Still Chanting: the ups and downs…

English: Peace, Love and Increase

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a little tired and out of sorts so thought I’d just give a short update on my progress with lovingkindness chants, etc.  Sometimes it feels to me as if lots of people expect practices to serve as magic wands that will sweep you into a permanent state of peace or bliss.

I find it a bit more up and down and back and forth.  For me practices are a way to generally hold a calmer space but also the tools for pulling myself back to being calm and centered when life’s bumpy road knocks me to other states of being.  Doing practices doesn’t take the bumps out of that road or stop me from having varying moods.

Over all I’ve calmed down quite a bit since I started my lovingkindness practice (metta).  I’ve also changed it up.  When I began I was doing 10 minutes for me, 10 minutes for Trump and 10 minutes for America.  Soon I switched out the last 10 minutes of metta for singing the Gayatri Mantra and/or Om Shanti.  Just felt pulled to be doing singing chants too, so I chose two that are used for peace.

I’ve also been working on Deepak and Oprah’s latest 21 day meditation since before the election (I’m behind…).  And “just happens” to be the perfect topic for this quest for finding peace in these troubling times.  Which of all these practices get done on a given day is variable.

I’m very up and down though.  There’s so much angry stuff being spewed, I find myself pulled into the anger.  The extreme anxiety and upset stomach initially subsided for maybe half a day each time I chanted but for the first days came back.  That has leveled out now and I’m back to spending my days calm with only short moments of losing my center.

My emotions still shift.  I’ve cried while chanting or felt waves of nausea.  For the first time ever I burst into tears while singing the Gayatri (this chant previously has just opened my heart, not touched into deep issues) and for a few minutes couldn’t stop.  The other day Mark Bialczak asked readers to comment on their wishes for Trump.  The first and only thought that jumped into my head:  “fatal heart attack”…

Apparently I’m going to be chanting for a long, long time…  Because that’s not who I want to be and I’m going to chant until I find the connection.

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The Great Divide Part 2: Economy

English: Workers inside the South Brisbane But...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I ruminated about the impact of education on the big division in this country.  The other arena in which I’m pondering options for narrowing the gap is economic.  A huge portion of those who supported Trump are people who’ve been left behind by the job market.

They often seem to blame immigrants and/or Americans of a different color than theirs for taking their jobs.  I, on the other hand, see three main causes: (1) automation replacing jobs; (2) companies seeking lower employee payrolls moving operations to other countries and (3) the tsunami of technology and its shift of jobs into arenas requiring skills most laid-off workers don’t possess.

We don’t have to agree on the cause to agree it’s scary and horrible to lose your job and to have nothing on the horizon to replace it.  Democrats have talked about doing something but haven’t produced.  Republicans don’t even talk about programs to help (anyone ever?).  Deporting a bunch of immigrants isn’t going to change the economic realities.

Companies who are saving money with automation aren’t going to bring back a work force.  Nor are the ones who’ve moved factories to places with cheap labor forces going to come back to pay the high wages required here.  And nothing is going to stop technology’s relentless growth and change and the degree to which it has become the heart of the marketplace.  [Changing the entrenched corporate greed, a topic for another day…  or possibly after a revolution???]

So it seems to me it’s time to figure something out for the workers who have been left behind.  I’ve seen the opinion we can help their children (presumably by training for tech jobs) but there’s nothing to do for the 40-60 year-olds who have neither jobs nor the skills to move to the technology sector.  Surely in a nation as great as this we can do better than that.

It’s not my area of expertise, so I’m not sure what could happen, but surely there are people with ideas who could devise plans, projects, programs, possibilities???  How can we reach out?  Bridge this gap?

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The great divide Part 1: Education

Children in a kindergarten classroom in France

Children in a kindergarten classroom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I’ve been thinking over the current situation a couple of things have been jumping out for me about the great divide in this country. The first is about education and all the voting demographics I’ve seen that put the majority of college educated people in one camp and the majority of those with high school level or less in the other.

Which has me pondering education in general, here and in the world.  Ruminating about the “educate women” movement which has been building force for some years now.  It’s aimed at countries where lots of people — particularly women — don’t have access to any education, so the situation is a little different.

But the studies supporting the “educate women” idea show that when women are educated in a society, the tendency to extremist views that exclude portions of the population, give rise to xenophobia or lead to militancy and/or genocide, …, etc. is reduced.

Now most people in this country have access to some amount of education, but we’ve been sliding downward in the world and the schools in poorer areas are generally underfunded and competing even less well.  And it seems different levels of education are producing a big gap in views of inclusiveness versus exclusiveness, etc.  Some of the same kinds of issues being addressed by the programs for educating women elsewhere seem to exist here too.

So the thing that’s been spinning around in my head is:  why are we willing to donate millions of dollars for charitable programs to educate women in other countries, but in this country instead of helping everyone achieve a better education, I just see people calling the under-educated “stupid” and dismissing them???

No wonder so many people feel disenfranchised.  With a lower level of education and a dissimilar cultural experience, they understand the world in different ways and are written off for it.  I don’t really see anyone on the political horizon who’s interested in working on education as a means of bridging the divide.

Maybe it’s a place for new ideas.  Thinking outside the box.  Since the new administration is planning on cutting funds for education, the answer needs to come from outside the government as the public school system will probably get worse.  Anybody have some great proposals to equalize the education playing field?  An educate-the-girls foundation to launch?  A partnership to propose to the Gates Foundation?

Any ideas about healing the great divide instead of widening the gap?  Instead of getting mad how about getting to work on some new plans?

J2P Finding love instead of hate

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

English: White peace dove. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s reached a point in all the fallout following the election when I’m having trouble deciding whether I’m more perturbed by the bigoted, racist, misogynists who voted for Trump or the supposedly spiritual and kinder Democrats I know who are spewing hatred just as steadily.

I’ll admit, right up front, in spite of years of trying to be a person who holds only a space of lovingkindness, I considered Trump one of the most disgusting and despicable people on the planet YEARS before he decided to run for President, so this election has challenged me right in the center of the divide between who I want to be and who I too often still am.

But I truly believe there’s no such thing as righteous hatred.  There’s either loving or hating.  Vicious attacks on those who hold different viewpoints are just vicious and hateful regardless of how sincerely you believe your viewpoint is right and the other is wrong.  And hate just begets more hate.  If hating isn’t okay, then there’s no group or individual it’s okay to hate.  Hating haters just makes you a hater too.

I believe in one web of all life.  The web pulsates to whatever we all feed into it.  If there are more people feeding hate than love, then wars and torture and discrimination and crimes against humanity expand and grow stronger.  When enough people hold compassion and love in their hearts, the web can finally hold love strongly enough for it to rule.

I also believe thoughts of hatred have energy and power and go out into the world.  If you send hate to the President-elect, an energy of hatred permeates his life and his being.  How do you imagine that translates into decision- and policy-making?  Is more bigotry, racism, and misogyny what you want to fuel?  Do you want to see how much bigger his tantrums can be when millions are sending the energy of hate to surround him every minute of every day?

I propose love is the answer.  I propose sending healing and love.  I propose finding forgiveness in our hearts and holding a space of peace and compassion no matter what.  I propose we fill the web with so much love the whole world is bathed in it and changed by it.

SOME HEALING SUGGESTIONS

  • If you know how to do long distance Reiki, send Reiki
  • Use this Huna healing technique.  Sit comfortably and close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths and center.  Visualize a screen and see Trump or the KKK or whatever political figure or appointee you think needs healing (or whichever one(s) your heart needs to heal about) on the screen.  Use your inner awareness to see where healing is needed and direct healing to that place.  You might see energy moving there, you might see one color and feel a need to change it to another, you might hear a sound and change it, you might feel a vibration and the need to shift it, you might breathe into it.  If you do any kind of healing with your hands, you might imagine directing that energy.  Your inner voice will know what to do, just follow it.  Continue until you feel you have done all you can.  Repeat this exercise as necessary.
  • Check out my post from a few days ago and use the lovingkindness chant to heal your heart and send love.
  • Discover in yourself the source of every bit of fear and anger you feel and use the ho’oponopono prayer to heal it.  To do this, name each fear or incident or origin of anger and say:  I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you

Note:  I’ve written often about using ho’oponopono, including many examples of examining an issue to find the components to heal.  Click the Journey2Peace tab above and meander through the posts.

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J2P: Women’s Issues and Healing

Suffragette (women's rights movement) Emmeline...

Suffragette (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the arenas in which I have been really disturbed by Trump and the voters of America is the subject of women and women’s rights.

I feel like he’s made it quite clear he thinks it’s perfectly all right for men to grope and molest and sexually harass women any time they want.  And that makes me feel anyone who voted for him was basically saying they favor that.

I know young women today are for some reason turned off to the women’s movement and that bugs me (which I’ve discussed here) but I don’t think they get how bad it was or how recently.

HOW IT WAS

You see I am old enough that when I had my first jobs, there were no sexual harassment laws.  It was perfectly acceptable for a man to follow you into a supply closet or an alcove and grab your butt or your breast.  And they did it often and casually.  In those days if a woman spoke up about it, the man didn’t get fired, SHE did.  It’s because of feminists that we are protected by sexual harassment laws.

I was date raped in college.  In those days you didn’t dare tell anyone because the assumption was that you were a slut, it was somehow your fault and you would be shamed — not him.  It was because of feminists that rape started being handled with sensitivity to victims.

Once, upon leaving a fund raising event at a church, a young drunk guy who happened by ran up to me as I walked alone to my car and grabbed my breast.  I got away from him and flagged down a cop.  When the police came to interview me later, the male cop in the duo thought it was hysterically funny that I thought anything was wrong about being assaulted on the street.

When I was heading off to college all of us girls were being told we could be nurses or teachers and of course we’d only do that for a few years till we got married and had families.  We were among the first women who gained the freedom to work at every kind of job and to choose whether we wanted to marry or not.  We broke down doors and opened career paths women had never been able to choose before.  Feminists did that.

Our mothers were by and large married to men who not only didn’t want them to work but thought of them as lesser beings whose opinions didn’t matter.  Not long before, in my grandmother’s generation, women who brought property to a marriage had no control over it once the knot was tied–my grandfather even had the gall to leave her fortune in a trust when he died so she still had no power over it.

My generation of women were the first whose husbands “let them work” and opened the way for the many modern marriages in which husbands support their wives’ careers and work with them on finding equal footing in the marriage.  Women now can have their own credit cards and property.  Feminists brought these changes about.

Donald Trump’s commentary about women says to me he’d like to see a return to the way things were when I was young.  You know, when it was acceptable to grope women any time any place, when women were assumed to have caused their own rapes, when women weren’t thought to be capable of holding their own in the work force and husbands controlled the money.

When I look at the election votes, to me it seems nearly 60 million Americans are saying they think it would be fine to take us back to that.  I don’t see how anyone could vote for him without on some level consenting to returning women to the dark ages.

WHAT I CAN HEAL

As you can see, I’m pretty pissed off… at Trump, at those who voted for him and at younger generations who think feminism is irrelevant to them.  And that’s alternating with being teary and upset at the idea of going back to being humiliated and objectified as the younger version of me was.  And I know if I’m ticked at other people or sad about other people, there are issues at play that are mine.

There are things to heal in me.  Because everything I see in the world reflects what is in me.  And what’s in me I can choose to explore and heal.

In this situation I find myself asking:

  • How have I let the Divine Feminine in me down?
  • How am I failing to stand strong in my own being?
  • What have I still not healed from past sexual harassment and assault?
  • What’s the real source of fearing/attracting harassment and assault?
  • Is there something I want to have recognized or recognize within myself about my place in the women’s movement?
  • How do I not honor my femininity?

As I explore there may be more.  Sometimes it helps to name it.  Sometimes it can just be healed…

THE HEALING

You know I like to use ho’oponopono, which I’ve discussed in many posts, starting here.  But healing can happen in many ways.  You might do Reiki on yourself, you might see a therapist, you might go to a healer or forge a new path…  It doesn’t really matter which way you choose, just heal.

For me, I see a number of ho’oponopono prayers here:

  • For every way in which I fail to honor the feminine in me, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • If I am suppressing my own strength or power, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • If I still hold on to wounds or resentments about past harassment or assaults, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For anything in me that magnetizes abusers/abuse, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • If I am upset with others because I crave recognition, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For any way in which I fail to honor my femininity, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you

No one else has the power to make me angry or hurt me unless I grant that power.  Whatever I see out there arises from what is in me and I can heal myself.

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J2P Peace Begins with Me

I admit it, I was stunned when I checked in on the election results late in the returns and realized Trump was going to win.  My stomach clenched, I had trouble sleeping, I spent much of the day in a state of dazed denial.

There are a number of aspects of this I’ll be working through and I’m sure I’ll post along the way.  But today for me was just a process of pulling back from the clenching and upset and getting my center back.

After thoroughly loving Elizabeth Lesser’s latest book, Marrow, I’m now reading and loving her earlier book, Broken Open.  In one of those moments the Universe synchronizes so well, I picked it up to read for a while after climbing into bed last night and I opened to a section in which she talked about a day when she was terribly upset about environmental issues.  The upset led to learning she can see an issue, be upset by it, and choose to die to it.  Perfect.

I can be upset by this and choose to die to it.  Put in those terms it doesn’t resonate for me quite the way I gather it does for her, but it was a starting place — and I try always to take note when the Universe plops an answer right into my lap.  So I fell uneasily asleep telling myself I was dying to this issue.  To me it means letting it go, accepting “what is” and moving on to a new space where my heart has expanded and includes more in its love.

I absolutely believe if I’m seeing problems “out there” or “in them” that throw me into fear or anger or any strong reaction, I know I’m looking at something in me.  And if it’s in me I can heal it.  But today I knew before I could get to the healing I needed to just settle down and find a way back to calm and some ability to be compassionate.

I decided it’s time for the lovingkindness chant.  But first I rode my exercise bike.  I knew I needed to work off some of the extra angst and exercise always help take tension down a few notches.  I also like the bike for the regular motion and rhythm because it helps to bring me back to circulating stuck energy and regular breaths.

Quieted down enough after my ride to feel I could sit and focus, I moved on to the chant–the version I use is from Jack Kornfield’s Path With Heart.  First 10 minutes for myself:

  • I am filled with lovingkindness
  • I am well
  • I am peaceful and at ease
  • I am happy

Like many practices, if something in me stands in the way of the energy of the chant, it tends to rise up.  Sometimes it might be incidents that unfold over a few days or weeks, bringing me face to face with whatever needs healing, but this time I immediately felt the disbelief and discontent pushing back against the chant.  After a few minutes I wept and chanted, chanted and wept.  And then the peace moved in and my heart started warming as I continued repeating those words I love.

Next up I chanted 10 minutes for Trump.  I began it as an affirmation, the way I said it for myself.  Something in me instantly began to fight and I started crying again.  I realized I needed to chant it to the more prayerful form in which it is usually spoken:

  • May Trump be filled with lovingkindness
  • May  he be well
  • May he be peaceful and at ease
  • May he be happy

The change shifted it for me — I could say it as a prayer for him but I couldn’t say it as if it already were true.  With the shift I settled in and moved deeper.  I could feel my heart expand and I realized saying the chant for someone, while it may or may not also help that person, is something to do for your own peace, to clear your own heart.

I finished with 10 minutes of chanting for America.

  • May America be filled with lovingkindness
  • May she be well
  • May she be peaceful and at ease
  • May she be happy

I’m still a little dazed and uneasy but I’m also in a more peaceful place.  Back in 2002, in the lead up to the Iraq war, it took a little over a week of daily chanting for Bush before I broke through into a place of feeling the oneness.  I figure it will take time again.

So I plan to chant every day.  Because the only person whose peacefulness I can control or change is me.  Peace begins with me.  It also begins with you.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with each of us.

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J2P Monday: Compassion, Politics… Peace

United States flag with peace sign canton

United States flag with peace sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a little early with Tuesday’s NaBloPoMo post but I wanted to make it a J2P Monday post and to get it up ahead of the U.S. elections.  In the run-up to the election I posted a challenge a couple of times, asking people to delve within and heal in themselves everything that upset them about these elections.

Now I want to just raise some thoughts about compassion and this process.  Because what’s more disturbing to me than the vitriol in the candidates is the apparent lack of compassion and empathy among ordinary people ranged on both sides.

While I totally disagree with Trump, I understand that many of his supporters feel they’ve been left behind, excluded from the economy, disenfranchised…  I don’t agree with many of their conclusions about how these problems have arisen or what the answers are.  But I’ve been around long enough to know that the answers I stand by could just as easily be disproved next year; in other words, I am not God and I feel there’s a great deal of hubris in assuming my assessments are correct and those who disagree are stupid.

And whether I agree or not, I feel for their sense of disenfranchisement.  I know it feels bad to feel left out and disregarded.  I feel compassion for their pain.  I hear a comment that makes me mad and drift away from my neutral space and compassion; it’s work to keep moving back there.  For me that’s just part of the path I’m walking.

I know it’s not everyone’s path, but it concerns me that so few people seem to have any place in their hearts for anyone who fails to share their views.  In the streams on social media and in the news I don’t get the sense that supporters of either candidate have an iota of empathy or fellow feeling about the people on the other side.

This growing inability to empathize with the feelings of people whose views are different is one of the biggest obstacles I can see to peace.  If we can’t learn to feel compassion for people whose opinions don’t reflect our own how can we ever expect to reach a place of peace on earth?

It starts with me.  It starts with you.  When you open your heart enough to feel the pain of “the other” you take a first step.  When you heal within yourself whatever keeps you from perceiving with the eyes of love and compassion, that’s a big step.  Are you willing to step toward peace?

November blogging so far

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In case the title didn’t tip it off, yup, this is totally a filler post.  Even set it up ahead of time and had to come back to put the links in.  But, hey, it counts right?

The first posts for NanoPoblano/NaBloPoMo went up on the other blogs.

For Scribblings, there’s a Share Your World challenge and then a Weekly Photo Challenge post.

On the Wizard101 blog I whined about how long and tiresome the upper level worlds are…  If you don’t play the game I’m sure it’ll be riveting anyway

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NaBloPoMo/NanoPoblano time again

Okay, we’ve hit that time once more.  November.  The month of crazy writing challenges, whether it’s 50,000 words of a novel or blogging every day or churning out poetry…  Every time I thought about the blogging challenge in October I put off making a decision (I gave up on the novel one several years ago and I don’t write poetry).

When I saw the posts this last week about signing up to be part of Ra’s NanoPoblano group again, I hesitated.  But I finally decided to jump in for the third time.  Or at least start the month with that intention 😕

Same as the last two years, I’m saying I’ll post on at least one of the three blogs every day.  There will probably be more on the other two than here.  The Scribblings blog is where I post some easy challenges, recipes, and photo posts, all of which are simpler to churn out on a regular basis.  And on the Wizard101 blog I try to post at least a couple a week since it’s the primary platform for selling my guide to the game.

Some days I’ll probably post links here to the pieces I’ve done on the other blogs.  I’m kind of a night owl, so sometimes the post for the day will go up before midnight on the night before, sometimes after.  In other words this will be a drifting and floating month, with posts popping up on different blogs and the date for each may or may not be on the day for which the post is intended.  Got all that 🙂 ???

Whew.  Opening day, done.  Okay, here we go…….

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