Lately it’s been this and that…

Refugee Forum

Refugee Forum

I will get back to the series I’ve been writing on “Peace Begins With You”.  But I’ve been kind of scattered and distracted lately…  not the best mode for putting together a coherent series…  I gather a lot of this is going around 🙂  But stuff is happening so I thought I’d put up one of my this and that type posts.

Vow to Love

I signed up for Karen Chrappa’s Vow to Love on line class and after the first video I’m excited to be participating.  Moved by current events, she’s calling us to a space of love through a series of guided meditations.  I found the first one powerful and am looking forward to watching the second, which I’ve not gotten to yet.  By following this link  you can still sign up.

Practice Change-up

A couple of weeks ago I suddenly felt drawn to do the long yoga nidra for the first time in quite a while.  Since it takes 45 minutes I thought I’d skip chanting practice.  Surprisingly after a long absence I stayed mindfully right with it and found myself in the lovely state of feeling one with spirit and detached from personality this practice induces for me.  I also felt a longing to sing the Gayatri when I finished.  So I sang the 9 minute chant.  I’d never done the chant after yoga nidra and I was blown away by how powerful the chant became when preceded by the meditation.

I felt so pulled back to the yoga nidra that I’ve done the short version several times since, sometimes with and sometimes without chanting after.  It was fun to see I’ve shifted enough that the short version, which I used to find far less satisfying than the long, now has quite a powerful impact on me.

I love changing it up with practices.  I love seeing how my experience of them changes as I change.  I love doing experiments with putting one thing after another and then switching that up to see how the order of doing impacts the energy and feeling of them.  Do you find the order in which you do practices changes the experience?

Shakin’ it up in this old red state

Lexington is actually a blue city in a red state, so while much of the country assumes we’re all right wing Christians down here, we actually have quite the community of liberal democrats — I think every friend I have here was for Bernie…

Last Saturday I went to a well-attended talk on Muslim Interfaith Dialog at which a charismatic local doctor of Iraqi heritage explained the Islam faith and talked about many of the false perceptions that have been propagated through the media.  I’d looked into this over the years so much of it wasn’t news to me, but I was very excited to be in a room full of people all open to listening and supporting.

Then last night I headed off to a forum on Refugees held at the enormous Christ Church Cathedral downtown.*  It was SRO, the speakers were excellent and the crowd was full of energy and enthusiasm for ending the ban.  I was moved by so much of it, but possibly the most moving thing to me was listening to our Chief of Police state his welcome to all who come to Lexington seeking refuge.

I’ve been wondering where the departments, forces, etc. with guns who ultimately enforce –or choose not to enforce — the law are standing on what’s going on.  To be honest I wouldn’t have predicted the police would side with the refugees and immigrants.  He was so absolute in his statement of support I was teary-eyed.

Right now I’m showing up for lots of things like this.  Sunday I have to choose between the first meeting of “Indivisible” here and a rally for refugees being held at the same time and across the street from one another…  I’m still fired up about being “for” instead of against and discovering I’m “for” a lot of stuff — just haven’t decided where to focus my energy.

As well as exploring my options about where I can help, the main thing I’m looking at is midterm elections in 2018 and how we get from here to a democratic or social democratic congress…  So far I haven’t bumped into a group to join for that…


*An ironic little side note:  my uncle’s wife’s father (all three long dead…) used to be organ-master for this Episcopal church, which led my dad (a child when this much-older brother got married) and some other family members to attend for some years.  I used to walk by on my way downtown from Grandma’s house with my best friend.  But last night was the first time I ever set foot in the church.

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Hope Gone Viral Challenge

Kentucky River by Hall's 0

I’m kind of late I think with this challenge.  When Ra posted about it (now I can’t find her post or I’d give you a link…) I noted it seemed a good idea but then didn’t get to it and then felt hesitant about my post idea since part of the challenge implies the post should be about someone else who’s done something positive.  But it also invites us to post about what excites us in 2017.

I’m very excited right now because something about the election and its unexpected (and for me unwelcome) results has sparked me.  I wrote a series of five posts about how to turn activism in a positive direction:

“Where energy flows” explores how the positive or negative direction of our attention impacts the world and outcomes.  “Be For” looks into activism in favor of what you want instead of against what you don’t.  “Doing” explores three general ways of “doing something” positive in the realm of activism.  “Collective Consciousness” is a discussion of the power of a group united in beliefs and action.  “The Silent Revolution” looks at the possible strength of the group Paul Ray has dubbed the Cultural Creatives.

I’m so excited and energized by the idea of creating a positive activism movement that I’ve decided to turn those posts into a handbook which will expand on those ideas and add some more nuances.  So that’s my hopeful plan for 2017!

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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 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.

 

A nice meditation for Collective Prayer Sunday

When I started down an unintended spiritual path with lots of 80’s New Age practices, I frequently listened to/practiced guided meditations.  Somewhere along the way I by and large wandered away from it.  Lately I’ve been in the mood for them again and most of my old stuff is in formats I can no longer play, so I’ve been dipping in to offerings on YouTube.

I’ve found a few things I like and have a growing list of more to try.  Yesterday — after midnight so technically during CPS — I found this one.  Not only did I enjoy it, but even though it started out as a personal thing, it wound up with lovely healing and praying for peace for the earth, so I thought it suited the idea of Collective Prayer Sunday very well.

Enjoy!

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.