitting in and rising to the top (of what? I’m not sure.)  Are we leading ourselves? Sure. Some would argue that they made the choice to go for it all…all of the marbles, the brass ring as it were. At what cost, the marbles, the brass ring, the fitting in or rising above?

True love, freedom and peace are found deep with us. The shiny objects hold no sway when we know who we are and what is most important. Our service to others comes from a place within of love and acceptance. We offer our best, not our worst. What we offer is us – our trues selves – not a dressed up version that is driven by thoughts and shoulds.

My hope is that as the days, weeks and months unfold, we will see and honor our own fragility. This is the doorway into the most vulnerable places within. This is the place where our courage to be ourselves lives. It awaits our arrival. If and when we find our way home to ourselves, any outer acts of service – including non-violent activities on behalf of those who are not seen and whose voices are not heard – have the greatest chances to make a difference. The love in our hearts is the home for our growth, healing and evolution. The evolution of inclusion, acceptance and peace is within our grasp, I just feel it.

 

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.

– John F. Kennedy

the beauty of poetry

Dear Readers…

I hope this post finds you well, as you continue to navigate this period of time we are experiencing collectively. We are finding our way forward in different ways. For many of us, writing is one of the tools we have and use to walk gently through the days. Whether it is a deeply personal reflection in my journal, or a quote or quotes which inspire me to offer something in this space, I find comfort and solace in this creative process.

Some years ago, I found myself actually writing some poetry. When inspired words came through me and made their way to the end of my pen, I was often surprised by the bursts of words and phrases and the ways they flowed onto the page. As quickly as those poetry moments came, they seemed to dissipate. It would be easy to attribute that to a number of things, like life events and other distractions. What I know today is the inspiration which seemed to evaporate was more about the changes I was moving through within myself. I even found myself in a deep dark place within ( a dark night of the soul) – where I’ve spent many years of my life – and not feeling my connection to God or Spirit. No poetry, no meditation, no journaling…nothing was happening. I had no energy for any of it.

Among the many who write in these spaces is a poet whose words are inspiring and create opportunities for thoughtful reflection. Recently, she began hosting writing groups. I found myself drawn to the opportunities she announced on her site, flashlight batteries . I also found myself backing away from the opportunities, due in large part to my lack of confidence to bring forth anything meaningful in such a process. I am forever grateful to Alicia Grimshaw for her gentle leadership and support as small groups of us participated with her in the safe space we created together. I have found my inner poet…again.

I encourage you to have a look at her invitation (at the link in the previous paragraph), and consider what is in you that may be awaiting an opportunity to be expressed. This is truly a gift you can give yourself.

Below…one of the poems I wrote during one of our group meetings.

 

I wake in the night

to the sounds of the house;

creaking, cracking, startling.

 

I’m reminded of Presence –

the mystical, the grounded, the unknown.

 

My children appear in my minds eye;

their smiles, their joys, the uncertainty.

 

My heart aches for a moment;

their fears, their children, what they cannot know.

 

I listen…

To Spirit, the voices of love and compassion, peace.

 

The calm softly enters…

my breath, my heartbeat, gratitude.

 

Sleep…

 

what we cannot see

Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.

– Elizabeth Gilbert

It can be said, that some among us fear that which we cannot see.

It can also be said, that we often choose to turn away from that which we prefer to not know or see, as it might erupt something within us that we cannot know or see and…see the previous statement.

I feel it is fair to offer here, that in these last many days of staying at home, we’ve had opportunities –  if we chose to avail ourselves of them – to seek that deep place within us that we cannot see and perhaps feel or know is there. We are afraid to “go there”.

These are the times, and this is the call – the call to go there.

Fear shows up in our lives in so many places. The way we heal it depends largely upon our willingness to notice…to notice within ourselves the places (thoughts, beliefs) where we may be stuck. “If I acknowledge that this situation or condition exists outside of me, then I must consider that it exists within me.”

Our ability to hide from ourselves is well honed. It has been reinforced in all of our societal norms and experiences from the moment we took our first breath – from familial experiences and habits to religious training and experiences to individual experiences of pain and betrayal in relationships. We cover our wounds with beliefs and thoughts and stories, and then commit to never going back into that place ever again. Sadly, our fear of what we cannot see, or choose not to see, also holds our greatest opportunity for healing and thus living more fully and authentically, this precious life we have.

I continue to learn that contemplation and waiting, rather than pushing and “making things happen” is the path forward. When we are still, we hear. What we hear or become aware of in those moments, can provide the next steps in our healing journey while we simultaneously walk softly toward what is yet to unfold – one present and precious moment at a time.

When change winds swirl through our lives, they often call us to undertake a new passage of the spiritual journey: that of confronting the lost and counterfeit places within us and releasing our deeper, innermost self – our true selves. They call us to come home to ourselves, to become who we really are.

 – Sue Monk Kidd, from When the Heart Waits

 

The “change winds” have been blowing lately, wouldn’t you agree? I wonder what you are being called to undertake in your own personal journey…

 

With gratitude to Locos Photos.

 

 

 

how are you?

How are you? I really mean it. I would really like to know how you are.

Most times, we are asked how we are, and most of those who ask, don’t really want to hear a full answer. I do. When I ask, I really wish to know how someone is.

So…how are you? These are extremely unusual times we are living in. The opportunities before us are endless…even if we feel they are extremely limiting. Is that where you are?

Are you writing, reading, playing music, dancing? Are you alone or staying in with others?

I’ve been listening to podcasts, reading books, listening to music, getting out for a walk when the weather is nice. All of this creates space for me to contemplate, to meditate, pray and to listen, deeply.

How about you? What are you learning – about yourself, others, your community, our country, our planet?

What do you feel you need? What have you determined is no longer necessary in your life?

~ ~ ~ ~

If you have read a book, listened to a podcast or found some good music, You are welcome to share it here in the comments below.

I am considering posting a list of resources for all of you. You are welcome to make suggestions!

Everyone…please take good care of yourself and others. Know that your choices affect many.

 

upside down

Dear Readers…

I feel sure that many of you are watching the news…and are keeping a safe distance from it. A steady diet of it is not what any of us need.

This is a time when our ability to observe the world, our communities, and how the results of past decisions are affecting our collective ability to respond.

In the US, as we looked forward to some of the promised financial relief, it is abundantly clear today that it hasn’t even come close to addressing the ongoing and growing needs. We continue to fail those who need this assistance the most, while the big and wealthy continue to benefit. Indeed the upside down nature of our society continues to be exposed.

I will not list all of the systems which have failed us all, world-wide for many, many years. Wherever you live in the world, you likely see it. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to, as objectively as possible, consider what is happening, even as reported numbers of cases and deaths increase.

There are the unseen, the uncounted, and unsupported which will likely not make it into these numbers. The marginalization of so many for so long is right in front of us. How did we arrive at this point in our history? I will leave the answers for you to discern from where you are geographically and from within yourselves.

What many of us know is that activism can only be useful if it is born from a place of love deep within. Until and unless we have embraced the wholeness of who we are at our very core, our actions may be imbued with anger…which will not be useful in the long term. What I see as I look around is a lot of love. People are reaching out and helping others with love in their hearts.

I also see a lot of anger. What we resist persists. What we look at (or embrace as our reality) disappears.

Have I mentioned that words have power? Social distancing is a term that has an energy of separation. Yet, many are finding ways to be in touch  – or connected – to loved one, friends and colleagues. Physical distancing is what we are really doing. Social distancing is NOT.  Do you see this as a war? When we are at war, the energy of resistance is what we create and perpetuate.

Scientists are working with all of this as they test, analyze and seek ways to help us move forward safely. Working with any situation is how we move through and beyond it.

See the upside down nature of our societies?

Take a moment, if you will, in your mind’s eye, envision the following:

A tightly packed container, filled with marbles of many colors and sizes, with a lid holding the marbles in place.

The container is clear so you believe that it is fully transparent and you can see completely through it.

You believe that you see all there is to see. You therefore believe what you see and you quickly move on to whatever else it is you have to do.

And then the lid comes off and the marbles spill out. They roll everywhere – for that is the nature of beautiful, colorful and small, round spheres.

You see the marbles rolling around everywhere and suddenly you begin to see the many different marbles from within the center of the container that were not visible to you when you looked quickly before and thought you saw every one of them.

Some of the marbles are clear. Some have a small bit of color and are otherwise clear. Some are solid colored – you cannot see through them. And you begin to realize…they are all different. Many were not seen until the container was open and turned upside down.

What can we possibly take from this?

Here are a few observations. I encourage you to consider your own individual observations.

  • None of us is the same. All of us have different stories, experiences and needs.
  • What we thought was true, was not true.
  • What we thought we saw was not what was really there.
  • When they all fall out, do we discard some and not others in order to try to fit them all back into the container?

How can we address what is now spilled before our eyes? How can we put it all back together? Maybe we don’t spend any of our precious creative energy trying to force everything back to where it was before.

Maybe we see this as the breakdown…for a breakthrough.

I am additionally reminded of the Japanese art of, Kintsugi. What is broken is repaired in ways that make what is broken even more beautiful.

That is the opportunity we have now…in our upside down world. We can see what we did not see – or chose not to see – before. We may not know exactly how or what we will create going forward. We do know that what we create will not resemble what we had before. Don’t we?