“When the air is hot and humid, there is a feeing of dullness and stagnation. Everyone is oppressed by lassitude. As the seasons begin changing, fresh air comes from the arctic. Clouds that have been building up begin to dispense rain, and damp air is exchanged for fresh, cool breezes. At night, the heavens are changing so quickly that lightning flashes from colliding clouds, and thunder heralds the revolving of the skies.
The same is true of human life. If the heavens cannot endure stagnation for long, how can stagnation last with us? If we find ourselves blocked and frustrated in life, we must look for the inevitable outlet. Nothing is permanent, so how can our obstacles last? We need to look for the first opportunity to set things moving again.
On the other hand, sometimes stagnation comes from our own laziness or incompetence. In this case, then it is we who must show initiative and stimulate a breakthrough in dull circumstances. As soon as we see a chance, we must act. Unless we engage ourselves and events fully, we cannot expect to act sufficiently.”
Its all about connection…a touch, a look, a word, a sense of feeling human in a world that seems confused -a world lost in the process we know as life. Culture has boundaries attached to it as well as identity because of how it links together with our personal beliefs. Nevertheless, they give meaning and purpose to this maze of existence. But I am forced to ask the question, “Is that where the journey ends?” The resounding answer is NO! We just might discover through the people we meet along the way, the places we visit and the experiences we encounter that we are granted a unique privilege. The privilege to come together in a new way. The privilege to rewrite the story.
No matter what color your skin is, what gender you are, what political views you hold, what your sexual orientation is, what language you speak, what country you come from, what religion you believe or don’t believe, or what culture you have the heritage we all share is feeling and being human in all the tragedy and comedy. Humanity Matters because the bottom line is that no matter how lost this world might be without each other we are nothing. May we all find our humanity. Starting TODAY!
Maybe its time to shift our borders…our boundaries inside and out. Maybe we might just find a sense of familiarity through the current devastation and darkness. Maybe we might just find the strength and courage to whisper, “I remember you. We come together now with a new identity, but our dignity hasn’t been stripped from us, so I extend my hand to you. Yes, I remember that we are still brothers and sisters. I haven’t forgotten. Let that no longer be our fear for we know each other as we know ourselves… a new identity for the world to see on the outside, but we see each other from the inside. To think of this I shall not water your garden with tears of sorrows past, but with tears of joy that we can still stand on common ground. Whether our inner demons have been exorcised from within us when we look at ourselves we are seeing each other. Let this be the tie that binds us again with our shifting borders. Let this be the healing for the sickness in our souls.”
I would like to end with a few thoughts from Deng Ming-Dao, “This world and this society are competitive. Tao uses the metaphor of the warrior to meet that competition. Warriors never yield to their opponents. They may sidestep, but they do not give way. Whether you are a lawyer, police officer, fire fighter, doctor, businessperson, athlete, or any one of numerous professions, you compete against either other people or natural forces. But there is a right way and a wrong way to compete. Avoid anger and greed. Use concentration and awareness. Coincidentally, concentration and awareness are also necessary for spirituality. That is why the follower of Tao incorporates the way of the warrior into training. The warrior and the sage both seek to transcend emotion and petty thinking, to perfect themselves, and to live lives of the deepest truth. But when outside the arena, do not forget to be kind. Leave behind competitive aggression. You must still have awareness concentration, and reflex, but the expression will be different. Your compassion must not falter. That is why the combination of the way of the warrior with the way of the sage is the ultimate symbol of versatility. Such a follower of Tao commands the extremes of the universe.”
Here is a song that captures the sign of the times:
All the paths I have wandered Always lead home Where heart fires Warmly welcome.
My soul has been whispering to me today to look and listen more deeply to the love within myself. I have felt alone a lot in my life, but the more I come back to my essence the more fulfilled, connected and joyful I really am. In my meditation this morning, I came across the words of Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, “When you are carried away with your worries, fears, cravings, anger and desire, you run away from yourself and lose yourself. Live your daily life in a way that you never lose yourself. Life is only available in the present moment.” I paused after those words and knew clearly that this year that would be my theme. No more waiting for some magical moment to appear…life isn’t gonna be like I want it to be, but I already have enough to be happy now.
So, I wrote a list in my journal of all the things that I was happy about right in that moment: a red gerianium looking out the kitchen window, Jill, my tabby, sitting beside it like a domestic goddess, watching fluffy, white snowflakes flying by horizontally on the wind, the pines quietly standing in the their wisdom across the way, my children sleeping in their rooms, a white French country table standing in the turquoise kitchen, the pen scribbling out my heart’s contentment onto the page, the gift of sight, the knowledge I’ve been blessed with to heal myself and others, Thai’s teachings of mindfulness, mysticism, and Tao, the Yaqui heritage of my ancestors, shamanic whispers of ‘old soul’ wisdom always with me, my lungs filled with air, and the present moment. Yes, I already have enough to be happy now.
I will rise to tantalizing heights this 2015 and fly on the wings of my highest potential into the space of my own unique spirit. What about you? What makes you happy in this moment?
“The nectar of compassion is so wonderful. If you are committed to keeping it alive, then you are protected. What the other person says will not touch off the anger and irritation in you, because compassion is the real antidote for anger.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh-
I have always been an open book for all to see. My mom used to tell me, “Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.” I didn’t get it for the longest time. I simply didn’t understand which is why I got hurt so often. I also had the tendency “to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders” to quote my mother yet again. That gets really heavy. Now I find myself at a time of transition. Alone. I have tried so hard to make peace with myself. In fact, I really found a path in this life that supports me a great deal. However, the age-old demons that plague everyone in this life, like fear and anger, take their toll.
Time has a way of grabbing hold of our thoughts and feelings and squeezing tight till we are out of breath. Fear rises up. And then there is a mad scramble to protect ourselves. To control. What we don’t realize is that we are giving our strength away. We forget who we are and take on an identity associated with fear and anger. Fear or anger shouldn’t necessarily be shunned, but we should greet it with compassion and patience. We cheapen our essence by shutting out fear in ignorance. I am slowly waking up to the fact that compassion for ourselves is the very protection we seek from our fears. Fears that we might not even understand half the time because they spring from our imagination.
It’s okay to lose our balance, but when we do, instead of being critical and judgemental we can mindfully choose to approve of ourselves. We can concentrate our energy on self-compassion when we make mistakes instead of taking out our anger on ourselves. David Kessler once posed the questions,”What if we started taking some chances, if we stepped into our fears? What if we went further, if we were to pursue our dreams follow our desires? And if we allowed ourselves to experience love freely and to find fulfillment in our relationships? What kind of world would this be?” Sometimes the only way forward is to move through our fears. We can embrace them and still proceed on our journey. It doesn’t have to be a paralyzing process that zaps all our strength away. We are new each morning. We have the opportunity each day to open to life. To BE. When we find that our strength is gone we can whisper to ourselves, “It’s okay.” Then we find that place of belonging. That safe place within where our soul can breathe.
I would like to conclude with another quote, “Now is the only real moment we have, and love is the only real emotion because it’s the only one that occurs in the present moment.Fear is always based on something that happened in the past and causes us to be afraid of something we think may happen in the future. To live in the present, then, is to live in love, not fear. That’s our goal, to live in love. And we can work toward that goal by learning to love ourselves. Infusing ourselves with love begins the washing away of our fears.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross-