We all have stories. Some of them are true. Many of them are real but not necessarily true. Taken together they make up who we hold ourselves to be - in the past, in anticipating the future, and as we breathe in and out in this present moment. These stories don't exist independently from us. We are the ones who keep breathing life into them. We are the ones who offer them power. Oh these stories are such a burden. Oh this story brings such guilt and shame. Oh how to escape my past. Oh why can't this be like it used to be. Not all are dark and shadowed. Some indeed are light and uplifting, but have you ever noticed how shadows often obscure the sun? This question I would pose to you - How might we meet these stories head on? Do we invite them in to take a seat? Do we let them hide in the closet and come out whenever they choose? Naming them is a way to shift your perspective, create some distance and make some space around the story. You can acknowledge a story but set limits on when it can intrude and when it needs to back off. This is more than a delicate dance. It can be a way to interrupt the pattern of responding that keeps a story alive. And if you don't quite understand what I mean by "story" - Well then, that's another story...
Yesterday in the rain while walking through Union Square park a huge flock of pigeons startled me as they all lifted up in flight circling round and round the statue that overlooks the center of the park. The birds broke into smaller formations, swirling this way and that. Some crossed each other's path, weaving back and forth as if riding air currents until slowly, gradually, they all landed on the ground in the center of the park. It was really quite a display and I wondered Was there a purpose to their flight? Or was it just for fun? Were they following a leader? Or rehearsing for a show? Should I have applauded? Or is it that since these New York City pigeons do not migrate, their DNA still nudges them to touch into their migratory skills now and then and show off to those of us who think we know all there is to know about pigeons in the park.
If sweet talkin' be song we are definitely livin' it when we should be killin' it. Really. Here's how it goes... "You know I care about you I wouldn't do anything that would hurt you, and besides, you need me." This is the song that the Fossil Fuel Industry uses to keep us attached, keep us dependent and trusting of their so-called good will. This is the song that an abuser uses to keep his victim from rejecting the relationship. We are all victims of these songs, sung to us by the corporations who are invested in coal, oil and gas. How do you break away from an abuser? First you must stop believing he will realize the damage he does and change. Second you must accept you are not responsible for the lies and destructive actions he does. Third you must seek help from others who are aware of and share understanding of the situation. Fourth you must realize you have been and will continue to be manipulated if you do not end the relationship as it is now. And most importantly remember this is a situation where he has power over and nothing will change until that changes. This, sadly, describes our current relationship with the Fossil Fuel Industry. And if you didn't know, now you know.
We are truly living in a time that challenges us to find moments of calm Sadly we find our focus is on issues that seem to grow big and weigh us down Our energy gravitates toward the divisions wrenching us apart Country vs country, state vs state, community against community, between family members around the kitchen table Fear and anger have taken up the space between people. Give yourself over to the energy of anger and fear and you give away your power to a point where you won't get it back Beyond not getting it back your power will be used against you by others with more power Remember that the ability to cast your vote and have it counted is a Right in this country A Right that we must hold with care or it will die at the hands of those who care nothing for your rights Why is this so hard to understand? **No photo here - you just need to VOTE!
Everyday the terrible news of gun deaths shatters us and once again we think this must be the moment that changes everything. Everyday more evidence emerges of the thriving systemic racism in our country and communities but we pretend it will end. Everyday the levers of power among corporations and politicians prevent us meeting the climate challenge and we pray science will save us. Everyday we must embrace the bigger picture of a greener more equitable world in whatever way we can. Everyday there are efforts to work toward these possibilities but they mostly escape our Twitter feed. Everyday we must take the next step even when we lose trust in the outcome. It's our hope for the future, depending of course on what we wish for the generations to come. Each of us must make that decision Everyday.
Often these days I find myself saying In our culture we are not prepared for aging and death. Ours is a culture that denies and denigrates growing old in so many ways. My lament, however, is about seeking a way to accept the aging process and inevitability of death. How do we go about living and dying at the same time? How do we navigate this end of life realm without direction? There are expectations of course. Most of them focus on an endless list of abilities lost. Where is the expectation that we gain wisdom and grace? How do we move past the invisibility of personhood that surrounds us? I've often offered to others that they trust the process, but this process requires a level of trust that exceeds what may have been needed before. Loving what is - this is the phrase that keeps nudging my mind Easing into what may come, Taking one step at a time. Slowing down and being more deliberate has its advantages. (aka the tortoise) Maybe less mourning the losses. More gratitude for the gifts. Expect transitions to last longer and let go your idea of what's to come. Spend more time appreciating the present. Maybe, just maybe, this has the beginnings of the map I've been seeking. Now let's see if I can keep from losing my way...
The weather notice on my phone is telling me "It's perfectly clear right now" So my mind responds - perfectly clear to whom? Not to me I'm afraid And exactly WHAT is it that's perfectly clear? When one is feeling overwhelmed with the political landscape, the climate crisis and the myriad daily issues percolating in front of me - it requires great effort to see what's clear Maybe what's clear is the background against which all of these issues are playing out Maybe it can be comforting to know that clarity can be seen behind the fast moving pieces I often find difficult to grasp Perhaps one can choose which to focus on Perhaps this background is the constant, a particular aspect of living one can trust and have faith in We do need some solid base from which to navigate, to take a stand, to rest in when we're overwhelmed and exhausted I suspect that it's from this perspective that clarity arises and gives us the energy we need to keep moving forward toward a day when it is perfectly clear.
Nineteen children this time dead We are not at war We’re just having a normal day sending our kids to school Something is terribly wrong when nineteen children don’t come home and are shot to pieces instead So what the fuck do you think that is? It’s not mental illness It’s not that we don’t love our children It’s about making money and preserving power What will it take for us to realize that we really can be a loving and compassionate people? How to turn from the direction we are heading? What medicine cures the sickness now afflicting our politics? How to make politicians realize it’s in their interest to do whatever works to prevent further mass murder of children? It sickens me even to ask these questions. The answers cannot be to sell or buy more guns We are not going to ask that teachers be armed because no one else is standing up to protect our children. Nor can it be just offering thoughts and prayers There were 78 incidents of gun violence in our schools this year The answers are really quite easy We know what works to limit gun violence but it means electing politicians who think that controlling gun violence is worth the effort. Difficult to imagine that this would be a challenge for them or that it would not be worth doing WHATEVER IT TAKES! But there it is.
After all the seeming of our trying In an effort to make ourselves big and more important, more powerful more of whatever is more than what we have or what we are now We are still little people who are mortal. Every effort to compare and judge, each time we throw ourselves into competition with another, whatever we think we've won We are still little people who are mortal. When we objectify others, when we engage in war on them, when we rape, torture or kill We become even smaller, less significant and still very mortal. Want to know what makes us bigger? Basically Compassion and Insight are the tools that work best Compassion because it enlarges our Heart-Mind to include all other beings Insight because it grows our perception and understanding of how to be in relation with ourselves, all other beings and the Earth And that I believe is how we may change from always showing up as little people And sets us each on the path to become a Bigger Person though we still be mortal.