Being Peace: Where’s Your Focus

Louise Hay Affirmation

People keep telling me how bad the world is, how depressing, violent, etc.  And I keep trying to tell everyone it really is NOT.  For some time now I’ve been actively seeking positive news (see previous post) and, in doing so, have discovered the world is full of amazing and wonderful people accomplishing amazing and wonderful things every day!  It really comes down to a choice we all make about where we put our focus.  And why.

Governments and mainstream media have their own reasons for focusing on negative stories.  The fear they create justifies big budgets for police and military, the media keep people stirred up and it sells more of their product(s).  Because society has accepted these views and continues to support those who foment them, the negativity just continues.

I’ve embedded this video several times now because I feel it’s such an important message (and it’s only 10 minutes). She’s exploring the impact of having all attention on negative news and suppressing the multitudes of stories of people working for peace, helping the environment, making scientific breakthroughs, etc.  The negativity keeps people divided, which only helps those in power to keep their power and to keep the rest of us dis-empowered, poor, struggling…

Even among people I know who are deeply spiritual and well aware of the power of positivity, there are those who are caught in a cycle of doom and gloom about the current state of the world.  One thing I’ve learned in many years of seeking is this:  when people are stuck on an issue like that, whether personal or political or affecting all humanity, somewhere in them is an issue fueling their negative focus.

I’m putting several positive stories a day on Facebook, so many of the folks who are staying negative have an opportunity each day to look in a different direction.  But they don’t.  Why choose to focus on bad news and refuse to notice the good?

So I’m thinking these days about questions like:

  • what are you getting from holding onto this fear/anger?
  • what do you believe about life or the world that holds you in this place and when did that belief begin?
  • what can be done to heal the negative thinking patterns and/or shift them into positive ones?

As you know, I’ve been using ho’oponopono to explore issues for a long time.  When the bad news starts to “get” me, I begin asking questions like the above and I start working with the prayer:

  • For every way in which I hold negative patterns, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For every unresolved issue in me fueling anger and fear, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For every part of me which sees an “other” who is separate and unlikeable/unloveable, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.
  • For my failures at living in compassion and love and being peace, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.

Another way to help change negative thinking is to use affirmations.  I like to create a few which I keep repeating every time I catch my thoughts on certain tracks (this changes over time, so it means creating new ones…) and I also play a lot of recordings of affirmations in the background.

I’ve created a long tape of affirmation recordings from Dick Sutphen which is on Spotify, Steve Nobel has lots of affirmations recordings on YouTube and it’s easy to create a list.  Hay House has offered some nice affirmations recordings from Louise Hay for free.  There are millions more options.

Sometimes the deep issues creating negativity require help from a therapist or pursuing a process like Fisher Hoffman or Choices or the Diamond Heart work of H. Almaas.  While clearing issues isn’t exactly fun work, the relief and freedom that flow from releasing old stuff is so immense, so lightening, so transformational, it winds up feeling great!

Every time one of us clears old negative thinking and offers positive energy into the web, the world inches closer to peace, a healthy environment, and compassion.  The more you heal, the easier it is to stay drawn to the positive and good.  It’s time to empower the peacemakers, the inventors of answers, the compassion holders instead of the corrupt and hateful.

I know most of my regular readers already get this.  But I bet most of you know people who are caught up in the angst of these times, so please pass along the notion that looking at the positive or the negative is a CHOICE.

A few posts from the past about positive thinking (and check out the Journey to Peace tab above):

Dungeon Prompts: Utopia

I was so surprised and pleased to see a Dungeon Prompt in my Reader (I’ve been a bit behind so I missed the first one) after Sreejit took a long hiatus.

This week’s prompt:

We all have a different idea of what the best possible world would look like. People are wholly interested in different things and have different ideas of what a good life would entail. Our religion, politics, and ethics are constantly at odds with others. But forget all of this for a moment and tell us all what your particular idea of utopia looks like. What is your best possible world?

I’m not sure how deep my answer can be as I’ve long puzzled over what utopia would really be.  When I was younger and read Thomas More’s Utopia and other such explorations, I always thought the worlds they created seemed kind of like the Stepford Wives.  You know, uniform in a creepy way.  And I’ve never figured out how to create a “perfect” world without imposing dictatorial sameness on everyone.

A world filled with compassion and lovingkindness would be my primary goal.  A world full of people with open hearts and absolute kindness toward all life.  How to get there…  a whole other question…

After reaching compassion, I actually think diversity in every way about everything is a good thing.  I think much of what makes the world amazing is different cultures, different traditions, different walks of life.  Just takes learning how to celebrate our differences instead of fighting about them.  Easy, huh?

I think Denmark has done a wonderful job of creating economic safety without demanding that everyone have exactly the same amount, so I’m inclined to favor some sort of Universal Income and Universal Healthcare and other safety nets that mean everyone maintains a certain level of comfort.  Having watched the failures of many attempts at communism, always accompanied by cruel and tyrannical imposition of authoritarian dictates, I’m skeptical about complete and exact economic equality as a goal.  So my utopian world involves no one in poverty or dire straits, everyone comfortable, and beyond that many levels of income.  It feels like that allows more freedom for people to have varied interests and values.

A key element of my utopia would be a world population with great care and concern for the environment, in which every country, every city, every family has adopted the best practices of sustainability, conservation, etc. possible.  And to me that would include going back to the 1980’s goal of zero population growth, which is needed as much as it ever was, though not spoken about any more.

All levels of government would operate from a space of lovingkindness and compassion.  No decisions would ever be made from a mental space, from an angry place or out of fear.  Politicians would meditate and move together into heart chakra before ever voting on anything.  I really believe if everyone made every decision from the heart instead of the head, we would all take care of one another, we would all be kind and loving and peace would reign.

And that begins with me.  That begins with you.  Each heart opening and filling with compassion, one heart at a time.

J2P Monday: Peace and politics

English: Peace, Love and Increase

English: Peace, Love and Increase (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I posted a challenge for this U.S. political season a while back–with practice possibilities for people everywhere.  As we grow closer to the election and the vitriol grows ever worse, I find myself struggling to hold a space of love and compassion and I see the angst rising everywhere.  Even though it’s a bit late to call this a Monday post (hey, I’m still up… 🙂 ), I wanted to copy that post in, edit a bit and challenge everyone to find the peace within:

Every political season (does it ever end now?) for some years has felt a little ornerier and more contentious than the last.  This time around I’m struggling to hold my space of peace in the face of the vitriol I run into every time I look at Facebook or turn on the TV.

Whatever your political persuasion, you do not contribute to peace by ridiculing, vilifying or angrily condemning the folks on the other side.  And I get it.  I struggle to keep hatred at bay when I contemplate Donald Trump.  But as I look at the countless ugly remarks, snotty commentaries and general malevolence toward him I wonder if anyone stops to think about how hatred and malevolence destroy peace.  Same thing in the other direction.  If you’re lobbing hate bombs at Hilary how can you possibly be holding a space of peace?

Every time I think those angry thoughts or see one of those snotty posts, if I direct those kinds of barbs and jokes at him, I have to ask myself how am I then any different than him?  When I behave as badly as he does, I am basically being him.  More crucially, when I aim those arrows, I am not staying conscious of the one true thing:  I AM HIM AND HE IS ME.

I really like Deepak Chopra’s analysis of Donald Trump as being the representative of the Shadow.  And his reminder that failure to face the shadow within us is always present when the Hitlers, Idi Amins, Joseph McCarthys and Trumps of the world step up and carry us into darkness.  For me the key point of this reminder is the knowledge to which I always return:  the only heart I can change is mine.

Anyone or anything I see outside of me and feel is bad or wrong or disturbing reflects something in me.  So if I’m not happy with Trump (or substitute whatever candidate you abhor), then what aspects of him are in me?  What am I not facing?

  • What do I fear so greatly in the world?  If I see him as coming from fear and working on creating fear, where is the fear in me that I’m not seeing?
  • How poor is my self-esteem if I see him as lacking it?
  • In what ways am I as hateful as I perceive him being?
  • How am I “dumb” to the realities of life going on around me?
  • How and when do I share fear instead of love?

Anything I can see in me I can heal.  As I’ve noted many times, I love using the Ho’opono pono prayer for healing.

  • For every way in which I allow fear to displace love and peace, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For every hateful thought I harbor for anyone, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For seeing anyone ever as “other”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For any way in which I lack enough faith to know in all ways every day all is well, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • If there is anything within me that blocks me from “being peace”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you

CHALLENGE:

Yep, I haven’t issued a challenge for a long time, but here’s one I challenge you to do throughout this political season in the U.S. or, if you live in a place where no election is looming until you feel at peace with it:

  1. No matter who you favor and who you don’t among the candidates [if you’re not in an election cycle make it a politician you dislike], every time you catch yourself thinking with fear, animosity, or hatred about any candidate, stop and create a list of things that upset or disturb you about that candidate.
  2. Go deep within and ask yourself where within you does each thing on the list exist?  What are the fears that create the anger?  What’s going on with your faith?
  3. Do whatever healing practice you wish, whether it’s saying the ho’onopono pono prayer or doing Reiki or following a guided meditation for healing or???, about everything you discover within you.  And keep doing it until you can look at all the candidates and only feel peace.

J2P Monday: Peace and Politics

English: Peace Symbol at a school in Germany. ...

Symbol at a school in Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every political season (does it ever end now?) for some years has felt a little ornerier and more contentious than the last.  This time around I’m struggling to hold my space of peace in the face of the vitriol I run into every time I look at Facebook or turn on the TV.

Whatever your political persuasion, you do not contribute to peace by ridiculing, vilifying or angrily condemning the folks on the other side.  And I get it.  I struggle to keep hatred at bay when I contemplate Donald Trump.  But as I look at the countless ugly remarks, snotty commentaries and general malevolence toward him I wonder if anyone stops to think about how hatred and malevolence destroy peace.

Every time I think those angry thoughts or see one of those snotty posts, if I direct those kinds of barbs and jokes at him, I have to ask myself how am I then any different than him?  When I behave as badly as he does, I am basically being him.  More crucially, when I aim those arrows, I am not staying conscious of the one true thing:  I AM HIM AND HE IS ME.

I really like Deepak Chopra’s analysis of Donald Trump as being the representative of the Shadow.  And his reminder that failure to face the shadow within us is always present when the Hitlers, Idi Amins, Joseph McCarthys and Trumps of the world step up and carry us into darkness.  For me the key point of this reminder is the knowledge to which I always return:  the only heart I can change is mine.

Anyone or anything I see outside of me and feel is bad or wrong or disturbing reflects something in me.  So if I’m not happy with Trump (or substitute whatever candidate you abhor), then what aspects of him are in me?  What am I not facing?

  • What do I fear so greatly in the world?  If I see him as coming from fear and working on creating fear, where is the fear in me that I’m not seeing?
  • How poor is my self-esteem if I see him as lacking it?
  • In what ways am I as hateful as I perceive him being?
  • How am I “dumb” to the realities of life going on around me?
  • How and when do I share fear instead of love?

Anything I can see in me I can heal.  As I’ve noted many times, I love using the Ho’opono pono prayer for healing.

  • For every way in which I allow fear to displace love and peace, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For every hateful thought I harbor for anyone, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For seeing anyone ever as “other”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For any way in which I lack enough faith to know in all ways every day all is well, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • If there is anything within me that blocks me from “being peace”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you

CHALLENGE:

Yep, I haven’t issued a challenge for a long time, but here’s one I challenge you to do throughout this political season in the U.S. or, if you live in a place where no election is looming until you feel at peace with it:

  1. No matter who you favor and who you don’t among the candidates [if you’re not in an election cycle make it a politician you dislike], every time you catch yourself thinking with fear, animosity, or hatred about any candidate, stop and create a list of things that upset or disturb you about that candidate.
  2. Go deep within and ask yourself where within you does each thing on the list exist?  What are the fears that create the anger?  What’s going on with your faith?
  3. Do whatever healing practice you wish, whether it’s saying the ho’onopono pono prayer or doing Reiki or following a guided meditation for healing or???, about everything you discover within you.  And keep doing it until you can look at all the candidates and only feel peace.

 

Marin reflections: the up side 1

I realized this week that if you only read the few posts I made in Marin and since I got home (starting here), it sounds as if I had a bad vacation.  In fact, I had a lovely time and several things contributed.  I’ve struggled to write this as all one post and finally decided it will instead consist of two or more parts.

This first piece fits the Journey2Peace series and I think also Ra’s latest B4Peace challenge (scroll way down to reach challenge), which, in short is to write about a habit which doesn’t cultivate peace and what you do to step aside and work on peace instead.

I’ve had travel anxiety since childhood.  Mostly about flying.  My mother and I used to fly to Kentucky for a longer summer visit than my father could manage and as soon as I was old enough to hear about a plane crash, I was afraid.  My parents both tended toward stress and anxiety around travel, so any form of travel tended to be permeated with tension and unease.

In recent years, as air travel has become an increasingly troublesome process, from the long distances to airports to the need to arrive so early to the tedious and often annoying security process…   For me travel has become so fraught with difficulty and anxiety that I often question whether I really want to do it any more.

When I noticed this constant anxiety several years back, I started creating and repeating affirmations ahead of time along the lines of “whenever I travel my journey goes smoothly and easily.”  Oddly, it didn’t stop me from being anxious, but it DID quite clearly create much smoother sailing through airports and plane rides, etc.

As I prepared for the house sit in Marin from which I’ve just returned, I felt more anxious than usual.  As I considered this, I added to my list of “travel dislikes” that it seemed to me airline and airport personnel have become increasingly rude and unfriendly and part of what I dread is being snapped at all day long.  So I created another affirmation or two about kind and helpful people on my journeys.

I set off for the airport more anxious than usual– literally shaking from head to toe — but experienced an easy journey.  Including that all the security people here in Lexington — usually a cranky bunch who work hard at making it worse to get through security here than most airports I ever go through) — were smiling and lovely (possibly taken over by happy face aliens???).

Even the one who insisted on squeezing my clipped-back hair was quite gentle and apologetic.  [Someday I want someone to tell me what you could possibly hide in your hair or a silk neck scarf that couldn’t be picked up by those machines you pass through that can read your underwear???]

In spite of affirmations the return trip didn’t go so well and I spent an unscheduled night in the Chicago area and wound up switched to another airline.  Unlike American, which I usually fly, United had no one around to help me with the boarding pass phase of things and I bumbled my way through without really knowing what I was doing.

They didn’t have security streamlined as well as most of my recent flights, so it took nearly 40 minutes in line just to get up to the person who looks at your boarding pass and passport.  Who informed me the pile of print-out stuff I handed her didn’t include a boarding pass.

When I stammered, “do you mean I have to go back out and go through this line again?”, another security person stepped up and said, “no, I’ll take you.”  She walked me back to the front, got the pass, and walked me back to the head of the line, chatting amiably all the way.  Bless her kindly heart!

Even the guy in Lexington who made me come back to the airport to pick up my own delayed luggage was quite friendly.

Normally all these issues, from security through cancelled flights and bags not delivered would have left me foaming at the mouth, possibly stomping around, and locked in melodrama.  Years of meditation, emotional release work and spiritual practices have calmed that down.

And for once, what I remember the most is the good stuff.  The acts of kindness outweigh the problems in my memory of my journey.

And I have to say, even though my affirmations don’t seem — so far — to have ended the anxiety I feel, they have changed so much about the experience of travel; every trip has seemed to flow far more smoothly than my usual unhappy experiences.  My reactions to it all have changed so greatly as well, I’m beginning to “expect” good stuff to happen.

I think the practices, releasing and affirmations can all shift your experience of anything you tend to be anxious about, so I recommend working on both the exercises that calm your “self” in general and also on writing affirmations about smooth sailing in circumstances about which you  worry.

J2P Monday: About Unwinding Muscles

I decided to take a little break from using ho’oponopono for healing and instead to bring up an issue from my healing journey that I think also relates to peace.

Few people in the western world make it very far past early childhood these days without developing tight, tense muscles.  Often emotions and issues not dealt with are stuffed into those tight holding patterns  The longer such patterns go without being healed, the more  the patterns spread over the whole body and the more deeply rooted the unacknowledged issues become.

When muscles are tight the knots and twists squeeze the nerves, blood vessels and nadis.  Then blood, oxygen and prana are unable to flow freely, which impacts physical, emotional and spiritual health.  Only when the flow is free can your body experience fully vibrant health and connection to high levels of consciousness.

Hatha yoga developed out of the knowledge that energy must flow freely throughout the body in order to find connection to higher consciousness and to be the Divinely loving being each of us came here to be.  Modern yoga practice in the west often seems to forget that the point of the asanas was not so much physical fitness as energy fitness — opening the nadis (energy pathways through which prana flows) and balancing the chakras.

When muscles have become really tight or have intertwined with others into tight patterns, restoring health is, in part, a process of unwinding.  The muscles can open mainly (but not exclusively) from:

  • certain types of exercise, like yoga or the triggers of release work I do
  • certain types of body work
  • emotional release.

Sometimes a couple of these things happen together.

Often there’s a release in a muscle at the time someone is working on you or when you let go of some emotion but it’s just the first opening.  The initial release creates some space and the muscles release more over the next few days.

I first experienced the phenomenon when the bone in my left lower leg straightened 25 or so years ago.  The bone was twisted from birth, which meant a lot of muscles were pulled out of place.  By the time of the healing, I’d had decades for those muscles to pull on other muscles which then pulled on others; there were issues all over my body that all came from the original twisted leg.

When the bone moved back into place, all the connected muscles suddenly had some freedom and were also being pulled in a new direction.  It unleashed an unwinding process that would begin at my left foot and move, section by section up into my neck and then start back down.  For months afterward I experienced these releases, the muscles yanking and jerking and causing involuntary movements all the way up and down.

So I was reasonably prepared when, after many other varieties of body work, I came to CranioSacral work.  It’s quite typical in this therapy for a release to occur in the appointment — one you may not even feel on the table — and then to have many big releases starting the next day and possibly for several days thereafter.

In fact, it was CranioSacral work that opened enough stuff in my head about 13 years ago to start the unwinding process that continued on its own until now (when the last throes are finally working their way out).  Once I was years in, friends occasionally would ask if I knew of this happening to other people.  It was unusual enough that some practitioners didn’t believe me when I tried to tell them about the unwinding muscles in my head.

Though I’ve known a few people who’ve experienced a lot of unwinding in their muscles, I’ve only found one other who’s experienced the years-long process I’ve been going through.  So, after a recent question about whether this is common, I started hunting on line.  I discovered there’s now a type of bodywork centered around unwinding, which seems to be based in part on working to further the kind of opening created by CranioSacral and Body Patterning.

Even in the modalities in which it’s normal to set off unwinding of knots in muscles the conversations are usually about days and sometimes weeks or as much as a few months.  I’ve not found anything that discusses a decade plus of unwinding, so I think it’s unusual enough I doubt you have to worry about setting something off that goes on as long as my process.

Unwinding can be uncomfortable or even painful.  But when muscles unwind, the process frees the nadis, circulatory system and nerves in  your body and allows energy and oxygen to flow freely.  Huge amounts of energy become tied up in holding those patterns, leaving you tired and listless and the opening restores your stamina.

If you want to be peace, to live from the place of peace, you need to have a healthy body in which vital force energy (prana or chi) can move freely.  Practitioners often don’t discuss — or in many cases seem to know about — unwinding and how it can go on for some time or that it may hurt or be annoying.

When you start healing and/or releasing issues or your body, you should be aware there’s a chance you will unleash some sort of unwinding.  Personally, I enjoy it for the most part (when I’m not whining about it 🙂 ) because I know it’s leading to the healthy body and healthy flow of energy I desire.  I recommend embracing the discomfort and feeling gratitude for the healing it represents.  It’s part of the path to PEACE.

J2P Monday: Healing Religious Rifts

English: White peace dove in the air with wing...

White peace dove (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ra, over at Rarasaur, has decided to restart the Bloggers 4 Peace, issuing a challenge each month that invites us to write a post about some topic relating to peace.  This month she’s suggested that we write about healing.  Since I’ve been writing about the healing prayer of ho’oponopono and applying it to multiple situations relating to both inner and outer peace, it seemed the perfect occasion to return to my theme.

I’ve had this post in mind for a while but hesitated because it may be controversial.  However, I want to work on healing this issue in me and it always helps me focus when I write these posts, so here goes…

I live in a state where the primary political and religious views are not in sync with mine.  While most of my friends here are of the same mind as me, at election times I particularly am confronted with the views that prevail here.  It’s always a good moment to face a deep-seated place in me where peace does not dwell.

I watch the campaign ads in outrage.  And this time I watched our now-governor proclaim his Christianity all over the place.  And then I watched him proclaim he would not allow any Middle Eastern refugees into the state … before he was even sworn in.  And my fury erupted all over the place:

  • Do “those people” ever read the part of the Bible Jesus is actually in?
  • How can you possibly read Jesus’ teachings and then in His name condemn fellow humans?
  • Do “those people” not recall when Jesus said,

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  Matthew 25:40

My interpretation of that quote is Jesus believed all of humanity were/are His brothers and sisters.  So if you turn your back on a human in need, you turn your back on Christ.

Though in the west we like to depict Christ as a pale white guy, He was born in the Middle East and probably had brown skin and He was a Jew.  So you can be pretty sure he wasn’t saying, “Don’t turn your back on my white Christian brothers but it’s okay to turn your back on everybody else…”  Do “those people” realize that in His time there was no such thing as Christianity?

Of course, as soon as I’m talking about “those people” I’m creating an us and a them and thereby contributing to divisiveness and hatred and the forces that keep the world in violence and chaos.  I can’t heal the problem for the world, but I can explore and heal the problem in me.

When I look at “those people”, I see:

  • frightened people who interpret religious beliefs from their place of fear
  • selfish people who would save themselves first and everyone else be damned
  • people who are hateful and mean-spirited
  • people full of issues they don’t want to face, preferring to blame others for all problems instead of taking responsibility
  • people who don’t pay attention to or understand the teachings of the One they claim to love

What I see in them is always a reflection of something in me.  What is in me I can heal.  And you know I believe that a world in which enough people are healing themselves is a world on the way to peace.  So,

  • For every way in which I allow fear to guide my thoughts and actions, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For all selfish thoughts and deeds I commit, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For all ways in which I am hateful, mean, unkind or lacking compassion toward others, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For every issue I bury in my unconscious instead of facing it, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For blaming others instead of myself about anything, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For misinterpreting or misunderstanding spiritual concepts but believing I’m right, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For seeing the world as having an “us” and a “them” in which I separate “those people” as other, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For holding fury, anger and hatred in my being, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For judging others about anything ever, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you

May the world be filled with lovingkindness

May it be well

May it be peaceful and at ease

May it be happy