Being a trailblazer

Last time I talked about a recent phone conversation that has been a big spark for thinking about this transition time I’ve been in.  The same discussion ignited a lengthy examination of my role in being one of the spiritual trailblazers who’ve been moving ahead of the curve.

It’s not how I would usually think of myself.  And even writing about this makes me realize there’s still a big issue to explore about wanting to always be humble and not take credit for anything “big”.  But I started seeing at least 10 or 12 years ago that some of my thinking about a lot of spiritual things and especially the application of spiritual principles in the world, was not in the same place as other people I knew or other people in general on a similar path.

At first, since I tend to be an outsider, I assumed I was just out of step — as usual.  But then one of the many quite psychic body-workers/healers with whom I’ve worked, commented on me being ahead of the curve on this.  Then, a little over two years ago I wrote about an amazing healing experience with Oshunnike, who made an even more pointed observation while she worked (and I was completely out of it and hadn’t said anything) that I am way out there ahead of where most people are in what I understand and the work I’ve been trying to do and it’s going to be hard for me for a while — and lonely.  She literally pulled this observation out of the air — 🙂 seemingly — as I’d not mentioned anything about this.  Two years ago and it’s still hard…

On the one hand it felt SO good to have this confirmation of feelings I’d barely acknowledged or allowed myself to note and on the other it was hard to accept the idea of me as a trailblazer.  But her words and that thought stayed with me and I’ve realized the truth of it more and more.  My reaction to the U.S. election last year and the aftermath have been bringing increasing clarity to how radically different my understanding is from the way most people see it or react to it.

I’m so grateful that I have friends who “get it” and I’ve been hoping to reach out more toward those who do.  Thus my gratitude is so enormous for having this great conversation show up — with a friend I rarely get to talk with at length — and for the wave of realizations it has brought.  Just having someone talking to me about it made me feel weepy.

Again, one of the things it has me contemplating is how I seem to have gathered a community here in the blogging world of people who get it — and I’m coming to understand it’s possibly the main reason I was drawn to do this.  So again, I’m interested to hear from you all about this trailblazer thing — your experience of being ahead of the curve on understanding how the world works and how far outside the mainstream understanding it is.

I’m wondering if there is some way we can support one another more than by just reading and commenting?  I’m sensing those of us in the advance troops could use some assistance in holding an energy space together, to join our energies in the forward movement to a new age.

What do you all think?

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Dungeon Prompts: Needing Some Inspiration

This week’s Dungeon Prompt:

When you’re feeling down or just need a push forward with your day, where do you look for inspiration?  What drives you, or keeps you smiling?  Or when you’re really down, what keeps you alive, and getting out of bed each morning?  You don’t have to write about a major presence or source of inspiration in your life, but can just tell us about one of the little things that elevate you in some way.

One of the best things about 30+ years of yoga and meditation, as well as a lot of emotional processing thrown in along the way, is that I rarely feel “really down” or depressed.  I DO however struggle with frustration over the long trek with physical ill-health as well as the normal ups and downs of life and have days when I really need to shift.

I have a whole toolkit of cures for what ails me emotionally and/or spiritually, with variations to suit different circumstances:

  1. I start every morning with waking up and aligning my chakras by visualizing the energy spinning in each one from root to crown as soon as I wake up.  It helps me start the day in balance and with more energy.  Then I mentally list a few “gratitudes”.  Some days that’s enough to set the tone all day.
  2. If I’m feeling logy because of the muscles interfering with sleep, I do either the 8 Key Breaths or Flying Crane Chi Gung or the 5 Tibetan Rites or a combination.  They not only balance energy and align the chakras, but open and build the flow of energy so I’m more energized as well as calm and in balance.
  3. If I’m feeling uneasy or anxious, I like to do Yoga Nidra or a series of chants.  My current favorite roster of chants is to say the lovingkindness chant for 10 minutes, then sing the Gayatri Mantra and Om Shanti.  After I practice Yoga Nidra or chanting I feel balanced, calmed and my heart is open and full.  Can’t be open-hearted and anxious at the same time.
  4. When my writing is feeling stuck, I do writing practices a la Natalie Goldberg. Get out a notebook and a pen, pick a topic (usually out of her suggested exercises in Writing Down the Bones or Wild Mind, set timer for 10-20 minutes and let fly.  It doesn’t work if I type, gotta sit down and write by hand.
  5. One of my almost daily practices is to spend some time sitting on our sun porch either with a laptop or a notebook, enjoying the sunniness and looking out into the garden as I work. It gives me a lift every time.
  6. In nice weather one of the best mood-boosters I have is to just go for a short walk someplace that inspires me.  Fortunately there’s a very nice park right behind the houses across the street, so it’s easy.  I also love going to Ashland, Henry Clay’s estate, to walk around on the grounds.  When I’m in Marin there’s a 1-1/2 mile walk in a loop around the hills where I house sit (and used to live) that puts me in a place of joy every time I walk it.
  7. For 2 or 3 years now I’ve been doing a daily e-mail check-in with a long-time (40+ years!) friend.  Each day we say (1) how we’re feeling, (2) what we intend to do that day, (3) three things we’re grateful for, and (4) anything that brought joy.  It really helps to stay mindful, keeps a focus on all the good that’s happening and most especially it is so helpful to have someone  with whom to check in about it all every day.  And I’m very grateful the internet allows us to do this in spite of 400 miles between 🙂

The biggest thing for me is realizing that if something feels “off” then energy is in some way out of balance.  The main focus for me is thus maintaining alignment and balance in my chakras, my energy, my body.  When it’s all open and aligned, it’s just about impossible to feel down (which is not to say that it alleviates personal grief or shock but it does help to keep those things from overwhelming life).

Most of the time I try to rotate among a number of these practices enough to hold a place of equilibrium without having to stop and do one of them to get back on track.  But getting off track is pretty easy; as long as I can stay tuned in enough to realize I need to do something and then to “feel” which practice would serve, being “really down” is an infrequent to nonexistent feeling for me.

Dungeon Prompts: Where the Wild Things Are

Flushing Park

This week’s Dungeon Prompt:

This week’s prompt is:  Where the Wild Things are.

Tell us all about one of the more wilder things you’ve done in your life that looks a little out of place when put up next to the rest of your life’s journey.  Or take it in another direction and tell us about your monsters, or demons.

For most of my life I’ve been pretty inhibited and very conscious of “good behavior” so I’m afraid there’s not much in the way of a wild story to tell. I would say my demons or monsters have largely been internal…  Well, there was that one boss but I think I’ll just let that story go 🙂

I think the most dramatic moment in the process of realizing how much I’ve stood in my own way came in 1990.  It was the year of my 20th high school reunion.  I didn’t go but one of the organizers collected updates from much of the class into a small “book” and we could buy a copy.  After getting mine I decided that I needed to visit, something I’d not done since my parents moved away in 1980.

In downtown Flushing MI

High school was a miserable time for me and I spent graduation day grinning with glee and giddy because I would soon get to leave.  I blamed the town and the school and a bunch of people in the school for my misery.  Over the years my anger and contempt never dimmed.

By 1990, though, I’d been meditating and exploring my psyche for 5 years and when I looked at the book full of the lives of my classmates I felt a shift begin.  So I booked a B&B in a nearby small town and took myself back to Flushing, MI.  I wandered familiar places.  Drove into Flint–having not been back since GM pulled out, a shocking view of decline.  And hour by hour I realized Flushing is a really lovely, really nice little town.

I breathed it in.  I cried.  I grieved for the good times I could have had if only I’d gotten out of my own way.  I remembered the kindnesses of the many nice kids with whom I went to school.  I acknowledged that some of the snotty, mean kids really were snotty and mean 🙂  And I didn’t have to take their mean remarks personally.

And I had good friends there, a couple of whom are still in my life.  As well as a larger group of girls who always invited me to the slumber parties and birthday parties.  I felt so miserable and “outside” I couldn’t perceive the degree to which I’d been included.  And I could see it was my own neurotic introversion that left me dateless and the wallflower who was never invited to a school dance.  Not one.

When I saw clearly how much I’d been the author of my own misery, I felt the whole history change.  My journey through my own roster of demons and monsters turned out to be in early stages at that point but I think that journey home opened a vista for me, revealing how much it changes everything when you change how you think and feel about it.

About 12 years ago I suggested a trip back to my home town to my mother, who was beginning to have trouble negotiating sight-seeing type trips.  She still had quite a number of good friends left in the area and I thought it would be a good idea to visit while we could still see them.

She reluctantly agreed and I led the way, feeling like this was mostly me doing it for her.  But we both had such a good time that we’ve been back every year since (till this one; Mom is not in such good shape to travel…).  The change in perspective I made so long ago served well to let me see and enjoy with new eyes.  And I treasure every visit we’ve made.

I’ve since worked at sorting through my long list of negative beliefs (still a work in progress) and beside my own childhood issues, discovered some demons bestowed upon me by ancestors and past lives.  Every moment of seeing and letting go opens a place of light and transforms my world.

In the meantime, the spiritual teachings I’ve followed have led me to believe there are never monsters “out there”.  Whatever I see that seems wrong or off in a situation or in someone else is there because of something in me.  So now I ask what I hold in me that creates a vision of monsters in the world.  And then I say the ho’oponopono prayer.

Waking up: time to change perception

With increasing certainty I’m seeing how deeply most of us are captured by a set of widely-held beliefs and how hard it is to step outside the frame to see any other world view as true.  I’m feeling strongly now is the time to open to other truths and to be willing to hold our ground while standing outside the normal thinking.

Our perceptions of how violent the world is, how high the chances of being a crime victim, our sense of terrorism in the world and more are shaped by the stories the media and our leaders have perpetuated.  It’s ingrained in us that the world operates according to these accepted stories but if you let yourself open to other stories you will see other truths exist and are ignored.

I’ve previously written about my personal experience with studying crime statistics in graduate school.  Details are in the previous post so for now let’s just say the statistics on probability of victimhood have remained the same for decades — stretching back to at least early 20th century USA; no more chance in the 60’s or 70’s or now of being the victim of any of the major crimes* than in the 30’s or 40’s.  You know, back when people didn’t lock their doors and weren’t afraid of crime.

I tell people about this often and I see them startle and then brush it off and return to the now-ingrained perception that crime is getting worse all the time.  Just a small shift from reporting probabilities to reporting gross numbers (which of course go up as the population grows) combined with the rise of a national media and a fascination for bad news changed our perception from one of safety to one of fear.  Perception of truth changed.  What was actually happening changed not at all.

I come back to this often since I know the data so well and it has been a touchstone for me in awareness of how our beliefs can be shaped by which facts those in power choose to present.  I’m not saying journalists are evil manipulators.  I think they’re immersed in the same belief system, so what they see is shaped by the same forces and then the folks they work for are encouraging the parade of horror stories because it sells better.  And law enforcement has every reason to encourage the mis-perception because it garners them bigger budgets.

Armed with that knowledge and greatly helped by the Internet I’ve been able to see the same thing happens on many fronts.  Take, for instance, the widespread hysteria over terrorism.  Check out the graph below and note the probability of being a victim of a terrorist attack.

Chance of Death Graph

Graphically displayed you can see the widespread fear of being a victim of terrorist violence is so far out of proportion to the likelihood as to be ludicrous.

People should be feeling terrified of heart disease and dieting and exercising to save themselves.  But the media doesn’t fan the flames of fear about heart disease, they prefer the giant drama of terrorist attacks.  [For more info on these probabilities, see this article.]  It’s time for us to stop being mesmerized by false perceptions fostered by the media and government and really see what merits our fears and what is unworthy of our awareness.

If you turn your attention in the other direction and actively look for stories of nonviolence, you will see there are groups and individuals creating nonviolent movements and performing nonviolent acts all around the world.  It just doesn’t make the mainstream news.

This video in which Julia Bacha discusses the price of focusing on violence instead of nonviolence is well worth the ten or so minutes it takes to watch.

 

When I started searching for positive news to share every day (see post) I started turning off the hypnotic suggestions winding constantly through my brain and stepping into a new sense of the world.  I don’t have to sit around envisioning an imaginary world full of good people doing good things in some mystical future.  I see a world full of good people doing good things right here, right now.

Many things came together for me at once.  The sorry result of the U.S. election led me to institute lovingkindness practice.  A sense in my personal journey that it was time to stop eradicating issues and start creating the next phase led to positive guided meditations, etc.  Distress over the negative views on FB led to searching every day for good news.  After some months I realized the persistent change of my focus awakened a new, deep-seated view of the propensity for goodness being enacted every day in all parts of the world.

As I pointed out in another post, the constant doom and gloom about the environment can be seen from an uplifting view — backed by a great deal of science — that changes are already happening which, if current progress continues, will reverse global warming.

The web now allows us (see links at bottom) to see every-day acts of kindness, movements to help the environment, to create peace, etc.**  Mainstream media choose to focus on 5% of what’s happening and we the people encourage them by buying the parade of horrors over the good news.

We can make the choice to put our attention on the 95% who are doing good or are at least benign.  We can stop supporting the parade of horrors.  It’s up to us to create the change.  It’s time to snap out of the hypnotic fascination with mainstream news and views and open our eyes to other truths.

The problem is I’m also reading about changing people’s minds and have read many research articles informing me it’s not so easy.  Once people have made up their minds about a belief — regardless of it’s truth — they really don’t want to change it.  Ra of Rarasaur put up the cutest and most fun version of this info, a cartoon/info post on The Oatmeal.  The upshot is I’m all fired up about changing perspective and stepping outside the currently accepted assumptions about the state of the world and I don’t know what to do to help.

I know most of my readers are already here on this.  I’m a little bit hoping for some help in spreading the word.  But even more I”m hoping for ideas of what we who are awake can do to help change enough peoples’ perception to create a new paradigm.  For supporting one another in stepping outside the depressing views so widely held and holding firm in the stance that other, more powerful, truths are out there and growing stronger.  If the majority actually paid attention to this alternate reality, the world would change.


*Unless you’re a black or brown male between the ages of 15 and 25 and living in an inner city.  Those chances of being murdered are way up.

**Three places to find good news:

J2P Turning to Peaceful Activism

 

The plan when you last heard from me was to write a J2P post exploring the current thrall of the media and healing and that’s still coming but I’ve been sidetracking into explorations of the many movements going on these days.  I’m paying a lot of attention to the trend in many groups and among democrats, to define themselves by what they’re against and to speak constantly in terms of battles, fights, resistance, etc.

Some of these groups even talk about nonviolence while throwing out these violent words and I always wonder if they know ANYTHING about the traditions from which the notion of nonviolence came.  Americans, in particular, seem to believe nonviolence refers only to actions.  But in Hinduism and Buddhism, nonviolence refers to every level, including speech and thoughts.

When I receive notifications from “peace” groups and groups working for change that are filled with battle language and nasty slurs against the opposition, I feel my muscles tighten and my energy dim.  Their words of violence are painful to me and I’m convinced, whether everyone feels it as acutely as I do or not, such words hurt everyone who hears them.

I’m not saying we need to be in denial about what’s happening, nor am I saying we can’t get angry.  But the anger is only useful if we then mindfully turn it to compassion and doing something constructive.  Something that furthers progress on what we’re FOR.

There are some brilliant ideas starting to float around out there for ways to address what’s happening without violence.  I would like to see a combo of my two favorites, which are:  (1) setting up a fundraiser wherever the alt-right/neonazis are planning to march and taking donations based on either the number who show up or the distance they march and giving the money to a group that works against neo nazis or to the NAACP or SPLC or ACLU, etc. and (2) send tons of people dressed as clowns and armed with white flour and white flowers to throw every time the nazis yell “white power”.

Why not do both???  Or think outside the box some more and think of something even more brilliant???  (BTW scroll on down from the two videos for some links to great info on nonviolent activism.

And some resources on sacred activism:

 

J2P: Finding the Peaceful Space

Ever since the troubling U.S. election results in November, I’ve been on a mission to find and hold the space of peace.  I’d been heading toward a directional shift in my personal journey, a shift from searching out issues and beliefs to release to affirming the life I wish to live, including a lot of practice directed to holding a loving heart space and being peace.  It’s taken me a while to realize how the external political events helped me to solidify my new direction.  And how the new direction has changed my reaction to the external events…

The first several months after the election I kept to a regular metta (lovingkindness) practice along with singing the Gayatri Mantra and Om Shanti.  Suddenly all kinds of materials about self love and finding peace began coming my way.  Among several gifts I accepted was a free Louise Hay book which led me work through lessons involving her mirror work;  I originally encountered it 30 years or more ago but didn’t do it.

I actually felt this was probably the first time I was ready for the work and in a position to really feel its impacts.  Not a big fireworks kind of impact after 30+ years of seeking, releasing, transforming, etc., but a quiet shift into a more positive space and a warmer relationship with myself.   I got another book on mirror work and plan to do those practices too.

A Patricia Cota-Robles video called to me and for something like 7 months I’ve played it as I go to sleep.  The message feels powerful to me and expresses exactly the affirmations for our times that I want to live and propagate.  Falling asleep to such a powerful message has been influencing my thinking and my reactions.  I also was fortunate to have a chance to see Patricia at an appearance here in Kentucky; the power of a whole group gathered in the name of love and peace felt amazing.

A Steve Nobel meditation on YouTube tapped me on the shoulder a number of times this summer and I’ve been slotting it into my various  practices at least once a week since.  Energetically I always feel a huge impact; one of the many things for which I can’t name a “real world” effect with a direct link but it feels amazing and as if it’s shifting me on an energetic level.

I first ran into the Solfeggio frequencies a couple of years ago but only recently looked more deeply into the story of these ancient tones that were trimmed from the annals of organized religion.  Lots of recordings are available on Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube (I’m sure elsewhere, but those are the three I use) and I’ve been playing the tones for several hours a day for a while now.  It’s another place where I can feel an energetic impact and can’t tell you if or what the precise effect on everyday life may be.

Perhaps the most important piece for me came from Facebook and my distress at the barrage of negative and mean-spirited posts flooding my “wall” for the first few months after the election.  Initially I passed along some informational pieces as well, but as I grew more calm I felt I wanted a different tone altogether.

I began searching among the daily posts and then searching elsewhere on the web for positive news every day and passing along evidence of the many great things that are happening in the world if only we choose to look at them instead of being mesmerized by the negative.

Slowly I’ve been realizing this collection of peaceful and peace-loving activities has been moving me into a space where I can look at something outrageous #45 has done or at a piece bemoaning the probable end of the world and feel… nothing.  Not numb.  Not in denial.  Just no longer moved by it.

When a friend thanked me for the positive tone I’ve been keeping on FB, I suddenly realized how happy it has been making me to seek out and pass along the news that speaks of a world full of amazing people doing amazing things every day.  The total impact of all the ways in which I’ve been holding my focus on lovingkindness, peace and positive news has been to shift me.  I now live in a place where I believe we are moving to the good and you can’t sway me from it.

No way to tell which of the many things I’ve been up to has had an impact but I like to thing the whole collection of practices and focusing on good news have combined to move me into this new place of calm certainty.

I believe much of what is happening is just part of the shift into a new world of compassion and peace.  I believe in the essential goodness of humanity and in holding a vibrational space that helps to lift everyone into love and compassion.  Where are you choosing to look?  What space are you choosing to hold?

Next J2P post will explore healing whatever parts of us are held in thrall by negativity.

 

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J2P Monday: Compassion, resistance and supporting each other

It’s been a long time since I put up a #Journey2Peace Monday post and I’ve been feeling it’s time for one lately.  Nearly seven months into the so-called Presidency of #45, I’m still struggling sometimes to find peace.  But I’m finding and holding a space of peace more and more.

Along with it I carry a sense of optimism and a growing feeling that a better world is arising from what seems like chaos now.  I’ll be doing some more blogs with ho’oponopono/healing suggestions soon.  In the meantime I have a couple of ideas and I’m looking for input.

A while back I got one of the strongest messages from spirit I’ve had in a long time. A message that my purpose right now is not so much teaching what I know to people who are newer to the path, but to hold a space and help those who share my views on compassionate activism and lovingkindness, etc.  I know a lot of like-minded people–both through this blog and among many long-time friends–who are struggling as well but truly desire to live a life of compassion and lovingkindness.

After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to float two ideas.  One is to create a weekly or monthly blog post on topics that support living a life of peace and compassion and/or that point to positive things happening in the world.  This post would also open the floor for commentary from anyone seeking support in the journey to peace and from anyone with words of wisdom to share; it could also be a day when any of you can write a post on the topic and link.

I also have an idea floating around about starting a private Facebook group/page wherein we can all speak safely about whatever our doubts, worries, fears and tensions are and also share our optimism, practices that help, etc.  I was getting ready to do something like it for a small group of healers here in the Bluegrass to which I belong but I’ve been feeling it should expand to include this blogging community.

Barbara Franken, of Me, My Magnificent Self, has started an open Facebook group called New Earth Community that’s about support in this time of change:  a “sacred, quiet and safe space in which to birth the new YOU and new life you wish to experience on New Earth.”  My idea definitely overlaps, but I more specifically am aiming for a safe space in which we can support one another in holding our spiritual ideals of compassion and lovingkindness in the face of political turmoil.  So you can join both and get lots of support on many endeavors!!!

There are a bunch of folks who have been liking and commenting on my posts for a long time and whose blogs I’ve been reading and commenting upon as well — and many of you follow one another.  You know who you are.  Once I get the page together, anyone from this blogging group who asks will get an invitation to the private group (those of you with whom I’m already connected on Facebook will receive an invitation there– probably whether you ask or not 🙂 ).  Anyone who’s newer around here can ask to join after you’ve done some commenting and by leaving your blog’s URL.

Right now, what I’m interested in is commentary from this community about

  1. the regular supportive post idea
  2. the Facebook group idea
  3. what you could use or would like to see in terms of support in these times

Thanks in advance everybody!

PS.  Since I’m not in love with figuring out how to do stuff like the FB page, I might be slow.   Foot dragging… Procrastinating…