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:
“I speak my truth. My voice matters. I express myself. I speak with kindness. I speak with love. My voice is strong. My voice is clear. My voice is steady. I have an opinion. I have the words I need. I stand up for myself.”
“I am gentle with my words. I listen to others. I am authentic, honest and creative.”
“I say what I mean, and mean what I say.”
“I play in my imagination. I create my reality. I know and share my truth.”
“I speak freely and with confidence. It is now safe for me to express my feelings and to create the life I desire. Everything I do is an expression of Love.”
“I move beyond old limitations and now allow myself to express my truth freely and creatively.”
“I release all fears, negativity and doubts that block my creative expression.”
“I am aligned with my highest truth and communicate this with love and honor. My words echo softly within the Universe.”
“I speak in alignment with my most authentic truth. I express my thoughts genuinely and with clarity. I communicate my feelings with ease. I listen with interest. I am a Divine receiver.”
“We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves – the heavy-duty feeling that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds – never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here.
This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. Looking at ourselves this way is very different from our usual habit. From this perspective we don’t need to change: you can feel as wretched as you like, and you’re still a good candidate for enlightenment. You can feel like the world’s most hopeless basket case, but that feeling is your wealth, not something to be thrown out or improved upon. There’s a richness to all of the smelly stuff that we so dislike and so little desire. The delightful things – what we love so dearly about ourselves, the places in which we feel some sense of pride or inspiration – these also are our wealth. You can start just where you are.
When we hear about compassion, it naturally brings up working with others, caring for others. The reason we’re often not there for others – whether for our child or our mother or someone who is insulting us or someone who frightens us – is that we’re not there for ourselves.
There are whole parts of ourselves that are so unwanted that whenever they begin to come up we run away. Because we escape, we keep missing being right here, being right on the dot. We keep missing the moment we’re in. Yet, if we can experience the moment we’re in, we discover that it is unique, precious, and completely fresh. It never happens twice. One can appreciate and celebrate each moment – there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!”
“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-