Monday, October 30, 2017

The Balance of Light and Dark

I recently heard a radio show (David Franklin Farkas' The Farkas Files) where his guest Papa Coyote talked about needing to have the balance of light and dark. This past Saturday I was working a psychic fair and had a conversation with a vendor about something. He also talked about the need for the balance between dark and light. I knew from the context of both conversations that they were both talking about good and evil. But is good and evil really the essential balance of light and dark. Or is this something else entirely? Is the necessary balance of light and dark actually about the dark, fecund void out of which everything was birthed, while light is the creative force that took the fecund energy and created the universe?

It strikes me that, if the balance of light and dark is really this deep, creative action (which might actually be continually creating life and love, and in the process keeping the universe going), then maybe we don't always have to have evil to balance the good. Then the good/evil balance is not what is the creative force of the universe, is not what keeps things flowing, moving. Maybe we don't have to submit with resignation that evil must exist.

Destruction does exist in the light/dark balance. Kali is a prime example of this balance. She is the creator and the destroyer, the birther and the bringer of death. But, somehow, I don't see evil in Kali, or the Kali metaphor if you prefer to look at her that way. Kali is life in the fullest, from beginning to end. Things arise and they die away. This just is. It is neither good nor evil.

This doesn't mean that good and evil don't exist. They do. I'm just coming to think that they are not at the heart, the essence of all things. 

Both images are from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Language Matters

Sometime I think we need to remind ourselves (and I include myself in this we) that language matters, that what we name things, what we call each other matters. What we say and the words that we choose to say it matters. 

I'm sure that it's no surprise by now that I am not a fan of the current administration or the Republican Party; however, I am not a fan of the language that the progressives and the Democrats use either. I sometimes email some group back asking them to change the language that they use. Where is the insight, the compassion in the dialogue (or rather the lack of dialogue) that's going on these days?


I believe that it is a Buddhist precept to ask 3 things before we speak (and I'm sure I fail at this frequently): Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? It may be true but not kind. Then you should only say it if it's necessary as I understand this precept. If it's not true, well then don't say it. 

I receive far too many political emails to read all of them. And, the ones I do read quite frequently use rude language, especially the daily email that gives links to writing about current events. I feel that what is written can be said without calling the other side unkind names. I want to change the dialogue but am not certain how to do that, except occasionally, as I said, emailing back and asking they change their language. 


I also think that changing the language can be an act of compassion for ourselves. It might dial down the anger and frustration that can harm us as well as those around us. I'm not saying we shouldn't speak out and act on our beliefs. But, maybe changing how we speak and write can help us find the things that we have in common with the "Other." Maybe we can give ourselves some breathing room to see clearly without knee jerk reactions.

Anyone want to join me in the movement to change the language? Anyone have a clue how to do this? 

The first picture is by Soner Eker and was found on unsplash.com. The second and third images are from my book, Opening the Heart: Mediations on How to Be (here).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Even Though We Might Fail

I was flipping through Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic, looking for inspiration this morning for today's post. I have a lot of little post-its throughout the book, and I happened to flip to the one marking her discussion of fierce trust. She says on page 258: 

"Fierce trust demands that yo put forth the work anyhow, because fierce trust knows that the outcome does not matter.

The outcome cannot matter."

To distill the essence of what she says next, I would say that she is talking about doing no matter what because it is the doing, the creation that is what it is important to focus on. Because if we focus on the outcome we might give up. I suppose another way to say this is to keep moving, keep acting no matter what. Because, while sitting and breathing is useful, it is as important to act. 

Interestingly, on page 259, Gilbert asks not what would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail, but what would you do even if you knew you would? Sometimes we gain a lot of insight by changing perspective or turning things around. True, she is writing about the creative life, which most people think of as art, writing, music, dance, and the like. But she is also talking about living your life itself in a creative way. 

I would say the indigenous people of Ecuador who sued to the government to prevent the sale of oil and gas leases on their lands (and won) were operating on fierce trust and living creatively. As are the indigenous peoples in other parts of South America who are working to protect the forest around their homes, and in doing so, have found ways to partner with North Americans and Europeans to do this. (See John Perkins' book, Shapeshifter, for example.) The Native Americans gathered at Standing Rock and lost, but haven't given up. They haven't given up for 500 years.

The suffragettes who imagined being able to vote acted even though they might fail - and they did over and over until they didn't. Martin Luther King acted with fierce trust and vision. Fierce trust, though, is called for in individual lives as well as movements. Someone who changes jobs or occupations can be acting through fierce trust, even though the change might bring failure. Someone who moves across country or falls in love does the same.

Fierce trust is moving on down the road. Acting even though we might fail is moving down the road. Whether it's working at a business, at our art, finding healing for ourselves or others, it's all about continuing to move on down the road. I confess that I often don't see the end of the road. I do have a current worry about the possible slashing of Medicare and Social Security as having both of these has made a difference in my financial life. I am, however, attempting to cultivate a fierce trust that I will be fine. So, I keep moving forward even though I might fail. 

The first photograph is by Jungwoo Hong. The second is an image from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be. The third is by Kyle Glenn. The first and third photographs were found on unsplash.com





Monday, October 9, 2017

Laughter is the Second Best Weapon

Radical hope is a primary and necessary weapon to move through times of fear and distress, along with practicing radical ambiguity and radical persistence. These three can help us move through tough times. 

However, I think laughter is right behind radical hope as a weapon. Life is dull without laughter, without fun. I blogged about laughter previously (here), but thought it might be good to remind myself and hopefully others about what good medicine laughter is. 

In fact, I have decided to lift part of that blog and quote it here again. It is a message from my angels and guides: 

"Laughter is an antidote to fear and anger. It, in fact, may be the best antidote to fear and anger. Fear and anger want to be taken very seriously, but if you laugh they have no ability to attach themselves to you. It is not that you should not take the times seriously. And it is not that you should not take mindful, heartful action, but rather that you should clear out fear and anger from your energy field and your being with laughter. Then you can see, feel and send out love and compassion rather than fear and anger. Love and compassion are the tools to the deepest transformation."

(I also wrote about this in an article for Off the Cuff ezine. I recommend this magazine to you. You can find it here.)

Today, my angels and guides had this to say: 

"Laughter is what is required at times like these. Laughter drives the dark of doubt away. Keep laughing no matter what."



The first photograph is by Leong Lok. The second photograph is by Nathan Anderson. Both were found on unsplash.com

Monday, October 2, 2017

Enoughness

I contemplate the question of what is enough or enoughness from time to time. The rose in the picture strikes me as enough in and of itself. it strikes me that holding the rose is enough in and of itself.

Yet, we humans seem to, or at least most of us, constantly be seeking more, never seemingly having enough. Are we fearful that we won't be able to have what we need when we need it if we don't get more now? Are we trying to fill voids with stuff?

I have had the pleasure of having some sessions with some local energy workers - a husband and wife who work together during the sessions. He goes into deep meditation to do his part of the work. You meditate at the same time. During the most recent session, I spontaneously started chanting in my mind: "I am enough. I have enough." It helped make a shift in me. 

Yet, on my own at home, I have changed the mantra slightly to be "I am enough. I have enough. I will always be enough. I will always have enough." There is that smidgeon of fear coming through. If I am enough and have enough, will that always be so? I realized while writing this that it would be good to put a stop to this. I bet that the butterflies in the picture never questioned the enoughness of themselves or their world. They just are. 

I have a safe, decent home. I have clean water and clean food. I have work that I love (although here is where I would like more). I have a book that I've published. I am able to think, talk, write, laugh, love, and more. I have the money to pay my bills and buy a few treats here and there.

I sometimes ask myself, how many houses does one person need to own? How many cars? Does having lots of stuff make us happy? Does it make us more productive, more connected to our communities? How much money does any one person really need? What do the people who make vasts amounts of money do with it? Hoard it? Spend it in a generous way? 

I have said to myself that I don't really want to own a car that costs what some people might make in a year or what might go towards buying house. I just need a car to get from one place to another. On the other hand, it might be nice to have the extra money in the amount that a Mercedes, a Ferrari or some other really expensive car costs. I am, after all, a work in progress at the enoughness practice. 

My MorMor (Swedish for Mother's Mother) used to say that you can only sleep in one bed at a time and only eat 3 meals a day. She was one of the calmest people I have ever known. I think she was good at the practice of enoughness. May I become as good at it as she was.

The first photo is by SHHTEFAN, and the second photo is by Boris Smokrovic. Both were found on unsplash.com