Tag: humanity

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

A true self-portrait evolves and changes as we change and grow. Several years ago I created one and found it the other day. I decided to create a new one and see how it might be different.

Our lives are works of art that evolve as we change and grow. I’m so grateful for the adventures, both inner and outer, that have shaped my life.

What shapes your life?

Darkness Within

Darkness Within

It’s easy to see the darkness exposed in our country….politics, citizens, potential judges, appointees. So many protections and laws that make our country great are being rolled back…environmental protection, protection for children, families, women….there’s no need to list the many assaults on our way of life that appear to be happening to enrich a very small percentage of privileged individuals while the rest of us suffer. There is no denying or debating those facts.

The bothersome thing I’ve noticed is my own ability to hate. I wasn’t aware that the strong seeds of hate, planted when I was a child raised in the Deep South, were being watered by the injustices seen daily…and the hate was going out to the racists, fascists, the drunk white boys and men who get away with it, those who destroy the environment to line their pockets….the list is long so I’ll stop here and say how uncomfortable I am with the fact that how I was taught to hate by society as a child wasn’t healed completely so it’s rearing it’s very dark and ugly head.

And the truth is this….when I practice hate it fuels the evil happening to everything I hold dear. When we practice collective hate….against evil….it fuels the evil. Read that again….and then pause for a few moments.

Those of us that claim to be on a higher spiritual, moral and ethical path must examine our own hearts and keep shining the light of awareness into our darkness. How could anyone mock a woman brave enough to tell her story? How could anyone mock a physically challenged reporter? How could….how could….HOW COULD??? We RAGE! We cry out for justice. And friends….let’s be honest….we feel hate….against the haters.

We say this is a time of greater awakening, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius….a time where all will walk as brothers and sisters. And I submit this: Until we look within ourselves to examine our own hearts and minds for seeds of hatred, we are part of the problem.

I want clean air and water. I want grizzly bears to have protection. I want whales and dolphins to be protected from ship strikes and sonar tests and fishing line entanglements. I want children to be with their parents. I want non-biased, non-political supreme court justices. I want a leader that doesn’t embarrass our country with his venom and abhorrent comments on all manner of issues. I want lawmakers that care for our elderly and those that are less fortunate. I want us all to get along no matter our religion, color, or economic status.

All of those ‘wants’ are great but first I must look within myself and search not only for light, but for darkness. Don’t be afraid of the darkness….and don’t be afraid of the light….both are within. Which one will we choose to water?

Luka Bloom, Don’t Be Afraid of the Light


So….what do we do with the angst we feel? The frustration? The anger? Stay tuned….I’ll be sharing ideas soon about how to stay engaged with our best light and how to refrain from practicing hate. Put on your seatbelts….it’s gonna take us rooting out some old patterns and beliefs. Love to you all!

A Grieving Planet

A Grieving Planet

Tahlequah gave birth July 24 to a calf who only lived one half-hour. Since then, she has been carrying her baby for a week, refusing to let go. This grieving ritual is being witnessed by her pod….and the world. She’s become the focus of our collective grief that goes far beyond her baby’s death. Tahlequah is the matriarch leading us all in a planetary grief ritual.

J-Pod is starving. Not enough salmon. Orcas–endangered whales– this pod has become another reminder of the crisis in which we find ourselves.

Loggerhead Hatchling

Each of us is alive at this time to bear witness to this decline in global well-being of all life and health. Overpopulation of humans stretches resources to a breaking point coupled with reckless exploitation of fossil fuels and use of toxic chemicals…no need to review the many ways humans are failing our own life support system.

For too long we have viewed this sacred Earth as a resource to exploit. Surely we cannot be surprised at the rapid changes created by our careless behaviors.

Many of us feel helpless as we stand witness to an administration that values money and power with absolutely no regard to compassion and love–the very basic tenants of what the great masters have taught us. The empathic ones are especially suffering because we feel the intense suffering of many species, including humans.

So what can we do?

I suggest that instead of turning away from our pain and grief we join Tahlequah as she mourns. Shed tears for her loss, the loss of salmon that feed her pod, pollutants they carry in their bodies, health of humans in decline, separation of children from families, polar bears loss of vital hunting ice, penguins loss of snow, sea turtles and manatees dying of toxic red tide, out-of-control forest fires destroying many areas of the planet, plastic pollution….

Increase practices that help maintain balance….walks in nature, yoga, prayer, meditation, drumming, singing, dancing, creating art.

Join with others to strengthen these efforts. Connecting with others of like-mind and intention is a powerful antidote to the feeling of helplessness. For example, the drum circle that meets at my home has increased our meeting frequency to help us through this challenging time.

Stop watching the news and read it from a trusted source (such as NPR). Unplug from social media one day a week (or more). Refrain from practicing hate and stop giving your energy to those in power who thrive on attention…any kind of attention.

When you feel despair at the state of the world remember there are others who feel it, too. There are others whose hearts are breaking with sadness over Tahlequah’s loss and cry when they see an injured bird or a lost dog or cat. Or who mourn the loss of species, decline in ocean health….Reach out to others. Join together in compassion and love. Work together.

Celebrate beauty! Let us be mindful of this amazing, profound beauty still abounding even as species die and other landscapes crumble. Rejoicing in what is still beautiful cultivates appreciation that ripples outward from your heart and mind to others. Share beauty on social media and express it through art, writing, dancing, speaking…let us help each other remember.

Mostly importantly, please remember you are not alone in your grief and sadness…and outrage. As we cultivate unity and the qualities of compassion and love I suspect the shifts we have longed for will emerge. Every other way has failed….perhaps its time to give peace a chance*…. and love….and compassion. The reign of anger and hatred is over only when we choose something different.

*John Lennon….Give Peace a Chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance.

 

The Face of What’s Happening

The Face of What’s Happening

Do you dare look? Can you bear the grief? Sea turtle nearly decapitated by propeller. Children ripped from their parents. Whales dead full of plastic. This takes courage friends. To deny our grief is to make ourselves sick. The planet is suffering. All life is suffering. So what can we do?

The face of suffering is evident every day whether we watch the news or read it or listen on the radio. From every direction we are made aware of the destruction. Perhaps our natural inclination is to look away, but not because we don’t care. Perhaps, as Joanna Macy says, it’s because we don’t know what to do with our grief and we feel overwhelmed.

Last night I dreamed I was helping a sea turtle whose throat had been slit. This morning, on sea turtle nest patrol, I came upon a critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle whose neck had been nearly severed from an apparent propeller strike. Even in my dreams they reach out asking for help. And so today, I share this turtle’s story and use it to illustrate the bigger story happening in the world and with every one of us.

So how can we look upon the face of suffering and death and survive the grief? If you are paying attention, you are probably sad and maybe even depressed. And I’m guessing you feel grief. The answer is to feel it. Have the courage to look and feel the emotions and then allow them to move out of your beautiful heart into the world. Don’t be afraid of the grief and likewise, don’t be afraid of your own depth of caring, love and compassion.

I sat beside the turtle’s body after patrol was done. I sang her a song and thanked her for bringing such beauty into the world. The odor of rotting flesh covered my hands and the wind blew her death smell over me as I wept openly. Not just for her passing but for the opportunity to love. What an amazing time to be alive, when every person’s love and compassion is needed so very much.

Loggerhead Hatchling

If you think you can’t make a difference, or the pain of what’s happening is simply too much to bear, allow the strength of that which you love pour through you as grace. That’s what Joanna Macy reminded our on-line group last week. Breathe in the strength of the turtle species that have survived for so long and let that strength pour through as grace to move out through your heart into the world….or the whales….or children removed from parents….or whatever it is that you love deeply. Work with your grief and let it motivate you to love deeper and fuller.

And let me know if you want to work on this together. Thanks to training with Joanna years ago in a week-long retreat, I have some ideas as to how we can come together and stay sane as the chaos of uncertainty shakes us. Always happy to bring a group together to further more love, compassion and grace in this world. (Email Simone)

 

 

Enough

Enough

I wonder…do we withhold action fearing it won’t make a difference.

As children we form our own personal mythology based on interpretation of the world around us. Family, culture, society, churches, schools constantly demonstrate patterns of behavior, give clues about acceptance and expectations and how to fit into the norm. We take this information, form filters and create a story through which we live our lives.

Because we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, the signals and messages we see are not always healthy or based in compassion, love and support. But as kids, we don’t know this so we form our entire, magnificent life based on what we’ve seen, heard and experienced. This didn’t start with our parents, or even our grandparents. This is the human condition.

Perhaps there is no greater quest than to uncover the personal myth we have woven our lives around because that story informs every decision we make, how we see ourselves and how we see the world. But this isn’t an easy journey. This is the journey of unraveling, shedding our skins, taking off masks and finally coming face-to-face with the basic belief upon which we have choreographed our life.

During a recent and very unusual bout of respiratory crud, I checked out digital books from the library and did a lot of reading. One was by Alan Cohen, Enough Already, The Power of Radical Contentment. One chapter reached out to me and helped me answer decades-old, frustrating questions: What is my personal myth? What is my stumbling block? How do I hold myself back?

For as long as I can remember I have felt a deep-rooted sense of not being enough…that there was always something more to do, that my work wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t a good enough wife or partner, that I was a failure….even with beautiful photographs published, books circulating out in the world, positive efforts and giving of time, money and creativity. The thread that has nearly destroyed me is the core belief that I am never enough.

During my yoga practice this morning my mantra was, I am enough. As I held this intention and moved through the poses I realized that when I buy into the belief that I’m not enough I am literally fighting myself. Every effort I put out into the world has incredible resistance because of this personal myth that I created and have lived.

How often do we sabotage our lives because we believe we are lacking, not good enough, not smart enough or pretty enough or creative enough….and the list goes on and on and on.

What if we truly believed that we are enough. Not that we are perfect but that in the moment, at this exact moment, we are enough. I am enough. As I breathe that idea in, I feel joy…lightness of being…and my lips began to curl upward, into a smile.

Can we surrender the story we create about who we are? If we do there’s a good possibility we will find, at the foundation of our lives, a beautiful, sparkling person filled with everything necessary to be enough. Not to move mountains or shift the course of humanity or save all creatures and humans from pain….but simply to be enough.

I’m guessing that if we can find the freedom to be enough, our creative energies will flourish and our brilliance will shine through. Once we break through the self-created barriers there is no limit to our ability….to simply be enough.

The world needs us to be enough. Today I gift you with the mantra: I AM ENOUGH.